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IBT vs. NEFAC

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petey
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Nov 4 2007 02:30

i'll be alright - i have 26 knuckle dusters to wear.

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MJ
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Joined: 5-01-06
Nov 4 2007 05:02

You do need some protection when your knuckles are dragging on the ground.

rebelworker
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Joined: 11-07-06
Nov 4 2007 20:21

Wow no one has tried to bit my head off yet,
unless this was Dukes one serious post of the year...

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Devrim
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Nov 5 2007 07:23
rebelworker wrote:
Wow no one has tried to bit my head off yet,

I think that many people stop reading when things develop into 'in' North America jokes.

Your basic argument seems to be that the left in power is better than the right in power because 'there is a huge difference between the "right" and the "left" in an election'. You then go on to talk about practical details about healthcare, and how other places are different from the States.

In Europe today you can see both right, and left wing governments attacking 'universal healthcare'.

You also say that 'people get laid off when the right are in office'.

People get laid off when the left is in office too.

There are many complex things the balance of class forces which determine the behaviour of different parties whilst in power, but basically they run capital, and try to maximise profits.

For the communist left the opposition to voting is based on the economic analysis that capital can't provide meaningful permanent reforms. That is why we don't do it because we see that it doesn't really make a difference.

If I thought that it did make a difference I would vote. In that sense I can see the logic in your theory.

If I believe that voting CHP, or DSP, or ÖDP, or TKP could improve the living standards, of the working class in this country I would do it.

I can see how the whole absentionist thing might be a problem for anarchists who aren't really sure about why they don't vote in the first place.

Devrim

yoshomon
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Joined: 19-06-07
Nov 5 2007 19:57
rebelworker wrote:
actually elections can have a huge impact o working peoples lives.

If Conservatives were always in power things would ba alot worse.

Now clearly its the popular movements that create the conditions for left wing ideas to be central to an election battle, but the fact remains, shit gets worse when right wing govts are in power.

Now maybe in the US this isnt as clear for you, bot in alot of other countires there is a huge difference between the "right" and the "left" in an election. the labour party here actually has a large socialistm caucus. If you dont think universal healthcare is not good for working people, Im not sure what kind of financial background you come from. Same thing with a livable welfare payment.

Im getting payed by a provincial youth training program run through employment insurance to go to trade school, that fuckin real for me. it means in a year or two ill be able to pay all my bills with ease. the current govt (to the right) is destroying programs like that.
People get laid off when the right is ion office.

Thats real shit, and anarchist sitting on their asses and saying nothing makes a difference is an insult to alot of people who are struggling to get by.

Again, if you do believe that a Left government in power is better for the working class, why not actively campaign for it? Shit, why not be a Labour Party activist and try to 'push the party further left'?

Smash Rich Bastards
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Joined: 24-03-06
Nov 6 2007 15:12
yoshomon wrote:
rebelworker wrote:
actually elections can have a huge impact o working peoples lives.

If Conservatives were always in power things would ba alot worse.

Now clearly its the popular movements that create the conditions for left wing ideas to be central to an election battle, but the fact remains, shit gets worse when right wing govts are in power.

Now maybe in the US this isnt as clear for you, bot in alot of other countires there is a huge difference between the "right" and the "left" in an election. the labour party here actually has a large socialistm caucus. If you dont think universal healthcare is not good for working people, Im not sure what kind of financial background you come from. Same thing with a livable welfare payment.

Im getting payed by a provincial youth training program run through employment insurance to go to trade school, that fuckin real for me. it means in a year or two ill be able to pay all my bills with ease. the current govt (to the right) is destroying programs like that.
People get laid off when the right is ion office.

Thats real shit, and anarchist sitting on their asses and saying nothing makes a difference is an insult to alot of people who are struggling to get by.

Again, if you do believe that a Left government in power is better for the working class, why not actively campaign for it? Shit, why not be a Labour Party activist and try to 'push the party further left'?

Probably because he's an anarchist... albeit one who doesn't see the entire world in black and white and can make the distinction between temporary concessions made by "left" governments (under pressure from social movements) that benefit the daily lives of individuals under capitalism and revolutionary gains that challenge the capitalist social order and benefit the entire class. That'd be my guess.

Mike Harman
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Nov 6 2007 15:15

Right wing governments make concessions under pressure from social movements too though confused

Also left wing governments are quite capable of bringing out the riot police and massacring people when necessary as well.

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MJ
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Nov 6 2007 15:39
Mike Harman wrote:
Also left wing governments are quite capable of bringing out the riot police and massacring people when necessary as well.

This weekend, my girlfriend and I went door to door in a working class immigrant neighborhood distributing information with a neighborhood group we're close with. Since there's an election today, the group was taking the opportunity to distribute three things at once: flyers for a workshop about what different sorts of police are and aren't allowed to do to you, which we're helping with; voting location and procedural information in two languages; and campaign literature for an incumbent radical city councilor who came out of the social movements, still strongly supports them, and is in danger of losing his seat today.

As background, this group historically got established in their community by leading a protracted struggle against powerful ward bosses who delivered votes to politicians, sending "interpreters" into the voting booths to make sure the right levers were pulled. Ongoing voter education was and continues to be their legitimate point entry to a much broader political literacy program, a foundation on which they built a workers' center that has been a vector for successful struggle against the local bosses.

We were there to help advertise the policing workshop, but were in a practical position where it would have been a dick move to refuse to help get out the other ones. So we made the tactical decision to also distribute the voting information, but decline to pass out the campaign literature. When the group ran out of everything but the campaign literature, we had a pleasant and comradely conversation about why we were choosing to head home at that time.

So, are we still anarchists? Yoshomon, having gone 2/3 of the way(collaborating with parliamentarists and distributing voter education literature) should we have just sucked it up and hitched our wagons to the local leftist Democrats? Catch, have we contributed in our own little way in ushering in massacres by riot police?

Or do you start to see what we mean by tactical engagement with these groups and issues? And that sometimes it is "counterproductive" to argue a line against voting?

Smash Rich Bastards
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Nov 6 2007 16:31

sell out.

sphinx
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Nov 6 2007 16:37
MJ wrote:
Mike Harman wrote:
Or do you start to see what we mean by tactical engagement with these groups and issues? And that sometimes it is "counterproductive" to argue a line against voting?

I at least don't...

Wouldn't it have been possible to distribute flyers about a workshop on various policing techniques independent of a parliamentary organization? Or was the workshop run by this group? Why not just walk through the neighborhood on your own, passing out your own leaflets, which could for instance identify the various types of police instead of bothering with a workshop?

What's a dick move in being consistent and communicating to others that elections are a bourgeois terrain, and that the working class' terrain is the workplace and the neighborhood? Yes there is a difference between campaign literature and voting information, but why go for 'tactical engagement'? Why not meet the 'rank and file' of these organizations and work with them independently of their electoral parties or trade unions?

Smash Rich Bastards
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Nov 6 2007 16:42
Mike Harman wrote:
Right wing governments make concessions under pressure from social movements too though confused

Also left wing governments are quite capable of bringing out the riot police and massacring people when necessary as well.

Well, I guess we could debate about whether or not "right" and "left" governments are identical in every shape and form, or if there are minor differences... but considering neither of us actively advocate for anyone to support "left" politicians it seems like a moot point. The debate seems to be whether it is a good use of time and resources to bark at people not to vote around election time. I don't personally see it as an especially constructive thing to do and would rather spend the effort working in areas where real class power and autonomy can be developed (instead of barking generic anti-electoral slogans at people), but think its fine if other anarchist wanna do it. If that makes me a horrible reformist, whatever...

mikus
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Nov 6 2007 17:10

Actually rebelworker came out in favor of voting, or so it seems to me, and not simply against anti-voting campaigns. I couldn't care less about anti-voting campaigns, I think they're a complete waste of time, but advocating voting is even more ridiculous.

And Devrim -- that "meaningful" (whatever you mean by that) "permanent" reforms can't be granted is not a good indicator of when struggles should be supported. Because it would imply that workers' non-parliamentary struggle for reforms would also have to be dismissed. A better criticism of parliamentary tactics is that they they have nothing to do with working class self-education and struggle. And in securing temporary reforms (which all reforms are, and always have been) they are far less effective than class struggle.

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MJ
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Nov 6 2007 17:22

I should make it clear that when I say "we" in this example I am not talking about NEFAC, but about individual members of NEFAC.

sphinx wrote:
Wouldn't it have been possible to distribute flyers about a workshop on various policing techniques independent of a parliamentary organization? Or was the workshop run by this group?

Without getting too into identifying details -- yes, the group's initial involvement is key to the workshop, but if the workshop goes successfully we plan to take it to a number of other communities, including ours.

sphinx wrote:
Why not just walk through the neighborhood on your own, passing out your own leaflets, which could for instance identify the various types of police instead of bothering with a workshop?

Because:
- we were literally asked by attendees of a previous event in this neighborhood to research the differences between various agencies, and report back. we are following through on that commitment.
- language barrier issues.
- going with people that have good rapport with tenant groups (i.e. groups of tenants) in this neighborhood granted us physical access to various buildings and housing projects that we otherwise would not have had.

sphinx wrote:
Why not meet the 'rank and file' of these organizations and work with them independently of their electoral parties or trade unions?

We are working with the "rank and file" of this organization -- there were staffers, but also rank-and-file members on this particular outing. The group itself isn't a political party formation, but wanted to distribute campaign literature because they identify their interests with the interests of this particular candidate. We're working with them on what we hope will be a long-term campaign, that grew out of an specific project against police brutality. I should add that in this situation we were on their terrain, geographically speaking, and they (both "rank and file" and organization staff) have been helping us on ours. In refusing to pass out campaign literature, we were making it clear that we were working in solidarity with them directly, in a manner that was independent of any mutual involvement with party or electoral concerns.

I just brought this up as an offhand example because it happened within the last couple days. But it's a good example, because our proven and established solidarity with their ongoing struggle for bread-and-butter gains (and defense) within their community gives more weight to our expressions of pessimism about electoral strategies.

Mike Harman
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Nov 6 2007 18:01
Quote:
I just brought this up as an offhand example because it happened within the last couple days. But it's a good example, because our proven and established solidarity with their ongoing struggle for bread-and-butter gains (and defense) within their community gives more weight to our expressions of pessimism about electoral strategies.

I'd say that helping distributed electoral information is more likely to undermine your "expressions of pessimism about electoral strategies" than not turning up to a leaflet drop once (assuming there may well be similar drops where you won't also be handing out electoral information). Also how big is this neighbourhood that it's group can have full time staff?

fwiw I think (along with most others who've posted on this subject) that don't-vote campaigns are a complete waste of time, and if anything can reinforce the idea of politics being tied up with electoralism rather than undermine it (since they're still tied into that process if only via their opposition to it).

Smash Rich Bastards wrote:
Well, I guess we could debate about whether or not "right" and "left" governments are identical in every shape and form, or if there are minor differences... but considering neither of us actively advocate for anyone to support "left" politicians it seems like a moot point.

Another point on this particular subject - since Labour got in they've been able to push through much more anti-working class measures than the Tories ever did - in large part because they have the active support of the leadership of many of the biggest trade unions - who do everything they can to preserve industrial peace, usually in the hope of getting a seat as an MP or in the House of Lords as a reward. The CWU and Unison's behaviour over the past six months is a direct result of this amongst other things of course. Hardly anyone, including most of the mass media, characterises Labour as "left" any more, but it's still enough to hamstring plenty of resistance to those measures. The tories were a bit more circumspect about pushing some things through (and when they weren't, they hit far harder resistance because they were less clever about how they did it).

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MJ
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Nov 6 2007 18:21
Mike Harman wrote:
I'd say that helping distributed electoral information is more likely to undermine your "expressions of pessimism about electoral strategies" than not turning up to a leaflet drop once (assuming there may well be similar drops where you won't also be handing out electoral information).

It would have looked a little funny refusing to give out nonpartisan information about where and how to vote, to people whose votes have been, up until quite recently, alternately disenfranchised and manipulated. It would have looked even funnier refusing to show up to help advertise a workshop we're helping with, in protest of the fact that people would in the same trip be distributing such information.

Mike Harman wrote:
Also how big is this neighbourhood that it's group can have full time staff?

Big. What kind of a question is that?

Mike Harman wrote:
fwiw I think (along with most others who've posted on this subject) that don't-vote campaigns are a complete waste of time

And yet you would advocate that when we showed up to help advertise the event we were actually helping put on, we should have refused to do so when we saw that they also wanted to distribute voting information in the same visits? confused Talk about cutting off one's nose to spite one's face.

Randy
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Nov 6 2007 18:30

Yoshomon,

What is your view of Kentuckians For the Commonwealth? I am in the process of cautiously checking them out, according to the strategy outlined here. (And yes, this is very much a personal capacity endeavor. But thanks to MJ for giving me cover to admit to it here, he he.) They are certainly into getting out the vote and lobbying pols, but they appear to have a grassroots base, and may do other stuff as well. (That is what I'm investigating, looking for something, anything, I can feel good about helping with, and in the process rub shoulders with the more politically engaged among my neighbors.)

BTW, i understand we have friends in common. Hope we meet soon.

Randy

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MJ
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Nov 6 2007 18:36

Randy, Yoshomon advocates entering political groups in order to try to get them to disband.

Randy
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Nov 6 2007 19:13

MJ,

Did he say precisely as much? That seems a peculiar tactic for anyone.

At any rate, I have definite standards regarding who i take political action with. I also have standards regarding who i spend my leisure time with, but they are different. Our common friends are good folks.

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MJ
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Nov 6 2007 19:27
Randy wrote:
Did he say precisely as much? That seems a peculiar tactic for anyone.

Yeah, in his new "zine", "Total Destruction".

http://libcom.org/forums/libcommunity/my-new-zine

He likes Monsieur Dupont's Nihilist Communism but it's too much effort:

yoshomon wrote:
Because political activity is wholly irrelevant to the emergence of revolution, I think that the main argument for disbanding groups -- a practice I've never attempted -- would be to dispel illusions and pursue a healthier social life with those who read similar books. I don't think I could bring myself to spend time trying to disband some group as I've never really come into direct contact with a group worth disbanding...
Mike Harman
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Nov 6 2007 19:53
MJ wrote:
Mike Harman wrote:
I'd say that helping distributed electoral information is more likely to undermine your "expressions of pessimism about electoral strategies" than not turning up to a leaflet drop once (assuming there may well be similar drops where you won't also be handing out electoral information).

It would have looked a little funny refusing to give out nonpartisan information about where and how to vote, to people whose votes have been, up until quite recently, alternately disenfranchised and manipulated.

You don't think it might also look a bit funny giving out information on how to vote, when you also argue against voting? You don't think it gives some mileage to the idea that the problem with Politics is corruption rather than the social relations underlying it.

Quote:
It would have looked even funnier refusing to show up to help advertise a workshop we're helping with, in protest of the fact that people would in the same trip be distributing such information.

Quite possibly yes, but I'm wondering how you got into such a position in the first place.

MG wrote:
Mike Harman wrote:
Also how big is this neighbourhood that it's group can have full time staff?

Big. What kind of a question is that?

When you said "neighbourhood group" I assumed it was a tenants group, or maybe a federation of tenants groups. Then I read on and saw there were several full time staff alongside 'rank and file' members, which makes it look a bit more like an NGO (unless you explain what it actually is).

Quote:
And yet you would advocate that when we showed up to help advertise the event we were actually helping put on, we should have refused to do so when we saw that they also wanted to distribute voting information in the same visits? confused Talk about cutting off one's nose to spite one's face.

You don't think there's a difference between 'not bothering to do a no-vote campaign" and 'helping distribute information which informs people how to vote"?

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MJ
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Nov 6 2007 20:03
Mike Harman wrote:
You don't think there's a difference between 'not bothering to do a no-vote campaign" and 'helping distribute information which informs people how to vote"?

I know, it's dangerous to distribute information on such things. I'll try to sabotage it next time, so people who want to vote are sent to empty buildings instead of their local polling station. Viva Anarchy!

Mike Harman
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Nov 6 2007 20:09
MJ wrote:
I know, it's dangerous to distribute information on such things. I'll try to sabotage it next time, so people who want to vote are sent to empty buildings instead of their local polling station. Viva Anarchy!

Well I think I was perfectly reasonable in this discussion and now you're just being silly. sad

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MJ
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Nov 6 2007 20:12

Yeah that was totally "reasonable" when you accused me of being corrupt.

Randy
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Nov 6 2007 20:25
MJ wrote:
...Yeah, in his new "zine", "Total Destruction".

http://libcom.org/forums/libcommunity/my-new-zine

You READ that? I reckon the jokes on you.

Quote:
He likes Monsieur Dupont's Nihilist Communism but it's too much effort:

Where have I encountered that Dupont guy before? Surely not (but i think it was) Red and Black Notes?...

Mike Harman
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Nov 6 2007 21:29
MJ wrote:
Yeah that was totally "reasonable" when you accused me of being corrupt.

eh what?

Mike Harman
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Nov 6 2007 21:30
Randy wrote:
Where have I encountered that Dupont guy before? Surely not (but i think it was) Red and Black Notes?...

He posts on here.

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MJ
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Nov 6 2007 22:01

Oh come off it catch.

Mike Harman wrote:
You don't think it might also look a bit funny giving out information on how to vote, when you also argue against voting? You don't think it gives some mileage to the idea that the problem with Politics is corruption rather than the social relations underlying it.

Emphasis added. The syntactic weaseling doesn't change the plain fact that you are calling my politics corrupt here. You don't think this gives the impression that persons prone to using the alias "catch" on Internet forums might be shitheads not worth arguing with.

sphinx
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Nov 6 2007 23:20
Mike Harman wrote:
eh what?
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MJ
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Nov 6 2007 23:25

I think people who want to vote should be allowed to vote. Do you?

Mike Harman
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Nov 6 2007 23:35

No I think you're going mad (edit, this was in response to your previous post, not the one you just posted).

You mentioned electoral fraud (corruption). This community group is producing leaflets to counter electoral fraud. Generally campaigns to do with electoral fraud or political corruption tend to emphasise the corrupt nature of particular political factions or states, this is contradicts opposing the entire basis of parliamentary/electoral politics. Nothing in this has anything to do with calling you corrupt.