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GAndALF FOLLY by Space Bunny

The SAN (Scottish Anarchist Network) collective statement on Green Anarchist is based on the minutes of a special meeting at ACE (31.7.98) and adopted as an ACE statement at an ACE general meeting after a month of consultation amongst all those involved with ACE, and then SAN in April 99.

The statement was made in response to a letter received by ACE from the editor of Green Anarchist and later published in Green Anarchist 52 as an open letter to the Scottish Anarchist Federation (Sic).

I, Space Bunny, will comment on the allegations against myself by Green Anarchist and others but more importantly expand on the critique of Green Anarchist and campaigns around the GAndALF defendants.

Several allegations were made against me. All were instantly discounted by all who knew me but it is still good that the ACE collective publicly reject them. The allegation made by an organiser for the London GAndALF support group as well as Green Anarchist and Larry O'Hara that I spread smears, lies and disinformation is false.

Though I would find it more difficult to deny the allegation of my cult like following of Stewart Home being the founder of the Stewart Home Society, whose purpose is to distribute the words of Stewart Home, particularly in the presence of Green Anarchist members. The reason for Green Anarchist to point out my admiration for Stewart Home is that they have been smearing him for years. Stewart Home has no problem defending himself. Stewart Home has made no public comment on the trial because it does not concern him. But it concerns me because of the way it has dragged many revolutionaries who I had supported into association with Green Anarchist.

When in Lancaster in April of 1998 I expressed my views to a member of Lancaster Anarchist Group, who hosted a public meeting as part of the GAndALF liberation tour, about the folly of the GAndALF campaign; this was before I had seen GA issue 51 which re-enforced my view. When the Autonomous Centre of Edinburgh was asked by a comrade in the Scottish Anarchist Network if ACE would be prepared to host public meeting as part of the GAndALF liberation tour, I explained my own views on Green Anarchist and GAndALF and discussed them with others in ACE.

People involved with Scottish Anarchist Network (SAN) in Glasgow and Edinburgh discussed Green Anarchist in an informal way when we met at Bradford May Day events. The fact some unsuspecting decent person could visit the bookfair there and pick up a copy of Green Anarchist and form an impression of what all the other people at the bookfair were about by us tolerating the sale of it at the event upset me.

London GAndALF were informed that political opposition to the tour had been raised and it was yet to be discussed by SAN formally. A letter from the editor of Green Anarchist was received by ACE a week later, which was eventually published in GA 52.

I was glad this happened because of distance this put between ACE and Green Anarchist. So for example people picking up GA in Wordpower (a local radical bookstore) would not think their ideas were close to ours and that we tolerated them. This prompted me to publicly state my personal opinions and ask questions briefly in a leaflet (Defend the Anarchist Movement; Don't Support Green Anarchist) and for ACE to hold a special meeting and adopt a policy on Green Anarchist. I was also prompted to do the leaflet by the fact no one at the time from within the anarchist milieu was standing up to Green Anarchist's agenda publicly. I am glad to see this has changed, as people saw some rocking of the boat was needed when GA were putting holes in it. As well as pointing this out it needed to make sure GA are out of our boat, or I and others will have to jump ship.

The leaflet was inadequate or as Green Anarchist put it in issue No 54-55: insubstantial; so being someone who takes on board criticism I wrote this text. I had been thinking about writing more about Green Anarchist and the trial for sometime before, anyway.

I was upset also in 1995 when a friend of mine who had a mutual interest in environmental issues picked up a copy of Green Anarchist (GA 42) I had and read the article about the Dunblane shootings (her knowing parents of those killed who I am sure would not appreciate advice that they should be out killing politicians and us living close to Dunblane), which instantly confirmed her suspicion that anarchists are stupid and left her with no desire to bother further with any of the other revolutionary magazines or books I had, I had no desire at that moment either. I felt stupid for leaving such garbage in my room.

Many anarchist groups have never been keen on supporting Animal Rights prisoners because they believe they are well supported anyway or are hostile to animal rights. But many have supported the GAndALF defendants e.g. encouraged people to write to them in jail. Was this because the anarchist movement saw the trial as an attack on anarchists rather than the reporting animal rights activity and a way to neutralise ALF press officer Robin Webb? Many people tend to mix up reasons to support the GAndALF defendents, falling back on another reason when one is challenged.

Do you think Steve Booth should be encouraged by getting lots of mail from supporters, when he was in jail? Getting mail will only encourage him. Even if one believes in free speech that does not that mean one should go out to agitate for anyone whose free-speech is suppressed and help prop them up by giving them a platform and credibility.

The GAndALF pledge is dangerous for revolutionaries. Liberals will support anyone on a free speech platform, but revolutionaries are often more choosy so people infer support for Green Anarchist especially in the way the campaign was set up, with statements encouraging people to subscribe to Green Anarchist. Does it help you for Green Anarchist to be more widely read? It seems to me that many people in the anarchist movement support Green Anarchist because they share a label as an act of political solidarity.

Claimants groups agonise over '3 strikes' campaign, about it pitting claimants against workers (in fact it should unite claimants and decent dole workers against bullies), yet we tolerate Green Anarchist attacking Claimants groups as opportunist and say we are being counter productive propping up the state when we should be blowing up government offices like the OK bomber. Well I think engaging in the class struggle increasing solidarity and empowerment is revolutionary and elitist militaristic action will derail revolution.

Green Anarchist are a classic example of how anarchists fetishise the state and see revolution as a case of just smashing state by force.

Green Anarchist see the black economy as better than the state regulated one. But the capitalist trade in drugs or bodies is no better than if state regulated. Capitalism is based on collective consent. It is a confidence trick. The mass of people can over throw capitalist social relations by refusing them, as they will be forced by circumstance to do. We should not grasp at any desperate act as one of revolution. There are no short cuts to revolution. Revolution will be painful. The role of revolutionaries should be to ease that pain by helping avoid false paths including reformism, nationalism, militarism, self managed capitalism.

For an idea of what I mean by revolution one could read Eclipse and Re-emergence of the Communist Movement by Gilles Dauvé.

What is good about Green Anarchist can be found elsewhere, what is unique about Green Anarchist is not needed. Green Anarchist hinders the building of the sort of revolutionary movement I wish to exist. It occupies a fertile ground between anarchists and enviromentalists supressing development there.

As for if the campaigns around the defendents were the best way to help keep them out of jail; that is open to question also.

Feedback via contacts page.

I also wrote an account of the exchanges within SAN for those involved with SAN.

More analysis of Green Anarchist

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