The People's Assembly

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Ghost Whistler
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Dec 14 2015 15:34
The People's Assembly

The Owen Jones and friends talking shop. What do people think of this? Personally it seems like a middle class waste of time. All they do is walk up and down parliament square ffs!

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Chilli Sauce
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Dec 14 2015 16:47

Is it a waste of time? Undoubtedly?

Middle class? I'm not sure what that means?

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Noah Fence
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Dec 14 2015 17:08
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Middle class? I'm not sure what that means?

Check yo'self comrade. Don't forget the garlic peeling!

Ghost Whistler
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Dec 14 2015 17:22
Chilli Sauce wrote:
Is it a waste of time? Undoubtedly?

Middle class? I'm not sure what that means?

why do you think it is a waste of time, in your opinion?

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Chilli Sauce
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Dec 15 2015 14:40
Ghost Whistler wrote:
Chilli Sauce wrote:
Is it a waste of time? Undoubtedly?

Middle class? I'm not sure what that means?

why do you think it is a waste of time, in your opinion?

At best, it channels working class discontent into useless social democratic demands. At worst, it's a shallow front for Leftists jockeying for power within the Labour Party.

Spikymike
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Dec 15 2015 15:59

An earlier discussion here also;
http://libcom.org/blog/extra-cynical-look-peoples-assembly-13062013

Ghost Whistler
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Dec 19 2015 12:27

It seems quite popular though, is there any way it can be saved because a lot of the people there, ordinary people with little experience of direct activism, would probably feel defensive if criticism were put to the group.

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Chilli Sauce
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Dec 19 2015 14:56

Popular with who?

Ghost Whistler
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Dec 19 2015 15:08
Chilli Sauce wrote:
Popular with who?

with people. who else?

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Chilli Sauce
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Dec 19 2015 15:18

Is it though? Or is it just the same old lefties?

Ghost Whistler
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Dec 19 2015 15:44
Chilli Sauce wrote:
Is it though? Or is it just the same old lefties?

Do we know that for sure?

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Chilli Sauce
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Dec 19 2015 15:58

I don't know, I've never heard it mentioned by anyone who wasn't already a lefty. I mean, I don't know, speak to your co-workers. See if any of them have heard of it, are supportive of it, or are willing to got to one of their events.

My guess is they probably won't have heard of it. And - as part of a larger critique of political organizing - I'd say you're better off trying to organize with your workmates about real issues in the workplace than getting involved with (or trying to get them involved with) some lefty bullshit.

Ghost Whistler
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Dec 19 2015 20:27

how is anarchism not 'lefty'? I don't understand that comment.

All i'm saying is that a lot of these are ordinary people fed up with the cuts who want to do something. Aren't you being massively dissmissive?

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Chilli Sauce
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Dec 19 2015 21:45

So, I get that response and I would have agreed with you until I got involved with some broad left groups. It was then I understood the term "the left wing of capital". There are some good people involved in those groups, sure, but that doesn't change the problems of socialist parties, trade unions, etc.

So, yes, I'm being pretty dismissive of most groups on the Left - from the Labour Party to the Communist Party. They all have very different - and sometimes diametrically opposed - ideas from anarchists both on what a future society should look like and how to organize in the here and now.

What I'm not being dismissive of is normal working people, hence statements like:

Quote:
I'd say you're better off trying to organize with your workmates about real issues in the workplace

As to there being tons of ordinary people fed up with the cuts, maybe that's true. But without grassroots organisation in workplaces and communities (as opposed to the political organisation of the People's Assembly) we're not going to be able to do much about it.

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Chilli Sauce
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Dec 19 2015 21:46

Also, more dismissive than this?

Quote:
a middle class waste of time

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Noah Fence
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Dec 19 2015 22:58

Lumping anarchists in with the left is essentially a conservative and far right misunderstanding of anarchism. I understand how this happens but it is wildly incorrect.
To me, the left of capital is every bit as bad as the right. It represents the same thing but is dressed up in a socially conscious or even radical suit.
'Well, surely they're better than the Tories?' is the tired old line that still convinces much of the public to waste their time casting a vote. The only sensible conclusion to this is to say 'fuck the left'!

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Red Marriott
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Dec 19 2015 23:32
Webby wrote:
Lumping anarchists in with the left is essentially a conservative and far right misunderstanding of anarchism. I understand how this happens but it is wildly incorrect.

But some who call themselves anarchists are leftists - they support trade unionism, national liberation etc.

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Noah Fence
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Dec 20 2015 07:34
Red Marriott wrote:
Webby wrote:
Lumping anarchists in with the left is essentially a conservative and far right misunderstanding of anarchism. I understand how this happens but it is wildly incorrect.

But some who call themselves anarchists are leftists - they support trade unionism, national liberation etc.

True enough, but there are people that indentify as anarchists that support all sorts of things from animal liberation(fair enough) to the free market(just fuck off!) but that doesn't mean that these things are compatible with anarchism or that those supporting them are actually anarchists.

Ghost Whistler
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Dec 20 2015 09:35
Chilli Sauce wrote:
Also, more dismissive than this?

Quote:
a middle class waste of time

i'm not the one dismissing the group.

Ghost Whistler
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Dec 20 2015 09:44
Webby wrote:
Lumping anarchists in with the left is essentially a conservative and far right misunderstanding of anarchism. I understand how this happens but it is wildly incorrect.
To me, the left of capital is every bit as bad as the right. It represents the same thing but is dressed up in a socially conscious or even radical suit.
'Well, surely they're better than the Tories?' is the tired old line that still convinces much of the public to waste their time casting a vote. The only sensible conclusion to this is to say 'fuck the left'!

So left wing simply means one aspect of capitalism? That is the definition being used here?

It was always my understanding that if you weren't on the right you were, by definition, on the left, regardless of what political party you support or don't. Thus if you are an anarchist you oppose right wing politics, therefore you are on the left.

No one has ever presented me with an actual definition of what these terms mean, I simply identify right wing politics with capitalism, exploitation, deprivation and division (and so on). As I reject those things I identify as left wing.

I'm not aware of an official definition for those terms.

During the election I argued that people should vote Labour because the only realistic alternative was what we got: a Tory majority. Even though I do not care for Milibland and the rest of the red Tories, I believed that they would make things better - even if slightly. They had at least promised to get rid of the Bedroom Tax; whether they would have delivered on that is another matter and actually irrelevant. At the very least they offered something the Tories were never going to offer, consequently we have a situation now where that scumbag Duncan Smith is still in power and the resultant chaos is destroying people's lives. I don't think Labour would have fixed everything, or anywhere near that, obviously they share similar interests, but it would have been something. It would also have sent the Tories the message that we don't want their kind in power. They were in a tailspin after losing in 97 and it was only the economic crisis of 2008 that put them back into power.

I'm speaking from the perspective of the previous election where the system was all that was available. I despise this system, but it wasn't going away in 2015, and ideally would want to get rid of it altogether, but someone was going to get into power so it might as well have been the people who might have done some good, no matter how pitifully slight. Surely?

Ghost Whistler
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Dec 20 2015 09:46
Red Marriott wrote:
Webby wrote:
Lumping anarchists in with the left is essentially a conservative and far right misunderstanding of anarchism. I understand how this happens but it is wildly incorrect.

But some who call themselves anarchists are leftists - they support trade unionism, national liberation etc.

why wouldn't you support trade unionism?

bastarx
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Dec 20 2015 11:09

Because trade unionism sells workers to capitalism.

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Auld-bod
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Dec 20 2015 18:29

This topic of 'leftism’ has cropped up on several threads.
I think it correct to describe most of the left as aiding capitalism (no matter what they imagine they’re doing), as their collaboration and reforms help ‘control’ - satisfy the immediate desires of the working class, so perpetuating the system.

As the only way to get rid of capitalism is through the class struggle of the working class, my criterion to judge who is on the right or left is to ask, ‘Do you believe you stand with the working class in the class war?’ Those on the left do, those on the right do not.

In the left set would contain some anarchists and assorted lefties.
On the right all the liberals (plenty of anarchists in this group), all the right wing careerists, etc. that the left is infested with, and naturally all conservatives.

Differentiating class war anarchists from the left serves only to mystify the basis of the struggle – the class war.

I’ve heard at SPGB meetings this, “We are not leftists. We are not on the left – we’re not on the right”. On one occasion a member of the public asked ‘Well where are you?” The member had the good grace to say, “Well, we’re probably from outer space!” Followed by a burst of laughter.

EDIT
Missed two words!

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Noah Fence
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Dec 20 2015 12:25
Quote:
I’ve heard at SPGB meetings this, “We are not leftists. We are not on the left – we’re not on the right”. On one occasion a member of the public asked ‘Well where are you?” The member had the good grace to say, “Well, we’re probably from outer space!” Followed by a burst of laughter.

Hehe, that's a good anecdote. It highlights the problem well too. The prevailing idea in our culture is that there is only one feasible system and that you have to be right, left or centre of it. Both the right and the left have bastardised versions of the ideals that anarchists hold but framed within parliamentary democracy these ideals aren't worth a wank. Lending support to the left of capital is at least as bad as lending it to the right. Complete and utter rejection of the whole thing is, to me at least, the only position that an anarchist can take.

Spikymike
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Dec 20 2015 15:05

Auld-Bod's class war dividing line sounds plausible until you realise that some of those on the Left who appear to be, or may actually be, when in opposition to the current government and the local bosses our allies in some day to day struggles are at the same time giving political and practical support to anti-working class regimes elsewhere and would act in the same way as those regimes if ever able to assume political power. We need to understand the reality of capitalism as expressed in it's variety of political disguises from Left through to Right as a global system with common international working class interests.

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Chilli Sauce
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Dec 20 2015 15:31

Again, GW, I get your point about the left and I would have agreed to you until I moved to London, where there is some semblance of a left.

There's some good people involved in the left and, on the surface, we share a lot of goals. However, they way they go about achieving those goals is pretty at odds with my fundamental goal as an anarchist: to build working class self-organisation outside of the control of bureaucracy, hierarchy, the state, or even our so-called representatives in government or the unions.

As to the trade unions, the libcom guides are always really good:

http://libcom.org/library/unions-introduction

And, to toot my own horn a bit:

http://libcom.org/blog/america-part-4-i-hate-my-job-06092015

I can just say from my own experience is that I stepped down from a shop steward position when my union gave me letters to give out to the members of my union telling them to come to work on the day of a national strike of one of the other unions in my workplace.

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Auld-bod
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Dec 20 2015 15:31

Spikymike #26

It is only plausible if you wish to discuss politics in terms that most people understand, which does not invalidate the need to expose the authoritarian position of much of the self-defining left.

‘We need to understand the reality of capitalism as expressed in it's variety of political disguises from Left through to Right as a global system with common international working class interests.’

The only interest capitalism has in the working class is to exploit it. I suspect most working class people are aware of this fact and are rightly suspicious of all politicians. What they lack is self confidence in their own abilities.

Ghost Whistler
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Dec 20 2015 17:01
bastarx wrote:
Because trade unionism sells workers to capitalism.

Do you have anything to back this up?

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Chilli Sauce
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Dec 20 2015 17:16
Ghost Whistler wrote:
bastarx wrote:
Because trade unionism sells workers to capitalism.

Do you have anything to back this up?

Basically the entire history of the TUC?

Although if you want something more:

https://libcom.org/library/better-we-know-ourselves-ruling-class-view-tr...

bastarx
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Dec 21 2015 02:45
Ghost Whistler wrote:
bastarx wrote:
Because trade unionism sells workers to capitalism.

Do you have anything to back this up?

Only reality. If that's not enough for you I don't have anything else to offer.

Jason Cortez
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Dec 21 2015 10:13
Chilli Sauce wrote:
It was then I understood the term "the left wing of capital".

Chilli Sauce wrote:
I don't know, I've never heard it mentioned by anyone who wasn't already a lefty. I mean, I don't know, speak to your co-workers. See if any of them have heard of it, are supportive of it

This is classic LibCom

So which is is it folks, Worker or Libertarian Communist??

And if you reply 'both', maybe you could consider not using this type of schematic shift whenever you feel it is convient. Oh and maybe we could drop the 'workerist' reductionism as well why we are at it?

This is not a dig at Chilli, I hear this sort of thing all the time from lots of people on this board and in person.