Joining forces on a UK-wide publication (was AF/Platformist split)

What is this I'm reading on the news forum about an AF split? Clarification sought.

admin - this quickly turned into a discussion about greater co-operation between the UK anarchist federations, Freedom, Black Flag and independents on publications - discussion starts a few posts in

Posted By

playinghob
Mar 27 2008 22:34

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Joseph Kay
Jun 18 2008 18:59
Tacks wrote:
having been in those orgs, it's not possible. They have too many opposing views to do a publication, sorry.

as much within them than between them though, imho. i mean there has to be some over-arching agreement, but as has been suggested the contoversial/disputed articles can have opposing viewpoints included or responses published etc. on the face of it i don't think the difficulties involved in a more centralised publication are insurmountable, and the benefits obvious.

Tacks
Jun 18 2008 19:01
welshboy wrote:
I think that that the idea of both/all three feds concentrating on Freedom and Black Flag as well as keeping on producing their own free sheets is a great idea.
Oh and maybe this could be discussed in the Freedom forum, neutral territory and all that. smile
Any updates on what is happening with L+S btw?

Busy busy bees, focussing on our local and national campaigns outside of L&S more than the group right, which are pretty full on at the moment. This is what was agreed at the founding conference anyway, we're sticking to our timetable wink

I'd love to go into it but its not really the place mate. And that was actually agreed at conference too! grin

PM me if you want

Tacks
Jun 18 2008 19:05
Joseph K. wrote:
Tacks wrote:
having been in those orgs, it's not possible. They have too many opposing views to do a publication, sorry.

as much within them than between them though, imho. i mean there has to be some over-arching agreement, but as has been suggested the contoversial/disputed articles can have opposing viewpoints included or responses published etc. on the face of it i don't think the difficulties involved in a more centralised publication are insurmountable, and the benefits obvious.

aye, i just think it already exists and it's called Freedom.

What is it that you want to say that you can't in Freedom? I have plenty i'd like to change in Freedom too mind. The last people who i saw talkking about a national publication were, well, Ian Bone and some others in 2006 before he rejoined CW, and its obvious that what they wanted couldn't be done in Freedom. But SF and AF? Why not?

BTW the IWW is not an anarchist group and could not be involved in an explicitly anarchist project in an organisational capacity, tho it would send info on its activity and i'm sure individual members would help.

Django
Jun 18 2008 19:17

Yes but Freedom has limited space for in-depth articles, as a newpaper, and so a magazine would complement it. The point still stands that the various class struggle anarchist magazines put out currently all contain too much filler, duplicate each other, and don't touch on the controversial issues which divide the groups because those issues are obscure and pretty boring. And as Joseph K and others on this thread have pointed out, there is as much difference within the groups anyway.

Tacks
Jun 18 2008 19:21

ah, yes on mags i'm with you all the way - thats completely doable, go for it smile

anyway, i came here for some comment on the shell strike and got sucked into logging on, now must away and do some work.

...can i have a link to a left article on the shell strike tho pls?

chrs

Mike Harman
Jun 18 2008 19:24
Quote:
The best option would be for them all to submit reports on their activity to Freedom

No. Just no.

Joseph Kay
Jun 18 2008 19:27
Tacks wrote:
What is it that you want to say that you can't in Freedom?
Django wrote:
Yes but Freedom has limited space for in-depth articles, as a newpaper, and so a magazine would complement it.

exactly. currently there's direct action, organise and black flag, and therefore much duplication of effort for little obvious benefit to the respective feds.

Tacks
Jun 18 2008 19:27
Mike Harman wrote:
Quote:
The best option would be for them all to submit reports on their activity to Freedom

No. Just no.

Alright then.

Django, yeh i just said - a mag would be fine i was talking about a regular bulletin or paper.

Joseph Kay
Jun 18 2008 19:35
Quote:
BTW the IWW is not an anarchist group and could not be involved in an explicitly anarchist project in an organisational capacity, tho it would send info on its activity and i'm sure individual members would help.

tbh i wouldn't personally be bothered if it wasn't explicitly anarchist, but was say explicitly libertarian class struggle. i mean i'm far from big tent, but publications by their nature can be less tight than organisations and still be effective - in fact a healthy level of debate may well engage the readership and encourage contributions. i mean not every Economist contributor agrees with each other, but they're all coming from the same basic perspective of bourgeois pro-market crap, with the odd social democratic cat amongst the pigeons calling for state this or that - while to us, as people outside that bourgeois milieu their disagreements seem minor compared to the publications overall editorial thrust.

knightrose
Jun 18 2008 19:35

This has been an interesting discussion so far. The best way to make progress with it is for the Black Flag editorial collective to come up with a series of proposals which can be put to the AF as a whole. We are holding our summer delegate meeting (NDM) at the end of July. It is at this meeting that we can make collective decisions. However, for any proposals to be discussed by the AF, they will have to arrive with our National Secretary by June 26th so that they can be circulated in our pre-NDM Internal Bulletin. That way all AF members will have a chance to discuss them and you will get a considered, representative response.

It would not be appropriate to put a proposal together for discussion at the Bookfair as this would circumvent our internal, democratic processes. Anything coming that late would have to be discussed at our October NDM first. In any event, should we decide to take this further, it would be better to have a discussion away from the hurly burly of the Bookfair!

The best way to contact us is via info[at]afed.org.uk - mail to that address goes to our national secretary.

Volin
Jun 18 2008 20:09
Vaneigemappreciationclub wrote:
I agree that a national publication with contributions from AF, SF, IWW, Antifa and other independent groups would be far more effective in terms of distribution and far more coherent in content than having all the various mags that are currently produced.

It's a brilliant idea that should lead to joint actions and propaganda.

Although clearly anarchist/libertarian I don't see why the input of other independent groups couldn't include some of our left communist friends who we obviously share a great deal with, esp. in terms of a class analysis of current events. Even where there's differences, including between the groups above, this could serve as a useful platform for debate - which might even mean something.

It should also be online!!

Mike Harman
Jun 18 2008 20:09
Tacks wrote:
Mike Harman wrote:
Quote:
The best option would be for them all to submit reports on their activity to Freedom

No. Just no.

Alright then.

OK in more depth - who wants to read about what solfed and the AF gets up to? How many people do you think it is?

knightrose
Jun 18 2008 21:17

Don't you think the Manchester Bookfair is of any interest then? Or the Manchester Mayday march? Or plans being made for the Labour Party conference on Sept 20th? They may not interest the intelligentsia in London, but maybe elsewhere?

Mike Harman
Jun 18 2008 21:35
knightrose wrote:
Don't you think the Manchester Bookfair is of any interest then? Or the Manchester Mayday march? Or plans being made for the Labour Party conference on Sept 20th? They may not interest the intelligentsia in London, but maybe elsewhere?

14% inflation busting pay rise won by Shell drivers after a four day strike, one which saw a lot of solidarity and looked likely to escalate significantly,important strikes in Egypt, Iran, Mexico; potential teachers and local government strikes; maybe another postal strike on the horizon - these are all more interesting.

And that's just strikes, off the top of my head.

Then there's the oncoming recession, inflation of everything from food to petrol. But maybe some anarchists meeting up is what everyone wants to know about right now...

Alf
Jun 18 2008 21:47

Catch you are an inveterate councilist.

Alf
Jun 18 2008 21:51

Actually i'm not sure what inveterate means. But claiming that the problem of the organisation of revolutionaries (which is what is basically being discussed on this thread, whether or not one agrees with the way it's posed) is not as 'interesting' as the open struggles of the class expresses that classic councilist separation between the general movement and the politicised minority.

Alf
Jun 18 2008 21:53

Volin - I note with interest your proposal to include the left communists.

Alf
Jun 18 2008 22:03

He said interesting to him, i.e. a very politicised individual, not some bloke down the pub.

Rob Ray
Jun 18 2008 22:05

No it shows a level of realism over what people are going to be interested in hearing about. I'm vaguely interested in what the AF are working on, but that's cos I'm an anarchist. For non-anarchists, it's simply not on the radar. This was why I split the main news section from the 'Get Active' one in Freedom for example.

Mike Harman
Jun 18 2008 22:05
Jack wrote:
I don't think he was making a political judgement, just a practical one - 'open struggles of the class' are of interest (as in, more people are interested in reading about them rather than in the sense of a material interest) to more people than the ins and outs of tiny far left political groupings.

Exactly.

It's not as if there's nothing to write about, nothing to be analysed, nothing to be presented from a class angle as opposed to the (let's face it unusually generous in the case of the Shell strike) mainstream media coverage. Not to pick on the Manchester bookfair but an article about that is an advertisement, not an article. If I want to read adverts presented as news I've got plenty of options.

Mike Harman
Jun 18 2008 22:12
Alf wrote:
He said interesting to him, i.e. a very politicised individual, not some bloke down the pub.
me, earlier wrote:
who wants to read about what solfed and the AF gets up to? How many people do you think it is?

I'm perfectly interested in this conversation about a joint publication - a bit pessimistic about it actually happening but I think it would be a very positive development - as should be quite clear from my previous posts.

I'm talking about the content of such a publication (and indirectly existing ones), sold to 'the public'. There's plenty of stuff to talk about other than the activities of very small political groups - this is why libcom news has a policy of not carrying articles about tiny political groups, and hence isn't indymedia.

Dundee_United
Jun 19 2008 01:28

I think as a movement it's important to move forward with reasonable suggestions like Anarcho's. I think we should aim to avoid replication of efforts where raising the standard of discussions and general standard or propaganda and recruitment as a whole would be attainable with a combined effort.

I'd be keen to see things move forward. Praxis have been discussing submitting more articles to help build shared anarchist media.

knightrose
Jun 19 2008 07:37

I really should not rise to the bait. Catch is both right and wrong. It does matter that readers see what anarchists are doing, it's more important that anarchists analyse real, ongoing class struggle.
But this thread is typical really. People saying what we'll do and won't do, but without AF members contributing to it. I suppose you'll all carry on doing that.

I put forward a practical suggestion which was discussed by a number of AF members. I suggest that is addressed. We can carry on sniping at each other elsewhere.

jambo1
Jun 19 2008 08:24

i think the idea of a national mag would be a good idea, but i also want to know whats happening in the AF and if this does not appear in a national mag we would have to have an AF mag. talk about going round in circles. its a great idea but i dont think it will happen.

Django
Jun 19 2008 08:34

So potential problems with this proposal:

* General intransigence
* Differences about whether groups should be reporting about themselves
* The few political differences, which have already been addressed

I'd suggest that some back matter could be set aside for news about the groups along with their contact info, aims and principles etc, but I agree that this is really of much less importance than getting out a well argued anarchist perspective on issues relevant to people's everyday lives.

cantdocartwheels
Jun 19 2008 08:50
knightrose wrote:
Don't you think the Manchester Bookfair is of any interest then? Or the Manchester Mayday march? Or plans being made for the Labour Party conference on Sept 20th? They may not interest the intelligentsia in London, but maybe elsewhere?

Well tbh i think your post kinda answers itself, since it demonstrates aptly that on a local level it is important what solfed and afed branches are doing and people might be interested. But neither solfed or afed have the numbers individually, or the organisational clout to have a major presence on a national scale. I don't really think a few extra articles in freedom is gonna solve that, hence the whole idea of collaborating on black flag innit.

Mike Harman
Jun 19 2008 09:03
knightrose wrote:
I really should not rise to the bait. Catch is both right and wrong. It does matter that readers see what anarchists are doing, it's more important that anarchists analyse real, ongoing class struggle.

Well perhaps I shouldn't have risen to Tacks' original stupidity. Either way, I don't think either Freedom, the AF or SolFed is best served by members sending in monthly activity reports to it, and I don't think you do either.

Quote:
But this thread is typical really. People saying what we'll do and won't do, but without AF members contributing to it. I suppose you'll all carry on doing that.

The thread is about the AF, SolFed, Freedom, Black Flag contributing to a joint publication instead of doing their own thing (and as far as I can see the general idea is to encourage contributions from independents and/or other groups as well) - it's had contributions from people from the AF, SolFed, Freedom and Black Flag, and some ex-members of them, and some other people - I don't see what's gained by misrepresenting the discussion.

knightrose
Jun 19 2008 09:05

Like I said, we need the editors of BF to contact the AF and Solfed. Otherwise this discussion goes nowhere. Even then there needs to be discussion and the answer may still end up being no. But it's an interesting proposal. So over to the BF editors.

Anarcho
Jun 19 2008 09:07
knightrose wrote:
This has been an interesting discussion so far. The best way to make progress with it is for the Black Flag editorial collective to come up with a series of proposals which can be put to the AF as a whole.

I'll raise it with the rest of the collective. What is the format of a proposal? And should we post any draft here for discussion? No point suggesting something which has obvious flaws in it...

knightrose wrote:
It would not be appropriate to put a proposal together for discussion at the Bookfair as this would circumvent our internal, democratic processes. Anything coming that late would have to be discussed at our October NDM first. In any event, should we decide to take this further, it would be better to have a discussion away from the hurly burly of the Bookfair!

I think a meeting as well a formal suggestion to the feds would be a good, as we do want to attract the interest of independents as well.

Mike Harman
Jun 19 2008 09:28

Well this is my entirely biased view of how something like this might work, and an attempt to bring things back somewhere reasonably productive since I'm partially responsible for derailment sad

The emphasis should be on producing a decent magazine that could get reasonably wide distribution. I don't think it should be seen as a replacement for Direct Action and Organise (or Freedom)- but such a magazine is unlikely to happen with the current duplication of effort that exists.

In terms of what's already there and where it'd fit in:

Freesheets - Resistance, Catalyst, local ones, occasional ones like Dispatch.Various groups could insert them into the magazine - either on street sales and/or have them as free inserts to magazine subscribers.

Freedom - Hopefully some co-ordination both from the freesheet (and web site) angle, and from the magazines in both directions. Reportage and short-medium analytical stuff.

Magazine (Black Flag - but I don't like that much as a name if I'm honest) - monthly, editorial group includes people from SolFed, AF, current Black Flag and Freedom collectives, maybe independents - no idea how this would be structured though. Content is lined up three months ahead with space for urgent articles left in. Longer analysis of current affairs, 'prol-position' type stuff (features on sectors/regions, strike interviews), medium length historical/theoretical stuff but outward looking, letters to the editor. As mentioned, freesheets, maybe a listings thing too, as inserts.

Aufheben, Organise! Direct Action - annual, put out by individual groups like now - could share some content with the magazine (in either direction).