1. Phil

    the many anarchists in Bristol should be able to intervene in Left Unity to lead it in a libertarian and community orientated direction. There is no point refusing to work with others on the left whilst going on about ‘ordinary people’ and ‘community engagement’ etc. because it isn’t happening. The anarchist movement is just as cliquey as the rest of the left and has similar problems with lack of perspective and long-term organising strategy. Yes, Left Unity could end up as a dead end from an anarchist point of view – the one way to guarantee this is if we don’t even try and engage with it.


    • Bristol Anarchist Federation

      Personally I’m not planning on ignoring it completely, but I don’t think there is a lot to gain from putting loads of energy into trying to radically alter a direction of a group which while new is already relatively ‘established’ nationally in terms of leadership and direction. Whilst it wants to campaign it see’s its primary role as the establishment of a new party to contest elections and gain power via parliment. Their ideal goal currently appears to be the creation of a new party which is effectivey old labour. Not a win for anarchists. Best of luck to them, I’m sure they would be less offensive than the condems or new labour as rulers of our country, but not something I as an anarchist want to put my time into.


      • Phil

        I don’t think most of the people involved are ideologically tied to parliamentary politics OR to an Old Labour programme – this is the default position because no one is putting forward a serious coherent alternative – libertarian or otherwise. Apart from some vague words about workers power and confederalism the anarchist movement is pretty weak on this in theory and practice. The various anarchist groups and campaigns in the UK don’t even cooperate with each other on a confederal basis. Never mind the organisation of the economy. Expecting people to support a revolution on the basis that we will make it up as we go along is a pretty big ask! In between anarchism and socialism there are some very good politics but I think both are obsessed with ideology and the past. The current discussions might (hopefully) produce something bold, modern and coherent that is up to the crisis facing society.


  2. Bristol Anarchist Federation

    Those starting it, currently running it, and producing its writting seem pretty tied to those ideas. I agree that this might not be unchangable and the initative could attract many more people who are not.

    The cooperation between anarchist groups is often vague, in Bristol it mostly depends on people belonging to multiple groups and passing messages or a reliance on the social scene. Nationally Solidarity Federation and Anarchist Federation have done a fair amount together despite no formal confederation between the two. What left unity are suggesting isn’t a coalition or conderation, its uniting everyone under the banner of a new party with as much theoretical and strategic unity as the current left parties (SP, SWP, CPGB, CPGBML, WP ETC).

    As for a lack of coherant theory, it is there. Most anarchists we talk to have it in their minds, is just we (anarchists in general) seem far too shy about sharing it with the world. As if this in itself is being authoritarian. I agree Its important we do get our ideas out their as much as possible, either to be taken up as is or thrown into a melting pot to create something new (anarchism should always be about reinvention over dogma).

    I’m still not sure ‘left unity’ is the best forum for them, but i’d be happy to be wrong about that. We’ve not shyed away from working with others on the left in the past; in BADACA and by spearheading joint demonstrations (about the only time you’ll see the names of several socialist parties on the same call out i think!). Sadly the results of these experiences have mostly been negative. Left unity is perhaps different though, as it hasn’t yet had time to build up the dogma present in many other parties.

    What I’ve seen and heard to far suggests it would be a lot of energy spent trying to share our ideas or create new ideas whilst being subtley undermind or outright argued against by other factions in the left, including those that are pretty entrenched having called the iniative in the first place.


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