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Submitted by Cautiously Pes… on Thu, 26/05/2011 - 15:47

In reply to by stuartjordan

"Is there anything particularly sexist about buying underwear?"
No, but I think anyone with a half-way decent grip on reality should recognise that it's possible to advertise underwear in a sexist way, and particularly in ways that reassert existing gender norms. No?
"How did it relate to any of the liberation campaigns of the unions? Not at all." Because, of course, it is completely and utterly impossible to take any progressive action without going through the union structures. You sound like a self-parody.
"It is not a strategy that relates to the concrete workers movement as it really exists in the here and now, but it is a theory about a mythical "working-class" that exists in Bobi's head." The concrete workers' movement as it exists in the here and now represents a minority of workers. And that's without taking into account the levels of participation among those who are paper members of unions. For the millions of workers working in unorganised industries in the here and now, your message of transforming the unions is a theory about a mythical "workers' movement" that exists in your head.
"Wildcat action is not simply spontaneous movement of the class - it requires very high levels of organisation." That'd be why it often pre-dates the formation of unions, and union recognition has been consciously granted as a way to decrease wildcat action, then.
"But even the poorly organised 7 million union members are better organised than the remaining unorganised workers. We cannot write them off as a dead-end." Even the, um, 70-odd per cent of the working class who are not union members are still part of the working class. We cannot write them off as irrelevant.
"However, that day of strike action will be significant and it will help to give people an experience of class struggle from which we can build the kind of rank-and-file organisation that is necessary. We cannot stand aside from it simply because the bureaucrats will be trying to sell us out." Where has any anarchist made any argument even remotely resembling the idea that we should stand aside from June 30th? Perhaps they made it at the hundred-strong public assembly to build the strikes, organised mainly by anarchists, this Monday?
"Unfortunately for you, it is a simple fact that workers organise in democratic centralist organisations." Unfortunately for you, it is a simple fact that most of them don't. Are you trying to claim the unions are democratic centralist Leninist organisations? Because I think that the entire union movement might disagree with you on that point. Or is the existence of the AWL, that shining beacon to which the entire working class has clearly already flocked, meant to be the "simple point" that rebuts Bobi's case?
"However, even at their most bureaucratic, the unions are by far the most democratic organisations on the planet." Hahahahahahahahaha, u trolling? Tell that to Joseph Yablonski. If you want to insist that the AWL are less democratic than the Teamsters or Unison, speak for yourself, but trust me, some of us are in organisations that are a lot more democratic than the unions.
"Your sectarianism lies in the fact that you want the workers to organise in a different way and you don't like democratic centralism." You don't know what sectarianism is, do you?
"On this basis you are willing to snub 7 million organised workers on the basis they have been duped by evil "Leninists"." Your weakness lies in the fact that you haven't noticed the last few decades of British history. On this basis you are willing to snub the vast majority of the working class on the basis that they have the temerity to work in ununionised workplaces. Not to mention the fact that no-one except you is actually talking about "snubbing" anyone. Anarchists attempt to organise in our workplaces. If there's a union there, we work within it, if not, we work outside it. As the AF put it, "However, we do not argue for people to leave unions until they are made irrelevant by the revolutionary event. The union is a common point of departure for many workers. Rank and file initiatives may strengthen us in the battle for anarchist communism. What's important is that we organise ourselves collectively, arguing for workers to control struggles themselves." Or, as SolFed put it, "In a workplace with a recognised TUC union, an SF member would join the union but promote an anarcho-syndicalist strategy." See this piece, written by a Unison convenor, for a more realistic look at what some anarchists are doing inside the unions, and why there are serious problems with trying to work inside them.
"We believe in taking responsibility for the whole movement with all its inadequacies." I believe that for any small , self-appointed group of politicos - and this goes for the black bloc, the AWL, or any other equally marginal group - to proclaim that they're "taking responsibility" for millions of workers is incredibly patronising and shows a worrying lack of contact with reality.
I agree entirely with your final paragraph (except that, again, I'd substitute "working class" for your narrower "workers' movement" - were the student protests accountable to the trade unions? Did that make them illegitimate?). It's good to see that you've read at least one word of the situationists. Maybe if you read a few more it might help you come up with a half-way decent analysis.

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