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Beating the Fascists: The authorised history of Anti-Fascist Action

Discussion in 'UK politics, current affairs and news' started by cogg, May 24, 2010.

  1. Nigel Irritable

    Nigel Irritable Five, Ten, Fifteen Years

    I'm laughing at the arrogance of the RA/IWCA internet cheerleaders, not shitting on their ideas and methods.

    Quite a few times on this board, I've asked, along with others about the progress of the IWCA and about what can be learnt from their approach, both good and bad, but nine times out of ten the only response there ever is is more bluster about the rest of the left. At a certain point, its difficult to avoid concluding that this is because the IWCA, or at least their internet fanclub, don't actually have anything much to say about their last 17 years. That they in fact regard bashing the left as safer territory.

    Cockneyrebel used to take a lot of stick from IWCA supporters amongst others about his theory of irrelevance. He'd argue that everyone on the left was small and irrelevant... so therefore it didn't really matter if you were a group of a couple of dozen or a group of a couple of thousand. And he, rightly, used to be laughed at because it was such a self-evidently self-serving point of view. How much sillier is the IWCA version of this attitude, where not only is their own tiny group with nothing much to show for nearly two decades of work, as relevant as any other group, it's in fact the only group that matters.
  2. Deareg

    Deareg Well-Known Member

    I know fuck all about the IWCA, have never said I was a supporter of it, and not slagging off Red Action makes someone a cheer leader in your narrow mind? you are every thing that you accuse Red Action and their "cheer leaders" of being.
  3. Nigel Irritable

    Nigel Irritable Five, Ten, Fifteen Years

    No, but claiming that their early 90s street fights against the BNP and NF were the single most important historical achievement of the British left certainly does make you a cheer leader (or an ex member with a skewed view of the world).
  4. SpineyNorman

    SpineyNorman WAWAW?

    Can you two put your willies away now please?

    And although I do think the left can learn a lot from the IWCA approach the idea that AFA/RA/IWCA achieved more than the British left has ever done is clearly nonsense. That doesn't mean it was a total failure but come on, at least try to be objective about it.
  5. SpineyNorman

    SpineyNorman WAWAW?

    I don't know about him but it certainly doesn't for me. This, however...

  6. articul8

    articul8 Guilty of Idealism

    who has the comb :confused:
  7. Smokeandsteam

    Smokeandsteam Well-Known Member

    Love the comparison to engagement in a working class community to a 'running club' - it not only indicates your sharp sense of humour but also your deep understanding of what is being attempted.

    In the meantime you haven't answered my question - how is the campaign for a new workers party coming on? When might it be ready to go?
    plug ugly likes this.
  8. Smokeandsteam

    Smokeandsteam Well-Known Member

    [quote="Nigel Irritable, post: 11011643, member:




    You see, this is the part that makes you lot seem so ridiculous. RA/AFA/IWCA were going to show how irrelevant and outdated the rest of the left was, get busy in working class communities and demonstrate in practice the superiority of their ideas. And 17 years later, despite having amassed not one ounce of evidence for the superiority of their ideas and methods and indeed having gradually gathered a fair bit of evidence that their approach carries some fairly drastic problems of its own, their cheerleaders are just as arrogant as ever! There's not the slightest hint of reappraisal, nor the slightest toning down of the dismissal of everyone else. There's just an awkward silence whenever anyone asks about the IWCA's own progress and then it's back to putting the boot in.
    .[/quote]

    Sadly, for you, the facts suggest that everywhere the IWCA approach has been put into practise it has been a success - on any measurement such as credibility, support from working class communities and votes. This stands in stark contrast to YRE, NO 2 EU, CNWP and so on and so on.
  9. SpineyNorman

    SpineyNorman WAWAW?

    The Labour party.
    imposs1904 and Captain Hurrah like this.
  10. SpineyNorman

    SpineyNorman WAWAW?

    I mostly agree with that, but if we can get away from the "my dad's bigger than your dad" stuff for a second, can anyone explain why "everywhere the IWCA approach has been put into practice" in reality amounts to a few estates in a relatively small geographical area? Why didn't it catch on?

    I know I keep banging on about this but it's a pretty important question, more so now than ever.
  11. Nigel Irritable

    Nigel Irritable Five, Ten, Fifteen Years

    If this was actually true it wouldn't be remotely "sad" for me. I'd be overjoyed. The problem is that it isn't true. In fact, it's fucking nonsense of precisely the sort I'm talking about. It's as if the last 17 years hasn't happened at all.

    What has actually happened is that in most of the places "where the IWCA approach has been put into practice" it met quite quickly with some small scale local success, particularly in terms of getting a good vote in a council ward. And then it couldn't be maintained and within a year or two or three there was nothing left. The solitary exception is Blackbird Leys, where the successes were a little bit bigger and better rooted and the consequent decline seems to have been slower and more prolonged.

    Some small scale very localised successes, which never spread significantly and couldn't then be maintained locally. That's the actual record of "the IWCA's approach", isn't it? So why are you peddling this self-aggrandising nonsense about the stunning successes of the IWCA? The IWCA has died out pretty much everywhere it has been attempted. There's less of it remaining than when you were starting out. What exactly are the rest of us supposed to be awed by here? The thing is that if you lot were actually capable of making a detailed assessment of what has worked and what hasn't worked in your 17 year experiment, there could be things that you and all the rest of us could actually learn. But instead you give us this parallel universe where the IWCA has been an unquestionable success and is still somehow storming ahead, leaving all those outdated irrelevant leftists in your wake.
  12. Blagsta

    Blagsta Minimum cage, maximum cage

    I'm guessing cos its hard work. I'd love to get involved in community organising, then I think about the work and commitment that would be involved and realise that I realistically couldn't do it.
  13. SpineyNorman

    SpineyNorman WAWAW?

    Yeah but you could say that about pretty much any serious political work. If that's really the answer (and I don't think it is tbh, the history of tenants associations, neighbourhood watch schemes, etc. testifies to this) we might as well all give up now.
  14. Blagsta

    Blagsta Minimum cage, maximum cage

    I dunno, that's just my personal reason for not getting involved as much politically as I'd like, I don't think I'm the only person it applies to.
  15. Smokeandsteam

    Smokeandsteam Well-Known Member

    [quote="Nigel Irritable, post: 11012053, member: [/quote]

    Others can correct me if I am wrong but there are now 2 questions NI refuse to answer:

    1. How is the campaign for a new workers party coming on? When will it be ready to go?
    2. The reason why the SP has failed to review btf - I.e. because to do so would directly challenge history as written by the leadership of the SP.

    Instead we get the same questions again and again, which have been answered time and again.
  16. SpineyNorman

    SpineyNorman WAWAW?

    But you could say that about pretty much any approach, not just the IWCA one. Main reason I'm interested is cos I'm involved in setting up a community union at the moment so if I can get an answer it might prove genuinely useful.
  17. SpineyNorman

    SpineyNorman WAWAW?

    If that's the case then you might as well ignore him.

    I'll answer though: 1) The campaign for a new workers party is in about the same position as when it first began, though the RMT's willingness to stand candidates under the TUSC banner is encouraging.

    2) In all honesty I think the main reason they didn't review it that it's not in their interests to do so. Partly for the reasons NI stated and probably in part because it contradicts what's in party literature, as you say.

    Now can we stop this daft shite? The question I'm asking really hasn't been answered, Joe Reilly came closest to answering it but unfortunately the thread got derailed and the exchange ended.

    So do you have any idea why the IWCA model didn't spread? One that isn't based on the wider left not taking it up? (And there's a good reason why the answer shouldn't rely on this - if that's the case, and it may be, they're not going to take it up in future either so we need an answer that doesn't rely on them. I mean, the SP could blame the Labour Party and the affiliated unions for the new workers party not taking off. It would be a shit, unsatisfactory answer though, since if we really want a new workers party we're going to have to deal with those obstacles. Same goes for the IWCA).
  18. Nigel Irritable

    Nigel Irritable Five, Ten, Fifteen Years

    Firstly, it's worth noting that this is the absolutely typical method of the RA/IWCA supporters and cheerleaders here. At all costs they must avoid discussing the actual record, the successes and failures of the IWCA. Instead, each and every conversation which approaches those issues in a remotely critical way is immediately diverted to their preferred topic, ie sneering at other parts of the left. It is a constant feature of this exchange and of every exchange they have on this board.

    Secondly, I've already answered one of the two questions Smokeandsteam mentions in some considerable detail. Left organisations almost never review publications put out by much smaller rivals, on any subject, at any time. Still less do they review publications put out by deceased smaller rival groups. A book by Red Action, on any subject, has as much chance of getting a review by the Socialist Party, SWP, CPB, etc as a book by Workers Power or the CPGB has, which is to say no chance at all. Bigger groups generally don't give a toss about what smaller groups say or they pretend not to give a toss. I've also pointed out repeatedly that I don't think that this is a good thing.

    Thirdly, I haven't answered the question about the Campaign for a New Workers Party because I'm not in England. For what it's worth I suspect that a new mass organisation of any kind is a very considerable distance away at the moment, and that's as true for a new formation inspired by IWCA ideas as it is for one inspired by the Socialist Party's view. Here in Ireland, the massive recession and austerity has allowed the socialist left to make a bit more of an impact, so, for instance, I live in a city with a Socialist Party MEP, two Socialist Party TDs (MPs) and four councillors, but that impact is still on a very small scale in the greater scheme of things and I don't think we're on the verge of a new party here either.

    Fourthly, the claim that I'm asking questions that "have been answered over and over again" is a straightforward lie unless by "answered over and over again" Smokeandsteam means "avoided with exactly the same diversionary tactic of talking about other left groups rather the record of the IWCA over and over again".
  19. Deareg

    Deareg Well-Known Member

    It was important enough for you and your mates to lie about your role in it.
    Red Storm likes this.
  20. SpineyNorman

    SpineyNorman WAWAW?

    For fuck's sake. I give up.
  21. Nigel Irritable

    Nigel Irritable Five, Ten, Fifteen Years

    When have I "lied" about street fights that took place in a different country while I was a kid? Your imagination is getting the better of you.

    I'm still waiting for an IWCA supporter to actually talk about the record of the IWCA by the way. I wonder how many more rounds of "well the rest of the left are all shit and irrelevant and outdated and and and" we'll go through before one of them actually does so.
  22. Deareg

    Deareg Well-Known Member

    If you don't like it don't read the posts, in the meantime, go and fuck yourself.
  23. Deareg

    Deareg Well-Known Member

    So now you admit you know fuck all about what happened, but still feel qualified to sneer about it.
  24. Nigel Irritable

    Nigel Irritable Five, Ten, Fifteen Years

    What are you talking about now?

    When did I "sneer" at AFA's record in physical force anti-fascism outside of your imagination? Or does failing to agree with your mental claim that beating up the NF and BNP in the early 90s was the biggest ever achievement of the British left now constitute sneering at AFA?
  25. love detective

    love detective secret pint

    nice sneeringly revisionist reduction of what was a comprehensive and thoroughly political and professionalised militant anti-fascism to 'street fights' Nigel

    Funny how you're confident enough to talk so dismisively of that period on one hand, yet when pushed on it you clam up and claim you know nothing about it, no my country like, was only a kid then you know...
  26. Nigel Irritable

    Nigel Irritable Five, Ten, Fifteen Years

    It's not meant to be sneering or revisionist at all. Nor is it dismissive.

    Except in the sense that to the kind of mentalist who think that AFA's work in the 90s constituted the greatest ever achievements of the British left, pretty much anything short of insanity will sound dismissive. My actual view is that it's an interesting bit of social history and in hampering the ability of the BNP and NF to operate their strategy of street thuggery, AFA did everyone a service. It's also twenty years ago, and not really of that much direct contemporary relevance.
  27. audiotech

    audiotech wav, aiff, mp3, ogg, flac

  28. love detective

    love detective secret pint

    so you stand by your claim that everything that happened then can accurately (and politically) be reduced to the description you used, of street fights then?
  29. Nigel Irritable

    Nigel Irritable Five, Ten, Fifteen Years

    Where did I make that claim?

    See my slightly edited post above for my actual assessment.
  30. Smokeandsteam

    Smokeandsteam Well-Known Member

    Sneering? Your the one who dismissed the myriad work going on in Oxford as a 'running club' you fucking helmet. You are the one who has wriitten off a track record that pound for pound demonstrates a resonance that the rest of the left can only dream of. And you are the one who has dismissed the work of anti-fascists that fought the far right to a standstill as 'street fighting' ignoring the personal sacrifices made. You are a clown.

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