L&S disbands

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syndicalist
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Sep 27 2012 14:31
L&S disbands

From the L&S website

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Statement from Liberty & Solidarity 7th conference
Submitted by Keir Snow on Thu, 2012-09-27 11:40
Over the past four years of our existence, L&S members up and down the country have gotten thoroughly involved in union branches and residents groups. We hope we have made a positive impact, arguing for an organising based approach and for syndicalist ideas. We have learnt a lot through this experience and it has undoubtedly shaped our perspective, with many of our younger members having their first taste of working within the labour movement.

Consequently L&S has changed. Where as in 2008 we started out with the intent of forging an platformist anarchist organisation, clearly now our politics are less aligned with anarchism and far more with syndicalism. Not only our politics, but also our analysis, our understanding of the labour movement and its problems has changed dramatically. Further, the world in 2012 looks a lot different to that of 2008, when the credit crunch was just coming into effect, before any talk of cuts or austerity.

Given our changing politics and perspectives, and given the changed political terrain in which we operate, we believe that Liberty & Solidarity is no longer an organisation that serves a useful function. Whilst it has had its fair share of successes we currently find the organisation too small to be maintainable in an efficient manner.

Consequently, Liberty & Solidarity's 7th Biannual conference has taken the decision to disband the organisation.

We are still proud of what Liberty & Solidarity has achieved and we hope to continue to work together towards shared goals, engaging with an ever broader range of trade unionists and community activists. Our project, the empowerment of working people within the workplace and society, remains the same.

syndicalist
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Sep 27 2012 14:35

From the blog of a founding L&S member:

Quote:
New post on Snowballs and Syndicalism

Looking back on Liberty & Solidarity

by Snowball
Liberty & Solidarity, the political organisation of which I was a member, has recently disbanded. Consequently I think it is worth sharing some thoughts here on its successes and its failings.

I was a member of L&S for four years, from its founding conference where we adopted our constitution, to the this September’s, when we formally disbanded the organisation. During that period I was national secretary for two and a half years and also held the post of education secretary.

The Anarchist movement

Starting at the beginning, L&S very much came from the anarchist movement. All of those involved initially considered themselves anarchists and the project at that time was to build a “platformist” anarchist organisation. From the off however we did things a little differently from our sister organisations in Anarkismo, the platformist anarchist international grouping.

For starters, though far more common even just four years ago than it is today, we refused to follow the standard leftist model and produce propaganda paper. We felt that such initiatives tended to largely be a waste of time, with small print runs and little by way of tangible results.

Similarly, and scandalously to some in the anarchist movement, we tried to avoid political labels, preferring instead to describe what we actually believed, rather than whichever “ism” might be appropriately assigned to us.

Our relationship with the anarchist movement proved to be a difficult one. Because of several L&S members having split from the AF not long prior to the foundation of L&S there was already much bad blood, and L&S’ political trajectory, moving us away from the anarchist movement, did not help matters. Perhaps it would have been better if we had made a clean break at that early stage, however at that point in time we still thought of ourselves as anarchists, even if the rest of the anarchist movement didn’t agree with us.

Our reputation in the anarchist movement was also tarnished by some cock-ups on our part, including some less than diplomatic behaviour from our own members. The blame for poor relations does not rest squarely on the shoulders of L&S however, the sectarianism of the anarchist movement meant that our organisation was soon the subject of various conspiracy theories which went largely unchallenged. In part this was to do with the closed nature of L&S, with our internal discussions kept private by our members. On reflection I think it would have served us well to have been more open and had more of our discussions in public, but given the attacks being directed at us from the anarchist movement the instinct to batten down the hatches was an understandable one.

We took the decision to take little heed as to what the anarchist movement thought, after all, 99.9% of the working class weren’t anarchist, so why should we care what this tiny minority thought? The problem however was that we were still in many ways part of the anarchist movement. For some branches the anarchist social scene was still the norm, and even where this wasn’t the case, the largely anarchist dominated IWW was the prime focus of our industrial strategy.

Industrial strategy

Many L&Sers had first met each other through involvement in the IWW and indeed it was the shared project of the IWW that strategically united L&S for the first couple of years. Initially we were concerned with helping win an international delegates convention so that the UK section of the IWW would have fairer representation. This process involved conflict with corrupt bureaucrats such as Jon Bekken and his Philadelphia IWW cohorts.

Whilst the delegates convention was being won we also wanted to play our part in growing the IWW domestically. The IWW had adopted as its official strategy a focus on building the union as a dual card union in the health industry. We eagerly set to work on this, doing our best to assist IWW blood service workers in their fight to stop blood centre closures.

In a bid to support our strategy many L&S members got jobs in healthcare and most wound up in UNISON, the largest healthcare union. As part of our work within the mainstream labour movement we also participated in the National Shop Stewards Network and helped initiate the NSSN syndicalists grouping within it.

Our participation in the NSSN however proved sadly short lived. Sectarianism from the Socialist Party who held a majority on its executive meant that the network was soon forced to split, leaving the NSSN a shallow SP front. In retrospect splitting at this point may have been a mistake, it certainly left us out in the wilderness in terms of our industrial strategy, with progress in growing the IWW as a base union slow to nonexistent. We had also failed to grow our influence in the IWW, being regarded with suspicion by the majority of IWW activists due to our bad relations within the anarchist movement.

Internal organisation

Our platformist roots showed most prominently in our constitution, which started out life as a copy of that of the WSM, our Irish sister group. Reacting to the structurelessness and disorganisation of the anarchist movement from which we had come we were keen to ensure that we had a well structured and democratic organisation. The organisation was to be composed only of those who were active in pursuing one or both of our dual strategies, workplace or community organising.

This allowed us to experiment with new ways of organising ourselves. We implemented "battle plans" for branches and disparate members, which were to be derived from an overall national battle plan. These plans consisted of SMART targets to be achieved over the next year, this way we could monitor our own progress. This approached forced us to think strategically in the near term, about what we wanted to see and what we thought was realistic to achieve within one year. Unfortunately we never quite managed to get the system working properly. Part of the issue was that politics is obviously unpredictable, a more flexible planning mechanism better able to cope with the unforeseen might have been more implementable.

Another good idea that didn't quite work out was the decision we took early on to concentrate on growing through the "mass organisations", the unions and community groups we were involved in, rather than through recruiting from the anarchist movement. Sadly recruitment was something we never managed in great numbers, with most of our new recruits coming from the anarchist movement in spite of our decision to look away from it. Partly I think the issue was it was a rather big jump, from being a trade union member to joining a disciplined political organisation. Some broader interim organisation would have been useful to enable potential recruits to politically develop and to allow us to work with allies who perhaps might never join our organisation.

Our failure to recruit meant that the organisation stayed roughly the same size, with structures like branches proving difficult to maintain and less useful with fewer members. This resulted in L&S becoming something of a burden rather than a help to its members, with smaller branches seeming somewhat pointless. Nationally the organisation had been useful at coordinating our work within the union movement, but when we lost direction in this arena after our withdrawal from the NSSN this left the organisation with less purpose. On the community side of things this had always been a more disparate form of activity less likely to benefit from a national organisation.

Our concern that the organisation was becoming a burden rather than a useful tool stemmed from our now syndicalist perspective that a political organisation was only valuable in so far as it helped strengthen and influence working class organisation. Rightly, we always prioritised this goal over building our own group.

In the end though we decided to disband the organisation we also concluded that we still held a lot of shared ground. Hopefully in the coming years former L&S members will stay in touch and work together for our still common goal; the elevation of the working class to power in society.

Snowball | September 27, 2012 at 1:49 pm | Tags: Anarchism, Propaganda, Syndicalism | Categories: Uncategorized | URL: http://wp.me/p1zdiZ-9J

Harrison
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Sep 27 2012 15:24

To be fair, thats a decent and reflective blog post.

Battlescarred
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Sep 27 2012 17:17

Looks like there's a vacancy for British section of Anarkismo......

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klas batalo
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Sep 27 2012 17:43

Is CA too ultra-left tho? <3

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georgestapleton
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Sep 27 2012 18:09
Battlescarred wrote:
Looks like there's a vacancy for British section of Anarkismo......

Nah there's a few countries with more than one group in the Anarkismo network. The network doesn't have 'sections'.

syndicalist
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Sep 27 2012 18:31

"We had also failed to grow our influence in the IWW, being regarded with suspicion by the majority of IWW activists due to our bad relations within the anarchist movement."

A very good reason to try and maintain relations with folks. Even when internal political relationships fall apart. I dunno, I'm sure I prolly pissed off my fair share of comrades over the years, prolly even now. But the more relationships that are kept afloat, the more folks try and keep stuff civil, the better the chance that, in times of real need (solidarity campaigns, perfect example),
the more of a chance folks will respond.Or with groups and organizations you may have disagreements with, TRY to have some form of lines of communication to tap into.

Yeah, lots of folks will always talk about you behind your back. Many will be snarky, demeaning or play one-up-personship, but, in the end, there will be the need not to burn (too many) bridges. And if you act fucked up, treat people in a fucked up way, try and be a vanguard (in the worst sense possible), folks will show you the door, kicj it close and send you packing with the middle fibger hard and stiff.

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Juan Conatz
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Sep 27 2012 18:57

The suspicion they received in the IWW had nothing to do with their relation to other anarchist groups, but more to do with the fact they were pushing what many people looked at as business union practice and perspective.

Honestly, good riddance to a joke of an organization that was despised and ridiculed by most of the English speaking milieu they tried to identify with initially (platformism, Anarkismo).

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Sep 27 2012 19:27

To echo Juan. Good riddance to bad rubbish. I was a member for 14 months at the start (I left in Nov 2009) but over the last two years they'd been doing things like trying to take over organisations by using tactics like packing meetings. (In case you don't use the same terminology in the US that refers to turning up on mass at meetings that you normally don't turn up to to vote through your groups proposals and elect your members into positions.) They did this both with LCAP and the London IWW.

Indeed the back story to the IWGB/IWW split has a lot to do with L&S fucking around with the London IWW in November last year.

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Sep 27 2012 19:32

All that said I do find the way people talk abut L&S quite funny. Like dastardly cunning trots. When actually they are a 10-20 naieve anarchos led my someone who is a complete loon. They really have next to nothing in common with trotskyism.

radicalgraffiti
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Sep 27 2012 19:39

the get called trots because they act like trots, by doing things like packing meetings etc

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Sep 27 2012 19:49

A balance sheet of the group would be a pretty poor read. Not because they didn't do much, on the contrary, they played a massively disgusting role in virtually everything they touched. And I guess when the core of an alleged platformist group is composed of union bureaucrat's, people defending sex pests, Scottish nationalists, fantasists and the socially inept, there is not enough coherence to maintain your own existence on the peripheries of the anarchist scene.

I will leave it for others more savvy in the facts to explain their disgraceful role in the IWW, but I will happily recount the details of how their members sabotaged efforts at joint workplace activity and tried to squeeze SF out of the Berns solidarity work in London. Snowball/K can put whatever spin he likes on it, L&S's raison d'être was sectarianism, has can be amply can be shown. I doubt there is libertarian group going in the UK who have anything good to say about them, the trots is another question.

But what I find the most detestable of all, is the crass stupidity of the WSM and Anarkismo. Not only did members of WSM help with the initiation of this wretched group and then further help them on their way. They knew they were fucking loons and associated with them for four years!

At one time a lot of people on this side of the Irish sea used to have good things to say about the WSM. Well thats pretty much evaporated after this little opportunistic episode.

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Sep 27 2012 19:59
JoeMaguire wrote:
At one time a lot of people on this side of the Irish sea used to have good things to say about the WSM. Well thats pretty much evaporated after this little opportunistic episode.

I can't really comment on the rest of your post, since while I had fleeting involvement with L & S in its early days I later drifted away for various reasons (more personal than political) and only got the odd update since. However, this last point I do find highly questionable. Just speaking personally anyway, I know plenty of folks who are fairly positive about the WSM who have never even heard of L & S, and of those who have, there still seems to be a fair bit of goodwill even if they might have criticisms in this regard.

Admittedly I don't have a huge amount of contact with the wider anarcho scene so could be completely wrong on this one, but my impression isn't quite as drastic as this...

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Sep 27 2012 20:14
Quote:
the get called trots because they act like trots, by doing things like packing meetings etc

Yeah but that's meaningless crap. That's like saying "they get called trots because they act like trots, by doing things like relying on oxegen to stay alive etc"

Every authoritarian organization packs meetings and does shitty things like that.

Breaking news: The Monday club packed a meeting of the conservative party, thereby revealing themselves to believe in the principles of Marxist-Leninism as understood by Leon Trotsky, the fourth international and the groups that are descendants of this tendency.

Quote:
Not only did members of WSM help with the initiation of this wretched group and then further help them on their way. They knew they were fucking loons and associated with them for four years!

At one time a lot of people on this side of the Irish sea used to have good things to say about the WSM. Well thats pretty much evaporated after this little opportunistic episode.

Yeah but in fairness, that had more to do with 1. not knowing they were loons until after about 18 months. 2. Some people not thinking they were loons (all of whom have since left the WSM), for an account of this see the James O'Brien text. 3. The WSM losing interest in international anarcho stuff because of all the stuff happening in Ireland from Oct 2008-2009 in Ireland and 4. then going into melt down from 2009-2011 and losing most of the members who cared about international stuff.

Finally, I don't think

Quote:
union bureaucrat

is an accurate term for someone who works as a bottom of the tier union organiser. Being a union organiser is a really, really shit job.

Some stuff on activists getting employed as union organisers here:
http://libcom.org/library/unions-new-grounds-when-work-mate-becomes-clie...
http://libcom.org/library/interview-german-union-organiser-prol-position
http://www.wsm.ie/c/organising-tg-union-uk

radicalgraffiti
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Sep 27 2012 20:16
georgestapleton wrote:
Quote:
the get called trots because they act like trots, by doing things like packing meetings etc

Yeah but that's meaningless crap. That's like saying "they get called trots because they act like trots, by doing things like relying on oxegen to stay alive etc"

Every authoritarian organization packs meetings and does shitty things like that.

Breaking news: The Monday club packed a meeting of the conservative party, thereby revealing themselves to believe in the principles of Marxist-Leninism as understood by Leon Trotsky, the fourth international and the groups that are descendants of this tendency.

trots are the largest group of authoritarians on the left, so the first think people will think of when they see leftists acting that way. torys don't take part in activism, at least not where anarchists/communists would encounter them

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Sep 27 2012 20:32

Exactly

syndicalist
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Sep 27 2012 20:55

As an observer, I thought a lot of folks to be supportive L&S for a long time. Including some well respected Wobbly Libcom posters and current strong Solfed supporters. Sometimes it's easy to figure some folks out. Sometimes it takes longer.

The "finger pointing" aspect of this conversation really has no value, imho.

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Sep 27 2012 21:32

The only bits of all this I can really speak about is the involvement of L&S members in the IWW switching to a delegages' convention. I only know of two L&Sers who were part of that. I've fallen out of touch with them personally but I always liked them as indviduals. Others may have been but I dunno. I worked heavily on the effort to get hte IWW adopt a delegate convention. As I remember it (and I'm not 100% sure my memory is right here, I'd be interested in hearing more from other people who were part of this effort) the initial push for a delegate convention came from UK-based IWW members including but not limited to the two L&Sers I mentioned.

The push for a delegate convention was a good thing for the IWW in my opinion for a variety of reasons including that it facilitated more equal input to the organization and it made branches more important in organizational decision making (because the old system, general assemblies, dramatically reduced the input of people outside the country hosting the assembly, almost always the US, reduced the input of anyone who lived far away from the assembly site, and increased the influence of individuals, because assembly was basically a rule by whoever happened to who up). So their contribution to the shift to delegates convention was a good contribution to the IWW. That said, I found the L&S cats, one person in particular, were so polemical and harsh in dealings with other IWW members that they actively made it harder to get the convention proposal passed because the convention proposal was associated with this intense polemical communication style that put a lot of people off and created a lot of needless arguments in the IWW. I took this to be an issue of individual personality rather than organizational culture of L&S or a real plan withing L&S, but with groups as small as this it's hard not to define by their louder members. I also was hopeful for a long time that this could be dealt with constructively, that the polemical aggressive thing could be toned down and whatnot. I felt like there was often a polemical counter-response which increased the general level of nastyness, where someone would respond to inappropriate/questionable behavior with their own inappropriate/questionable behavior ("that guy's a jerk" "you call people jerks because you're a jerk" "no YOU'RE a jerk" "no YOU ARE FUCK YOU" "NO. FUCK. YOU." etc etc). My sense was that inappropriate responses fed inappriopriate behavior and that if the responses could be chilled out then everything might be chilled out. That proved wrong.

I also don't think this is really true:

Juan Conatz wrote:
The suspicion they received in the IWW had nothing to do with their relation to other anarchist groups, but more to do with the fact they were pushing what many people looked at as business union practice and perspectives.

I think a lot of the bad blood didn't have all that much to do with the political content of their ideas. I think a lot of the ideas L&S members put out have some currency in parts of the IWW (emphasis on dual carding, focus on key industries etc) and have currency in parts of N American anarchist organizations that some IWW members have more time for than they did for L&S. And those ideas get some traction with some IWW members who aren't in anarchist political organizations. I think the bad blood and suspicion that IWW members (at least outside the UK, I dunno what people thought in the UK) had was because of how L&S or their louder/more visible members acted interpersonally within the organization. They also were around at a time when a lot of people were beginning to move against similar sorts of unpleasant behavior (stuff that made the IWW more disfunctional) on the part of other IWW members in the US, and I think a lot of people were like "fuck all these people who just like to shout at other IWW members" regardless of political views, which fed the suspicion of L&S. (To the degree that people in the IWW knew the L&S-IWW members were in L&S; I think a lot of people were suspicious of the individuals and/but didn't really know about L&S.)

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Steven.
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Sep 27 2012 22:23

Well, this is good news if about four years overdue.

As to the sentence "the world in 2012 looks a lot different to that of 2008", that nearly made me LOL. The world is pretty much exactly the same now as it was then, albeit there are new iPhones.

The only reason it probably looks significantly different to them is that their initial arrogance has been shown up by their organisational failure and a few years on this has probably become obvious.

blackened
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Sep 28 2012 08:19

All I can say is about time.
They acted as an entryist group, trying to gain control of organisations through block voting, packing meetings and so on.

I never realised they were meant to be anarchists though - several members I knew were avowdly not anarchists. They also seemed to want to avoid using black and red in the IWW as they're associated with anarchism.
That and being authoritarian...

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Sep 28 2012 09:33

It would be interesting to see a proper balance sheet of L&S that wasn't the usual 'wah wah we hate them stuff' typical of the British anarchist scene. We had pretty much lost contact with them around the start of 2011 and they had dropped out of what was always a very limited active role in Anarkismo around then. The motions they put in the London meeting of Euro Anarkismo around the start of 20111 had been heavily modified, mostly by us and that may be why they lost interest, I don't know. At that point it was clear they didn't really have much in common with the rest of the Anarkismo groups anymore and from the bits I did hear about them since I was wondering whether it was worth the effort to suggest the initiation of removing them from the network (and decided that this would be far too much effort).

With the AWG ( http://struggle.ws/awg.html ) we were able to produce some quite detailed analysis of where we thought they had gone wrong, pretty much the only such work that was done. But we had quite close contacts with them in terms of exchanging Internal Bulletins and sending observers to pretty much all of each others conferences including the final one. Plus the AWG were much more visible in terms of publications but also explaining their thinking in detail. We got to a couple of L&S conferences (I was at the Birmingham one about two years back) but otherwise had very limited access to what they were doing or thinking so we are probably not in the same position this time around. GS if you are interested in working on something though I'd also have a go, it would be useful I think to look at what they tried to do, what worked, what didn't and why it didn't.

As to the comments about WSM above. Given the basis L&S formed on it would be very strange if we didn't seek to have close relations with them. Yes if you are in another organisation that might prove difficult to accept, especially given the ultra sectarian nature of the organised UK anarchist scene. L&S started with the involvement of some very good anarchists and the right ideas in terms of a new departure but it certainly went off the rails in terms of practise & politics. In an ideal world we would probably have moved to reduce or end those relations 18 or so months back once the departure of L&S from anything that resembled our anarchism became clearer. We have been a little too busy with internal reorganisation and the crisis to even discuss them in that period though.

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Sep 28 2012 09:49

Yes, the initial arrogance was manifested in stuff like one of them predicting at their launch that they would be twice the size of the AF within six months. Of course over that period the AF grew quite a lot, whilst L&s remained where it was.
From a strictly platformist view, they did totally the wrong thing by
1. Not producing any publication whatsoever, nor stickers or posters or other propaganda
2. Having virtually no public presence (apart from desultory stuff on their website)- no public meetings, open day schools etc.
All the other platformist groups have always had a public face and so it was a deviation from their norm to act as a secretive, manipulative group inside larger groups
On top of that was various L&S members involvement in the SSP and then one member being given leave of absence to work inside the SNP.

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Sep 28 2012 09:59

Andrew F , can you pinpoint what these "right ideas" were that L&S have, please. And I think it is rather harsh accusing the organised anarchist movement of being "ultrasectarian" when it was quite obvious from early on that L&S behaved in a manipulative way, packing meetings and attempting to capture positions in larger groups. This is not ultrasectarianism but an understandable response to such behaviour.

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Sep 28 2012 10:08

Yeah, the "ultra-sectarianism of the British organised anarchist scene" accusation seems a bit odd to me.. given that there are two other organised British anarchist groups - AF and SF - who work together frequently, holding joint meetings, attending each others protests, have internal discussion about how work more closely with each other etc.. where's the 'ultra-sectarianism' here? To me it seems like the two main British anarchist organisations didn't like L&S (for reasons others have gone into above).. and you can't just put that down to sectarianism, imo..

Spikymike
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Sep 28 2012 10:23

Anyone for a game of 'rackets' ? .....

Sorry I just coudn't resist the temptation.

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Sep 28 2012 11:25
Ed wrote:
Yeah, the "ultra-sectarianism of the British organised anarchist scene" accusation seems a bit odd to me.. given that there are two other organised British anarchist groups - AF and SF - who work together frequently, holding joint meetings, attending each others protests, have internal discussion about how work more closely with each other etc.. where's the 'ultra-sectarianism' here?

I think the ultra sectarianism can be seen in how the AF and SolFed react to any new group.

For evidence go back over threads on Praxis, WAG, ALARM, Plan C, Collective action, The Commune, the WOMBLES, early L&S, Feminist Fightback etc. etc. (And this is not to mention specific issue groups/networks like NCAFC, Climate Camp.)

Now some of those groups were shit, some weren't/aren't but its definitely the case that the AF and SolFed react badly to new groups emerging and cutting into their territory.

Its not a big point and I don't think getting defensive or accusatory is particularly useful or interesting. I just want to help you understand why Andrew might have made that comment.

(And for clarity I think "ultrasectarianism" is ridiculous rhetoric. Its more "who the fuck do these upstarts think they are? Don't they know we've been doing this since they were knee high?" than ultra-anything.)

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Sep 28 2012 11:30
AndrewF wrote:
GS if you are interested in working on something though I'd also have a go, it would be useful I think to look at what they tried to do, what worked, what didn't and why it didn't.

Yeah I wouldn't mind writing something on that. I could use a long discussion document I wrote assesing the failings of L&S while I was a member and my resignation letter as starters. I'll see if I can find them and forward them on to you. But I want to do a balance sheet of The Commune more. I think it was a more interesting initiative and explaining what happened briefly would probably be of more use to 'the movement'. And I haven't got around to it. And again I want to make a contribution to the debate on what happened to the WSM 2009-2011. L&S is interesting mainly in its novelty, it was a very, very odd organisation.

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Sep 28 2012 11:50

Ha ha maybe ultra was a bit strong but somewhat prompted byJoeMaguires post

Quote:
But what I find the most detestable of all, is the crass stupidity of the WSM and Anarkismo. Not only did members of WSM help with the initiation of this wretched group and then further help them on their way. They knew they were fucking loons and associated with them for four years!

and my experience of being alternately blanked and scowled at by some members of those two at the Anarchist Bookfair each year. And whatever that ultra weird thing was at the post bookfair do in the laneway outside Freedom 3? years back - still not sure if I imagined that or not. As I was hammered at the time and ended up at that insane rave in Dalston all night I remember that as a sort of Fellowship of the Ring moment with W in the role of Strider.

But yes ' dominated by people prone to overblown sectarian rhetoric rather than analysis despite being very capable of the later' would probably be a more reasonable way of putting it. Also a kind of mini me version of one of the major problems L&S had in terms of the way individual members can sometimes come to define how everyone sees an organisation.

Harrison
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Sep 28 2012 12:13
Battlescarred wrote:
Looks like there's a vacancy for British section of Anarkismo......

Collective Action are critical of national liberation support in the Anarkismo editorial statement, so i don't see that happening.

But anyway, wasn't the problem with L&S's behaviour not that they were harsh in their dealings, but that they were unnecessarily harsh and too eager to employ these tactics. I don't see a moral issue with packing meetings if it is to defend an organisation from stalinists or trotskyists seizing/forming an executive, but using them in an organisation like the IWW was just plain stupid. Softer methods respecting the internal democracy and accepting initial compromises on their positions could have allowed them to win far more sustainable influence without offending the rest of the IWW, not to mention it would have been less turmoil for the IWW overall.

All this said, i don't actually agree with the political line of L&S (specifically with regard to the IWW).

And really, for all the talk about being tactical and beating rival tendencies, they lacked basic sense for refusing to import the Organiser Training 101 to the UK IWW. By doing so they handed it on a plate to SolFed, and it has since been one of our most useful assets driving recruitment and further development toward a workplace focus.

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georgestapleton
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Sep 28 2012 12:04
Quote:
And really, for all the talk about being tactical and beating rival tendencies, they lacked basic sense for refusing to import the Organiser Training 101 training to the UK IWW. By doing so they handed it on a plate to SolFed, and it has since been one of our most useful assets driving recruitment and further development toward a workplace focus.

This is also a big point.

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Ed
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Sep 28 2012 14:14
georgestapleton wrote:
I think the ultra sectarianism can be seen in how the AF and SolFed react to any new group.

For evidence go back over threads on Praxis, WAG, ALARM, Plan C, Collective action, The Commune, the WOMBLES, early L&S, Feminist Fightback etc. etc. (And this is not to mention specific issue groups/networks like NCAFC, Climate Camp.)

Now some of those groups were shit, some weren't/aren't but its definitely the case that the AF and SolFed react badly to new groups emerging and cutting into their territory.

George, with the greatest respect, this is basically all completely untrue. You're conflating rows over the internet with real-life relationships. Most of the groups there have had decent real-world relationships with SF-AF members, some even with dual-membership or at least AF/SF involvement at some point.. some of those groups are so new there hasn't been any interaction beyond libcom and one I've honestly never heard of (Praxis?).

That's not to say there weren't threads on libcom rowing about it.. but there are also threads on libcom of AF and SF members rowing, fuck, even of SFers rowing with each other.. I don't think this means anything more than "people row on libcom"..

But like you say, its not a big point but just thought I'd put across the point from the other side of the 'ultra-sectarian' divide.. smile