Wednesday, 10 January 2018

Identity Confusion in Anarchist Federation?

A Crisis of Cookbook Thinking

A recently expelled member of the now fragmented 'Anarchist Federation'  wrote a complaint about the group last August on libcom, he or she concluded the long epistle by describing the background of the organisation thus:
'Bureaucratic, formalistic, bereft of ideas, willing to accept a group of leaders because they have organisational power and its members do not, because they occupy all spaces within the Federation, allowing no space to other ideas.  When it attempts educational work it is like being in school: there are things that members must learn and learn to repeat back but never to discuss, to explore, to refute or reject; that is not allowed.' 

This individual account seems to form a basis for what is now happening in the AF, by suggesting the membership organisation was a sort of Sunday School for anarco-commissars who are only capable of cookbook analysis of an half-baked Marxist type..

Anarchist Bookfair Blues

Following the wild attacks on Helen Steel, and what have been described as the 'Radical Feminists' at the London Anarchist Bookfair last October, some elements of the Anarchist Federation outside London began issuing statements and signing open-letters condemning the organisers of the London Bookfair for their tolerance of critics of the proposed amendments to the Gender Recognition Act.  The provincial groups which put the names of their factions to the open letters attacking the Bookfair organisers calling for 'disassociation' included such bodies as the  'AFED TRANS ACTION FACTION'; 'Edinbugh;Anarchist Federation'; Liverpool A.F.; and South Wales A.F.

At the same time there was a deafening silence from the A.F. high-command around Nick Heath in London.   Clearly the open-letters published by the provincials were seen in London for what they clearly were, compositions of gross ineptitude.  

What very likely followed were attempts by Nick Heath and his Metropolitan elite to get things under control by urging  the bumbling provincials to withdraw their corny compositions attacking well respected anarchists like Helen Steel and the Bookfair organisers.  Events resulting in the recent resignations of the central core 'communist anarchism' faction, is now demonstrating that that the attempts to get a grip on the provincial supporters of the Trans hotheads failed.

In this way the A,Fed embrace of the exotic Trans identity tendency has resulted in a disaster which would have been a little local difficulty in a bigger body like the Labour Party, but among the tiny tribes of political anarchism it represents the virtual extinction.from the body politic.  By embracing gender politics Nick Heath and the AF have gained a few members, but ultimately it has bit them on the arse.*

 Fleas Pretending to be Elephants!

On the 20th, November 2017, just over 3-weeks after the London Bookfair debacle the Anarchist Federation issued a Statement which included the following observations:
'The AF regrets that the opportunity has probably been lost to transform the London Anarchist Bookfair – which in recent years has developed into one of the most important and representative anarchist events globally – into an environment where this situation cannot not reoccur.  Whilst the right of people to choose their gender identity is not up for debate, discussion about the relationship between different oppressions and their relationship to the wider class struggle are nonetheless important.'

This is the kind of froth that the general public, if they troubled to read it, will find wearisome, but to the people inside the bubble of the interpretive community it may sound impressive.  It's full of froth because their Statement is rooted in humbug and hypocrisy.  It's hypocritical because members of the AF have often been at the centre of the troubles at the Bookfairs up and down the country.

In October 2012, Nick Heath dismissed the theft of books from a book stall at the London Bookfair by some AF members as 'an unofficial action by some people in the AF'.  In December 2012, Nick Heath was at the Manchester Anarchist Bookfair orchestrating Barry Woodling expulsion through an Emergency Exit where he had to climb down a Fire Escape.  In October 2013, there was an AF reported altercation outside the London Bookfair against Ciaron O’Reilly accusing him of being a 'rape apologist' for supporting Julian Assange.  The Manchester Anarchist Bookfair took place without incident because of a deal struck between the management of the People's History Musuem and an editor of Northern Voices.  In 2014, the Manchester Anarchist Bookfair was hit with problems because it became apparent that Ronnie Marsden of the Sol. Fed., Peter Good (Cunningham Amendment) and others were operating a lifetime ban against Barry Woodling, a lad of Jewish origins, who Mr. Marsden from 2012 has accused of being an 'anti-Semite',  In 2015, the management of the People's History Museum, after Baron John Monks became involved, finally banned the anarchists around Ronnie Marsden from having any further Bookfairs, and as a consequence there was no Manchester Bookfair that year.

When in December 2017 Tony Wood, one of the distinguished organisers of the London Anarchist Bookfair, was interviewed on Dissident Radio in London** about the decision not to hold another bookfair in 2018, he referred to ongoing conflicts at bookfairs over the last 5- years.  It is noticeable that during that period the tiny Anarchist Federation with little political clout in main stream politics, has been close to the centre of the bookfair disputes with the possible exception of the Syrian / Kurd conflict in 2016.

See the AF blog article is also on the web:
For more:
Or more:

Readers also ought to consider the following matterial by Milan Rai on Peace News:
 *  On the Moral Maze, it was estimated that the Trans constituency nationally represents about 0.1% of the population,  A relatively small social community, but one substantially larger than the AF membership, which must be very nearly two in one million or less than 100 in total.  In this situation it is not surprising that the gender politicians out-voted the Sunday School League class struggle types.
**  Listen to Radio interview on 

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