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Anarchist Conference

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During Labour weekend of this year ART (Anarchist Round Table) will be hosting an anarchist conference in Otautahi/Christchurch. We're trying to get as much collective input into this as possible!

Anarchy in Action – 2004

During Labour weekend of this year ART (Anarchist Round Table) will be hosting an anarchist conference in Otautahi/Christchurch. The main theme of the conference will be organisation within the anarchist movement. Ideas for workshops so far include:

An Introduction to Anarchism
Anarchism and Education
Anarcha-Feminism
Ecological Anarchism and Genetic Engineering
The Anti-war movement
Tino Rangatiratanga - Seabed and Foreshore
Unite and workplace organising
Security Culture
Direct Action
A Co-op Movement/Forming Co-ops?
Communication
Group skills/ forming and maintaining Groups
Political theory
Anti-privatisation struggles

There will also be video screenings and a social.

If you are interested in being involved in organising one of these workshops or have other ideas for workshops that you might like to add, then contact ART at art@anarchism.org.nz.

We are as keen as possible for the conference to be run collectively and for the conference program to be decided on collectively, so you have no excuses – get involved!

Other non-authoritarian leftists in Aotearoa are welcome to participate. If you want to run a workshop or just want to help out then also feel free to get in contact!

Anarchist Round Table
PO Box 22-076
Christchurch
art@anarchism.org.nz
http://art.anarchism.org.nz

Comments

An authoritarian statement , surely

"Other non-authoritarian leftists in Aotearoa are welcome to participate"

Re: Anarchist Conference

What? Welcoming others who aren't authoritarian to an anarchist conference is authoritarian?

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Sectarian bullshit is a luxery we can't afford right now. The left have too much to fight for.

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I think the message is directed to people who might be interested in taking workshops and helping organise the conference. Obviously the organisers wouldn't want authoritarian workshops at an anti-authoritarian conference. As far as attending the conference goes, I'm sure all lefties will be welcome.

Re: Anarchist Conference

Trouble is that kind of wording can alienate non-anarchists, because they are not, in the overwhelming majority of cases, 'authoritarian'. Who the hell would be on the left in NZ if they wanted to wield power? You'd join the Nats of Labour if you were on a power trip. Actually I had a mate who joined the Nats for just that reason - that was just before they got wiped out in 99, he should've gone with Labour.

Anarchists think that the strategies offered by other left -isms lead to political mistakes which lead to bad stuff like authoritarianism, but this of course is contested by everyone else, and in any case you can make political mistakes which objectively strengthen capitalism and imperialism with entirely good intentions (look at the anarchists who backed the invasion of East Timor, or support cabotage now, or went into government in Spain). So, yes, it's better to use a different word.

The conference sounds very interesting, and I hope that there'll be a detailed report on the debates there for those of us who are unable to make it for one reason or another. I'd be particularly interested in thoughts on the question of Maori nationalism, and on the national liberation struggles in Iraq and Palestine, and how anarchists try to reconcile opposition to a state with support for obviously progressive struggles.

I went to the last conference ART organised and it was very impressive indeed. In fact, I can think of one or two authoritarian Bolsheviks in Auckland who could do with a dose of ART's anarchist organisation skills!

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"look at the anarchists who backed the invasion of East Timor" - I just need to clarify that you mean the invasion of East Timor by the UN? It seems really obvious, but I'm just double-checking.

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Yes, sorry if that wasn't clear. It would be difficult for anyone with a conscience to back the Indonesian invasion with good intentions, but it was very easy for activists to back the UN 'intervention' with utterly good intentions.

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Well in the short term it was the best help the Timorese were going to get. Australia now needs to be told to go to hell with its Timor Gap oil though.

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I assume that Trotskyists are amongst those who have been excluded?

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Are trotskyists authoritarian? I was a trotskyist once, and we were pretty authoritarian!

Up with the workers! down with work! Are pro-work people allowed? I hope not.

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I guess the point of excluding authoritarians is much the same as not having people who back the US invasion of Iraq coming to Peace Action Wellington meetings.

As for Trotskyists, I guess any Trots who genuinely wish to contribute towards the buiding of a strong global anarchist movement are welcome, those who want to waste all our time arguing their own dead ideologies (as has happened in the past when naive anarchists let 'em in) aren't welcome. I wouldn't expect to be welcomed to, say, an animal rights meeting if I was going to argue in favour of shooting partridges, or an ACA meeting in order to repeatedly argue the case for supporting the Nepalese monarchy. Fair enough too. If we want to have a debate with Marxists sometime, we'll let you know.

And as for supporting the 'invasion' of Timor, I'm still waiting for someone to offer a realistic alternative to international intervention at the time. And actually, the intervention objectively weakened both Indonesian imperialism and Indonesian capitalism, or are you following the old liberal softie idea that non-honky nastiness doesn't count?

Re: Anarchist Conference

I guess the point of excluding authoritarians is much the same as not having people who back the US invasion of Iraq coming to Peace Action Wellington meetings.

As for Trotskyists, I guess any Trots who genuinely wish to contribute towards the buiding of a strong global anarchist movement are welcome, those who want to waste all our time arguing their own dead ideologies (as has happened in the past when naive anarchists let 'em in) aren't welcome. I wouldn't expect to be welcomed to, say, an animal rights meeting if I was going to argue in favour of shooting partridges, or an ACA meeting in order to repeatedly argue the case for supporting the Nepalese monarchy. Fair enough too. If we want to have a debate with Marxists sometime, we'll let you know.

And as for supporting the 'invasion' of Timor, I'm still waiting for someone to offer a realistic alternative to international intervention at the time. And actually, the intervention objectively weakened both Indonesian imperialism and Indonesian capitalism, or are you following the old liberal softie idea that non-honky nastiness doesn't count?

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Hi all, sorry when I wrote that line I didn't have any group or "ideology" in mind that I wanted to exclude, the fact was quite the opposite, the intention was to welcome other leftists to be involved even if they don't consider themselves anarchists (I was thinking about people like you Scott when I wrote it, I appreciated your input at the last one). If someone self-identifed as being authoritarian then I would not be keen to see them involved. As for the question about Maori nationalism, I'm as keen as to get involved in that debate, because I think that alot of what the far-left has to say on that one is incredibly simplisitc. But I'll guess that will have to wait until I've got the time. But I will say that I thought that the CWG had one of the better "party-lines" on the seabed and foreshore issue.

Dan

Conference rules etc and our summer school

Sometimes the most interesting debates at conferences are started by outsiders. The CWG held a summer school early this year, and we had a session on Palestine which attracted a number of Students for Justice in Palestine members with strong Muslim beliefs.

One young woman in Islamic head dress started to speak to the meeting and the first thing she said was 'I don't really like communists, because you tortured my family in Afghanistan'. Talk about throwing down the gauntlet!

We were able to point out that we weren't huge fans of the Soviet-backed government that existed in Afghanistan in the 80s, but we couldn't deny that we preferred it to the mujahedin who took over in the 90s and ended up producing the Taleban.

There were a number of secular members of the SJP at the meeting, and this quite vigorous debate developed about whether women were playing a second-class role in the struggle in Palestine, with some of the Islamists actually arguing that 'to be in the backseat isn't to be
unimportant' and so on and so forth, the whole 'separate but equal' line. There were arguments about whether SJP's Islamist members were doing enough to get women involved in the group, and so on.

The debate on Islamism morphed into a debate between a feminist socialist (techncial term meaning someone who accepts both Marxism and a patriachial mode of production theory which is supposed to ground radical feminism) and a CWG member over the role that domestic labour played in capitalism. Do housewives/husbands produce surplus value and all that.

You could argue that these debates prevented the smooth exposition of CWG ideas by allowing people we disagreed with to muddy the waters, but I actually think that our arguments were
made more accessible in a context of debate.

I think that people understood our
critique of Stalinism and position on the USSR and its sattellites better, when we had to argue it under some considerable pressure. And I think we were able to argue against the old claim that class analysis marginalises gender issues better when people could put our view alongside an attempt to merge Marxism and radical feminism.

I think it would be difficult to make any
hard and fast rules about who to include and exclude at a public conference. I think
Islamic fundamentalism is bad news, but I thought it was good to debate Islamists at our summer school, because Islam has such an influence over a community which is engaged in a heroic and fundamentally progressive struggle, or set of struggles.

It's really hard to do anything in solidarity with Palestine and Iraq in Auckland without running smack bang into Islamic politics.
It is the Muslim community which mobilises fastest and organsies the most passionate demonstrations in response to US and Israeli atrocities. If we want to get some anti-war rally posters in shop windows we can usually count on the halal butcheries and Islamic bookshop down the road from my place.

On the other hand I would see a debate
about the role of women with a bunch of fundamentalist Pakeha Catholics not engaged in any progressive struggle as a total waste of time. I guess ultimately the decisions should made by the people who show up on the day. (As long that is as the Catholics don't stack your conference usimg the venerable Trot tactic of deep entryism ;)

Cheers
Scott

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Well to be honest, it isnt that I wanted to go, but I found the idea that we were authoritarian sectarian. Lets not put up any more obstacles to achieving revolutionary unity - its hard enough as is.

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George said: "Up with the workers! down with work! Are pro-work people allowed? I hope not."

I'll open a workshop wit representatives of Telecom, Coca-Cola, Mackers, KFC etc. where George and all the anarchist dole bludgers can come and give thanks to the peoples wot pay huge taxes to keep the dole bludgers from starving to death.

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you don't have to be on the dole not to work.

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I think that those who can find work, should work.

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Telecom, Coca-Cola, Mackers, KFC etc. pay huge taxes? Dream on buddy, (and have a look at their annual reports), and some people think its the anarchists who live in a fantasy land.