AK Press allegations against Michael Schmidt

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syndicalist
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Sep 27 2015 15:47

As i posted on FB, this would prolly be an appropriate time for ZACF to issue an initial statement

kingzog
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Sep 27 2015 15:59
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It is one thing to argue whether something is fascism or needs another label, but quite another to rebrand something like National Anarchism using vocabularly that connotes something positively espoused by the author elsewhere (self-determinism).

Well, NA's do support self-determination. I've seen footage of them marching with Tibetan independence demonstrators. It's not really rebranding. It's a key part of their ideology since they are ethno-spereatists. If you read the whole passage from MS you'll see he poses National Anarchism in a negative light as he connects it with Ghandi, whom we harshly criticizes.

radicalgraffiti
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Sep 27 2015 16:02

these also this article
http://www.anarkismo.net/article/16353

Quote:
And the way Terre’Blanche died was the way so… ordinary; it was the way many poor rural whites die, hacked to death in their beds for reasons grand and petty, criminal and (despite strong government denials) racial. It’s not that there is a “Boer Genocide” (as yet) as many on the far right already proclaim, but some powder-keg combination of race and class is killing our white farmers at an alarming rate.

he also compares nazis murdering jews with the killing of racist white farmers

kingzog
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Sep 27 2015 16:09

Wow, reading Schmidt's response, I think AK press has made one helluva mistake.

Edit: as in they should have releases any evidence they had with the announcement.....

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Khawaga
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Sep 27 2015 16:17

Yeah, they really should have. MS has given his evidence, and without AK's it's very difficult to figure out what's what.

kingzog
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Sep 27 2015 16:18

Radical graffiti, where does he compare black youths killing white farmers with Nazi's?

radicalgraffiti
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Sep 27 2015 16:23
kingzog wrote:
Radical graffiti, where does he compare black youths killing white farmers with Nazi's?

near the end

Quote:
Only with Terre’Blanche’s death is the mainstream belatedly making a tentative link between ANC hate speech calling for the killing of the Boers and, well, the actual killing of Boers. Pastor Martin Niemoller’s famous statement of his own ethical failing – that when the Nazis came for the communists he did not speak out for he was not a communist – runs naggingly around and around in my head.
kingzog
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Sep 27 2015 16:36

That passage looks reasonable to me. Also, MS, in the article says he sheds no tears for Blanche and that he probably deserved it, but he argues its still messed up and part of a larger problem having to do with inequality and the corrupt state, which the ANC is a part of.

That's not proof of MS being a white supremecist at all.

kingzog
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Sep 27 2015 17:40

You know, the ppl who are citing those articles as evidence I think are being dishonest and are doing so because they are wolves who have smelled blood. Speaks to the overall dogpilling culture of social media shaming. Its vert alarming.

Those articles are not definitely not the evidence AK is purported to have. I think everyone should be putting pressure on AK to present the real evidence immediately. We don't need an article to tell us what the evidence means.

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Everyone
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Sep 27 2015 17:44

Wow! If true, then this really is the most shocking episode in recent anarchist history (a fash infiltrator coauthoring one of the most important contributions to anarchist theory in over a century... Imagine!).

However, I'm going to insist on withholding judgement until after AK Press provides the proof they've been promising. I've no interest in joining any witch hunts, for a start, and the evidence thus far provided (mostly of a circumstantial nature and including a few misquotes as it does) is perfectly consistent with MS's own explanation of undercover investigative journalism.

I can't wait until AK provides their expose so I can make up my mind.

akai
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Sep 27 2015 19:35

I have asked people who know better but so far, only one opinion which is suspicious about MS's explanation. The reason for that is that his opinion is that reading through National Anarchist stuff probably would have provided as much insight as the supposed infiltration and that MS, posing as a National Anarchist also went so far as to try to contact real anarchists and agitate on behalf of NA. In other words, an opinion that MS's activity went to far.

No idea, but the illness excuse is a bit shady.

I have others to discuss on this, since there are anti-fascists who infiltrate fascist internet forums and I know a few. I'd be interested to know what they think of the methods used by MS.

I was really sickened by MS's posts on Stormfront BTW.

To sum it up, we still have to see what AK will release. If it is only this blog and Stormfront piece, I am afraid that many people will just have to give MS the benefit of the doubt, even if his explanation is in my opinion a bit shady. But I suppose it will be more.

As for other comments here on Black Flame, I also have many disagreements with this book, but I am afraid that many people would take criticisms of it at this time very negatively because of these accusations. I would hope there will be a good time for them later.

Also, I am a little sad about how this is playing out because the topic is very important to me and if it turns out that the accusations against MS are not too solid or can be easily rebuffed, then the next time that somebody says anything on national anarchist infiltration, people might not take it seriously.

ajjohnstone
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Sep 28 2015 01:18

One side - the defence - now explained - the other - the prosecution - to be heard...(really should be the other way around, shouldn't it?)

If he is an infiltrator into the anarchist movement, then i think we require to know that some of the fascists were aware of his true identity and his activities and for what benefit it brought to them.

I'm still confused at the purpose of the pretence if there was one whereas his pretence to be a fascist is full explained and plausible.

Occams Razor again?

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Juan Conatz
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Sep 28 2015 01:54

It is unfortunate that AK Press decided to throw out this accusation before releasing any hard evidence. I understand sometimes you can't do this, for example, a group that I was a part of exposed an FBI informant, but we couldn't release any hard evidence because what we had was related to an ongoing legal case at the time. We decided that we would put our reputation on the line by putting that accusation out there, but we did get some heat, even here on libcom.org for not putting out any hard evidence.

But this is a little different, since AK claims they have quite a bit of hard evidence they plan on releasing in the next week or two. I think they should have just waited until then to make this public. Unless someone's safety was in danger, I don't understand the purpose of making this public before the evidence.

Already, there's tons of speculation about this, from the quite ridiculous assertion in this thread that you can tell someone's political beliefs by their facial hair, to the '2-minute Google Search squad' bringing up various articles written by Schmidt has "proof" that he was a fascist.

One of the links constantly posted is from a site called 'Why We Are White Refugees', which can be found here: http://why-we-are- [LINK BROKEN] white-refugees.blogspot.co.uk/2012/02/inst-adv-of-journalism-exdir-michael.html

This site seems to be a Third Positionist site out of South Africa. But this post is just a reposting of an article by Schmidt that originally appeared on Anarkismo, as well as an interview he did with the Institute for the Advancement of Journalism, which as far as I can tell, has nothing to with any fascist group but is a professional journalist association.

There's no proof that Schmidt has anything to do with the reposting of this stuff on the Third Positionist blog. I, and some others on libcom, have had their writings reposted by fascist blogs in the past. This is not something one can really control, and is not proof of collaboration.

Another link that people are posting as "proof" of Scmidt's fascist sympathies is the Anarkismo article he wrote, entitled 'Death and the Mielieboer: The Eugène Terre’Blanche Murder & Poor-White Canon-fodder in South Africa'.

While admittedly, I am not super familiar with the politics and race relations of South Africa, reading that, I don't really see much objectionable. It's basically saying that poor rural whites and poor blacks have interests in common, apartheid was partially maintained by dividing the class, the death of Boer farmers is largely ignored by the media, the death of a once infamous white supermasist doesn't mean issues in South Africa are resolved.

Am I missing something here? I mean I understand that the farmer killings are typically something the conservative to far right bring up, but is this solely the case?

Lastly, one more thing being sent around as "proof" is one paragraph out of a larger review or piece on Ghandi in which Schmidt sees him as a forerunner of 'national anarchism', which he doesn't consider fascist. I'm not sure I agree with that, but there is a lot of discussion and disagreement about whether certain groups, tendencies and regimes were actually fascist. Many historians, including some that I think have done quite a bit to help us understand fascism, don't consider Francoist Spain as fascist. I'm sure many anarchists vehemently would disagree with this. Does this make those historians fascists or fascist sympathizers?

It's very possible that AK has some irrefutable hard evidence, but what has been put forward in the absence of this evidence has been mostly a bunch of BS.

radicalgraffiti
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Sep 28 2015 02:15

i don't think any of what i posed proves him to be a fascist, it is as i said things other people have posted that supports that idea he is sympathetic to national anarchism.
But it does show that he is at least "soft" on national anarchism, and that he tends to equate racists with power to people reacting to said racist with power. The fact that fascists can quote him as supporting their view shows at the vary least that the way he presents his ideas looks like support for fascism.

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Sep 28 2015 02:49

People say this is his alleged "alias" in racist forums: Karelianblue. If you google it, you will find info on stormfront and other sites.

This blog which purports to watch third-positionists and out their bullshit has a post with some stuff that, if Karelianblue is indeed Schmidt, would fit in with line of thought sympathetic with Boer white supremacy, through national anarchist lens. Or was he really tricking them?!?!

Quote:
Black Battlefront is a racially-aware, anti-racist revolutionary cadre network of White African politico-social soldiers defending our unique culture, under the anarchist black flag! We are pan-secessionist militants who staunchly oppose Boer Genocide and we work for the establishment of White African base area communities in South Africa and Namibia (in particular, but also elsewhere in Africa) where we can live out our cultural prerogatives unmolested by the Black majority. We take our inspiration from militants and cultural warriors of the calibre of Nestor Makhno, Kai Murros, Jim Goad and Troy Southgate. Interested people can apply to join our facebook group and if we believe you are genuine, we’ll sign you up.
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Juan Conatz
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Sep 28 2015 03:12
radicalgraffiti wrote:
i don't think any of what i posed proves him to be a fascist, it is as i said things other people have posted that supports that idea he is sympathetic to national anarchism.
But it does show that he is at least "soft" on national anarchism, and that he tends to equate racists with power to people reacting to said racist with power. The fact that fascists can quote him as supporting their view shows at the vary least that the way he presents his ideas looks like support for fascism.

My review of SolFed's 'Fighting For Ourselves' was reposted in full by a 'national anarchist' blog. So this means that I or SolFed present our ideas in a way that "looks like support for fascism"? That is clearly ridiculous.

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Sep 28 2015 03:26

Uhm, I think that we ought to make this line of thought clearer. Simply copying and pasting something is no big deal. Suggesting that something is both nationalist and genuinely anti-capitalist is bad politics and ignorant beyond excusable belief. It's one thing to point out that they are ideologically anti-capitalist, but that begs the clarification that genuine struggle against capitalism necessitates a break with nationalism and all forms of patriotism. Short of this, you have as haven all the wonderful myths about the special status of poor Boers, or anyone else finding identity and "revolutionary inspiration" from their nationality, which is so much horseshit.

So either Schmidt is genuinely infiltrating a group, and maintaining his cardboard, 1960's new-left anti-racist views as stated (not great but not worthy of this "scandal") or he's drifted through his shitty views into worse ones; ones that share as their basis the idea that there can be a "community" in any longterm or meaningfully revolutionary sense, between people based on their melanin.

Yeah, we may have to wait for AK to put out the "truly damning" info. But if he is Blue Keralian, or if he did put this out: Calling a Black author a Black Racist It does suggest to me some dodgy shit.

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Juan Conatz
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Sep 28 2015 04:08

I don't read that from those pieces. I think its fine to describe "National Anarchism" as anti-capitalist, because I don't think anti-capitalism means only communist internationalism. I think there's also a significant racist, anti-Semitic and nationalist version of anti-capitalism that has and does exist and it serves no one to just try and wash our hands of it. Otherwise all we're doing here is arguing about authenticity and who's the true Scotsman.

The thing about the author/activist/politician seems dodgy but I don't know anything about the person or his politics. I also don't think disagreement about the definition of racism as 'power + prejudice' is necessarily indicative of something. Many people have called the Hebrew Israelites or New Black Panther Party racists, and I think they are, because their aspirations are exactly that definition of racism.

bootsy
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Sep 28 2015 04:45

I searched 'Black Battlefront' on Facebook, which is the group he claims to have set up as part of his infiltration of the fascist scene. Its a closed group however this person is the admin, which I assume must be him. If you check the wall posts there is bunch of racist shit which you would expect however he also links to a bunch of Anarkismo articles. If he's trying to go undercover in the fascist scene then why is he linking to Anarkismo? I would have thought that might risk blowing his cover. Is he trying to turn the right-wingers on to Anarchist Communism? I don't understand.

Bizarre, utterly bizarre.

kingzog
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Sep 28 2015 05:29

Juan, the facial hair thing was just a joke. As you can read, I totally agree that AK messed up and there is no real evidence so far.

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Sep 28 2015 07:30

Regardless of whether or not this is true, the overriding impression I get is that I wouldn't want to be in the same organisation as this sort of 'investigative political journalist'.

Devrim

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Sep 28 2015 07:35
Devrim wrote:
Regardless of whether or not this is true, the overriding impression I get is that I wouldn't want to be in the same organisation as this sort of 'investigative political journalist'.

...is the right answer! grin

That said, this has been handled incredibly poorly.

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Sep 28 2015 08:40

Hi all,

Some commentators elsewhere have raised questions about:

1.) The strategic value of any left-wing revolutionary going undercover in right-wing groups,
2.) Was MS's undercover work strategic?, and
3.) Did MS go too far?

We can't really answer the second two questions without giving MS the opportunity to explain what he did and what was achieved. (I'm not sure he'll have a fair chance of doing this now.) Even if he was being un-strategic or went too far this wouldn't be enough to substantiate the claims put forward by Ak Press.

As far as the first question point goes, while I can't say I'd feel comfortable about going under cover myself, I can see some value in it happening even to the point of making fake personas and actively posting bad stuff. It would get murkier the more they were doing bad stuff. It would all depend on the context. In fascist Spain, Germany or Italy there might have been no choice.

I'd want to know:

* What the group or individual was trying to achieve? What were their goals?,
* What did they achieve,
* Did they have a realistic strategy to achieve their goals?
* Was there an obviously better (less risky/less damaging) alternative strategy?, and
* Did the outcome outweigh the risks (especially the tactics - posting bad shit etc).

Of course all of this couldn't be discussed publicly before, during or in most cases even after.

Regards,
HC

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Sep 28 2015 08:50

I don't think this sort of thing is something that you be undertaken off an individual's own back. If it is to be done, it should be part of some organised intervention, and directed by an organisation.

Secondly though I think there is an immense problem with his job anyway.

Devrim

bootsy
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Sep 28 2015 09:07

From his stormfront account:

Quote:
Regarding the supposed "degeneracy" of tattoos, while I do understand and approve of the "my uniform is my skin" position (the truth of this is always dead certain in a race-war), I see no historical reason to utterly reject tattoos. Every race has historically marked its skin with symbols relevant to its culture and whites are no exception, whether they align spiritually as Christian, Norse, Teutonic, Celtic or other. My tattoos include my 14th Century family crest which includes two crescent moons as symbols of the Crusades my ancestors fought in, a Scythian chieftain's tattoos from the 5th Century BC (the oldest tattoo known; the Scythians were a white horse people who ruled the steppes from present-day Ukraine to the Altai Mountains), and a lebensrune. It demonstrates (unlike stick-ons) that I am serious about my heritage.

I guess one way to get to the bottom of all of this would be to find out whether or not he actually has these tattoos.

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Sep 28 2015 09:23

A couple of things that don't add up to me - what AK/Reid Ross have actually accused Schmidt of is being a Fascist infiltrator in the anarchist movement. The drift towards NA stuff is speculation from various FB threads and forums based erroeuosly on Schmidt's writings (selective quotation) and Schmidt's own admission that he was working undercover to get close to NA's under supervision from his job. We can choose to believe or disbelieve his reasoning - it seems plausable in his role as an investigative journalist (he did not claim to be doing it for the movement), but whether we believe that or not, what AK actually accuse him of is being an undercover Fascist.

So if he was a fascist, what exactly did he infiltrate? He left ZACF in 2009 so would not have had access to a lot of useful information. If he was undercover fash the logical place for him to be is at the heart of an organisation, a membership secretary or something. Secondly, what would be the purpose of spending all that time researching and writing about the global anarchist movement (whatever you think of his work, even as a platformist I'm not the biggest fan of Black Flame, but it's not really a project that would make sense for an undercover fascist to undertake)?

To be honest, I do find some of his writing a bit problematic, for example if he had submitted that Terre Blanche article for the Irish Anarchist Review, I'm pretty sure I would have either argued against publishing it or asked for an extensive rewrite, however it is not fascist. Then the claim that from that quote on Ghandi we can ascertain that he is soft on NA. Well he calls it bizarre, he calls it racist so I don't think we can, and while we can disagree with his classification of NA, it doesn't make him one. For the record, I think he has a point in asking, what is fascism without the state, where I think his analysis falters slightly is that even in the unlikely event of a NA style revolution, racist laws could not be sustained without a state so it would end with fascism.

So unless AK have some other evidence that shows he was actively working as a fascist within the anarchist movement, that he was using information to undermine the movement and putting comrades in danger (Why? How? Who?) - then I think they have acted in a premature way that is damaging for our movement as a whole. Their silence since Friday has me irritated to say the least, they need to release what they have now or give an adequate explanation as to why they can't.

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Steven.
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Sep 28 2015 09:39
Jamal wrote:
I feel like I'm always ranting on and on about the importance of privacy and security in revolutionary organizations. No one ever seems to give a fuck.

Well, here you go.

Haven't similar things happened with Admin on this website?

Not sure what you mean here?

Going back to the original topic, his response seems pretty reasonable. Although I see in the comments that Aragorn isn't buying it…

AvengingAngel
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Sep 28 2015 13:42

Whether he's a facscist infiltrator or 'just' an investigative journalist, does it really make any difference? Anarchists are far too tolerant of these professional recuparasites.

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Sep 28 2015 13:46
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Whether he's a facscist infiltrator or 'just' an investigative journalist, does it really make any difference?

That is an absolutely ridiculous statement Angel.

AvengingAngel
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Sep 28 2015 13:51

Of course, for he's 'just doing his job'. Journalists (and academics, teachers, 'professional' activists and so on) do as much to sabotage the class as fascists.