Join Red Action

The AFA Cable Street anniversary events once again proved a success. Apart from the public events a day-long internal forum was held, where AFA members openly debated topics of their choosing. This aspect has become especially important nowadays as informal opportunities to meet with AFA members from around the country have drastically diminished since the fascists deserted the streets. While there were a number of members (still too many in my opinion) who didn't feel confident enough to contribute, the debate was conducted in the most part with a refreshing honesty and in a fraternal manner. For many it actually proved to be the highlight of the weekend.
While there has undoubtedly been problems within AFA over the past couple of years, the assertion by leading BNPer Tony Lecomber, that AFA is somehow on it's knees; appears to be based on little more than wishful thinking. If debate is the lifeblood of any progressive movement, then AFA, on the evidence of this session, is very much alive and... yes... kicking. Of course there is still a small rump, who, while candid in their criticisms of existing strategy in private, were far less forthcoming in public. No matter. Red Action will always defend the right to free and fair debate within the movement over that of the backroom whisper, quite simply because we have nothing to fear from it.
Sharing a pint with a RA colleague later that weekend he told me that this openess of debate would have been totally unheard of in his former organisation, Militant (which is probably one of the contributing factors as to why they now have 400 members when they previously had 200 paid organisers). Our commitment to open dialogue within the movement is obviously something we do well. But there are other aspects we are not so good at.

Dishing out deserved praise is certainly one of them. All of those who worked hard at this years events - and previous years - deserve praise. From those who did the background organisation, the stewarding, staffed the stalls, did the driving, produced or distributed the excellent publications; are all shining examples of what RA and AFA members, away from the hype, are really about.

Selling our own organisation, is also something we apparently do badly. After recieving my best sales patter, a recent recruit to RA told me that, 'RA members are terrible at selling their own organisation aren't they?' This is probably true. Repulsed by the 'Jehovah Witness' style devotion to recruitment practiced with evangelical zeal by much of the left, it is in some ways almost inevitable. But at the same time we have allowed it go too far the other way. A recent example of this was of a long-time associate enquiring tentatively about RA membership; he had assumed that you had to wait for an 'approach'.
With all the component parts of our overall strategy just beginning to edge forwards, if only slightly, the first trickle of new recruits to RA for some time have begun to appear. As the British left continues its downward spiral, with little sign of a bottoming out, there will be an increasing number of activists who will be facing the choice of retirement or finding a new political vehicle. To the serious elements amongst them we say this... forget the sectarian bickerings of the past, bury the egos, whatever your political background: JOIN RED ACTION
Steve Potts
Reproduced from RA vol 3, Issue 4, Dec '98/Jan '99