Sedition #1 is out

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Lumpen's picture
Lumpen
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Feb 26 2012 08:55
Sedition #1 is out

You can download it here.

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welshboy
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Feb 26 2012 08:59

The PDF for reading on screen appears to be just the first page.

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Lumpen
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Feb 26 2012 11:16

Fixed. Thanks for that!

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LC Hammer
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Feb 28 2012 07:28

looks great comrades. Look forward to a thorough read of the paper issue

Tim B
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Feb 28 2012 09:00

Looks good!

For Sydney based comrades there is a launch happening for Sedition on Saturday March 10 at Jura Books from 3. There will be a film and readings from the journal. Will post more details shortly when things are confirmed.

Tim

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Feb 28 2012 10:05

Updated the link on the website to include deets for the Jura launch.

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Steven.
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Feb 28 2012 10:59

Yeah, lumpen, I'm guessing this is your mad design skills? Nice one. (Although I must admit I did prefer the curved edges of that black rose zine or whatever it was called, despite how impractical it must have been!)

bastarx
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Feb 28 2012 23:22

Yeah nice design.

However the article on intersectionality is awful. |

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Credited to Kimberle Crenshaw in the late 1980s, intersectionality is the current buzzword of the mainstream feminist movement. It quite rightly recognises that all oppressions – from sexism and racism to classism and ableism...

While proles are discriminated against the problem with the proletarian condition is that it exists, ie that we have to sell our labour to survive. This is quite different to racism, sexism etc, something the identity politicians are utterly unable to acknowledge.

bastarx
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Feb 28 2012 23:35

"Organising in Australia" is also pretty bad.

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The organising model draws a great deal on the union experience in the United States, where the union movement (although smaller and beset by many problems) is often more militant and connected organically with working class communities.

Seriously? What unions? What working class communities?

Quote:
The organising model is a step forward, but ultimately unions continue to operate as if they are a sort of specialist business within capitalism.
It is up to activists and agitators to join our unions, work to democratise them and bring anti‑capitalist politics into the organising model.

Boring from within is definitely a strategy that will bring good results.

Quote:
Leninist groups in Australia spend a lot of time putting up posters, handing out leaflets, selling newspapers, doing ring-arounds, talking to strangers and holding public forums. Through this work they reach a vast number of people.

A vast number of people who at best ignore them.

Trot and union envy is a waste of time. Replicating their form with anarchist content will achieve nothing.

bastarx
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Feb 28 2012 23:41

The casualisation article is good but let down by the conclusion that work inside the unions is the way forward.

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Feb 29 2012 08:49
revol68 wrote:
look forward to reading this, I'm very impressed by the style of it, sexy as fuck.

Such kind words! embarrassed Black toner on black stock = the poor man's spot varnish.
And rounded corners aren't too hard, either. You can buy a hand-operated corner punch for a few bucks at a craft store. I have access to a desktop corner rounder that makes it easy. It even has interchangeable dies.

Maybe I should send some copies to the UK for your archives?

Peter wrote:
Trot and union envy is a waste of time. Replicating their form with anarchist content will achieve nothing.

I agree the articles are a mixed bag, and some of the positions put should rightly be contested as even baseline consistent with anarchism. The pro-animal lib article nearly made me have a fit when I read it. I'm an arsehole about these things, though. Ultimately I'm less interested in polemic articles than I am about the organisation within which these things are argued and how these questions can be resolved. The publication is a means to that end (like it says in the editorial).

I'll be putting up the articles up as blog posts, so hopefully that'll generate some discussion, and you can input some direct critique there. Or here if you want, and I could link to it.

What I would say is that the positions aren't fixed or even emblematic. Like anything, it's a combination of what is received and what is useful to publish. I'm not one of the editors though, I just did the layout.

Tim B
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Mar 4 2012 11:50

Hi,

the Sydney launch on March 10th will also include a screening of the film, The Free Voice of Labour, which is a documentary about the Yiddish anarchist newspaper Fraye Arbeter Shtime, and the Jewish anarchist movement of the early 20th century. Some of the authors of articles in Sedition will do readings, and there will be space for discussion of these articles.

The event can be found on Facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/#!/events/151468961641000/

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Mar 4 2012 15:22

If it's a general anarchist publication, then I'd expect it to be a mixed bag.

But why has it not got any pictures? Are you all trying to outdo the ICC here?

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Mar 4 2012 15:54
Serge Forward wrote:
But why has it not got any pictures? Are you all trying to outdo the ICC here?

No images are better than bad images imho. Lots of publications fall into the clip-art trap adding only vaguely related images snipped from generic collections. It often takes serious effort and talent to create images that improve rather than distract. Prepress tweaking to make colour images look good is also tricky.

That said looking "good" isn't always the thing.

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Mar 4 2012 16:23
Cooked wrote:
No images are better than bad images

twisted groucho tongue black bloc

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Mar 5 2012 08:18
Cooked wrote:
Serge Forward wrote:
But why has it not got any pictures? Are you all trying to outdo the ICC here?

No images are better than bad images imho. Lots of publications fall into the clip-art trap adding only vaguely related images snipped from generic collections. It often takes serious effort and talent to create images that improve rather than distract. Prepress tweaking to make colour images look good is also tricky.

That said looking "good" isn't always the thing.

The images supplied were all low res thumbnail jpegs embedded into Word file. I pretty much NOPE'd – I didn't think they seriously wanted me to include them. Turns out I was wrong, biut it was too late. It's kinda hard to explain why resolution and image consistency matters.

I'm also of the opinion that communicating something crappily is worse than not at all.

That said, the articles posted online will have video.

bastarx
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Mar 5 2012 22:42
Lumpen wrote:
I'm also of the opinion that communicating something crappily is worse than not at all.

I'm of the opinion that the old saying "better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt" is true.

lizT
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Mar 25 2012 07:22

I realise this discussion is well and truly over - but I would really love to know what you mean Peter, when you say

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While proles are discriminated against the problem with the proletarian condition is that it exists, ie that we have to sell our labour to survive. This is quite different to racism, sexism etc, something the identity politicians are utterly unable to acknowledge

Yes - the intersectionality article was awful, but I fear we disagree on why. Accusing people of being identity politicians is usually a way to stop people talking about women and brown people because that might upset those who "identify" as proles (the most prominent identity politicans on the left, who do have a tendency to, almost incidentally, be white and male). The kind of class unity nonsense that is precisely why I would prefer the awfulness of the intersectionality article to an actual anarchist analysis of gender and gender relations, which (or a Trot one, the same reasons), like everyone else on the left with the notable exception of TC, is an argument for why women should stop talking about women and start talking about how being women is no different at all from being proles. Any other talk about gender is forbidden.

redsdisease
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Mar 26 2012 06:25

I didn't read the intersectionality article and I can't speak for Peter, but I'm pretty certain the point they were making was not that the proletarian identity is the most crucial identity, which every other identity is subordinate, but that it isn't an identity at all. I would agree with this.

lizT wrote:
Accusing people of being identity politicians is usually a way to stop people talking about women and brown people because that might upset those who "identify" as proles

This may be true, but there are a lot of legitimate critiques of identity politics and we shouldn't ignore this just because there are assholes who critique identity politics to reinforce their own place in society. That's like saying "we can't criticize unions because Republicans also criticize unions."

bastarx
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Mar 26 2012 23:53
lizT wrote:
Yes - the intersectionality article was awful, but I fear we disagree on why. Accusing people of being identity politicians is usually a way to stop people talking about women and brown people because that might upset those who "identify" as proles (the most prominent identity politicans on the left, who do have a tendency to, almost incidentally, be white and male). The kind of class unity nonsense that is precisely why I would prefer the awfulness of the intersectionality article to an actual anarchist analysis of gender and gender relations, which (or a Trot one, the same reasons), like everyone else on the left with the notable exception of TC, is an argument for why women should stop talking about women and start talking about how being women is no different at all from being proles. Any other talk about gender is forbidden.

The identity politician thing was dumb of me but nevertheless putting classism in the category of oppressions is stupid.

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Mar 27 2012 18:03

as i understand it, the 'classism' thing came about in response to the domination of the US women's movement by either the cultural upper middle class (upwardly mobile career women) or outright bourgeois. so 'class privilege' referred to that, and was treated as analogous to 'male privilege' and 'white privilege' (i.e. wealth/education/social mobility as something which put people at a relative advantage within the movement/society).

So i think it was responding to a very real problem, it's just unfortunate the word 'class' was used as it seems inherently individualistic (as argued here) and to become a substitute for class analysis in the communist sense. some, like bell hooks, even argue Marx was reductionist and that sociological definitions encompassing culture, attitudes, education, income etc are superior. So when communists talk about class, they're usually talking about something very different.

lizT
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Mar 28 2012 11:58

I think or hope that we can agree that using the term classism as a category of oppression is nonsense. But the article more broadly was less offensive than most of what I have seen when the left talks about gender. I suppose that's why I was surprised by the reaction and wondering whether this was the criticism I am most familiar with on the left - that talking about gender and race are nice but distract from the real game of the proletarian condition. We often seem more concerned with talking about how bad bourgeois feminism is and far less concerned with actually addressing the inadequacies of the left and ultra-left on gender, inadequacies in theory and practice.

There are many legitimate criticisms of identity politics, but in my experience on the left in Trot and anarcho world the focus tends to be on the idea of class unity that means not talking about the real divisions within the class that actually make up the proletariat, as opposed to a fantasy proletariat that is undivided, has some kind of revolutionary or pure essence beyond its mediations etc, waiting to be discovered.

I am rather a fan of the "Gender Distinction, Programmatism and Communisation" Roland Simon piece, which I am trying to re-read again and again to try to get it. But this part is one of my favourite bits:

Quote:
It is a totally sclerotic vision of the extension and deepening of a struggle to consider that the self-constitution of a group of women is necessarily identitarian and a limit of this struggle. This group does not invent the problem which constitutes it as a particular group vis-à-vis the general problem of the struggle, it is born of the question that the difference between the “sexes” has caused to appear in the course of the struggle. It is often good that the contradiction appears. Those who accuse this type of action of breaching the universalism of the proletariat forget that if this type of actions exists, it is precisely to combat the “essentialising” and/or hostile vision which can be developed in the very course of the struggle (cf. the piquetero movement and the long history of programmatism). Only a theory in which the revolution is the abolition of all classes can look address these problems head-on and not treat them as circumstantial or accidental impediments, just something to be gone beyond as quickly as possible.

We cannot act as if differences and segmentations didn’t exist and weren’t objective vis-à-vis the superior entity: the common situation of the exploited. Unity will not be achieved for the proletariat except in its abolition, which will not come to pass without internal conflicts which are given by its reproduction which is always implied by the reproduction of capital until its abolition. This will be a question in which revolution and counter-revolution are embroiled."

"

There is more to say on this obviously, but I am interested to know what others think about the TC Gender stuff. I feel like I will need to read the Roland stuff quite a few more times to get my head around it, but the committment to "specifying the particular dynamic of the gender relation" (from "Comrades, but women") is clear and well, refreshing for the left. I saw the comments on the Maya Gonzalez piece on Communization and the Abolition of Gender, but am curious to know a bit more about others' opinions on the TC committment to the discussion and analysis of the gender relation and what people think of the actual content of those discussions.

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Apr 9 2012 05:46

I have a number of issues with the intersectionality article, particularly having read it a couple times. I think the conclusion is that mainstream feminists just don't understand how the very existence of heirarchy in society means that we are oppressed. Even though it also explains how mainstream feminists have a good grasp on what this heirarchy is, and where it comes from - something the author of the article i think demonstrates they don't have, because they never actually seem to explain what it is they mean, what it is that they know that other feminists don't. The beginning of the article has this too - voltairine de cleyre was a staunchly laissez fair right wing libertarian. The 'anarchism without adjectives' thing is just a joke.

I'd like to know then, Peter, what alternative you believe there is to working 'within the unions'. I feel that our critique of trade unionism should not limit our capacity to actually participate in them, even as officials.

bastarx
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Apr 9 2012 07:34
Rats wrote:
I'd like to know then, Peter, what alternative you believe there is to working 'within the unions'. I feel that our critique of trade unionism should not limit our capacity to actually participate in them, even as officials.

The alternative is not working within the trade unions. Pretty simple really.

Does our critique of electoralism (maybe too big an assumption here) mean that we shouldn't participate in parliament? Does a critique of the police preclude us becoming cops?

Sure I'm being facetious but you haven't really said anything so until you advance an actual argument about the unions I'll stay vacuous too.

bastarx
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Apr 9 2012 07:47

Having looked at your profile it seems we are in the same union. Serious question, how does one get involved in the TWU without running for office? Even by union standards the TWU is undemocratic. According to the history of it I read a few years ago this is a result of the dispersed nature of its members.

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Apr 18 2012 15:28

I would say that participation as delegates is a great thing to do, and a good way to connect to people at work, gain their respect, learn how to relate to people who, under any other circumstance than work, you probably wouldn't talk to. Running for office is tricky, what with the labor party and all, that stuff seems pretty tight knit. But in present conditions i wouldn't oppose going for official positions in unions, particularly if comrades can do a good job of it. I think there's room to move, is all i'm saying, and at the moment i don't see why not.

I'm a dual carding wobbly, i've been trying to do my best in the situation i find myself in. I organised without the union and won a few big gains in pay(like, 10%+) but lost out on other conditions that weren't in writing(lunch break length), and other shonky conditions just meant we lost out in other ways too. At the moment i see few other reliable options.

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Apr 19 2012 05:40

Back to Sedition, here's a review from the latest Mutiny (available now)

Quote:
From what I understand, the primary aim of Sedition was its process. It was begun as a way for three somewhat politically similar collectives in Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide to learn how to work together and to develop their relationships. I hope the process was good, because as a reader I found Sedition disappointing.

The project has potential. Most of us in Sydney know next to nothing about what’s happening in Adelaide, for example. A publication edited from different cities could be a way for people from different places to find out what’s happening elsewhere, but that doesn’t happen in this edition. An editorial collective with a defined political commonality could explore political ideas with more depth, but that isn’t the case either. The articles tend to be short and basic. Rather than seeking out or choosing articles for relevance or quality, the ground for selection was solely whether the writer was a member of a constituent group. The mixed results perhaps shows a weakness of this membership-based model.

Overall, the zine lacks spark and passion. I get the feeling that the contributors were generally so busy convincing someone (themselves?) that anarchism is a Serious Political Business that they lost any sense of the dynamism of the ideas and the complexities of practice. It also reads like many writers simply used what seem like the Right Words for a Political Article without using them to communicate a meaning. ‘Democracy’, for example, is used in nearly every article without critique or question, and a number of writers talk about ‘community’, which is possibly the most over-used and meaningless concept around. This way of writing is flawed in both style and politics: it’s hard to work out what people really mean.

The mix of articles makes it hard to work out who the intended audience is. Articles vary from the unfunny in-joke of ‘Things anarchists like’ to a very introductory article on the Zapatistas. Brendan Libertad’s article on the philosophical origins of anarchism is a partisan argument disguised as a neutral history. Gabs’s article on casualisation is a worthy attempt to analyse current conditions. It’s basic and factual, with some examples of recent resistance, but ends without suggestions other than joining a trade union. I’m not saying that anarchists should have a purist position against trade union membership, but to promote the unions without any critique suggests a lack of hope.

Similarly, Jeremy’s article on ‘Organising in Australia’ critiques the unions as ‘a sort of specialised business within capitalism’ but suggests that we join and ‘democratise’ them. This article also defines ‘organisation’ in such a positive way (‘a relationship of solidarity, mutual aid, and common purpose’) that any anarchist would agree with it, then removes any distinction between ‘organisation/organising’ as a verb (or process) and ‘an/the organisation’ as a noun (or institution). I also think that Jeremy can well be proud of all the hard work he and others have done distributing anarchist material and publicising Jura, but I don’t think that this outreach is really ‘organising’, even by his own definition. The article would also be stronger if it analysed the effects of all of this work, rather than simply listing the number of posters put up.

While far too brief for what it is trying to do, Katrina’s article on intersectionality is worthwhile for its attempts to relate anarchism/anarcha-feminism to other feminist currents in a way that recognises their parallels without ignoring their differences. It’s rare for anarchists to engage like this, and it’s good. It also asks good questions, like: how do we have a politics that’s about our own lives, not some external ‘cause’, without reducing it to lifestyle choices? However, ‘classism’ is a weird word. As the article says, the different forms of hierarchy and oppression that exist are not the same, but the term ‘classism’ suggests an attempt to think about class society in the same way as we think about racism or sexism. Sure, we can talk about the problem of snobbery, and about how groups of people are looked down on or dismissed because they’re ‘bogans’ or ‘westies’ or whatever. But class can’t be reduced to a culture, a matter of identity. The problem of class is that all of us (bogans and inner-city wankers alike) have no control over the wealth that we create: that we have our time and our potential stolen from us. We don’t want to overcome classism: we want to destroy class society.

The article on Occupy Sydney, which tries to justify the camp in response to what’s been said about it in the media, makes politically confused claims on behalf of the camp, such as ‘what are we asking for? Just that the authorities tolerate a few hundred or so citizens occupying a few dozen square metres of their own city.’ I would hope that Occupy actually wanted more than to be tolerated by authories, and that it didn’t seek legitimacy on the grounds that its participants were ‘citizens’.

Nick A’s article on interacting with the media does a reasonable job of summarising both sides of some recent arguments about anarchist practice, and it’s always fun to compare Athens (where the argument is about whether or not to storm to tv station) with Sydney, (where the decision is about talking to the local street press.) However, ‘It is unequivocally clear that corporate media perpetuates the hegemony of the capitalist state’ is not a catchy opening line.

This style of oddly formal, big-word, jargon-heavy writing dominates the zine. Sedition looks excellent, especially the Melbourne print run with the (very anarchist) black-on-black cover. It’s clear that the publishers recognise design as a craft: something that’s learned and worked on. I think it’s true of anarchist publications generally (and I include my own time as a Mutiny editor) that there’s less attention paid to the craft of writing. I don’t mean that we should create an elitist model in which some people are seen as ‘good writers’ and other people’s work is rejected, or in which we fret over the rules of grammar. It’s important that we can all put our ideas and individual experiences forward. But having something to say and saying it in a way that is easily understood and engaging is a skill that can be developed. It takes time and effort to choose words that express a precise meaning rather than using the same standard phrases. It’s a responsibility of publishing projects to help writers edit, and to develop writing as a craft that we work on together.