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Anarcho-leftism & the politics of libcom

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Tian's picture
Tian
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Jan 14 2013 17:06

I think the onus is on you to frame the discussion given the broad scope of the piece if you really want to debate the issues and not simply shit stir. Preferably without threatening to flounce off the forums in a huff never to return (the sure sign of any good troll; see all the ancap threads of late).

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Jan 14 2013 18:16

Curious I'm neither a libcom admin, nor have I ever met JD so sorry, this is nothing to do with me lacking self-reflection - my personal stake in the outcome of any debate is minimal other than as a member of the movement and someone who sometimes works with some of the admins. My conclusion is based on directly talking to people who know them well and through reading the debates around it and it is as follows.

1. JD has been cited as a solid comrade by everyone I've spoken to who's ever actually met them, as opposed to TPTG or samtonaf, who criticise from halfway across Europe based exclusively on their interpretations of what they've found from freely available online sources.
2. JD probably got it wrong by putting out the work they did and pitching it in the way that they have.
3. It's not a massive issue, because a) police predictably ignored the advice, which was based on minimising conflict with protesters by not brutalising people iirc b) afaik no key information was passed on about any individuals or groups in the process. In terms of damaging behaviour it's orders of magnitude less important than the average Occupy hippy demanding we all be nice to police on a demonstration.

Because of all that, in particular point three, I think the way in which TPTG and Samotnaf have smeared the motivations and actions of people they don't know, thrown around wild accusations and sown paranoia as far and wide as they could around the issue is actually potentially far, far more damaging to co-operation and openness in the movement than any good that might come from drumming one academic out of... what, exactly. Writing for Aufheben? Posting it up on libcom?

The whole thing was ludicrously overblown from the start and always smacked of people getting their rocks off by "saving the movement" to me. That they've since continued to attempt to attack anyone and everyone who calls them on this as somehow complicit and have continually ratcheted up their rhetoric until finally the entirety of organised British anarchism is involved in some sort of conspiracy to destroy its own ideology seems the logical conclusion of such madness - a madness I want no part of.

Edit: From syntax alone I reckon you probably are Samotnaf. care to deny it?

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Chilli Sauce
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Jan 14 2013 20:43

BAM!!!

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flaneur
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Jan 14 2013 23:37

I dunnae really care either way, but maybes and probablys are not going to reassure anybody. I'm not sure what's more daft though, that it was all just an innocent mistake from someone who should know better or folk accepting that.

bootsy
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Jan 15 2013 01:05

Interestingly Rob Ray seems to have abandoned the original line of the defense team, that JD's name was added to the problematic articles (all of them, apparently) without his knowledge or consent, and is now simply trying to claim that the point of these articles was to encourage the police to treat demonstrators more peacefully. This is a distortion, the research advises a graded response from the police to 'public order situations' in order to encourage the crowd to police itself. In other words, JD has used their experience within protest movements to advise the police on how to strengthen divisions within the crowd in order to render police violence more targeted and effective rather than indiscriminate. Some of the crowd will still most certainly find itself getting bashed, pepper sprayed, cuffed or whatever. The difference is that the police will do this in a way that avoids eliciting the sympathy of the previously peaceful crowd members, and which in fact utilizes their active support. If this more targeted approach fails the riot squad still remains at the ready in the rearguard. As the TPTG point out this is a technocratic, realpolitik strategy and is not an example of liberal-reformism.

The rebuff that this information has been ignored by the police is pathetic to say the least (even if it is true, which I find unlikely). Certainly JD and his colleagues must consider their research on crowd psychology to be useful and accurate, otherwise they would not have spent many years developing it. Ultimately though the utility of their public order strategies will be determined through practice, and they are bound to be adopted by police officers in some form at some point in time. Although I'm ignorant of the exact process through which the police in the UK and elsewhere develop their public order strategies it seems to me that those suggestions put forward by JD and co. must have some use as they play on crowd dynamics I myself (and many others) have observed many times in protests. That the police might be too stupid to make use of such information is hardly a defense of JD.

RR further distorts the issues raised by Samotnaf and the TPTG by pointing out that JD never actually informed on particular individuals or groups. Unfortunately what JD has done is much worse. While informing on members of obscure political sects is contemptible, its impact on the global class struggle would probably be negligible. However, observing and analysing the dynamics of crowd situations (and gaining a degree of insight which is only possible as a participant), and then participating in turning such information into effective police strategy is behavior which could, quite directly, lead to the imprisonment of militant proletarians not only in the UK but also in any country where the police decide to take a more sophisticated approach to the repression of social unrest. More importantly however, such strategies could play an important role in undermining the possibility of a revolutionary change since such change, at its heart, depends upon the unification of the proletariat against the State and Capital.

As for this article (actually it is only a section of a much longer article) I'm still forming my own opinions of it however the task which the author is attempting to undertake is both necessary and worthwhile. The collective self-delusion of those in and around the libcom group regarding this issue is a phenomena worth dissecting. The assertion that there is a clique like group dynamic at play on this website has only been strengthened by some of the more obnoxious responses which immediately followed the posting of this article.

What is absolutely bizarre about this entire saga is the commitment of some comrades to issues which they can affect marginally to say the least (the N30 strikes for example) while maintaining a totally fatalistic attitude to an issue which they can quite directly affect, and which might have some beneficial affect on the international class struggle. I still want to believe that some of the individuals involved with the libcom project will break with this lying fuck and his apologists, but I'm certainly not holding my breath.

Once again I would encourage anyone who is unaware of this issue to refer to the page I linked earlier. All the necessary information is there, form your own conclusions.

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Jan 15 2013 02:38

I have a q. What are the accusers trying to accomplish out of all of this? What is a fitting end result to these actions in their minds? Maybe I've missed that from previous exchanges (I don't have time to read everything associated with this incident).

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Jan 15 2013 03:21

You might want to go back to my original selection of posts bootsy, in fact I said throughout that I wasn't particularly interested in deciding whether or not the extended line from the continent (and apparently New Zealand) was correct, while reckoning something like point 2 was probably the case. Sorry if that's a bit inconvenient for your "defence committee line" theory.

My main issue has always been that the entire affair was treated as some sort of sainted intervention from an international investigative team into a dark conspiracy at the heart of British anarchism judging all and sundry which has done nothing but harm in and of itself.

Hell I've done a share of it in the past I guess, but I've come to despise this sort of gossip-mongering from people who are hundreds (in your case thousands) of miles clear from the fallout and simply enjoying a ride which hurts real people and fucks up the movement around me, and that's my single biggest motivation.

And tbh yeah people probably should look at that thread, if only to see the starting point which led to the paranoia displayed in the OP of this one. It's a salutary lesson in the value of perspective and direct contact with sources over spinning yarns about people you've never met from your laptop far away.

On that note, I think I'm going to leave this, I don't reckon you lot deserve any more excuses to keep flinging shit at people.

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Jan 15 2013 04:08

As long as the people pissed about this mostly communicate in 5000+ word documents I think it will remain a tempest in a teapot. I have nothing to do with how libcom is run but FWIW I think the people involved are too libertarian about stuff like this. I'd ban cats way more often, personally. It improves the signal to noise ratio, and if the banned don't like it they can go write 5000 words about it on some other site.

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Jan 15 2013 08:27

"defense team" roll eyes

Curious Wednesday
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Jan 15 2013 08:47

Most of what has been posted here in defence of "anarcho-leftism" is petty and a distraction from the essential. So that leaves just a bit from Rob Rays post:

Quote:
JD has been cited as a solid comrade by everyone I've spoken to who's ever actually met them, as opposed to TPTG or samtonaf, who criticise from halfway across Europe based exclusively on their interpretations of what they've found from freely available online sources.

. So the location of someone is a deciding factor for you. Down with internationalism! I heard that Fred West's best friends also thought of him as solid and decent. Often you can be so close to someone that they are completely out of focus. And besides, the subjective feelings of people are not the criteria by which to judge the evidence.

Quote:
It's not a massive issue, because a) police predictably ignored the advice, which was based on minimising conflict with protesters by not brutalising people iirc b) afaik no key information was passed on about any individuals or groups in the process. In terms of damaging behaviour it's orders of magnitude less important than the average Occupy hippy demanding we all be nice to police on a demonstration.

Conveniently, this doesn't take into account, for example this: http://communitysafe.gov.uk/channels/151-soho-ward-snt-westminster?page=2
(see bottom of page)
Or this:
http://www.eastlondonlines.co.uk/2012/03/london-students-take-part-in-national-protest-campaign-against-higher-education-reforms-2/
Go down to Update 14:15
Or this
http://www.demotix.com/news/1104889/protest-liaison-teams-deployed-london-first-time#slide-1
Or a bit closer to home for JD (and Joseph Kay) :
http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2012/sep/04/sussex-police-criticised-harassment-protester-liaison

The rest is merely a defence of a "movement" moving backwards. Because you think of yourself as part of this pretention to "movement" you have no idea of the direction you're going. You have a position and role to maintain.

The rest of the posts in defence of "anarcho-leftism" are just evasions of the essential.
Like this (from Rob Ray :

Quote:
From syntax alone I reckon you probably are Samotnaf. care to deny it?

I do care to deny it. But then if I was Samotnaf I would deny it, would I not? So "denial" proves nothing. Are you a serial rapist, Rob Ray? Would you care to deny it?
The original article "Anarcho-leftism and the politics of libcom" was written by Samotnaf, as is clear from the links in my OP, which link to his blog "Dialectical Delinquents". Maybe you got confused by this...?
I know Samotnaf. This probably is a crime for those close to Libcom. But he tells me he has not been banned from this site, though he was for a short time a long time ago. So he could have posted all this himself, no?

Nate:

Quote:
As long as the people pissed about this mostly communicate in 5000+ word documents I think it will remain a tempest in a teapot.

I suppose anything longer than 140 characters is too much. "Capital", "God and the State", "The conditions of the english working class", "society of the spectacle", Kropotkins "The Great French Revolution" are all tempests in a teapot. Chuck them all in the bin.
I say this to counter the idiocy of the 5000+ word argument: not that the content of the text here can be compared with those texts. Nevertheless the content of the text here and the whole of the text called "Cop-Out - the significance of Aufhebengate", is a lot more than a text about JD and Libcom.

Pettiness is always counter-revolutionary. And deliberately distracts from the essential.

If these are going to be the kind of responses here then, Khawaga, my patience will very soon run out.

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Jan 15 2013 10:13
Chilli Sauce wrote:
"defense team" roll eyes

Beat me to it. grin

Todestrieb
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Jan 15 2013 10:46

This is about much more than JD and Libcom, it is a symptom of the pathetic fraud of the Englisch "libertarian communism" milieu. Maybe we should expect that the Guardian give a platform to Stott & JD, its "At the Olympics, transport chiefs must trust the wisdom of crowds" (1) line to push (without mentioning the disgusting spectacle of patriotism and flag waving of course). But the "radical" Occupied Times gives them a platform to drone as rioters really are ok and it's "social relations" that must change (2). Is this just innocent reformism? JD himself claims to "a vital contribution to the critique of ‘crowd control’ and hence to safer crowd events in the future" (3). I think we all know what is by "safety" meant - "Total policing" and "prawn sandwiches". Give me the "risk" of Hillsborough every day over the "safety" of a totally administered society. Auschwitz begins when someone looks at the academy and says: "They are just doing their job".

(1) http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/jul/20/olympics-transport-c...
(2) http://theoccupiedtimes.co.uk/?p=6447
(3) http://drury-sussex-the-crowd.blogspot.co.uk/2012/09/hillsborough-and-cr...

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Jan 15 2013 10:52

This really is, again, just beyond parody.

Seriously, y'all, take a step back, you really are venturing into conspiracy theory land.

Also, Godwin's Law:

Quote:
Auschwitz begins when someone looks at the academy and says: "They are just doing their job".

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Jan 15 2013 11:52

I have an agenda point for tonite's JD/JK defense team briefing.

- Godwin's law: should we be using academics as part of our defense or does that risk strengthening the prosecution's case? Feedback and discussion.

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Jan 15 2013 14:41

Curious, Todestrieb etc. I've said this before several times. Your conduct and way of discussing is actually taking away from your argument. As I've also said before, I do agree more with you lot than worth libcom on this case. But throughout this whole saga I've at several points started to doubt a lot if the claims made because of the several flights of fantasy, not to mention the frothing at the mouth, dissertation-length posts that's been put up all over the internet. The posts are too jargony, too anarcho-nerdy, and just long-winded. What you need to say can be said in less words, and much more directly. I know because ppl have managed to summarize the main concern to me in a few paragraphs before (and was why I found the argument persuasive. But for me the OP might as well have been written in feces...

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Jan 15 2013 16:08
Curious Wednesday wrote:
Most of what has been posted here in defence of "anarcho-leftism" is petty and a distraction from the essential.

Interesting. Could you say more on this, at the length that this important issue merits?

Todestrieb
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Jan 15 2013 16:13

Barbarism is always under a flag of reason. JD is so open about his "humane" work, just look in a comment on the article entitled "crowd control":

[quote = JD]those within the crowd will have no idea that they are walking into an area which is already overcrowded. How can they? The only ones with the overall view are those monitoring events as managers and organizers (1) [/ quote]

Everything he writes is about "managing" the masses "for their own safety". This is just Leninism. Stupid crowd and smart "expert". Every cop thinks acting to protect "safety." Safety is always the reason for the wanderkessel. Safety is the logic of the totally administered society: CCTV and riot cops and technocratic experts manager like JD. Do you want top-down "humanitarian crowd control"? Hurricane Katrina - the National Guard shooting starving proletariat.

(1) http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=crowd-control # comments

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Nate
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Jan 15 2013 16:26

I think I follow you but I'm not sure. Could you say more?

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the button
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Jan 15 2013 16:45

Yeah, I'm almost convinced too.

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the button
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Jan 15 2013 16:47

DP

Todestrieb2
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Jan 15 2013 17:23

Why is my account blocked? Fucking censorship bullshit!

JD & Aufheben said its about "humane" science. They think with the right amount of reason the cops can be humanized. This is enlightenment bullshit. Its dangerous. Without "crowd management" there is no Shoah:

[quote =] I've read accounts of Jews being unloaded from train cars, undressed and lead into gas chambers, and even in those circumstances few panicked. [/ Quote]

Don't panic! "Keep Calm and Carry On." The police will take care of your safety. Aufheben is an enlightenment projekt that gives the domination of the cops a humanitarian ideal. "Leave the crowd alone" so that they continue shopping. If they stop buying, then the science of psychology comes to the rescue with a baton. They want to pacify with reason if possible and force if necessary. Its all on his blog in plain daylight: http://drury-sussex-the-crowd.blogspot.co.uk/ - spying on roads protests, "crowd control", talking about the riots with Stott, Olympics shit. Just read it - its not hiding!

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Jan 15 2013 17:37
Quote:
Without "crowd management" there is no Shoah

It is but a short step from those Post Office tape barriers to the gas chambers.

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Jan 15 2013 17:40

You know who else blocked people from posting on libcom?! HITLER!!!!!1!!

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Agent of the In...
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Jan 15 2013 18:08

Guys, the money used to keep Libcom running had passed through the hands of millions of people including George Soros. Is Libcom a political front for progressive billionaires???

surprised

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Jan 15 2013 18:11

In all seriousness of this local conspiracy taking place in London, I'm glad once in a while we can have a honest intellectual debate about something bigger and more important than everything else debated on these forums, including revolution.

no1
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Jan 15 2013 18:52
Todestrieb2 wrote:
JD & Aufheben said its about "humane" science. They think with the right amount of reason the cops can be humanized. This is enlightenment bullshit. Its dangerous. Without "crowd management" there is no Shoah:

[quote =] I've read accounts of Jews being unloaded from train cars, undressed and lead into gas chambers, and even in those circumstances few panicked. [/ Quote]

Its capacity to have a retroactive effect on historical events demonstrates just how dangerous JD's research is.

Rank
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Jan 15 2013 18:59
sabot wrote:
I have a q. What are the accusers trying to accomplish out of all of this? What is a fitting end result to these actions in their minds? Maybe I've missed that from previous exchanges (I don't have time to read everything associated with this incident).

You might look at Bootsy's comment, preceding yours, part of which says:

"I still want to believe that some of the individuals involved with the libcom project will break with this lying fuck and his apologists, but I'm certainly not holding my breath."

Perhaps it's a small thing to ask but it seems again to have awoken a hornet's nest of vituperation from the usual 'in crowd' - behaviour which tends to confirm , as I see it, the critique of anarcho-leftist cliquery in Samotnaf's text.

Things may appear pretty ok to the in-group standing closest to JD (another 'jury of mates' a la the SWP?) who seem to lack the sense of the whole incongruity of JD's position vis-a-vis his development of crowd management theory and his activist involvement. 'Non-political', 'non-militant' friends and acquaintances of mine (with no organisational/defensive axe to grind) have regarded this contradictory position of JD (with his feet in both camps) with utter incredulity when I've explained it to them. The clique seems to lack this sense of how bizarre it is. More bizarre even than some of the shrill denunciations from some of the 'cats' who post here with their pithy comments... BAM!

NannerNannerNan...
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Jan 15 2013 19:02

Ok, so there's a cop in the ranks of Libcom or something and cops are assholes so that's a bad thing. Also, how would punishment be handled in a free society and... Guy Debord? Leninist oppression of shitposting? Surveilance state?

What the fuck is any of this

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Jan 15 2013 20:16
Nate wrote:
You know who else blocked people from posting on libcom?! MY MOM!!!!!1!!

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Jan 15 2013 22:05

Jokes aside, I think there were things in all this that were worth thinking about in terms of this or that kind of job, research etc. But JD's/Aufheben's/Libcom's critics on all this have not struck me as acting thoughtfully like people who want to have a conversation or with due diligence/due process [cue some swipe about bourgeois norms or whatever] about how to a) get to the bottom of stuff and b) how to determine consequences if stuff really happened/really is as they claim. They've acted like jerks, and socially inept ones at that, and have sometimes seemed to me to be gleeful about it. And so at this point I'm like "people who want to go on about this are probably jerks, socially inept and/or willfully malicious so I'm done caring and this is beyond the point of engaging with the issues or the people involved." I'm sure I'm not alone in this. Honestly I think all of this will probably ultimately be really good for libcom and for Aufheben because it will further bounce them out of the cesspool of jerks that these criticisms arose from. and I still think libcom's not been heavy handed enough in their handling of this on this site.

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