For those who want to help build an anarchist youth group

49 posts / 0 new
Last post
3rdseason
Offline
Joined: 19-09-03
Jan 13 2004 20:54
For those who want to help build an anarchist youth group

[text copied from a recent email to the AYN list]

OK there are some people out there who want to keep AYN going or at least think its important to have a anarchist youth group. Personally Im a little annoyed with everyone saying how dead the AYN is and what a shit state of affairs it is blah blah blah.

I think its really good to have an anarchist youth goup for many reasons which I won't go into here but I can if anyone really wants to know. Basically all the same reasons the AYN was set up for a couple years ago are still relevant in my opinion.

I realise that it might not be a good idea to go on calling ourselves the AYN as people think AYNs dead and are bitter about this. If we continued as AYN it might be seen as flogging a dead horse so its prolly best to start a new group and make a fresh start.

So yeah... I propose that BAA host a meeting one day possibly in June soon after exams are over. A meeting and discussion lasting from lunchtime into early evening to decide about what we shud do as a group, what we should call ourselves, what lessons can be learnt from AYN, email/postal address etc. then a social later in the evening then people can crash in bristol (possibly at a squat) and everyone goes home next morning hopefully less upset about young anarchism in the UK than before.

Im not suggestin anything overambitious but I honestly think if we can just get a few people with the enthusiasm together then a cool youth group (obviously much smaller than AYN was) can form and fulfil at least some of the functions AYN provided such as providing a gateway into anarchist ideas and actions as well as branching off in new directions.

So please, who would be up for attending? What do people think of the idea?

Please keep feedback positive or at least constructive!! surprised

xx

wheresmyshoes's picture
wheresmyshoes
Offline
Joined: 19-09-03
Jan 13 2004 21:03

yeah baa's smallish at the moment but we're having a meeting soon so we can deffaintly get it organised.

if people just stopped mouning and decided whether they wanted to be in a youth group or not it would make it a lot easier. smile

dissident
Offline
Joined: 29-09-03
Jan 14 2004 10:35

i'm in favour of an @ youth group/network and i think it's a shame that AYN has disintegrated - but i'm too old to be a 'youth' any more so i don't think i should stick my nose in too far embarrassed wink

3rdseason
Offline
Joined: 19-09-03
Jan 14 2004 12:18
dissident wrote:
i'm in favour of an @ youth group/network and i think it's a shame that AYN has disintegrated - but i'm too old to be a 'youth' any more so i don't think i should stick my nose in too far embarrassed :wink:

early/mid twenties is cool by the way. Thanks for the word of support anyways, whatever age you are! smile

beanis
Offline
Joined: 26-09-03
Jan 15 2004 12:46

maybe its just important to build connections in our areas than try to get a few people to meet up which will inevitably be upsetting if only a few people show.

the problem with the AYN was it never really existed off the internet- therefore we need real connections.

im not sure if what im saying is we shouldnt resurect the AYN, or if im just a bit sceptical.

either way it would still be cool to meet people, and by far the best way to do that is to do actions together, or just go and stay for a bit.

eg if kickstart social centre (www.ravetz.btinternet.co.uk - darn i cant plug it enuf!) gets underway, then it would be extreemy cool for anyone to come and stay - we would build links through good 'action'.

and stuff like that - nawhattamean tongue eek grin black bloc

WeTheYouth
Offline
Joined: 16-10-03
Jan 15 2004 13:03

I think a youth online network is a good idea but in reality it is a poor idea for a couple of reasons, for one i dont think we need to have a youth group wouldnt it more effective to organies out of local groups already where youths and adults can work together? Wouldnt that make sense and save money, which nobody has to throw away? Also what will an Anarchist youth network achieve that general networks can't. I think if tehre more time spent on the general anarchist networks and instead of creating a youth network then there would be alot more resources at hand for evryoen not just this network or that.

Well theres my rant, tongue

3rdseason
Offline
Joined: 19-09-03
Jan 15 2004 15:02
WeTheYouth wrote:
I think a youth online network is a good idea but in reality it is a poor idea for a couple of reasons, for one i dont think we need to have a youth group wouldnt it more effective to organies out of local groups already where youths and adults can work together?

Well not everyone has a local anarchist group and for those who do its still nice to be linked to something bigger. It stops people getting disillusioned if they know theres people all over the country with similar ideas putting effort into actions.

I don't see why some people seem to think the AYN was all shit. It wasn't at all. It had its problems which we can learn from but it definitely wasn't the crappest thing ever. One of the reasons it was set up was that young people can find themselves at the bottom of an informal hierarchy in mixed age groups and let the older anarchists take the lead. The whole point of a youth group is we can do things our own way and not be intimidated or made to feel naive.

Beanis wrote:
maybe its just important to build connections in our areas than try to get a few people to meet up which will inevitably be upsetting if only a few people show.

Having an anarchist youth meet up doesn't mean people don't build local contacts!! It is quite possible to do both you know! angry

I wouldn't be upset if only a few people showed. Infact it'd be better to have a few enthusiastic people than more people who have a skeptical attitude from the start. There would be at least 2 people from Bristol there and if there were only, say 4 other people from different places there that woul still be young anarchists from 5 different locations around the country meeting face to face and establishing links so that we can discuss things, share prop, support each other and meet up for actions - which would be ace. 8)

Spartacus's picture
Spartacus
Offline
Joined: 20-09-03
Jan 15 2004 16:01
Quote:
Infact it'd be better to have a few enthusiastic people than more people who have a skeptical attitude from the start.

yeah, we can be the vanguard wink . i think it would be a great idea, and would deffinitely be up for coming along. it helps to have a network of young people so new people can get involved and not be too intimidated, and also if you're isolated it can be more inspiring having someone around your age saying they set up a group in their area on their own rather than some bloke in a fed saying they'll help (which can be good too of course). also, it's nice to have places to stay around the country for actions and stuff which you can easily pass of as just normal friends to your parents if they're funny about anarchists...

JoeMaguire's picture
JoeMaguire
Offline
Joined: 26-09-03
Jan 16 2004 14:34

Cheers 3rd season these thoughts were in the back of my head for some time and Im sick of the AYN is dead mantra...

Although Im nearly reaching the non-youth threshold the fact remains any prospective attempt to setup a youth section is needed and im fully supportive of, because anarchism is extremly weak if a)we dont offer a pole of attraction to those interested or new to anarchist ideas and b)we dont co-ordinate some of our activities outside of our own ghettoes. And a youth group helps with both.

And having a function nationally shouldnt detract from the fact that we see our politics as part of an attempt to de-centralise political power and bureaucracy, because it doesnt,

Instead we should try to build something from out of a social, but why do political things always have to be based down south? Either way hope we can get something going by the end of the year, if not for us then do it for the kids right.? smile

Spartacus's picture
Spartacus
Offline
Joined: 20-09-03
Jan 16 2004 15:29
Quote:
but why do political things always have to be based down south?

well, it might be possible to have a gathering like this in brum, which is more middle than south, but it would probably need to be earlier in the year, and numbers might be restricted. but at least it's bristol and not bloody london!

wheresmyshoes's picture
wheresmyshoes
Offline
Joined: 19-09-03
Jan 16 2004 17:08

yeah i know its down south and everything always seems to be down south but like GT said least its not london this time black bloc

anyways i think round mid june sort of thing would be a cool time cause its exams and holidays before and after Mr. T june then phaps?

Spartacus's picture
Spartacus
Offline
Joined: 20-09-03
Jan 17 2004 15:57

as long as it doesn't clash with glastonbury.

3rdseason
Offline
Joined: 19-09-03
Jan 17 2004 17:23

What date is Glastonbury??

smile star green black

Ed's picture
Ed
Offline
Joined: 1-10-03
Jan 18 2004 13:16

Erm, can we refrain on a date for now coz I don't know when my exams finish and they might even spill into early July apparently!

Anyway, I'm supportive of building an @ youth group. However, I seem to be the only ex-LAY person here so how useful I would be is unclear at the moment.

Anyway, should we start maybe thinking about what we want to discuss. Here's mine (in no particular order):

- Problems with AYN. What went wrong, what didn't

- Structure of new group

- Aim of new group and how to reach those aims

- Theoretical Unity. We can discuss how united on the day but I think some should exist.

- New name. Do we want one? If yes, then what?

Anything else?

3rdseason
Offline
Joined: 19-09-03
Jan 18 2004 18:50
Ed wrote:
I seem to be the only ex-LAY person here so how useful I would be is unclear at the moment.

Yeah that agenda sounds ok. Sorry Ed I didnt get you tho mate, r u sayin u think u'd be less useful cos you're ex-LAY? Thats irrelevant in my opinion it doesnt matter if you're ex-LAY. Anyway we dont even know wether the new network shoul be a network of groups or just a network of individuals.

Personally I think we should really have a new name to avoid the "oh they're AYN and AYN is dying" bollocks but its a group decision smile

That agenda should be extended but I cant think bout it properly right now.

Spartacus's picture
Spartacus
Offline
Joined: 20-09-03
Jan 19 2004 12:30

well, unless we call ourselves the edelweiss pirates which no one else will agree with, then i think that the ayn is a perfectly decent name because we already have the domain name, it's doesn't really require much explanation, people may have heard of it and only those who post on these website will have heard all the ayn is dead rubbish, and those people will see that we're not, it will annoy all those who thought it would die... i mean what else would it be called? your mum's network? young anarchists network? then we could make really sectarian remarks about the anarchist youth network, splitters! yeah...

but otherwise the agenda sounds good. hmm, on the subject of theoretical unity, which will probably get discussed to death on the day anyway, but i'm not sure how much we'd need beyond the basic principles of anarchism, but practical unity would be much more useful. i reckon maybe we should try and pick some fairly focused campaign and stick with it, so as to avoid rambling all over the place and not actually doing anything. dunno what it could be though. maybe something to do with school, or just maybe putting various types of gigs (not punk unless there really are no other groups in a particular area) on around the country to encourage some sort of counter (not sub!) culture, so something. well, we've got a few months to come up with ideas. i always thought the anti-exam idea was a good one, but like so much else it just disappeared. young prisoners would be a good one too, but it would be fucking hard to get going, that's all.

and ed, as an ex-lay person i'd have thought you'd be in a perfect position to tell the rest of us why lay sucked so much and how to avoid similar situations arising again in the future.

3rdseason
Offline
Joined: 19-09-03
Jan 19 2004 13:17

Actually GT when you put it like that I agree maybe it is best to stay as AYN 8)

Spartacus's picture
Spartacus
Offline
Joined: 20-09-03
Jan 19 2004 14:18

also, another reason to keep it as ayn is, we won't spend two hours debating the name, which has to be one of most boring things you can ever do at a gathering. amusing though it can be to compete to see who can find the silliest acronym, it really is a rather pointless waste of time when we could be fucking shit up, or more likely in the anarchist movement, drinking shit beer up.

JoeMaguire's picture
JoeMaguire
Offline
Joined: 26-09-03
Jan 20 2004 15:36

An agenda and the name is fine but dont we need to to actually reflect on the chicken and the egg method of building something from scratch?

As somebody else reflected should it be built from local regional individuals?

Is it a propaganda group or a campaigning body?

I have my own view on this but I have no idea how the AYN functioned, or didnt, and we should have a full assesment of how the AYN died....

3rdseason
Offline
Joined: 19-09-03
Jan 20 2004 21:00

Um October the AYN hasnt died cos we may well continue as AYN cos AYN is already known, already has a website etc. It could be a resurrection of AYN. I agree with u we need to discuss why AYN went into decline tho 8)

What did u mean bout the "should it be built from local regional individuals?"

In my mind local and regional kinda contradict each other. I think the question is should it be made up of individuals or groups or both? Feel free to enlighten me as to another option tho smile

Didn't quite get the "Is it a propaganda group or a campaigning body?" thing either.. neutral

Steven.'s picture
Steven.
Offline
Joined: 27-06-06
Jan 21 2004 11:26

3rd: propaganda group - group whose primary function is spreading anarchist ideas through propaganda (like Freedom)

Campaigning group - group which organises a sustained campaign against a particular ill, like No Sweat.

I've put my thoughts on what happened to the AYN and what to do about them here on the ayn forum:

http://enrager.net/forums/viewtopic.php?p=5355#5355

revolt
Offline
Joined: 21-01-04
Jan 21 2004 13:05

i think its a really good idea to have an anarchist youth group/network/thing.

One thing I was wondering was is it practicly possible and would there be any objections to have a meeting/gathering in the easter holidays? As this would be before exams start most people would be free and we could have a follow up meeting reasonably soon after in june/july.

Another issue which i think is important and should be added to the agenda is how we are going to prevent the 'group' from becoming (remaining) entirley web based.

ClandesTiNa
Offline
Joined: 21-01-04
Jan 21 2004 17:39

heeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeey! wassup (ex)ayn bunnies?!

wow i haven't been here in ages - as usual i got nothing relevant, or even of any importance to add, just a hi!

actually i do wanna agree with beanis, we never saw each other enough out of the virtual/text world. i think we should have a gathering/re-union (preferably in the summer) and see what happens - although it'll probably be like the last 2, and consist solely of crazy drunkeness...

oh and by the way THE EMOTICONS ARE STILL SHIT grin roll eyes

JoeMaguire's picture
JoeMaguire
Offline
Joined: 26-09-03
Jan 21 2004 18:08

Clarity:

Im in agreement that the AYN should continue esp with having a)an exisiting profile (however obscure that is, and b) we have a website. Of course we will have to endure the revo types who want to tell us that the AYN died a death, but masses of people still dont know diddly shit about @ or the AYN for that matter, so we'll leave the trot fodder with there prejudices...

On the issue of structure there are different roads we can go down, but firstly we need to know HOW people want to it work, then what best accomodates that outlook. Thats certainly my assessment,

I cant represent all the views expressed on here but there is a general conflict between those who want a loose association which shares a common outlook and people like myself who would like to see us more organised across the UK, co-ordinating activity with each other and possibly in a position to work around common campaigns...

Ed's picture
Ed
Offline
Joined: 1-10-03
Jan 21 2004 19:39
Quote:
dont we need to to actually reflect on the chicken and the egg method of building something from scratch?

As somebody else reflected should it be built from local regional individuals?

I think it'll be easier to build the group from the position we're in now coz we have contacts across the country. When the AYN first started it was almost entirely London based with odd members in Surrey or Swindon. Now we have people in London, Manc, Bristol, West Midlands, North East and Worthing (plus individuals and student groups in other places). If we get people from all these places to come along then it is a much more solid base to start building from (IMO).

One thing I reckon is VITAL is to spread network responsibilities as far as possible.

In terms of structure, I think it should be a network of local groups who agree with the aims & principles of the group (not OTT AF style A&P's but some theoretical unity is needed IMO). Groups should be allowed full autonomy (within the A&P's) but there needs to be a way of keeping everyone in the network collaborating with each other such as a newsletter or a campaign. Failing that we at least need to be able to know what different groups are doing.

Also, maybe stuff like issue-based groups within the network would be good i.e. I was talking at the last gathering about starting an AYN anti-fascist group. Other people could set up environmental or young workers or animal lib roll eyes tongue groups.

Revolt, agree 100% that we should discuss how to stop the group becoming entirely web-based. As for holding a meet in easter, I dunno how good that is for people coz people might be preparing for exams and if not they prolly will be afterwards so we couldn't get straight to work. If we hold it in summer we can (theoretically) get straight down to business.

Ooh, I'd also like to raise the issue of official membership and membership lists to the agenda.

blackmasks
Offline
Joined: 27-12-03
Jan 21 2004 21:29

Hey

glad to see people are starting to pick up the peices. I'd deffinatly be interested in carrying on.

I think somethink we need to focus on are deffinatly issues tho.

Like the focus groups were a good idea, cos theres no point in 3rd season having to do class struggle stuff, or wateva.

I think maybe we should draw up a membership list.

And i think something we should really get into , is producing easy distributable prop.

red n black star

xxx

wheresmyshoes's picture
wheresmyshoes
Offline
Joined: 19-09-03
Jan 21 2004 22:35

the whole membership thing i like the sound of,but i'm wandering what exactly that would entail like you wouldn't have to pay or anything cause membership prices etc puts a lot of people off but i'd be interested as to what peoples thoughts are on this are. black bloc

also yeah, easter i'll be too busy with revision and the like, i think summers a good time.

LiveFastDiarrea
Offline
Joined: 19-09-03
Jan 21 2004 22:39

I think the groups for different things (anti-fa, animal lib etc) is a good idea as well as other groups for internal things such as web team, email checking person, etc and should actually change and should not contain the same person in more thean one group unless they want to or its impossible any other way.

I think that some kind of formal membership should exist too and with this should come something that shows you are a member that comes reguarly to remind you incase you forgot you were a member, even if its just something as simple as a monthly email detailing what other people in the network have done.

Steven.'s picture
Steven.
Offline
Joined: 27-06-06
Jan 22 2004 00:35
wheresmyshoes wrote:
the whole membership thing i like the sound of,but i'm wandering what exactly that would entail like you wouldn't have to pay or anything cause membership prices etc puts a lot of people off...

Hmmm but then you have the problem of how to raise funds. Paying a little bit regularly might put some people off, but then maybe they don't care that much?

Otherwise what's the alternative - a tiny number of people raise all the cash.

Of course this wouldn't mean that someone had to pay subs or fuck off, cos people can still do stuff with the group while getting to know them etc., and if they later decide to join then they can vote on decision etc. etc.

Ah balls I think i might put my post from the ayn forum here...

CLandestina hey! grin

I think an AYN re-union piss-up this summer would be ace (shame we couldn't go back to the dairy...)

Steven.'s picture
Steven.
Offline
Joined: 27-06-06
Jan 22 2004 00:36

here's what i posted in the ayn forum:

Alright all,

I think I was pretty active in AYN and the London group in particular, cos I really believed in the project and really wanted to make the Network work. So I went to all the Gatherings, almost all of the London meets, did little AYN tags all over the place, was London email sec for a bit and learnt how to help maintain websites to do the AYN one.

Thinking back I think a lot of it was over-ambitious. From small bits like wanting to have the website with loads of news n information n stuff to trying to ... I dunno.

And to be honest I think that was a big problem - I don't think we knew what we were trying to do. At none of the gatherings did we sit and discuss: right, what are the problems with the world, what the fuck are we gonna do about them, and how the fuck are we gonna do it.

I felt there was a big culture against "dead men with beards" and “books", which basically was a way people avoided actually making any half-decent plans. We tried to come up with campaigns n stuff but never got anywhere cos we had no shared ideas of how to change the world.

When I saw nothing was happening in a long-term respect I kinda put my energies into just trying to keep the group going - checking and replying to emails, posting stuff to IMC as the AYN, writing action reports and trying to make sure that people came to meetings, and that meetings happened.

In London we started getting 30-odd people a fortnight at one point. BUT this didn't mean anything cos we had no idea where we were going. As such the meetings were one long in-joke which nothing came out of. If I remember right all AYNetwork prop was written by 2 people, and LAY stuff by about 3. This may have been cos we weren't good enough at encouraging new people to get involved... but there was also the feeling that a good few people didn't really give much of a shit. Also all the fundraising was done by a tiny number of people too in sporadic bursts. I think that any future group has to make sure this doesn’t happen again – I’d suggest funding the group in a democratic way by having membership dues and a regular income (and maybe registering with the Workers Beer Co), so it doesn’t mean that a few people will slave away while others do sweet FA, and will also probably get rid of people who don’t give a shit about politics anyway and just want to consume some kind of “radical” lifestyle.

When we did have leaflets hardly anyone gave them out, even on demos... and with that kind of attitude how were we supposed to grow?

Right now I feel a bit old for a youth group (cos we don’t wanna be like Revo!), but I do think it's a good idea, cos young people are the most susceptible to anarchist ideas, and are natural anarchists in many ways. So if people want to get ayn goin again I think that’s a very good thing, and if I can help out I will.

However there is no point re-starting it if we’re gonna make the same mistakes again. One problem I think was trying to declare a national network with no basis in local groups. Also, are there enough anarchists (particularly in areas outside London) to have youth-only groups? At the moment I don’t think so. However it is also true that the existing national federations (like the AF and SolFed) do need re-juvenating, and I think maybe creating some kinda young people’s caucus (i.e. a section with its own discussions and structures) within one of the feds could be a viable option. Of course ultimately in Britain with the movement generally I think what we need is a large libertarian organisation which can incorporate the nat feds, as well as local groups like Hereford, WMA, HSG, WAG, BAG etc. etc. and collectives like Freedom, enrager etc., and I think a young people’s section should be part of that… but we’re in a sectarian movement so who knows.

I think one problem with AYN and why we had no direction was lack of class struggle politics. Without recognising that the class struggle holds the best potential for human liberation we’re basically left with perpetual “activism”. Hopping from one action and one issue to the next, without ever building up any kind of basis anywhere, like a shit version of the SWP. Any group like this can only get weaker, as people burn out, get nicked too many times and get no-where politically.

Hmmmm well that’s all I can think of for now as to why has stuff got this bad, and hopefully it’ll be of some use to those of you who want to get going again. And I really hope you do, cos I think it’s really really important to have a libertarian pole to attract people who might otherwise be sucked into dead-end Leninist politics.

Good luck!!

Love&rage

G’s b

phoebe
Offline
Joined: 20-09-03
Jan 22 2004 10:58

having a membership and membership fees (with unofficial exceptions might be a good idea - some folks really can't afford stuff) sounds good. I think it would do a lot to make sure that the AYN (or subgroups thereof)was to some degree more democratic and the members themselves could be held accountable and asked if they're going to get off their arses (like myself) if they're just there for mayday and the next big anti-war demo.

Phoebe