Why this article has been removed?

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jef costello's picture
jef costello
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Oct 15 2011 16:42
whatisinevidence wrote:
Yes, I believe that. I saw it firsthand in New Orleans.

They are saying that J is arguing that police should not treat emergencies as public order situations. So he would have been arguing against that.

Quote:
started typing this post yesterday but though better of it. Now RobRay has raised it and I would appreciate to hear what outcome the anti J people want from this "scandal". I would also like to know why it matters to people who have very little to do with him.

been wondering this myself.
If J is actually training police or directly helping police then he shouldn't be at meetings or protests. While some of his stuff seems to be useful to the cops, it does seem to me, from the evidence so far, that he isn't doing directly helping cops.
I think fall back did a fairly decent job of boiling down the accusations to discussable points rather than back and forths where the goalposts shifted so often nothing could have been achieved.
TPTG should have contacted Aufheben directly and should have tried another method if they were unhappy with contacting aufheben through J.
To be honest I think the admins have been a bit touchy here but considering that at least one of them has been smeared and outed in the past I am hardly surprised. The arguments are circular and confusing and every attempt to pin them down to specifics is ignored or rebutted with something nebulous. Add in the fact that samotnaf seems to fly off the handle fairly regularly and those who registered just to argue the toss, then it's understandable.

I still feel like J is sailing pretty close to the wind, and like mons says I think it would be nice to see a clearer picture. The problem is posting this up publicly woould probably be worse than what has happened so far. Ideally this should have been a private response that it was agreed would not be published. I think spikymike has written a good post (as has mons) and I think perhaps we could get somewhere if everyone else could do the same.

Samotnaf wrote:
2. There are no "names" or "individuals" plural - just singular. No-one apart from the cop consultant himself is named.

So you're saying that there are no names, apart from the names. smile

Samotnaf wrote:
I wonder if Stott and Reicher get pissed off with constantly doing all the work whilst J rakes in a third of the pay?

Why the censorship of my and the TPTG's texts? - ostensibly because Copcom think that outing a cop consultant as a communist is like grassing them up, when we were outing a so-called communist as a cop consultant: in the spectacle everything is upside down.

Academics get paid so little for articles I doubt they'd care.
Sorry sam, I tried to read your article but it was so full of hyperbole that I gave up. I am not surprised others have too.

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Joseph Kay
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Oct 15 2011 16:43
Spikymike wrote:
after that they were a little too quick to jump in to the defense of Aufheben

Just quickly on this, while I can see why it might appear this way, libcom have been aware of this situation since August and investigated it in some depth at that time, including taking time out from our other commitments (for me, this meant interrupting work on my dissertation) to meet people, make phone calls, read academic papers, email people, discuss the results etc. So while we may appear to have acted hastily, this is only because everyone else is coming in late on something that we've been aware of for 6 weeks or so, and has apparently been going on since January.

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avantiultras
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Oct 15 2011 17:50
jef costello wrote:
If J is actually training police or directly helping police then he shouldn't be at meetings or protests. While some of his stuff seems to be useful to the cops, it does seem to me, from the evidence so far, that he isn't doing directly helping cops.

Are you joking? Or do you think that we're idiots?

Let's see just 2 of all the evidence provided by TPTG:

"as Dr. Stott writes in his facebook page (Stott's facebook): “last year J gave evidence to the Greater Manchester Police Authority's review of the policing of major events. One of the recommendations was that the GMP work with me to develop their approach to crowds (p.66). Nothing has yet come of this!” According to this report (available at: Report of the CE, [url=http://www.gmpa.gov.uk/d/scrutiny-of-major-events-policing-report.pdf[/url]): “at the time of writing, the Commission has carried out interviews and requested evidence from the following: Greater Manchester Police: Ian Hopkins, Assistant Chief Constable with responsibility for major events policing, Garry Shewan, Gold Commander for Operation Foot,… and External Sources: Dr. J University of Sussex, Professor David Waddington, Sheffield Hallam University, Azahar Hussain, Conference Organiser, 2009 Conservative Party Conference, Leisha Brookes, English Defence League liaison for the Manchester Protest Organiser, Mr Derek Smith, ACPO lead on finance, Dr Malcolm Clarke, Chair, Football Supporters Federation” [p. 14 of the Report of the Chief Executive].

Police CBRN consultancy

Psychology of crowd behaviour and public disorder

• Crowd behaviour is meaningful, limited
• Different crowds have different identities (i.e. norms, values and aims)
• Knowledge based policing means understanding the identity of each crowd
• Certain police practices can contribute to disorder through:
o Empowering a crowd (turning an aggregate into a unity)
o Legitimizing anti-police elements
• Successful policing of potentially disorderly crowds involves
o Communication of police aims
o Facilitating the crowd’s legitimate aims in order to empower self-policing in the majority
o A graded response to potential disorder

Psychology of mass emergencies and disasters

• The myth of mass panic
• If mass emergency crowd behaviour is meaningful then
o The importance of communication/ information/ explanation/ openness (lack of communication creates distrust – reverse ‘crying wolf’ syndrome)
o The importance to communication of trust (definition of self, ingroup, and context)
• Maintaining endogenous orderliness through form of messages
o E.g. problem of ‘don’t panic’ massages
• The prevalence of solidarity
• The public desire to help
o Managing public involvement (delays and interference versus constructive allies)
• Natural resilience needs to be facilitated not inhibited
• Enhancing resilience through promoting existing unity (practices, language)
• Danger of turning a public safety situation into one of public disorder (see above)

Specificity of managing crowd behaviour in CBRN incidents

Invisibility of the threat
o more frightening
o less evident (plausibility, credibility)

Quarantine and containment (not dispersal/starburst)
o Issues of legitimacy
o Potential for conflict
o communication / information /explanation/trust become even more important!
o Treating crowd /public as a resource (as above) becomes even more important!

Potential for CBRN incident to affect whole population not just a crowd
• Different sections of the public may require different treatments/ vaccination (e.g., variability in susceptibility to pandemics)
• Different sections of the public have different relationships to the police/ authorities

Managing scarcity
• After effects of CBRN incident, unlike other kinds of disaster/ emergency, could create disunity in the public around access to scarce resources
[what a wonderful way to put it...]
Technology/ equipment issues
• Problem of ‘alien’ protective suits for emergency services who seek to gain trust of public

Key issues

Crowd as potential problem versus crowd as potential solution?
These issues are relevant not only for Bronze command etc but just as much for the most junior officers on the ground
[my emphasis]
Dr J
Senior Lecturer in Social Psychology
Department of Psychology
University of Sussex
Falmer
BRIGHTON BN1 9QH
UK

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Tojiah
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Oct 15 2011 17:26
Joseph Kay wrote:
Spikymike wrote:
after that they were a little too quick to jump in to the defense of Aufheben

Just quickly on this, while I can see why it might appear this way, libcom have been aware of this situation since August and investigated it in some depth at that time, including taking time out from our other commitments (for me, this meant interrupting work on my dissertation) to meet people, make phone calls, read academic papers, email people, discuss the results etc. So while we may appear to have acted hastily, this is only because everyone else is coming in late on something that we've been aware of for 6 weeks or so, and has apparently been going on since January.

And none of that detective work managed to bring up this Chaos Theory business nor his previous pride in consulting for police organizations. I mean, I know it's hard to admit that you lot failed where a bunch of people you don't know from miles away succeeded, even after putting a lot of work into it, but that's not unprecedented in any field of endeavor, and this is starting to become ridiculous. You lot have been had because Aufheben have either been had or have come to terms with helping develop crowd control measures as either irrelevant or beneficial. How about you admit to that and move away from this schoolyard scuffle? TPTG are terrible people with no tact and no social skills. What J has done is a problem, regardless of how that happened to surface. That needs to be dealt with seriously. And not behind the scenes, because frankly I am probably not alone at not taking anything Libcom claims at face value from now on, and it has nothing to do with me having some kind of long-standing feud with the Libcom people. On the contrary, it grieves me greatly to see this occur to one of the few groups/forums I've come to depend on for my politics in the past few years.

omnia68
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Oct 15 2011 17:38

Won't you even post the second letter? It seems pretty pointless since one can find it elsewhere...

lurdan
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Oct 15 2011 18:13

In a post on his blog about the psychology and politics of 'going native', as raised by the Mark Kennedy case, JD says :

Quote:
The term ‘going native’ has its origins in early (racist) anthropology. In the social sciences, it refers to the researcher uncritically adopting the concepts and categories of those being studied, rather than retaining the aloof perspective of insider-yet-outsider that is the mark of the professional ethnographer. An example often cited in sociology textbooks is Paul Willis’s (1977) classic study of working class school students’ culture of underachievement. Willis was criticized by some for his adoption of the worldview, and indeed the language, of the boys he was studying.

He raises the implications of the risk of 'going native' during his research with road protestors.

Quote:
What about me? When I carried out my ethnographic study, did I come to adopt the worldview of those I studied?

In my own study, I needed people in the movement to help me with the project, and to do so meant being open about my intentions. But to be open, to gain trust, to get people to co-operate meant to be part of the campaign. Why should people give their time to a careerist parasite? I chose to research a campaign whose aims I shared. If ‘activism’ is the topic, activists are the best researchers.

So did I ‘go native’ in my analysis? The research was an attempt to say something about the processes by which people change their identities in collective action. It was not a study of the rights and wrongs of the Conservative government’s road programme, or of direct action as a political form, of police ‘public order’ tactics, or of the reality of global warming. Of course I was a subject, with my views on these and other things that people in the campaign talked about. But, for my research, I wanted to understand something of the police view of ‘the crowd’ just as much as I wanted to document and analyse the protesters’ views. By adoption of an ethnographic framework – involving interviews, observations, soundtrack recordings, and collection of archive material – I was able to achieve both of these things.

JD is clear-sighted about the risks of going native for his ethnographic work and confident that he was able to avoid them. His confidence is founded on his understanding of his role as ethnographer and on his adoption of ethnographic method. There's no reason to doubt that JD is being anything other than entirely honest about this, or that he acted in good faith towards the people he was studying, and there are no grounds to believe that he in any way betrayed the trust they put in him.

But it does raise a rather different question : has he avoided the risk of 'going native' in academia ? As more links are posted to the writings and activities bearing his name it becomes impossible to believe that he has.

In the same blog post, after discussing the question of how Mark Kennedy may have 'gone native' in the environmental group he infiltrated, JD continues :

Quote:
I was reminded on hearing this story of an episode in my ethnographic research study of the No M11 campaign, part of the UK anti-roads movement in the early 1990s. Here too I was studying a type of psychological change that occurred in people involved in an environmental direct action campaign. Wanstead residents objected to their local green being dug up for the construction of a trunk road. They changed on a number of levels. They came to see themselves as in the ‘same group’ as the ‘activists’ who had come to the area for the protest - and indeed in the same group as activists across the country and around the world. They therefore came to see themselves as different from their local neighbours who stood passively by and watched the loss of green space. They also adopted a much more critical view of the police force: when previously the police had been seen as neutral or a protector of their individual rights, now they were seen as agents of unpopular government policy and hence ‘political’.

The ‘activists’ I spoke to attributed these changes in the views of ‘locals’ to the force of argument. They had spent long hours together in vigils to protect the green, and in that time had the opportunity to develop their points about the global significance of the ‘local’ road-building scheme and hence the political nature of ‘environmental’ issues.

The role of ‘discussion and debate’ in ‘politicizing’ people in social movements is also stressed by a number of sociologists and social psychologists. There is plenty of evidence that discussion and argument can be persuasive.

But there was something else happening at the time of the transformation of these ‘local’ people into ‘political subjects’. This was their participation in the ‘direct action’ itself. While they may have intended their participation to be different (less ‘direct’) than that of the ‘activists’, it was not seen that way by the police, who acted upon the protesters as a whole – as a crowd, in fact.

Put differently, the (unintended) consequence of the ‘locals’ acting ‘with’ the rest of the crowd was police action which served to impose a common experience (of ‘illegitimate attack’) on all, such that the distinction between ‘activist’ and ‘local’ could no longer be easily sustained. In a context when one is treated as ‘oppositional’ by the police, arguments about the ‘political’ nature of road-building will seem more plausible, and those making them more persuasive. Such people come to be seen as ‘one of us’ rather than ‘one of them’, and we might listen to [them] more carefully.

It is hard not to relate this account to the more sensitive kinds of policing that is argued for in the collaborative work that JD's name is attached to, which explicitly aims to make this breakdown of distinctions between 'activists' and 'locals' less likely to occur. But it also brings up the question of what it doesn't discuss.

JD continues :

Quote:
If indeed the Met police ‘spy’ did change his views - and this is something he is reported as denying - we can only speculate about the exact processes behind such a change.

However we can note, first, that environmental direct activists have good arguments – global warming, vested interests, the nature of social change, and so on. But they always have had good arguments, and these aren’t usually enough to change the minds of serving police officers, security guards or others paid to oppose their actions!

As JD's account implies for the sort of change we'd like to see we can't just rely on argument and educating people, nor can we count on police oppression to radicalize them. Something more than this is necessary. One part of that 'something more' is the development of forms of commitment and community that go beyond the inherently shallow level of people 'going native', or the equally unsatisfactory corollary of treating engagement as a sort of 'entrism' by revolutionary 'professionals'. Forms which require conscious thought and effort. And which oblige people to consider what they expect from their own activity and what they should be able to expect from their comrades.

As JD says :

Quote:
It may be hard to think of yourself as exactly ‘the same person’ if you have in effect changed the social environment that gives you your self-definition!

The problem is that this really does cut both ways.

posi
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Oct 15 2011 20:56

Alright, my two penneth.

a) I don't think there was any need to use the guy's real name - that was definitely wrong. 'The milieu' is so small there was no risk that referring to him as J or similar would lead to a mis-idenitification or non-identification. So what was the point?

b) I don't accept that TPTG couldn't have contacted Aufheben through their official address. Sure, J might have been the one to reply, but surely the accusation is that he's seriously politically confused and is acting inconsistently, not that he's actually a conscious agent of the state, who would be forwarding emails direct to Mi5 or something.

c) However, accepting what J says about not having authored the articles, that doesn't really clear up the whole delivering training to the police thing that avantiultras quotes in the last post, does it? I haven't really seen a response to that, and I can't imagine what one would look like. I think he probably shouldn't do that.

d) Although, even if there isn't a good response, I'm not in favour of hounding the guy over the internet. Let's be honest, what's the fucking point? The purity of the ultra left milieu? That's probably the worst cause imaginable. EDIT: so I think it could have been dealt with by email. If necessary TPTG and Samotnaf know enough people in the UK that they could have contacted a sufficiently broad range of people directly with an appeal for further discussion - including all the orgs, individuals they know, etc. I don't think the question of how to go about resolving these things is secondary or unimportant, btw.

Blasto
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Oct 15 2011 21:55
Quote:
There's no reason to doubt that JD is being anything other than entirely honest about this, or that he acted in good faith towards the people he was studying, and there are no grounds to believe that he in any way betrayed the trust they put in him.

Really? None? If you want to create false distinctions between J the communist, J the ethnographic researcher and J the cop consultant, the feel free. But in the real world they are the same person, a person that is the sum of all his experiences. Either the field research (and any other experience of being on demos "as and of" us) has informed the police tactics - or J has two separate brains to match his two faces. Put yourself in the shoes of the protesters he researched. Do you think they might be feeling just a little betrayed right now?

Quote:
I don't think there was any need to use the guy's real name - that was definitely wrong. 'The milieu' is so small there was no risk that referring to him as J or similar would lead to a mis-idenitification or non-identification. So what was the point?

There is a good reason for anonymity on Libcom, and we all enjoy that anonymity. But J put his name on his work, no one else. No one was revealing any secrets here - it is all published on the web on academic websites - both his work for the cops and his tales of involvement in protests.
And as for the "they just did me a favour" - do you really think he would have his name in the Police Review against such a contentious article (Chaos Theory), even as a favour, if his judgement hadn't already gone completely skewed? Would anyone else using this forum agree to having their name against an article like that? And if he's prepared to do it for his career, then sorry but fuck him.

Quote:
Let's be honest, what's the fucking point? The purity of the ultra left milieu? That's probably the worst cause imaginable. EDIT: so I think it could have been dealt with by email.

No one is enjoying this shit storm. And there's all the who emailed who and when. But why is this even a private matter for Aufheben and TPTG? This guy's work affects all of us. He is "one of us". He attends demos as "one of us" and then tells the police how to deal with us. TPTG weren't telling someone their skirt is tucked in their knickers - it's not some private embarrassment. It is someone undermining our struggle, and judging from their own bragging, this little team have influenced police across Europe. So don't we all have the right to know? Do you want to be the next unwitting subject of his public order research?

So if you still don't see point of all this, TPTG and Samotnaf have gone to great lengths to explain. Why not read their texts? Someone else has posted them here: http://www.revleft.com/vb/open-letter-tptg-t162273/index.html?p=2263039#post2263039.

Shit stinks, and J and his fellow travellers are up to their necks in it. I can't stand the reek anymore, so admin will be delighted to hear that I'm done here.

lurdan
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Oct 15 2011 23:02
Blasto wrote:
Quote:
There's no reason to doubt that JD is being anything other than entirely honest about this, or that he acted in good faith towards the people he was studying, and there are no grounds to believe that he in any way betrayed the trust they put in him.

Really? None? If you want to create false distinctions between J the communist, J the ethnographic researcher and J the cop consultant, the feel free. But in the real world they are the same person, a person that is the sum of all his experiences. Either the field research (and any other experience of being on demos "as and of" us) has informed the police tactics - or J has two separate brains to match his two faces. Put yourself in the shoes of the protesters he researched. Do you think they might be feeling just a little betrayed right now?

Saying that there is no reason to believe that he did anything other than apply professional ethics in his work as an ethnologist, or even that his sympathy for the subjects of his research wasn't genuine, scarcely diminishes the questions that are raised by his actions. Whereas, in my opinion, getting sidetracked into fruitless debate about whether he's a 'bad man', or worse, baseless speculation about whether he's a 'police informant' (even if that's meant metaphorically), is an excellent way of ensuring those questions don't get addressed.

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Ramona
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Oct 15 2011 23:09

This is all getting kinda ridiculous and I think a few others have put this way better than I would. But just really briefly:

Quote:
I wonder if Stott and Reicher get pissed off with constantly doing all the work whilst J rakes in a third of the pay?

Jef said academics get paid so little for journal articles they wouldn't care - academics mostly don't get paid for journal articles, in fact the costs frequently get taken out of your research grant, and if you're publishing anything that's publicly available it can cost loads.

As has been said, he got added as a 3rd author, as a favour, to help meet his publishing targets. Yes this is perhaps poor judgement, but this has all been said before. He did it more than once, this forms a pattern, this doesn't really change anything but whatever.

cooked wrote:
- Is the drama intended to set an example to prevent others in the movement from slipping into dubious territory?

- Is there an idea that his output is somehow tainted and that the Aufheben texts are no longer valid? If not his you would presumably prefer him continuing his writing?

- Is there a hope he will resign from his job and focus all energy on communism? Thus preventing more crowd controlling theory from being potentially put into practice by the police?

- Is it a strictly moral issue where no outcome is sough other than punishing the fallen.

- Is this a warning to people who might get politically involved with him. If this is the case what are the perceived risks of getting involved with him.

- Is it just a matter of getting the info out so people can make up their minds?

Nice points, hadn't thought of it like that, no one seems to have really answered that so far

Tommy Ascaso wrote:
We run this site to promote libertarian communist ideas and methods, not provide a platform for people to libel other communists or to reveal their personal details, as a group with experience of many of our comrades being outed by the media I'd hope that people would understand why we take this position. This isn't based on any political agreements, it's based on the principles that we hold and feel should exist within the movement.

Quite. The open letter and Samotnaf's blog are more than welcome on numerous other websites in their unredacted forms, we don't need to host it as well.

Samotnaf wrote:
Copcom

It's 'LibCop' actually

Tojiah wrote:
Yeah? You'd talk to someone you thought was working with the cops? Regarding accusations that they were working with the cops?

Frankly yeah I would, and I'd talk to the other people in the group as well, and I think Rob Ray has dealt with that pretty well, as he has with the rest of this thread. That kinda patience is impressive.

But this thread has got beyond ridiculous and I'm sure everyone who was going to form an opinion one way or another has already done so.

And just to be clear about who I am and what you might want to infer about my loyalties, I am a libcom admin, I am a TA at a Uni, I did a masters, I'm not a proper academic, and I once accepted a reward of £30 from the police after I handed in someone's iPad I found in the street because I was skint.

Edited cos I attributed a quote to the wrong person sorry

mons
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Oct 15 2011 23:40
Quote:
I wonder if Stott and Reicher get pissed off with constantly doing all the work whilst J rakes in a third of the pay?

Ramona, just to say, I didn't write that. Not sure who did but I agree that it's not a fair point, and I don't think there's any reason to disbelieve J and co when they say his name was put to the articles without him writing any of them.

bootsy
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Oct 16 2011 00:32
mons wrote:
Quote:
I wonder if Stott and Reicher get pissed off with constantly doing all the work whilst J rakes in a third of the pay?

Ramona, just to say, I didn't write that. Not sure who did but I agree that it's not a fair point, and I don't think there's any reason to disbelieve J and co when they say his name was put to the articles without him writing any of them.

Actually numerous individuals involved with academia have commented on this thread questioning the likelihood of that happening.

I agree though this thread has gotten totally ridiculous, because despite the mounting evidence coming from TPTG, Samotnaf and others, the LibCom team continues to either repeat the position that 'J said such and such' or they simply choose to zone in on stupid irrelevancies like the issue of censorship. Not only that, we are also supposed to believe that, even if J was helping the cops, it is nothing for us to worry about because the info is useless and the cops don't listen to academics anyway.

Toijah said:

Quote:
What J has done is a problem, regardless of how that happened to surface. That needs to be dealt with seriously. And not behind the scenes, because frankly I am probably not alone at not taking anything Libcom claims at face value from now on, and it has nothing to do with me having some kind of long-standing feud with the Libcom people. On the contrary, it grieves me greatly to see this occur to one of the few groups/forums I've come to depend on for my politics in the past few years.

Precisely. The most cutting edge communist analysis and anarcho-syndicalist strategy in the world is meaningless if our comrades in all parts of the world aren't prepared to step up and take responsibility where it counts.

RedHughs
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Oct 16 2011 01:00

I think lurdan, SpikeyMike, Ocelot and Tojiah have made sound and more-or-less irrefutable arguments concerning the problematic quality of Aufheben and Libcom-administration's response to this situation.

While I might be one to enjoy jumping on some Internet debates, this not a some shit-storm I welcome. I find it deeply distressing. As far as I can tell, Auf and libcom's responses are a complete fail on this serious issue.

I have met some members of both Aufheben and TPTG over the years. Both groups seemed like comrades of the highest caliber. Really, this is something that needs fixing and all the rather public evidence says to me that Aufheben and Libcom are the ones who need to fix it, as I believe the arguments of the above posters make very clear.

whatisinevidence
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Oct 16 2011 03:46
jef costello wrote:
If J is actually training police or directly helping police then he shouldn't be at meetings or protests. While some of his stuff seems to be useful to the cops, it does seem to me, from the evidence so far, that he isn't doing directly helping cops.

By Aufheben's own admission, J has spoken to police and other state organizations at conferences about dealing with crowds.

whatisinevidence
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Oct 16 2011 03:51

...

David Jacobs's picture
David Jacobs
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Oct 16 2011 04:25

I am just sending a personal message to say that I am through with libcom and
ask that anyone seeking contact with Collective Reinventions seek us elsewhere.
This site is more rotten than Hamlet's State of Denmark. As the Russians
put it rather nicely, a fish reeks from the head down, or should we say, the
administrators down. Until proven otherwise, libcom is potentially rife with infiltrators, provocateurs and who knows what else. Its censorship of the TPTG
article does not deserve comment.

We have all been rather badly compromised, I would say at a minimum. And
anyone who rather naively thought the authorities were not interested in small,
intellectually oriented journals and websites, really should think again.

Congratulations to TPTG for having the courage to bring this all out in the open.

Bye.

LBird
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Oct 16 2011 06:03

Re lurdan's post #222, and his quoting of JD.

JD wrote:
The term ‘going native’ has its origins in early (racist) anthropology. In the social sciences, it refers to the researcher uncritically adopting the concepts and categories of those being studied, rather than retaining the aloof perspective of insider-yet-outsider that is the mark of the professional ethnographer...

What about me? When I carried out my ethnographic study, did I come to adopt the worldview of those I studied?...

So did I ‘go native’ in my analysis?...

But, for my research, I wanted to understand something of the police view of ‘the crowd’ just as much as I wanted to document and analyse the protesters’ views. By adoption of an ethnographic framework – involving interviews, observations, soundtrack recordings, and collection of archive material – I was able to achieve both of these things.

The problem with JD's position is that he seems to believe in a false 'academic objectivity', of some sort, a position of 'neutral observation' from which he can 'understand' and 'analyse'.

This is impossible. Any research by anyone is always done from a 'perspective'. And those who deny having a 'perspective' are using a conservative method which pretends to itself and its adherents that it is 'objective'. The 'non-perspective' method of academia is an ideological lie.

If one doesn't 'go native', one by necessity 'remains imperialist'.

There is no 'outside of the exploitative system'.

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Joseph Kay
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Oct 16 2011 09:18
Tojiah wrote:
And none of that detective work managed to bring up this Chaos Theory business nor his previous pride in consulting for police organizations.

I know it's become the fashion on this thread, but you're asserting things you cannot possibly know. Actually, 'Chaos Theory' was one of the pieces I read in August. And as has been said repeatedly, 'consultancies' are inclusions in literature reviews by other academics used in turn by various bodies. So why aren't i bothered by the Chaos Theory piece?

- firstly, J's name is only on it because it includes the mass emergencies stuff. he allowed it to be used because he thinks the public order stuff is harmless, even though he disagrees with trying to engage with the police to make them nicer.

- on the face of it, that looks ridiculous right? i mean they explicitly say there is a "need to move away from the idea that the way to control crowds is to repress them"!

- But what is the substance of this? Stott favours graded policing over full-on repression. He somehow has to convince the police that violence is often their fault. in plain english, the 'insight' of the ESIM model is 'if the cops act like cunts, people are more likely to kick off'.

- his sales pitch to the police is that softer policing equals less arrests and less disorder, meaning happier police bosses and politicians. But this is based entirely on situations where there is a harmony of interests, and therefore the police can facilitate the crowd rather than arbitrarily repress them (the Euro 2004 study is main evidence base).

- however this doesn't apply when there's a conflict of interest, such as in class struggles, or a crowd set on property destruction or economic disruption. in such circumstances the police have no option but to fall back on repression, regardless of Stott et al's 'insights' that this may escalate things. For example, UK Uncut. If they're disrupting commercial activity the police can't 'facilitate' that because their role is to defend capital. But even if they do facilitate it, that just means UK Uncut win by getting to disrupt targets at will.

- for example, at Millbank, police were pretty hands off. however rather than leading to self-policing law-abiding protest, students took advantage of the low-key police presence to occupy and sack millbank. there was very little violence (ignoring property), but the movement escalated through the event.

- on the other hand, a fortnight later the police had swung back the other way with kettles and mounted charges and a heavy TSG presence. yet within the kettle, those posh kids did try to 'self-police' by protecting the (erroneously named) #baitvan. however despite all the violence, the movement itself dissipated shortly after.

- in other words, there's no simple relationship between soft/hard policing and escalation/de-escalation of struggles. sometimes the police standing off allows us the space to attack (e.g. Millbank), other times the lack of police provocation means everyone marches from A-B and goes home (Stop the War). While sometimes police repression escalates the struggle (e.g. Sussex uni campus last year), while other times it smashes and demoralises the movement (countless examples).

- hence despite its sales pitch, this stuff cannot possibly undermine our struggles. it only applies when there's no underlying conflict of interests.

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Tarwater
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Oct 16 2011 09:40

I'd like to put forth the idea that shit stirrers that write public accusations without having the common decency to confront their targets first and the hacks that support them will have more of a negative impact on my life as a revolutionary than any cop that attends a mandatory protocol meeting or takes an academic approach to crowd control. The way this was handled was disgusting and anyone that approves of it is only confirming their own alienation. All other issues beyond the method that was used to "call out" J are secondary, "new world in the shell of the old" my ass.

Rank
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Oct 16 2011 09:58
David Jacobs wrote:
I am just sending a personal message to say that I am through with libcom and
ask that anyone seeking contact with Collective Reinventions seek us elsewhere.
This site is more rotten than Hamlet's State of Denmark. As the Russians
put it rather nicely, a fish reeks from the head down, or should we say, the
administrators down. Until proven otherwise, libcom is potentially rife with infiltrators, provocateurs and who knows what else. Its censorship of the TPTG
article does not deserve comment.

We have all been rather badly compromised, I would say at a minimum. And
anyone who rather naively thought the authorities were not interested in small,
intellectually oriented journals and websites, really should think again.

Congratulations to TPTG for having the courage to bring this all out in the open.

Bye.

I'm off too (wondered what the smell was).

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avantiultras
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Oct 16 2011 10:21
Joseph Kay wrote:
- firstly, J's name is only on it because it includes the mass emergencies stuff. he allowed it to be used because he thinks the public order stuff is harmless, even though he disagrees with trying to engage with the police to make them nicer

The relation between the "emergencies stuff" and the "public order stuff" is shown clearly by the content of the Police CBRN consultancy which J attempted to hide (see comment #219: Danger of turning a public safety situation into one of public disorder (see above)/ Managing scarcity: After effects of CBRN incident, unlike other kinds of disaster/ emergency, could create disunity in the public around access to scarce resources

The same goes for the content of "consultancies" and whether they are only about harmless "literature reviews". It's really astonishing how far you're determined to go to defend the cop consultant. Truly, this site should be called LibCop

As far as the issue of "harmlessness" of the "public order stuff", I just copy the following paragraphs from the second TPTG letter:

"Leaving the part on the research work aside for the moment, let’s start with the “supposed dangerousness of the liberal reformists” part of their response. At first, it looks quite bizarre that Aufheben devote a disproportionately large part of their response to “correct” us regarding the Policing paper and their member’s colleagues’ work in general, while they have already stated categorically that their member had nothing to do with it and moreover that they (their member, as well) “reject fully” these academics’ “assumptions”. Wouldn’t it have sufficed just to denounce our accusations and prove his dissociation from them? However, what looks bizarre or ambiguous or awkward in this part of their response may not be at all, as we will show later. We argue that their choice to label the work of these policing designers/consultants as “liberal-reformist” is a deliberate distortion.

A careful reading and analysis of the “Policing article” would suffice to prove that these strategists do NOT “lobby for less violent policing” and do NOT “seek to reduce police violence, arrests and jail sentences” because they “support ‘anti-capitalist demonstrators and football fans’”, as we have already shown in our first Open Letter. According to their designing of policing, the police strategy should be graded whereby “levels of policing intervention” should be developed “with the aim of creating a positive and close relationship with crowd members, but also of monitoring incipient signs of disorder”. While the first level of policing intervention should be carried out by “officers in uniform, working in pairs spread evenly throughout the crowd within the relevant geographical location – not merely remaining at the edges” with “their primary function” being “to establish an enabling police presence” and having been “specifically trained to be friendly, open and approachable”, accepted as they are by the crowd, they can “spot signs of tension and incipient conflict” and can “therefore respond quickly to minor incidents of emergent disorder and ensure that they targeted only those individuals who were actually being disorderly without having impact on others in the crowd”. Policing shifts to level 2 “where disorder endures or escalates” with “larger groups of officers moving in, still wearing standard uniforms” in order to “communicate with fans [or “other alienated groups in our society”] in a non-confrontational manner, to reassert shared norms concerning the limits of acceptable behaviour, and to highlight breaches of those norms and the consequences that would flow from them. Should this fail, the intervention would shift up to level 3. Officers would don protective equipment and draw batons, but always seeking to target their actions as precisely as possible. If this is still insufficient, then the riot squads in full protective equipment and with water cannon are always ready at the fourth tactical level” (as cited in the Policing article, p.412-413, slightly rearranged for clarification’s sake).

So, there is nowhere a sign of “lobbying for less violent policing”. On the contrary, J and Co. talk about the right timing of the use of police violence which should be as targeted as possible and seen as “legitimate” as possible. The argument of the supposed “support” of these policing strategists’ for ‘“anti-capitalist demonstrators and football fans’” is equally groundless and false. What they actually support (and also advise the police to do) is respect for the enactment of the right of peaceful citizens/members of the crowd to demonstrate or protest in the street insofar as their protest is self-limited within the permissible limits of bourgeois democracy. No matter how hard we tried, we found in the article no support for the anticapitalist demonstrator to question practically existing bourgeois legality and to broaden it, as a liberal reformist would do on principle.

On the contrary, they fully support the “right” of the police to repress violent demonstrators, the ones that disturb public order and by extension bourgeois legality and capitalist circulation of commodities. Thus Aufheben’s claim that they “seek to reduce police violence, arrests and jail sentences” is equally wrong: they clearly advise for targeted, differentiated police violence and pre-emptive arrests. So, how “politically irrelevant” can it then be to “do research” with fellow technocratic designers of advanced policing strategies who propose methods and interventions for the state’s apparatuses and organizations in order to de-escalate conflicts, enhance the legitimacy of the police and the state and also save budget money? (given that a confrontation, except when really needed, is always more expensive for the state’s budget, than a peaceful “crowd event”).

Based on this initial distortion, Aufheben go on to criticize our “misunderstanding”: “the ‘Policing’ paper has [not] helped in tactics of repression”. Why? Because, as they say, “in plain English,guiding the cops to act in ways which maximizes the opportunities to engage crowd members’ in processes of de-escalating conflict means suggesting to the cops that it’s in their own interests not to use force as their first choice method. The research on which the paper is based shows that policing perceived by crowd members as illegitimate and indiscriminate brings them together against the police; the premise, therefore, is those situations [our emphasis] where people are not already united against the police. The research and ideas don’t explain how the police’s actions can create difference in a crowd where it didn’t exist previously.” What a clumsy attempt to present the cop consultants’ basic method of divide-and-rule as useless and harmless since the crowd is already divided!

Now, although English is not our mother tongue, what we have understood perfectly well by reading the cop consultants’ guidelines is that they always perceive crowd members to be in different groupings within it, as far as violent intentions are concerned, and that is why J and Co. say, in plain English, that: “the relationship and the balance between groupings within the crowd is critically dependent upon the interaction between the crowd and outsiders [e.g. police]” and that “where the police have both the inclination and the power to treat all members in a crowd event as if they were the same, then this will create a common experience amongst crowd members which is then likely to make them cohere as a unified group”.

So, for them what is of importance is not to “disrupt the willingness of crowd members to contain the violence of those in their midst - what we term self-policing” and thus they “do suggest that this understanding [of “processes through which violence escalates and de-escalates”] can guide the police to act in ways that minimize conflict and maximize the opportunities to engage crowd members themselves in achieving this end”, with this “engagement” actually meaning that the non-violent ones can be “recruited as allies in subduing violence” (all excerpts are from the Policing article, p.407, 408, 409, cited in our previous Open Letter.

We are sorry for repeating the citations but we have to since neither Aufheben took them into consideration in their cut-and-paste response nor their sympathizers in Libcom and elsewhere). Reinforcing existing divisions and separations within crowds on the street level and outright repression is, of course, the most the police can do as an apparatus of repression (with a little elaborated scientific help) but this is precisely the field these cop consultants “do research” in as specialists. The “obvious limits to the extent to which the cops can take on board and act upon this knowledge” are the limits of the police in general faced with proletarian struggles, a fact that police practitioners already know, that’s why they are constantly seeking for more effective policing methods.

What seems simplistic therefore is to suggest, as Aufheben do, that the cops act “regardless of such insights”, when the HMIC report was based precisely on J and Co’s “insights” and consultancies or that state funds are spent on such “research” out of bad judgement or plain idiocy and, moreover, it’s just as simplistic to dismiss – in such a twisted manner – the designing of policing implemented so many times against proletarians in struggle or in fun (so-called “hooliganism”). However, Aufheben not only underestimate, through distortion, the importance of these policing consultancies; they even directly reject any serious discussion about the “relation between ‘facilitative’ policing and the falling back of struggles”. This relation is not a “simple” one, they say, as if they are addressing simpletons. “There are too many mediations”,“contingencies”, “numerous factors”... Yes, we are very well aware of the fact that other mechanisms and mediations (political parties, unions, the media etc) that hinder proletarian “empowerment” should always be taken into consideration and Aufheben would be entitled to “correct” us if we were engaged in a communist theoretical discussion with them on the importance of violence and police repression in general in class struggles –and, moreover, if we argued like hot-heads.

However, the situation is completely different: while we prove that one of their members has been heavily involved in consulting the police how to repress struggles “correctly”, instead of just refuting this, they also feel obliged to both present such expert intervention as harmless and to relativise police repression (soft or hard) as if it had no importance at all. Why such a bizarre response from a supposedly communist group, we ask again. Perhaps a social psychologist could be useful here: “Once people define themselves in terms of a group membership, the fate of one member of the group and (hence of others in the group), the well-being of that member, the prestige and reputation of that member becomes the group’s fate, its well-being, its prestige and its reputation” [paraphrazing J and Co. from the Policing article, p. 406].

But apart from that, we also argue here that by doing this they want to preemptively minimize the effect of further evidence about his involvement in policing consultancies that could be brought to light sooner or later."

So, it seems that you have organized in coordination with J and Aufheben the defence tactics for some months. And one more comment: anyone who has ever participated in a class struggle, or a protest that includes "property destruction" knows very well that the divisions are there as well, knows very well that the union stewards will try to repress the "violent elements" engaging in self-policing in cooperation with the cops.

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Ramona
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Oct 16 2011 10:21

mons, sorry for the misquote I've edited it now!

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Juan Conatz
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Oct 16 2011 10:56

I've pretty much decided to stay out of this thread because I think it falls into the 'a European issue' type thread and I also don't want to be called out or accused of being part of some defense squad in a third open letter from TPTG, but as this drags on I feel compelled to jump in.

I don't know anyone in TPTG, have never communicated with Aufhben people that I know of outside of asking how I can get an issue in the U.S., and only know the libcom admin through posting here, Twitter or Facebook, but I respect all 3 as worthwhile projects

As someone who has been involved in instances were we suspected someone of some level of police collaboration, I think the way TPTG and Sam have chosen to address it has been pretty bad. If it takes 3 separate massive articles to prove your point, then your case wasn't solid enough to go public with.

The point of going public with something like this is because you want to warn other people who may have direct relations with said person or because said person may disappear after being exposed and re-emerge somewhere else in another group, unknown to the members of this other group.

In the latter case, that hardly seems like a potential danger and in the former, you have nearly everyone who is in direct contact with J severely contesting TPTG and Sam's accusations. A lot of this seems to be more about an opportunity to write polemically or comment on the nature of academia.

I mean, this is hardly the level of someone who is an informant for the security services, yet when I experienced such a person in a group, we got hard copy evidence, sat down with the people closest to him, and confronted him in person and over email/Facebook, getting him to admit it BEFORE we even wrote anything intended as public.

This situation, which is nothing compared to an informant who is part of an active investigation, has nowhere near the thoroughness devoted to it, it seems, which muddies the waters and has neutral parties such as myself unconvinced and a bit depressed/disappointed at the whole thing.

gypsy
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Oct 16 2011 11:18
Tojiah wrote:
Yeah? You'd talk to someone you thought was working with the cops? Regarding accusations that they were working with the cops?
Ramona wrote:
Frankly yeah I would

You mean by this you would confront them with the charges which were being laid against them? Sorry I mis read this first time round as saying you would allow them to attend meetings etc regardless of the suspicions/accusations (first thing on a sunday embarrassed ).

Samotnaf
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Oct 16 2011 11:31

my text in slightly expurgated form: http://libcom.org/forums/general/aufhebens-crowd-controlling-cop-consultant-strange-case-dr-who-mr-bowdler-1610201

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Ramona
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Oct 16 2011 11:52
gypsy wrote:
Tojiah wrote:
Yeah? You'd talk to someone you thought was working with the cops? Regarding accusations that they were working with the cops?
Ramona wrote:
Frankly yeah I would

You mean by this you would confront them with the charges which were being laid against them? Sorry I mis read this first time round as saying you would allow them to attend meetings etc regardless of the suspicions/accusations (first thing on a sunday embarrassed ).

Yeah I mean I'd want to confront them, I think Juan Contaz's post makes quite a good point on that.

Samotnaf
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Oct 16 2011 13:24

I totally agree with David Jacobs' post:

Quote:
This site is more rotten than Hamlet's State of Denmark.
As the Russians put it rather nicely, a fish reeks from the head down, or should we say, the
administrators down.

Saying that even if [admin: deleted] did it, does it matter? A "libertarian communist" site saying that ideologically helping the cops on crowd control's not important. You've got as much sense of reality as those who believed Chamberlain's "Peace in our time" speech. Such a partisan defence of Dr. [admin: deleted] makes you seem hellbent on becoming a laughing stock - only no-one's laughing. Well, you've made your bed of nails, now you can lie in it. And if anybody neded to know the meaning of the critique of rackets, you've unwittingly supplied us with loads of data.

And no - this nightmare of your own making won't go away. What more I ( and/or the TPTG )have to say, will be reserved for later - but I have no intention of being anything but a very painful thorn in your side as long as you don't admit you've got this very very very wrong, and recognise why. But I guess your collective ego's too fragile for that.

Jason Cortez
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Oct 16 2011 13:43

Samotnaf saying "ego's too fragile for that" oh the irony. You love all of this, but what would you actually like to see happen from this (except everyone saying your right)? The way that you and TPTG have gone about this really has not created the useful conditions for dealing with this issue.

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Joseph Kay
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Oct 16 2011 15:49

If you don't condemn the accused, you become the accused. Brilliant.

Wellclose Square
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Oct 16 2011 18:01

When I read the 2nd Open Letter I wondered whether those who have defended most vigorously X's undoubted deep complicity in developing public order policy would have the humility to apologise or admit they were wrong. Instead they continue to dig deeper, with the usual aggressive denials, tortured logic and counter denunciations. I'm struggling to work out why this is, but this whole issue has raised (again) serious questions for me about Libcom.