Class War Bonfire Party

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Black Flag
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Nov 14 2006 17:24

Just imagine what Malcolm X would thimk if he saw that.

Sorry.
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Nov 14 2006 17:27

just imagine what Malcom X would think if he saw that.

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Refused
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Nov 14 2006 17:54

Just imagine what Malcom X would think if he saw that.

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madashell
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Nov 14 2006 18:17
Glory hunter wrote:
Isn't genuine revolutionary politics about breaking down barriers ? So why do we spend so much time erecting and maintaining them ? Ten years ago Class war wrote an open letter to the revolutionary movement, it was saying that we have failed, and that if we are ever to move forward, then we would have to have an honest reappraisal of everything that we have said and done. Class war started the ball rolling with issue73, although looking back, this may not have been clear, the general idea was, that everybody else would do the same. Ten years later, if anything, things are worse, and its still waiting for a reply, is it ever likely to get one?

Just because some people here (me included) think one of their actions was stupid, or have major political differences with the organisation, doesn't mean that everybody's persuing a personal vendetta against individual members of Class War or this is all part of some sinister anti-CWF conspiracy.

Really, I'm sure that some of the stuff that CWF is involved in is both valuable and worthwhile, I don't know enough about their activity to say one way or another, all I know of them is what some of them put on their website.

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madashell
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Nov 14 2006 18:30
coffeemachine wrote:
having gone through the thread again there does seem to be an overwhelming concern that the effigy is racist without anyone really explaining why this is so.

The accusation of racism is a serious one.

Perhaps "racist" has been used a little too loosely here, but nobody has made any accusations of racism.

The point is that to somebody who didn't know Class War or their history of opposition to racism and fascism, this wouldn't look too good. Anarchists shouldn't be pulling stunts that alienate them from young, working class Muslims, who may already feel alienated from people from outside the Muslim 'community'.

Dundee_United
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Nov 14 2006 18:34

[cleared because I shot my mouth off without checking that the argument was with CWF members, and not just random posters. Darren Redstar is the only poster currently in CWF. Sorry comrades. I should have been more careful.]

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Lazy Riser
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Nov 14 2006 19:39

Hi

Quote:
All they have to do is get a few nutcases doing anti-social violence and get people out to put a cross in a ballot box.

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If CW achieved this, it would be a major step forward.

Quote:
why exactly?

It would demonstrate they were taking an initiative “on the streets” rather than on the Internet.

Love

LR

Glory hunter
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Nov 15 2006 13:45

I was at that bonfire, and to be honest didn't think any thing of it when they slung the effigies on the fire. That may be simply that I am unthinking and plain stupid, but then neither did any one else as far I could see, and there were hundreds of people there. Afterwards when looking here, I had feelings of ambivalence about it, but when I see them being slagged off yet again, my first reaction would be to stand by them, especially given what I know about at least some of the people doing the slagging.
It may have past some of you by, but Class war has changed over the years, they haven't actually organised a stunt worthy of the name for years. Most of the time, they have very much more quietly been involved in work with prisoners, and anti fascism, the latter being a whole can of worms in itself, although I am not saying that at least sometimes, some of that needs to be done.
But let me answer this idea that Class war somehow imitated tabloid politics ? the form may have been copied, but the politics never were. For example, when Class war put out a papers in the middle of the miners strike with the paper tigerish general line that was saying "Open up the second front, riot in the inner city to take pressure of the mining areas" with all the implications of having said that, and at a time when this was a real possibility, and we also were selling tens of thousands of papers out on the street. In reality, all of this was "deeply linked to bourgeois politics" and it's not as if I couldn't give hundreds of other examples.
What is being said, is absurd, and ridiculous, and barely worth answering, but then it says everything doesn't it, that the person concerned never could get his head around Class war, but falls for the ICC, (almost) hook line and sinker.
Yes, I can see it now, we should have been producing something more like World Revolution, a paper without the slightest bit of wit, humour, imagination, originality. Pages of dense black type with no pictures, pages given over to obscure and bizarre disagreements with perceived enemies, and former members, papers that are virtually interchangeable from twenty years ago, being as they are saying the same things, but the politics are sorted, perfect in fact. If anything plays into the hands of the bourgeoisie its that, given that it's more than likely to bore to death any hapless proletarian who was unfortunate enough to purchase one.
Regarding stunts, from what is said here anyone would think that that was all Class ever did, not that it was federation of autonomous local groups that has had branches in almost every town and city in the country, you also ignore all the quiet patient and local work Class war carried out, years before it became the buzz word with anyone else.
Finally, a slight irritation with comrade Devrim from a few months ago. Class war organised two bash the rich marches, they were copied from Lucy Parsons in Chicago in the 1900's so they had good antecedents. One was a partial success, and one was a complete disaster, which is kinda par for the course.
No one ever said that it was the be all and end all, no one ever said that it was going to change the world by itself, merely that politics should be fun and a bit of a laugh. Just because we organised that, didn't mean that we neglected to engage in a plethora of other class based activities.
But it was said on here recently that it didn't constitute class struggle, why ? I am working class, and pretty much everyone else in class war was (and is) as well, therefore by definition what we do constitutes class struggle.
I realise, that in ideal terms, bash the rich marches did not conform to to the workerist wet dream of involvement in a wildcat strike in a black country engineering firm (for instance) but rest assured if something like that had happened we would have given it our support. You may not have liked it, you may disagree with it if you wish, but class struggle it was.

raw
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Nov 15 2006 14:10

Where did a womble criticise class war? If so, so what! theres a massive difference from a limpcock criticising CW and some one from the (ex)wombles. If anything Wombles people have gotten on fine (politically and personally) with CW & exCW people from the start which is more than i can say for the rest of 'em.

raw

BB
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Nov 15 2006 17:34
raw wrote:
Anyway shouldn't you be licking stamps somewhere

Still not got an answer?

raw
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Nov 15 2006 18:28

Answer on a postcard

raw

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Lazy Riser
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Nov 15 2006 18:40

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Straw man. Class War were criticised here by people from AF, Solfed (i think), WSM and even a womble!

Ha ha. Too true. Devrim's point is the only one we’re prepared to take seriously though. Ironically enough, for others, the basic problem with the bonfire seems to be with “how it looks” rather than in its meaning and content.

Quote:
I had feelings of ambivalence about it, but when I see them being slagged off yet again, my first reaction would be to stand by them, especially given what I know about at least some of the people doing the slagging.

A bit of personal honesty that we can all learn from there, comrades. Wait there’s more…

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I haven't been in Class war for almost ten years now, and dropped out of it at the time of the 97 "split" I think that Class war should have been wound up at that time, sometimes its better to let things go and do something else.

I’m inclined to agree with this appraisal. We continue to be long overdue for something new. There are bound to be clues as to what we should do next within the experiences of people around the 97 split.

Love

LR

Thora
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Nov 15 2006 18:49
revol68 wrote:
I'd happily have a pint with you or Paul Marsh

Aw, that conjures up a lovely image.

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Tacks
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Nov 15 2006 19:44
Lazy Riser wrote:
Hi

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Straw man. Class War were criticised here by people from AF, Solfed (i think), WSM and even a womble!

Ha ha. Too true. Devrim's point is the only one we’re prepared to take seriously though. Ironically enough, for others, the basic problem with the bonfire seems to be with “how it looks” rather than in its meaning and content.

Why is that ironic, or indeed, not the main issue?

if it had meaning and content, not only it is lost on us, but it would mos def be lost on anybody passing by or reading the CW website.

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Lazy Riser
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Nov 15 2006 20:18

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Can we split this into a seperate thread for a more working-class than you dick-waving contest?

Easy tiger. Asserting class backgrounds only look like dick-waving to people sympathetic to the plight of the middle classes. It’s important information for those of you who don’t know Glory Hunter personally. It’s all about class, after all.

Quote:
Ironically enough, for others, the basic problem with the bonfire seems to be with “how it looks” rather than in its meaning and content.

Quote:
Why is that ironic, or indeed, not the main issue?

Ironic because CW likes to think of itself as savvy with regard to public perception. As to why it is not the main issue, well I suppose it may be the main issue to CW and its detractors.

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it would mos def be lost on anybody passing by or reading the CW website.

Thankfully, I doubt many will experience its delights. I wonder why the popular press hasn’t ceased this opportunity to discredit CW by publicising its outrageous behaviour.

Love

LR

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Tacks
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Nov 15 2006 20:26

I'm thankful they haven't. If CW do anything of note, and journo's search their site, the press will definitely print that picture.

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Lazy Riser
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Nov 15 2006 20:42

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If CW do anything of note, and journo's search their site, the press will definitely print that picture.

The shock value might work in CW's favour. Maybe the publicity would only be temporarily negative. It wouldn’t be the first time the bourgeoisie (especially the “radical” bourgeoisie) had tried to connect CW to the working class Right.

Love

LR

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Lazy Riser
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Nov 15 2006 21:46

Hi

Ho ho. Comrade I can honestly say I don't even know what one is.

Love

LR

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Tacks
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Nov 15 2006 22:25
Lazy Riser wrote:
Hi

Quote:
If CW do anything of note, and journo's search their site, the press will definitely print that picture.

The shock value might work in CW's favour. Maybe the publicity would only be temporarily negative. It wouldn’t be the first time the bourgeoisie (especially the “radical” bourgeoisie) had tried to connect CW to the working class Right.

Love

LR

it would get their name out there, and they might even have a surge of interest and membership and lots of angry young men might join: then the picture would be printed again and again forever. If they did achieve significant status, crazy muslims would bomb them.

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madashell
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Nov 15 2006 22:37
Lazy Riser wrote:
Ho ho. Comrade I can honestly say I don't even know what one is.

Interestingly enough, it doesn't follow that because you don't know what a non-sequitor is, you haven't posted one wink

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Refused
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Nov 15 2006 22:45
Lazy Riser wrote:
Hi Ho

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Lazy Riser
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Nov 15 2006 22:48

Hi

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Interestingly enough, it doesn't follow that because you don't know what a non-sequitor is, you haven't posted one

The question is not to define what doesn't follow, but to determine what does.

Love

LR

coffeemachine
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Nov 16 2006 03:10
Devrim wrote:
Indeed it is. I do not think, however, that members of Class War are being accused of racism.

I think you do yourself and your comrades a disservice devrim

- Aren't people shocked by this? Isn't it quite worrying when anarcho-populism is making racist effigies
- they're made the Prophet look like a racist tabloid characature of an Arab
- Yes, I mean burning an effigy of a sterotype arab figure with a big nose isn't racist at all
- The problem is that the effigy is a racist stereotype of an Arab
- I like the evil eyes and the hunch myself
- it really makes anarchists look like total racist twats
- I'd rather not be in any way connected to this sort of racist wank
- It is despicably racist
- This is shocking, stupid, racist bollocks
- 'Mohammed' here is a racist stereotype
- looked like a bunch of white people burning a racial charicature of a Muslim
- I also agree it is a racist stereotype

as i said there does seem to be an overwhelming concern that the effigy is racist without anyone really explaining why this is so.

Which brings us to...

Devrim wrote:
As for the question of whether the effigy is racist or not, I feel that it is. I think that that big nose is a shockingly racist caricature of an Arab, but that is not really the point. Even if it didn't look like some Nazi-Germany style stereotype, in the current climate the whole action of burning an effigy of Mohammed is very misguided to say the least.

It would be a very different thing (apart from the fact that we would get lynched)if we were to burn an effigy of Mohammed here. There is a campaign in the west against 'muslims'. This doesn't mean that revolutionaries should take a similar line to the SWP, which is virtually a defence of Islam, but we should recognise that this is not at heart an anti-religious campaign, but is in fact a racist campaign. The duty of communists is to point this out, and not to go along with it.

Devrim

what i remember of the night mohammed's nose was just like the one of jesus, something else is creating the extra bit on the end in that picture. Maybe class war can post a better picture of mohammed to confirm this if the size of mohammed's nose is the only thing that makes this effigy a racist one. (NB isn't the stereotype jews with big noses?)

That said, you feel it is racist, others feel it is not. This is simply then a difference of opinion, given no-one has actually given any concrete reasons, or explained openly, as to why they consider the puppet of mohammed is a racist one.

If you are now saying it was insensitive of class war to produce such an effigy in the current political climate then maybe that would have been a better opening gambit rather than employing charmless and clumsy stabs at creating hysteria from political dandruff?

I've asked one of the muslim anarchists who was at the bonfire (isn't strange how we all suddlenly have muslim friends when the arguments require it!?)if she was shocked by the effigy and considered it racist (as per devrim's charmless and clumsy opener). She wasn't shocked nor considered it racist (maybe as an anarchist she is inured to such things).

The polarised opinion seems divided between those who were at the bonfire and those who were not. This i think is instructive as to the nature of internet bulletin boards but also those who seek to benefit from them.

That class war have left the building can only be good for class war and one hopes and suspects for active anarchists in london and in general.

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jason
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Nov 16 2006 04:22

I think generations to come will be talking about the historic '2006 factional split' - probably on a par with the Marx/Bakunin rupture.

coffeemachine
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Nov 16 2006 04:30

if only you knew the half of it jason

lem
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Nov 16 2006 05:04

You can't have a split nowadays. Everyone can still read the posts you make. I mean, considering that, why doesn't c/w defend itself against any allegations. Sticking my neck out, I would guess that c/w doesn't know what the fuck is going on, I mean, why haven't they just told everyone to fuck off and got on with their day? If someone had explained, somewhere, what they were at, instead of shouting bean at everyone then this horrible horrible mess would not have happened.

I mean, I don't see any problem with criticising a bonfire, I have not decided if Devrim etc were right in thinking them being really fucking stupid though.

God knows. Classwar: never heard of them.

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Devrim
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Nov 16 2006 08:14
coffeemachine wrote:
Devrim wrote:
Indeed it is. I do not think, however, that members of Class War are being accused of racism.

I think you do yourself and your comrades a disservice devrim

- Aren't people shocked by this? Isn't it quite worrying when anarcho-populism is making racist effigies
- they're made the Prophet look like a racist tabloid characature of an Arab
- Yes, I mean burning an effigy of a sterotype arab figure with a big nose isn't racist at all
- The problem is that the effigy is a racist stereotype of an Arab
- I like the evil eyes and the hunch myself
- it really makes anarchists look like total racist twats
- I'd rather not be in any way connected to this sort of racist wank
- It is despicably racist
- This is shocking, stupid, racist bollocks
- 'Mohammed' here is a racist stereotype
- looked like a bunch of white people burning a racial charicature of a Muslim
- I also agree it is a racist stereotype

as i said there does seem to be an overwhelming concern that the effigy is racist without anyone really explaining why this is so.

Yes, I think that the effigy is racist, and so did a lot of other people. When I said that nobody was being accused of racism, I meant that nobody was suggesting that Class War was a racist organisation, or that its members were racists. I think that there is a clear difference between saying that the effigy can be perceived as racist, and accusing people of being racists.

coffeemachine wrote:
If you are now saying it was insensitive of class war to produce such an effigy in the current political climate then maybe that would have been a better opening gambit rather than employing charmless and clumsy stabs at creating hysteria from political dandruff?

I don't think that it is a matter of mere 'insensitivity'. I don't particularly care for people's sensitivities. I think that this action, as did the article on Mohammed in CW90, has exactly the same tone as the right-wing anti-Muslim campaign, which is in fact a racist campaign. Please, note here that I am in no way suggesting that Class War are racists, and I understand, and even sympathise with their attacks on Religion in general, and Islam in particular. What I am saying is that it has the same tone, and seems to me to be indistinguishable from the general campaign.

Now, maybe you don't agree with my analysis here. Maybe you think that there is an 'Islamic threat' that has to be combated. I don't know. I think that on most of these issues there are two very clear positions that are very easy to fall into.

Let's take the headscarf issue in this country as an example. The two positions on this, which are both supported by different leftists, are a defence of the secularity of the state, or a defence of individual freedom, i.e. we keep the ban, or let people wear what they want. I think that this is a bourgeois faction fight, and it is quite interesting that it does become a big political issue when the class struggle is on the rise. The last time that it came up in a big way in the media was when there was talk of a public sector strike. The task of communists in these situations is to explain the nature of the argument. There are no 'sexy' front covers that come from this. It is not an exciting argument, but nevertheless necessary.

In Britain, and remember that I am viewing this from afar, I think that the SWP have grasped one side of the argument, and taken it to ridiculous extremes. Class War seem in Danger of grasping the other end of it. The Worker Communist party of Iran did this over the cartoon, and free speech issue, and ended up on the same platform as the BNP. Both sides of the argument have slogans, and are easy to sell. They are both bourgeois though. The communist approach is more difficult.

coffeemachine wrote:
I asked one of the muslim anarchists who was at the bonfire (isn't strange how we all suddlenly have muslim friends when the arguments require it!?)if she was shocked by the effigy and considered it racist (as per devrim's charmless and clumsy opener). She wasn't shocked nor considered it racist (maybe as an anarchist she is inured to such things).

It is not important whether one person thinks that it is racist, or not. It isn't about individual sensibilities.

Now on to Glory hunter's comments.

Glory hunter wrote:
What is being said, is absurd, and ridiculous, and barely worth answering, but then it says everything doesn't it, that the person concerned never could get his head around Class war, but falls for the ICC, (almost) hook line and sinker.

Yes, I never could get my head around Class War. I always had the strange idea that it was patronising shite written by people with university educations for what they imagined to be the working class. Oh, and I don't fall for the ICC half as much as you think.

Glory hunter wrote:
But let me answer this idea that Class war somehow imitated tabloid politics ? the form may have been copied, but the politics never were.

What I was suggesting is that in my opinion the form, and the content are deeply connected. It is not something that you can just use without falling into some of the politics.

Glory hunter wrote:
For example, when Class war put out a papers in the middle of the miners strike with the paper tigerish general line that was saying "Open up the second front, riot in the inner city to take pressure of the mining areas" with all the implications of having said that, and at a time when this was a real possibility, and we also were selling tens of thousands of papers out on the street. In reality, all of this was "deeply linked to bourgeois politics" and it's not as if I couldn't give hundreds of other examples.

This is more interesting as I think that it is a much more important thing to be discussing. There is very little reflection on how we behaved in struggles of the past. There should be. I don't think that this was the right line to take. I think that it is just empty posturing. What does it mean to call for riots. Were people supposed to read Class War, and then go out, and start a riot. I know Glory hunter, and I am sure that he has an understanding of how riots start, and this is not it. I think that it was nothing more than empty sloganeering, something that comes with the tabloid presentation, a sort of anarcho-populist version of calling for a general strike. I think though that the miner's strike, and how people responded to it would be a really worthwhile discussion.

Also, I didn't say that CW's activity was 'deeply linked to bourgeois politics'. I said that the tabloid form was.

Devrim

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Serge Forward
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Nov 16 2006 08:15
coffeemachine wrote:
I've asked one of the muslim anarchists who was at the bonfire...

It stands to reason that any anarchist from a 'muslim country' or 'muslim background' would not see this action in the same light. The problem is, how would it be perceived by non anarchist 'muslims' that we're trying to win over to anarchist ideas? Any propaganda value from this kind of action is surely not aimed at 'muslim' anarchists but rather the wider working class from whatever social, or religious background.

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Khawaga
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Nov 16 2006 09:24
Quote:
what i remember of the night mohammed's nose was just like the one of jesus...

Well, both Jesus and Mohammed were semites... Hence, the resemblance. Though, kudos to CW that Jesus wasn't white as he is usually portrayed.

Quote:
NB isn't the stereotype jews with big noses?

Wait, Jesus was a Jew... so maybe it was racist after all?

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Nov 16 2006 09:28

Hi

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...the form, and the content are deeply connected. It is not something that you can just use without falling into some of the politics.

...I didn't say that CW's activity was 'deeply linked to bourgeois politics'. I said that the tabloid form was.

Fascinating. Connecting vulgarity and baseness with reactionary politics. The simple addition of a CW Chess puzzle would presumably solve the problem.

One can’t help but think the non-tabloid style of the Guardian is just as deeply linked to bourgeois politics as that of, say, the Sun (or the Beano for that matter). It looks like yet another communist allusion to Marx’s ideal human with a book of poetry under one arm and a ration book in the other.

Love

LR

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