Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Trade Union Activist Condemns libcom website

BECAUSE the readership of the NV Blog is a broad Church, with viewers from many different political persuasions, it may be necessary to explain who Dave Douglass is, and outline his standing with regard to the trade union and anarchist-left. His activist record in politics goes back to the 1960s and he played a major part in the Miners' Strikes both in the 1970s and 1980s. He has written extensively on these strikes and industrial matters in the last half of the 20th Century. He held positions in both the National Union of Miners (NUM) and later in the Transport & General Workers' Union (now Unite the Union). I have known him since the strikes of engineering apprentices in the 1960s. He has always described himself as an anarchist. 

Dave Douglass has historical knowledge of the attempts to blackball Northern Voices and the NAN, and he refused to accept an invite to attend the Manchester Anarchist Bookfair in 2011, when he found out that the organisers 'David' and Sally were banning both the NAN and Northern Voices. He also has had a first-hand account of what happened at the London Anarchist Bookfair in 2012, because one of closest mates was working on the next stall to the NAN/ Northern Voices stall when the members of the Anarchist Federation (AF) first threatened the stall-holder if he didn't clear off, and then half-an-hour later launched their attack to enforce departure.

Dave's comments below are a response to a thread/ post and series of comments published on the anarchist website, libcom, on the 21st, February. He forwarded this to Northern Voices because he fears that the editors at libcom may delete it. Last night, a member of the NV Editorial Panel examined the libcom site and could not find Dave's account. An AF groupie, Spiky Mike, had asked for the NAN thread to be taken down. 

"How a so called 'libetarian' website can host such vulgar proto-racialist anti working class spew is frankly beyond me. It reminds me of the young Conservative conference social during the miners strike of 84/5 when all those chinless upper class twits sat round singing about miners families having only 'half half a hamster' for our xmas dinners. The deeply felt hatred of the traditional working class in general and northern working class in particular engendered in these comments is palpable. Needless to say it is also factually totally incorrect. Members of the AF did not 'disassociate themselves' from comments made by Comrade Bamford in the Northern Voices mag, they physically attacked him, overturned the bookstall, and stole books . Prior to this they had brought about a ban on display and sale of NAN literature and bookstall at Manchester Anarchist Book fare and subsequently censored an individual member, abusing him and forcing him firstly not to be allowed to speak and secondly to leave the building. They campaigned against all radical bookshops selling NAN literature and attempted to stop the printers printing it. That is not' simply disassociating 'yourself a long anarchist tradition, that is sectarian violence, and silencing opposition, a long fascist tradition. AF must in fact disassociate itself from these sectarian attacks and allow freedom of thought and speech and publication for any section of the movement. What sort of vision for a future society does it present if we all have to conform to one particular view of the world and the people in it ?" 


barry said...

Dave Douglas is just one of 137 signatories to the Burnley NAN declaration. Signatories include libertarians, anarchists, socialists, peace campaigners in CND, Occupy Manchester, syndicalists, Greens, and community activists from around the world. The issues raised by Dave should be of serious concern to all radical campaigners who value the importance of freedom of speech and assembly.

Editor said...

Dave Douglass says: 'at Manchester Anarchist Book fare and subsequently censored an individual member, abusing him and forcing him firstly not to be allowed to speak and secondly to leave the building.'
Overall, Dave Douglass has given a relatively accurate account of the situation, but he is wrong on one or two minor points. Barry Woodling was allowed to attend the Manchester Bookfair on Dec. 1st, 2012, but he was not banned from speaking as he was at the bookfair for over 3 hours and attended a meeting on Latin America. It was later (about 4.30pm), while he was perusing the books, that an organiser approached him and demanded he leave the building. Then, he was manhandled by tne organiser, and not permitted to leave by the normal exit, but the security men were called and he had to leave by a fire-escape. On reflection it seemed to Barry that the organiser wanted to provoke a scene.

barry said...

I dont hide behind a cloak of anonymity which is characteristic of AF Critics of the NAN and NV. Re the Burnley NAN declaration I would pose the following questions. Do the Anarchist Federation believe in the principles of freedom of speech and freedom of the press? Secondly does the Anarchist Federation approve of the use of violence against anarchist supporters of the NAN and Northern Voices?

Anonymous said...

Barry-You lip off about a dead mate and I will stick one you... not all suvners are soft... and what the donald was Dave Douglas (a little bully himself) on about? He has had a downer on anarchist communist politics since Virus- he despises theoretical consistency (from DAM to Class War was a classic development from the wonder man) and is he calling himself anarchist these days?- that is not what he has always said.
Yeah you aint liked for your gob Barry- try not being a cock and maybe you wont be treated like one.
Enjoy your small world
You are havin a giraffe!

Jim. said...


Do you write for TV, Drama? Or is it that you can't stand the pace of life?

bammy said...

Eeeee 'Anonymous' is so hard & tough that he or she is too shy to provide his or her identity. What is the authentic voice of the AF? Do they exist in the real world? Nobody outside of a narrow loco-left bubble knows who they are!