Anarchists to contest 2012 London elections

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alb
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Aug 21 2010 14:18
Anarchists to contest 2012 London elections

Latest news.

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Ellar
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Aug 21 2010 16:17

Does anyone anarchist hear support this idea? Isn't it either a contradiction in beliefs and action? or just a waste of time?

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Joseph Kay
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Aug 21 2010 16:19

Ian Bone et al in 'youse are all do-nothings look at this publicity stunt' shocker.

sort it out frosty
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Aug 21 2010 17:42

yes, ian bone is a fucking idiot, but its unfortunate that good people are following his bullshit. good folks mind you, who its disturbing will waste time propping up the crumbling illusion of politricks.

who gives a fuck about elections these days?

Iron_Fist
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Aug 21 2010 18:36

This meeting is to announce a bold departure. We intend to stand a couple of candidates in the East London super constituencies on an anti-authority populist patform.Obviously not to gain votes but to utilise, in those months before the Olympics, an opportunity to unite all disaffected grass roots groups,isolated individuals, and rebellious elements into a new movement.

yeah? like fuck you will.

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Steven.
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Aug 23 2010 09:14
alb wrote:
Latest news.

before I even hovered over that link I thought I bet that's on Ian Bone's blog.

Of course, it's a counterproductive waste of time.

He will get a tiny number of votes, which will make anarchists look even weaker and more useless than they do at present (which is already extremely useless)

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jef costello
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Aug 23 2010 09:23

It's all part of a wider strategy. The candidate is a visionary who knows the exact date of the revolution.

When Ian Bone is rightfully laughing at you for being a fantasist you might as well give up. Unless he turns around and supports you less than a year later.

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Steven.
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Aug 23 2010 09:32

I forgot to mention the most important thing, which is that this gives the impression that anarchists think that voting and the electoral system can actually change things. And that others can change things for us, rather than we can only rely on ourselves and solidarity from other workers. Oh well...

alb
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Aug 23 2010 10:44
jef costello wrote:
It's all part of a wider strategy. The candidate is a visionary who knows the exact date of the revolution.

I think his "30 February" was non-pointy-head for "Greek calends". Let's hope he's wrong.

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jackiewilson
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Aug 26 2010 14:47
Joseph Kay wrote:
'youse are all do-nothings'.

I know he aint talkin about me there. This morning I counted to infinity...twice.

Boris Badenov
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Aug 26 2010 14:56
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an anti-authority populist patform.

So a bit like the English Democrats only moar anarkye. Flawless plan.

Boris Badenov
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Aug 26 2010 16:05
xurbanpiratedreamerx wrote:
Places where the far left can get elected: Not England. I can also present this study in Venn Diagram if necessary? Even if you want to descend into electoralism, its still cart before horse.

But what if they promise that they are not leftist ment..."nutters" but regular man in the street types? Surely that would make it more palatable.

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Joseph Kay
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Aug 26 2010 16:22

tbf, they're explicitly not standing to win ("Obviously not to gain votes"). but if that seems pointless, don't worry, it will cause a "controversial and rowdy" meeting at the bookfair... stuntism, sigh.

vanilla.ice.baby
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Aug 26 2010 18:49

You do realise a Solfed member who sometimes posts here will be involved right?

Boris Badenov
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Aug 26 2010 18:52
vanilla.ice.baby wrote:
You do realise a Solfed member who sometimes posts here will be involved right?

DUN DUN DUN

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rat
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Aug 26 2010 20:23

L&S next?

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JoeMaguire
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Aug 26 2010 20:46
vanilla.ice.baby wrote:
You do realise a Solfed member who sometimes posts here will be involved right?

I am not opposed to using the Sinn Fein tactic in elections if your alluding to me. In this circumstance I think the reasons are misguided. I genuinely fear that this is more about personalities and that an already active group like WAG could waste time and effort on something that will more than likely bomb.

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Chilli Sauce
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Aug 28 2010 10:13
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I can also present this study in Venn Diagram if necessary?

Yes, yes, yes!

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JoeMaguire
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Aug 28 2010 11:25
revol68 wrote:
october_lost wrote:
vanilla.ice.baby wrote:
You do realise a Solfed member who sometimes posts here will be involved right?

I am not opposed to using the Sinn Fein tactic in elections if your alluding to me. In this circumstance I think the reasons are misguided. I genuinely fear that this is more about personalities and that an already active group like WAG could waste time and effort on something that will more than likely bomb.

What is the Sinn Fein tactic in elections, vote early vote often?

It was coined by Guy Aldred and predates the recent turn to taking elected positions which split the republican movement a la Real IRA etc.

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Volin
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Aug 28 2010 12:42

Aldred only called it the Sinn Fein tactic because he, like Sinn Fein candidates originally, wanted to run in the election with no intention of taking up a seat and entering parliament. That's where the comparison ends. Instead it was to use the opportunity to spread propaganda and, indeed, part of the reason he was relatively famous in Glasgow was because of his running in successive general elections. (Obviously, he never came even close to winning).

In that sense, it's very relevant and has absolutely nothing to with being complicit with bourgeois democracy. Of course, I'd criticize it as a tactic because of its focus on personalities and, inevitably, celebrity. Even if your campaign is run along directly democratic lines it all too easily separates the candidate from the others working with them and, more importantly, reinforces the gulf between voters and politicians. That, and the fact that it's very easy just to pass the candidate off as a crack-pot.

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playinghob
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Aug 28 2010 20:26

Re: Aldred, more specifically the essence of the Sinn fein tactic, we're looking at 1921 here, to quote John Taylor Caldwell: Guy Aldred & the background to the Anti-Parliamentary Communist Federation. Proletarian Aspirations Pt.2. Anti-Parliamentarism & Communism in Britain 1921-1945.

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They would use the ballot box for their purpose - to give voice to the workers condemnation of parliamentary careerism, and at the same time give form to their power.He proposed to the groups a scheme whereby the ballot box would be used to elect anti-parliamentary candidates at the next General Election. Successful candidates would not go to parliament, but would remain in their constituencies till they had a quorum, then they would constitute an assembly, insisting on their right to represent the district which elected them.Thus a dual authority is established, which could possibly spread like wildfire, as these innovations do, and eventually challenge the State

He goes on:

Quote:
Sinn Fein had used the ballot box in the 1918 elections to elect their own anti-parliamentarian nationalists who then assembled in Dublin, declaring themselves the Irish Legislative Assembly, and by that authority declaring the British troops invaders. The workers, Aldred argued by analogy, were invaded by the capitalist class and were morally and economically justified in establishing an authority, defensive, offensive, and administrative. He called it the "Sinn Fein Tactic" - which was unfortunate.

Mark Shipway writes in Anti-Parliamentary Communism: The Movement for Workers Councils in Britain, 1917-45

Quote:
In the context of communist candidatures the 'Sinn Fein' tactic meant that
successful candidates would not go to parliament, but would remain in their constituencies till they had a quorum, then they would constitute an assembly, insisting on the right to represent the district which elected them. Thus a dual authority is established. which could possibly spread like wild- fire, as these innovations do, and eventually challenge the state.

The election of a communist candidate standing on the 'Sinn Fein' programme would be an expression of the voters' opinion that 'political authority should be withdrawn from Parliament and represented in Councils or Soviets created by and responsible to the workers'. These references to 'dual authority' and 'Councils or Soviets' suggest that besides the obvious influence derived from the Irish nationalists, the example of the 1917 Russian revolution also entered into the thinking behind the 'Sinn Fein' tactic advocated by Aldred.

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Volin
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Aug 28 2010 22:20

Interesting stuff - I have read Shipway et al. but don't remember that!

There's something very SPGB-esque about thinking you can vote through workers' power. You might argue it wouldn't be disconnected from the militancy of struggle because it's only then that you'd win a majority. I'm skeptical, tho.

ajjohnstone
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Aug 28 2010 23:25

http://www.worldsocialism.org/spgb/20C/Parliament_update.html

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When a majority, actively demanding and working for socialism, emerges it would be folly for them to leave control of the state – and its “armed bodies of men” – in the hands of supporters of capitalism. That would be to leave a potential weapon in the hands of the opponents of socialism. Certainly, with the spread of socialist ideas even amongst members of the armed forces, it would be a somewhat blunted weapon, but one still capable of inflicting some harm. So, it would be dangerous to take the risk. Better to use the fact of being the majority to take control of the state via elections and parliament, if only to neutralise it.
alb
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Aug 29 2010 13:26

As it happens both Aldred and the SPGB contested the Glasgow Woodside by-election in November 1962. Don't know if he was still advocating the Sinn Fein tactic or anything resembling council communism.

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Aug 29 2010 18:02

Whoever it is, they are not "contesting" the 2012 election. Like Lord Bucket Head and the 1960's Bread and Circuses Party, the activist is demonstrating for people that power structures can and should be mocked.

As a by-product, the term "anarchist" gets a welcome airing. Finally, Anarchists and anarchism cannot be harmed by it, because we are not in the business of reassuring the Undecided Centre,--- are we?

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cantdocartwheels
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Aug 30 2010 07:13
brumgroup wrote:
Whoever it is, they are not "contesting" the 2012 election. Like Lord Bucket Head and the 1960's Bread and Circuses Party, the activist is demonstrating for people that power structures can and should be mocked.

As a by-product, the term "anarchist" gets a welcome airing. Finally, Anarchists and anarchism cannot be harmed by it, because we are not in the business of reassuring the Undecided Centre,--- are we?

Yes we know its a publicty stunt, its just a tedious and time consuming one. Having been involved in publicity raising election campaigns before i can assure you its just a waste of time and money that leaves everyone burnt out and demoralised.

its not like martin wright is doing anything new theres always some joker or some lefty standing in elections as a pirate party or an anti-capitalist party or whatever, fair enough its a bit of a laugh but it means absolutely fuck all to most people.

Spikymike
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Aug 30 2010 11:44

I see that Alan has not missed this opportunity to again try and import the SPGB's tired arguments in favour of using Parliament and similar forms of capitalist state institutions for supposed revolutionary purposes.

Since much of their recent pamphlet uses quotes from the AF and WSM to contest opposition to the SPGB viewpoint (which by the way goes much further than the so-called Sinn Fein tactic) then members of those organisations would be best placed to defend their particular point of view - though it might deserve a separate thread.

Suffice it to say for now that the SPGB's stand in this pamphlet only carries any weight if you accept the terms of the debate they set - this reduces the argument to an abstract level in which everything hangs on a future scenario of the vast majority of the population already being convinvced revolutionaries organised through some kind of mass socialist party. In otherwords it totally ignores the material process of a developing class struggle and the relationship of that to changes in consciousness - an inevitably hesitant and uneven process both within particular countries and accross the globe. It further fails to understand the extent to which the ideology of capitalist democracy invades and stultifies the emmergence of even the baseline of working class resistance to capitalist attacks without which no revolutionary movement could conceivably emmerge.

The pamphlet's arguments also seem especially narrowly based in the British or Western context given the correctly world wide emphasis they place on the nature of capitalism and a potential future communist society. But then recent comments in the Socialist Standard from their members and supporters suggest that some really do believe in a two stage 'revolution' ie first establish liberal democracy and then win over the majority to socialism and establish world socialism/communism. See for example the letter from their supporter Stephen Shenflield: ''This exemplifies the point that the struggle for democratic rights is an essential precondition of the struggle for socialism (SS Aug 2010) and the article by Stuart Watkins in the same issue: '' .. genuine communism is impossible unless a majority of the population consciously chooses it and expresses its choice democratically, at the ballot box; and not just in one country, but globally.'' (my emphasis).

I leave out here the arguments as to what 'a majority' at what point actually is from the SPGB's point of view - a good deal more could be said about that as well.

The SPGB's understanding of capitalism and class struggle remains essentially non-marxist and idealist and continues to detract from some of the other useful analysis of capitalism which they present from time to time.

alb
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Aug 30 2010 13:22
Spikymike wrote:
Since much of their recent pamphlet uses quotes from the AF and WSM to contest opposition to the SPGB viewpoint (which by the way goes much further than the so-called Sinn Fein tactic) then members of those organisations would be best placed to defend their particular point of view - though it might deserve a separate thread.

The pamphlet's arguments also seem especially narrowly based in the British or Western context .

This is partly because the arguments of the Irish WSM and Class War (not so much AF since they talked about civil war and so were either in Russia in 1917 or Spain in 1936) were also situated in this context.

Incidentally Class War weren't opposed to contesting elections on principle as they put up a candidate in the Kensington by-election in July 1988. I think they were pursuing the same tactic as the SPGB -- publicity.

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Aug 30 2010 17:57
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alb wrote:
As it happens both Aldred and the SPGB contested the Glasgow Woodside by-election in November 1962. Don't know if he was still advocating the Sinn Fein tactic or anything resembling council communism.

At the tender age of 76, a member and founder of the United Socialist Movement, Aldred stood as an Independent Socialist on an anti-war ticket. Supporting the Scottish CND in their campaign against the American nuclear base at Holy Loch.

Aldred polled 134 votes and the SPGB 83.

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Aug 31 2010 13:39
alb wrote:
not so much AF since they talked about civil war and so were either in Russia in 1917 or Spain in 1936

Yeah, Jesus, what were we thinking, looking at revolutionary situations in the past when talking about possible future revolutionary situations? Mad, eh?

I do find it kind of sweet that the SPBG apparently thinks that if a socialist party gained a majority and declared that the age of capitalism is over and dissolved the UK state the forces of capital and the military would just roll over and let it happen without responding with force.

alb
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Aug 31 2010 15:43
madashell wrote:
I do find it kind of sweet that the SPBG apparently thinks that if a socialist party gained a majority and declared that the age of capitalism is over and dissolved the UK state the forces of capital and the military would just roll over and let it happen without responding with force.

This is not what the SPGB actually says. One of the reasons they say that the majority working class should win control of political power (ideally via the ballot box) is precisely to take this out of the hands of the ruling class and, if need be, use it to deal with any "pro-slavery rebellion" (Marx's phrase).

The stupid thing to do, that would indeed provoke violence, would be try to take over the means of production while ignoring the state (ie leaving it in the hands of the ruling class). Even stupider would be be to try to take on and smash the state in a head-on clash.