Anarchy in the London General Election?
It's not often that anarchists come to my attention nor do I have a particular axe to grind with them, except for the idiots I saw tooling up and then wrecking the TUC pensions march a couple of years back. For the most part I see anarchism and it's variants a simply naive and unworkable.
That said, I was bemused to see that the organisation Class War has been/is being registered as a political party to a view of standing at least eight candidates, perhaps four or more others at the next general election in 2015. Ian Bone explains their strategy:
There’ll be a high profile contest against IDS in Chingford but we’re keen to get candidates against Zac Goldsmith, Vince Cable, Chuka Unmuna, Simon Hughes, Theresa Villiers, Malcolm Rifkind….but there are 73 seats in London so whatever suits.
We will be having a meeting in mid- January for all candidates, might be candidates and anyone who’d like to support our campaign…………website, fund raising, rabble rousing, street brawling, heckling, scheming.
We are currently registering Class war as a political party so the name and skull will appear on the ballot paper.
There's more too. Mr Bone has gone and.....
The implications of having a fixed five year term for general elections have not been thought through – this being the first time on Thursday May 7th 2015.They present opportunities for small parties which did not exist previously – mainly that you can plan ahead without being caught on the hop by a sudden announcement. But for the truly inventive mind other opportunities present themselves. Yesterday I completed the process of booking Trafalgar Square for a CLASS WAR rally on the Saturday before the election. The staff were completely unaware of the significance of the date.
And they say anarchists can't organise. Go figure.
The slogan they have come up with is:
‘BY THE BRICK AND THE BALLOT’ VOTE CLASS WAR 2015
At least the election might be a bit more entertaining. Less of the bricks though please.
Meanwhile back in Coyoacan
With the virtual demise of the scandal ridden Socialist Workers Party and the perennial problem of the Socialist Party being a pack of boring bureaucrats, the other trotskyist sects are looking around for political marriages, of convenience for now. The home of sectariana the Weekly Worker has devoted a major article in it's latest edition to what it calls Swamp things get together.
As previously reported on Howie's Corner there has been talk over the past few months about a regroupment of various trots in the Socialist Resistance, International Socialist Network and Anti Capitalist Initiative grouplets. They have have a combined membership of less than 500, but according to the Weekly Worker there have been developments. At a recent ISN conference a minor faction fight between Richard Seymour and Paris Thompson saw a narrow rejection of a merger with SR but:
While a merger with SR was rejected, a wider, broader regroupment project was agreed. This will include not only SR and the likes of Workers Power, but the anti-cuts campaign, Plan C, the Industrial Workers of the World and the Anarchist Federation - which seems speculative, to say the least.
Some of that statement seems a little incongruous. Our anarchist observer Ian Bone tells us straight:
That’ll be news to most of them…………..
One of his correspondents adds a little more meat to the bone (so to speak):
The IWW don’t do politics, of any kind, with any party or group.
Wishful thinking on someone's part.
Mind you some of the younger members might pledge all sorts, they love to be helpful.
Oh well, dreams are easily dashed comrades.
Meanwhile confusion reigns amongst these various groups:
At the moment it appears that the Anti-Capitalist Initiative is shedding members - the prospect of a merger with the ISN, and more importantly with Socialist Resistance, has caused many autonomist-leaning activists to bolt. The ACI’s nominal leadership, as well as members of the ISN, are heavily integrated with Socialist Resistance now and, from what I have seen, it looks impossible to separate the groups politically.
The Weekly Worker goes on to give some frankly laughable advice:
They also need to reject the method of groups like Workers Power, which demands public support from its members for every dot and comma of its programme. This inevitably causes splits, and the disintegration of the left into hundreds of tiny fragments.
I always thought that was the fun of being on the far left, but still...
This leads nicely to an examination of one persons meanderings through the far left, albeit in Ireland and France. It's a lengthy piece so here's a snippet before I give you the link.
I should say that it isn’t just the forms of activitism – leaflets, protests and papers - that make the far-left stand out culturally, it is the peculiar way in which they deploy them. During elections, one can find all sorts of people distributing political literature without any negative impact upon their social standing. The far left, however, generally considers elections to be a sham and therefore tends to eschew this great normalising avenue of popular political engagement, leaving them fighting for spaces with the Hare Krishnas on the pavements and doorsteps at random times when nobody considered normal or sane is doing so. The content of their message also plays a part in fortifying their negative image. They tend to advocate abstract theoretical solutions, obscure ‘isms’, to a broad public audience and use historical reference points – Petrograd 1917, Kronstadt 1921, Catalonia 1936 - and language – proletariat, bourgeois, surplus value - that the public is not familiar with. By contrast, Irish Republicans use some of the same methods of activism as the far left, but their cultural reference points – Easter 1916, the Treaty of 1921 – are part of the Irish primary schooling curriculum and almost everybody is broadly familiar with their significance and the language they use. The net result is that the far left ends up looking weird on every front – handing out weird material, using weird words, in weird places, alongside other weird people.
The full article is here: http://www.chekov.org/blog/very-untrendy-left