Would an face to face annual/bi-annual class struggle anarchist conference/forum/discussion in Ireland be:

Worthwhile
73% (11 votes)
A waste of time
7% (1 vote)
A nice idea but too much bother
20% (3 votes)
Total votes: 15

Posted By

Deezer
Mar 15 2006 23:56

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Deezer
Mar 15 2006 23:56

Before I do go t'bed actually...

This is a personal suggestion based on the pretty sensible conversations that occurred at/during/after the Dublin bookfair - it just seems that issues discussed online don't always end up any clearer and often become antagonistic due to misreading/misinterpretation & people getting their backs up...

So wadda 'bout (oh no not another meeting) a class struggle anarchist conference/discussion event in Ireland once every year or two? Could be based on discussing current situation, our approaches and positions and include an education element. I was thinking mostly of the WSM and Organise! when I started typing this but I don't think anyone of a class struggle orientation should be excluded.

Cheers;

circle A red n black star

ronan
Mar 16 2006 00:30

hiya, i member after the chomsky talk there was some frustration on a few peoples part that this huge meeting of anarchists couldnt agree on anything, i think the whole division was beteen class struggle people (not just the wisdom) and more issue focused people ( i like trees and i think there should be more of them, not less). so err, discussion was pretty fruitless, (and chomskys talk was crap too) although a certain comrade did get to alienate everyone in the room quite spectacularly.

so err, what should we (assuming this happens) talk about, des and the derwin affair? cross border reconciliation (hands across ireland anyone?) why not have it at the bookfair, if this will be a regular occurrence?

Shorty
Mar 16 2006 00:42
ronan wrote:
i think the whole division was beteen class struggle people (not just the wisdom) and more issue focused people ( i like trees and i think there should be more of them, not less)

Wrong as usual Ronan, it was drum circles *sheesh* roll eyes tongue What are you doing up this late? One hour time difference and all.

On topic: I voted worthwhile, totally worthwhile.

ronan
Mar 16 2006 01:00

youre not allowed, too many patches. one sight of you and the northies will get back onto their bus screaming 'lifestylists! they're all lifestylists!!'

dara
Mar 16 2006 01:01

you can keep your nietzsche out of class struggle thank you very much.

ronan
Mar 16 2006 01:02

ooh wait, i just assumed that the meeting was going to be in the south if it happened,, embarrassed

mm.. nice. ruffled feathers and all that.. twisted

maybe i should be summarily executed as a sign of good faith. something involving meat hooks i should think.

Deezer
Mar 21 2006 21:46

This lots cos I ballsed up spliting this post so from the previous post on:

Con Carroll wrote:
interesting sugguestion

it would take time for a proper conference to be organised and committment

political issues which working class people face

issues on solidarity with people who are asylum seekers

a strong message should be sent that if a conference were to be put in place that it would be taking seriously

that no messing about would be acceptable

Deezer
Mar 21 2006 21:47

Then:

jack white wrote:
Hmmm, I voted worthy but I guess I have mixed feelings about this.

Face to face discussion is obviously important, not least because, like Boul said, it lessens the negative impact of online discussion (people always take things up badly online!) But also because we should be able to work together on joint ssues / campaigns and thats easier to organise in person.

We're going to be doing the bookfair in Dublin again next year and didn't someone say Organise! were going to do the Projectile festival? I think having discussions around events like these would be better than doing something seperately - after all there's also the Grassroots Gatherings and people only have so many weekends to give to anarchism (I know the GG isn't the same as a class struggle anarchist conference but there is a crossover).

In terms of just the WSM and Organise I think we should invite delegates / observers to eachothers conferences. I'm allways telling people the WSM should do this with the AF and SolFed too but never get around to proposing it...

was followed by:

Bobby wrote:
Definitely should be done for start as i would like to know the real divisions!

and john.

John. wrote:
jack white wrote:
In terms of just the WSM and Organise I think we should invite delegates / observers to eachothers conferences. I'm allways telling people the WSM should do this with the AF and SolFed too but never get around to proposing it...

And libcom.org I reckon. We're well fun at conferences. We were always the last ones up at the IFA congress, along with the Czechs. Yeah we're ker-azy.

then george:

georgestapleton wrote:
I voted nice idea but too much bother. However, I'd agree with jack white's ideas. That way it's not that much bother at all.

and then dara:

dara wrote:
yeahyeah... who wants to travel all that way just for a meeting? may as well be some books and booze involved. unfortunately my life has been primarily the former and none of the latter recently... cry

what are the primary issues that people would want to discuss? If its a meeting with all the class struggle anarchists in ireland, what would be the desired result?

There that should be sorta all sorted now embarrassed

circle A red n black star

AndrewF
Mar 22 2006 11:52

I wanted to seperately address the union election question before replying to this idea, see http://www.libcom.org/forums/viewtopic.php?p=107481

I'd go to this if it was organised but I'm not sure it would be worth the effort, for two reasons.

1. I know what is meant by the phrase 'class struggle anarchist' but really it speaks to a debate of the 1980's and 1990's and does not say anything very useful about Irish anarchism in the 2000's, at least in the south. Apart from a couple of wacky primitivists in the wilds of Leitrim there is not a faction of anarchism here that denies the need for class struggle or insists it is all about lifestyle. Those anarchists who see lifestyle as important are not generally hostile to class struggle.

2. In relation to this those who do call themselves class struggle anarchists or whose politics amount to what is meant by this phrase they are overwhelmingly organised into either the WSM or Organise!. The situation is not like Britain where at a guess maybe 90% of class struggle anarchists are not members of the AF, Sol Fed, Class War, the Wombles or the IWW. Such a conference there might actually result in a regroupment that would be much much bigger than anything which currently exists. Also of course the organisations listed have significant differences between them.

In contrast in Ireland at the time of the bookfair you had 43+ anarchists who were either members of the WSM or Organise! and in the next months WSM expansion should push this figure beyond 50. In drawing up the invitation list for Chomsky we obviously included all the self identifed class struggle types but of the 90 who attended there were a number who people here would not put in that category. I'd honestly be surprized if there are more than 15-20 self-defined class struggle anarchists* active who are not either members of Organise or the WSM or who have the intention of joining one or the other in the next months.

The way the numbers stack up our key weakness is not a lack of co-ordination but rather a lack of unity. Initatives that have to be communicated and agreed between organisations (and individuals?) take far, far longer and much more work than such discussions within organisations where resources are to hand and agreement mechanisms are in place.

Things might change but in that context I think the only real use of such a conference would be as the an event aimed at fusing the existing organisations and individuals into one organisation. In terms of where we are at now that really seems to be the place to go but as we already know this is a lot easier to say than to do.

(All of the above is rather obviously in a personal capacity)

IrrationallyAngry
Mar 22 2006 13:33

Are points one and two not somewhat contradictory?

1) Nearly all Irish anarchists are class struggle anarchists at least in the South. 2) Nearly all class struggle anarchists are in Organise! or the WSM.

Is there not a wider anarchist milieu that includes plenty of people who are not in either organisation? And if so does that no mean that either (a) many Irish anarchists are not class struggle anarchists or that (b) many class struggle anarchists are not in the WSM or Organise!?

Where to the people involved in activities / hobbies like community gardens and food not bombs fit into this?

AndrewF
Mar 22 2006 13:54
IrrationallyAngry wrote:
Is there not a wider anarchist milieu that includes plenty of people who are not in either organisation? And if so does that no mean that either (a) many Irish anarchists are not class struggle anarchists or that (b) many class struggle anarchists are not in the WSM or Organise!?

Where to the people involved in activities / hobbies like community gardens and food not bombs fit into this?

To explain - 'class struggle' is a sort of short hand that expresses more than it appears as it comes with a lot of historical baggage. It really dates from 1980's Britain where you did have a large number of anarchists who opposed the idea of class struggle and insisted it was all about personal change. Class struggle was a label rightly adopted to distinguish us from such wankery.

On the surface people into community gardens or FnB today might look like the same thing today but with pretty rare exceptions they are not hostile to class /struggle politics. The best confirmation to date of this was the debate we had at the Galway Grassroots between a Green Party guy and a WSMer on the bin tax. Going into it I thought at least a sizeable minority of the 'hippie' end would take the Green Party 'environment first' line. As it happened pretty much nobody did and if anything I felt a bit sorry for the Green guy who was essentially ambushed by a hostile crowd.

There are some of what would have been called 'lifestylists' around all right but they are pretty isolated and don't even turn up at grassroots type stuff with one or two annoying exceptions. So I don't see a need to seperate out the 'class struggle' anarchists from the grassroots in terms of a seperate conference etc unless that conference has a very focused objective.

Essentially a lot of GGers and class struggle anarchists who don't indentify as such, the GG principles are class struggle principles that are light on rhetoric, this isn't an accident. For an example from the SP Joe Higgins often uses the phrase 'working people' rather than 'working class'. He means the same thing by it but presumably reckons that the term 'working class' may not automatically be used as a self indentification by the people he is trying to reach because the term is loaded with historical baggage.

Organise do have a different view on this, this may be due to things being a bit different up north, however I think at least in part its also due to form of intervention too heavily based on emphasising where you disagree with those around you. But then again maybe in Belfast that makes sense.

It's worth remembering that even the CNT of the 1930's had its nudist and vegetarian factions. The problem is not anarchists favouring a particular lifestyle, its when they insist that this is the only legitmate way to be an anarchist.

IrrationallyAngry
Mar 22 2006 14:17
JoeBlack2 wrote:
On the surface people into community gardens or FnB today might look like the same thing today but with pretty rare exceptions they are not hostile to class /struggle politics.[...]There are some of what would have been called 'lifestylists' around all right but they are pretty isolated and don't even turn up at grassroots type stuff with one or two annoying exceptions. So I don't see a need to seperate out the 'class struggle' anarchists from the grassroots in terms of a seperate conference etc unless that conference has a very focused objective.

I can see the distinction you are drawing between people who are into lifestyle politics and are hostile to class struggle ideas and people who are into lifestyle politics but who are not hostile to class struggle ideas. But isn't there a more important distinction between people who put class struggle ideas at the centre of their political activity and people who, regardless of their hostility or otherwise to those ideas, do not?

It is obviously a step forward to have a lifestylist milieu who are favourably or neutrally disposed towards class struggle politics rather than a hostile one. But it's still a milieu of people who are primarily interested in various hobbies like home composting.

I can see why, from the WSMs point of view, not alienating such people is useful. They provide a pool of people who can be worked with on various issues, giving you a critical mass you would otherwise be unable to obtain. They also provide a recruitment pool, even if anarchists do tend to get all shifty and embarrassed when someone points out that recruitment is a legitimate concern and goal. I think on balance that the WSM's approach to these people makes more tactical sense than that of Organise!, but it also seems to me that in your earlier post you were blurring some important distinctions. That is: When you get right down to it, the WSM, Organise! and a small number of individuals do have a common politics which isn't shared by all of the broader anarchist scene and that overlap is centrally about the primacy of class politics.

AndrewF
Mar 22 2006 14:34
IrrationallyAngry wrote:
When you get right down to it, the WSM, Organise! and a small number of individuals do have a common politics which isn't shared by all of the broader anarchist scene and that overlap is centrally about the primacy of class politics.

I didn't mean to blur this - I just don't think there is much to be gained from organising general conference once or twice a year for this group in comparison for the work involved in organising such an event. You'd probably feel the same about a proposal to have a conference of SP, SWP and other trots smile

IrrationallyAngry
Mar 22 2006 16:01
JoeBlack2 wrote:
I just don't think there is much to be gained from organising general conference once or twice a year for this group in comparison for the work involved in organising such an event.

Well you're in a better position to judge that than I am. I think it would be interesting to see how many people would go along as self described class struggle anarchists, but I'm not the one who would have to do the work to satisfy that mild curiousity.

JoeBlack2 wrote:
You'd probably feel the same about a proposal to have a conference of SP, SWP and other trots :)

eek eek eek eek eek eek eek eek eek eek eek eek eek eek eek eek eek eek eek eek eek eek eek eek eek eek eek eek eek eek eek eek eek eek eek eek eek

Actually they used to have something like this in England - it was called the Socialist Alliance AGM and it's the only political meeting I've ever walked out of! More seriously, I can think of practically nobody I'd less want to have a joint conference with than the SWP. Even the thought of having to put up with a whole day (or whole weekend) of those teeth hurtingly upbeat speeches...

Terry
Mar 29 2006 12:14

I agree with IrrationallyAngry, to some degree, but furthermore a primacy of class politics means nothing if it is just left on the shelf, last weekend's AAA for instance had precious little to do with class struggle. Moreover I'm not sure if class politics is actually the issue, unfortunatly, it seems to be more a green/left thing than class politics or some other fom of politics. Witness the fact that traditional lefty things like anti-war activism and anti-racism activism - both of which can contain little in the way of a class struggle element (and that is usually the case) are on the agenda for both trotskyists and class struggle anarchists, while community gardens are being scorned at above.

That is the way I see it.

While the most class struggle orientated elements of the libertarian left, that is class struggle in both practise and theory, seem increasingly uninterested in the Grassroots Gatherings and its off-shoots.

As an aside on the Bin Charges debate at the Sixth Grassroots Gathering I think if anyone was gonna take the other position on the bin charges they would most likely have been at one of the other events taking place at that time, there was one on herb gardens running at the same time if memory serves me correct.

The predominant form of activity for people around the Grassroots Gathering is activism on worthy causes rather than anything to do with class struggle, irrespective of how they politically identify themselves, for this reason, in so far as other people do not like class struggle anarchists, this division has got precious little to do with class politics, as one sees little of that from that class struggle anarchists, if, for example, one spent a couple of years encountering them around anti-war activity.

Often, in so far as one has a practical orientation towards class struggle, that doesn't seem to be being, for whatever reason, determined by ones' political perspectives.

All this would make me question whether bringing "class struggle anarchists" together would make for anything. I also reckon class struggle is more a prefix meaning taking up those issues which the left has traditionally taken up.

Terry
Mar 29 2006 12:28

I agree with IrrationallyAngry, to some degree, but furthermore a primacy of class politics means nothing if it is just left on the shelf, last weekend's AAA for instance had precious little to do with class struggle. Moreover I'm not sure if class politics is actually the issue, unfortunatly, it seems to be more a green/left thing than class politics or some other fom of politics. Witness the fact that traditional lefty things like anti-war activism and anti-racism activism - both of which can contain little in the way of a class struggle element (and that is usually the case) are on the agenda for both trotskyists and class struggle anarchists, while community gardens are being scorned at above.

That is the way I see it.

While the most class struggle orientated elements of the libertarian left, that is class struggle in both practise and theory, seem increasingly uninterested in the Grassroots Gatherings and its off-shoots.

As an aside on the Bin Charges debate at the Sixth Grassroots Gathering I think if anyone was gonna take the other position on the bin charges they would most likely have been at one of the other events taking place at that time, there was one on herb gardens running at the same time if memory serves me correct.

The predominant form of activity for people around the Grassroots Gathering is activism on worthy causes rather than anything to do with class struggle, irrespective of how they politically identify themselves, for this reason, in so far as other people do not like class struggle anarchists, this division has got precious little to do with class politics, as one sees little of that from that class struggle anarchists, if, for example, one spent a couple of years encountering them around anti-war activity.

Often, in so far as one has a practical orientation towards class struggle, that doesn't seem to be being, for whatever reason, determined by ones' political perspectives.

All this would make me question whether bringing "class struggle anarchists" together would make for anything. I also reckon class struggle is more a prefix meaning taking up those issues which the left has traditionally taken up.