Why this article has been removed?

Submitted by soc on October 7, 2011

Hi,

quick question: Why did you remove the TPTG open letter? This doesn't look good: a decent answer is better than take it down.

Serge Forward

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Did someone get carried away?

I've a lot of respect for TPTG and I quite fancied reading that.

Steven.

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Basically, it contains extremely serious allegations, and a lot of it is factually inaccurate. Libcom's content guidelines do not allow untrue smears about individuals associated with movement. It also reveals confidential personal information, which is also forbidden by the guidelines.

When there is a response prepared by the relevant individuals we will publish it.

gypsy

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Steven.

Basically, it contains extremely serious allegations, and a lot of it is factually inaccurate. Libcom's content guidelines do not allow untrue smears about individuals associated with movement. .

Is it all factually inaccurate?

Steven.

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

gypsy

Steven.

Basically, it contains extremely serious allegations, and a lot of it is factually inaccurate. Libcom's content guidelines do not allow untrue smears about individuals associated with movement. .

Is it all factually inaccurate?

it's best if you wait and see the response from Aufheben then make up your own mind

Serge Forward

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

gypsy

Is it all factually inaccurate?

That's the question, isn't it? TPTG are not known for being mard arsed shit stirrers, in fact they're generally known for being one of the more rational and measured groups in our little movement... but this allegation is still a bit of a shocker.

But yes, we'd need the other chap's side of the story.

By the way mod, why did you delete my message? I wasn't being sarky y'know.

Steven.

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

What message do you mean? Your second post on this thread with the picture is still here.

Most of the stuff in that article is based on a misunderstanding. I'm not going to say more till the response is done.

soc

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Since the article has been already read by many, because it is available on the indy uk, I think there's not much point in hiding it. But I imagine, to answer to it takes time, so perhaps with that proper warning at the head of the article, should stay here for discussion. It is not just about the person himself, but it is also the academic involvement in policing that I think should be concern for everyone, personal stories set aside.

Shorty

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Yeah, apart form this personal story, there is something to be discussed in terms of academia and policing.

Off the top of my head, in the netherlands there's politie en wetenschap
http://www.politieenwetenschap.nl/english/index_1280.html
(maybe I should break that link ;) )
who have done stuff on squatting and also the extreme left, with different universities. I know the squatting one used undergrads to get involved (some covertly, but mostly innocuously due to the relatively open and social nature, and others lying about the study they were undertaking and for who) and then report back to professors. The extreme left one was more research based I think, most groups avoided interaction.

There was also warnings by the rote hilfe in Germany against working with an academic study on violence on the 1st of May 2009 in Berlin that was being done by the Free University and the Verfassungsschutz.

Steven.

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

We will have it back when we can publish it alongside the response. We think it's only fair that a comrade under attack has the right to reply, and have the reply given equal footing to the allegations

Shorty

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Steven.

We will have it back when we can publish it alongside the response. We think it's only fair that a comrade under attack has the right to reply, and have the reply given equal footing to the allegations

Totally agree. There's probably going to be two separate discussions there anyway.

Or one discussion and another "discussion".

Joseph Kay

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

The article has now been restored with personal details removed in line with posting guidelines. The response is here. You may now stow your tinfoil hats back under your seats.

soc

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Well, good to see that. I hope that the TPTG re-consider its allegations and respond with dignity. Without the personal details, the article well worth to look in to.

Joseph Kay

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Tbh, if TPTG were made aware of the factual inaccuracies and published anyway, then this is just snitchjacketing plain and simple. That's totally unacceptable conduct. If it's an honest mistake, they still should have contacted Aufheben first before making such serious charges, knowing full well that if you start flinging shit some of it might stick. If some Indymedia mental takes this at face value it could have real world consequences, especially following on from the exposure of undercover cops in the eco-direct action scene Aufheben has its roots in. On IMC-UK one Indymedia admin compares him to Mark Kennedy for example.

I don't think the article itself is actually that interesting. There's always reformists urging the state to be nicer and backing their appeals up with science (Mauss' classic work on the gift tried to evidentially ground social democracy for example). But contrary to liberals' conception, the state isn't based on reason but class power. All the academia in the world urging cops not to crack so many heads doesn't change that one bit. I think the Aufheben response does a good job of addressing this.

If you're interested in state strategies you need to understand how the state operates. The cops aren't a rational-scientific machine cunningly conspiring to leave baitvans or provoke riots, they largely blunder from one cock-up to the next, criticised for being too tough one week and too soft the next, or both at the same time. The role of academic knowledge is in legitimising practices they're already committed to, not setting out a blueprint the cops dutifully follow. E.g. a cop commander who had his eye on a promotion in the wake of say, the cops killing someone might draw on the reformists to legitimate his ambitions, whereas his incumbent rival might be drawing on studies which show the efficacy of zero tolerance policing. Actually, watching the Wire would give you a better understanding of the functioning of the police than the TPTG piece, which assumes that everything some liberal academics write is immediately deployed across Europe, rather than most likely discussed at a few conferences, used to legitimate the odd career advancement and otherwise ignored.

ocelot

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Joseph Kay

If you're interested in state strategies you need to understand how the state operates. The cops aren't a rational-scientific machine cunningly conspiring to leave baitvans or provoke riots, they largely blunder from one cock-up to the next, criticised for being too tough one week and too soft the next, or both at the same time. The role of academic knowledge is in legitimising practices they're already committed to, not setting out a blueprint the cops dutifully follow. E.g. a cop commander who had his eye on a promotion in the wake of say, the cops killing someone might draw on the reformists to legitimate his ambitions, whereas his incumbent rival might be drawing on studies which show the efficacy of zero tolerance policing. Actually, watching the Wire would give you a better understanding of the functioning of the police than the TPTG piece, which assumes that everything some liberal academics write is immediately deployed across Europe, rather than most likely discussed at a few conferences, used to legitimate the odd career advancement and otherwise ignored.

This is almost the complete opposite of the truth. Public order policing in the UK has evolved a lot since the days of the miners strike, through the poll tax, criminal justice bill, etc to the recent student protests. And not just in terms of kit. Part of that process did come from the top cops, but a lot of it came from academic specialists. During the Poll tax struggles, the main police academic advisor was a Prof. P.A.J. Waddington. One of Waddington's Phd students, a certain Clifford Stott (the author of that 2009 paper cited in the TPTG piece) inflitrated the Trafalgar Square Defendants Campaign. He did say that he was doing a vaguely related Phd, but we never realised quite how much until after the fact. At the Brixton prison Oct 20 1990 riot, we have video of Waddington behind the police lines, directing the police CO before he initiated the "slice and dice" tactic of dividing up the crowd into sections with lines of police (a kind of early segmented kettling) and then driving each section down the road with baton charges in turn. At each subsequent poll tax public order event, Waddington was also there playing the same role.

It's crap to say that public order specialist academics like Waddington and Stott are not part of the evolution of public order policing.

Joseph Kay

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

ocelot

It's crap to say that public order specialist academics like Waddington and Stott are not part of the evolution of public order policing.

I didn't say they weren't part of it. I said their work plays a legitimating role, rather than TPTG's speculation that it's "highly probable" this stuff is simply rolled out to pacify class struggles across Europe - which it isn't even designed to do. The reformists are saying if you don't beat up innocent people you don't radicalise them against you (i.e. they provide evidence for an already existing intuition). But the state can't just give demonstrators free reign either. The cops can't facilitate angry proletarian crowds because the cops have to defend the state, so when it comes down to actual class conflicts they ignore the reformists and send in the TSG. at most, the reformists are urging the cops not to create violence where there was none (football crowds, liberal marches etc). Of course they are, they're reformists.

In any case and most importantly this is guilt-by-association shit slinging. None of this relates to the work of the Aufheben guy, which mainly concerns psychosocial care in mass emergencies and rejects the reformist project of softening policing through expert counsel. But there's no gossip to be had in that. Labelling someone a "cop collaborator" based on known misrepresentations is fucking bullshit, especially when Aufheben has its roots in the eco-direct action movement where a load of deep cover cops have recently been exposed. It's dishonest, dangerous behaviour that has fuck all to do with understanding policing strategies.

Aufheben

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

ocelot

This is almost the complete opposite of the truth. Public order policing in the UK has evolved a lot since the days of the miners strike, through the poll tax, criminal justice bill, etc to the recent student protests. And not just in terms of kit. Part of that process did come from the top cops, but a lot of it came from academic specialists. During the Poll tax struggles, the main police academic advisor was a Prof. P.A.J. Waddington. One of Waddington's Phd students, a certain Clifford Stott (the author of that 2009 paper cited in the TPTG piece) inflitrated the Trafalgar Square Defendants Campaign. He did say that he was doing a vaguely related Phd, but we never realised quite how much until after the fact. At the Brixton prison Oct 20 1990 riot, we have video of Waddington behind the police lines, directing the police CO before he initiated the "slice and dice" tactic of dividing up the crowd into sections with lines of police (a kind of early segmented kettling) and then driving each section down the road with baton charges in turn. At each subsequent poll tax public order event, Waddington was also there playing the same role.

It's crap to say that public order specialist academics like Waddington and Stott are not part of the evolution of public order policing.

This is the complete opposite of the truth. Tank Waddington is the cops' tame criminologist; he's always and ambiguously been their ideologue. Clifford Stott was not supervised by him or worked with him, and made no secret of the fact that he was a research student during the time of his involvement in TSDC.

ocelot

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Joseph Kay

ocelot

It's crap to say that public order specialist academics like Waddington and Stott are not part of the evolution of public order policing.

I didn't say they weren't part of it. I said their work plays a legitimating role,

It plays a direct role in the advice on tactics, quite apart from any legitimating role. Waddington was not "legitimating" anything that day, he was directing operations, at least at the start, until DAC Metcalfe made his somewhat absurd theatrical appearance out of a black cab in full riot gear (at a time when he would have had to set off from Scotland Yard at least 10 minutes before anything kicked off, but that's another story...).

ocelot

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Just for info re Stott:

I am currently a Director of the Football Match Commander Training Course at the Scottish National Police Training College.

from http://www.liv.ac.uk/Psychology/staff/cstott.html

more "legitimation"?

Just for clarification, I have no knowledge at all about the relationship between JD and Stott, so I couldn't comment on the validity of the TPTG allegations. But I do have an opinion of the work that Stott does in relation to improving the effectiveness of UK public order policing, and, imo, it goes far beyond the role of ideological cover.

Joseph Kay

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

ocelot

Waddington was not "legitimating" anything that day, he was directing operations

And what, pray tell, has this got to do with Aufheben? Fuck all. Waddington is an academic who works with the police. Some other academics who work with the police are Stott and Reicher. They have cited J's work in a paper he disagrees with, and done joint work on topics unrelated to policing tactics. Ergo Aufheben are cop collaborators. This is tinfoil hat shit. It's dangerous and pathetic to throw such accusations around based on fuck-all.

Christ, i've co-written things that talk about how police violence radicalises people (e.g. this). Cops could well read it and decide they're not going to beat up liberals any more. Am I a cop collaborator? Of course not. This is scenester gossip with revolutionary pretensions. It's embarrassing. Fwiw i'm well aware of Stott's work. I've sat in lectures where he's used flyers i've helped make as an example of the kind of 'violent' protesters the TSG should repress. I imagine he'd kill for the kind of influence you're attributing to him.

Edit: ocelot - I see you're not commenting on the validity of TPTG's allegations. Disregard any inference you were. Sorry.

avantiultras

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Some really interesting views from J.D.'s (and Aufheben"s (?)) colleague, Dr. Stott himself!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RBx_pg8r05M

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zf76wQXF_fw

Check also his book "Football 'hooliganism. Policing and the war on the 'English Disease'",

http://www.amazon.com/Football-hooliganism-Clifford-Stott/dp/1906015678/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1318079488&sr=1-2

no1

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

avantiultras

Some really interesting views from J.D.'s (and Aufheben"s (?)) colleague, Dr. Stott himself!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RBx_pg8r05M

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zf76wQXF_fw

What's interesting about it? And what on earth has it got to do with Aufheben?? I just watched both videos, I didn't notice anything noteworthy, and nothing in there is linked in any way to Aufheben.

Arbeiten

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I hope I never get crucified for some of the shite my professors churned out in school....

avantiultras

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

The interesting thing is that this guy is actually working for the cops and that what he's doing and saying aims at making police more effective. What this has to do with J.D.? That they have been close colleagues for so many years that there is hardly a scientific paper of theirs that has not been authored by both of them. One should check the references cited in the Knowledge-based public order policing article that TPTG refer to. The principles and practice of Knowledge-based public order policing are based on the Elaborated Social Identity Model of crowd behaviour that has been collaboratively formulated by Drury, Stott and Reicher.

Check Dr. Stott's Facebook page:

http://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=235334006505017&id=179023995454028

Dr. Clifford Stott

"The truth is a victim of these riots too. Throughout the week I have been involved in approximately 50 interviews with journalist all over the world. They are, of course seeking out stories about why the ‘riots’ happened.

No surprise then that they come to me one of the worlds leading ‘experts’ on the psychology of ‘riot’. As many of you may know I have established my career around the question of ‘what makes riots happen’. Along with one of the worlds leading social psychologists Prof. Stephen Reicher (St Andrews University) and my fellow PhD graduate Dr. John Drury (University of Sussex) we have established the Elaborated Social Identity Model of crowd behaviour. This model in turn grew from an analysis of the 1980’s ‘inner city riots’ - the last major urban ‘disorder’ of this scale witnessed in the U.K. – and is based upon one of the leading theoretical models of the psychology of the group.

Through many years of arduous and painstaking research we have studied a whole series of major confrontations. These have been published in leading international peer reviewed journals and stand as the scientific position on the psychology of ‘riot’. Yet over the past few days others who, in the context of this major disturbance, have suddenly become leading experts on this issue. These people have have confronted me endlessly as if opinion is an equal basis for overwriting science. They seem to have done so because they are already convinced of their explanation and seem to feel it necessary to force me to defend my position but not their own.

This attack on our science is even more surprising because we haven’t just been thinking and researching. We have been utilising our theoretical knowledge to advise on the policing of crowds to help alleviate the likelihood of ‘riots’. Back in 2000 it was football fans that were understood – and perhaps still are – as the ‘enemy within’. The focus was upon excluding these so called ‘hooligans’ from football as if this was going to be the solution. But we have been using our crowd theory to help construct policing methods that have achieved great success in terms of reducing ‘disorder’. So successful has this work been that we have seen our science underpinning policy at an international and national level. For example, our work informs some of the core recommendations of the HMICs response to G20."

As far as Aufheben are concerned it seems, according to comment #17, that they know him well enough to know who his Ph.D. supervisor was and what his involvement was in TSDC...

no1

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

avantiultras

So, what's the big hurry to "rehabilitate" a "liberal academic", who, after all, is working for the cops now?

can you reply to my question please? What exactly is interesting about those youtube clips and what has it got to do with Aufheben?

avantiultras

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Hi,
check post #24#

Blasto

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I rarely post on Libcom, and while I have met both Aufheben and TPTG people, I have no involvement with either group. I am posting now because the response, in particular by Libcom itself, is not only infantile in its attempts to belittle the seriousness of TPTG's concerns, but contrary to Aufheben's and Libcoms dennouncments, this issue is critically important, an especially now. While thousands upon thousands of people are directly facing the effectiveness or otherwise of the police's ability to control and repress crowds, here on (and from) Libcom we have the playground – sneering, bitching, ridiculing and name-calling. Shooting the messenger does little but create serious misgivings about Libcom as well as Aufheben.

It goes without saying that we are not only in the midst of a major offensive by capital, as Aufheben put it, but also of a major counter-offensive. And this counter-offensive, beginning in the Mediterranean but now increasingly global, is characterised by one thing more than any other: the crowd. Whether in Tunisia, Israel, Spain,Greece or now it seems, the US, and no matter how many coats of paint Aufheben want to apply, the work of this academic and his fellow travellers is directly relevant in terms of the State's response to – the State's repression of – the antagonist movement growing in streets and squares across the world.

I don't think anyone particularly wants the Aufheben project trashed – no one comes across as a mindless wrecker, or inhumane or insensitive. And doing what TPTG have done isn't going to win any popularity contests, but all the more credit to them for doing it. It's a little sad, though not perhaps unsurprising given some of the comments here and particularly the response of libcom, that it falls to a group from Greece to ask Aufheben to get their house in order, rather than those who know them well here in the UK. It's clear from Aufheben's response that the challenge was never going to come from within the project itself.

More often that not, as in this case, a group brings about its own destruction by losing its ability to be self-critical and failing to understand its own contradictions. Aufheben's response was to dig themselves a deeper hole. Rather than deal with what has been said, they are playing with semantics. They have have constructed a convoluted and altogether irrational and confused defence of one person's collusion with the State. Even a couple of minutes of looking on google, or even more obviously on google.scholar or google.books makes as plain as the light of day what J does for a living.

Of course there are many other things at play here. Personal loyalty and friendship, which is never insignificant. Or perhaps groupthink? Maybe even just a belief that because someone is an "academic" it somehow legitimises this particular relationship with the State? And perhaps even worse, legitimises moving within social movements as a comrade in order to actively undertake the research (which personally galls me even more).

Aufheben's response is a weak cocktail of chest-puffed-out denouncement, and an embarrassing defence of academic bullshit. Let's keep this as simple and as clear as we can. My couple of minutes searching this academic's name along the term "policing" produced plenty to choose from. But it doesn't get much simpler and clearer than this:

Psychologists advise ‘softly softly’ approach to protests (or was this another accidental bit of false association, this time by J's employer)

Each of us can make their own minds up about the rights or wrongs of J's actions and also whether or not we want to continue as unwitting participants of his (and his fellow travellers') bullshit research. So thanks TPTG. You've done us all a big favour, which it seems many people here unfortunately didn't/don't have the stomach for.

Khawaga

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I read TPTG's accusation as big logical fallacy. J is guilty by association. Maybe TPTG should do an analysis of academic conditions of work; while the association from an ultra-left point of view is unfortunate, from the point of view of an academic worker it is simply about the concrete labour of academics and how knowledge production is organized. It is not about being an "academic", but about being a worker.

Psychologists advise ‘softly softly’ approach to protests (or was this another accidental bit of false association, this time by J's employer)

Again, fallacious argumentation. Take issue with J, not the ones that J works for and with.

Joseph Kay

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

blasto

It's a little sad, though not perhaps unsurprising given some of the comments here and particularly the response of libcom, that it falls to a group from Greece to ask Aufheben to get their house in order, rather than those who know them well here in the UK.

No, it's ridiculous that people 1,500 miles away are hunting for witches when people who have known and worked with J for years know full well he's not a "cop collaborator" "pacifying the class struggle" or any other such delusional nonsense.

blasto

the work of this academic and his fellow travellers is directly relevant in terms of the State's response to – the State's repression of – the antagonist movement growing in streets and squares across the world.

Neither Stott or Reicher are, or have ever been, involved with Aufheben. This is guilt-by-association nonsense. People can't choose to only work with other communists, and J's work is nothing to do with policing tactics (formerly (dis)empowerment in collective action, now focussed on mass emergencies iirc).

blasto

And perhaps even worse, legitimises moving within social movements as a comrade in order to actively undertake the research (which personally galls me even more).

If you'd bothered to read any of J's papers, you'd know participants give informed consent and are anonymised. This is basic research ethics stuff. And he doesn't do work for the police, and afaik doesn't research protest events at all any more and hasn't done for several years.

blasto

it doesn't get much simpler and clearer than this:
Psychologists advise ‘softly softly’ approach to protests (or was this another accidental bit of false association, this time by J's employer)

No, this is a press release, written by his employers (well, their press team), which refers to the fact a HMIC report references work with Stott and Reicher - which is almost certainly the same paper TPTG base their article on and which J didn't write. Nowhere in the press release, contrary to the title, does J "advise ‘softly softly’ approach to protests". The University press department is clearly trying to milk a tenuous link to make the department look relevant to public policy, which in turn attracts funding etc. J has no control over the university press team, he's employed as a researcher and lecturer.

Snitchjacketing people you've never met based on poorly understood or simply misrepresented 'evidence' and guilt-by-association smears is absolutely unacceptable. Even the gutter press attempt to verify basic facts before publishing (even if they then twist them). These are the methods the state and media use to discredit revolutionaries, and the reason they work is because there's always a queue of useful idiots more interested in drooling over a scandal than their comrades reputations. This shit normally comes from the Telegraph. At least they get paid fat sums to attack revolutionaries. I hope you're fucking proud of yourselves.

Blasto

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Joseph, your response confirms almost everything I wrote. Unfortunately, real life is a lot more serious and carries much more concrete consequences than your attempts to just shout down criticism.

Joseph Kay

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Blasto

Joseph, your response confirms almost everything I wrote.

that it's ignorant, dangerous snitchjacketing with no regard for truth? yeah i guess. if you're so concerned with real life, perhaps you should refrain from labelling people guilty as collaborators until proven otherwise, based on bullshit. you're damn right this has real world consequences.

georgestapleton

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Yeah I have to say that I while I don't think Dr J's sins are as egregious as others seem to, I think libcom's response and Aufheben's response is pretty bad.

I think the way libcom have prefaced the piece by identifying it as a smear is pretty bad. People can probably judge whether it is a smear for themselves I don't think they need to be told it is. And I think the person who is posting on this thread who is a former member of Aufheben should probably say that they are a former member of Aufheben.

To me there does't seem to be anything factually wrong in the TPTG letter that isn't based on lies told by Dr J himself.

Aufheben say "J did not write the ‘Policing’ paper" but he is listed as an author and it is listed as one of his publications on his personal page on the university. So he says he is an author of the paper but he didn't actual write it. Fine. I can believe this. But the worst that can be said of TPTG here is that they believed a lie Dr J told about himself.

After that, Aufheben say that TPTG are wrong to highlight the ‘policing major incidents’ meeting:

As TPTG know, The talks to the ‘policing major incidents’ meeting, the CBRN centre, and Civil Contingencies Secretariat were each about his research on mass emergencies. They were part of the dissemination of his research to the emergency services and other relevant organizations that he is expected to do as part of his work at the university. The ‘blue light services’ work closely together; and so talking about emergencies means probably talking to cops as well as the others.

But if we look at the site of this "meeting" we see that it isn't simple a 'meeting'. The subheading of the event is "A World Class Professional Development Course for Operational Police Officers." It is a training course for cops. For Aufheben to say that this is an event for "emergency services" and talking at it unfortunately "means probably talking to cops as well as the others" is extremely disingenuous.

I really don't see how the letter can be called a smear. It presents facts and discusses them. I think if Dr J says that he is the author of a piece I think criticising Dr J for what is written in the piece is totally fair. Ok he didn't write it, fine but then he is lying and can't get annoyed at people for believing his lies. You can disagree with the discussion of the article but I don't think it veers very far from the facts they present.

All of this is on the response to TPTGs letter. But to avoid people assuming that I am baying for Dr J's blood or something, I should probably say something about what I actually think about the issue.

My personal opinion is that we all live contradictory lives. We produce capital and capitalist social relations and we struggle against this. It is our own actions that we struggle against. Working class autonomy is a political principle not a social reality. Nobody is completely on the side of capital and nobody is completely on the side of the working class. A part of struggle is dealing with this. The struggle is in our everyday life and it is not just against our boss (who often is just another wage worker anyway), it is over every aspect of our lives. To give a very different example, the struggle against patriarchy involves changing and challenging the sexual distribution of labour i.e. men need to clean, cook, care etc. This isn't a political position its practical activity. This means that you are NOT finished once you have the right analysis. Being feminist doesn't mean saying the inequalities of wealth and power that arise from the sexual division of labour can be gotten rid with capitalism, it means saying that and struggling in the hear and now to challenge this. And that struggle isn't easy. It necessarily involves fuck ups and missteps. But this challenge affects all of our social existence. We struggle within our movements, homes, relationships, work practices everywhere we can. And of course this never works out as well as we'd hope and of course we are always compromised. We live in a world of greys. Things are not black and white. But sometimes things are more black than grey or white than grey. Sometimes we do things that put simply, goes over the line. Wheelers article on the riots, Mark Barnsley hitting Fall Back, Sam (AF) being abusive with women, the womble threatening/hitting/whatever Steven., Danny Cohn Bendit becoming an MEP, Casa del Obrero Mundial killing Zapatistas etc. etc. These are all not just 'bad', we all do bad things, they are worse and should ideally be redressed in someway. And I suppose for me an important thing is that its not the case that if you do something bad you then are no longer in our camp or something. Rather if you are doing something bad, 1. stop doing it, 2. if necessary find someway of fixing what you did. Given all this, for me the issue is 1. is Dr J doing something bad, 2.is is not just 'bad' but somehow worse than that - has he crossed 'the line'. I think he pretty obviously is doing something bad. Teaching cops is bad. I presume everyone agrees with that. Has he crossed the line? Here I think I'd disagree with Joseph K. I think he has crossed the line. I haven't read the papers he has written, and I obviously haven't attended the course for cops he teaches on, but I think teaching cops how to control riots is 'over the line'.

Joseph Kay

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

georgestapleton

And I think the person who is posting on this thread who is a former member of Aufheben should probably say that they are a former member of Aufheben.

I have written for them and may well again. The advantage of this is I know what I'm talking about, whereas the critics are hundreds of miles away and have never met the person they're smearing. libcom have been well aware of this issue for a while, have fully discussed it as a collective, and took appropriate action when it was posted up.

georgestapleton

Aufheben say "J did not write the ‘Policing’ paper" but he is listed as an author and it is listed as one of his publications on his personal page on the university.

J has little control over the page. TPTG knew J did not write the paper and rejects fully the paper. They chose to carry on pretending it was his, and attributing it to him.

georgestapleton

It is a training course for cops.

At which he presented work on mass emergencies, nothing to do with policing tactics or pacifying class struggles.

This nowhere near justifies the claims made in the TPTG piece. Labelling someone a state collaborator is an extremely serious act. They could have chosen to ask questions. They didn't. They drew conclusions based on information they knew to be false, and then made these allegations publicly. That's extremely damaging behaviour. And it's bullshit whoever's on the receiving end.

georgestapleton

I think teaching cops how to control riots is 'over the line'.

This is precisely why such smears are so dirty and insidious, because otherwise intelligent people see all the smoke and conclude there must be a fire. J, categorically, is not and has never taught "cops how to control riots". This is a smear, now repeated, presumably in good faith. As stated in the Aufheben letter, J's presentations to cops have been about his work on mass emergencies, nothing to do with how to control riots.

Joseph Kay

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

georgestapleton

I think he has crossed the line. I haven't read the papers he has written

I would just like to draw attention to this, because while george is being honest this is obviously the case with most of the people weighing in on this, who presumably haven't apprised themselves of the ESIM literature, J's academic output etc in the last 48 hours. Aufheben have long been aware of J's work and have no problem. Aufheben don't work with cop collaborators. The libcom collective also looked into this in some detail a month or so back and concluded it's just a smear. It's very disappointing people are rushing to make judgements based on a dishonest hatchet job, without any idea what they're talking about.

Wellclose Square

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Joseph Kay

georgestapleton

And I think the person who is posting on this thread who is a former member of Aufheben should probably say that they are a former member of Aufheben.

I have written for them and may well again. The advantage of this is I know what I'm talking about, whereas the critics are hundreds of miles away and have never met the person they're smearing. libcom have been well aware of this issue for a while, have fully discussed it as a collective, and took appropriate action when it was posted up.

georgestapleton

Aufheben say "J did not write the ‘Policing’ paper" but he is listed as an author and it is listed as one of his publications on his personal page on the university.

J has little control over the page. TPTG knew J did not write the paper and rejects fully the paper. They chose to carry on pretending it was his, and attributing it to him.

georgestapleton

It is a training course for cops.

At which he presented work on mass emergencies, nothing to do with policing tactics or pacifying class struggles.

This nowhere near justifies the claims made in the TPTG piece. Labelling someone a state collaborator is an extremely serious act. They could have chosen to ask questions. They didn't. They drew conclusions based on information they knew to be false, and then made these allegations publicly. That's extremely damaging behaviour. And it's bullshit whoever's on the receiving end.

georgestapleton

I think teaching cops how to control riots is 'over the line'.

This is precisely why such smears are so dirty and insidious, because otherwise intelligent people see all the smoke and conclude there must be a fire. J, categorically, is not and has never taught "cops how to control riots". This is a smear, now repeated, presumably in good faith. [b]As stated in the Aufheben letter, J's presentations to cops have been about his work on mass emergencies, nothing to do with how to control riots.

[/b]

I'm not bringing this up to heap further blame on J's head, but I don't think you can truly distinguish between the rulers' strategies for 'mass emergencies' on the one hand and riot control on the other. How many 'humanitarian interventions' have 'accidentally-on-purpose' become policing operations?

bootsy

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

JK why would TPTG simply want to smear Aufheben?

Fall Back

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Well, I'd suggest the most obvious is that the international ultra-left scene is a tiny incestuous scene, and scene's like that love gossip and scandal?

The truth is banal and boring. Having uncovered a secret police agent is sexy and attention grabbing.

bootsy

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Khawaga

I read TPTG's accusation as big logical fallacy. J is guilty by association. Maybe TPTG should do an analysis of academic conditions of work; while the association from an ultra-left point of view is unfortunate, from the point of view of an academic worker it is simply about the concrete labour of academics and how knowledge production is organized. It is not about being an "academic", but about being a worker.

Psychologists advise ‘softly softly’ approach to protests (or was this another accidental bit of false association, this time by J's employer)

Again, fallacious argumentation. Take issue with J, not the ones that J works for and with.

If anything what this says to me is that revolutionaries should seriously reconsider a career in academia, not that academics should be given extra slack.

Joseph Kay

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

bootsy

JK why would TPTG simply want to smear Aufheben?

I have no idea. I've never to my knowledge met any of them, and don't know them beyond having read some of their articles. So I cannot attribute motives. What I do know is they published information they knew to be false, as a lengthy email was sent to them in August.

georgestapleton

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

J has little control over the page.

Honestly I can't believe that. I have a university personal page and I decide what goes up on it. I tell the IT guy what to put up. And I know from talking to friends that the same thing happens in other universities.

If he had no control over it, then you would imagine all the profile pages would look the same. They don't:

http://www.sussexBROKEN.ac.uk/profiles/157572
http://www.sussexBROKEN.ac.uk/profiles/280
http://www.sussexBROKEN.ac.uk/profiles/1266

TPTG knew J did not write the paper and rejects fully the paper. They chose to carry on pretending it was his, and attributing it to him.

This may be true but he is also choosing to carry on pretending it was his and attributing it to himself.

The question of his collaboration with the state is clearly grounded in what he did. They are accusing him of no more than doing research and teaching that is directly or indirectly for the police. I think the term collaborator is sloppy. I think its pretty clear that Dr J was not an informant. And using the term 'collaborator' makes it sound like he was.

On the question of them making contact, and asking questions. I should maybe say that I was at a summer school where a frequent libcom poster had produced a text laying into Dr J on this. TPTG were there and I talked to them about this issue. I was under the strong impression that they had contacted Aufheben. FWIW, when I talked to TPTG about this I said what I am saying now - that he isn't an informant. At worse he is doing extremely problematic research, teaching cops how to control crowds, and is using his knowledge from being an activist in these activities.

Further, in terms of motivation I think that Fall Back is way off on why TPTG decided to publish this letter. My impression is that rather they wrote the letter because the issue was going to be made public in some form, and they wanted it to be done in a manner that was not a witch hunt of either Dr J or Aufheben. I think they perAs Joseph and Fall Back know TPTG has a long and good relationship with Aufheben, I don't think their intention is to damage that for no reason. Generally, I think talking about this in terms of motivation is wrong. Either TPTGs concerns are baseless or they aren't that is what matters. We can really only guess peoples motivations.

Its worth noting how bizarre this letter and reply is. First, TPTG give a close reading of one of Dr J's texts and point to how problematic it is. Then, Aufheben respond saying that Dr J never wrote the text despite his name being on it and actually totally opposes the text, despite him being happy to have his name on it and advertising it as a text he co-authored. I mean I have no reason to think Aufhben are not telling the truth, but it is a very, very bizarre truth.

Fall Back

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I don't think their intention is to damage that for no reason

Which is why they decided to spread his real name all over the internet, for no reason. Of course.

Joseph Kay

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

georgestapleton

Honestly I can't believe that.

Well then gossip away. The problem is you're adding your speculations to an already speculative set of allegations. For example, I don't think TPTG even claim that J trains the police to control riots, but you've casually added that to the mix. I'm sure you're not intentionally embellishing the smear, but this is how smears work.

georgestapleton

Its worth noting how bizarre this letter and reply is. First, TPTG give a close reading of one of Dr J's texts and point to how problematic it is. Then, Aufheben respond saying that Dr J never wrote the text despite his name being on it and actually totally opposes the text, despite him being happy to have his name on it and advertising it as a text he co-authored. I mean I have no reason to think Aufhben are not telling the truth, but it is a very, very bizarre truth.

No, what's worth noting is that TPTG simply ignore the explanation. They don't call it a lie. They don't say it's bizarre. They just ignore it, despite being informed of this first-hand from Aufheben in August, and probably along the ultra-left grapevine before that. Frankly whether you find it "bizarre" or not is beside the point. Aufheben and J clearly reject the article. TPTG were told this, and published anyway.

Khawaga

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

If anything what this says to me is that revolutionaries should seriously reconsider a career in academia, not that academics should be given extra slack.

That could be said for almost any job. You can always find something objectionable with a job.

Joseph Kay

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Fall Back

Which is why they decided to spread his real name all over the internet, for no reason. Of course.

Fall Back, I do think it's unwise to attribute motives to TPTG, which is basically unknowable, and difficult to infer from the information available.

Fall Back

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Fair enough - but I do think that fact alone pretty much negates any claim it was benign.

madashell

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Is it normal for accademics to allow their names to be attached to papers they completely reject? Serious question, I'm not familiar with how accademia operates.

For all I know this could be completely standard practice, because of pressure from the institutions they work for, or whatever (in which case calling him a liar is a pretty out of line), but perhaps Aufheben could be a little clearer on this in their response.

avantiultras

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Joseph Kay, it's late and I will not touch other issues apart from the press release. I have to state though that it's you who' s proven to be a liar with "no regard for truth".

Joseph Kay

No, this is a press release, written by his employers (well, their press team), which refers to the fact a HMIC report references work with Stott and Reicher - which is almost certainly the same paper TPTG base their article on and which J didn't write. Nowhere in the press release, contrary to the title, does J "advise ‘softly softly’ approach to protests".

Since it's very common that people do not bother to follow the links and read the references, I copy and paste from the University of Sussex press release:

press release

Police forces dealing with public protests need to change their crowd control tactics if they are to avoid the violent confrontations witnessed at the G20 summit in London earlier this year, says a new report by a University of Sussex psychologist. As the Copenhagen climate change summit gets under way this week, police around Europe are preparing their response to mass demonstrations, protests and possible violence. But they shouldn’t rely on old methods according to University of Sussex psychologist Dr JD and his fellow researchers. Leading crowd behaviour experts Dr D, Dr Clifford Stott (Liverpool) and Professor Steve Reicher (St Andrews) were consulted by the HMIC (Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary) review into the death of Ian Tomlinson at the G20 protests in London. Now the HMIC’s report – Adapting to Protest – Nurturing the British Model of Policing – reasserts the principles of the traditional British model of approachable, impartial and accountable policing based on minimum force for major public order events. The researchers’ ‘new psychology of crowds’ formed the basis for the recommendations of the report. They emphasise that most crowd members have peaceful intentions and would normally shun advocates of violence. However, this can change if people that feel they are being mistreated by the police. Effective policing therefore needs to be based on a ‘dialogue’ approach. This approach has three core elements: an understanding of the aims and intentions of crowd members; a focus on helping crowd achieve legitimate aims; and a series of graded interventions which target those causing disorder without denying the rights of the majority. These ideas have already transformed policing in several European countries through the team’s consultancy, led by Dr Stott. The researchers conclude that, if implemented in the UK, they would be equally effective in minimising crowd violence here. Dr D, a social psychologist at the University of Sussex, commented, “Our recommendations form part of a new agenda for the mass democratisation of crowd management. We have designed interventions based on our approach and have shown that they work."

So, much differently to what you say, the press release does not simply "refer to the fact HMIC report references work with Stott and Reicher - which is almost certainly the same paper TPTG base their article on and which J didn't write. On the contrary, it clearly states that: "Dr D, Dr Clifford Stott (Liverpool) and Professor Steve Reicher (St Andrews) were consulted by the HMIC (Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary) review into the death of Ian Tomlinson at the G20 protests in London. Now the HMIC’s report – Adapting to Protest – Nurturing the British Model of Policing – reasserts the principles of the traditional British model of approachable, impartial and accountable policing based on minimum force for major public order events. The researchers’ ‘new psychology of crowds’ formed the basis for the recommendations of the report.". Who makes misleading claims here?

Further, it's totally untrue that "nowhere in the press release does J "advise ‘softly softly’ approach to protests. On the contrary, J commented EXPLICITLY ": "Our recommendations form part of a new agenda for the mass democratisation of crowd management. We have designed interventions based on our approach and have shown that they work." And, it's also clear from the press release that J participates fully in these activities: "But they shouldn’t rely on old methods according to University of Sussex psychologist Dr JD and his fellow researchers"

It's totally and utterly ridiculus to claim that J was compelled to accept this press release by his bosses. Everyone who has even the slightest experience from the university environment knows very well that the degree of autonomy is much, much greater than what you absurdly imply.

As far as I see it, the previously mentioned lies and distortions should make everybody really sceptical about what Joseph Kay generally says and claims about this issue. I can understand of course the need to defend one's circle...

(most of the emphases above are mine)

Admin edited out personal info

jesuithitsquad

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

As far as I see it, the previously mentioned lies and distortions should make everybody really sceptical about what Joseph Kay generally says and claims about this issue.

says the guy who created his account today . . .

georgestapleton

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

madashell

Is it normal for accademics to allow their names to be attached to papers they completely reject? Serious question, I'm not familiar with how accademia operates.

No its not at all normal. Having your name on an article you had no part in is considered extremely bad academic practice. Having your name on an article you had nothing to do with and completely reject is just bizarre. I've never heard of it happening before.

lurdan

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Good grief. With friends like JD's who needs enemies ?

Joseph Kay I presume your defense of JD is made in good faith so I'd invite you to take a deep breath and consider how your ludicrous rhetorical over-inflation plays to those of us who haven't been privy to this potential storm in a teacup for months.

"The advantage of this is I know what I'm talking about"

- this would inspire greater confidence if there wasn't a glaring gulf between your increasingly strident demands that everyone else is careful about their choice of words while you feel free to exaggerate and mis-characterise what TPTG are saying. You've used the words snitchjacketing three times in this thread alone - do TPTG accuse of being a police informant ? No they don't. Do you imagine that we can't see that they don't ? And since they don't the other aspect of snitchjacketing - that it's done deliberately to get someone harmed or to deliberately damage a political group - scarcely arises, does it ?

You repeat that this allegation of being a police informant - which they don't actually make - is 'dangerous'

"If some Indymedia mental takes this at face value it could have real world consequences."

Well I guess if some fool were to keep shouting the words 'Cop Collaborator' often enough (your score is three times so far) mud might stick and it might hamper JD's ability to do ethnographic research amongst protest groups. But create a serious risk of physical harm ? Do me a favour.

(Yes, you point out he no longer does such research. What a genius argument on his behalf that is in context - 'my client doesn't beat women and in any case he hasn't been near one for ages').

TPTG revealing that JD holds radical views might come as a surprise to some of the official client groups he deals with through his work. But JD doesn't seem concerned about making this perfectly clear in his Social Psychology Network profile.

Since power is partly sustained through systems of meaning, I also use critical discourse analysis as a way of understanding exposing and subverting domination, and thereby creating the space for 'liberatory' discourses. An example of this is the way that crowds (particularly working class crowds, protest crowds and mass emergency crowds) are routinely pathologized and/or criminalized; such constructions have important implications for policy and practice. In my research, I have sought to problematize such accounts and hence suggest a language for the crowd that recognizes and indeed celebrates its positive role in the social world.

In fact JD seems to have a fairly clear view of the risks inherent in his work (not to mention rather more balls than you have on his behalf). On his blog he posted a piece about the Mark Kennedy affair in which he explicitly relates the implications of a police informant going native to his own research work with protest groups. I'd strongly recommend people read it for themselves. While clearly aware of the risks he is also clearly quite confident that he can avoid them.

JD would not be the first radical academic to become overconfident about his ability to sup with the devil. The sort of overconfidence that might lead someone to allow their name to be put on a contentious article they didn't agree with and then allow it to be listed on their college web site. However that happened the kindest thing that can be said about it is that it was fucking dumb. Aufheben state that it was a mistake. By contrast you suggesting that he doesn't control what articles are listed on his college page just looks stupid and desperate.

What also comes across loud and clear is your conviction that the problem isn't just 'Indymedia mentals' but most of us reading this who are incapable of resisting the impulse to pick up our pitchforks and form a lynch mob. On the other thread under Aufheben's response you ask if we've actually read JD's work - perhaps you should follow your own advice, starting with the idea of how crowds without any especial investment in a situation can be brought together in opposition to heavy handed attempts to police them.

petey

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

as george says you wouldn't put your name on something you didn't materially contribute to. if your research is used by the authors, no matter how extensively, that goes into a footnote. if you collaborate with others and wind up disagreeing with them normally you would take your bit of the research and go write your own article. in my neighborhood (latin/greek) books (or articles) will have prefaces (or first footnotes) in which the author thanks others who have read it ahead and offered critiques, but there is always a sentence along the lines of "the author retains responsibility for all claims."

ps - i have no opinion on any of the dispute above.
pps - but i'm familiar only with humanities (english, classics, philosophy et al).

georgestapleton

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

as george says you wouldn't put your name on something you didn't materially contribute to.

Just to clarify, I'm not saying that he did write the article. I don't know the guy but trust the people from Aufheben generally and I see no reason to think they are lying. So I assume he didn't write the article. All I am saying is that it is extremely weird to have nothing to do with an article, disagree with it and say you authored it. Weird things do happen though.

jesuithitsquad

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Georgestapleton & petey- in the other thread (seems like it would be useful to merge the two) it is referenced several times in the article and subsequent comments that this is a normal process.
Juan Conatz

The way it was explained to me by someone in academia is that it is standard practice to include as co-author, those who's research forms a significant basis for study.

For example, one academic puts out a paper on A. Then a second academic puts out a paper on B, but uses A as a significant basis for B. That second academic puts the first academic's name as co-author, even though they had no part in that work other that their paper on A was used as a major part of the research for paper on B.

Is it your experience then that this is not the case?

Khawaga

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

petey

as george says you wouldn't put your name on something you didn't materially contribute to. if your research is used by the authors, no matter how extensively, that goes into a footnote. if you collaborate with others and wind up disagreeing with them normally you would take your bit of the research and go write your own article.

From what I know this is the most common practice in the arts and humanities. I do know, however, that in the sciences it's a bit different. If you're a prof owning a lab or dolls out some grant money, the prof often gets credited as author of the paper even if they did no research or didn't write a single thing.

I've never heard of the practice Juan Conatz refers to, but the way in which credit is given (or taken) in academia never ceases to amaze me.

Juan Conatz

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

This what the person I know (who is an academic) said:

"By the way, Aufheben are correct about "standard academic practice." But that's only because "standard academic practice" around this sort of shit sucks."

and

" Yeah--and it's one of the reasons academic work sucks and so often riddled with supidity. The pressures to publish are so ridiculous that people sign off on shit they've never even read just to get their name on a peer-reviewed article.

But this isn't any reason to doubt J or Aufheben. It's a reason to doubt anything that is published that goes through the so-called "peer-review" rigmarole."

Khawaga

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I am not questioning you at all Juan. It makes sense in a fucked up way because of the pressure to publish or perish.

jef costello

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

lurdan

In fact JD seems to have a fairly clear view of the risks inherent in his work (not to mention rather more balls than you have on his behalf). On his blog he posted a piece about the Mark Kennedy affair in which he explicitly relates the implications of a police informant going native to his own research work with protest groups. I'd strongly recommend people read it for themselves. While clearly aware of the risks he is also clearly quite confident that he can avoid them.

He quite clearly states in that that he does not risk 'going native' as he is not opposed to what is happening. The risk is that he will fail to be objective because of his sympathies and this is why he uses a research methodology.
The articles thing does sound fishy but as far as I know academics (and their departments) need to publish constantly so getting your name on a paper is good for you career-wise. I'm not sure if it's a goood idea to have your name attached to this paper though.

I think the problem here is that TPTG needed to discuss this with Aufheben, rather than posting something up online that would obviously lead to allegations of informing and collaboration. I haven't got time to go into all the articles here but although there are some problematic elements here I think the response seems to deal with them fairly well. Either way a dialogue was what was needed and open letters are not a way to initiate a dialogue, they are a way of informing everyone of something and an invitation to react to that.

avantiultras

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

jesuithitsquad

says the guy who created his account today . . .

I was not aware that there is a seniority list in Libcom according to which the truth of one's words is attested. It does not sound neither libertarian nor communist. On the contrary, it reeks of hierarchical relationships and partiality.

bootsy

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I do not want to comment on the validity of the allegations from TPTG. JK is right to demand further research from myself and others before giving our two cents on that matter.
Khawaga

If anything what this says to me is that revolutionaries should seriously reconsider a career in academia, not that academics should be given extra slack.

That could be said for almost any job. You can always find something objectionable with a job.

However this statement is bullshit. We draw the line in the sand somewhere, we don't collaborate with cops, or with managers, politicians etc. It is possible for an academic to collaborate with the State, it is possible for academics to collaborate with other functionaries of capital. I read over this thread, I read over the response from Aufheben and the comments from JK in response to me, and I can't help but getting the feeling that the underlying assumption here is that revolutionaries should be flexible with their principals in order to accommodate the careers of academics. Nah, that's backwards. If an academic career if going to compromise our movement then the responsibility falls on the academic to reconsider their choice of career.

Khawanga's attitude is a cop-out, pure and simple.

Wellclose Square

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

bootsy

If anything what this says to me is that revolutionaries should seriously reconsider a career in academia, not that academics should be given extra slack.

Whatever the minutiae of 'levels of complicity' of us all in 'the system' I think the nail has been hit on the head here.

Khawaga

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Sure, bootsy, we do draw the line in the sand somewhere. I completely agree, but in order to draw the line it does help to know how a particular workplace is organized and what are some of the institutional pressures etc. Seems like few people have an appreciation of what the pressure to publish or perish might lead to. Or how university admin is constantly trying to turn academics into managers of students (and TAs) rather than leaving them to be teachers and researchers.

I can understand, however, that this whole thing seems dodgy, but the explanation is quite likely more pedestrian. TPTG's accusation was just a huge logical fallacy, making someone guilty by association is just poor argumentation. Some of the commentors in this thread has done a better job than the original TPTG letter.

georgestapleton

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I'm not an academic I am a PhD student so I know a bit about how this works in economics and political science. I don't know how it works in social psychology but I doubt it is all that different. (The journals Dr J is publishing like 'Social Movements' are journals that I might publish in.) So I think I have some grasp on what is normal in Dr J's field. I don't know who Juan's friend is but I really don't think this is normal academic practice.

To clarify, it is not unusual to have your name on an article you have little to do with. This can happen in a number of ways, for example if there is statisical analysis often the statistician will be put down as a coauthor even if the work they did took them three hours while it took the other authors three weeks. Or sometimes if someone's work is being supervised (like in a PhD-supervisor way) then the supervisor sometimes insists on getting credited as a coauthor. This happens a lot but it is an exploitative relationship that is generally considered a bad thing to do despite the fact that a hell of a lot of people do it.

But this:

For example, one academic puts out a paper on A. Then a second academic puts out a paper on B, but uses A as a significant basis for B. That second academic puts the first academic's name as co-author, even though they had no part in that work other that their paper on A was used as a major part of the research for paper on B.

I've never even heard of this happening. (Imagine the number of articles Marx, Foucault, Rawls, Nozick, Lucas, Prescott, Skocpol etc. would have written over the last 30 years if this was the case.) Maybe things are totally different in physics or something, but I doubt it. But as I say above Dr J's field is not very far from my own so I'd be surprised if things were that different over there.

petey

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

jesuithitsquad

Is it your experience then that this is not the case?

yes, it is my experience that that is not the case, but again i'm only very familiar with humanities. in my area most work is done individually, so questions like this don't too often arise. in the cases i know of people collaborating, they worked together closely and produced stuff they agreed on (i did this once). if you need to base your claims extensively on someone else's work, you discuss that work at sufficient length and give credit, but that other writer is never listed as a co-author.

in the natural sciences there can be lots of co-authors on an article, but i'd still be surprised if any of them did not work on the actual contents of the article.

Tojiah

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

If anything in the sciences the more junior you are, the less likely you are to be credited on work you have not devoted your own time to. Supervisors, heads of lab, heads of department, maybe, and then usually in experimental science. But the process described by Juan would result in citation or thanks, not in co-authorship.

bootsy

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Sure, bootsy, we do draw the line in the sand somewhere. I completely agree, but in order to draw the line it does help to know how a particular workplace is organized and what are some of the institutional pressures etc. Seems like few people have an appreciation of what the pressure to publish or perish might lead to. Or how university admin is constantly trying to turn academics into managers of students (and TAs) rather than leaving them to be teachers and researchers.

Like I said:

I read over this thread, I read over the response from Aufheben and the comments from JK in response to me, and I can't help but getting the feeling that the underlying assumption here is that revolutionaries should be flexible with their principals in order to accommodate the careers of academics. Nah, that's backwards. If an academic career if going to compromise our movement then the responsibility falls on the academic to reconsider their choice of career.

Yours is exactly the kind of attitude which could, hypothetically speaking, lead to an academic giving a talk on crowd control to a room full of cops and then dismissing it as 'just part of the job'. Well let me be clear, I do not personally believe that academics should be treated any differently to non-academics simply due to the nature of their job. If that is the kind of thing you job could entail then find a new job or find a new movement.

Khawaga

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

As an academic, I would refuse to do what J has done. I would just be uncomfortable doing it. But you seem to want to single out academics rather than treating them as non-academics. There are plenty of people forced to do jobs that would be obejctionable to the movement; e.g. working in munitions factories, heck even people working in the software industry could help develop tools to surveil or de-skill workers. Where indeed do we draw the line? I not inclined to condemn people for the jobs they have (apart from the obvious stuff like cops, but even then in certain countries (like Egypt) I wouldn't condemn all cops), after all it's not like it's free to choose how to survive.

If that is the kind of thing you job could entail then find a new job or find a new movement.

Easier said than done.

bootsy

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Fair enough Khawaga maybe I stated that a bit strongly. But it seems that many of the rebuttals in this thread, and in the Aufheben response, involve something along the lines of 'that's how things work in academia'. If that is the case then it does leave me with some serious misgivings about revolutionaries working in academia.

piter

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

But it seems that many of the rebuttals in this thread, and in the Aufheben response, involve something along the lines of 'that's how things work in academia'. If that is the case then it does leave me with some serious misgivings about revolutionaries working in academia.

I don't know really well Aufheben and I absolutely don't know J, so I'm not in position to judge anybody, but what strikes me is how embarassed/embarassing and ambiguous Aufeben answer to TPTG, and some posts on this thread, looks.

isn't research about crowd control in itself quite an ambiguous thing?

Joseph Kay

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

bootsy

I read over the response from Aufheben and the comments from JK in response to me, and I can't help but getting the feeling that the underlying assumption here is that revolutionaries should be flexible with their principals in order to accommodate the careers of academics.

Categorically i am not saying that, and nor are Aufheben. If there was any truth to the allegations then it would be right to do something about it. TPTG's route of sitting on the information for 9 months then launching a public polemic would still be the wrong way to go about it though. My "underlying assumption" is that revolutionaries should have the basic principles and solidarity not to immediately assume extremely serious accusations against comrades are true until proven otherwise. If we ever pose a serious threat to the state this is exactly the technique they will use to get revolutionaries murdering one another, and it only works because people don't apply basic principles of justice: presumption of innocence, examining evidence before rushing to judgement, wading in with their own hearsay, speculation and prejudices etc.

lurdan

You've used the words snitchjacketing three times in this thread alone - do TPTG accuse of being a police informant ? No they don't.

They label him a police collaborator and state that he has clearly taken sides in pacifying the class struggle. Then they end with a vague threat about sociologists 'gaining access to the milieu'. They explicitly claim J consciously and deliberately collaborates with police repression. Snitchjacketing is the practice of falsely presenting someone as collaborating with the state in order to turn their comrades against them. This is a textbook example, with ducking stool logic in full swing. It only works because so many people are willing to believe scandalous distortions over banal truths.

lurdan

JD would not be the first radical academic

I'm fairly certain J doesn't see himself as a radical academic, i.e. contributing to social change as an academic. indeed the response states clearly: "we cannot contribute to the communist movement by using ‘enlightened’ expert advice to alter policing methods, or through any other such mediations, but rather through imposing ourselves collectively." But this is another good example of people bringing their own idiosyncratic embellishments and peeves to the party. All aboard the bandwagon...

piter

ambiguous Aufeben answer

Out of interest, what is ambiguous about categorically rejecting the 'Policing' paper and the liberal reformist project it reflects three times, twice in bold?

Khawaga

would refuse to do what J has done. I would just be uncomfortable doing it.

What J is alleged to have done, I presume?

georgestapleton

Ok he didn't write it, fine but then he is lying and can't get annoyed at people for believing his lies.

The only relevant point here is that TPTG knew J didn't write and totally rejects the paper, but ignored this information in order to publicly label him a police collaborator. It's nice you're labelling him a liar too though. As you've been told, repeatedly, his name was added by the authors as a 'favour' because they drew on his ESIM research. This is not a "lie", and indeed is common practice. The fact you claim never to have encountered this in your field is neither here nor there. It's gossip and hearsay.

The most worrying thing about this whole episode is the haste with which people are willing to accept allegations at face value and then proceed on the basis of guilty until proven otherwise (and then dismiss any rebuttal as 'denial', 'defensiveness', etc). This is precisely why throwing shit works, and why people will continue to throw shit.

ocelot

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Joseph Kay

piter

ambiguous Aufeben answer

Out of interest, what is ambiguous about categorically rejecting the 'Policing' paper and the liberal reformist project it reflects three times, twice in bold?

What is ambiguous is that the Aufheben response not only notes that J rejects the 2009 HMIC report (N.B. His contribution to a second HMIC report, in the wake of G20, has been mentioned above, this is not simply the problem of citation by only one Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary report), and that he now considers allowing his name to go on it to be a mistake, but it also says things like:

The supposed dangerousness of the liberal reformists
[...]
But it is simply wrong and confused to say that this equates with ‘support’ for the use of force; it is precisely because the two colleagues do support ‘anti-capitalist demonstrators and football fans[*]’ that they seek to reduce police violence, arrests and jail sentences
[...]
TPTG suggest that the ideas in the ‘Policing’ paper have helped in tactics of repression. [...] The research on which the paper is based shows that policing perceived by crowd members as illegitimate and indiscriminate brings them together against the police; the premise, therefore, is those situations where people are not already united against the police. The research and ideas don’t explain how the police’s actions can create difference in a crowd where it didn’t exist previously.
[...]
The ‘Policing’ paper cited by TPTG only aims to “hinder … crowd members’ unification” by arguing against brute force repression. But it is simplistic to understand by this that there is a straightforward relation between repression and the development of struggles, in the same way that there is no simple relation between ‘facilitative’ policing and the falling back of struggles. There are too many mediations.
[...]
In short, TPTG are simply wrong to state that the ‘Policing’ paper[...] help[s] the cops practically with ‘correct repression’.

Which to the untutored mind looks suspiciously like an attempt to have one's cake and eat it. Not only is it unfair to associate J's work with that of his colleagues, but that his colleague's [Stott and Reicher] work is itself, no big deal. This point I do disagree with - and can do so without having any opinion on the specifics of J's actions, about which I have no specific knowledge.

* There seems to be some consensus, perhaps minoritarian, on this site that the politics of the "compulsory non-violence" of the M15, Occupy Wall St, etc, is politically dangerous or even hostile to the re-composition of a strong antagonist class subject. The work of Stott and Reicher is clearly just the academic and institutional arm of the same process - i.e. the protection of legitimate (i.e. preaceful and compliant) anti-capitalist demonstrators and football fans by improving police tactics to isolate "the troublemakers". IMHO there would be extreme cognitive dissonance in suggesting that compulsory pacifism is problematic for the development of social movements and, at the same time, that the work of Stott and Reicher is not. Speaking as an occasional anti-capitalist and football fan, I need "support" like Stott & Reicher's like I need a hole in the head.

Blasto

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

*edit to 2nd para*

The only relevant point here is that TPTG knew J didn't write and totally rejects the paper, but ignored this information in order to publicly label him a police collaborator. It's nice you're labelling him a liar too though. As you've been told, repeatedly, his name was added by the authors as a 'favour' because they drew on his ESIM research.

You say this over and over, and I have no reason to doubt that this is what you believe. But I refer again to a press release by the University of Sussex (J's name redacted):

Police forces dealing with public protests need to change their crowd control tactics if they are to avoid the violent confrontations witnessed at the G20 summit in London earlier this year, says a new report by a University of Sussex psychologist.
As the Copenhagen climate change summit gets under way this week, police around Europe are preparing their response to mass demonstrations, protests and possible violence.
But they shouldn’t rely on old methods according to University of Sussex psychologist [name] and his fellow researchers.
Leading crowd behaviour experts [name], Dr Clifford Stott (Liverpool) and Professor Steve Reicher (St Andrews) were consulted by the HMIC (Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary) review into the death of Ian Tomlinson at the G20 protests in London....
....[name], a social psychologist at the University of Sussex, commented, “Our recommendations form part of a new agenda for the mass democratisation of crowd management. We have designed interventions based on our approach and have shown that they work."

Now that may be some kind of stitch up or something, but J is being directly quoted as saying he has designed policing 'interventions'.
I genuinely 'get' that you feel the open letter is out of order, that J has been treated outrageously, etc. And you are being very strident in your attempts protect him. But for the rest of us, we are faced with an enormous discrepancy between what you and Aufheben are saying and what J is saying himself. So rather than having a go at people for pointing this out, it would perhaps be better for J to explain what the score really is.

I'm fairly certain J doesn't see himself as a radical academic

It's a very stodgy text, but if you wade through you will see that J makes quite a point of being a researcher that is accepted within the movement as a radical. From this text I think it is fair to say that there is not a separation between J's academic life and his life as a 'radical'. This is J writing about himself, describing some previous academic research techniques. As the text describes in detail, this was research conducted by J involving a protest movement in direct conflict with the police. The text is too long and dreary to quote in full, but this gives a flavour:

It was precisely because [name] was known personally to the anti-roads participants as "one of that campaign" that people were willing to cooperate with him in these ways.
Collaborative practice in psychology and therapy, page 235, Carla Willing and [name].

Khawaga

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

JK

What J is alleged to have done, I presume?

Not referring to this episode, but to deal with police period. I would just feel uncomfortable doing anything related to the police. That's not a value judgement on the research or J's conduct.

piter

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

piter wrote:

ambiguous Aufeben answer

Joseph Kay wrote :
Out of interest, what is ambiguous about categorically rejecting the 'Policing' paper and the liberal reformist project it reflects three times, twice in bold?

was not talking about this paper.
and the way Aufheben in their answer reject liberal reformist project is indeed ambiguous.

this for ex. from Aufheben answer to TPTG is very silly :

"Giving the cops the ‘insight’ that their own (‘illegitimate and indiscriminate’) behaviour can contribute to crowd conflict is not at all the same thing as giving them the ability to undermine our struggles. In the first place, there are obvious limits to the extent to which the cops can take on board and act upon this knowledge. For one thing, due to their social location, the police are in a sense right to fear ‘the crowd’ (and therefore ‘rational’ to resist the overtures of the liberal reformers, as many of them do): at the end of the day, the state is threatened by crowds of angry proletarians and reacts accordingly. They will therefore still tend to act ‘against the crowd’ on occasions, even when given the ‘insight’ that beliefs about crowd dangerousness can be a self-fulfilling prophesy.

The ‘Policing’ paper cited by TPTG only aims to “hinder … crowd members’ unification” by arguing against brute force repression. But it is simplistic to understand by this that there is a straightforward relation between repression and the development of struggles, in the same way that there is no simple relation between ‘facilitative’ policing and the falling back of struggles. There are too many mediations. Experiences of police ‘illegitimacy’, rather than spurring people on, can actually be ‘disempowering’. There is not much use being anti-police if you can’t do anything about it. On the other hand, struggles can sometimes take off when policing is experienced as soft or ‘fair’. For example, the UK student movement was boosted by events at Millbank in 2010, when police held back. The crowd event remained buoyant but did not escalate; but the movement itself did escalate through that event.

In short, TPTG are simply wrong to state that the ‘Policing’ paper, and by extension J, help the cops practically with ‘correct repression’. Ultimately, the police are forced into repressive strategies by proletarian militancy regardless of such ‘insights’, and in any case the relationship between soft/hard policing and advance/retreat of struggle is highly mediated and contingent on numerous factors."

not very convincing and highly questionnable to say the least...

and the part saying, more or less : "oh, he just advise managers from various state services (including cops ) how to handle crowd, how not to lose their "legitimacy" so there is no problem ..." is also embarassing for them...

and anyway for what use can be "crowd psychology" if not for the state or for wannabe leaders?

I don't question J's good intentions, but i seem to me that his research itself (not only what he do or don't with it) is ambiguous and questionnable from an anti-authoritarian point of view

whatisinevidence

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

If an anarchist with politics not favorable to the Libcom group was denounced in this way, they would not respond in the way that they did. If, for example, members of the Libcom group spoke at policing conferences, how would they ask other communist groups treat that information?

Part of the ridiculous defense of Aufheben comes from the fact that many of the defenders are themselves academics. Their defense is empathy; they can picture themselves, perhaps, doing the same things for the careers. That so many so-called communists are academics is troubling, yes?

If people have known about J.D.'s activities for so long (ten years?!) and not said anything publicly, those people should be held to account. If the Aufheben group was aware and said nothing, they should be held to account.

Cheers to TPTG for speaking up and not going along with the polite silence around the horrible practices of "radical" academics (a silence upheld by academics and other middle class professionals who control the main capital [websites, publications, etc] of the pro-revolutionary milieu and know something about class solidarity).

whatisinevidence

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

piter

I don't question J's good intentions, but i seem to me that his research itself (not only what he do or don't with it) is ambiguous and questionnable from an anti-authoritarian point of view

This is so tepid. There is nothing ambiguous or questionable about J.D.'s work; it is awful and unforgivable.

tastybrain

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

whatisinevidence

If an anarchist with politics not favorable to the Libcom group was denounced in this way, they would not respond in the way that they did. If, for example, members of the Libcom group spoke at policing conferences, how would they ask other communist groups treat that information?

Part of the ridiculous defense of Aufheben comes from the fact that many of the defenders are themselves academics. Their defense is empathy; they can picture themselves, perhaps, doing the same things for the careers. That so many so-called communists are academics is troubling, yes?

If people have known about J.D.'s activities for so long (ten years?!) and not said anything publicly, those people should be held to account. If the Aufheben group was aware and said nothing, they should be held to account.

Cheers to TPTG for speaking up and not going along with the polite silence around the horrible practices of "radical" academics (a silence upheld by academics and other middle class professionals who control the main capital [websites, publications, etc] of the pro-revolutionary milieu and know something about class solidarity).

I am not defending this guy J. If what some people are saying is true, then he sounds like a big hypocrite. But I will withhold my opinion until I do further reading.

However, I think you are being a little sweeping in your condemnation of radical academics. I think some really respectable and dedicated comrades have been and are in academia. I agree that academics should not be given any more "leeway" to engage in counterrevolutionary activity than other comrades. However, neither should we go the other direction and automatically regard every radical academic as being compromised. To me, your post smacks of anti-intellectualism and implies that the only true revolutionaries are "working clarse" guys who wear overalls and are constantly greasy ;) . It is possible for any radical, no matter what his or her profession, to engage in counter-revolutionary activity. In conclusion, academics shouldn't be given special leeway, but they shouldn't be seen as automatically being snitches or whatever either.

Rob Ray

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

That so many so-called communists are academics is troubling, yes?

Yes, damn that Kropotkin and his career in geography eh? And fuck professor of philosophy and history Mikhail Bakunin. Not to mention LSE Professor of Housing and Social Policy Colin Ward, what a bastard!

whatisinevidence

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

To me, your post smacks of anti-intellectualism and implies that the only true revolutionaries are "working clarse" guys who wear overalls and are constantly greasy

This is so insulting. Do you think the only people capable of being intellectual are academics?

As for Kropotkin et al... yes, isn't it troubling that nearly every single noted communist in history had a bourgeois or aristocratic background? Not everyone, of course. That people from those backgrounds do what they are trained from birth to do - manage others, be entrepreneurs [starting bookshops, magazines, organizations, and so on], create ideas, etc - is not surprising, but I think it would be good if people would be more open and honest about how their backgrounds and current jobs shape them and their ideas.

I'm not sure how anyone can read the responses by the Libcom group and Aufheben and not get the feeling they are being lied to. One gets the idea they want this to just 'go away' and everyone to forget they heard about it. Well, sorry. That isn't going to happen.

tastybrain

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

whatisinevidence

To me, your post smacks of anti-intellectualism and implies that the only true revolutionaries are "working clarse" guys who wear overalls and are constantly greasy

This is so insulting. Do you think the only people capable of being intellectual are academics?

No, of course not. Most people who condemn academics are also condemning "theory" and elevating "action" as the only positive practice. If this doesn't apply to you, than I apologize.

Your listing of "creating ideas" as being one of the horrible sins of "middle class academic" anarchists does nothing to dispel my impression of you as anti-intellectual, however. Also, how are you defining "academic"? Is it just professors or does it include lecturers, teachers, researchers, tutors, etc? Your straightforward identification of being an "academic" with being "middle class" is troubling to me. There are autoworkers who make more money than some types of "academics", for example.

Ed

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

whatisinevidence

If an anarchist with politics not favorable to the Libcom group was denounced in this way, they would not respond in the way that they did.

Just to quickly chime in, this is absolutely untrue. We've taken down smears in the past and we've removed mention of people's names in the past, even people we don't like (politically or personally)..

whatisinevidence

Part of the ridiculous defense of Aufheben comes from the fact that many of the defenders are themselves academics. Their defense is empathy; they can picture themselves, perhaps, doing the same things for the careers.

I don't get this bit as it doesn't sit with my experience of Aufheben.. from all the Aufheben people I met, J was the only academic (the others I met being unemployed afaik, though possibly wrong).. I get the feeling that the word "perhaps" in that last sentence is the most important as it seems to show that you're mostly putting this together from what you imagine to be the case rather than anything really solid..

Also, about Aufheben having some sort of 'class solidarity' with 'other' middle class academics.. I've always felt they were the opposite:

Aufheben

The academic, social worker, lawyer etc. may wish to attack capital but they characteristically do so by premising their resistance on the continued existence of their own role in a way unthinkable to the working class individual. Thus there are radical psychologists, radical philosophers, radical lawyers and so on,[26] but not radical bricklayers or radical roadsweepers! The latter are simply radical people who wish to escape their condition. By contrast, the former wish to engage in the struggle while at the same time retaining their middle class identities, including their specialized skills and roles. As such, their participation presupposes rather than fundamentally challenges the institutions and social relations that provide the basis of these identities.

whatisinevidence

I'm not sure how anyone can read the responses by the Libcom group and Aufheben and not get the feeling they are being lied to. One gets the idea they want this to just 'go away' and everyone to forget they heard about it. Well, sorry. That isn't going to happen.

Honestly I don't what to say here.. I don't know what to do about your 'feeling' that you're being lied to and I don't know where a conversation can go if people defending themselves or others are accused of being liars unless they say that J (and by extension Aufheben) is a cop collaborator.. maybe it would help if you could explain why you feel that you're being lied to?

As for wanting this to 'go away', well, yeah, there are other things I'd like to be getting on with tbh.. as much as I like both TPTG and Aufheben, a bun fight like this is really twatty in the midst of an economic crisis, especially as I still feel it all could have been resolved via email.

whatisinevidence

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Pointing out that the founder of a well-known ultra-left communist publication in the UK (which isn't very well known generally, but we are dealing with a tiny subculture here) has a long professional career contributing to the theory of policing is not a 'bun fight'... nor can it be resolved via email (keeping it to private email would mean that knowledge of the affair would be restricted to those in the know, a situation obviously beneficial to J.D. but very unethical [and also untenable - somebody would spill the beans eventually]). It is an important question.

In your narrative, it is 'twatty' to bring up J.D.'s collaboration. I think the only twat here is J.D. - those making the situation public and provoking the conversation are doing something virtuous.

The paragraph that you quote from an Aufheben article doesn't mean anything. It is common practice for academics to critique academia (in fact, it is a necessary ritual for 'radical' professors), and anyway the article does not deal with the crucial question - that the author/editor of it is in fact part of what he is writing about. It is dishonest*. Now that the question has been posed in a practical way, their abstract critiques of academia dissolve into a classic defense of professional immunity. The statement from Aufheben does a lot more than pretend J.D. wasn't involved (their explanations about paper authorship approach Stalinoid absurdity); the statement actually defends the work of the professional colleagues J.D. supposedly doesn't actually work with. They can't even come out and defend their boy plainly ("yes, J.D. has been lecturing and writing for the police, but he is our friend and comrade so we don't care"), which would have been somewhat honorable and allowed everyone to part ways with them cleanly. Instead they go through the motions of trying to cover it up. Too late for that now.

*In the same way, many discussions here about education go on for a while before it comes out that those defending schools are, in fact, teachers...

tastybrain

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

whatisinevidence

It is common practice for academics to critique academia (in fact, it is a necessary ritual for 'radical' professors), and anyway the article does not deal with the crucial question - that the author/editor of it is in fact part of what he is writing about. It is dishonest*.

So it's dishonest to critique a system you are part of...kind of like workers critiquing wage labor.

whatisinevidence

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

From the Aufheben response:

He stands by this research work [talked about at the "mass emergency talks" to police and others] as worthwhile and even humane.

...

it is simply wrong and confused to say that this equates with ‘support’ for the use of force; it is precisely because the two colleagues do support ‘anti-capitalist demonstrators and football fans’ that they seek to reduce police violence, arrests and jail sentences.

...

The research he does with his two colleagues, and the fact that his name is sometimes attached to publications by them that are used to put forward their liberal-reformist arguments, is politically irrelevant, rather than practically or ideologically damaging.

...

Giving the cops the ‘insight’ that their own (‘illegitimate and indiscriminate’) behaviour can contribute to crowd conflict is not at all the same thing as giving them the ability to undermine our struggles.

His name is sometimes attached to publications by them by no fault of his own and not because he helps write them. Does anyone really believe that? Giving cops insights into crowd conflict doesn't help them undermine struggles. Does anyone really believe that? He "stands by his research" but opposes what it's used for. What?

whatisinevidence

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

tastybrain

whatisinevidence

It is common practice for academics to critique academia (in fact, it is a necessary ritual for 'radical' professors), and anyway the article does not deal with the crucial question - that the author/editor of it is in fact part of what he is writing about. It is dishonest*.

So it's dishonest to critique a system you are part of...kind of like workers critiquing wage labor.

No, you misunderstand me.

It is dishonest to write about something without mentioning your involvement in it. If you write an article about how middle class professionals can't contribute to communist struggles because they're specialists/etc/etc, surely it makes sense to mention you are a professional researcher? If you're writing theoretical articles about anti-roads protests, surely it makes sense to mention you are lecturing about crowds to police conventions?

I am a cashier at a shitty grocery store. I am happy to mention that and use it as a point of reference for my critique of wage labor. It would be weird and dishonest, however, to write about grocery stores without mentioning working in one... right?

I understand why middle class professionals don't mention their jobs or class backgrounds when writing communist things. There is shame and guilt about it. Still, one has to ask people to get over that and write honestly about their situation.

Devrim

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Can I just ask for a clarification here? It might have been mentioned already, but I saw it said that the guy didn't write these papers. People have also said that it is common practice in academia for people to be credited as authors on papers that they didn't write.

Was this guy added as an author on these papers without his knowledge, his permission, or against his wishes, or did he agree to be added as an author?

Devrim

bootsy

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Conducting research into crowd behaviour, research which of such value to the State that it is used as the basis for a paper on policing riots, is problematic. Best case scenario then is that this was totally out of his control, that his name was put on that paper without his knowledge and that he never intended for his research to be used in this manner. That is taking Aufheben's response to be the total truth.

That is still pretty bad.

I really don't think this is a minor spat between some obscure ultra lefts. It has pretty profound implications for the attitude our movement should take toward academics. It bothers me that the LibCom group are so unwilling to confront that.

Arbeiten

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I don't think we should be generalizing from the J case to academics in general* there bootsy. Crowd psychology is very different from Marxist political theory or some sort of history discipline for example. Perhaps a new thread should be made about that because it is interesting (where lines are drawn between active collaboration, state cooption, and disinterested scientific research).

*there also seems to be a hard time distinguishing J from Stott and Reicher in some sectors.

bootsy

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Rob Ray

That so many so-called communists are academics is troubling, yes?

Yes, damn that Kropotkin and his career in geography eh? And fuck professor of philosophy and history Mikhail Bakunin. Not to mention LSE Professor of Housing and Social Policy Colin Ward, what a bastard!

Living in the past may help you to cope with the contradictions of the present, but it won't do anything to change the reality which confronts us. This kind of snide comment does little justice the points being raised.

Khawaga

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

bootsy

It has pretty profound implications for the attitude our movement should take toward academics. It bothers me that the LibCom group are so unwilling to confront that.

It bother me that you are so willing to just condemn academics for being academics. What about condemning the janitor working for a prison, or the police? They clearly do much more for the state than some academic writing about ethics on Survivor.

tastybrain

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

whatisinevidence

tastybrain

whatisinevidence

It is common practice for academics to critique academia (in fact, it is a necessary ritual for 'radical' professors), and anyway the article does not deal with the crucial question - that the author/editor of it is in fact part of what he is writing about. It is dishonest*.

So it's dishonest to critique a system you are part of...kind of like workers critiquing wage labor.

No, you misunderstand me.

It is dishonest to write about something without mentioning your involvement in it. If you write an article about how middle class professionals can't contribute to communist struggles because they're specialists/etc/etc, surely it makes sense to mention you are a professional researcher? If you're writing theoretical articles about anti-roads protests, surely it makes sense to mention you are lecturing about crowds to police conventions?

I am a cashier at a shitty grocery store. I am happy to mention that and use it as a point of reference for my critique of wage labor. It would be weird and dishonest, however, to write about grocery stores without mentioning working in one... right?

I understand why middle class professionals don't mention their jobs or class backgrounds when writing communist things. There is shame and guilt about it. Still, one has to ask people to get over that and write honestly about their situation.

Ok fair enough. Mention your personal relationship to the topic being discussed. That seems like a solid thing to do.

Again, not having read all this stuff I am not taking a stand on the actual issue at hand. I will "own up" right now, however, to the fact that I am a student contemplating pursuing a career in academia, so take that as you will. So as not to derail the thread, I would invite you, whatisinevidence, to join me in the "higher education in Libcom" thread. It seems like you have some definite opinions on the matter and could make a contribution.

I for one don't see a problem with "academia" existing after the revolution, including people who research and teach as their primary activities, if:

a) The "professors" so not get any special privileges (same food, housing, consumption, etc as everyone else)
b) They do not have any coercive power over "students" (no grading, no passing or failing, no compulsion to take a class)
c) The option of becoming a "professor" is open to all
d) The academics share equally with everyone else in the "shit work", i.e. work no one wants to do as their primary activity.

Awesome Dude

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

tastybrain

whatisinevidence

It is common practice for academics to critique academia (in fact, it is a necessary ritual for 'radical' professors), and anyway the article does not deal with the crucial question - that the author/editor of it is in fact part of what he is writing about. It is dishonest*.

So it's dishonest to critique a system you are part of...kind of like workers critiquing wage labor.

Academics have a high degree of control over the work they choose to do. Most workers don't.

bootsy

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Khawaga

bootsy

It has pretty profound implications for the attitude our movement should take toward academics. It bothers me that the LibCom group are so unwilling to confront that.

It bother me that you are so willing to just condemn academics for being academics. What about condemning the janitor working for a prison, or the police? They clearly do much more for the state than some academic writing about ethics on Survivor.

I am not condemning academics for being academics Khawaga, but like I have said earlier your comments are very unconvincing. Following that line of thinking why draw a line anywhere? I get it, reductio ad absurdum and all that. But I don't think you can seriously compare cleaning the toilets in a police station to conducting research which is used to develop anti-riot strategies.

I don't want to condemn academics full stop, I myself am a student and get along really well with some of my instructors. But what has happened here, it shouldn't happen again. I think at the very least it means academics involved in radical movements should be totally open about the kind of work they do, that the rest of us should keep a close eye on the kind of work they do and should be prepared to hold them to account if it looks like they're beginning to cross a line. If it is normal for an academic career to push you this close to the state then like I have said the problem lies with academic careers and not with us.

Aufheben say:

They were part of the dissemination of his research to the emergency services and other relevant organizations that he is expected to do as part of his work at the university. The ‘blue light services’ work closely together; and so talking about emergencies means probably talking to cops as well as the others. His University encouraged this, and it would have looked odd to refuse to communicate with the cops. So he accepted this as a small cost of the overall job of research work.

Also I would like to pre-empt you here JK. This post does not mindlessly repeat TPTG's allegations, I am being careful to only go off what was in the Aufheben response and am not trying to infer that they're lying.

I would also like to point out that there was a thread on here recently criticising IWW cleaners for addressing parliament. I find it hard to read something like that, and then read this, and not get the feeling that there's one rule for some, another rule for others.

Edit: Here is the thread.

Khawaga

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Awesome Dude

Academics have a high degree of control over the work they choose to do. Most workers don't.

Simply not true. Only if you're tenured, but even then there's not that much choice. Often you have to chase funding, which means that the research you do depends on who you get funding from. What you teach depends on your department; you rarely get to teach only your own "speciality".

I am a PhD student and teaching assistant. While I could choose my own topic for research, I've considered changing it from a very Marx centered analysis of media/communication towards something that is more "employable". I get to choose between maybe 6 courses to TA; if I want to teach my own course it has to be constructed in a way so that it's approved by admin and preferable over my competition (the reserve army of PhD students, post-docs and sessional instructors that is making up the majority of academic workers nowadays). When I am TAing it is up to the prof what is taught, often how it's taught as well. Tutorial sections are often overcrowded, we don't get enough hours to actually do our work and we never get "overtime". On top of that is the pressure to publish, go to conferences (typically paid out of pocket) so that we become employable when we graduate.

Seems like folks view of academia is the one that existed maybe 30 years ago. Being an academic now means being precarious, being stressed and working way way too much for too little money.

tastybrain

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Awesome Dude

tastybrain

whatisinevidence

It is common practice for academics to critique academia (in fact, it is a necessary ritual for 'radical' professors), and anyway the article does not deal with the crucial question - that the author/editor of it is in fact part of what he is writing about. It is dishonest*.

So it's dishonest to critique a system you are part of...kind of like workers critiquing wage labor.

Academics have a high degree of control over the work they choose to do. Most workers don't.

Again, it depends on what we define as "academic". Professors do. Lecturers have some control, not as much as professors. Researchers, tutors, and public school teachers have almost none. Even professors can only teach classes in the field they are qualified in and are constrained in the research they do (if they care) based on what sorts of research are likely to be valued by other people in academia. What's your point anyway? If you are talking about this specific case and faulting J for doing research that could be turned against revolutionary movements, than I agree. If you are generalizing and making some point about "academia" I don't really follow your reasoning...

Khawaga

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

bootsy

But I don't think you can seriously compare cleaning the toilets in a police station to conducting research which is used to develop anti-riot strategies.

No you can't; I was comparing it to studying ethics on Survivor. In that case, clearly the janitor is "worse" than the academic. FWIW, I don't think developing anti-riot strategies is something that radicals should do.

I don't want to condemn academics full stop, I myself am a student and get along really well with some of my instructors. But what has happened here, it shouldn't happen again. I think at the very least it means academics involved in radical movements should be totally open about the kind of work they do, that the rest of us should keep a close eye on the kind of work they do and should be prepared to hold them to account if it looks like they're beginning to cross a line.

Of course academics should be open about the work they do. If they don't they're being unethical. There has to be full disclosure. Even most university guidelines will agree on that.

If it is normal for an academic career to push you this close to the state then like I have said the problem lies with academic careers and not with us.

It really depends on what your area of research is. The problem lies with the academic IMO.

bootsy

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

No you can't; I was comparing it to studying ethics on Survivor. In that case, clearly the janitor is "worse" than the academic. FWIW, I don't think developing anti-riot strategies is something that radicals should do.

Well whatever... I'm not really interested in pontificating over the finer details of levels of collaboration with the State. My concern is what might do real damage to our movement and to proletarian movements more generally.

Also I would like to point out that I said 'conducting research which is used to develop anti-riot strategies' not 'developing anti-riot strategies'. That seems to be the clear difference here, since TPTG accuse J of the latter when he is at least involved in the former. Both are bad. However one is much, much worse. I reserve my judgement on that until there is more information however as Blasto has pointed out there are words coming from J's own mouth which really don't coming across well to put it mildly.

I really hope LibCom removes the preface to the TPTG letter calling it a smear. We're big kids, Aufheben have had their chance to respond. People can read both and form their own opinions.

jesuithitsquad

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

my favorite part of this thread is when whatisinevidence goes on and on about honesty and full disclosure as if their newly created account is the only account they've ever had on libcom.

Khawaga

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

bootsy

Well whatever... I'm not really interested in pontificating over the finer details of levels of collaboration with the State. My concern is what might do real damage to our movement and to proletarian movements more generally.

The reason I raised this was because you painted all academics as potential state collaborators and that therefore radicals should not be academics. I was just trying to show the ridiculousness of that statement (which you now seem to recognize). I don't have an issue with your take on what could do real damage to the movement.

Wellclose Square

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Leaving aside the specifics of the TPTG accusation and focusing on the acknowledged role of the Aufheben member in his field of work, I'm troubled by the impression of being evasive evident in Aufheben's response and the readiness of certain posters to give the benefit of the doubt to the Aufheben member - even when what he has acknowledged as true is extremely dodgy. An impression of evasiveness masked by bluster (largely the bluster of his defenders on this thread). It doesn't look good.

waslax

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Wellclose Square

Leaving aside the specifics of the TPTG accusation and focusing on the acknowledged role of the Aufheben member in his field of work, I'm troubled by the impression of being evasive evident in Aufheben's response and the readiness of certain posters to give the benefit of the doubt to the Aufheben member - even when what he has acknowledged as true is extremely dodgy. An impression of evasiveness masked by bluster (largely the bluster of his defenders on this thread). It doesn't look good.

I couldn't agree more. This all is very disconcerting.

Rob Ray

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Living in the past may help you to cope with the contradictions of the present, but it won't do anything to change the reality which confronts us. This kind of snide comment does little justice the points being raised.

It's not living in the past, it's pointing out that the people who shaped anarchism as an ideal in the first place had backgrounds in academia - not particularly surprising, as a lot of anarchists spend a lot of their time learning stuff and sometimes find they can get a bit of money out of it.

What I find to be snide and doing little justice to the points raised is the blanket insinuation off the back of one (right or wrong) accusation against one academic to say that all academics (I'm not one btw) are inherently selling out and attacking the movement - would whatisinevidence say all construction workers should stop working because some of them built the prisons?

It insults and demeans people who (like Colin Ward) led pretty fucking blameless lives dedicated to bringing anarchism into the mainstream and made a huge positive difference.

bootsy

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

What I find to be snide and doing little justice to the points raised is the blanket insinuation off the back of one (right or wrong) accusation against one academic to say that all academics (I'm not one btw) are inherently selling out and attacking the movement - would whatisinevidence say all construction workers should stop working because some of them built the prisons?

What I said was that if J has been pushed into this uncomfortable position through no fault of his own, and that it is something which accompanies a career in academia, then for me that raises questions about radicals pursuing careers in academia. I stand by that statement.

Rob Ray

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

And what I quoted in my OP was:

That so many so-called communists are academics is troubling, yes?

By whatisinevidence. I didn't actually comment on what you wrote.

Having said that, I also think the statement you're standing by is pretty lame - name me the job which doesn't involve uncomfortable compromises with capitalism.

bootsy

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Edit: Nevermind I've already done this with Khawaga.

Jason Cortez

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Perhaps we could focus on the particular allegation from TPTG rather than wandering off into critiques of academia. Having not read J 's papers I am not in position to ascertain whether his research is directly contributing to the state's ability to better manage our expolsive mass rage. His work undoubtedly does contribute indirectly to this process. But as has been pointed out so does a whole range of activities under taken by communists outside the academy. This does not mean we should not ignore this problematic (but on another thread).
The problem here, is that it is difficult without doing lots of research to get a proper handle on this. Indeed the very nature of the disclosure of J's alleged activity has made it very unlikely that an open and honest account can now occur. By TPTG sending an open letter to the movement which does not comment on or refer to communications from Aufheben and just reiterates their original concerns which implies there has been no attempt to address these. There is inevitably a circling of the wagons and a lot of mudslinging. Which makes it very difficult to come to a clear conclusion and more importantly to learn any lessons from this experience.
Personally I think Aufheben reply is a tad disingenous and overly defensive, and does not attempt to give a proper account of the situation including the tensions and conflicts involved.
But what would you expect when a friend and comrade has been called out as working with the state to suppress moments of resistance. This court of justice approach from both sides means that we have probably missed an opportunity for deeper understanding and a clearer concept of where "our" 'lines in the sand' should be drawn.
Still this will no doubt mean a large attendance at this year's London Anarchist Bookfair, so this circus of scandal can be played out, to everyone's (dis)satisifaction. Which probably explains the timing of the open letter.

ocelot

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Agree with JC that the timing does look suspiciously like a late play to gazump the theme for this year's annual anarchist bookfair rumble (and the whole "all academics are servants of satan" thing is a complete derail - get your own thread, guys). Also the timing thing is probably why the "defence team" have switched to a strategy of keeping schtum in the last 24 hours, in the hopes that the thing will blow over before then.

But to narrow the problem space a little, I would suggest that the question of J's doings be set aside as a secondary matter to await resolution until a more primary question can be sorted out.

Is the argument put forward by Aufheben, in their response, that the activities of other academics in the field of "crowd management", such as Stott & Reicher, are essentially harmless, acceptable or not? If we can't even agree on that, then there is no way to anchor any discussion of J's potential role.

Aufheben's argument that Stott & Reicher's work has no significant effect seems to be based on the proposition that the only effect of their activities is

1) An ideological "legitimation" effect, of providing window dressing for the evolution of public order policing in directions that the police were intending to go, anyway.

2) An (ultimatly misguided and impotent) attempt to exhort the police to be less thuggish.

Neither of which, in their opinion has any real effect. IMO there's a whole number of problems with this argument and also taking the fact that JD does not share their "liberal-reformist arguments", as being the reason why he shares no responsibility for their work.

Firstly, it appears to fetishise the separation of theory and practice. Stott & Reicher's activity is dismissed as being merely theoretical, either ideological legitimation or humanistic exhortation, but having no implications in police pratice.

Second, more peculiarly for a group of their political identity, it appears to privilege the ideological consciousness of the actors over the objective material impact of their activity (within the context of the totality of social relations). Stott & Reicher are dismissed as well meaning Guardian-reading liberals whose intentions are good (reduce police cracking heads) and this "neo-Kantian" reading of their activity is allowed to edge out any more materialist critique of the effect of their activity, regardless of their subjective intentions. It is on the grounds of these subjective intentions only that J is absolved of any joint responsibility as he does not share their "liberal-reformist" assumptions.

All in all, a very peculiar set of arguments to be putting forward for a supposedly Marxist group.

But going beyond mere matters of theoretical inconsistency, to more practical questions.

In passing, the idea that the cops, managing scarce budgets as it is, are happy to spend their money on having a bunch of liberal academics berate them to "be cool, guys!", with no other practical interest than "it looks good". Is not exactly credible. Why the hell would the cops need more legitimation than the unquestioning and uncritical support of virtually every mainstream media outlet in the country?

But I think the basic contention that it is not something the movement should be concerned about, when participant researchers who involve themselves in the activities of direct action groups, anti-cap or summit protestors, football fans, etc, and then go on to use that research to not only make a remunerative academic career (not necessarily a problem, in and of itself) but to help advise and train top police public order strategists, is going to be a hard sell to the movement at large.

For example, from that 2009 paper that bear's J's name we have the following section:

"Accordingly, we were asked by the Metropolitan Police to consider how to develop the corralling tactic (Cronin, 2002; Cronin and Reicher, 2002).

We stressed, first, the need for officers to understand the meaning of their tactic from the perspective of the participants. In particular, the anger of participants should not be dismissed simply as reflecting a prior hostility to the police. Rather, officers need to consider how they might be producing hostility in those who started off being sympathetic towards them. Next, we stressed that, if crowd members had to be contained out of fear that some amongst them might be violent, it was critical to communicate to the people as to why they were being contained and how this was necessitated by minority actions. Part of this may involve the development of new communications technologies such as high-powered mobile loudspeaker systems and giant LCD screens. Third, procedures of selective filtering should be developed for enabling those with specific needs to exit the containment area—and this should also be communicated to the crowd. Moreover, it should also be stressed that conflict within the containment area would disrupt the selective filtering process and hence act against the interests of crowd members. Fourth, once those in need had been allowed to leave, it should be stressed to the remaining crowd that the police also wish to let them proceed as well, but that this could only occur under conditions that will prevent some amongst them from causing violence. These conditions might include the removal of clothing that obscures individual identity, abandoning placards, bottles and other objects that could be used as weapons. This advice has been taken on board by the Metropolitan police and we are told through personal communication that it has been applied on a number of occasions to considerable effect."

Sound familiar? It does to me. I was in that bloody kettle at the Mayday protest in London in 2001 that Reicher and Cronin are talking about. Let's put it in Foucauldian terms, their words, into the ears of the top cops and then down the chain of command to the riot cops to exert over my body, and the other thousands with me. Let me repeat. Their words inscribed on our bodies as repressive power. This may be acceptable to Aufheben as "politically irrelevant". But it sure as hell isn't to me. So to the extent that they extend their defence to the likes of Stott, Reicher and Cronin, I'm, definitely not buying it.

Fall Back

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Just wanting to clear up some specific points that seem to be creeping in here, even amongst people who are fairly “neutral”. Clearing up some misconceptions. This is solely aimed at the people watching this impartially, who may have accepted some of the falsehoods running around. It is not aimed at any of those with a pre-formed agenda – People who think academia is inherently beyond the pale, people who want a pop at the ultra-left, those hostile to Aufheben’s theoretical analysis, random internet mentals who see police conspiracy everywhere. If you’re one of these, then I have no interest in engaging with you – your mind isn’t going to be changed.
 
However, for many others without a prejudice, there is likely to be a feeling that *something* is going on here. The whole thing is akin to the the ”wedge strategy”. The reasonable person is drawn to thinking the answer is somewhere in the middle ground – that while the critics may be going too far, that J has done *something* wrong. However, this is not the case – the only wrongdoing by J is perhaps to be a bit stupid letting his name be used on a paper he hadn't read.
 
-”J Wrote the article”
 
Completely untrue. He was listed as a 3rd author, as a favour, as some of his work was used. Despite TPTG claims the paper was by ‘J et al’ - this is simply untrue. This is completely common in academia – with the pressure to “publish or die” it is completely the norm. I mean, does anyone think that with a paper authored by 5 people that they all sat around a laptop and wrote it by committee?
 
-Not standard academic practice (aka “That sounds really weird!”)
 
Yes. It is. Academia is a murky world full of all kinds of bullshit. No one is defending this practice, but it happens. Given the incredible pressures to publish or get the boot, do people really expect this *not* to happen? Anyone claiming that doesn’t happen is either unfamiliar with the world of UK academia (lucky you!) or if they are, are simply being dishonest.
 
-If he rejects the paper, why is it still on his academic profile
 
The profile is maintained by the department. The paper was, within the world of social psychology, fairly major. This department is, amazingly, not communist. Given this, the department was hardly likely to want to remove this from his profile because of J’s political misgivings. This is especially ridiculous, as those wording this often couple it with…
 
-J has hidden this work from those he works with.
 
Perhaps the most absurd of the charges. The work was published under his real name. Publicly posted by his employer on his academic profile. His job is well known within the scene. While TPTG might wish to believe they have done sterling detective work, the reality – that of reading a public website – is far more mundane.
 
-J trains cops to deal with public order situations
 
Completely untrue. Not even really worth going into detail on this. There is simply no factual basis to this whatsoever.
 
 
-TPTG were right to rush this out – this is important information that needs to get out right away!
 
TPTG have sat on this specific piece for 9 months – on top of this, J’s research area has been a cause of gossip for years. During this time, they have gossiped around it, but made little attempt to verify it or check the accuracy of their incredibly serious accusations. It is not the case they were gathering information or ensuring they had their facts right. They kept it in their small gossip circle, added nothing to it – and ignored all information contrary to their preconceived conclusion, then pushed it out without verifying anything
 
-Communists shouldn’t be academics anyway
 
Sure, okay, you can think this. I disagree, but that’s beside the point. That’s not the issue here at all – if you want to make this critique, go for it. But that obviously isn’t the issue at hand here – if the criticism was just that J shouldn’t have been an academic, then the criticism here would run far wider than Aufheben! There’s no issue with people having this political view, but it’s a totally separate discussion to the one at hand.
 
-There needs to be a clear rejection of this paper from Aufheben
 
There is. Three times. Twice in bold.
 
-Aufheben are defending Reicher/Stott .
 
No, they aren’t. They simply think the research is impractical and idealist, and not applicable in the real world. They are stating it is harmless specifically because *even if they wanted to* this stuff couldn’t be applied to the class struggle - it only applies when there's no fundamental conflicts of interest – unsurprisingly liberals believe in liberalism. Saying something is so absurd it could never work is hardly a defence!
 
-Even if he didn’t write it, his research can be used to benefit cops – this is bad!
 
Think about this for a moment. This argument could be made about almost any research – for example, is it wrong to document processes by which workers organise? This could clearly and obviously be used by bosses to undermine organisation efforts – it is a risk with any knowledge. J researches how crowds act, against the popular misconception of “the mob”. Of course, with this, there could be stuff that would be approaching/crossing the line. J accepts this – when he felt his research was potentially moving towards this, he made the choice to move towards disaster response.
 
-The TPTG piece isn’t a smear
 
Our opinion is that it is. TPTG made no attempt to contact Aufheben. When they contacted third parties who were aware of the facts, (who weren't exactly friends with Aufheben) they were told this was known and that several details were wrong. Several facts contained within the piece were explicitly corrected. However, there is no mention of any of this – not even to dispute the validity of denials.
 
If, as has been claimed this was done in good faith then why was J’s full name revealed? The only think this helps is potentially outing him to employers. Anyone who is aware of the ultra-left scene would know who it was based on description. Anyone who wasn’t wouldn’t get much help from knowing the guys name.
 
Libcom wouldn’t uncritically host an expose by the right wing media of a comrade. We won’t do the same thing just because it is written by people calling themselves communists – especially as shockingly, they have acted considerably worse and less honestly than the media have in recent exposes of comrades.

-Libcom are shutting down debate.

Again, just absurd. There are 2 threads on here about this, one over 100 posts Despite several new posters registering solely to join in what the admins consider a smear, no posts have been deleted, and no one has been banned.
 
-People are being defensive
 
A communist has been outed by supposed comrades. His name has been plastered all over the internet, without even basic attempts to verify the accuracy of the charges. This is in a context of a spate of outing of communists by the mainstream media. If, in these circumstances people seem a little annoyed or defensive, then to be honest, I think it’s perfectly understandable.

Shorty

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

This has obviously (and inevitably) turned into a messy thread. There's now seemingly 3 running through it. There's the two parts to Aufheben's reply, 'the research work'/normal academic practice and 'the supposed dangerousness of the liberal reformists' and now this third thread of "Communists shouldn't be academics".

I'm not really concerned right now with the first and third parts, but I think there's an important discussion to be had on the article itself and the role of academia in policing, that ocelot keeps bringing up and I don't think is being discussed.

ocelot

But to narrow the problem space a little, I would suggest that the question of J's doings be set aside as a secondary matter to await resolution until a more primary question can be sorted out.

Is the argument put forward by Aufheben, in their response, that the activities of other academics in the field of "crowd management", such as Stott & Reicher, are essentially harmless, acceptable or not? If we can't even agree on that, then there is no way to anchor any discussion of J's potential role.

I too don't find the answer under Aufheben's reply acceptable either. There's two differing interpretations of the article by TPTG and Aufheben, regardless of J's involvement or not. It's this we should be focussing on.

Having read the article, I'm inclined to come down on TPTGs view in terms of the dividing into legitimate and illegitimate/good and bad protesters that the article outlines, which is of concern to anarchists and communists as well as something discussed on here frequently with regard social movements, protests, etc.

It would appear that while rejecting the paper as reformist it seems to also be saying these reports are idealist and don't have any impact on policing. If that were the case, as I've mentioned, why would the dutch police have a special group of their own for this sort of thing and why would the german Verfassungschutz request surveys if they weren't going to make any use of them, make them applicable in the real world?

Surely, policing and policing methods do have an impact on struggle? Sometimes unintended, sometimes not, sometimes for the better and sometimes not, but ...

piter

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Fall back wrote :
-Aufheben are defending Reicher/Stott .

No, they aren’t. They simply think the research is impractical and idealist, and not applicable in the real world. They are stating it is harmless specifically because *even if they wanted to* this stuff couldn’t be applied to the class struggle - it only applies when there's no fundamental conflicts of interest – unsurprisingly liberals believe in liberalism. Saying something is so absurd it could never work is hardly a defence!

heuh?

Reicher/Stott are doing research that are completlty state and authoritarian oriented, and that are at least supposed to help the police manage crowd and keep their legitimacy.
and then we are told "Aufheben aren't defending them, they simply (that simply is a jewel!!) think the research is impractical and idealist, and not applicable in the real world.

and some people wants us to believe that they are not defending them!

and no it's not "simply impractical and idealist".

and if Aufeheben really believe it is, then they have some problems of judgement it seems...

whatisinevidence

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Second, more peculiarly for a group of their political identity, it appears to privilege the ideological consciousness of the actors over the objective material impact of their activity (within the context of the totality of social relations). Stott & Reicher are dismissed as well meaning Guardian-reading liberals whose intentions are good (reduce police cracking heads) and this "neo-Kantian" reading of their activity is allowed to edge out any more materialist critique of the effect of their activity, regardless of their subjective intentions. It is on the grounds of these subjective intentions only that J is absolved of any joint responsibility as he does not share their "liberal-reformist" assumptions.

This sudden lapse in critical thinking isn't accidental. It is an after-the-fact ideological justification for J.D.'s behaviors.

Another problem that needs to be brought into the open is why so many people apparently knew about this ('decade of gossip') but didn't say anything. So, for example, members of the Libcom group say they were aware of J.D.'s activities but didn't find them worrisome or worth bringing to light?

Mike Harman

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Jason Cortez

The problem here, is that it is difficult without doing lots of research to get a proper handle on this. Indeed the very nature of the disclosure of J's alleged activity has made it very unlikely that an open and honest account can now occur. By TPTG sending an open letter to the movement which does not comment on or refer to communications from Aufheben and just reiterates their original concerns which implies there has been no attempt to address these. There is inevitably a circling of the wagons and a lot of mudslinging. Which makes it very difficult to come to a clear conclusion and more importantly to learn any lessons from this experience.

I'm not online much the next week or so (and hence have not read the published version of the open letter nor the response in full, although I read the open letter from a few weeks ago and it sounds like it wasn't changed at all despite correspondence), but just to say I completely agree with this. I'm quite surprised that they published without even a mention of the correspondence - they don't have to even believe it, or change their conclusions, but simply not taking it into account at all is very strange - and I'd expect that to be done before making public accusations against an individual (at the very least).

no1

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

piter

heuh?

Reicher/Stott are doing research that are completlty state and authoritarian oriented, and that are at least supposed to help the police manage crowd and keep their legitimacy.
and then we are told "Aufheben aren't defending them, they simply (that simply is a jewel!!) think the research is impractical and idealist, and not applicable in the real world.

and some people wants us to believe that they are not defending them!

and no it's not "simply impractical and idealist".

and if Aufeheben really believe it is, then they have some problems of judgement it seems...

I saw Stott give a seminar a few weeks ago about his work and his many attempts to influence actual policing. He was quite open that he had completely failed to make a difference, and he was pretty angry about this which I found quite amusing. He even showed a video clip of some senior cop give evidence in parliament about policing the G8 protest in the City. Stott used this to demonstrate how the cops still clung to their 'outdated' views of the crowd as the angry irrational mob and hadn't taken on board his newfangled model. In actual fact, the police had behaved in a perfectly 'sensible' way, i.e. they had chosen to prevent economic damage, at the expense of behaving like thugs towards peaceful protesters and perhaps radicalising some of them. Their thuggish behaviour appears mistaken to Stott, based on an obsolete model, but it's Stott (and TPTG) who doesn't get it. The simple fact is, Stott believes that the police are there to 'facilitate peaceful protest' as part of the niceties of liberal democracy, but the cops obviously know better and have no interest in his recommendations.

Edit: OMG - I have just admitted that I have had contact with Stott, doesn't that put me in the same category as J? Will I be called a POLICE COLLABORATOR too?

Ed

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Shorty

Having read the article, I'm inclined to come down on TPTGs view in terms of the dividing into legitimate and illegitimate/good and bad protesters that the article outlines, which is of concern to anarchists and communists as well as something discussed on here frequently with regard social movements, protests, etc.

Well, yeah, of course, that's because you (like me) are a communist. But you get that J had nothing to do with the writing of that article, right? Of course me, you, Aufheben and J all have criticisms of the paper, it was written by liberals and they stuck J's name on it to help him meet his publishing targets..

Shorty

It would appear that while rejecting the paper as reformist it seems to also be saying these reports are idealist and don't have any impact on policing.

I don't see the contradiction here. If I'm a liberal and think the world can bumble along with some harmony of interests shite then I think my ideas would be both reformist and idealist. What's more, let's say I believe that markets can help everyone if only the state intervened to make it so.. you know that I could write as many papers as I liked and no one in power would listen to me, because that's not how states/markets work (i.e. it'd have zero impact)..

It's the same with this. You can talk to police about 'liberal policing' as much as you want but at the end of the day, police will be police.. they've got a job to do and they do it the way it needs to be done, regardless of what some liberal academic reckons is best..

Also, what do people think about what Fall Back said regarding the fact that this exact same Open Letter could have been written without mentioning J's name? I mean, the ultra-left milieu is small enough that everyone reading who knows J would've known who he was without the name and for anyone who doesn't, the name doesn't make the slightest bit of difference.. considering that the jury is still out on this, does it not seem a bit out of order to out him to his bosses while we all decide whether he's a snitch/cop collaborator or not?

whatisinevidence

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

So the quotation from J.D. at the end of this press release is not actually from him?

http://www.sussex.ac.uk/newsandevents/pressrelease/id/2567

Our recommendations form part of a new agenda for the mass democratisation of crowd management. We have designed interventions based on our approach and have shown that they work."

If his name was just tacked onto the report at the end, why in the world would the University put his picture in the press release, instead of a picture of the actual authors? It doesn't make any sense.

avantiultras

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Fall Back

-”J Wrote the article”

Completely untrue. He was listed as a 3rd author, as a favour, as some of his work was used. This is completely common in academia – with the pressure to “publish or die” it is completely the norm. I mean, does anyone think that with a paper authored by 5 people that they all sat around a laptop and wrote it by committee?

I made a quick search of the Policing articles and I found this one by J. Hoggett and C. Stott: Crowd psychology, public order police training and the policing of football crowd, Policing 33(2) which also uses some of the work of J. What's interesting is that Hoggett and Stott acknowledge J for his help in editing the work (Hoggett&Stott link.) In particular they write: "The authors would like to thank the ACPO football portfolio holder Stephen Thomas for his help and support. The work was funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) Case Award PTA/033/2005/00044. Thanks also to all the police officers who helped to facilitate the work and support the authors. Thanks to J for his help in editing the work."

I believe that this is an example of "standard academic practice", i.e. when the contribution of an academic is not substantial, his name just appears in the acknowledgements. And here J helped editing the work apart from his work being used extensively as a reference. Then, why didn't they include his name in this case also "as a favour", since his contribution is even bigger than in the other article if we accept Aufheben's explanation?

The article in its entirety can be found here

ocelot

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

no1

I saw Stott give a seminar a few weeks ago about his work and his many attempts to influence actual policing. He was quite open that he had completely failed to make a difference, and he was pretty angry about this which I found quite amusing. He even showed a video clip of some senior cop give evidence in parliament about policing the G8 protest in the City. Stott used this to demonstrate how the cops still clung to their 'outdated' views of the crowd as the angry irrational mob and hadn't taken on board his newfangled model.

And a actor's subjective consciousness of his or her actions is the only basis for assessing their social effect, right?

In other words, if Stott's personal mythology is offended that the police haven't used his research and training in the way that he wanted them to, does it necessarily follow that they have made no use of it at all?

There seems to be a basic contradiction within your premiss - i.e. that Stott and his sometime police employers have a different agenda means from that his evaluation that the police have not followed his agenda it necessarily follows that the police cannot have used Stott's research to render their public order policing tactics more effective, in terms of their own agenda.

We're back to the rejection of basic critical materialist politics. But on a practical level, lets take the example of informers recruited by Brit intelligence in the Six Counties in the late 60s and early 70s, as told in Fred Holroyd's book and others. Holroyd talks of the different motivations that impelled his sources to become informers. One man was a stickie (Official IRA) who believed that the Provos were a sectarian force driving a wedge between the protestant and catholic working classes. Another was a constitutional nationalist (since extinct, but later reborn in the guise of the SDLP, and nowadays arguably, Sinn Fein) who informed against the provies out of some tortuous 'patriotic' motive. A third was a woman who'd been beaten up for "fraternising with the enemy". Each had different subjective motives for what they thought they were doing. Of course, from the perspective of their handler, Holroyd, and the Brits, their function was as informers against the Provos.

Marx also always draws this distinction between why people say (and think) they are acting as they do, and what their actual role is relative to the social relations of the time. It's an important distinction, I think it should be basic to any critical anti-capitalist politics.

Subjective consciousness does not determine social function.

Bob: Hi Sue
Sue: Hi Bob, what's up?
Bob: There's a new guy joining us at the meeting tonight. He's called Tristan. He sounds a bit posh, but don't worry, I've talked to him and he's a good bloke.
Sue: What's he do?
Bob: He's a student. He's doing a Phd researching social movements, direct action and policing.
Sue: Oh. Really?
Bob: Yeah, I was talking to him about it. I didn't follow everything he said, to be honest, but it sounded pretty cool. Like that when the cops are being violent and everything it's because, like they've got the wrong "model" in their heads. It's like they think we're all animals or something?
Sue: I don't need a Phd to know that.
Bob: Yeah, but he said, like, it doesn't have to be like that. Like if they had a different model or something, they wouldn't need to be such twats all the time? I dunno. Anyway, he's definitely on our side.
Sue: And what exactly is he going to do with all this research?
Bob: Well I guess he'll publish it as a Phd or something and then be an academic.
Sue: Didn't the last guy who did that end up spending 10 years training the police about crowd control tactics and stuff?
Bob: Well, yeah. But like, he did end up very disillusioned at the end of it, and say the cops never really got his real message.
Sue: So that makes it all better then does it?
Bob: Yeah well Tristan says you can't blame academics who train the police for what the police do with their training.
Sue: Why not?
Bob: He says it's because there's "Too many mediations" or something.
Sue: What the fuck does that mean?
Bob: I dunno. Tristan said it was something to do with Hegel.
Sue: What the hell has some dead German dude got to do with this.
Bob: I dunno, but that's the whole point Sue. We can't judge people like Tristan who read Hegel and stuff by our standards. These people are clever and they know more than us, so we just gotta trust 'em.
Sue: Bob, there are days I wonder why I put up with you...

IMHO, the "Too many mediations" defence is, like nationalism, the last refuge of the scoundrel.

Leo

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Just saw this thread and aside from writing something, I thought it would be better to just re-post what I posted here: http://libcom.org/library/response-tptg

it knowingly states stuff the authors explicitly know to be a lie.

Actually it doesn't. It states stuff which the accused claim that the authors explicitly know to be a lie. There is a difference.

It is a smear because snitchjacketing someone as a police collaborator is pretty much the worst thing any revolutionary can do within the realms of discourse.

Aside from actually collaborating with the police within the realms of discourse, of course.

It's patently obvious he rejects the article though

Actually, it isn't patently obvious he rejects the article. What is patently obvious is that he says he rejects the article in his political life. In his personal life, whether he wrote it or not, it is something he obviously defends as his name is on it. It is true, of course, that he may well have co-signed this article if not co-wrote it to please his bosses. The question is how far can revolutionaries go to please their bosses.

The libcom collective looked into this in some detail over a month ago.

The libcom collective is in England as is Aufheben. I would be very much surprised if the libcom collective sent someone to Greece to inquire with the TPTG.

Of course the way the critics of the official libcom line were treated was no different from any other time. The aggressive tone used reeks of loyalty and makes me think that the libcom collective or at least some people in it has rather close personal relations with Aufheben and none whatsoever with the TPTG.

And because of this, the libcom collective is doing a very bad job trying to defend this person.

And with all the accusations of smears, slanders, lies and so on, I think it is telling that neither Aufheben or the libcom collective has said anything about why the TPTG is doing this if there is no fire to the smoke.

As for what I personally think, I don't want to comment on the accusations of the TPTG themselves, because I know little about the situation and don't personally know anyone from Aufheben.

I do know the TPTG, and I do know that they are very active, experienced and serious people with a history of involvement in the struggles in Greece. They are not political novices, and I don't think that they would do something like this without thinking it through, based on gossip or with malicious intent. This said, however, although they are fairly good English speakers, English is their second language as it is mine and anyone who speaks English as a second language is more prone to misunderstanding phrases and so on.

Yet at the end of the day, what Aufheben itself says is problematic enough on its own:

TPTG take the word ‘consultancies’ on J’s university profile too literally (...) The ‘blue light services’ work closely together; and so talking about emergencies means probably talking to cops as well as the others. His University encouraged this, and it would have looked odd to refuse to communicate with the cops. So he accepted this as a small cost of the overall job of research work.

"It would have looked odd to refuse to communicate with the cops"? Really? What would have happened if it looked odd, would he be shot or sent to a prison camp? Would he even be fired from his job? Or would his colleagues simply have a doubt that maybe he doesn't like the cops? Most people generally tend to dislike the cops after all.

There can be movements when revolutionaries might have to communicate with the cops. For example, if someones house is robbed and a police report is necessary to get insurance money, I don't think anyone can condemn a revolutionary for having to do this (and would probably advise them to clean up the publications etc. before reporting the robbery).

Of course none other than the accused know how literal the word ‘consultancies’ should be taken and what this guy said to the police. However talking to the police from a scientific position about their job because it would "look odd" otherwise is not an acceptable argument unless there was an actual risk of something happening to the person if it did indeed look odd.

bootsy

And with all the accusations of smears, slanders, lies and so on, I think it is telling that neither Aufheben or the libcom collective has said anything about why the TPTG is doing this if there is no fire to the smoke.

I asked that question in this thread.

Fall Back said this:

Well, I'd suggest the most obvious is that the international ultra-left scene is a tiny incestuous scene, and scene's like that love gossip and scandal?

The truth is banal and boring. Having uncovered a secret police agent is sexy and attention grabbing.

Unconvincing.

meinberg

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Ed

Also, what do people think about what Fall Back said regarding the fact that this exact same Open Letter could have been written without mentioning J's name? I mean, the ultra-left milieu is small enough that everyone reading who knows J would've known who he was without the name and for anyone who doesn't, the name doesn't make the slightest bit of difference.. considering that the jury is still out on this, does it not seem a bit out of order to out him to his bosses while we all decide whether he's a snitch/cop collaborator or not?

i think that would have been pretty difficult, to write that letter without pointing to j. even if they hadn't mentioned his name it would have been clear to everyone because of the cited paper etc.

another note: libcom is doing an far better job outing j to his bosses than tptg, because there is an pretty low probability that they will read an open letter of an obscure greek group.. analyzing the backlinks of their webpage which will point to this thread is a whole different matter..

Ed

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

whatisinevidence

If his name was just tacked onto the report at the end, why in the world would the University put his picture in the press release, instead of a picture of the actual authors?

Because there was a fairly famous (in academic circles) paper put out with the name of someone from the department. Universities are businesses and want as much publicity as possible to attract new students, researchers etc.. J gave a quote. Maybe he shouldn't have, maybe he should have said nothing, maybe he should have said the paper was a load of shit and PS fuck the police.. he didn't, he chose the quiet route.. but whatever you think of that, it's a million miles away from collaborating with the police or advising them on how to put down social movements..

avantiultras

I believe that this is an example of "standard academic practice", i.e. when the contribution of an academic is not substantial, his name just appears in the acknowledgements. And here J helped editing the work apart from his work being used extensively as a reference. Then, why didn't they include his name in this case also "as a favour", since his contribution is even bigger than in the other article if we accept Aufheben's explanation?

I dunno, maybe he'd met his publishing targets already.. maybe in their opinion, drawing heavily from someone's work makes them more deserving of inclusion as one of the writers than their "help in editing" it.. fuck knows really.. but it looks to me like you're really clutching at straws to find reason behind the original beef rather than taking quite a simple explanation at face value..

ocelot

But on a practical level, lets take the example of informers recruited by Brit intelligence in the Six Counties in the late 60s and early 70s, as told in Fred Holroyd's book and others.

How on earth could it be practical to draw on British counter-insurgency during The Troubles in this instance? That's absolutely bonkers..

Moreover, you've missed the point and added a confusing dialogue which seems to fuse J and this Stott character together.. yeah, of course we (as in all of us in this discussion) are critical of Stott and his piece and probably wouldn't invite him to political meetings because he is a liberal academic (and plays the function of the liberal academic).. however, why would we even invite him to a meeting? Why would he want to come?

Or are you saying that J shouldn't be allowed to come to meetings, because he wrote a paper which was used by a liberal academic who went on to try to train police in liberal crowd management techniques?

Leo

And with all the accusations of smears, slanders, lies and so on, I think it is telling that neither Aufheben or the libcom collective has said anything about why the TPTG is doing this if there is no fire to the smoke.
[...]
I do know the TPTG, and I do know that they are very active, experienced and serious people with a history of involvement in the struggles in Greece. They are not political novices, and I don't think that they would do something like this without thinking it through, based on gossip or with malicious intent.

I don't have a clue about why they are doing this. But in my opinion, political pointscoring happens all over the left and ultra-left.. people talk shit about each other, take a personal disliking to people and dress it up as political, pass on and exaggerate gossip, whatever.. TPTG being serious and seasoned militants doesn't change this. I know serious militants who have serious beef with other serious militants that I know that stretches back to the 1980s (or further back even).. there's nothing about being a serious militant that means you can't act like a twat sometimes as well.. nor does this say anything about the great work they do in Greece..

This isn't to say it's definitely malicious on TPTG's part, it could be any number of things like language or whatever else.. but to say that they do lots of great work in Greece doesn't say anything about this imo..

meinberg

i think that would have been pretty difficult, to write that letter without pointing to j. even if they hadn't mentioned his name it would have been clear to everyone because of the cited paper etc.

Hmm, perhaps you are right about the cited paper.. maybe they could have simply described the offensive parts of the paper? Even citing the paper but not stating the name would still leave five possible people. But anyway, all this confirms to me that it would have been better to open a dialogue between TPTG and Aufheben privately rather than sit on this info for months and publish something ignoring Aufheben's response..

meinberg

another note: libcom is doing an far better job outing j to his bosses than tptg, because there is an pretty low probability that they will read an open letter of an obscure greek group.. analyzing the backlinks of their webpage which will point to this thread is a whole different matter..

Possibly true, but the alternative is what, to delete posts? We're already being accused of lying to cover our mate's back (I've met J once, btw) but I don't think I've got the stomach to throw in accusations of censorship as well.. I sometimes wonder why I helped start this fucking website.. :) not to mention that it's not our fault that anonymous internet seekers of ultra-left justice see fit to out someone in much the same way as the right-wing press have..

meinberg

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Ed

meinberg

another note: libcom is doing an far better job outing j to his bosses than tptg, because there is an pretty low probability that they will read an open letter of an obscure greek group.. analyzing the backlinks of their webpage which will point to this thread is a whole different matter..

Possibly true, but the alternative is what, to delete posts? We're already being accused of lying to cover our mate's back (I've met J once, btw) but I don't think I've got the stomach to throw in accusations of censorship as well.. I sometimes wonder why I helped start this fucking website.. :) not to mention that it's not our fault that anonymous internet seekers of ultra-left justice see fit to out someone in much the same way as the right-wing press have..

i think to break the links or use an anonymiser for external sites would do the deal

piter

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Ed wrote :
in much the same way as the right-wing press have

do you mean they are "guilty by association"?
or some new kind of "trostko-fascists"?

I can understand you find wrong to cite one's name if you think he's doing revolutionnary work, but is it really necessary to repeatedly associate this with the right-wing?
I don't think so...

Blasto

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

another note: libcom is doing an far better job outing j to his bosses than tptg,

There are three different things going on which it might be useful to pull apart:

Anonymity
Libcom has an privacy policy, and I think everyone on this thread has respected that as far as they can, but it is evidently not fully possible in this instance.

Substantiation
Making unsubstantiated claims would absolutely have been out of order. Also having been accused of not reading Js work as well has having the nature of that work disputed by Aufheben inevitably leads to links to papers, publications and even his own words substantiating TPTGs concerns over his involvement in designing policing "interventions". Even just providing quotes from articles reveals the author - pop the quote in a search engine and ba-boom.

"Outing"
J has published work in his own name in academic journals which describe his involvement in the left and in direct action. I linked to one an earlier post. His politics were therefore in no way a secret from anyone, least of all academics. Infact he had gone to some length to show how his being in and of the left gave him a particular advantage in his research of crowds. So the whole accusation of "outing" and "acting like right wing press" seems to me a total red herring and just an attempt to rubbish the argument.

Ed

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Meinberg, fair play, should probably go back and do that.. but people forget that this isn't our job, we do this in our spare time, between work, family responsibilities and the rest of our lives.. it'd genuinely be really great if people just did that off the bat..

Piter, seriously, I get your point (and you're probably right that it's different), but to be honest I find it kind of ironic (not in the insulting way, just in the way that sometimes shit jumps out at you) that with my comment you're all "ah, well, that's a fundamentally different kettle of fish coz of x, y and z" whereas with this stuff with J there's zero nuance and he's just teaching cops how to put down protest!

I'm not trying to fling mud at you and say you're doing the work of the right-wing press, I'm just drawing similarities.. so let's not feign this "I'm so shocked you would talk about me this way" nonsense and deal with the issue at hand.. which I feel I've done quite well (not wanting to be big-headed like), but do you have any more questions?

Leo

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I don't have a clue about why they are doing this. But in my opinion, political pointscoring happens all over the left and ultra-left.. people talk shit about each other, take a personal disliking to people and dress it up as political, pass on and exaggerate gossip, whatever..

Why take a personal disliking to a group and one of its members at the other end of the continent though? Does the TPTG know Aufheben members close enough personally to take a personal disliking of them?

TPTG being serious and seasoned militants doesn't change this. I know serious militants who have serious beef with other serious militants that I know that stretches back to the 1980s (or further back even).. there's nothing about being a serious militant that means you can't act like a twat sometimes as well

What I'm trying to say is that I know them and don't think they would do something like this for any petty reason or simply based on gossip.

This isn't to say it's definitely malicious on TPTG's part, it could be any number of things like language or whatever else..

Well, perhaps you aren't at least definitely saying that but a lot of people seem to be.

but to say that they do lots of great work in Greece doesn't say anything about this imo..

Maybe it shouldn't but to an extent it does or perhaps some think it would. For those who defend Aufheben try explaining the reason by portraying the TPTG as "an ultra-left group", which is in a "tiny milieu", saying this is why they did this because this insignificant amount of people like gossiping among themselves. This is, consciously or unconsciously, an attempt to discredit the TPTG's claim by portraying them as something they are not, and neglecting what they actually are. And of course, it is much easy to say that this is smear when it's coming from a "tiny, isolated ultra-left sect" than when it is coming from a group of militants very active and experienced in the struggle in Greece, not at all isolated but quite the contrary even influential with the general anti-Stalinist/Trotskyist milieu in that country.

Fall Back

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Leo - I think you're taking "ultra-left" in the negative sense here. I meant it in the positive sense. Same as I'd call End Notes, TC or Wildcat ultra-left - it's not an insult or pretending they are something they are not.

Tiny mileau is simply a statement of fact - we're talking, what, 100 people max worldwide here. Obviously this is tiny. Even compared to the (small!) standards of revolutionary groupings, this is incredibly small.

And I never referred to them as "isolated" or a "sect".

Juan Conatz

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Our opinion is that it is. TPTG made no attempt to contact Aufheben. When they contacted third parties who were aware of the facts, (who weren't exactly friends with Aufheben) they were told this was known and that several details were wrong. Several facts contained within the piece were explicitly corrected. However, there is no mention of any of this – not even to dispute the validity of denials.

This really stands out.

Leo

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Leo - I think you're taking "ultra-left" in the negative sense here.

It is almost universally used in the negative sense.

I meant it in the positive sense. Same as I'd call End Notes, TC or Wildcat ultra-left - it's not an insult or pretending they are something they are not.

I don't think they define themselves as ultra-left or are particularly close to TC (although they have good relations with the Wildcat group in Germany if I recall correctly).

Tiny mileau is simply a statement of fact - we're talking, what, 100 people max worldwide here. Obviously this is tiny. Even compared to the (small!) standards of revolutionary groupings, this is incredibly small.

Except they see themselves as a part of a quite large milieu in Greece, what is called the anti-authoritarian milieu. In their open letter they describe themselves as an "anti-authoritarian communist group", and more specifically I know that they see themselves as the communist wing of the Greek anti-authoritarian movement.

And I never referred to them as "isolated" or a "sect".

Well, I wasn't trying to talk about what anyone said specifically but more generally the tone and its implications.

madashell

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

So the whole accusation of "outing" and "acting like right wing press" seems to me a total red herring and just an attempt to rubbish the argument. the left gave him a particular advantage in his research of crowds. So the whole accusation of "outing" and "acting like right wing press" seems to me a total red herring and just an attempt to rubbish the argument.

It's not quite the same thing, but given that recent "outing" articles have included direct quotes from libcom, iirc, it is pertinant to any discussion of anonymity on here.

The less personal information a passing hack can pick up from here, the better.

Fall Back

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Leo

It is almost universally used in the negative sense.

not on libcom - in fact, I'd go so far as to say that anyone using it negatively on here would be roundly mocked.

I already posted describing Aufheben as ultra-left, in a post defending them, so given these contexts, I'm honestly not sure where you'd get the idea that it was meant negatively.

I don't think they define themselves as ultra-left or are particularly close to TC (although they have good relations with the Wildcat group in Germany if I recall correctly).

I think it's pretty much uncontroversial they exist as a broad international mileau - they have summer camps together and they have even historically published stuff together (the mileau rather than TPTG - iirc this was before TPTG were really on the scene) - http://libcom.org/library/aufheben/pamphlets-articles/stop-the-clock-critiques-of-the-new-social-workhouse

"Ultra-left mileau" is as good a descriptor for that mileau as any - and certainly it's the most commonly used.

Except they see themselves as a part of a quite large milieu in Greece, what is called the anti-authoritarian milieu. In their open letter they describe themselves as an "anti-authoritarian communist group", and more specifically I know that they see themselves as the communist wing of the Greek anti-authoritarian movement.

I don't see the relevance of this. I obviously wasn't talking about their role within Greece. Internationally, they are part of this broad, loosely defined current. If I described you as being part of the small left communist mileau, you wouldn't go off about how you see yourself as the communist wing of the Turkish workers movement (or whatever), would you? How they see themselves in Turkey is utterly irrelevant in the context of what I said.

Well, I wasn't trying to talk about what anyone said specifically but more generally the tone and its implications.

Well, you said "tiny, isolated ultra-left sect". In double quotation marks. Alongside things I'd actually said. Which Implies that's what I called them, or implied that they were, which I didn't.

Leo

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

not on libcom - in fact, I'd go so far as to say that anyone using it negatively on here would be roundly mocked.

I already posted describing Aufheben as ultra-left, in a post defending them, so given these contexts, I'm honestly not sure where you'd get the idea that it was meant negatively.

It's a reflex of being accused of it more than often I suppose.

I think it's pretty much uncontroversial they exist as a broad international mileau - they have summer camps together and they have even historically published stuff together (the mileau rather than TPTG - iirc this was before TPTG were really on the scene) - http://libcom.org/library/aufheben/pamphlets-articles/stop-the-clock-critiques-of-the-new-social-workhouse

I don't think the TPTG can explicitly be considered a part of that specific milieu. They are quite critical of some of these groups, at least not just Aufheben but TC as well.

"Ultra-left mileau" is as good a descriptor for that mileau as any - and certainly it's the most commonly used.

I am not sure whether its the most commonly used, as I said it is something I've most commonly seen used as a slur.

I don't see the relevance of this. I obviously wasn't talking about their role within Greece. Internationally, they are part of this broad, loosely defined current. If I described you as being part of the small left communist mileau, you wouldn't go off about how you see yourself as the communist wing of the Turkish workers movement (or whatever), would you? How they see themselves in Turkey is utterly irrelevant in the context of what I said.

Well yes but surely there is a difference. We of course as well as the TPTG, libcom, the better anarchists etc. all see themselves as a part of the revolutionary wing of the working class. My organization sees itself in general as a part of the communist left, and we see the communist left as a part of the general revolutionary milieu internationally.

Yet we in Turkey are politically isolated: even our most basic positions opposing parliamentarianism, trade-unions, nationalism and national liberation are still so new that even the majority of the local anarchists have a hard time swallowing them and they regard not just us but the small minority of anarchists who have similar positions in the same way the Stalinists and the Trotskyists do, in other words as "ultra left sectarians" even though these are not the terms the anarchists use. So the general revolutionary political milieu which we consider ourselves a part of here in Turkey is itself extremely small and isolated.

Yet this is not the situation in Greece. The TPTG not only consider themselves to be but practically are a part of a not at all a small political milieu. And compared to the what they call the "anti-authoritarian" milieu in Greece, not only is what we consider the revolutionary milieu in Turkey very small, but so is the one in England which is much bigger than the one in Turkey. So regardless of their affiliations internationally, which I don't think can be defined as a part of a network of TC etc. anyway, these people are not isolated and operate in a very wide milieu.

Well, you said "tiny, isolated ultra-left sect". In double quotation marks. Alongside things I'd actually said. Which Implies that's what I called them, or implied that they were, which I didn't.

Fair enough, I should have been clearer.

whatisinevidence

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Let's go back to what Aufheben wrote:

As TPTG know, The talks to the ‘policing major incidents’ meeting, the CBRN centre, and Civil Contingencies Secretariat were each about his research on mass emergencies. They were part of the dissemination of his research to the emergency services and other relevant organizations that he is expected to do as part of his work at the university. The ‘blue light services’ work closely together; and so talking about emergencies means probably talking to cops as well as the others. His University encouraged this, and it would have looked odd to refuse to communicate with the cops. So he accepted this as a small cost of the overall job of research work... This argument provides a possible justification for emergency response strategies prioritizing communication and provision of information (lack of which survivors find distressing and frustrating) over control. He stands by this research work as worthwhile and even humane.

According to Aufheben, J.D. does research and presentations for the state (including the police; the "probably" is insulting) about how to respond to crowds during emergencies. Further, J.D. "stands by this research work" for the state as "worthwhile and even humane".

Does anything else need to be said?

Jason Cortez

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

A civil servant would do the same, what is your point?

Blasto

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Jason Cortez

A civil servant would do the same, what is your point?

I mean no offence at all, but I am a bit at a loss with some of the comments on this thread. Has the concept of recuperation gone out of fashion or something? Is being self-critical no longer considered de rigueur? Is the phrase "the revolution starts from within" just too flares and kipper ties?

There are jobs and there are jobs. Most of us accept that in order to exist in this reality we reproduce our own alienation. But reproduce our own repression?

It seems that it is only because either (a) J is an academic or (b) Aufheben say so, that some people think this acceptable - a "small cost" for his research as Aufheben put it. So just what exactly is his research worth to Aufheben then, that they consider it justifies training cops?

It is insanity that people are so stridently defending this. Would you train cops? Has everyone just gone utterly soft in the head to think this is okay? Perhaps as well as a critique of academia, an explanation of the role of the police needs a brushing off?

Ed

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Blasto

So just what exactly is his research worth to Aufheben then, that they consider it justifies training cops?

Mate, this has already been covered, he doesn't train cops..

Arbeiten

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Juan Conatz

Our opinion is that it is. TPTG made no attempt to contact Aufheben. When they contacted third parties who were aware of the facts, (who weren't exactly friends with Aufheben) they were told this was known and that several details were wrong. Several facts contained within the piece were explicitly corrected. However, there is no mention of any of this – not even to dispute the validity of denials.

This really stands out.

I second this.

and to go back to the right wing press analogy. Well. Has the man had a fair trial? or has he had a trial by parochial ultra-leftist social media? I don't think it would have matter one iota to the larger outcome (assuming he is 'guilty' for whatever), if he had been given a chance to have his say before this was spattered all over the internet...

Blasto

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Sorry - double post.

Blasto

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Ed

Blasto

So just what exactly is his research worth to Aufheben then, that they consider it justifies training cops?

Mate, this has already been covered, he doesn't train cops..

According to Aufheben he does, probably. As has been pointed out, describing an event called ‘policing major incidents' as probably involving the police is a tad disingenuous.

I'm not sure if you've noticed this but the talk he gave was on mass emergencies, not crowd control on protests. His research into the way crowds behave was used by others who do try to get the police to follow their methods...

And these 'others' don't include the police themselves? Isn't being being trained in crowd psychology simply just that, regardless of what 'humane' packaging you wrap it in? If J and Aufheben want to justify it by hanging is on a "mass emergencies" hook, then isn't that just another example of extremely poor judgement?

And publishing research in academic journals about the behaviour of protestors in conflict with the police - who does that serve? The protestors? No. So who exactly? Surely there are much better ways to make a living?

This was the point of my post – isn't a degree of self-criticism important? Isn't an understanding of recuperation? And if a person can't be self-critical, and their close circle can't be critical, then don't be surprised when others are.

As I have said, I have no beef with Aufheben in any other respect - they have contributed some superb analysis, and the same goes for Libcom. I have rarely posted but frequently read the blogs, which are invaluable. But this issue is something that they and libcom refuse to even recognise as problematic. Their absolute rebuttal and response to those who have raised concerns is honestly deeply concerning.

Blasto

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Sorry - triple post. Libcom is running VERY slow.

ocelot

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Ed

ocelot

But on a practical level, lets take the example of informers recruited by Brit intelligence in the Six Counties in the late 60s and early 70s, as told in Fred Holroyd's book and others.

How on earth could it be practical to draw on British counter-insurgency during The Troubles in this instance? That's absolutely bonkers..

We're not limiting ourselves to this instance. We're talking about the general question of whether or not the subjective aims of people interacting with state forces determine the social reality of their actions. Which is pefectly relevant to distinguishing between what Stott thinks he's trying to do with his work with the police, and what the police are actually getting out of that work - i.e. intel on how to make their public order policing more effective (which is what Aufheben are specifically denying, btw).

Ed

Moreover, you've missed the point and added a confusing dialogue which seems to fuse J and this Stott character together..

You clearly missed the part where I said I was reducing the problem space to Reicher, Stott & co, and leaving the question of J's relationship to their work, to one side. As previously mentioned, Stott did join in the TSDC and various football fan groups as an "insider" participant in the pursuit of his research. The only "fusion" element is the invocation of the Aufheben excuse given - in the section where they defend Stott and Reicher's work, not J's , N.B. - of "too many mediations".

Ed

yeah, of course we (as in all of us in this discussion) are critical of Stott and his piece and probably wouldn't invite him to political meetings because he is a liberal academic (and plays the function of the liberal academic).. however, why would we even invite him to a meeting? Why would he want to come?

It appears that some of us in this discussion, at least initially, accepted the defence of Stott in the Aufheben reply, at face value. So no, there is no agreement on that, and that's the point I'm focusing on, because it's a straightforward political question that has nothing to do with the charges and counter-charges around what J may or may not have been involved with (about which I know nothing specific).

Secondly, my problem's with Stott are nothing to with essentialist or ontological questions about his being a "liberal academic". I don't have problems with lots of liberal academics who do research on plant life, art history, cancer, 19th century socialist literature, etc, etc. My attitude towards Stott would be unchanged as to whether he was a liberal, a conservative, or a bnp-voting racist (he's not). The contents of his head do not concern me, rather the consequences of his actions. That's what I take as basic for any materialist politics.

So the whole "sure we don't like him because he's a liberal" position is actually evading the central point. Do you accept that the work of people like him, who gather research as participants, from the inside of movements, and then process that research and pass it on to the police, via seminars, texts and trainings, is aiding the police in evolving their counter-protest policing or not? And if not, why not, in the face of the evidence, already alluded to, of specific tactical advice coming from these academics and being deployed against us by the police in identifiable protest events?

The underlying issue here is the tendency of people who elaborate sophisticated politics in "peacetime" - i.e. in conditions free from any stress - to revert to unthinking or opportunistic politics at the first sight of trouble. Given that politics effectively only really matters in whether people make the right decisions or the wrong decisions in the most desperate situations, only "politics under fire" is real politics. In this case, under the relatively minor stress of a perceived online threat to a friend and comrade, people involved in Aufheben and Libcom both, apparently, have come out with some completely untenable politics in their somewhat panicked efforts at defence. If you can't even hold a proper political line under relatively minor stress, what chance have you got when people really are being killed or jailed forever? Worse still, experience teaches that some people are so lame that rather than admit that some of the things they said under stress, were a mistake and/or politically absurd, they then spend the rest of their days trying to rearrange their political frameworks to retrospectively justify hastily adopted opportunistic positions, forced on them by the contigencies of the moment. (look at the Bordigists for example - Bordiga chose to stop fighting against Mussolini, rather than go into exile, now all bordigist believe that fighting against fascists is objectively counter-revolutionary in any and all situations, including Spain 1936 for e.g.). Hopefully the people involved are bigger than that, and will learn the lessons and move on. That's all I have to say on this matter.

no1

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

ocelot

The contents of his head do not concern me, rather the consequences of his actions. That's what I take as basic for any materialist politics.

That's precisely the thing you're not getting. You assume that Stott's advice gives the police some sort of powerful psychological mind control techniques. However that's not the case. Stott's advice would be useful to the police in a world where the function of the police is to facilitate peaceful protest. We don't live in such a world. In the actual world we live in, his work is useless to the police.

Blasto

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

no1

ocelot

The contents of his head do not concern me, rather the consequences of his actions. That's what I take as basic for any materialist politics.

That's precisely the thing you're not getting. You assume that Stott's advice gives the police some sort of powerful psychological mind control techniques. However that's not the case. Stott's advice would be useful to the police in a world where the function of the police is to facilitate peaceful protest. We don't live in such a world. In the actual world we live in, his work is useless to the police.

So when we read this,

These ideas have already transformed policing in several European countries through the team’s consultancy, led by Dr Stott. The researchers conclude that, if implemented in the UK, they would be equally effective in minimising crowd violence here.

it's just them fantasising? Phew!

Fall Back

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Just to clarify the mass emergencies stuff here, as I suspect people are unlikely to read the original dry academic research papers. As far as I understand it, a brief abstract is thus:

Conventional wisdom in emergency situations is that crowds in mass emergencies (such as 7/7 or natural disasters) is they are a panic-stricken mob. J's research sees this as incorrect and that in reality they are characterises more by mutual support and reason. The view of the mob is problematic as it shows the crowds as part of the problem - contrary to this, J's research suggest they can be part of the solution. an example would be that J would advocate in emergencies that getting up communications with and amongst survivors is of prime importance in resolving the emergency situation, rather than delaying this until 'order' has been 'restored' - ie not treating crowds in mass emergencies as a public order situation at all.

J addressed emergency services about this. This would have included police - they have a fairly major role in disaster response. Now, if you think any contact with the police, ever, in any context is unacceptable, then sure, you're going to object. You aren't going to be convinced. But for the rest of us, I honestly don't think there's much to object to in delivering a lecture where he told various emergency services that they shouldn't see survivors in emergencies as part of the problem. It's not radical or communist in any way - but then, J isn't a 'radical academic' - he is a radical who happens to be an academic.

no1

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Blasto

So when we read this,

These ideas have already transformed policing in several European countries through the team’s consultancy, led by Dr Stott. The researchers conclude that, if implemented in the UK, they would be equally effective in minimising crowd violence here.

it's just them fantasising? Phew!

It's from a university PR statement, what do you expect them to say? That academic research is a waste of time and money, and that noone gives a crap about it?

Joseph Kay

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Can people also please stop peddling the lie that Aufheben defend Stott & Reicher's work. They emphatically reject it. Three times. Twice of those in bold. What they do say is you need to understand what it says: Stott & Reicher are trying to pacify the police by persuading them to facilitate crowd aims (and addressing them on the police's terms to do so, which jars if you hate the cops). This cannot possibly pacify the class struggle, because the police aren't going to facilitate class struggle. This is because contrary to the liberal wordview, the police's role is to enforce the rule of the capitalist state, not be servants of universal human rights and facilitators of non-violent social change (jesus, liberalism :lol: ). Of course I suspect most of the critics haven't read, let alone understood the paper and related literature before passing judgement. But if you do, you need to understand what Stott & Reicher's project is (i.e. liberal reformism trying to soften policing), otherwise you'll miss the point. And one more time for the hard of thinking, saying you should understand something is not a 'defence' of it.

More generally, it's hard to take most of the questions here in good faith. If people have genuine questions for Aufheben, why are they being speculated about on an internet forum rather than, you know, asking those questions of Aufheben? If people are acting in good faith, maybe that would be more productive than joining in with those whose agenda is otherwise.

Shorty

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

no1

In the actual world we live in, his work is useless to the police.

So useless that he is "Director of the Football Match Commander Training Course at the Scottish National Police Training College."

from http://www.liv.ac.uk/Psychology/staff/cstott.html

I want to come back to the other points later as I'm going to reread the letter, the response and the article itself.

What still gets me is the idea that police tactics haven't changed over the last 2 to 3 decades and that academia has had no influence on said changes in police tactics.

Fall Back

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

What still gets me is the idea that police tactics haven't changed over the last 2 to 3 decades and that academia has had no influence on said changes in police tactics.

Thinking the work of specific academics is unrealistic, based on false premises and idealist isn't the same as saying academia has no effect. And even if someone did think this, I don't see how you get from this to read it as "policing tactics haven't changed over the last 2 or 3 decades".

Tbh tho, the entire tangent is ridiculous. Aufheben and J clearly and unambiguously reject the work. In the context of discussing a piece labelling J as a cop collaborator, whether Aufheben think some research that they reject is practically applicable is basically irrelevant.

Fall Back

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Leo

I don't think the TPTG can explicitly be considered a part of that specific milieu. They are quite critical of some of these groups, at least not just Aufheben but TC as well.

So? ICT are more than "quite critical" of ICC for example. They're still in the same mileau. No one is claiming they're a politically unified formal political tendancy - hence, I used the word mileau.

I am not sure whether its the most commonly used, as I said it is something I've most commonly seen used as a slur.

To be honest, you've posted on the site for over 5 years. I'd have thought by now you should have picked up that on a site explicitly influenced by the ultra-left, with a poster who has *in the same thread* used the term positively that you can take the "it's usually a slur" line. It's like me taking issue with you calling them communist, since that term is 'mostly used' to refer to Stalinism.

Sorry if you don't like the term - but as I said, it is by far the most common term for that broad mileau - you are the only person here who thought I was using it as an insult. That suggests the problem lies in your interpretation.

The rest of your post has absolutely no baring on what I said. You're talking about entirely separate issues. Perhaps it's a language thing, as you've made an issue of English not being your first language. Either way, I don't think there's any point discussing these points further - I think the meaning is clear, and the way you have presented it is completely inaccurate, but I hope I've cleared it up now.

Shorty

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

It was more "academia has influenced the change in police tactics". And it would appear the unrealistic, idealist and based on false premises work of Stott has influenced it.

Rob Ray

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Isn't slamming Stott a bit pointless though, given that a) he's not a communist b) he's not in or associated with Aufheben and they specifically reject his work?

no1

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Shorty

no1

In the actual world we live in, his work is useless to the police.

So useless that he is "Director of the Football Match Commander Training Course at the Scottish National Police Training College."

from http://www.liv.ac.uk/Psychology/staff/cstott.html

OK, you're right, I phrased that badly, but let me try again: in the actual world we live in, his work is useless when it comes to police repression of working class struggle.

I don't think football is a form of working class struggle, and I don't think policing of football matches is a form of repression. Do you think it is? If Stott trained police in effective ways of arresting rapists, or of solving cases of arson attacks, etc - would that be the same thing as collaboration with state repression in your opinion?

In any case, none of this has got anything to do with J or Aufheben, except for the fact that they reject Stott's project.

Joseph Kay

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

no1

I don't think football is a form of working class struggle, and I don't think policing of football matches is a form of repression. Do you think it is? If Stott trained police in effective ways of arresting rapists, or of solving cases of arson attacks, etc - would that be the same thing as collaboration with state repression in your opinion?

Policing of football matches is often pretty horrible, treating everyone with suspicion, coralling people like cattle etc. Fairly repressive in fact. Of course Stott's a football fan (iirc), which is why he tries to persuade the police to be nicer (see his stuff on Portugal). I'm not sure what the police not deploying riot police against fans until there's actually a riot has to do with pacifying the class struggle, or Aufheben, J or anything really though. Hence Aufheben's claim that it's politically irrelevant.

Leo

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

So? ICT are more than "quite critical" of ICC for example. They're still in the same mileau. No one is claiming they're a politically unified formal political tendancy - hence, I used the word mileau.

The ICC and the ICT adhere to the same political tradition, and their differences are on far less basic issues than those of TC, Aufheben, TPTG etc.

To be honest, you've posted on the site for over 5 years. I'd have thought by now you should have picked up that on a site explicitly influenced by the ultra-left, with a poster who has *in the same thread* used the term positively that you can take the "it's usually a slur" line. It's like me taking issue with you calling them communist, since that term is 'mostly used' to refer to Stalinism.

I have posted on this site for however many years but not that much. Most of my internet posting I've done on revleft and most of my political activity I've done in Turkey. Libcom never really formed that big a part of my political life to be honest.

Libcom is, of course, lib(ertarian) com(munism). It is not called ultra-leftism. Besides, ultra-left as far as I know originated as a slur.

Sorry if you don't like the term

It sounds like a detergent brand.

The rest of your post has absolutely no baring on what I said.

I obviously disagree. I don't think the specific "ultra-left" international milieu they are characterized to be inside (which to my knowledge they don't characterize themseves to be a part) has got anything to do with the whole thing and also I think that they are not in anyway an isolated group. Otherwise, of course, most of the rest of my own points in this thread haven't been answered - and I ain't complaining.

I think the meaning is clear, and the way you have presented it is completely inaccurate, but I hope I've cleared it up now.

On the ultra-left thing yes, you've cleared it up and thank you. Even if, however, we consider them to be a part of that specific milieu it doesn't have any relevance to the point nor answers the question why they did it, nor does it in any way point to them being an isolated group.

Blasto

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Fall Back

Just to clarify the mass emergencies stuff here, as I suspect people are unlikely to read the original dry academic research papers. As far as I understand it, a brief abstract is thus:

Conventional wisdom in emergency situations is that crowds in mass emergencies (such as 7/7 or natural disasters) is they are a panic-stricken mob. J's research sees this as incorrect and that in reality they are characterises more by mutual support and reason. The view of the mob is problematic as it shows the crowds as part of the problem - contrary to this, J's research suggest they can be part of the solution. an example would be that J would advocate in emergencies that getting up communications with and amongst survivors is of prime importance in resolving the emergency situation, rather than delaying this until 'order' has been 'restored' - ie not treating crowds in mass emergencies as a public order situation at all.

I am not trying to be mischievous, but your description of the mass emergency theory struck me as familiar, and of course it would be as it is from the same researcher. Would the following characterise key aspects of related research into crowd psychology and demonstrations:

Conventional wisdom in protest situations is that crowds in demonstrations (such as G20 or anti-austerity protests) are an unruly mob. X's research sees this as incorrect and that in reality they are characterised more by mutual support and reason. The view of the mob is problematic as it shows the crowds as part of the problem - contrary to this, X's research suggest they can be part of the solution. An example would be that X would advocate in demonstrations that getting up communications with and amongst protestors is of prime importance in resolving the public order situation, rather than delaying this until 'order' has been 'restored' - ie not treating crowds in demonstrations as a public order situation at all.

I'm not taking the mick, I'm just trying to make a serious point.

And no I would not suggest that people have no contact with the police at all. I was 'first on scene' at a fairly horrible accident recently and had quite a lot to do with the police (a mini-mass emergency, if you like) in to trying to get medical aid to various people involved (the first police who arrived, by sheer chance, didn't even know where they were!). But what I didn't do was offer them an insight into how to co-opt crowds into self-policing.

no1

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I love libcom when everyone has to triple-check each word to ensure it can't be misinterpreted, but I guess that's what happens with smears like Aufheben-gate.

Tommy Ascaso

The policing at football matches is definitely repressive

Yes sure. My point was that, since policing football matches isn't a form of political repression, evidence of an academic collaborating with cops on policing football matches cannot be used as evidence against my claim that this academic's work is useless for police tactics of political repression. Hence Aufheben's claim stands that Stott's work is "politically irrelevant, rather than practically or ideologically damaging".

piter

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Joseph K wrote :
Can people also please stop peddling the lie that Aufheben defend Stott & Reicher's work. They emphatically reject it

hum...emphatically in bold or whatever, in their answer they do it in very ambiguous way to say the least...

I mean, to say it's harmless is defending it in a way, because it is not harmless. so saying it is is a way to defend it.
the fact that they say it is harmless doesn't mean it is, it just mean that they have a poor judgement concerning it.

Joseph Kay

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

piter

hum...emphatically in bold or whatever, in their answer they do it in very ambiguous way to say the least...

They say "we obviously reject fully the liberal-reformist assumptions, language and aims of the paper." How in the hell is that in any way ambiguous?

piter

I mean, to say it's harmless is defending it in a way, because it is not harmless. so saying it is is a way to defend it.

Have you actually read it out of interest?

piter

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Have you actually read it out of interest?

I read the parts posted here and some parts following links from here.
and I think it is not harmless and that pretending it is is a mistake.

Joseph Kay

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

piter

Have you actually read it out of interest?

I read the parts posted here and some parts following links from here.
and I think it is not harmless and that pretending it is is a mistake.

well with respect, i don't think you really know what you're talking about. the parts posted here are a series of decontextualised quotes, and it's foolish to form an opinion based on that. of course that's what TPTG are relying on. who can be bothered to read an academic paper? and even then, who can be bothered to further familiarise themselves with Stott/Reicher's project to pacify the police to put the paper in the context of the reformist agenda it represents? So everyone just carries on opining about things on which they are - quite literally - ignorant. It's like writing a book review based on some extracts someone else reads to you.

piter

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I'm still not convinced.

many objections can be made (on the basis of the texts, of Aufeben answer to TPTG, of what you and others are saying here to defend J).

one for exemple. you say that :

who can be bothered to further familiarise themselves with Stott/Reicher's reformist project to pacify the police to put the paper in the context of the political project it represents?

well defending a project of pacifying the police (and the project is also to pacify the protestors) through crowd control/crowd psychology is not harmless.

anyway liberal reformists are not harmless. they are opposing proletarian class struggles and are political opponents. and you know that.

Joseph Kay

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

piter

I'm still not convinced.

to be perfectly honest i'm not sure how to have a rational conversation with someone who insists on passing judgement on things they haven't read. although i suppose it's honest of you to tacitly admit reading it couldn't possibly change your mind, which is obviously made up.

piter

well defending a project of pacifying the police (and the project is also to pacify the protestors) through crowd control/crowd psychology is not harmless.

here you go again, talking about something which you haven't read. i suspect this is pointless, but: i'm not defending the paper. i reject it. you can tell this by reading my words, such as "one more time for the hard of thinking, saying you should understand something is not a 'defence' of it." maybe block capitals would help? or extra large print?

THERE IS A DIFFERENCE BETWEEN DEFENDING THE CONTENT OF SOMETHING AND INSISTING YOU SHOULD READ THAT CONTENT BEFORE FORMING AN OPINION OF IT.

The only way the paper gives the police to 'pacify' crowds is by giving them what they want so that they don't feel repressed and resort to violence. That's impractical when it matters, and harmless when it doesn't.

piter

anyway liberal reformists are not harmless. they are opposing proletarian class struggles and are political opponents. and you know that.

'no i won't read what i'm commenting on, i'll just repeat my position and assert you're lying'. i call Dunning-Krueger. i've sat in a seminar where Stott displayed a flyer for an event i was involved in as an example of what should still receive the full force of the law (TSG, specifically). i didn't feel at all threatened. why? because the police don't try and shut down anarchist breakaway marches calling for direct action and occupations at the behest of liberal academics - the thick fuckers managed to work that one out all by themselves.

whatisinevidence

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

State responses to emergency situations are projects of repression. By Aufheben's account, this is what J.D.'s research and presentations are about. He does work to help the state manage crowds during crises. I don't need to slog through academic bullshit to call foul on his involvement; he has confirmed (and affirmed!) it in the response letter. Not only does he do it, but he "stands by his research". It is not 'just a job' but something the dude believes in and thinks is humane.

What this has to do with J.D.? That they have been close colleagues for so many years that there is hardly a scientific paper of theirs that has not been authored by both of them.

But J.D. didn't actually write any of it, honest! Just move along now...

whatisinevidence

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Yes, I believe that. I saw it firsthand in New Orleans.

whatisinevidence

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

That press release where J.D. says, "Our recommendations form part of a new agenda for the mass democratisation of crowd management. We have designed interventions based on our approach and have shown that they work" is actually consistent with the Aufheben statement defending his research as "humane".

I'm curious about the "interventions" he designed.

piter

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Joseph K wrote :
to be perfectly honest i'm not sure how to have a rational conversation with someone who insists on passing judgement on things they haven't read

as I said I read enough to know what it is about.

and anyway, we don't have to read the bible in full to know that yes it's a load of nonsense, but still religion is harmfull...

but: i'm not defending the paper. i reject it. you can tell this by reading my words, such as "one more time for the hard of thinking, saying you should understand something is not a 'defence' of it

I know you are not defending the content of theses publications, and i didn't say that you do. what I said and I say it again is that saying it is harmless is a way to defend it, defending its harmlessness not its content if you want.
but still it is a mistake. (and you are also defending the fact that it's okay to be associated with them since they are bourgeois ideologists but harmless bourgeois ideologists).
and you know as everybody involved in this discussion do, that liberal reformists are opposing proletarian struggle, defends the foundations of bourgeois rule (and crowd control theory/crowd psychology is another way to do it), and it has a an impact, maybe not much impact on what the police actually do, but anyway it is an ideological defence of the power of the bourgeoisie, and it has also an impact as such.
such people are active political opponents of the workers revolutionnary struggles and as such they are not harmless.
maybe they are not the biggest threat, but still they have to be opposed.

and when you say, like, "nevermind it's okay to associate with them 'cause they're harmless" you are not exactly opposing them... and I think it is problematic.

Arbeiten

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

i still think it is pretty unfair to compare J to New Orleans. The argument against J's work is that it pacifies class struggle. There was no passification in New Orleans (well, there was, but militarily, which is completely at odds with what J is be accused of)

Blasto

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I got a PM from Samotnaf this morning (looking at the PM it was sent to a number of people who had posted on this thread) linking to a very comprehensive new article on libcom, not only about J's work and the blindly unquestioning support from Aufheben and libcom, but an extremely interesting discussion on a whole range of related issues including psychology and academia. The text has been pulled by libcom, so I can't quote from it. The article linked to a second letter from TPTG, which also appears to have been pulled but I have checked and it is on indymedia.

Samotnaf had luckily included this link in their PM, which I think sheds a lot of new light (or rather, confirms everything that was already obvious). Note the publication.

Samotnaf

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Tommy Ascaso:

Samotnaf's article is hardly new. It's a rehashed version of the article he circulated in August and then decided not to publish.

You can say that with a straight face (or two)?
Though admin have hidden this, it's still available here :

http://libcom.org/blog/aufhebens-crowd-controlling-cop-consultant-strange-case-dr-johnny-mr-drury-14102011

so you can tell what bullshit he's spouting (they made it very clear that if i decided to put up a fairly different version of this 2 months ago they'd take it down, so hardly a free decision not to publish: there's a lot more evidence here than either I or the TPTG had got hold of in August...plus there are loads of other differences)

but hurry hurry hurry - whilst shocks last - admin might put this into liquidation, not just board it up.

and the tptg's second letter is here:
http://www.indymedia.org.uk/media/2011/10//486741.pdf

Rob Ray

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Mm I only scanned it before I went to work, some of it might be worth discussion for the Aufheben people I dunno but thought the fact it used real names* when the libcom admins had made their position on name-and-shame tactics fairly clear was uncalled-for grandstanding.

And the fact it was published at 4am in the morning (when all the admins were going to be asleep) so when the admins take it down for breaking guidelines they get called out for censorship is particularly unpleasant coming from someone whose personal aggro towards libcom admins has never been censored.

For clarity, I don't know whether J's [edit: sharing crowd behavioural theory with the police] and increasingly don't care - this kind of gossipy bullshit (be that TPTG, libcom, Aufheben or anyone else who's gotten on a high horse about it recently) between people who rarely see each other, if ever, is the kind of pointless guff that makes class struggle anarchism look like a laughing stock.

So an academic is doing something you disapprove of, big deal. If you have this much of a problem with the man go and see him and talk direct to the people he works with - who are the only ones this potential conflict of interest actually affects - rather than bashing the keyboard with your Big Book of Superiority and achieving very little other than getting everyone at each others' throats online and providing a huge belly-laugh for whatever state assets are reading this thread.

---

* I mean fuck even Mark Kennedy wasn't outed with pics until he'd confirmed he was an undercover

Blasto

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

For clarity, I don't know whether J's a snitch and increasingly don't care - this kind of gossipy bullshit...

"Snitch"? "Mark Kennedy"? I think this is the kind of "gossipy bullshit" and inference everyone could do without.

Rob Ray

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Jesus christ way to go after the wording rather than the content, will edit "snitch" (but will leave up the Mark Kennedy comparison, because my point with using that is not to say he's like Kennedy but to point out he's being treated with less respect than an actual police mole!)

Samotnaf

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

So an academic is doing something you disapprove of, big deal.

"disapprove of"? you're making a molehill out of a mountain - Kennedy destroyed the trust and confidence of, and induced paranoia into, those he slept with and those he got friendly with, but that was probably just a couple of dozen or so people (don't want to minimise this - it was obviously personally devastating for these people). D has destroyed the trust of and confidence of his friends and comrades, perhaps less people directly - but what he is doing in promoting innovative ideas for the state potentially intensifies misery for all those who try to contest this world - and all you can say is "big deal"; indifference is the first victory of the state and of this society - if you minimise this, you've got everything upside down. The research of D's team potentially, over time, could effect possibly millions if the movement against capital doesn't become more intelligent, and that's not hyperbole - it already has effected thousands with its kettling ideas ( that ocelot,as far as I remember, has pointed out) and with its divide fluffies from spikeys methods, still not very well applied (we all know how quick thinking cops are ;) ); but, as I said in the so far censored text, ideology

takes time to have an influence: rank and file cops may not find it easy to control their power-mad desires indiscriminately, but, given time and training, their commanders could bring them into line.

Have you looked at the "Chaos Theory" article, Rob Ray? I seriously recommend you don't say anything more until you do.

Rob Ray

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Yeah, for you, personally, "big deal." Policing is not going to change significantly due to any research this guy does because it's already highly efficient - the reason Stott is ignored for example is because they don't need that sort of research, they have far better funded and directly experienced tactical resources in house.

So the only reason to have a go is because "this guy does something I think is reprehensible." Which is fair enough if you work with him and want to break ties, but you don't even live in Britain ffs, his impact on your life is precisely zero. White-knighting this shit from halfway across Europe on the other hand is causing an increasingly poisonous row over a guy who I've not even met - and I move in the same circles and live less than two hours' travel away from him. That's how pervasive his influence is on the movement.

Afaic the only people this directly affects is Aufheben and those others who he comes into direct contact with. So talk to them direct, have a clear and balanced conversation rather than throwing accusations around in a very public space, accusing anyone who disagrees with your approach of acting in bad faith.

Because this shit brings more heat than light. It backs people into a corner so Joseph K talks about snitch-jacketing and you talk about Jim being two faced. And it looks like a bunch of schoolkids whining at each other (or worse, Prime Minister's Questions) to any casual reader who might come a-calling.

ocelot

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Samotnaf

Have you looked at the "Chaos Theory" article, Rob Ray? I seriously recommend you don't say anything more until you do.

I think we should all follow Joseph Kay's advice and make sure that we all read this article that JD co-authored in the Police Review, and get as many other anarchists who may have heard of this debate, to read it as well, so as to properly inform their opinions.

Joseph Kay

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

ocelot

I think we should all follow Joseph Kay's advice and make sure that we all read this article that JD co-authored in the Police Review, and get as many other anarchists who may have heard of this debate, to read it as well, so as to properly inform their opinions.

this is the same thing, J added as third author. but don't let that stop the shit stirring.

Tojiah

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

The second letter by TPTG seems to make it clear why they had problems contacting Aufheben - namely, that the same person they were suspecting of being a cop collaborator was the only person Aufheben would allow themselves to be contacted through. I'm not sure their management of this problem was the best, but frankly, considering the actual evidence they provided, it's quite clear that this person is a long-term cop consultant, and this is something that anyone who is going to work with Aufheben or who reads their work deserves to know.

Frankly I find the Libcom group's response to this quite appalling. I understand that the information provided in TPTG's second letter was not available to you lot, and that you are apparently personally close to some people from Aufheben, but you should have the responsibility to check things out on your own before taking someone else's word about such a serious allegation, exactly because it is so serious. As it stands now, I think you owe the TPTG an apology - I'm not sure if they handled this in the best way diplomatically, but they were not smearing - they were making a well-founded allegation against someone who now seems to be covering his tracks, and you were all aiding him, whether knowingly or not. I will assume the latter, but responsibility needs to be taken nevertheless.

Joseph Kay

ocelot

I think we should all follow Joseph Kay's advice and make sure that we all read this article that JD co-authored in the Police Review, and get as many other anarchists who may have heard of this debate, to read it as well, so as to properly inform their opinions.

this is the same thing, J added as third author. but don't let that stop the shit stirring.

Yeah, you know, that excuse may work once, but on two papers on the same subject? Starting to get a bit iffy. If you then correlate it with J's other work, as well as his original university homepage, in which he prides himself on his work with NATO and the police, and which he since edited (and is also available in the second TPTG letter), it starts to look that the mere formality is his repudiation of this consultancy work, rather than its content.

Fall Back

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Having a consistent argument now becomes "a bit iffy". Classic.

tbh tho, pretty much impossible to take serious anyone still mouthing the 'NATO consultant' line.

Rob Ray

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I'd probably agree that some of the libcom admins have gone overboard with the retorts, however to me that's pretty understandable, I work with various of them a fair bit and if one of them was accused of being a nark or something and I felt the evidence wasn't 100% clear I'd be pretty sharp in having a go at anyone trying to splash it around.

That is far more understandable than denunciations being splashed around which are inevitably going to just cause a massive bunfight over a frankly rather unimportant issue (I mean have you seen what's been going on recently? Is it really healthy to have gossip about some random academic picking up more posts than the Wall Street protests?).

The same person they were suspecting of being a cop collaborator was the only person Aufheben would allow themselves to be contacted through

From Aufheben's reply:

TPTG said they didn’t want to use the Aufheben group e-mail to contact us. Another friend, P, requested and was given one of our personal e-mail addresses in February; but no-one has used this or any other means to get in touch with us about this except through this public ‘outing’.

So they had at least two methods of getting in touch. What's more, why did they not want to talk to him direct? That'd be my first port of call.

Blasto

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

this is the same thing, J added as third author. but don't let that stop the shit stirring.

That really is clutching at straws. I can't see how anyone can deduce anything from him being the third author listed other than he is one of three authors?

I'm sure there's a joke somewhere about people being in denial about a psychologist. But it's hardly funny, is it?

Tojiah

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Fall Back

Having a consistent argument now becomes "a bit iffy". Classic.

It's not a "consistent argument". All people here with actual academic experience have argued that it is unlikely that someone will be included in a paper if they didn't contribute to it or did not stand behind its conclusions. But even if that had happened once, twice makes it seem like a pattern.
Fall Back

tbh tho, pretty much impossible to take serious anyone still mouthing the 'NATO consultant' line.

Before he changed his online profile, it had:

Consultancies include the National Police CBRN Centre,
NATO/the Department of Health Emergency Planning Division, Birmingham Resilience, and the Civil Contingencies Secretariat. I run a Continued Professional Development (CPD) course on the Psychology of Crowd Management for relevant professionals, and I teach on the CPD
course on Policing Major Incidents at the University of Liverpool

Tell me how seriously any of that should be taken.
Rob Ray

The same person they were suspecting of being a cop collaborator was the only person Aufheben would allow themselves to be contacted through

From Aufheben's reply:

TPTG said they didn’t want to use the Aufheben group e-mail to contact us. Another friend, P, requested and was given one of our personal e-mail addresses in February; but no-one has used this or any other means to get in touch with us about this except through this public ‘outing’.

So they had at least two methods of getting in touch. What's more, why did they not want to talk to him direct? That'd be my first port of call.

Yeah? You'd talk to someone you thought was working with the cops? Regarding accusations that they were working with the cops? Also, you are citing Aufheben's official version, which is contradicted by TPTG's version, to whit:

In the past, whenever we had tried to get in contact with
Aufheben through their collective email address it was always “J” – as [he] is known in the milieu - who answered. On principle we refuse to discuss politics with people related to the cops (or at least suspected of working with the cops). That is why we asked the people we know in London if they had any of the other Aufheben members’ personal emails. One of them said that he would try to get their consent to be contacted by us using their email addresses. The other members did not give him this consent (i.e. told him they did not wish to give it) because they wished comments to be made via the Aufheben collective email address. So, there was not a commonly acceptable way we could communicate with the rest of the
group.

Unlike you I'm not automatically going to take Aufheben's word on this.

Rob Ray

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

You'd talk to someone you thought was working with the cops?

How do you think Mark Kennedy was confronted, by easter egg hunt?

Seriously like it's not that hard to go down an internet cafe and use an alias if you're really bothered about security - but the single most important part of any investigation imo if you're looking for the full story on anything is to talk to the accused before you bring down the gavel - otherwise you head into Kafka territory.

Tojiah

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Rob Ray

You'd talk to someone you thought was working with the cops?

How do you think Mark Kennedy was confronted, by easter egg hunt?

Seriously like it's not that hard to go down an internet cafe and use an alias if you're really bothered about security - but the single most important part of any investigation imo if you're looking for the full story on anything is to talk to the accused before you bring down the gavel - otherwise you head into Kafka territory.

Comparing a small, potentially persecuted radical organization to an all-encompassing government is kind of lacking in proportion. But never mind, you can add this up to the list of poor judgment calls by TPTG for all I care, that still doesn't paint Libcom or Aufheben in a better light.

Rob Ray

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Huh? Mark Kennedy being a mole for ACPO it was potentially much more dangerous for activists to confront him and risk having the entire police structure come down on their necks in retaliation than for a group in another country entirely to confront a British academic who at worst has helped police through his research.

But either way, yes I would confront J about it if I felt I had a serious accusation to make. I wouldn't mail out my accusations to the world unless I'd specifically spoken to him, gotten an official reply from Aufheben based on those replies, felt that a lack of action seriously compromised the entire movement and consulted with as many people in Britain as I could think of who could be trusted to give me a sensible steer on it. And THEN I'd try and put it through a British group, phrasing it in a constructive and questioning way.

In short, I'd act responsibly and make sure that groups aren't jumped with it in such a way as to basically shut out all hope of a sensible discussion.

So yes. some people on Libcom have been OTT. But so have satmonaf and the TPTG and frankly this whole thing has been handled with about as much care as a foam pie in a circus tent. What I'd like is for everyone to row back a bit and start thinking sensibly rather than slinging mud like it's going out of fashion.

avantiultras

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Here is a nice example of heading into Kafka territory:

Joseph Kay wrote
this is the same thing, J added as third author. but don't let that stop the shit stirring.

I suspect that the articles in the Aufheben journal were also written by Stott and Reicher and the Aufheben group simply signed them.

Fall Back

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Like in his famous short story where something happens, and then a similar thing happens later. Chilling.

Harrison

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

i hope Samotnaf gets turned into a giant fly.

Rob Ray

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

And what are you interested in avanti? A useful outcome or a good barney?

gypsy

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Tojiah

as well as his original university homepage, in which he prides himself on his work with NATO and the police, and which he since edited (and is also available in the second TPTG letter), it starts to look that the mere formality is his repudiation of this consultancy work, rather than its content.

This does not look good. The second TPTG letter raises yet more questions. I was surprised when sams blog was blocked by the mods.

Joseph Kay

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

gypsy

I was surprised when sams blog was blocked by the mods.

Sam wasn't surprised, as he submitted it in the middle of the night knowing full well it was against site rules, having discussed it with us previously. Of course the 'censorship' then becomes part of the scandal and the whole bandwagon rolls merrily on.

Rob Ray

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I was surprised when sams blog was blocked by the mods.

Of course it was, and he knew it would be, because he names the guy throughout and talks directly about where he works after they directly said that to do so was against guidelines. which is what has irritated me most tbh, I'm not going to throw in on whether the guy's guilty or not but if you're going to call foul then for fucks' sake don't mess about with manipulation and trap-setting.

gypsy

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Joseph Kay

gypsy

sams blog was blocked by the mods.

Sam wasn't surprised, as he submitted it in the middle of the night knowing full well it was against site rules, having discussed it with us previously. Of course the 'censorship' then becomes part of the scandal and the whole bandwagon rolls merrily on.

True. Can't say its a bandwagon though.

Cooked

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Started typing this post yesterday but though better of it. Now RobRay has raised it and I would appreciate to hear what outcome the anti J people want from this "scandal". I would also like to know why it matters to people who have very little to do with him.

- Is the drama intended to set an example to prevent others in the movement from slipping into dubious territory?

- Is there an idea that his output is somehow tainted and that the Aufheben texts are no longer valid? If not his you would presumably prefer him continuing his writing?

- Is there a hope he will resign from his job and focus all energy on communism? Thus preventing more crowd controlling theory from being potentially put into practice by the police?

- Is it a strictly moral issue where no outcome is sough other than punishing the fallen.

- Is this a warning to people who might get politically involved with him. If this is the case what are the perceived risks of getting involved with him.

- Is it just a matter of getting the info out so people can make up their minds?

My own view is that the best thing would be that the crowd control research doesn't come into the cops hands. If there is a way to achieve that I'm all for it. If there is no likely hood of this happening I can't see why this campaign is waged. Judging by the posts above J is not the driving force behind this angle on the research. I can see a risk of J's Aufheben input diminishing if the campaign is sucessful but I can't see why this would be a good thing.

Only no 4 above, it being a moral issue, would require shaming and punishment involving real names. Or possibly no 3 but him getting fired instead of resigning.

If anyone could give some good answers as to what outcome is sough it would be much appreciated. I cant see how we can affect policing by these means, so I'm only vaguely interested in degree of guilt. What interest me more is thinking behind the public real-name usage.

Samotnaf

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Cooked - you probably haven't read this text because you wouldn't be asking these questions if you had, but despite that I'll respond in some way when I've got the energy - having massive problems getting onto the internet, and besides have got a long weekend ahead. But take all the crap coming from admin with a Siberian mine full of salt. For example:
Joseph Kay (in response to this article :

this is the same thing, J added as third author. but don't let that stop the shit stirring.

And anyone who says the emperor's new clothes aren't exquisite is also shit stirring...

I wonder if Stott and Reicher get pissed off with constantly doing all the work whilst J rakes in a third of the pay?

Why the censorship of my and the TPTG's texts? - ostensibly because Copcom think that outing a cop consultant as a communist is like grassing them up, when we were outing a so-called communist as a cop consultant: in the spectacle everything is upside down.

I wrote (name ommitted):

[quote] Dr. J is a lying piece of shit!!!

J , to those who know him, defended here by Aufheben - has lied to his Aufheben comrades – who have been willing dupes - who have then passed on his lies to libcom, who have also been willing dupes – both of them not seriously checking the facts, basically taking J ’s word for it all. When someone is asked if they’re doing something utterly repugnant they innocently reply, putting on their most wide-eyed angelic face and shrugging, “What? Me? I’m as pure as the driven snow, guv - honest”. Now most people wouldn’t take that any more at face value than they would if it was Tony Blair who said it. But, amazingly, it seems that some of those with the pretension to having a well-developed radical critique of this world in fact have the naivety of a 5-year-old.....

...So why are libcom admin and Dr. J ’s cohorts in and close to Aufheben so incredibly gullible? It’s not just love and faith that are blind: friendship, abstractly theoretical closeness, the political gang mentality of circling the wagons – all these also, it seems. On reading this, they might well be writhing in acute embarrassment and choking on their own nausea; but the essential lesson to learn is what is it in these ‘radicals’ ideological practice that they took the self-assurances of this scumbag for his word? This is undoubtedly a big scandal in a small pond, but if we are to make waves, then we have to begin with tJoseph Kay (in response to this article :

this is the same thing, J added as third author. but don't let that stop the shit stirring.

And anyone who says the emperor's new clothes aren't exquisite is also shit stirring...

The first contribution of these sleepwalkers to the social movements beginning to wake up from the stupor of the spectacle is to consider and subvert the social relations they directly tolerated themselves, the daily life that led them to believe that with Dr. J what you see is what you get. Like all forms of false consciousness, such a degree of denial, of naivety, stems from a persistently repeated self-repression of what is semi-conscious: the niggling questioning at the back of each individual’s mind that says “doubt everything” (and doubt everything not just through some, often arbitrary intellectual negativism but through practical experiment and enquiry with clear goals). And such doubt should firstly be for yourself, not necessarily with the immediate support of all those you have automatically trusted up until now. In this case, such a doubt should lead to the recognition that the unbelievable truth is stranger than fiction – the absurdity that an “anti-state communist” is – like the Alec Guinness character in “Bridge on the River Kwai” – giving what he claims are his enemies ideas to help them repress his ostensible antagonistic perspective....

...[Admin: name removed] denies co-authoring Policing: A Journal of Policy and Practice . In the immortal words of Mandy Rice-Davies, [url= http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Mandy_Rice-Davies]“Well, he would, wouldn’t he?”.[/url]

.

Samotnaf

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Clearly something's gone wrong with this above post - major computer and/or internet problems - but too tired to edit now...

Wellclose Square

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Don't worry, I think this nugget just about sums it up:

the unbelievable truth is stranger than fiction: the absurdity that an 'anti-state communist' is, like the Alec Guinness character in Bridge on the River Kwai, giving what he claims are his enemies ideas to help them repress his ostensible antagonistic perspective....

Tojiah

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Rob Ray

Huh? Mark Kennedy being a mole for ACPO it was potentially much more dangerous for activists to confront him and risk having the entire police structure come down on their necks in retaliation than for a group in another country entirely to confront a British academic who at worst has helped police through his research.

I actually don't know anything about this Mark Kennedy business. But was he confronted by people from his own milieu, or from an entirely different group from across the world? Because the way I see it, had the situation with J actually been more severe, say, had he been more in cahoots with the police, getting in touch with him without talking to his immediate group first would put the latter in more danger and would be even more foolhardy.

subprole

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

http://athens.indymedia.org/local/webcast/uploads/open_letter_2.pdf

Joseph Kay

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

And for the benefit of readers, Samotnaf circulated a version of this text in August, we discussed it and told him it breached the posting guidelines, including use of real names. So Samotnaf's alleged surprise at "censorship" is entirely for effect.

no1

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Samotnaf

major computer and/or internet problems - but too tired to edit now...

that's what happens when you get up at 4am just so you can play victim later.

just been made aware that one of my posts in this thread is quoted in the second TPTG letter, with the insinuation that I'm posting on instruction of J .......................... I'd be funny, except this means I should really read that rambling tedious letter dripping with pomposity - could anyone summarise the points they are actually making?

Samotnaf

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

1. The text would have been up at 10 pm or earlier your time on Thursday evening if everything had gone according to plan, but the TPTG were doing re-writes and I had to correct both errors in nuance and the occasional grammatical errors, so it dragged on to late into the night. I got up because I woke up and couldn't get back to sleep. It was put up at about 5am your time. Boring detail, but really when you lot clutch at straws I have to take them away from you.
2. There are no "names" or "individuals" plural - just singular. No-one apart from the cop consultant himself is named.
3. Defending him is defending crowd control ideology.
4. Calling it "libel" is like calling "Shakespeare wrote 'Hamlet'" libel. Check out "Chaos Theory" if nothing else.
5. I guessed you would censor it - but predicting this predictable fact doesn't stop it being censorship.
6. I don't feel victimised, but I guess loads of people who have been kettled in part because of Dr.J's ideas might.
7. You're defending the indefensible. As I said, in a personal message to admin at the same time as I posted up "The Strange Case...":

If you nail your colours to the mast of J's sinking ship, you'll go down quicker than the Titanic

Clutching at straws won't help you in these icy waters.
8. I have nothing more to say on this thread (sighs of relief from admin).

Arbeiten

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Boring detail

Just to play devils advocate here. i would say. Careful, we know how easy details get woven into stories.

That said, this whole thing has gone well over my little head :roll:

Joseph Kay

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

So it's "censorship" according to Samotnaf and "totalitarian" according to TPTG. I'm glad everyone's got a good sense of perspective.

Wellclose Square

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Lest we lose perspective through a diversionary discussion of 'censorship', let's not lose sight of the good Dr.'s contribution to "the mass democratisation of crowd management", which prompted TPTG's and Sam's 'blowing the whistle' in the first place. Funny how sections of the 'radical milieu', such as 'the Libcom defence team', reflect the same intolerance to whistleblowers as NHS and social work managers - a similar social strata?

The response of Libcom/Aufheben provides such a rich seam of material to be explored - the psychology of gang behaviour, even Camatte and Collu's discussion of the racket. But let's not go there for now. I'm intrigued by the Orwellian (Kafkaesque?) concept of "the mass democratisation of crowd management", which seems to boil down to the police allowing crowds to voluntarily police themselves or else. Failure to comply would induce the 'graded response' of 'corralling' and batons on heads. This area seems ripe for the critique of democracy, or are Aufheben/Libcom unwilling to see the critique extended to such a vital area of their comrade's research?

Rob Ray

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Oh don't be so pretentious. Some Libcom admins have reacted in an entirely predictable way to an article which they disagree with publicly naming someone they regularly work with written by people who've never even met the guy.

And I must have missed the bit where they acted like managers dealing with whistleblowers - have they banned Satmonaf/TPTG from the site? Threatened their jobs maybe? Trying to take the moral high ground about how other people have behaved while throwing in such wilful hyperbole (CENSORSHIP!) is exactly why I'm loathe to address the issue at hand.

If no-one can be bothered to behave like an adult and avoid accusing the other side of basically being totalitarians (for disagreeing on a website ffs) or being deliberate troublemakers (I'm sure TPTG/Satmonaf are acting because they feel they should, even if I think they've gone about it in the most unconstructive manner humanly possible) then fuck this I'm out of here [to do something more useful - not off libcom].

Why NOT throw your collective toys out of the pram and destroy years of good work building connections and trust in the midst of the most vicious global ruling class attack we've seen since Regan/Thatcher. Sounds like an awesome plan.

no1

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Arbeiten

Boring detail

Just to play devils advocate here. i would say. Careful, we know how easy details get woven into stories.

I think you're right, the debate has deteriorated to the level where any rational discussion has become impossible, because any factual details are now merely evaluated on whether they fit the grand narrative. I suppose that's the destructive dynamic bound to develop when a comrade is subjected to public denunciation. I think I'll disengage from this sorry mess.

Blasto

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Just to get some "perspective":

- an ever growing body of research is being uncovered which shows the person in question to be involved in the development of repressive policing tactics with regard to 'public order' situations. The most recent and unequivocal discovery is Chaos Theory

- J claims his research only refers to mass emergencies. The reality is the research in question is about policing, explicity public order and has been applied to mass emergencies. The researchers themselves have said as much in Chaos Theory:

Our team has also begun to explore the implications of this theory for reacting to mass emergencies and disasters. The results are already leading to important policy developments, such as in revisions to the Police National CBRN (chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear) Centre training and policy documentation and in the new NATO guidelines on psychosocial care for people affected by disasters, and there are opportunities for advancing police public order responses to CBRN attacks.

- Libcom and Aufheben regard this public order research as defensible and Aufheben go as far as to describe it as "humane"

- Libcom insist that J was not an author various texts because (a) he says so and (b) his name is third out of three listed. This apparently this proves it.

- the researcher in question has published research in academic journals which clearly identify him as a part of the milieu, and texts such as Chaos Theory, which clearly identify him as a supporting the police. This is all out there in the public sphere, yet his critics are continually accused of "outing" him. All any one has done is join the dots and highlight the massive contradictions.

- The research is question relates directly to the policing of protests, with the aim of diffusing any potential for that protest to realise its own power and potential. This, we are told by several people here, is of no relevance.

- The validity of any criticisms made is dependent on what time of day they were made.

For anyone serious about social change, who desires to do more than comment on movements far away, the implications of having a 'comrade' using the insights gained from their involvement in the movement, as well as research contributed to in good faith by fellow protestors, to improve the police's ability to render demonstrations and direct action impotent should be of great concern.

What we have in response is:

- utmost denial by libcom and aufheben, who even refuse to accept that there may be a problem here
- at worst the defence of this research, or more often the excuse that it isn't effective - a bizarre logic.
- people who have raised concerns being labelled shit stirrers, snitchjacketers, etc (the same old "whistle blowing" bullshit again)
- the word of J who, like a child with the wrappers under his bed and crumbs around his mouth, is still denying nicking the biscuits.

If we do not re-evaluate, are not self-critical and refuse to allow our perspective to change and adjust to new insights, we become just another historical irrelevance. While the original concerns of TPTG have been reinforced with a growing body of J's work and words, Libcom have offered nothing but stubborn denial.

I originally posted on this thread because I was alarmed to find a text I had been pointed to by a friend had been pulled by admin and reposted after some clear abuse of admin privilege at libcom (the pinochio picture, the slurs, etc). It seems such tactics are fully acceptable to libcom to defend their own friends. I took the time to do what lib com admin had suggested, read and research, and in all honesty it took a few minutes to uncover a raft of publications, etc that completely corroborated TPTG's concerns. * this para has been edited to address my own poor use of English.

The ins and outs of timing, who emailed who and when is of no consequence to me. What matters is what J has done. What he does. That affects me. It affects many, many people like me. And that is what libcom and Aufheben refuse to face up to. The ridiculousness is this wasn't about them.. It was about J. He had publicly, but it seems unnoticed, dug a very deep hole for himself. No one asked libcom and Aufheben to jump in.

Ocelot posted this:

Worse still, experience teaches that some people are so lame that rather than admit that some of the things they said under stress, were a mistake and/or politically absurd, they then spend the rest of their days trying to rearrange their political frameworks to retrospectively justify hastily adopted opportunistic positions, forced on them by the contigencies of the moment. (look at the Bordigists for example - Bordiga chose to stop fighting against Mussolini, rather than go into exile, now all bordigist believe that fighting against fascists is objectively counter-revolutionary in any and all situations, including Spain 1936 for e.g.). Hopefully the people involved are bigger than that, and will learn the lessons and move on.

I think that is food for thought for both libcom and Aufheben.

mons

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Couldn't you just edit the name out (although tbh that seems pretty pointless at this point) and put the second TPTG letter and Samotnaf's piece up? I've read the second TPTG open letter elsewhere but haven't managed to find Samotnaf's article anywhere else.

I'm sure Aufheben and libcom (or some of them) know J and what exactly his work does quite well, better than any of J's critics anyway. I don't see why they or J would be lying about his name being put to those specific pieces without him having any part in writing them, and it seems believable.

It does seem strange that there hasn't been any criticism at all of J's work though, because it seems dodgy at best. Like people said, the defence of 'oh but it's not influential' doesn't work because it's impossible to know that and it's still being done with the intention of aiding the police. And even if it's done for 'crowd control' or to deal with football hooliganism, rather than political protests, riots, etc. that's still helping the police do their repressive job, and like others have pointed out could be used in different contexts to the one it was originally intended for.

I'd like to hear J's response to this, and what he does for a living in detail.

I'm sure everyone has the best of intentions but some stuff, on both sides, has been intentionally misleading and that's really fucked up.

jura

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

mons

I'd like to hear J's response to this, and what he does for a living in detail.

Yeah, give us all a FULL BACKGROUND CHECK on J right now. The people demand justice.

All you white knights lot remind me of the Moscow trials.

mons

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

No, it's more that everybody's discussing what he does at work, and he'd probably be able to give a much more thorough account of it, and explain how he justifies what he does at work with his communism. Maybe he does feel there's some conflict. What he said would probably be more valuable than everyone else speculating on it. There's no potential punishment, so it's hardly the Moscow trials...

Picket

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Seems like a lot of wasted time and energy to me. I've never witnessed leftist in-fighting at such close quarters. Someone may or may not be less than perfect, shocking.

Spikymike

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Would you credit it - after all these years reading and occasionally distributing Aufheben material I only just got round to identifying 'Aufheben' as my favourite libcom page to be then hit with this lot.

On one point at least I should say that, as far as I can see, this 'issue' with Aufheben and 'J' doesn't appear to have had any serious or substantially detrimental affect on the many valuable contributions of that group through their publications - so for now at least I will not be removing my favourite page reference.

I also consider the libcom web project to be one of the (with all it's weaknesses) best resources currently available to 'pro-revolutionaries' in the english language and I am very concerned that this heated debate could very well see many contributors withdrawing their involvement if this gets out of hand.

With valued comrades lining up on either side of the argument it's a struggle to try and separate 'feelings' of comradeship and solidarity that I have towards you all from a more hard headed examination of the facts.

But..... from everything I have read so far, including several but not all the links, it does seem to me that TPTG have at least put forward a genuine case which has been answered by Aufheben so far in only a very thin and confused way.

The most generous interpretation I could put on J's professional work (and taking at face value claims of non-responsibillity for certain publications) is that he may have initially been motivated by a genuine desire to deal with problems associated with such as natural disasters in an efficient and humane way, but that in practice he contributed, at least indirectly, to alternative police strategies of crowd control relevant to the class struggle (effectively or otherwise being of secondary consideration). Even if it was indirect it was hardly accidental or unknowing. It does seem that a desire for carreer advancement overtook any radical self-critical examination of the effects of his work. This is a risk of course in many areas of professional work but pro-revolutionaries can usually rely on their close comrades to pull them back from such dangerous paths. In this case I suspect that other Aufheben comrades may have failed ''J' as much as he may have failed them.

As to some of the libcom admins responses - I think they were right to carefully consider the presentation of this material and ensure Aufheben the opportunity to respond in equal measure to TPTG, but that after that they were a little too quick to jump in to the defense of Aufheben, if based on understandably genuine feelings of solidarity for longstanding comrades and past experience of false accusations within the milieu.

This thread, has unfortunatly got sidetracked by a number of interesting, but only partially related matters, and needs to be a bit more focussed and contained to the original issues in dispute for all our sakes.

'Cooked' asked some relevant questions as to what results TPTG and others criticising 'J' and Aufheben wanted from all this.

They can answer for themselves but it seems to me that Aufheben do need to address far more seriously, and in depth, the broader issues raised regarding policing and the role of academics perhaps in a debate format in their magazine.

If 'J' is (hopefully) no longer involved in this kind of work he should clearly accept that he made serious errors of judgement in mixing his professional and 'pro-revolutionary' activities, and Aufheben, as the rest of us, need to learn some lessons from all this so as not to repeat the same mistakes in the future. We all make mistakes sometimes and should have the good grace and common sense to recognise when that happens.

All of the above is just my current view of things. It is still hopefully a discussion amongst comrades and I'm open to pursuasion that I'm mixed up or just plain wrong in my assessment.

Serge Forward

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Thank you for that post, Spikymike.

jef costello

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

whatisinevidence

Yes, I believe that. I saw it firsthand in New Orleans.

They are saying that J is arguing that police should not treat emergencies as public order situations. So he would have been arguing against that.

started typing this post yesterday but though better of it. Now RobRay has raised it and I would appreciate to hear what outcome the anti J people want from this "scandal". I would also like to know why it matters to people who have very little to do with him.

been wondering this myself.
If J is actually training police or directly helping police then he shouldn't be at meetings or protests. While some of his stuff seems to be useful to the cops, it does seem to me, from the evidence so far, that he isn't doing directly helping cops.
I think fall back did a fairly decent job of boiling down the accusations to discussable points rather than back and forths where the goalposts shifted so often nothing could have been achieved.
TPTG should have contacted Aufheben directly and should have tried another method if they were unhappy with contacting aufheben through J.
To be honest I think the admins have been a bit touchy here but considering that at least one of them has been smeared and outed in the past I am hardly surprised. The arguments are circular and confusing and every attempt to pin them down to specifics is ignored or rebutted with something nebulous. Add in the fact that samotnaf seems to fly off the handle fairly regularly and those who registered just to argue the toss, then it's understandable.

I still feel like J is sailing pretty close to the wind, and like mons says I think it would be nice to see a clearer picture. The problem is posting this up publicly woould probably be worse than what has happened so far. Ideally this should have been a private response that it was agreed would not be published. I think spikymike has written a good post (as has mons) and I think perhaps we could get somewhere if everyone else could do the same.

Samotnaf

2. There are no "names" or "individuals" plural - just singular. No-one apart from the cop consultant himself is named.

So you're saying that there are no names, apart from the names. :)
Samotnaf

I wonder if Stott and Reicher get pissed off with constantly doing all the work whilst J rakes in a third of the pay?

Why the censorship of my and the TPTG's texts? - ostensibly because Copcom think that outing a cop consultant as a communist is like grassing them up, when we were outing a so-called communist as a cop consultant: in the spectacle everything is upside down.

Academics get paid so little for articles I doubt they'd care.
Sorry sam, I tried to read your article but it was so full of hyperbole that I gave up. I am not surprised others have too.

Joseph Kay

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Spikymike

after that they were a little too quick to jump in to the defense of Aufheben

Just quickly on this, while I can see why it might appear this way, libcom have been aware of this situation since August and investigated it in some depth at that time, including taking time out from our other commitments (for me, this meant interrupting work on my dissertation) to meet people, make phone calls, read academic papers, email people, discuss the results etc. So while we may appear to have acted hastily, this is only because everyone else is coming in late on something that we've been aware of for 6 weeks or so, and has apparently been going on since January.

avantiultras

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

jef costello

If J is actually training police or directly helping police then he shouldn't be at meetings or protests. While some of his stuff seems to be useful to the cops, it does seem to me, from the evidence so far, that he isn't doing directly helping cops.

Are you joking? Or do you think that we're idiots?

Let's see just 2 of all the evidence provided by TPTG:

"as Dr. Stott writes in his facebook page (Stott's facebook): “last year J gave evidence to the Greater Manchester Police Authority's review of the policing of major events. One of the recommendations was that the GMP work with me to develop their approach to crowds (p.66). Nothing has yet come of this!” According to this report (available at: Report of the CE, [url=http://www.gmpa.gov.uk/d/scrutiny-of-major-events-policing-report.pdf[/url]): “at the time of writing, the Commission has carried out interviews and requested evidence from the following: Greater Manchester Police: Ian Hopkins, Assistant Chief Constable with responsibility for major events policing, Garry Shewan, Gold Commander for Operation Foot,… and External Sources: Dr. J University of Sussex, Professor David Waddington, Sheffield Hallam University, Azahar Hussain, Conference Organiser, 2009 Conservative Party Conference, Leisha Brookes, English Defence League liaison for the Manchester Protest Organiser, Mr Derek Smith, ACPO lead on finance, Dr Malcolm Clarke, Chair, Football Supporters Federation” [p. 14 of the Report of the Chief Executive].

Police CBRN consultancy

Psychology of crowd behaviour and public disorder

• Crowd behaviour is meaningful, limited
• Different crowds have different identities (i.e. norms, values and aims)
• 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

Psychology of mass emergencies and disasters

• The myth of mass panic
• If mass emergency crowd behaviour is meaningful then
o The importance of communication/ information/ explanation/ openness (lack of communication creates distrust – reverse ‘crying wolf’ syndrome)
o The importance to communication of trust (definition of self, ingroup, and context)
• Maintaining endogenous orderliness through form of messages
o E.g. problem of ‘don’t panic’ massages
• The prevalence of solidarity
• The public desire to help
o Managing public involvement (delays and interference versus constructive allies)
• Natural resilience needs to be facilitated not inhibited
• Enhancing resilience through promoting existing unity (practices, language)
• Danger of turning a public safety situation into one of public disorder (see above)

Specificity of managing crowd behaviour in CBRN incidents

Invisibility of the threat
o more frightening
o less evident (plausibility, credibility)

Quarantine and containment (not dispersal/starburst)
o Issues of legitimacy
o Potential for conflict
o communication / information /explanation/trust become even more important!
o Treating crowd /public as a resource (as above) becomes even more important!

Potential for CBRN incident to affect whole population not just a crowd
• Different sections of the public may require different treatments/ vaccination (e.g., variability in susceptibility to pandemics)
• Different sections of the public have different relationships to the police/ authorities

Managing scarcity
• After effects of CBRN incident, unlike other kinds of disaster/ emergency, could create disunity in the public around access to scarce resources
[what a wonderful way to put it...]
Technology/ equipment issues
• Problem of ‘alien’ protective suits for emergency services who seek to gain trust of public

Key issues

Crowd as potential problem versus crowd as potential solution?
These issues are relevant not only for Bronze command etc but just as much for the most junior officers on the ground
[my emphasis]
Dr J
Senior Lecturer in Social Psychology
Department of Psychology
University of Sussex
Falmer
BRIGHTON BN1 9QH
UK

Tojiah

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Joseph Kay

Spikymike

after that they were a little too quick to jump in to the defense of Aufheben

Just quickly on this, while I can see why it might appear this way, libcom have been aware of this situation since August and investigated it in some depth at that time, including taking time out from our other commitments (for me, this meant interrupting work on my dissertation) to meet people, make phone calls, read academic papers, email people, discuss the results etc. So while we may appear to have acted hastily, this is only because everyone else is coming in late on something that we've been aware of for 6 weeks or so, and has apparently been going on since January.

And none of that detective work managed to bring up this Chaos Theory business nor his previous pride in consulting for police organizations. I mean, I know it's hard to admit that you lot failed where a bunch of people you don't know from miles away succeeded, even after putting a lot of work into it, but that's not unprecedented in any field of endeavor, and this is starting to become ridiculous. You lot have been had because Aufheben have either been had or have come to terms with helping develop crowd control measures as either irrelevant or beneficial. How about you admit to that and move away from this schoolyard scuffle? TPTG are terrible people with no tact and no social skills. What J has done is a problem, regardless of how that happened to surface. That needs to be dealt with seriously. And not behind the scenes, because frankly I am probably not alone at not taking anything Libcom claims at face value from now on, and it has nothing to do with me having some kind of long-standing feud with the Libcom people. On the contrary, it grieves me greatly to see this occur to one of the few groups/forums I've come to depend on for my politics in the past few years.

omnia68

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Won't you even post the second letter? It seems pretty pointless since one can find it elsewhere...

lurdan

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

In a post on his blog about the psychology and politics of 'going native', as raised by the Mark Kennedy case, JD says :

The term ‘going native’ has its origins in early (racist) anthropology. In the social sciences, it refers to the researcher uncritically adopting the concepts and categories of those being studied, rather than retaining the aloof perspective of insider-yet-outsider that is the mark of the professional ethnographer. An example often cited in sociology textbooks is Paul Willis’s (1977) classic study of working class school students’ culture of underachievement. Willis was criticized by some for his adoption of the worldview, and indeed the language, of the boys he was studying.

He raises the implications of the risk of 'going native' during his research with road protestors.

What about me? When I carried out my ethnographic study, did I come to adopt the worldview of those I studied?

In my own study, I needed people in the movement to help me with the project, and to do so meant being open about my intentions. But to be open, to gain trust, to get people to co-operate meant to be part of the campaign. Why should people give their time to a careerist parasite? I chose to research a campaign whose aims I shared. If ‘activism’ is the topic, activists are the best researchers.

So did I ‘go native’ in my analysis? The research was an attempt to say something about the processes by which people change their identities in collective action. It was not a study of the rights and wrongs of the Conservative government’s road programme, or of direct action as a political form, of police ‘public order’ tactics, or of the reality of global warming. Of course I was a subject, with my views on these and other things that people in the campaign talked about. But, for my research, I wanted to understand something of the police view of ‘the crowd’ just as much as I wanted to document and analyse the protesters’ views. By adoption of an ethnographic framework – involving interviews, observations, soundtrack recordings, and collection of archive material – I was able to achieve both of these things.

JD is clear-sighted about the risks of going native for his ethnographic work and confident that he was able to avoid them. His confidence is founded on his understanding of his role as ethnographer and on his adoption of ethnographic method. There's no reason to doubt that JD is being anything other than entirely honest about this, or that he acted in good faith towards the people he was studying, and there are no grounds to believe that he in any way betrayed the trust they put in him.

But it does raise a rather different question : has he avoided the risk of 'going native' in academia ? As more links are posted to the writings and activities bearing his name it becomes impossible to believe that he has.

In the same blog post, after discussing the question of how Mark Kennedy may have 'gone native' in the environmental group he infiltrated, JD continues :

I was reminded on hearing this story of an episode in my ethnographic research study of the No M11 campaign, part of the UK anti-roads movement in the early 1990s. Here too I was studying a type of psychological change that occurred in people involved in an environmental direct action campaign. Wanstead residents objected to their local green being dug up for the construction of a trunk road. They changed on a number of levels. They came to see themselves as in the ‘same group’ as the ‘activists’ who had come to the area for the protest - and indeed in the same group as activists across the country and around the world. They therefore came to see themselves as different from their local neighbours who stood passively by and watched the loss of green space. They also adopted a much more critical view of the police force: when previously the police had been seen as neutral or a protector of their individual rights, now they were seen as agents of unpopular government policy and hence ‘political’.

The ‘activists’ I spoke to attributed these changes in the views of ‘locals’ to the force of argument. They had spent long hours together in vigils to protect the green, and in that time had the opportunity to develop their points about the global significance of the ‘local’ road-building scheme and hence the political nature of ‘environmental’ issues.

The role of ‘discussion and debate’ in ‘politicizing’ people in social movements is also stressed by a number of sociologists and social psychologists. There is plenty of evidence that discussion and argument can be persuasive.

But there was something else happening at the time of the transformation of these ‘local’ people into ‘political subjects’. This was their participation in the ‘direct action’ itself. While they may have intended their participation to be different (less ‘direct’) than that of the ‘activists’, it was not seen that way by the police, who acted upon the protesters as a whole – as a crowd, in fact.

Put differently, the (unintended) consequence of the ‘locals’ acting ‘with’ the rest of the crowd was police action which served to impose a common experience (of ‘illegitimate attack’) on all, such that the distinction between ‘activist’ and ‘local’ could no longer be easily sustained. In a context when one is treated as ‘oppositional’ by the police, arguments about the ‘political’ nature of road-building will seem more plausible, and those making them more persuasive. Such people come to be seen as ‘one of us’ rather than ‘one of them’, and we might listen to [them] more carefully.

It is hard not to relate this account to the more sensitive kinds of policing that is argued for in the collaborative work that JD's name is attached to, which explicitly aims to make this breakdown of distinctions between 'activists' and 'locals' less likely to occur. But it also brings up the question of what it doesn't discuss.

JD continues :

If indeed the Met police ‘spy’ did change his views - and this is something he is reported as denying - we can only speculate about the exact processes behind such a change.

However we can note, first, that environmental direct activists have good arguments – global warming, vested interests, the nature of social change, and so on. But they always have had good arguments, and these aren’t usually enough to change the minds of serving police officers, security guards or others paid to oppose their actions!

As JD's account implies for the sort of change we'd like to see we can't just rely on argument and educating people, nor can we count on police oppression to radicalize them. Something more than this is necessary. One part of that 'something more' is the development of forms of commitment and community that go beyond the inherently shallow level of people 'going native', or the equally unsatisfactory corollary of treating engagement as a sort of 'entrism' by revolutionary 'professionals'. Forms which require conscious thought and effort. And which oblige people to consider what they expect from their own activity and what they should be able to expect from their comrades.

As JD says :

It may be hard to think of yourself as exactly ‘the same person’ if you have in effect changed the social environment that gives you your self-definition!

The problem is that this really does cut both ways.

posi

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Alright, my two penneth.

a) I don't think there was any need to use the guy's real name - that was definitely wrong. 'The milieu' is so small there was no risk that referring to him as J or similar would lead to a mis-idenitification or non-identification. So what was the point?

b) I don't accept that TPTG couldn't have contacted Aufheben through their official address. Sure, J might have been the one to reply, but surely the accusation is that he's seriously politically confused and is acting inconsistently, not that he's actually a conscious agent of the state, who would be forwarding emails direct to Mi5 or something.

c) However, accepting what J says about not having authored the articles, that doesn't really clear up the whole delivering training to the police thing that avantiultras quotes in the last post, does it? I haven't really seen a response to that, and I can't imagine what one would look like. I think he probably shouldn't do that.

d) Although, even if there isn't a good response, I'm not in favour of hounding the guy over the internet. Let's be honest, what's the fucking point? The purity of the ultra left milieu? That's probably the worst cause imaginable. EDIT: so I think it could have been dealt with by email. If necessary TPTG and Samotnaf know enough people in the UK that they could have contacted a sufficiently broad range of people directly with an appeal for further discussion - including all the orgs, individuals they know, etc. I don't think the question of how to go about resolving these things is secondary or unimportant, btw.

Blasto

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

There's no reason to doubt that JD is being anything other than entirely honest about this, or that he acted in good faith towards the people he was studying, and there are no grounds to believe that he in any way betrayed the trust they put in him.

Really? None? If you want to create false distinctions between J the communist, J the ethnographic researcher and J the cop consultant, the feel free. But in the real world they are the same person, a person that is the sum of all his experiences. Either the field research (and any other experience of being on demos "as and of" us) has informed the police tactics - or J has two separate brains to match his two faces. Put yourself in the shoes of the protesters he researched. Do you think they might be feeling just a little betrayed right now?

I don't think there was any need to use the guy's real name - that was definitely wrong. 'The milieu' is so small there was no risk that referring to him as J or similar would lead to a mis-idenitification or non-identification. So what was the point?

There is a good reason for anonymity on Libcom, and we all enjoy that anonymity. But J put his name on his work, no one else. No one was revealing any secrets here - it is all published on the web on academic websites - both his work for the cops and his tales of involvement in protests.
And as for the "they just did me a favour" - do you really think he would have his name in the Police Review against such a contentious article (Chaos Theory), even as a favour, if his judgement hadn't already gone completely skewed? Would anyone else using this forum agree to having their name against an article like that? And if he's prepared to do it for his career, then sorry but fuck him.

Let's be honest, what's the fucking point? The purity of the ultra left milieu? That's probably the worst cause imaginable. EDIT: so I think it could have been dealt with by email.

No one is enjoying this shit storm. And there's all the who emailed who and when. But why is this even a private matter for Aufheben and TPTG? This guy's work affects all of us. He is "one of us". He attends demos as "one of us" and then tells the police how to deal with us. TPTG weren't telling someone their skirt is tucked in their knickers - it's not some private embarrassment. It is someone undermining our struggle, and judging from their own bragging, this little team have influenced police across Europe. So don't we all have the right to know? Do you want to be the next unwitting subject of his public order research?

So if you still don't see point of all this, TPTG and Samotnaf have gone to great lengths to explain. Why not read their texts? Someone else has posted them here: http://www.revleft.com/vb/open-letter-tptg-t162273/index.html?p=2263039#post2263039.

Shit stinks, and J and his fellow travellers are up to their necks in it. I can't stand the reek anymore, so admin will be delighted to hear that I'm done here.

lurdan

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Blasto

There's no reason to doubt that JD is being anything other than entirely honest about this, or that he acted in good faith towards the people he was studying, and there are no grounds to believe that he in any way betrayed the trust they put in him.

Really? None? If you want to create false distinctions between J the communist, J the ethnographic researcher and J the cop consultant, the feel free. But in the real world they are the same person, a person that is the sum of all his experiences. Either the field research (and any other experience of being on demos "as and of" us) has informed the police tactics - or J has two separate brains to match his two faces. Put yourself in the shoes of the protesters he researched. Do you think they might be feeling just a little betrayed right now?

Saying that there is no reason to believe that he did anything other than apply professional ethics in his work as an ethnologist, or even that his sympathy for the subjects of his research wasn't genuine, scarcely diminishes the questions that are raised by his actions. Whereas, in my opinion, getting sidetracked into fruitless debate about whether he's a 'bad man', or worse, baseless speculation about whether he's a 'police informant' (even if that's meant metaphorically), is an excellent way of ensuring those questions don't get addressed.

Ramona

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

This is all getting kinda ridiculous and I think a few others have put this way better than I would. But just really briefly:

I wonder if Stott and Reicher get pissed off with constantly doing all the work whilst J rakes in a third of the pay?

Jef said academics get paid so little for journal articles they wouldn't care - academics mostly don't get paid for journal articles, in fact the costs frequently get taken out of your research grant, and if you're publishing anything that's publicly available it can cost loads.

As has been said, he got added as a 3rd author, as a favour, to help meet his publishing targets. Yes this is perhaps poor judgement, but this has all been said before. He did it more than once, this forms a pattern, this doesn't really change anything but whatever.

cooked

- Is the drama intended to set an example to prevent others in the movement from slipping into dubious territory?

- Is there an idea that his output is somehow tainted and that the Aufheben texts are no longer valid? If not his you would presumably prefer him continuing his writing?

- Is there a hope he will resign from his job and focus all energy on communism? Thus preventing more crowd controlling theory from being potentially put into practice by the police?

- Is it a strictly moral issue where no outcome is sough other than punishing the fallen.

- Is this a warning to people who might get politically involved with him. If this is the case what are the perceived risks of getting involved with him.

- Is it just a matter of getting the info out so people can make up their minds?

Nice points, hadn't thought of it like that, no one seems to have really answered that so far

Tommy Ascaso

We run this site to promote libertarian communist ideas and methods, not provide a platform for people to libel other communists or to reveal their personal details, as a group with experience of many of our comrades being outed by the media I'd hope that people would understand why we take this position. This isn't based on any political agreements, it's based on the principles that we hold and feel should exist within the movement.

Quite. The open letter and Samotnaf's blog are more than welcome on numerous other websites in their unredacted forms, we don't need to host it as well.

Samotnaf

Copcom

It's 'LibCop' actually

Tojiah

Yeah? You'd talk to someone you thought was working with the cops? Regarding accusations that they were working with the cops?

Frankly yeah I would, and I'd talk to the other people in the group as well, and I think Rob Ray has dealt with that pretty well, as he has with the rest of this thread. That kinda patience is impressive.

But this thread has got beyond ridiculous and I'm sure everyone who was going to form an opinion one way or another has already done so.

And just to be clear about who I am and what you might want to infer about my loyalties, I am a libcom admin, I am a TA at a Uni, I did a masters, I'm not a proper academic, and I once accepted a reward of £30 from the police after I handed in someone's iPad I found in the street because I was skint.

Edited cos I attributed a quote to the wrong person sorry

mons

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I wonder if Stott and Reicher get pissed off with constantly doing all the work whilst J rakes in a third of the pay?

Ramona, just to say, I didn't write that. Not sure who did but I agree that it's not a fair point, and I don't think there's any reason to disbelieve J and co when they say his name was put to the articles without him writing any of them.

bootsy

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

mons

I wonder if Stott and Reicher get pissed off with constantly doing all the work whilst J rakes in a third of the pay?

Ramona, just to say, I didn't write that. Not sure who did but I agree that it's not a fair point, and I don't think there's any reason to disbelieve J and co when they say his name was put to the articles without him writing any of them.

Actually numerous individuals involved with academia have commented on this thread questioning the likelihood of that happening.

I agree though this thread has gotten totally ridiculous, because despite the mounting evidence coming from TPTG, Samotnaf and others, the LibCom team continues to either repeat the position that 'J said such and such' or they simply choose to zone in on stupid irrelevancies like the issue of censorship. Not only that, we are also supposed to believe that, even if J was helping the cops, it is nothing for us to worry about because the info is useless and the cops don't listen to academics anyway.

Toijah said:

What J has done is a problem, regardless of how that happened to surface. That needs to be dealt with seriously. And not behind the scenes, because frankly I am probably not alone at not taking anything Libcom claims at face value from now on, and it has nothing to do with me having some kind of long-standing feud with the Libcom people. On the contrary, it grieves me greatly to see this occur to one of the few groups/forums I've come to depend on for my politics in the past few years.

Precisely. The most cutting edge communist analysis and anarcho-syndicalist strategy in the world is meaningless if our comrades in all parts of the world aren't prepared to step up and take responsibility where it counts.

RedHughs

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I think lurdan, SpikeyMike, Ocelot and Tojiah have made sound and more-or-less irrefutable arguments concerning the problematic quality of Aufheben and Libcom-administration's response to this situation.

While I might be one to enjoy jumping on some Internet debates, this not a some shit-storm I welcome. I find it deeply distressing. As far as I can tell, Auf and libcom's responses are a complete fail on this serious issue.

I have met some members of both Aufheben and TPTG over the years. Both groups seemed like comrades of the highest caliber. Really, this is something that needs fixing and all the rather public evidence says to me that Aufheben and Libcom are the ones who need to fix it, as I believe the arguments of the above posters make very clear.

whatisinevidence

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

jef costello

If J is actually training police or directly helping police then he shouldn't be at meetings or protests. While some of his stuff seems to be useful to the cops, it does seem to me, from the evidence so far, that he isn't doing directly helping cops.

By Aufheben's own admission, J has spoken to police and other state organizations at conferences about dealing with crowds.

whatisinevidence

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

...

David Jacobs

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I am just sending a personal message to say that I am through with libcom and
ask that anyone seeking contact with Collective Reinventions seek us elsewhere.
This site is more rotten than Hamlet's State of Denmark. As the Russians
put it rather nicely, a fish reeks from the head down, or should we say, the
administrators down. Until proven otherwise, libcom is potentially rife with infiltrators, provocateurs and who knows what else. Its censorship of the TPTG
article does not deserve comment.

We have all been rather badly compromised, I would say at a minimum. And
anyone who rather naively thought the authorities were not interested in small,
intellectually oriented journals and websites, really should think again.

Congratulations to TPTG for having the courage to bring this all out in the open.

Bye.

LBird

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Re lurdan's post #222, and his quoting of JD.

JD

The term ‘going native’ has its origins in early (racist) anthropology. In the social sciences, it refers to the researcher uncritically adopting the concepts and categories of those being studied, rather than retaining the aloof perspective of insider-yet-outsider that is the mark of the professional ethnographer...

What about me? When I carried out my ethnographic study, did I come to adopt the worldview of those I studied?...

So did I ‘go native’ in my analysis?...

But, for my research, I wanted to understand something of the police view of ‘the crowd’ just as much as I wanted to document and analyse the protesters’ views. By adoption of an ethnographic framework – involving interviews, observations, soundtrack recordings, and collection of archive material – I was able to achieve both of these things.

The problem with JD's position is that he seems to believe in a false 'academic objectivity', of some sort, a position of 'neutral observation' from which he can 'understand' and 'analyse'.

This is impossible. Any research by anyone is always done from a 'perspective'. And those who deny having a 'perspective' are using a conservative method which pretends to itself and its adherents that it is 'objective'. The 'non-perspective' method of academia is an ideological lie.

If one doesn't 'go native', one by necessity 'remains imperialist'.

There is no 'outside of the exploitative system'.

Joseph Kay

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Tojiah

And none of that detective work managed to bring up this Chaos Theory business nor his previous pride in consulting for police organizations.

I know it's become the fashion on this thread, but you're asserting things you cannot possibly know. Actually, 'Chaos Theory' was one of the pieces I read in August. And as has been said repeatedly, 'consultancies' are inclusions in literature reviews by other academics used in turn by various bodies. So why aren't i bothered by the Chaos Theory piece?

- firstly, J's name is only on it because it includes the mass emergencies stuff. he allowed it to be used because he thinks the public order stuff is harmless, even though he disagrees with trying to engage with the police to make them nicer.

- on the face of it, that looks ridiculous right? i mean they explicitly say there is a "need to move away from the idea that the way to control crowds is to repress them"!

- But what is the substance of this? Stott favours graded policing over full-on repression. He somehow has to convince the police that violence is often their fault. in plain english, the 'insight' of the ESIM model is 'if the cops act like cunts, people are more likely to kick off'.

- his sales pitch to the police is that softer policing equals less arrests and less disorder, meaning happier police bosses and politicians. But this is based entirely on situations where there is a harmony of interests, and therefore the police can facilitate the crowd rather than arbitrarily repress them (the Euro 2004 study is main evidence base).

- however this doesn't apply when there's a conflict of interest, such as in class struggles, or a crowd set on property destruction or economic disruption. in such circumstances the police have no option but to fall back on repression, regardless of Stott et al's 'insights' that this may escalate things. For example, UK Uncut. If they're disrupting commercial activity the police can't 'facilitate' that because their role is to defend capital. But even if they do facilitate it, that just means UK Uncut win by getting to disrupt targets at will.

- for example, at Millbank, police were pretty hands off. however rather than leading to self-policing law-abiding protest, students took advantage of the low-key police presence to occupy and sack millbank. there was very little violence (ignoring property), but the movement escalated through the event.

- on the other hand, a fortnight later the police had swung back the other way with kettles and mounted charges and a heavy TSG presence. yet within the kettle, those posh kids did try to 'self-police' by protecting the (erroneously named) #baitvan. however despite all the violence, the movement itself dissipated shortly after.

- in other words, there's no simple relationship between soft/hard policing and escalation/de-escalation of struggles. sometimes the police standing off allows us the space to attack (e.g. Millbank), other times the lack of police provocation means everyone marches from A-B and goes home (Stop the War). While sometimes police repression escalates the struggle (e.g. Sussex uni campus last year), while other times it smashes and demoralises the movement (countless examples).

- hence despite its sales pitch, this stuff cannot possibly undermine our struggles. it only applies when there's no underlying conflict of interests.

Tarwater

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I'd like to put forth the idea that shit stirrers that write public accusations without having the common decency to confront their targets first and the hacks that support them will have more of a negative impact on my life as a revolutionary than any cop that attends a mandatory protocol meeting or takes an academic approach to crowd control. The way this was handled was disgusting and anyone that approves of it is only confirming their own alienation. All other issues beyond the method that was used to "call out" J are secondary, "new world in the shell of the old" my ass.

Rank

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

David Jacobs

I am just sending a personal message to say that I am through with libcom and
ask that anyone seeking contact with Collective Reinventions seek us elsewhere.
This site is more rotten than Hamlet's State of Denmark. As the Russians
put it rather nicely, a fish reeks from the head down, or should we say, the
administrators down. Until proven otherwise, libcom is potentially rife with infiltrators, provocateurs and who knows what else. Its censorship of the TPTG
article does not deserve comment.

We have all been rather badly compromised, I would say at a minimum. And
anyone who rather naively thought the authorities were not interested in small,
intellectually oriented journals and websites, really should think again.

Congratulations to TPTG for having the courage to bring this all out in the open.

Bye.

I'm off too (wondered what the smell was).

avantiultras

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Joseph Kay

- firstly, J's name is only on it because it includes the mass emergencies stuff. he allowed it to be used because he thinks the public order stuff is harmless, even though he disagrees with trying to engage with the police to make them nicer

The relation between the "emergencies stuff" and the "public order stuff" is shown clearly by the content of the Police CBRN consultancy which J attempted to hide (see comment #219: Danger of turning a public safety situation into one of public disorder (see above)/ Managing scarcity: After effects of CBRN incident, unlike other kinds of disaster/ emergency, could create disunity in the public around access to scarce resources

The same goes for the content of "consultancies" and whether they are only about harmless "literature reviews". It's really astonishing how far you're determined to go to defend the cop consultant. Truly, this site should be called LibCop

As far as the issue of "harmlessness" of the "public order stuff", I just copy the following paragraphs from the second TPTG letter:

"Leaving the part on the research work aside for the moment, let’s start with the “supposed dangerousness of the liberal reformists” part of their response. At first, it looks quite bizarre that Aufheben devote a disproportionately large part of their response to “correct” us regarding the Policing paper and their member’s colleagues’ work in general, while they have already stated categorically that their member had nothing to do with it and moreover that they (their member, as well) “reject fully” these academics’ “assumptions”. Wouldn’t it have sufficed just to denounce our accusations and prove his dissociation from them? However, what looks bizarre or ambiguous or awkward in this part of their response may not be at all, as we will show later. We argue that their choice to label the work of these policing designers/consultants as “liberal-reformist” is a deliberate distortion.

A careful reading and analysis of the “Policing article” would suffice to prove that these strategists do NOT “lobby for less violent policing” and do NOT “seek to reduce police violence, arrests and jail sentences” because they “support ‘anti-capitalist demonstrators and football fans’”, as we have already shown in our first Open Letter. According to their designing of policing, the police strategy should be graded whereby “levels of policing intervention” should be developed “with the aim of creating a positive and close relationship with crowd members, but also of monitoring incipient signs of disorder”. While the first level of policing intervention should be carried out by “officers in uniform, working in pairs spread evenly throughout the crowd within the relevant geographical location – not merely remaining at the edges” with “their primary function” being “to establish an enabling police presence” and having been “specifically trained to be friendly, open and approachable”, accepted as they are by the crowd, they can “spot signs of tension and incipient conflict” and can “therefore respond quickly to minor incidents of emergent disorder and ensure that they targeted only those individuals who were actually being disorderly without having impact on others in the crowd”. Policing shifts to level 2 “where disorder endures or escalates” with “larger groups of officers moving in, still wearing standard uniforms” in order to “communicate with fans [or “other alienated groups in our society”] in a non-confrontational manner, to reassert shared norms concerning the limits of acceptable behaviour, and to highlight breaches of those norms and the consequences that would flow from them. Should this fail, the intervention would shift up to level 3. Officers would don protective equipment and draw batons, but always seeking to target their actions as precisely as possible. If this is still insufficient, then the riot squads in full protective equipment and with water cannon are always ready at the fourth tactical level” (as cited in the Policing article, p.412-413, slightly rearranged for clarification’s sake).

So, there is nowhere a sign of “lobbying for less violent policing”. On the contrary, J and Co. talk about the right timing of the use of police violence which should be as targeted as possible and seen as “legitimate” as possible. The argument of the supposed “support” of these policing strategists’ for ‘“anti-capitalist demonstrators and football fans’” is equally groundless and false. What they actually support (and also advise the police to do) is respect for the enactment of the right of peaceful citizens/members of the crowd to demonstrate or protest in the street insofar as their protest is self-limited within the permissible limits of bourgeois democracy. No matter how hard we tried, we found in the article no support for the anticapitalist demonstrator to question practically existing bourgeois legality and to broaden it, as a liberal reformist would do on principle.

On the contrary, they fully support the “right” of the police to repress violent demonstrators, the ones that disturb public order and by extension bourgeois legality and capitalist circulation of commodities. Thus Aufheben’s claim that they “seek to reduce police violence, arrests and jail sentences” is equally wrong: they clearly advise for targeted, differentiated police violence and pre-emptive arrests. So, how “politically irrelevant” can it then be to “do research” with fellow technocratic designers of advanced policing strategies who propose methods and interventions for the state’s apparatuses and organizations in order to de-escalate conflicts, enhance the legitimacy of the police and the state and also save budget money? (given that a confrontation, except when really needed, is always more expensive for the state’s budget, than a peaceful “crowd event”).

Based on this initial distortion, Aufheben go on to criticize our “misunderstanding”: “the ‘Policing’ paper has [not] helped in tactics of repression”. Why? Because, as they say, “in plain English,guiding the cops to act in ways which maximizes the opportunities to engage crowd members’ in processes of de-escalating conflict means suggesting to the cops that it’s in their own interests not to use force as their first choice method. The research on which the paper is based shows that policing perceived by crowd members as illegitimate and indiscriminate brings them together against the police; the premise, therefore, is those situations [our emphasis] where people are not already united against the police. The research and ideas don’t explain how the police’s actions can create difference in a crowd where it didn’t exist previously.” What a clumsy attempt to present the cop consultants’ basic method of divide-and-rule as useless and harmless since the crowd is already divided!

Now, although English is not our mother tongue, what we have understood perfectly well by reading the cop consultants’ guidelines is that they always perceive crowd members to be in different groupings within it, as far as violent intentions are concerned, and that is why J and Co. say, in plain English, that: “the relationship and the balance between groupings within the crowd is critically dependent upon the interaction between the crowd and outsiders [e.g. police]” and that “where the police have both the inclination and the power to treat all members in a crowd event as if they were the same, then this will create a common experience amongst crowd members which is then likely to make them cohere as a unified group”.

So, for them what is of importance is not to “disrupt the willingness of crowd members to contain the violence of those in their midst - what we term self-policing” and thus they “do suggest that this understanding [of “processes through which violence escalates and de-escalates”] can guide the police to act in ways that minimize conflict and maximize the opportunities to engage crowd members themselves in achieving this end”, with this “engagement” actually meaning that the non-violent ones can be “recruited as allies in subduing violence” (all excerpts are from the Policing article, p.407, 408, 409, cited in our previous Open Letter.

We are sorry for repeating the citations but we have to since neither Aufheben took them into consideration in their cut-and-paste response nor their sympathizers in Libcom and elsewhere). Reinforcing existing divisions and separations within crowds on the street level and outright repression is, of course, the most the police can do as an apparatus of repression (with a little elaborated scientific help) but this is precisely the field these cop consultants “do research” in as specialists. The “obvious limits to the extent to which the cops can take on board and act upon this knowledge” are the limits of the police in general faced with proletarian struggles, a fact that police practitioners already know, that’s why they are constantly seeking for more effective policing methods.

What seems simplistic therefore is to suggest, as Aufheben do, that the cops act “regardless of such insights”, when the HMIC report was based precisely on J and Co’s “insights” and consultancies or that state funds are spent on such “research” out of bad judgement or plain idiocy and, moreover, it’s just as simplistic to dismiss – in such a twisted manner – the designing of policing implemented so many times against proletarians in struggle or in fun (so-called “hooliganism”). However, Aufheben not only underestimate, through distortion, the importance of these policing consultancies; they even directly reject any serious discussion about the “relation between ‘facilitative’ policing and the falling back of struggles”. This relation is not a “simple” one, they say, as if they are addressing simpletons. “There are too many mediations”,“contingencies”, “numerous factors”... Yes, we are very well aware of the fact that other mechanisms and mediations (political parties, unions, the media etc) that hinder proletarian “empowerment” should always be taken into consideration and Aufheben would be entitled to “correct” us if we were engaged in a communist theoretical discussion with them on the importance of violence and police repression in general in class struggles –and, moreover, if we argued like hot-heads.

However, the situation is completely different: while we prove that one of their members has been heavily involved in consulting the police how to repress struggles “correctly”, instead of just refuting this, they also feel obliged to both present such expert intervention as harmless and to relativise police repression (soft or hard) as if it had no importance at all. Why such a bizarre response from a supposedly communist group, we ask again. Perhaps a social psychologist could be useful here: “Once people define themselves in terms of a group membership, the fate of one member of the group and (hence of others in the group), the well-being of that member, the prestige and reputation of that member becomes the group’s fate, its well-being, its prestige and its reputation” [paraphrazing J and Co. from the Policing article, p. 406].

But apart from that, we also argue here that by doing this they want to preemptively minimize the effect of further evidence about his involvement in policing consultancies that could be brought to light sooner or later."

So, it seems that you have organized in coordination with J and Aufheben the defence tactics for some months. And one more comment: anyone who has ever participated in a class struggle, or a protest that includes "property destruction" knows very well that the divisions are there as well, knows very well that the union stewards will try to repress the "violent elements" engaging in self-policing in cooperation with the cops.

Ramona

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

mons, sorry for the misquote I've edited it now!

Juan Conatz

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I've pretty much decided to stay out of this thread because I think it falls into the 'a European issue' type thread and I also don't want to be called out or accused of being part of some defense squad in a third open letter from TPTG, but as this drags on I feel compelled to jump in.

I don't know anyone in TPTG, have never communicated with Aufhben people that I know of outside of asking how I can get an issue in the U.S., and only know the libcom admin through posting here, Twitter or Facebook, but I respect all 3 as worthwhile projects

As someone who has been involved in instances were we suspected someone of some level of police collaboration, I think the way TPTG and Sam have chosen to address it has been pretty bad. If it takes 3 separate massive articles to prove your point, then your case wasn't solid enough to go public with.

The point of going public with something like this is because you want to warn other people who may have direct relations with said person or because said person may disappear after being exposed and re-emerge somewhere else in another group, unknown to the members of this other group.

In the latter case, that hardly seems like a potential danger and in the former, you have nearly everyone who is in direct contact with J severely contesting TPTG and Sam's accusations. A lot of this seems to be more about an opportunity to write polemically or comment on the nature of academia.

I mean, this is hardly the level of someone who is an informant for the security services, yet when I experienced such a person in a group, we got hard copy evidence, sat down with the people closest to him, and confronted him in person and over email/Facebook, getting him to admit it BEFORE we even wrote anything intended as public.

This situation, which is nothing compared to an informant who is part of an active investigation, has nowhere near the thoroughness devoted to it, it seems, which muddies the waters and has neutral parties such as myself unconvinced and a bit depressed/disappointed at the whole thing.

gypsy

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Tojiah

Yeah? You'd talk to someone you thought was working with the cops? Regarding accusations that they were working with the cops?

Ramona

Frankly yeah I would

You mean by this you would confront them with the charges which were being laid against them? Sorry I mis read this first time round as saying you would allow them to attend meetings etc regardless of the suspicions/accusations (first thing on a sunday :oops: ).

Samotnaf

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

my text in slightly expurgated form: http://libcom.org/forums/general/aufhebens-crowd-controlling-cop-consultant-strange-case-dr-who-mr-bowdler-1610201

Ramona

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

gypsy

Tojiah

Yeah? You'd talk to someone you thought was working with the cops? Regarding accusations that they were working with the cops?

Ramona

Frankly yeah I would

You mean by this you would confront them with the charges which were being laid against them? Sorry I mis read this first time round as saying you would allow them to attend meetings etc regardless of the suspicions/accusations (first thing on a sunday :oops: ).

Yeah I mean I'd want to confront them, I think Juan Contaz's post makes quite a good point on that.

Samotnaf

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I totally agree with David Jacobs' post:

This site is more rotten than Hamlet's State of Denmark.
As the Russians put it rather nicely, a fish reeks from the head down, or should we say, the
administrators down.

Saying that even if [admin: deleted] did it, does it matter? A "libertarian communist" site saying that ideologically helping the cops on crowd control's not important. You've got as much sense of reality as those who believed Chamberlain's "Peace in our time" speech. Such a partisan defence of Dr. [admin: deleted] makes you seem hellbent on becoming a laughing stock - only no-one's laughing. Well, you've made your bed of nails, now you can lie in it. And if anybody neded to know the meaning of the critique of rackets, you've unwittingly supplied us with loads of data.

And no - this nightmare of your own making won't go away. What more I ( and/or the TPTG )have to say, will be reserved for later - but I have no intention of being anything but a very painful thorn in your side as long as you don't admit you've got this very very very wrong, and recognise why. But I guess your collective ego's too fragile for that.

Jason Cortez

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Samotnaf saying "ego's too fragile for that" oh the irony. You love all of this, but what would you actually like to see happen from this (except everyone saying your right)? The way that you and TPTG have gone about this really has not created the useful conditions for dealing with this issue.

Joseph Kay

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

If you don't condemn the accused, you become the accused. Brilliant.

Wellclose Square

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

When I read the 2nd Open Letter I wondered whether those who have defended most vigorously X's undoubted deep complicity in developing public order policy would have the humility to apologise or admit they were wrong. Instead they continue to dig deeper, with the usual aggressive denials, tortured logic and counter denunciations. I'm struggling to work out why this is, but this whole issue has raised (again) serious questions for me about Libcom.

proletarian.

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Samotnaf

but I have no intention of being anything but a very painful thorn in your side

[youtube]BjkMhwNWcbY[/youtube]

Ed

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Wellclose Square

When I read the 2nd Open Letter I wondered whether those who have defended most vigorously X's undoubted deep complicity in developing public order policy would have the humility to apologise or admit they were wrong. Instead they continue to dig deeper, with the usual aggressive denials, tortured logic and counter denunciations. I'm struggling to work out why this is, but this whole issue has raised (again) serious questions for me about Libcom.

My emphasis. Wellclose, I've always respected your contributions but I feel we're not reading the same thread here.. basically, at libcom, we disagree that J is a cop consultant (as do others using the site) and as a result we're facing aggressive denunciations.. I mean, compare Joseph Kay's post #234 with Samotnaf's "this nightmare of your own making won't go away. What more I ( and/or the TPTG )have to say, will be reserved for later - but I have no intention of being anything but a very painful thorn in your side as long as you don't admit you've got this very very very wrong"..

I think if anything, we're laying out our opinion on the matter straight up and if people don't like it, we're willing to take the flak for it. People are going on as if we're making all these underhanded twists and turns, but as far as I can see all we've done is redacted the name of someone whom we feel is being falsely accused (while letting those who know exactly who he is continue discussing it).. interestingly enough, the last time we did this was when a British anarchist was named on the site as having physically attacked a libcom admin at the bookfair, so again, I don't see how this can even be seen as some devious power-play..

I think Juan Conatz and Jason Cortez's contributions have been great (Juan's for having actual experience of dealing with actual cop collaborators, Jason's for just asking Sam what the bollocks he wants out of this).. I'd also echo Tarwater that this whole affair has been massively depressing..

I really have to go to bed but one last thing..

So, it seems that you have organized in coordination with J and Aufheben the defence tactics for some months.

This is just absolutely bonkers. We heard about it in August, looked into it and forgot about it, considering the issue dead.. obviously it's come back now, but we haven't been drawing up battle plans in the intervening period.. and again, you don't actually have anything to support this claim other than you reckon it's true (no doubt deduced from other bits of info which are true, but still well off nonetheless)..

Joseph Kay

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Ed

basically, at libcom, we disagree that J is a cop consultant

well, he has literally consulted with the cops on mass emergencies. he's not "pacifying class struggle" or being a "crowd controlling cop consultant" though.

whatisinevidence

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

It boggles my mind how anyone with any dignity (much less a communist) could defend someone who consults with the cops about anything, much less about how to control crowds.

Jason Cortez

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

It may boggle your mind, but what is it you want to happen? What would be a useful outcome for you?

whatisinevidence

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Well, it would be interesting for Aufheben to write an article exploring how/why they believe doing research for/consulting for the police can be reconciled with being a communist. It would be interesting to really bring the class composition of the milieu out in the open. It would be nice if people who are middle class professionals took themselves out of leadership positions/positions of power within the milieu (ie. editing journals, running websites, etc).

Of course, a good first step would be Aufheben and Libcom to stop trying to play coverup and just admit they are horribly wrong. Then, honestly, Aufheben ought to call it quits.

whatisinevidence

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

we disagree that J is a cop consultant (as do others using the site) and as a result we're facing aggressive denunciations

Comrade, the party line has changed! That was the old party line! The new party line is that he did consult with the cops, but his consulting was okay.

whatisinevidence

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

This was a comment about the whole thing elsewhere that is worth reposting:

Sorry, but if the standards for the communist milieu have sunk so much that "he's just close friends and co-workers with people who professionally research soft counter-insurgency techniques" is a convincing argument, that becomes an indictment against the milieu, not a defense of this particular member JD. Thankfully, TPTG and samotnataf, among others, indicate that not everyone in that milieu has conceded so much to this society's particular form of market nihilism.

David Jacobs

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I will just chime in to say thanks to Samotnaf. Whatever we may have disagreed about in terms of my past in Point Blank, I would hope we could find a way
to talk about all this. Please write, and you know where to find me.

I will also add that today Collective Reinventions and our circle of friends met
at the Occupy Oakland site. While we had much more urgent and important things on our mind than the future of this site, there was unanimous agreement that libcom has failed those who looked to it as a forum for free and unimpeded debate. And a place to post our texts and announcements.

The thought that this could be a site of censorship and possible police inflitration
or monitoring never crossed our foolish little minds.

We're finished with libcom until libcom clears all this up, and clears it up
clearly!

Rob Ray

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Wasn't going to post on this (though came close regarding Satmonaf's somewhat hyperbolic fantasising about being a "thorn in the side" of libcom - which I think we can all agree is definitely the most important thing any communist could be doing right now) but David Jacobs' (second) post on the subject needs a quick response.

No-one with any sense, not Satmonaf, not TPTG, is claiming that libcom has been infiltrated by the police. Such claims have no basis and (if you got them off indymedia) are the sort of thing that gets bandied about by the sort of morons who think of all libertarian communist groups in roughly the same way. There are no facts to back the insinuation up and if you should not spread that shit around.

As for censorship, how? Having abided by the basic guidelines of "don't name communist activists outright so they can be found by employers' search engines" Satmonaf's piece is no up in full, as is a version of the TPTG piece (again without names). Neither Satmonaf nor TPTG have faced any removal of their articles, nor have they been banned from the site (despite having made some pretty nasty allegations against libcom admins in the course of the generally fraught to and fro). Again, I don't see any basis in fact for this.

Finally, as somone who has watched the IWW US arguments from afar for a while alongside the Earth First! debacles and Crimethinc's bizarre behaviour, the idea that it would be my place to make judgements and flounce off websites based on internet rows which frankly are about as illuminating as a punch in the eye, involving people I don't know living thousands of miles away, has never crossed my foolish little mind. Perhaps I'm just not internationalist enough to reject working with people before I've ever met or spoken to them properly.

Tojiah

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Nobody really asked my opinion, but that hasn't stopped me in the past: I think that at the very least Libcom should not have characterized TPTG's original post as a smear, and even if you thought that was legitimate then, this caveat should be dropped now. Other than that, people are grownups and they can judge for themselves, given TPTG's letters and Aufheben's response.

Wellclose Square

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Finally, as somone who has watched the IWW US arguments from afar for a while alongside the Earth First! debacles and Crimethinc's bizarre behaviour, the idea that it would be my place to make judgements and flounce off websites based on internet rows which frankly are about as illuminating as a punch in the eye, involving people I don't know living thousands of miles away, has never crossed my foolish little mind. Perhaps I'm just not internationalist enough to reject working with people before I've ever met or spoken to them properly.

Why do I find this response troubling? The implicit 'Little Englandism'? The crass trivialisation and brushing aside of the current question at hand? Dunno, but I've got to go (to work)...

gypsy

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Joseph Kay

Ed

basically, at libcom, we disagree that J is a cop consultant

well, he has literally consulted with the cops on mass emergencies. he's not "pacifying class struggle" or being a "crowd controlling cop consultant" though.

I think he is.(He is not a police informant though and I don't think libcom has been infiltrated by the state). I would have reservations with someone in any groups I worked with who had the same role J had when he co-wrote his articles which have ultimately been written for a hostile audience such as the pigs and others.

I however am not going to stop visiting libcom(great resource) or aufheben(who have written some really interesting stuff). I think youse got it wrong this time, which is understandable since J is pals with many of you lot.

Rob Ray

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Why do I find this response troubling?

What's troubling to me is that you apparently think it isn't worth trying to calm the situation down so it can be resolved in something resembling a useful way, instead insisting on comparing my attempts to do so by asking uninvolved people not to weigh in to being a "little Englander"* and comparing libcom admins to censors and managers dealing with a whistleblower.

I mean seriously, is it not even a bit concerning to you that you're currently in a position where libcom admins are being accused of actively being police infiltrators and you think that's not worth a comment, but me telling the writer of those accusations off about it is?

Gypsy, that's pretty much as fair as it gets I think, if I was to come down on the "J's guilty" side I'd probably take that view as well.
----

* I mean come on that's not even a subtle wind-up, you might as well just call me a Daily Mail-reading racist and have done with it.

Joseph Kay

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

gypsy

I think he is.

Well with respect, you're not basing that on reading his work, or seeing what he has to say for himself, or looking at how his name got attached to papers he disagrees with. You're basing it on the highly distorted picture being presented by people on here, many of whom seem to be deliberately muddying the waters with lengthy polemics and ignoring contrary information. The only stuff he's spoken to the cops about is mass emergencies, making practical recommendations like regular evacuation drills for large buildings and communication with crowds rather than repression and expert monopolisation of info. Now if you think any contact with the police ever for any reason is unacceptable, then you're not going to be satisfied. Fine. I disagree. But there's nothing sinister in the mass emergencies work (which basically says 'stop treating survivors as a threat to public order and help them'). He does not work on "crowd control". This is, and remains, a smear.

gypsy

I think youse got it wrong this time, which is understandable since J is pals with many of you lot.

A lot of people are saying this, but it is absolutely untrue. We are not looking out for our 'pals'. None of us are friends with J (as in see him socially). We redact real names as a matter of principle. The last high profile occasion was when a prominent British anarchist carried out a premeditated physical attack on one of the libcom collective and we still redacted his name. I don't think anyone would claim he's one of our 'pals', so even if you think we're wrong give us the credit of acting on principle not nepotism.

gypsy

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Joseph Kay

gypsy

I think he is.

Well with respect, you're not basing that on reading his work.

Your wrong there. Why did you think that I had not read his work?

gypsy

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Joseph Kay

A lot of people are saying this, but it is absolutely untrue. We are not looking out for our 'pals'. None of us are friends with J (as in see him socially). We redact real names as a matter of principle. The last high profile occasion was when a prominent British anarchist carried out a premeditated physical attack on one of the libcom collective and we still redacted his name. I don't think anyone would claim he's one of our 'pals', so even if you think we're wrong give us the credit of acting on principle not nepotism.

Fair enough.

Blasto

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I am done with this thread, but Joseph has repeatedly ask that people read up first before chipping in. I think that is completely reasonable and have compiled a reading list here. I have pulled together every document I can find that has already been linked to elsewhere.

http://libcom.org/forums/general/cop-consultant-reading-list-17102011

Serge Forward

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

This whole episode is profoundly depressing. Aside from my initial flippant remarks at the start of this thread, once I realised what it was about, I decided I wasn't going to comment on any of this. However, since it's got to the stage it has, with people falling out who should really be working together, I will now make a few comments and ask that those involved take a deep breath and count to five.

On the wealth of information that is now circulating, it appears that J from Aufheben has crossed a line he should not have crossed, whether this implies outright police collaboration is not clear but there does seem to be a degree of collaboration with emergency services including the police. That said, none of this means that J is a police infiltrator or spy, as some have alleged, because a) none of the evidence suggests this and b) infiltrators do not generally behave in the way he has. In other words, J has actually been open about what he does. He's an academic whose professional area has led to certain lines becoming very blurred. And that is essentially the problem, nothing so dramatic or colourful as some of his detractors seem to suggest, but nevertheless, still wholly inappropriate activities for someone involved with our movement.

Libcom and Aufheben's response has been less open. I understand their desire to defend J. If I'd been involved with Aufheben or the Libcom admin or knew J personally, I may well have felt similarly myself, especially if it concerned a long term comrade. Loyalty toward your comrades is very important in our movement but it can sometimes be misplaced.

TPTG were absolutely right to raise the matter. However, they were wrong to do it in the manner they did - although, with the initial responses from Libcom and Aufheben, I'm not surprised it blew up. Also, the fact that others have since waded in with all sorts of weird and wonderful allegations against J, Aufheben and Libcom, or thrown in their personal bugbears such as the role of academics in the movement, etc, has really not helped to clarify anything or help us find a solution to this dire situation.

Libcom admin were right to remove posts which named J, in line with Libcom policy. They were wrong to label it a smear because, whatever the admins knew or didn't know, this is still prejudging the issue. And by beginning with a pre-judgement, the scene was set for TPTG and others to become more agitated and make the issue even more volatile. In the face or some of the more whacky allegations about J, Libcom and Aufheben are right to stick to their guns in defending him (and themselves) against these. However, they are wrong to dismiss the idea that J has crossed a line. They are wrong to give credence to the non-credible excuses for J's name appearing on certain research and articles.

The really sad thing about all this is not the fact that a comrade crossed a line in his academic field but the way we as a movement/milieu/scene have responded to it. J has been found 'guilty' in a manner that might shame aspects of the bourgeois justice system while those defending him have resorted to closing ranks and stonewalling. Others on the periphery have behaved like yappy dogs trying to get a crafty bite in. Some of you seriously need to give your head a fucking wobble.

I have a lot of respect for TPTG, Libcom and Aufheben and it pains me to see what's happening here. However, the situation is not necessarily insoluable. If we want to sort it out, without the drama, flouncing out, spitting our dummies out, then we can.

Firstly, J needs to accept that his professional work has led to a blurring of the lines between being a revolutionary and being an academic. He needs to accept that he has crossed that line; he should be clear in his own mind how far he has crossed over that line and should accept that this is incompatible with his revolutionary politics. He also needs to decide which side he's on and act accordingly. This would mean he'd need to think about the area he works in and make changes in the area he researches and who he deals with. If he insists he has not crossed a line, then he still needs to be aware how this will be perceived by others in the milieu and how the milieu will most likely respond.

Aufheben in particular and possibly Libcom need to seriously talk to their comrade, offer him support to clearly understand the situation his work has placed him in and help him to decide where to go from here.

TPTG and others need to lay off and give them time to sort it out, say, a couple of weeks. Those who just want to gob off or be part of an ongoing soap opera can try and keep your traps shut.

In two weeks, if Aufheben could issue a statement to let us know the outcome, it'd be appreciated. Then if those things are done, it will be up to the rest of us to decide how to respond. We will have the choice to either put it behind us and start behaving more fraternally towards each other or disassociate ourselves from J, Aufheben, Libcom, that Serge Forward cunt, or whoever you like.

I personally hope no one will feel the need to disassociate from anyone, but there you go, optimistic till the end.

baboon

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I personally agree with Serge above as a positive first step. Further down the road is the need to strengthen questions of organisation, solidarity and how we address each other in the internationalist, libertarian, communist and anarchist milieu that defends the interests of the working class.

LBird

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Serge Forward

Firstly, J needs to accept that his professional work has led to a blurring of the lines between being a revolutionary and being an academic. He needs to accept that he has crossed that line; he should be clear in his own mind how far he has crossed over that line and should accept that this is incompatible with his revolutionary politics. He also needs to decide which side he's on and act accordingly. This would mean he'd need to think about the area he works in and make changes in the area he researches and who he deals with. If he insists he has not crossed a line, then he still needs to be aware how this will be perceived by others in the milieu and how the milieu will most likely respond.

This passage by Serge points to the real root of the problem, which I pointed out earlier.

LBird, post #233,

The problem with JD's position is that he seems to believe in a false 'academic objectivity', of some sort, a position of 'neutral observation' from which he can 'understand' and 'analyse'.

This is impossible. Any research by anyone is always done from a 'perspective'. And those who deny having a 'perspective' are using a conservative method which pretends to itself and its adherents that it is 'objective'. The 'non-perspective' method of academia is an ideological lie.

If one doesn't 'go native', one by necessity 'remains imperialist'.

There is no 'outside of the exploitative system'.

Academics can remain in academia and remain revolutionaries. There are plenty of posters here who are academics in some form, and yet remain good revolutionaries, in my opinion.

In the past, I think it's been easier to be a 'covert Commie' in academia, and keep one's 'true' views apart from one's academic work, for the sake of job, pay, career and advancement. Perhaps JD has tried honestly to do this.

But he was wrong.

Perhaps this need for academics to be 'out in the open' about their real political views, even at the cost of 'academic respectability', and maybe their jobs, is growing ever stronger. For some, the decision will be made for them, when they lose their jobs, which surely soon many will.

On the issue of the form the debate has taken, I'm not sure any of us Libertarian Communists come out of it smelling of roses.

Let's hope years of good work, done by all sides concerned, won't be thrown away, and a sense of perspective will prevail eventually. There are too few of us even now.

I hope everyone can be reconciled, with some good faith and reflection on all sides. If not, it doesn't bode well for our future society.

no1

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Serge, thanks for that post, it's really refreshing to have someone engage with the actual substance of this mess, and try to find a way out of an impasse.

There can be a danger in trying to be even handed if it means finding the middle ground between something that's false and something that's true . One thing I disagree with is when you say "Aufheben's response has been less open". Their initial response was quite clear that J has made a "mistake" by having his name attached to papers he disagrees with in principle but regards as harmless ; and it was also clear from their response that he has talked to cops as part of his work on how to deal with mass emergencies. What, in your opinion, should they have been more open about?

I agree with you that it is wrong to dismiss out of hand the idea that J has crossed a line *. However, I think it is far from clear that a line has been crossed. Where do you think that line is, and how has J crossed the line?

* I think the response from the libcom collective (labelling the TPTG letter a "smear", etc.) gave the strong impression that they dismissed that idea out of hand , however it has now become clear that they investigated the issues in details, which implies that they did take this serious.
[btw. I do think it was a mistake by libcom collective to label it as a smear in the first sentence, and I actually sent a PM to one of them saying so on the day this began.]

Ramona

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

David Jacobs

The thought that this could be a site of censorship and possible police inflitration
or monitoring never crossed our foolish little minds.

We're finished with libcom until libcom clears all this up, and clears it up
clearly!

Rob Ray (thanks, again) answered this well above, but...

-We have very clear posting guidelines, use of real names is clearly in breach of that, as Ed mentioned above we also redacted the name of another anarchist who had physically attacked one of the admin, so it's not just us protecting our mates.

-To take giant leaps from 'aufheben guy gave a lecture to police about dealing with mass emergencies' = 'aufheben guy helps police control crowds' = 'libcom admins dispute this and redact his name' = 'libcom admin have been inflitrated by the police and are monitoring us'... well, that's pretty ambitous but I guess it makes for a really good story. But then I would say that wouldn't I?

-To have not considered the idea that libcom could be monitored by the police is perhaps a little naive - we're a public site, we host content about anarchism, demonstrations, workplace organizing, it's pretty likely that at least threads here and there may have caught the attention of the powers that be. We also have journalists making requests on the forums to talk to REAL LIFE ANARCHISTS, and using quotes from the forums to smear anarchists in shitty newspaper articles. This is why we "censor" people's personal information, to try and minimise the amount of potentially damaging info our site hosts. We are not police informants, or collaborators.

Auto

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I have stayed well out of this as I have been extremely saddened and alienated by the very aggressive nature of this debate. Especially as it comes in the wake of fairly positive conversations in the 'Macho Posting' thread. However I would just like to say that I agree with the general thrust of Serge's post above.

Ultimately I think everyone needs to take a step back, remember that they are talking with fellow comrades-in-struggle, and try to debate these things as calmly as possible. If we can't do that then what hope do we have?

Serge Forward

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

no1

One thing I disagree with is when you say "Aufheben's response has been less open". Their initial response was quite clear that J has made a "mistake" by having his name attached to papers he disagrees with in principle but regards as harmless ; and it was also clear from their response that he has talked to cops as part of his work on how to deal with mass emergencies. What, in your opinion, should they have been more open about?

Yes, you are right. Looking back at Aufheben's reply, the mistake was acknowledged and that part was a fairly open response. However, as to whether the mistake or having his name added to work that could feasibly be used to assist the police in crowd control is not harmless, that's a completely different kettle of fish. Also, the whole notion of J passively allowing his name to be added to very questionable articles or research that he claims to disagree with was not convincing either. Personally, if someone added my name to such research, I'd immediately demand they remove it and nail their fucking head to the floor. J and Aufheben's apparent blaséness about this does not seem like the genuine response of a revolutionary.

no1

I agree with you that it is wrong to dismiss out of hand the idea that J has crossed a line *. However, I think it is far from clear that a line has been crossed. Where do you think that line is, and how has J crossed the line?

I don't know exactly where J has crossed the line, but the fact that his work is referenced and his name is used as a favourable source in pro-police publications, and the fact that his own biog page listed dubious research involvement tells me he really needs to think about what he's doing in his professional life and reassert which side he's on.

But I don't want to get into a big discussion over the rights and wrongs of J's research, that's for J and Aufheben to discuss between themselves, and hopefully come up with a way forward and try find a less damaging outcome to this unhappy situation.

lurdan

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Joseph Kay

We redact real names as a matter of principle.

Presumably that's as distinct from the subtly different circumstances where a Sussex University press release about JD's work – containing his full name - is reprinted on Libcom in 2010 and someone called Joseph Kay drops an extremely broad hint as to his identity in the comments underneath it.

Joseph Kay

you're quoting a press release yeah? you know how these are written, industrial mass pickets are seen as old hat so they'd obviously emphasise the 'sexy' stuff. that said this was done (a) by Johnny and (b) in Brighton, so the activistist assumption isn't too far fetched.

Like puppies, principles aren't just for Christmas...

Joseph Kay

The only stuff he's spoken to the cops about is mass emergencies, making practical recommendations like regular evacuation drills for large buildings and communication with crowds rather than repression and expert monopolisation of info.

and then at the end of the same paragraph we have :
Joseph Kay

He does not work on "crowd control". This is, and remains, a smear.

You might make the case that his work on mass emergencies is 'good' crowd control as opposed to the 'bad' crowd control Dr Stott works on. But you cannot claim that he "does not work on crowd control". Except of course in the strictly limited sense that the word used in his 2008 CBRN course outline is not 'control' but 'manage'. The distinction between the words 'control' and 'management' may very well be an important one for JD himself and how he sees and undertakes his professional work. (I imply no criticism in writing that). But in the different setting of a pro-revolutionary forum it is nonsense to suggest that they are not inseparably linked concepts.

As to the charge that he has been smeared :

TPTG produced a critique of the uses that have been made of a model of crowd behaviour he is closely associated with. They focused on one text - a text which had his name on. It is stated repeatedly that TPTG had been told that he hadn't written it before they published their first open letter. TPTG don't deny they were told this - they say explicitly that they did not accept what they had been told.
TPTG in the Second Open Letter

This awkward and weakly argued email, instead of providing us with satisfactory answers, actually increased our suspicions and urged us to look into the matter more closely.
(...)
Actually, by not dealing with our specific arguments against knowledge-based public order policing and the concrete examples of how dangerous it can be, they proved - in their only concern to protect their member - their indifference towards the matter of state repression.

I'm guessing that they are referring to things like this :
Aufheben in the Response to TPTG

J was added as an author by the first author as a ‘favour’, because part of the paper refers to J’s research on identity-change in crowds. Being added as an author is a standard academic practice; and sometimes published papers contain statements that some of the named authors don’t agree with. But in this case it was a mistake by J to allow his name to be added to a paper that he was against in principle.

As TPTG were aware by the time they first published it wasn't just one paper containing ideas he apparently doesn't agree which has his name on it. More importantly the picture that is painted by this paragraph of Aufheben's does not match up to what is clear to anyone looking at JD's published work.

JD has worked closely with Professor Reicher and Dr Stott on a model of crowd behaviour and continues to work with them in promoting that model and in joint research based on it.

His core research is in the area of crowd psychology. Along with his colleagues Professor Steve Reicher (University of St Andrews) and Dr Clifford Stott (University of Liverpool), he developed the Elaborated Social Identity Model (ESIM) of crowd behaviour.

JD may disapprove of some of the uses his colleagues put this model to - but his name has been put on such uses. Even if he is the junior member of the team which developed this model of crowd behaviour he isn't a Teaching Assistant or a Grade 6 Researcher who has no say about whether he is credited or not. He is an established academic with a reputation of his own – a reputation which is important for his professional work.

It would be silly to suggest that there was anything to prevent him indicating that he doesn't fully agree with some of the uses the model is put to - if he felt it was important. But he hasn't done. All we have is what Aufhaben say in the reply to TPTG. And what they say actually gives a worse impression. Aufhaben don't say 'JD helped produce a model of crowd behaviour which he considers useful but he doesn't agree with some of the uses it has been put to'. Instead they give the impression that he had nothing to do with any of it other than the fact his research was used - which clearly isn't the case. The research in question was carried out using that model. And as others have pointed out they then try to make a case that the use of the work he doesn't agree with doesn't actually matter.

Given this background, the charge that TPTG are smearing him comes down to the argument that TPTG ought to have believed Aufheben. Why should TPTG accept that JD should be disassociated from the uses this model of crowd behavior is put to – uses which have his name on - when Aufhaben appear to be being less than candid about his role in producing and promoting the model underlying the work TPTG are criticizing?

Should they believe Aufheben just because he's 'a comrade' ? Why should they accept that he is a comrade ? For me the term comrade is something to be applied to people I know, that I can trust and who I can expect to trust me. The notion of 'long distance' comradeship is not just stupid it's dangerous. I can think of plenty of examples where I have agreed with the words people have put on paper, only to discover that we actually meant very different things by them in practice. Or that they had other views which cancelled out those I agreed with. Or that they were not what they represented themselves to be.

If I do things (actively or passively, by commission or omission) which give strangers the wrong impression it's not a smear if they take what I have done, or allowed to be done in my name, at face value.

ocelot

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

One political aspect that hasn't been mentioned so far is the relationship between all this and autonomist politics.

Operaismo/Autonomia passed on as a legacy two main concepts or tools. The first, conricerca (from Panzieri), loosely co-research (con - with, ricerca - research). The second, the concept of processes of composition, decompostion and recomposition.

I would argue that the way that Stott and others obtained their base material for their research - i.e. participant observation, from the inside of the social movements they studied, is in some ways a perversion of the conricerca model. By definition conricerca was posited on an acceptance that much academic research into social movements is from the outside and in the service of capital. Conricerca claimed to take a partisan position for the workers, against capital, and from the inside of struggles, not outside them. Here we see the danger of a recuperation of conricerca, where researchers claim to be working from the inside and "sharing the values and objectives" of the movement*, but then go on to transmit the findings to the institutional state actors. The question then becomes, when does con-ricerca, turn back into contra-ricerca? And how should social movements defend themselves from this happening? Without reactively destroying any possibility for genuine conricerca (e.g. the tendency of some insurrectionists to attack all camera people, regardless of whether they are commercial snappers, protest TV, or defence campaign anti-police monitoring).

The second question, the relationship between the ESIM model and the autonomist composition/decomposition model can be best illustrated with that example that lurdan picked out from JD's blog, above (comment #222):

I was reminded on hearing this story [allegation of PC Kennedy going native] of an episode in my ethnographic research study of the No M11 campaign, part of the UK anti-roads movement in the early 1990s (See http://www.indymedia.org.uk/en/2004/02/285484.html ). Here too I was studying a type of psychological change that occurred in people involved in an environmental direct action campaign. Wanstead residents objected to their local green being dug up for the construction of a trunk road. They changed on a number of levels. They came to see themselves as in the ‘same group’ as the ‘activists’ who had come to the area for the protest - and indeed in the same group as activists across the country and around the world. They therefore came to see themselves as different from their local neighbours who stood passively by and watched the loss of green space. They also adopted a much more critical view of the police force: when previously the police had been seen as neutral or a protector of their individual rights, now they were seen as agents of unpopular government policy and hence ‘political’.
[...]
But there was something else happening at the time of the transformation of these ‘local’ people into ‘political subjects’. This was their participation in the ‘direct action’ itself. While they may have intended their participation to be different (less ‘direct’) than that of the ‘activists’, it was not seen that way by the police, who acted upon the protesters as a whole – as a crowd, in fact.

Put differently, the (unintended) consequence of the ‘locals’ acting ‘with’ the rest of the crowd was police action which served to impose a common experience (of ‘illegitimate attack’) on all, such that the distinction between ‘activist’ and ‘local’ could no longer be easily sustained. In a context when one is treated as ‘oppositional’ by the police, arguments about the ‘political’ nature of road-building will seem more plausible, and those making them more persuasive. Such people come to be seen as ‘one of us’ rather than ‘one of them’, and we might listen to more carefully.

This is clearly recognisable to anyone familiar with autonomist concepts, as a discussion of police action in relation to the composition of the activist and 'locals' into a unified antagonist political subjectivity. Yet the work of the ESIM model, as articulated by Stott in the Police Review and HMIC report, is clearly about how the police can adapt their activity to minimise the possibility of this composition effect. Does the development by Stott & JD of the Elaborated Social Identity Model from their Exeter Uni supervisor Reicher's original SIM model, include the incorporation, even the recuperation, of elements of the autonomist analysis of processes of composition and decomposition? Needs further investigation, but apriori it certainly looks like it.

The political question then is, if one of the major goals of communists is the recomposition of antagonist collective subjectivities, ultimately class-wide, does the recuperation of public order policing academics of the analysis of composition and decomposition any threat to that project?

Clearly the intention of Stott and Reicher (leaving JD out of this) is precisely that, to prevent the composition of collective antagonistic subjectivities, in the name of defending the useful social role of "peaceful protest". (Which has resonance with the compulsory pacifist tendency we are seeing in the indignados & Occupy movements, as already noted). But intention is no guarantee of effectiveness. Which is JK's argument (comment # 234):

- But what is the substance of this? Stott favours graded policing over full-on repression. He somehow has to convince the police that violence is often their fault. in plain english, the 'insight' of the ESIM model is 'if the cops act like cunts, people are more likely to kick off'.

- his sales pitch to the police is that softer policing equals less arrests and less disorder, meaning happier police bosses and politicians. But this is based entirely on situations where there is a harmony of interests, and therefore the police can facilitate the crowd rather than arbitrarily repress them (the Euro 2004 study is main evidence base).

- however this doesn't apply when there's a conflict of interest, such as in class struggles, or a crowd set on property destruction or economic disruption. in such circumstances the police have no option but to fall back on repression, regardless of Stott et al's 'insights' that this may escalate things. For example, UK Uncut. If they're disrupting commercial activity the police can't 'facilitate' that because their role is to defend capital. But even if they do facilitate it, that just means UK Uncut win by getting to disrupt targets at will.

- for example, at Millbank, police were pretty hands off. however rather than leading to self-policing law-abiding protest, students took advantage of the low-key police presence to occupy and sack millbank. there was very little violence (ignoring property), but the movement escalated through the event.

- on the other hand, a fortnight later the police had swung back the other way with kettles and mounted charges and a heavy TSG presence. yet within the kettle, those posh kids did try to 'self-police' by protecting the (erroneously named) #baitvan. however despite all the violence, the movement itself dissipated shortly after.

- in other words, there's no simple relationship between soft/hard policing and escalation/de-escalation of struggles. sometimes the police standing off allows us the space to attack (e.g. Millbank), other times the lack of police provocation means everyone marches from A-B and goes home (Stop the War). While sometimes police repression escalates the struggle (e.g. Sussex uni campus last year), while other times it smashes and demoralises the movement (countless examples).

- hence despite its sales pitch, this stuff cannot possibly undermine our struggles. it only applies when there's no underlying conflict of interests.

Now if we look back at JD's Wanstead example, clearly there is a conflict of interest here between the police whose job is to minimise disruption to the road being built; and those opposed, both actvists and 'locals'. But are the actions of the police powerless to make a difference in this case? Not according to JD who implies clearly that had the police intervention taken more care to exploit the pre-existing divisions between activists and locals, so as to reinforce them, they could have avoided creating this shared identity of a common antagonism. And this is the same analysis that Stott is pushing as ways to make policing more effective, by reducing the spread of hardcore opposition attitudes and identities, so as to "enable peaceful, legitimate protest" in Stotts' auto-mythology or "get the road built faster with less security costs" from the perspective of the police who go to his trainings. In summary I reject JK's argumentation as both wrong and, ultimately, damaging to any social movement that requires the maximisation of the numbers willing to adopt an antagonistic approach to state forces.

* (n.b. not the same thing - the latter allows you to later instrumentalise with the justification of serving the transcendant goal - i.e. "it's for your own good", or "it's for the good of the campaign")

Arbeiten

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

But I don't want to get into a big discussion over the rights and wrongs of J's research, that's for J and Aufheben to discuss between themselves, and hopefully come up with a way forward and try find a less damaging outcome to this unhappy situation.

Perhaps now the everyone has a let of a bit of steam this can be concentrated on. Ya know. How are we going to go forward? What does this mean (if anything?) for the wider project of Aufheben etc, etc.

tastybrain

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I think Libcom is great in general and most of the time the moderators do a great job. Their responses to this issue have not been exemplary but that's no reason to leave the site or think it's crawling with informants or anything like that. I would like to second what Serge Forward and a few other people have said in that we need to handle this in a calm and friendly manner, without excoriating each other.

That said...can some of the "it's no big deal" people tell me how this is in any way acceptable or unproblematic:

J

I was reminded on hearing this story [allegation of PC Kennedy going native] of an episode in my ethnographic research study of the No M11 campaign, part of the UK anti-roads movement in the early 1990s (See http://www.indymedia.org.uk/en/2004/02/285484.html ). Here too I was studying a type of psychological change that occurred in people involved in an environmental direct action campaign. Wanstead residents objected to their local green being dug up for the construction of a trunk road. They changed on a number of levels. They came to see themselves as in the ‘same group’ as the ‘activists’ who had come to the area for the protest - and indeed in the same group as activists across the country and around the world. They therefore came to see themselves as different from their local neighbours who stood passively by and watched the loss of green space. They also adopted a much more critical view of the police force: when previously the police had been seen as neutral or a protector of their individual rights, now they were seen as agents of unpopular government policy and hence ‘political’.
[...]
But there was something else happening at the time of the transformation of these ‘local’ people into ‘political subjects’. This was their participation in the ‘direct action’ itself. While they may have intended their participation to be different (less ‘direct’) than that of the ‘activists’, it was not seen that way by the police, who acted upon the protesters as a whole – as a crowd, in fact.
Put differently, the (unintended) consequence of the ‘locals’ acting ‘with’ the rest of the crowd was police action which served to impose a common experience (of ‘illegitimate attack’) on all, such that the distinction between ‘activist’ and ‘local’ could no longer be easily sustained. In a context when one is treated as ‘oppositional’ by the police, arguments about the ‘political’ nature of road-building will seem more plausible, and those making them more persuasive. Such people come to be seen as ‘one of us’ rather than ‘one of them’, and we might listen to more carefully.

jesuithitsquad

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I really wonder if any of the pious prolier than thou folks could spend a moment of self-reflection comparing their stance on this issue to the way evangelical christians treat 'backsliders' (those who were once members of the fold before pursuing a life of sin). the denunciations really seem to have an almost religious fervor usually confined to american cults.
lurdan

Presumably that's as distinct from the subtly different circumstances where a Sussex University press release about JD's work – containing his full name - is reprinted on Libcom in 2010 and someone called Joseph Kay drops an extremely broad hint as to his identity in the comments underneath it.

While this was a fantastic comment in a game of point scoring, it seems you didn't really count on anyone to actually click through the link. Honestly, are you saying that prior to this debacle you would have understood the subtext of the 'Johnny' comment? If you did then you were the intended audience. I know I wouldn't have. As is obvious to anyone giving that comment a fair reading, it was a coded way to let another poster 'in the know' know the study was done by a trusted source.

As for all those 'outraged' about the behavior of the libcom adminazis I have one to add: how long is the knowing, blatant flaunting of site guidelines going to be tolerated? How Samatnof is allowed to continue to post here after being repeatedly warned about using identifying information is really amazing considering the campaign to silence dissenting voices.

Who the fuck is David Jacobs, and why the fuck should I care if he takes his toys and goes home? I know that sounds like a real asshole comment, but I mean seriously, what 10 posts in 2 years, and you act as if your public flounce (only to come back a few hrs later, much like Sam's repeated threats--please for the love of fuck, follow through Sam!!) is a big deal? You've contributed next to nothing here (and most of it self-promoting), which isn't a problem in and of itself; people are free to post or not, but to make a big announcement you are leaving, after very few contributions is just silly. I really love how people treat this place like they are paying customers demanding quality services or else they'll take their business elsewhere. Ffs

Finally:

Whatisinevidence

It boggles my mind how anyone with any dignity (much less a communist) could defend someone who consults with the cops about anything, much less about how to control crowds.

This is patently absurd. It must be nice living in your ivory tower, but in my world things are sometimes a bit messier than a simple dichotomy of goodies v baddies. For example, I'll copy an edited version of what I wrote a comrade in a PM about this mess:

While reading some of the diatribes I've been thinking about my line of work w adults w developmental disabilities. On occasion--and actually quite recently--when a client gets abused, exploited or neglected I have a responsibility to contact adult protective services, which here is a division of the prosecutor's office. A recent example is pretty mild: a client went to set up phone service was denied b/c he had an oustanding bill of $107 for a number & address he never had. The name on the bill is a made up feminization of his first name (by cleverly adding an "ia" to his common male name) with the same last name. The last 4 digits of the disputed phone number are the same as a previous # he had with the prefix being different, so its quite clear a former staff person nabbed his SSN & set up phone service using his identity. Its not that huge of a deal by the standard of some of the shit I've seen, but in addition to contacting APS I have to actively participate in the investigation. By the pro TPTG crowd standards I'm pretty much a cop collaborator, but not only do I not feel bad about it, but I feel like its important work that is a necessary social responsibility, much like disaster planning.

Eagerly awaiting a denunciation in an open letter about that backslider jesuithitsquad off of libcop...

jesuithitsquad

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Also, in the interest of honest dialogue, I wonder if the DuPonts or other NilCommer would do us the favor of decloaking from their new account? I mean, since everyone has innocent, non-ideological intentions and all...

whatisinevidence

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

How long did J.D. do this work and how long did people know about it? In the Aufheben statement, they mention it being a 'decade old rumor'. If people have known about this shit for ten years and never said anything, that is a problem.

proletarian.

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Yeah but jesuit, c'mon what you're talking about simply would not have the effect that this whole issue is about re "cop collaboration". i.e effect it will have on the class via the state.

To take another example, talking to a cop cos you've been in a car accident would be quite different from doing research on how to control crowds which is then used by the state or you go and give lectures on it or whatever to actual cops.

I posted a video earlier in this thread to try and lighten the mood a bit and because I thought some people were being completely over the top but there are many valid points being made also by these same people - ones that seem pretty rudimentary. I don't think there's any reason to tell them to fuck off and such like if they say they're going to go they probably will sooner or later.

Anyway, one thing this whole episode has highlighted (and not for the first time) is a lack of democracy or structure within the forum. The idea that because the Libcom group pay for the site etc they should have total control and say, be the admins etc seems pretty undemocratic and not very anarchist. Would it be possible to have admins voted for, rotating admins, less financial burden on the Libcom group and so on? I'm sure others can think of other potential measures. Or am I missing the point, maybe the issues are bigger than this?

Arbeiten

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

proletarian. your not missing the point, your point is totally invalid. How has this been undemocratic? the libcom group have allowed people to say what they want, against their own judgement. all they have done is taken the name J out of posts. Having their own opinion on a matter is not undemocratic, its politics....

On David jacobs, isn't he just a troll who appears occasionally just to remind everyone else that their politics are shite while his are great?

proletarian.

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Hi Arbeiten, undemocratic in that members of the Libcom group thought it best to keep certain discussions internal, dismiss an issue that some wanted to bring to the fore. And that they have a certain position over other people in general involved in this forum. Things like "they allowed people to say what they want"..."against their own judgement" yeah, I should think so too. Do they really see Libcom as their own little plaything, their property? I think it is the wrong attitude despite how much time, effort and money they might have ploughed in. Or does having this attitude stop the forum becoming revleft? Serious question.

I don't know who that person is and don't really care either. I wasn't talking about specific individuals.

Arbeiten

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

What I meant when I said against their better judgement, was not that it is their property, but that they have the ability to delete posts etc, etc and haven't done. that would be undemocratic. Thats the only de facto 'undemocratic' power a mod has right? As I said in my last post, I don't think having a stance on an issue is undemocratic. That said, I don't think the TPTG letter should have been accompanied with a picture of Pinocchio, but I'm not really sure that that fundamentally challenged the tenants of democracy.

I haven't seen this specific issue discussed on RevLeft, but the discussions on Indymedia have not been nearly as enlightening as what has happened here. I actually think it is much more 'democratic' (if we consider this a value in-itself) to have people disagree and debate an issue rather than comfortably pat our own backs safe in the knowledge we are on the 'right side'.

Devrim

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

proletarian.

Anyway, one thing this whole episode has highlighted (and not for the first time) is a lack of democracy or structure within the forum. The idea that because the Libcom group pay for the site etc they should have total control and say, be the admins etc seems pretty undemocratic and not very anarchist. Would it be possible to have admins voted for, rotating admins, less financial burden on the Libcom group and so on? I'm sure others can think of other potential measures. Or am I missing the point, maybe the issues are bigger than this?

I don't quite see this at all. It is their political project. If you were to set up a political group, which developed a successful forum, would you then think that it would be my 'right' to have some sort of part in democratic control over it because I posted there? Do you feel that as a reader of an anarchist paper you also feel that you should have some editorial say in it because they once published a letter you wrote to it?

Devrim

jesuithitsquad

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Proletarian.- of course it is different. You have the ability to understand nuance, something the virulent anti-Aufheben/libcom crowd appears incapable of. Look again at the quote I responded to where whatsinevidence states consulting the cops about ANYTHING is unforgivable ... Additionally, the thing about consulting on 'crowd control' is only what he is accused of doing, not what he has done. What he admits to doing is in relation to disaster management, which is what I compared my example to above.

The libcom collective can answer you for themselves, but they've never claimed the site was democratic in anyway other than internally. Making it a closed, member based decision making group with tight theoretical unity is the way they've chosen to ensure the site can present a clear political vision. If it was an open, democratic operation it could present the risk of getting overrun by ancaps or Nazis (in an extreme example but closer to home it could be neo-platformists or pareceonists) who could then change the content to relect their politics.

Finally, I think its brilliant to see the pro Aufheben crowd getting accused of being blinkered on the subject while the other crowd continue to make blind assertions regardless of the responses, like the kid with his fingers in his ears saying, "lalalalala I can't hear you!"

EDIT: cross posted w Devrim

proletarian.

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Devrim,

Yes, I see a problem with people thinking about organisations as their political project and not a 'project' of the class. And yes, I also think there should be room for some who contribute to be involved more in the actual organisation. Forums are different from propaganda sheets - essentially what communist papers are. Some users on here contribute so much to the forums, uploading texts and so on, countless hours. And not in small numbers but quite a few people.

Mike Harman

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

OK I've barely been online (and am still not on much this week) so I've just caught up with the past 200 comments. May or may not have more to say on this but since this is now turning into a spat with libcom as well as between Aufheben and TPTG I'll just quickly respond to this:

proletarian.

Hi Arbeiten, undemocratic in that members of the Libcom group thought it best to keep certain discussions internal, dismiss an issue that some wanted to bring to the fore.

We made it clear when we first heard about this that 1. posting personal details of people in communist and anarchist groups is not allowed on the site - this is rule we've had since the site opened and it has been applied to people who physically attacked one admin at the anarchist bookfair - so there are no exceptions. 2. That TPTG/Samotnaf should have made some effort to contact Aufheben and deal with the disputed information in the open letter before publishing it.

That conversation ended when Samotnaf sent a pm saying they were going to hold off publishing (anywhere, not just on libcom), which was their decision not ours - there are lots of sites where you can post articles like this if you want (and it's been posted to those too). When they posted much the same thing anyway (and the followups) despite breaching posting guidelines, they have only been unpublished long enough to redact names (which obviously could have been done before posting the article but then you don't get to complain about 'censorship').

When TPTG held of publishing for another couple of months, without telling anyone, was that undemocratic too?

TPTG's website is here: http://www.tapaidiatisgalarias.org/

I don't see any mechanism for people who aren't members of that group to post articles to the site. Are they censoring everyone that's not in their group?

And that they have a certain position over other people in general involved in this forum. Things like "they allowed people to say what they want"..."against their own judgement" yeah, I should think so too.

Should we allow spammers to post on the site freely, or is deleting their posts and banning them censorship? What about if someone started to post the complete works of Ayn Rand to the library? What if people start posting up the names and addresses of all the posters on the site? Do you draw any kind of lines with what sort of content should be on here?
Serious question.

Do they really see Libcom as their own little plaything, their property? I think it is the wrong attitude despite how much time, effort and money they might have ploughed in. Or does having this attitude stop the forum becoming revleft? Serious question.

The site runs because we work on it. We do not want it to become revleft (nor indymedia) - if it started looking like either of those sites I would personally stop working on it. I'm not going to spend my free time working on a website run by the whims of random people on the internet many of whom hate each other, a couple of sites started up that tried to do this, like meanwhileatthebar, and it did not go well.

Mr. Jolly

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Operaismo/Autonomia passed on as a legacy two main concepts or tools. The first, conricerca (from Panzieri), loosely co-research (con - with, ricerca - research). The second, the concept of processes of composition, decompostion and recomposition.

This is conricerca for the Blair generation.

Rachel

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

re the '10 year old gossip' that we keep hearing about.
Actually this story goes back further, it was the mid-90s when the first lot of denunciations were circulated by hand and post, as was the practice then. Obviously some have been simmering with indignation for 15 years, but most others probably worked it out through talking, listening, working and struggling with each other.
I was struck by what Cooked wrote earlier:
Is the drama intended to set an example to prevent others in the movement from slipping into dubious territory?
- Is there an idea that his output is somehow tainted and that the Aufheben texts are no longer valid? If not his you would presumably prefer him continuing his writing?
- Is there a hope he will resign from his job and focus all energy on communism? Thus preventing more crowd controlling theory from being potentially put into practice by the police?
- Is it a strictly moral issue where no outcome is sough other than punishing the fallen.
- Is this a warning to people who might get politically involved with him. If this is the case what are the perceived risks of getting involved with him.
- Is it just a matter of getting the info out so people can make up their minds?
I'd like to echo Jason C (I think) above to ask what it is that TPTG and Samotnaf want to happen now. What would be a good outcome for you? Presumably the plan is for some big drama (even physical violence?) at the anarchist bookfair, then what? I can't help but think that for some involved, the destruction of projects (Aufheben? Libcom?) is in itself is a worthy goal, but I'm not sure that's true of all those who put such effort into these open letters. Beyond the research project you propose: what?

Samotnaf

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I know I've said I would be off this thread,but I have to clarify this ambiguous statement by Mike Harman, since I'm the only one in a position to clarify the ambiguity:

That conversation ended when Samotnaf sent a pm saying they were going to hold off publishing (anywhere, not just on libcom), which was their decision not ours

This heavily implies I'd said we weren't going to publish it at all, but it's vaguely ambiguous enough to also include what I in fact said, which was

We've decided not to pursue this for the moment - need some time for reflection

(2 separate PMs, dated 25/8/2011, to Steven and Joseph Kay, the latter never revealing that he'd written for Aufheben or that he'd seen "Chaos Theory", which he now claims he saw in August, but which me and the TPTG only discovered on September 2nd)
There was no mention of

anywhere, not just on libcom

Mike Harman - you better confirm this.

The rest of the minimising of this, as if class conflict with someone stops immediately they say they're a communist (pursued to its logical "hyperbolic" conclusion, it would mean the Kronstadt sailors were a little hasty and should have waited till 1989 to express their discontent, or less hyperbolicly, the anarchists in Spain should have had held back from their confrontation with the State in 1937, because after all, there were anarchists in the government...), is getting side-tracked both by a couple of those rightly disgusted with The Doctor but bringing up things that confuse the issue and those who wilfully minimise the issue by claiming to think this professional cop consultant should be treated as if he were, say, just a nurse who sometimes has to give reports to the police (a dismissive attitude I anticipated in my article). I suggest people look at the comments by Blasto, lurdan and ocelot, who have clearly put some effort into showing up why the attitudes of libcom and aufheben and their apologists are totally untenable, to say the least. Their comments have largely been treated with an "ignore it and it'll go away" attitude from the pro-cop consultant camp.

There are obviously a lot more things to say about all this, but I have no desire to pursue this further here except if there are any other things attributed to me which I am in the only position to clarify.

no1

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

edit: (removed unhelpful comment)

Samotnaf

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Just seen Rachel's comment, so, once again going against my statement about not wanting to continue on this thread, here I am posting up a PM to Cooked dealing with this:

Hi -
Since I have no desire to go on a thread where critics of me and the TPTG seem to be talking in their sleep, I will at least show you the polite response you deserve to your post in private; whether you make any aspects of this response public is entirely up to you - I don't mind, but please don't mis-quote or quote me out of context (not that you necessarily would, but I don't know you, so ....).
You said:
"Started typing this post yesterday but though better of it. Now RobRay has raised it and I would appreciate to hear what outcome the anti J people want from this "scandal". I would also like to know why it matters to people who have very little to do with him.
- Is the drama intended to set an example to prevent others in the movement from slipping into dubious territory?
- Is there an idea that his output is somehow tainted and that the Aufheben texts are no longer valid? If not his you would presumably prefer him continuing his writing?
- Is there a hope he will resign from his job and focus all energy on communism? Thus preventing more crowd controlling theory from being potentially put into practice by the police?
- Is it a strictly moral issue where no outcome is sough other than punishing the fallen.
- Is this a warning to people who might get politically involved with him. If this is the case what are the perceived risks of getting involved with him.
- Is it just a matter of getting the info out so people can make up their minds?
My own view is that the best thing would be that the crowd control research doesn't come into the cops hands. If there is a way to achieve that I'm all for it. If there is no likely hood of this happening I can't see why this campaign is waged. Judging by the posts above J is not the driving force behind this angle on the research. I can see a risk of J's Aufheben input diminishing if the campaign is sucessful but I can't see why this would be a good thing.
Only no 4 above, it being a moral issue, would require shaming and punishment involving real names. Or possibly no 3 but him getting fired instead of resigning.
If anyone could give some good answers as to what outcome is sough it would be much appreciated. I cant see how we can affect policing by these means, so I'm only vaguely interested in degree of guilt. What interest me more is thinking behind the public real-name usage."

My answer:
"I would appreciate to hear what outcome the anti J people want from this "scandal". I would also like to know why it matters to people who have very little to do with him."

Who cares whether I've met him or not or have anything to do with him: the guy is playing a two-faced game - giving the cops ideas that help divide and rule social contestation whilst going on demos himself. Look at Chaos Theory if nothing else . Regardless of subjective intentions, his "communist" activity supports his help to the cops . The scandal outs him because Aufheben and libcom wanted to keep all this secret: if you were on a demo and he was next to you, you might want to know about his contradictions. Do you only care about things that directly effect you or about people you have something to do with? In which case, never make a critique of Obama or anybody who's died or ...the list is almost endless.
"Is the drama intended to set an example to prevent others in the movement from slipping into dubious territory?"That's certainly one of the intentions, though "dubious territory" is an understatement - but there are several others that should be clear if you read the 2 texts (in mine, a critique of academia, psychologism and other miseries; in the TPTG as well as mine, an attempt to provoke those who consider themselves part of the movement against this society to look at how the cops and the state are refining their techniques of social control).

" Is there an idea that his output is somehow tainted and that the Aufheben texts are no longer valid? If not his you would presumably prefer him continuing his writing?"

Again - look at my comments (now posted,without footnotes unfortunately, on revleft, though not posted by me). How you can make a split between his "radical" writing and his activity as a cop consultant, I don't know. There are still some very good past articles in Aufheben, but I think in th light of what he's doing and the rest of Aufheben's attitude towards what he is doing, the gaps in, and other aspects of, their critiques could be looked at - though the essential thing is to look to yourself, to the extent to which you (or I, for that matter) and the social movements generally still have to progress in our struggles against this world.
"Is there a hope he will resign from his job and focus all energy on communism? Thus preventing more crowd controlling theory from being potentially put into practice by the police?"

Yes - but quite honestly - fat chance unless he's sacked and then has a breakdown and a breakthrough.
"Is it a strictly moral issue where no outcome is sought other than punishing the fallen."
The religious terminology implies a mocking stance - but if you don't have a "moral" aspect to your revulsion against this society, why have a "moral" feeling against - for example - paedophiles or people who stick the heads of their murder victims in the freezer or the bombing of civilians or anything? "Moral" stances are emotional and need to understand the reasons behind the feelings, but they are still necessary, though parodying them as "moral" just represses these emotions - in yourself and in others.
" Is this a warning to people who might get politically involved with him. If this is the case what are the perceived risks of getting involved with him.
- Is it just a matter of getting the info out so people can make up their minds?"

Yes - but certainly not "JUST a matter..." I think the texts and the above answer these questions.
"My own view is that the best thing would be that the crowd control research doesn't come into the cops hands. If there is a way to achieve that I'm all for it. If there is no likely hood of this happening I can't see why this campaign is waged."
This, I'm afraid, is ignorant and naive : look at the articles, Chaos Theory, the other links to his articles and you'll see that obviously the cops and him work hand in hand.
In fact, we haven't even 'outed' him to his bosses, since they know perfectly well what he's up to, and in fact all the information is given by J himself: we've ' outed' him to those who consider themselves part of a radical milieu.
The idea that because somebody writes radical stuff they are therefore somehow exempt from critiques you would make of anyone else who collaborated with the filth only comes from an inordinate identification with the so-called radical milieu, with what people say about themselves to and for this milieu: the history of the various people who claimed to be revolutionary and then helped the counter-revolution means you should really start from an attempt to break with your tolerance for those who claim to be revolutionary and yet help the very forces they claim to oppose.
Sam

Fall Back

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

You want that up, redact it yourself or it'll get taken down. "censorship"

proletarian.

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Hi Mike, what I have tried to get across is that I think the internal structure of the Libcom group should be widened and not consist of a small minority with little to no input from others who use the forum. Obviously there is input from these people like this very sub forum! But I am suggesting something more fundamental. I am not stupid or cretinous enough to be making demands when I say all this I am merely making suggestions to be thought about and discussed (hopefully). For one thing it seems to me to be absurd that there is so much financial burden on so few, of course I don't know what that burden is but when you consider lefty organisations and the money they can rake in! Perhaps if Libcom was not a "personal project" there would be a slightly different attitude to these things? Of course I agree about not posting peoples addresses etc and banning idiots who come along to just fuck about.

Picket

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

proletarian.

For one thing it seems to me to be absurd that there is so much financial burden on so few,

Don't get all dewy-eyed for libcom, they accept donations.

Rachel

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

OK you answered the questions that I copied from Cooked's post. What about this question:
What it is that TPTG and Samotnaf want to happen now? What would be a good outcome for you?

Samotnaf

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Rachel - I've said, and the TPTG have said, at least some of what they want to happen - is it so hard to understand? Perhaps you could say what you would like to happen.
Mike Harman:

TPTG/Samotnaf should have made some effort to contact Aufheben and deal with the disputed information in the open letter before publishing it.

“IT ALL COULD HAVE BEEN RESOLVED VIA EMAIL” -a member of Libcom collective
Before we take on the core arguments of the Aufheben group’s response, we will comment briefly on what had happened in the months preceding the publication of our Open Letter. Aufheben say, in the beginning of their response, that we published our letter “despite an email circulated in August clarifying the numerous factual errors and false claims [we] make” and again in the end of their text “[TPTG] made no attempt to clarify the facts – for example by contacting us with a simple e-mail. We circulated an email back in August explaining these facts. It seems to have been ignored.” This is what happened: when we discovered last January that Dr.Who?, whom we knew as a member of Aufheben, was a cop consultant we were shocked (honestly, we have no idea what this “decade-long gossip” his group refers to is about but we would be interested to know how they dealt with it – just ignored it as another “smear”?). We immediately contacted some London comrades we have known since the 90’s, sending them the relevant documents (including the Policing article) and asking them if they had ever heard anything about this guy’s job. Nobody knew anything about his relation to the police neither had they seen any of the documents before. In the past, whenever we had tried to get in contact with Aufheben through their collective email address it was always “Who?” – as The Doctor is known in the milieu - who answered. On principle we refuse to discuss politics with people related to the cops (or at least suspected of working with the cops). That is why we asked the people we know in London if they had any of the other Aufheben members’ personal emails. One of them said that he would try to get their consent to be contacted by us using their email addresses. The other members did not give him this consent (i.e. told him they did not wish to give it) because they wished comments to be made via the Aufheben collective email address. So, there was not a commonly acceptable way we could communicate with the rest of the group. Some months later, in August, somebody gave Aufheben a copy of a draft text on the issue Samotnaf was circulating for discussion and whose final version he was intending to post on Libcom. On August 22nd, they sent him a reply to this draft which they CCed to other people including us. This awkward and weakly argued email, instead of providing us with satisfactory answers, actually increased our suspicions and urged us to look into the matter more closely. Their “response” to us on Libcom dated October 7 is simply a cut and paste answer taken from the first 4 pages of that older email of theirs (which, by the way, we cannot publish here, since they said it is not for circulation; they can do it, if they wish). All they have done is change the names from Samotnaf to TPTG and cut out a few phrases, plus add a couple (which is how they managed to reply within 12 hours to our Open Letter…). From this ready-made response of theirs’ then, our suspicions that all these people cared about was to defend their cop consultant friend at any cost were confirmed. Actually, by not dealing with our specific arguments against knowledge-based public order policing and the concrete examples of how dangerous it can be, they proved - in their only concern to protect their member - their indifference towards the matter of state repression. It is obvious to us that even if we had managed to contact them last spring, we would have been served with the same lies and distortions included in their response. So, since August this question of contact and discussion between us and them has been of no interest to us. Why? Because we don’t like to be treated in a dishonest way, as if we were idiots. To state it bluntly: our initial suspicions about their refusal to let us contact them through their personal emails (thus avoiding Dr.Who) were reinforced by their totally unconvincing email in August, so not even a grain of truth was expected from them anymore. We had to go on with our research on the researcher ourselves.

Fall Back: I cut and pasted just before I had to go off, without realising that I'd pasted Dr. Who?'s real name. I find the consistency of your principles admirable - constantly shutting the stable door again and again long after several horses kept on bolting - but at least you did your best.....

Mike Harman

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Samotnaf

We've decided not to pursue this for the moment - need some time for reflection

Mike Harman - you better confirm this.

I haven't checked the pm but that's the wording I remember yeah - to me 'hold off' and 'not pursue for the moment' are the same thing.

whatisinevidence

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Rachel

re the '10 year old gossip' that we keep hearing about.
Actually this story goes back further, it was the mid-90s when the first lot of denunciations were circulated by hand and post, as was the practice then. Obviously some have been simmering with indignation for 15 years, but most others probably worked it out through talking, listening, working and struggling with each other.

So J.D. has been doing this sort of research and consultation since the mid-90's and most people in the milieu knew about it but "worked it out"? That's insane.

This means he was approached about it and criticized back then but never stopped. If Aufheben had any interest in telling the truth, surely they would have mentioned these denunciations from the 90's. If J.D. had any principles, surely he would've stopped doing this shit back then (or if Aufheben had any principles they would have stopped working with him)?

I am glad I am not part of your milieu. It sounds like a very sorry state of affairs full of mendacity and rackets.

RedHughs

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Rachel

... Is it just a matter of getting the info out so people can make up their minds? I'd like to echo Jason C (I think) above to ask what it is that TPTG and Samotnaf want to happen now. What would be a good outcome for you?

Without me having talked to Samofnaf or TPTG at all, it seems rather the obvious that the "outcome" should indeed be that everyone finds out and makes up their own minds.

It seems as if the whole "what did you want to accomplish" and "what is a good outcome" question frame the discussion as if the original situation involved a personal grievance of Samofnaf and TPTG against Auf. I would say that instead it involved them discovering some things that a lot of reader of Auf would be interested in knowing. They may have discovered the situation but the number of those who would interested is larger. Now, they could have decided, as Auf did, that they would be the "outcome deciders" and filter that information to determine one or another outcomes themselves. Instead, I think they took the appropriate action and let the information out to where a wide group of concerned parties could come to their own conclusions.

Trust is always relative but I would say that when I trust someone as a collaborator in a mutual project for the destruction of the state and capital, that this person doesn't withhold information relevant to this struggle. I would say that a given person's collaboration with the state's repressive apparatus can certainly be relevant information. Thus Samofnaf and TPTG were behaving as trusted comrades.

Now, what outcome should we all seek now is relevant question but that question is for all of us, not Samofnaf and TPTG. Of course, we may each come to different conclusions here.

If Aufheben had any interest in telling the truth, surely they would have mentioned these denunciations from the 90's.

Even in the what-now-seems-wildly-unlikely case they had a perfectly reasonable and defensible explanation for how things looked when you did a little digging, they had a rather strong obligation to lay all their cards on the table.

One of the many bad parts of collaboration with the cops is the lies that you need to tell to justify it along with the need to get others to also justify it.

Wellclose Square

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Good post, Red.

I had quietly withdrawn from this, until Nate very articulately threw around "dumbfuck" and "asshole" on the reply to TPTG thread, thus keeping the issue 'alive' for me... However, I've said pretty much what I want to say. I couldn't better the tenacity and precision of ocelot, lurdan and blasto, and Spiky Mike and Serge Forward have set the tone in a really insioghtful and respectful way. Well done to you all.

Rob Ray, yes I'm sorry, I hurriedly misread your earlier post - and you're right, it's ridiculous to extrapolate from the argument that someone's research and consultancies compromises them to the claim that Libcom is riddled with collaborators and police spies. Of course that's not true.

As to "Who the fuck is David Jacobs?" - All I can think is I'm going to miss Melodies For You

Yours in haste....

Joseph Kay

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Just to pick up on a few more of the points here. The idea libcom have acted 'hastily' is still doing the rounds, as is an apparent 'surprise' that we/I had read the relevant material back in August. I'm not sure why this is surprising, because very serious charges were being made and we wanted to know the score. I can see why our actions might have appeared hasty to people unaware of the chronology. To clarify:

- Some of the libcom admins had been hearing rumours from several sources all summer. We discussed this as a group in August when we heard a text had been circulated that was apparently going to be posted on libcom. We obviously took the allegations very seriously. On the one hand if they were true it meant a member of a group we've worked with and host on libcom was collaborating with the police, putting us at risk. On the other hand if they weren't true, these were very dangerous allegations to be spreading about anyone, let alone another communist. Consequently we spoke to both Samotnaf and Aufheben.

- Samotnaf showed us a draft blog, and we replied that he was making very serious allegations and we'd need to look into them as they may breach site rules relating to personal information and untrue smears. (He was saying Aufheben had responded with silence, but it transpired he hadn't actually contacted them). He then got back to us saying there was no rush as he wasn't publishing imminently (he'd previously set us a deadline of several days to get back to him). We made sure we looked into it anyway.

- When we put the allegations to Aufheben, they were completely open, showing us the documents in question as well as related material. We also did some searching of our own; looking at J's profile, clicking through links and googling. I personally read numerous things including the 'Chaos Theory' and the 'Policing' papers.

- J gave an account of his work and listed all contact he'd had with the cops and for what purpose, as well as showing how the 'consultancies' were basically bullshitting his bosses about the 'impact' of his research, which the university was happy to play along with as it made them look better too. For example the 'NATO consultancy' was a mention in a literature review on psychosocial care by the Department of Health in turn acting on behalf of EAPC (NATO's civilian/political wing).

- J claimed he wasn't the author of the public order stuff (despite his name being on it), and Aufheben have showed us evidence which shows definitively he was not the author, but was added as a 'favour' by the others.

- Several weeks after this arose, nothing had been published and that seemed to be the end of it as far as libcom were concerned. But when TPTG published a similar piece (according to Samotnaf, in co-ordination with him), we were in a position to respond having already investigated the matter in detail. This was about 6 weeks after we first started looking into it.

To be honest what stands out here is that we're apparently the only people who have actually investigated this beyond a few google searches, and the only people who've actually put the charges to Aufheben. And far from covering anything up they've showed us the relevant documents and evidence and explained that while it looks bad on the surface, it's really a far more banal matter of J allowing his name to be used on papers he didn't write and bullshitting about 'consultancies' to please his university. And crucially they've backed that explanation up with concrete evidence.

Really this is the minimum anyone making such accusations should do: put the charges to the accused, see what they have to say for themselves, see if what they say can be backed up with evidence. The most important point here is we're not rushing into 'hasty' decisions or 'defending our mates'. We've looked into this in detail. In fact it appears we've looked into the matter far more thoroughly than anyone else, TPTG and Samotnaf included.

dinosavros

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Joseph Kay

Aufheben have showed us evidence which shows definitively he was not the author... And crucially they've backed that explanation up with concrete evidence.

Joseph what evidence is that? What kind of evidence can even prove something like that? Where is it and why can't everybody else see it too?

Joseph Kay

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

RedHughs

I think they took the appropriate action and let the information out to where a wide group of concerned parties could come to their own conclusions.

Well, that's not what they did is it. They didn't say 'here's the facts come to your own conclusions', they sat on it for 9 months, ignored contrary information (some of whom from people who are no friends of Aufheben), then launched a "co-ordinated" (Samotnaf's word) polemic over somewhere between 10,000 and 20,000 words drawing very explicit conclusions that J was a state collaborator. And after 9 months, they just happened to co-ordinate this two weeks before the biggest event in the British anarchist calendar. Even if you've come to the conclusions you have, it's a bit naive to say they've just put the facts on the table and let people make their own minds up. If the evidence is so damning, why all the polemic?

RedHughs

they had a rather strong obligation to lay all their cards on the table.

Think about this for a moment: nothing was hidden from people who knew his name. So the logic of this is that communist groups should make available real names and CVs of their members so they can be checked for 'collaboration'. This public denunciation ritual is a hobby of Samotnaf's (over three decades, i'm told by people reluctant to post and incur his vitriol). This is absolutely not the way to deal with suspected spies or collaborators, and in fact is fertile ground for the kind of COINTELPRO strategies deployed by the state in the past. If we want to deny the state that ability in future, we need to make sure things are dealt with properly (Juan Conatz's example and the Mark Kennedy case would seem fairly good models - and J isn't accused of being anything near as bad as an active mole in a live investigation).

RedHughs

One of the many bad parts of collaboration with the cops is the lies that you need to tell to justify it along with the need to get others to also justify it.

Perhaps it would be clearer if you'd specify who you're accusing of lying and about what. J's explanation checks out. Nobody bar libcom seems to have bothered to investigate the evidence, but have rather formed opinions based solely on internet polemics. Of course it looks bad if you take the word of those who are wilfully twisting the facts to fit their chosen narrative.

Joseph Kay

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

dinosavros

Joseph Kay

Aufheben have showed us evidence which shows definitively he was not the author... And crucially they've backed that explanation up with concrete evidence.

Joseph what evidence is that? What kind of evidence can even prove something like that? Where is it and why can't everybody else see it too?

There's email trails showing how the authorship came about which have been shown to libcom when we asked Aufheben. If nobody else has seen them that's probably because nobody else has attempted to independently verify the facts, but are just taking the accusers words for it. If TPTG or Samotnaf had disputed Aufheben's explanation in August, I assume they would have been shown them too. But they apparently ignored Aufheben's email, labelled them liars and carried on without ever asking them to prove it.

Rob Ray

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

It seems as if the whole "what did you want to accomplish" and "what is a good outcome" question frame the discussion as if the original situation involved a personal grievance of Samofnaf and TPTG against Auf.

Not at all, I don't think for a moment that Sam and TPTG have a personal grievance (well, ok I think Sam has a thing about academics in general but I wouldn't suggest that's what's driving such specific stuff). I do think that TPTG and Sam have gotten bogged down in the accusations part of the equation to the extent that it's mostly ended up as ADMIT YOU'RE WRONG AND I'M RIGHT though rather than thinking about the fact that:

a) Shouting about libcops and Defence Teams and censorship serves to entrench Us vs Them so it won't get resolved in a practical manner, and undermines their own argument that they're conducting a fair investigation at least as much as people shouting back that they're snitchjacketing.

b) There's absolutely no way they can force a rethink on libcom's part, as they don't have any physical contact/leverage with any of the people they're accusing. So what's the point in getting so aggro? Is it because they're so impotent? Surely laying things down calmly and encouraging a rethink is more realistic if they want things to end constructively rather than just spark a flame war which (as several people have said) merely serves to turn people off the movement altogether?

Samotnaf

11 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

For the moment, I'll just post this:

Originally, back in late January when the TPTG discovered this about Dr. Who? (no-one I know has ever heard about it being “10 year old gossip”), I wanted to write an article about this guy, but for various reasons (personal crises, financial problems, discouraging attitudes, etc.) this was put aside for the moment. Then in late July I started to write, prompted partly by renewed concerns of friends in the TPTG. An earlier version, a first draft, of this text – fairly different from this final version – was given to 2 former members of Aufheben in early August, clearly indicating it was not the final version. This got into the hands of Aufheben and some of their friends, who, fearful of making this public, responded disparagingly, to say the least. Worse, so did a few friends (though not all) in London. A later draft was sent to libcom in private because, having heard about it from Aufheben, they wanted to see it before it was put up – an unusual practice involving pre-moderation. Clearly under pressure from Aufheben, they decided after looking at it that if I were to put it up, it would be taken down immediately afterwards, mainly for the ostensible reason that he could possibly lose his job. If he loses his sinecure as a cop consultant, I’d regard that as a result (though, sadly, such a sacking is unlikely, as it could discourage others from helping the state). The chances of him losing his job in the University, which quite possibly have already known about his connections with Aufheben for some time, seem unlikely because it would cause the University more problems (uproar from lefty academics, who might turn him into a cause celebre and liken it to lefties losing their jobs under Hitler) than it solves - and even the idea of solving the problem of the University’s possible image would be fraught with the contradiction of exacerbating their bad image (in, say, The Daily Mail’s eyes).
This final version follows further research made from the beginning of September onwards. Originally, we wanted to put up the first text mid-September (we wanted Aufheben to openly state what they’d said in private to us, which they did last week; when it comes to such things as this, publicity is the best way to have things out; in privacy, gossip, hearsay, Chinese whispers – all the things attributed to the TPTG, of which they are the least guilty – dominate and nothing gets clarified). However, the trivial distraction of the class war in Greece, plus a few other things, slowed us down.

- from my text here.
The choice was simple: being public about it or covering it up.
I'll answer the rest of these curious, and often utter bullshit, attitudes and calumnies later, probably some time later as this is distracting me from very basic survival things I've got to do.