London Summit

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Caiman del Barrio
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Feb 24 2009 11:40
Choccy wrote:
I don't think it's entirely true that it was derided for no reason.
I suggested a better strategy might be to go to the actual planning meetings and discuss other forms of struggle that people might be interested in instead of symbolic protests and symbolic meetings.

So you're saying it's not worth wasting one afternoon on what will be a receptive audience, may as well "waste" 5-10 evenings arguing with dogmatic post-G8 activistoids? Sorry Choccy, you've dug yourself into a corner here.

Caiman del Barrio
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Feb 24 2009 11:48
cantdocartwheels wrote:
Its not exactly difficult to point out the limits of something without implying that its ''wrong''.

It's kinda ironic really, the roots of Libcom's aversion to activism comes from its disassociation with the rhythm and dynamic of everyday, work and family based life. Yet here we are with the possibility of workers supporting families coming on a summit protest as a port of entry to revolutionary politics (however suspect and problematic) and they're wilfully disassociating themselves and employing utterly abstracted conceptions of what is "right" and "wrong".

it's not hard to engage with people, the first step is abandoning the idea of summit protests as "wrong". We all know your critique of it, I've been hearing it since 2003 and I largely agree.

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Choccy
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Feb 24 2009 15:40
Caiman del Barrio wrote:
So you're saying it's not worth wasting one afternoon on what will be a receptive audience, may as well "waste" 5-10 evenings arguing with dogmatic post-G8 activistoids? Sorry Choccy, you've dug yourself into a corner here.

Well I doubt I'd go to 5-10 planning meetings cos I couldn't be arsed.
But even one actual chat with people is more worthwhile than handing out a leaflet in the middle of a protest with a myriad of other groups.

I mean, I get that you feel the constant need to be 'doing shit', that's cool. We all do that, but even when I'm doing pointless symbolic shit I don't delude myself into thinking it's anything other than that.

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Choccy
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Feb 24 2009 15:53
cantdocartwheels wrote:
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I also said turning up saying they are doing actvism wrong would make you look like a dick.

Yes we know already, you said pretty much the exact same thing like ten fucking times on this thread despite the fact that people have repeatedly pointed out to you that there is nothing wrong with turning up on a demo. Yet you insist on bringing up this pointless dichotomy over and over.
I've handed out stuff on iraq demos recommending other courses of action, none of them said that anti-war demos were ''wrong'', why would anyone even make a retarded arguement like that. Its not exactly difficult to point out the limits of something without implying that its ''wrong''.

I never said it was wrong you eejit, read my posts.
I said you'd look like a dick if you came across as telling them they're wrong.
So even if you qualify it and say 'oh we don't think summit protests are wrong... but you could be doing all this other stuff too' it's still quyestionable whether the same leaflet couldn't be put to better use elsewhere.

The comparison with anti-war protests is pretty lame.
In the case of anti-war protests, I'll happily hand out flyers, in the absence of anything more useful relating to the issue I could be doing.
There was very little I could do about the Iraq War or the Gaza situation, so symbolic protests made sense, being in Belfast. And leafletting said protests seems reasonable enough in the absence of anything better to do and given we'd a bit of time on our hands.
It's not about 'wrong' or any of that shite, it's about protesting a war in Iraq being completely different from a summit protest in London.

In the context of class-struggle and how it relates to 'the crisis' however, there are real concrete things we can do here so the nature of symbolic protests at symbolic summits takes on a fairly different hue.

Fair enough, you have time on your hands and feel like handing out leaflets at a summit protest, knock yourself out, but don't expect others to feel obliged to think it's anything other than a questionable use of time and energy.
I mean, I hope it's not, I hope a few people pick up some new ideas, and I'm sure your leaflet will be grand.

fatbongo
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Feb 24 2009 16:03
Quote:
I suggested a better strategy might be to go to the actual planning meetings and discuss other forms of struggle that people might be interested in instead of symbolic protests and symbolic meetings.

like what?

Given that demos are just "empty stuntism", I've always wondered why governments try to restrict the right to protest, downplay the extent of participation and portray move radical elements as violent troublemakers in an attempt to discredit them.

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Choccy
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Feb 24 2009 16:14
fatbongo wrote:
Quote:
I suggested a better strategy might be to go to the actual planning meetings and discuss other forms of struggle that people might be interested in instead of symbolic protests and symbolic meetings.

like what?

oh, I don't know, some of the things people actually going to this protest with the leaflets are suggesting:
Cantdo - ''this isn't all bad but its a bit spectacular protest yadda yadda, we could do x y and z''
and 'It isn't ''wrong'' to go on the demo you muppet, the point is to be recomending other courses of action aswell as going on a summit protest, like you know direct action, libertarian communism joining an anarchist group all that jazz.'

fatbongo wrote:
Given that demos are just "empty stuntism", I've always wondered why governments try to restrict the right to protest, downplay the extent of participation and portray move radical elements as violent troublemakers in an attempt to discredit them.

The government restrict things for a myriad of other reason than just a fear that an action will cause them to topple. I mean, fuck sake they restrict the movement of football fans, concert-goers etc.
Off the top of my head, mass gatherings are partly restricted because they often piss off businesses and transport etc when they're in urban centres. I'm not suggesting for a second this is the definitive 'why' they restrict them, just that there's no reason to assume it's because every protest has the state quaking in its boots.

raw
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Feb 24 2009 19:40
Choccy wrote:
fatbongo wrote:
Quote:
I suggested a better strategy might be to go to the actual planning meetings and discuss other forms of struggle that people might be interested in instead of symbolic protests and symbolic meetings.

like what?

oh, I don't know, some of the things people actually going to this protest with the leaflets are suggesting:
Cantdo - ''this isn't all bad but its a bit spectacular protest yadda yadda, we could do x y and z''
and 'It isn't ''wrong'' to go on the demo you muppet, the point is to be recomending other courses of action aswell as going on a summit protest, like you know direct action, libertarian communism joining an anarchist group all that jazz.'

fatbongo wrote:
Given that demos are just "empty stuntism", I've always wondered why governments try to restrict the right to protest, downplay the extent of participation and portray move radical elements as violent troublemakers in an attempt to discredit them.

The government restrict things for a myriad of other reason than just a fear that an action will cause them to topple. I mean, fuck sake they restrict the movement of football fans, concert-goers etc.
Off the top of my head, mass gatherings are partly restricted because they often piss off businesses and transport etc when they're in urban centres. I'm not suggesting for a second this is the definitive 'why' they restrict them, just that there's no reason to assume it's because every protest has the state quaking in its boots.

I think you misunderstand how the state views the movements and actions of the population, and the potential threat that the population always poses for the state to govern. We may assume the state goes along quietly existing but in reality it is constantly managing and manipulating conflict within the population so as to mantain its legitimacy and power.

The fact of many thousands of people demonstrating in the city of London will cause huge problems for the state. It is their worst nightmare. After doing all they can to try and sort out the financial system, and failing, they are increasingly aware that alternative forces will be developing from within working class that will attempt to challenge the states defacto rule. Already we are seeing the emmergence of a new mass movement. On March 28th, there will be the big march in central london that will pull together people from the trade union movement, unaligned workers, unemployed, youth, students, climate activists - there is real potential here solely based on the composition of the people that will attend.

It is the role of anarchists to be present on the streets, to give support to people who may well be facing down the state troopers on April 1st, and stand shoulder to shoulder with our people.

I have never read any anarchists in the past histories promote the idea of not doing anything and staying at home - or if they did, history has forgotten them. Our history is about people who think and do or it is nothing.

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jef costello
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Feb 24 2009 20:47
raw wrote:
Choccy wrote:
fatbongo wrote:
Quote:
I suggested a better strategy might be to go to the actual planning meetings and discuss other forms of struggle that people might be interested in instead of symbolic protests and symbolic meetings.

like what?

oh, I don't know, some of the things people actually going to this protest with the leaflets are suggesting:
Cantdo - ''this isn't all bad but its a bit spectacular protest yadda yadda, we could do x y and z''
and 'It isn't ''wrong'' to go on the demo you muppet, the point is to be recomending other courses of action aswell as going on a summit protest, like you know direct action, libertarian communism joining an anarchist group all that jazz.'

fatbongo wrote:
Given that demos are just "empty stuntism", I've always wondered why governments try to restrict the right to protest, downplay the extent of participation and portray move radical elements as violent troublemakers in an attempt to discredit them.

The government restrict things for a myriad of other reason than just a fear that an action will cause them to topple. I mean, fuck sake they restrict the movement of football fans, concert-goers etc.
Off the top of my head, mass gatherings are partly restricted because they often piss off businesses and transport etc when they're in urban centres. I'm not suggesting for a second this is the definitive 'why' they restrict them, just that there's no reason to assume it's because every protest has the state quaking in its boots.

I think you misunderstand how the state views the movements and actions of the population, and the potential threat that the population always poses for the state to govern. We may assume the state goes along quietly existing but in reality it is constantly managing and manipulating conflict within the population so as to mantain its legitimacy and power.

The fact of many thousands of people demonstrating in the city of London will cause huge problems for the state. It is their worst nightmare. After doing all they can to try and sort out the financial system, and failing, they are increasingly aware that alternative forces will be developing from within working class that will attempt to challenge the states defacto rule. Already we are seeing the emmergence of a new mass movement. On March 28th, there will be the big march in central london that will pull together people from the trade union movement, unaligned workers, unemployed, youth, students, climate activists - there is real potential here solely based on the composition of the people that will attend.

It is the role of anarchists to be present on the streets, to give support to people who may well be facing down the state troopers on April 1st, and stand shoulder to shoulder with our people.

I have never read any anarchists in the past histories promote the idea of not doing anything and staying at home - or if they did, history has forgotten them. Our history is about people who think and do or it is nothing.

Finally it all makes sense.

fatbongo
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Feb 24 2009 22:05
Quote:
there's no reason to assume it's because every protest has the state quaking in its boots.

I don't understand why you wrote that because it's got nothing to do with my argument, which was that far from being 'empty stuntism' demonstrations serve some worthwhile purposes - not least, enabling my 65 year old mum an opportunity to participate in the most militant activity she is likely to enage in for the forseeable future.';

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Joseph Kay
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Feb 24 2009 22:13
raw wrote:
The fact of many thousands of people demonstrating in the city of London will cause huge problems for the state. It is their worst nightmare.

to be honest i think you're overplaying it - even the most wildly optimistic outcome for the day surely falls short of the state's "worst nightmare."

raw wrote:
Already we are seeing the emmergence of a new mass movement.

it's possible, but too early to declare so confidently. the recession will likely shape politics over the next 2 years like the war did from 2002-4, but there's no guarantee of a mass movement, still less the political content of that movement.

raw wrote:
I have never read any anarchists in the past histories promote the idea of not doing anything and staying at home

i don't think that's the position of anyone on this thread. the critics have been arguing for other things, not for nothing.

Spikymike
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Feb 25 2009 18:31

I also do not think anyone who regularly posts on and supports LibCom is against 'activity'. The debate so far has been mostly about the effectiveness of various activities and what seems to be some understanding emmerging that leafleting this particular demo' has 'some' value even if it is not deserving of a particular priority for everyone.

There is a critique however against 'Activism' as an 'ideology' and political practice which is different I think. Some of that did evolve usefully out of reflections on past anti-summit protests.

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Choccy
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Feb 25 2009 22:21

Of course, I do symbolic activity stuff all the time, but it's usually in relation to issues not directly affecting me or specific to one region (Iraq War protests, Gaza stuff, sacked Starbucks workers in US and Spain etc).

raw
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Feb 26 2009 07:47

The fact that many on these boards judge effectiveness against some narrow abstract notion of class struggle does not help a wider analysis on what is and what is not effective. For someone to appear on a demonstration with thousands of people and say this is pure symbollism doesn't quite get the purpose of those demonstrations.Having thousands of people together around a common issues builds solidarity, it increases communication and circulation of ideas, it creates momentum, these are more than symbollism.

Obviously there are effective and non-effective demonstrations. The point it to make them more effective not dismiss them.

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madashell
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Feb 26 2009 11:40

While I agree that summit protests are shit, it is true that the marches are going to attract a lot of people who've not previously been involved in politics, people who are pissed off about the state of the world and how it impacts on their everyday lives. To completely write off the idea of being there with some leaflets saying "This is all very well, but look at X thing that you could be involved in too" strikes me as knee jerk rejection of a particular activity for the sake of it. Particularly if you're as nearby as Brighton, it's not as if it's a massive demand on your time.

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Choccy
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Feb 26 2009 11:47

I don't think anyone's said they shouldn't do it, so I'm not quite sure what knee-jerk reaction there's been. At most me and Jack said it was a bit of a waste of time, but if you have the time knock yourself out, I mean literally, that's the very most that was said.

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madashell
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Feb 26 2009 12:06
Choccy wrote:
I don't think anyone's said they shouldn't do it, so I'm not quite sure what knee-jerk reaction there's been. At most me and Jack said it was a bit of a waste of time, but if you have the time knock yourself out, I mean literally, that's the very most that was said.

Fair enough (and I won't be spending £60 on the train and a weeks holiday so I can hand out some leaflets at a march), but I think both you and Jack are underestimating the value of getting out there and doing it. It's not going to suddenly make everybody there give up summit protests and join a libertarian communist organisation, but if you're involved in community or workplace stuff that you might want to get people who new to politics involved in (say, a residents group, an LCAP style claimants union or a picket where you want a few supporters bulking out numbers) you could attract a few people just from showing up with leaflets and talking to people who seem interested.

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madashell
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Feb 26 2009 13:26
Jack wrote:
Its midweek??

I thought it was weekend?

There's a march on Saturday the 28th, with other stuff going on throughout the week.

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Choccy
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Feb 26 2009 14:10
madashell wrote:
Fair enough (and I won't be spending £60 on the train and a weeks holiday so I can hand out some leaflets at a march), but I think both you and Jack are underestimating the value of getting out there and doing it. It's not going to suddenly make everybody there give up summit protests and join a libertarian communist organisation, but if you're involved in community or workplace stuff that you might want to get people who new to politics involved in (say, a residents group, an LCAP style claimants union or a picket where you want a few supporters bulking out numbers) you could attract a few people just from showing up with leaflets and talking to people who seem interested.

Perhaps we are underestimating it, and maybe we'll be proven wrong and it will have been worthwhile. But yeah even if I was living in London still, I doubt I'd bother going to G20.

Caiman del Barrio
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Feb 26 2009 14:12

Well the good news is that Plane Stupid are on the case...

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Choccy
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Feb 26 2009 14:24

wink

Karma
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Feb 27 2009 13:23
IrrationallyAngry wrote:
You lot really are a rum bunch.

Some people you don't really agree with go to all the trouble of assembling together thousands of people who are pissed off at the state of society and who have drawn varying degrees of anti-capitalist conclusions from that. Believe it or not the vast majority of them will not be hardened activistoids who live in squats and carry scabies. You will not find a more receptive audience for your ideas anywhere else that month.

And what do you do? Turn up your noses at the whole thing. You'd rather sit at home and fantasise about workers resistance networks springing fully formed from your arseholes.

Kind of what I thought too

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jef costello
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Feb 27 2009 20:55
Choccy wrote:
I doubt I'd bother going to G20.

It's a french supermarket that sells trappist beers at a reasonable price, so we'[ll have to agree to disagree.

Caiman del Barrio
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Mar 2 2009 21:20

Shush Weeler this is a problem.

I mean, what would Tommy Ascaso do in that scenario? grin

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Steven.
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Mar 3 2009 15:30
madashell wrote:
While I agree that summit protests are shit, it is true that the marches are going to attract a lot of people who've not previously been involved in politics, people who are pissed off about the state of the world and how it impacts on their everyday lives. To completely write off the idea of being there with some leaflets saying "This is all very well, but look at X thing that you could be involved in too" strikes me as knee jerk rejection of a particular activity for the sake of it.

Word

Vaneigemappreci...
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Mar 6 2009 14:55

I'm personally looking foward to the weeks events. They won't change the world, they'll do as much to spurn cabinet into a salutary response to the economic situation as sending them a big bunch of tulips would, but hopefully they'll attract people to anarchist politics and provide an opportunity for groups to liaise with people who are fed up with those in charge and want to do something to change the mess we're in now.