AK Press allegations against Michael Schmidt

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Steven.
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Sep 25 2015 22:54
AK Press allegations against Michael Schmidt

Admin: thread name changed as it's over two weeks with no substantiation yet [edit: allegations now being published, leaving thread title generic].

Extremely bizarre news on the AK Press Facebook page:

Quote:
We have some ugly and upsetting news...
About six months ago, we started hearing some disturbing rumors that one of our authors, Michael Schmidt, was an undercover fascist. Soon after, another one of our authors, Alexander Reid Ross, provided us with actual evidence. We helped him investigate further for several weeks and then put him in touch with another writer. Over the past months, we have received and compiled what we consider to be incontrovertible evidence that Michael Schmidt is a white nationalist trying to infiltrate the anarchist movement.
Alexander will soon be publishing an article that presents all the details in a more comprehensive manner, but we are not comfortable sitting on this information any longer. We have always drawn strength from the history of anarchism as an internationalist movement concerned with the destruction of capitalism, the state, and hierarchal social relations. Those social relations clearly include racism and white supremacy. We are committed enemies of fascists and their sympathizers. The anarchist movement won’t tolerate their sick credo and, when they are found hiding in our midst, they must be dragged from the shadows.
We have cancelled Schmidt’s upcoming book and have put the two books of his that we’ve already published out of print. Please stay tuned for the whole story.
In Solidarity,
The AK Press Collective

https://www.facebook.com/AKPress/posts/10156164515845249

anyone know any more about this?

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Sep 25 2015 23:21

The comments on the Anarchist News page give links the Schmidt's defenses in earlier periods of national anarchism. If anything, it seems like the logical outcome of an anarchist tendency that cannot let go of nationalism because of the overhang of 60's era political ideologies and delusions. It often manifests it's self in a sort of class-based "noble-savage" approach to workers and poor people that says "Through their nationalism, they will be more revolutionary!" For Schmidt it's pernicious because he points out that poor Afrikaners historically united (at times) with poor people of different races against British imperialism and capitalists. They also united with whites to kill blacks etc.

The problem is of course seeing in their nationalist myth ("We cut ties with Europe and are AFRIKANER!") the same thing that many on the left support in the nationalist myths of other races/countries who happen to be "Anti-Imperialists" (really just looking after their own state interests like any state).

The irony of this politics is it prides itself on overcoming the "color-blind class-reductionist" politics of the old day. I don't know whats so "racially sensitive" about suggesting that blacks and whites are so different that they cannot meet together, or that they need their own country, or that Muslim workers in South Thailand and their Buddhist counterparts don't have anything in common; they do. They work to death for capital, and get duped into slaughtering eachther over charms around necks or skin tone. Horsehit.

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Sep 25 2015 23:45

Scary. I met the guy when he did a speaking tour for Black Flame. Seemed to me to be a really nice guy from the day I hung out wit him.

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Sep 25 2015 23:47

Unless there's an indication he's a direct danger to people in a manner where the word needs to be hot out now, I think people should be really careful spreading it.

Obviously stuff may come out and there may well be good reason, but at this point I'm finding it very uncomfortable with the whole "the evidence is coming in a couple weeks". Like, obviously AK are a credible source and I can't see why they'd have reason to lie, but tbh we're not talking about some random dude, and unless there's compelling reasons, I'd think there should be erring on the side of benefit of the doubt and waiting for more information.

syndicalist
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Sep 25 2015 23:59

I don't want to really get deep into this at this time. having been in the movement for 40 something years, my only advice is to wait until the documentation is released. And a reply by Michael issued.
Although there is some stuff written by MS on line which, sadly, is not very positive.

While I am not a platformist or in that tradition, I would say, if true (and I hope not) that this could happen in anyone of the traditions we may adhere to.

bootsy
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Sep 26 2015 00:11

Pennoid that's ridiculous. Schmidt has openly advocated multiracial working class solidarity in South Africa.

The national liberationist politics of the anarkismo groups may be flawed but they're sure as hell not laying the ground work for anarchist support of white supremacist politics. Quite the opposite, any platformist will tell you that their support for national liberation is based on their opposition to white supremacy.

The accusation is that Schmidt is an undercover fascist who has infiltrated the anarchist movement. If its true then that is on Schmidt, it isn't a reason to denounce all platformist groups as quasi white supremacists.

radicalgraffiti
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Sep 26 2015 00:11

several people have quoted this, from http://www.anarkismo.net/article/23404

Quote:
Misdiagnosed by most anarchists as fascist, “national anarchism” fuses radical decentralism, anti-hegemonic anti-statism (and often anti-capitalism), with a strong self-determinist thrust that stresses cultural-ethnic homogeneity with a traditional past justifying a radical future; this is hardly “fascism” or a rebranding of “fascism,” for what is fascism without the state, hierarchy and class, authoritarianism, and the führer-principle?

as evidence that he is sympathetic to national anarchism.

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Sep 26 2015 00:43

Thanks radical, that's partly what I was referring to.

Black nationalism is extremely limited in it's capacity to fight white-supremacy/nationalism. It may be useful for galvanizing support to fight particular white-nationalists, but utilizes the same logic of nationalism generally which has as it's logical consequence "us vs. them" as well as the idea that at some point, for example, American Workers have more in common with American bosses than say with German or Russian workers.

I said he advocated multi-racial fighting against capitalism, but as the quote provided by radical shows, he seems to think there is something in national anarchism. There isn't. Nationalism is a dead road, the hollow husk of bourgeois mysticism. A bunch of romantic nonsense.

It seems like he's saying "Look here, a bunch of non-european, anti-european even, white ethnics and their peasant/ early capitalist struggles! Look how special they are!" And of course they are workers and poor peasants, so of course we should be thinking about how they fit in the fight for communism, and even more he's suggested that there does need to be a "multi-racial" alliance. But based on what? Based on class? Or based upon the categories of race as given, whether reified as natural, or "purely social"?

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Sep 26 2015 02:44

I feel like I'm always ranting on and on about the importance of privacy and security in revolutionary organizations. No one ever seems to give a fuck.

Well, here you go.

Haven't similar things happened with Admin on this website?

bootsy
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Sep 26 2015 03:08

You're preaching to the converted here Pennoid I agree that nationalist politics are a dead end. But it is also quite ludicrous to draw a connection between the national liberationist politics of anarkismo groups like Zabalaza and white supremacist politics. Its actually quite insulting to anarchists who oppose white supremacy with the (flawed) view that it should be overthrown with a national liberationist political movement.

Don't use the accusations against Schmidt (which are unproven so far, keep that in mind) to take a potshot at huge numbers of anarchists who find white racism and fascism absolutely vile.

kingzog
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Sep 26 2015 08:19
Quote:
Scary. I met the guy when he did a speaking tour for Black Flame. Seemed to me to be a really nice guy from the day I hung out wit him.

Idk man. The dude has one of those goatee's minus the mustache- creepy. Weird facial hair is always a warning flag IMO.

im gonna wait till actual evidence is presented until making a judgement, however.

bootsy
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Sep 26 2015 08:39
Jamal wrote:
I feel like I'm always ranting on and on about the importance of privacy and security in revolutionary organizations. No one ever seems to give a fuck.

Well, here you go.

Haven't similar things happened with Admin on this website

https://www.indymedia.org.uk/en/2011/10/486344.html
https://athens.indymedia.org/post/1342466/
http://dialectical-delinquents.com/articles/uncategorised/the-strange-case-of-dr-johnny-and-mr-drury/
http://dialectical-delinquents.com/articles/uncategorised/cop-out-the-significance-of-aufhebengate/
http://www.wildcat-www.de/en/wildcat/96/e_w96_berufubewegung.html

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Sep 26 2015 16:00

Yea, while that nationalist anarchist quote does sound pretty dodgy, I think we need to be pretty careful throwing around terms like "infiltrator" and "fascist" - mind you, I think there could be good reason for AK press to disassociate from him, but you need some pretty firm evidence before making those claims, IMO.

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Sep 26 2015 16:15
Quote:
Idk man. The dude has one of those goatee's minus the mustache- creepy. Weird facial hair is always a warning flag IMO.

im gonna wait till actual evidence is presented until making a judgement, however.

He was clean shaven when I met him.... But yeah, the verdict is still out on this one.

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Sep 26 2015 20:38

Anarchism without the adjectives?

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Sep 26 2015 20:55

anarchism without nationalism?

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Sep 26 2015 23:52

Unicorns?

seahorse
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Oct 2 2015 01:20
radicalgraffiti wrote:
several people have quoted this, from http://www.anarkismo.net/article/23404
Quote:
Misdiagnosed by most anarchists as fascist, “national anarchism” fuses radical decentralism, anti-hegemonic anti-statism (and often anti-capitalism), with a strong self-determinist thrust that stresses cultural-ethnic homogeneity with a traditional past justifying a radical future; this is hardly “fascism” or a rebranding of “fascism,” for what is fascism without the state, hierarchy and class, authoritarianism, and the führer-principle?

as evidence that he is sympathetic to national anarchism.

Well I think he makes a convincing case that "nationalist anarchism" is not fascism. It is inherently racist and/or xenophobic. Bad enough! But while fascism is racist and xenophobic, racism and xenophobia is not always fascist.

I'm sad to hear about this scandal. Like others, I'm waiting on evidence before making any judgments. I really hope it's not true!

Edit: I'm not sure why this was down voted? Let me be clear, I think "national anarchism" is shameful, dangerous, and terrible due to it being racist/xenophobic. I just don't think it's fascist. Why? Because it is stateless and *the state is an essential part of fascism.* As for saying that racists/xenophobes aren't always fascist, I thought this was obvious? Again to be clear, I think racists/xenophobes are always horrendous, whether they're fascist or not.

kingzog
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Sep 27 2015 03:34

Yeah, idk about this infiltrator label. The why of that seems a little far fetched. Far more likely he is a national anarchist. But he was called a "self-described fascist" by Alexander Reid Ross, so that's a big burden of proof on him. He better get his butt in gear with this evidence and publish his expose'.

akai
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Sep 27 2015 06:56

Looking through reactions it surely seems that it would have been better to either provide some evidence or wait on the announcement. That said, I would hope that this situation could lead to a wider discussion about ideological problems and the encroachment of nationalist and fascist ideas amongst those who consider themselves against. This isn't about one person, it is about the places where nationalist and fascists can smuggle their ideas and gain acceptance amongst anarchists. I am from E. Europe where this has been a problem for many years. A lot of people outside of our region don't really get this because they don't know the source material. What I would hope could come out of this is a deeper understanding and consistent responses to rejecting certain ideas.

Without knowing more about the situation, I would suppose the "infiltrator" label would not be accurate. Most times it is exposed that somebody had ideas like this, other people saw it but just explained them away in some ways.

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Sep 27 2015 07:30

Hi all,

I also feel pretty queezy about how this announcement has been made.

Anarchist practice should exemplify the principles of natural justice.

kingzog wrote:
Yeah, idk about this infiltrator label. The why of that seems a little far fetched. Far more likely he is a national anarchist. But he was called a "self-described fascist" by Alexander Reid Ross, so that's a big burden of proof on him. He better get his butt in gear with this evidence and publish his expose'.

The burden of proof is on Alexander Reid Ross and Ak Press as it is Ak Press who has published the statement.

Not only do they need to substantiate their claims, they should also provide evidence to justify why the statement was made without said evidence. Presumably someone's safety was at risk.

If this turns out to be false, serious damage will be done to Michael Schmidts credibility nonetheless.

Regards,
HC

akai
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Sep 27 2015 08:18

Happy, the ones that stand to lose credibility are AK, if it turns out that there was no evidence. So I find it highly unlikely that they would publish this without a reason. However, it is important that people reserve opinions on this aspect of Schmidt until this is actually presented.

On the other hand, I think it is fair to discuss quotes like the one on nationalism anarchism or other dodgy things at this point. It is also, in my opinion, a time to discuss problems with the national question, other anarchists who are racists and nationalists, etc. etc.

kingzog
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Sep 27 2015 08:26

If its false or a mistake or even just an exaggeration, AK's rep will be irreparably demaged.

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Sep 27 2015 09:00

I've never liked this idea of publishing a warning without evidence, even if it's a group I trust. It's acceptable in some cases, and I have taken things like this on faith if I know who is vouching for it as well. It makes it look like a smear regardless of the merit of the accusations.
What they have published here seems unclear and, as has been mentioned above, is not clear on why having sympathies with NAtional Anarchism etc makes him a fascist infiltrator.

edit: badly expressed, I meant something more like 'being soft on nationalism'

akai
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Sep 27 2015 11:16

I would certainly argue with any apologetic sentiments towards National Anarchism and think that people should be taken to task for them. The quote by MS disgusts me. It is one thing to argue whether something is fascism or needs another label, but quite another to rebrand something like National Anarchism using vocabularly that connotes something positively espoused by the author elsewhere (self-determinism).

That said, as I mentioned before, an infiltrator is somebody who enters a movement in bad faith in order to undermine it, destroy it or divert it and the word may be used very incorrectly here. But if further thoughts like this come up, then obviously we at the very least have somebody who condones the uncondonable.

So again, I think the bigger issue is not MS, but what happens when anarchism is infected by fascistic, nationalist ideas or when people turn a blind eye to them and try to justify them. Personally, if I look at what is written, I think it does go beyond just trying to question whether all fucked up nationalist stuff is "fascism", but it actually attempts to in some way justify national anarchism.

ajjohnstone
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Sep 27 2015 13:01

Is this a AK Press UK or AK Press USA or joint statement? I'm not particularly clued up on their operating structure.

My question is to what purpose does he think (if he does) that subverting the broad anarchist movement by presenting a camoflaged national anarchist agenda can be fruitful.

It is not like there is a central anarchist command that he can capture ideologically as in some Democratic Centralism Trot pyramid?

The overt national anarchists have i think been easily given short shrift and ostracised from anarchist movement. How did he expect (if he did) to become more open with his philosophy and not meet a similar challenge? After all, all we have on this thread is a few ambiguous quotes and not screeds of written documentary evidence.

I suppose just as if it isn't supported would discredit a publisher like AK, if later exposure and confirmation would also discredit them. I'm at lost though, to tell the truth.

I'm just puzzled by the motive. Perhaps some can offer reasons.

While we await further explanations from Ross and AK, we also expect Schmidt to reply to the accusation.

The Scottish Referendum should have given us an inkling how easy nationalists can present themselves as "anarchists for decentralisation and local control and democracy? But again i didn't consider their attempts as plausible

Black Badger
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Sep 27 2015 13:55

... as if the execrable and deliberately sectarian "Black Flame" weren't disruptive on its own ...

If part of the point of being an infiltrator is to sow confusion, discord, and mistrust, then Schmidt and Van Der Walt (and AK by originally publishing BF) have already done plenty.

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Sep 27 2015 14:20
radicalgraffiti wrote:
several people have quoted this, from http://www.anarkismo.net/article/23404
Quote:
Misdiagnosed by most anarchists as fascist, “national anarchism” fuses radical decentralism, anti-hegemonic anti-statism (and often anti-capitalism), with a strong self-determinist thrust that stresses cultural-ethnic homogeneity with a traditional past justifying a radical future; this is hardly “fascism” or a rebranding of “fascism,” for what is fascism without the state, hierarchy and class, authoritarianism, and the führer-principle?

as evidence that he is sympathetic to national anarchism.

It's a bit disingenuous to post that snippet as evidence when if you post the full quote it changes the meaning significantly:

""So what do we make of Gandhi himself? Speaking plainly, I do not like Gandhi because I am a militant anti-militarist who believes that pacifism enables militarism. I am very suspicious of Gandhi’s central role in midwifing the Indian state. On balance, in his völkisch nationalist decentralism, I would argue for him to be seen as something of a forebearer of “national anarchism,” that strange hybrid of recent years. Misdiagnosed by most anarchists as fascist, “national anarchism” fuses radical decentralism, anti-hegemonic anti-statism (and often anti-capitalism), with a strong self-determinist thrust that stresses cultural-ethnic homogeneity with a traditional past justifying a radical future; this is hardly “fascism” or a rebranding of “fascism,” for what is fascism without the state, hierarchy and class, authoritarianism, and the führer-principle?"

He is making a claim about the classification of an ideology he states here that he doesn't like. If the allegations turn out to be true, that is not the evidence of it.

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Sep 27 2015 14:22

Here is Schmidt's response

satawal
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Sep 27 2015 14:32

I thought Black Flame was a horribly sectarian re-write of anarchist history so I have no particular need to defend MS and definitely no allegiance to nationalism of any kind not least the crazy of National Anarchism. Some people obviously do move from the far-left to the far-right and vice-versa so it wouldn’t surprise me if MS did so. However whatever the truth of the matter I worry about AK putting out this statement without any factual back up. I suppose they may have felt that if they didn’t disown MS now they would risk major reputational damage. It’s no excuse but they were probably stuck between a rock and a hard place… unlike the AFED! What possible excuse is there for putting this up on the front page of the AFED website with a big picture of MS… it’s not a tumblr feed but the front piece of a democratic organisation.

https://afed.org.uk/michael-schmidt-revealed-as-fascist-let-this-be-a-wake-up-call/

Apart from anything else it says :
“Schmidt is also linked by AK Press to Troy Southgate, a former member of the National Front and a third-positionist who self-describes as a ‘nationalist anarchist’.”

It wouldn’t surprise me if a link between MS and Troy Southgate might turn out to exist but AK have not said this so far as I can tell. I tracked back where AFed website got this and unless I am mistaken it is from the blog they admit to copying most of the article from which says AK said this in the comments to their facebook post. I looked this up and they do no such thing- they pull up someone else defending MS :

“ Brecht de Sténay: a "fascist", as in "someone I disagree with"?
AK Press: No Brecht, white supremacist scum like yourself with ads for National-Anarchist Movement conferences on their FB wall and sick friends like Troy Southgate and Keith Preston.”
https://www.facebook.com/AKPress

This regurgitating of this inaccurate description of AKs present statements, the veracity of which the persons doing the AFED website didn’t bother to check, is probably a symptom of trying to keep current without putting the time in to find out about it themselves. Could AFED members arrange to get this stuff changed on the AFED website? It makes us class struggle anarchists look like wankers. If MS has moved towards National Anarchism that's a shame, but no reason for us to not hold ourselves to better standards of conduct as anarchists. We neither have to have cover ups or unsubstantiated character assassinations.

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Sep 27 2015 15:05
Flava O Flav wrote:
Here is Schmidt's response

That response seems like it could be credible as far as it goes.

Does it seems believable to anyone who knows him and his work better than myself?