Anarcho-leftism & the politics of libcom

178 posts / 0 new
Last post
Curious Wednesday
Offline
Joined: 11-01-12
Jan 13 2013 07:48
Anarcho-leftism & the politics of libcom

The following text, taken from a recent article called "Cop-out - the significance of Aufhebengate"
, seems like something worth discussing on libcom. The rest of the text talks about soft cop v. hard cop policing, academia and the middle class, the contradictions of friendship and various other things. I've not digested all of it, but it raises some valid points which should be aired. Any thoughts?
(I've changed the full name of the principle individual named in this text to JD, as I understand he should not be named on Libcom):

ANARCHO-LEFTISM

&

THE POLITICS OF LIBCOM

On 27th October 2012 the UK anarchist scene had its annual gathering of those who claim to oppose the state. The cop collaborator, J.D. (who, as we’ve seen, has provided the state with innovative ideas for reforming its practice and its image), and his Aufheben gang, was provided with a stand and no-one confronted him (footnote 27). Jolly nice day, jolly good show. Joseph Kay, Libcom admin’s chief defender of J.D. and a sometime contributor to Aufheben, gave a little talk appreciated by the benignly tolerant anarchists. But then, the UK anarchist scene as a whole (individuals are another matter) has long made its peace with the ruling show. For example, Paul Mason, of BBC Newsnight fame, was invited to the anarchist bookfair a couple of years ago, and not insulted by the far too polite “libertarians” who amassed there. Some even felt some vicarious fame by having a friendly chat with him. After all, Libcom, and other anarchos, often refer to him uncritically. But with the ruling class internationally assaulting the working class as almost never before, what was important was to maintain a show of opposition that excluded dealing with the collaborators and recuperators within their midst. J.D. and Aufheben (or, indeed, Lefty cadres whose celebrity careers help develop the BBC’s image of “free speech”) aren’t the only form of complicity with the enemy, though. Politics – in part, the art of putting forward an abstract program to be followed by partisans and the art of manipulatively falsifying those who oppose such a practice – is what unites all the phoneys and con-men of whatever persuasion: above all, this kind of politics is the enemy within.

When the TPTG initially put up their first “Open Letter to the British internationalist/anti-authoritarian/activist/protest/street scenes (and to all those concerned with the progress of our enemies)” (footnote 28), on Libcom, Libcom admin immediately took it down and then, after people complained (because of the reputation that the TPTG have for sober analysis, and the fact that Libcom had always hosted TPTG articles) put it up with a picture of Pinnochio and said it contained untrue smears and allegations. After endless complaints from neutral posters they felt pressured to withdraw the picture, though they continued to have the “untrue allegations” smear even though there were innumerable links to articles written or co-written by J.D. that clearly showed that these were no mere allegations. Despite claiming to be an open forum for anti-state anti-politics, Libcom admin has shown, in the Aufhebengate scandal, its political clique mentality which up until then had remained diffuse and obscure.

“Surveillance has an interest in organizing poles of negation itself, which it can instruct with more than the discredited means of the spectacle, so as to manipulate, not terrorists this time, but theories” .(Thesis XXX, Commentaries on the Society of the Spectacle, Guy Debord)

Whilst Libcom do not in any way consciously manipulate radical theory in order to intensify toleration for the state, it is clearly one of the results of what they have done in this case. What they imagine subjectively they are doing is irrelevant: the road to reformed capitalist hell is paved with “radical” intentions. Here a guy, in his participation in past radical active opposition to the state, has clearly used his research to help the state, to reform its strategies, and will try to continue to do so. This is in some ways worse than the Mark Kennedy/Mark Stone cop infiltrator of the activist milieu. Whilst subjectively Kennedy/Stone certainly traumatised his lovers and friends, and led to some arrests, one expects this shit behaviour from the filth. What he did was logically consistent with his choice to serve the ruling class. What is not at all logical is for those who ostensibly desire an opposition to the ruling class to give new ideas to their enemies that could only have arisen out of their direct participation in some forms of radical activity. Whilst the Kennedy/Stone case affected dozens of individuals, the team of which J.D. is a part potentially affects millions. And it’s worse in the sense that the UK “libertarian communist” milieu (as a whole, not necessarily as individuals) doesn’t give a toss about this, at least in any publicly decisive manner. So much so that J.D. , unlike Stone/Kennedy can continue as normal, as if nothing has happened.

What is not at all logical is for those who ostensibly desire an anti-state revolution to support and justify this piece of shit, or to do nothing about him, and so encourage others doing likewise. In fact those who defend him have become just as bad as him, lying (footnote 29 ) in order to rubbish genuine opposition. Doubtless there are some things more indicative of the old-style authoritarian communism than Joseph Kay saying of the TPTG’s publicising of the texts authored by JD: “They published information they knew to be false, as a lengthy email was sent to them in August”(footnote 30) but it still sounds like another way of saying : “They published information they knew to be false, as the Central Committee had ruled it to be false in August”.

After 5 or 6 weeks of persistent gang-like denial of the obvious (including the absurd notion that the J.D. , Stott and co. team’s ideas had no material effect whatsoever), they were able to dismiss the whole affair as “a massive waste of time” (Joseph Kay). Politics as a method of influencing people by means of lies remains at the heart of this affair, aimed at imposing silence. Libcom admin then went on to shut down thread after thread on this affair, leaving only one with the obscure title “Why this article has been removed?” (footnote 31), and banned various people either temporarily or permanently, according to whimsical subjective criteria (e.g. the dismissal of someone as a troll in order to ignore something valid in their post, or insults censored as “flaming”, when often similar behaviour on the part of someone close to admin or part of it went unchecked) and deleted various posts without even saying they’d been deleted. I am reminded of Lenin’s “You can stand here with us, or against us out there with a gun in your hand, but not within some opposition….We’ve had enough opposition.” Obviously the comparison with an armed conflict between state and anti-state forces is hyperbole, but the viciousness of the ideological manipulation in an epoch where ideology is often a far greater debilitating force than military might is pertinent. Of course, there is nothing wrong with a website deciding what on it should be said and discussed and what shouldn’t, but this has to be made explicit and clear; Libcom wanted the appearance of open access (a bit like the BBC) whilst maintaining a hidden agenda close to Solfed and to the ideological middle class that form the majority of admin and their fellow travellers. Above all, they want the appearance of being anti-state, but in this basic definition of being “libertarian” have proved themselves utterly self-contradictory (Lenin, too, in State and Revolution just before the Bolshevik seizure of state power, presented himself as a bit of a libertarian and many anarchists were temporarily taken in). One libcom fellow traveller even complained that since we didn’t live in the S.E. of England and didn’t really know JD, that what he did didn’t concern us. Even though JD’s team’s suggestions have been taken up internationally by cops, these “internationalists” panic themselves into a hastily cobbled and politically convenient localism at the first sign of an external attack (a bit like Kropotkin on the eve of WWl).

The diplomatic roles developed by libcom admin have even found themselves excusing polite dialogue with the former Chief Adviser on Strategy to Tony Blair, Matthew Taylor(footnote 32 ), and an obnoxious journalist, sometimes writing for the Daily Mail (footnote 33), who then went on to attack the August riots of 2011 in the most racial terms, was a constant contributor to libcom and a close friend of some of admin (specifically, Brian Whelan, whose article on the riots is no longer available on the internet and whose unpleasant and vapidly cynical comments over the years on libcom have now also been disappeared). But then, the UK anarchist scene as a whole (individuals are another matter) has long made its peace with the ruling show. For example, Paul Mason, of BBC Newsnight fame, was invited to the anarchist bookfair a couple of years ago, and not insulted by the far too polite “libertarians” who amassed there. Some thought they could acquire some vicarious fame by having a friendly chat with this collaborator. Similarly, the elder statesmen of the anarcho-celebrity world (Bone & Wright) could seriously consider standing in bourgeois elections when the previous entire history of anarchism had, as a minimum common agreement, a contempt for such circuses. Populism inevitably leads to such degraded compromises.(footnote 34)

In previous pre-World War epochs, most of the statist sections of the old workers’ movement, and many of the more libertarian sections also, could only conceive of an “egalitarian” “democratic” version of this society as the outcome of a successful revolution. This demand for “equality” in epochs where the material base of genuine scarcity and the exclusion of proletarians from the now commonplace kinds of compensations previously offered exclusively to the rich had a certain logic (owning a car, let alone a computer, was obviously very far from the possibilities of most proletarians). Combined with a more obvious rigidity of hierarchical relations, these tended towards a greater narrowing of people’s vision. With the post WWll growth of “consumerism”, this demand for an “egalitarian” “democratic” version of capitalism began to be recognised by those with a radical critique as a demand for equality of alienation. Now that neo-liberalism has increasingly repressed the Keneysian logic of a non-austere balance between production and access to “consumer power” and hopes to usher in a thoroughly modern version of 19th century forelock-tugging austerity, most dream of a return to “the good old days” of the welfare state and Keynesian economics – most notably, a State-promoted increase in spending power and the apparently greater margin of freedom given by State benefits (footnote 35). Likewise, over 20 years of counter-revolution, and the unprecedented colonisation of people’s minds by dominant ideology, has tended to shrink many “anti-authoritarians” ‘ vision to merely a self-managed form of this society.

But few would go so far as to claim, as Libcon admin and their cheerleaders have consistently done, that “after the revolution” there will still be specialists-in-order (anarcho-cops) and, as leading admin Fall Back called for, “far more complex, modern, well resourced kinds of ‘prisons’ with more progressive aims than currently exist…”communist prisons” …would be a place where people had broken laws would be forcibly detained”.(footnote 36). To talk about communist prisons being entirely different from capitalist prisons is like saying the communist State will be entirely different from the capitalist State: here “anarchism” joins Leninism. Incarcerating anti-social leftovers of the mad alienation of class society (the recalcitrant ex-cops, ex-screws, politicians, rapists, paedophiles, etc.) all in the same hellhole is obviously idiotic. If elements of communal constraint are necessary they will have nothing to do with the brutal repressive reality of prisons throughout history. To think that we’d call such forcible restraint a ‘prison’ is like calling ‘workers’ councils’ (or whatever term you’d like to imagine the future fantasy society to be) ‘the State’ or ‘the government’. This is not just a question of semantic terms but of a break with hierarchical notions and practices of social control. Killing scum is not the same as capital punishment. Forcible restraint is not the same as prison. A margin of rationing (where scarcity is not forced by capitalist property relations but comes about because of, for example, differences between different geographical areas) is not money. Obviously in this future possibility there will be some way of punishing people who act in ways the community they’re part of find unbearable. But it’s not just semantics that separates, say, “grounding” a teenage kid from the idea of putting him/her in prison, but a general attitude that you want social relations to constantly experiment with changes that have some healthy result. If we talk about the abolition of the State that also means abolishing specialists in social control; the task of determining the methods of making it clear to people that certain behaviour is unacceptable will be the task of the whole of the anti-hierarchical community. To ground this in the past and present: what punishments have we received or given that we considered changed a situation for the good? What punishments during intense moments of class struggle have changed situations for the good? What punishments are we prepared to mete out to those we consider beyond the pale? To anyone not clogged up with dominant perspectives, prison isn’t an answer to any of these. But if the Libconmen/women have anything to do with this possible society, it will mean an extension of their “libertarian” methods of dealing with ideas they find uncomfortable (i.e. the fog of censorship that pervades their site) to more consequential means of punishment – “self-managed” cops and screws. In all previous revolutions, many of the ‘radicals’ of the past became the politicians of the future. See Danny Cohn-Bendit: the seeds of his later officially accceptable power were already partly there in his desire to be a spokesman of a movement whose most radical aspects involved acting for yourself (footnote 37). If you don’t take risks for yourself, then what can you do to speak up for (not the same as speaking for) others who do?

*************************************************************************************************

“Can you imagine telling a young person involved in the anti-cuts demos or the riots, someone beginning to develop a critique of the system, “here have a look at our magazine, we’ve also got a web site with forums and a library, we are anti-capitalists and anti-state, oh yeah one of our members works with the police but don’t worry about it everything’s ok, he’s really on our side”, who the fuck is going to take you seriously?”

- Dinosavros (footnote 38)(November 4th 2011)

**************************

One of the reasons Leninism is more widely seen as discredited, after the fall of East European state capitalism, is not because of the ideology of political organisation, but of the misery of the political parties aiming to take over the state. However, the use of confining debate and conflict to what is a priori defined by – in this case – libcom admin as “acceptable”, i.e. acceptable to a politics whose perspective is primarily for others, has something in common with Leninism. And if people are so imbued by the ideology of this society, even were there to be some kind of revolution with little significant transformation based on the interaction of the point of view of the masses of individuals, a self-managed version of this society would very likely be increasingly advocated, a more modern version of the statist version of the dictatorship of the proletariat. Though it would be impossible to be clear about what this would entail in any specific detail, one can imagine a bit by projecting current attitudes into a kind of democratic “Workers’ Councils” future. For example, we can see in the present (and some of the attitudes towards Aufhebengate express this) that there are plenty of “libertarians”/”anarchists” (whatever) who mostly merely follow and imitate, who want to be a part of a scene above all, who don’t want to develop their own intelligence, confidence and inititative, who often defer to the intellectuals they trust and thus, by sheer lazy lack of critical vigilance, succumb to the articulate experts, who could well have hidden agendas.

***

To see Lenin as outside his historical precedents is to conveniently see him as a fairly unique abberation and not a result of the weaknesses of the revolutionary movement before him, which is also reproduced today and in the last 30 years or more, amongst many anarchists, left communists, ultra-leftists, situs, etc.

Revolutionaries in the 1st International helped create the basis for the political monstrosity of Leninism when they, despite Marx’s “the emancipation of the working class is the task of the working class itself”, decided that the workers by themselves couldn’t destroy capitalism without leaders and without concentrated centres of class consciousness. Whilst a specifically international worker’s association was an original innovation for its time, with historical reflection, what is clear is that organising the organisation constantly interfered with the need to decide what to organise. Bureaucratic specialisation – secretary, treasurer, etc. – as an innate part of this “organisation building” was a practice which was in some ways imitative of the political organisations of the bourgeoisie in form at least, though obviously not in content. What is clear is that organising the organisation constantly interfered with the need to reflect and decide on what to organise; the desire to organise a collective image substituted for concentrating on this essential question – what activity is worth organising together. From then on, all those boring “Where we stand”s, “Minimum definitions of a revolutionary organisation”, etc., intended to propagandise a set of “correct” but fixed and ready-made criticisms and abstractly unite people around these unnuanced positions. However, one of their hidden aims was, and is, to protect the adhesion of the collectivity by narrowly setting out limits (in particular, purely “objective” criteria) to the permissable critiques of the individuals adhering to this collectivity. Here we can see the link between the 1st International and most of the subsequent experiments with revolutionary organisations. One of the main aims of the 1st International was to win over/seduce/entice/recruit the masses with openly reformist ideas separated from a critique of capitalism as a whole; only once inside the party would the workers learn the whole of the truth as revolutionaries saw it. Typical politics: a mediated and hierarchical view of revolution where political consciousness separates means and ends and hierarchically patronises “the workers”. Battles over the organisation between Marx and Bakunin (Marx easily being the greater manipulator) became battles over the possession of the revolutionary movement (which at that time was primarily considered in terms of those who explicitly considered themselves ‘revolutionaries’). But if neither of the two main traditions of the 1st International – marxism and anarchism – had concerned themselves with getting followers and alligning their different camps, then the essential questions of international solidarity, of international communication and other forms of self-organisation, could have been addressed without such political manoeuvres (a symptom of this nowadays manifests itself in the various milieus as a sneering contempt for anybody who’s not into the particular dogma of that scene, dismissing not just what is obviously narrow and reductionist in an opposing dogma, but also what partial truth it may contain, what makes it attractive to those hoping to oppose this world).

However, this is not just a question of a rivalrous attitude in attempting to influence others, but also the fact that the centre of this desire to influence was not based on firstly influencing themselves, undercutting their own complicity with alienation, with hierarchical power and the commodity form. In this upside down perspective, the idea is first of all to win othersto the cause. This manifests itself today and in Lenin’s time with a more crude politico mentality: ‘ordinary’ workers fight for themselves – for their own self-interest, but ‘revolutionaries’ are other-directed, caught up in political roles, fighting to gain adherents to their ideas. One can see this contradiction in one of the bits of propaganda by Solfed (which a majority of Libcom admin belong to) after the August riots, in which they condemned rioters for burning cars because it prevented people from going to work; at the same time, they’d put out posters, at the anarchist bookfair, celebrating May ’68 with burning cars on them39. Too much of anarcho organising involves amassing partisans who can spout the correct line, rather than developing their own autonomous initiatives, rather than organising activities directly without mediating them with an Organisation (obviously it’s more complex than that but that’s essentially the problem with ‘revolutionary organisations’ ). In Lenin’s case the ‘hierarchically correct line’ led to the State and to State capitalism and to Stalin’s brutal primitive capital accumulation. But, although the content of anarchists’ and other revolutionaries’ critique rightly condemns the monster created from that part of Marx’s inconsistent ideas which believed in the State as a neutral tool, they still have an other-directed role which thinks that they have already rebelled but now it’s up to others to revolt. Marx said “the educators must be educated”, a radical idea that led in the late 60s to “the revolutionaries must be revolutionised”. That’s still the problem today, and Lenin’s influence is in part to blame (but let’s not go overboard on this blaming: it’s first of all the other-directed political mentality that’s to blame).

As the Aufhebengate scandal unfolded, there were some who regretted the fact of what seemed like an internecine struggle, that “communists” have far more in common than they have significant differences. But whatever you call yourself is largely irrelevant: it’s in the practical struggle against our alienation, the world and our comportment in it, that we express our desires for a different world, and that can include those who do not call themselves communist/ anarchist/ libertarian/ situationist/ autonomist/ marxist or whatever as much as those who do. Those who are complacent, resigned and who unnecessarily reproduce hierarchical relations and strengthen contradictions within the margin of choice their lives have are supporters of this society whatever they call themselves. Such an attitude runs counter to the historical experience of the movement that has described itself as “communist”. On the most basic level, history – of above all the 20th century – is littered with examples of people who called themselves “communist”, “socialist” or “anarchist” which they weren’tin any way or degree. Labels tend to create an inner and outer definition of yourself that allies yourself with those who adopt the label, and oppose those who don’t, when the reality is that regardless of the label you adopt or avoid adopting, it’s on your acts and their consequences, on how you embody your ideas in practice (including what you say or write) – not on whether you in theory support or oppose this, that or the other.

——————————————————————————————————————–

“The site probably is more boring. It’s also a lot better as a political forum”.

- Fall Back (one of libcom admin) on the changes in Libcom Blog since Aufhebengate (footnote 40).

________________________________________________________________________

“The question is not to abolish the split between politics and daily life; it’s necessary to criticise politics within daily life itself, where it started from, and only afterwards came to dominate daily life in the form of the State, the parties and all the various representations. …Thus , the critique of politicians and of politics shouldn’t limit itself to a crude anarchistic attack on “political men”: it only makes full sense in its application in daily life itself, to the politicians of daily life, just as it has already been applied to the politicians of organisation. life, just as it has already been applied to the politicians of organisation. The politics of and in daily life is the last possible expression of the State – i.e. daily life and its relations led in a way similar to the way in which the State or a commercial business (it comes to the same thing) are led. And it’s no threat to Capital if, at the moment that the old separated politics can no longer impose itself on people and make them carry on like sheep, it searches for a way to maintain itself – this time in the heart of daily life itself.

Thus, it’s necessary to stop understanding “revolutionary” politics as it wants to be understood, that is to say in the so-called struggle it proposes to lead against the dominant society, which is merely the external justification for the necessity of its existence: politics is less a relation between two opposing sides than above all a relation within each side.”

- Joel Cornualt, Pour le passage de la decomposition a des constructions nouvelles, 1978.

________________________________________________________________________

The Libheben scandal in one sense marks the unconscious acceptance within the ‘libertarian communist milieu’ of the idea that you can fight alienation with alienated means. In an epoch in which old-style Leninism is utterly discredited, the new forms of representation of the communist project stand against proletarian subjectivity in the form of recuperators of this subjectivity. They talk of people fighting and speaking for themselves but only to keep up appearances. They talk of “the critique of daily life” as just a correct line, an ideology opposed to other ideologies.Their diffuse hierarchical mentality is a subtler form of the more obviously outmoded rigidity of old style manipulative political rackets . From little acorns of petty manipulative politics, mighty oaks of counter-revolutionary machinations grow.

There were some who hoped that Libcom would reflect a bit on their opportunism, subvert it openly and practically and move on. Somehow we doubt it. For one thing, it would require one or two of those who are either part of admin or close to it to break ranks and take the risk of integrity, to break with their indifference. To take some individual inititative seems scary, particularly considering the flak you get. So the status quo continues, driven by the boring momentum of habit. Continued participation on Libcom until there’s a significant confrontation with what they’ve chosen to repress is a lazy compromise too far. In the past one could genuinely feel that participation on the widely-read Libcom Blog, however eclectic its perspectives, was a way of publicising critiques that would otherwise get little airing (I even came top of the Libcom Blog parade for 2010 for a couple of articles on the social movements in France in the autumn). And Libcom undoubtedly have an excellent library. But an excellent library isn’t much of a reason to comply with their fundamentally flawed flounderings. Continued participation would be a bit like writing in The Sun: collaboration with collaborators undermines what one has to say – the medium becomes the message, and implies support for libcom admin’s hopelessly self-contradictory politics. In strikes, riots, occupations “eclecticism” is inevitable – you partly get on with people because you have to for the fight to advance – and, as long as the momentum of the situation is maintained, that’s a fine thing – differences are aired and have both a positive and negative aspect. But when it’s clear that some people just want to “speak radical” , to maintain an image of “rebellion” and avoid practical conclusions, ending up supporting what they’d claimed to oppose, then tolerance either reaches breaking point or ends up suffocating everything by changing “critique” into some abstract game.

In Thesis 101 of Debord’s Society of the Spec, he quotes – ‘In all previous revolutions,’ wrote Rosa Luxemburg in Die Rote Fahne of 21st December 1918, ‘the combatants faced each other openly and directly ― class against class, program against program. In the present revolution, the troops protecting the old order are not fighting under the insignia of the ruling class, but under the banner of a ‘social-democratic party.’ If the central question of revolution was posed openly and honestly ― Capitalism or socialism? ― the great mass of the proletariat would today have no doubts or hesitations.’ Thus, a few days before its destruction, the radical current of the German proletariat discovered the secret of the new conditions engendered by the whole process that had gone before (a development to which the representation of the working class had greatly contributed): the spectacular organization of the ruling order’s defense, the social reign of appearances where no “central question” can any longer be posed “openly and honestly.” The revolutionary representation of the proletariat had at this stage become both the primary cause and the central result of the general falsification of society.”

In this epoch, where those who contest this society no longer have any pretensions to wanting, or illusions in, a political party, it would seem that this particular lesson from history has been, for the most part, learnt by those fighting this society – most of whom recognise there’s no externally organised hope that could save them. Nevertheless, milieus, scenes, cliques have substituted for political parties, which have generally been more about providing a social network than merely the simplistic way of getting some ready-made meaning and superficial connection with history that political parties provide. In this, the revolutionary role – the representation of being on the side of the proletariat whilst not beginning with opposing your own complicity with this society – is still rife. Obviously the direct consequences of JD’s representation of proletarian critique is not of the same immediate magnitude as the killing of a Rosa Luxemburg or a Karl Liebkecht of our epoch, at least not for now; but the uses of such crowd psychology is being shown in Oakland, Wisconsin, London, Paris and elsewhere, where the cops sometimes use the strategy advocated by JD, Stott and Reicher. In this epoch the defeat of a global social movement (in which ideology and its practical applications – both from the State and the ruling society and within the revolutionary camp itself – play a significant part) means rooting out JD and co.’s little contribution towards such a defeat and its horrific consequences. Combining peace police and war police, openly supported and advocated by these scum, within the social movements developing, have already helped arrest loads of people.

Footnotes

27This may have partly been due to the fact that Aufheben weren’t expected: they hadn’t booked a table – someone sneakily booked one for them.

28Published here on Libcom as simply “Open letter from TPTG”: http://libcom.org/news/open-letter-tptg-06102011

29 One of the most obvious political manipulations was the way the Libcom team claimed that avantiultras and Dr. faustus were the same person, communicating from the same ISP, and thus hoped by this falsehood to rubbish the whole perspective of the TPTG on this issue.

30A critique of this email and Aufheben‘s slight re-write of it is included in the TPTG’s “Second Open Letter…” here: http://anarchistnews.org/node/15545

31 http://libcom.org/forums/feedback-content/why-article-has-been-removed-07102011?page=13#comment-463074

32 See the comments on June 8 2010 here: libcom.org/history/join-banana-club-memories-brambles-farm-peace-camp

33In March JD gave permission for a text of his to be published in that hotbed of radicality, The Daily Telegraph - http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/energy/fuel/9173964/Fuel-strike-commentary-Dont-panic-message-leads-to-panic.html
34 “The secret of the demagogue is to appear as stupid as his audience so that it can believe itself to be as smart as he”. - Karl Kraus.

35 For a good, mid-80s, critique of the welfare state, see: libcom.org/library/welfare-state-isn’t-now-never-was-”genuine-gain-working-class” . It’s worth pointing out that the policy of “military Keynesianism”, the only Keynesianism neo-liberals like, was actually advocated by Keynes himself as a prerequisite for a better “standard of life”. In the New Republic, July 1940, he wrote: “It is, it seems, politically impossible for a capitalist democracy to organise expenditure on the scale necessary to make the grand experiment which would prove my case – except in war conditions…If the United States takes seriously the material and economic side of the defense of civilisation and steels itself to a vast dissipation of resources in the preparation of arms, it will learn its strength – and learn it as it can never learn it otherwise; learn a lesson that can be turned to account afterward to reconstruct a world which will understand the first principles governing the production of wealth…War preparation, so far from requiring a sacrifice, will be the stimulus, which neither victory nor defeat of the New Deal could give you to greater individual consumption and a higher standard of life…” One can imagine, given the significant possibility of another world war over the next decade, how versions of such arguments might well be used by some of today’s advocates of Keynesianism.

36 This comment was originally posted on a thread about prison guards going on strike. Significantly, it has disappeared down the memory hole. Though reactions to the comments exist, Fall Back has airbrushed his own reflections from the thread. It is one thing to be embarassed by one’s past, it is another to hide and falsify it.

37 His book, translated as Obsolete Communism: the Left-Wing Alternative, co-written with his brother, although kind of interesting, gives, for instance, some credence to Maoism. It’s largely a re-hash of the ideas of Solidarity and Socialisme ou Barbarie with a bit of pro-situationism thrown in, and nothing really original on top of those influences. Not that he wasn’t involved in some good activities at the time of May ’68, but he quickly succumbed to the flattery that the spectacle of radicality tames people with, getting involved in, amongst other things, trying to do a movie with Godard, a Western with the Indians as the good guys (and this just a few months after the movement in May).

38[url= http://libcom.org/forums/general/aufhebens-crowd-controlling-cop-consult...] http://libcom.org/forums/general/aufhebens-crowd-controlling-cop-consult...
[/url]
39 In Athens on September 12th, 2 incendiary devices, planted – with care to avoid dangers to passers-by – in the entrances of Marks & Spencers and Benneton, were claimed in solidarity with the August riots, and criticised the “North London Solidarity Federation” for collaborating with the police/media language of repression.

40 http://libcom.org/forums/feedback-content/comments-libcom-changing-31072012?page=1#comment-490085

Chilli Sauce's picture
Chilli Sauce
Offline
Joined: 5-10-07
Jan 13 2013 08:37

What a fucking giant pile of bullshit.

Curious Wednesday
Offline
Joined: 11-01-12
Jan 13 2013 08:49
Quote:
What a fucking giant pile of bullshit.

Brilliant, witty, and well-argued. Nothing more to add.

Мѣньскъ
Offline
Joined: 13-01-13
Jan 13 2013 10:01

Libcom and JD's links to MI5, exposed by brave investigations by TPTG [link] go back many years.

In 2001, 'Kay', then a young member of the SWP, collaborated with the police to have the WOMBLES arrested in Brighton [link]. This was the origin of the long-running feud between the WOMBLES and Kay's libcom group [link].

At some point his handlers decided he would be more use inside the so-called 'libertarian communist' milieu. This would also prove beneficial to his budding academic career. In 2005 'Kay', ostensibly now an 'anarchist', attended the Gleneagles anti-G8 protests. Little did his fellow protestors know that he was studying their every move.

In 2009, 'Kay', real name admin: incorrect real name removed , published a paper in the academic journal 'Social Movement Studies', advising the police on strategies for "disempowerment". He brazenly boasted that "The G8 direct actions in Gleneagles provided an opportunity to examine such dynamics of (dis)empowerment in situ." The co-author was no other than Aufheben's crowd control expert JD [link].

In 2011, when Aufheben's insidious links to police repression were first revealed, 'Kay' lead the defence team with a series of lies and distortions. When a libcom poster revealed 'Kay' was really an academic working in JD's department, perhaps even on his payroll, libcom admins deleted the posts and banned the poster. But what is seen cannot be unseen. What is known cannot be forgotten.

By this time 'Kay' was a prominent member of the Solidarity Federation, leading lights in the fetid milieu of pseudo-opposition. 'SolFed' is overwhelmingly composed of middle class academics, who in the best traditions of anarcho-syndicalism yearn for a taste of power and hold no authentic opposition to this society. During the August Riots, SolFed sided with the state and the petty-bourgeoisie to crush the insurrection [link], later even joining the neofascist 'broom army' to literally sweep away the traces of resistance [link].

'Kay' aka admin: snip, JD and libcom are thick as thieves. Their pseudo-radicalism and links to the security services are well-documented with publicly available evidence. It is not the blind who refuse to see!

Noah Fence's picture
Noah Fence
Offline
Joined: 18-12-12
Jan 13 2013 10:30

Blimey!

Chilli Sauce's picture
Chilli Sauce
Offline
Joined: 5-10-07
Jan 13 2013 11:04

Webby, ignore this nonsense. This is a long-running and totally unsubstantiated feud led by a small group of prolier-than-thou left communists.

M, you are impressively uninformed. Factually, you just have no idea what you're talking about.

CW, all these allegations have been disproven and argued out ages ago. It's not doing anyone any favors re-hashing an argument based on just objectively incorrect information and loads of conjecture off the back of it.

I mean, Jesus fuck, disseminating false information is bad enough, but taking the argument down the SF just = boojie academics path flies in the face of anyone who's actually come into contact with organisation. It's actually quite sad.

Chilli Sauce's picture
Chilli Sauce
Offline
Joined: 5-10-07
Jan 13 2013 11:15
Curious Wednesday wrote:
Quote:
What a fucking giant pile of bullshit.

Brilliant, witty, and well-argued. Nothing more to add.

Fair enough.

What a humongous, ill-informed, and slanderous pile of hot steaming bullshit.

Better?

Curious Wednesday
Offline
Joined: 11-01-12
Jan 13 2013 11:04

Re. post #4 above, here's another conspiracy theory:

Libcom have decided to belittle the critique made of it by, amongst others, Samotnaf and the TPTG, by an amalgam technique which conflates this post with their critique, and then becomes a pretext to obliterate this thread and to trash those who critique it as tinfoil hat conspiracy nuts. Maybe Kay wrote the above himself. Of course, it could be true - and I do not want to automatically assume it is not, but the OP is not dependent on the truth or otherwise of post #4.

Chilli Sauce's picture
Chilli Sauce
Offline
Joined: 5-10-07
Jan 13 2013 11:05

This is beyond parody.

Rob Ray's picture
Rob Ray
Offline
Joined: 6-11-03
Jan 13 2013 11:44

Hey you know you've made it when you acquire your very own Alex Jones wink.

Rank
Offline
Joined: 14-06-11
Jan 13 2013 11:41
Chilli Sauce wrote:
CW, all these allegations have been disproven and argued out ages ago. It's not doing anyone any favors re-hashing an argument based on just objectively incorrect information and loads of conjecture off the back of it.

Still playing a straight bat on this then... Someone said 'the bigger the lie, the more believable it is (I think), so it's a pretty bold statement, to say the least, that "all these allegations have been disproven". One doesn't have to conjecture when faced with JD's publishing and academic history (papers presented, conferences attended) which is on public record. His public complicity in developing 'liberal' public order ideology is absolutely open. If addressing the inconsistency between JD's anti-state theory and practice and his academic theory and practice (at a relatively high level in the social hierarchy) is throwing around baseless allegations and slander, then libcom and Aufheben are seriously deluded. Even if considered as 'allegations', precisely none have been disproved.

Rob Ray's picture
Rob Ray
Offline
Joined: 6-11-03
Jan 13 2013 11:56

Dude the above article (presumably you or a mate of yours given your commendably fast appearance as a backer of the OP) implicates the Bookfair (where the organising group contains zero Libcom members, and no SolFed members), Libcom (which has three Solfed members) and SolFed (membership of 120ish) in a giant conspiracy to ruin the anarkies11!1. It's completely bonkers and should be treated as such.

Tian's picture
Tian
Offline
Joined: 3-08-12
Jan 13 2013 13:38
Curious Wednesday wrote:
I've not digested all of it, but it raises some valid points which should be aired. Any thoughts?

What valid points do you think it has raised? It is rather all over the place and there is a lot here (Paul Mason, Lenin, Aufheben, Prisons etc.). Almost all of it sounds pretty loopy, old news, troll-y or personal grudge-y to me.

Chilli Sauce's picture
Chilli Sauce
Offline
Joined: 5-10-07
Jan 13 2013 16:21
CW wrote:
I've not digested all of it, but it raises some valid points which should be aired. Any thoughts?

Yeah, I enjoyed this as well.

"Oh, hey guys, I think this article has some valid points. This is all a bit new to me, but I'm curious what you think...?"

Oh wait, you're fucking not. You clearly have an agenda and an axe to grind.

Rob Ray's picture
Rob Ray
Offline
Joined: 6-11-03
Jan 13 2013 16:09

Surely not!

(Apart from the bit where he mentions Samtonaf by name as someone who got "belittled" at the time even though the article he posted doesn’t mention Samtonaf at all - time for an IP check?)

Chilli Sauce's picture
Chilli Sauce
Offline
Joined: 5-10-07
Jan 13 2013 16:20
Quote:
Dude the above article (presumably you or a mate of yours given your commendably fast appearance as a backer of the OP

I like this too: the conspiracy fringe of the left-communists bigging each other up to post the article on libcom, that well-known website of provocateurs which exists only in the service of state security services.

"You post. Okay, okay, I will, but I'm using a public computer and a proxy service. But I'll only do it if you back me. And not just with ups and downs, but actually posting on the thread, man.... You know those admins, they're based in the Met. I won't do this shit on my own!"

Cooked's picture
Cooked
Offline
Joined: 6-04-10
Jan 13 2013 17:25
Rob Ray wrote:
time for an IP check?)

That's a shit idea even as a joke. There are really no reasons to check anyones ip-address on a site like this. The crime of multiple accounts does not justify it. Having admins with that ability is bad*, the fact that it has been used is worse.

Even if this saga is tiresome and uppsetting it would be better to avoid the sarcasm and ... belittling as in some posts above. If you arrive at this page without knowing the back story you as in "libcom" look like the bad guys. Few people would have the energy to go through the wall of text and check the links and accusations to determine what is true and what is completely unsubstatiated. Unfortunately this kind of FUD, which I believe most of it is, can be quite damaging in the long run.

*I'm very critical of libcoms logging and I think that the tracking by twitter, google, quantserve(!) etc should be disabled. The reasons for allowing it are not as good as the reasons for removing it. Anonymised logs would be enough for troubleshooting etc and those 'most popular' posts are slightly amusing and can stroke some ego's but it comes at a potentially high cost.

Spikymike
Offline
Joined: 6-01-07
Jan 13 2013 17:27

This was bound to come up again at some stage and whilst I don't agree with the wholesale dishing of those involved with the libcom project, which continues to have a useful function in both it's library facility and some news and discussion threads, the Aufheben group has never satisfactorily dealt with the disparity between it's theory and practice on this issue in my opininion and their defenders here have failed to get to grips with some justified criticism of them. You don't have to like the style of the full text or agree with everything in it (there is an element of 'amalgam technique' on both sides of the increasingly shrill argument) to recognise that it contains some valid points. And I say that as someone undoubtedly criticised as a bit of a 'fence-sitter' given my continued support for libcom since this was last raised on this site.

Rob Ray's picture
Rob Ray
Offline
Joined: 6-11-03
Jan 13 2013 17:44

Problem is every time this comes up it's another time drain for the sake of a couple of idiots who have nothing more pressing on than badmouthing people for not joining them in their crusade against academics. Most people have long since decided spending yet more time reiterating why the entire organised anarchist movement isn't conniving with the state is not worth the bother.

Agent of the International's picture
Agent of the In...
Offline
Joined: 17-08-12
Jan 13 2013 18:13

Here's a conspiracy: I am a secret Agent of the Fifth International sent here from the future to make sure the revolution goes according to plan. Revolutionary organizations everywhere, like Libcom.org, are being infiltrated by An-caps and Stalinists who want to destroy the possibility of social change. My task is to identify these culprits. And I can identity quite a few Stalinists here!

smile

Tim Finnegan's picture
Tim Finnegan
Offline
Joined: 16-05-12
Jan 14 2013 01:58

(Whoops, double post.)

Tim Finnegan's picture
Tim Finnegan
Offline
Joined: 16-05-12
Jan 14 2013 01:55

What I don't get is, if SolFed is secretly a police front, why does it matter if it's "middle class"? Kinda seems like you have to pick one to be pissed off about.

Arbeiten's picture
Arbeiten
Offline
Joined: 28-01-11
Jan 14 2013 02:04
Мѣньскъ wrote:
'SolFed' is overwhelmingly composed of middle class academics,

Proof? Otherwise I call bullshit on this claim (ya'll can argue the other claims, but having to work everyday for a wage, this shit pisses me off).

Mr. Jolly's picture
Mr. Jolly
Offline
Joined: 28-04-11
Jan 14 2013 03:22
Quote:
'SolFed' is overwhelmingly composed of middle class academics,

Reeaaallllyyyy

Off the top of my head my local has the following people in the following jobs

Computer programmer
Lorry Driver
Plumber
Teacher
Academic surprised
unemployed
takeaway delivery
admin person
Nurse

Not everyone that is in SolFed posts on here, the more academically inclined/students do. Libcom is not the mouthpiece for SolFed. Some like LibCom some really hate it.

RedEd's picture
RedEd
Offline
Joined: 27-11-10
Jan 14 2013 03:21

Yeah, "Mr. Jolly", but let's look at what those roles really mean:

Computer programmer (shows solfed thinks working class minds are nothing more than computers)
Plumber (petite-bourgeois)
Teacher (petit-accademic)
Academic (DAMNING PROOF!)
unemployed (on sabbatical from academic job)
takeaway delivery (code for bailiff)
admin person (no doubt a high raking university administrator)
Nurse (in..errr..a teaching hospital probably)

Mr. Jolly's picture
Mr. Jolly
Offline
Joined: 28-04-11
Jan 14 2013 03:32

You forgot Tarquin our entryist lorry driver.

bootsy
Offline
Joined: 30-11-09
Jan 14 2013 04:21

For anyone who is unaware of the 'Aufhebengate' scandal there is a reading list here. The TPTG's second open letter in particular deals quite conclusively with the response of the 'Libcom defense team'.

Tarwater's picture
Tarwater
Offline
Joined: 29-12-08
Jan 14 2013 04:33

Neither side convinced me whatsoever, i don't know why everyone is acting as though this is an open and shut case.

Curious Wednesday
Offline
Joined: 11-01-12
Jan 14 2013 15:30

Firstly:

Мѣньскъ:

Quote:
Libcom and JD's links to MI5, exposed by brave investigations by TPTG

This is a distortion of what the TPTG have done: they merely exposed what JD was doing, giving olectures to cops, working for NATO on emergency service stuff. Nobody has made any direct link to MI5 and JD or Libcom.

Secondly, the inane responses from the defenders of Libcom here, and the silence of admin, make it ridiculous to try to debate this text, as was my original intention. And make it a waste of time to participate on Libcom anymore. I should have listened to others telling me this, but I was briefly giving you the benefit of the doubt. Short but sour.

Khawaga's picture
Khawaga
Offline
Joined: 7-08-06
Jan 14 2013 15:46

Curious, you have to realize that this was debated to death when it first came up. Debated to death and with neither 'side' being that convincing as Tarwater said, and in any case people are discussing it here now. So It's a bit weird that you write this:

Quote:
Secondly, the inane responses from the defenders of Libcom here, and the silence of admin, make it ridiculous to try to debate this text, as was my original intention. And make it a waste of time to participate on Libcom anymore. I should have listened to others telling me this, but I was briefly giving you the benefit of the doubt. Short but sour.

And your OP is from yesterday. Give it some time. Otherwise I am left but no choice to believe that you didn't really come here to actually debate, but to confirm your own prejudices about aufheben, libcom, solved and the BBC. It Is dishonest, and this is coming from someone who agreed more with the critiques of TPTG and samontnaf than with libcom.

Curious Wednesday
Offline
Joined: 11-01-12
Jan 14 2013 16:30

Khawaga - it's only "dead" for those who want to pretend there is nothing to answer. Like the Leninists who see Kronstadt as dead. Or any dominant ideologist who thinks one should not debate the past. As someone said,

Quote:
"Those who forget the past are condemned to repeat it".

But fair enough - maybe I should be patient. So, instead, I will keep silent until someone makes a valid criticism of the text - not the silliness of Chilli Sauce, Rob Ray, Red Ed, Tian, Agent of the 5th International, Mr Jolly or the silent majority who upped all of these contentless posts. Self-reflection, an essential basis for progress, is beyond them .

Topic locked