Pre Gleneagles - Anarchist communists debate the Black bloc

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AndrewF
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Jul 4 2005 11:58
redyred wrote:
Is that a valid enough comparison for you?

No - and I've already explained why

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Steven.
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Jul 4 2005 12:40

Joe, it's a shame you still haven't answered me... oh well. FWIW I think that yours and the WSM's positions on summit demos/social movements is largely correct and disagree with the ultra-ist oppositional argument. However I personally do not think it's a productive use of my personal time, and only worth putting in a bare minimum of effort generally.

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Jul 4 2005 14:13
JoeBlack2 wrote:
ideology plays a very important role in shaping things - people are not blank slates whose thoughts are formed only by their everyday experience. Unlike monkeys we can read and communicate complex abstract ideas. This is a good thing and it is also 'ideology' in the broad sense of the word. (BTW if you want to avoid soft unpopular terms like ideology why on earth use a hard one like communist?)

First off, I've got nothing against the word 'ideology'. I'm not a fucking post-leftist dickhead. OK, maybe "not an ideology" was the wrong way of saying it, maybe "more than just an ideology" (its a way of life maaan....just kidding grin ).

What I mean is, we could have mass federations of libertarian communists and the class still not be any stronger because it remains unorganised where it matters most - the workplace and community. I'm not saying we shouldn't organise political groups around ideology but we need to understand that to really encourage these tendencies within the class it will take much more than just propagandising them, we'll need to organise as part of them, where we live and work.

Libertarian communist tendencies are active within the class all the time whether the people who do it are explict libertarian communists or not. I mean, Argentina 2001 was a classic example: the libertarian communist movement over there isn't particularly strong, but those tendencies are obviously fairly strong within the class regardless.

JoeBlack2 wrote:
who do you expect is going to argue for 'less effective' forms of doing anything?

Er, you? That's why we're arguing with you. Because we think that you're arguing for a 'less effective' method of political organising.

JoeBlack2 wrote:
Secondly the 'if' in bold is very important. In many cases there is not much happening on a local basis to get involved in - the summit stuff may well give people the knowledge/ confidence to go home and initate stuf.

Aha! Gotcha! So you admit that local organising is more effective political activity than poncing around on summit protests?

Now Joe, if we agree that local organising is more effective than summit protests, then why don't we drop the months (just thought I'd point that out again) of organising for summit protests and concentrate on building a real counter-power to the institutions of the G8, the IMF, international capital etc? If you accept that local organising is a better point of entry then why don't you stop encouraging symbolic summit protests (and therefore maintaining a link between libertarian communism and activist bullshit) just because after people get burnt out with this fruitless excercise, some (though far from all) get involved in decent organising?

Incidently, if we accept that black bloc etc is just symbolic, then a) why not just join the demo without risking two or three years jail-time and b) why didn't anyone tell me when I was 16 and wanted to do Black Bloc stuff?

JoeBlack2 wrote:
Thirdly the 'should' in italics is either meaningless or based on the assumption that there is some sort or conflict between local and global action. As argued many times not only does this not exist but the evidence points to the opposite - that is that both forms complement each other.

I haven't seen the argument that they compliment each other yet, only the assertion that they do. Come on then mate, let's fuckin' 'ave it! wink

JoeBlack2 wrote:
The reasons I, and I presume you, reject the SWP have almost nothing at all to do with summit protests. If I thought the real agenda behind summit protests was the constrution of a new party to rule over the working class then the comparison would be valid.

To be fair Joe, I think the comparison is valid. I mean, I think that summit protests and building a vanguard party are both just as fruitless as each other in the process of working class liberation. But both have had just as many libertarian communists emerge from their ranks as each other. Unless you're saying that we've got more in common with individualists and activist 'anarchists' then we do with Trots. In which case, I disagree. We've got just as little to do with individualists as we do with Trots.

John. wrote:
I think that yours and the WSM's positions on summit demos/social movements is largely correct and disagree with the ultra-ist oppositional argument.

How is orientating yourself towards the class as opposed to the meetings of bosses and politicians in any way "ultra-ist"? Seems like normal libertarian communism to me....

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Jul 4 2005 14:18

I scrolled back to find John's post I hadn't answered

John. wrote:
JoeBlack2 wrote:
Finally the '200,000' wasted comment from John illustrates the bankruptcy of much of the antis. Why grumble about how some other group have spent the 200,000 they raised - why not raise this 200,000 yourself. ....

Sorry Joe but I don't think it's entirely fair to criticise an anarchist for not being rich!

That was hardly what I was doing though - was it? I'm aware that some of the money came as loans from wealthy activists - so what - I've been involved in projects myself that were only possible because people with cash were talked into backing them. This side of the revolution that is going to happen in particular with stuff that requires infastructure (eg bookshops),

But any group of 300+ people in a western country should be able to raise that sort of cash if they are serious about their politics by just dipping into their wages (WSM members contribute up to 5% of their income for instance).

The bottom line though is that they were never going to raise 200,000 and hand it over to you to do with as you want so complaining about what they decided their priorities were is pointless grumbling. If your projects need cash then get out their and raise it - don't wait for someone to turn up on the door with a suitcase full of twenties. [In reality if as you say a lot of the money came from a few individuals then it is likely that this money was loaned for a specific purpose (G8 protests) and was thus not available for other uses in the first place].

John. wrote:
In addition almost all of the rest is raised by full-time professional activists, mostly from relatively privileged backgrounds, who have dropped out of work and mainstream society.

This sounds too much like what every left group says about the membership of every other left group for me to take seriously. If raising 200,000 was as easy as dropping out I'd do it tomorrow.

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Jul 4 2005 14:21
Ed wrote:
Volin, though I agree with you regarding the media, redyred said "PUBLIC image" not media image

well, uh, what's the image the public has and how does that differ from what the media feeds them? smile

Ed wrote:
libertarian communism isn’t an ideology, it’s a living tendency within the class that needs encouragement and only a small part of that encouragement can be done through propagandising, we need to show that our ideas can get results on a day-to-day level.

Agree with you completely here, "it is not even a movement it's an historical tendency" and all that. I also dislike using the term ideology. However you must concede then, that as a broad tendency against authority you're going to find differing tactics and ways of bringing change. Now, I hate sounding like I defend all Black Bloc actions -the most recent of which I disagree with completely- but not all of our organisation will be the same and even necessarily be competely agreed with. It's what you'd expect, you can disagree with some of it and we should be more united but there will have to be a broad spectrum of tactics.

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Jul 4 2005 14:39
Ed wrote:
What I mean is, we could have mass federations of libertarian communists and the class still not be any stronger because it remains unorganised where it matters most - the workplace and community.

While theoretically possible in reality this seems very unlikely especially in the current situation where there is fuck all real grassroots organisation anyway. But I'm relieved to see we probably agree on the question of ideology - I go nuts with the anti-ideology stuff.

JoeBlack2 wrote:
who do you expect is going to argue for 'less effective' forms of doing anything?
Ed wrote:
Er, you? That's why we're arguing with you. Because we think that you're arguing for a 'less effective' method of political organising

Bangs head of screen No - no -no -no. That is not what I am arguing. I am arguing that it is not a case of one undermining the other but of one reinforcing the other. If you pulled a gun and forced me to make the artificial choice between local and global I'd choose local. But in real life that contradiction seldom appears.

JoeBlack2 wrote:
Aha! Gotcha! So you admit that local organising is more effective political activity than poncing around on summit protests?

See above

JoeBlack2 wrote:
Now Joe, if we agree that local organising is more effective than summit protests, then why don't we drop the months (just thought I'd point that out again) of organising for summit protests

Well are we talking of organising the things or going to them because people seem to keep using the effort of organising them as an excuse not to go. And going is not that difficult.

But that aside if done well the organisation should open up lots of new local contacts and involve getting arguments and discussion going with lots of local people. For Dublin Mayday for instance we distributed 50,000 detailed leaflets door to door in the month before the protest. And it created an atmosphere where every time I was in a taxi for a month before and two months after I had a political conversation with the driver about the protests. In Dublin it certainly resulted in us being taken a lot more seriously. Of course that is an argument for why revolutionaries should be involved - if you leave it to muppets you'll get muppetry.

Ed wrote:
just because after people get burnt out with this fruitless excercise, some (though far from all) get involved in decent organising?

In my expereience it is not burn out that does this - if anything the opposite is the case - its the feeling of participating in this sort of thing that gives people the drive to really get stuck in locally on their return.

JoeBlack2 wrote:
Incidently, if we accept that black bloc etc is just symbolic, then a) why not just join the demo without risking two or three years jail-time and b) why didn't anyone tell me when I was 16 and wanted to do Black Bloc stuff?

Why are we talking about Black Bloc? It's hardly the only tactic used to disrupt summits. Lots of people getting prison sentences would be dumb and tactics should reflect that.

Ed wrote:

I haven't seen the argument that they compliment each other yet, only the assertion that they do. Come on then mate, let's fuckin' 'ave it! wink

You have seen it - you've just not noticed (eg people saying 'this was how I first got involved' is evidence)

Ed wrote:
TTo be fair Joe, I think the comparison is valid. I mean, I think that summit protests and building a vanguard party are both just as fruitless as each other in the process of working class liberation. [/ed]

This is the sort of ultra left reductionism that drives me nuts. You could just as well write 'football and building a fascist party are both just as fruitless'. The point is that summit protests may or may not be useful but they are not eqivalent to building a future dictatorship. I don't object to the SWP because they are doing something I've no interest in - I object to them because if they succeeded in would be very bad for the working class. If you can't see this distinction I suggest you mount a picket on your local society of stamp collectors or train spotters.

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Jul 4 2005 15:06

I think using roll eyes because you lack a reply is missing the point of that most over used of smilies.

roll eyes roll eyes roll eyes roll eyes roll eyes roll eyes roll eyes roll eyes roll eyes roll eyes roll eyes roll eyes roll eyes roll eyes roll eyes roll eyes roll eyes roll eyes roll eyes roll eyes roll eyes roll eyes roll eyes roll eyes roll eyes roll eyes roll eyes roll eyes roll eyes roll eyes roll eyes roll eyes roll eyes roll eyes roll eyes roll eyes roll eyes roll eyes roll eyes roll eyes roll eyes roll eyes roll eyes roll eyes roll eyes roll eyes roll eyes roll eyes roll eyes roll eyes roll eyes roll eyes roll eyes roll eyes roll eyes roll eyes roll eyes roll eyes roll eyes roll eyes roll eyes roll eyes roll eyes roll eyes roll eyes

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Jul 4 2005 15:46
Jack wrote:
As if we just dismiss members of the SWP as just 'wanting to build a dictatorship'.

Which is of course not what I actually said.

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Jul 4 2005 15:49
Volin wrote:
what's the image the public has and how does that differ from what the media feeds them?

We can affect our public image through engaging with the public. We can't affect our media image (much) because the media is so tied to capital.

Volin wrote:
Agree with you completely here, "it is not even a movement it's an historical tendency" and all that. I also dislike using the term ideology. However you must concede then, that as a broad tendency against authority you're going to find differing tactics and ways of bringing change.

Yes, and some of those ways of bringing about change (summit protests, trying to 'SmASh' technology, trying to loot Hackney Tesco etc) are absolutely fucking useless. Activism has nothing to do with libertarian communism because it doesn't orientate itself towards the working class and building working class counter-power. Also, FWIW, I don't dislike the term ideology.

JoeBlack2 wrote:
I am arguing that it is not a case of one undermining the other but of one reinforcing the other. If you pulled a gun and forced me to make the artificial choice between local and global I'd choose local. But in real life that contradiction seldom appears.

I'm not asking you to make that choice. My exact point is that the only way you can affect the global is by acting on the local. You agree with this (hence you accept that summit protests are symbolic and don't affect anything). So the question arises again: Why fuck around with summit protests when we know that they don't affect anything? Why not organise where we can actually affect things?

JoeBlack2 wrote:
Why are we talking about Black Bloc?

Er, thread title? tongue

JoeBlack2 wrote:
You have seen it - you've just not noticed (eg people saying 'this was how I first got involved' is evidence)

No, we've already addressed this. Just because some of us got involved through substitutionist activist bollocks doesn't mean that activism is something we should have any time for, it just shows exactly how shite the movement is in Britain and Ireland. Rather than show how summit protests compliments grassroots organising, all it shows is how bad we are (as a movement) at grassroots organising! Why do we have to rely on symbolic protests seperated from the everyday experiences of the class to provide a stream of politicos to take up local organising? Again, I also want to ask the question: what do you think the best case scenario of Gleneagles would be and would it be worth the months of effort?

About it not being hard to just go to these protests. Well, first off, as Jack pointed out, it is. My mum is against the G8 but she didn't go coz she's got to go to work, she's got to look after my little brother, a woman her age isn't so good with public order situations etc. Oh, she also sees the protests as something that isn't anything to do with her (being that she's 50 this Wednesday!), protesting isn't her speciality, its for the 'protesters' (why else would they have that name!). A good article on this would be Give Up Activism!.

Secondly, even if its not difficult to attend, that doesn't make it worth it. Its like a holiday. You go if you can find/make the time for it. I can imagine that it might be quite fun but then why dress it up as effective political action? Why should libertarian communists discuss what is essentially a left-wing holiday in the Scottish countryside? I'm going backpacking through Scotland soon with two of my mates who are both (broadly) libertarian socialists. Shall we discuss that, Joe?

JoeBlack2 wrote:
This is the sort of ultra left reductionism that drives me nuts.

Er, what? You're equating the SWP with fascism and you're accusing me of ultra left reductionism?! Come on mate, whatever Otto Ruhle says, the struggle against fascism DOESN'T start with the struggle against Bolshevism. Otherwise we would be turning over SWP meetings (let's face it, it'd probably be easy enough! smile ).

Mike Harman
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Jul 4 2005 17:13

typed this before I've read the other responses to Joe's post - I see Ed's made the same points.

Quote:
Well first off who do you expect is going to argue for 'less effective' forms of doing anything? (In italics above). You can't assume the answer and then use your assumption to prove the answer!!!

The most effective way to take control of communities and workplaces is to take control of communities and workplaces (the only way, and since nearly all workplaces are situated in communities, really we could just say communities, all of them, internationally) - this is direct action. Protests against the G8 or other international institutions are indirect action, regardless of rhetoric/tactics - since those institutions operate indirectly. If you think an argument can be made for summit protests as equally/more effective than the concrete process of taking control of our own lives as we live them day-to-day, then I'd question what you think they're actually effective at doing. If it goes back to recruitment/raising consciousness, then that's pretty subjective, but considering your involvement in anarkismo/struggle and mine in libcom, at least we agree on one effective way - communication and propaganda. I was chatting to a mate at work about the G8 and globalisation in general for about an hour or so today, which grew out of a "did you watch Live8?" question, have been talking about unionisation with him a fair bit as well - I'd put more hope in that than running around Scotland dressed up (as a clown or in black) on annual leave - which I'm sure plenty of people are too scared to talk abour at work as well. I've also ordered a load of anarchist and historical literature for the library there, so about 1500 kids a year will have access to about 30-40 related books whenever they want.

Quote:

Secondly the 'if' in bold is very important. In many cases there is not much happening on a local basis to get involved in - the summit stuff may well give people the knowledge/ confidence to go home and initate stuf.

No there's not that much going on, which was my point. I don't see how attending summit protests with activist-ists, oriented to activist-ist political activity, prepares you either practically or ideologically for defending a local school closure/fighting for more pay at work/exposing companies like Brighthouse etc. - if I turned up unannounced to a local school dressed up as a clown I'd probably be more likely to get arrested than a fucking protestor. I realise people like yourself (and Lazlo) will be arguing for people to get involved in stuff like that after the protest, but one doesn't naturally follow from the other.

Quote:

Thirdly the 'should' in italics is either meaningless or based on the assumption that there is some sort or conflict between local and global action. As argued many times not only does this not exist but the evidence points to the opposite - that is that both forms complement each other.

How do you act "globally", unless it's in co-ordination with other localities, or unless you're operating on the same indirect basis as the G8 leaders do?

I may have confused one or two of your posts with Lazlo's - who definitely thinks the only good the G8 protests will do is 1. recruit new people 2. lead to a reappraisal of tactics for existing activists when they realise it's not going to achieve anything. I don't think you accept the second point, and to be honest, though you've not stated it directly, I think you see them primarily as recruiting grounds, or for raising awareness. I've not seen a decent argument put forward anywhere for the protests having intrinsic value as political activity themselves.

I don't think you've answered Redyred's point at all.

The SWP, or any Leninist party, is a method of getting to a libertarian communist society that we think is both ineffective and in many cases counter-productive. We accept that some people move to more effective forms of political activity from the SWP, however we don't support the activity since it overall has a negative or neglible effect apart from as an entry point to activity we support. It'd be much better if people could by-pass the (apparently quite often unpleasant) experience of the SWP, and move towards more libertarian forms of organisation.

Summit protests are a method of getting to a libertarian communist society that we (i.e. me, Ed, Redyred, others, but not you) think is both ineffective and in many cases counter-productive. We accept that some people move to more effective forms of political activity from summit protests, however we don't support the activity since it overall has a negative or neglible effect apart from as an entry point to activity we support. It'd be much better if people could by-pass the (apparently quite often unpleasant) experience of being penned in for hours on demos, or talking to people about "manifestations" or "insurrectionary clowning".

In both cases I think the people engaging in those activities as newly radicalised activists have the best of intentions in almost all cases, however I disagree with the particular from of political activity they've chosen to develop those intentions within. It'd be dishonest of me to engage in either of them in order to recruit people to my own preferred form of political activity, just as I'd be pissed off if the SWP, or a clown, turned up to an activity I was involved with and tried to sell their ideology to everyone.

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Jul 4 2005 18:12
Catch wrote:
If you think an argument can be made for summit protests as equally/more effective than the concrete process of taking control of our own lives as we live them day-to-day

Go and read my posts - I actually address this directly

Catch wrote:
No there's not that much going on, which was my point. I don't see how attending summit protests with activist-ists, oriented to activist-ist political activity, prepares you either practically or ideologically for defending a local school closure/fighting for more pay at work/exposing companies like Brighthouse etc.

Thats because you have a picture of activists dropping fully formed out of the sky. In the current period when there is so little local struggle the experience of these protests is valuable experience. Sure working with others on a local issue would be better but most often that is not simply a choice for people getting involved for the first time.

Catch wrote:
How do you act "globally", unless it's in co-ordination with other localities, or unless you're operating on the same indirect basis as the G8 leaders do?

How do you get such co-ordination without some sort of global movement in the first place? You obviously need both local movements and global contact points and at least initally those global contact points are going to be mostly symbolic.

Catch wrote:
I think you see them primarily as recruiting grounds, or for raising awareness.

I've nothing against recruitment but the only way it can be applied to the protests is the idea of people watching it on TV and then going off and googling anarchism. I've met enough people who did just that (and found hte FAQ or something similar) to know that certainly happens.

Catch wrote:
I've not seen a decent argument put forward anywhere for the protests having intrinsic value as political activity themselves.

Your not paying attention then - I've brought up their importance in relation to TINA a number of times.

Catch wrote:
I don't think you've answered Redyred's point at all.{/quote]

We'll have to agree to differ on that because I don't think he had a point in the first place. But interestingly the first time I came across Monte he also accused me of being like the SWP so obviously thats who things get argued on your side of the water.

Catch wrote:
however we don't support the activity since it overall has a negative or neglible effect apart from as an entry point to activity we support.

This assertion is one you have repeated many, many times over the course of these discussion but you've yet to produce either

1. Any evidence

2. A mechanism through which this might work

It's also quite counter intuitive both in terms of the increase in popularity of libertarian ideas that accompanied the summit protests and the quite concrete evidence of people involved in summit protests doing useful local organisation. I've given several examples of this. You've ignored this and just return time after time to repeat the assertion. This is simply time wasting and looks to me like theory above practise.

Catch wrote:
It'd be much better if people could by-pass the (apparently quite often unpleasant) experience of being penned in for hours on demos, or talking to people about "manifestations" or "insurrectionary clowning".

Little Englander stuff again. Your talking of what happens on your rather small island - it is not the same everywhere.

redyred
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Jul 4 2005 18:24
JoeBlack2 wrote:
redyred wrote:
Is that a valid enough comparison for you?

No - and I've already explained why

OK forget the SWP comparisons if they bother you that much. But my point still stands - why should we support something just because it attracts people who may one day become libertarian communists/class struggle anarchists/whatever?

Also, serious question - with regard to summit protests what for you constitutes success and what constitutes failure?

Mike Harman
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Jul 4 2005 18:43
JoeBlack2 wrote:

Go and read my posts - I actually address this directly

This then:

Bangs head of screen No - no -no -no. That is not what I am arguing. I am arguing that it is not a case of one undermining the other but of one reinforcing the other. If you pulled a gun and forced me to make the artificial choice between local and global I'd choose local. But in real life that contradiction seldom appears.

Recruitment then. The only thing I think is worth doing solely for the purposes of recruitment is producing propaganda - but even that helps consolidate views and provokes discussion and appraisal between the people doing it.

Quote:

Thats because you have a picture of activists dropping fully formed out of the sky. In the current period when there is so little local struggle the experience of these protests is valuable experience. Sure working with others on a local issue would be better but most often that is not simply a choice for people getting involved for the first time.

Chicken and egg. I've just been involved in the Community Action gathering - one of the main points of which was trying to help people with no activity in their area get something started. It's imperfect as a way to engage with people, but it's a very honest one.

Quote:

How do you get such co-ordination without some sort of global movement in the first place?

Eh? What constitutes a global movement? To co-ordinate, you have to have something to co-ordinate, otherwise it's meetings about meetings about networks and the odd get-together depending on the summit timetable. And to co-ordinate effectively, I'd want to see federation of existing activity where it was appropriate along regional or international lines, not this sudden switch to "global" activity - which reinforces the dichotomy you claim doesn't exist.

Quote:

You obviously need both local movements and global contact points and at least initally those global contact points are going to be mostly symbolic.

Why? The internet serves pretty well as a global contact point - since it doesn't require expensive flights that only a minority of people can afford. I don't think we should be organising internationally for the sake of it, we should be doing so when international co-ordination is the best way of achieving specific aims - otherwise it's just communicating with each other and shouldn't be termed "action". I think any international activity should be achieved via federalism - not self-appointed social movement leaders/participants who are able to run off to whatever meetings/conferences are occurring all the time.

Quote:

I've nothing against recruitment but the only way it can be applied to the protests is the idea of people watching it on TV and then going off and googling anarchism. I've met enough people who did just that (and found hte FAQ or something similar) to know that certainly happens.

I meant recruitment to community/workplace organising - you're claiming that summits should be used to draw isolated, newly radicalised people into substantive, long-term political activity - that's recruitment. Watching on TV and googling is another way yes, but I thought you were talking about meeting real people at these summits? Most of the people participating aren't anarchists, including in Dissent - surely the idea is they get involved in activist-ism, then get won over to other political activity by libertarian communists who remain involved in the milieu for that purpose.

Quote:
I've brought up their importance in relation to TINA a number of times.

I'll have a look and get back to you.

Quote:

We'll have to agree to differ on that because I don't think he had a point in the first place. But interestingly the first time I came across Monte he also accused me of being like the SWP so obviously thats who things get argued on your side of the water.

He's not saying you're like the SWP, he's saying that the radical liberals who make up many of the activists organising/attending these protests are as divergent from libertarian communists as the SWP - most of them get involved for the best of reasons, but the organisation and tactics aren't ones we support - not that they're the same. I'm not about to join the SWP in order to try to attract their newer members to libertarian communism (although I do argue with them on the 'net for that purpose), nor would I join Dissent - which I don't consider an anarchist organisation despite the press describing it as such (although yes there are some libertarian communists involved) - for that purpose either. Both, arguably, have the stated aim of achieving a libertarian communist society (in fact Dissent might be less solid on that than the SWP), both are going about it in ways I fundamentally disagree with.

Have to get back to packing now (moving tomorrow), so I'll address the rest later.

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Jul 4 2005 18:47

Ignoring the bleating of troll boy ...

redyred wrote:
OK forget the SWP comparisons if they bother you that much.

Thanks

redyred wrote:
But my point still stands - why should we support something just because it attracts people who may one day become libertarian communists/class struggle anarchists/whatever?

Haven't I been arguing this (experience, TINA etc)

redyred wrote:
Also, serious question - with regard to summit protests what for you constitutes success and what constitutes failure?

People returning full of ideas and energy is success - miserable and beaten (or worse jailed) is failure. A summit shut down (Seatlle and Prague) is nice but makes no real difference in terms of decisions. The idea that their is an alternative to both the G8 and MPH getting discussed in pubs up and down the country is a success - no such discussion is a failure.

The little englander thing was a bit cheap but this debate is wider than what has happened in Britain. In terms of the community angle people are coming from you really need to consider the Barcelona (cancelled) work bank summit (I think I've mentioned this before).

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Jul 4 2005 19:04

How on earth did you deduce this

Catch wrote:
Recruitment then

from this?

JoeBlack2 wrote:
Bangs head of screen No - no -no -no. That is not what I am arguing. I am arguing that it is not a case of one undermining the other but of one reinforcing the other. If you pulled a gun and forced me to make the artificial choice between local and global I'd choose local. But in real life that contradiction seldom appears.

That is just weird!

Catch wrote:
Chicken and egg. I've just been involved in the Community Action gathering - one of the main points of which was trying to help people with no activity in their area get something started. It's imperfect as a way to engage with people, but it's a very honest one.

What's with the 'very honest' beyond yet another nasty implication?

Beyond that CAG sounds like a very good idea but how many were at it and is it the only permissable way to reach new activists?

Catch wrote:
What constitutes a global movement?

In this context a sense of common purpose, common enemy or something similar.

Catch wrote:
To co-ordinate, you have to have something to co-ordinate, otherwise it's meetings about meetings about networks and the odd get-together depending on the summit timetable. And to co-ordinate effectively, I'd want to see federation of existing activity where it was appropriate along regional or international lines, not this sudden switch to "global" activity - which reinforces the dichotomy you claim doesn't exist.

Wow slow down a little - we are a bit away from this perfect federation you desire. Getting from here to there will require a lot of rather imperfect steps. (and what 'sudden switch' - its certainly not my term.)

Catch wrote:
The internet serves pretty well as a global contact point - since it doesn't require expensive flights that only a minority of people can afford.

Its also a pretty small percentage of the worlds population that can afford the internet and a much smaller percentage that can engage in this sort of high broadwidth use bulletin board discussion. But its better than the alternative.

That is the real test here. There are problems with encuentros but they are better than the alternative.

Beyond that the internet really isn't any sort of substitute for meeting people in the flesh. And I'm a long running fan of the net.

Catch wrote:
I meant recruitment to community/workplace organising - you're claiming that summits should be used to draw isolated, newly radicalised people into substantive, long-term political activity - that's recruitment. Watching on TV and googling is another way yes, but I thought you were talking about meeting real people at these summits? Most of the people participating aren't anarchists,

Good - I'm not that interested in only working with anarchists particularly when the anarchist mileu is so tiny and quite fucked up.

Catch wrote:
He's not saying you're like the SWP,

Look it is really, really pointless to contintinue to try arguing by analogy when one side of the discussion thinks the analogy is daft. Really - this is one of the big lessons of life (I'm half serious there).

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Ed
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Jul 4 2005 19:08
JoeBlack2 wrote:
Thats because you have a picture of activists dropping fully formed out of the sky.

No we don't. I address this exact point on page 2.

JoeBlack2 wrote:
Sure working with others on a local issue would be better but most often that is not simply a choice for people getting involved for the first time.

Yes, that's the problem. Because so many people, so much time and so much money and resources are spent on activist wank, there isn't that on the ground, grassroots level of organisation. We can't just hope to skip all the hard work of building a strong workers' movement by holding big protests to 'raise awareness', it takes patience and a lot of hard work. No amount of protests will ever create a strong, autonomous working class movement against capitalism. Only local, grassroots organising (with a global analysis, of course) can do this. You know this. So why do you placate activists?

JoeBlack2 wrote:
This assertion is one you have repeated many, many times over the course of these discussion but you've yet to produce [...] Any evidence

How about this? Looking at all the spectacular anti-capitalist riots in recent years (so that's J18, Seattle, Mayday 2000, Prague, Quebec, Washington, Genoa, Evian, Gothenberg, Cancun, plus loads of smaller ones such as Mayday 2001-2-3, New York etc), is the working class movement, in Britain and internationally, any stronger at all? These have been big riots. I mean, J18, Seattle, Prague, Genoa and Gothenberg (at least) were all regarded as victories. But is the class any stronger? IMO, no and therefore, clear evidence that the effects of summit protests are at best negligable and at worst negative (for associating libertarian communism with activist bullshit).

JoeBlack2 wrote:
It's also quite counter intuitive both in terms of the increase in popularity of libertarian ideas that accompanied the summit protests

Where was this increase in popularity? Within trade union halls and residents' association meetings? Or within the left-wing, activist ghetto?

JoeBlack2 wrote:
I've given several examples of this.

As far as I can see, you gave one example, Dublin Mayday, where a lot of your group are based and as such were able to follow up the protests with more solid local work (though you don't say what this work was). What solid work will be left in Gleneagles? In fact, what work do you think will be left ANYWHERE in the UK, Ireland and Europe (where these protesters will be coming from)? I'd also like to see redyred's question answered:

redyred wrote:
with regard to summit protests what for you constitutes success and what constitutes failure?

Also, I realise you've got a lot of questions to answer as it is (it's your own fault though for having such shite politics wink ), but there's my entire last post which you haven't addressed at all which I reckon needs looking at.

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Jul 4 2005 19:34
Ed wrote:

No we don't. I address this exact point on page 2.

Yes you do - in fact here you go again

Ed wrote:
We can't just hope to skip all the hard work of building a strong workers' movement by holding big protests to 'raise awareness', it takes patience and a lot of hard work. No amount of protests will ever create a strong, autonomous working class movement against capitalism. Only local, grassroots organising (with a global analysis, of course) can do this..

This is an amazing unwillingness to consider that the first steps of involvement may not be in something that does not as yet exist.

Ed wrote:
is the working class movement, in Britain and internationally, any stronger at all?

Britian I'll leave aside but there seems to be widespread agreement that post Genoa Italy saw a much more militant working class. Certainly true in terms of strike activity. But you seem to be demanding a very fast rate of return - I'd expect it to be years before the effect seeps through as it involves a lot of very young people getting involved in workplace and community stuff - something that due to the structural nature of western society tends to only happen when you 'settle down'.

Ed wrote:
Where was this increase in popularity? Within trade union halls and residents' association meetings? Or within the left-wing, activist ghetto?

This is the biggest difference in perspective. You see 'the left' over here and 'trade unions' or 'residents' association' over there. I see them as intermingled spheres so that any increase in one becomes an increase in the other.

This may be simply down to two different experiences of the left.

Ed wrote:
As far as I can see, you gave one example, Dublin Mayday, where a lot of your group are based and as such were able to follow up the protests with more solid local work (though you don't say what this work was).

Actually I gave some examples of unionisation campaigns both of individuals and the 'Stand up for your Rights' initative. But again we are talking of 12 months ago - I expect to work with many of these people for years.

Ed wrote:
What solid work will be left in Gleneagles? In fact, what work do you think will be left ANYWHERE in the UK, Ireland and Europe

I don't know yet in part because it depends how things turn out. It certianly has drawn a considerbale number of additional people into activity in Dublin - given some newcomers some good experience and broken down some rather silly sectarian barriers that existed previously.

Ed wrote:
it's your own fault though for having such shite politics :wink

Yeah leave the smillie stuff along - troll boy has run me to the end of my tolerance for name calling.

redyred
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Jul 4 2005 19:57
JoeBlack2 wrote:
redyred wrote:
But my point still stands - why should we support something just because it attracts people who may one day become libertarian communists/class struggle anarchists/whatever?

Haven't I been arguing this (experience, TINA etc)

Not enough to convince me. I mean, it isn't like being a black blocking anarcho-kiddie is somehow part of the natural progress towards becoming a Lib. Com'ist, or someone is somehow a better lib. Com'ist because they went through an activisty phase. Granted probably about 95% of us had a stupid smash-it-up phase (or a Trot phase wink ) but that only happened because there was that movement in existence to latch onto. It doesn't make that movement inherently better or worthy of support.

What's more, plenty of those Anarcho-kiddies will just become Ket-addled dropouts, liberal reformists or simply de-politicised. I not interested in speculating on many right-on people will come out of what I see as a highly dubious movement. I'm more interested in building right-on struggles.

JoeBlack2 wrote:
People returning full of ideas and energy is success - miserable and beaten (or worse jailed) is failure.

So how is people returning full of ideas and energy going to necessarily feed back into worthwile struggles? Surely if people get fired up by summit protest that would only lead to them wanting to perpetuate the activist model. I accept that you believe in global struggles and local struggles going hand in hand but in reality the number of people who genuinely practice that is a minority. Think of all the people you've met who jet off to every G8 or WTO summit and really believe in the power of anti-capitalist activism - how many of them would stand on a picket line? How many of them would seriously protest against a local civic amenity being closed down?

JoeBlack2 wrote:
The idea that their is an alternative to both the G8 and MPH getting discussed in pubs up and down the country is a success - no such discussion is a failure.

But how is the protest really presenting these alternatives? The media spectacle surrounding the event may cause people in pubs up and down the land to be talking about G8 and MPH, but believe me they aren't talking about alternatives. At best a protest only shows a simple demonstration of numbers - "x amount of people disapprove of the G8". It does not put across arguments or provide practical examples of alternative.

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AndrewF
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Jul 4 2005 20:05
redyred wrote:
Not enough to convince me.

Yeah I think we have argued this to death and really now we are just saying the same thing over and over and over in slightly different ways. I'm going to drop it as otherwise I'll start to get cranky which would be stupid as I actuallly agree with a lot of what your talking about. Don't forget I've a lot of comrades up there at the moment.

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Jul 4 2005 21:17

Hi

Just saw some footage of today's action on the BBC News. The BBC was pointing out that locals were joining in with anarchists against the police.

Some damning shots of coppers being heavy handed with what looked like bystanders.

Anybody got any news/thoughts?

Love

Chris

Mike Harman
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Jul 4 2005 21:22
JoeBlack2 wrote:
How on earth did you deduce this
Catch wrote:
Recruitment then

from this?

JoeBlack2 wrote:
Bangs head of screen No - no -no -no. That is not what I am arguing. I am arguing that it is not a case of one undermining the other but of one reinforcing the other. If you pulled a gun and forced me to make the artificial choice between local and global I'd choose local. But in real life that contradiction seldom appears.

That is just weird!

Quote:

People returning full of ideas and energy is success - miserable and beaten (or worse jailed) is failure. A summit shut down (Seatlle and Prague) is nice but makes no real difference in terms of decisions. The idea that their is an alternative to both the G8 and MPH getting discussed in pubs up and down the country is a success - no such discussion is a failure.

You've accepted that whether the summit is shut down or not doesn't matter much, so the only thing left is "raising awareness" - which is simply part of a wider recruitment strategy, and the energisation of people involved - subjective psychological response that will be counter-productive if it's a wash-out (as most UK actions are). Again, I'm talking about recruitment to 1. the ideology of anarchism 2. a libertarian communist variant of anarchism rooted in workplace and community struggle - not to a specific organisation. I accept that summit protests have this recruiting/awareness raising element, but I don't see any reason to engage with them for this purpose only.

Quote:

What's with the 'very honest' beyond yet another nasty implication?

I think summit protests are a political dead-end in terms of having a practical effect on the confidence and self-organisation of the working class and their ability to fight the imposition of wage labour and the commodity relationship. As such, if I was to participate in them it'd be only with the view to arguing my ideas to people there, not because I thought the activity itself had any value. Although obviously I'd be happy if the G8 actually got shut down, I know it won't affect global capitalism even a tiny bit, so actually organising a campaign to "shut down the G8", because I'm an "anti-capitalist" would be a dishonest position for me to take. In terms of just turning up, it'd be a week off from work that I can't really afford to take, and there's a bit of nascent struggle at my job that I'm keen to develop, so for me personally there's not much reason to go.

If I got involved in a campaign to stop a school turning into a city academy, opposing a stock transfer, stopping a cinema from being taken over by the UCKG, exposing companies like Brighthouse, or anything in my own workplace or which directly affected me or my friends/colleagues - then regardless of whether any of the people in that campaign became "anarchists", a successful campaign would result in real material gains for other people, and potentially myself, and possibly quite long-term and spreadable ones at that. Unsuccessful campaigns would still produce contacts who might be interested in further activity, raise awareness and provide valuable lessons in what to do/not to do next time for everyone involved. I think those things are worth getting involved in, regardless of whether anyone becomes a libertarian communist due to them or not, because they actually affect people's circumstances in a positive way. I can't say that about the G8, and therefore I think it's more honest for me to bitch about it on here than turn up and try to ideologically recruit people in a camp site in Stirling.

Quote:

Beyond that CAG sounds like a very good idea but how many were at it and is it the only permissable way to reach new activists?

About 50-60 I think with a lot of apologies from around the UK. Not that many, but quite a good geographical spread and a range of backgrounds including one or two people who weren't involved in either activisty or community based politics at all. It was mainly a way to reorient existing activists who want to get involved in community stuff, and to try to get some kind of co-operation between different locally based groups - that's both a criticism of it but the first one was likely to be like that anyway. It's not the only permissable way at all - but again, I'm not really after finding new 'activists', I want to see a generalised upturn in confidence and struggle that includes a large number of people - not simply increased amount of people who think of themselves as "activists" - I don't even think of myself as an activist.

Quote:
Catch wrote:
What constitutes a global movement?

In this context a sense of common purpose, common enemy or something similar.

For me, a movement must involve moving towards something. The whole problem with anti-globalisation/anti-capitalism is it's defined against something, and not even really against those things. Do you think there's an "anti-war" movement (rather than general sentiment) in the UK, or Ireland for that matter?

Quote:

Wow slow down a little - we are a bit away from this perfect federation you desire. Getting from here to there will require a lot of rather imperfect steps. (and what 'sudden switch' - its certainly not my term.)

It'll require the activity being there in the first place to federate, rather than collections of individuals. However, and Ed's already said this, it's impossible to "act globally", unless it's the concerted action of all those local groups.

Catch wrote:
The internet serves pretty well as a global contact point - since it doesn't require expensive flights that only a minority of people can afford.

Its also a pretty small percentage of the worlds population that can afford the internet and a much smaller percentage that can engage in this sort of high broadwidth use bulletin board discussion. But its better than the alternative.

...

Beyond that the internet really isn't any sort of substitute for meeting people in the flesh. And I'm a long running fan of the net.

I agree with that, but if I'm going to meet people in the flesh, I'd rather it was people I actually have a chance of working with on a regular basis. Or nice people like you who I argue on the 'net with all the time. Otherwise there's not a lot of point.

Quote:

This assertion is one you have repeated many, many times over the course of these discussion but you've yet to produce either

1. Any evidence

2. A mechanism through which this might work

It's also quite counter intuitive both in terms of the increase in popularity of libertarian ideas that accompanied the summit protests and the quite concrete evidence of people involved in summit protests doing useful local organisation. I've given several examples of this. You've ignored this and just return time after time to repeat the assertion. This is simply time wasting and looks to me like theory above practise.

Some people get turned on to anarchism through summit protests. Some poeple write it off as angsty teenagers playing at being rioters. Some are indifferent. Most sensible anarchists refuse to engage with the mass media about why they're protesting (a position I disagree with if they engage with the protests themselves), so it's often left to the media to treat it how they like (not that they wouldn't do that with an interview), or for people to google for things and find out about it if they have access to the 'net - and hence indymedia or wherever else things are posted. I've already accepted that people get recruited through it, what I'm trying to address is the effectiveness of the action on it's own terms.

Stopping the G8 summit doesn't do anything to challenge the relationship of capitalism - doesn't even change the decisions that the G8 will take there or stop them from being made. However, by "anti-capitalists", it is often put forward that these protests are "against capitalism", and that the G8 are in control of the capitalist system so must be stopped - that the protest can really change the way people live in the world by challenging their authority and power.

I think this kind of analysis is counter-productive to any meaningful political activity - because it locates power with those who are already powerful, and reduces a social relationship to a few nasty people and bad institutions - personalising it/specificising it - rather than generalising lived experience to the capitalist system as a whole. That kind of analysis - stop G8/Bush/Blair/Republican National Convention/World Bank/IMF/Corporations for a short hand "radical liberals"; the focus is increasingly turned negatively towards individuals and against collective action which can deal with the mechanisms that those individuals/institutions only superficially represent. This is the consequence of being defined against something rather than for it.

Quote:

Little Englander stuff again. Your talking of what happens on your rather small island - it is not the same everywhere.

Thought we were talking about the G8?

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Lazy Riser
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Jul 4 2005 22:08

Hi

I'm sorry for interrupting.

There is very heavy coverage of it kicking off in Edinburgh today on Euronews.

Much more inspiring than the BBC, excellent performances from what look like some Scandinavian comrades, superb sense of rythm.

BBC say 60 nicked. ITV say 30. Euronews don't say.

If I'm pissing anybody off by posting this, get an admin to PM me to stop.

Love

Chris

Cage11
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Jul 5 2005 14:30

While not wanting to disparage all the excellent work by the activists mixing it at the G8, Ed does have a extremely important point, namely what does it actually achieve in terms of raising class conciousness amongst our class?

National Liberation struggles often faced a similar problem with "symbolic actions". Now I personally have no problem with, for example, the INLA taking out Airey Neave in the Commons carpark in 1979, but did it bring a 32 county socialist Republic any closer? No, Thatcher named a train after the reationary old bastard instead and both the Irish and British working class are no more radical or better off!

Now I'm not suggesting for a moment the two actions are the same, I merely mean it as an illustration as to the limitations of "symbolic actions" per se. So while organizing at such events as G8 remains important, we do have to focus on organizing amongst our class to promote libertarian communist ideas and this can only be done around issues that actually affect their daily lives. black bloc [/list][/code]

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Jul 5 2005 15:03
Cage11 wrote:

National Liberation struggles often faced a similar problem with "symbolic actions". Now I personally have no problem with, for example, the INLA taking out Airey Neave in the Commons carpark in 1979, but did it bring a 32 county socialist Republic any closer? No, Thatcher named a train after the reationary old bastard instead and both the Irish and British working class are no more radical or better off!

[/list][/code]

It can also be added to this that most of the leadership of the INLA/IRSP were murdered in the next few years.

Airey Neave's biographer, Paul Routledge, comes pretty close to saying, in his recent biography of Neave, that this was a deliberate policy decision by the Thatcher government.

Of the murders that occured, one, of IRSP leader Ronnie Bunting, saw a survivor describe a gunman with a broad Scottish accent, who referred to his fellow gunman as "Geordie". Not exactly your typical UDA hitmen.......

INLA/IRSP never really recovered from this onslaught - quite simply they lost too many of their best people.

Put simply spectacular actions can provoke an extraordinary response, that may prove too much for a small, localised or immature movement to survive.

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Lazy Riser
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Jul 6 2005 21:56

Hi

Nice post Paul.

Cheers

Chris

Cage11
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Jul 7 2005 15:23

Just for clarification, I wasn't defending indiscriminate bombing of anywhere, whether it be London, Bagdad or Belfast, simply using that particular INLA, action which wasn't indiscriminate by the way, to demonstrate the limitations of symbolic action per se...

marinebroadcast
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Jul 19 2005 04:04

on the aquistion of cultural capital.......

I wish I'd heard you lot when I was up in the bloody Scottish hills suffering the onset of hyperthermia and trench foot!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Prole in a prole in a boggy Scottish hole.

Mike Harman
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Jul 19 2005 07:39

What did you reckon to it MarineBroadcast? Do you think the criticisms we set out above actually apply to the protests as they occurred?

marinebroadcast
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Jul 19 2005 12:00

well, it seems a bit of a catch 22 to me. But I am NOT well versed in lib -marxist theory, which is why i am on these boards.

Reading this has really made me re- evaluate the actions. I was drawn to the eco- camp as I thought I might learn some new things instead of just marching, as I am interested in permanant effective change.

The SWP tactic of vanguard - recruitment is really awful, arrogant and scary. Perhaps some open forums, run at the camp sites would have been a good start?

It is hard to make intelligent decisions without knowlege,(a form of capital) - which is why there must be sharing, if things are to change.

It saddens me to think I am written off as a "liberal lefty" twat, (although I may sometimes behave like one!!)My views are not concrete - neither were the other activists - I hope. We are all at diffenrent stages of learning and dont all have the same amount of time to read and think - which is why stuff needs to be shared.

If people are passionate enough to make a symbolic gestures of sleeping in the freezing rain, coming half way across the world in the name of social change, anti- capitalism etc then maybe others should read these symbols and help translate them in to effective action.

In a group working together you dont all have the same skills, opinions. But put each skill to use to the max - goal. And learn - trade - teach each other. In my mind this is a part of running an effective collective.

Mike Harman
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Jul 29 2005 17:48

carried over from an urban75 discussion that we don't want to derail, and was about this thread anyway:

JoeBlack wrote:
I don't see any unanswered questions there - just the same old questions being repeated rather than dealing with the answers you have been given.

There's a post by me: ( Mon 04 Jul, 2005 10:22 pm) at the end of the thread which addresses many of the points you made, no reply. The last thing you posted on that thread was to call me a "little Englander" for discussing an event in the UK on a thread that you'd started. Fair enough if you don't want to engage any more on that, but since you've entered into this thread talking about the same subject (which none of us were - it was centred around squatting until this morning), it seems a little odd to me. Frankly, I'm fed up with hearing about the G8, and was hoping for some more productive discussions now it's over - this was becoming one, but since you've gone back to it I'll bite.

I don't think I've started a single thread on the G8 - only ever responded to them. Nor have I written any articles about the G8 protests. Nor did I participate in any threads on the Resist G8 forum which libcom hosted, nor in any Dissent discussions. I think the obsession is from people who can't understand why we don't want to get involved in stuff like this, not the other way 'round.

The only answer on that libcom thread about non-recruitment outcomes of the G8 protests I could find was this:

Quote:

People returning full of ideas and energy is success - miserable and beaten (or worse jailed) is failure. A summit shut down (Seatlle and Prague) is nice but makes no real difference in terms of decisions. The idea that their is an alternative to both the G8 and MPH getting discussed in pubs up and down the country is a success - no such discussion is a failure.

However there was loads of this:

Quote:
This in particular I must have addressed a thousand times.

Not as far as I can see on that thread. There's a lot of stuff like this, then flat denials that you're talking about participating for recruitment only. Ed also asked you what the absolute best case scenar

JoeBlack wrote:

The pros and anti of Dissent really don't interest me that much. To me the purpose is to build a movement that can meet people on the door and as testified by more than a couple of posters here this is just what summit protesting encouraged them into. If you want to ignore that fine - your just pissing into the wind for no good reason I can see but oddly thinking that this shows how smart you are!

JoeBlack wrote:

If as seems to be accepted here in the past people have moved from BB style stuff to more serious class struggle politics this sort of attitude seems tailor made to ensure this does not happen this time. You don't win people over by pissing on the work they are doing. Solidarity and mutual adi are not just slogans but something to be built.

Quote:
In many cases there is not much happening on a local basis to get involved in - the summit stuff may well give people the knowledge/ confidence to go home and initate stuf.
Quote:

I've nothing against recruitment but the only way it can be applied to the protests is the idea of people watching it on TV and then going off and googling anarchism. I've met enough people who did just that (and found hte FAQ or something similar) to know that certainly happens.

Quote:

's also quite counter intuitive both in terms of the increase in popularity of libertarian ideas that accompanied the summit protests and the quite concrete evidence of people involved in summit protests doing useful local organisation. I've given several examples of this.

Quote:

It certianly has drawn a considerbale number of additional people into activity in Dublin

I'm not saying you mean it in the same way as the "build the party" sort of recruiting, but it's recruiting to an ideology/form of organising based around an activity which is only related to it to a certain extent.

Ed, and one or two others on that thread, moved towards "more serious class struggle politics" (your words) from summit hopping because they realised how much time they were wasting doing summit hopping with no positive outcome. You've argued that we should have engaged with the G8 protests (which we didn't) or offer alternatives (which we are) rather than bitching on-line (which we have a bit, but only in discussions about the G8 that others have started in most cases, and usually when challenged for not participating). So people who've rejected that form of protest due to experience (not me though, never really identified with it in the first place) should get involved in yet more summit hopping and avoid being overly critical because some other people might make the same rejection of that tactic in the future? We should support activity we think is counter-productive in order to "build a movement"? I genuinely find it difficult to interpret your position any differently - since it's based on a criticism of us not getting involved in something we've no time for.

Quote:

Or in short that wasn't what I suggested - and I'm really unimpressed that your response to this being explained on more than one occasion is simply to repeat it again.

Yet again you state that you've answered this. I've gone through to try to find the answer in that thread, and I've not found it. Plenty of statements saying "It works in Dublin", but no rebuttal that the main point of participating is recruitment, rather than the intrinsic political value of summit protests themselves. Maybe I'm just being silly about this, maybe I missed it, if you really did answer it and think I'm ignoring the answer, please direct me to it.

Quote:

Coupled with the incredible claim that only trotskyists are capable of collective agreement and action!

No, Trotskyists hop on the latest bandwagon en masse due to the decisions of their leadership regardless of their personal feelings about it. They also try to make "popular fronts" and "broad coalitions" with groups to the right of them, in order to siphon off rank and file into their own membership. They did this with the G8 alternatives malarkey. And groups like Revo were bussing people up there with the clear intention of gaining new membership. You were describing "outside critiques" as a Trot tactic, whereas from where I'm sitting, they shy away from any form of critique to appear as welcoming as possible in order to increase their membership. The ICC does stuff like that, but not Swappies or WP that I've noticed.

It's quite possible for anarchist groups (and individuals) to disagree about stuff yet continue to work together, and quite common for people to be members of multiple groups. My point was that one group I was involved with was involved to a greater or lesser extent in the G8 protests - devoting an entire magazine to it for a start, you said you had to be a member of the group to criticise. I'm not allowed to criticise anarchist-communist members of the AF if I think they're wasting their time now?