Hello Rebel Worker,
It’s with more than a little surprise that I see my comment from an unrelated internet forum on libcom.org from several years ago being reprinted up within the Rebel Worker, Dec 2016. And to be honest I wouldn’t have known, if not for the heads up from a friend.
I think it is an important for the new generation of anarchist to freely discuss and debate techniques and issues in syndicalist organising. I apologise for my lateness of reply. But I think that it is in fair proportion to the lateness of your publication of my reply I made to a post on libcom.org from several years ago.
So, to your editorial comment – “My Mob” (as you refer to it) was the Brisbane Solidarity Network (BSN). It no longer functions, but in 2012 we were perhaps one of the most active anarchist groups in Australia at the time. Its objective was to spread the idea of grass roots syndicalist organising to people unfamiliar with it.
You are correct to say BSN wasn’t serious about long-term organising to create a Railways Section. But it was never meant to be about building new organisations. Rather the technique of Solidarity Networks is to support and encourage grass roots, direct action among workers within existing Unions, among people without access to Unions, or among tenants with bad landlords and no support. The organising model aimed to offer a flexible network of support for people which can’t be provided by established Unions. There has been a lot of successes with this model, including from Sydney Solidarity Network. There have also been a lot of problems that deserve honest discussion.
The objective of syndicalist organising should be to encourage people into action themselves, take on struggle and make it their own. Every effort must be made to avoid vandgardist actions that just create empty paper empires and Facebook posts. This is what is truly dis-empowering. The world doesn’t need another acronym claiming an ‘anarchist syndicate’, when in practice its just 2 people behind a keyboard.
We are in an age where the very concepts of direct action, direct democracy and grassroots solidarity in the workplace, are often unheard of. So any attempt to raise consciousness, knowledge and skills are important acts, if only to plant the seed in people’s minds
This is why ‘our mob’ didn’t get behind your paper. It wasn’t that it was a refusal, it’s more that the Rebel Worker seemed largely irrelevant and of little use at that time. There is plenty of other good material out there to use. So we went with handing out short guides on direct action tactics and workplace sabotage, as well as guides to democratic organising in the workplace. But just so you know, Rebel Worker did get to the tables of some of the BSN stalls at other locations.
So I am now going to answer the letter in April 2017 about BSN from both yourself and ‘Brisbane Reader’ … fair call on 7/11 workers, but lets not forget that no one else beside the ABC picked it up either, and so good on the ABC! There are so many sites of struggle going unnoticed. But otherwise, yeah what-ever. I’m not personally involved in any of what you have just thrown out. But you’re both sooooo off the mark, as to reinforce yourselves as coming across as dogmatic haters just throwing mud. And that is part of the reason why the Right is advancing.