Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Joe Glenton: why I've joined Counterfire

Joe Glenton is a former soldier, who refused to serve in Afghanistan because he thought the war was wrong. He is currently a student and lives in York.

'My route into politics was an unusual one. I was a soldier and returned from a dubious war looking for coherent answers. I came back to a world which collapsed economically not long after and, again, I was left with more questions. How was it my own peers were to bear the brunt of this, when we’d been burning up billions in a war waged largely against innocents who I had more in common with than my own military and political commanders?

I found some of the answers through my own struggle, a fight during which I began to make sense of things, where I witnessed the dynamics of class, concentrated power and narrow interest playing out in real-time. I heard arguments which made sense - more sense than any officer or set of orders, repeated parrot-fashion, ever did. I had taken the most daunting leap - I had asked if there was an alternative to the rubbish my former employers spouted.

There is. When you start to examine one issue (for me, the War on Terror to which I had played lackey) more issues tug at you, each shown to be unresolvable by the corporate governments. Palestine, globalisation, Iraq, Libya, war, imperialism, racism, gender...

Through my involvement with the anti-war movement I encountered people who could help me engage with these questions and through that process I found Counterfire. As well as being broad, combative and committed at a time when the Left seems atomised, it is a powerful resource. The people in it have shown themselves as activists dedicated to changing the world. I may not be a functionary to the state anymore, but I have found a fight worth fighting, and with it comradeship.'

Via Counterfire

If you are interested in joining the organisation see this link - Join Counterfire



  1. genuine question, is counterfire 'broad' as joe says, or is it for people who are revolutionary marxists from the tony cliff tradition?



  2. The simple answer is both. It involves a broad range of people from diverse backgrounds - as is made clear by the full article (featuring four different new-ish members) which I link to above - and is an organisation which stands in the revolutionary socialist tradition.

    The political basis of Counterfire is outlined clearly in the statement you'll find when you click the 'Join Counterfire' link - it begins 'Counterfire is an organisation of revoloutionary socialists' and goes from there.

    The Counterfire website is also about to publish an outline of what kind of organisation we are building, locating it in the Leninist tradition. I personally am about to commence a short series of blog posts on the case for revolutionary organisation, which will borrow especially from Lenin, Lukacs and Cliff.

    For a fuller, more developed account see Strategy and Tactics by John Rees - the full, download-for-free text has just gone on Counterfire today, though it was published in print last September. Also, there'll be a 'What is Counterfire?' discussion at Counterforum on 7 May in London.