Network of AF and SF members who want to organise towards a merger

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noodlehead
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May 16 2012 13:06
Network of AF and SF members who want to organise towards a merger

Get in touch if your serious about trying to make this happen as well. I've already started trying to find out whos in favour in my local group.

We lose a lot more by being in seperate orgs than we gain. And being in the same org doesnt even mean that we can't recognise our political differences. For example there could be recognised communist/syndicalist tendencies/factions within the group but as long as there is stuff we have in common we can work do it more efficiently and powerfully in the same group.

TBH I think that every practical consideration points to merger, arguments about the theoretical differences are pretty much just academic. No-one who isnt already an active class struggle militant gives a fuck about the historical traditions and differences between anarcho syndicalism and communism, and us thinking that its important is a sign of our detachment from the class.

Benefits of merging

-Increased member density so isolated members in some areas would be able to form official local groups.

-in cities where there are acive groups of both then the level of co-ordination will improve a lot. However hard we try to work together having two different sets of meetings is an obstacle to effective action.

-In some cities membership will pass a threshold where the groups can split into geographically smaller locals, reducing travel times and bringing more people in. Especially in London a lot more poeple would be active if they didnt have to trek for up to an hour and a half to get to a meeting.

-Greater momentum carrying us forward and growing.

-Save A LOT of duplicated work in writing for resistance/catalyst, making one set of flyers ratehr than two for every upcoming event.

-Being able to share out the work more would mean that a)less burnout b)freeing up time away from basic admin tasks to keep the org ticking over so that we can focus on our organising drives and keep growing.

-Economies of scale on printing. Maybe we can print publications in colour that actually look nice that people will notice. Also as there will be more contributors we will be able to either a) improve the standard of articles or b) increase the length of the paper.

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Joseph Kay
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May 16 2012 13:08

Just a note to prepare for a flood of cynicism, as this is proposed at least once a year wink

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Chilli Sauce
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May 16 2012 13:15

Perhaps I'll post more detail later, but I'd he highly opposed to this. I am highly in favour of close, joint, and comradely activity between the two feds, but I'd probably leave the organisation if we merged sad

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Chilli Sauce
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May 16 2012 13:16

Briefly, I think a lot of the positive things you mention, this for example:

Quote:
-Economies of scale on printing. Maybe we can print publications in colour that actually look nice that people will notice. Also as there will be more contributors we will be able to either a) improve the standard of articles or b) increase the length of the paper.

Don't require a merger.

noodlehead
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May 16 2012 13:38
Joseph Kay wrote:
Just a note to prepare for a flood of cynicism, as this is proposed at least once a year ;)

Did they ever get very far taking proposals to conference etc?

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Fall Back
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May 16 2012 13:39

I thought we were past this one tbh. Shame to see it come up again, I just wish we could concentrate on actually applying our strategy rather than wasting time on futile intreges and mergers.

Given it will never, ever happen, almost not worth spending time on, but I guess since it's so perennial, worth sticking an oar in.

We're different organisations with different aims, methods, strategies and goals. There's nothing stopping people in SF joining AF if they want an anarchist political organisation or members of AF joining SF if they want to be in an anarcho-syndicalist political-economic organisation. Sure, fine that we work closely, but a merger is a terrible idea for several reasons - (all these from SF perspective, i'm sure just as many from AF side)

-Organisational paralysis. I'd rather 150 people who have an agreed strategy than 200 people where we don't have the (hard fought!) large amount of agreement we've forged in SF.

-Realistically, we'd end up more divided up than we are now - 3 organisations instead of 2 (the merger, an SF rump opposed to merger, an AF rump opposed to merger). Add into this the "fun" of fighting over international affiliations, and it's a sure fire recipe for tears.

-Loss of momentum. In SF we're on a roll. We're finally inns position where we've got strategy together, are going in the direction we want, we have a training program etc. Fucked if I want to lose all this momentum and come to a stop while we figure out how we function post merger.

-Membership problems - we have different criteria for membership. What do we say to people who couldn't join SF but are in AF, or vice versa?

And that's just top of my head. I really, really hope we don't waste time on another fucking round of this. There's no momentum towards it. Next to no support for it. So why do we endlessly have to discuss it?

noodlehead
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May 16 2012 13:39
Chilli Sauce wrote:
Perhaps I'll post more detail later, but I'd he highly opposed to this. I am highly in favour of close, joint, and comradely activity between the two feds, but I'd probably leave the organisation if we merged :(

Why on earth would you leave if you can do the exact same political activity within the new larger organisation.

akai
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May 16 2012 13:39

Don't know any details, and am completely from the outside, but the main question is if AF people want to do organizing in workplaces and on workers' issues, why not just join SF?

Personally, I have been suffering from problems with people who do not necessarily want to do this type of union work, or have no strategy for this and have problems understanding the difference between a specific anarchist organization and an anarchosyndicalist organization. It is a very, very serious problem indeed and, as far as I can judge, it is an issue in various organizations like ours.

I cannot make any comments on your situation of course, but I am thinking that not making a clear difference is really a mistake and that it is much better to have good cooperation. I just even think of it as a potential issue for time management. If anybody has ever been to an organizational meeting where workplace campaigns are just one of many, they would know that it forces you do spend your time differently. There could be ways around that, but I am sceptical and am thinking that the way some comrades in Spain or Italy are in CNT or USI but in addition might be in an anarchist specific group sort of guarantees that those groups stay more focused. At the same time, they manage to support all sorts of other issues and movements, but it is not their main activity.

noodlehead
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May 16 2012 13:39
Chilli Sauce wrote:
Perhaps I'll post more detail later, but I'd he highly opposed to this. I am highly in favour of close, joint, and comradely activity between the two feds, but I'd probably leave the organisation if we merged :(

Why on earth would you leave if you can do the exact same political activity within the new larger organisation.

akai
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May 16 2012 13:52

Sorry comrade. Have you ever been in a suddenly larger organization where all of a sudden your meetings are dedicated to a range of issues other than anarchosyndicalism? Very, very unfortunately, this happened to me. Being in a larger organization which is not as focused is not an advantage. I do not say it would have to be that way, but if the people want to do anarchosyndicalism, they should just join SF and keep dual membership with FA, no? I think currently there is nothing preventing the two organizations from actively supporting each other, is there?

We have an anarchist federation here, we sometimes do things together, they have some groups in cities we don't and sometimes if we have national picket actions, they join in. If they organize events we also take part or support often.

They have a very different way of working than we, more in informal affinity groups. They like it that way and it's really hard for people who like that way to integrate into a different structure. So together it wouldn't really work well, but we like to cooperate with some of the groups.

Sorry, I know I am talking about here, not there, but just to point out that anarchosyndicalist groups often cooperate with anarchist and other libertarian groups on a very close and beneficial basis, but retaining their separateness for very specific reasons.

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the button
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May 16 2012 13:57

Nah, can't be arsed. Fuck this right off. smile

noodlehead
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May 16 2012 14:07
Fall Back wrote:
We're different organisations with different aims, methods, strategies and goals. There's nothing stopping people in SF joining AF if they want an anarchist political organisation or members of AF joining SF if they want to be in an anarcho-syndicalist political-economic organisation. Sure, fine that we work closely, but a merger is a terrible idea for several reasons - (all these from SF perspective, i'm sure just as many from AF side)

Its not about wanting to be in an organisation as if it was a case of identity. Its about getting to a size where we can function effectively. I'm in the largest SF local and we are nowhere near there atm.

Also no-one has the time to be active in two sets of meetings, and still put in time for organising, and still have a personal life outside of politics. Saying that people can join both organisations isnt a solution.

Fall Back wrote:
-Organisational paralysis. I'd rather 150 people who have an agreed strategy than 200 people where we don't have the (hard fought!) large amount of agreement we've forged in SF.

I think that you are overstating the differences between different strains of class struggle anarchism. We can find plenty to work on together. In fact since Ive been in SF almost every campaign that we've initiated has been supported by the AF and other radicals. Honestly ouside of academic circles no-one will care.

Fall Back wrote:
-Realistically, we'd end up more divided up than we are now - 3 organisations instead of 2 (the merger, an SF rump opposed to merger, an AF rump opposed to merger). Add into this the "fun" of fighting over international affiliations, and it's a sure fire recipe for tears.

Hypothetically for the merger to go through the various processes people opposed to it would have to be a smaller minority in both orgs. The result of this would be to create 1 larger more effective group and two tiny splitter remnants that wouldnt have the numbers to do anything well and couldnt even use the names of the original groups.

They would realise the futility of trying to carry on in ineffective grouplets and just come back into the fold over time. And if their ego is too big to accept that then theres not much to be done about it.

Fall Back wrote:
-Loss of momentum. In SF we're on a roll. We're finally in a position where we've got strategy together, are going in the direction we want, we have a training program etc. Fucked if I want to lose all this momentum and come to a stop while we figure out how we function post merger.

-Membership problems - we have different criteria for membership. What do we say to people who couldn't join SF but are in AF, or vice versa?

Doubling our membership will increase our momentum. None of the positive things you have mentioned will go away because a merger is taking place.

Membership criteria will be a compromise between the rules for SF and AF obviously, and all new members will have to fall into that.

Fall Back wrote:
And that's just top of my head. I really, really hope we don't waste time on another fucking round of this. There's no momentum towards it. Next to no support for it. So why do we endlessly have to discuss it?

Declaring that there is no support for it is not the same thing as there being no support for it as the fact that I am for it and that plenty of others in my local and in London AF, is evidence to the contrary. Constructing false consensus is not very democratic.

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Joseph Kay
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May 16 2012 14:06
noodlehead wrote:
Did they ever get very far taking proposals to conference etc?

It's never got past the stage of 'wouldn't it be nice' speculation on the internet afaik wink

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May 16 2012 14:07

I'm with chilli sauce on this - I would leave rather than spend my time in an organisation that, as Fall Back points out, could well be three factions struggling to come to what could only be a really unsatisfactory compromise.

I joined SF because of its focus on workplace organisation, not because I'm an anarchist. I wouldn't have joined AF then and I wouldn't now. I don't understand why a merger is in any way preferable to better developed co-operation (we could take a step towards this by perhaps not dickwaving about what students are and aren't, just a suggestion).

noodlehead
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May 16 2012 14:11
Joseph Kay wrote:
noodlehead wrote:
Did they ever get very far taking proposals to conference etc?

It's never got past the stage of 'wouldn't it be nice' speculation on the internet afaik ;)

Well well see what happens this time, Im going to push it and other will too.

I think a big part of this would be to create a draft template of what the new org could look like, the constitutional compromises etc so that it will be a more concrete idea for people to engage with and get behind, rather than beung just vague speculation.

noodlehead
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May 16 2012 14:13
lzbl wrote:
I'm with chilli sauce on this - I would leave rather than spend my time in an organisation that, as Fall Back points out, could well be three factions struggling to come to what could only be a really unsatisfactory compromise.

I joined SF because of its focus on workplace organisation, not because I'm an anarchist. I wouldn't have joined AF then and I wouldn't now. I don't understand why a merger is in any way preferable to better developed co-operation (we could take a step towards this by perhaps not dickwaving about what students are and aren't, just a suggestion).

What makes you think that a unified class struggle anarchist group would not be place importance on workplace organising.

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May 16 2012 14:27

I think that it's likely we would lose focus, and that coming to a compromise between our methods of organising would effectively neuter both of them. A merger just seems like an unnecessary distraction from doing what we're doing.

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Chilli Sauce
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May 16 2012 14:27
noodlehead wrote:
Chilli Sauce wrote:
Perhaps I'll post more detail later, but I'd he highly opposed to this. I am highly in favour of close, joint, and comradely activity between the two feds, but I'd probably leave the organisation if we merged :(

Why on earth would you leave if you can do the exact same political activity within the new larger organisation.

Fallback's already covered most of it, but I joined SF because I wanted an organisation with tight politics. Sorry AF, but your politics aren't tight enough for me and, honestly, I prefer it if SF had even tighter politics. A merged organisation's politics would be too loose for me to stick around.

I, like Fallback, would much prefer a smaller organisation with tighter politics. I'm sure there'd be others in SF who would also prefer an explicitly A/S organisation and I imagine we'd go from there.

Also, Noodlehead, you really should have raised this internally first, comrade.

radicalgraffiti
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May 16 2012 14:32
Chilli Sauce wrote:
noodlehead wrote:
Chilli Sauce wrote:
Perhaps I'll post more detail later, but I'd he highly opposed to this. I am highly in favour of close, joint, and comradely activity between the two feds, but I'd probably leave the organisation if we merged :(

Why on earth would you leave if you can do the exact same political activity within the new larger organisation.

Fallback's already covered most of it, but I joined SF because I wanted an organisation with tight politics. Sorry AF, but your politics aren't tight enough for me and, honestly, I prefer it if SF had even tighter politics. A merged organisation's politics would be too loose for me to stick around.

i had the opposite impression of af and sf's politics

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May 16 2012 14:38

Edit to my post above, I'm echoing what Fallback and Lzbl are saying, I just hadn't read Lzbl's posts when I first responded.

As I think is clear on this thread, AF engages in a wider spread of activities then AF. I'm not opposed to individuals and organisations having a wide remit, but I have a very specific focus for where I want to expend my time and energy and I want to belong to an organisation that reflects that.

Caiman del Barrio
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May 16 2012 14:41
Chilli Sauce wrote:
Also, Noodlehead, you really should have raised this internally first, comrade.

Yeah, pretty much.

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Chilli Sauce
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May 16 2012 14:44

Still tho Noodlehead, you def get credit for the day's fastest growing libcom thread. wink

noodlehead
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May 16 2012 14:44
Caiman del Barrio wrote:
Chilli Sauce wrote:
Also, Noodlehead, you really should have raised this internally first, comrade.

Yeah, pretty much.

I want to network with AF people who want this to happen as well

Caiman del Barrio
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May 16 2012 14:44
Fall Back wrote:
-Realistically, we'd end up more divided up than we are now - 3 organisations instead of 2 (the merger, an SF rump opposed to merger, an AF rump opposed to merger). Add into this the "fun" of fighting over international affiliations, and it's a sure fire recipe for tears.

yep!

Android
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May 16 2012 14:52
Quote:
As I think is clear on this thread, AF engages in a wider spread of activities then AF. I'm not opposed to individuals and organisations having a wide remit, but I have a very specific focus for where I want to expend my time and energy and I want to belong to an organisation that reflects that.

Well, SolFed members on here have mentioned in the past how youse are discussing developing a strategy toward non-workplace based class struggle. That would seem to contradict your statement that SolFed is aiming to be a purely workplace focused organisation.

But I actually don't think you were raising up a distinction between being an organisation focussed on workplace and one focussed on non-wprkplace issues. But making an implicit criticism of the AF using the code of 'wider spread of activities' and 'tight politics', which I share.

And in the spirit of this and similar threads I will abstain from further comment for diplomatic purposes!

Android
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May 16 2012 14:58
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There are AF members close to left communism and AF members active in the IWW which is an apolitical syndicalist union, that suggests pretty broad politics.

I can only think of one member in the AF today who would identify or be heavily influenced by left or council communism. My impression is a lot of those were are no longer in the AF. Could be wrong though.

But you are essentially right. AF is a broad church, in that it recruits on a rather thin basis.

Battlescarred
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May 16 2012 15:33

"But you are essentially right. AF is a broad church, in that it recruits on a rather thin basis."
Utter tosh!!

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Arbeiten
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May 16 2012 15:54

oooOOOooooOOOOOOOOooooo hello potential poo storm! twisted

Think it has been covered above mostly (apart from the implicit 'we are better' in Chilli's remarks wink). Like JC has already said, we should be looking to work more closely rather than merging. Or individuals should join both....

N.B. In a comradely spirit, I would like to hear/read someone from the AF say why they think a merging is a bad (or potentially good confused ) idea. grin

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May 16 2012 18:27
Android wrote:
But you are essentially right. AF is a broad church, in that it recruits on a rather thin basis.

Never ceases to amaze me how people can make these kind of comments about an organisation they clearly know fuck all about.

As for the proposer of this merger, do you actually know anything about the organisation you belong to, let alone the organisation you want it to merge with?

Let's continue with increased cooperation between both federations, but as far as any merger is concerned, it would be a very bad idea.

Android
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May 16 2012 18:59
Quote:
Never ceases to amaze me how people can make these kind of comments about an organisation they clearly know fuck all about.

I am actually an ex-member of the AF, and it is a view I've heard at least one person in AF express, recently.

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May 16 2012 19:10

http://www.afed.org.uk/ace/afed_in_the_tradition.pdf