'Normal People'

17 posts / 0 new
Last post
Devrim's picture
Devrim
Offline
Joined: 15-07-06
Jan 17 2007 11:44
'Normal People'

Split from another thread

Jack wrote:
Devrim wrote:
I think that a lot of anarchists go on about appealing to ‘normal people’. Take this argument to its extremes, and you end up with something like Class War.

I really strongly disagree with this. I think if you don't try and aim your material at 'ordinary people' (by that, I mean people who aren't politicos) then you end up just like Class War.

Jack, I didn't actually say politicos, what I said was:

Devrim wrote:
I think an important point to consider here is who our propaganda is aimed at. Dundee was ranting on on another thread about ‘that sort of stuff having no appeal to his grandmother’. I think that a lot of anarchists go on about appealing to ‘normal people’. Take this argument to its extremes, and you end up with something like Class War. I think that our target audience isn’t ‘normal people’, who ever they are, but actually class conscious workers, and workers in struggle.

I am interested in your opinion though. I think that Class War became the way it did by trying to appeal to 'Joe Prole', you seem to have the opposite idea. Why?

Devrim

Serge Forward's picture
Serge Forward
Offline
Joined: 14-01-04
Jan 17 2007 12:18

I think the key word here is 'ghetto', or to put it another way, whether we aim our propaganda at 'the usual suspcts' or at people so far unconnected with revolutionary politics. I'm for a bit of both.

The term 'normal people' is pants anyway and should be avoided at all costs. Most 'normal people' I know are real weird fuckers in one way or another.

Class War seemed to have a very stylised representation of so called 'ordinary' working class people that actually bore little relation to most working class people's reality. I'd even say that Dick Van Dyke's dodgy cockney accent in Mary Poppins was probably far more authentic than Class War's attempts at 'prolespeak'.

You know these fly on the wall documentaries where they pick the thickest knobend on the estate, follow them around all day, then kind of imply that this is what we plebs are really like? Well, that's Class War, that is.

Devrim's picture
Devrim
Offline
Joined: 15-07-06
Jan 17 2007 13:12

Jack,

I don't know why you thought I was having a go at you. If there was a slight dig at anything it was at Dundee's rant about names of papers.

I do think that Class War was as I said before the result of trying to target 'ordinary people' however grotesque a parody it may have ended up being. Looking at some of the things that you wrote, you could construct an argument saying that it was a double bluff, and they used it to recruit leftists knowing that 'ordinary people' wouldn't fall for it. I don't want to go down that road though.

Quote:
What can do that, is material that relates to peoples everyday life, and argues for people to make improvements as a class, as workers, as ordinary people. Class War material is never going to do that - and personally, I'd argue it has no desire to do so.

Obviously, you are going to direct stuff at the (and I fucking hate this term, but am in too much of a rush to think of a better one ) 'most advanced' workers - ie, those who are directly struggling for such improvements, but that'd just be tactical - it obviously makes more sense to try and do stuff with someone who is already fighting for people to take collective action, than someone who has no interest.

I agree with all of this. What I was doing was putting the stress on the second half. I think that a lot of anarchists put the stress on the first half partially because they don't like the term 'most advanced workers' (actually, I am not sure that I do), but more importantly they don't like some of the things that it implies.

My original point, which maybe wasn't too clear, being that talk of 'normal people' is often used as an excuse to water down politics. I don't think that working class people are stupid, and I don't think that a title like (the AF's) 'Resistance' is going to scare of people who are thinking about struggles that they are involved in, in short exactly the people we want to reach. Although I am sure that she is a nice lady, I am not worried if it would scare off Dundee's grandmother. That's what my point about 'normal people' was.

Devrim

P.S. I don't know anything about anti-politics except that it is a website that Peter of here posts on, and people slag him off for. What is it?

Steven.'s picture
Steven.
Offline
Joined: 27-06-06
Jan 17 2007 13:53
Jack wrote:
As for Class War, given that I wasn't about at their founding I don't really know how it started, and your take maybe was more appropriate in the 80's, but that's certainly not how the modern incarnation come off.

I'd say that's accurate, yeah.

Devrim's picture
Devrim
Offline
Joined: 15-07-06
Jan 17 2007 14:31

As for my take on them today, I tend to look at Class War today as similar to some aging rock band whose lead singer has left (not for a successful solo career in this case), but the rest of them plod on regurgitating the same old tunes that had once, many years before, made people sit up and notice.

Devrim

Oh, did I forget to mention I also see them as having a residency at Butlins in Bognor Regis?

November Criminal
Offline
Joined: 13-01-07
Jan 17 2007 15:52

Precisely. George Orwell, in the 1930s, pointed out that Socialism needed what amounts to a PR offensive, but a positive one, stripping Socialism down to its essentials and selling it as what it is. This was badly needed in the 1980s. Blair did something like that, but ended up with New Labour, which takes the stripping down too far, even making Socialism something contradictory to what it was in the beginning.

When you ask anyone 'normal' 1 about Socialism, they will inevitably come up with ideas of internicene struggle. Worse, they will think of humourless sour-faced sham-proletarian intellectuals, a dangerous sort of manic inefficiency, and the reports the Daily Mail used to come up with reporting on where Labour councils banned the use of the word 'black'. Half of this is propaganda, but it seems that we shall have to set the record straight.

NC

  • 1. by which I mean that he is not politically active except for voting at elections - everyone up to and including the average Radio 4 listener
jef costello's picture
jef costello
Offline
Joined: 9-02-06
Jan 17 2007 16:38
November Criminal wrote:
George Orwell, in the 1930s, pointed out that Socialism needed what amounts to a PR offensive, but a positive one, stripping Socialism down to its essentials and selling it as what it is. This was badly needed in the 1980s. Blair did something like that, but ended up with New Labour, which takes the stripping down too far, even making Socialism something contradictory to what it was in the beginning.

Blair stripped the socialism out to make the party electable, that was the whole point of New Labour. The majority of people in this country will not vote for an avowed socialist party. The problem that the vast majority of peole seem uninterested or hostile to anarchism / communism is one that anarchists / communists have tried to address, largely without success. Firstly, there is a strong reliance on propaganda to make up for a lack of nulbers, however propaganda rarely works, because people do not like it. Secondly most a / c are otside of the mainstream and therefore have trouble in making the kind of connections necessary.
In order to have communism we need to expose large numbers of people to the ideas of resistance to capital, I assume this is in part a reason why so many are involve in education. Although again this leads to the stereotype of the burnt out lefty teacher.
What needs to be done is for people to spread these ideas in their daily life and to set examples. We need to win strikes and we need for workers to know that we are winning strikes. When workers think they will gain from solidarity, when workers self-organise, when different groups of workers begin to make links to share information and experience this is the point at which things may snowball.

bastarx
Offline
Joined: 9-03-06
Jan 18 2007 11:11
Devrim wrote:
P.S. I don't know anything about anti-politics except that it is a website that Peter of here posts on, and people slag him off for. What is it?

It's a discussion board, much quieter than LibCom, especially for the last few months.

It started in late 2004 as the successor to the Killing King Abacus board. Killing King Abacus was a US West Coast insurrectionist magazine which published two issues in 2000-1. One of the people involved in KKA, Wolfi Landstreicher, publishes an ocassional journal called Wilful Disobedience which is also available on the KKA site, the last one seems to have been in mid-2004. The other main person involved in KKA, Sasha K. Villon, set up anti-politics and I think he's a fine comrade.

Most of the regular anti-politics posters are commies and anarchos from the US West Coast and are offline friends like the core group of LibCom. The anarchos tend to be insurrectionists but not so much the infantile ultra-left variety. It's also attracted it's fair share of wingnuts over the years but most of them leave after copping a load of abuse.

If you mean anti-politics as a general concept, a simple definition is that being against the state means being against politics, politics being defined as statecraft.

I hope that helps.

Joseph Kay's picture
Joseph Kay
Offline
Joined: 14-03-06
Jan 18 2007 11:16
Peter wrote:
If you mean anti-politics as a general concept, a simple definition is that being against the state means being against politics, politics being defined as statecraft.

also please see their sister site, tautology.net tongue

pingtiao's picture
pingtiao
Offline
Joined: 9-10-03
Jan 18 2007 11:30

haha grin

Jason Cortez
Offline
Joined: 14-11-04
Jan 18 2007 11:30

hoe is that a tautology? Politics means statecraft here (It's orginal meaning no?)and threfore if you are anti-state...

Joseph Kay's picture
Joseph Kay
Offline
Joined: 14-03-06
Jan 18 2007 11:37

tau·tol·o·gy (tô-tŏl'ə-jē) pronunciation
n., pl. -gies.

1.
1. Needless repetition of the same sense in different words; redundancy.
2. An instance of such repetition.

not strictly a tautology, but "being against the state means being against politics, politics being defined as statecraft" comes pretty close. throwaway comment anyhow (though i think politics is rather wider than statecraft, and is in fact to do with the deployment of power per se).