Who the hell are NCAFC?

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S-J's picture
S-J
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Oct 20 2011 15:38
Who the hell are NCAFC?

Does anyone know who the 'National Coalition Against Fees and Cuts' actually are? I know there's some sort of link to the NUS there, but something about it just makes me think it could be yet another Trot front group. At first I had some suspicion it could be some sort of Zeitgeist-y bark-at-the-moon 'fellow traveller' rubbish, but it seems too dull for that. Anyone have any info? And are they worth being in touch with or are they best avoided?

vanilla.ice.baby
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Oct 20 2011 15:54

The AWL (alliance for workers liberty, little trot group) are heavily involved I think.

Entdinglichung's picture
Entdinglichung
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Oct 20 2011 15:55

originally set up by AWL, Workers Power and some non-aligned people, varies from uni to uni

Arbeiten's picture
Arbeiten
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Oct 20 2011 15:57

na they're not moon barkers. As the other posters have said, mostly trots. I'm not sure if it is an SWP front or not. Good bunch of activists though, maybe you could get involved and give it more of a libertarian twist.

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S-J
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Oct 20 2011 16:07

Cheers for the info. I ask because someone local to me (who seems pretty sound) seems to be organising around them. If it's not just another attempt to sell me papers and sign me up to the vanguard, perhaps I'll give it a look.

AWL... which one are they again? Are they the ones that split from Workers Power or they ones they like? I do get my obscure little Trot groups mixed up sometimes...

vanilla.ice.baby
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Oct 20 2011 16:33

AWL have been around for years, used to be called Socialist Organiser (soggy oggy) and were buried deep within the Labour party.

Like to take different positions on Israel/Palestine, and Ireland and NATO adventures to other trot groups, also strong on LGBTQ stuff.

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Ellar
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Oct 20 2011 16:57

Their not a trot front. Theres AWL and SWP involved yes but that doesn't mean their a trot controlled front. NCAFC was set up after Millbank, there are various people involved (including members of AF and Solfed, aswell as non-alligned anarchos).

As has been said, like allot of the student organisations they vary from place to place.

Ellar's picture
Ellar
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Oct 20 2011 17:04

If anarchists made a national effort to attend meetings of organisations like ncafc they could really have a impact on them and their politics.

Next meeting after the bookfair:
http://www.facebook.com/#!/event.php?eid=235807509809028

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Oct 20 2011 17:56
Ellar wrote:
Their not a trot front. Theres AWL and SWP involved yes but that doesn't mean their a trot controlled front. NCAFC was set up after Millbank, there are various people involved (including members of AF and Solfed, aswell as non-alligned anarchos).

As has been said, like allot of the student organisations they vary from place to place.

NCAFC long predates Millbank. It emerged in Feb 2010 as the latest in a string of AWL-initiated education fronts (campaign for free education, education not for sale). Initially there was a delicate balance of power between the AWL and WP (who hate each other), which created some space for non-aligned and libertarian types to be involved (some felt used and burned out by the politicking though). The AWL seemed to 'take control' in June 2011 (vis-a-vis Revo/WP)*, but there's still independent people involved. After Millbank the next scheduled demo was an NCAFC one, which became the next de facto mass day of action. From there they had a facebook event with tens of thousands of the most militant students on it and played the 'leadership' role in the absence of the NUS (mainly in setting dates for actions). I'm not sure what the current state of play is, and how much influence independents have vs the AWL full-timers. Unless it's a recent development, the SWP have not been involved at all but are instead pushing their education front, the EAN. [/sect trivia]

* http://www.socialistrevolutionBROKEN.org/2761/ncafc-reinvigoration-5-june-statement/

Ellar's picture
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Oct 20 2011 18:20
Quote:
NCAFC long predates Millbank. It emerged in Feb 2010 as the latest in a string of AWL-initiated education fronts (campaign for free education, education not for sale).

Fairplay, I didn't know that.

Quote:
From there they had a facebook event with tens of thousands of the most militant students on it and played the 'leadership' role in the absence of the NUS (mainly in setting dates for actions

Does simply calling for days of action on facebook and inviting people to them really count as a leadership role? it sounds like your saying the fact that NCAFC called for action and large numbers of people joined in means they are in controll or some sort of position of authority of other students.

Quote:
I'm not sure what the current state of play is, and how much influence independents have vs the AWL full-timers.

A member of my local AF branch attended the last two NCAFC national meetings, at the first one he says four of the people organising and facilitating it were anarchists and at the second is says their were a few AF people (not counting himself) and a large number of non-alligned anarchists.

The problem I have here is that peole seem to be saying that because members of the AWL decided to start a student organisation that it is always completely under AWL control and this acts as a kind of excuse for anarchists not to bother going along and changing it. After millbank and during the protests of 2010 allot of these organisations couldn't push through the ideologies that they wanted to in the beginning because there was a large influx of people who had very different political views or just hadn't been involved before. Also the meetings that they hold don't involved censorship of people who express views contrary to the trotskyists and they are open to whoever wants to come along, what is decided will largely depend on who bothers to turn up and have a say. imho.

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Joseph Kay
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Oct 20 2011 18:54
Ellar wrote:
Does simply calling for days of action on facebook and inviting people to them really count as a leadership role? it sounds like your saying the fact that NCAFC called for action and large numbers of people joined in means they are in controll or some sort of position of authority of other students.

i wasn't using it as a pejorative, but that probably wasn't clear. I'm more saying that they were in the right place at the right time and their prominence post-Millbank reflects that, i think. so leadership in the sense anarchists support - taking the initiative rather than controlling things.

Ellar wrote:
The problem I have here is that peole seem to be saying that because members of the AWL decided to start a student organisation that it is always completely under AWL control

I'm not saying it is. Again, 'front' is a term that gets misused and I don't mean it pejoratively. For Trots, a front doesn't necessarily mean 'under party control', it means a broader-based coalition bringing together reformists and revolutionaries. Obviously they tend to try and be in control, but if they dominate it too much it fails as a front by driving everyone else out (see numerous failed SWP efforts, or the SP talking amongst themselves in 'Youth Fight For Jobs'). NCAFC was by far the most interesting of the Trot fronts in the student movement last year for that reason - a lot of anarchists are saying there's scope for decent work within it. I don't have enough first-hand experience to judge that (the one guy at Sussex was sound as fuck though, even when he was in the AWL), but I trust AF comrades not to allow themselves to be used as foot soldiers.

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Oct 20 2011 19:37

Fair enough, sos if I got the wrong idea about some of what you were saying

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Joseph Kay
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Oct 20 2011 19:40

yeah probably wasn't clear. i'm personally sceptical, but not trying to be dismissive.

S-J's picture
S-J
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Oct 21 2011 13:08
Ellar wrote:
Quote:
The problem I have here is that peole seem to be saying that because members of the AWL decided to start a student organisation that it is always completely under AWL control and this acts as a kind of excuse for anarchists not to bother going along and changing it.

You make a decent point there, I (and I'm sure plenty of others) do tend to write off organisations that have a Trot background without doing a huge amount of research, which might be a bit lazy of me. But having been involved with similar initiatives before, I'm a little sceptical of my, or anyone's ability to change em.

That being said, if what you and Joseph Kay are saying is true, perhaps the organisation in this case is a little different. I'll give it a go.

alibi
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Oct 23 2011 20:21

they got the thumbs up from one ian bone at the time of the student protests last year. prominent members went on tv and defended protests and the unrest associated. that was not an easy thing to do and something which household name militants have bottled on in the past. they deserve respect and are worth working with imo.

back on the street again on the 9th november too.

http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=172700659466128

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Entdinglichung
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Oct 24 2011 10:56

the CPGB's autonomous students on the student fronts of other groups: http://communiststudents.org.uk/?p=7157

Caiman del Barrio
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Oct 24 2011 15:29

I've heard people say that NCAFC stewards linked arms to attempt to stop students converging on Parliament Square on the fees day demo last Dec 9. They gloriously failed, of course, largely thanks to the 50 odd shields of the Book Bloc.

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Ellar
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Oct 24 2011 15:59
Quote:
I've heard people say that NCAFC stewards linked arms to attempt to stop students converging on Parliament Square on the fees day demo last Dec 9. They gloriously failed, of course, largely thanks to the 50 odd shields of the Book Bloc.

I'm not sure about that specific event but I was at a EMA demo in london were the stewards basically created a moving kettle around the march under the excuse that they were protecting us from the police. This basically made the whole march much more passive then it would have been otherwise. But they were only able to do it because it wasn't very larger.

Ellar's picture
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Oct 24 2011 16:00

p.s the book bloc should be making a come back on the 9th

Harrison
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Oct 24 2011 18:11
Ellar wrote:
Quote:
I've heard people say that NCAFC stewards linked arms to attempt to stop students converging on Parliament Square on the fees day demo last Dec 9. They gloriously failed, of course, largely thanks to the 50 odd shields of the Book Bloc.

I'm not sure about that specific event but I was at a EMA demo in london were the stewards basically created a moving kettle around the march under the excuse that they were protecting us from the police. This basically made the whole march much more passive then it would have been otherwise. But they were only able to do it because it wasn't very larger.

i remember that, but i didn't know it was NCAFC stewards.... thought it was NUS or something. We broke through their lines anyway

mons
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Oct 24 2011 18:12

I think it was Education Activist Network (SWP) stewards, tho I wasn't actually there..

no1
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Oct 24 2011 18:17
mons wrote:
I think it was Education Activist Network (SWP) stewards, tho I wasn't actually there..

That's what I remember too (wasn't there either though).

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Joseph Kay
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Oct 24 2011 18:22

could NCAFC even mobilise enough stewards to do it? they don't seem that big, and the Trot groups involved are tiny too.

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Oct 24 2011 18:37

I wasn't saying that it was ncafc stewards, just that I remembered that protest as being kinda ruined because of the way the stewards acted. I think it was NUS but like you i'm not sure.

Caiman del Barrio
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Oct 24 2011 22:21

The demo was called by NUS/EAN no?

alibi
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Oct 24 2011 20:52

CDB: make up your mind here, are you saying this happened or not? you seemed to have decised over the last few posts that it did.

as i've said above NCAFC were spot on last yr and any criticism of their way of handling the most militiant and inspiring demos in recent british political history frankly comes over as pathetic sectarianism.

they stood shoulder to shoulder to with those convicted of an array of offences and your secondhand smear is piss poor.

to call the Dec9 operation an abysmal failure again, its hugely disrespectful to the work that went into that day, including by many anarchists.

they deserve massive credit for the demos they pulled off as a small unit (if thats what they are).

wise up.

alibi
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Oct 24 2011 20:53
Ellar wrote:
I wasn't saying that it was ncafc stewards, just that I remembered that protest as being kinda ruined because of the way the stewards acted. I think it was NUS but like you i'm not sure.

i think the ema demos were organised by Labour Youth groups or something. they were truly piss poor - patronising, top down and controlled and did not take off.

they bore no comparison with the NCAFC work and days of action.

Harrison
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Oct 24 2011 22:02

hey alibi, I wouldn't say CDB is deliberately smearing... lets not ruin this otherwise productive thread.

no1
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Oct 24 2011 23:39

This was a post about the EMA demo on Dec 13 :

J C wrote:
Quote:
In London the Education Activist Network, supported by the London Region of UCU, has called for a demonstration to defend EMA in front of the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills.

Just attended this, it was awful. About 70 people and at least 3 times as police and half as many journos. Basically a lefty love in, nearly everyone there were SWP, Counterfire or Socialist Party. I saw maybe two school kids on the demo. All the 'left' were speaking with their different hats on, the usual rhetoric plus the obligatory the 'students are leading the way' and the unions must follow. Their clearly have no traction in the unions or presence amongst school students. The police over kill was ridiculous, Parliament Square has police vans everywhere, the barriers in front of parliament have had sand bags added and there was a line of police in front. The back of the Dept BIS was swarming with police and police dogs.

http://libcom.org/forums/news/ema-protest-13122010#comment-407729

Caiman del Barrio
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Oct 25 2011 14:55

Yeah I think we were talking about the one in January, which was probably 60-70% university radicals...

alibi
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Oct 25 2011 18:11
Harrison wrote:
hey alibi, I wouldn't say CDB is deliberately smearing... lets not ruin this otherwise productive thread.

Agreed.