Anarchism and rich benifactors

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captainmission
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Jun 11 2004 16:16
Anarchism and rich benifactors

ok, so just imagine that there's this group of rich people that where to suddenly inject a whole lot of cash in to the anarchist movement for, lets say hypothetically speaking, a string of social centres arround the country. Now whilst such a thing i'm sure would be welcomed, might we perhaps loose sight of other not so positive affects of this- like the importance of local fundrasing for getting people involved and feeling part of the project?

Is sucking on the big cash cock neccessarily healthy for the anarchist movement

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Steven.
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Jun 11 2004 19:26

Hmmm... an interesting hypothetical this...

I mean obviously it would create problems like you mention... on the other hand surely it'd be too good an opportunity to miss?

I mean to stop certain individuals having too much power it might be worth setting up safeguards that say either the cash is a one-off injection into certain projects, which are then completely self-managed, or else the money is put into a fund which then pays out a regular amount each year, decided by some delegated + mandated council...

It could also create problems with rivalries/people fighting over the funds... which wouldn't be healthy...

Mike Harman
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Jun 11 2004 21:02

Bit like this?

http://www.salon.com/tech/feature/2002/01/30/chumbawamba/

Quote:
General Motors is providing $100,000 of backing for two fiercely anti-corporate activist groups, IndyMedia and CorpWatch
Lazlo_Woodbine
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Jun 12 2004 23:30

It would be a harmful thing -- being funded by the very class we're trying to destroy. But it could also help get things off the ground, and it would be a very well rooted group that could afford to pass up a dollop of cash.

The most important thing to keep a libertarian centre going is people freely putting their time in, and you can't buy that.

captainmission
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Jun 14 2004 14:23
Lazlo_Woodbine wrote:
The most important thing to keep a libertarian centre going is people freely putting their time in, and you can't buy that.

you can't buy free things, that's deep man grin

Of course such a thing is a great oppotunity and we shouldn't forget that, but is only 'well rooted groups' could pass this up doesn't this play the role of stopping 'well rooted groups' developing?

Lazlo_Woodbine
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Jun 15 2004 19:26
captainmission wrote:
but if only 'well rooted groups' could pass this up doesn't this play the role of stopping 'well rooted groups' developing?

If these sources of money dried up much anarcho activity would die back to a very low level -- and then hopefully rebuild itself on a mre stable basis. But to refuse the money while it's still there -- who's going to do that?

captainmission
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Jun 16 2004 15:28

Well isn't that a situation we should be worried about? that if the cash flow stopped we'd be fucked? Surely we need to think about how to make our projects more sustainable. I mean who much money could we bring in by tapping into our own addictions? Stuff like selling black market tabaco, cheap booze or drugs to ourselves would bring in a hell of alot.

Lazlo_Woodbine
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Jun 29 2004 13:29

The Sumac, Cowley and 1 in 12 mainly survive by selling drugs -- beer -- to anarchos. I don't think any of them have been bunged cash by millionaires, apart from the lump that 1 in 12 got from CRASS in the 1980s.

The unfortunate fact is that a lot of the direct action scene is funded by the middle and upper class. Overcoming that is imprtant -- I still think that the occasional cash injection can help us on that route, as long as it is integrated into a strategy for self-reliance.

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cantdocartwheels
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Jul 14 2004 08:40

anarchist and socialist movements will always have to get funding from wherever they can

i mean take the WSF, ok i'd hesitate to call it genuinely socialist, but as a classic example its funded by some dodgy grouos...like the Ford Foundation i think!???!

marx and pleny of more modern writers could not have put out their work witghout rich benefactors, while others like engels, bakunin and kroptokin were rich benefactors in themselves

in short its not worth worrying about, as long as your keeping an eye on your funders

peace

john

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pingtiao
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Jul 14 2004 09:05

aye.

Bear in mind that you can't help which class you were born into. You can help what you do with that social position. Some class traitor decides to use some of their appropriated wealth to help us, then that is as good as a Russian prince becoming a major anarchist theoretician.

nightowl
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Jul 25 2004 13:24

I can see the problem with some company that exploits its workers and the environment handing over money, but how would people feel if it was some rich individual like a sportsman or singer putting money into the movement. Would people go along with that old cliched 'oh he sold out' i.e. he got successful thing. There's an interesting cartoon by Donald Rooum in which the wildcat and free range egghead are having an argument. It paraphrases something like this I think:

wildcat: we are proud of our poverty

egghead: speak for youself. i'll work toward anarchism but while society's still unfair i'd rather be comfortable.

bigdave
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Jul 25 2004 15:26

An important question might be "What is the benefactor getting out of it?" If the answer is "Nothing but the satisfaction of knowing he/she was trying to raise the state of humanity with the means at their disposal." then I'd have little problem with it.

I don't really believe in "destroying" the middle/upper classes. While we look for enemies to blame we are failing to solve the problem. I believe in raising the consciousness of humanity to the extent those social divisions will be eradicated.

By the way I'm new here. What is a social centre? black bloc

Lazlo_Woodbine
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Jul 26 2004 18:56

Dave -- something like this: www.sumac.org.uk

How's Zoltan and Kickboxer BTW? Mr. T

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cantdocartwheels
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Jul 26 2004 20:13
bigdave wrote:
I don't really believe in "destroying" the middle/upper classes. While we look for enemies to blame we are failing to solve the problem. I believe in raising the consciousness of humanity to the extent those social divisions will be eradicated.

how do you destroy capitalisms armies by raising our consciousness?

not that this really has any relvance to this question, i mean the simple fact is we have had rich benefactors in the past, we have rich benefactors now and we will continue to do so.

noone except absolute nutters beleive in 'destroying the middle class'

capitalism creates the proletariat, and the nature of capitalism shapes the proletarian movement, capitalism creates the conditions by which it can be destroyed. Thats the whole point surely?

john

lucy82
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Jul 26 2004 21:27
Quote:
An important question might be "What is the benefactor getting out of it?" If the answer is "Nothing but the satisfaction of knowing he/she was trying to raise the state of humanity with the means at their disposal." then I'd have little problem with it

I have a massive problem with it. I can think of a lot of people who don’t call themselves anarchists or anythingists but who would certainly not think the state of their humanity needs raising, and would find the suggestion that rich benefactors should even attempt to do it, extremely patronising.

Quote:
I don't really believe in "destroying" the middle/upper classes. While we look for enemies to blame we are failing to solve the problem. I believe in raising the consciousness of humanity to the extent those social divisions will be eradicated

who are the people who consititute this unconsiousness mass of humanity exactly? are "we" included in that? if not, what makes "us" so special? and if we are the enlightened, why aren't social divisions amongst "us" eradicated?

or maybe, people ain't so unconsiousness after all. people live politics everyday and they aren't stupid. why do you think the majority of people don't vote? Is it because they don’t understand the arguments? Or maybe its because they understand the status quo only too well? Or maybe its just not important and boring and irrelevant? But none of that is apathy or stupidity or lower consciousness (think its pretty smart myself).

And it seems that while the unenlightened masses get lumped together waiting for political enlightenment, the better off get away lightly. I'd argue that if we don't look for enemies to blame, we are failing to solve the problem. Do we not blame the board and CEOs of multinationals when we act against them because the company wreaks ecological and social havoc across continents? If not, who do we target?

Maybe what we should do is turn it upside down. Eg. challenge their consiousness by attacking their economic and political power. Change would be nice and any form of enlightenment in terms of the rest of the world would be welcome. roll eyes

The only way of working with people is to work WITH people on equal terms (not for them or to enlighten them or in their best interests or to educate them politically because this always assumes that you somehow know better then them).

And unfortunately from the point of view of the above paragraph, legal social centres being set up around the G8 will probably just exist as centres for activists and will shut after the G8. Ideally, IMO, legal and squatted social centres should be a way of making connections with people who you wouldn’t necessarily meet otherwise. I know it doesn’t always happen like that no matter where the money comes from but I’d feel better about the legal social centres being set up to em..mobilise (sorry, hate that word) for the G8, if there was an intention that they would seek to stay open after the G8 by whatever means necessary (squat a previously rented property anyone?).

The problem with taking money from the upper classes is that you can come to depend on it, not take grassroots initiatives, start looking to that money before you consider any other way of sorting out the problem, ignore the class relationships consolidated and perpetuated by that transaction and lose the energy and empowerment through collective involvement that goes into getting a squat up and running as a social centre within two weeks.

and if

Quote:
the simple fact is we have had rich benefactors in the past, we have rich benefactors now and we will continue to do so

why will we continue to do so? we should at least keep arguing about it. (or find a collective, empowering way of financing ourselves)

Quote:
Is sucking on the big cash cock neccessarily healthy for the anarchist movement

I think its not. grin

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cantdocartwheels
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Jul 27 2004 16:58
lucy82 wrote:
Quote:
the simple fact is we have had rich benefactors in the past, we have rich benefactors now and we will continue to do so

why will we continue to do so? we should at least keep arguing about it. (or find a collective, empowering way of financing ourselves)

Because we live in a capitalist society surely?

Unless we're being all primmo about it, capitalist society creates the technological and ideological means for us to destroy it.

Many revolutionary organisations have gained funding from richer benefactors. Just as most revolutionary movements start by recruiting a lot of members from among the lower end of the middle class and upper end of the working class. That is the situation created by capitalism.

I mean how do you think anarchist and marxist movements publish material? Could anyone publish books without a rich benefactor?

peace

john

lucy82
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Jul 28 2004 00:14
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I mean how do you think anarchist and marxist movements publish material? Could anyone publish books without a rich benefactor?

by photocopying, free books on the net, zines, collectives.. and its not just books is it? film and other media..

all this stuff already exists. we don't need rich benefactors.

cause its shooting ourselves in the arse.

lucy82
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Jul 28 2004 01:30

some rich tossers want to give us money and we do fucking take it!

THERE ARE STRINGS ATTACHED AND WE DON'T SEEM TO WANT THEM TO FUCK OFF!

VERY SIMPLE!

lucy82
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Jul 28 2004 01:51

The strings are more like fucking webs.

Why do you want to take the money from rich tossers anyway?

lucy82
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Jul 28 2004 02:14

me neither.

and i'm not pure in any sense. roll eyes

and yeah, i'm sick of paying for things too.

if we suck the cash cock to soon and to often, we lose that feeling of oh fuck what are we going to do. its crap but it makes you creative.

we can resource our own stuff but we never will in the longterm as long as theres a rich sugar daddy to run too. thats the string.

and for anarchists, i'd say it was a fucking big string.

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pingtiao
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Jul 28 2004 11:09

I don't really see the problem, especially with the legal social centres argument.

There is all this puritan crap about how they *have* to outside legalistic structures to be real counter-institutions, but I don't see the problem in using their laws against them. Face it, if we ever get powerful, all our illegal social centres will be evicted and destroyed.

We need at least some things that can survive, a plethora of tactics and structures are useful as we are harder to destroy that way.

AlexA
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Jul 28 2004 13:41
pingtiao wrote:
I don't really see the problem, especially with the legal social centres argument.

There is all this puritan crap about how they *have* to outside legalistic structures to be real counter-institutions, but I don't see the problem in using their laws against them. Face it, if we ever get powerful, all our illegal social centres will be evicted and destroyed.

As will the legal ones of course!

Lazlo_Woodbine
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Jul 28 2004 14:02

Money from rich people -- even if there are no overt strings attached -- is still a problem. This money is not distributed to 'us' or to 'the movement', but filters down through personal networks. Basically projects get money if the people running them have rich mates. This means that people with rich mates -- will get better funded propaganda, centes and the like.

it creates a form of patronage, in which things happen if s rich person can be convinced that it's a good thing to happen. It means that anarcho activity will thus reflect too closely the power structures it is trying to destroy.

I take the money, but I don't like it.

The Blast
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Aug 1 2004 21:48

A rich person giving a political group lots of money is a fair indication that the politics of the group must be pretty shit. If I were in a group offered lots of cash by a member of the ruling class to perpetuate and increase its activities I'd sit down and have a long hard think about what exactly it is that we are doing wrong. The problem isn't whether or not to take the money - its that its being offered in the first place.

bigdave
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Aug 11 2004 14:44

There's a lot of hypothesising going on but does anyone know of any time this has actually happened? If not, how can you say that it only happens through personal networks or whatever? If a person who happens to be rich feels enough guilt/remorse as to offer money to people who allege that they want to improve society, what is the exact problem with accepting the tintin?

captainmission
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Aug 11 2004 17:30

yeah can think of quite a few times this has happened. Even projects i've been involved in its happen with. And it has always come through knowing people or being freinds of friends, even with offical organisations such as the goldsmith foundation or network for social change. On one level its completely understandable- why would you give money to someone you don't know?

Quote:
If a person who happens to be rich feels enough guilt/remorse as to offer money to people who allege that they want to improve society, what is the exact problem with accepting the tintin?

I'm not questioning the motives or moral character or even neccessarily the class background (after all i've know working class people who've donate £1000's, and unless your working with a extremely restricted view of the working class i.e. no disposable income at all, then its quite possible for working class people to be 'rich benifactors') of those donating or reciving, but the process of patronage it creates. Think lazlo put better than i could above.

lucy82
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Aug 11 2004 17:57
Quote:
does anyone know of any time this has actually happened

yes.

Quote:
If a person who happens to be rich...

richness doesn't just happen. its made off the backs of other people roll eyes

no doubt i'd take the money in the end. but to me, its kinda a failure to do so. if i can get to europe, i'll get cheap booze and fags so we can have our own private party with no money changing hands of course...

absolutely not.

taking money away from the tax levied on beer and fags to fund anarchists would be wrong

grin

bigdave
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Aug 12 2004 13:50

So what happened with this rich benefactor's donation?

Yeah, I know people don't normally just "happen" to be rich. Even lottery winners support the rule of the rich by effectively agreeing its OK to be a millionaire - which it isn't. The lottery and shows like "Millionaire" are just propaganda - the carrot dangling from the stick. I'm actually pretty sure that for the masses to organise effectively, we have to stop watching TV and reading the mainstream capitalist press/propaganda - yes, I know its difficult but you have to start somewhere.

I think if you accept a donation from a rich person it does sort of compromise some principles and damage your public image - especially if anyone else knows about it. Its a bit like those new awards for the rich who loudly and proudly give cash to "charities" and so on. The super-philanthropist as justification for the enslaving of the world.

AnarchoAl
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Aug 16 2004 14:02

In the oft-mentioned "£10k for new social centres" case, the process seemed transparent to me. I saw it advertised on Indymedia and various mailing lists, it was done through a large network, and how the money was distributed as decided by the social centre projects, not the individuals who had the cash.

Our social centre project in Glasgow has also recieved financial help from local anarchists who are older and have accrued some money and want to put some of it back into the movement. Yes, this money is distributed on a friendship basis, but in the absence of a central funding pot (which would also be a vulnerable central point of failure) there's not really another alternative.

Maybe, when the movement here is bigger, there will be a need for some sort of democratic federal funding system, but in the meantime these cash boosts help us to build. The important thing is that we invest one-off or irregular bulk funding in infrastructure projects (printers, social centres etc) that are designed to be self-funding. Investing in self-funding capital creates no dependencies to give individuals inordinate power.

gawkrodger
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Aug 16 2004 17:42

can't be arsed to read all the above.

i don't think we should ever take money from the State or companies. if tehre are no strings attached from an individual - say a rich kid with a trust fund interested in anarchism we should take it

maybe we should all revert to playing the lottery smile