Campaign conundrums, beloved leaders, and cuddly anarchists

IssueNovember 2006
Comment by The Molehill

Here's a quiz: who said this? “It is also a time when XXX - totally united around its goals and in support of its leadership - has an increasingly high profile ...” That's the second sentence of a recent press release (from organisation XXX). The language is reminiscent of that in the news-sheets of the (greatly missed) Workers Institute of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism which had several members in South London 25 years ago.

Clearly this is from some throwback to an earlier era, when political campaigns preserved their image of unity and obedience at all costs. (Or it's modelled on New Labour.) Either way, it obviously couldn't be from a dynamic, diverse, democratic, open organisation at the heart of the British peace movement. Another clue. Following the recent North Korean nuclear test, XXX engaged in ritual tut-tutting, but organised not even the most token protest out on the streets, though it organised a series of demos when Israel invaded Lebanon.

If this has left you puzzled, it's left The Mole puzzled too. For XXX is actually the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament.

The old canard about CND being a communist front organisation was never really true, even in the years when the CPers had their greatest proportionate influence ... but if they carry on putting out press releases like this...

Late results

References to leaders, and North Korea, prompt a follow-up to the reports in this column two issues ago about the Triennial Conference of War Resisters' International. PN's slight coverage of the WRI event hasn't run to telling readers about the elections which took place. These were for WRI's new chairperson, and for members of its international council, who took office during the conference.

So, a little later than planned, the news is that the WRI chair was elected with 100% of the votes cast - which is rather more than even one-party states manage to achieve! The new WRI chair is Howard Clark who, 30 years ago, was co-editor of PN. On hearing the nature of his electoral victory, Howard warned WRI that in his PN days someone nicknamed him Kim Il Clark, in reference to Kim Il Sung, the then Revered and Beloved Leader of the People's Republic of Korea.

Although the peace movement is not without examples of empire building, there is - as yet - no sign of any family dynasty to match that of North Korea's.

However, readers can count on the Mole to watch - albeit with eyes not accustomed to daylight - for any hint of dynastic ambitions.

Bone - no contention

Yet more on leaders. When angry anarchist group Class War - with leading light Ian Bone - first hit public consciousness, it was an absolute gift for foaming-at-the-mouth tabloid newspaper editors wanting to perpetuate anarchist stereotypes. Eventually the group seemed to fade from view.

Now, out of the blue, Ian Bone had a two-page Guardian profile the other week, full of sad stories about his brick-throwing arm getting arthritic. What on earth led him to forswear his principles and talk to the capitalist press? Well the guy's got a new book to plug.

At the recent Anarchist Bookfair in London, Bonio was signing copies of his book for gnarled old comrades - and filling his dedications with love and kisses. Are there no certainties left in the world?

See more of: The Molehill