Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Laughter as Militants Mock English Anarchists

'ENGLISH anarchists,' declared blacklisted electrician Colin Trousdale, 'can't organise owt!'  Comrade Trousdale was speaking at a branch meeting of the famous Greater Manchester Contracting Branch 1400/7 in the Town Hall Tavern on Tibb Lane about the attack in October 2012 of a gang of members of the so-called Anarchist Federation (AF or A.fed) on a vendor on the Northern Voices/ NAN stall at the Anarchist Bookfair, and the consequent theft of trade union literature.  To laughter from the rest of those present he suggested that the anarchists ought to invent a salad cream bomb for throwing at their enemies.  The meeting which was mostly discussing important issues such as the blacklist and the behaviour of the Unite union in attempting to negotiate separately from the Blacklist Support Group and other unions, and to engage in talks with the very companies guilty of blacklisting in the construction industry, turned to the bizarre behaviour of Nick Heath and the Anarchist Federation (AF) as a bit of light relief under Any Other Business, when the Secretary of Tameside TUC gave a report likening the behaviour of A.fed. to an organisation on the far-right of English politics.  The meeting was reluctant to give even that degree of political seriousness to an organisation like A.fed. who were likened to clowns incapable of wiping their own arses.

In a year in which Freedom, the anarchist newspaper and perhaps the oldest left-wing paper in England, died of shame having been on the its death-bed for about a decade under a variety of weak editors.  Freedom, it is noted, never reported on any of the attacks on Northern Voices and even allowed itself in its dying moment, to be bullied by the superannuated boss of A.fed the cockney Nick Heath.  The anarchists had been condemn at a another meeting of the Greater Manchester County Association of TUCs (GMCA TUCs) for their behaviour on a May Day march.  It is getting difficult to defend anarchists these days at trade union meetings such among the Manchester blacklisted electricians, simply because they behave badly in a way which lacks an English sense of humour, and there was hearty laughter at the electrician's branch when it was learned that the pretext for the attack on Northern Voices and the theft of the trade union pamphlets was provoke after NV13 carried an obituary on the late Bob Miller describing him as a 'skedaddler':  many of the blacklisted lads read Northern Voices and their branch has been affiliated to Tameside TUC for years.  Yet, few would bother to read much of the other publications on the left.   

At last night's meeting the Socialist Party and Linda Taaffe came under attack when it was suggested that the branch affiliate to the National Shop Steward's Network (NSSN).  This was agreed, but Colin Trousdale pointed out that the NSSN had never had to same clout since the split when the syndicalists and other independent socialists left, and Colin said that the biggest loss had been the departure of Dave Chapple as the Chair of the NSSN.  Dave Chapple, who is a libertarian socialist, would never call himself an 'anarchist' simply because of the kind of corny behaviour already described at the Anarchist Bookfair, where the organisers refused to intervene and challenge A.fed., the electricians expressed disbelief about this.  The Socialist Party was criticised for divisiveness, but Colin claimed that the real culprit who caused the split in the NSSN was Peter Taaffe.  It was said that the split in the NSSN was caused by the Socialist Party who wanted their own 'sovereign' anti-cuts body separate from that of the SWP and others.  The supporters of the NSSN were asked how many cuts had been prevented by the NSSN since it set up its own anti-cuts organisation, and answer came there none.  It was even suggested that Nick Clegg and Vince Cable may have in truth modified more of the cuts than the NSSN and the Socialist Party put together.   

Dave Chapple and the paper Trade Union Solidarity are organising a conference on the 'Future of Working Class Education' in August.   

The electrician's branch discussed the bankrolling of the Labour Party by Unite and Len McClusky.  One member said that the Labour Party could not be saved, and this funding was a waste of the member's money.  What is interesting in all this is how nothing ever changes the unions throw money down the political drain of the Labour Party, the English anarchists live up to their standard barn-pot caricature, and English trotskyists still seek solutions to the problems of the world through eternal point-scoring and splits. 


Tony said...

So Brian,
Are you now not calling yourself an anarchist. That, or I assume you defended anarchism and explained that some anarchists are quite good at organising.

bammy said...

Sorry for the length of this comment. Yes, I still call myself an anarchist, although some like Derek Pattison, fall back on the term 'anarco-syndicalist'. I lived in Spain for many years, my eldest lad was born there when I was working with the FIJL in the 1960s, and I am still in contact with people I regard to be genuine anarchists in both this country and Spain. I accept what you say about the excellent organisation of bookfairs in this country, and I said as much earlier this year to David Goodway. But David retorted: 'Yes, but that's all (English) anarchists can organise - Bookfairs!' When I thought about this it struck me that we in this country are good at organising Bookfairs precisely because much of our literature won't sell to the general public, and that we have to use Book Fairs to sell it (or even give it away) to each other. When Colin Trousdale attacked the anarchists and mocked anarchism generally, I felt he was attacking a 'type of anarchist' that exists in England: a kind of bumpkin that has become all too common alas. I believe that I could easily defend the Spanish anarchists, but my observations of what has happened at Freedom Press and elsewhere, makes it hard for me to defend the English 'type of anarchism', but equally I find the British left generally rather tiresome.

S said...

Jesus imagine being that short on stuff to get exercised about that you have to bring up your moment of salad cream martyrdom in random trades council meetings two years later...


bammy said...

Alas, the trade union council's and trade unions generally work somewhat slowly. This matter has been in the pipeline for well over a year going through the branches. I would have thought that working for the Morning Star that you would be in the NUJ, and understand something like that. With the Greater Manchester Contracting Branch this was a report back from a motion that was passed well over a year ago by the electrician's branch.

Anarchists like us are a bit of a curiousity Simon to blacklisted electricians, and the theft of trade union literature is the issue - the salad cream is just light enterteinment.

Hope you are keeping well?

S said...

I'm not interested in engaging with you further,Brian.

Jason said...

Brian does have that wilted lettuce look, which acts as a contact reminder though.

Orwell's that end well said...

what a sad bitter and twisted person Brian is. A keyboard warrior who tries to rewrite history for his own ends. Thankfully no one is interested in the pathetic "Salad Cream Comrades" peddling their dodgy revisions of the Spanish Civil war and with limp attacks on true anarchists.

At least Orwell got published properly - not just in a vanity rag paid for out of Bammy's old age pension. Wow - quite a life of literary achievement Brian. Best stick to goat-on-a-rope bothering

Colin Trousdale said...

Colin Trousdale did not attack anarchists , Colin Trousdale (me) laughed at the though of Anarchists having a Federation/Organised structure which I feel flies in the face of my interpretation of Anarchy . NEVER MIND THE BOLLOCKS WE ARE THE SPARKS M/c CONTRACTING BRANCH. Brian please refrain from mis-quoting me in print to further your petty arguments that now having the benefit of both sides of the story I feel you were in the wrong about . This problem is hardly the re-unification of Ireland or the rights of Palestinians to live in peace in Gaza. Grow up.

Bright Spark said...

Colin you are wasting your time trying to reason with Brian and Derek. They have a warped view of the world and will just twist anything you say. They see themselves as cutting edge intellectuals rather than the bitter sniping meddlers who nurse a pint all night

bammy said...

With the greatest respect Bright Spark what Colin said was:
'Colin Trousdale did not attack anarchists, Colin Trousdale (me) laughed at the thought of Anarchists having a Federation/Organised structure which I feel flies in the face of my interpretation of Anarchy.'

Therefore, Colin's interpretation of the word 'Anarchy' is that it contrasts with 'organisation' or 'federation'. Is that therefore a reasonable interpretation of the word 'Anarchy' in your view Bright Spark?