Radical Workers + Students Bloc 10.11.10

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WorkersDreadnought
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Nov 3 2010 10:08
Radical Workers + Students Bloc 10.11.10

On Wednesday 10th November 2010 the NUS and UCU have organised a demonstration in London in protest against the cuts in education. We are calling on all anarchists and militant workers and students to join us in forming a 'Radical Workers' and Students' Bloc' on the demonstration, arguing for all those in education to fight the cuts based on the principles of solidarity, direct action, and control of our own struggles – not for ...a struggle controlled by union bureaucrats and political ‘leaders’ who can only go so far.

The need for workers and students to organise together as one has never been more pressing, and it is us that will be the demonstrators standing our ground in defence of the independent class struggle, against the ‘Left’ which will seek to channel dissent into the election of another Labour government. We push for a widespread fightback based in our workplaces and campuses, as well as in the streets, acting in solidarity with fellow workers and communities fighting these austerity measures all over the world.

We also intend to be a visible anti-capitalist presence on the demonstration pointing out that it is capitalism that has caused the crisis that has led to these cuts, and that in response to their class war we need to reciprocate: meeting cuts with direct action – occupations, strikes and civil disobedience - whilst fighting for a better world which puts human needs first.

Bring red and black flags, banners and propaganda. The student and workers movement needs anarchist ideas and methods more than ever if we're to beat the cuts.

Meet at 11am at Horse Guards Avenue, SW1.

http://london.indymedia.org/events/5861

http://www.facebook.com/?ref=home#!/event.php?eid=125398030849617

WorkersDreadnought
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Nov 7 2010 14:34

Bump.

btw does anyone know anything about this event/supposed anarcho bloc organised for the same demo? who organised it?:

http://www.facebook.com/home.php?#!/event.php?eid=147155068663088

"NUS and the University and College Union (UCU) are jointly organising a national demo, ‘Fund Our Future: Stop Education Cuts’ on Wednesday 10 November 2010, in central London. "

We are calling for DIRECT ACTION at the Fund Our Future Demo (http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=108181969236102)

We need to show these working class hating tory elitists that we aren't taking their shit anymore!

Don your Black Bloc and lets fight back in solidarity!

Direct action!! http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Direct_action

LOOK FOR THE BLACK FLAG!
VIVA LA REVOLUTION!"

Rum Lad
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Nov 7 2010 15:10

Someone on Facebook has put a call out for a Direct Action BLACK BLOC. Seems like a massive fuck up/ball ache waiting to happen:

http://www.facebook.com/home.php?ref=home#!/event.php?eid=147155068663088

mons
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Nov 7 2010 17:06

Hopefully the AF SolFed block can stay separate from them.. looks like they're both arranged to meet at 11 at the same place though

WorkersDreadnought
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Nov 7 2010 17:35

Well the AF and London SF have called for that bloc, but thats not to necessarily say its "The AF and Sofled bloc", as there will probabl;y be comrades in the bloc that are not part of either federation. Dont think there will be many SFers on the block actually, just a few from north london and brighton confirmed at the mo.

Just dont want this to escalate in to an AF+SF versus whoever the other black bloc is comprised of.

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Ellar
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Nov 7 2010 17:40

What did look like a nice Anarchist presence on a important demo should not become completely divided because some Anarchists are using tactics that other Anarchists don't agree with.

Workersdreadnought is spot on.

Caiman del Barrio
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Nov 7 2010 17:57

Yeah, you need to stifle/ignore discussion about content in order to maintain form right? What does "anarchism" even mean anyway, if it's gonna incorporate this kinda stuff? Is poncing around in black really gonna help spread occupations and resistance to the cuts, or will it just be a nice day out for TSG and FIT?

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Ellar
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Nov 7 2010 18:13

Caiman del Barrio if your talking to me then I suggest you look at my comments on the education cuts demo thread because I don't really have the energy to argue over two threads.

much respect

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jef costello
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Nov 7 2010 18:18

Let me get this straight SF/AF have called for a radical workers/students bloc on the march and someone else has called for a Black bloc to meet at the same place?

I am thinking of coming to this if I can get hold of some decent prop. I imagine SF/AF have put something together, any chance of posting it so I could get some copies together?

Caiman del Barrio
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Nov 7 2010 18:27

btw the very fact that there's a black bloc callout on Facebook surely means that the riot police will arrive at 11 sharp no? Not sure you'll even be able to set up your little ninja misanthropy party before the cops try to infiltrate the lines.

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Ellar
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Nov 7 2010 19:29

Caimen del Barrio again are you talking to me? if so then I'd say that I've already made it clear that I have no intention of masking up or being involved in black bloc or ninja misanthropy partys.

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Alf
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Nov 7 2010 20:13

Some thoughts about the radical workers bloc at the anti-cuts demo

http://en.internationalism.org/wr/339/radical-workers-bloc

WorkersDreadnought
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Nov 7 2010 21:05
Caiman del Barrio wrote:
Yeah, you need to stifle/ignore discussion about content in order to maintain form right? What does "anarchism" even mean anyway, if it's gonna incorporate this kinda stuff?

Yeah just to clarify i dont agree with stifling/ignoring discussion about content, and i certainly dont think all various definitions of anarchism are compatible, but i just meant i dont think any trading of words should escalate unnecessarily into hostile conflict before wednesday.

mons
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Nov 7 2010 21:13
Quote:
Let me get this straight SF/AF have called for a radical workers/students bloc on the march and someone else has called for a Black bloc to meet at the same place?

Actually to be fair, it looks like the black block call out was made before AF/SolFed made the call out, so lack of foresight really.

no1
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Nov 7 2010 23:15
WorkersDreadnought wrote:
Caiman del Barrio wrote:
Yeah, you need to stifle/ignore discussion about content in order to maintain form right? What does "anarchism" even mean anyway, if it's gonna incorporate this kinda stuff?

Yeah just to clarify i dont agree with stifling/ignoring discussion about content, and i certainly dont think all various definitions of anarchism are compatible, but i just meant i dont think any trading of words should escalate unnecessarily into hostile conflict before wednesday.

I think Caiman may have been referring to the discussion on facebook.

Caiman del Barrio
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Nov 7 2010 23:46

That was more in reply to Jmacbean actually...

Jason Cortez
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Nov 8 2010 09:50

Well, just because someone put a call out for a black bloc on facebook and people said they are coming dosen't really necessarily mean much in my experience.

Quote:
Hey guess what guys, we will be marching with people of sorts of politics and anyone who wants will join the radical blocs (of course if they are obvivously dodgy removed) All this 'I won't march' with and 'we should march together' is neither here or there in reality. Moaning about it on the internet is pretty pointless in any practical sense (but it does pass the time). If we want to change the culture and perception of others we need to be organised and prepared to put the work in. Here as it has been pointed out the 'black bloc' was already 'called' for (well a FB page set up) before SolFed and AF had agreed to theirs. Due to the democratic practices of these organisations this will always necessarily be so, unless some protocol of provisional agreement for marches is agreed upon.
mons
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Nov 8 2010 10:41

jef costello:

Quote:
I am thinking of coming to this if I can get hold of some decent prop. I imagine SF/AF have put something together, any chance of posting it so I could get some copies together?

AF/London SolFed bulletin:
http://www.mediafire.com/?mui0vzyzv1gas6i

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spitzenprodukte
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Nov 8 2010 19:45

Saw this on the official NUS site- http://www.demo2010.org/2010/11/02/on-the-day-logistics/

and thought it bore a striking resemblance to this- http://libcom.org/library/dignified-effective-demonstration

I think all propaganda should begin with a health and safety assessment from now on.

slothjabber
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Nov 27 2010 15:13

I'm maybe a bit behind the times but is there any perspective for the 'Radical Workers' and Students' Bloc' tactic to be used in the upcoming demos (30th Nov and 4th-5th Dec)? Does this work if there are smaller local protests going on, or will it just be one or two (or none) of us turning up and saying 'hello chaps, I hold the Radical Workers' and Students' franchise, can I interest you in turning against the unions?'

Is there a 'RWSB' leaflet? Slogan? Co-ordinating committee? Facebook page? Email list? Website? Anything? Did any co-ordiantion on the day between SolFed and the AF (and the ICC?) actually come to anything concrete that can be copied and passed on to the local demos?

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Joseph Kay
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Nov 27 2010 17:58
slothjabber wrote:
'Radical Workers' and Students' Bloc' tactic to be used in the upcoming demos (30th Nov and 4th-5th Dec)?

when i'm doing crimes i prefer not to carry a big flag drawing attention to myself as an anarchist, tbh.

slothjabber
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Nov 27 2010 19:58

Oh OK. Wasn't aware I was discussing crimes personally, but then again I've met some sinister French Communists ((c) Daily Mail) so I might be.

No, honestly, don't know why you said that. You're in SolFed, SolFed was one of the organisations calling for the Radical Bloc.

If there was a perspective for a Radical Bloc at the earlier demos, is that still going on? Or are radical blocs secret now? If so, how do we know to turn up to them? If they aren't secret, how do we find out when and where (or organise our own)? If they've been abandonned, OK, where's the statement about why? (See my earlier post saying I might be playing catch-up)

no1
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Nov 27 2010 20:27

I'm not convinced how useful a RWB would be at the moment. They were good when the only thing going on were leftist/trade union marches, at which a RWB was a way of making radical politics visible. But things seem pretty different right now, demos are no longer leftist but are more of a genuine movement, and those taking part are often pretty radical. I mean for example in Brighton anarchists were just thinking wtf is going on when students tried to storm the police station on Wednesday because they were pissed off about how the pigs had assaulted their friends.

Cleishbotham
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Nov 27 2010 23:04

But, in support of Slothjabber, a lot of opportunities to coordinate a deeper resistance have already been wasted because the current movement is starting from scratch and perhaps a lead could be given by a RWB?

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Alf
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Nov 28 2010 00:42

Agree that the present movement is giving rise to demos and other actions that are going beyond the traditional leftist processions. But having been kettled the other day, in a situation where there was huge enthusiasm and energy but not much sense of direction, I would argue that there is an even greater need for those who are pushing towards some kind of self-organisation to work together, and a greater potential to have an impact on a broader scale.

At the same time: since we seem to be moving towards a situation where new and different forms of action are possible, it may be that such a 'bloc' would be better off taking the initiative to form street assemblies rather than (or in addition to) marches, as was tried with some success in France.

I would be very interested to hear whether people think that this could be a serious option for next weekend: ie, pick a convenient spot in the town you're in, converge on it with megaphones or sound systems and start an assembly with the mic open to all who want to speak. Obviously you need a reasonable number of people to start with, but it doesn't have to be a huge number. My understanding is that in Toulouse, where we cooperated on this kind of action with the CNT-AIT, numbers went from dozens to hundreds at some points (and back again as the struggle died down). Similarly at Gar de l'Est in Paris.

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Joseph Kay
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Nov 28 2010 03:18
slothjabber wrote:
You're in SolFed, SolFed was one of the organisations calling for the Radical Bloc.

well yeah, i was one of the people who came up with the (not exactly original) idea when we did the first one on a TUC march in brighton. the point is there's a massive difference between a pedestrian TUC march and a student riot. the best that can be achieved in the former is a decent propaganda presence, in the latter when people are doing the things we've advocated it's superfluous.

slothjabber wrote:
Oh OK. Wasn't aware I was discussing crimes personally, but then again I've met some sinister French Communists ((c) Daily Mail) so I might be. (...) If there was a perspective for a Radical Bloc at the earlier demos, is that still going on? Or are radical blocs secret now? If so, how do we know to turn up to them? If they aren't secret, how do we find out when and where (or organise our own)? If they've been abandonned, OK, where's the statement about why?

have you been on one of the student demos? that's a serious question. the exact reason everyone's so excited about them is that they're riotous and unlawful. breaking out of kettles, marching away from unauthorised routes, occupying buildings etc all requires going toe-to-toe with coppers, exhanging blows etc. waving a flag and identifying yourself as a 'radical' would be absolutely idiotic in this context. Like i don't want to sound patronising, but to imagine anyone wants to read your nuanced communist analysis in the middle of a riot is just bizarre. it's not some "abandonment" of a strategy, it's just not dogmatically repeating a strategy designed to make the best of TUC strolls when they've already been superceded in practice - a practice we've been calling for.

i mean the point of a RWB was to say 'A-B marches get us nowhere, we need direct action', turning up in the middle of mass direct action with the same message is kinda autistic no?

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Joseph Kay
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Nov 28 2010 03:22
Alf wrote:
it may be that such a 'bloc' would be better off taking the initiative to form street assemblies

This is exactly what a couple of Trots tried to do in Brighton on Wednesday. Thankfully nobody had any time for their enlightened leadership discussing what should happen next and instead just got on and did it. Politicos like to imagine the class is just waiting for their insights; nobody gives a shit.

Samotnaf
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Nov 28 2010 06:57

A kettle gives politicos a wonderful opportunity, and plenty of time, to hold a street assembly - with a captive audience to boot...

I was at a No War But The Class War meeting 8 or 9 years ago, where Alf said something like "the unions are corporatist and what we need is to break down the separations between workers." And didn't elaborate beyond. This banality is no more profound than, and expresses no further development from, "Workers of the world unite..." said over 150 years previously when it was original. If the insights expressed during street assemblies are no more insightful than this they won't be at all inciteful. Assemblies might be pertinent in certain circumstances, but the essential thing is the content of what is said: form without content can only breed discontent. And I haven't seen much evidence that the strongest advocates of assemblies here have begun to develop some original insights from the social movements arising out of France and the UK that could help towards them going further.

Although the following, written in 2002, is kind of off-topic, at least in its specific concrete references, in its general perspectives it seems quite relevant:

Quote:
Contradictions of the Assembly Form

The Zapatistas are hailed by the anarchists and other ideologists of the assembly form for their non-hierarchical form of decision-making. They see what they want to see. The genuine desire for mutual self-determination latches onto a form of organising which is certainly necessary in many circumstances but which usually doesn't go far enough in its refusal of external authority. It ignores the fact that the assembly form has, throughout history, been more than just occasionally compatible with capitalist progress. For example, in Maoist China (the inspiration for the Mexican fore-runners of the Zapatistas, dating from the 70s and 80s) mass self-management within each local commune helped to develop State capital. Significantly, the self- management of local production and distribution was carried out by collective 'non-hierarchical' decision-making but within an externally-defined framework whereby the national comprehension and organisation of this production and distribution was the exclusive, and secret, terrain of the Party (however, some of these projects, such as 'The Great Leap Forward' , were so weirdly ideological that they hardly helped develop State capital, or, for that matter, anything else apart from an atmosphere of utter fatalism). Mao had his central committee, his distant Zapatista heirs have the secret circle of Indian chiefs. Open Democracy for the Masses - Secret Dictatorship for the Elite - the cry, in different forms, of the ruling class everywhere. Politics, like commodity production, is so precious that it should always be attended by a bodyguard of secrets. The defenders of the Zapatistas claim that they are not opportunists, that they have integrity, that they're not Leninist - as if many Bolsheviks before they came to power in 1917 didn't also have integrity and took enormous risks. The point is not that vanguardist manipulators can be defined as purely cynical opportunists (unlike those in Power) but that the logic and practical form of "democracy" allows people to be manipulated - it's mostly based on the resignation of individuals to the limit of externally defined notions of acceptability, to what everyone else says and does. Usually it involves resignation to those who specialise in taking the initiative and to the experts who can put their nebulous feelings into words. The experts in making speeches only express the lowest common denominator of the mass of individuals at the assembly: the different nuances of autonomous self-expression in struggle never get a word in. Especially because of the fear of being ostracised or made fun of, of being humiliated for daring to criticise those who command hierarchical respect. Manipulation falls on the fertile ground of everyone's anxiety of being "incorrect", of making their own mistakes; it falls on the fertile ground of the gang mentality, the corruption of the desire for community.

However, the critique of the assembly form can go too much the other way, dismissing mass decision-making in favour of the 'clarity' of the communist minority. This is the typical line of the Bordigists, for example. That Bordiga, apparently till the end of his life, supported the crushing of the Kronstadt commune is illustrative of how intellectual, abstract and elitist this notion of the 'correct' minority is. Whilst every struggle may have a minority of people who are clearer about the necessary aims of the movement these perspectives have to be argued openly, and a movement should be judged on its practical progress towards these aims, a process over time, not on its failure to spontaneously launch an assault on the totality of commodity relations from the moment of the insurrection, a magical absolutist fantasy that has little practical meaning: an ideology of conversion to an ahistorical truth. Conveniently, the critique of this 'totality' of commodity relations that this intellectual perspective involves excludes a critique of the specialists in consciousness. So much for an assault on the totality. Moreover, it's just as destructive of subversive initiative to submit to the dictatorship of the minority as it is to submit to the dictatorship of the majority.

- from here.

Samotnaf
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Nov 28 2010 07:05

In fact, the most pertinent stuff in the above is this:

Quote:
the logic and practical form of "democracy" allows people to be manipulated - it's mostly based on the resignation of individuals to the limit of externally defined notions of acceptability, to what everyone else says and does. Usually it involves resignation to those who specialise in taking the initiative and to the experts who can put their nebulous feelings into words. The experts in making speeches only express the lowest common denominator of the mass of individuals at the assembly: the different nuances of autonomous self-expression in struggle never get a word in. Especially because of the fear of being ostracised or made fun of, of being humiliated for daring to criticise those who command hierarchical respect. Manipulation falls on the fertile ground of everyone's anxiety of being "incorrect", of making their own mistakes; it falls on the fertile ground of the gang mentality, the corruption of the desire for community.

The rest is almost entirely off-topic. My apologies.

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Alf
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Nov 28 2010 09:21

The kettle in London wasn't broken out of. And there was no street assembly while it was going on, even though there were many small discusions that you could join in with. The truth is that the police were a hundred times more organised than we were and they trapped us before any of us knew what was going on. If we can't take the step of coming together to discuss how to respond in such situations - and preferably before they occur - we will be contained every time. It's not a question of 'enlightened leadership' but of pushing for a situation where demonstrations, rallies etc can find a real voice that goes beyond slogans, even if slogans have their place. Of course assemblies can be manipulated, but so can dispersed actions by small groups or inidviduals.

I would also like to say that I was raising the possibility of assemblies being held on a local basis and not necessarily as part of a bigger march. That would be a 'direct action' in itself because you are not supposed to hold assemblies in the street without first going through the official channels. And the discussion at such meetings, in the context of a wider movement, would certainly have to go beyond generalities about workers' unity to take up practical proposals for spreading the struggle. Another possibility is that the university occupations open up more and call on people from the outside to take part, as they did in the anti-CPE struggle or May 68. Maybe this is already happening on small scale.

I think this is a very important question and needs a wide debate. it isn't just a discussion between left communist 'politicos' and free wheeling anarchists. At the Edinburgh Class Struggle day school the strongest advocate for workers' assemblies as a way forward was a Solfed comrade,and the meeting actually decided to take the step of calling one.

Regarding the French assembly experience, that certainly needs to be publicised and discussed. We have the opportunity to organise a tour of the UK by workers (railways I think) from the group who initiated the assemblies at Gar de l'Est. Probably in the new year - a bit like the tour of Germany and Greece by the worker from Tekel in Turkey (we will publish an article on this soon). They are not ICC members or even sympathisers. JK: do you think Solfed in places like Brighton, London, Manchester, Edinburgh would be prepared to cooperate with us in organising such a tour, like the FAU did in Germany? What about the AF and others? We will write more formally about this but a first reaction would be useful.

Battlescarred
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Nov 28 2010 09:42

Send a formal letter out and then AF will look at it.
( It's Gare de l'Est)