Angela Nagle's Plagiarise Any Nonsense

Nagle's poorly sourced book on the online culture wars includes a copy and pasted definition of a fascist ideology and misrepresents non-binary genders.

Submitted by Mike Harman on May 3, 2018

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[i]Since the publication of this piece, we have followed it up with a longer post dealing with some of the cases below, and other issues in Kill All Normies.

As with many other members of the left-wing pundit class, Angela Nagle has been getting a lot more attention than she deserves. We recently stumbled upon some very questionable sourcing in Kill All Normies, which in one case was used as the basis of one of her central arguments in the book.

One consistent barrier to reading Kill All Normies is the lack of citations. If you're very lucky you get a book title and author, or "Interview in x magazine" (without a date), but that's about it. Some of the most contentious information in the book is completely lacking citations of any kind and after some investigation, it looks like this isn't just a stylistic choice.

Up front, we should say we don't really give a shit about plagiarism as such. If there's a news event, and 19 news sources have a similar account of that event, it doesn't necessarily make any difference which source you use as the basis of your own writing - they've probably copied it from another source themselves anyway. A citation can be useful for tracing back the source of a factual inaccuracy, but not necessarily much more than that. If you're writing for an audience that you can reasonably expect shared knowledge, or very informally like on a Tumblr blog, you might skip citations in that case too. None of these apply to the following examples though.

When facts and concepts are themselves contentious, then you should either be able to cite a source, or stand by them as a product of your own original research or ideas. Nagle does neither, and in the cases we cover here, there is a consistent theme of reproducing events and narratives which either do not stand up to scrutiny, or simply repeat alt-right narratives about themselves as Nagle's own analysis of the alt-right.

Who better to talk about fascists than fascists? (via Wikipedia)

The example that set us down this path, was Nagle's description of Aleksandr Dugin's politics, the 'Fourth Political Theory', more commonly known as 'Third positionism'. Third positionism is part of an obscure strain of fascism that aims to mask fascist goals by appropriating left-wing rhetoric and imagery, and has precursors all the way back to the Strasserites and National Bolsheviks in 1920s Germany. It's a very specific tactic to inculcate fascist ideas amongst groups who superficially would not appear to be receptive to them, and given the influence on Richard Spencer, might seem more relevant to a study of the alt-right than one sentence.

Aleksandr Dugin pictured with the flag of his Eurasia Party

So, it was very strange to see Nagle describe Dugin's ideology as 'entirely new' and 'supercede'ing Marxism, liberalism and fascism:

On Radix Journal they draw on the idea of the ‘The Fourth Political Theory’, with reference to the Russian theorist Aleksandr Dugin and the French New Right’s Alain de Benoist, an entirely new political ideology that integrates and supersedes liberal democracy, Marxism and fascism.

(KAN, pp 121)

We googled this and found the Wikipedia entry for the Fourth Political Theory. Just in case Wikipedia had been updated since KAN was published, we used archive.org to verify versions prior to KAN's publication in June 2017. This is the entire entry minus footnotes:

Wikipedia: February 2017:

The Fourth Political Theory (Russian: Четвертая политическая теория, Chetvertaya Politicheskaya Teoriya) is a book by the Russian political scientist and theorist Aleksandr Dugin, published in 2009. In the book, Dugin states that he is laying the foundations for an entirely new political ideology, the fourth political theory, which integrates and supersedes the three past "theories" of liberal democracy, Marxism, and fascism.[1] The book has been cited as an inspiration for Russian policy in events such as the War in Donbass,[2] and for the contemporary European far right in general.[3]

Even without footnotes, Wikipedia is clear that this summary of Dugin's ideas is from Dugin's own description of them in his book. Nagle, rather than simply copying the entry entirely, omits this vital information and presents Dugin's summary of himself as her own, or even worse a generally accepted one. Additionally, she omits Dugin's influence on the Russian and wider European far right, except via Spencer's Radix journal, and has nothing to say about third-positionism as a strategy for promoting fascism. The copypasted version manages to be inferior even to the one-paragraph Wikipedia summary and actively misleading. Save your money and stick with the wikis.

Just how many genders are there on Tumblr

Chapter 5: From Tumblr to the campus wars: creating scarcity in an online economy of virtue, contains a list of non-binary genders (pp 130). This section of the book has already been criticised in reviews for presenting the list 'directly from Tumblr' simply to mock it. When we googled "Cadensgender – A gender that is easily influenced by music." we found only two original references to it.

First was the non-binary wiki's list of poorly attested gender identities. This is what the nonbinary wiki says about the list (retrieved 2016):

This list of poorly-attested nonbinary identities contains any entries that have citations, but still have insufficient notability to move to the main list of nonbinary identities article. This may be because the only source cited is a poor source (such as the MOGAI Archive or other dead links), or because they lack evidence that people have ever held those identities. (For example, terms that were proposed, but were only adopted by one person, or perhaps by nobody at all.)

The other place we found the list was an archived /pol thread where people copy and pasted sections from the list to mock them.

Returning to Nagle's introduction to this list:

It was the subcultural digital expression of the fruition of Judith Butler’s ideas. For years, the microblogging site filled up with stories of young people explaining and discussing the entirely socially constructed nature of gender and potentially limitless choice of genders that an individual can identify as or move between.
The following are just a few of the ever-expanding list of genders, now in the hundreds, all taken directly from Tumblr.

Most of the examples on the nonbinary poorly-sourced genders page are from the MOGAI archive, a now defunct Tumblr blog. This was a widely-criticised project including among tumblr users, where people could submit gender definitions. It was shut down by the editors in 2015 (CN: link is to a forum thread dedicated to mocking MOGAI and non-binary gender generally), at least in part due to them taking a request to list BOFA-gender seriously.

The important thing to note here is that MOGAI was happy to list completely hypothetical genders that people had made up from scratch. This means literally fictional genders that no-one, not the editors of the blog nor the people submitting them, claimed to identify with at all. Reading the examples, many look like thought experiments or wordplay (even if earnest ones), and as we see with the BOFA example, the project was very prone to trolling. It is quite possible that 4chan users submitted entries to the blog in order to mock them later.

We had not heard of the MOGAI archive before researching this blog post (it is of course not mentioned in KAN), but it's immediately reminiscent of the novelty twitter account @1001ideologies, which only tweets out fictional ideologies such as "405: Georgism-Dengism" "353. Neo-Salafist Larouchism" and "358. Naglean Brezhnevism". You could write a post about the British left and mock the alphabet soup of groups like the CPB, CPGB and CPGB-ML, but if you then added in the CPGB-ML Naglean-Brezhnevist split as an example of an actual group based on someone putting it in their twitter bio in 2017 for a week, no-one would take you seriously. Criticisms of those groups can be made in good or bad faith, but the groups have to actually exist in the first place.

Even if someone independently and earnestly came up with an ideological label that happens to be on the 1001 ideologies list (would Prince Charles call himself an eco-monarchist? Could there be a split in the CPGB-ML based on differing opinions on Nagle and Brezhnev?), 1001ideologies would still be a bad source for the proliferation of ideologies.

It would be quite possible to criticise the MOGAI archive as a harmful project, one prone to troll submissions, ridicule, that would obfuscate and dilute serious attempts to get trans, non-binary and gender-fluid identities recognised. Indeed, non-binary people on Tumblr have already done that. But Nagle uses the list to ridicule the discussion of trans and non-binary issues as a whole, much like the 4chan users that pasted the list uncited themselves.

Indeed, while the Dugin Wikipedia copypasta ultimately belies a certain laziness and failure to treat seriously an increasingly significant far-right trend, the use of a gender list which describes itself as "poorly-attested" in order to criticise all actual non-binary gender identities (a criticism which itself forms a central plank of her book's overall argument) seems significantly more malicious.

Comments

Uncreative

6 years ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Uncreative on May 3, 2018

Probably a bunch of other plagiarised stuff in there too, then. If you found that bit, its unlikely that it was the one and only time.

Steven.

6 years ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Steven. on May 3, 2018

Yeah I have no issue with plagiarism as such, as I don't care about intellectual property rights. However using a made up list of genders specifically to try to discredit non-binary people is very disturbing, although not entirely surprising from someone related to the transphobic Spiked crew

Uncreative

6 years ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Uncreative on May 3, 2018

Steven.

Yeah I have no issue with plagiarism as such, as I don't care about intellectual property rights. However using a made up list of genders specifically to try to discredit non-binary people is very disturbing, although not entirely surprising from someone related to the transphobic Spiked crew

Sure, not keen on intellectual property rights either, but i think theres a distinction between having an idea as your property, and being acknowledged as its originator (or at least, other people not claiming to be its originator). You could be happy to write a song in the public domain and for it to become popular, and still legitimately be annoyed if someone else takes credit for it and tries to build an undeserved reputation as a great songwriter off the back of it, i think.

R Totale

6 years ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by R Totale on May 3, 2018

If I churn out a few thousand words about how expecting authors to do research and cite credible sources is exactly the kind of po-faced moralistic virtue signalling that makes The Left so joyless and is driving the rise of the alt-right, do you reckon I could get a book deal out of it?

Also, I wonder what'd happen if Nagle interviewed Antonio Negri?

darren p

6 years ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by darren p on May 3, 2018

So any recommendations for a better book on the "online culture wars"?

R Totale

6 years ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by R Totale on May 3, 2018

Not on "the online culture wars" as such, but this novel's pretty decent on stuff around social media imo. Generally speaking, Real Life, New Inquiry and the Baffler all have some insightful cultural criticism fairly regularly, including online stuff. If you want something on the alt-right specifically, Matthew Lyons' Ctrl-Alt-Delete and the upcoming Insurgent Supremacists both sound worth reading.

Mike Harman

6 years ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Mike Harman on May 3, 2018

There is some more plagiarism that we didn't include in the article, because it's 'just' plagiarism whereas the two examples in the blog post are in my opinion mis-representing the sources.

1. Found by JosephKay76 on twitter: an entire paragraph on the founder of the 'A Voice For Men' MRA blog was cribbed from RationalWiki, the main change being to insert that doxxing was widespread on 'both sides' of the online culture wars. This isn't as egregious as the above examples but it's another example of copypasta and the result being more sympathetic to the alt-right than the original:

https://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Paul_Elam

rationalwiki:

In 2011, Elam established the site Register-Her.com, which publishes the personal information of women the site claims "have caused significant harm to innocent individuals either by the direct action of crimes like rape, assault, child molestation and murder, or by the false accusation of crimes against others."[1] While the list includes women who have been sent to prison for various crimes, it also includes others who were acquitted, and some whose "crime" is expressing an opinion that MRA's don't like.[1] It also lists any rape victim whose court case results in anything but a full conviction and sentencing as a "false accuser".[2]

Nagle (page 128/9):

“In 2011, Elam established the vigilante doxxing site Register-Her.com, which publishes the personal information of women the site claims ‘have caused significant harm to innocent individuals either by “the direct action of crimes like rape, assault, child molestation and murder, or by the false accusation of crimes against others.’ This vigilante strategy became widespread on both sides of the culture wars and will always entail serious real-world consequences like harassment and stalking, the loss of reputation, work and relationships. While the list included women who have been sent to prison for various crimes, it also included others who were acquitted and lists female rape victims whose court cases didn’t result in a full conviction as a ‘false accuser’.”

2. Some information on Matthew "An Hero" Henderson looks to have been summarised from a 2008 NYT interview. Nothing particularly wrong with this except the complete lack of sourcing again.

Found here: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/2139591807?book_show_action=true

3. via e-mail following this blog post being published, not sure if they want to be credited for finding it, so leaving anonymous for now. The bit on the Sokal hoax is also copied from Wikipedia:

Wikipedia

perpetrated by Alan Sokal, a physics professor at New York University and University College London. In 1996, Sokal submitted an article to Social Text, an academic journal of postmodern cultural studies… whose editorial collective includes such luminaries as Fredric Jameson and Andrew Ross …”

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sokal_affair

Kill All Normies (page 165).

perpetrated by Alan Sokal, a physics professor at New York University and University College London. He submitted an article to Social Text, an academic journal of postmodern cultural studies, whose editorial collective included stars at the time like Fredric Jameson and Andrew Ross (pg 84)

For alternatives, if you want straight factual stuff and summaries, then https://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Main_Page is pretty good. I was very skeptical (pun not intended) of rationalwiki because of the name, but whatever the actual politics behind it the articles are generally well written and useful (and they cite sources). Probably why Nagle copied from it.

Mike Harman

6 years ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Mike Harman on May 3, 2018

R Totale

the Baffler all have some insightful cultural criticism fairly regularly,

Just to say I absolutely do not trust the Baffler. For one they regularly publish Nagle. For two they just published this piece on third-positionists Cody Wilson and Amir Taaki and spent a good section of the interview calling them 'crypto-anarchists' (more like crypto-fash amirite etc. etc.) only going into their third-positionism later on.

(Taaki was the person who crashed a meeting at the 2015 bookfair).

https://thebaffler.com/salvos/anarchists-guns-and-money-siegel

Whereas the Institute of Social Ecology published this outing Taaki recently: http://social-ecology.org/wp/2018/01/the-new-reactionaries-amir-taaki-alt-right-entryism-and-rojava-solidarity/

donald parkinson

6 years ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by donald parkinson on May 3, 2018

The problem with the plagiarism is that it just shows a piss poor understanding of neo-fascism or even a desire to investigate it beyond its surface proclamations, but somehow writing a "definitive" book on the alt-right. Instead, she'd rather whine about online SJWs and play the same game the right does by obsessing over how "not normal" they are. Of course, she'll get to be on tons of documentaries and news reports anyway.

R Totale

6 years ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by R Totale on May 4, 2018

Mike Harman

R Totale

the Baffler all have some insightful cultural criticism fairly regularly,

Just to say I absolutely do not trust the Baffler. For one they regularly publish Nagle. For two they just published this piece on third-positionists Cody Wilson and Amir Taaki and spent a good section of the interview calling them 'crypto-anarchists' (more like crypto-fash amirite etc. etc.) only going into their third-positionism later on.

(Taaki was the person who crashed a meeting at the 2015 bookfair).
https://thebaffler.com/salvos/anarchists-guns-and-money-siegel

Ah, apologies, I'd not seen that piece before, am currently pretty behind on my reading generally - looking into it now, I notice that one of their tech writers is Yasha Levine, former editor of the eXile, which also sounds like a publication with a less-than-stellar editorial line (as in, regularly publishing nazbols - sorry for lack of links but should be easy to google).

Moving back to the OP, it strikes me that there's an interesting piece to be written about the emotional need that texts like Kill All Normies meet - and while I certainly don't want to revive the great vampire wars of 2013, I think it's hard to talk about KAN without also having that other text in mind, since Nagle certainly wants to position herself in that lineage. Like, my rough hypothesis would be that social media, or certain types of conversations on social media, are experienced by a lot of people as hurtful and wounding, and for whatever reason a lot of people find writing like Nagle's to be a salve for that pain, which helps enough that they're willing to completely skim over a lot of the content. Maybe that's a bit of a stretch, but I do feel that it's worth having some explanation as to why so many people - presumably including an editor at some point? - were able to read that bit without at the very least going "hang on, this blend of nationalism and socialism which is being presented as wholly new and innovative here actually kinda reminds me of something I've heard of before..."

No idea where to go with that thought from there, though.

Mike Harman

6 years ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Mike Harman on May 4, 2018

R Totale

Mike Harman

https://thebaffler.com/salvos/anarchists-guns-and-money-siegel

Ah, apologies, I'd not seen that piece before,

No need to apologise, I think it was just published this week (there's no date on it but seems to be in their May/June '18 issue) - I'd literally just read it an hour or two before seeing your comment, but they've published some very questionable stuff in the past too.

R Totale

tech writers is Yasha Levine, former editor of the eXile, which also sounds like a publication with a less-than-stellar editorial line (as in, regularly publishing nazbols - sorry for lack of links but should be easy to google).

Whoah, eXile used to publish Eduard Limonov who literally co-founded Russia's National Bolshevik party with Dugin.

R Totale

Moving back to the OP, it strikes me that there's an interesting piece to be written about the emotional need that texts like Kill All Normies meet - and while I certainly don't want to revive the great vampire wars of 2013, I think it's hard to talk about KAN without also having that other text in mind, since Nagle certainly wants to position herself in that lineage. Like, my rough hypothesis would be that social media, or certain types of conversations on social media, are experienced by a lot of people as hurtful and wounding, and for whatever reason a lot of people find writing like Nagle's to be a salve for that pain, which helps enough that they're willing to completely skim over a lot of the content.

Hmm I think about it very differently to this, but it's an interesting point. I think there's two main audiences for the book, and that partly explains its reception:

1. If we look at the past week, there have been dozens of thinkpieces about incels, many quoting Nagle, aimed at people who are best described as 'not online very much'. The book therefore serves as 'academic' (lol, given the contents of this blog post) thinkpiece fodder for liberal comment journalists interpreting the culture wars for the uninformed. It's a primer, and that audience both does not understand the subject matter well enough, nor the underlying political assumptions well enough, to take it at any more than face value. I haven't read Jonathan Haidt's Righteous Mind but it feels in a similar genre for "what the fuck are culture wars and what can we do about it" people, except for the alt-right instead of the Tea Party.

2. On the 'left', there are three functions:
- a diagnosis of the 'failure of the left' over the past decade or three.
- it provides an internal scapegoat for this failure ('tumblr liberals') who via their various faults ('subdivision of identities', call outs, talking about mental illness and disability in public) can then be used to discipline the parameters of discussion - i.e."you can't talk about crazy stuff like x because it is unrealistic/liberalism and will push people to the right", and "when you criticise whatever complete bollocks social democratic policy I'm pushing it's because you're mentally ill and engaging in toxic identity politics". The people for whom it fulfils this function then also provide further academic or journalistic endorsement for the first group.
- part of the premise of the book is to actually discourage political polemic and discussion, to characterise criticism as unhealthy and divisive etc., so there's an incentive to gloss over its faults for people who agree with that premise and present a unite dfront.

There have been a lot of critical reviews written of KAN, and I don't think I've seen a single person try to rebut one whether Nagle or anyone else. Generally defenders claim that people haven't read the book when they point to a review, and just will not engage with substantive criticism in the reviews themselves.

gram negative

6 years ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by gram negative on May 4, 2018

those three functions are spot on from the discussions i've seen.

cristoper

6 years ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by cristoper on May 6, 2018

Just in case Wikipedia had been updated since KAN was published, we used archive.org to verify versions prior to KAN's publication in June 2017

Okay, but remember Wikipedia itself is fully versioned, with every edit getting a permanent and linkable ID, which provides much more fine-grained digging than the wayback machine.

Mike Harman

6 years ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Mike Harman on May 6, 2018

I did use that for Wikipedia too, but nonbinary wiki has moved domain since the book was published so archive.org was the only option there. Also couldn't find history option on rationalwiki.

Comrade Motopu

6 years ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Comrade Motopu on May 21, 2018

Just gonna link this Daily Beast article here for the record, already tweeted out by libcom. I think DB is a mix of left and right articles, kind of a muckraking online journal. This article is pretty good on why Nagle's handling of sources is sloppy and politically dubious. It sources libcom heavily.

‘Kill All Citations?’ Sloppy Sourcing Plagues ‘Kill All Normies’ Book on SJWs and the Alt-Right

https://www.thedailybeast.com/kill-all-citations-sloppy-sourcing-plagues-kill-all-normies-book-on-sjws-and-the-alt-right

R Totale

6 years ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by R Totale on May 21, 2018

I enjoy the doubling-down that's obviously going on in the Zero Books bunker atm:
"In a statement provided to The Daily Beast, Douglas Lain, the publisher of Kill All Normies, said “we do not require (or even encourage) that our authors cite sources and abide by the standards of academic publishing,” adding that “concerns about proper citation don’t exist at Zero Books. However, we are concerned about plagiarism and copyright infringement.”...

As for plagiarism, “We’ll stop publication or pulp a book if we discover it is not the author’s own work or that the author doesn’t have the right to republish another author’s work,” Lain wrote. “What Nagle is accused of doing has nothing in common with this sort of plagiarism. Her work is her own. Five consecutive words do not constitute a copyright violation,” he stated. Furthermore, “In Nagle’s case, we were convinced that her ideas and arguments were not only original to her but timely and important. We stand by that assessment.”

“The real story here isn’t about Nagle and her writing,” Lain added, “but about a group of people who have become obsessed with Nagle and who prefer to settle political differences and disagreements through personal attacks and attempts [at] personal destruction.”

My dude, just promise that you'll pay an editor to read your next book all the way through before you publish it, it's really not that complicated.

Mike Harman

6 years ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Mike Harman on May 21, 2018

I think it's really good that criticising what someone has written in a commercially published book is a 'personal attack and attempts [at] personal destruction" now.

Mike Harman

6 years ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Mike Harman on May 21, 2018

[Content note: Germain Greer transphobia quotes]

A bit from the Daily Beast article that I didn't spot the source of:

Daily Beast

Nagle also recounts news events based on the retellings of right-wing columnists. Nagle’s account of a 2015 “no-platforming” incident at Cardiff University involving Australian writer Germaine Greer uses the same structure, facts and phrasing as Claire Lehman, a conservative author not credited in Nagle’s account.

After discussing a student’s “petition calling for the event’s cancellation,” Nagle and Lehman both note that Greer has “not published any comment about transgenderism for over 15 years,” though Nagle omits the fact Greer has indeed answered questions about the issue, the source of the controversy (transgender women are “not women,” Greer told the BBC). Both, however, note Greer says it is “not my issue.”

However I did spot that the 15 years claim was wildly inaccurate when reading the book through, and Charles Davis underplays just how inaccurate it was.

A couple of days after the initial Newsnight interview and outcry, here's what Greer said on Victoria Derbyshire:

Greer

Just because you lop off your cock & then wear a dress, doesn’t make you a f****** woman

Lehman and Nagle also omitted this 2009 article on Caster Semenya Greer wrote for the Guardian. Semenya is still facing the prospect of having to undergo hormone therapy to be allowed to compete as a woman nine years later:

Greer

Nowadays we are all likely to meet people who think they are women, have women's names, and feminine clothes and lots of eyeshadow, who seem to us to be some kind of ghastly parody, though it isn't polite to say so. We pretend that all the people passing for female really are. Other delusions may be challenged, but not a man's delusion that he is female.

There's a real issue here in how no platforming gets discussed (although in fact Greer was not even no-platformed, one person wrote a letter and she decided not to go).

Someone like Chomsky will argue that someone with absolutely abhorrent views should not be no-platformed, regardless of the views that they have. You can disagree with this, but it's an argument specifically not based on the views of the person getting a platform (we can argue whether the principle is applied consistently in practice as to whose right to a platform gets defended, but that's another issue).

Nagle does not take this approach, she defends the views of the people being 'no platformed' (not actually no-platformed in Greer's case, she wasn't disinvited and she delivered the lecture after initially cancelling herself) as not that bad, having been expressed 15 years ago and not since etc.

It's quite possible for someone to get no-platformed who shouldn't have been - but to decide that, you'd have to give an honest account of the reasons they were no-platformed and why.

So Greer being consistently transphobic for 15+ years is very different to having said something once 15 years ago. A BBC interview might technically not be 'written about', but an article published in the Guardian certainly is. Right wing columnists consistently omit basic factual information about cases like this to push a narrative of the 'censorious campus left'. Uncritically repeating those talking points and factual inaccuracies is really inexcusable.

Juan Conatz

6 years ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Juan Conatz on May 21, 2018

It's obvious that her book is a poorly researched collection of random thoughts and propositions based on variants of liberal/leftist "conventional wisdom". However, it's also true that some of the criticism of this book has come in the form of harassment via Twitter. I know to those of you who use Twitter for political purposes, the line between harassment and normal usage of the site is blurry, but for someone who doesn't use Twitter, the line is pretty clear. So libcom, and those who seem connected to libcom, are not going to get much acknowledgment from Nagle or Zero Books here and it's not surprising that they see this as an attempt at "personal destruction".

Mike Harman

6 years ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Mike Harman on May 21, 2018

There's definitely twitter harassment of Nagle (Roosh V has unfortunately discovered the Daily Beast article). But when you talk about the 'line between harassment and normal usage of the site is blurry' I wonder what you think of something like this:

https://twitter.com/RibosomeChomsky/status/984795433531789312

Red Marriott

6 years ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Red Marriott on May 21, 2018

Juan C

the line between harassment and normal usage of the site is blurry, but for someone who doesn't use Twitter, the line is pretty clear. So libcom, and those who seem connected to libcom, are not going to get much acknowledgment from Nagle or Zero Books here and it's not surprising that they see this as an attempt at "personal destruction".

I don't use Twitter so can you please explain this? Why is the line more blurry there than elsewhere online and have the libcoms crossed it?

Uncreative

6 years ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Uncreative on May 21, 2018

If someone is going to just copy a bunch of things other people wrote and pass them off as their own work, uncritically regurgitate what fascists say about themselves as neutral factual analysis of those fascists, deliberately misrepresent marginalised people, etc, then its kind of a stretch to assume they would be up for seriously engaging with critics of their work. Whatever form the criticism of Nagle took, it would have been dismissed. If it was 1 article pointing out all the things wrong with it, it would be ignored in the hopes it went away and the embarrassing revelations were forgotten about. If it doesn't go away and people keep bringing it up, then its dismissed as personal harrassment by obsessives. Either way, no need to engage.

R Totale

6 years ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by R Totale on May 21, 2018

Red Marriott

Juan C

the line between harassment and normal usage of the site is blurry, but for someone who doesn't use Twitter, the line is pretty clear. So libcom, and those who seem connected to libcom, are not going to get much acknowledgment from Nagle or Zero Books here and it's not surprising that they see this as an attempt at "personal destruction".

I don't use Twitter so can you please explain this? Why is the line more blurry there than elsewhere online and have the libcoms crossed it?

Yeah, I'm also confused by this - I would have thought that the difference would be that those who don't use twitter would be much less likely to be aware of harrassment happening/the scale of it, whereas it would be more likely to be visible to people who engage with the site more? Are you talking about stuff that happened last summer after the release of the book, or just now, or both?

Khawaga

6 years ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Khawaga on May 21, 2018

R Totale

My dude, just promise that you'll pay an editor to read your next book all the way through before you publish it, it's really not that complicated.

Yeah, it's not complicated, but it won't happen. Zero Books is renowned for having almost nonexistent editing as is witnessed in not only the plagiarism in Nagle, but also that Zero books tend to be riddled with typos, grammar mistake and other copy editing issues. Zero Books would likely not exist (or at least would not be publishing "academic" books) if not for the publish or perish imperative in academia. IIRC, you'll get your books published much faster by Zero than a proper academic publisher, likely because Zero does little editing and, based off of Nagel's book, they don't go through peer review.

Comrade Motopu

6 years ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Comrade Motopu on May 21, 2018

Misrepresenting good faith critiques and or defensive actions as "attacks," or "anti-free speech hysteria," etc. is Nagle and crew's stock in trade. And they play both sides. If you complain about the wrong thing, they ironically call you a snowflake, aping the alt-Right. If you write up a critique of their words and consistent political actions, you've created a "hit list" or "black list." My article was given as the reason Freddie DeBoer had to go into care, as if that was the ghoulish intention of it. It wasn't.

At the same time they insist the Left refuses to engage in debate and is promoting a culture of victimhood, they are very quick to play the victim card if it gets them out of the "debate" they insist their "free speech" fetishism is all about. If you want to understand the Spiked/Nagle line on free speech, it largely correlates to the David Horowitz/Campus Republican campaigns of the turn of this century. The evil Marxists "controlled" the campuses, brainwashed students, and "censored" opposing ideas, which students allegedly had no access to in every day life. The proposed solution was to hire an equal amount of right wing professors for "balance."

And this insistence on debate. Has anyone ever seen Angela Nagle debate anyone? I haven't. The closest I've seen is her fielding questions in front of an adoring audience, where maybe one person hints that maybe she could tell them what she could do better or some such thing.

When she does address her critics, it's ad hominem, denial, and strawmen. If you ever watch her interviews, the opening move is usually something like "my critics operate at such a low intellectual level it's hard to consider them at all" and then how she mutes/blocks them for her own sanity. I'm not saying she shouldn't mute and block, but her entire intellectual career is built on harassing and misrepresenting people outside her own centrist cliques, which happen to be extremely popular among millennials looking for class-centered organizing and critique against class free analysis.

And this easy dismissal of ideas and challenges is sectarianism 101. When I was in the anti-war movement at SF State, the ISO also used this tactic. Anyone who criticized their top down, centralized models, used to attempt control over whatever group they were in, was said to be "red-baiting."

But Jacobin, Dead Pundits, Nagle, Frost, etc. etc. constantly red-bait anarchists and often use the Leninist smear of "ultra-left." It's a very obvious, very old way of shutting down debate.

A generation of millennial "socialists" coming into DSA type organizing looks at the last twenty years as a nightmare of anti-class identity politics. There are good critiques of "the cultural turn" from people like Ellen Meiksins Wood, Timothy Brennan, Adolph Reed, and many more. But very often, what we get instead is the most popularized, vulgarized version of these critiques. The James Heartfields and Angela Nagles represent the most disingenuous of that tendency.

And I do actually think libcom, whom I don't speak for or represent, or even agree with all the time, has provided materials, articles, and a constant online presence that helped open up the idea that Nagle's book, or Proctors podcast, etc. are deeply flawed to the point of being at times reactionary.

I do use twitter and I've noticed that "Naglemania" has been losing ground to NagleSkepticism. Way more people are expressing reservations and opposition to not only her shoddy sourcing and cut and paste, but to the way she misrepresents events, assumes a voice of authority about things she doesn't know about, and often promotes right wing critiques of the Left.

Let's face it. She is a fellow traveller of the worst of the ex-Left, Spiked magazine, who she has written for, and participates in their "Battle of Ideas" every year I believe. Anyone participating in that event is supportive of the overall anti-working class, productivist, pro-capitalist development positioning of that milieu, and Nagle's writing consistently belies her pose as a left radical.

So I don't know that I'm that concerned with that crew being "harrassed." I personally was doxed by James Heartfield, and I'm guessing he'll do it again. Fuck these ex-Marxist poseurs.

I'll finish with a cut and paste from wikipedia from the page on the Revolutionary Communist Party (UK, 1978), from which Living Marxism and then Spiked emerged. This explains so much about Nagle and Spiked's politics. They've literally given up on the working class as the force Marx saw in them, the self-guided and _only_ revolutionary class.

Quote [all caps emphasis is mine]:

In 1988, the RCP made the next step into a bulletin for its supporters. Later, a monthly magazine called Living Marxism was set up which was intended for a wider readership. Despite its beginnings as a far-left outlet, the politics espoused by the magazine developed a pronounced libertarianism. In December 1990, Living Marxism ran an article which argued that the corrosive effect of the collapse of both Stalinism and Reformism on the working class meant that "FOR THE TIME BEING AT LEAST, THE WORKING CLASS HAS NO POLITICAL EXISTENCE".[43] In 1997, the point was put more forcefully:

"In today's circumstances class politics cannot be reinvented, rebuilt, reinvigorated or rescued. Why? Because any dynamic political outlook needs to exist in an interaction with existing individual consciousness. And contemporary forms of consciousness in our atomised societies cannot be used as the foundation for a more developed politics of solidarity." [Quotes added to show this was a block quote on the original page.]

Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Revolutionary_Communist_Party_(UK,_1978)

Juan Conatz

6 years ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Juan Conatz on May 22, 2018

Uncreative is right in that Nagle is not interested in debate. I haven't seen her respond to any of her left-wing critics. Comrade Motopu is also correct about how Nagle, etc. engage in the same style of Twitter insanity they accuse everyone of targeting them with.

Mike Harman

6 years ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Mike Harman on May 22, 2018

On left-wing critics, a few people have commented on this piece and the Daily Beast on twitter on that it's a 'superficial'/'technical' critique rather than engaging with the broader arguments in the book.

First of all it's clear from the examples that not only are some passages copy and pasted, but that Nagle has both copied from sources which would be bad even if they were cited (like right wing columnists who themselves omitted key facts about events) and herself removed some sentences which aren't particularly helpful to her argument. This is massaging of events to support a particular narrative, especially around 'no-platforming' of people like Jordan Peterson and Germaine Greer. If those passages were a lot more neutral, then I don't think we would have picked up on the plagiarism in the first place, because they just would not ring so many alarm bells in general.

Apart from that, there are several reviews of the book written last year, which deal in-depth with some of Nagle's arguments, none of which have been properly responded to by Nagle, Zer0books, or the book's other supporters. Some of the better ones below:

Cameron Fantastic

Communist League Tampa

New Humanist

New Socialist

CeaseFire

Red Wedge

Uncreative

6 years ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Uncreative on May 23, 2018

Zero books have written a "Response to Charles Davis’ Attack on Angela Nagle"

http://zero-books.net/blogs/zero/our-response-to-charles-davis-attack-on-angela-nagle/

As it says in the response, shes also writing up a revised edition. Its going to be a lot broader in scope, hundreds of pages actually. I was given a sneak peak of the manuscript, it starts:

Nagle

The wealth of those societies in which the capitalist mode of production prevails, presents itself as “an immense accumulation of commodities, its unit being a single commodity. Our investigation must therefore begin with the analysis of a commodity. ”

Lots of good original research in this new revised edition, shes clearly been hanging round the British Library. Zer0 definitely still need an editor though, theres a bit about linen and coats that goes on far too long.

R Totale

6 years ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by R Totale on May 23, 2018

"But she claims it wasn’t until she began publicly criticising the state department line on Syria that attacks ramped up and made their way into the corporate media from an anarchist blog, in which minor errors were used to imply that Nagle was channeling the ideas of Russian philosopher Alexander Dugin, a common claim made against critics of military intervention."

Amazing. Nagle and zero will have gone full infowars/chemtrails by the end of the month at this rate.

Rob Ray

6 years ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Rob Ray on May 23, 2018

Congrats on your upgrade to "media pipeline" status folks!

R Totale

6 years ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by R Totale on May 23, 2018

"Hello, is this libcom? This is your handler from the CIA speaking. We're a bit worried about this Nagle character now that she's criticised state department policy on Syria, so we want to find a way to take her out of the picture somehow. I know it's a bit of a long shot, but if there's any way you could possibly find anywhere she takes some sentences written by a Russian fascist and presents them as if they were her own work, that would be fantastic, and also tie in nicely with our ongoing plan to make the anti-imperialist left look dodgy by pointing out that they do dodgy shit. OK, that's all for now, like I say if you could dig up anywhere she uncritically repeats stuff by Dugin that would be a massive help. Cheerio!
P.S. I hope everything's going well with your Venezuelan truck company."

Steven.

6 years ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Steven. on May 23, 2018

R Totale

"Hello, is this libcom? This is your handler from the CIA speaking. We're a bit worried about this Nagle character now that she's criticised state department policy on Syria, so we want to find a way to take her out of the picture somehow. I know it's a bit of a long shot, but if there's any way you could possibly find anywhere she takes some sentences written by a Russian fascist and presents them as if they were her own work, that would be fantastic, and also tie in nicely with our ongoing plan to make the anti-imperialist left look dodgy by pointing out that they do dodgy shit. OK, that's all for now, like I say if you could dig up anywhere she uncritically repeats stuff by Dugin that would be a massive help. Cheerio!
P.S. I hope everything's going well with your Venezuelan truck company."

shit our emails have been hacked!

R Totale

6 years ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by R Totale on May 24, 2018

Honestly, the line of defence Nagle/Zero have chosen does, in my view, make them look much worse than the original allegations did. Like, looking at that line from the Zero statement:
"minor errors were used to imply that Nagle was channeling the ideas of Russian philosopher Alexander Dugin, a common claim made against critics of military intervention"
1) "Russian philosopher Alexander Dugin" is a curiously value-neutral way of describing him, as if he was just some harmless soul like Kirkegaard or Spinoza - I'm happy to accept that the copypasta in KAN was just pure laziness, but I'm not really sure what motivates that precise choice of words here
2) "a common claim made against critics of military intervention" - without citation (that problem again!) it's hard to know who exactly this is referring to, but it sounds an awful lot like it's lumping Nagle together with the various people who've been criticised for having actual, extensive, well-documented political connections to Duginist/third postion fascists. Which is like... a really, really weird defence to make, it's like saying that your client couldn't possibly have parked in a disabled spot because at the time they were over on the other side of town ordering a hit at a mafia meeting or something.

Similarly, Nagle herself says "It's not just Syria. Davis is on the hunt for Russkies. Last month, I loudly condemned a (retracted) piece framing anti-war leftists as neofascist agents. Davis claims the retraction was the work of a Russia conspiracy. Suddenly, my year old book's integrity is under attack."

If you read the article in question, Davis never comes anywhere near to making the claim that she attributes to him, which... really, really does not help establish her credibility? Shame she couldn't just plagiarise some of Davis' article, that way she might be able to represent its arguments a bit more reliably. What actually happened was that independent antifascist journalist Alexander Reid Ross wrote an article about red-brown alliances (I don't think it was a great article, but that's beside the point at this time), featuring alt-lite Fox News personality Tucker Carlson and rich-kid Assadist Max Blumenthal, and rather than write a reply setting out his disagreements, Blumenthal threatened to sue for libel, while Fox News accused ARR of conducting a "McCarthyite smear campaign" - just to repeat, Fox News accusing an independent socialist journalist of McCarthyism.

This is remarkable in that, for all the talk of "the answer to bad speech is more speech", censorship is bad and so on, Nagle looks at this case, where some rich fuck uses the courts to get an article he doesn't like literally, actually censored and gets given a Fox News platform to whine about it in the process, and decides that her sympathies lie squarely with the libel lawyers and Tucker Carlson, not the writer whose article got censored. Or, as Charles Davis put it:

"When a white supremacist killed a left-wing protester in Charlottesville, North Carolina, Greenwald composed a principled defense of free speech. But when an anti-fascist communist has his journalism purged after conspiratorial legal threats from an alt-right champion’s lawyer, no principled defense of speech can be found but a meek suggestion that there must have been something to it.

On another occasion, when a college pro-Palestine group chose to not to invite Rania Khalek to speak at their event, Greenwald, Blumenthal and Noam Chomsky alike all signed an open letter proclaiming it a threat to discourse. “It runs contrary to the possibility of people learning from one another, changing their minds, and educating one another,” the letter stated.

No one purged her work, even when it was flawed.

Where, then, is the defense of unpopular speech — and on the left, Ross’ position is a dissenting one — in the face of an organization buckling to the pressure of online mobs and the threat of pending litigation? “I find that the people behind these lawsuits are truly so odious and repugnant, that creates its own motivation for me,” Greenwald once said of civil rights activists seeking to hold a neo-Nazi responsible for inciting violence; he was motivated to provide the defendant counsel, to which all are entitled and which lawyers of principle have long provided, however unsavory the client. But where’s the defense, on principle, of civil speech, published by civil rights organization, that its harshest critics are fully entitled to counter on platforms that are readily available to them?

Where’s the left, in general? Missing in action, perhaps, because the subject is unsettling: these fascists are not your friends, but some of your friends may have partied with them. But even those don’t buy the thesis, yet — that the Russian government pursues its interests abroad; those interests are pursued with the help of the media properties it owns; the left should be wary of those who say those interests are its own — should absolutely reject attempts to shut down the conversation with appeals to the state.

Consider also that the right, historically, has been the perpetrator of McCarthyism, not its victim. Misuse of the term to silence left-wing dissent, however, has a long tradition: Murray Bookchin, a socialist writer, called it “McCarthyism in reverse” — and it was used then as now by reactionary elements looking to silence their critics to the left. In practice, “McCarthyism” today means “shut the fuck up,” and it is being used by those who invoke its specter to deplatform and censor others."

Can you see the bit in that where Davis blames a "Russia conspiracy"? I can't seem to find it for the life of me.

Mike Harman

6 years ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Mike Harman on May 24, 2018

Just a note we've followed this up with a longer piece here: https://libcom.org/blog/5-big-problems-angela-nagle-kill-all-normies-24052018

R Totale

6 years ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by R Totale on May 25, 2018

Oh, and one last footnote on the above - it didn't even register at first, but in that post, Nagle doesn't even actually provide a link to the anti-censorship/pro-free speech Davis article, just a screenshot of the headline and first few paragraphs. Seems a bit weird - like if you thought the person you had beef with was conducting some kind of obsessive McCarthyite anti-Russian smear campaign or whatever, you'd link to the evidence, so everyone could see what an obsessive McCarthyite anti-Russian smearmonger they were, right? If it wasn't such a cynical thing to say, you could almost suspect that the reason she just puts up a picture of the headline and not a link to the article itself is because she's hoping her followers will just look at the headline and accept her description of it, without actually reading the piece itself and making their own minds up. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Comrade Motopu

5 years 12 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Comrade Motopu on May 26, 2018

This blog post came out today and focuses on issues with Nagle's treatment of Germaine Greer:

https://redstarovercalifornia.com/not-my-issue-nagle-and-greer/

This one a couple of months ago challenges the idea that the "tumblr left" had nothing to offer, including a look at demographics of tumblr:

https://creepingmarxist.wordpress.com/2017/09/28/tumblr-dragged-me-left/

R Totale

5 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by R Totale on May 31, 2018

darren p

So any recommendations for a better book on the "online culture wars"?

OK, so I have no idea if darren p's likely to see this at this point, but just to say that, while I don't know if I can name a specific book - I think the speed that online culture moves at doesn't go well with the length of the book publishing cycle, and when you try to mesh the two there's a risk that you just end up rushing it and printing badly edited books, but whatever - I have just got around to reading some Vicky Osterweil pieces that have been on my "should read when I get around to it" list for a while, and I would really seriously recommend Osterweil as being a writer on online culture stuff who gives a proper, seriously materialist take in terms of considering the "forces of production" or whatever of the internet, the data/algorithm stuff that's vital to understanding why the big websites that've increasingly cornered the whole place behave the way they do. So yeah, I'd recommend Darren (or anyone else who's interested) try Like and Subscribe or Force Fed for example - these are proper intellectually serious takes on the subject, imo.

R Totale

5 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by R Totale on July 18, 2018

R Totale

If I churn out a few thousand words about how expecting authors to do research and cite credible sources is exactly the kind of po-faced moralistic virtue signalling that makes The Left so joyless and is driving the rise of the alt-right, do you reckon I could get a book deal out of it?

I called it! Good luck with the book deal, Pavlos.

gram negative

5 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by gram negative on July 18, 2018

Hardly concealing that their reading of the book was performed using many filters of identitarian politics, libcom’s post

who forgot to apply the identitiarian concealer???

honestly, more than anything, i'm impressed on how important libcom is; i didn't realize the site had this cachet until getting this attention recently. also, lol about the footnote about the situationists - don't you understand that KAN is an assemblage, that copying writing from wikipedia is how nagle embodies the textual environment of the internet? the last section of that article isn't bad, though, and teases out the contradictions between nagle's perspective in KAN and her politics (tepid social democracy) and the actual, transgressive history of the workers' movement (ably depicted in the red wedge piece on KAN).

anyways, speaking of libcom, this was one of the few sites way back in the 2000s that hosted relatively nuanced discussions and articles on idpol, even though my impression back then was that the majority opinion was "anti"-idpol, if i had to simplify it. i'd say libcom definitely helped me develop a more nuanced understanding of identity politics that escaped the simplistic class reductionism vs identitarianism that is usually portrayed, and libcom is one of the most prominent sites hosting historical material on actual working class struggles from non-majority groups.

Agent of the I…

5 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Agent of the I… on July 18, 2018

So I clicked on the piece and read up to "'Twas in another lifetime", and I'll probably read the rest of it later, but the author sounds like one of those Nagleist who thinks Kill All Normies has provided everything we know about the Alt Right phenomenon, and we should all be grateful for that. For Nagle and fellow supporters who have invested so much into the shared narrative expressed in that book, it's not that critics regardless of their political identity have exposed how thin that narrative holds together, but rather the critics are all drones of an 'identitarian' ideology. There's no attempt thus far to actually address the specific criticisms made in any critical piece such as the one posted by libcom. Do they even see the need to do so?

R Totale

5 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by R Totale on July 18, 2018

Yeah, I'll have another go at reading and properly engaging with the whole thing, but on first impressions, I'm baffled by how anyone can try to combine a fondness for the situationists, a "professional-managerial class" critique of professional roles, and a belief that everyone needs to be more civil and respectful when talking about aspiring media commentators who write crappy books. Like, how do you fit those things together?

Mike Harman

5 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Mike Harman on July 18, 2018

gram negative

honestly, more than anything, i'm impressed on how important libcom is; i didn't realize the site had this cachet until getting this attention recently.

Responded to this a bit here: https://libcom.org/forums/north-america/post-trump-north-american-left-trends-27042018?page=2#comment-608235

gram negative

anyways, speaking of libcom, this was one of the few sites way back in the 2000s that hosted relatively nuanced discussions and articles on idpol, even though my impression back then was that the majority opinion was "anti"-idpol, if i had to simplify it.

I think this is about right. I think what has changed is it's become clearer that different people are using widely different definitions of idpol (and since 2014 or so, it's burst into mainstream discourse). So two people who could agree 'identity politics is bad and non-economically-reductive class struggle is good' you start to realise there are a lot of things which don't neatly fit into this and the terms we use can gloss over actual disagreements (or people's different usage of terms sometimes create perceived disagreements which aren't there, or aren't there in the way they understand them).

Also for me personally I made a point the past few years of reading a lot about the history of racism, migration, border controls and other things which while the basic fundamental politics of 'non-economically-reductive class struggle' remains unchanged I realised I had a load of blind-spots in how class divisions are maintained and how certain historical narratives get distorted and manipulated (often unintentionally).

gram negative

5 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by gram negative on July 18, 2018

sorry, i wasn't trying to be snarky about libcom, it's just interesting to see libcom mentioned in more mainstream publications, and i guess i hadn't connected the readership numbers to what that materially looks like in terms of readership.

Mike Harman

5 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Mike Harman on July 19, 2018

Agent of the International

So I clicked on the piece and read up to "'Twas in another lifetime", and I'll probably read the rest of it later, but the author sounds like one of those Nagleist who thinks Kill All Normies has provided everything we know about the Alt Right phenomenon, and we should all be grateful for that.

There is a critique of Nagle (and Reed) at the end of the Brooklyn Rail piece, but notably none of the arguments she makes in the book except a bit about 'transgression'. In other words that the diagnosis is right and the prescription is wrong.

Agent of the International

For Nagle and fellow supporters who have invested so much into the shared narrative expressed in that book, it's not that critics regardless of their political identity have exposed how thin that narrative holds together, but rather the critics are all drones of an 'identitarian' ideology. There's no attempt thus far to actually address the specific criticisms made in any critical piece such as the one posted by libcom. Do they even see the need to do so?

[/quote]

I'm increasingly aware of how much of this genre of writing relies on the reader not actually knowing anything about, or reading up on, what's being discussed.

There are some interesting things in the article:

Pavlos Roufos

Hardly concealing that their reading of the book was performed using many filters of identitarian politics, libcom’s post “informed” its readers that Nagle’s book is “laughing at the alt-Right’s scapegoats,” that she has performed a “leftist laundering of sexual assault,” that she is transphobic and, essentially, a rape apologist.4 Were one to take the distorting mirror of her opponents seriously, this would surely make KAN one of the worst books written in the past few years. (Spoiler alert: It is not.)

If we're going to talk about 'distorting mirrors' then we'd have to ask ourselves, do the words 'leftist laundering of sexual assault' appear in the original piece, or to be generous, is it an accurate paraphrase?

This is the only use of laundering:

5 big problems with Kill All Normies

The right’s successful creation of a moral panic around campus free speech may in fact be a good illustration of a "Gramscian strategy" (KAN, pg 98) of setting the political agenda through media and culture. But rather than critique this fabricated moral panic, KAN’s dubiously sourced analysis gives it a leftist laundering.

So no, we say that KAN (via selective retelling from dubious sources, whether due to intention or lack of time and editing) launders right wing campus free speech moral panics, not sexual assault. Distorting mirrors and identitarian filters indeed...

On the piece's central charge that the left has retreated into moralistic condemnation, there are some interesting contrasts between the beginning and end of the piece:

The Aggressiveness of Vulnerability

This approach has produced an interesting inversion: whereas accusations of racism, misogyny, etc., were traditionally directed towards the Left’s conservative enemies, they are now predominantly used internally.

This is close to the start of the piece, accusing the modern identitarian left of moralism and shaming, directing accusations of misogyny and racism inwards rather than outwards.

vs this in the critique of Nagle and Reed:

The Aggressiveness of Vulnerability

What is more, the class-reductionist position which subsumed all injustices and social grievances to the moment when the class struggle could successfully force its demands on capital, was drastically undermined by the fact that the expansionary and redistributive characteristics of the Keynesian era largely excluded those marginalized groups.
[...]
In the absence of collective struggles, this tendency towards cut-throat competition also includes locking out your competitors from the labor market. Echoing previous historical examples, the contemporary predicament shows that this process can take either national forms (anti-migrant) or localized ones (misogyny and racism), if not both at once. But placing one’s hopes for overcoming these structural pressures on those who have embraced, a form of welfare redistribution that depends on closed borders and an unshakable belief in (national) economic growth identical with capitalist prosperity sounds, if nothing else, naïve beyond recall.

Class reductionism, closed borders, (national) economic growth - surely these couldn't be subtle accusations of... nativism?

Or here:
=The Aggressiveness of Vulnerability

it is by now equally clear that the purported “universalism” of the traditional workers’s movement was (to say the least) a rather abstract and selectively defined term.

If the universalism of the traditional workers movement (and he's clear here he means trade unions etc., not communist organisations) was abstract and selectively defined, if Keynesian gains excluded marginalized groups (such as black Americans under Jim Crow), then what is this abstract and selectively defined thing that delineated membership of the "universalist" traditional workers movement? No answer is given.

That accusations of racism have only recently been directed internally within the left, this is unfortunately extremely ahistorical. Eugune Debs in 1904, responding to a letter to the editor of the International Socialist Review from a 'staunch member of the Socialist Party':

Eugene Debs

The anonymous writer, as a rule, ought to be ignored, since he is unwilling to face those he accuses, while he may be a sneak or coward, traitor or spy, in the role of a “staunch Socialist,” whose base design it is to divide and disrupt the movement. For reasons which will appear later, this communication is made an exception and will be treated as if from a known party member in good standing.
[...]
The Elgin writer says that we shall “jeopardize the best interests of the Socialist Party” if we insist upon the political equality of the Negro. I say that the Socialist Party would be false to its historic mission, violate the fundamental principles of Socialism, deny its philosophy and repudiate its own teachings if, on account of race considerations, it sought to exclude any human being from political equality and economic freedom. Then, indeed, would it not only “jeopardize” its best interests, but forfeit its very life, for it would soon be scorned and deserted as a thing unclean, leaving but a stench in the nostrils of honest men.

https://www.marxists.org/archive/debs/works/1904/negronemesis.htm

This is a reply to an anonymous letter, but the Appeal To Reason was publishing arguments for race segregation post revolution in 1900 from editor J A Wayland.

And in 1912, eight years after Debs' article, Kate O'Hare, Socialist Party activist and editor of the Call to Reason was still arguing that black people should be forced onto reservations after a revolution. The title of the piece is N** Equality and the N word appears quite frequently. O'Hare was imprisoned with Emma Goldman during WWI.

Kate O'Hare

“Well, what kind of Equality do you Socialists want?” you ask.
“Why, just one kind, EQUALITY OF OPPORTUNITY.”
SOCIALISTS WANT TO PUT THE NEGRO WHERE HE
CAN’T COMPETE WITH THE WHITE MAN.
...
But you ask what is the solution of the race question?
There can be but one. Segregation. If you ask me what I am going to work and speak and write and vote for on the race question, when it is to be settle under a Socialist form of government, I can tell you very quickly. Let us give the blacks one section in the country where every condition is best fitted for them. Free them from capitalist exploitation; give them access to the soil, the ownership of their machines and let them work out their own salvation. If the negro rises to such an opportunity, and develops his own civilization, well and good; if not, and he prefers to hunt and fish and live idly, no one will be injured but him and that will be his business.

Now we can say that the communist movement has been universalist - not consistently but moving towards it etc., but the trade unions, socialist parties etc., these were not consistently universalist in any way shape or form and people like Debs had to actively fight against outright racists calling for post-revolutionary segregation more than a century ago, and this wasn't a fringe element but the editors of party publications against the leader of the party. Same with post-war colour bars in the UK which was the official position of several large trade unions.

One more, Rosa Luxemburg in 1915, is this identitarian moralistic condemnation?

Rosa Luxemburg

The France socialists, together with their ministers, seem to be the merest dabblers in the unfamiliar trade of nationalism and the waging of war, when one compares their deeds with the services being rendered to the patriotic imperialism by German Social Democracy and the German trade unions.

https://www.marxists.org/archive/luxemburg/1915/xx/rebuild-int.htm

R Totale

5 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by R Totale on July 19, 2018

Fwiw, this piece was first linked to in the giant idpol thread, where there's a slightly parallel discussion, or at least a few comments, happening: http://libcom.org/forums/theory/poverty-identity-politics-21052018?page=15#comment-608214

darren p

5 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by darren p on July 19, 2018

R Totale

OK, so I have no idea if darren p's likely to see this at this point

I saw it. Thanks!

R Totale

5 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by R Totale on July 21, 2018

darren p

I saw it. Thanks!

Oh, on a related note, has anyone actually read the Malcolm Harris book about millennials? I've not read it myself, and it doesn't sound like it's quite about "the online culture wars" as such, but I think Harris is a worthwhile writer, and again sounds like it might be a more materialist take on some of the same topics that Nagle approaches.

frogmire

5 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by frogmire on July 24, 2018

She's was wrongfooted in the ways the article here describes, there's no contesting. However, the main substance of the book is solid:

The intersecting movements known as the alt-right (channers, manosphere, literal white nationalists) have embraced a counter-culture narrative and practice transgression and irony (edginess, if you like). Their model is the masculine rebel against a feminised mainstream. In these ways, they've aped a model of rebellion that can be seen in the revolts of the 60s. This helps their appeal in winning over converts but it's not hard to unpick both their contradictory analysis and their moral bankruptcy.

Rob Ray

5 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Rob Ray on October 7, 2018

She seems to be upping her game on researching the far-right by doing speeches on how great Sargon of Akkad is and leaping on Jordan Petersen as a doomed hero. What a plank.

R Totale

5 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by R Totale on October 7, 2018

Also, from that thread, fucking hell the hypocrisy:

(for those who haven't encountered the story, that would appear to be a reference to this.)
As mentioned above, she's since deleted the post, but her initial line of defence against the plagiarism stuff was to insist on tying it to her pro-censorship line on the Reid Ross/Blumenthal controversy: "Davis is on the hunt for Russkies. Last month, I loudly condemned a (retracted) piece framing anti-war leftists as neofascist agents. Davis claims the retraction was the work of a Russia conspiracy. Suddenly, my year old book's integrity is under attack."
So, if someone writes an article that basically argues that the answer to the gender pay gap is that women just need to learn how to be more like the money-grubbing Jews and the publishers take it down, then that's a bad thing because there needs to be an exchange of ideas, but if someone writes an article pointing out areas of red-brown crossover and one of the people mentioned uses legal threats to silence it, then that's totally fine, no problems there.

Mike Harman

5 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Mike Harman on October 8, 2018

Rob Ray

She seems to be upping her game on researching the far-right by doing speeches on how great Sargon of Akkad is and leaping on Jordan Petersen as a doomed hero. What a plank.

Worth mentioning this wasn't a speech about Sargon, it was an event with Sargon at the Dublin Classical Liberal Society. She says that 'classical liberalism' (i.e. the pro-slavery one) can't reverse the trends of modern liberalism, because it fundamentally is still liberalism, which despite those origins tends towards greater political and individual freedoms.

In the same breath, asks Sargon why it wouldn't be possible for the workers movement to undo 'intersectionality' and go back to a time when it was socially conservative.

https://twitter.com/zei_nabq/status/1048728649074139136

After all it was only the 1960s when colour bars were still being enforced, when Polish UAW officials were tipping off the police to break up meetings of the League of Revolutionary Black Workers because if they got a union candidate elected the UAW wouldn't be able bail out the police department any more. This is the kind of good-old labour movement any self-respecting leftist should want to return to and get rid of all the people who think consent might be a good framework for understanding sexuality eh?

https://twitter.com/zei_nabq/status/1048723937868349440

R Totale

5 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by R Totale on March 1, 2019

darren p

So any recommendations for a better book on the "online culture wars"?

An even more belated reply, and with the disclaimer that I haven't actually read either of them yet, but these both sound interesting:
New Dark Age: Technology and the End of the Future (you can read an extract here - looks to be more focused on data/algorithms than "online culture wars" as such, but I'd argue that having some grasp on the former is vital if you want a decent materialist explanation of the latter)

It Came from Something Awful - an expanded version of the "4chan: The Skeleton Key to the Rise of Trump" essay that did the rounds in 2017.

R Totale

4 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by R Totale on September 25, 2019

Bumping this to say I've now read all of New Dark Age and most of It Came From Something Awful - both very good in their way, if you read Bridle for the material basis and Beran for the cultural analysis it'll leave you with a much better understanding of recent internet developments than Nagle's hackwork. If anyone had the time and energy, doing a point-by-point comparison of, for instance, Nagle's treatment of Depression Quest vs Beran's would be pretty revealing, seeing someone actually seriously engage with this material really shows up how flimsy the earlier book is.

R Totale

3 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by R Totale on October 19, 2020

Another recommendation for if anyone's looking for books on online cultures and the far-right, written by people who probably won't end up being mates with Sargon of Akkad within a few years: Culture Warlords by Talia Lavin sounds like an interesting read.