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(en) Canada, The birth of a libertarian communist organization - http://auto_sol.tao.ca/taxonomy/page/or/3

From Worker <a-infos-en@ainfos.ca>
Date Thu, 12 Feb 2004 12:54:30 +0100 (CET)

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A&S and the NSG (This is a letter sent to the NSG by NSG members of the A&S
tendency in December of 2003. It is reproduced here to provide
some background about the development of A&S.) Dec 12, 2003
A letter from NSG members of Autonomy & Solidarity
Autonomy and Solidarity came into being as a formal tendency of
the New Socialist Group on September 20th, 2003. The tendency
declaration was signed by 15 New Socialist Group members from
Guelph, Sudbury, and Toronto, as well as by a number of members
at large. In the weeks following the tendency declaration several
other NSG members joined the tendency. The deciding factor in
launching this tendency was the frustration felt by many members
with the NSG culminating in the group's August 2003 convention.
This convention and the way that political differences were dealt
with led to two alternatives for the founding signers of the
tendency declaration - to quit the NSG in frustration, or to form
some kind of a tendency to develop our critique and alternatives to
what was happening within the NSG. We decided to do the latter,
and launched Autonomy & Solidarity as a tendency within the
In the weeks after the release of our founding document, we took
steps to develop our politics. This included approaching the
editorial committee about publishing a revised version of our
tendency declaration. Our most successful efforts took place in
Toronto, where we organized a six week long reading group which
addressed the following topics:

* 1.) A Socialist-Feminist critique of Leninism and Trotskyism.
* 2.) Anarchist-Communism, Council Communism and Socialism
from Below.
* 3.) What Is (Not) To Be Done: the Revolutionary Organization
* 4.) Representation and Transformation: Anti-Oppression
Politics and the Marxist Method.
* 5.) An introduction to Autonomous Marxism.
* 6.) The Revolutionary Marxism of CLR James.

Over this period of time, some 25 people attended the Toronto
reading group and took part in Toronto meetings of Autonomy &
Solidarity, while about another half dozen activists purchased the
readings but were unable to attend the reading groups. Out of
these 25 people coming to meetings, eight were former members of
the NSG, eight were members in good standing of the NSG [all
members of A&S], and the other nine people were not associated
with the NSG at all. We made copies of the reading package and
mailed them to supporters and members of the tendency in Guelph,
Hamilton, Sudbury, and Vancouver for distribution, where people
interested in our project have been reading them. We also
organized a reading group meeting in Guelph, at which a number of
Guelph activists were present in addition to the folks from Toronto
who attended the meeting. The readings helped to develop a
common political perspective for our tendency and led into a
number of interesting but by no means conclusive discussions.
The reading group meetings led up to our founding conference on
November 15th. Our original visions for this founding conference
were for a public conference with a series of different panel
discussions that would be openly and extensively built for, but we
decided to have a smaller conference based solely on the activists
that had signed the founding tendency document or who had
participated in our reading groups. The founding conference of
Autonomy & Solidarity was attended by 16 people. We started off
with a discussion of the politics of direct action, and then had a
panel discussion concerning the nature and role of the
revolutionary organization. Following this discussion, NSG
members caucused amongst ourselves and had a discussion about
where we saw ourselves in relation to the NSG. The bulk of the
day on Sunday was taken up with concrete questions of how to
organize as Autonomy & Solidarity.
During the caucus of the NSG members we talked about our
experiences within the organization. The overwhelming consensus
of the NSG members present was that we did not wish A&S to
continue as a tendency within the NSG. For a variety of reasons
we came to the decision that we would seek to develop Autonomy
& Solidarity as an autonomous network or political space separate
from the NSG, and cease to be a tendency within the NSG.
While some of us expressed our intention to resign from the NSG,
some of us, including the Sudbury Branch, have chosen to remain
in the NSG and to also be involved in A&S, as long as branches
accept dual membership in the NSG and A&S. A&S is a political
network or political space and is not an attempt to build a new
revolutionary socialist organization. There was consensus that it
was important not to rush into the founding of yet another far left
faction, and that what we really need to do is to go through a
process of elaborating a better sense of what kind of politics we
are for, as opposed to just being against certain practices within
the NSG or the far left in general.
For those of us deciding to leave the NSG at this point this has
been a very difficult decision. We know there are many good
activists within the NSG who we hope to continue to work with in
the future. For those of us staying in the NSG we hope to continue
to support the types of politics expressed by the ex-Autonomy and
Solidarity tendency within the NSG and to participate in the new
Autonomy and Solidarity network. Finally, we hope that all of us
will be able to collaborate on projects or campaigns in the future.

In solidarity,

NSG members of Autonomy & Solidarity.

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