Saturday, 29 October 2011

Northern Anarchist Network: Newcastle, November 2011: a note from Martin

How can we best contribute to the growing interest in anarchist thought and action? It would be good to see that we are being listened-to in our localities, due to actions following such attention. This is not a criticism asking “what is the NAN for?” or a plea for vanguardism (like saying “we are the only syndicalists/anarchists).

I live in a fairly isolated place and very much appreciate company. Some present to-day also rarely see a friendly anarchist face. NAN has never been a “talking shop” as much as I love them. The breadth of discussion material we have covered over the years has been impressive. I am only hoping for a bit more active participation, to convey our messages, maybe find some new comrades to help our very basic organisation. Also to give some sense of our co-ordinated thought and continuity of decision making. As a bare minimum we need some agreed number of people running the blog in regular contact (of some form) with each other, like an editorial board.

What organizational examples can we take from the Anarchist Federation (AF)? Over the years they have increased their active participation on a very wide front. Some of our attenders claim that they are neo-Marxists whom fetishise the working class, ignoring their authoritarianism, the vast gradations in material possessions; and strong identification with the middle class rather than less fortunate people. I do not suggest that we become a floating AF, SF, change our name to The Bamford Column or The Gas Light and Coke Company.

But there are now millions suffering roughly the same economic conditions. This suggests a potential for isolated (if highly significant) actions. For example the destruction of Police property in August this year is a long way from building a mass resistance movement. Such actions, however admirable are “the menu not the meal”, only a starting point. Possibly, that furious energy will burn itself out in the daily slog of community and work place struggles. What are such activists going to do for an encore, in what ways should we help out??

Seeing our Network with its breadth of values and visions (in spite of personality clashes) might be a contribution to those who are new to our thoughts and actions.

Martin S. Gilbert

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