Aotearoa anarchist and anti-state communist movement

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omar
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Feb 1 2007 06:58
Aotearoa anarchist and anti-state communist movement

Where do people think the Aotearoa anarchist and anti-state communist movement is at right now?

Was 2006 a good year for the movement? Hopw do we grow the movement in 2007? Do we need a revolutionary anarchist and anti-state communist organisation?

[[post your thoughts below]]

yuda
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Feb 1 2007 07:12

In answer to your questions:

1. A very low ebb

2. 2006 was fairly indifferent

3. Get more organised

4. Yes we do need a genuine revolutionary anarchist and anti-state communist organisation

btw to all those who don't know I'm woking on anarchism.org.nz at the moment (when I get a chance that is) check it out and get involved

smush
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Feb 1 2007 09:51

1. uhm, nowhere really. There are very few of us; we have very little communication between different centres; spend a lot of time doing liberal campaigning etc.

2. 2006 was better than 2005 and 2004 with many anarchists getting involved in the lock-out and other struggles.

3. Agitate - Resist - Insurrect

4. i'm never sure about that one. We need to work together, yes. It would be good to communicate - but a (national) organisation? Dunno. But if there is one and i agree with its aims and principles (etc), i'd probably join wink

anarchism.org.nz is a great starting point! thanks yuda.

Skraeling
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Feb 2 2007 05:30

are there any anti-state communists in Aotearoa besides me?? cry wink

poo
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Feb 2 2007 22:16

right now: going nowhere fast, 2000-2001 was looking good, now we are back to the 90s where we had a large loose scene held together by a vague group who did a magazine saying everything was great when really it wasnt then everybody joined the green party.

2006: ho hum

Hopw do we grow the movement in 2007?: see below

Do we need a revolutionary anarchist and anti-state communist organisation?:

I spose we do, but if someone just announces it exists and writes a lovely sounding statement of principles it willl be a pointless waste of time.

recognise that we are starting from nothing. start locally, and I think the only viable national project would be a website or magazine that produces good anarcho commie stuff written by people who are actively involved in local struggles, as opposed to burnt out cynical ranters who are too bitter and twisted to be productive. so thats me out!

In wellington we have a very good activist scene/movement, the strongest in the country. I love it, but its not particularly anarchist communist.

none of my cynical comments should be taken as a comment on the activist scene. The trick is to recognise the weaknesses in the scene without becoming so bitter and twisted that you are of no use to anyone. been there, done that, it didnt work
viva la revolution and all that stuff
Poo

yuda
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Feb 3 2007 07:26

So poo in your opinion what were we doing in 2000-2001 to say that? (just asking cause you were such a cynical bastard back then)

Also the million dollar question is how do we get from where we are now to the set up of a viable revolutionary anarchist and anti-state communist organisation?

smush
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Feb 3 2007 11:09
Skraeling wrote:
are there any anti-state communists in Aotearoa besides me?? cry wink

well, i'm definately a communist and i hate the fuckin state!

Convert
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Feb 3 2007 19:36

ditto

Skraeling
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Feb 4 2007 04:45

yay, but i was more getting by "anti-state communist" non-Leninist revolutionary Marxism, rather than anarchists who are also communists.

"anti-state communism" is, i believe, a term used by left communists in the US who don't like to use the word communism outright cos it's such a dirty word there

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Lone Wolf
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Feb 4 2007 07:24
Skraeling wrote:
yay, but i was more getting by "anti-state communist" non-Leninist revolutionary Marxism, rather than anarchists who are also communists.

Skrae

Like, you can afford to be this fussy??? wink

"anti-state communism" is, i believe, a term used by left communists in the US who don't like to use the word communism outright cos it's such a dirty word there

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Bubbles
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Feb 4 2007 07:33
Lone Wolf wrote:
Skraeling wrote:
yay, but i was more getting by "anti-state communist" non-Leninist revolutionary Marxism, rather than anarchists who are also communists.

Skrae

Like, you can afford to be this fussy??? wink

"anti-state communism" is, i believe, a term used by left communists in the US who don't like to use the word communism outright cos it's such a dirty word there

hes right though.

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Lone Wolf
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Feb 4 2007 07:42

Prolly yeah but i am teasing him cos he is one of my best "pm buddies" on libcom and this affords me a certain amount of latitude...wink Soz to derail tho.. embarrassed

omar
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Feb 4 2007 09:04

1. Low levels of energy. Lots of anarcho and communist activist time and energy tied up in long term campaigns, liberal reformism, trade unionism, maintaining blogs, websites, bookstores, lifestyles etc.

2. As a movement we became more disorganised and tied up more of our resourses in the above. Networks and collectives shrunk in size and numbers involved dropped away as the year went on. However we had many succeses, some of the most notable involved the use of militant direct action, high school walkouts, anti-war scuffles, Te Papa blockades, Progressives pickets, Happy Valley occupation, publication of suppressed material, ((I could go on-Read the indymedia.org.nz yearly round up for a sample-))

3. Every activist needs to take responsibility for keeping in contact with as many revolutionariess, radicals, sympathisers, supporters and people who can help this movement/people who the movement can help as possible. This means having networks outside of any ghetto we or the state creates around us. This doesn't necessarily grow the movement but it extends the influence of our movement with every new person we come across.

4. I too am not sure whether we need a revolutionary anarchist and anti-state communist organisation. I guess we desire it only to the point that it will help our movement grow and succed rather than hinder it.

poo
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Feb 5 2007 00:37
yuda wrote:
So poo in your opinion what were we doing in 2000-2001 to say that? (just asking cause you were such a cynical bastard back then)

aha but I'm far worse now
ahem, well, anyway, back then we had Thr@ll coming out regularly, we had genuinely contactable and active anarchist groups in all four main centres, and they were all in touch with each other to a certain extent, and were all learning the newfangled term "class struggle" and we had that very cool anarchist conf in chch, which is still my favourite ever conference. it was looking good but within a year or two Thrall collapsed, ART stopped, and we were back to the same old stuff. then some folks organised the anarchist tea party in Wanganui which was basically a lifestyle anarcho fest for hippies. (dont get me wrong I luv hippies but its not the sort of conference that was going to change the world)
which triggered this rant here
http://www.ainfos.ca/04/feb/ainfos00007.html
and a whole lot of hilarious debate for the next few issues of the Imminent rebellion magazine.

yuda
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Feb 5 2007 00:49

Yeah they were interesing times.... I think the communication thing is the biggie at the moment the demise of the local email list anarchynz (not that I morn this one) and others.

Hopefully the anarchism.org.nz site will go some way to fixing this problem although I am worried it will end up like it earlier incarnations and the anarchynz list and just be used for personal attacks.

Some sort of nationwide zine run by a functioning collective and not by (or seen to be) an individual would be very good - something like thrall but that would appeal to a broader range of people without diluting our message.

We also need some good speakers, cause we're all shit at it sad

Skraeling
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Feb 6 2007 01:29
Lone Wolf wrote:
Skraeling wrote:
yay, but i was more getting by "anti-state communist" non-Leninist revolutionary Marxism, rather than anarchists who are also communists.

Skrae

Like, you can afford to be this fussy??? wink

I'm not fussy in reality, but forums allow me a grand opportunity to vent some sectarian cynical bastard comments and piss off the anarcho-workerists grin wink (i'm not talking bout my comment in this thread in case anybody is wondering, actually i am genuinely interested if there are any left commies in NZ). Reminds me, i should pop up in London forums and give you some curry back wink

Skraeling
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Feb 6 2007 02:08

I thinks the libertarian socialist scene in NZ needs to strategise far better. I think there is too much emphasis on single-issue activism, on running around like loons following the latest overseas cause, and then getting tired and burnt out and self-destructive. There is not much looking at the strengths and weaknesses of capital in NZ. I would like to sit down and discuss where capitalism is going in NZ, and how workers (and not just anarcho-activists) have been and are and are likely to combat this. Cos if capitalism is going to be stuffed up, it will be by workers, and not anarchists.

So my focus would be not on what activists or anarchists can do, or on the ways in which anarchists organise themselves, but instead on the ways in which workers resist capital everyday, and how radicals can link up with this resistance, and help broaden it (without telling workers what to do).

We have a somewhat peculiar class composition in NZ. We are becoming a third world type economy based on tourism (our major industry) and agriculture (our second major industry). So casualised labour relating to tourism is on the increase, such as tour guides, bus drivers, workers in backpackers, tourist shops, cafes, and assoc tourist service labour. Agricultural labour (farm hands, fruit pickers etc), and labour relating to it (freezing works, wool scourers etc) are really important too. These workers, along with transport workers, wharfies, i guess are of more strategic importance (sorry to say) than most other workers in NZ -- i mean the economy would crash without them working, while capital can easily accomodate a few strikes by say fast food workers -- tho fast food workers play an important role too (i guess part of their role in capitalism today is to feed as quikly as poss an overworked workforce from the neoliberal deal of more work, less pay in return for cheap consumer shit via the warehouse; many workers are simply so buggered when they come home from work they go out and buy fast food).

In the past, militancy in the NZ workforce has been limited to miners, wharfies, seamen, freezing workers, and a few shearers. They were able to shut down NZ for long periods and hold disproportinate influence over capital cos of their strategic importance. Capital has broken up these workers now. But now it seems to me workers are learning new methods of struggle.

I'm not saying that only struggle in strategic workplaces matters. Of course not. The key is whether a struggle that erupts, like supermarket workers being locked out, gets wider support from other workers and the community, so that struggles are generalised and broadened. So a struggle might start with beneficiaries (as its obvious Key is going to bash and scapegoat beneficiaries) but broaden out and get support from wage workers and the community as what happened in the benefit cuts in 1991. But the state has banned solidarity strikes, so solidarity is much harder. How do workers get around this? Through broad based unions like Unite open to all workers? Or thru something like Union Solidarity (i think that is what is called in Ozzie)? Or thru informal workplace resistance groups linking up with each other? Or a combination of the three?

I suspect a non-legalistic, non-union based approach is the most relevant at the mo, cos the law under the ECA/ERA is shackling workers hard, and doign things thru legal channels means workers get a leg iron clamped on them. Some workers need to have a go against the draconian workplace laws here and take it on. That's essential.

It seems to me that the methods used by workers in supersizemypay are a good method of overcoming the increasingly fragmented, casualised workplace. The campaign worked cos it was in synch with the nature of the fragmented workplace of today. But i have lots of suspicions about Unite's bureaucracy and the union form in general.

These are the types of things i would love to see discussed more in communist and anarchist circles in NZ.

Convert
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Feb 6 2007 10:17

I think NZ needs a regular zine or mag or something, imo there must be heaps of people out there ready to fight back but think they are on their own and/or have no idea where to start.

*edit* ok i just read this thread http://libcom.org/forums/oceania/great-moments-in-nz-anarchist-history
maybe there is material out there and i just dont know about it

omar
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Feb 7 2007 02:07
Quote:
Cos if capitalism is going to be stuffed up, it will be by workers, and not anarchists.

This is the most frustrating thing in aotearoa anarchism at the moment. Anarchism is historically a working class movement for class liberation. However so often anarchism is a bunch of hippy or punk types running around wearing patches and calling themselves anti-authoritarians. Anarchists and communists seem unable at the moment to establish working class bases for their movements. Until we address this problem we ain't gonna have a revolution.

yuda
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Feb 7 2007 03:15

Yeah that is a good quote, one thing that really pisses me of about the redical left in general (authoritarian communists in particular but also some anarchists) is the separation of themselves or their group from the working class and then treating the working class as an ignorant mass that requires their leadership. I was brought up in a working class background and when I became an anarchist I didn't suddenly stop being working class so it really annoys me some of the patronising retoric I hear from some quarters about the working class.

I especially hate the "glorious struggle" bulshit I hear especially from some dogmatic authoritarian marxists out there, being working class isn't some glorious struggle, it sucks have to work in bullshit jobs that you hate to make ends meet only to be aware that your boss is making more money from your labour than you are.

and don't even get me started on little a anarchists...

Skraeling
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Feb 7 2007 22:24
omar wrote:
Quote:
Cos if capitalism is going to be stuffed up, it will be by workers, and not anarchists.

This is the most frustrating thing in aotearoa anarchism at the moment. Anarchism is historically a working class movement for class liberation. However so often anarchism is a bunch of hippy or punk types running around wearing patches and calling themselves anti-authoritarians.

but also saying they are into "class war", whatever that means roll eyes

Quote:
Anarchists and communists seem unable at the moment to establish working class bases for their movements. Until we address this problem we ain't gonna have a revolution.

Yeah but the left in general in Aotearoa has been overall isolated from the working class, ever since 1951 really. So this problem is not just one anarchists or communists face. That left nationalist Bruce Jesson wrote some good stuff (occasionally) on why the left in NZ is so isolated from the working class (from the top of my head, he reckoned it was cos it focussed on liberal single-issues, was moralistic, was dominated by middle class concerns, was clique-like, was dogmatic, and overall irrelevant to the everyday concerns of working class people, and cos it focussed on following overseas causes rather than addressing unique conditions that we face in NZ.)

Skraeling
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Feb 7 2007 22:37
yuda wrote:
Yeah that is a good quote, one thing that really pisses me of about the redical left in general (authoritarian communists in particular but also some anarchists) is the separation of themselves or their group from the working class and then treating the working class as an ignorant mass that requires their leadership. I was brought up in a working class background and when I became an anarchist I didn't suddenly stop being working class so it really annoys me some of the patronising retoric I hear from some quarters about the working class.

I especially hate the "glorious struggle" bulshit I hear especially from some dogmatic authoritarian marxists out there, being working class isn't some glorious struggle, it sucks have to work in bullshit jobs that you hate to make ends meet only to be aware that your boss is making more money from your labour than you are.

Yeah the workerism of the NZ left is legendary (by workerism i mean exactly wot you are describing, the glorification of being working class, the glorification of work, and esp. the glorification of male dominated blue collar work.)

It was worse in the past. eg. In the late 1970s, a Trot group called the Socialist Action League, under orders of their US HQ called the Socialist Worker (i think), all of a sudden sent all their members into factories in order to radicalise the poor proles therein, even tho the membership of the SAL was pretty much all middle class. so you got trots who were doctors and whatnot who suddenly were working in car factories in petone! weird. they didn't have much success, needless to say. SAL have now become that tiny Trot sect that sell papers extolling the virtues of Stalinist Cuba roll eyes (i cant remember their name)

this is just another example of leftism in action, namely they are based upon organising other people's struggles, such as workers, for them. so it's all about "organising the workers" rather than self-organisation. Yuda was getting at the point that self-organisation is not about seeing workers as an object separate from ourselves that needs to be shaped and moulded, but instead self-organisation begins with our own activity, organising where we work and we were live, and organising to meet our own needs and desires (as a collective process with our workmates and community members)

yuda
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Feb 7 2007 23:59
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Yuda was getting at the point that self-organisation is not about seeing workers as an object separate from ourselves that needs to be shaped and moulded, but instead self-organisation begins with our own activity, organising where we work and we were live, and organising to meet our own needs and desires (as a collective process with our workmates and community members)

Thanks for paraphrasing me. I was in rant mode and wasn't too sure if I was still making any sense to anyone but myself wink

Yeah F. told me about a few of S.A.L's antics

omar
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Feb 8 2007 04:49
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self-organisation is not about seeing workers [or anyone else] as an object separate from ourselves that needs to be shaped and moulded, but instead self-organisation begins with our own activity, organising where we work and we were live, and organising to meet our own needs and desires (as a collective process with our workmates and community members)

thats why the tino rangatiratanga movement can mobilise thouands again and again causte the idenity politics that mould the movement are so strong.

people seem to forget that working class politics is identity based as well.

smush
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Feb 8 2007 10:38

sure, there is the whole "lifestyle vs. social anarchism" debate going on. At the same time, i think it's also a collectivism vs. communism debate (not that i know much about the ideas and arguments behind them...). And i know, this is me trying to interpret the anarchist scene here and connecting it to european dead old men with beards - and it's broader too: collectivism in combination with newer ideas who come from a more individualistic place (like crimethinc's folk-anarchism). i need to find out more about collectivism but it seems like bad news to me. Anarchist small businesses, a money economy with wages etc.

This is very relevant to the situation here as it determines what we actually do. Do we get involved in running a small business in a non-hierarchical way because we can't be fucked working for a boss or always being poor on the dole? Is this the "self-organisation [of] our own activity"? I very much doubt it. To me, this sounds like anarchists making themselves comfortable in the capitalist system!

This all reminds me of (well, kind of at least) an indymedia debate last year during a strike at a freezing work (http://indymedia.org.nz/newswire/display/41187/index.php) where someone (not an anarchist i don't think) said "If they wanted to, apple picking is a viable alternative to working in the meat industry that takes less skill." It's this idea that a lot of people in our circles have, that there is good and bad capitalism. The bad capitalism is the big corporates (and some anarchists see themselves as part of the "anti-corporate movement" (https://docs.indymedia.org/view/Aotearoa/AnticorporateMovement) - and "neo-liberalism is bad to because... because, uhm, free trade or something, and tariffs bla bla") but small businesses are ok.

i don't get that. It feels at times that us anarchist don't understand the very basics of the economic system we are opposed to!

asn
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Feb 8 2007 12:34

Quote:
self-organisation is not about seeing workers [or anyone else] as an object separate from ourselves that needs to be shaped and moulded, but instead self-organisation begins with our own activity, organising where we work and we were live, and organising to meet our own needs and desires (as a collective process with our workmates and community members)

thats why the tino rangatiratanga movement can mobilise thouands again and again causte the idenity politics that mould the movement are so strong.

- You're absolutely right! and what about another "very successful" "identity based movement" an imagined community based on all sorts of irrational notions - seeking to unite members of all classes - that based on the "Aryan" identity in the early 1930's in Germany which had a certain fascination with the swastika? which sectors of the the German ruling class took such advantage.
- on the issue of organising where you work - this approach
flys in the face of the reality of certain sectors in the economy being more strategicly important than others - and historical precedents on these lines - and low morale making any activity pointless in many workplaces today until it was raised - very likely by big actions in strategic sectors (which would have a radiation impact)- therefore the most sensible option would be to assist the self organisation of workers in these strategic sectors see relevant articles on our webpage www.rebelworker.org
mark

omar
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Feb 8 2007 21:26

i dont agree that we should only organise where we work/live/study but if we want to overcome the fact that so often anarchists and communists aren't actually embedded in movements the we'll have to organise where we are.

Skraeling
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Feb 8 2007 22:49
yuda wrote:
Quote:
Yuda was getting at the point that self-organisation is not about seeing workers as an object separate from ourselves that needs to be shaped and moulded, but instead self-organisation begins with our own activity, organising where we work and we were live, and organising to meet our own needs and desires (as a collective process with our workmates and community members)

Thanks for paraphrasing me. I was in rant mode and wasn't too sure if I was still making any sense to anyone but myself ;)

whoops. i didn't mean to put words into yr mouth. more like i was agreeing with you, and putting my own spin on it. you were making plenty of sense to me Yuda.

Good post Smush. There has been a lot written about this. Of course, that type of politics comes straight from the anti-capitalist movement eg. PGA is supportive of small business capitalism. I remember some anarchists a while back who protested in support of small businesses on a "anti-capitalist" demo! They were complaining that Starmarts were running small dairys into the ground. I objected to this,pointing out small businesses are just as nasty to workers as big ones (if not more sometimes), and was ignored.

ASN: Sure, good point, I guess for me personally its not an either/or absolutist approach (either you selforgansie strategic workplaces or organise in your own backyard), in practice i would try and do both when i think about it. In practice, if you dont work in a strategic industry, then its important to give solidarity to those who are eg, the locked out supermarket distro workers (yup, i think supermarket distribution workers are in a bit of strategic position, i mean without their work, cities would starve in a few days or so)

but how do you encourage self-organisation in strategic workplaces without being substitutionist and attempting to organise workers from the outside? And many strategic workplaces are tied up by powerful bureaucratic unions, such as the EPMU (Engineers Union) in NZ, who would easily crush any attempts at self-organisation at its worksites. How so you avoid this? And what if struggles begin in non-strategic workplaces and then spread to strategic ones? I don't think we can predict where struggles are about to begin given the complexity of class struggle.

In NZ, shearers, wharfies, seamen, miners and freezing workers were at the heart of NZ's agri export business economy, and so were very strategic. But they got isolated from other workers, and were smashed in 1913 and 1951. They never recovered. So solely focussing on strategic workers seems to be a bit flawed. (Not assuming you do ASN, just thinking about this approach).

asn
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Feb 9 2007 10:31

quote -"but how do you encourage self-organisation in strategic workplaces without being substitutionist and attempting to organise workers from the outside? And many strategic workplaces are tied up by powerful bureaucratic unions, such as the EPMU (Engineers Union) in NZ, who would easily crush any attempts at self-organisation at its worksites. How so you avoid this? And what if struggles begin in non-strategic workplaces and then spread to strategic ones? I don't think we can predict where struggles are about to begin given the complexity of class struggle"
- putting out a semi clandestine paper where workers control their own content (see anarcho-syndicalism: catalyst for workers self-organisation on the archive section of our webpage) and the NSW based Sparks magazine webpage www.sparksweb.org - initially using interviews with individual/groups of workers giving the final okay and eventually them writing their own articles - they use this content to fight the bosses - spread information amongst others on the job (counter management/union official propaganda) - such a publication could be used to bring various militants together and establish a grassroots controlled organisation - sparks and its outside the job network have helped assist with the formation of such organisation in Sydney buses in recent years
- where sparks operates there is certainly some very bureaucratic unions and very hardline management - they have made organising difficult but it has been achieved
- outside the job organisation helps out in particularly
difficult workplaces eg distributing copies from the outside - given the long shifts - 12hour shifts, constant speedups in strategic sectors, without this type of organising - it is extremely difficult for grass roots activists in many areas to get organised in many sectors today (they are too exhausted or morale too low to attend meetings, edit magazines etc)
- historical precendents such as epicentres of the public sector strike wave movements in late 1986 early 1987 in France, Dec 1995 and the "Cobas" -grass roots committees in Italy in the 1980's particularly focused in transport industries - given workers there can cut immediately key arteries of the capitalist economy which others can't eg in supermarkets or cafes etc
- I think you can predict such struggles - if you have done the above spade work for many years - leading to ultra democratic processes and direct action occuring on various issues in a range of workplaces in the sector- changing the workplace culture - this is what you had with the COBAS in the 1980's and its associated wave of direct action- but this movement didn't result from a coherent strategy being pursued - latest news is its conversion into an archipelgo of alternative unions which are being drawn into "orthodox" unionism - seeking recognition in the state industrial relations system
- if you haven't done these "hard yards" and just "intervene" in various emergencies ie lockouts, strikes, etc naturally you will be often outmanoevred by union officialdoms and seen as exotic "outsiders" - rather than useful people who can assist self organisation - "responding to events just like the workers caughtup in these management attacks" - rather than taking the initiative - and assisting the grass roots to take the offensive against the bosses
- also with these hard yards - you would have the contacts to gain insights where big actions are planned and the direction of the employer offensive- you would probably be assisting grass roots activists with the launching of these actions.
- where there have been "big defeats" in the past as in NZ - the point is to help militants and the grass roots to become more active - raise their morale - re-establish there workplace organisation - turn the tide
- in just one area - sparks is helping doing that in martime transport in Sydney - the focus of the martime/patricks dispute/lockout of 1998 - a major defeat for maritime workers - helping militants agitation etc
- another is the NSW Railways which is the focus of historic workers' defeats - 1917 Great Strike, Depression era massive wage cuts etc
- the above program - requires serious long term work and printing/publishing etc infrastructure as well and most importantly a "scientific climate" - and given limited numbers of serious people - priorities would need to be strictly adhered to - I think this is the case in NZ - from my understanding -and definitely in australia
mark

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jason
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Feb 10 2007 04:40
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Do we need a revolutionary anarchist and anti-state communist organisation?

What would it do? What would be the pros and cons of a broader S. Pacific organisation?

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Feb 10 2007 04:44
Quote:
- putting out a semi clandestine paper where workers control their own content (see anarcho-syndicalism: catalyst for workers self-organisation on the archive section of our webpage) and the NSW based Sparks magazine webpage www.sparksweb.org - initially using interviews with individual/groups of workers giving the final okay and eventually them writing their own articles - they use this content to fight the bosses - spread information amongst others on the job (counter management/union official propaganda) - such a publication could be used to bring various militants together and establish a grassroots controlled organisation - sparks and its outside the job network have helped assist with the formation of such organisation in Sydney buses in recent years

I like this kind of idea Mark. But how do you initially get off the ground if you're outside the strategic sector?