Local Groups - advice?

38 posts / 0 new
Last post
Anonymous
Jan 23 2006 13:40
Local Groups - advice?

As some of you may have noticed a group of us are trying to setup some sort of libertarian group in Lewisham. I was just wondering if anybody has any advice...

smile

Steven.'s picture
Steven.
Offline
Joined: 27-06-06
Jan 23 2006 15:05
Jack wrote:
May Day TUC.

Hmmm...

WeTheYouth
Offline
Joined: 16-10-03
Jan 23 2006 15:55

Make sure you keep new members interested by doing stuff, and do work with other anarchists, even if they are not upto the revolutionary standards of Jack & Co. Try not to be sectarian with other lefty's, you can get involved in a alot of important campaigns which effect the working class.

Dont have your meetings in a pub on a friday night sad always makes people who have no taste in decent music start complaining.

JDMF's picture
JDMF
Offline
Joined: 21-05-04
Jan 23 2006 16:10

probably worth splitting the sandbox fights to another thread?

(done - Jack)

One tip which is what i've been thinking about lately and which i have personally always neglected:

have a good amount of on internal education and discussion. one problem i think we have in anarchist movement is that we have plenty of people with their heart in the right place, but head all over the place.

Lazy Riser's picture
Lazy Riser
Offline
Joined: 6-05-05
Jan 23 2006 16:51

Hi

Any local group should think twice about allowing two such disruptive comrades as Jack and Revol within 500 yards of their membership. Perhaps we could infiltrate them into the civil service.

Love

LR

Caiman del Barrio
Offline
Joined: 28-09-04
Jan 23 2006 17:13
JDMF wrote:
have a good amount of on internal education and discussion. one problem i think we have in anarchist movement is that we have plenty of people with their heart in the right place, but head all over the place.

What does that mean in practice though?? Theory discussions??? Cos a lot of people are busy and sparing the time to hear someone lecture you about Marx or Malatesta or something is neither easy nor attractive. Plus, would an attitude like that lead to a sort of intellectual elitism and further alienation from the non-politico working class??

I'd agree with the points Jack said and then try and incorporate a social angle away from the group's official business. People are far more likely to turn out for things if they're seeing mates too.

knightrose
Offline
Joined: 8-11-03
Jan 23 2006 18:40
Quote:
Plus, would an attitude like that lead to a sort of intellectual elitism and further alienation from the non-politico working class??

You mean instead of the pathetic level of confusion that abounds today?

Knowing the people in Manchester who are talking about JDMF's proposal, it'll probably be quite low key, enjoyable and useful. And it'll be amongst a group of people who already do bits and pieces together anyway.

Steven.'s picture
Steven.
Offline
Joined: 27-06-06
Jan 23 2006 18:47
Alan_is_Fucking_Dead wrote:
Plus, would an attitude like that lead to a sort of intellectual elitism and further alienation from the non-politico working class??

Cos non-politico w/c people don't like ideas?

Caiman del Barrio
Offline
Joined: 28-09-04
Jan 23 2006 20:03
John. wrote:
Alan_is_Fucking_Dead wrote:
Plus, would an attitude like that lead to a sort of intellectual elitism and further alienation from the non-politico working class??

Cos non-politico w/c people don't like ideas?

Oh yeah, that's PRECISELY what I'm saying.

I'm not anti this suggestion per se, I just find it hard to envisage it working and was trying to raise problems I could easily see predominating in a constructive fashion. Save the hysterical straw men, please people.

Nick Durie
Offline
Joined: 12-09-04
Jan 23 2006 22:25

Most of this you probably know anyway, so sorry in advance if it sounds patronising.

smile

Go from where people are coming from. Avoid extremist posturing. Whatever you're doing make sure you're using the same language to talk about an issue as anyone else who's similarly affected would. For example supposing your local community centre is being shut down you could say "this is Blair's neoliberal agenda" or you could say 'this kind of thing is happening all over the place with community centres and that. My mate from blah had it happen to him. And I read in the papers it was going on. It's a lot of shite, eh? What are the kids going to do now?' if you talk like that, and your prop is couched in that sort of language then generally you won't have the same problems distributing it as, say, Resistance the AF bulletin might . Call your rags/publications interesting sounding names, but don't go about calling it something ridiculous like "revolutionary socialism" - it might be what you're about but you want the message to be distributed and your granny to feel comfortable reading it. Learn from the centre-right that's what they do.

Involve as many people as you actually can. Obviously don't tolerate people who want to divide us off from each other, but at the same time very tight theoretical and tactical unity is only needed for some sort of entryist conspiracy; I'm fine with that as well but if that's not your approach there's no need for it. Having a constitution or a manifesto on the other hand is a handy way of setting out your first principles and the approach you are going to take which you can show any prospective members is very helpful for letting people know what they're getting into without being patronising.

Also take time to think about what you want to achieve, what your assets are, what sort of strategy you want to pursue, and don't bite off more than you can chew. Pick your battles, establish yourselves locally, and get to know people. Concentrate on one area/workplace (altho I don't know so much about the workplace) at a time and start to build from there.

Stay thoroughly 'local'. With a small group it's the only feasible way to achieve things if you're just starting up, e.g. I used to think in terms of organising Glasgow, now I regard that as insurrectionist nonsense because people from one district don't ever really bother going to another and what might be a vexed issue for one set of people (e.g. the closure of a local school), is pretty likely to be totally unheard of by another - that's the role of federation at a later stage.

Also work with independent left wing types (I'm not talking about politicos, just people who might have been along to a few demonstrations/involved in a strike or a tenants group when they were younger and know the odd thing) especially if they're gossips/people who know lots of people/have lived/worked in the area a long time - there's usually hundreds of millions of them anyway, and they're likely to be your backbone in any broad coalition of people organising around some area or issue, just as they'll be an asset to any group you start as long as you don't go about calling for 'international communism and the abolition of the wage system.'

Above all try and stick to some kind of strategy. If not you'll just be banging your head against too many walls as you rail against the system and you'll be unlikely to have progressed very far a few years down the line. With a level head you'll find yourself some sort of base and then you can start to build from there as things get more exciting.

Oh yeah and always be polite, friendly, reasonable, on time and dependable about stuff that matters to people.

Our politics are not extreme. They are eminently sensible, and if we can't explain them to people in a way that they can understand then we're fucked.

Solidarity,

Nick

jef costello's picture
jef costello
Offline
Joined: 9-02-06
Jan 23 2006 22:46
Nick Durie wrote:
Most of this you probably know anyway,

Our politics are not extreme. They are eminently sensible, and if we can't explain them to people in a way that they can understand then we're fucked.

exactly, rest of the post was good too.

When it comes to theory a bunch of middles class people or politicos arguing the toss about obscure points in deliberately obscure language will put w/c people off, and most sensible people.

Kidda
Offline
Joined: 30-09-03
Jan 23 2006 23:11
WeTheYouth wrote:

Dont have your meetings in a pub on a friday night sad always makes people who have no taste in decent music start complaining.

dont have meetings in a shit pub on a friday night with music to make ure ears bleed just because one of your group has even worst taste in music than britney spears

figure out what your purpose is

network

Steven.'s picture
Steven.
Offline
Joined: 27-06-06
Jan 23 2006 23:21
Nick Durie wrote:
Go from where people are coming from. Avoid extremist posturing. Whatever you're doing make sure you're using the same language to talk about an issue as anyone else who's similarly affected would. For example supposing your local community centre is being shut down you could say "this is Blair's neoliberal agenda" or you could say 'this kind of thing is happening all over the place with community centres and that. My mate from blah had it happen to him. And I read in the papers it was going on. It's a lot of shite, eh? What are the kids going to do now?'

Man that's just reminded me - gav saw one punk guy member of an anarchist group that shall remain nameless see a black guy near a demo, so he went to up him, pointed at a cop and shouted "Fight the babaman!" grin roll eyes grin

afraser
Offline
Joined: 16-07-05
Jan 24 2006 00:25
Alan_is_Fucking_Dead wrote:
JDMF wrote:
have a good amount of on internal education and discussion. one problem i think we have in anarchist movement is that we have plenty of people with their heart in the right place, but head all over the place.

What does that mean in practice though?? Theory discussions???

Not quite: in practice it means position papers just like the excellent WSM and NEFAC ones on nationalism and trade unions recently discussed on other threads.

The idea is that you write/copy a draft position paper on a major theoretical/tactical issue of the day: trade unions, nationalism, capitalism, electoralism, housing, crime and policing, parks and leisure facilities. Members of the group discuss and ammend. Eventually a compromise position is battered out and all members of the group pledge to argue that position in public when representing the group (even if they have private internal disagreements with it).

That makes for theoretical and tactical unity, which is essential for success.

afraser
Offline
Joined: 16-07-05
Jan 24 2006 11:04

And I should have said - the above only applies for groups that want to pursue a political strategy. A group more for propaganda and campaign networking doesn't need to bother with any of the above, can have open ended theory discussions instead.

Which don't have to be tedious, the recent Glasgow anarchist dayschools had some good stuff, format was one person researching and preparing an intro into a topic and then the rest of the group discussing it after that.

JDMF's picture
JDMF
Offline
Joined: 21-05-04
Jan 24 2006 12:24
Tommy Ascaso wrote:

I think any discussion of political theory should be based around finding solutions to the problems we collectively face, rather than trying to get a better understanding of what Marx meant in 1850.

very true. The problems are clear, the emotion and desire to do something about them is there, but the understanding of the underlying politics of what is causing those problems, and how should we as a class organise to fix things is less clear. That is what i meant by focusing on internal education.

Caiman del Barrio
Offline
Joined: 28-09-04
Jan 24 2006 15:09
Tommy Ascaso wrote:
John. wrote:
Alan_is_Fucking_Dead wrote:
Plus, would an attitude like that lead to a sort of intellectual elitism and further alienation from the non-politico working class??

Cos non-politico w/c people don't like ideas?

I think any discussion of political theory should be based around finding solutions to the problems we collectively face, rather than trying to get a better understanding of what Marx meant in 1850.

Thank you!!! That was what I was trying to say, not that people who live in council flats are stupid.

Caiman del Barrio
Offline
Joined: 28-09-04
Jan 24 2006 15:11

I also kinda feel that maybe people should focus on their position as members of the working class more, and their position as politicos less.

cantdocartwheels's picture
cantdocartwheels
Offline
Joined: 15-03-04
Jan 25 2006 11:21

Jack, you can't seriously be suggesting that CSG was that great, we could have done alright, but it failed miserably for a number of reasons.

Personally i'd suggest

1) being far more of a network to do things rather than a group in itself due to your inevitably small size.

2) Not bothering too much with a website that has anything other than the basics and campaign info on as its time consuming and allways comes across wrong to a lot of people.

3) Don't pretend you have a different demographic to what you are? Chances are you'll be a group of young people, don't fuck about and pretend otherwise. Use it as a strength don't focus on the weaknesses of it.

4) And most importantly, i'd reccommend doing an independent newsletter of some sort or fanzine straight away before the group sets itself up fully, with contacts and a couple of people you know writing for it and a list of well researched articles about local issues you'll have a reasonable ''periphery'' and set of campaigns to get the group up and running.

WeTheYouth
Offline
Joined: 16-10-03
Jan 25 2006 12:11
Kidda wrote:
WeTheYouth wrote:

Dont have your meetings in a pub on a friday night sad always makes people who have no taste in decent music start complaining.

dont have meetings in a shit pub on a friday night with music to make ure ears bleed just because one of your group has even worst taste in music than britney spears

I dont know what you mean, how can sitting listening to a nice bit of rock be bad for an anarchist group, not to mention with the new arrivals to the group there are more punks and less DnB heads =P

Plus how can we leave the only pub were we have had the biggest meeting ever?

Spartacus's picture
Spartacus
Offline
Joined: 20-09-03
Jan 25 2006 17:53
Quote:
the new arrivals to the group there are more punks

that is not a good thing. personally i think it's best to avoid having meetings in pubs full stop, or find one that is quiet or has a backroom you can use, the fact that you can actually hear what each other are saying and get through the agenda without repeating things for people who didn't hear helps things much more than you'd think. you can always go to a pub afterwards.

Jimmy
Offline
Joined: 18-06-05
Jan 25 2006 23:13

We peasants over in Ireland, i.e. WSM, have an educational for the second half of the fortnightly branch meeting. Somebody does a bit of research on a topic, e.g. insurrectionism, parecon, Negri, what the English did for us, moneyless economy, whatever takes your fancy. They do an intro and then and then it's discussed.

WeTheYouth
Offline
Joined: 16-10-03
Jan 26 2006 12:39
GenerationTerrorist wrote:
Quote:
the new arrivals to the group there are more punks

that is not a good thing. personally i think it's best to avoid having meetings in pubs full stop, or find one that is quiet or has a backroom you can use, the fact that you can actually hear what each other are saying and get through the agenda without repeating things for people who didn't hear helps things much more than you'd think. you can always go to a pub afterwards.

That not nice, they were sound.

In a more quiet pub this week anyway.

Rob Ray's picture
Rob Ray
Offline
Joined: 6-11-03
Jan 26 2006 16:12

I'm not as experienced as various oother people on the board, but it seems that a genial atmosphere and a couple of members willing to go the extra yard to make new people feel welcome is a must.

Particuarly in any meeting with new members, making sure all subjects discussed are explained to them first in layman's terms, taking into account their background, likely biases and areas where they have shit politics. Avoid confronting the last one until you've got em involved in something positive and there's at least some level of trust. Sociable types already 'in' the group should make a special effort to take em out for a pint/meal/whatever so even if another member is a bit of a sniping cynical old bastard in meetings they feel they've got a friend to on*.

Be VERY careful about how you introduce them to the rest of the 'movement'.

* This is also very useful for sounding them out about what they are actually in this for, and explaining theory in a neutral environment, as well as getting them up to speed faster regarding what the group actually does.

Spartacus's picture
Spartacus
Offline
Joined: 20-09-03
Jan 27 2006 15:18
WeTheYouth wrote:
That not nice, they were sound.

i've nothing against them individually or in particular. but having more punks in a group is not a good thing. i suppose we should be thankful though, at least they're not platformists wink

sam sanchez's picture
sam sanchez
Offline
Joined: 8-09-05
Jan 27 2006 18:54

I think there is a difficulty with explaining anarchist ideas to people who've never come across them before. You have to explain that being against hierarchy doesn't preclude organisation, the idea of common property based on usufruct or possession rather than state ownership, federations, and before you know it they're asleep. Any advice on that would be a great help for starting up a group.

jef costello's picture
jef costello
Offline
Joined: 9-02-06
Jan 27 2006 20:37
sam_frances wrote:
I think there is a difficulty with explaining anarchist ideas to people who've never come across them before. You have to explain that being against hierarchy doesn't preclude organisation, the idea of common property based on usufruct or possession rather than state ownership, federations, and before you know it they're asleep. Any advice on that would be a great help for starting up a group.

Don't use the word usufruct.

Try explaining that just because you are not organised by someone does not mean that you are not organised.