Another response and continuation of the discussion around syndicalism, work, civilization, and the anarchist movement.
I’ve been reading some of the debates that have been going on lately around the topic of workplace-organizing, economics, ecology and the future. I think its not bad that this is being discussed at all, but the matter is leaving me more and more puzzled due to the way things are being brought up.
There is some kind of contradiction being brought to the forefront that at least in my opinion is not really there. This especially visible in the latest response of the 28th of December called “Crafty Ghosts: A Critique of Entryist Trajectory.” It’s a little related to the actual article “Nothing to Syndicate” and I do recon that by responding to this very article in a way I am adding to the drifting from the original subject. But with such an article actually being published I find it necessary to add a short response. First and foremost the anonymous author of “Crafty Ghosts” is having a different opinion on the value of open organization with membership and organizing that has a nation-wide (or beyond) reach – like for instance the IWW. There can be flaws made with this way of organizing for sure. For instance when the main goal is getting as many people to sign up. But that would be a caricature of the IWW. If there would be a problem around this there is hardly anything being put forward what could be helping to overcome this issue. The concept of membership seems to be just dismissed as a whole.
Instead there author claims that “Anarchist projects like antifa crews, Books to Prisoners, Anarchist Black Cross (ABC), and more [are] […] objectively superior to the GDC and IWOC’s approach.” This is quiet a subjective statement as it is put here and I’d like to see that substantiated. I’ve been an active anarchists for years and I’ve seen many autonomous initiatives over the years by very good comrades. But as far as I know these collectives are subject to very similar problems. I do not see how these initiatives function so much better in terms of E.G. being more productive or easier accessibility. I would suggest they are above all complementary and adding another modus operandus that fits better to certain people. The overcoming of the problems attributed to formal organizing and membership-organizing that the author of “Crafty Ghosts” puts forward, has little to do with membership itself, but more with the question of how a certain organization (formal or informal) is being filled.
In this case that means what enlisting actually means. One can for instance demand that for people to become a member, there is criteria of people actually becoming active (in what way fits them). Also an healthy organization should have structures for sharing skills and getting people familiar with both theory and praxis. And it is actually these both things that so often fail, also in more informal structures. I think it would be more useful to actually debate this. Then another thing, and that is the use of the word ‘entryism’. Now I’m situated in Europe, but as far as I know the concept of entryism, as practiced by Marxist-Leninists (mostly Trotskyists), has a very different meaning as being put forward here by the author of “Crafty Ghosts.”
Entryism is mostly used for the Trotskyist strategy of trying to gain important positions in other organizations without outing they are actually part of the Trotskyist organization. While in these positions they try to steer the entered organization in the direction favored by the Trotskyist organization without being transparent about their aims. The confusing part is that IWW-members are not asked to join a third party in the interest of the IWW, they are asked to join a sub-organization of the IWW and therefore become a member of the IWW.
Next to that the author is actually claiming that the IWW is transparent about this. Like I said, I think debate is important, especially when it involves our modes of organization. But I wonder how such a confusing article can contribute to a constructive debate. Comradery greeting from an anarchist comrade in Berlin (Germany)