Aufheben's Crowd Controlling Cop Consultant: The Strange Case Of Dr. Who? And Mr. Bowdler

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Khawaga
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Nov 4 2011 15:22
Blasto wrote:
We speak to the readers of posts, not just those who respond, if you get my meaning.

Blasto, you've been far from constructive at all. I am not making a judgement on J. here at all (I lean more to "your" side than the other), but the way in which you've gone about all of this has been less than stellar. That you keep on bleating about this seems to me being more about your ego rather than anything else.

dinosavros
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Nov 4 2011 15:44

I don't think ego has much to do with it. As I understand it the point is that Blasto and others (me included) feel that what J has done is very harmful. That a member of the movement* can get away with doing what he did without being isolated and condemned discredits the movement itself. I think this in the long term will cause a lot of damage to the credibility of Aufheben but also to the movement close to it in general i.e. libertarian communists. 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?

*in greek the term is 'space' but it doesnt translate well.

Spikymike
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Nov 4 2011 16:26

Does my earlier slim post No 8 on this thread deserve a separate thread?

Probably shot it down myself by suggesting it wasn't directly relevant but the quote:

It calls for...

''A new approach towards public protest that recognises its value as a positive and essential expression rather than an inconvenient nuisance that must be contained.'' apparently addressed to the 'public' and those in 'authority'?

...from a newly launched campaign by the 'network for police monitoring' promoted in the current edition of 'Freedom' journal seemed to me to echo, in it's words and content, the approach of JD's professional colleagues in it's liberal appeal, and was possibly an example of the dangerous overlapping between pro-revolutionary and anarchist politics and the academic liberal establishment.

If I have misread the situation I'd like to know.

I don't see a need to add to my much earlier comments on the other thread regarding the error of JD's mixing of his professional and political work and the failure of his comrades in Aufheben to sort this problem out, but the underlying theoretical and practical issues are of serious concern and it is these which seem to have been lost to Aufheben and the libcom admins. Some of the heated personal language on this and the related thread is unfortunate (if not suprising) but without Samotnaf, Blasto, Welclose Square,Tastybrain and others persisting with this debate they would not get the airing that they deserve. At least the libcom admins have wisely and rightly stepped back from closing the debate down.

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waslax
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Nov 4 2011 19:52
posi wrote:
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Why on earth would he actually NOT want to help the police? How are we supposed to know what the hell goes on inside his head?

The standard method is to ask the person concerned.

The standard method, yes. But we all know that not everyone is honest in their answer, for one or another reason, including having something that they want to hide from others. From what I have heard and read, it seems quite clear that JD is in denial about the significance of his work, and must be suffering from extreme cognitive dissonance, so as to rationalize his 'professional' activity and reconcile it with his pro-rev convictions and activity. This leads me, and I think it should lead others, to have doubts about how honestly he would answer such a question. My point was that if we go solely on the basis of his pro-rev activity, then, yes, we would wonder why on earth he would want to help the police; but if we go on the basis of his professional work, then we could well reasonably wonder why on earth he wouldn't want to help the police.

I believe it was a man from the 19th century named Karl Marx who once said that we don't judge a man by his words but by his actions. It is a fundamental axiom of the materialist method of analysis of social phenomena. It needs to be asked why so many here seem to have either forgotten or discarded this axiom?

Wellclose Square
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Nov 5 2011 11:49

OK, so the 'defence team' have stopped defending (otherwise engaged posting up Aufheben articles) and the 'hangers on' shrug their shoulders saying it's 'no big deal'. How far we have come.

Quote:
dinosavros wroteThat a member of the movement* can get away with doing what he did without being isolated and condemned discredits the movement itself. I think this in the long term will cause a lot of damage to the credibility of Aufheben but also to the movement close to it in general i.e. libertarian communists. 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?

*in greek the term is 'space' but it doesnt translate well.

That summarises the problem quite nicely. Detailed analysis of how such a situation can be tolerated among 'libcom-types' will doubtless be carried out away from these boards. I'm done here.

proletarian.
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Nov 5 2011 12:21
Wellclose Square wrote:
I'm done here.

I can't help but chuckle despite agreeing with your general attitude to this situation. How many have said "I'm off" then returned to post further comments so soon. Apart from that, 'going' doesn't really solve anything. In any case I can't see what actually can be done to rectify the situation. I would argue he should be 'disassociated from revolutionary circles' - you know what I mean. But I'm not sure there is the organisation or structure to do this. And there certainly doesn't appear to be the will. I don't really want to bring this up (but I will) because it looks like I'm antagonizing people but the ICC and their calls for a Jury of Honour or whatever were ruthlessly taken the piss out of but wasn't there some 'method in the madness'? There needs to be some kind of way of dealing with these and similar incidents. And I think it's worth looking at how previous workers struggled with difficult questions like this. (I obviously think the guy has crossed a class line)

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Nov 5 2011 18:52

I'm finding it hard to motivate a reply here, as I'm pretty tired of dealing with all the goalpost-shifting mudslinging that has taken up far too much time already (not an attempt to "shut down debate” - this is all hosted on libcom ffs - but rather a statement of fact: spending time on this has seriously distracted from srs bsns politics). But I do think there are serious and important issues at stake here, so I shall perservere. Namely: if this shit passes so easily when so little is at stake (no one is being kneecapped or shot, revolutionaries aren't being locked up wholesale...) then it terrifies me where we'll be when the shit hits the fan and the state starts sowing serious division. So, on that basis alone, I shall perservere for now.

As Arbeiten said earlier tho, the thread(s) are just going round and round – there is far more quantity than substance here. One minute the charge is that J's a paid agent of the state designing counter-class struggle tactics across europe, next minute it's shifted to 'oh well he spoke about social identity at an academic conference in 2001'. I suspect the move to this one by our budding witchfinders is that they know very few people will be bothered to read the tens (maybe hundreds) of thousands of words on the other thread, TPTG and Samotnaf letters and Aufheben response, and will just assume from all the muck here that J must have done something. However, with charges like this, there isn't a “reasonable middle ground” to be found – the allegations are either true or they're not. If they're not, there may still be issues to discuss, but these are completely obscured by the prosection's shrill accusations that anyone who disagrees with them is in league with the cops ('the defence team' etc).

The main issues of authorship of the 2 main pieces has been on over and over in the main thread. If you've followed it all, and don't believe that J didn't write them (or you think it doesn't matter because his name was on it, or just that any contact with the police/those who work with the police is unacceptable) then there's nothing much more that can be done to convince – the prosecution have already declared that any evidence that is presented is not enough, that it must be faked. But I'd urge people to actually read the material in question before assuming a “reasonable middle-ground” stance. And if you don't believe Aufheben, instead of speculating about it, just ask them to back it up like libcom did. Apparently nobody has yet done this in four weeks, yet for far less time and effort than put into public denunciations anyone could have sent them an email saying 'this looks dodgy, can you back up your explanation?'. A really basic step with charges this serious (and as Juan Conatz and others have mentioned, a courtesy extended to actual paid agents of the state, but conspicuously not in the far less serious case here).

Of course, even though he didn't write the papers but simply allowed his name to be used on them, this was a mistake (as Aufheben and J have been open about that from the off). Fucking hell, having wasted endless hours on this shit, I know this as much as anyone. But this isn't really the issue – the allegation is not that someone made a mistake, or should be more careful what his name ends up on. Rather the prosecution are determined to show that J (and by extension Aufheben) are eternally damned assets of the state and that his work has played a major role in the "pacifying the class struggle" across Europe. The prosecution seek to use peoples' (understandable) unease at seeing a communists name next to policing related papers and expand this into a much grander narrative with no basis in fact. Just showing he made a mistake isn't juicy enough – as we've seen, people have tired of this – even of those who followed the thread at first, very few people retain an interest any more.

Similarly, the charges that J “trains cops” in crowd control has been refuted again and again. He has spoken about social identity at conferences where police have been, yes, and has spoken to the police about mass emergencies (not protest tactics or class conflict). Again, it might be a mistake (I'm fairly open minded on this tbh – I think it's less of a fuck up than letting his name be on the papers, certainly), but does critiquing police responses to crowd situations constitute 'training the police to pacify class struggle'? No. J's work as a whole is a critique of the police as being a major cause of disorder in crowd situations - an argument made again and again by all kinds of radicals without criticism, I would add. However, from J writing as an academic, there's nothing particularly radical about this. Contrary to claims elsewhere, J doesn't see his work as being “radical” or part of a communist project – it's just his job. As said earlier, J is no more a “radical academic” than a communist bricklayer is a “radical bricklayer”. This is exactly what the Aufheben critique of “radical academia” is about. J's situation isn't so much in contradiction to this position as the basis of it (he's the sole academic in Aufheben).

Now, is there an issue that even stuff written with benign intent could later be taken on an used for adverse reasons? Sure, of course. It's a perfectly valid discussion. But does it tie in with the case that the prosecution are making against J? Again, no, it doesn't. The case being made is that he is actively and consciously working for the class enemy. In the view of some of the prosecution, he not only doing this, but is deliberately infiltrating movements in order to give the police secret knowledge to suppress them. If people want to have the wider debate here, then sure, go for it – but as people have raised, you are then left with the problem that almost anything written about class struggle can be used against us. Just as we wouldn't persecute someone who had written an account of say, a subversive workplace action if it was found by bosses and used to inform counter-strategy. Even if J's work was used in order to police dissent (which as has been repeatedly pointed out on the other thread, it hasn't been because it's not applicable to situations where there is an underlying conflict of interests between police and the crowd), then this is still entirely different to being a paid agent of capital, actively working for the other side.

As has been said repeatedly, J's work is not about how to police crowds in the slightest. It is the exact opposite: a critique of the police approach. J's work argues that police tactics are a cause of violence, and calls for emergency situations to not be treated as public order situations at all. In his mass emergencies work (his overwhelming focus) it even goes as far as to argue that the police shouldn't even be present in some emergencies. Unless you have a 'never talk to the police under any circumstances stance', I really find it hard to see much issue with this. Is there really a problem with a communist in a work capacity saying - and yes, telling - police shouldn't treat disaster situations (or by extension other crowd situations that aren't inherently hostile) as being public order situations? If it has any real-world consequences at all, it would mean the police stop repressing survivors of disasters. Not revolutionary or anything, but probably a good thing ('worthwhile and humane' rather than political, as Aufheben/J put it).

What I do find interesting here is how in the process of trying to attribute the views of Reicher and Stott on public order to J (despite J's explicit rejection of them), the prosecution mirror several of Reicher and Stott's core assumptions. Say for the sake of argument we follow the various logical leaps that lead us to 'ESIM methods being utilised to pacify class struggle', are we really to believe that society is so free of antagonism that if the police just act nicer and don't attack people indiscriminately, then this will stifle class struggle? That all the state has to do in order to pacify class conflict is to not hit liberals? That's what Reicher and Stott believe as liberal/leftist human rights types, and apparently, it's also what the prosecution believe. We're not talking about some magic mind control super science here – if you actually read the academic papers, this is pretty much the only insight the police could gain from his work (in laymans terms 'if you piss people off they kick off against you'). The ESIM ('Elaborated Social Identity Model') is an ontology of the crowd. It's not about kettling, developing tactics for isolating out militants or whatever else it's been accused of. It's actually pretty banal, which I suspect is why so few people have bothered to read it, and why the prosecution have barely quoted any of J's work except to try and snip bits out of context to imply sinister intent or to go on bizarre polemics about 'psychologism'.

But if you realise that the liberal worldview of 'harmonious interests if only the police are nice' is patently ridiculous, then what? How then has the work been used to police class struggle? The ESIM model, by it's very nature, can't be applied to hostile crowds. You can't peacefully facilitate a riot or a picket line shutting down a workplace if your social function is to prevent these things. What are the police going to do, stand by and let looters empty a high street? Sit and watch while pickets shut down a factory? To be honest if J had somehow secretly managed to convince the police that they should do this, I'd probably think it was brilliant. But I don't, because it obviously hasn't happened and isn't going to.

Anyway, there's another chunk of my life I'm not getting back. But I'd implore those who aren't in the prosecution to actually look at what is being alleged and what is said in response, and read the main thread. Even if you think J has fucked up (or worse), then please at least look at what he's actually done and not the chimerical, ever-shifting trumped up charges of the prosectution. At the very worst (I don't accept this in the slightest, but just for argument's sake), he's done work that could subsequently be used by the police to justify more 'hands-off' tactics. This is a million miles away from the various charges being thrown about so casually by the assembled anonymous interlocutors. He hasn't given the state new tactics to police class struggle, he doesn't train police in public order situations and he isn't a fucking infiltrator. For all the talk about 'would you stand next to him on a demo', it's not people in Brighton making a fuss over this, it's people in Greece, France, the US and god knows where who will never even face that supposed dilemma. If you've followed the whole thing and still think he's crossed the line then I'm probably not going to be able to convince you. But at least be clear about what he has actually done. None of it comes close to the various charges the prosecution have made, and even if there is a problem here, it's not the one that is being presented.

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Nov 5 2011 21:02

fall back, well said.

I've been trying not to get involved in these discussions, as I think it is such a colossal waste of time. Especially with the ongoing struggles against austerity, our strike on November 30, a wildcat general strike in Oakland, etc.

And as has been mentioned before, Aufheben and J have written a more detailed response to all the allegations which will be sent to any trusted individuals who contact them - but not a single person apart from us has. Having seen all the evidence I am happy that he has not done anything which makes him not a comrade or not collaborate with him.

Plenty of people, especially workers in the public sector, say like social workers, youth workers, firefighters, paramedics etc have to work with police on occasion, even if we don't like it.

Even if what he did was all that bad, what would that mean? That even if he wrote good stuff for Aufheben he shouldn't be able to anymore? That he should immediately desist writing good communist analysis?

Now, on the other hand I would be worried about collaborating with Samotnaf, as he has shown that he is happy to reveal the real names and political affiliations of individuals he has disagreements with. In my case this would put me in danger of losing my job (and therefore home etc, not to mention giving it to the security services), so this makes me feel now like he cannot be trusted, which is unfortunate as previously I did not.

bootsy
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Nov 5 2011 22:49

Actually I sent them an email almost immediately after TPTG's letter was made public and am still waiting on a response.

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Nov 5 2011 23:54

bootsy - I'll ask them about that. They're massive Luddites* and it may have gone to spam or something. I know there's been some issues with libcom emails to/from Aufheben not arriving and having to be resent.

* in the popular slanderous sense

radprole
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Nov 6 2011 00:10

This is the first time that I write in Libcom but after reading about this incredible story and how some supposedly revolutionary people reacted to it I felt obliged to intervene... I have read carefully the texts mentioned as well as the evidence provided by Blasto in another thread and the whole discussion in this and the previous thread.

First, I would like to comment on the claim of Fallback that the charges raised against J shift all the time. Sorry fellows, I don’t have this impression. For me it’s clear that J is accused of being a police consultant who used experience which he was able to gather through his participation in social struggles in order to define the ESIM model according to which specific guidelines for the policing of protests and mass emergencies have been determined.

As far as I have seen no evidence at all has been presented for the claim that he did not co-author the two articles in policing journals. We are expected to accept unconditionally the claim of Aufheben that he did not co-author them and that he disagrees with them when he has not even removed the “knowledge-based policing” one from the list of the “Selected Publications” from his University profile. Not to mention that it is totally absurd to believe that he repeated the same mistake two times, supposedly for a better academic record, when one of the publications (in Jane’s Police Review) does not count research-wise since Police Review is not a scholarly peer-reviewed journal.

As far as the charges that J trains cops are concerned, sorry again fellows, there are no refutations to be found. How on earth can the Police CBRN Consultancy (http://jdarchive.files.wordpress.com/2011/10/police-cbrn-consultancy.pdf) be refuted? The specific consultancy was given by J alone and its content includes the following advice: “Successful policing of potentially disorderly crowds involves Communication of police aims, facilitating the crowd’s legitimate aims in order to empower self-policing in the majority, a graded response to potential disorder”.

How can you refute the fact that J was the organizer of a Continued Professional Development course in the University of Sussex entitled “The psychology of crowd management” whose description contains the following: “This CPD course is aimed at all professionals who work with, or plan around, crowd events, including the emergency services, event organizers, stewarding organizations, stadium managers, health and safety officers, emergency/resilience planners and business continuity managers. Crowding and public safety, emergencies, terrorist attacks, natural disasters, and the potential for crowd conflict and disorder are some of the most pressing contemporary hazards. Those who work with crowds depend upon knowledge of crowd behaviour in order to manage these risks "(http://jdarchive.files.wordpress.com/2011/10/cpd_sussex.pdf). Why these references have disappeared from his university site?

Further, the conference that was mentioned before by Blasto and held in 2001 had a specific policing content (we’re talking about the 6th international conference of Investigative Policing with participants from worldwide police forces) and there J did not talk about “mass emergencies” but about “intergroup dynamics at an anti-road protest”, i.e. about the dynamics between police and protesters in the “anti-road protest”.

About the supposed inapplicability of “J’s work… to situations where there is an underlying conflict of interests between police and the crowd”, it seems that Fallback has not read his papers or deliberately misrepresents them. As far as I have read it’s clear that J has written about situations where there are different groups within the crowd with different attitudes in relation to legality, peaceful or violent means, etc. According to what he has written the tactics of the police can either promote the unification of the crowd or help in the preservation or deepening of divisions that may lead to self-policing and even moderation in the case of the “violent minorities”. We all know that contrary to what Fallback asserts, the crowd does not usually face police in a uniform way even if “there is an underlying conflict of interests between the state and the crowd”. There are always conflicting interests, viewpoints and practices within the crowd itself.

Regarding the issue of “emergencies” I have to note that according to my reading J calls for emergency situations to be treated cautiously by the police (similarly to the graded policing of protests) because of the existing danger of turning a public safety situation into one of public disorder (see http://jdarchive.files.wordpress.com/2011/10/police-cbrn-consultancy.pdf). It’s widely known that this is one of the main problems that the police and the state in general face when they manage a mass emergency. Usually, people self-organize to satisfy their needs, proceed to expropriation of goods, etc, etc. The whole approach by J is about how the state would better manage such situations (that’s why the specific niche is called “crowd management”). Sorry fellows, I cannot find anything “worthwhile and humane” in this shit…

Finally, contrary to what Fallback says, the work of Reicher, Stott and J is not only about “ontology”. If it was only about that there would be no great problem. The issue is that they have designed specific guidelines that have descriptions of police tactics reaching details such as the removal of masks, banners, etc (“These conditions might include the removal of clothing that obscures individual identity, abandoning placards, bottles and other objects that could be used as weapons.” Knowledge-based policing).

Regarding what Steven says about the supposed insignificance of the issue with references to the “general strike in Oakland” and other ongoing struggles, I would like to point out that police repression is never an unimportant issue and this is clearly shown by the post "Crowds, protest and police" in the blog of the Madison Police Chief David Couper which was discovered by Blasto that specifically references the work of J (http://improvingpolice.wordpress.com/2011/10/31/crowds-protest-and-police/) in the context of the Occupy movement (and Oakland in particular).

For me it’s totally outrageous to ask “even if what he did was all that bad, what would that mean”! It seems that for some people the fact that J used his connections and experience from his participation in the social struggles to help police is insignificant… I have no words to express my anger about this… I have no words to express my terrible anger that persons like “Steven” express their worries about collaborating and trusting Samotnaf who had the stomach to take the initiative on this important issue and have no problem with cop collaborators and consultants such as J. Shame on us

Rank
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Nov 6 2011 10:39
Quote:
fallback wrote But I'd implore those who aren't in the prosecution to actually look at what is being alleged and what is said in response, and read the main thread. Even if you think J has fucked up (or worse), then please at least look at what he's actually done and not the chimerical, ever-shifting trumped up charges of the prosectution. At the very worst (I don't accept this in the slightest, but just for argument's sake), he's done work that could subsequently be used by the police to justify more 'hands-off' tactics.

Fallback, you obviously haven't followed your own advice and read the thread, otherwise you wouldn't have shot yourself in the foot with the above passage, highlighted in bold. As for those concerned about J's professional role, it's a bit of a stretch for those defending his activities to say that his critics are 'moving the goalposts' with 'chimerical, ever-shifting trumped up charges' when it's been a matter of furnishing interested readers with additional information (as it emerges) to confirm the facts of J's complicity - that's hardly shifting the goalposts.

As for Steven's little intervention about being worried about collaborating with Samotnaf... school playground stuff... it won't do.

lines
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Nov 6 2011 20:16

This post concerns the article in the most recent Aufheben, written by Aufheben, entitled:
“Intakes: Communities, commodities and class in the August 2011 riots – Aufheben”

It begins with a section from this article, parts of which will be referred to later. To make it clear, it would seem that, on reflection, there is a connection between the ideology of Aufheben, and the recent ‘scandal’. This connection is no surprise to some, some of us have criticised the theory, conclusions and style, and the haughty attitude of Aufheben from the beginning of their endeavours.

Aufheben: “‘Cops, slaves to the commodity’
What were the cops doing in all this? There was some outrage in the bourgeois press that they apparently ‘stood by’ and let the ‘rioters’ do what they wanted. Clearly they didn’t always ‘stand by’, since they were ‘proactive’ in Hackney and certain other places, and they protected some places but not others. Yet some of those on the side of the ‘rioters’ have also seen something sinister in the sight of cops standing back from burning cop-cars and from certain attacks on property. In the otherwise really good YouTube film ‘Rebellion in Tottenham’,68 the fact that the cops apparently allowed people to trash and burn two of their vehicles is interpreted by some speakers as a deliberate ploy; the cars were left there so that people would attack them so that the cops would then be able to legitimately escalate their riot tactics. The cops deliberately escalated the riot, apparently.

Where have we heard this kind of explanation before? Almost every time there is a kick-off, it seems. According to one of the Militant stewards at the time, the great poll tax riot of 1990 was set up by police ‘agent provocateurs’; apparently, the cops, working at the behest of the government, ‘wanted’ the riot in order to ‘discredit’ the anti-poll tax movement.69 Similarly, when the Tory headquarters at Millbank got trashed at the student demo last year, there was a claim that the lack of cops outside was evidence of a conspiracy to make the student movement look bad. On the student demo two weeks later, the police van abandoned in Whitehall was supposedly left there ‘deliberately’ so that people would trash it, to discredit the protest and to give the cops an excuse to attack the crowd (which they were kind of doing anyway with an indiscriminate ‘kettle’ of all and sundry).

These kinds of explanations are typically premised upon an understanding of ‘politics’,
within which the cops and the crowd are competing to win over an audience in the ‘middle ground’ who only support ‘rioters’ when they are victims. These kinds of explanations are politically disempowering, for the ‘victims’ are inevitably outwitted by the Machiavellian planning and superior anticipation of the super-intelligent cops.
If such conspiracy theories are true, there is no point taking action for the real action takes place behind the scenes. However, explanations such as this are rarely true and in general are complete bollocks. The supposed clever strategies of the cops at the poll
tax and the student demonstrations appear to have backfired somewhat, for it was the cops who were the losers and victims, the ones treated for post-traumatic stress disorder and made to look like incompetent fools, while the movements each took encouragement from the events. In the case of Tottenham, there is a simpler and much more plausible explanation for what happened that night than cop conspiracy. One of
the main concerns for the cops when the cars were burning and they stood back was most likely to be Article 2 of the European Convention on Human Rights, the ‘right to life’
.

In other words, they stood back because they believed that someone could have died if they got stuck in; and if it was a toss up between a car and a life the choice was obvious to them. They didn't want to risk either another Blakelock70 (corporate manslaughter) or killing a rioter, with all that would have implied for an escalation – against them. Acting Assistant Chief Constable Tim Godwin of the Metropolitan Police stated to a Home Affairs Committee after Tottenham:
‘I think we would be having a different conversation if we had a young person on life support at the moment as a result of a brain bleed or some other injury. I take great pride in the fact that we filled up prison places as opposed to hospital beds’.’
So from their perspective it was a good result - because nobody got killed. In general, the cops simply are not sophisticated or organized enough to plot in the way that some people imagine. They just react from one set of circumstances to another; and, in many cases (poll tax, Millbank) ‘cock-up’ is simply a far more plausible explanation for what the cops are up to than conspiracy. During the ‘riots’ in London in August, it took the Metropolitan Police two days to assemble 1,900 officers trained in public order (riot police) after the incident in Tottenham. On the first night (Saturday) they had 480 available for duty and on the Sunday evening 1,27573 for the whole of Greater London.

As senior officers explained, the ‘thin blue line’ was spread very thin and these logistical problems were compounded by the rapid and diffuse spread of disturbances in the capital as well as the intelligent manoeuvring of the looting crowds. By the time the Met had procured enough riot units to potentially control the situation, the horse had already bolted. These concrete factors are far more realistic explanations for the apparent ‘lack of action’ by the Met, than conspiracies based around ‘police angry about cuts’ and sinister stories of them ‘allowing it happen’ for hidden political reasons.

What is more interesting were the tactics employed by the various constabularies. Thirty years before in 1981 the police had (similarly) been caught hopping by the scale and ferocity of the initial ‘riots’ in Brixton, London (April) and Toxteth, Liverpool (July). Although at the time partially tooled up with large unwieldy riot shields, their initial tactics essentially involved static phalanxes of police officers plodding (sic) on
foot slowly forward in an attempt to retake neighbourhoods under the control of rioters. As a result, their casualties in the face of missiles and petrol bombs were massive. The escalation and modification of policing tactics, particularly in Manchester over 7th-9th July 1981, were a direct result of the injuries sustained by police and their perception of ‘defeat’ during their deployment to the neighbouring city of Liverpool in the preceding Toxteth disorders. These new tactics included the use of mobile police units, ‘snatch squads’ to target ‘ring leaders’ and most controversially the use of semi-armoured police vehicles as high speed battering rams to break up crowds.

This aggressive policing style, previously unseen in mainland Britain (though developed and long-used by the security forces in Northern Ireland), was a significant factor in the suppression of further disorders in Moss Side and Greater Manchester over the following week. Their ‘successful’ use in further disturbances in Toxteth later in that month led to a death and serious injuries to several ‘rioters’.

In August 2011, a similar pattern emerged, however this time the police were already ‘tooled up’ to a much greater degree. Failures to effectively disperse crowds in Tottenham and other areas of London on Saturday and Sunday night led to the deployment of armoured vehicles in several locations in London during the third night of rioting (Monday 8th).

These ‘Jankels’ were used to scatter crowds and drive them out of contested areas. Assistant Commissioner Steve Kavanagh of the Met. stated: ‘The use of armoured vehicles driving at speed towards these looting individuals is a new tactic never used before. It's quite shocking for the people of London to see that's what we have to do.’ Despite Kavanagh’s lack of historical knowledge of policing, it appears that many in the Met saw these ‘old tactics’ from Northern Ireland and July 1981 as the way forward.”
ETC

From: http://libcom.org/files/Communities,%20commodities%20and%20class%20-%20Aufheben.pdf

The whole of the article is fascinating. Not for the insights it gives (the police are not that clever) but for the gathering of information and the relation this information has to the perspectives of those involved in the production of Aufheben and those who have formulated the Elaborated Social Identity Model (Stott, Reicher and a member of Aufheben), which seems to be being taken up, or is being encouraged to be taken up by Stott and his team, by police forces around the world. (See, for example, http://improvingpolice.wordpress.com/)

I always mistook the reason for Aufheben’s writing style as symptomatic of their attempts at journalism. It has now become evident that the style is also generated by the tenets of academic discourse and research – with the occasional tossing in of the word ‘bollocks’ in order to display ‘proletarian intelligentsia’ credentials.

Why the fascination with statistics and graphs and a writing style that resembles journalistic analysis? Well, it is part of the passion of one of the members of Aufheben, and it is his job, of course. It will probably be wondered by a few here if the Aufheben writer has worked, in his capacity as an advising social psychologist, with any of the police officers mentioned in the article?

I am uncertain as to what the argument of the article actually is, beyond informing us that the police are not clever enough to be conspiratorial all the time. But even this platitude becomes strangely interesting in light of the social psychologist’s work. Would it be better if the police were more conspiratorial? But not in order to escalate tensions, rather, in order to dissipate them? If they followed the advice of Stott and the team then they would certainly be able to ‘infiltrate’ and control crowds in a more subtle way – and this has been proven, apparently, in the controlling of football crowds.

The Aufheben article quite openly argues the case that the police are not too clever, and, more importantly, that they suffer losses and damage in their mismanagement of situations. This is described in situations from the 1981 in the UK through to the riots last August. See the text above.

It is very useful to know that the police aren’t so clever, and that things they do may not be conspiratorial - but this is ‘common knowledge’ for many of us, a platitude. It is invariably in the mismanagement of situations, or the mismanagement of the economy, that human beings rebel against the status quo. We have seen this countless times. We saw it in World War One; we are now seeing it in Greece and, in a minor way, in Oakland. How far these rebellions go, of course, is another matter. Some would argue, for example, Paul Mattick, or the nihilist communists, that it is only in economic catastrophe, or, in other words, catastrophic mismanagement of the economy, that communism is possible.

What is really weird is that the article argues that when the cops mismanage things then the crowd makes gains against them….

From the section of the article above, Aufheben:

“The supposed clever strategies of the cops at the poll tax and the student demonstrations appear to have backfired somewhat, for it was the cops who were the losers and victims, the ones treated for post-traumatic stress disorder and made to look like incompetent fools, while the movements each took encouragement from the events.”

“Thirty years before in 1981 the police had (similarly) been caught hopping by the scale and ferocity of the initial ‘riots’ in Brixton, London (April) and Toxteth, Liverpool (July). Although at the time partially tooled up with large unwieldy riot shields, their initial tactics essentially involved static phalanxes of police officers plodding (sic) on
foot slowly forward in an attempt to retake neighbourhoods under the control of rioters. As a result, their casualties in the face of missiles and petrol bombs were massive.”

…YET, the work of Stott and the team, through their ESIM framework, and through their direct workshopping/training/whatever with the police, are actively trying to encourage the police to manage crowds more intelligently (more humanely too, of course) and the basis of their advice is their research. Which, quite clearly, it could be argued, this Aufheben article is a product of or, even, a part of.

This leads us onto more interesting terrain, the closing of ranks around the Aufheben member.

As the writer Steven said, we have more pressing matters on our hands than agonising over this issue, like the austerity measures and the stuff in Oakland – these matters take up all my time, don’t you know, even if I am not in the same country in which they are happening… because they are the class struggle. I don’t even have time to go to work or talk to my wife because of my commitments to battling the austerity measures. Already the class have wondered where I am as I have spent so much time on the Aufheben scandal.

Of course, Steven and others are only repeating part of the argument Aufheben used in their initial response to TPTG which they used, it could be argued, to deflect attention from this ‘minor’ affair. As a friend said, “I don't know what is more depressing - the defence of [the Aufheben member] or Steven et al believing they are playing an important role in current events.” He also pointed out that that the original text came from activists in Greece…

Is someone going to get hold of the secret Aufheben response (only sent to trusted comrades) and publish it?

Is the real issue here (for Aufheben and Libcom) the fact that J has been exposed to the cops as a ‘communist’?

But why would that be a problem since he doesn’t agree with anything written by Stott and Reicher, and he has only had his name put on things he doesn’t agree with, and he has had to speak to cops as part of his day job?

The real problem for the rest of us (not Aufheben or the Libcom administrators) is that this affair reveals more about the ideological bases, or the modus operandi of Aufheben than it does about one person’s infidelities. This is why some people here have used the word ‘shame’. ‘Shame on us’ as one poster put it. This is the really important aspect – and it is the reason that this affair will not be resolved, only passed over and forgotten. The milieu which visits Libcom and elsewhere is weak. There are no lines in the sand.

It is the theoretical/ideological core of Aufheben and, by extension, the libertarian/communist/anarchist/marxist left/milieu which is the problem – it is this core of errors, at the heart of communist politics, which should be rooted out and laid bare.

Put very simply, on one side you have people who say that the consciousness of people must be changed before communism can happen, and that communism is a progression developing on from capitalism – which means, in essence, that people’s ideas have to change while the structure of production (minus private owners) remains the same.

On the other side you have people who say that people’s ideas only change when they are forced to change by new circumstances… and from this perspective we are left with the possibility of communism only coming about through and after the catastrophic mismanagement of capitalism (when the fall of current ideology will create the space for new ideas – new consciousnesses).

The Aufheben member is quite clearly, for some of us, part of a LEFT (in Aufheben) and ESTABLISHMENT (in academia) process that works for the continued sensible management of capitalism.

As has been said long ago, this perspective, like that of all other reformist attitudes and initiatives forms the basis of all future modifications of capitalism and its sociological/ideological dominance.

Just like the environmentalists, for example, the true, though largely unrecognised, objective for the extended leftwing milieu that surrounds Aufheben is the saving of capitalism. One hundred years of history have not been enough to make this fact clear.

The baseline for communists is that we don’t cooperate with capitalism as communists. Even if this means going home and doing nothing. Instead of promoting the self-management of production we should be putting forward the much more problematic slogan, “Destroy all Workplaces.”

There will be no solution to this affair in Libcom, and possibly none in the wider libertarian community. (But I would like to be surprised here.) The Aufheben/Libcom strategy clearly seems to be the managerial and PR one of toughing it out. After the steam has gone from this then we will all be able to move on. If anyone brings it up again they will be told, “But we have gone over this all before, there is no point bringing it up again, we need to move on.”

Destroy all Workplaces.

(PS – please feel free to begin the abuse at your leisure smile )

(PPS – an interesting analysis: http://madlib.anarchyplanet.org/ )

PPPS:
If Aufheben didn't write the article then why did they write this at the beginning of it:

"Aufheben's detailed analysis of the August 2011 UK riots.

The following article was written in the immediate wake of the August ‘riots’ of 2011 in Britain and is an attempt to provide an empirical base to an analysis of the unrest. Commentators across the political spectrum have spewed out speculative explanations for the disturbances. What unites most of them is their lack of evidence and fixation on anecdotal or exceptional incidents within the ‘disorders’. Within the limited time available, we have attempted to gather as much quantitative and qualitative evidence as possible to underpin this examination. This evidence comes from various sources, including mainstream media statistics (events, arrestees, locales), relevant academic studies, social media, video and audio footage, some interviews with ‘looters and rioters’ and our own experiences as participants.
The first part of this article presents a brief ‘history’ of the August events. This is followed by an analytical comparison with the ‘riots’ of July 1981 that considers their spatial and temporal characteristics. The final part employs quantitative and qualitative evidence to examine aspects of the August events such as ‘looting’, the composition of the crowds and policing tactics."

Even if this wasn't written by an actual member of Aufheben (maybe it was written by a recent ex-member, for example) the article is in their style and fits perfectly the perpsectives of Aufheben.

Who did write it then?

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Nov 6 2011 14:20

Regarding the post above, one thing which just slightly damages your argument is that Aufheben didn't write that article on the riots! It is one of their "intakes" pieces, which means it is written by other people. But at least your post is a good example of people just trying to stick the boot into Aufheben with no basis whatsoever.

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Picket
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Nov 6 2011 14:25

It's brilliant that this Inquisition spends so much time and effort on their bizarre little escapade yet fails so spectacularly.

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jura
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Nov 6 2011 14:33

Graphs, statistics and a journalistic style are clearly bourgeois. If only Marx had known.

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Nov 6 2011 15:24
radprole wrote:

As far as I have seen no evidence at all has been presented for the claim that he did not co-author the two articles in policing journals. We are expected to accept unconditionally the claim of Aufheben that he did not co-author them and that he disagrees with them when he has not even removed the “knowledge-based policing” one from the list of the “Selected Publications” from his University profile.

well, the guy himself says that he didn't co-author them. You may not believe him, but that is still evidence. It is also clear from his political perspective (not to mention his own words) that he does not agree with that perspective. Furthermore, some people including us in the libcom group have seen the original e-mails which prove that he didn't co-author them, but agreed to have his name on them for the kudos of an author credit. Again, you may not believe us but that is also evidence. And I certainly would have no reason to lie on behalf of someone I have never met, have no idea what he even looks like and have never spoken to him online or in person in any way.

He acknowledges that allowing himself to be credited as an author was an error on his part in terms of his image in the milieu, but him not being credited wouldn't have made any difference to the articles in any way.

Quote:

As far as the charges that J trains cops are concerned, sorry again fellows, there are no refutations to be found. How on earth can the Police CBRN Consultancy (http://jdarchive.files.wordpress.com/2011/10/police-cbrn-consultancy.pdf) be refuted? The specific consultancy was given by J alone and its content includes the following advice: “Successful policing of potentially disorderly crowds involves Communication of police aims, facilitating the crowd’s legitimate aims in order to empower self-policing in the majority, a graded response to potential disorder”.

as is clear, and as Aufheben acknowledge, he has recently given presentations to the emergency services (which obviously includes police) about dealing with mass emergencies, which he has to do as part of his job. The police being involved in dealing with mass emergencies is not something which has held back class struggle in this country. This does leave him open to having his revolutionary purity attacked by individuals with grudges, however plenty of workers as I said including social workers, nurses, paramedics, firefighters, etc need to work with police, especially in emergency situations and to me that doesn't mean they shouldn't be allowed in the communist scene (whatever that would mean anyway!)

Quote:
How can you refute the fact that J was the organizer of a Continued Professional Development course in the University of Sussex entitled “The psychology of crowd management” whose description contains the following: “This CPD course is aimed at all professionals who work with, or plan around, crowd events, including the emergency services, event organizers, stewarding organizations, stadium managers, health and safety officers, emergency/resilience planners and business continuity managers. Crowding and public safety, emergencies, terrorist attacks, natural disasters, and the potential for crowd conflict and disorder are some of the most pressing contemporary hazards. Those who work with crowds depend upon knowledge of crowd behaviour in order to manage these risks "(http://jdarchive.files.wordpress.com/2011/10/cpd_sussex.pdf). Why these references have disappeared from his university site?

he didn't organise it, he does do it as part of his job though. But again are you saying that no one should research how to deal safely with crowds in emergency situations? Clearly that would be ridiculous. Are you saying that someone who does shouldn't be allowed to be a communist? Or what?

Quote:
Further, the conference that was mentioned before by Blasto and held in 2001 had a specific policing content (we’re talking about the 6th international conference of Investigative Policing with participants from worldwide police forces) and there J did not talk about “mass emergencies” but about “intergroup dynamics at an anti-road protest”, i.e. about the dynamics between police and protesters in the “anti-road protest”.

this is the only thing that has anything to do with protest struggle - and this was 10 years ago. He stopped doing research work related to protests, in part at least (or maybe entirely, I'm not sure) due to political concerns he had with this work.

Quote:
For me it’s totally outrageous to ask “even if what he did was all that bad, what would that mean”!

yes, how totally unacceptable to ask what his detractors actually want? Because then some of you might actually have to come up with a practical proposal rather than just have a go at someone on the Internet.
What you think should happen to J because of this? Should he not be allowed to write for Aufheben anymore? And instead do his own blog which Aufheben readers would still read, because we like them? Or do you want to beat him up, or to stop being a communist and be a Liberal Democrat, or what?

Quote:
I have no words to express my terrible anger that persons like “Steven” express their worries about collaborating and trusting Samotnaf who had the stomach to take the initiative on this important issue and have no problem with cop collaborators and consultants such as J. Shame on us

Maybe you should switch to decaf.

If you could point to any communists who have been exposed to victimisation or repression, or any proletarian struggles which have been set back due to J's work then please do and I will take it into consideration.

Samotnaf deliberately broke our site guidelines and publicly named a communist, his political affiliation and his employer on a site which he knows that employers, police and journalists read. This is out of order.

no1
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Nov 6 2011 15:49
Rank wrote:
Quote:
fallback wrote But I'd implore those who aren't in the prosecution to actually look at what is being alleged and what is said in response, and read the main thread. Even if you think J has fucked up (or worse), then please at least look at what he's actually done and not the chimerical, ever-shifting trumped up charges of the prosectution. At the very worst (I don't accept this in the slightest, but just for argument's sake), he's done work that could subsequently be used by the police to justify more 'hands-off' tactics.

Fallback, you obviously haven't followed your own advice and read the thread, otherwise you wouldn't have shot yourself in the foot with the above passage, highlighted in bold.

Your comment is pretty confusing as Fallback states that he doesn't accept in the slightest that J's work has an impact on the policing of protest. What's confusing me even more is the implication of your comment: is your position that you hope the police use more violence to repress protest?

radprole wrote:
As far as the charges that J trains cops are concerned, sorry again fellows, there are no refutations to be found. How on earth can the Police CBRN Consultancy (http://jdarchive.files.wordpress.com/2011/10/police-cbrn-consultancy.pdf) be refuted? The specific consultancy was given by J alone and its content includes the following advice: “Successful policing of potentially disorderly crowds involves Communication of police aims, facilitating the crowd’s legitimate aims in order to empower self-policing in the majority, a graded response to potential disorder”.

What is there to refute? The Aufheben statement talked from the beginning about mass emergencies. Is your position that any contact with police whatsoever is unacceptable, and that it is wrong to play a role in designing the response to mass emergencies because police are involved in that response?

radprole wrote:
Regarding the issue of “emergencies” I have to note that according to my reading J calls for emergency situations to be treated cautiously by the police (similarly to the graded policing of protests) because of the existing danger of turning a public safety situation into one of public disorder (see http://jdarchive.files.wordpress.com/2011/10/police-cbrn-consultancy.pdf). It’s widely known that this is one of the main problems that the police and the state in general face when they manage a mass emergency. Usually, people self-organize to satisfy their needs, proceed to expropriation of goods, etc, etc. The whole approach by J is about how the state would better manage such situations (that’s why the specific niche is called “crowd management”). Sorry fellows, I cannot find anything “worthwhile and humane” in this shit…

What are you actually taking issues with? Do you think mass emergencies - like the Hillsborough disaster, Katrina, sarin on the Tokyo underground, Bhopal - have revolutionary potential if only the police reveal their violent and repressive nature by contributing to death, injury and trauma? This could be the implication of your comments.
Also, it may be that your cognitive abilities are clouded by this witchhunt, but the document you link to attributes disorder to police treating crowds as though they are the problem and liable to 'mass panic'. It advises that instead the police should avoid making things worse by trying to limit themselves to effective communication. What's worthwhile and humane about is that this may stop the police from causing more people getting killed, injured and traumatised. Do you want more Hillsboroughs?

rata
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Nov 6 2011 17:24
Steven. wrote:
well, the guy himself says that he didn't co-author them. You may not believe him, but that is still evidence. It is also clear from his political perspective (not to mention his own words) that he does not agree with that perspective. Furthermore, some people including us in the libcom group have seen the original e-mails which prove that he didn't co-author them, but agreed to have his name on them for the kudos of an author credit. Again, you may not believe us but that is also evidence. And I certainly would have no reason to lie on behalf of someone I have never met, have no idea what he even looks like and have never spoken to him online or in person in any way.

I will not go into details here, as I am also waiting for the longer response from Aufheben (Joseph, please do ask them about my email too), but I needed to respond to this. I am not really sure Steven what do you consider "evidence", and in which categories are you talking, but quoted segment above is no evidence of anything. Nothing is evident there - the idea that we need to believe somebody, and that that is an evidence, and if we don't believe him, it is still an evidence, is just... strange. Do you really thing this kind of "evidence" would work anywhere, except here? Even bourgeoisie courts would just laugh you off. It is not evidence if it is not evident, and if it has to be based on believing somebody something, without proof. Maybe you would have no reason to lie, maybe you would, but we can not know that without some proof. It is really shocking for me to see this kind of lack of basic logic with the libcom collective members. It seams like all of you have suddenly got stupid or something. Or you think that all of the people on the boards are idiots.

Anyhow, as I said, I still don't have a clear position on this issue, as I am awaiting Aufheben's longer reply for "trusted individuals", but I can tell you that this kind of defense is not something that is helping their cause.

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Steven.
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Nov 6 2011 17:43

Rata, individual testimony and witness statement counts as evidence even in bourgeois courts. So people here who know me, Joseph K or fall back will know that we are trustworthy and that if we say we have seen these e-mails then they exist. Indeed, why would I put my integrity on the line for someone I've never met? I know Samotnaf much better than I do J.

I'm sure they would be fine with sending you the detailed reply as well.

But what I really don't get is why people think he would have written something which clearly goes against what he believes. It's just bizarre. If they actually think that he is just pretending to be a communist for some reason in order to write good content for a good publication for some sort of nefarious ends. It doesn't make any sense.

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Nov 6 2011 19:20

bootsy/rata: they've checked the spam folder and say nothing was in there (except a subscription request - so it's obviously blocking some legit emails). If you send your email to libcom we can forward it: http://libcom.org/contact Alternatively if you don't wasn't us seeing it DM me and I'll try and get an alternative/private email.

lines
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Nov 6 2011 20:24

This is from the page on Libcom that links to the PDF of the article “Intakes: Communities, commodities and class in the August 2011 riots – Aufheben”

It clearly states that the article is by Aufheben, in the first line no less. Am I missing something? (See my edit at the end of my post above). Was it written by a recent ex-member or something? Strange.

"Aufheben's detailed analysis of the August 2011 UK riots.

The following article was written in the immediate wake of the August ‘riots’ of 2011 in Britain and is an attempt to provide an empirical base to an analysis of the unrest. Commentators across the political spectrum have spewed out speculative explanations for the disturbances. What unites most of them is their lack of evidence and fixation on anecdotal or exceptional incidents within the ‘disorders’. Within the limited time available, we have attempted to gather as much quantitative and qualitative evidence as possible to underpin this examination. This evidence comes from various sources, including mainstream media statistics (events, arrestees, locales), relevant academic studies, social media, video and audio footage, some interviews with ‘looters and rioters’ and our own experiences as participants.
The first part of this article presents a brief ‘history’ of the August events. This is followed by an analytical comparison with the ‘riots’ of July 1981 that considers their spatial and temporal characteristics. The final part employs quantitative and qualitative evidence to examine aspects of the August events such as ‘looting’, the composition of the crowds and policing tactics."

radprole
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Nov 6 2011 21:15
Steven wrote:
Furthermore, some people including us in the libcom group have seen the original e-mails which prove that he didn't co-author them, but agreed to have his name on them for the kudos of an author credit.

As I mentioned before the Jane's Police Review publication is not a scientific one, so there are no kudos there. Further, if you read "Chaos Theory" it's completely clear that the research on protest crowd control is completely linked with the research on mass emergencies, with the latter presented as a development of their common work. From my little knowledge of scientific work, it's clear that each author writes a specific part of the article and assumes responsibility for the whole. If he disagrees with the article he can always make a public retraction. Of course I totally doubt that he will do so, since he has chosen to keep the specific entry in his "selected publications" list (i.e. the most important ones).

Steven wrote:
as is clear, and as Aufheben acknowledge, he has recently given presentations to the emergency services (which obviously includes police) about dealing with mass emergencies, which he has to do as part of his job. The police being involved in dealing with mass emergencies is not something which has held back class struggle in this country.

The content of the specific Police CBRN consultancy which he alone offered is not restricted to "dealing with mass emergencies". In particular, it is divided into three main themes (check the link: http://jdarchive.files.wordpress.com/2011/10/police-cbrn-consultancy.pdf):

1. "Psychology of crowd behaviour and public disorder" (where you can find the advice quoted before)

"Knowledge based policing means understanding the identity of each crowd.
- Certain police practices can contribute to disorder through:
o Empowering a crowd (turning an aggregate into a unity)
o Legitimizing anti-police elements
- Successful policing of potentially disorderly crowds involves
o Communication of police aims
o Facilitating the crowd’s legitimate aims in order to empower self-policing in the majority
o A graded response to potential disorder
"
2. "Psychology of mass emergencies and disasters"
3. "Specificity of managing crowd behaviour in CBRN incidents"

Therefore what you say is inaccurate and misleading. How do you expect us then to trust you with regard to your reassurances that "he hasn't co-authored the two articles"?

Steven wrote:
he didn't organise it, he does do it as part of his job though. But again are you saying that no one should research how to deal safely with crowds in emergency situations? Clearly that would be ridiculous. Are you saying that someone who does shouldn't be allowed to be a communist? Or what?

What you say about the CPD course is also false. I did not refer to the CPD course organized by Stott in Liverpool, but to the CPD course organized by J in the University of Sussex. Moreover, it is not

Quote:
research how to deal safely with crowds in emergency situations

According to the description of the CPD course its content is the following:

"As distinct from existing practitioner-led courses, this course presents the latest scientific research and thinking in crowd psychology. It is intended to ground crowd management professionals in core concepts and principles transferable across a variety of domains, as well as presenting rationales for practice in specific areas.

Topics covered will include: types of crowds; models of crowding and crowd behaviour; mass emergency behaviour: ‘mass panic’?; crowd protests, conflict and ‘public (dis)order’. There will also be opportunity for discussion around specialist issues such as communication; CBRN; facilitating crowd resilience; public responses to pandemics; and crowd self-policing." (emphases are mine).

Steven wrote:
this is the only thing that has anything to do with protest struggle - and this was 10 years ago.

According to the previous information, what you claim is totally inaccurate.

Steven wrote:
What you think should happen to J because of this? Should he not be allowed to write for Aufheben anymore?

Clearly, the obvious thing to do would be to be kicked out of Aufheben and of the libertarian communist milieu and to ensure that he will not have access to interviews with protest participants that would be later used for police consultancies. It's f...g elementary...

Steven wrote:
If you could point to any communists who have been exposed to victimisation or repression, or any proletarian struggles which have been set back due to J's work then please do and I will take it into consideration

As far as I have read their model has been implemented with success in at least one case: the policing of anti-war demonstrations in Sweden. Therefore, it was used to successfully repress the more radical tendencies of the movement there (see Chaos Theory) and it may have serious implications for loads of people in the future.

no1 wrote:
Do you think mass emergencies - like the Hillsborough disaster, Katrina, sarin on the Tokyo underground, Bhopal - have revolutionary potential if only the police reveal their violent and repressive nature by contributing to death, injury and trauma?

The issue is not about appearances ("the police revealing their violent and repressive nature") but about concrete implications. The guidelines provided by J aim at the avoidance of situations where "mass emergencies" turn into "public disorder". That's why he has written articles in "Business Continuity" journals, i.e. how the capitalist normality would be restored.

no1 wrote:
Also, it may be that your cognitive abilities are clouded by this witchhunt, but the document you link to attributes disorder to police treating crowds as though they are the problem and liable to 'mass panic'.

I am not the most intelligent guy in the world but I think I know how to read. See for example, Specificity of managing crowd behaviour in CBRN incidents in the Police CBRN consultancy:

"Managing scarcity: After effects of CBRN incident, unlike other kinds of disaster/ emergency, could create disunity in the public around access to scarce resources"

Does it ring a bell about Katrina? Of course I don't disagree that the approach proposed by J tries to limit police violence according to a graded model and towards "self-policing" and "democratization of crowd management". This does not make it less dangerous for the revolutionary development of social struggles. On the contrary, it might prove much more dangerous!

Steven wrote:
If they actually think that he is just pretending to be a communist for some reason in order to write good content for a good publication for some sort of nefarious ends. It doesn't make any sense.

It's obvious that this guy used his connections from the communist milieu and the social movements in order to perform the research for his Ph.D. What's most serious is that he didn't stop there. He pursued a career as a consultant of the police and other emergency services based on the collective experience he has managed to smuggle. It's obvious that he did it for money and climbing up the university ladder. It's not strange at all... The answer to the question why he is still involved in the "communist milieu" is very simple: no one bothered to question and criticize his practice till now...

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Fall Back
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Nov 6 2011 20:50
Quote:
. 'Intakes' articles in Aufheben are 'guest' articles and so do not go through the normal editorial process (of editing, criticism etc.) but nevertheless are considered useful contributions. For these reasons, we do not necessarily have to agree with everything written in an 'Intakes' article (although such articles usually share basic assumptions with us).
Wellclose Square
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Nov 6 2011 20:54
proletarian. wrote:
Wellclose Square wrote:
I'm done here.

I can't help but chuckle despite agreeing with your general attitude to this situation. How many have said "I'm off" then returned to post further comments so soon. Apart from that, 'going' doesn't really solve anything. In any case I can't see what actually can be done to rectify the situation. I would argue he should be 'disassociated from revolutionary circles' - you know what I mean. But I'm not sure there is the organisation or structure to do this. And there certainly doesn't appear to be the will. I don't really want to bring this up (but I will) because it looks like I'm antagonizing people but the ICC and their calls for a Jury of Honour or whatever were ruthlessly taken the piss out of but wasn't there some 'method in the madness'? There needs to be some kind of way of dealing with these and similar incidents. And I think it's worth looking at how previous workers struggled with difficult questions like this. (I obviously think the guy has crossed a class line)

Allow yourself another chuckle.

Further to lines' interesting analysis of the Aufheben Intakes article on policing and the riots, he/she adds a link (PPS) which I followed up - here's an extract:

Quote:
But all of this pales beside the most important point, which is indicated in this particular case. These people do harm because they function as the synapses in the brain of the state. They are the conduits of official thought. They carry its values even as they attack it. It is through them that the state thinks. It is via them that the state’s ideas are distributed and considered at a higher level. The academic ‘revolutionaries’ such as those participating in Aufheben only think of the subjective thoughts they are generating in favour of revolution… they do not consider how these thoughts are officially constructed. They do not see what their official function is. They do harm because, during a social breakdown, in moments of social stress, it is through these people who are also conduits that the state will attempt to restore order and ‘negotiate’ with the forces of destruction. This has literally happened in this case, because the academic has attempted to think mediated crowd control methods. But we see it perpetually in Libcom where sensible arguments are being made in favour of the education system, prisons, psychiatric institutions, factories and so on. Because of their education, because they are employed as social managers, these people are habituated into thinking sensible, reasonable solutions at those very junctures where institutions should be attacked and madness of destruction should be taking hold. They do harm because they can only think recomposition not decomposition. Where they should be thinking ‘overthrow’ they are actually thinking ‘reordering’. Their good thoughts of reform have come much too soon. Their thoughts have not passed through the social body but have only circulated amongst people like themselves within the institutions that they are employed.
In the end, they do harm because instead of thinking extremely, they think sensibly but have no capacity to reflect that that very form of reasonableness, is a mode of power, the mode of power by which the same order is homeostatically restored in moments of crisis. We can all think these sensible thoughts but it is not our role to do so. It is not for us to say, ‘of course communist society will need a police force (but a humane one)’, even if we are conditioned to suspect it. The form of everyone’s thoughts is socially conditioned and reproduces the same relations from which it is generated but the thought of social managers is also mediated and confirmed by social institutions.

The question can no longer be seen to revolve solely around JD's professional relationship with the police; we can play Aufhebengate tennis till the cows come home, with no resolution. No, what the whole back-and-forth game has revealed, perhaps unexpectedly, is the depth and extent of the Libcom/Aufheben milieu's complicity with institutional power. Whether this is down to the class composition of the milieu, or being 'professional revolutionaries', others may be better placed to work out.

bootsy
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Joined: 30-11-09
Nov 6 2011 21:06

Thank you JK but assuming I have the correct email address (aufheben99 [at] yahoo.co.uk) I will resend it myself.

Samotnaf
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Joined: 9-06-09
Nov 7 2011 07:27

I have been lured back to the rocks of libcom by Steven's sweet siren song, namely:

Quote:
I would be worried about collaborating with Samotnaf, as he has shown that he is happy to reveal the real names and political affiliations of individuals he has disagreements with. In my case this would put me in danger of losing my job (and therefore home etc, not to mention giving it to the security services), so this makes me feel now like he cannot be trusted, which is unfortunate as previously I did not.

and this catchy little melody:

Quote:
Samotnaf deliberately broke our site guidelines and publicly named a communist, his political affiliation and his employer on a site which he knows that employers, police and journalists read. This is out of order.

What do I care if he gets sacked as a cop consultant as a result? I'd regard it as a good result. But fat chance - he outed himself in an article in 2003 that links his University work and department to Aufheben and his ethnographic work. See Annual Review of Critical Psychology Volume 3, pages 88 to 114. If they gave a toss about his participation in Aufheben, they've had 8 years to give him the sack. On the contrary, they need the kind of innovative angles on things that he, fairly uniquely as far as I can see, provides.

Steven talks about me revealing "the real names and political affiliations of individuals he has disagreements with". "Disagreement"? Habitual diplomatic language can be carried a little too far: understatement is often worse than exaggeration. Besides, if I found you doing the same thing as Dr.Who, I wouldn't hesitate to publicise your name if I knew it (as it is, I know only your first name, but it's not like it's so unique publicity would identify it). I hope, though, that all this defence of Dr.Who doesn't imply that the whole of libcom admin is involved in the same kind of blatantly sell-out kind of ideological work that Dr.Who's been involved in, that they so identify with him that they fear being outed in the same way (though in fact, since he's been known to his employers for years and has constantly publicised his name, the outing is purely for the "revolutionary/activist" milieu, an outing that Aufheben and their friends did their best to stifle). If the history of the last 100 years has taught us anything, and in fact libcom's eclecticism is premised on that minimal recognition, those who call themselves "communist" can be as far from the "communist" project as fascists. To reduce my disgust for Dr.Who to a "disagreement" is typical of the way all this is minimalised. "So you've got a disagreement with our nice communist comrade Lenin/Trotsky/Stalin/take your pick - no need to get worked up about it".

As for the ridiculous idea that it was merely "stupid" to want (or allow or whatever ) his name to be put on those articles, which he personally didn't write: if I say I want my name to be added to an article that it is in practical terms worse than a racist article for the EDL because that way it gets my article numbers up and I can get more money or maintain my credibility with the University's authorities - is that somehow better, more excusable, than actually writing it? It's not merely stupid - it's fucked. I said in the "Strange Case.." article that this thread is based on, "even if it had no material influence whatsoever, if I were to publish “all blacks, homosexuals and anti-capitalists should be sent to the gas chamber”, forced to do it as part of my wage labour for The University Of Goebellstadt, it’s not something that should endear me to “communists”. I could equally change the wording to this: "even if it had no material influence whatsoever, if I were to agree to my name being put on an article saying “all blacks, homosexuals and anti-capitalists should be sent to the gas chamber”, forced to do it to get my numbers up and to maintain my salary at The University Of Goebellstadt," it’s not something that should make “communists” merely dismiss me as "stupid". This is not hyperbole - "Chaos Theory" and the possible development of training, and ideological discourse, for the cops it implies, is far more use for the modern state than some archaic fascist crap.

There are far too many things coming from libcom admin that seriously imply a chronic inability to think (or feel) independently of a collective line coming from Aufheben and Joseph Kay, which includes a constant evasion of all the points raised and a dismissive attitude towards any significance to all this, that responding further on this thread is a pointless dialogue with people whose heads are so deeply buried in the sand, that their ears have become utterly clogged, deaf even to the reason of far cooler heads than mine. Talking to a brick wall is more instructive.

Rachel
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Joined: 18-07-09
Nov 7 2011 10:08

Nevertheless, despite all that’s been said, all the time that’s been put into finding these articles etc, there are still plenty of people around in London and the UK who also would prefer to be next to Aufheben people on a demo than next to Samotnaf. Go figure!

Blasto
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Joined: 17-11-10
Nov 7 2011 11:54

I too had pretty much bowed out, but I think this is worth posting up simply as it helps clarify who is been honest here and who isn't. Steven's 'why would he lie" line is probably equally relevant to a 'leading academic' going on public record.

Regarding the Chaos Theory article, this is from co-author Dr Clifford Stott:

Quote:
Following the death of a member of the public during the G20 protests in 2009 the Guardian Newspaper began a campaign to bring into question the tactics of the Metropolitan Police during the demonstration. The subsequent political crisis cascaded outward to bring into question the nature of public order policing across the U.K. Within this context I was asked to write a piece on the policing of crowds by Jane's Police Review. I wrote the article along with [J] and Steve Reicher. We made the argument that a central failure was a reliance on the use of force that flowed directly from the dominance of outdated psychological theory; theory that has become institutionalised in the police. The article was influential in that it stimulated a question asked of Commander Bob Broadhurst during his appearance before the Parliamentary Home Affairs Select Committee. But more importantly it led to my involvement in the HMIC inquiry and the subsequent adoption of some of our core recommendations as the policy basis for the future of public order policing in England and Wales.

And here is Clifford Stott again:

Quote:
I suppose in a sense what I've been working on with [J]... is basically a scientific model, a theoretical model, of what makes collective behaviour in crowd events possible from a psychological point of view, so the psychology of crowd behaviour. And from that theoretical model, from that science, we've been been able to start asking very important - difficult but practically important questions about the way we manage crowds out in society, particularly at these critical times we get violence in political demonstrations, in football crowds and various other events like that.
Joseph Kay's picture
Joseph Kay
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Joined: 14-03-06
Nov 7 2011 12:40

Based on a theoretical ontology of the crowd ('ESIM'), Clifford Stott has lobbied the police to make them less prone to violent? Er, that's what people have been saying all along.

Samotnaf wrote:
a collective line coming from Aufheben and Joseph Kay, which includes a constant evasion of all the points raised

The problem with telling bare-faced lies like this is, should anyone bother to read the 350+ post clusterfuck they'll see that you're lying, and I and others have in fact made repeated, detailed responses totalling thousands of words (e.g. see 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 for some of the more substantive examples). And of course I'm not the only person arguing against you, but the fiction the people disagreeing with you are "dupes" or an some other unthinking, uncritical automatons is easier to sustain if you pretend it's just me.

Anyway, there's already a long thread on this so we don't need to go over everything again from the top here. Thread locked.

Topic locked