Derilict Politics

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JDMF
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Nov 30 2005 09:37

i think some kind of class struggle anarchist gathering/conference with clear defined outcomes would be great. We could organise it more locally and just welcome anyone.

Lazlo_Woodbine
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Nov 30 2005 11:05

VERY clearly defined aims -- like making sure that all events are covered -- would be good. That way you only attract people who want to take on work, rather than the chin-strikers and the ICC who want to argue about which way for the working class, etc. Bradford 1998 conference was great, but didn't have any defined aims. That kind of thing is good for generally putting people in touch with each other, but focused activity also needs to be organised.

knightrose
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Nov 30 2005 12:22

Agreed. I too was at Bradford. It felt good at the time but was a real let down in the end.

One obvious target would be a decent northern network, with proper contacts and the ability to mobilise(?) for events/activities.

Peter Good
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Nov 30 2005 14:11

I suppose I would like to take this theme further as there is just a whiff of creative action in the air.

I say again that what really got to me at last Saturday's Bradford Fair was to see Respect and Green Socialist engaged in dialogue with any number of visitors. There was nothing anywhere directly suggesting Anarchist alternatives to state-generated solutions.

It forcibly brought home to me the amount of energy we use up in sectarian exchanges when the same energy could be positively used in more public directions.

I want to know if there is any merit in a proposal to re-convene the original Manchester Conference (1992)?

I propose a meeting that would kick off with 20 minute speeches by all our different factions. Maybe Mitch or Lucy could chair.

At the very least we could agree to run a travelling stall that would visit the many fairs held throughout the North. It wouldn't prevent groups running their own stall but it's a realistic way of making our presence felt.

It means of course some form of reconciliation or just a willingness to review events since the first Manchester Convention.

We've ring-fenced £50 as a contribution towards a suitable venue.

To Braver and Better Times

Peter Good (TCA)

Lazlo_Woodbine
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Nov 30 2005 14:50
Peter Good wrote:
I propose a meeting that would kick off with 20 minute speeches by all our different factions. Maybe Mitch or Lucy could chair.

Sorry to keep sticking my southern oar in, but woudn't that entrench the meeting as a coming togehter of factions? Better to have activity-focused sessions that anyone can participate in.

pushka
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Nov 30 2005 17:01

I welcome the proposal to re-convene the Manchester Conference...sounds good to me.

lucy82
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Nov 30 2005 17:55

I think it might be doable but i agree with that fancy southerner whose oar is skimming manc waters that kicking off with 20 minute speechs (do you mean 20 minutes each eek I have a relatively short attention span, its sounds like a marathon to me smile ) is maybe not the best way to start. Short introductions are probably a good idea but first we would need to decide what its for. Is it to just to encourage cohesion between people already involved in different organisations or would be also including people who are interested in the general idea and want more info with a view to being involved? i would think it would need to be focused, entertaining (however possible) and informative about all the different stuff going on either way. we dont want to create another arena for stags to lock horns or at least I have no interest in doing that. if people beyond those involved in organisations and the floaters like myself are involved it would need to have maybe a different feel? or am i totally on the wrong track here (never having been to the first Manchester conference)?

knightrose
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Nov 30 2005 19:18

No, Lucy, you are dead right.

The good thing about the first manchester NAN meeting was that it had a clear agenda - which was msotly discussion based, but around topics that interested loads of people plus the ones introducing the topics really worked hard to prepare what they ahd to say - which meant they were worth listening to. But it was organised by a bunch of crypto marxists embarrassed

Peter Good
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Dec 1 2005 15:34

I've been trying to find out the actual date of the First Manchester Conference (I put it at November 92?).

The event was organised by Jonathan Simcock, Mike Hamilton (of East Midlands Anarchists) and that old Manchester radical, Ron Marsden.

Peter Good (TCA)

knightrose
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Dec 1 2005 16:49

Possibly you are right Peter. Subversion definitely helped organise a two day eevnt in Manchester some time in the 90s - it may well ahve been later than the first one. We had loads of workshops - I remember one on the Liverpool Dockers. Can't recollect the others. I know loads of people showed up.

bryan bamford nv
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Dec 16 2005 15:57

The following appeared on BURNLEY VOICE (NAN thread) a week ago:

The latest thinking is that the first NAN. The founding NAN conference was at the Manchester Town Hall in 1995. It was initiated by Jonnathan Simcock and Mike Hamilton from Derbyshire. It had representative attendance from across the North and from both affiliated and unaffiliated libertarians.

The second conference was held in Salford and was (as Knightrose claims on the libcom thread) organised mainly by his Manchester 'affinity group' Subversion. Sol Fed had, I understand, been approached to co-organise this event but declined. The Salford Conference was well organised, well attended (about 70), and impressive. Discussions ranged around the dockers' dispute, the anti-JSA campaign (a speaker came from Edinburgh) and resistance to a local motorway.

Out of this conference came, I believe, a serious anti-JSA campaign in the North, particularly the North West. In respect of the dockers' dispute, which was already well underway, we were supportive. Though the NAN provided a base to work through I have no hestitation in saying, and have always said, the initiative for the anti-JSA campaign in the North West came mainly from the Subversion 'affinity group' to which Knighrose belonged in Manchester. In other parts of the country the innitiative came from Groundswell in Oxford, a group in Brighton and of course the Ediburgh group.

Other groups in Bury, Oldham, Tameside and Burnley (thanks to Reg) joined in later and AF in Merseyside got involved. Soon a system of '3-strikes-and-your-out' was operating against various overzealous dole managers. It has been argued that the NAN did not operate the anti-JSA campaign as an organisation. This may be true but it helped facilitiate this campaign.

What was sad at the time, and Knightrose on the libcom 'Derilect Politics' thread neglects mention it, is that a section of this Salford NAN from Leeds, but backed by a prominent member of Sol Fed in Manchester, began a process for the exclusion of Subversion on grounds that it was not a bonafide 'anarchist group'. This was followed up at later conferences in Shefield and Leeds. It is ironic now to think of it, but at that time I, Derek Pattison, John L, AF and others, who AF would now probably dismiss as being politically unreliable, had to unite to prevent a hachet job being done on the Subversion 'affinity group' by Sol Fed and others who have since moved on.

_________________________________________________________________________

What is interesting in retrospect here is the fact that 10 YEARS AGO it was Knightrose & SUBVERSION who were down for the chop and a Sol Fed member was one of those doing the chopping. The moral here, given that Knightrose has an aversion to anarchist Priests & Vicars, could be that those with a predilection for chopping start off by expelling crypto-Marxists, 'pseudo anarchists' and people who they see as not bona-fide comrades such as the old SUBVERSION and then move onto long term anarchists who have religious links and then, because their appitite is never satisfied, end up criticising NANISTAS who they see as 'politically unreliable'.

Just a thought!

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JoeMaguire
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Dec 16 2005 16:15

roll eyes

The only thing 'political reliable' is some peoples penchant for sectarian dramatics, just a thought bryan......

billysmith
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Dec 16 2005 23:49

NANISTAS! That always makes me laugh.

Anyone going to discuss the political differences raised earlier on? No I thought not, bit of a minefield for Burnley voice and their anthropological guru, better just slag off the solfed again.

knightrose
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Dec 17 2005 09:18

A couple of errors Bryan - or should I say, one repeated. Subversion was never an affinity group, nor was it solely Manchester (though I understand you thinking that). We may have been small, but we were members who agreed on a common statement of principles. The contents of the magazine were discussed in great detail and agreed by all before going in. Every event we went to was dealt with similarly.

So, not an affinity group, I'm afraid. The squabbles between Subversion and Solfed were very real but fortunately they are now a thing of the past. It'd be fair to say that we had to work hard to overcome them, but as they were largely the fault of one of the Subversion members, I suppose that's only fair.

One thing, though, that's all in the past.

bryan bamford nv
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Jan 16 2006 13:07

I was a bit puzzled by Knightrose's claim that Subversion was not an affinity group. So I looked up the definition as used by Robert Alexander in Vol One of his The Anarchists in the Spanish Civil War. His account of Spanish affinity groups is as follows:

'THE GRUPOS DE AFINIDAD (or grupitos) first appeared in the 1880s, when they were among the strongest proponents of the anarchist communist ideological trend in Spanish anarchism.' And he adds: 'George Esenwein has said of these early organisations:

"The grupitos themselves consisted of nothing more than a small circle of ardent radicals, numbering between five & ten members. Their activities were organised around the tertulia, which usually met at one of the numerous cafes found in every working class neighbourhood. There the workers belonging to a grupito met to debate politics, to hear the latest news - which was especially significant for those who were illiterate - or to plan their next act of reprisal against the bourgeosie..." '

These 'grupitos', according to Esenwein, rejected the 'collectivist heritage' of the earlier organisations and argued that the affinity group could decide for itself what to do and didn't have to engage in collective or joint actions with others. The Solidarious-Nosotros group (of Durutti, Ascaso, Garcia Oliver, Ricardo Sanz etc) gained what Alexander described as 'Robin Hood-like reputations in the decade and a half before the outbreak of Civil War'. This was the time 'revolutionary gymnastics' became the phrase applied to their group.

Others like Juan Peiro, a CNT secretary, argued that the affinity group role should be 'a place of study'. Now it seems to me that in a sense the old SUBVERSION fitted that role, whatever Knightrose says today. It also strikes me that the older SOLIDARITY GROUP fitted that role. I didn't agree with their position entirely, but does not Knightrose agree that neither the AF nor Sol Fed fulfill the this educational role simply because they are more interested in the evangelical spirit of gathering up members than in developing ideas.

I still believe SUBVERSION fitted the specifications of an affinity group rather than member organisation in the party membership-card sense.

knightrose
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Jan 16 2006 17:28

Subversion was much tighter politically than the AF or Solfed. We had an agreed statement of aims and principles and members in Manchester, Leeds and Oxford way. We had aspirations to grow and wanted to recruit others.

Solidarity was a strange kettle of fish. It certainly had a membership when I was in it. You could be expelled from it, for example, and when Solidarity merged with Social Revolution there was a vote in both groups. And I recollect that in 1978 there must have been around 70 - 100 people in it in various towns.

So quite how you define them is, I guess, largely a matter of semantics. There was, however, far more ideological unity in both groups than there is today in the NAN. In Solidarity, whilst diversity was welcomed, there was an assumption that everyone agreed with the lengthy As We Don't See It statement. Whether it counted as an affinity group or a collection of them, I don't know - I do know it wasn't a membership organisation, though we did put out collective statements at times in London.

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Steven.
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Jan 16 2006 21:22

I've been watching this discussion in the hope that someone will tell someone else to dere-lict their balls. Thus far that hope has been in vain sad

Still I'm LOVING the random CAPITALISATION of worDs.

bryan bamford nv
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Jan 20 2006 17:51

I accept that Subversion was 'much tighter politically' than the other two organisations and for me this suggests that Subversion was more of an affinity group. Affinity groups being by definition tight groups of friends who agree on their specific aims.

I accept also that NAN is more losely ideological than Subversion was, but NAN is not just one group but is a regional federation of different affinity groups. Some of these affinity groups have a so-called class struggle approach and as Peter Good has pointed out the agenda of the coming NAN in Bolton suggest a class struggle content in at least two of the sessions. Another session looks as though it will be about the coming 70th anniversdary of the Spanish Civil War. And a further session threats to be about Eduard Masjuan and urban development.

The important thing about the NAN is that it doesn't employ a COOKBOOK ANALYSIS to social problems. In this way it has an advatage on the other organisations which is begining to show in its influential regional development among genuine working class activists. I don't want to list our clout in various areas, but a glance at the agendas of the recent NAN meetings would give a clue to the value of our appoach.

None of this detracts from the work I believe Subversion did in spearheading the campaign in central Manchester over the anti-JSA issues. Something which drew in other groups from the surrounding areas. Nor should we forget the work done when Subversion set in train the development of the NAN in the early days. Nor the thought provoking analysis which Subversion developed at that time and which is still there today.

Be this as it may there will be important decisions in the months ahead in which both SOL FED and AF will have to consider their position. The commemorations of the 70th anniversary of the Spanish Civil War is one fast approaching and Ron of Sol Fed is already involved as are some NANISTAS; the proposed working class history weekend is another and the appeal from Eduard Masjuan for a grand collaboration in our approach to urban design in Manchester & Barcelona is another. I was at a meeting last night with Manchester electricians and supporters of the Save Spodden Valley Campaign against asbestos contamination and the night before I was at another meeting with trade unionists discussing the 70th anniversary of the Civil War. These are issues that people feel to be important regionally I don't think AF or Sol Fed can ignore them and seriously stay in the game. And I haven't even asked about their attitude to the proposal of Pete Good for a Grand Northern Anarchist Convention.

knightrose
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Jan 21 2006 09:54

At the moment the AFs priorities in Manchester are Defy ID (something which the NANistas have ignored!) and the campaign against casualisation. That leaves little time for anything else. You should know that if the electricians need support we are available to provide what help we can, but it is limited.

We haven't had a chance to collectively discuss the other issues you raise. No doubt we will do so. Soem sound interesting, others not.

pushka
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Jan 21 2006 15:29

Just a quickie here...

Thought it was relevant to mention this in this area, because Burnley Anarchists do consider themselves a part of NaN.

We in Burnley have been organising meetings locally around the issue of Defy ID and at least one of our members has been highlighting the local problems regarding Casualisation in the job scene...any help on either of these campaigns, from anybody, would be greatly appreciated...

billysmith
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Jan 21 2006 16:19
bryan bamford nv wrote:
I accept also that NAN is more losely ideological than Subversion was, but NAN is not just one group but is a regional federation of different affinity groups.

I thought there was no membership as such of nan. Who are all these 'affinity groups'? Maybe just a couple of blokes who meet down the pub for a moan sometimes?

billysmith
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Jan 21 2006 16:23
pushka wrote:
Just a quickie here...

Thought it was relevant to mention this in this area, because Burnley Anarchists do consider themselves a part of NaN.

We in Burnley have been organising meetings locally around the issue of Defy ID and at least one of our members has been highlighting the local problems regarding Casualisation in the job scene...any help on either of these campaigns, from anybody, would be greatly appreciated...

Are you an 'affinity group' or is that "burnley voice". I never did work out the difference.

According to one of members she would never get involved in anything that solfed were involved in. bit of a difficulty there i would think.

pushka
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Jan 22 2006 23:39
billysmith wrote:

According to one of members she would never get involved in anything that solfed were involved in. bit of a difficulty there i would think.

I think you're a little behind the times Billy...

billysmith
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Jan 23 2006 10:45

Changes like the weather then.

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JDMF
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Jan 23 2006 10:47
billysmith wrote:
Changes like the weather then.

sun after rain is always welcome grin

billysmith
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Jan 23 2006 10:52

trouble is it's so chanagable you wouldn't know wether to wear a raincoat or a t-shirt from one day to the next.

pushka
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Jan 23 2006 17:18
billysmith wrote:
trouble is it's so chanagable you wouldn't know wether to wear a raincoat or a t-shirt from one day to the next.

Well, at least we know where you stand Billy...always the pessimist...

knightrose
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Jan 23 2006 18:46
Quote:
We in Burnley have been organising meetings locally around the issue of Defy ID and at least one of our members has been highlighting the local problems regarding Casualisation in the job scene...any help on either of these campaigns, from anybody, would be greatly appreciated...

I was talking about Manchester.

Actually, I understand that people from all the tendencies are few in number and so it is necessary to prioritise. So I don't expect Brian and others to come rushing to our help, he has plenty of other fish to fry. But I would appreciate being told off less for not getting involved in other projects than those I am in.

pushka
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Jan 23 2006 22:10

Sorry Knightrose...sometimes I think comments are made about the Nanistas in general rather than those in Manchester.

I agree that it would be pleasant if all parties criticised each other less and worked more towards finding common ground.

bryan bamford nv
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Jan 28 2006 17:01

Knightrose I think casualisation is a big problem in the building trade locally among the electricians.