Complications in starting a new group

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Champion Ruby
Joined: 27-11-07
May 22 2018 03:14
Complications in starting a new group

I'm from a city where the anarchist movement has definitely had a rocky road over the past decade. From the late 1980s to roughly 2008, there was a minimal anarchist presence that was essentially contained within a tiny IWW branch that had the occasional stall. Around 2008, a few of us got together and successfully started a new group based on the solidarity network model that was reasonably successful. We won a lot of people over to anarchism, held a large conference that attracted hundreds from around the country and had good retention rates. Unfortunately, because of the large gap in time between groups, we had to figure things out largely from scratch and made a lot of errors, including letting the gender ratio get out of hand, not having a formal membership process that allowed quite a few loose cannons in and certain key organisers got burdened with far too much work. Around two years ago we threw in the towel and there hasn't been much activity since. There is a group that split from a Leninist organisation that has its own center and does identify with a sort of grey-zone libertarianism, in that they read from both anarchist and Marxist literature, and I support them, but I've decided to attempt another group aimed explicitly at propagating anarchist ideas. Now the problem here is that a lot of people involved in the last round I simply don't want on board for various reasons. One character, for instance, is simply a time-waster, always talking, but never doing anything and I don't need him around draining everyone's will to live. Another person habitually concentrates as much power in her own hands as possible and has little to no appreciation for democratic process. On a personal level, I get along with these people but can't bear the idea of working with them again. Has anyone had similar experiences and had a method of excluding people without alienating them, or is this simply a dream?

Mike Harman
Joined: 7-02-06
May 22 2018 09:50

What are you hoping the group will do? If it's a publishing collective it's easy enough to make it invite only, if you're trying to make a membership organisation, then it's going to be harder to keep previous people out who were disruptive before unless you're somehow able to come up with conditions for membership that would cover that behaviour.

klas batalo's picture
klas batalo
Joined: 5-07-09
May 23 2018 02:46

I'd say build it out of canvassing working class folks, or participating in some sorta mass work. Then having strict vetting.

Steven.'s picture
Joined: 27-06-06
May 23 2018 04:38

I think Mike's question is the key one: what do you want the organisation to do.

Then take it from there.

If you want to create an all purpose anarchist political type organisation, then probably your best bet is to join an existing organisation and set up a local branch. This would have a formal membership process, and processes for dealing with time wasters et cetera.

Personally when I got fed up dealing with weirdos I just got involved in a small affinity group doing media stuff, which became libcom, where we have a very selective membership policy