Workers Solidarity Federation

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Devrim
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Apr 27 2010 12:33
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They didn't officially get a stall - they set one up on Total Liberty's table, and were very quickly assisted in leaving.

I don't know who 'Total Liberty' are. I just goggled it and saw it was set up in 1997. I was talking about the Libertarian Alliance having a table back in the mid 1980s. I am not 100% certain, but pretty sure that they did.

Devrim

knightrose
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Apr 27 2010 14:29
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hat said, I'd prefer the ICC got a stall than fucking Total Liberty.

That is as long as the ICC is going through one of it's "be nice to anarchists" periods smile I'd let you lot in to the Manchester Bookfair, but so much water has gone under the bridge that it's hard to convince others.

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Apr 27 2010 17:20
syndicalist wrote:
Rubbish. Real nice.

I genuinely didn't intend any offence, it was just a passing note while people were discussing your name and how you ended up with it. Obv, the actual content of your activity is more important than the name anyway, so feel free to ignore my carping.

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JoeMaguire
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Apr 27 2010 22:06
knightrose wrote:
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hat said, I'd prefer the ICC got a stall than fucking Total Liberty.

That is as long as the ICC is going through one of it's "be nice to anarchists" periods smile I'd let you lot in to the Manchester Bookfair, but so much water has gone under the bridge that it's hard to convince others.

Are the ICC anarchist or libertarian?

I really can't fathom why your complaining Devrim tbh

Caiman del Barrio
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Apr 27 2010 22:13
Devrim wrote:
Farce wrote:
Yeah, but that was an actual alliance of different organisations, so it makes sense. It still sounds a bit grandiose if it's just an alliance of individuals.

There is also the 'Libertarian Alliance' who I can remember being given a stall at the Anarchist Bookfair.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Libertarian_Alliance

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They are a member of Backlash, which was formed in 2005 in order to oppose a new law criminalising possession of "extreme pornography".

Wow, being a libertarian nutjob must be lonely and bring up some issues then?

Boris Badenov
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Apr 27 2010 22:22
october_lost wrote:
knightrose wrote:
Quote:
hat said, I'd prefer the ICC got a stall than fucking Total Liberty.

That is as long as the ICC is going through one of it's "be nice to anarchists" periods smile I'd let you lot in to the Manchester Bookfair, but so much water has gone under the bridge that it's hard to convince others.

Are the ICC anarchist or libertarian?

I really can't fathom why your complaining Devrim tbh

Is the Libertarian Alliance libertarian?
Are any of the total nutjobs that peddle everything from Hakim Bey to animal rights crapola libertarian?
I think Devrim makes a good point about the sometimes less-than-adequate make-up of anarchist bookfairs.

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Devrim
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Apr 28 2010 05:38
october_lost wrote:
Are the ICC anarchist or libertarian?

As libertarian as some people that get called libertarian socialists. Possibly more so in that it sees the idea of a workers' state as a contradiction in terms. I don't know though, as I don't really understand what it means.

october_lost wrote:
I really can't fathom why your complaining Devrim tbh

It just came up from the name 'alliance'. I think that anarchists are obviously completely within their rights to give stalls at their book fair to who they want. Although I's like one, I don't at all expect us to get a stall their at any point soon. I don't think there is anything wrong with me pointing out what right-wing anti-working classelements they are prepared to give stalls to.

Devrim

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Devrim
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Apr 28 2010 05:42
Vlad336 wrote:
Is the Libertarian Alliance libertarian?
Are any of the total nutjobs that peddle everything from Hakim Bey to animal rights crapola libertarian?

I suppose it depends where you are from. In the way that it has been traditionally used in the European workers' movement to denote a specific working class current, obviously no.

In the way that it is currently used in everyday American discourse to denote right-wing ideologues and individualist scum, I'd have to say yes.

Unfortunately the American term seems to be becoming more predominant.

Devrim

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oisleep
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Apr 28 2010 09:30
Quote:
I think Devrim makes a good point about the sometimes less-than-adequate make-up of anarchist bookfairs.

i agree, but at a much wider level. if about 80% of those in attendance were told to fuck off and not come back, then events like that might, just might, actually start to resonate with ordinary people

the relentless liberal-ness of the 'movement' (either explicitly or implicitly) however ensures that this will never happen and it, along with anarchism itself, will continue to be an irrelevance

Jason Cortez
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Apr 28 2010 20:25

Who is feeling grumpy then? wink

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oisleep
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Apr 28 2010 21:07

black bloc

martinh
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Apr 28 2010 21:21

I think the early bookfairs were organised by people who drew a very big tent. I remember Albert saying it was organised by "the other side" by which he meant people around Freedom (which in the 80s meant a lot of people with no understanding of anarchism and less understanding of class).

I can't remember the Libertarian Alliance being there for some time. They are the UK's equivalent of anarcho-capitalists, though they do sometimes have useful things to say as they are at least principled libertarians. They're certainly anti-working class though and I don't think they belong at an anarchist bookfair.

The ICC aren't anarchists which is why they're not at the bookfair. If only the rules were always applied so consistently!

I'd happily share space at a bookfair with the ICC in their current guise, though I suspect it would have to be called something else wink

Regards,

martin

Boris Badenov
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Apr 28 2010 22:20

I don't get what the big deal about the ICC not being anarchist is. The IBRP (or whatever they're called now) usually have a table at my local bookfair (and I still have one of their newsletters from last year, which I never read of course).
Basically, like oisleep said, if all the hippie and liberal trash would be swept away, then you can raise objections about whether or not left communists are really libertarian (I'd agree that they're not, but at least they're communists); as it stands, I think they probably should be allowed to make a presence.

gypsy
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Apr 29 2010 06:24
martinh wrote:
They are the UK's equivalent of anarcho-capitalists, though they do sometimes have useful things to say as they are at least principled libertarians.

With that logic you might aswell invite the tories along with invictus88 wink I would much prefer to see left communists there than people who distort anarchism, or atleast the anarchism that Meltzer was on about.

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Devrim
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Apr 29 2010 14:53
allybaba wrote:
martinh wrote:
They are the UK's equivalent of anarcho-capitalists, though they do sometimes have useful things to say as they are at least principled libertarians.

With that logic you might aswell invite the tories along with invictus88 wink I would much prefer to see left communists there than people who distort anarchism, or atleast the anarchism that Meltzer was on about.

I think that the point about the anarchist book fair in London is that, as far as I know, it is not organised by people who most on this board would consider to be anarchists, but by people here would possibly kick out anyway.

Devrim

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Devrim
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Apr 29 2010 14:57
Vlad336 wrote:
... objections about whether or not left communists are really libertarian (I'd agree that they're not, but at least they're communists); as it stands, I think they probably should be allowed to make a presence.

'authoritarian/libertarian' isn't part of the left communist discourse, but what do you mean by us not being 'libertarian'? I would never describe myself, or the ICC as such, but do you mean we are in favour of a 'workers' state'? We are not. We think it is a contradiction in terms. Do you think that we are in support bourgeois states) We don't, and I think we have a better record on this than many, but not all, anarchists.

I find it quite strange that some people use the term 'libertarian Marxist' to apply to Marxists they like, such as Panokeok and Gorter, but then don't apply the same terms to us.

Devrim

martinh
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Apr 29 2010 20:43
Devrim wrote:

I think that the point about the anarchist book fair in London is that, as far as I know, it is not organised by people who most on this board would consider to be anarchists, but by people here would possibly kick out anyway.

Devrim

TBH I think that was the case in the 80s, the organising group for the bookfair are fairly sound now and have got shot of some of the worst cases. That said, it is an "anarchist" bookfair, with all that entails, perhaps we should have a "communist" one at a different time of the year? (though that would bring its own problems viz stalinists and trots)

Regards

martin

nastyned
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Apr 29 2010 22:25

Devrim, the ICC is a centralised, hierarchical organisation. You're right, it's not libertarian.

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Devrim
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Apr 30 2010 06:11
nastyned wrote:
Devrim, the ICC is a centralised, hierarchical organisation. You're right, it's not libertarian.

Ned, of course the ICC tries to be centralised. It's Marxist, but the all the people who are labelled libertarian Marxists argued for centralism. As for hierarchical, I don't think it is at all. Obviously, I have much less idea than you though as I'm just a member.

I am not claiming the ICC is 'libertarian'. I think its a pretty meaningless term. I am just pointing out the inconstancies.

Devrim

nastyned
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Apr 30 2010 07:41

Do the 'central organs' of the ICC issue instructions or not? Surely as a member you will have noticed this, even with your limited vocabulary.

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Devrim
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Apr 30 2010 07:51
nastyned wrote:
Do the 'central organs' of the ICC issue instructions or not?

Not that I have noticed.

nastyned wrote:
Surely as a member you will have noticed this, even with your limited vocabulary.

Maybe you think I am too stupid to realise though.

Devrim

gypsy
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Apr 30 2010 10:18
nastyned wrote:
Do the 'central organs' of the ICC issue instructions or not? Surely as a member you will have noticed this, even with your limited vocabulary.

Thats abit out of order. Devrim speaks english well.

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Devrim
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Apr 30 2010 10:32
allybaba wrote:
Thats abit out of order. Devrim speaks english well.

I don't think this was meant like that. I am a native speaker
, and I think it is reasonably likely that Ned knows that. I think he is making a reference to my comment about not understanind what 'libertarian' means, not making a nationalistic slur. I am sure he will confirm this as I can't imagine the opposite being the case.

Devrim

gypsy
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Apr 30 2010 10:42

Ok sorry about that. I got confused.

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Devrim
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Apr 30 2010 11:05
allybaba wrote:
Ok sorry about that. I got confused.

No, it isn't obvious if you don't personally know me or at least know who I am. I can imagine people who don't being confused, and just wanted to clarify before people got the wrong opinion about Ned.
Devrim

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May 3 2010 21:30
Devrim wrote:
Ned, of course the ICC tries to be centralised. It's Marxist, but the all the people who are labelled libertarian Marxists argued for centralism.

I'm quite curious as to what you mean by "centralism" in this context. I assume the ICC has a central committee or something like that, but if it doesn't issue instructions to sections of the organisation, what is it's role?

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miles
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May 3 2010 21:48

madashell:

There's a text written by the ICC after the last split in 2001. It's a long text, trying to draw out some of the lessons of clan behaviour iin the workers movement generally and then goes on to deal with the splits that have happened in the ICC and tries to present a framework of how we understand them. I would encourage all posters here to read this article mainly because we constantly have to defend ourselves aginst accusations that we're 'authoritarian' and 'Leninist' etc etc.. When, frankly, people could spend 5 minutes on our website and find our actual positions.

The most relevant part to your question is at the end (all bits highlighted in bold are by me):

Quote:
a) Unity of the organisation and centralisation

‘'Centralism is not an optional or abstract principle for the structure of the organisation. It is the concretisation of its unitary character. It expresses the fact that it is one and the same organisation which takes positions and acts within the class" (The 1982 Report, point 3). "In the various relations between the parts of the organisation and the whole, its always the whole which takes precedence (...) We must absolutely reject the conception according to which this or that part of the organisation can adopt, in front of the organisation or of the working class, the positions or attitudes which it thinks correct instead of those of the organisation which it thinks incorrect (...) if the organisation is going in the wrong direction, the responsibility of the members who consider that they defend the correct position is not to save themselves in their own little corner, but to wage a struggle within the organisation in order to help put it back in the right direction" (Ibid,. point 3).

"In a revolutionary organisation the whole is not the sum of the parts. The latter are delegated by the whole organisation to carry out a particular activity (territorial publications, local interventions), and are thus responsible in front of the whole for the mandate they have been given." (Ibid., point 4).

These brief reminders from the report of 1982 show clearly that insistence on the question of the unity of the organisation is the principal axis of the document. The different parts of the organisation can only be conceived as parts of a whole, as delegations and instruments of this whole. Is it necessary to repeat once more that this conception must be permanently present in all parts of the organisation?

Only on the basis of this insistence on the unity of the organisation does the report introduce the question of the congress (which is not relevant here) and the central organs.

"The central organ is a part of the organisation and as such responsible to it, when it meets at its Congress. However it's a part whose specificity is that it expresses and represents the whole, and because of this the positions and decisions of the central organ always take precedence over those of other parts of the organisation taken separately." (point 5),

" ... the central organ is an instrument of the organisation, not the other way round. It is not the summit of a pyramid as in the hierarchical and military view of revolutionary organisation. The organisation is not formed by a central organ plus militants, but is a tight, unified network in which all its component parts overlap and work together. The central organ should rather be seen as the nucleus of the cell which co-ordinates the metabolism of a living organic entity." (ibid).

This last image is fundamental in the comprehension of centralisation. It alone, in particular, allows a full comprehension of why in a unitary organisation there can be several central organs having different levels of responsibility. If one considers the organisation as a pyramid, where the central organ is the summit, we would be confronted by an impossible geometric figure: a pyramid having a summit and composed by pyramids each having their own summit. In practice, such organisation would be as aberrant as this geometric figure and couldn't function. It is the administrations and enterprises of the bourgeoisie which have a pyramidal architecture: for the latter to function, the different responsibilities are necessarily distributed from top to bottom. This is not the case for the ICC which has central organs elected at different territorial levels. Such a mode of functioning precisely corresponds to the fact that the ICC is a living entity (like that of a cell in an organism) in which different organisational moments are the expression of a unitary totality.

In such a conception, which is expressed in a detailed way in the statutes, there shouldn't be conflict, or opposition between different structures of the organisation. Disagreements may obviously arise anywhere in the organisation, but that is part of its normal life. However, if disagreements end up in conflicts this means that somewhere this conception of the organisation has been lost, and in particular a pyramidal vision has been introduced which can only lead to opposition between different "summits". In such a dynamic, which leads to the appearance of several "centres", and therefore to an opposition between them, it is the unity of the organisation which is put in question, and thus its very existence. (...)

If the questions of organisation and of functioning are of the highest importance, they are also the most difficult to understand. Much more than other questions, their comprehension is linked to the subjectivity of militants and they can constitute an important channel for the penetration of ideologies foreign to the proletariat. As such they are questions which, par excellence, are never definitively acquired. It is therefore important that they are the object of sustained vigilance on the part of the organisation and all its militants. (...)

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May 3 2010 22:25
wrote:
Surely he just means that each branch operates according to collective centrally agreed politics and tactics, and has less 'local autonomy' than most anarchist organisations would have?

Surely that's a question of varying degrees of tactical unity though, rather than the structure of the organisation? What I'm wondering about is how ICC members reconcile having "central organs" that make tactical decisions that other parts of the organisation must abide by with claiming that their organisation is not hierarchical.

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May 3 2010 22:50
miles wrote:
There's a text written by the ICC after the last split in 2001. It's a long text, trying to draw out some of the lessons of clan behaviour iin the workers movement generally and then goes on to deal with the splits that have happened in the ICC and tries to present a framework of how we understand them. I would encourage all posters here to read this article mainly because we constantly have to defend ourselves aginst accusations that we're 'authoritarian' and 'Leninist' etc etc.. When, frankly, people could spend 5 minutes on our website and find our actual positions.

The most relevant part to your question is at the end (all bits highlighted in bold are by me):

Thanks for that.

The distinction between the organisational role of ICC's "central organ" and that of (for instance) a company's board of directors, seems to be entirely in how you describe it (as the nucleus of a cell rather than the summit of a pyramid), rather than in the actual structure of the organisation. Is that not a bit idealist?

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888
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May 5 2010 04:38

The centralism that the ICC talks about seems closer to the ideological and tactical unity of platformisim than it does to the centralisation of decision making power in a central committee that is advocated by Leninists... or at least that's the optimistic reading, but it still isn't entirely clear from Miles's post. Do the central organs make decisions that the local groups carry out, even just in the interim between general assemblies, or do they serve to coordinate and unify the decisions made in local groups, using mandated delegates?