Derilict Politics

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pushka
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Nov 19 2005 18:18

All right...Pushka hangs her head in shame at miunderstanding your posts embarrassed LOL

Anyway, I thought that Bryan WAS referring to all of us, rather than just to Solfed, the reason he happened to mention Solfed by name was that it was whilst at one of their meetings that this thought occurred to him...

Are we ready to let it drop now? smile

knightrose
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Nov 19 2005 19:03

well, we can let the nasty side drop. It doesn't hurt, though, to consider what makes for useful actions and meaningful propaganda.

pushka
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Nov 19 2005 23:55

Very true Knightrose... smile

billysmith
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Nov 20 2005 13:36

All together now...

"All we need is love da da da da"

knightrose
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Nov 20 2005 13:52

Not really billy. The problem seems to me that there are very real disputes between Bryan and Solfed/AF. They airing of them constantly draws others in. In that process real discussion gets lost and personalities become important when they shouldn't.

As an AF member I'd rather they weren't discussed on this forum, or if they were, then I'd prefer the discussions to be around political issues, not personalities. And certainly no name calling. Though I do recognise that I've done that myself in the past.

pushka
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Nov 20 2005 14:14

I agree with you entirely there, Knightrose!

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JoeMaguire
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Nov 21 2005 12:51
pushka wrote:
Anyway, I thought that Bryan WAS referring to all of us, rather than just to Solfed, the reason he happened to mention Solfed by name was that it was whilst at one of their meetings that this thought occurred to him...

There is much to wrong to pick at within libertarian politics, I just find it odd that bryan just seems to air attacks solely against SF, I mean if people wanted an honest and fraternal debate I would criticise all of the feds including my own, but I think having a hint of sectarianism about only leads to people being defensive.

billysmith
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Nov 23 2005 11:19
knightrose wrote:
Not really billy. The problem seems to me that there are very real disputes between Bryan and Solfed/AF. They airing of them constantly draws others in. In that process real discussion gets lost and personalities become important when they shouldn't.

As an AF member I'd rather they weren't discussed on this forum, or if they were, then I'd prefer the discussions to be around political issues, not personalities. And certainly no name calling. Though I do recognise that I've done that myself in the past.

What puzzles me is that it is one person who seems to spend his time travelling the north west shit-stirring. Seems to go to every Manchester Solfed meeting then moans about them. I have been told of the background to this but to be fair that person did emphasise it was his personel viewpoint and others may feel differently.

I didn't realise there were 'political' differences between him and AF as well.

knightrose
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Nov 23 2005 22:09

My arguments with Bryan are mostly political. He's heavily into Trades Council politics, I take a view that sees unions as being there to mediate between capital and workers. The bureaucracies are basically part of the management structure. Attempting to take them over is futile. I'm part of a membership organisation, not an affinity group. Indeed I think affinity groups are often pretty elitist and exclusive. I've disagreed with the line put in leaflets Bryan and others around NAN have distributed. I think he sometimes dominates meetings he's at.

I don't have personal problems with the guy. So my disagreements are political, with no need for inverted commas to qualify th statement. I've worked with him in the past and would do so again if appropriate.

bryan bamford nv
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Nov 24 2005 18:46

Knightrose writes:

'The problem often is that we think we are talking to non-politcal types, but in fact make our stuff so hard to access that in fact we are not. Others just retreat into safe little lifestyle ghettos. Even that is a tendency many of us share. Possibly not living close to others, but getting into a mind set that amounts to much the same.'

I agree with Knightrose here.

Puska writes:

'Anyway, I thought that Bryan WAS referring to all of us, rather than just to Solfed, the reason he happened to mention Solfed by name was that it was whilst at one of their meetings that this thought occurred to him...'

Puska got it right first time and Sol Fed should be pleased that it was at one of there meetings that this matter was brought out. The fact that they, or rather Mr Lost and one or two others, are so touchy about everything only goes to shopw how bad things are. Surely they don't want me to prefix everything I write with: 'THIS IS NOT AN ATTACK ON SOL. FED'.

I wonder if Mr Lost can have read anything much of what I have written over the years, otherwise he would know that not so long ago I had a bit of a 'do' with Professor Noam Chomsky - there was a pamphlet published at the time which is now out of print I believe, earlier this year I was daggers drawn with my old friend Stuart Christie over his recent autobiography and earlier this month I included at the Newcastle NAN a swipe at an old Subversion paper on the Spanish Civil War. Not everyone, thank goodness, when criticised goes into a pout or deep swoon like some members of Sol Fed.

Clearly the ghetto mentality is widespread and I don't claim to be free of it, but the sensitivity of some members of Sol Fed must make us sad. We must recognise the need for cultural change whatever our politicial differences.

billysmith
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Nov 25 2005 11:45
bryan bamford nv wrote:
earlier this year I was daggers drawn with my old friend Stuart Christie over his recent autobiography and earlier this month I included at the Newcastle NAN a swipe at an old Subversion paper on the Spanish Civil War. Not everyone, thank goodness, when criticised goes into a pout or deep swoon like some members of Sol Fed.
Stuart Christie wrote:
The few people I know who were around at the time have little - if any - regard for Byan Bamford or his opinions. Ask anyone who knew him in the 1960s! He was an arsehole then, and he's an even more despicable arsehole now!

Ahem

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JoeMaguire
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Nov 25 2005 16:17

Sources if you dont mind Mr Smith.

bryan bamford nv
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Nov 25 2005 17:14

Billy Smith writes that Stuart Christie writes:

'He was an arsehole then, and he's an even more despicable arsehole now!'

Well yes, and I thank Mr Smith for giving me the opportunity to confirm that Stuart Christie is basically right. Who but a 'despicable arsehole' would wait 40 years to reveal his side of the events that took place in France and Spain in August 1964. At the very least it suggests a severe case of constipation.

My old friend Stuart on the other hand is clearly not in the least bit constipated. Quite the contrary! Afterall he has written endless autobiographies about those incidents. Well at least four.

But for all that Mr Christie has done something over the years: run an anarchist publishing house; published an account of the Spanish Anarchist Fed. (FAI) and republish a history of the CNT. His vigorous response to my critique of his autobiography I welcomed at the time he made it. The same goes for Professor Chomsky, with whom I had a long correspondence a few years ago and he too responded robustly, but at least he doesn't complain about being criticised - indeed he expects it. It goes with the territory. But to complain constantly when one is not even being criticised is to have the spirit of a wimp. Its feebleminded!

lucy82
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Nov 25 2005 18:53

timeout folks? smile

Oi!
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Nov 25 2005 20:40

roll eyes roll eyes roll eyes

Normal service has been resumed!

knightrose
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Nov 25 2005 21:38

Lucy, aren't you the moderator for the NW? That's a hint, btw. wink wink wink

Peter Good
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Nov 26 2005 07:25

Oh Dear, Just when you think some sort of dialogue is underway someone has to come along and call someone an arsehole.

Peter Good (TCA)

lucy82
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Nov 26 2005 08:12
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Lucy, aren't you the moderator for the NW? That's a hint, btw

i am but i can't really see why this thread needs moderating. its not actually being badly flamed and i think we can all cope with a bit of abusive language. and bryan i think prefers to argue back himself and solfed, burnley anarchists or any other organisation hasn't asked me to act. i think its maybe better to let people get on with it and sort it out between them ideally. plus, there has been some reasonable discussion on it. what do other people think? for what reasons should i remove any of these posts or take this thread down? opinions anyone?

pushka
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Nov 26 2005 09:00

I think the thread is a good one. We all need to be reminded of our mistakes sometimes, and should be able to take 'constructive criticism' of our actions or non actions.

I stand by the comments that Bryan has made. Obviously I am bound to be more biased towards his opinions on the matter than of those by Solfed members who I haven't met in person, apart from 2 I believe.

I'm not keen on the odd sarcastic remark being thrown in just for good measure, and would prefer to keep the discussion at a reasonable level, however each has his/her own right to speak on the matter, so no problems...

I'm fairly certain that Bryan can defend himself on many of the issues raised anyway, but I don't fear standing up and supporting him whenever I feel it's justified either.

billysmith
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Nov 26 2005 12:14

I think this discussion has run its course. It has confirmed a lot of what I already thought. Just to point out to those who don't know that I'm not a member of Solfed or even consider myself an anarchist!

Mitch
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Nov 26 2005 15:41

No, the discussion has not run it’s course, it has a long way to go yet. I support Lucy’s comments that it’s better to let people get on with it, and Knightrose’s comments that discussion should focus on political disagreements and a commitment by all not to make personal attacks (like Knightrose I’m guilty of this myself/but you’ll have to forgive me on that one because I lost my temper when anarchists started roaring and rampaging on The Burnley Voice a year ago – this was in the early days of our small but brave efforts to establish an independent libertarian voice in a Burnley context of a useless labour council grown even fatter with power and control by the influx of regeneration money, an insidious BNP presence and fuckwit Swerps working hand in hand with Labour councillors and turning housing meetings into recruitment exercises for Respect. All three of these feed off each other in Burnley).

I’d suggest we need to hurry along with this discussion in the North West, I agree with Pushka that this is a good thread, because the situation in Miles Platting that Bryan highlights pertains to Burnley as well, and when the regeneration money runs out, the BNP will be there. The BNP are working towards the May local elections next year, the local papers are full of their letters and the only counteraction coming out are from Labour councillors and the Labour run Burnley Trades Council touting their regeneration carrot. Predictable and dangerous.

As regards the comments on Bryan – well, he’s a prickly character but sometimes I think people’s reactions to him say more about them than they do about him. I do my research (after a rather explosive start I might add!). The last copy of North West Cowboy is the best genuine grassroots publication I’ve seen in a long time, crammed with construction workers’ stories – in their own words. He, like Jim Petty, is well liked in Burnley by many people in and outside of campaigns & our Lets Scheme members – indeed they are rather affectionately regarded. This is to do with how they interact with people – they take away the fear, they encourage and they listen…………eventually!! eek I’ve got a lot out of the NAN conferences I’ve attended too. Barry’s talk on Mujeres Libres in the last conference was inspiring! (Jim fell asleep in the middle of it!! grin ). I do not agree with Bryan on everything though – but I’d expect now to have open and honest debates about these disagreements. Maybe I share some of Peter’s concerns! grin

Perhaps it’s better to start from the position of where we connect. Also, Knightrose I wonder if what you call ‘political differences’ might be better termed differences in organising approach - I wonder in further discussions whether it might not simply emerge that different kinds of Libertarian organising work better in certain contexts? The Trades Council is a dead duck in Burnley Bryan! Steve & Knightrose – the effects of casual work, low pay and all the rest have taken their toll on people here resulting in many (including many libertarian activists in our network) having issues around mental health & depression, alcohol, drugs and the motivation to act. Am I to add to the fear and lack of self esteem by an increasing number of rules and to curse people cause they don’t attend meetings. IT IS NOT A FUCKING PICNIC IN BURNLEY & NELSON - we are building with a softer, caring approach where people do what they are able to do, in their own time & without force. This approach works in our context.

I said all this on the Voice a year ago, before I turned into a barking dog!! grin

Tenemos que ser como uno (Spanish – look it up!)

(this is me being pragmatic by the way)

Best Mitch

PS. Burnley News tongue there has been much interest in our anti ID campaign in Burnley from the public and the local press, we've had articles in and good attendance at meetings.

Plus, a large public meeting is to be held in the New year in Burnley, with a number of residents groups campaigning against telecommunications masts coming together as one - which is rather exciting but will be a lot of hard work.

knightrose
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Nov 27 2005 08:46

I'm sorry Mitch, but the differences are political. For some annoying reasons there seems to be a tendency to take the "personal is political" to mean political differences are an excuse to hurl personal abuse.

In any event, to try to explain:

Trades unions exist as part of the management structure of capital. Those that run the unions expect privileges and wealth when they retire from running the unions. Many end up in the House of Lords, for example. Unions are structured in such a way to prevent effective democratic control. They exists solely to negotiate over the working conditions of their members. This is inevitable, given that most people think that is all they should do anyway. Unfortunately, unions usually don't even do that very well and often directly take the bosses side, like they did at Gate Gourmet or the Manchester Electricians.

Trades Councils are part of the the whole union structure. They are also a pretty moribund and ineffective part of it. Getting involved with them is at best like being in a debating society. At worst it means being complicit in capital's domination of society and the working class.

Most anti fascist activity in reality is little more than acting as cheer leaders for the labour and liberal parties.

All churches and all organised religion are part of the ideological control system of the state. They contain obscene power structures and condone war, exploitation and the status quo. There is no place in any anarchist group for a priest or for anyone who actively holds religious beliefs.

I was one of those who was heavily involved with NAN when it was established. As part of the Subversion group, I helped organise the first and most successful Manchester Conference. I helped organise others too. To the extent that NAN did anything, then I was part of it. I attended conferences, helped organise the Mumia demonstration, associated with others on demonstrations. The AF (which I'm now in) used to regularly attend NAN. One or two still do. They say they are keeping a finger on the pulse. I stopped going to NAN when sessions became dominated by arguments between two people. These arguments are being re-enacted here, though without one of the participants! I judge people not only by what they say, but also by what they write.

Since then, I have been appalled by the content of Cock of the North and the contents of two leaflets produced by NAN members in Manchester. Cock of the North pretended to be the voice of NAN when it was first produced. If you looked at the cover, you would not have realised it was the work of one or two people and was "unofficial". The continued use of the term Northern Anarchists perpetuates this and dishonestly tries to appropriate the work done by all those who have been part of NAN at any time - ironically, we see Cock laying claim to activities, whilst at the same time slagging off people like myself and others in the AF, who were actually involved in those same activites, but have since dropped out of NAN.

Two leaflets come to mind. One about casualisation. It's main thrust was that the state wasn't enforcing its laws properly and that it should do so. The other was during the Gulf War. It bemoaned the fact that the United Nations was losing credibility. It didn't try to suggest any working class response. Both amounted to little more than liberal pleading.

The problem with NAN has a lot to do with it being dominated by an unofficial affinity group. The AF has members. If I do something wrong in one of the jobs I do for the organisation, I can expect to be told and can expect to not be doing that job in the future. This really does happen. What is there to control the people at the centre of NAN? Absolutely nothing. People should read the Tyranny of Structurelessness - see this address:http://www.libcom.org/hosted/af/online/tyranny.html for a discussion of what that means.

As I see it, the future is for groups like ourselves to properly structure ourselves in the North - which we are in the process of doing - and then to collaborate with others on particular campaigns. The campaigns should co-ordinate on the basis of equal partners. We see two as important, Defy ID and Anti-casualisation.

Anyway, this has been a long post, no doubt it will provoke some response.

Peter Good
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Nov 27 2005 18:44

Have tried to quote the previous paragraph about religions being part of the state apparatus but can't do it.

Maybe official churches are obscene arms of the state but the stereotype hardly applies to the Catholic Worker Group presently awaiting sentencing in Dublin for disabling US jet fighters, or of Father Lu, arrested and interrogated for the 18th time in China last week, nor to the young Orthodox priests who once shared platforms with revolutionaries in early 20th Century Russia.

As for excluding anyone with religious faith from anarchist groups... I'm not certain where that road will take us...the TCA has long valued the contributions of a working Friar and has proudly accepted Jim Petty as an honourable member.

Political sectarianism is unattractive and possibly unhelpful. There is no doubt it's rampant throughout the Anarchist movement, both towards non-anarchist ideas - and probably more - in the attitudes towards competing strands of Anarchist thought.

I too was at the original Manchester meeting of NAN. I came to accept it became a platform for big male stags to enter into mortal combat. But I left NAN when it linked itself to a group of socialists.

Sectarianism aside, political commitment can be extremely fruitful. I might even say that the history of Anarchism has been an illustration of the commitment of some single-minded activists in the pursuit of alternatives to state-generated solutions. So even though I don't always agree with Brian - and I haven't met anyone who always does - I support his commitment and energy.

I agree with you about the state of present-day trade unions. But both Jim petty and I remember the time when we posted T and G stewards at motorway slip-road exits turning back lorries unaware of a dispute.

Peter Good (TCA)

knightrose
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Nov 27 2005 22:40

In answer to your points Peter, I constantly hear people talking about friends who "have religous views, but are really anarchists". All I can say is that their supposed religious ideas are in direct conflict with their politcal views.

To me the catholic church means papal infallibility, homophobia, banning condoms, millions of people dying of aids, oppressing women, genocide in Ruanda, supporting fascism and Franco ... I could carry on forever. So what if a few act in a contradictory manner? How is that any different from the SWP? Calling for militant action and then saying vote Labour or Galloway?

Your friends need to come to terms with the contradictions in their ideas!

I agree with you about Brian, btw. I just disagree with him on a lot of things.

Peter Good
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Nov 29 2005 12:58

Dear Knightrose, Sorry for my delay in replying but it came at a time when I'd just returned from the Bradford Peace Fair which, in turn, made me think deeply about where sectarianism is taking us up here in the North.

There were some 70 stalls at the fair with the usual suspects of Respect, CP and Green Socialists in attendance. I genuinely felt ashamed there was no anarchist presence whatsoever.

You and I might well disagree (more so with alcohol) about the boundaries of Anarchism but had I come across your stall at the fair it would have really gladened my heart.

Maybe, along with others who were at the original Manchester Conference (a really positive meeting that sparked off a lots of activity), it is our duty to re-convene a second great Manchester Conference that will both revive and rescue a Network that otherwise contains so much isolated talent.

It'll mean lots of us - including me - will have to take a risk and learn to eat some crow. But what's there to lose?

To Braver and Better Times!

Peter Good (TCA)

Lazlo_Woodbine
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Nov 29 2005 13:07

It's a shame if there were no libertarian stalls at the Bradford event. IMO, the AF, nothern anarchists, dissent!, etc all have a part to play and I'd be happy to see at least one of the bigger groups covering all radical events. The 1 in 12 in Bradford should have had a stall there cry

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JDMF
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Nov 29 2005 16:09
Lazlo_Woodbine wrote:
It's a shame if there were no libertarian stalls at the Bradford event. IMO, the AF, nothern anarchists, dissent!, etc all have a part to play and I'd be happy to see at least one of the bigger groups covering all radical events. The 1 in 12 in Bradford should have had a stall there cry

agree, it helps though if people would be part of the organised anarchist groups (not too fussed which ones) and would be willing to do these kinds of gigs. More hands on deck like...

lucy82
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Nov 29 2005 17:54

i don't want to join an organised anarchist group. at least i don't think so but i quite like helping out on stalls. i think seeing some more libertarian stalls around would be possibly a good thing. i'm not too fussy about the company i keep in helping out either. so there you go, lucy, shes anyones for a pound embarrassed

maybe your idea Peter would be a good one. who are the people behind the anti-authoritarian assembly in london advertised here?

http://www.indymedia.org.uk/en/2005/11/328681.html

would be good if we could maybe do something similar but without it being as dull as a trip round the trafford centre without money. i just have this nightmare of it being the usual suspects arguing dully, everyone else getting bored and pissed off and no activities for action or any coherency between various groups and individuals developing. but then again, maybe it would be ok 8) maybe people and organisations could have a think first about how we want to see it structured to minimise the usual and encourage ourselves and others to focus on defined goals that we want to see emerging from this.

also some kind of co-ordination of events might be useful to develop. so we know that bradfords having a peace fair

Lazlo_Woodbine
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Nov 29 2005 18:19

That's why you need to join the AF, lucy 8) wink

knightrose
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Nov 29 2005 22:14

Quite right Lazlo. One of the reasons for being in an organisation is that it's supposed to make getting things done easier. Wioth the lack of organisation there's also a lack of communication.

I too didn't know about the Bradford event. If we had known, then we would have had an AF stall of some kind. We've got enough members in the north who could have done so.

There's talk of having some kind of anarchist gathering next May. Some in the AF suggested we should hold it up here in civilization (probably the Yorkshire side of it) rather than down in the dirt and smoke. It's one of the things we are going to talk about when we have our AF North get together in January. The opinions of others would be appreciated.