The relevance of the ASN?

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Bilan
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Sep 21 2008 11:11
The relevance of the ASN?

Yeah, so I wanted to see what australian comrades think of the relevance of the ASN.

For those who don't know who it is, go to [url=http://www.rebelworker.org/]

Anyway, so what do people think of the ASN? I've gathered from a lot of people its not very popular within various anarchist groups, which is either due to the posts of ASN members on here in respect to other anarchists, or to the workerist politics of the ASN.

In any case, I think that they happen to represent the polar opposite of what goes on in the Australian anarchist movement - that is, the focus of many anarchist groups appears to be largely around environmental struggles and anti-war, occasional anti-capitalist (though, this mainly takes the form of summit protests), and international solidarity (primarily with the Zapatistas).
The ASN, on the contrary, represents a negation of most of these, if not all of these, struggles in favour a total focus on the workplace, and in particular, transport in Australia (but also does address workers struggles abroad in the paper Rebel Worker, and also in Sparks)

What this shows, however, is a complete difference in focus in both of these "factions" of the anarchist movement: One side is primarily focused on struggles which are not linked directly to working class politics, the other, is completely focused on the workplace, and negating all other forms of struggle.

What seems to have occurred, in this, is that one is a product of the other, essentially, the ASN's approach is a reaction to the approach that was dominated in the post-60's era of anarchism, that which focused on social struggles.

At least, for me, I was disillusioned with the lack of class struggle politics within the Australian anarchist movements (and no, I haven't joined ASN, but was part of the forming of a class struggle anarchist group, SACT) and the monumentus focus of anarchists on environmental and social struggles, rather than any focus on workers struggles.

Anyway, what I want to know is what other peoples thoughts are on the relevance of the ASN.

jeremytrewindixon
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Nov 25 2008 07:20

Hi anarcho_and_peace, I'm a member of the ASN, haven't been a very active one for a while what with distractions of one kind and another. But it isn't true that the ASN "negates" all forms of struggle outside the workplace. It does see class struggle as central which is I suppose what you would expect from an anarcho-syndicalist group. The editor of Rebel Worker, in particular, has often expressed the view that Anarchists involved in single issues of one type or another or in what you call "summit protests" would be better employed helping to build a powerful organised libertarian working class. In doing so he has often made very explicit that this does not necessarily involve rejecting the single issue - quite the contrary, the workers' movement has a fine record of fighting for the environment, against racism etc, the more so the more it is organised on the basis of grass-roots militancy. I think this view is regarded among Anarchists as strange only in Australia. (The idea that ASN and its paper rejects environmental concerns, for example, collapses upon examination. I mean, Rebel Worker has pretty much printed the complete works of "green anarchist" Graham Purchase. )Personally I differ from the editor in a few of my views, and in particular I don't think that people who are doing good work in one area should in general be advised to switch over to some other area thought to be "more important", it might be more important but people do best what they love. But I absolutely agree with him about the centrality of class.

The hostility of some Anarchists in Australia goes back (as does the ASN) to the break up of the Anarcho-Syndicalist Federation (ASF) in 1992. The ASN was the old Sydney group of the ASF plus a couple of people from Melbourne including me. The rump of the Melbourne group continued to call it self the "ASF" and its main praxis was waging a remarkably toxic campaign against the ASN and people such as the Jura group who it thought were sympathetic to the ASN. The golden prize was admission as a section to the IWA, a prize not gained last I heard. I don't know if the "ASF" still exists, shortly after the split it reduced to one person very skilled in the arts of smear, rumour, myth-making and smoke-and-mirrors in general; he has several times built the group up on the basis of these arts only to have it collapse again as reality intrudes. So if it doesn't exist now it may spring up at any time. (ew)

Anyway....when the ASF was first set up back in the 80s it was seen as a new beginning of class struggle Anarchism in Australia; the Anarchist movement then was positively stuffed with people who went around saying things like "the working-class aren't all angels you know, they are racists and they beat their wives and watch football on TV while drinking beer" and people (often the same people) who said "there is no working-class anymore, everyone is middle class" and so therefore the revolution would not have a class character and/or social revolution was now impossible so everyone should "take control of their own lives" (ie polyamory and dope and/or form communes) or join the ALP to engage in really practical activity....The landscape since then has changed, class is now talked about freely even in the popular press, the Greens have emerged as a significant force. But the tendencies we might loosely call "lifestylism" are still quite strong in Australian Anarchism. Class struggle Anarchism might no longer be rejected outright, but a class struggle Anarchist group must still so-to-speak prove its lifestylist credentials. The ASN has never been interested in doing that.

Anyway, this is all a twice-told tale for me, I hope you find it helpful.

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Bilan
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Dec 4 2008 13:23

I did, thanks. Greatly appreciated.
I've been dabbling with the idea of getting involved with ASN comrades and helping to do stuff - primarily, because I am an anarcho-syndicalist, and obviously then support the idea of a mass syndicalist union, and also agree with the centrality of the issue of class.

I just kind of need some convincing...because alot of things are said, and have been said, about the ASN so I don't know where I stand, or to stand.

Another Question, if it's not to rude of me to ask, what branch are you from? Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane?

Thanks.

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Bilan
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Dec 4 2008 13:39

Oh, it says on your profile. >.<
Well, is the branch their active?

-----------------

I think I'll get involved. smile

jeremytrewindixon
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Dec 20 2008 10:18
anarcho_and_peace wrote:
Oh, it says on your profile. >.<
Well, is the branch their active?

-----------------

I think I'll get involved. :)

Since "Depot Dick" Curlewis died a few years ago, leaving me, no the ASN has not been active in Melbourne.

I have had a difficulty or two. I would like to be active again however. I hope you do get involved.

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Bilan
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Dec 22 2008 04:59

I gather the ASF is active once more in melbourne.
Has there been much consideration to reunite the two?
Despite the past petty squabbles

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Rats
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Dec 23 2008 00:04
jeremytrewindixon wrote:
the Anarchist movement then was positively stuffed with people who went around saying things like "the working-class aren't all angels you know, they are racists and they beat their wives and watch football on TV while drinking beer" and people (often the same people) who said "there is no working-class anymore, everyone is middle class" and so therefore the revolution would not have a class character and/or social revolution was now impossible so everyone should "take control of their own lives" (ie polyamory and dope and/or form communes)

I once caught a primitivist admitting the existance of class when they were arguing with someone. It was truly hilarious.

So still, although amongst each other the middle class greenie kids would never admit the existence or validity of class conflict and the practicality of ideas with a class analysis/focus, they still bleed red - know what i mean?

x

.casey.
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Jan 17 2009 05:28

This may be a dumb question so please excuse my ignorance, but the whole concept of class struggle is very interesting to me, I was wondering if there was any reading material, especially historic, concerning the ASN or any other related groups in Australia?

asn
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Jan 17 2009 11:07

see are web site and archive section www.rebelworker.org

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Edgar
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Jan 19 2009 22:28
.casey. wrote:
This may be a dumb question so please excuse my ignorance, but the whole concept of class struggle is very interesting to me, I was wondering if there was any reading material, especially historic, concerning the ASN or any other related groups in Australia?

I don't have info on class struggle groups in Australia, but, as a member of the Anarchist Federation here in the UK i can point you in the direction of our literature, http://www.afed.org.uk/ace/index.html
hope it's of some help

.casey.
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Feb 2 2009 10:28

Thanks Edgar I just got back from adelaide so I will give that a read, appreciate the material (and education surprised) )

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Bilan
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Feb 9 2009 14:18

There's some stufff posted by the ASF a few years ago on anarcho-syndicalism.net

Anarchism in australia, for example.

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Leigh
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Apr 6 2009 23:41

Jeremy has made the claim the ASF doesn't exist ( a wish-concept on his part).

How might he explain the ASF involvement in the Global Day of Action last July?

The ASF Melbourne can be contacted at asfmelbsec@gmail.com

The ASF Sydney can be contacted at asfsydney@riseup.net

On May 1st the ASF Melbourne is holding a commemorative picnic 12noon at the 8-hour day monument on the coner of Victoria and Lygon Sts in Carlton and later at 7pm is holding a public meeting to discuss May Day followed by a social event at the Melbourne Anarchist Resource Centre located at 62 St. Georges Rd. Northcote. The ASF Melbourne has held organised events on May Day every year since 1986.

If you can't make that try the 2009 Anarcho-Syndicalist Conference alsoto be held at the Melbourne Anarchist Resource Centre located at 62 St. Georges Rd. Northcote on Sunday 6th of June.

You can leave a message at 0404 105 403

Leigh

jeremytrewindixon
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Apr 7 2009 08:37
Leigh wrote:
Jeremy has made the claim the ASF doesn't exist ( a wish-concept on his part).

No I didn't, Leigh. I said above, there for anyone to read:

Quote:
I don't know if the "ASF" still exists, shortly after the split it reduced to one person very skilled in the arts of smear, rumour, myth-making and smoke-and-mirrors in general; he has several times built the group up on the basis of these arts only to have it collapse again as reality intrudes. So if it doesn't exist now it may spring up at any time. (ew)

So, anyway Leigh, you have currently a couple of branches on the road? Again? A tribute to your faith in your own methods. I wonder if you ever ask yourself why it has all been so futile.