We can slag off the Left for all we like but when it comes to confronting them in argument we…don’t. I have had tons of comments on this blog about my suggestion of getting involved with local Left Unity groups – you know meet some new people out of your comfort zone. Most of them go like this….’I went along, few decent people but the usual Trots so went home. Waste of time.’ Well you could have stayed and argued and maybe more people would agree with you than you think. Abandoning any new space to the Trots just because they are there is….timidity. How do people move on, change their minds if the alternative is never put to them?
At the conclusion of the Benn/Rees official speeches at the Rainsborough do on Saturday we raised our own banner and I spoke giving our own perspective on the Levellers. Many people came over to listen to us and gave a round of applause and nodding agreement. We could have just gone straight to the pub muttering ‘its just a load of lefties’ Rees and German and Nineham were visibly annoyed, clucking away to each other. Their space had been contested.
On June 22nd we intend to invade their space again at the Peoples Assembly against Austerity at Westminster Hall. Many people will agree with us for reasons I have put before on this blog. we need to be engaging with them in debate – they are the people we want to win to our class politics not the platform of TUC barons and time served Trots. We want to have more people with us at the end of the day than the start – which means not hectoring from the same platform but talking in hundreds of individual and group conversations. We need not always to keep our mouths shut comrades…..there’s tons of good working class people who want to hear a different story. Let’s tell it on June 22nd.
12 responses to “THE POLITICAL TIMIDITY OF UK ANARCHISTS”
Completely agree, and would add that we tell a different story, not try to see it from the standpoint of the trots which has happened too often when anarchists have engaged in joint ventures.
It’s not just the trots either- I’ve spoken to untold non-aligned, left-ish politically minded people who don’t want anything to do with the 57 varieties of leftism, they all know full well that the Labour Party is stacked full of millionaires and war criminals- they are all but begging for something else, but when an alternative is posed, they ask ‘where is it?’-almost as if they could never conceive of creating one themselves- actually being the alternative, without waiting for the leadership of a ready-made party/movement, then they seem to retreat to a position of despairing fatalism, that ‘Labour is all we’ve got, the best of a bad lot’ and ‘what can we do about it?’. Anarchism, it seems to me, always fails to stress the basic democractic ideas of the ideology (consensual rotated, revocable delegation- no permanent, power and status hungry, leadership)- one which would win over many, many people given the total disconnect between politicians and the rest of us…
Agree totally. “As if they could never conceive of creating one themselves”…and that’s it in a nutshell though isn’t it? It’s a lack of confidence, a lack of self belief, we’re quite infantilised in Britain in lots of ways but especially politically.. Perhaps anarchism has emphasised it’s rage too much, fetishised confrontation too much, and that alienates some people from the basic common sense of it.
spot on. I helped organise my left unity meeting and as the only anarchist in the room argued for us not to turn this new “movement” into a political party. there was agreement to that in broad terms. we have to stand up for what we believe in and make the argument everywhere we go.
Apologies, this is off topic, but has anyone seen this latest piece of Royal parasite news covered in the UK media?
I agree. I know anarchists have been burned before, all the way back to the first international, but refusing to engage will not get us anywhere.
If we can engage with people then some will realise that anarchism is close to what they already believe (similar happened to me – both over the Internet and through meeting anarchists in non-anarchist unions).
If we’re not jerks then moving people towards anarchism can occur, at the very least pursuading people that anarchism isn’t bomb throwing and chaos would be a win at the moment.
Sadly I’ve seen too much arrogance and belittling of people who disagree or ask questions – it turned me away from anarchism for a long time until I met more tolerant anarchists who explained their views and accepted differing views (or explained why they were wrong in reasonable terms). Now I’m a fully committed anarchist thanks to those people who accepted me as a non-anarchist.
I’d also add – we should be taking opportunities to espouse solutions which do not rely on the largesse of poltiticians and which rely on communal and social solutions.
Rather than simply protesting cuts, seeking to support those affected through social action where possible. Less A to B marches, more getting people who care involved in a practical solution. They may not realise that this is anarchy in action, but then an anarchist can point that out. That can at least generate sympathy and more importantly provide support for those who suffer thanks to capitalism and the elite who dominate our lives.
Anarchists are great at coming up with excuses for not engaging. And those that do dare to engage are quickly dismissed as coercing with the enemy, sell outs etc.
We don’t do anything ourselves and we don’t take part in any wider activity. Nothing happens.
Meanwhile, Left Unity held a national meeting.
Most important topic discussed was on the best way to integrate TUSC, SP and SWP.
A bit of a love in then occurred where many voiced their love and respect for above groups. There then followed a request to allow TUSC to take over, which was rejected…. for now.
Have any of the bookies announced the odds on this particular race? Shouldn’t laugh though, the age old issue of anarchist ‘unity’ rears its ugly head again in the face of ‘political timidity’- the same old merry-go-round- personally I think the inability to work together is all about personal psychology (calling Dr.Reich!), never mind the paralysis engendered by ideological differences and all that ‘diversity of tactics’ blather. There can be no case to argue with trots or anyone else if you can’t organise yourselves into a solid, cast-iron, unified movement with an agreement on basic shared ideas. That’s all it takes, nothing more- apart perhaps, from a little humility in the face of the less politicised…
Oops! Forgot to add: that while the left etc. is playing political ‘patty-cake’, the State is announcing that it is gearing up for a counter-offensive against working class insurgency this summer, with stories already placed in the press about the new ‘Discriminating Irritant Projectiles’, that old canard about the tactically useless water-cannon and new GPS tagging systems that can track your every single move, and possibly analyse your sweat for drugs and booze…
While everyone is gabbing, the streets will be on fire- enough with the Nero politics already.
i think the debate on whether to turn left unity in to an electoral party is probably going to be lost and that they will struggle to be an effective one with out very fine tactical judgement. but a broader issue there ia quite group of anarchists who think it is ok to run for council as councillors actually remain part of there community unlike mps or meps eg