The Circled A and its Parasites

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Mar 9 2004 14:36
The Circled A and its Parasites

http://www.openlyclassist.org.uk/educating.htm

Anyone any thoughts on this outburst, its quite devastating to read.

ClassWar
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Mar 9 2004 14:48
october_lost wrote:
http://www.openlyclassist.org.uk/educating.htm

Anyone any thoughts on this outburst, its quite devastating to read.

Yes seven years on we are still waiting for the authors to do something .......

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JoeMaguire
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Mar 9 2004 15:41

Im really interested in the critique, does anyone want to expand on that?

nastyned
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Mar 9 2004 15:47

To me it looked like the sort of rant you might have about the anarchist movement when really pissed off and pissed. WhIcH iS pRobAblY Why IT waS iN a RealLY WiERd Font.

Don't remember it saying anything constructive though, so i just thought it was a waste of time.

Yrwenot3?
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Mar 9 2004 15:56
october_lost wrote:
Im really interested in the critique, does anyone want to expand on that?

here's a more personal account that lot's of people might already be familiar with that provides more background info.

My experiences as a working class anarchist

It's very critical btw

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Mar 9 2004 16:08
Yrwenot3? wrote:

here's a more personal account that lot's of people might already be familiar with that provides more background info.

My experiences as a working class anarchist

It's very critical btw

"Similarly, the aim of this work is not to dispirit working-class activists. My intention is to share my experiences of my decade within the anarchist movement, and explain why my enthusiasm eventually wore off. I also try to explain why I think the anarchist movement is the shambles that it is, and why I no longer believe anarchism is a revolutionary practice."

roll eyes

Anarchism isnt a working practice, instead some politics based around bettering the working class is prefered roll eyes

Even with my small experience within anarchist politics I find this dispiriting bullshit. Yet I recognise some of the critiques as the same rehashed by other experienced @'s Ive talked to. But otherwise it just seems that circumstances and not the theory are the root of this guys critique

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Mar 9 2004 16:12

Yeah it's all odd. There's some good stuff in there, but loads of bullshit.

Openly Classist (all two of them) seem to be very Pol Pot-ish, and are even against class-mixing in relationships etc (between working and middle class). They have some stuff on their site ranting about "Middle Class murder Working Class babies", which is about how sometimes doctors make mistakes roll eyes

I think Andy Anderson founded it no? He wrote a great mini-book on Hungary 56... and aren't the 2 main OCers both ex-British Intelligence? Not the most "working class" of jobs...

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Mar 9 2004 18:04
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Yes seven years on we are still waiting for the authors to do something .......

Not sure they were saying they'd personally be willing or able to do anything.

It's self-satisfied and bitter but there's a very good point in there (I saw a little too much of me in it for a start embarrassed) that middle classers simply can't run around telling people from working class backgrounds what's what. It's patronising and it alienates the very people Anarchism should be reaching.

I'm not saying the middle class types can't help out, but in the end it isn't our fight, and it isn't our world except in the most theoretical of ways. Not sure how helpful/practical that is to the movement, but I'll certainly be keeping my mouth shut a bit more often at conferences.

butchersapron
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Mar 9 2004 18:49

Andy Anderson died a few years back - the only people they managed to get interested were family. They have some spot on ideas, and some well barmy and frankly illogical ones.

BlackEconomyBooks
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Mar 9 2004 19:48

The Circle A & its parasite's has been causing waves since it was written and will do for years to come, it offended a lot of people in some quarters as they didn't want to be exposed as what they really were, sad middle class people who just wanted to belong to something.

After putting so much effort and years into something, only to find that you are being played like a pawn in a chess game there is bound to be a lot of frustration built up......... This was simply their release.

circle A

celtic67
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Mar 9 2004 20:32

I think it's funny that 'openly classist' website going on about 'hating' the middle class...I mean show me the working class person who doesnt want their kids to grow up and get a better education and a higher paid job than they had...

If someone turns round to me tommorrow and says hey, fuck being a kitchen porter, do this management job and do a lot less work and earn a lot more money I'd do it in a second...Fair doos it's make me middle class but who gives a shit? Im sick of being skint all the time. I dont think It'd make me an ineffective activist either.

Do these openly classist guys discourage their children from going to uni or trying to be doctors? theyd rather they worked in a factory all their lives? thats bloody well child abuse.

LeighGionaire
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Mar 9 2004 20:40
celtic67 wrote:
I think it's funny that 'openly classist' website going on about 'hating' the middle class...I mean show me the working class person who doesnt want their kids to grow up and get a better education and a higher paid job than they had...

If someone turns round to me tommorrow and says hey, fuck being a kitchen porter, do this management job and do a lot less work and earn a lot more money I'd do it in a second...Fair doos it's make me middle class but who gives a shit? Im sick of being skint all the time.

And that is the crux of the problem. If all 'anarchists' think like this then are we truely anarchists at all?

Not that I'm having a personal dig celtic67, far from it. Only honest discussion will help us come up with any kind of answers.

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Mar 9 2004 22:09
Yrwenot3? wrote:
october_lost wrote:

My experiences as a working class anarchist

It's very critical btw

Several points:

1. As a member of London CW since 1992, my experiences of the old Leeds Class War group were as bad, or worse, as those of the author.

2. When speaking of matters of which he has only secondary knowledge, Terry is very capable of drawing conclusions based on hearing only one side of events. For example he tells us that once a member of Leeds CW was summonsed to London for a kangaroo court. Not true, the meeting was at the suggestion of the member from Leeds. But as Terry draws his conclusions without speaking to any of the dozen people from London who were there, he is hardly likely to know this.

3. There are plenty of working class people in the Anarchist movement. Terry does not seem to be able to work with any of them. In any organisation, or outside of those organisations. Perhaps its everyone else's fault. Perhaps its Terry's................

BlackEconomyBooks
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Mar 10 2004 06:57
revol68 wrote:

So what does cut the mustard as far as Openly Classist are concerned? At one point we were told it was the campaign to free Mark Barnsley. Class War members attending events for Mark in 2001 did not spot anyone from Openly Classist, and funds allegedly raised from earlier punk gigs organised by one Openly Classist supporter in London certainly never reached Mark. So who then? Whilst there is no link from Openly Classist's website to www.freemarkbarnsley.com one group they do advertise is the Scottish Separatist Group. The SSG, run by Adam Busby has one of its core aims "The halt and reversal of mass English immigration into Scotland". Quite how this is going to be enforced is not made clear, or whether a Separatist Scotland is willing to take back in return high profile Scots like Gordon Brown, Tony Blair or Robin Cook, who in case the SSG have not noticed, have pretty senior positions in the British ruling class!

The SSG acts as the political wing of the Scottish National Liberation Army. The SSG website is on a Russian Maoist server (the views of Chairman Mao on Scottish Nationalism are not recorded) and the website seeks to make a distinction between the SSG and SNLA rather similar to the division between Sinn Fein and the IRA.

In recent years the SNLA have been linked, in the media, to attempts to poison the water supply and attempts to post anthrax to Prince William. Red Action allege Busby posted them a letter bomb. Despite all this Busby lives a remarkably charmed life as far as the authorities are concerned.

The SSG/SNLA look suspiciously like some intelligence officer's bad joke. That they seem to be one of the few organisations Openly Classist support is certainly raising eyebrows.

taken from London Class War at

http://www.londonclasswar.org/london_calling_2002.htm

With all the speculation and allegations with absolutely no facts to back it up the above may as well be an article from The Sun! grin

After reading the Circled A and its parasites it seems to me like the above statement is from the people who were exposed and they are merely taking a swipe back...........

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Mar 10 2004 07:41

Black Economy Books - you seem to have missed my post above where I commented that my experience of people in the old Leeds Class War group was very similar to Terry's. As a working class member of Class War since 1992, I do not feel "exposed" by the "circled A and its parasites" at all. I don't know anybody else who does either.

Instead I just feel oddly curious how its authors feel unable to find any working class people they can work with (is'nt Mark Barnsley working class?) whilst working with the likes of Andy Anderson and praising the Scottish Separatist Group.

If Openly Classist are able to go out and form a genuinely working class organisation, good luck to them. I somehow suspect they will be in the same position now as they have been for the past six or seven years - moaning about everyone else.

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Mar 10 2004 10:21

Good post revol.

Still there is something I noticed reading through all this... The more experience of Anarchist thought we seem to get, the longer/more jargon based our words become and the less people are interested.

I visited a couple of friends who were doing a stall in Ipswich this week for international Women's day. They had a load of the usual pamphlets and a sign on the front of their stall saying something like Capitalism blah blah Paternalism blah fight the power (No I'm not anti-feminism I just can't remember exactly what the banner said).

Two chubby young women came up to us and noticed the sign, which one them them attempted to read aloud.

"Caaaa... pite....... Pate..... nimsm.... ah fuck it."

Then they walked off.

Problem: We're thinking like anarchists.

We shouldn't, we should think like people who just want to get along in life and if possible, make it slightly better than their parents had. LeighGionaire said you can't be a true anarchist if you don't want a better job with less work involved. Fair enough, working in management does just perpetuate the whole thing but you just try arguing that with a non anarchist who's using their common sense.

One reason the right wing is so successful is because it's conservative. It offers security, no major upheavals and a small but significant chance that you'll get famous/rich either legally or illegally - with entertainment thrown in on the cheap. What are we offering when we say let's overthrow the state except pain, possible death and an uncertain future? Only someone with nothing to lose would take that seriously, which is not something that describes most working class people (and might also explain the high ratios of youth/oldness/unemployment in our community).

Words/names we use: Capitalism, substitutionism, libertarian, paternalism, Marxism, Anarchism, anarcho-syndicalism, communism, anarcho-communism, mutual aid, social norms, Classism, proletariat, bourgeouise primitivism, marxist leninist, trotskyist, stalinist, CNT, AF, SolFed, Black Cross... I could go on.

We all know what these things are, we reference them in conversation between ourselves but who else is going to know or care what the hell we're talking about?

This is why I'm suggesting that working class anarchs are the only ones who can really make the difference, and specifically, new ones free of jargon(ism!). They seem to be the only people who know how to reference our message to the world they live in in terms the apathetic might get interested about.

I can speak til I'm blue in the face to a working class bloke and my language, general demeanour and middle classness will undermine everything I'm trying to say - and why wouldn't it? I'm obviously not poor yet I'm telling this bloke I empathise with his plight and want to help him better himself. What a load of shite.

If I were working class and a trained anarchist, I'd probably still be talking using long, incomprehensible words about far off theoretical concepts unrelated to the things people are experiencing every day (even though, thankfully, the works of Kropotkin and Bakunin would probably be quoted rather less frequently atm).

Our propaganda looks 50 years out of date, maybe more. People don't know or care about the terminology we use, or the concepts we're promoting. Back in the day perhaps there was a politically aware working class willing to understand the old writers and talkers and not cynical about their motives, but this doesn't prevail any more. Today the working class are apolitical, so they don't understand us, and they're extremely cynical having all spent their lives wading through media bullshit, so they don't trust us.

I gave a copy of Freedom last week to a guy who is working class, very disillusioned and ready to (in his own words) smash the state. When I spoke to him this week he was more wary than when I'd spoken to him the first time. He actually pointed to Freedom saying 'you should probably stop telling people what they should do and just tell them the facts'. This about one of the most neutral papers we produce.

We need to update what we're doing for now. We need to check what the state/business media - specifically the tabloids - are doing and get up to speed with the techniques they use. I keep getting told 'this is propaganda, not news'. Bollocks. Propaganda is only effective if it's being read, and what we produce at the moment isn't by anyone outside the club. We need to stop saying 'this is good, this is bad' and start just giving the facts, with our opinions relegated to the comment pages. If our way is best, people will agree to our view with a minimum of prodding.

nb//This isn't intended as a rant against knowledgable people, more as a series of thoughts on why we aren't getting through to anyone else. Nor is having a go at the propaganda work currently being done. I know some people put an awful lot of work into it. It's more a view on why we're currently so ineffective and suggestions on how we could change this.

Kalashnikov_Blues
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Mar 10 2004 12:11

Nice one!!!

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Mar 10 2004 13:55
Saii wrote:
Still there is something I noticed reading through all this... The more experience of Anarchist thought we seem to get, the longer/more jargon based our words become and the less people are interested.

I don't think this is necessarily so. I think that depends on the type of person rather than amount of knowledge or whatever. Lots of old, very well-versed/experiences anarchos etc. still speak in very basic, plain, easy-to-understand English...

rebel_lion
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Mar 10 2004 14:30
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At Uni i went in for politics and philosophy expecting great debates around all the most pressing issues. What i found was completely deflating, the place was full of people as radical and politicised as a Coldplay gig, infact Coldplay are ultra leftists by the standards of the students at my uni! Even when they have read Chomsky or Marx and agreed with it they don't seem to be moved by this they seem to be able to compartmentalise it away for their essays. Now i think that coming from a working class background meant that these books related to me much more. However the issue is not as simple as this...

many working class kids who get to uni flock into business or management degrees, they have no interest in class struggle, they are taking the oppurtunity to grab what their parents never had and by and large who can blame them??

The problem isnt therefore just that the middle class have some sort of a magic hold over the workng class and this is stopping the working class rising up, the problem is a lack of class conciousness in the wider working class. Not that large sections of the working class arent aware that they are working class but rather they view themselves thru the lens of capital, the working class as defined by capital, atomised and competing with each other a class in itself but not a class for itself. Furthermore another large section of the working class has been led to believe it is middle class and jealously guards against any encroachment on this somewhat imagined status.

shit man. that's an exact description of my experience at uni, to the point of scariness. eek

havent got time to read that article right now, but i will tomorrow...

butchersapron
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Mar 10 2004 14:44

Some good points being brought up here, and it's healthy and encouraging that people are prepared to think through and talk about issues like this. I can't help feeling though, that much of the discussion is starting from the wrong point, it seems to be developing from the perspective that the problem is that there is a passive w/c and the key problem is how m/c anarchists can get them to take on board their values and politics - that the w/c needs to be propagandised by the m/c.

This is a position that immediately is starting from the needs and experience of those m/c anarchists, *not the w/c*, or being based on w/c experience. The aims have been defined *already* by those who are doing the propagandising, rather than arising from the self-defined needs of the w/c.

(This is not an attack on anyone posting here btw)

Yrwenot3?
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Mar 10 2004 14:54

I share that perception my self - and that's not intended to offend anyone either

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Mar 10 2004 15:54
butchersapron wrote:
Some good points being brought up here, and it's healthy and encouraging that people are prepared to think through and talk about issues like this. I can't help feeling though, that much of the discussion is starting from the wrong point...

Hmmm, interesting point BA, but I don’t think that’s how I’m interpreting it…

TBH I think the people talking from a “middle class” background seemed to be thinking about what their involvement in stuff should be, rather than – hmmm actually scrap that I think you’re right.

Although I think what people (Saii) were saying about language are just as relevant to w/c anarchists as the m/c ones – because w/c anarchists are just as prone to jargonising. I think a problem with it is an isolated “scene”…

Also I do think middle/working class distinctions are generally false. People come from different cultural backgrounds sure, and anyone can be “alienated” by anyone else. I mean a w/c townie could be alienated by a w/c goth too. And as for what our needs are, I think most people know what their immediate needs are, and people sharing a similar position will have similar “needs” – for example two people working in an office where hours are going to be extended – regardless of their backgrounds.

Bleugh my brain’s been fried by work today, might be able to say something more coherent tomorrow…

Sorry.
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Mar 10 2004 18:13
butchersapron wrote:
I can't help feeling though, that much of the discussion is starting from the wrong point, it seems to be developing from the perspective that the problem is that there is a passive w/c and the key problem is how m/c anarchists can get them to take on board their values and politics - that the w/c needs to be propagandised by the m/c.

There can be far too much interest in 'making' more anarchists. A task that I think is both futile and counter-productive. It's part of seeing ourselves as a minority faced with inert, reactionary masses who just need us to explain it to them.

This misses the point, the experience of people's lives teaches people more than we ever could. Any anarchist you 'convert', particularly w/c ones is probably very likely (as the person in the second article) to say to you 'you articulated what I already knew but couldn't express'. All you've done is given him a label. He already hated cops, politicians and bosses.

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Mar 10 2004 18:18
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as a working class person i'd feel offended if some twatty student tried to simplify a critique down for me to understand it

Totally agree, which is one of the reasons I'm suggesting that middle class types take a back seat, help out with physically doing things and only offer advice when asked. It is very patronising to simplify things when it's not necessary, and I wouldn't know which words need simplifying and which don't (to be honest, I don't think anyone who's been around the jargon long enough does, working class included because it gets automatic).

That's another reason why I'd like to see us churning out news as opposed to views - you can pick and choose articles from the mainstream/alternative press (or write your own) that highlight your cause without getting into this whole minefield of which words new readers will/wont understand or find patronising as much.

nb// This isn't an invitation for working class people to act like they're the only ones whose opinions count, it's just a way of saying (we) middle class types should stop trying to assert ourselves all over everything and use some of that trust we say we have.

Also, fair point about working class anarchs not being ashamed of their learning, I don't see why you should be. I only said you/they have the same problem as us when it comes to deciding which terminology is usable, simply because you are Anarchist. With the best will in the world you aren't quite the same people in terms of political awareness and language you use as the majority of the working class.

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Mar 10 2004 18:25

Sorry: Again I agree, but that's no reason why we shouldn't try and 'make' as many Anarchists as possible, if for no other reason than to do as the CNT has done and provide a Union/series of co-operative groups to help mitigate the worst of the troubles while apathy remains high. It's as bad to go too far in the other direction and say 'let's not bother to do anything cos it'll all get sorted in the end' as it is to just treat it like an evangelical movement.

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Mar 10 2004 18:57

I'm not ashamed of being middle class (or I wouldn't admit it so freely here) and I'll stand up for myself where necessary. I'm not saying middle classers shouldn't venture their opinions either. What I am concerned about is the entirely practical issue that we're putting people off.

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Mar 10 2004 19:05

edit:

Quote:
I'm not saying middle classers shouldn't venture their opinions either

(Cos I meant as more like don't get mouthy on anything and everything rather than just shut the fuck up)

BlackEconomyBooks
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Mar 10 2004 19:09
PaulMarsh wrote:
Black Economy Books - you seem to have missed my post above where I commented that my experience of people in the old Leeds Class War group was very similar to Terry's. As a working class member of Class War since 1992, I do not feel "exposed" by the "circled A and its parasites" at all. I don't know anybody else who does either.

Instead I just feel oddly curious how its authors feel unable to find any working class people they can work with (is'nt Mark Barnsley working class?) whilst working with the likes of Andy Anderson and praising the Scottish Separatist Group.

If Openly Classist are able to go out and form a genuinely working class organisation, good luck to them. I somehow suspect they will be in the same position now as they have been for the past six or seven years - moaning about everyone else.

Chill out mate you don't have to justify yourself to me confused

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Mar 10 2004 19:10
BlackEconomyBooks wrote:

Chill out mate you don't have to justify yourself to me confused

I'm so chilled now I've even got The Orb playing on my stereo!

Mr. T

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Mar 10 2004 19:25
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The problem isnt therefore just that the middle class have some sort of a magic hold over the workng class and this is stopping the working class rising up, the problem is a lack of class conciousness in the wider working class.

Im not sure I agree with this point by revol, but otherwise really good engaging post. We are currently faced a very low ebb in class struggle, ppl are generally cynical and not just of structures and government etc, but also those offering political soulitions. Its important that our class develops without being dilluted with the experiences of people from privileged backgrounds like as happened so many times before.

The working class can only be the source of its own emancipation. Our labour history compared to that of other countries as for too long been under the sway of m/c philanthropists and careerists, and when the critique said that workers were being marginalised in their own movement, it isnt in the least bit funny. Thats not to say that m/c types cant add to our movement but we should be wary....

Also on Saii note about sloganering and general theoritical propaganda, we should really see that anarchism is more about practice than about literature or whatever. DA is probably in the long run worth a 1000 pamphlets or debates, and if you feel your becoming 'too educated' break yourself away

BlackEconomyBooks
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Mar 10 2004 20:00
PaulMarsh wrote:

I'm so chilled now I've even got The Orb playing on my stereo!

Mr. T

Thats more like it, I can almost feel the vibes....... time to get my bong out me thinks tongue