Is the British Anarchist movement dead?

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Joined: 6-01-07
Dec 1 2017 12:53

It's not uncommon for groups and networks of politically active 'radical' or 'pro-revolutionary' friends and comrades to both live and work together out of a mixture of personal choice and financial/housing need. My past history testifies to that although it never involved firming such arrangements up by way of a co-operative or co-housing structure. Presumably those who have travelled that route might have fared better in producing or at least reproducing longer term stable arrangements which haven't broken up with the some of the same personal and political arguments and fall-outs? But useful that such projects may be from time to time as part of our wider networks of mutual support (in the way that the AF has intimated more recently and the AWW argued for more positively)) they are inevitably restricted in scale and potential by our working class poverty and all the other restrictions of capitalist private property and are still no substitute for conscious political organisation by our class that draws from the full range of our everyday experience.

little_brother's picture
Joined: 30-01-06
Dec 1 2017 13:37

The AF website, at least a temporary one, plus email, is alive again (for about a week now):
Best wishes.

Mike Harman
Joined: 7-02-06
Dec 1 2017 16:21
Rob Ray wrote:
Depends on the co-ops, but as an example I know personally, the Ipswich one has:

- Been involved in local anti-fascist organising,
- Fundraised for radical and community projects,
- Helped set up and support a local food co-op (a non-hierarchical, self-organised, volunteer run wholesale price setup by and for people who need cheap food)
- Funneled through a number of people who learned organising techniques while part of that community and have since exported them elsewhere
- Been a focal point for local people interested in getting involved in radical politics
- Been involved in the broader Radical Routes system, which has as part of its constitution a required commitment to contribute to radical projects and learn a host of useful skills for self-organising
- Provided support to progressive initiatives across the town
- Distributed literature for various radical groups, including SF, AF and IWW
- Backed people troubled by the benefits system/lack of social support etc

That all sounds pretty good, is it this one? - you could have linked to it. A lot of the reason people don't know about stuff like this is because it doesn't get written about - which requires the people who know about it to point those of us who haven't to places that are overlooked. You're doing that here, but is it actually draw attention to it (given not a single link or article was provided) or to point score?

There was a tent city (well, about 6 tents but significant for a town a not dissimilar size from Ipswich) not far from me a few months ago, I found out about it from the local newspaper's twitter, because it wasn't actually visible from more than 200m away. Probably a lot of people here never knew it existed (they got an eviction notice but slipped away rather than fighting it).

What I found from random clicks on Radical Routes was stuff like - which looks fine but much more of a living situation.

For social centres the Unity Centre Glasgow seems pretty good from outside, but the reason I know about that is because they actively do immigration detention/deportation support and seem a bit more plugged in to other groups working on that nationally.

Rob Ray wrote:
And frankly, while I see a lot of "but is it inspiring self-organisation in the working class" type questioning from people who talk about HASL and SolFed as examples of mutual aid in action, we all know that the vast majority of these projects are a core of half a dozen people operating more or less as a service...

Both of these projects have been going strong for a few years, and on this site we're trying to cover them as much as possible to encourage other people to do the same things and learn lessons (bad and good). One of the big limitations with HASL and Brighton Solfed is they're in cities that already have a large left/activist base in the first place, so covering stuff like Ipswich which doesn't would be really good - but again it relies on the people plugged into those things to bring it to the surface.

Rob Ray wrote:
I've never been terribly into the This Is Class Struggle approach libcom sometimes falls prey to, life's way more messy than that and when people talk about how workers find inspiration to learn and self-organise where they are, well that's sometimes in a radical housing co-op listening to a shit spoken-word raising money for someone who got nicked rallying against the local fash. If that facet of the movement is totally ignored on the grounds it's unacceptably wishy washy/vague you're doing the equivalent of grabbing a dog's tail and declaring "well gosh, this is a depressingly small and ineffective bit of old rope."

It's not that we actively ignore it, but with limited resources and attention, we focus on non-anarchist struggles (which are often ignored by everyone else) vs. something anarchists are doing we're less interested in (which they could write about themselves).

When the site was set up, there was still indymedia running which covered a lot more of that sort of stuff, some of that has fallen away a bit the past few years.

Noah Fence's picture
Noah Fence
Joined: 18-12-12
Dec 3 2017 18:42

A good preceding strategy for self assessment and criticism by groups would be for the individuals that make up the group to go through the process of assessing their own attitudes and behaviour. My experience is that groups rarely achieve much success if the members themselves are disrespectful or controlling. It amazes me how many people that supposedly believe in equality and non governance want to run the show and close down those who’s ideas differ from their own.

Joined: 20-04-08
Dec 3 2017 22:35

It is why a structured formal organisation must arise.

The case is well put in the feminist pamphlet by Jo Freeman "The Tyranny of Structurelessness"

And it can be argued that the premature demise of Occupy was caused by the same failing.

Joined: 15-04-06
Dec 3 2017 23:21

Yikes...... though i wonder if we are not all dead to a certain extent