AK Press allegations against Michael Schmidt

Submitted by Steven. on September 25, 2015

Admin: thread name changed as it's over two weeks with no substantiation yet [edit: allegations now being published, leaving thread title generic].

Extremely bizarre news on the AK Press Facebook page:

We have some ugly and upsetting news...
About six months ago, we started hearing some disturbing rumors that one of our authors, Michael Schmidt, was an undercover fascist. Soon after, another one of our authors, Alexander Reid Ross, provided us with actual evidence. We helped him investigate further for several weeks and then put him in touch with another writer. Over the past months, we have received and compiled what we consider to be incontrovertible evidence that Michael Schmidt is a white nationalist trying to infiltrate the anarchist movement.
Alexander will soon be publishing an article that presents all the details in a more comprehensive manner, but we are not comfortable sitting on this information any longer. We have always drawn strength from the history of anarchism as an internationalist movement concerned with the destruction of capitalism, the state, and hierarchal social relations. Those social relations clearly include racism and white supremacy. We are committed enemies of fascists and their sympathizers. The anarchist movement won’t tolerate their sick credo and, when they are found hiding in our midst, they must be dragged from the shadows.
We have cancelled Schmidt’s upcoming book and have put the two books of his that we’ve already published out of print. Please stay tuned for the whole story.
In Solidarity,
The AK Press Collective

https://www.facebook.com/AKPress/posts/10156164515845249

anyone know any more about this?

kurekmurek

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Adding to Chilli, how till today nobody noticed them? I really do not get this? There is a guy with very suspicious "germanic" tattoos in his arms and nobody even asks why the f*ck he has them? Seriously? Did this guy planned all his trips to Europe or USA in winter? Did not anybody who let him sleep in his house noticed them at all?

Reddebrek

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I don't know, the tats were a bit obscure, how many people outside of Fascist circles are familiar with the Sycthian myth and its place in White racial theory? I mean I've seen plenty of people mistake the Celtic Cross -I much more common Fash emblem- as the `Fascist plus symbol`. Yeah its obvious once its been pointed out and there's confirmation that the guy's a racist but on its own?

I grew up around some hardcore, British racists and they all had the usual nationalist tattoos' -bulldogs and knights- and despite being overtly nationalistic and violent I didn't realise the connection until after they actually started talking about migrants and blacks and muslims. Maybe I'm just naive but unless the double lighting bolt a Swastika or an SS deaths head I wouldn't be able to tell alone.

Now having tattoo's whilst posing with a knife to look hard on social media on the otherhand is a bit of a giveway.

Khawaga

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

IIRC when I met him, I didn't notice any tats or anything like that, but then again I am not into them so I usually won't notice them in the first place unless it is of something I would recognize. While I am familiar with some fash/nazi symbols, I doubt that even if I were interested in tats and saw his I'd be able to recognize them for what they are. As Reddebeck say, they are a bit obscure.

Flava O Flav

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

syndicalist

I dunno about this. I mean, I have very serious differences, but not sure I'd agree with this sentiment:

Flava O Flav

I think it's part an parcel of the ideological dogmatism that is in Black Flame, that as a former Trotskyist I find disturbingly familiar.

Well the idea of a discernible ultimate objective truth in all cases that those with the right ideas can impart on the masses is quite orthodox Marxist.

syndicalist

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Flava O Flav

syndicalist

I dunno about this. I mean, I have very serious differences, but not sure I'd agree with this sentiment:

Flava O Flav

I think it's part an parcel of the ideological dogmatism that is in Black Flame, that as a former Trotskyist I find disturbingly familiar.

Well the idea of a discernible ultimate objective truth in all cases that those with the right ideas can impart on the masses is quite orthodox Marxist.

I suppose another convo. But I didn't get THAT impression from the book. That said, I have political problems with the book

Flint

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

The Lebensrune is also the symbol of the National Alliance in the U.S. So antifa in the U.S. would have recognized it.

The "Scythian horse tattoos"... oldest known tattoos in the world... that's really obscure. I think they only discovered around 1993 .

Siberian Princess reveals her 2,500 year old tattoos.

When I heard about them, I thought that was pretty cool and how interesting that they even look like modern tattoos.

If I saw someone with these tattoos, I would strike up a conversation with them about archaeology rather than think the were neo-nazis.

But the Lebensrune, I'd think they were a neo-nazis.

Steven.

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Yeah, after part 2 it is certainly not looking good for Schmidt…

radicalgraffiti

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

the Lebensrune (which i haven't heard of before) are quite high up his arms, even short sleeves would hide them

r-exist

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I would go with Flav o Flav on the Marxist orthodox track. The book obviously impresses by the broadness of facts and infos. Yet again, just by naming countries, just like Schmidt does in the interview where anarchists were at work and say this would be the proof classic anarchism has nothing to do with possible eurocentricity to me seems superfluous, too. What about class and racial relations in all the situation he cites?

888

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Joseph Kay

Fwiw I've been cynical about the way this is being released. People who know AK people on Facebook have said that AK went public before ARR was ready to publish, which then put him on the clock, hence putting it out in instalments. That seems a plausible alternative to book-promotion, so I might be wrong about that.

Well why were they writing it in a ridiculous journalistic style and trying to get it published in Vice? Definitely self-promotion.

Khawaga

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

WTF? They were trying to get it published in Vice? And I thought they had handled it bad with how they made the announcement way to early, but with this they come off as callous fucking pricks.

Pennoid

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Evidence of this?

Fnordie

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I liked Black Flame. I gave that fucking book to people as a primer on anarchism.

On the bright side, AK Press aren't liars.

Excuse me, I'm going to go puke.

klas batalo

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

not sure about vice, but definitely trying to shop it around to one of the rags JS usually writes for...for sure.

Gawker, AlterNet, Truthout, etc

888

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Other libcom posters would be able to confirm the vice thing, I was just repeating what I had seen discussed on facebook. If that wasn't supposed to be repeated, I apologise to the person who said it...

Joseph Kay

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

888

Joseph Kay

Fwiw I've been cynical about the way this is being released. People who know AK people on Facebook have said that AK went public before ARR was ready to publish, which then put him on the clock, hence putting it out in instalments. That seems a plausible alternative to book-promotion, so I might be wrong about that.

Well why were they writing it in a ridiculous journalistic style and trying to get it published in Vice? Definitely self-promotion.

I don't know. I'm just wary that I've cautioned against speculation, yet been sucked into speculating myself (which is difficult to avoid when discussing something without all the necessary information). I guess once it's all out we can get clarification from AK, assess why it's been handled this way etc.

Rob Ray

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

fnordie

I liked Black Flame. I gave that fucking book to people as a primer on anarchism.

I wouldn't say you were wrong to do so necessarily. Some of it can (and should) be read in a different light now it's clear Schmidt's attitude to race is dodgy but much of the research is still useful and some of the arguments are still worth reflecting on (whether from Schmidt himself or Van der Walt, who's not been accused of same thus far).

Lots of people who have done good work for the anarchist cause have had weird views on certain things, or gone on to do dodgy shit later, Proudhon was a misogynist, Bakunin a racist, Kropotkin thought World War One was a great plan, Goldman had a huge class chip on her shoulder (she once said the masses "are crude, lame and pernicious in their demands and influence, and need not to be flattered, but to be schooled"). The point is to read critically, rather than beat yourself up for reading at all.

Battlescarred

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

https://www.facebook.com/zabalazanews
Meanwhile the ZACF are facing State repression

ocelot

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Battlescarred got there before me.

[...]
South Africa, 16 October 2015: On the evening of Friday 9 October 2015, a militant of the Zabalaza Anarchist Communist Front in the impoverished black township of Khutsong (west of Johannesburg), was threatened with violence for his political work by a group of youths. The next morning, a political school that he and another member run in the area, was forcibly disrupted by an even larger mob.
.
On the Friday night, comrade “Tebogo” (real name concealed for security reasons) was confronted by eight men, He was instructed to “stop promoting anarchism” and resisting the government because “the African National Congress [ANC] must rule the township” or face severe consequences. On the Saturday morning, comrades “Tebogo” and “Boitumelo” (*real name concealed) were confronted by around 15 thugs while preparing to host the monthly ZACF / Zabalaza political education session at a local venue. They were able to prevent the group gaining entry, but the event was disrupted. Rocks were thrown, threats were made.
[...]
It is common for township-based political party elites to hire thugs to do the dirty work of intimidating and attacking activists. Earlier this year, for example, a community meeting organised by activists from Abahlali baseFreedom Park, south of Johannesburg, was attacked by thugs allegedly hired by a local ANC councillor and his cronies. Several community members were hospitalised, one put in intensive care. Attacks on basic human rights and freedom are ongoing.
.
We are relieved that our comrades from Khutsong did not suffer the same fate, and that the comrades with whom we work in Freedom Park continue to fight back.
.
But we are also conscious that no one is out of harm’s way, that similar fates await activists who dare to speak out and stand up against the exploitation, misrule, corruption, discrimination and profiteering that oppresses the black working class – and that benefits the elites.

Entdinglichung

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

the Lebensrune doesn't necessarily points to a neo-nazi or voelkish religious background, it is also used by all kinds of non-political or non-right-wing Asatru people or Viking enthusiasts ... all Scythian stuff is highly popular especially in some French New Right circles, they say due to a misreading of the Ossetic Nart myths as "Scythian" by the French scholar George Dumezil (who himself was part of the far right at least for a part of his life) that they represent some primordial Indo-European (Aryan) social structures like the Tripartite division of society (sovereignty/religion, warfare, production), pretty hierarchical and out of fashion among most serious academics

Battlescarred

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

He got in completely wrong re the Ossetic Narts as the ancestors of the Ossetes are the Sarmatians/Alans not the Scythians

Chilli Sauce

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Even if the tats weren't explicitly fash, the fact he was showing them off still undermines his story though about the clandestine nature of research he was doing on Stormfront. The fascist symbolism behind them only makes him look that much worse.

ocelot

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Battlescarred

He got in completely wrong re the Ossetic Narts as the ancestors of the Ossetes are the Sarmatians/Alans not the Scythians

(off-topic). For some reason I have no problem with visual imagery association with the Sarmations and Scythians, yet when it comes to the Alans I always get this inappropriate image of trainspotter types in their NHS specs, duffle coats, woolly hats and thermos flasks wandering around the steppe looking slightly lost. That and Alan Partridge.

On a less flippant note, I'm a little sceptical as to how well delineated these various tribes of Iranian-speaking horse nomads really were in practice.

As well as Dumezil, the other Third Positionist/Nouvelle Droite author that likes to go back to this whole proto-Aryan cthonic origins shite is Julius Evola. As the cachet "elite" author of would-be fash intellectuals, Evola's themes would constitute a useful fingerprint for detecting this sort of Third Positionist/NA "metapolitical offensive" stuff. But frankly I have had neither the time nor inclination thus far to make a proper study of Evola's sinister (and voluminous) writings.

What little I do know, as an aside, seems to show an odd mirroring of Marija Gimbutas' feminist mythologizing of a matriarchal prehistoric Eden overtaken by a patriarchal horse/chariot warrior culture from the Pontic Steppe. Gimbutas' fantasy history has a lot more supporters than you might think amongst the left (and the more essentialist 2-wave feminists - let's not even mention the primmos and neopagans) due to it's coincidence with Engel's recycling of the Victorian matriarchy myth. Also a strong influence on Ocalan/PKK feminist pre-history.

orange.ruffy

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Well why were they writing it in a ridiculous journalistic style and trying to get it published in Vice? Definitely self-promotion.

First, this has all the structure of a rumor. Where did Ross and co. say they wanted to publish this in Vice?

Second, Schmidt, for example, is a professional journalist. He also published in mainstream publications. I don't love this as a career choice, but that doesn't damn him, and publishing in Vice wouldn't necessarily damn Ross and co. either. One of the editors of Vice is a long-time anarchist of the autogestion variety. Though if this was considered for publication there, I appreciate the restraint of all involved in not airing out our dirty laundry even more publicly.

Operaista

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I agree with Flint - seeing a lone algiz rune is immediately going to have me go to thinking it's a lebensrune and suspecting the person is a white nationalist. That could be because in the US context it's the symbol of a neo-Nazi group; and the scrutiny is going to be more intense than that faced by seeing most other runes or general Norse/Germanic pagan imagery (though any of that is going to attract some attention and people who are non-racist/anti-racist who display such imagery get used to it and know to expect it).

Beyond whether there are possible non-white nationalist readings of his tattoos, let's be real here. To expand on what Chilli Sauce said, no one who is infiltrating the far right, or even undercover as a journalist, is going to give them more potentially identifying information than they have to. And he made absolutely no attempt to hide who he was. Had he had completely innocuous tattoos of baked goods, and described them in detail and provided pictures, that would have cast a lot of doubt on his research story, just due to the unnecessary level of risk that information would add. White nationalists are not exactly known for nonviolence and peaceful understanding. The tattoos he does add lead to even more head shaking and questions on how this took so long to all come out.

A lot of rumors went around Facebook about the why there was such a delay, but what has been publicly stated is that AK Press came forward on their own, at a time information was still being reviewed, assembled, and fact checked. Portions of the report are being published now as they are finished.

Entdinglichung

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

btw. has anyone figured out what the tattoo on his left forearm means?

Burgers

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Entdinglichung

btw. has anyone figured out what the tattoo on his left forearm means?

It did remind me a little of a RAHOWA graphic for a second , but it's not and just a thought (I doubt they are), but could they be fake?

ocelot

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Entdinglichung

btw. has anyone figured out what the tattoo on his left forearm means?

You mean his right forearm? The one that's visible? Looks like an anchor to me with a *smudge* U. S. A. - something Union of S. A? Presumably old forces or navy tattoo?

Also that pic looks like a rather lame emulation of a Die Antwoord photo-shot. Pretty sad in itself.

Flint

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Entdinglichung

btw. has anyone figured out what the tattoo on his left forearm means?

Its his family's crest. The crusader one.

Flava O Flav

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Any mention of when part 3 is coming?

Cooked

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Just a quick note: It's not at all unusual that people leak stuff from their real lives into fake personas. At least keyboard personas seem very difficult to keep completely untainted from real life. Perhaps it's the percieved risk when safe at home at the keyboard coupled with how difficult it is to make shit up for long periods of time. Mining for this type of leak is usually very effective if you're trying to map people, even seriously paranoid and knowledgeable people fail at this.

This is only relevant to that particular angle on the issue.

syndicalist

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Battlescarred

https://www.facebook.com/zabalazanews
Meanwhile the ZACF are facing State repression

FWIW..... Responsive to this, I posted on anarkismo:

ZACF repression
author by Mike Harris - Personal capacity onlypublication date Sat Oct 17, 2015 00:13Report this post to the editors
Current ZACF members, in spite of political and tactical differences, please accept my personal solidarity in this matter

Trusting comrades are safe. Trusting no organizational security measures have been breached. And hope that your current and vouched for membership remains safe and active

Solidarity in struggle! Hell no to repression!

Steven.

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Chilli Sauce

Even if the tats weren't explicitly fash, the fact he was showing them off still undermines his story though about the clandestine nature of research he was doing on Stormfront. The fascist symbolism behind them only makes him look that much worse.

It's worse than that though: he didn't just post pictures of his tattoos, but pictures of himself including his face as his profile picture

jahbread

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Sorry to be vulgar, and probably ignorant, but does AK Press employ (pay) Mr Schmidt to write his books. If so, isn't this a possible cause for the allegations? Maybe they just couldn't balance the books any other way.

I once had an interview at Coventry Polytechnic to study Political Science. The interviewer told me he was 'a fascist'. I didn't take it at face value, I just took it as some sort of interview technique. Thank god, I wasn't accepted.

AES

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

AK Press have been criticised for making an announcement of allegations before producing their evidence, however no-one is saying they are making anything up or that Schmidt is wrongly accused - especially since the internal discussion document was released where acting as the International Secretary of ZACF he makes explicitly racist notes about the ability of black people and after the second round of information has been made available.

Burgers

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Flava O Flav

Any mention of when part 3 is coming?

Alexander Reid Ross ‏@areidross

technical difficulties today. will be posting the next article installment ASAP

Red Marriott

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

seahores

What do people think of Michael Schmidt claiming that Nestor Makhno is a nationalist-anarchist?

It's as ridiculous as Black Flame's claim that, eg, the nationalist James Connelly was anarchist.

Flava O Flav

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Red Marriott

seahores

What do people think of Michael Schmidt claiming that Nestor Makhno is a nationalist-anarchist?

It's as ridiculous as Black Flame's claim that, eg, the nationalist James Connelly was anarchist.

Calling Connolly a nationalist is simplistic, but he definitely wasn't an anarchist, that was one of the things I found hard to swallow about Black Flame. Connolly was a socialist, a syndicalist and his 'nationalism' was firmly within the realms of taking your starting position from somewhere the people around you understand.

R. Spourgitis

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Chapter 3 is out now: https://medium.com/@rossstephens/about-schmidt-how-a-white-nationalist-seduced-anarchists-around-the-world-chapter-3-7d288d84b170

Khawaga

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Not that much damning stuff in part 3 as compared to part 2 (which IMO really sealed it that MS is a racist scumbag). The first section is rather pointless. although the latter half confirms how racist he is, and that he's likely fascist. It sort of ends with Southgate on entryism, and I guess this is where the fascist infiltration bit comes in. But to me that just read like conjecture rather than solid proof that MS was infiltrating the anarchist movement.

Again I wish ARR would just fucking come out with the evidence rather than the long-winded analysis that at times is completely pointless.

r-exist

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

What will be interesting to see is how those that were close to him politically will explain why there never was a cut of relations in a sense that it would have been clear publicly that they cut relations. It seems hard to believe that those close to him were not aware of any of this (voting for FF+ for example, co-author and even AK... they might have feared this questioning, one reason I see they could not wait another two weeks to just publish all at once). So far I find it quite expressive that nobody of those close to him have rushed to any kind of move to defend him (not talking about short comments on FB, but a longer text...). The silence is kind of expressive. The closest is a critique of AK (with good reasons for how bad this was handled) and saying they will wait for all the evidence and an answer of Schmidt. But then, despite evidences, it will be important to hear and read them, and Schmidt's as well, although I could imagine that he might not even try and answer anymore - unless maybe he is working hard on a new book condemning white nationalism so he can claim that is why he did all this...

ajjohnstone

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I raised this issue previously but it again re-surfaced in Part 3

a source told us that Schmidt received no official criticism about voting for the FF+, but a female member of the ZACF was disciplined around the same time for wanting to join a feminist reading group.

I have no idea of the existing structure of ZACF but at that time (2010) this again seems to confirm elements of
http://www.jofreeman.com/joreen/tyranny.htm

And again another extract offers additional support for MS having a multi-personality disorder of some sort.

She seems to have been Schmidt’s fantasy Aryan woman, who he invented out of thin air — a modern, Scythian woman of the Steppes of Eurasia who hates feminism and loves guns

This theory is simply speculation, of course, until somebody gets MS lying down on a psychiatrist's couch. And from what i so far have read...this is going to be his only possible defence...a plea of insanity...and indeed he has already made it, in a way, by claiming a temporary loss of reason when he was hospitalised and medicated.

Strangely, one voice that seems absent in all this affair is from his collaborator, who i imagine had many informal exchanges of ideas and opinions - Lucien van der Walt. Can anybody point me in the direction of his views on this, if he has made them public?

Flint

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

This is reading more like Dissociative Identity Disorder , along with paranoia and other delusions.

Burgers

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Accusing someone of not getting there facts right looks better if you get your own ones right.

"Among Smith’s likes was the racist English Defense League (formerly known as the White Defense League)"

Flava O Flav

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

r-exist

What will be interesting to see is how those that were close to him politically will explain why there never was a cut of relations in a sense that it would have been clear publicly that they cut relations. It seems hard to believe that those close to him were not aware of any of this (voting for FF+ for example, co-author and even AK... they might have feared this questioning, one reason I see they could not wait another two weeks to just publish all at once). So far I find it quite expressive that nobody of those close to him have rushed to any kind of move to defend him (not talking about short comments on FB, but a longer text...). The silence is kind of expressive. The closest is a critique of AK (with good reasons for how bad this was handled) and saying they will wait for all the evidence and an answer of Schmidt. But then, despite evidences, it will be important to hear and read them, and Schmidt's as well, although I could imagine that he might not even try and answer anymore - unless maybe he is working hard on a new book condemning white nationalism so he can claim that is why he did all this...

Well I think it is fair enough to wait for all the evidence before giving your response, given the drip feed of said evidence, and how perceptions to the nature of it have changed, even here from article to article. If ARR and AK can make the accusation and wait two weeks to release even the first of the evidence, then why shouldn't people who were once in the same organisations as him, a long time ago, be able to see it all before they reply?

Fall Back

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

ajjohnstone

I raised this issue previously but it again re-surfaced in Part 3

a source told us that Schmidt received no official criticism about voting for the FF+, but a female member of the ZACF was disciplined around the same time for wanting to join a feminist reading group.

I have no idea of the existing structure of ZACF but at that time (2010) this again seems to confirm elements of
http://www.jofreeman.com/joreen/tyranny.htm

And again another extract offers additional support for MS having a multi-personality disorder of some sort.

She seems to have been Schmidt’s fantasy Aryan woman, who he invented out of thin air — a modern, Scythian woman of the Steppes of Eurasia who hates feminism and loves guns

This theory is simply speculation, of course, until somebody gets MS lying down on a psychiatrist's couch. And from what i so far have read...this is going to be his only possible defence...a plea of insanity...and indeed he has already made it, in a way, by claiming a temporary loss of reason when he was hospitalised and medicated.

Strangely, one voice that seems absent in all this affair is from his collaborator, who i imagine had many informal exchanges of ideas and opinions - Lucien van der Walt. Can anybody point me in the direction of his views on this, if he has made them public?

Derail maybe, but I don't think Tyranny of Structurelessness really applies here. He formally presented a paper. It was rejected. ToS would be him just making it happen due to his force of personality, not an embarrassed silence in rejecting his position.

Like, there definitely plenty issues with not just saying "wtf, this is racist as fuck, go fuck yourself", but it's not ToS.

akai

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Schmidt with a split personality? l don't buy it. The reason l don't buy it is just related to my unfortunate experience of seeing people play both sides before.

l can understand that for some people who come from a certain background, such an idea might seem unbelieavable, but coming from where l come from, l have to entertain the possibility that Schmidt really has these views and was, at the same time, trying to promote "anarchism" (in his understanding of it) amongst racists and fascists and national views and race separatism amongst anarchists.

As l may have said before, in this country, those who were promoting the joining of left and right extremists against the state were quite publically writing for both fascist and anarchist papers at the same time, especially in the 90s. When l moved here, l started a criticism of this and l could write a huge book about the different responses and what probably motivated them. l will try to make a list of some main points:

1. Lack of background which would enable people to critically assess nationalist socialist ideas, third positionist ideas, etc. General public positively viewed nationalism (history of oppressed nation).
2. Lack of knowledge. Anarchists often published articles and booklets not knowing the history behind things. So they'd be promoting the similarites of Jabotinsky and anarchists, Pilsudski and anarchists, etc. etc.
3. Society which is critical of feminism, multi-culturalism etc. and promotion of a type of class anarchism which extendes its criticism of "bourgeois feminism" to feminism in general.
4. Movement highly based around dominant male personalities with no culture of dealing with anything. Criticism of concrete political points most often countered by mobbing.
5. Little local criticism of these politics, with enable them to continue.

Given these kind of points, some "anarchists" over here keep on their politically incorrect line. There is general acceptance of acting "politically incorrect" or pretending to be just against censorship. So, for a recent example, when an anarchist bookshop orders and sells bios of Franco published by a far-right publishing house and somebody criticizes it, the response is like claiming that the person criticizing it is a censor, preventing people from reading and people proudly saying how they read Mein Kampf. l've also read it, but we don't sell it at our office.

On Libcom recently l pointed out that one Rojava fan had two different messages on his site, where he was collecting money for them. ln the Polish version, he argued that Syrians need a place to live so they don't leave Syria, and we can stop the invasion of refugees at save Poland and Europe. ln his response, he openly admits he wants right-wing people to support Rojava.

When confronted, a part of these types who are talking with the left and right act as if it is a very good thing they are doing, because they are attracting right-winger to libertarian causes. But if you are using racist and xenophobic arguments, you aren't really doing that.

Schmidt somewhere claims that anarchists don't get some working class people to their movement because the nationalists attract them - so according to his line of thinking, anarchists should incorporate more nationalist discourse in order to get these people away from the right.

When l see arguments like this, it really reminds me of arguments that l have heard before. Now of course, we live in a right wing society and want to get people away from the right, but using nationalism, etc. is not the way to do it.

ln Russia there is a whole trend of this, of nationalist, homophobic and anti-feminist asses who argue that these things clearly alienate the working classes, so we have to get rid of them. What is most disturbing about this that some of these people were in some organizations and it was clear they had these ideas. Not only are there lots of "anarcho-communists" on record defending these things, but also people who criticized their nationalism were threatened with violence. (As a matter of fact, both the person making the threats and the criticisms sometimes appear here on Libcom, but l won't get into it because l don't want to totally derail the discussion.)

ln part 3, we see that an article went which was very dubious went up on Anarkismo put the editors didn't see anything wrong with it. Perhaps this is like in the point 2, that people were not too aware of the politics and just figured that if Schmidt wrote it, it has to be so.

When l first heard the accusations, l tended to think we might be dealing with an overuse of the words "fascist" and "infiltrator". l haven't made up my mind about those words, although for sure "racist", "nationalist" and "vanguardist" are appropriate. But ultimately, for me, the question is something else. How is it that he wasn't outed earlier? Was there a mechanism of repressing criticism of the "anarchist" "experts" in place? Or were people embarrased and hiding this? Or were they somehow ideologically justifying these ideas as some sort of strange anomaly?

The Polish situation actually shows us that there are people who literally say things like - "oh yeah, l know there were these incidents, but those are good guys" or "you can't judge everybody in the organization by the fact that a few of them go with fascists" ... bla bla. ln other words, they are not too bothered by some little fascist integration. The Schmidt situation shows us that there are some people who stand by his shit and a lot more who don't want to make any conclusions about this, since it conflicts with their idea that otherwise he did good work.

ln the meanwhile, we are reminded that Troy Southgate recommends that national anarchists smuggle their ideas in the anarchist movement. Maybe Schmidt was doing this, maybe not. (Probably to some extent their ideas were ideas and he was starting to test the waters, failed and moved on.) But just how prepared are we to counter this if we cannot correctly identify these ideas, or we fail to condemn attempts to integrate with fascists when they are made?

Red Marriott

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

flava

Calling Connolly a nationalist is simplistic, but he definitely wasn't an anarchist, that was one of the things I found hard to swallow about Black Flame. Connolly was a socialist, a syndicalist and his 'nationalism' was firmly within the realms of taking your starting position from somewhere the people around you understand.

Yes it's true that's not all he was - but in relation to my point about the BF book the relevance is that he was, amongst other things, a nationalist and that nationalism remains incompatible with any credible definition of anarchism;

"In Ireland at the present time there are at work a variety of agencies seeking to preserve the national sentiment in the hearts of the people.

These agencies, whether Irish Language movements, Literary Societies or Commemoration Committees, are undoubtedly doing a work of lasting benefit to this country in helping to save from extinction the precious racial and national history, language and characteristics of our people.

Nevertheless, there is a danger that by too strict an adherence to their present methods of propaganda, and consequent neglect of vital living issues, they may only succeed in stereotyping our historical studies into a worship of the past, or crystallising nationalism into a tradition – glorious and heroic indeed, but still only a tradition.

Now traditions may, and frequently do, provide materials for a glorious martyrdom, but can never be strong enough to ride the storm of a successful revolution.

If the national movement of our day is not merely to re-enact the old sad tragedies of our past history, it must show itself capable of rising to the exigencies of the moment.

It must demonstrate to the people of Ireland that our nationalism is not merely a morbid idealising of the past, but is also capable of formulating a distinct and definite answer to the problems of the present and a political and economic creed capable of adjustment to the wants of the future.

This concrete political and social ideal will best be supplied, I believe, by the frank acceptance on the part of ail earnest nationalists of the Republic as their goal." https://www.marxists.org/archive/connolly/1897/01/socnat.htm

As to the desirability of "taking your starting position from somewhere the people around you understand" if that becomes an excuse for, eg, syndicalists allying in 1916 with the same nationalist bosses who'd earlier in 1913 locked out the workers and attacked them on the streets, it doesn't seem particularly useful. From a "starting position" of supporting the workers in the 1913 lockout to fighting alongside their oppressors might be seen as a backward step. As Connolly's contemporary Sean O'Casey - who was just as "understandable" - pointed out;

O'Casey showed more clarity than his contemporaries in his grasp of the fundamental conflicts of interest between bosses and workers; he left the ICA over disagreement concerning collaboration with the Irish (later National) Volunteers - a nationalist organisation dominated by the same bosses who had locked out the workers in 1913, unleashed the brutality of the police on workers' demonstrations and eventually starved them back to work. This collaboration reached its conclusion in the days of the Easter Uprising. https://libcom.org/library/story-irish-citizen-army-sean-ocasey
“Liberty Hall was no longer the Headquarters of the Irish Labour movement, but the centre of Irish national disaffection.” (O’Casey – Story of the ICA)

But all that is a bit of a derail of this thread... though that mix of nationalism and syndicalism is something Schmidt and his sympathisers might well approve of.

ajjohnstone

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Fall Back, i think you may well be right, having just re-read TofS and not relying on an aging memory of what it says.

But i am having trouble to understand why MS escaped criticism...serious criticism...on two occasions that have been raised so i would look first at the structure of the political group he was involved with. The first is the one you refer to...It isn't so much that they rejected it but that they never pushed for an explanation of its content in the first place. So not just only the embarrassed silence but then the fact that they knew he voted in an election for a party with ideas anathema to our own. I'm not talking about the Party/Group policing thoughts but ignoring actions or ideas in conflict with its basic principles.

I have no idea of ZACF organisation...but why the special treatment of MS...did he exercise undue influence with the force of his personality...If so has has ZACF taking whatever steps they feel necessary to remedy that.

As i said there was one voice that was missing being Lucien van der Walt's but when i think about it ZACF should be issuing a statement.

AndrewF

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

The Anarkismo statement explains why there have been no statements on the stages of the drip release of evidence "Before we can make any pronouncements on the matter, however, we need to carefully examine both the AK Press evidence, the article by Alexander Reid Ross, as well as Michael Schmidt’s response to the evidence and article. As a network Anarkismo has not taken sides, and will not accuse the accuser or the accused before there is more information and all the evidence has been presented. Both sides will have to explain themselves thoroughly first and be available for answering any serious questions about the information."

I understand that this is frustrating if you are caught up in the serialisation drama but I wouldn't expect any public statement until some time after the serialisation has ended and Schmidt has responded. If it was a bourgeois court case you'd expect to hear the prosecution, then the defence and then the jury would retire to consider the verdict.

akai

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

l'm on a mailing list with Lucien and he was on it this morning so l asked him about this, rather bluntly, but l hope not in an angry way. You know, basically l think it's different if he was quiet because he found out and was embarrassed or if he didn't perceive anything wrong with what was being said.

l think before he (and some others) were waiting for all the stuff to come out before saying anything but frankly, the stuff that is already out demands some sort of explanation.

As for ZACF, l originally thought it very important that they make a comment, but after hearing that most of that organizaton may be from the post-Schmidt era, they might find it difficult to get reliable info about what was before. Whatever the case, l would think they'd want to distance themselves from this shit.

klas batalo

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

It's not over till its over folks.

Personally I think there is a lot of "WANNA BELIEVE" in all the various theories about this.

Emotionally I'm like this is fucked, logically I need to see everything on the table.

syndicalist

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I just saw the third piece. Previously read the Terre Blanche piece on Anarkismo was surprised that it was vetted and went through

I totally disagree with Andrew on the need for ZACF to make a statement regrading the seperation betwen MS and the organization. Even if it was for the sake if irganizational integrity for that time period in immediate question.

edit ---- the Anarkismo statement does not mention ZACF not releasing statements and as such i am in error.

Anyway, at this point there seems to be so much ball dropping that the whole affair is pretty pathetic on all accounts thus far

If the third piece is the final piece, well, the screaming Ak headline of fascist infiltration is not proven. What seems to be a bit clearer is a rightwards drift by MS. A conscious failure by close comrades on the ground to say anything about the drift as MS is unternationally known and respected in many circles ( not all but many)

All this said, in spite if my own political and tactical disagreements with ZACF, they should be supported while they are under fire from outside forces.

If there is a part 4, I trust that this will be the smoking gun part
Thus far, I would no way buy into the fascist infiltrator headine
That said, this is all a pity and a terrible end of a left anarchist
standing for a bright guy ( regardless of political differences which I may have had with him and his coauthor)

AndrewF

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

What are you totally disagreeing with me about? As in where have I said this thing you feel the need to totally disagree with?

syndicalist

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

That ZACF should issue a statement on the separation
That happened and would not be subject to any of the white power accusations
The Anarkismo statement was a general statement
I mean, I get how uncomfortable all this is, but some commentary on that period and reasons for it would be appropriate. It's like when the politician can gets caught with their pants down and resigns for " personal reasons". Simply saying in this charged atmosphere that one leaves for political differences is the same IMHO

I'll side bar this and say - despite my own disagreements, I continue to hope that
Most of this is just conjecture. If not, it's a sad day because my correspondence with MS
Over the years has been nothing but comradely and professional

Burgers

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

syndicalist

If the third piece is the final piece, well,

There are two more chapters to come according to Ross.

Flava O Flav

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

AndrewF

What are you totally disagreeing with me about? As in where have I said this thing you feel the need to totally disagree with?

I think it's a mix up with the post above yours.

Edit, maybe not I'm confused now.

AndrewF

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I asked what you totally disagreed with me about.

The reason I asked is that I didn't express an opinion one way or the other so I'm puzzled as to what words you are putting in my mouth and why you feel the need to do that. It's a bit weird and in the context of the seriousness of the situation not acceptable.

syndicalist

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I take this serious and have stated my concerns with the whole
Roll out and so forth If you're implying I have a political agenda, I don't
Fact is, this is all sad and, if true, can happen in all tendencies

I disagree that ZACF should not make a statement

I have edited my original comment concerning AF

AndrewF

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

You wrote "I totally disagree with Andrew on the need for ZACF to make a statement regrading the seperation betwen MS and the organization. "

But what were you disagreeing with? I'd be surprised if this is the case but it looks a lot like you are trying to set me up for something here. It certainly gives me an unpleasant uneasy feeling.

Perhaps you were simply confusing me quoting the Anarkismo statement as an expression of my opinion? That would be a little odd but whats very odd is your repeated refusal to clarify this when challenged.

Whats odder still is presuming you are posting as Syndicalist on Anarkismo you are already on record as agreeing with exactly what I quoted.

You wrote there

Not in Anarkismo but....
author by Syndicalist - Personal capacity only
publication date
Thu Oct 01, 2015 07:47
Although I may not share in the politics or traditions of the Anarkismo network, I'd like to reiterate my viewpoint here. Whatever the ultimate outcome might be, as an anarchist, my own allegiance is to openness, fairness, libertarian integrity and principle.

In this spirit, I agree with this portion of your statement:

Before we can make any pronouncements on the matter, however, we need to carefully examine both the AK Press evidence, the article by Alexander Reid Ross, as well as Michael Schmidt’s response to the evidence and article. As a network Anarkismo has not taken sides, and will not accuse the accuser or the accused before there is more information and all the evidence has been presented. Both sides will have to explain themselves thoroughly first and be available for answering any serious questions about the information

Anyway this charade rather confirms why its a mistake to get into the speculation game prior to all the evidence being supplied.

syndicalist

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

First off Andrew I edited my comment indicating that I was in err on the Anarkismo statement
and it appears it bold letters. So, in essence my original statement was incorrect. And when I went back to look at the statement you are defending, I see there was no mention if ZACF putting out a statement.

I have consistently been on record in my various postings that ZACF should issue a statement on the seperation of one of it's founding members and the organization

Furthermore, I stand by what I wrote on Anarkismo and here and FB that all the info should be on the table. That said, it appears that a rightward shift may have occurred.

Do I think AK was right? I've said not from the start
Do I think there's more to an either yes or no position,
I do.

In the final analysis, foks are prolly gonna believe what they want
Or stretch stuff to defend their own ideological perspectives

Operaista

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I think akai gave a really, really good explanation of why this not is not down to "mental illness". This:

4. Movement highly based around dominant male personalities with no culture of dealing with anything. Criticism of concrete political points most often countered by mobbing.

is omnipresent in the US, across tendencies. I'd like to think MS wouldn't have gotten away for it for so long here in the US, but, a lot of dudes do get away with horrendous behavior of one sort or another for long periods of time. This has gotten me wanting to write in general about the adoption of hypermasculinity and gender dynamics in revolutionary organizations; I should start blogging again.

The idea of turning anarchists to national anarchism is perfectly logical entryism because Third Positionists see themselves as a red-brown synthesis. MS clearly has a hyper masculine revolutionary persona and a vastly inflated sense of self-importance, but that's a significant chunk of men in radical scenes. He kept up multiple fronts in the supposed amnesia period, and no one noted substantial shifts in his behavior.

I'm also very nervous of chalking up a white supremacist in our midst to psychiatric disabilities; no one is trying to absolve MS of responsibility, but it does seem to be a preemptive defense of everyone who let him get away with it for so long. It also gets in the way of protecting our organizations and movements from Third Positionist entryism, given that one of their main strategies is to turn anarchists to white nationalist positions. Acting like someone must have had two sets of behaviors or personalities to be able to successfully maintain a leadership position in an anarchist organization while being a white nationalist is going to blind us the next time someone tries this, and will help them succeed. Trying to play armchair psychiatrist (especially while forgetting a radical critique of psychiatry!) with MS is only going to put suspicion on people with psychiatric disabilities in radical movements.

As far as making statements: I agree that anyone trying to do their own investigation needs to have everything that is already available to start from, but, at this point in time, MS is not a member of any organization and hasn't been for years. Beyond no platforming, what step is any organization going to take against him?

The most serious questions are on van der Walt and any ZACF "old guard" still active - they all knew MS was a white supremacist and kept working with him; at best, a serious lapse in judgment. The internal discussion document was presented two years before Black Flame was published. He's admitted to writing it and defended its positions publicly.

As an aside, AK Press's FB page's postings of the report are drawing a bunch of national anarchists and suspicious defenders of MS out of the woodwork. Probably worth people keeping an eye on.

Khawaga

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

4. Movement highly based around dominant male personalities with no culture of dealing with anything. Criticism of concrete political points most often countered by mobbing.

is omnipresent in the US, across tendencies. I'd like to think MS wouldn't have gotten away for it for so long here in the US, but, a lot of dudes do get away with horrendous behavior of one sort or another for long periods of time. This has gotten me wanting to write in general about the adoption of hypermasculinity and gender dynamics in revolutionary organizations; I should start blogging again

Ajjohnstone, is this the dynamic you are trying to point to as an example of TofS? I'd agree. And I've also observed a lot of hypermasculinity in anarchist organizations to the point where even showing emotions were frowned upon (since that's something that gets in the way of the "cadre" doing their very important revolutionary work).

The Pigeon

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

So what are they going to do with all the copies of Black Flame?

ajjohnstone

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Khawaga, i'm afraid i was not specifically accusing MS of exercising influence by gender roles. You are several steps in advance of me. I'm no way qualified other than make some simplistic observations and add some guess-work.

You could well be very correct. My ignorance of ZACF doesn't help. While there has been reference to the ethnic make-up of the group, no mention of its gender component. MS macho-ism may well reflect others macho behaviour in the group and so went relatively unnoticed. (That photo of him and who i presume to be his wife certainly is depicting a very sexualised couple and i think perhaps not in the good way.)

I just returning to the question...as others do...how could certain traits and political expressions did not raise concerns within ZACF when he was a member and active. If the infiltration of alien ideas to anarchism such as national anarchism is being seen as a threat, perhaps we should ask, (and again it has been raised, i mentioned trotskyism's 'uneven development' in MS document and another mentioned the link to Lenin in it) has platformism already been infiltrated to its detriment...i'm not talking about organisational structure, we all need that...but something more fundamental...an acceptance of the leader and the led roles...a cadreism that goes beyond education or mentorism.

But as been said, that should be a new thread where i would learn more than i could ever teach.

I simply mention things that seem very related to a deeper malaise and wonder how deep they are (or were) within ZACF as a structured, ironically, and not unstructured organisation. Some may wonder why i am involved in this thread being an SPGBer, but i have 3 reasons, one that we were infiltrated by frauds on two occasions, but also as a non-leader organisation the potential problems of such in regards the way informal leadership rise should always be watched. (on that question, the SPGB has been quite successful but it doesn't mean we should ever let our guard down) The last reason is easy...i'm from Edinburgh, i was a regular visiting customer of AK there and an IWW comrade of Mike of Edinburgh AK ...i care about the future of AK and this has all the possibilities of ending AK. AK is part of the socialist/anarchist movement and such a loss will be seriously lamented.

Strandwolf, Steppenwolf, and now lone wolf (by implication operaista's depiction of MS present status)...maybe it is not a psychiatrist we should call in but a vet)

akai

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

l'd add a comment, but hope not to get off-topic.

Some people commented on '"macho" and "hypermasculine" traits. l suppose that on some level, this has a lot to do with things. Currently, l can feel different trends around movements that deal with class-based anarchism. One trend is rather based on being inclusive, on trying to be open to people. This trend does not like to put people in hierarchical pidgeonholes based on issues like who has the most theory or which organization is the biggest, Organizations such as these try to create a culture where one of the expressed goals is horizontality and egalitarianism.

A different trend also exists. This trend focus on POWER. You often hear words like counterPOWER used. These groups focus on thoughts about mass revolution, mass being the key word. (l am not implying by any means that all proponents of mass revolution fall into this category.) The dynamics of the organizations tend to focus on theoretic posturing or other types of posturing. Other anarchist interests which pertain more to the egalitarian nature of anarchism, like feminism, would tend to be discouraged and seen as less important or non-important.

l think there is a problem with the second trend and this is a much harder issue because you'll find a lot with vanguard attitudes there. ln these sorts of environments, the macho, vanguardist person will be enabled and may actually be able to smuggle across lots of weird ideas without being challenged.

Khawaga

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Akai

I think there is a problem with the second trend and this is a much harder issue because you'll find a lot with vanguard attitudes there. ln these sorts of environments, the macho, vanguardist person will be enabled and may actually be able to smuggle across lots of weird ideas without being challenged.

Yes, this did happen with my ex-group (Common Cause). The Toronto branch was pretty much all theory, lots of fantasies about mass revolution etc, very masculine outlook. One dude managed, in a meeting, to argue that women should not be the only ones to decide whether to have an abortion or not because that would be individualistic. Rather it should be up to the community! The only person challenging him? A non-member (room mate of a member) whose apartment the meeting was held.

Flava O Flav

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Khawaga

Akai

I think there is a problem with the second trend and this is a much harder issue because you'll find a lot with vanguard attitudes there. ln these sorts of environments, the macho, vanguardist person will be enabled and may actually be able to smuggle across lots of weird ideas without being challenged.

Yes, this did happen with my ex-group (Common Cause). The Toronto branch was pretty much all theory, lots of fantasies about mass revolution etc, very masculine outlook. One dude managed, in a meeting, to argue that women should not be the only ones to decide whether to have an abortion or not because that would be individualistic. Rather it should be up to the community! The only person challenging him? A non-member (room mate of a member) whose apartment the meeting was held.

Wow. That is mind boggling (the abortion position). I think there is a real danger that groups whose theoretical output is mainly based on study rather than engagement in struggle will come up with bizarre positions based on abstract ideas - that doesn't need to be the case for platformist/especifista organisations. WSM for example based itself on work within community campaigns and the unions, while applying the principle of collective responsibility and theoretical and tactical unity.

Point three in WSM's 8 points of unity is important in this respect:

We identify ourselves as anarchists and with the "platformist", anarchist-communist or especifista tradition of anarchism. We broadly identify with the theoretical base of this tradition and the organisational practice it argues for, but not necessarily everything else it has done or said, so it is a starting point for our politics and not an end point.

Khawaga

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Wow. That is mind boggling (the abortion position)

Yes it is. And that's just the tip of the ice-berg of a lot of fucking crap like that from the branch, and part of the reason why our branch decided to leave the organization in the end (after trying, but failing to combat such crap for about half year). Even when we told this to the other branches they just didn't seem to care (sadly because there are a lot of great people in those other branches).

What's even worse is that the organization has put out articles about how they account for their actions and all that shit. But they still actively defended their crap against us, and treated a rape survivor like dirt. They don't even realize how fucked up they are.

But I'll end the derail now.

akai

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

When l used to be in the Anarchist Federation we couldn't pass any position on abortion because of positions like that and men claiming their rights as fathers. That's for another thread tho.

xx

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I'm sure AK Distribution in the UK used to distribute Feral House publications so I'm not sure why they would have a problem if any of this stuff about Schmidt is true.

AES

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Maybe you can tell us -
why Feral House publications are a problem? (i don't know their stuff)
why they "used to" be distributed AK Distribution and
why that ended?
and the connection, if any, with Schmidt?

plasmatelly

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

There's been a bit too much AK Press bashing on here tbh.

r-exist

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Flav o Flav.

That's interesting. I read the sentence in point 3 of the WSF's eight points of unity and thought I had read that somewhere else before and found it in the anarkismo.net principles.

The exact same phrase of the WSM is cited as anarkismo.net's editorial statement:

http://anarkismo.net/about_us

dave negation

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

AK having some past distribution relationship with Feral House does seem like a bit of a tangent. Perhaps there should be another thread about this?

That stated, I suspect the issue is that Feral House constantly works with Holocaust-deniers.

For example, take a look at this vile post on the Feral House Facebook page, from Holocaust-denier and Feral House author David Cole:
https://www.facebook.com/FeralHouse/posts/10152294188032572

More about Cole:
http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/may/03/david-stein-cole-holocaust-revisionist

Feral House head Adam Parfrey also used to employ Keith Stimely, a former editor for the journal of Holocaust-denial outfit The Institute for Historical Review (IHR):
https://archive.org/stream/HitListVol.1No.1/hit_list_v01n01_part1_djvu.txt (search for "Stimely" to find the relevant passage.)

The Feral House-published, Parfrey-edited "Apocalypse Culture" volumes also contain work by Michael A. Hoffman II, who served as the Assistant Director for the IHR. (The first Apocalypse Culture volume includes a selection of quotes compiled by Hoffman, the second volume includes an article by Hoffman.)

Interested parties may also want to look into the history and associations of Feral House author Michael Jenkins Moynihan. The upcoming Feral House volume on "The White Nationalist Skinhead Movement" may also be fairly uncritical, given co-author Eddie Stampton's long history with the UK extreme-Right.

dave negation

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

double post, sorry.

The Hoffman contributions to the Apocalypse Culture books were not themselves about the Holocaust, by the way.

Cole's book published by Feral House does appear to largely be about his views on the Holocaust. Of course, Cole prefers to call himself a "revisionist" not a denier, as is usually the case with such creeps.

Juan Conatz

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I was pretty critical of the way AK Press went public with this in the beginning without evidence being provided, but at this point, this isn't really relevant. Constantly going on about this downplays the issues at hand now. Same with worries about people using this situation to try and discredit platformist or class struggle groups. I think that is a selfish concern, and also don't think worrying about what other strands of anarchism have to say is worth anyone's time. It's not 2002.

The 2nd and 3rd part pretty conclusively prove that MS had drifted into Third Positionist politics. That is the main issue now. I guess my next worry is if people are in danger based on any information MS may have passed on to fascist elements. I think there's probably lessons to learn here on how this was handled in South Africa. Mainly, that seemingly many people knew about this stuff, but said nothing. Was this just because some of this stuff was borderline and no one person or persons had the full picture? Was this because he was an influential, relatively high-profile professional, and people didn't know how to deal with a person like this?

akai is correct that some anarchists tolerating, moving towards or working with fascists and the far right is not necessarily new or unique. In the English-speaking world it is relatively rare, though. Hopefully, one of the things that comes out of this, is that people in the English-speaking world pay more attention to the stuff that sometimes happens in places like Poland and realize they are not immune to this either.

anarchoanarchist

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Calling Connolly a nationalist is simplistic, but he definitely wasn't an anarchist, that was one of the things I found hard to swallow about Black Flame. Connolly was a socialist, a syndicalist and his 'nationalism' was firmly within the realms of taking your starting position from somewhere the people around you understand.

You're shitting me, right? Connolly wasn't a nationalist? How do you explain his support for reactionary "racial" preservation societies?

"These agencies, whether Irish Language movements, Literary Societies or Commemoration Committees, are undoubtedly doing a work of lasting benefit to this country in helping to save from extinction the precious racial and national history, language and characteristics of our people."
taken from https://www.marxists.org/archive/connolly/1897/01/socnat.htm

Connolly was not only not an anarchist, he was hardly a leftist. The fact Schmidt the shit tried to appropriate the legacy of that racist marxist for anarchist history is just further proof Schmidt has had fascist inclinations for a long time.

redmarbury

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I know US antifa has sat on information on people so not to encourage turncoats to go full on and give out home addresses etc. It's a very delicate, difficult thing to decide, and keeping extremely close eyes on who they associate with is always kept in mind. Maybe its not a call that should be made by groups, but the world is pretty complicated and we're talking about real consequences.

Edit for addition.
The difference being that the turncoat is typically smashed and made sure they stay out of any type of activist scenes, and noncompliance means public outing. Though, I doubt people kept scmidt stuff to themselves for similar reasons. Shitty politics and "devils advocate" dicks pop up in libcom and anarchist orgs all the time, people don't give a second thought.

no1

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Juan Conatz

I was pretty critical of the way AK Press went public with this in the beginning without evidence being provided, but at this point, this isn't really relevant. Constantly going on about this downplays the issues at hand now.

I sympathise with what you're saying but I don't think the way this story has been revealed is now irrelevant. The original accusation from AK is that MS is a fascist infiltrator. But the first three parts by Reid Ross and Stephens don't actually seem to describe an infiltrator, and instead describe a process that happened over a long time, was gradual and only partially secret. I think this puts some of the responsibility on those who worked closely with MS without raising alarm (Zabalaza, Lucien van der Walt, and of course AK) and there is a lot of pressure for them to react.
I mean, that internal Zabalaza document precedes Black Flame! Also, a Zabalaza member "disciplined" for wanting to join a feminist reading group while one of their leading lights is known to have voted for a fascist party -- wtf?? If true, these are pretty strong indictments of those around MS, and we really need to hear their response before passing judgement.
However it's impossible for them to react while some of the material continues to be unpublished. In fact, I find it pretty objectionable that Reid Ross and Stephens apparently did not put all their stuff to those who worked with MS as part of their investigation.

Mark.

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

no1

Also, a Zabalaza member "disciplined" for wanting to join a feminist reading group while one of their leading lights is known to have voted for a fascist party -- wtf??

Here's the quote about voting for FF+

More shocking still, if only for Schmidt’s own openness about it with sources who spoke to us, was that while self-identifying as a “fascist skinhead,” he publicly supported the Freedom Front Plus Party (Vryheidsfront Plus, FF+), voting for them in the 2009 elections. The party is a political splinter group from the white nationalist paramilitary group Afrikaner Volksfront led by former army commander Constand Viljoen. As a right-wing coalition of groups, the Volksfront included the Boerestaat Party, and other ultranationalist white separatists. The FF+ currently proposes a Volkstaat in western South Africa that would provide land reform to shelter whites from Affirmative Action and the “black majority.” Since Africans did not occupy much of South Africa when the Dutch settlers came, FF+ members claim, a considerable amount of land is authentically Boer territory.

In a post from this time period (pictured above), dated April 23, 2009, KarelianBlue laments the high number of voters he saw at the ballot box in 2009, and claims he voted for “the only white rights party available.”
....

What I get from this is that is that Schmidt's stomfront alter ego says he voted for FF+. Is anyone apart from Reid Ross and Stephens saying he actually did vote for them?

Battlescarred

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

akai

When l used to be in the Anarchist Federation we couldn't pass any position on abortion because of positions like that and men claiming their rights as fathers. That's for another thread tho.

You mean the Anarchist Federation of Poland perhaps?. Certainly not a situation pertaining in the Anarchist Federation (UK)

Flava O Flav

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

r-exist

Flav o Flav.

That's interesting. I read the sentence in point 3 of the WSF's eight points of unity and thought I had read that somewhere else before and found it in the anarkismo.net principles.

The exact same phrase of the WSM is cited as anarkismo.net's editorial statement:

http://anarkismo.net/about_us

Unsurprising given that WSM was a founder member of the network.

Entdinglichung

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

the stuff that "not a women individually (petty-bourgeois) but the people" should decide if/how to get a baby was a quite common position among Maoists during the 70ies

Jim

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Juan Conatz

The 2nd and 3rd part pretty conclusively prove that MS had drifted into Third Positionist politics. That is the main issue now.

They don't conclusively prove that, they suggest that may have happened but it's not clear and Schmidt is still denying it's the case. If the articles had been done to a better standard that would have been clearer.

Steven.

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Mark.

What I get from this is that is that Schmidt's stomfront alter ego says he voted for FF+. Is anyone apart from Reid Ross and Stephens saying he actually did vote for them?

yeah, that wasn't clear to me either. Anyone know more about this?

no1

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Mark.

What I get from this is that is that Schmidt's stomfront alter ego says he voted for FF+. Is anyone apart from Reid Ross and Stephens saying he actually did vote for them?

you're right, it's a bit unclear what their actual claims are - here's an early paragraph from part 3:

After the publication of Black Flame, Michael Schmidt began distancing himself from and finally left the ZACF. According to one source within the group, they’d done their “best to recruit new people, including a ‘colored’ member who joined in 2010… Michael [Schmidt] left at around the same time because he had ‘ideological differences.’ That was shortly after he voted for Freedom Front Plus in the national election.” Speaking to the double standards of the organizational culture Schmidt had helped create at the ZACF, a source told us that Schmidt received no official criticism about voting for the FF+, but a female member of the ZACF was disciplined around the same time for wanting to join a feminist reading group.

By putting this source inside ZACF they make it sound like the group knew at the time, though it may very well be something the source only learnt recently. Not sure if that's what their source meant, or if this is bad writing or being deliberately misleading.
(edited for clarity/typo)

Mark.

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Comment deleted as I misread the quote above.

Burgers

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Mark.

What I get from this is that is that Schmidt's stomfront alter ego says he voted for FF+. Is anyone apart from Reid Ross and Stephens saying he actually did vote for them?

Someone claiming they where told by Schmidt if you check all the replies.
https://www.facebook.com/AKPress/posts/10156227769355249

Juan Conatz

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Jim

Juan Conatz

The 2nd and 3rd part pretty conclusively prove that MS had drifted into Third Positionist politics. That is the main issue now.

They don't conclusively prove that, they suggest that may have happened but it's not clear and Schmidt is still denying it's the case. If the articles had been done to a better standard that would have been clearer.

Yeah some people are gonna still expect something that would irrefutably stand through a jury libel case or want MS to "confess" otherwise they aren't convinced. I imagine this attitude is the sort of thing that kept people quiet about him for years.

Flava O Flav

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

anarchoanarchist

Calling Connolly a nationalist is simplistic, but he definitely wasn't an anarchist, that was one of the things I found hard to swallow about Black Flame. Connolly was a socialist, a syndicalist and his 'nationalism' was firmly within the realms of taking your starting position from somewhere the people around you understand.

You're shitting me, right? Connolly wasn't a nationalist? How do you explain his support for reactionary "racial" preservation societies?

"These agencies, whether Irish Language movements, Literary Societies or Commemoration Committees, are undoubtedly doing a work of lasting benefit to this country in helping to save from extinction the precious racial and national history, language and characteristics of our people."
taken from https://www.marxists.org/archive/connolly/1897/01/socnat.htm

Connolly was not only not an anarchist, he was hardly a leftist. The fact Schmidt the shit tried to appropriate the legacy of that racist marxist for anarchist history is just further proof Schmidt has had fascist inclinations for a long time.

I started a new thread to reply to this as it could disrail the discussion.

http://libcom.org/forums/history/james-connolly-nationalism-socialism-syndicalism-19102015

no1

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Burgers

Mark.

What I get from this is that is that Schmidt's stomfront alter ego says he voted for FF+. Is anyone apart from Reid Ross and Stephens saying he actually did vote for them?

Someone claiming they where told by Schmidt if you check all the replies.
https://www.facebook.com/AKPress/posts/10156227769355249

They're also saying that another ZACF member was present, and that LvdW knew about it

Mark.

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Burgers

Mark.

What I get from this is that is that Schmidt's stomfront alter ego says he voted for FF+. Is anyone apart from Reid Ross and Stephens saying he actually did vote for them?

Someone claiming they where told by Schmidt if you check all the replies.
https://www.facebook.com/AKPress/posts/10156227769355249

Thanks, I wouldn't have found that. Someone's saying there that they know someone who was told by Schmidt, but it isn't clear when.

Lumpen

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

As someone mentioned earlier, it's hard to make an assessment because the articles are obscured with trivia (he likes rockabilly!!卐卐卐).

Some charges are anonymous (like voting for Freedom Front Plus), and my reading is that these claims link the crap proposals to a broader charge of white supremacist politics. The writing is below the standard you'd expect from reputable journalism, which isn't a crime, but having editors and fact checkers is what permits anonymous sources while remaining trustworthy, as I read recently. In their absence, sticking to the substantive evidence with citations, a bloody redraft and dropping the serialisation would have been better.

Plus I liked Black Flame and now I'm cringing at having recommended it to others so please, please, please don't be a Nazi.

PS First post in ages.

r-exist

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Mark.

The second Brandon Gray comment of that AK release post, the one with 30+ answers, has Stéfanie Noire confirming: "@brandon: he personally told me that he voted for ff+. In person. As MS. Also, the recent attacks have absolutely nothing to do with this article, that's ridiculous! It's what ANC thugs have always been doing to dissidents."

https://www.facebook.com/AKPress/posts/10156227769355249

Juan Conatz

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Also, I think it's also worth mentioning that there's a hell of a lot more evidence provided here than I've seen in many cases where someone is outed as an informant or undercover, or someone is exposed as a rapist, but you rarely see bourgeois legal standards demanded of those cases.

The claim by MS that he was doing undercover journalist work is pretty much refuted in Pt. 2 and Pt. 3. If you were doing this you wouldn't be putting out so much personal information and pictures, along with really specific critiques of the far left. Unless you were incredibly stupid, which I might believe of an amateur, but not a professional journalist. Both statements by MS have not been convincing at all.

radicalgraffiti

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Juan Conatz

Also, I think it's also worth mentioning that there's a hell of a lot more evidence provided here than I've seen in many cases where someone is outed as an informant or undercover, or someone is exposed as a rapist, but you rarely see bourgeois legal standards demanded of those cases.

you clearly haven't read the responses to the outing of many rapists

Mark.

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

r-exist

Mark.

The second Brandon Gray comment of that AK release post, the one with 30+ answers, has Stéfanie Noire confirming: "@brandon: he personally told me that he voted for ff+. In person. As MS. Also, the recent attacks have absolutely nothing to do with this article, that's ridiculous! It's what ANC thugs have always been doing to dissidents."

https://www.facebook.com/AKPress/posts/10156227769355249

Thanks.

Fall Back

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Juan Conatz

Also, I think it's also worth mentioning that there's a hell of a lot more evidence provided here than I've seen in many cases where someone is outed as an informant or undercover, or someone is exposed as a rapist, but you rarely see bourgeois legal standards demanded of those cases.

Really?

That's entirely at odds with my experiences and (more importantly) the experiences of pretty much every woman I've discussed issues of sexual assault within radical scenes with.

And that aside, I don't think it's a correct comparison. There are really specific reasons in cases of sexual assault that believing a survivor is the default. Issues such as re-traumatisation, rape culture, the specific difficulties of "proving" a sexual assault, patriarchal power structures etc etc just don't exist here. It's not like we have a specific hostility to due process per se.

Fuck, we're not even talking about someone here who has said Schmidt was racist to them - it's a white dude on another continent.

That said, I think at this point enough evidence has been presented that the accusations need be treated deadly seriously, and that Schmidt should be disassociated from and excluded as a minimum. However, I think just as much as we can't let the fuck ups in process distract from the real danger and issues at stake here from Schmidt's politics (and potentially actions), we just as importantly can't let the fact he's a racist shit absolve or hide the fact that the way AK dealt with this was irresponsible, potentially dangerous and shouldn't be allowed to be repeated.

Jim

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Juan Conatz

Also, I think it's also worth mentioning that there's a hell of a lot more evidence provided here than I've seen in many cases where someone is outed as an informant or undercover, or someone is exposed as a rapist, but you rarely see bourgeois legal standards demanded of those cases.

The claim by MS that he was doing undercover journalist work is pretty much refuted in Pt. 2 and Pt. 3. If you were doing this you wouldn't be putting out so much personal information and pictures, along with really specific critiques of the far left. Unless you were incredibly stupid, which I might believe of an amateur, but not a professional journalist. Both statements by MS have not been convincing at all.

Evidence of what? From looking through it all there's a lot of evidence Schmidt has some racist views, but not a lot that he's a fascist or white nationalist if you accept his claims about the undercover work. I don't think Reid-Ross and Stephens have made a solid enough case that the output of the fake accounts are Schmidt's genuinely held beliefs.

I know a lot of incredibly stupid professional journalists.

Juan Conatz

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Fall Back, I guess my point is that there is no judge, there is no jury, so in those cases, we have to just trust the likelihood that they are true and rely on the credibility of the groups putting their rep on the line rather than expecting a presentation of public evidence. I see your point about sexual assualt, and I think I was thinking specifically of public statements about people that have appeared on libcom, I don't recall posters demanding the type of standards that would be expected in a court of law. You're correct that in many cases, people do demand this, unfortunately.

Juan Conatz

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Jim

Juan Conatz

Also, I think it's also worth mentioning that there's a hell of a lot more evidence provided here than I've seen in many cases where someone is outed as an informant or undercover, or someone is exposed as a rapist, but you rarely see bourgeois legal standards demanded of those cases.

The claim by MS that he was doing undercover journalist work is pretty much refuted in Pt. 2 and Pt. 3. If you were doing this you wouldn't be putting out so much personal information and pictures, along with really specific critiques of the far left. Unless you were incredibly stupid, which I might believe of an amateur, but not a professional journalist. Both statements by MS have not been convincing at all.

Evidence of what? From looking through it all there's a lot of evidence Schmidt has some racist views, but not a lot that he's a fascist or white nationalist if you accept his claims about the undercover work. I don't think Reid-Ross and Stephens have made a solid enough case that the output of the fake accounts are Schmidt's genuinely held beliefs.

I know a lot of incredibly stupid professional journalists.

A lot of the evidence can be refuted by accepting he had medically induced amnesia, as well, but why should this explanation be accepted?

S. Artesian

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Jim

Evidence of what? From looking through it all there's a lot of evidence Schmidt has some racist views, but not a lot that he's a fascist or white nationalist if you accept his claims about the undercover work. I don't think Reid-Ross and Stephens have made a solid enough case that the output of the fake accounts are Schmidt's genuinely held beliefs.

I know a lot of incredibly stupid professional journalists.

Right, undercover work as a journalist; with no notification to his editor. Sure thing.

And now that his cover's been blown, wouldn't it make sense to publish what he learned about the racist, fascist groups he supposedly penetrated?

Do I look like I just fell off a truckload of pumpkins being brought to the city for Halloween?

admin: off topic comment removed. Don't derail the discussion into topics there are already other threads about

Steven.

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Jim

Evidence of what? From looking through it all there's a lot of evidence Schmidt has some racist views, but not a lot that he's a fascist or white nationalist if you accept his claims about the undercover work.

Well him voting for a quasi-fascist party doesn't really help him with that. As for his claims about undercover work, I think his editor whom he cited as the person who could corroborate his story, saying he knew nothing about it and wouldn't have even supported it pretty much kills that (in addition to the lack of actual journalistic exposés of the far right: if he was just infiltrating for stories, where are the stories?)

autonegation

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

"One dude managed, in a meeting, to argue that women should not be the only ones to decide whether to have an abortion or not because that would be individualistic. Rather it should be up to the community! The only person challenging him? A non-member (room mate of a member) whose apartment the meeting was held."

That is a very serious, and knowing Common Cause's politics, almost certainly false claim to just make in passing. Perhaps you could enlighten us as to where this alleged comment took place? Were you there? If so, why did it fall on someone's roommate to point out the inherent misogyny in the statement? And if you weren't there, then why should anyone trust you, since you clearly have an axe to grind?

Flava O Flav

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

S. Artesian

And now that his cover's been blown, wouldn't it make sense to publish what he learned about the racist, fascist groups he supposedly penetrated?

Maybe he's serialising it.

Khawaga

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

That is a very serious, and knowing Common Cause's politics, almost certainly false claim to just make in passing. Perhaps you could enlighten us as to where this alleged comment took place? Were you there? If so, why did it fall on someone's roommate to point out the inherent misogyny in the statement? And if you weren't there, then why should anyone trust you, since you clearly have an axe to grind?

No, I wasn't there, but I was told by the room mate. And yes, I have an axe to grind with Common Cause (more specifically the Toronto branch) because of how they have treated a rape survivor, and in general for being sexist pieces of shit. There are many similar stories to that.

And sorry, knowing the politics of Common Cause doesn't mean you know the conduct of their members. What they write sounds pretty good, but in practice it is not that great. Granted, I am mainly referring to the Toronto branch and I still think there are several great people in the other branches (but I am disappointed that none of them, but for a few, bothered to take the sexism of the Toronto branch seriously.

And why the fuck should anyone trust you considering you clearly made your account today to just post this.

Steven.

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Sorry guys, admin note here if you want to continue to discuss the Common Cause stuff please start a new thread. Any more comments on this will be deleted.

Battlescarred

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

"As someone mentioned earlier, it's hard to make an assessment because the articles are obscured with trivia (he likes rockabilly!!卐卐卐)."
Oh dear, I'm a big fan of rockabilly. Looks like I'll have to denounce myself.

S. Artesian

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I don't give a fuck about rockabilly, or any other music derived from Africa, Europe, Asia, the Americas, Australia, or any island anywhere. Play it all, sing it all, so what? But if you're singing the Horst Wessel song, it's not the melody that's of concern, it's the lyrics... i.e. the historical context.

r-exist

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Anybody know if there will still be, as announced, more parts to be published? If so, when?

Lumpen

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Juan Conatz

Also, I think it's also worth mentioning that there's a hell of a lot more evidence provided here than I've seen in many cases where someone is outed as an informant or undercover, or someone is exposed as a rapist, but you rarely see bourgeois legal standards demanded of those cases.

It seems reasonable to measure the worth of the articles against a standard for the presentation of evidence and arguments.

The authors lack a coherent framework to talk about fascism and racism. This has lead to confusing writing that gives equal weight to ephemera and documentary evidence. Overwhelming people with information, without sorting into a logical structure, will cause division or disinterest.

A lot of it is a no-true-Scotsman argument to call him a fascist, because he's probably a very bad anarchist. Others in this thread pointed out that a better explanation for his conduct going unquestioned is a macho culture and vanguardism. That's a scarier problem than an undercover fascist, I reckon.

Hopefully this doesn't come across as being an apologist for MS. I'm saying that the articles have done us a disservice by adding significantly to confusion. If more rigour was applied, we would not need to dig into obscure Facebook comments for the evidence and the nature of the problem would be clear.

Burgers

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

r-exist

Anybody know if there will still be, as announced, more parts to be published? If so, when?

Well there are still two more chapter to be published and they hoped to get the 4th one out lastnight, but "A pretty big evidentiary bombshell went off this morning, and we're doing our diligence in following up." so maybe this has delayed it till today?

On another note while some will want to use this to bash "platformists" others will use it to bash class struggle anarchists in general.

Syndicalism is only one very, very short step away from fascism

https://roblosricos.wordpress.com/about/black-flame-burns-the-anarchists-enchanted-by-its-drivel/

Devrim

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Yes, I agree with Burgers. This will be used by all sorts of liberal anarchists to launch an attack on anarchists who see class as central, and in particular anarcho-syndicalists.

Devrim

Steven.

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Burgers

On another note while some will want to use this to bash "platformists" others will use it to bash class struggle anarchists in general.

Syndicalism is only one very, very short step away from fascism

https://roblosricos.wordpress.com/about/black-flame-burns-the-anarchists-enchanted-by-its-drivel/

yeah, but who cares what those idiots say?

Devrim

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I think, Steven, that it will end up a lot wider than "those idiots".

Devrim

ocelot

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Steven.

Burgers

On another note while some will want to use this to bash "platformists" others will use it to bash class struggle anarchists in general.

Syndicalism is only one very, very short step away from fascism

https://roblosricos.wordpress.com/about/black-flame-burns-the-anarchists-enchanted-by-its-drivel/

yeah, but who cares what those idiots say?

True perhaps. but then they come up with gems like:

Turns out that at least one of the authors of Black Flame is a white supremacist, and has been using his influence within the Syndicalist movement to keep Anarchism firmly rooted in an exclusively Euro-centric worldview.

You can make many criticisms of Black Flame but the idea that as a work it is a project to "keep Anarchism firmly rooted in an exclusively Euro-centric worldview" really is the world turned upside down.

On the other hand, if AK succeed in pulping the remaining print run, who's to say such nonsense won't become the received wisdom in ten years time?

Jim

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

While I can see why people would expect Schmidt to have a number of exposes on the far-right published, that isn't the only type of journalism which undercover accounts would aid. Schmidt has written a number of articles and books which feature information about the far-right so I think that defence of his is conceivable. But yeah, still leaves questions about the voting etc.

akai

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

About the class anarchist bashing, my opinion is that only anti-nationalist and anti-hierarchical class anarchism is worth a damn. Where criticism is unjustified, it is not a problem to counter any of these people's criticism. lt is only a problem if they have points. So l think that where class anarchist have taken problematic positions, we have to clearly disassociate ourselves and movements from them.

lf l had time, l would answer to the fascism and syndicalism thing. l actually do thing there can be dangers of fascists integrating with syndicalists (who have bad national politics). The proof is that in Poland their all self-styled anarcho-syndicalists who run in elections with fascists. (But l don't consider them anarcho-syndicalists ...)

Shorty

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

klas batalo

they are apparently sitting on another like 3 parts, fucking losers not being responsible and just releasing it to protect the movement and put this issue to a rest.

I've been mulling this over, trying to think it through, in agreement with your point and maybe it's a stupid question but if he actually is a fascist infiltrator, isn't this a really shitty way of releasing info in terms of security and counter measures for groups, organisations and movements? I'm sure some of this is already taking place, but the means in which it's being done just seems very unhelpful in that regard.

Burgers

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

It appears chapter 4 is still being worked on https://instagram.com/p/9EhtKeRLII/

Flint

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

akai

About the class anarchist bashing, my opinion is that only anti-nationalist and anti-hierarchical class anarchism is worth a damn. Where criticism is unjustified, it is not a problem to counter any of these people's criticism. lt is only a problem if they have points. So l think that where class anarchist have taken problematic positions, we have to clearly disassociate ourselves and movements from them

For folks who don't frequent Libcom, the general criticism of Black Flame is that it tried to disassociate anti-nationalist/anti-hierarchical class anarchism from other kinds of "anarchism", particularly anti-organizational/individualist strains with its focus on anarcho-syndicalist mass movements an specific organizations propagating a class anarchist politics. I realize some folks don't feel it was sufficiently anti-nationalist (re: inclusion of Connolly, etc..) but the opinion of Rob Los Ricos in critiquing Black Flame for a lack of support for left nationalism is shared by others.

Particularly early on, this issue seemed like a Rorschach test where whatever problem someone had with Schmidt's known politics and/or Black Flame was used as an argument: "Ah ha! I knew that *ism was the path to fascism". Rob Los Ricos is just one of the more annoying examples.

syndicalist

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I can't believe anyone is thinking that BF was anything more then what it is. An attempt to give a certain class struggle perspective, while also stretching the limits of who could be considered a syndicalist (Connolly, DeLeon, etc).

While I have significant disagreements with the book, there are some decent things in it as well. And while I thought the inclusion of very clearly marxist identified sorta-kinda-maybe syndicalists took away from the book, nowhere would I have thought it was walking people towards fascism. Hardly.

One can clearly argue whether the glee-full mention of the Spanish CGT at the end was smart. Or the concept of "anarchism and syndicalism (imply seperatae and distant ideas and tendencies)", rather then anarcho-syndicalism, but I think its, respectfully, a bit of a stretch to imply the soft road to facsim is paved in BF.

Mark.

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

An additional statement by Michael Schmidt which I don't think has been linked to here. It doesn't really address the claims directly, but for the sake of completeness: https://www.facebook.com/AKPress/posts/10154181264264186

Operaista

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Chapter four is up: https://medium.com/@rossstephens/about-schmidt-how-a-white-nationalist-seduced-anarchist-movements-throughout-the-world-chapter-4-8ff357d222e3#.qo02t641t

Khawaga

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Still no evidence of him being an infiltrator...

ajjohnstone

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I now have to withdraw my earlier doubts about ZACF in giving MS, so to speak, a get out of jail card, for i now read that they did indeed rightly begin an investigation into his behaviour and beliefs.

He began to dial down his “KarelianBlue” Stormfront profile, likely as a result of the investigation into his activities by the ZACF.

Chilli Sauce

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Khawaga

Still no evidence of him being an infiltrator...

Yeah, so far only part 2 has seemed to carry any real weight as far as I can see. So unless they've got a Jinx situation up their sleeve, I don't think they've proved anything more than Schmidt's - to be fair, unquestionable at this point - racism.

Pennoid

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Comparing the regimes of the late Hugo Chavez and Fidel Castro to the parafascist regime of Juan Peron, Schmidt’s article identifies as fascist “everything from the openly neo-fascist Golden Dawn in Greece, to Morales’s ethnic-capitalist ‘Evoism’ in Bolivia, to the ultra-conservative Tea Party faction within the Republicans in the United States, in sum, a counter-hegemonic movement that has distinct left and right wings, both of which draw their oxygen from populaces disillusioned with the exhausted politics-as-usual of the ballot box.” While this incredibly broad definition of fascism is both unfocused and demonstrably inaccurate (neither Mussolini’s Fascist Party nor Hitler’s Nazi Party had any compunction using the ballot box as part of a broader strategy, and any number of populist political forms can be presented as a counter-hegemonic, extra-parliamentary movements with left and right wings), it has a certain shotgun-blast appeal that presents all enemies as united through a common, easily identifiable grouping.

*Cough* Nationalism *cough*

Operaista

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Khawaga, at this point, I don't think they are using infiltrator in the strictest sense, i.e., that he was sent into the anarchist movement by a fascist organization. They seem to intend it as his participation in the anarchist movement having been his own personal initiative to win people or an organization to his own idiosyncratic Third Positionist politics - or, to use ARR and JS's phrase,

Schmidt’s attempt to merge lone wolf white nationalism with a broadly accepted, leftist revolutionary position.

If you read the Daily Maverick article linked to and quoted in Chapter 4, it's pretty clear he was starting to place white nationalist sympathies into his journalistic work.

We'll see how they wrap this up, but this is rather convoluted as is - and horrifying. I mean, it was over for Schmidt in the anarchist movement when he confirmed he wrote the memo and defended its content.

klas batalo

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Pennoid

Comparing the regimes of the late Hugo Chavez and Fidel Castro to the parafascist regime of Juan Peron, Schmidt’s article identifies as fascist “everything from the openly neo-fascist Golden Dawn in Greece, to Morales’s ethnic-capitalist ‘Evoism’ in Bolivia, to the ultra-conservative Tea Party faction within the Republicans in the United States, in sum, a counter-hegemonic movement that has distinct left and right wings, both of which draw their oxygen from populaces disillusioned with the exhausted politics-as-usual of the ballot box.” While this incredibly broad definition of fascism is both unfocused and demonstrably inaccurate (neither Mussolini’s Fascist Party nor Hitler’s Nazi Party had any compunction using the ballot box as part of a broader strategy, and any number of populist political forms can be presented as a counter-hegemonic, extra-parliamentary movements with left and right wings), it has a certain shotgun-blast appeal that presents all enemies as united through a common, easily identifiable grouping.

*Cough* Nationalism *cough*

As mentioned earlier, the writers, and certainly people in their milieu (lots of liberal anarchists just adopt new left lite positions on shit) are definitely closer to left nationalism, and seeing that as an issue with BF et al's supposed eurocentric view.

---

In regards part 4. Unless there is something in part 5 from what I hear from some people who saw the drafts, I don't think there will be a last minute clincher that really has folks satisfied on the whole infiltrator thing. Like lumpen said its sorta the whole well see he's a really bad anarchist, and we can't prove for sure with hard cite-able meat space evidence, so WANNA BELIEVE.

Also thanks Shorty for bumping my post.

Khawaga

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Operaista

Khawaga, at this point, I don't think they are using infiltrator in the strictest sense, i.e., that he was sent into the anarchist movement by a fascist organization. They seem to intend it as his participation in the anarchist movement having been his own personal initiative to win people or an organization to his own idiosyncratic Third Positionist politics - or, to use ARR and JS's phrase,

Yes, I get that... well sort of. But the problem is that when AK Press stated he was a fascist infiltrator, the idea you get (at least I did, and seems like I wasn't the only one) is that this was as you say "sent into the anarchist movement by a fascist organization". And as someone who hosted him in my city, he met quite a few comrades etc. I did start to wonder whether he did collect intel and thus if people should be worried. I agree that what the story has proved is that he is more of a lone wolf trying to win folks over to his brand of racism/national anarchism. But in the light of that, AK's original statement is even worse and even more irresponsible. They could have "just" said that he was a racist national anarchist.

Operaista

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Khawaga, that's the idea I got as well from AK's original statement, and so I'm with you on the worry of whether intel was collected and people had been put in danger. AK's statement was not well-thought out in phrasing or timing; it is distressing to me to see the attacks on AK though on their Facebook page, though.

This is the problem where the primary accusations against MS are ideological - that he said he was one thing (an anarchist) but was really another (a national anarchist/Third Positionist). Which is why the situation of someone sent in by an existing fascist org to win over, split, or destroy an organization would be easier to determine. Here, we're left with a body of work split between multiple settings (an anarchist organization, journalism, white nationalist communications), and trying to figure out what is actual views most likely are, and then decide how much of a threat he is based on that judgment.

Flint

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Alexander Reid Ross and Joshua Stephens

There is little room in this theory for feminism and “white skin privilege” analysis of “little-a anarchism.”

Feminism and white skin privilege analysis come from little-a anarchism! Learn something new every day, folks!

Operaista

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

What I think they're getting at is Schmidt's tendency to call any variant of anarchism he doesn't like "little-a anarchism", thus he instantly discounts any anarchism that has incorporated an analysis of feminism or "white skin privilege", for reasons far more sinister than the usual vulgar economism. Definitely not the clearest point in the world, though.

I think it was back in Chapter 2 that they discussed Schmidt calling white skin privilege Maoism, which points to how poor a historian he is of radical movements.

Schmidt seems to have played off of/tied into a certain romanticism about a caricature of anarchism up to 1936 when there were real anarchists who organized working class workers who worked in factories and didn't worry themselves with feminism or white supremacy.

Flint

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

The "little-a anarchism" and "big-a anarchism" originated from an article from David Graeber and Andrej Grubacic. Graeber called his preferred anarchism of consensus decision-making, global summit protests, affinity groups, etc... as "small-a anarchism" and criticized NEFAC and other platformists as "big-A anarchists" as a pejorative. Even though we were involved in the same activity and even at times in the same affinity group with him!

Its a relatively obscure reference, but one that Joshua Stephens and Michael Schmidt would both probably know.,

David Graeber and Andrej Grubacic

At the moment, there's something of a rupture between generations of anarchism: between those whose political formation took place in the 60s and 70s -- and who often still have not shaken the sectarian habits of the last century -- or simply still operate in those terms, and younger activists much more informed, among other elements, by indigenous, feminist, ecological and cultural-critical ideas. The former organize mainly through highly visible Anarchist Federations like the IWA, NEFAC or IWW. The latter work most prominently in the networks of the global social movement, networks like Peoples Global Action, which unites anarchist collectives in Europe and elsewhere with groups ranging from Maori activists in New Zealand, fisherfolk in Indonesia, or the Canadian postal workers' union. (2) The latter -- what might be loosely referred to as the "small-a anarchists", are now by far the majority. But it is sometimes hard to tell, since so many of them do not trumpet their affinities very loudly. There are many, in fact, who take anarchist principles of anti-sectarianism and open-endedness so seriously that they refuse to refer to themselves as "anarchists" for that very reason.

Anarchism, Or The Revolutionary Movement Of The Twenty-First Century

Of course among the things ridiculous about his demographic analysis of IWA/NEFAC/IWW and the small-a anarchists was painting NEFAC and the IWW as a bunch of old beards. I think at the time this was written, the average age in NEFAC was 25 or so. Graeber was older than that. The Post-Leftist crowd ad AJODA (McQuinn, Black, Jarach) was considerably older and very sectarian.

"Big-A anarchism" is a pejorative used by self-identified "little-a anarchists".

Schmidt's politics appear such a mess in these articles I wouldn't be surprised if he used it as a positive description for syndicalism or formal organizations; but its origin is as a pejorative (though perhaps Graeber and Grubacic thought they were being descriptive).

One thing to note that since that piece by Graeber and Grubacic, they both joined the IWW and Grubacic also joined the former-IWA affiliate the WSA.

Khawaga

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Graeber

the Canadian postal workers' union.

Funny, all the anarchists I've met from that union have all been so called big-A anarchists, but then again they were also feminists. So maybe the latter trumps the former. In any case, what a piss poor analysis by Graeber, and rather sectarian. Stones, glasshouses and all that.

klas batalo

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Operaista

I think it was back in Chapter 2 that they discussed Schmidt calling white skin privilege Maoism, which points to how poor a historian he is of radical movements.

This is probably tangential like many things on this thread, but I don't think it is that far off if you have a look at Ignatiev's politics, and others at the time that they were coming out of the New Left and New Communist Movement milieus. Maoism as a quick label doesn't surprise me. Certainly a lot of these types of analyses eventually became popular in watered down ways by most of the liberal / radical left in North America?

r-exist

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I'd say by this time it is already possible to get a better picture of the bigger context.

AK Press definitely should have waited for all of the material to be ready, for it to come out at once with the report on them cutting relations with him (which should have been the focus on their note: we cut relations with one of our authors because of ...). As they said in the beginning: they had heard rumours more than six months before, and Schmidt has been into this stuff for a full decade - so what would be two possible arguments for them to rush and try and make it even more dramatic than it seems to be (infiltration!): 1) they made a fucking bi mistake and should admit to it at some point 2) getting the full picture of a story like this, they might ask themselves why the fuck they had not noticed anything on the long road of being his editors... they might be worried of being dragged into this...

No matter how: it seems that they are the one's that publicly claimed Schmidt is a fascist infiltrator, so they will have to make a statement if they still stand to their accusation at some point.

The authors would definitely have done a lot better, if they had found a collective form of turning this stuff public, I don't see any point why it was necessary to publish these texts as "journalists"/"story writers" with their names under and all over it. This seems more critical as right away AK Press stated that what would be the evidence that "one of their authors" was a "fascist infiltrator" would be presented by another "of our authors". Surprisingly or coincidentally one that has a book coming up to be published with AK on the same "hot" topic (which is way too important to be treated like a "hot" topic). Also I don't see how serious stuff like this should be used to self-promote as some kind of scene-saviour from the evil. Sorry, but the first declaration ARR put out after AK Press went public with their accusations was just deeply pathetic:

If you were one of those that he has fooled along the way, take comfort in the knowledge that you are not alone. If you are one of those who have caught a whiff of a suspicious odor from him, I would ask that we take a moment to be humble, and recognize that Schmidt does not speak for or represent the tendency of Platformism, and that fascists in our midst have been outed as Egoists/Individualists, Nihilists, and Green Anarchists as well. We have the chance to use this as an opportunity to gain momentum as a movement and rededicate ourselves to beating the fascists. Let's take that chance, a risk perhaps, rather than breaking solidarity and/or descending into sectarian feuds that will open the floodgates for increased entryism into the communities that we love.

The delay in publicizing the texts allowed the authors to relate to MS's defense, it would have been better not to do that, this being a point easily giving arguments to the hopefully less and less MS's supporters ("they put him on the wall, to see if he admits or sth. of the kind")

All this critique is not supposed to make forget that these guys put quite some effort into researching and point out to a quite complex relation of participation in the anarchist movement, personal career (MS as a writer and journalist, I suggest he was not only into entryism, he wanted to maintain his status as a popstar-writer on anarchism, one reason he would not be more publically clear on his racist/nationalist opinions) and really fucked up opinions that seem to hide behind ever more "theoretically complex" constructions. I thought it worrying that there were quite e few commentators arguing that Schmidt was just asking and discussing some difficult questions in his position paper, while it is just a fucking racist adaptation of some elements put together from platformism (inner circle only white that are other than black mentally and physically capable, relating to a completely freakingly wrong interpretation of the white working class in Brasil, that according to MS in that paper in the past had been worse off than Brazilian's blacks-wtf?) and leninist vanguardism and use them to help defend a clearly and purely racist position.

The question that the authors seem to write on in the last bit of this polit-soap is a question that they will not be able to answer on their own I guess. So, I would rather not expect more great revelations, rather than their interpretation of why Schmidt has been able to promote white nationalism/racism while still being seen and treated as a respectable reference by quite a few for the history on anarchism/interpretation of the anarchist movement? How the fuck can things like these happen, that for such a long time and even MS's former organisation investigating on it never led to some kind of public statement on MS's ideas and writing? How could the Boer article be published on anarkismo.net? Who cross-checked, proof-read it? How can MS in the article on Ramnath's books proudly present himself as a founder of ZACF without also stating that he has not been a member of that group anymore for three years at that point of time. Why have those individuals that have come up now and reaffirmed these accusations not been able to do anything in that sense? Why would they need some writers from another part of the world to do so?

Well, the questions are a lot more... and not to forget, there might still be the statement of defence by MS and also hopefully explanations by people like vdW or the ITHA-IATH, who he is part of (apparently at this moment the only direct link he has to any anarchist group - a research group on anarchist history).

Are these precipitated conclusions? Is anyone expecting that views and opinions on these questions might still see some unexpected turn around with answers of MS and who else will answer, if?

I stop here.

Black Badger

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Off topic, sorry, but I can't let this slide:

The Post-Leftist crowd ad AJODA (McQuinn, Black, Jarach) was considerably older and very sectarian.

Non sequitur much? Aside from that, what's your definition of "sectarian"? Someone who doesn't like your ideas and/or someone whose ideas you don't like?

Flint

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Black Badger

Off topic, sorry, but I can't let this slide:

The Post-Leftist crowd ad AJODA (McQuinn, Black, Jarach) was considerably older and very sectarian.

Non sequitur much? Aside from that, what's your definition of "sectarian"? Someone who doesn't like your ideas and/or someone whose ideas you don't like?

The old/young division was Graeber/Grubacic. not mine: "between those whose political formation took place in the 60s and 70s -- and who often still have not shaken the sectarian habits of the last century -- or simply still operate in those terms, and younger activists "

As to "sectarian", Graeber/Grubacic applied "sectarian" to IWW/NEFAC/IWA with a broad brush.

AJODA was very sectarian and anti-NEFAC, from the get go. NEFAC largely didn't engage post-leftism or AJODA but instead tended to publish articles about our activity and experiences. If you don't agree with my opinion about that, then I guess we just disagree and I'm happy to leave it at that.

Burgers

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

A couple of things to think about in chapter 4

He began to dial down his “KarelianBlue” Stormfront profile, likely as a result of the investigation into his activities by the ZACF.

Although Black Battlefront and KarelianBlue had fallen off by 2012

I do find this a little hard to believe based on the fact that there seems to be no outcome on the part of ZACF and also the fact they have loads of his articles on there website including "Death and the Mielieboer" still. http://zabalaza.net/?s=Schmidt

also

In an unpublished article presented to us by Schmidt over the course of our interview, titled “Neither Fish nor Fowl: Populism, Red Overalls and Black Shirts,”

Based on the fact that the interview with MS was done over email throughout the month of August you would think they would share with us this article, rather than we have to take there word for it as fact?

akai

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

So, it seems "sectarianism" means being critical by that definition.

Yes, G&G used this word very broadly, then joined the people they criticized. Maybe infiltration is much more common than we think. :-)

But seriously, back to the Schmidt case, l don't know if any of you have been trying to find out how NA's have been reacting to this all. So far l haven't found them angrily discussing their infiltration. On the contrary, it only seems that they have been active on the internet defending Schmidt's positions.
This would suggest that most NA types do not seem threatened by his supposed infiltration.

l could contrast this to reactions of such people to my criticisms of them, which often included threats of violence, extreme trolling, disinformation campaigns etc. l would assume that if any of them really believed Schmidt was an anarchist which was against them and spying, there would have already been some reaction.

Jim

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

akai

So far l haven't found them angrily discussing their infiltration.

You're not friends with Troy Southgate on Facebook then.

Mark.

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Operaista

Chapter four is up: https://medium.com/@rossstephens/about-schmidt-how-a-white-nationalist-seduced-anarchist-movements-throughout-the-world-chapter-4-8ff357d222e3#.qo02t641t

Here's the Daily Maverick article quoted in this: http://www.dailymaverick.co.za/article/2014-09-22-the-two-faces-of-global-separatism/#.VidrNZR4WrU

It doesn't look especially controversial to me. I'd hazard a guess that the unpublished article they mention wouldn't sound that controversial either if read as a whole rather than selectively mined to support their argument.

Schmidt ends the article with an insistence that “EFF is playing with fire, because while it is totally correct in challenging oligarchy, monopoly and the continued dominance of the white elite of some 320,000 people (plus about 1,500 people of color), it’s [sic] ethnicisation of the country’s troubles promises to sow dragon’s teeth in our red soil.” It is difficult to parse through the mixed metaphors in this sentence. First, “our red soil” evokes the mixture of the blood of the Boer and the “blood and soil” nationalism of Schmidt’s Afrikaner identity, which he sees as “inextricably intertwined with Africans. The fire seems to represent “the continuing dominance of the white elite,” while the “dragon’s teeth” seems to represent prospective forces of white genocide. The only apparent reading of this is that Schmidt is claiming that the EFF would ignite a kind of race war, in which the “fire” of the white elite would fall on the side of the Afrikaners, ultimately destroying the EFF and its followers.

I don't actually see anything problematic in Schmidt's conclusion there, as opposed to the interpretation of it by Reid Ross and Stephens.

Jim

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

There's an article by Schmidt talking about 'genocide' which you can read online:

http://www.pressreader.com/south-africa/the-star-early-edition/20150422/282011850899291/TextView

Interestingly, as well as revealing Schmidt is a landlord it contains an anecdote which looks fairly similar to one which Schmidt's Stormfront account mentioned. One key difference though.

The first is an old hand-made dagger that I keep for safety’s sake in the door of my car.
“What is this?” Jesse asks. “It’s a knife.” “What is it for?” “It’s for the skebengas” – for in truth, I had drawn it once against a criminal: arriving home one night, I’d intervened after a man with a knife stabbed a woman in the thigh in my street and ran off with her purse. Armed with my dagger, I gave chase but lost him in a notorious local shebeen. I cleaned the woman’s wound and took her to hospital. The fact that she turned out to be a neighbour, black and a South African were irrelevant as I was moved by pure instinct to protect this unknown woman.

Flava O Flav

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Yeah I'm getting very weary of ARR/JS's style, I'm only half way through the latest instalment and going on reactions here there doesn't seem to be much else going on in part four.

One thing I found kind of sinister on the part of the authors is that they say "and those who openly insist that N-A is not fascist are more often than not national-anarchists, themselves."

Is this a preemptive broadside at their critics who might say they've convinced us that it's probable that MS has veered to NA but not that he's a fascist? Oh well then you must be a NA too. Get your self censorship hat on.

Right or wrong, I don't see what the difficulty is in being able to say National Anarchism is a heinous racist ideology and should be smashed, but we don't think it's the same thing as fascism.

Chilli Sauce

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Jim

akai

So far l haven't found them angrily discussing their infiltration.

You're not friends with Troy Southgate on Facebook then.

So it seems like some folks have followed how the far-right/NAs/fash are responding to this?

Anyone sum up the response for me?

Chilli Sauce

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Oh, just on what AK meant by "fascist" "infiltrator". They're editors and journalists - it's their job to be fucking pedantic. There's no excuse about broadly using these terms, especially such emotive and historically-loaded ones as these.

It's not like if they'd said "We have evidence that Schmidt is a racist who associates with the far-right and so-called 'national anarchists' therefore we're breaking ties with him.", people wouldn't have stood up and taken notice.

akai

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

No, l try to keep people like Troy Southgate off my Facebook, among others. lf l am wrong about that, then thanks for the info.

Mark.

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Burgers

Based on the fact that the interview with MS was done over email throughout the month of August...

For some reason I was assuming that Reid Ross had gone to South Africa to research the story. I take it he's never actually been there or met the people involved then?

kurekmurek

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Well you can always open a "fake" account :D

Seriously though I guess you can not see his critical posts unless you become friends with him. because I could not find any.

Flava O Flav

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Anyone been creeping on Stormfront? Is there a thread on it there?

Mark.

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

lnterview with MS about his last book. I'm not sure it's that relevant but it gives me more of an idea about him as a journalist:
https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=aAfH9Sb61h0

Burgers

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Mark.

Burgers

Based on the fact that the interview with MS was done over email throughout the month of August...

For some reason I was assuming that Reid Ross had gone to South Africa to research the story. I take it he's never actually been there or met the people involved then?

I pulled it off there twitter accounts

The interview took place over the course of around a month via e-mail. Unfortunately I can't publish everything on the record

Mark.

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Thanks.

Juan Conatz

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

What does talking in person to someone or being in the same region have any relevance here?

Mark.

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Somehow doing all this over the internet from the US without any obvious understanding of South Africa looks different to me.

klas batalo

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

personally i'm starting to think reid ross got taken for a ride probably by stephens and the SA contacts.

the most damning stuff is in part 2, and should be combed over with much attention to detail.

the rest of the chapters are a bunch of unnamed sources which seem to mostly be the two post-leftists in SA, and a bunch of purposefully "ignorant" political mudslinging...

like trying to compare MS' support of the friends of durruti's call for an anarchist junta to their support of left nationalism and make him seem more closet authoritarian... :/ da fuk.

Operaista

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Flint

"Big-A anarchism" is a pejorative used by self-identified "little-a anarchists".

Schmidt's politics appear such a mess in these articles I wouldn't be surprised if he used it as a positive description for syndicalism or formal organizations; but its origin is as a pejorative (though perhaps Graeber and Grubacic thought they were being descriptive).

I agree; I was aware that it originated as a pejorative at "big A-anarchism", but not the exact origins. I certainly don't think we were naive/foolish to miss fascism in Black Flame, but, I can see how pushing a one true anarchism that aligns with MS's political views without being explicitly white nationalist would be useful to him.

Klas: I wouldn't say that Ignatiev or Allen were ever Maoists, although large portions of the New Left were, but, now we're getting really tangential. Even if they had at some point been Maoists, denying the white skin privilege analysis simply because of that would be a non-argument. And yes, it started going downhill very quickly - McIntosh's article is already fully reformist (and I think that has dominated a lot of the left). A lot of working class organizations got crushed; struggles of the oppressed got hijacked by academic/professional layers and the petit and haute bourgeois, and institutionalized.

Flava O Flav: a lot of Third Positionists/National Anarchists try to distance themselves from the fascist label (both due to real political differences and to try and help their recruitment); some people who are not fascist also use a much narrower definition of fascism. I'm not the authors and unsure on their thoughts, but pointing out a Third Positionist using this tactic doesn't necessarily mean they think that of everyone who disagrees it's fascism.

I would say that enough of the milieu consider national anarchists to be fascists that referring to a national anarchist as a fascist isn't deceptive. Also, I would have no problem had AK Press waited until the report was finished and released their statement at the same time ARR and JS independently published or had some media outlet publish their report. It's infiltration with a different set of dangers and scarier in that it's harder to prove, but with what has been made public so far, I think it is more likely than not that MS entered the anarchist movement with the intent of winning organizations or pieces of organizations over to a Boer nationalist, white supremacist ideology in the particular form of his own flavor of national anarchism. I would say the next most likely possibility is that he went over to such an ideology and remained in the anarchist movement for years, with the intent of winning over others. Given he was trying to set up a national anarchist website in 2002, one would presume his views had solidified a while before that (I'd have to check dates to see when ZACF was even founded).

I have my doubts about the ZACF investigation, according to a comment JS made on the AK Press Facebook page, everything but the memo and MS's latest (not yet published) article was publicly available. I'm very interested to know what exactly came of the investigation, and why nothing was said, despite the fact that Schmidt was active internationally. Also, there's this on Facebook, which is disturbing: https://www.facebook.com/AKPress/posts/10156227769355249?comment_id=10156230137570249&reply_comment_id=10156235333300249&total_comments=27&comment_tracking=%7B%22tn%22%3A%22R%22%7D

Khawaga

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

What from those FB comments are disturbing, I mean stand out more than what we already know about MS? I tried to find the disturbing part in the comments, but there are just so many.

r-exist

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

klas batalo.

I would give some weight and attention to his position paper published together with chapter one. It was used within an anarchist organisation to defend his ideas, so it was "the anarchist" MS who defended that blacks are not capable of being part of the inner circle of a platformist/specifist anarchist organisation. Why was he able to continue in Zabalaza openly defending his racist views?

no1

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Here's what JS wrote on facebook in response to some criticism:

It's telling that someone could read just under 20K words excavating a person's politics in tedious detail, and the work that required is so invisible that someone's response to it can be to speculate as to the politics of the people who *did* that work, in a comment farted out into a Facebook field.

We put a year and a half into this. And then forfeited any hope of being paid for it (despite one of us having a kid to feed) by self-publishing it because the same entitled, shitty-babies now lazily offering up explanatory conjecture as to *our* politics were frothing at the mouth about evidence that had been hiding in plain sight for a decade. Literally, the only item we used that was, at all, confidential (and that we got through sources) was the ZACF memo. What that means is that any of the people crying "RELEASE THE EVIDENCE!" or Monday morning quarterbacking on how this was executed could've done their own detective work, at any time. They didn't. Perhaps there's a 20K word article to be written on why that is.

which makes me think that (1) they sat on this info for a year and a half without alerting others because they were hoping to make money out of it - never mind the potential implications for the safety of other anarchists ;
(2) they had time to do much more rigorous research than they have done - e.g. one of the strongest bits of evidence (denial of MS's story by his former editor) is something that happened as a consequence of AK's public allegations

Khawaga

What from those FB comments are disturbing, I mean stand out more than what we already know about MS? I tried to find the disturbing part in the comments, but there are just so many.

I think this is the disturbing one:
B

When and where did MS say to you that he voted for FF+ and did he say he identifies as a "fascist skinhead", were there any witnesses for either of these statements?

S

yeah, he said that at a bar in front of me and another zabalaza member. and he wasn't drunk. he was also not joking and going on about the corrupt ANC regime. lucien also knew this and tried to justify it by saying "if i wasn't an anarchist myself i would also vote for them because they practice mutual aid". he never identified as a fascist skinhead to me.

P.S. Do people think it's OK to repost stuff from fb on here?

Operaista

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Sorry, that wasn't nearly as obvious that I was highlighting a particular comment made on AK Press's FB page. I was intending to highlight Stéfanie Noire's statement that

lucien also knew this and tried to justify it by saying "if i wasn't an anarchist myself i would also vote for them because they practice mutual aid".

It's shocking, but beyond the shock value and how questionable it is, doesn't do more than beg for a longer statement on the situation from van der Walt, as it's completely outside of any context of van der Walt's views on what was going on within ZACF at the time. (This was in the context of MS voting for FF+).

Operaista

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Crossposted with no1.

I'm not sure? AK Press's page is completely public. My gut says to link (which even linking to a comment isn't the most obvious), or quote portions of a comment. I certainly wouldn't take anything from anywhere that was in anyway not totally public; if some really important information was given that way, it would probably be best to ask the source to put together a public version.

Khawaga

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

lucien also knew this and tried to justify it by saying "if i wasn't an anarchist myself i would also vote for them because they practice mutual aid".

Thanks, I did read that from LvdW and that was indeed shocking. But I guess the more shocking thing for me is the one heavily defending MS despite all the evidence.

Mark.

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

S

yeah, he said that at a bar in front of me and another zabalaza member. and he wasn't drunk. he was also not joking and going on about the corrupt ANC regime. lucien also knew this and tried to justify it by saying "if i wasn't an anarchist myself i would also vote for them because they practice mutual aid". he never identified as a fascist skinhead to me.

From a quick search there does seem to have been a reason to vote in the 2009 elections; to prevent the ANC getting the two thirds of the votes needed to change the constitution to sidestep a corruption scandal. This sounds like it may have been the context, but then why vote for an Afrikaaner nationalist party rather than one of the others? Maybe someone should ask. Here's a report on the elections: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/africa/8017713.stm

888

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Chilli Sauce

Oh, just on what AK meant by "fascist" "infiltrator". They're editors and journalists - it's their job to be fucking pedantic. There's no excuse about broadly using these terms, especially such emotive and historically-loaded ones as these.

A journalist's job is to use emotive and loaded terms inaccurately all the time

Chilli Sauce

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Well, maybe that's their ideological role, but their are journalistic standards that they should at least strive to objectivity. Idk, I think it's fair enough to say that we expect anarchist publishers to rise above the level of the Daily Mail.

syndicalist

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

888

Chilli Sauce

Oh, just on what AK meant by "fascist" "infiltrator". They're editors and journalists - it's their job to be fucking pedantic. There's no excuse about broadly using these terms, especially such emotive and historically-loaded ones as these.

A journalist's job is to use emotive and loaded terms inaccurately all the time

say what? This is what an anarchist publisher should engage in when discussing another anarchist
(even if you hate their politics)? nah, that's really not the way to go.

888 it's like the anarchist guy who said on FB, he would "shoot" me if we ever met. There are certain bounds alleged comrades really should stay within.

jef costello

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

no1

Here's what JS wrote on facebook in response to some criticism:

It's telling that someone could read just under 20K words excavating a person's politics in tedious detail, and the work that required is so invisible that someone's response to it can be to speculate as to the politics of the people who *did* that work, in a comment farted out into a Facebook field.

We put a year and a half into this. And then forfeited any hope of being paid for it (despite one of us having a kid to feed) by self-publishing it because the same entitled, shitty-babies now lazily offering up explanatory conjecture as to *our* politics were frothing at the mouth about evidence that had been hiding in plain sight for a decade. Literally, the only item we used that was, at all, confidential (and that we got through sources) was the ZACF memo. What that means is that any of the people crying "RELEASE THE EVIDENCE!" or Monday morning quarterbacking on how this was executed could've done their own detective work, at any time. They didn't. Perhaps there's a 20K word article to be written on why that is.

What pieces of shit.

Khawaga

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Yeah, it smacks of sensationalism, celebrity scandal and smugness. As if MS is that fucking interesting that everyone reads every single word he writes and that it therefore should clearly have been obvious to *everyone* that he incorporated NA in his writings. While I am sure MS had his fanboys (at least one going by that AK Facebook thread), I am sure most have read at most just a few of his writings, most likely Black Flame and a few pieces from Anarkismo.

But clearly if it was that obvious and so in the open, why did JS and ARR take a year and a half to reveal it, and then why is the long-winded analysis needed? Not say that I don't appreciate the work they have done, it was necessary and I am glad they have done this, but they should come off their high horses and at least not be so smug about it.

plasmatelly

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Haven't got much to add that hasn't already been said - I'm constantly reading this thread and it's an excruciating book circle if ever there was one (though this isn't a criticism, just an observation). I will say this though, it really looks like the term "fascist" for MS is a reasonably balanced description; given that the target audience for the expose is probably aimed at something wider than those who have discussed the minutiae of defining what fascism is. I have no problem lobbing "national anarchism" in the fascism bucket either - or third positionists, or any other fruit loop far right reinvention.

syndicalist

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Having not made up my mind yet, let me ask this in the most comradely and snarky way.
What things have lead you to this conclusion? I mean, I'm anti-fash in a principled manner, not in a knowledable way (if that makes sense). basically, looking to see what folks may have picked up which I might not have.

plasmatelly

I will say this though, it really looks like the term "fascist" for MS is a reasonably balanced description

Mark.

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

syndicalist

my only advice is to wait until the documentation is released. And a reply by Michael issued.

This sounds like good advice to me. I imagine it would be hard for him to reply while the serialisation is going on.

.

Edit: From his initial response

The allegations arise from a lengthy interview conducted with me by the writer Alexander “Sasha” Reid-Ross over June to August 2015. Sasha told me he was researching a book on that weird and worrying new entryist tendency called “national-anarchism” for publication by AK Press under the title Against the Fascist Creep (I have a record of the entire interview if needed).

I expect the record of the interview will appear in due course.

Juan Conatz

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

It is true that most claims that "national anarchism" is not fascist come from self-identified "national anarchists". I don't think disputing its fascist nature makes you one, but its more likely than not. I have yet to see anything on the level of Spencer Sunshine's 'Rebranding Fascism'. I think if you're going to dispute its fascist nature, you have to deal with this piece.

The third part in this MS expose series I was underwhelmed by. I actually had a hard time following it. But I think enough evidence has been provided of his views through his Stormfront accounts, his tattoos, the borderline stuff from the ZACF memo and Anarkismo. Some of Stormfront views obviously bled into his personal and professional life. It is waaay more likely than not that he had national anarchist/fascist views. He obviously had struggles in what to do with these views, but they are there.

I agree that AK Press and the authors messed up here, and that shouldn't be completely disregarded or forgotten, but more and more I think the remaining 'unconvinced' people and their desperate skepticism is equally as damaging here.

syndicalist

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

more and more I think the remaining 'unconvinced' people and their desperate skepticism is equally as damaging here.

Really. Good to know. I must fall into that terrible pit at this point.

Edit: In the end it maybe be inconclusive or completely conclusive. It may be no smoking gun case is presented at all. But to say that those who wish to see everything, including MS reply, ZACF commentary and so forth are "desperate" and equally "damaging" is just plain wrong in my opinion.
I'd rather see a full open process play out, just cause I know what it's like to be attacked without full evidence, reply and so forth aired.

Juan Conatz

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

MS replied. Twice. He preemptively addressed what ended up coming out. You thought his explanation was convincing? Does anyone really believe he's been doing undercover journalism of fascist movements for a decade? Or that silliness about state agents? Or meningitis-caused amnesia? Do you doubt those Stormfront accounts are his? Why? Do you think the anonymous sources the authors used don't exist? Why?

I guess I'd rather see specific reasons, based out of the evidence presented, of why people are not convinced or acting like they aren't.

syndicalist

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I'm not on trial here. I just want to see everything placed on the table
Look, the accusations may all be true, but I just will take the unpopular position here of wanting to see a final reply by MS, ZACF and LvdW replies or statements.

Let me just say that this whole event has smelled from the beginning
There will be no winners here, even when there is a loser or losers.

Khawaga

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

syndicalist

There will be no winners here, even when there is a loser or losers.

You are definitively right about that.

plasmatelly

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

syndicalist

Having not made up my mind yet, let me ask this in the most comradely and snarky way.
What things have lead you to this conclusion? I mean, I'm anti-fash in a principled manner, not in a knowledable way (if that makes sense). basically, looking to see what folks may have picked up which I might not have.

plasmatelly

I will say this though, it really looks like the term "fascist" for MS is a reasonably balanced description

In what context do you ask, syndicalist? In the context of a discussion over semantics whether an organised racist, white-supremacist, far right voting, nazi tattoo wearing, self defining fascist skinhead is in fact a text book fascist, or whether the evidence presented is flawed?

syndicalist

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

plasmatelly

syndicalist

Having not made up my mind yet, let me ask this in the most comradely and snarky way.
What things have lead you to this conclusion? I mean, I'm anti-fash in a principled manner, not in a knowledable way (if that makes sense). basically, looking to see what folks may have picked up which I might not have.

plasmatelly

I will say this though, it really looks like the term "fascist" for MS is a reasonably balanced description

In what context do you ask, syndicalist? In the context of a discussion over semantics whether an organised racist, white-supremacist, far right voting, nazi tattoo wearing, self defining fascist skinhead is in fact a text book fascist, or whether the evidence presented is flawed?

Well, I suppose you have answered what convinced you. I'm sorry you thought it was a set up question. I am just curious what folks have extrapolated to convince them one way or the other.

Anyway, thanks for the reply.

Joseph Kay

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I think the problem is evidence of wildly varying strength is being presented on the same level as if it's equivalent. So at the strong end, you've got the memo, which he wrote in his real name, to influence an IRL anarchist group, and has defended since it came to light. As Operaista says, "it was over for Schmidt in the anarchist movement when he confirmed he wrote the memo and defended its content."

At the other end, you've got circumstantial and conjectural evidence, some of it highly tenuous (e.g. the claim that Schmidt endorsing the Friends of Durruti's plan to fight Franco's military dictatorship is itself an endorsement of military dictatorship, or the musings on the 'dragons teeth' metaphor). In the middle there's more contested stuff - things Schmidt said under his various aliases, comments from anonymous sources etc.

I think it weakens the case to be including all this stuff on an equal footing. People are spending a lot of time dissecting stuff which is probably inconsequential. Say we accept, for the sake of argument, that his fash web presence was 100% journalistic cover. Ok, well there's still the memo and the tattoos and voting for a far right party. So even if he produces links to a bunch of articles he published on the far-right, and his forthcoming book sections on fash, is anyone going to change their mind?

The reason any of this matters is establishing what kind of problem we have. It's looking like he's not an infiltrator in the sense of passing confidential information to a handler/hostile third party. That's good news in terms of immediate danger (i.e. he's not going to retaliate for having his cover blown by giving the addresses of everyone he's stayed with to local fash).

But it raises a bunch of other questions which are probably more serious if less acute, about whether he was smuggling white supremacist talking points into his published anarchist material, and if so how he got away with it (he was published by AK, Anarkismo, ZACF, all presumably with some form of editorial control). This could relate to macho cultures/deference to alpha-theorist types as Operaista suggests, and/or it could mean some fash talking points are uncomfortably close to certain anarcho ones (e.g. there was a vocal minority of anarchists demanding Bahar Mustafa be imprisoned for 'reverse racism').

Edit: to be clear, I'm not saying he did smuggle white supremacist stuff into e.g. Black Flame, I'd have thought someone would have spotted it before this came out if he did.

Flava O Flav

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Juan Conatz

It is true that most claims that "national anarchism" is not fascist come from self-identified "national anarchists". I don't think disputing its fascist nature makes you one, but its more likely than not. I have yet to see anything on the level of Spencer Sunshine's 'Rebranding Fascism'. I think if you're going to dispute its fascist nature, you have to deal with this piece.

The third part in this MS expose series I was underwhelmed by. I actually had a hard time following it. But I think enough evidence has been provided of his views through his Stormfront accounts, his tattoos, the borderline stuff from the ZACF memo and Anarkismo. Some of Stormfront views obviously bled into his personal and professional life. It is waaay more likely than not that he had national anarchist/fascist views. He obviously had struggles in what to do with these views, but they are there.

I agree that AK Press and the authors messed up here, and that shouldn't be completely disregarded or forgotten, but more and more I think the remaining 'unconvinced' people and their desperate skepticism is equally as damaging here.

In the context of the article and the discussion that has gone on and the authors getting extremely defensive about their conclusions I think that they intend to make it difficult to raise the question of NA and fascism. Why else would they throw it into a part of the article where they are using something written by Schmidt, that had previously cropped up on various forums and facebook pages and was pretty much disregarded by most people as proof of his national anarchism? Basically, instead of dropping that as 'evidence', they've said it is valid because if you say that you're probably a NA anyway. I'm on the fence as to that question btw, I'll have a read of the link you shared, but my point was that saying it isn't doesn't make you one.

On the evidence presented so far, IMO, the only stuff that is admissable as evidence is:

The ZACF memo
The Stormfront Posts
Black Battlefront
The Facebook Profiles

Everything else is hearsay or conjecture.

Devrim

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Joseph K

e.g. there was a vocal minority of anarchists demanding Bahar Mustafa be imprisoned for 'reverse racism'

Really, actually demanding that she be imprisoned? That's not very 'anarchist' in itself.

Devrim

Joseph Kay

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Devrim

Really, actually demanding that she be imprisoned? That's not very 'anarchist' in itself.

You'd think.

no1

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Juan Conatz

I agree that AK Press and the authors messed up here, and that shouldn't be completely disregarded or forgotten, but more and more I think the remaining 'unconvinced' people and their desperate skepticism is equally as damaging here.

But the question is what are we meant to be convinced of? That he is an actual infiltrator? no, not convinced, in fact since noone has produced evidence for that so far, I'd reject that accusation. That he is a racist shithead of the worst kind who shouldn't be touched with a bargepole? Yes, on the basis of what I've seen so far I do think that. That he is a "national anarchist" committed to a long-term entryist strategy, who has seduced anarchists around the world? Well, I'm awaiting more evidence and esp the responses from MS, ZACF, LvdW before I make up my mind. At this point I'm not sure he even has coherent political point of view which he is committed to in the long-term.

In any case, what I think is equally important is to work out how those around him have dealt with his racism, and why this didn't all come out in 2008.

Lumpen

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Flava O Flav

The ZACF memo
The Stormfront Posts
Black Battlefront
The Facebook Profiles

I agree that's the most compelling stuff, and everything else is unconvincing.

Speaking of unpopular opinions, it's still conceivable that it's a terrible misunderstanding arising from unfairly comparing the alleged undercover work to his macho militancy.

As I said earlier, the ZACF memo is the most damning. However, it reads more like an edgy ultraleftist trying to be real on race than a very competent fascist playing at anarchist. Voting for FF+ could be attributed to the same attitude.

People keep mentioning how unlikely the story behind the Stormfront posts and Facebook profiles are, but I know of people engaged in anti-fascist activities who have done pretty much that for a similar period of time. I'd hate for them to be seen through the lens of their fake profiles.

Holy fuck, MS might be an anarchist Spart! (For those not into Trot spotting, the Sparts have attributed to them a strategy of voting for the Right from the Left, to increase the conditions for working class militancy). It's a long bow to draw, but it does seem plausible and fits in with his denials.

Flava O Flav

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Also, didn't someone say ARR said part four was delayed due to some evidentiary bombshell? Obviously wasn't inpart four. Should we expect it in part five or will this mean it's going to be dragged out to a part six?

Mark.

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Juan Conatz

It is waaay more likely than not that he had national anarchist/fascist views. He obviously had struggles in what to do with these views, but they are there.

He comes across to me as very much a white South African of his generation. I've got family in South Africa but I've only been there once, for a couple of months before the end of apartheid, so I'm not sure how much my impressions are worth. Still I got the idea at the time that most of whites I met were at least paying lip service to being non-racist while carrying all kinds of baggage about race. My guess would be that Schmidt, and a lot of other white South Africans, would still be struggling with this. Something like 'you can take the man out of apartheid but you can't quite take apartheid out of the man'. I don't find it that surprising that an ostensibly anti-racist middle aged white South African should come out with some strange views and attitudes around race. In Schmidt's case it doesn't help that he also saw himself as part of a political vanguard holding the correct platformist ideas. I think the Stormfront persona was set up for investigation, not out of conviction, but the crossover between that and his real life views still feels uncomfortable. I'd go for bad anarchist rather than fascist infiltrator. It sounds more plausible to me.

Re-reading what I've written I'm not sure how much confidence I have in it, but anyway that's my theory. I guess we'll see what else comes out.

Jim

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Yeah I think Mark. and no1's reading of the situation make more sense and fit the available evidence a lot better than the claim Schmidt is a national-anarchist trying to spread far-right ideas through the anarchist movement. But yeah that's just from what we know so far and we're still waiting on Schmidt responding to a lot of this.

Cooked

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I haven't bothered to read the accusations nor have I read black flame or know much about this M's guy.

However journalists today are personal entrepreneurs who keep tabs on things outside work hours and outside known stories. A jouno I know have shitloads of fake profiles in all sorts of groups just to keep tabs if a bit of info perhaps migth show up or just in case such a persona with a bit of history might be useful in the future. Completely speculative stuff which no editor knows anything about.

I don't know what this is worth in relation to this guy but just to say that weird unknown accounts are to be expected. With jounos.

syndicalist

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

On the Black Flame book, it was co-authored. Folks are speaking as if only MS wrote it.
Unless LvdW was complacent, silent or fooled what he has to say is also important.
Thus far he has remained totally silent (not really a good thing IMHO).

Much as I have political and tactical disagreements with BF, I'm not exactly sure I'd buy the argument that fash stuff was slipped into it. But I'm not a fash watcher and may not know all of the subtle nuances. But I really tend to doubt the book was used for that purposes.

Mark.

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Lumpen

Speaking of unpopular opinions, it's still conceivable that it's a terrible misunderstanding arising from unfairly comparing the alleged undercover work to his macho militancy.

I think it's this basically, while there are actually some real problems with his politics. I could imagine it being common knowledge in activist circles in South Africa for years and I wouldn't blame people there who got suspicious of him. I expect he did his part in bringing it on himself.

syndicalist

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Mark.

I think it's this basically, while there are actually some real problems with his politics. I could imagine it being common knowledge in activist circles in South Africa for years and I wouldn't blame people there who got suspicious of him. I expect he did his part in bringing it on himself.

Here's the thing that I've been generally curious about and what troubles me about unnamed sources.

It was directly said by Aragorn Eloff (the SA who's had issues with MS since a 2013 blow out), that he knows all the same peeps that MS does. And he suggests that some are not so cool politically. But that's about it for direct, named, on the record first hand observations of MS. And given the distance between SA and other parts of the globe, first hand knowledge and observations are important, much of which is lacking. Perhaps not significant in the age of social media and a body of writings.Being old school, I think that human contact and observations over a long period of time generally are helpful. Of course, not knowing what the local on the ground "fear factors" may or may not be, a reliance on too many unnamed sources can be problematic. Thus we are left mostly with the (current and future) written body of work directly attributable to MS, ZACF and LvdW.

Anyway, not a good situation which ever way you cut the cake.

r-exist

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I think one thing is try and understand where our tendencies to be racist, sexist, homophobic, etc. come from (in any context), not deny them but try to dismantle them as what they are and see ways to break them down... that said sure thing growing up as a white in south africa, from distance, seems to be a quite fucked up experience. have you guys seen "searching for sugar man?" when rodriguez eventually goes to south africa there are some original scenes from alternative rock/"revolutionary music" stuff and the whole crowd at the shows is just 100% whites. So Rodriguez when going there sings to these people. so far, this would be the setting to try and understand certain stuff on racismo in south africa, but by no means I see how any of this should be seen as something that justifies racism. "well, he's from south africa. so we have to understand that he is racist" would be the dangerous extrapolation. I live in brazil, where things in some aspects aren't so different, it seems to me, yet there was no official apartheid here, racism seems more inscribed in economic and social relations of domination in a way as I'd say, apartheid laws over here, from the point of view of the white racist ruling class, weren't "necessary" to oppress blacks. from this context one of the shittiest arguments by the way in schmidt's memo is his analysis that white working class in brazil at the beginning of the last century was worse off than black working class. completely screwed and I don't know where he has that idea from, hardly would imagine from anyone at the FAG, but I hope they will say something about their being mentioned in his memo at some point, if only to clearly distance themselves.

Saying also, that apartheid can't be taken out of the (white) man - that seems an argument similar to MS's arguments on why blacks ((from birth...) simply are not capable of being revolutionary vanguard, doesn't it (which would mean apartheid can't be taken out of neither whites nor blacks)? From trying to understand where sth. comes from (causes) conclude that skin colour determines cultural-social experience that determines how racist we are and that this his how things are (how we are) and there is NO way out seems questionable? I don't reject to the idea, that most whites will have lots of difficulty, and many never will want to take apartheid out of them, they are convinced racists, but that said I would not extend that argument to saying it's impossible...because that would actually be the best excuse possible: well, you have to understand, I'm white and I can't be other than a little racist... otherwise what kind of strive of hope for change we are talking about if people are 100% determined by their experience which is 100% determined by their skin colour... that's what I found one of the most problematic aspects of the memo. It constructs a pseudo-complexity of relations leaving one plausible conclusion for the anarchist organisation: if we want to accept it or not, but at this historic stage (wtf?) we whites are the only ones capable to lead the revolution. If we try and discuss complex questions and the outcome is plane racism I would suggest the income was plane racism in the first place, so why bother and go through all these twisted arguments of cultural and historical determinism to come to this conclusion. Why not being open and plane racist in the first place (this is where the "entryism discussion would start, I wreckon?)?

And that is actually something which has bothered me looking more into some of the texts, including black flame, how theory is used to undoubtedly prove things. We have researched as historians and now have the proof that there is one TRUE and ONLY broad anarchist tradition...In an introduction to a book on Manchuria MS writes: "Although the definitive study of the Manchurian Revolution has yet to be written" (third entry down in his blog, meaning there is a definitive history that can be written, and MS is one of those capable of writing it. That is one discussion this whole story brings up - the relation between history, and the way historical analysis or the going of histor itself, purely analysed and revealed in its truth, is apparently used to "justify" or legitimate present positionings.

apart from the hard evidence, which I agree is the stuff listed above by Flava-o-Flav, I still think that the Boer text on anarkismo.net is hard to swollow (admitting obviously that I as apparently many others had not even known of the existence of this text before the whole stoy came up). What I find most strange about all this going on about discussing how forgotten white working class is and that it is "even poorer off" sometimes (and I saw there is more research on this issue, the white working class, some recent work not ofi his own, but some other researcher, vdW was circulating on his facebook page). that is what's strange about the discussion. in black flame their is lots of arguing why and how struggle against any kind of domination will best succeed if it is subsumed, thought as part of working class struggle. fine, that is a possible way of seeing it: working class (and peasant) struggles and other forms of domination go along with this main, most important struggle. but then, taking this argument why particularly discuss whiteness and working class (as in the boer article? "white canon-fodder") is the skin colour part of the reason these people are oppressed? or is it not because thy are peasant/working class? that makes little sense to me, following their own line of argumentation (which is not mine) because white working class being dominated is being dominated for its being working class, would that not do to comprehend the forms of domination/exploration that white working class is suffering?

I agree and thought from the very start that the outcome of this story could see people loosing in one way or another on all sides... but I think discussing this stuff at least helps to learn from loose-loose situations. and not to forget, that there is a starting point to all this, which is MS and his attitudes, the way people and organisations have related to him, etc. AK and ARR and JS are reacting, and as many things indicate (including the extensive and good discussions we are having on the issue), reacting was definitely necessary.

r-exist

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

One more little thing: in some places I see writing about "drifting" into racist/weird/etc. ideas. what kind of starting point are we talking about? If it is radical politics I would hope that at least some sort of jump would be needed to get to the point of arguing in favor/justifying/defending/promoting of racist ideas.

Mark.

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

r-exist

I think one thing is try and understand where our tendencies to be racist, sexist, homophobic, etc. come from (in any context), not deny them but try to dismantle them as what they are and see ways to break them down... that said sure thing growing up as a white in south africa, from distance, seems to be a quite fucked up experience.

That was certainly my impression going there under apartheid. I'd be interested to know what attitudes are like among younger whites who were brought up after it ended.

have you guys seen "searching for sugar man?" when rodriguez eventually goes to south africa there are some original scenes from alternative rock/"revolutionary music" stuff and the whole crowd at the shows is just 100% whites.

Not just 100% white - the people into Rodriguez all seemed to be Afrikaaners as opposed to English speakers. There must have been something that struck a chord. I think part of the appeal was that he seemed a bit edgy and subversive, but then there was some great black South African music at the time that they could have been listening to and I'm sure very few of them were doing.

So Rodriguez when going there sings to these people. so far, this would be the setting to try and understand certain stuff on racismo in south africa, but by no means I see how any of this should be seen as something that justifies racism. "well, he's from south africa. so we have to understand that he is racist" would be the dangerous extrapolation. I live in brazil, where things in some aspects aren't so different, it seems to me, yet there was no official apartheid here, racism seems more inscribed in economic and social relations of domination in a way as I'd say, apartheid laws over here, from the point of view of the white racist ruling class, weren't "necessary" to oppress blacks.

Yes I can see similarities between Brazil and South Africa. I think it makes a difference that there's much more of a common culture in Brazil, and I suppose that's one point where I could agree with Schmidt. I could imagine people trying to organise multi-racially in SA with the best of intentions but still coming across stumbling blocks because of differences in culture and background, and perhaps something like this happened with Zabalaza. It's the assumption of some kind of superiority on the part of the whites involved that seems objectionable.

Saying also, that apartheid can't be taken out of the (white) man - that seems an argument similar to MS's arguments on why blacks ((from birth...) simply are not capable of being revolutionary vanguard, doesn't it (which would mean apartheid can't be taken out of neither whites nor blacks)?

Fair point - I was overstating my argument.

From trying to understand where sth. comes from (causes) conclude that skin colour determines cultural-social experience that determines how racist we are and that this his how things are (how we are) and there is NO way out seems questionable? I don't reject to the idea, that most whites will have lots of difficulty, and many never will want to take apartheid out of them, they are convinced racists, but that said I would not extend that argument to saying it's impossible...because that would actually be the best excuse possible: well, you have to understand, I'm white and I can't be other than a little racist... otherwise what kind of strive of hope for change we are talking about if people are 100% determined by their experience which is 100% determined by their skin colour...

Yes, I'd agree with all this.

that's what I found one of the most problematic aspects of the memo. It constructs a pseudo-complexity of relations leaving one plausible conclusion for the anarchist organisation: if we want to accept it or not, but at this historic stage (wtf?) we whites are the only ones capable to lead the revolution. If we try and discuss complex questions and the outcome is plane racism I would suggest the income was plane racism in the first place, so why bother and go through all these twisted arguments of cultural and historical determinism to come to this conclusion. Why not being open and plane racist in the first place (this is where the "entryism discussion would start, I reckon?)?

He does seem to have come to a kind of apartheid conclusion. I wonder if he just couldn't see this himself.

r-exist

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

He does seem to have come to a kind of apartheid conclusion. I wonder if he just couldn't see this himself.

Or this is where he wanted to "come to", where he came to knowingly/consciously - a question with an open answer I guess without more context and being at distance.

Mark.

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

^Already posted, but I think this is the only extended comment I've seen on it by someone in SA:

https://libcom.org/forums/general/ak-press-says-michael-schmidt-fascist-25092015?page=9#comment-566860

r-exist

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Some interesting insights in this text. I would yet insist that there is a difference between being racist in your actions and being unable to assume it (according to the author of that text, basically almost everyone in any radical group in SA) and trying to reflect on it and its origins/causes not only to assume it but "theoretically" explain and than justify it and come to the ultimate conclusion that only whites can be the vanguard of revolution. First, of course, no vanguard at all can get us to a social revolution... But, going with MS in his argumentation, would the idea not be that groups/people would, by assuming its racism, as a vanguard or not,not try and see ways to break it down? Pointing out to a far future where finally blacks will be equally capable as whites is a very weak excuse to maintain the racist standpoint at present date.
Something interesting the text points out to is the universality with which forms to organize are treated, disrespective of where and when they are taking place. Considering, that the conclusion is, that the way to organise MS at that point defended would mean whites would be the vanguard, than there is only one possible conclusion: it's a completely inadequate form to organize, so his conclusion should have been: let's self-destruct our organisational structure and rethink what and how we are doing it... which could include a longer time without finding the right form to organize...but, I don't think this could have happened, just because I think racism here was not just a "unwanted, but inevitable" result of a theoretical reflection, it was/is inherent to the whole way of relating to and reflecting on class and race.

happychaos

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Hi all,

One of the key functions of journalism is to cut through the noise, to break a complex issue down into simple and easy to understand info-chunks.

I admit to being largely confused by the four articles, especially the theoretical stuff.

I'm concerned my bias towards the authors writing style and structure (or lack of) and how the whole saga has unfolded is distracting me from some really important stuff they've uncovered.

But I don't really know because I'm confused.

While I've found some of the posts on her really helpful, I find forums a poor medium for understanding complex issues. Posts jump around, diverge and repeat and I only read them when I'm really tired at night. It's also hard to sift out the conjecture and unsubstantiated opinion. Forums are like a snow ball reacting to this stuff until someone brings things back in focus, again often repeating earlier posts.

I'd seriously buy someone a box of beers or some non-alcoholic goodies if they wrote up a summary of the key points, in a logical structure, updated as necessary, in a single online location.

What are the key points that have been made? What has been established and accepted by all parties? What is important but not accepted by all parties? Why? What are the key questions that need answering? What are the key facts that need substantiating? Can these be answered in short, plain english, single paragraph? If a train is going 50 miles per hour from point A and...

I'm sure everyone has something better to do. But if you don't, my finger is hovering above the paypal button when you're ready.

Regards,
HC

Fall Back

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

In REALLY short:

Universally accepted:

He wrote a position paper for ZACF (which was rejected) which argued black workers in South Africa were incapable of liberating themselves.

He made a bunch of very racist posts on Stormfront.

In dispute:

Whether the position paper was fascist, "just" racist or 'just saying things as they are'

Whether the posts on Stormfront were part of him establishing an undercover identity to investigate the far right.

How much his class struggle/platformist views are to blame for his racism

Whether he became a racist/fascist over time or if he was infiltrating

What exactly is meant by infiltrator

What exactly is meant by fascist / does national anarchism count

Whether AK Press/ARR have handled the information badly or not

If he voted for FF+ (a far right party) or not

Exactly when he came to his views.

Sorry, clear as mud...

syndicalist

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Respectfully, is this really an issue outside of maybe crusties?:

How much his class struggle/platformist views are to blame for his racism

I'm no platformist, but I refuse to put down a whole trend for the possible opinions/actions of one person.

That's like saying Italian syndicalism lead to fascism as some pre-WWI Italian syndicalists later went on to become fascists.

Mark.

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

happychaos

I'm concerned my bias towards the authors writing style and structure (or lack of) and how the whole saga has unfolded is distracting me from some really important stuff they've uncovered.

I think you may be looking for something that isn't there.

While I've found some of the posts on her really helpful, I find forums a poor medium for understanding complex issues. Posts jump around, diverge and repeat and I only read them when I'm really tired at night.

A lot of the discussion about this has been on facebook comments which are even worse to follow.

It's also hard to sift out the conjecture and unsubstantiated opinion. Forums are like a snow ball reacting to this stuff until someone brings things back in focus, again often repeating earlier posts.

I'd seriously buy someone a box of beers or some non-alcoholic goodies if they wrote up a summary of the key points, in a logical structure, updated as necessary, in a single online location.

I could have a go at a partial summary but it would be my own interpretation.

What are the key points that have been made?

MS had been posting on Stormfront for years and says this was for the purpose of investigating the far right. This involved creating a National Anarchist alter ego making racist comments. The Reid Ross/Stephens/AK Press side are saying that this represents MS's real views. There are also a couple of associated racist facebook profiles.

In the 2009 elections MS apparently told a couple of members of Zabalaza that he had voted for Freedom Front Plus, which as I understand it is an Afrikaner nationalist party that advocates a white homeland in the Northern Cape. There seems to me to have been a context for voting in these elections in that there was a fear of the ANC getting the two thirds of the votes needed to be able to change the constitution and allow President Zuma to escape corruption charges. In the event the ANC narrowly failed to reach the threshold. I'm not sure what happened to the corruption case. So there would have been a plausible reason for voting for a party other than the ANC. This leaves the question of why MS should have chosen to vote for FF+ rather than another party. I'm not aware of him being asked for his reasons.

Somewhere around this time, I'm not sure exactly, MS produced a controversial discussion document for Zabalaza which has been interpreted as being racist or having racist implications. I'd have to go back and re-read it to summarise it and you should probably read it yourself and come to your own conclusions. MS left Zabalaza some time after this but apparently on good terms, although one member has acted as a source for Reid Ross and presumably sent him a copy of the discussion document. So I assume there has been disagreement about MS within the group.

These are the main points that come to mind. Maybe people can add anything I've missed.

What has been established and accepted by all parties?

The existence of the Stormfront posts and facebook profiles, and the existence of the discussion document. MS hasn't confirmed that he voted for FF+ in 2009 but my guess is that it wouldn't be in dispute.

What is important but not accepted by all parties?

It seems to come down to motivations. Was MS an anarchist infiltrating the far right or far right infiltrating the anarchist movement (or maybe someone drifting towards the far right)?

Why? What are the key questions that need answering? What are the key facts that need substantiating? Can these be answered in short, plain english, single paragraph?

I'd have to think some more about this.

I'm sure everyone has something better to do.

Right at the moment? not really.

Edit: cross posted with Fall Back and Syndicalist.

no1

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

syndicalist

Respectfully, is this really an issue outside of maybe crusties?:

How much his class struggle/platformist views are to blame for his racism

I'm no platformist, but I refuse to put down a whole trend for the possible opinions/actions of one person.

That's like saying Italian syndicalism lead to fascism as some pre-WWI Italian syndicalists later went on to become fascists.

I doubt anyone on here would disagree with you. The way I read Fall Back's post, they are just purely objectively describing the situation: no-one disputes that MS wrote that paper ; some people believe that his racism is related to his class struggle/platformist views, while a lot of other people dispute this.

Mark.

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I think what might also be in dispute is whether what could be taken as racism from MS comes down to some mild un-PC posturing by a white South African intended to needle other white South Africans, or whether it indicates far-right sympathies. There's some cultural context here so bear in mind that the interview with MS was conducted by email and there's no indication that Reid Ross and Stephens have ever been to South Africa or know much about it. Also the interview appears to have been done on a different pretext and they don't seem to have given MS an opportunity to respond to their conclusions - unless this is coming up in another episode.

radicalgraffiti

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

i don't see how anyone who had actual read the discussion document and not find it racist without being pretty fuck racist themselves, no amount of context is going to change that unless by context you meant the reader being racists

Mark.

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Here's the link to the discussion document again:

http://www.pdf-archive.com/2015/10/12/schmidt-memo/schmidt-memo.pdf

Mark.

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I've just re-read it. It seems worse than I remembered.

ocelot

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Seeing as we're repetition mode, I will once again draw attention to the statement in that document that asserts:

a libertarian socialist Revolution is impossible in SA under current and foreseeable internal politico-social conditions

Which is to say that the document is not only vanguardist and racist, but, from an anarchist point of view, it is also liquidationist.

You could challenge that by saying that is is too narrow to limit anarchism to only those tendencies that see the revolutionary activity of the mass of the working class as the necessary agency of transformation - but... that is the very position put forward in Black Flame.

In other words, in this 2008 memo, MS resiles from the very definition of the "Broad Anarchist Tradition" he originally put forward.

Why does this matter? NB I'm not suggesting that there is any moral equivalence between racism, vanguardism and liquidationism of the document.

But in relation to the specific charge that the document is an attempt to infiltrate NA ideas into anarchism, then the fact that, at it's core is an admission that could be summed up in the 9 words "I am no longer an anarchist, signed Michael Schmidt", makes it impossible to be the vector of that ascribed agenda.

Mark.

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Does anyone have a link that explains the politics of the Freedom Front Plus clearly?

Mark.

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

FWIW here's a long interview with Michael Schmidt and Lucien van der Walt from 2010. I'm not sure whether or not it sheds any light on the discussion document (or vice versa):

http://www.alpineanarchist.org/r_i_africa_english.html

syndicalist

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Is there supposed to be another installment of this series?

syndicalist

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Mark.

FWIW here's a long interview with Michael Schmidt and Lucien van der Walt from 2010. I'm not sure whether or not it sheds any light on the discussion document (or vice versa):

http://www.alpineanarchist.org/r_i_africa_english.html

Have you read it? Since its both coauthors, does it give any sense of LvdW sharing a certain perspective?

xx

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

http://youtu.be/aeDk6ZeGNnU

bootsy

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I can't believe Joshua Stephens is actually complaining about not getting paid for this work! What an entitled fuckwit. Exactly the kind of professionalized academic scum who see 'anarchy' as a market niche from which to carve out a living.

They should have released all of the evidence as they found out, perhaps with some brief explanatory notes, here and on sites like indymedia, anarchist news, anarkismo and so on. We're all capable of stringing evidence together and developing our own conclusion. I venture to say there are many anarchists/communists/radicals/pro-revolutionaries who are significantly more competent at such a task than these two sensationalist yuppy journalists.

Anyway that comment from Stephens denouncing his critics really made my blood boil. Considering the way in which this entire debacle has been handled criticism from other comrades - on Facebook or forums or blogs or whatever - should be totally expected and entirely justified.

Its also clear that the authors are using this info to take a jab at class struggle anarcho-communism as a crypto-white supremacist movement. Like honestly describing Schmidts mention of 'revolutionary juntas' as proof of his racist authoritarianism? Give me a break, they clearly make no attempt to understand meaning the word Junta (which means council) in the context of Spanish anarcho-syndicalism. Instead they infer that Schmidt is giving a nod toward the various right wing dictatorships we hear about in the news. Who's being (Anglo-American) Eurocentric now?

None of this is intended to defend Schmidt who clearly comes off as a real racist of the most bizarre sort. But in any case Joshua Stephens and Alexander Reid Ross are an example of the professionalised, academic post left who leech off of 'the real movement' (and I don't just mean the anarchist and radical subcultures but the real class war/social war which provides them with source material for their 'studies' and 'inquiries') in order to develop their careers. They are the fossilised remains of the American new left and hopefully one day they'll get buried for good.

Edit: Here is the quote:

It's telling that someone could read just under 20K words excavating a person's politics in tedious detail, and the work that required is so invisible that someone's response to it can be to speculate as to the politics of the people who *did* that work, in a comment farted out into a Facebook field.
We put a year and a half into this. And then forfeited any hope of being paid for it (despite one of us having a kid to feed) by self-publishing it because the same entitled, shitty-babies now lazily offering up explanatory conjecture as to *our* politics were frothing at the mouth about evidence that had been hiding in plain sight for a decade. Literally, the only item we used that was, at all, confidential (and that we got through sources) was the ZACF memo. What that means is that any of the people crying "RELEASE THE EVIDENCE!" or Monday morning quarterbacking on how this was executed could've done their own detective work, at any time. They didn't. Perhaps there's a 20K word article to be written on why that is.

Burgers

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

syndicalist

Is there supposed to be another installment of this series?

Reid Ross stated that there where 3 more instalments after the second had been published, so that would suggest so.

Mark.

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

syndicalist

Mark.

FWIW here's a long interview with Michael Schmidt and Lucien van der Walt from 2010. I'm not sure whether or not it sheds any light on the discussion document (or vice versa):

http://www.alpineanarchist.org/r_i_africa_english.html

Have you read it? Since its both coauthors, does it give any sense of LvdW sharing a certain perspective?

I've skimmed through it quickly and there are differences in emphasis. Answering the last question MS sounds far more pessimistic about South Africa's future than LvdW.

MS: I believe (and this is not a ZACF perspective, but my own) that we will in the long term enter a dark period. We live in the world’s most unequal society and the fat-cat elite is growing nervous, realizing that it can’t ride the tiger forever. There are only two possible ultimate outcomes: 1) either the elite continue to fiddle while Rome burns, keeps drinking Chivas whiskey, keeps sending in the police to gun down the poor – so the poor rise up and take back by force what was stolen from them; or 2) the parasitic elite moves decisively in a right-populist direction, and drums up scare-stories of internal and external threats. The first option if exercised right now would lead to a stillborn revolution, given the current hold of nationalism and superstition; the second option will lead to further pogroms and war, a quasi-fascist direction.

We’ve seen the fits and starts of the first, sputtering in fires on barricades across the country; we try to help shape this into more constructive form, but we are few. We’ve also seen a section of the ANC-SACP-COSATU leadership flirt with the second, notably in the 2008 pogroms against foreigners and “outsiders” which saw 62 killed, 670 wounded, and more than 100,000 displaced.

[...]

LvdW: I am not in the ZACF, but nonetheless I disagree with Michael. I do not think any sort of major crisis or shift is looming. The South African state manages the working class and poor through a range of mechanisms besides repression. Welfare, municipal services and housing inculcate loyalty to the state, as do official ceremonies and a nationalist narrative that is taught at schools and through the media. The leadership of the unions – by far the largest working class formations, vastly overshadowing the new social movements – is entangled into a whole apparatus of official industrial relations and policy formulation. Many are also tied into the ANC through networks of patronage and hopes of political careers. Even the APF buys into the state, increasingly using the courts to try and accelerate the state’s “delivery” of welfare and services. The pogroms of 2008 – South Africa’s warped food riots – were centered on driving black foreigners out of low-end job markets and, just as importantly, away from access to state handouts. And a large section of the black elite is deeply tied into the state via preferential tenders and appointments.

Anarchists tend, in my view, to overstate the role of repression in keeping the system together, and to exaggerate the ruptures in society. Low-intensity repression, through harassment, intimidation, and even assassinations, is important, but only complements the “soft” controls mentioned above. So long as the state can keep funding the existing set-up, it will provide a major buffer against a serious – let alone successful – revolt by the poor, and even then, a failure will probably lead to a repeat of the 2008 pogroms, not a rising against the South African elite. Conflict in the ruling class over access to private sector wealth, between frustrated black nationalists and entrenched white capital, is a more likely cause of instability. But I doubt that this will lead to a melt-down on the Zimbabwe scale – so long as the state can keep absorbing black elite aspirations, the inexorable Africanisation of the private sector will continue to take place gradually. In short, I do not think a failed revolution, or a right-populist shift, is likely right now.

If the state enters a massive fiscal crisis, perhaps as the result of an economic implosion, however, the picture could change very rapidly. The national question could explode then in all sorts of ways – many, I agree with Michael, with a grim outcome. In the meantime, I think South Africa’s problems will be expressed in the same ways as now: high levels of violent crime (by some estimates, 18,000 murders a year), sporadic protests (infused with all sorts of ideas), and a general sense (very common in this country, and lasting for decades now) of unease, crisis and anxiety.

Maybe you could read signs of disillusionment into this, and that MS was already on his way to dropping out of involvement in ZACF.

bootsy

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

deleted nothing to see here....

pgh2a

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

As far as evidence, let's not forget MS *as MS* wearing alleged Nazi/white supremacist apparel (sidecap, Nazi helmet, mjolnir) - and I think the helmet may have been posted separately and not in the articles. You can see the pics in his public profiles too.

From a few things I've read, it makes sense to draw a distinction between ARR/JS and AK Press, as I believe AK Press decided to release the info when it did and not ARR/JS...what input they had in that decision, I do not know. I'm guessing, however, they are the ones who supplied the info to AK.

Jim

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

pgh2a

As far as evidence, let's not forget MS *as MS* wearing alleged Nazi/white supremacist apparel (sidecap, Nazi helmet, mjolnir) - and I think the helmet may have been posted separately and not in the articles. You can see the pics in his public profiles too.

This isn't really relevant, wearing something doesn't necessarily indicate a political belief. I know militant anti-fascists who wear mjolnirs.

ocelot

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Mark.

Maybe you could read signs of disillusionment into this, and that MS was already on his way to dropping out of involvement in ZACF.

Just as a POI - MS effectively dropped out of ZACF involvement in early 2009, formally resigning in Jan 2010 (iirc). At the time of this interview he had already departed the org and Lucien (as he states in the section you quoted) was also no longer an active member.

ocelot

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

To get back to HC's request for a summary of the points in contention, AFAICS they can be summed up.

1, That MS is no longer an anarchist

2. That since parting ways with anarchism MS is now some form of N-A or related neo-fascist

3. That MS was always - from the very beginning of his activity, covertly a N-A or neo-fascist inflitrator, and bever a sincere anarchist.

4, That his anarchist writings, including Black Flame, are an attempt to inroduce a vector of third positionist or N-A politics into the global anarchist movement.

Now in relation to 1-3, they relate directly to MS and I said that the only approach consistent with political justice (i.e. with libertarian politics full stop) is to see the whole case for the prosecution and the defendants response (as well as contributions from other relevant witnesses like LvdW and other ZACF vets from 2008 to date) before drawing my own conclusions. I have cheated that slightly in expressing my opinion in my last above, that 1 is fairly clear - OTOH I feel fairly safe in thinking that this is not really contested by anyone, including MS (but I could be wrong on that last one).

For 2 & 3 I await full disclosure. But in relation to 4, I think there are a couple of things that can be said that don't directly relate to judging MS, but can be just seen from the political logic of what's already in front of us.

The various post-leftists, primmo , dodgy deep green and "I-can't-believe-it's-not-maoism" types that despise the message of BF to the extent that it excommunicates from anarchism any tendency that is not based on traditional class struggle anarchism, would love to associate it in some way with covert third positionist / N-A "meta-political offensive" agenda. And that seems to be something that JS/ARR have in mind.

But there's a basic problem with the idea of a position of excluding all non-class struggle tendencies from anarchism as being some kind of National-Anarchist stalking horse. The same criteria also excludes National Anarchism from being a form of anarchism given it's rejection of class politics - as MS points out in one of the interviews quoted in part 4.

Again, I'm not drawing a moral equivalence between the debates on whether N-A is fascist or not (imo it clearly is - but I accept, as I mentioned above, there is no consensus definition on what essentialises fascism*) and that as to whether it is anarchist or not. We do not attack people on sight for not being anarchists - fascists we do (or at least some of us do).

However - as an attempt to legitimise N-A ideas within anarchism, making the case that only class struggle anarchism is genuine anarchism, is in complete contradiction. The post-leftist dreck can wail and gnash as much as they want, but their basic political logic of guilt by association is simply untenable.

-------------------
* NB I also hold a D&G position of distinguishing macro-fascisms and micro-fascisms, and that the latter can appear in any movements, not just macro-fascist ones, including the left. In fact I'd say the current shitstorm with self-designated anarchists advocating Stalinist show trials without right of defence, or Maoist style mob lynchings, are a perfect example of the irruption of microfascisms within the movement - but that's a blog post for another day...

Mark.

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

ocelot

Mark.

Maybe you could read signs of disillusionment into this, and that MS was already on his way to dropping out of involvement in ZACF.

Just as a POI - MS effectively dropped out of ZACF involvement in early 2009, formally resigning in Jan 2010 (iirc). At the time of this interview he had already departed the org and Lucien (as he states in the section you quoted) was also no longer an active member.

Thanks - I was wondering exactly when he left.

To get back to HC's request for a summary of the points in contention, AFAICS they can be summed up.

1, That MS is no longer an anarchist

[...]

I have cheated that slightly in expressing my opinion in my last above, that 1 is fairly clear - OTOH I feel fairly safe in thinking that this is not really contested by anyone, including MS (but I could be wrong on that last one).

I don't know but he still sounds like he considers himself an anarchist in this interview from 2014: http://black-flame-anarchism.blogspot.co.uk/2014/05/global-fire-south-african-author.html

I think you might be reading too much into his pessimism about the prospects for South Africa.

Edit: this article by MS on the 2008 pogroms might give some context for his pessimism: http://zabalaza.net/2010/12/08/sharpening-the-pangas-understanding-and-preventing-future-pogroms/

Mark.

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

It seems a bit unreasonable for someone to have downed BorisJobson's post.

syndicalist

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Jim

pgh2a

As far as evidence, let's not forget MS *as MS* wearing alleged Nazi/white supremacist apparel (sidecap, Nazi helmet, mjolnir) - and I think the helmet may have been posted separately and not in the articles. You can see the pics in his public profiles too.

This isn't really relevant, wearing something doesn't necessarily indicate a political belief. I know militant anti-fascists who wear mjolnirs.

Specific links to MS in nazi gear, please

pgh2a

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Jim

pgh2a

As far as evidence, let's not forget MS *as MS* wearing alleged Nazi/white supremacist apparel (sidecap, Nazi helmet, mjolnir) - and I think the helmet may have been posted separately and not in the articles. You can see the pics in his public profiles too.

This isn't really relevant, wearing something doesn't necessarily indicate a political belief. I know militant anti-fascists who wear mjolnirs.

I should have clarified this as evidence submitted, but of course the weight to give that evidence is tbd based on MS's response. If someone could confirm that it is mjolnir vs. Celtic cross, I would be interested, and also can the sidecap and helmet be positively ID'ed as WWII German apparel? There's plenty of other stuff to examine as well...

pgh2a

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Here's the helmet in question: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10152933656279186&set=pb.549114185.-2207520000.1445713745.&type=3&theater

Here's the sidecap in question (I think - there are different images in the article - Part 3, I think):

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10153449517584186&set=pb.549114185.-2207520000.1445713745.&type=3&theater

pgh2a

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

The mjolnir (or is it just a Celtic Cross, I can't really tell) is pictured in this article (including a selfie of Schmidt at a Boer filling station - why if he was undercover would he post a selfie on Stormfront...this is what I want to know)

https://medium.com/@rossstephens/about-schmidt-how-a-white-nationalist-seduced-anarchists-around-the-world-chapter-2-1849e232b943#.zhtvu1am3

syndicalist

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Not having a clue what in the earth a mjolnir was, I as asked MS direct. His alter ego publicaly replied on FB. My reposting on this does not mean I am supportive of or rejecting the claim and reply, just trying to understand what on the earth this cross means.

The item under discussion is an Icelandic cross and apparently no-one knows what it symbolises anymore so that puts paid to any supposed supremacist connotations; I just liked it because of the gargoyle-like head on it -- https://www.facebook.com/feyd.saifulisaan?fref=ts

Edit:]I'm not sure about the helmet or the cap. Schmucko bikers wear similiar ones here.Of course most American bikers wearing those helmets are making a pretty right wing statement. Tho there's another photo on the FB page which has the same helet with norse horns. Does not look like a military or afrika korp helmet, but can imply with the desert like googles. The cap, without seeing a color photo, looks like a pretty standard global military garrison cap. I can't see what he's wearing, like something identifying his other clothes as being military or with identifying
military origins. Not knowing the authors or their sources, but I'm just curious if they did any very simple google image research into military gear? I have an interest in military stuff, so for me I'm not convinced either way on the gear, without seeing the stuff in color, context or other garb he might be wearing. Of course if he was giving any sorta salutes, singing aryan songs and so forth, well, that's something that might indicate the mood/view of the wearer. I think it's also instructive to see who FB "likes" his photos, heavy female.

The tats I'm clueless on so I can't comment. Same with the crosses. The military garb I'm a bit more familiar with and am not convinced. The political stuff and replies by ZACF and LvdW are still to be concluded.

pgh2a

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

syndicalist

The tats I'm clueless on so I can't comment. Same with the crosses. .

Yeah, same here. My mother would have dropped dead had I come home with either ;) The quote about the cross...I cannot find it on the profile to which you linked.

Mark.

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

syndicalist

I'm not sure about the helmet or the cap. Schmucko bikers wear similiar ones here.Of course most American bikers wearing those helmets are making a pretty right wing statement. Tho there's another photo on the FB page which has the same helet with norse horns. Does not look like a military or afrika korp helmet, but can imply with the desert like googles. The cap, without seeing a color photo, looks like a pretty standard global military garrison cap. I can't see what he's wearing, like something identifying his other clothes as being military or with identifying military origins. Not knowing the authors or their sources, but I'm just curious if they did any very simple google image research into military gear? I have an interest in military stuff, so for me I'm not convinced either way on the gear, without seeing the stuff in color, context or other garb he might be wearing. Of course if he was giving any sorta salutes, singing aryan songs and so forth, well, that's something that might indicate the mood/view of the wearer. I think it's also instructive to see who FB "likes" his photos, heavy female.

The tats I'm clueless on so I can't comment. Same with the crosses. The military garb I'm a bit more familiar with and am not convinced.

It's maybe worth pointing out that he's ex-military. According to the publisher's bio for his last book:

Michael Schmidt is an investigative journalist, anarchist militant, free press activist and published historian. Born in 1966 in Johannesburg and raised by a middle-class white family during the onset of the armed struggle and the Bush War in Southern Africa, he was drafted into the apartheid Army and served more than two years during the Insurrection. The experience – which included his accidental discovery in 1985 that the world’s last white supremacist state possessed nuclear weapons – radicalised him and he later became a conscientious objector, being forced to face a military tribunal in Pretoria in 1991 chaired by a Supreme Court judge, for refusing to serve further.

Devrim

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

White South Africans were conscripted during the apartheid period.

Devrim

syndicalist

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Devrim

White South Africans were conscripted during the apartheid period.

Devrim

FWIW.... Back in the 1980s our local group in NYC worked directly with members of South African Military refugee Aid Fund. I'll have to look it up. But there was an anti-conscription movement by some whites back then. I think SAMRAF was located in Brooklyn,NY.

Mark.

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Devrim

White South Africans were conscripted during the apartheid period.

Devrim

I think when I visited they had a choice of two years in the army or four in the police. I was told this by some conscript police who gave me a lift somewhere in the middle of nowhere when I was hitchhiking to Capetown. They'd chosen the police to avoid being posted at the other end of the country. A regular answer when I asked people where they'd travelled in Africa was 'South-West and Angola', i.e. on one of South Africa's incursions when they were doing military service.

Sike

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

If you look closely at the Facebook picture of Michael Schmidt wearing the helmet and goggles you'll notice that along the upper edge of the helmet that the word "Expedition" is embossed into what I presume to be the helmets leather cover. That indeed is a rather strange marking for a Nazi helmet and if you visit the link below it will take you to what appears to be an identical helmet and goggles set to the one in the FB picture.

https://www.onedayonly.co.za/expedition-vintage-helmet.html

So the mysterious helmet and goggles appear to be nothing more sinister then a fairly generic re-pop of vintage motorcycle headgear from the 1930s.

ocelot

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Just out of curiosity... Anyone clock which stalls were still selling BF at the London bookfair yesterday? Presume AK were not.

xx

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

It seems the evidence against MS is looking flimsier all the time, while the wannabe Geraldos are looking like bigger and bigger wankers

S. Artesian

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Really? So all that stuff on Stormfront, that's all just "deep cover"?

Fall Back

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

ocelot

Just out of curiosity... Anyone clock which stalls were still selling BF at the London bookfair yesterday? Presume AK were not.

I looked around for it, and couldn't see it anywhere. AK definitely didn't have any copies out.

Jason Cortez

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

it was being sold under the table in brown paper bags and with much nods and winks by no one in particular who just happened to be selling vegan food to hungry masses.

r-exist

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Had not seen this, and have not seen it cited: the above-most comment on the second chapter of the js/arr's text reads as if it was written by the editor who Schmidt cited as the one who had "vetted" the opening of his stormfront account:

This is the Brendan Seery mentioned in the account above. Having now read the full story — as opposed to the questions put to me by the authors of the piece — I would like to amplify what I said.

At no stage did Schmidt ever mention to me opening an account, in the name of research, on any rightwing forum. The first time I have heard the name Stormfront used in connection with Schmidt is in this piece. The vast majority of the information in this piece comes as news to me and I take exception to Schmidt using my name to try and justify his nefarious acitivities [sic], if that is indeed what they were. People can make their own judgments on that.

To repeat what I said: I would certainly not have sanctioned this investigative approach which is, no doubt, why it was never raised with me.

Link here: https://medium.com/@rossstephens/about-schmidt-how-a-white-nationalist-seduced-anarchists-around-the-world-chapter-2-1849e232b943#.ewq55kka5

Steven.

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

xx

It seems the evidence against MS is looking flimsier all the time, while the wannabe Geraldos are looking like bigger and bigger wankers

even if you buy the obvious bullshit about the stormfront account "sanctioned by his editor", how do you explain that appalling racist crap he wrote under his own name? And what about him telling multiple people he voted for a racist political party?

petey

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

S. Artesian

Really? So all that stuff on Stormfront, that's all just "deep cover"?

not otherwise familiar with the personalities involved, this is what i've come away with, that his cover, if that's what it was, was so deep that it's indistinguishable from what he really thinks. the most generous thing you can say is that he succeeded too well. likelier that he really got into it.

S. Artesian

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

petey

S. Artesian

Really? So all that stuff on Stormfront, that's all just "deep cover"?

not otherwise familiar with the personalities involved, this is what i've come away with, that his cover, if that's what it was, was so deep that it's indistinguishable from what he really thinks. the most generous thing you can say is that he succeeded too well. likelier that he really got into it.

Sure, that's a possibility. Or... there's this one... he submerged his existing and ongoing racism under his radicalism, until it flipped him over and found Stormfront.

Mark.

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

S. Artesian

Sure, that's a possibility. Or... there's this one... he submerged his existing and ongoing racism under his radicalism

I think you might find at least something of this about a lot of white South Africans, at least the older ones who grew up under apartheid. It would be interesting to hear what South Africans themselves have to say about this.
Steven

even if you buy the obvious bullshit about the stormfront account "sanctioned by his editor", how do you explain that appalling racist crap he wrote under his own name? And what about him telling multiple people he voted for a racist political party?

I'd say it's clear there's some weird white South African stuff going on here. But that leaves the question of what interpretation you put on it. Reid Ross is writing a book about fascist infiltration and seems to have interpreted MS's actions and writing in a way which fits his thesis, without ever putting it to him directly and finding out how he explained himself. I'd expect any journalist who has a clue to at least do this.

Mark.

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

AK's write up for Reid Ross's book:

Against the Fascist Creep | AK Press

Fascists are creeps. Time to drag them from the shadows.

As the rise of Donald Trump's presidential candidacy shows, US society is notoriously complacent when it comes to the rise of fascist tendencies. When Dylann Roof murdered nine black parishioners in a Charleston church, media emphasis remained superficial. Familiar narratives of insane lone wolves and Confederate flags masked the organizations that inspired Roof’s act and their connections to politicians at the local, state, and federal levels throughout the South—groups like the Council of Conservative Citizens (formerly the White Citizens Council).

Scratch the surface of such groups and you’ll find a web of complex ties and front groups created by fascist ideologues. Trace the connections further back and you find yourself moving from semi-respectable organizations through darker and darker levels of fascism and hatred.

Fascism is not used simply as an epithet here. A terrifying tour of the history and influence of international neo-fascists, Against the Fascist Creep maps the connections and names the names, showing how infiltration is a conscious and clandestine program for white nationalist and neo-Nazi groups. After the election of Obama, their activity expanded, and they have attempted to co-opt new social movements against the financial crisis and police repression to influence both mainstream and radical groups, including anarchists.

This book is a line in the sand that both identifies the creep of fascist messages, ideas, and organization throughout our society and outlines how to stop it in its tracks.

Alexander Reid Ross is a contributing moderator of the Earth First! Newswire. He is the editor of Grabbing Back: Essays Against the Global Land Grab and a contributor to Life During Wartime: Resisting Counterinsurgency.

Table of Contents

Introduction
1. In which fascism creeps through history
2. Entryism
3. Moscow Skins and Spies
4. Phoenix Rising
5. Out of Whitelandia
6. Undercover in the Global Creep

Hieronymous

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Mark.

I'd say it's clear there's some weird white South African stuff going on here. But that leaves the question of what interpretation you put on it. Reid Ross and Stephens are writing a book about fascist infiltration and they seem to have interpreted MS on this basis, without ever putting it to him directly and finding out how he explained himself. I'd expect any journalist who has a clue to at least do this.

While it's been made clear that Schmidt is some kind of confused racist dick, the self-promoting journalism of Reid Ross and Stephens appears as though the former's soon-to-be-released book is the answer in search of a problem. And it seems as though they found that problem in the form of Michael Schmidt. So their journalistic hack job is to cookie-cutter their extremely poorly written serial -- clearly to attempt to establish cred for the upcoming book -- over Schmidt's crimes. Unfortunately, it's a shitty fit. If they'd bothered to actually contact Schmidt, as Mark. points out above, it might be even more untenable.

So it's a lose-lose situation: their presentation style weakens, waters down, and confuses evidence of Schmidt's supposed "fascist infiltration" and their intellectually disingenuous method shows us that the book will probably be equally flawed.

Black Badger

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

So it's a lose-lose situation: their presentation style weakens, waters down, and confuses evidence of Schmidt's supposed "fascist infiltration" and their intellectually disingenuous method shows us that the book will probably be equally flawed.

Like so many other AK titles...

Mark.

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I think Hieronymous has expressed what I was trying to get at better than I was managing myself. I've edited my previous post so it's clear the book is Reid Ross's rather than a joint effort by Reid Ross and Stephens.

Juan Conatz

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

In reaponse to Mark's continued relativization of white South African racism. Most white people in the United States, a settler-colonial project in its own right, also probably harbor racist sentiments, but they don't post on Stormfront, start white seperatist groups, or argue for segregation. There's a difference between baseline prejudice and racism that pervades mainstream society and ideological fascism, and I find it bizarre (and concerning) that you're trying to categorize the latter as the former.

Jim

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Juan Conatz

In reaponse to Mark's continued relativization of white South African racism. Most white people in the United States, a settler-colonial project in its own right, also probably harbor racist sentiments, but they don't post on Stormfront, start white seperatist groups, or argue for segregation. There's a difference between baseline prejudice and racism that pervades mainstream society and ideological fascism, and I find it bizarre (and concerning) that you're trying to categorize the latter as the former.

I think you're being a bit unfair to Mark there, Reid Ross & Stephens have said the document which argues for segregation argues for that because Schmidt is really a fascist/white nationalist. I think the point being made is that he might be arguing for segregation because he holds racist views which appear to be relatively common within white South African society.

Mark.

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Juan Conatz

In reaponse to Mark's continued relativization of white South African racism. Most white people in the United States, a settler-colonial project in its own right, also probably harbor racist sentiments, but they don't post on Stormfront, start white seperatist groups, or argue for segregation. There's a difference between baseline prejudice and racism that pervades mainstream society and ideological fascism, and I find it bizarre (and concerning) that you're trying to categorize the latter as the former.

I may be wrong but I think he probably did set up the Stormfront persona for investigation, and wouldn't see himself as any kind of fascist or national anarchist. I do think his use of it is very strange, as is the discussion document, and at least indicates underlying racism that he's never shaken off, even if he doesn't see this himself. I think you're starting off from the assumption, as are Reid Ross and Stephens, that he has some kind of ideological commitment to fascism, or at least some kind of white nationalism, rather than something much more confused, which is what I suspect.

Also because of the way AK, Reid Ross and Stephens have dealt with this we haven't really had the chance to see what MS has to say yet.

Juan Conatz

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Jim

I think you're being a bit unfair to Mark there, Reid Ross & Stephens have said the document which argues for segregation argues for that because Schmidt is really a fascist/white nationalist. I think the point being made is that he might be arguing for segregation because he holds racist views which appear to be relatively common within white South African society.

Nah, I'm actually being pretty polite for posts which seem to be looking for the "context" in which white seperatism is more acceptable/understandable/not fascist.

Auld-bod

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Mark #556
‘I may be wrong but I think he probably did set up the Stormfront persona for investigation, and wouldn't see himself as any kind of fascist or national anarchist.’

This reminds me a little of Eric Heffer (1922-1991), the Labour MP, who was a member of a ‘deep entry’ Trotskyist group. They got in so deep none found their way out. That’s the problem with a sewer you get covered in shit (though for a trot it was probably home from home).

Mark.

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

That's probably true.

xx

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Until MS gives a full account - who knows what his real views are? I should think we would be generous and give someone who has clearly contributed some real work to the anarchist scene a chance to explain himself properly.

In reply to Steven - I'm not commenting on the clearly real racist thoughts and ideas MS holds (like lots of people that we meet and work with everyday) - but on the accusations that he is any sort of fascist (or national anarchist) infiltrator.

The evidence at this stage seems to suggest he is someone who has become disillousioned and defeatist because other anarchists didn't live up to his standards, combined with the sort of racism that is pretty common, especially in his society. I don't think we can underestimate how fucked up South Africa still is.

The Stormfront stuff could still be genuine undercover work - I know he posted his picture but so what? An undercover journalist in Ireland a few years ago attended a fascist Stormfront meetup in Dublin in order to expose them. In the UK Searchlight and Hope not Hate types participate in fascist activities sometimes.

radicalgraffiti

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

his real views are far less important than his real actions, which we know include promoting racism/racial segregation within anarchism and promoting racism and fascism on the internet.

Chilli Sauce

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

AK

As the rise of Donald Trump's presidential candidacy shows, US society is notoriously complacent when it comes to the rise of fascist tendencies.

So, Trump's a scumbag, but the implication of this statement is batshit. Right-wing populist douche-baggery does not a fascist make...

S. Artesian

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I think you're being a bit unfair to Mark there, Reid Ross & Stephens have said the document which argues for segregation argues for that because Schmidt is really a fascist/white nationalist. I think the point being made is that he might be arguing for segregation because he holds racist views which appear to be relatively common within white South African society.

Fucking hilarious, and a perfect demonstration of not being able to see the deforestation because of the tree farms. He's arguing for racist view which are "relatively common within white South African society" but aren't "fascist/white nationalist"????????????? Are you fucking kidding me? A: the racist views within white South African society cannot be abstracted from the fascist/white nationalist exercise of power that made such views "normal." B: He exercised his view on Stormfront, a fascist/white nationalist, forum. Please pay attention to what is actually the fuck going on.

I may be wrong but I think he probably did set up the Stormfront persona for investigation, and wouldn't see himself as any kind of fascist or national anarchist

Come on. The "explanation" he gave has been refuted by the person he cites to validate explanation. What is this? A flying saucer cult?

his real views are far less important than his real actions, which we know include promoting racism/racial segregation within anarchism and promoting racism and fascism on the internet.

Bulls-eye, catnip. You win the SUV, the refrigerator/freezer, the trip to Bermuda, and a year's supply of 9 Lives cat food.

Mark.

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Slightly off topic but I found this interesting on the student protests, lingering racism and the difference between the generations:

http://www.dailymaverick.co.za/article/2015-10-25-reporters-notebook-feesmustfall-the-event-we-didnt-cover/#.Vi6GYJTfWrU

Lastly, an observation: When the shit hits the fan, one’s true beliefs often come to the surface. Many South Africans rallied, offering support to the protesters. Others carried on drinking chardonnay in the sun as though nothing was happening. Many showed stronger feelings about the Springboks' loss than about the state of education. And others revealed an oily racism wrapped in a crispy confirmation bias, as though this were a struggle of black savages making unreasonable demands out of sheer ignorance. One reader went as far as to mock the accents of some black South Africans, intimating that the next protests would be for “free chicks” and “free computaz”. Others were not as overt, instead shaking their heads about hooliganism and idiocy.

But this was not just a black struggle...

Something the #FeesMustFall protests illustrated is that although wealth is still largely distributed along racial lines, perhaps the older generation thinks far more along racial lines than the born-frees do. The youth are showing us how it’s done. They are using our tendency to label against us. Outside Parliament, the white students formed a barrier, knowing they were less likely to be injured. Students of all races and income groups protested together...

cf. this from the long interview with MS and LvdW:

A combination of racialised political rhetoric, the ANC’s construction of new housing projects along old racial lines, the use of patronage via state tenders, and the maintenance of race classification, has only entrenched segregation. The solution, such as it is, comes in my view not from the anarchists but from society itself where a new generation of children (in many, but not all areas) go to school and grow up together, sharing experiences, establishing friendships. Of course, by our ethics we encourage such positive developments, but they grow not in the soil of anarchism per se, but in the soil of the emergent culture, our only fear being that this shared experience is too limited to the middle and upper classes and that the huge working class and underclass base of society is still deeply segregated.

Finn MacLean

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

It's good to see the South African context discussed. After all, he is advocating apartheid in a country that used to have apartheid, and a pretty brutal system at that. So that context makes Schmidt's views all the more reprehensible, rather than understandable. I think that is what is being got at, perhaps.

Plus you have the context of a lot of class struggle in SA at the moment, led by those blacks who Schmidt thinks can't really understand things - which makes his views more reprehensible. How on earth can you claim that blacks are 'backward' or whatever racist term Schmidt used (I can't remember it) when SA is described as the 'protest capital of the world'?

The things I'd like to know are (maybe these have been covered above, but I don't have much time to read carefully):
1. What are the prospects for class struggle in SA at the moment? (for someone who doesn't have a lot of time to read a lot) - if this BBC report is to be believed, SA is on the brink of a major revolt against the ANC and white capital and domination.

2. Where are Reid Ross and Stephens coming from politically? Can someone give more of an idea? I understand they're trying to tar and feather class struggle anarchism as being racist and sexist, and someone mentioned they are 'post left academics' or something above. My first reaction to their first piece was they advocates of identity politics/'privilege politics', who are into that view that if you're against our politics, then you're automatically racist, sexist, homophobic etc, and their method of peronalised denunciation seems to fit nicely with that form of politics too.

Mark.

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Where are Reid Ross and Stephens coming from politically? Can someone give more of an idea?

On South Africa there seems to be an element of defending black nationalists and seeing criticism of them as a sign of white nationalism. Reid Ross is in Earth First but beyond that I couldn't really say.

What are the prospects for class struggle in SA at the moment? (for someone who doesn't have a lot of time to read a lot) - if this BBC report is to be believed, SA is on the brink of a major revolt against the ANC and white capital and domination.

In case you missed it there's a thread on the student protests here.

xx

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

To say that MS was proposing apartheid with his ZACF discussion document is clearly hysterical nonsense, it was defeatist, and clearly classist and arguably racist - talking about how White middle class activists were the best etc. I suspect Black ZACF activists who are currently around might not be too disturbed though considering they still promote his material.

I can understand though people thinking that it's simply too hard to have multicultural revolutionary organisations of equals in South Africa in the current context. I am not unsympathetic though his solution is clearly wrong and would be racist and classist in practice.

The real answer is that explicitly revolutionary organisations are a waste of time in South Africa and what is really needed is broad, multi cultural but probably Black led in practice oppositional alliances around common issues.

xx

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

ocelot

Just out of curiosity... Anyone clock which stalls were still selling BF at the London bookfair yesterday? Presume AK were not.

Were they selling Feral House publications? Because I see they are still selling them online despite that publishers associations with Holocaust deniers and so called "revisionists".

And yes i do think it's ontopic to point out the total hypocrisy of the situation of pulling the best work of class struggle anarchist history ever, while still selling the mental "anarcho" shock value shit that can still be easily obtained from them.

I can't be bothered to see if they still sell Hakim "it's okay to nonce kids" Bey stuff as well.

radicalgraffiti

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Finn MacLean

2. Where are Reid Ross and Stephens coming from politically? Can someone give more of an idea? I understand they're trying to tar and feather class struggle anarchism as being racist and sexist, and someone mentioned they are 'post left academics' or something above. My first reaction to their first piece was they advocates of identity politics/'privilege politics', who are into that view that if you're against our politics, then you're automatically racist, sexist, homophobic etc, and their method of peronalised denunciation seems to fit nicely with that form of politics too.

i've not seen any evidence of this so far, is suspect it may just be Schmidt apologists trying to discredit them, i'm fairly sure Reid Ross said it should be used this way, and that all tendencies of anarchism had had people like that in them

r-exist

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I see lots of arguments about how far it might have been undercover journalism what MS did: Than explain to me why he would use a real life person - his former editor - to back up this version of starting with stormfront in order to do undercover journalism and than his editor is cited in the article number 2 and writes a comment on it under the same article that he NEVER asked MS to do that NOR knew about theses activities. One thing we have to accept at this point: there will be no way back, no perfect procedure where we all shake hands, put forward arguments and come to a widely accepted conclusion. So we should stick to the facts that we feel are withstanding despite all this troubled loose-loose process. So I ask:

Was MS's undercover so damn undercover that he had to come up with a lie to back it up?
If it was not undercover for professional reason, why would anybody infiltrate into white nationalist groups just on their own, with nobody knowing. what could be any positive political outcome of this? I cannot think of a single one, even less so having actively promoted nasty white supremacist ideas throughout years.

and going back to harder proves, we were already as far here in this discussion (flava-o-flav), that we have:
his memo (which is not "arguably" but to my mind just plain racist)
his stormfront activity
black battlefront
his facebook profiles

at that point no one was defending to include here tattoos or any helmets... that than are discovered of not being as nazi as someone said they would be, and than someone says he knows some antifash who wears a mjolnir too, so that would not be proof for anything, than people say they wear nazi under wear just for fun but are actually the greatest anti-nazi-guys on the globe and so on... and so on... I am not arguing, that the symbolism is not important, but in terms of trying to get somewhere in an online process involving people from different continents that in some cases never met maybe better to stick to documents that are agreed on by all sides as real and relevant, and that can actually be read and discussed.

in addition to the stuff from the list above we have three messages from MS, his first long answer letter (with him justifying his stormfront activity with his editor having him do it, who negates this), one additional one where he states his NGO activities to point out that they are all "mixed race" and a short answer to the first article where he seems to confirm that he in fact wrote the memo. and a foto with him and two authors on his feyd account where he ironizes: "this is what we crypto-fascists do with our hard earned money..."

and we have some texts he wrote that can contribute to the discussion on his views on racism, like the anarkismo one on the Boers.

About the question SA being ex-apartheid, therefore whites being more inclined of being racist. Sorry, I disagree completely. Do I get this wrong or are radical politics about radically opposing to existing structures of domination in the context in which we grew up and live? Are you guys suggesting that radicals in the US, since it's a world economic power all have a little capitalist within them, that they just cannot overcome, or that anarchists from Cuba all are inclined to be quite positive about hierarchical structures, because after all Castro is such as nice guy? And that if they were we have to "understand that" because of the context of their country?

Could it not be seen exactly the other way round: for the reason that radical politics are formulated by real experience of power structures we grow up in and have around us they should be the ones we are most radical on - so the deepest discussion on racism and anti-racist perspective could be expected of groups making politics in SA? Is that that the case with Zabalaza, MS, LvdW and their politics and what they defend? Or not?

All this does not mean that I don't think many groups or white radicals cannot be racist, they are in many cases, but that is by NO means justifiable considering any specific context!

why is this discussion relevant at all? because we are talking about someone who, for quite a long time, presented himself as defending radical politics, who organized in radical organizations, who write books that are read and discussed in radical circles. that is the starting point. we are not just talking about some random white South African.

Auld-bod

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

r-exist #570

‘About the question SA being ex-apartheid, therefore whites being more inclined of being racist. Sorry, I disagree completely. Do I get this wrong or are radical politics about radically opposing to existing structures of domination in the context in which we grew up and live?’

It is very possible to oppose the political structures that we’ve grown up with, and unfortunately it is also possible to have internalised many of the values inherent in the society we are against. We may not recognise any national chauvinism, sexism or racism and it’s only by being challenged on these attitudes can we at last acknowledge our prejudices. Maybe there are some ‘saints’ who carry no birth marks but I haven’t met any.

Devrim

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

radicalgraffiti

Finn MacLean

2. Where are Reid Ross and Stephens coming from politically? Can someone give more of an idea? I understand they're trying to tar and feather class struggle anarchism as being racist and sexist, and someone mentioned they are 'post left academics' or something above. My first reaction to their first piece was they advocates of identity politics/'privilege politics', who are into that view that if you're against our politics, then you're automatically racist, sexist, homophobic etc, and their method of peronalised denunciation seems to fit nicely with that form of politics too.

i've not seen any evidence of this so far, is suspect it may just be Schmidt apologists trying to discredit them, i'm fairly sure Reid Ross said it should be used this way, and that all tendencies of anarchism had had people like that in them

I think it screams out from their stuff. I'm certainly not a Scmidt apologist.

Devrim

Burgers

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

For information

Reid Ross

one more chapter, due out later this week

Mark.

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

r-exist

in terms of trying to get somewhere in an online process involving people from different continents that in some cases never met maybe better to stick to documents that are agreed on by all sides as real and relevant, and that can actually be read and discussed.

I think this is good sense.
r-exist

About the question SA being ex-apartheid, therefore whites being more inclined of being racist. Sorry, I disagree completely. Do I get this wrong or are radical politics about radically opposing to existing structures of domination in the context in which we grew up and live?...

Could it not be seen exactly the other way round: for the reason that radical politics are formulated by real experience of power structures we grow up in and have around us they should be the ones we are most radical on - so the deepest discussion on racism and anti-racist perspective could be expected of groups making politics in SA? Is that that the case with Zabalaza, MS, LvdW and their politics and what they defend? Or not?

We might hope for this. Whether we actually get it is another question.
r-exist

All this does not mean that I don't think many groups or white radicals cannot be racist, they are in many cases, but that is by NO means justifiable considering any specific context!

I don't think I've been arguing that it's justifiable, more that it might be possible to understand where people are coming from, and that this might be more useful than just denouncing them as infiltrators or fascists. I may not have been doing this very well.
r-exist

why is this discussion relevant at all? because we are talking about someone who, for quite a long time, presented himself as defending radical politics, who organized in radical organizations, who write books that are read and discussed in radical circles. that is the starting point. we are not just talking about some random white South African.

I agree with this.

r-exist

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

auld-bod.

I completely agree with you. No saints around as far as I can see either and if there were that would be rather a problem than any kind of solution. My point is though that radical politics is about continually being open to be challenged and challenge ourselves about what you call "national chauvinism, sexism, racism" (and others). The discussion is on how to deal with documents/discussions where the exact opposite occurs: instead of breaking racism down, MS's memo from 2008 reaffirms a racist position. So we are not talking at this point only about what's within us as being part of this society founded on domination, but what we make out of it doing politics. Developping political practice and reflect on it. Theorize. Etc. And if such a process leaves to a conclusion that only whites can lead a revolution in present day South Africa, above from complete bull shit, that is not the result of some subtle tendency within MS's subjectivity as being part of a former apartheid SA, he comes to those conclusions after years of participating in radical/anarchist organization and mobilization.

AES

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Let's skip the discussion here about how difficult it is to not be national chauvinist, sexist or racist.

Finn MacLean

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I think Schmidt's discussion document had a streak of apartheid in it. Namely, he doesn't think it is the right time for blacks and white to 'blend' in revolutionary groups, because blacks are backward, don't understand theory, aren't good activists, have different cultures etc.

He doesn't go as far as to say what he wants is a whites only organisation though, but it needs to be a white majority organisation until they can educate some blacks up to their level, and the 'objective situation' of a racially fractured working class changes. He seems to only think blacks and whites can only walk alongside each other during protest but can't join together in groups. His apartheid fantasies on stormfront of setting up whites only colonies in the Western cape etc are seemingly the logical extension of his racist discussion document.

Pennoid

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

HEY!

He may support the systematic destruction of people who look different then him because he has an inherent right to a piece of land and a mythologized idea of a "way of life" but does that really make him a "fascist"?? C'mon PEOPLE.

For srs: When people say "I'll wait for MS to give HIS account!" The fucker gave his own account. For years. On stormfront. And his account was "Oh me, the poor boers, the plight of the white man waaaaaaah" Fuck him.

S. Artesian

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Pennoid

HEY!

He may support the systematic destruction of people who look different then him because he has an inherent right to a piece of land and a mythologized idea of a "way of life" but does that really make him a "fascist"?? C'mon PEOPLE.

For srs: When people say "I'll wait for MS to give HIS account!" The fucker gave his own account. For years. On stormfront. And his account was "Oh me, the poor boers, the plight of the white man waaaaaaah" Fuck him.

Exactly. Couldn't have said it any better myself. Nastier, yes; better? Not.

akai

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Looking at the chapters of the book, l am waiting to see what he comes up on Russia. l mean, there are plenty of self-professed anti-fascists (mmmmm) and ABC types who let nationalist scum with shady politics and connections hang out with them, come into their organizations etc. lt's pretty embarrassing.

Jim

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Pennoid

He may support the systematic destruction of people who look different then him because he has an inherent right to a piece of land and a mythologized idea of a "way of life"

Where have you got this from? Where has he supported the systematic destruction of anybody? Even his Stormfront account seemed to be more 'waah my Boer tears' than arguing for a genocide to be carried out on anybody, not that I've read all of his posts on there.

Mark.

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

akai

Looking at the chapters of the book, l am waiting to see what he comes up on Russia. l mean, there are plenty of self-professed anti-fascists (mmmmm) and ABC types who let nationalist scum with shady politics and connections hang out with them, come into their organizations etc. lt's pretty embarrassing.

He's studied in Russia so he may be better on this than he is on South Africa.

ocelot

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

r-exist

And if such a process leaves to a conclusion that only whites can lead a revolution in present day South Africa, above from complete bull shit,

But that's not what MS's 2008 memo says.

Thus, a libertarian socialist Revolution is impossible in SA under
current and foreseeable internal politico-social conditions

He doesn't say whites can or must lead a revolution, he says a libertarian communist revolution is impossible in South Africa under current conditions and for the foreseeable future.

Which, as I keep repeating, is not an attempt to smuggle racism (or anything else for that matter) into anarchism, but an assertion that the anarchist project is impossible in SA. An assertion that SA (and other) anarchists naturally reject.

ocelot

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Pennoid

HEY!
[...]
For srs: When people say "I'll wait for MS to give HIS account!" The fucker gave his own account. For years. On stormfront. And his account was "Oh me, the poor boers, the plight of the white man waaaaaaah" Fuck him.

And for anybody who wanted to know what I mean about microfascisms and the alienated desire to lynch people without any process of natural justice, this ^^^ is exactly what I am talking about.

To be a libertarian communist you need to be both a communist and a libertarian - i.e. to have some basic grasp of political justice rather than Stalinist or Maoist "Popular Justice".

Mark.

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

ocelot

r-exist

And if such a process leaves to a conclusion that only whites can lead a revolution in present day South Africa, above from complete bull shit,

But that's not what MS's 2008 memo says.

Thus, a libertarian socialist Revolution is impossible in SA under
current and foreseeable internal politico-social conditions

He doesn't say whites can or must lead a revolution, he says a libertarian communist revolution is impossible in South Africa under current conditions and for the foreseeable future.

Which, as I keep repeating, is not an attempt to smuggle racism (or anything else for that matter) into anarchism, but an assertion that the anarchist project is impossible in SA. An assertion that SA (and other) anarchists naturally reject.

Here's the answer he gave in the 2010 interview in full. I'm not sure exactly what to read into it.

Do you see realistic chances for anarchism to become a stronger force in African politics? What's your vision for anarchism overall?

MS: I believe (and this is not a ZACF perspective, but my own) that we will in the long term enter a dark period. We live in the world’s most unequal society and the fat-cat elite is growing nervous, realizing that it can’t ride the tiger forever. There are only two possible ultimate outcomes: 1) either the elite continue to fiddle while Rome burns, keeps drinking Chivas whiskey, keeps sending in the police to gun down the poor – so the poor rise up and take back by force what was stolen from them; or 2) the parasitic elite moves decisively in a right-populist direction, and drums up scare-stories of internal and external threats. The first option if exercised right now would lead to a stillborn revolution, given the current hold of nationalism and superstition; the second option will lead to further pogroms and war, a quasi-fascist direction.

We’ve seen the fits and starts of the first, sputtering in fires on barricades across the country; we try to help shape this into more constructive form, but we are few. We’ve also seen a section of the ANC-SACP-COSATU leadership flirt with the second, notably in the 2008 pogroms against foreigners and “outsiders” which saw 62 killed, 670 wounded, and more than 100,000 displaced.

Anarchism might gain traction as the poor lose patience with capitalism and the ANC nationalists, but rapid-growth anarchism, with shallow roots and limited understanding, can also mean weakness and ultimate defeat. Then again, as the saying goes, “under the snow, the seed,” and if history teaches us anything it is that repression not only tempers the mettle of anarchism, but spreads the ideas further abroad through a refugee diaspora, very much as the Spanish anarchist diaspora established syndicalist unions in Mexico and Venezuela and influential radical networks across much of the New World (and North Africa). So gloomy though this picture is, it is not hopeless.

radicalgraffiti

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

ocelot

Pennoid

HEY!
[...]
For srs: When people say "I'll wait for MS to give HIS account!" The fucker gave his own account. For years. On stormfront. And his account was "Oh me, the poor boers, the plight of the white man waaaaaaah" Fuck him.

And for anybody who wanted to know what I mean about microfascisms and the alienated desire to lynch people without any process of natural justice, this ^^^ is exactly what I am talking about.

To be a libertarian communist you need to be both a communist and a libertarian - i.e. to have some basic grasp of political justice rather than Stalinist or Maoist "Popular Justice".

are you sure your not confusing libertarian with liberal?

what about finding the evidence so far convincing is Stalinist?

Sharkfinn

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

radicalgraffiti

ocelot

Pennoid

HEY!
[...]
For srs: When people say "I'll wait for MS to give HIS account!" The fucker gave his own account. For years. On stormfront. And his account was "Oh me, the poor boers, the plight of the white man waaaaaaah" Fuck him.

And for anybody who wanted to know what I mean about microfascisms and the alienated desire to lynch people without any process of natural justice, this ^^^ is exactly what I am talking about.

To be a libertarian communist you need to be both a communist and a libertarian - i.e. to have some basic grasp of political justice rather than Stalinist or Maoist "Popular Justice".

are you sure your not confusing libertarian with liberal?

umm...
Political justice, rights, impartial treatment = liberal
Could you perhaps elaborate on that? Sounds really messed up to me

radicalgraffiti

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Sharkfinn

radicalgraffiti

ocelot

Pennoid

HEY!
[...]
For srs: When people say "I'll wait for MS to give HIS account!" The fucker gave his own account. For years. On stormfront. And his account was "Oh me, the poor boers, the plight of the white man waaaaaaah" Fuck him.

And for anybody who wanted to know what I mean about microfascisms and the alienated desire to lynch people without any process of natural justice, this ^^^ is exactly what I am talking about.

To be a libertarian communist you need to be both a communist and a libertarian - i.e. to have some basic grasp of political justice rather than Stalinist or Maoist "Popular Justice".

are you sure your not confusing libertarian with liberal?

umm...
Political justice, rights, impartial treatment = liberal
Could you perhaps elaborate on that? Sounds really messed up to me

what even is "political justice", how are rights relevant? and impartial treatment is impossible.

theres a bunch of people who seem to want every one to pretend the evidence doesn't exist until Schmidt's responded (again), this has nothing to do with the truth of the matter, its just bullshit idiology

Jim

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

radicalgraffiti

are you sure your not confusing libertarian with liberal?

what about finding the evidence so far convincing is Stalinist?

Are you sure you're not just confused? I can see why the evidence so far appears to be convincing, but if you accept the stuff posted on the internet was done to infiltrate the far-right, which is plausible, then there isn't a lot of evidence Schmidt is a fascist. There's evidence he's a racist (the document he wrote) and there's some evidence which suggests he might be a white nationalist (what the web developer has said) or a national anarchist (what Aragon said) but that evidence is really flimsy, it's not the kind of evidence you could use in a UK court to defend a libel claim. There also doesn't appear to be any evidence that Schmidt believe what Pennoid said he did.

syndicalist

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I guess, I just want to hear what folks close to the situation have to say. MS pretty much has shifted his political views and can be criticized for what we have read. I think there's enough clarity that a shift in views have occurred. How far, I dunno, really, but clearly enough.

LcvW worked closely with MS and, well,what does he have to say? Just hard for me to think something new in the period of close ZACF and LvdW contact will be revealed in further installments of the report. But, for the record and from a POV other then the accused, it's important (to me at least) that everything be put on the table. Their written POVs will round out the picture and the narrative. And will allow for a glimpse into how those close enough to MS dealt with the situation without having to go public and big time sensational. Maybe in the end it will all be lacking substance, maybe not.While others may not care what ZACF and LcvD have to say, I think there are some who do. So, I await being trashed by those who may disagree with this approach. Flame on.

Mark.

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Jim

it's not the kind of evidence you could use in a UK court to defend a libel claim.

Or presumably in a South African court, as this would apparently come under the jurisdiction of South African law on defamation. I couldn't see it coming to that, but I think Reid Ross and Stephens might have been more cautious if they'd been more clued up as journalists.

radicalgraffiti

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Jim

radicalgraffiti

are you sure your not confusing libertarian with liberal?

what about finding the evidence so far convincing is Stalinist?

Are you sure you're not just confused? I can see why the evidence so far appears to be convincing, but if you accept the stuff posted on the internet was done to infiltrate the far-right, which is plausible, then there isn't a lot of evidence Schmidt is a fascist. There's evidence he's a racist (the document he wrote) and there's some evidence which suggests he might be a white nationalist (what the web developer has said) or a national anarchist (what Aragon said) but that evidence is really flimsy, it's not the kind of evidence you could use in a UK court to defend a libel claim. There also doesn't appear to be any evidence that Schmidt believe what Pennoid said he did.

"not the kind of evidence you could use in a UK court to defend a libel claim" = Stalinist show trial and trying to lynch him apparently.

Pennoid

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Ocelot's back with another installment in "Things I obviously did not say."

Jim

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

radicalgraffiti

"not the kind of evidence you could use in a UK court to defend a libel claim" = Stalinist show trial and trying to lynch him apparently.

Well it's a show trial in the sense that Reid-Ross and Stephens didn't contact Schmidt to put any of the allegtions to him. In a legal sense we're seeing all of the prosecutions case and none of the defence (bar a couple of short statements issued by Schmidt).

Hieronymous

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I loath wading into this shitshow, but looking at Reid Ross' website shows that he's incredibly naïve and is still firmly in the camp of anti-oppression politics (just read his fawning review of Chris Crass' Towards Collective Liberalism).

The USW refinery workers strike earlier this year was a typical business union charade (although in places rank-and-filers did show some militancy), but rather than seeing it in class terms this is how Reid Ross read it:

[quote=Reid Ross]The current oil strike in the midst of mass layoffs from unconventional extraction methods like the tar sands will likely produce greater divisions between the industry and its workers, while at the same time increasing the importance of natural gas. The fact of the most patriarchal circumstances of oil workers’ “man camps” in North Dakota is linked also to the racist, sexist environment maintained by supervisors in refineries like Shell’s in Martinez, California. Without a system change from fossil fuel economies, these tendencies will persevere unchecked.[/quote]

This is utter garbage. I walked the picket line at the Tesoro Refinery in Martinez (not Shell, as that refinery wasn't struck) and the most militant worker I kept bumping into and talking with was a woman whose job is to take over the trains from railroaders and bring them into the refinery. Her biggest concern, overwhelmingly so, was safety. She had a dozen horror stories about accidents killing and maiming her fellow workers. To conflate this with anti-patriarchy/anti-racist struggles at the workplace (as important as those can be) is simply Reid Ross pulling this bullshit out of his ass.

It's clear that Reid Ross and Stephen know about as much about South Africa as any of the rest of us surfing the 'net. The reason AK chose them is to function as a book promotion shtick for the former's upcoming book about fascism.

What we've got here is an award-winning journalist/anti-oppression activist hack, who's a naïve liberal, with no knowledge of events on the ground in South Africa writing -- from a continent away in Portland, Oregon in the U.S. -- about a hack journalist in South Africa who's clearly a racist, nationalist -- and potentially a fascist. And the former is doing an abysmally shitty job at exposing the latter. Again, what a fucking shitshow!

Lastly, the word on the street in the Bay Area is that after the fire earlier this year at their warehouse space in Oakland, where two residents of the building were tragically killed, AK Press is on the verge of collapse. So drumming up cheap publicity shows that they're clearly going through their death throes.

EDIT: Reid Ross promotes a conspiracy theory around the agents of oppression/repression who are lined up against bioregional anti-racists, as well as ideas about race similar to J. Sakai's Settlers: The Mythology of the White Proletariat from Mayflower to Modern, Kersplebedeb, and Uhuru (a.k.a. All-African People's Revolutionary Party and their various white-doormat front groups). Here's a video on Grabbing Back: Bioregionalism Against White Supremacy. Reid Ross keeps company with reactionaries: check out Ahjamu Umi's homophobic comments at 22:40 in the linked video.

r-exist

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

ocelot

r-exist

And if such a process leaves to a conclusion that only whites can lead a revolution in present day South Africa, above from complete bull shit,

But that's not what MS's 2008 memo says.

Thus, a libertarian socialist Revolution is impossible in SA under
current and foreseeable internal politico-social conditions

He doesn't say whites can or must lead a revolution, he says a libertarian communist revolution is impossible in South Africa under current conditions and for the foreseeable future.

Which, as I keep repeating, is not an attempt to smuggle racism (or anything else for that matter) into anarchism, but an assertion that the anarchist project is impossible in SA. An assertion that SA (and other) anarchists naturally reject.

ocelot. and you are not answering to what I said. I said he's saying, that whites must lead the revolution. this does by no means say anything about the question if the leading of the revolution will have any success or not. All over the document Schmidt defends the vanguard position of the few white SA vanguard anarchists. So the contradiction you cite is a contradiction within the proper memo .It cannot be used to relativise the argument the way you try to do it. If he says only whites can be the vanguard of the revolution and there is no way this revolution is possible, than that is quite a reasonable outcome of his arguing, because the way he interprets the way to revolution (lead by a white vanguard organisation of like six or seven white dudes), it really seems more than impossible and I would want to be on the other side of the planet if it ever was. But that is not what his memo is centrally about and certainly is not the way he means to argue. It is about arguing why the tiny organisation he is part of at that point is all white for very "good" and " culturally rooted understandable" reasons. well, the memo is there for everyone to read and I cannot download it (needs windows it seems to do so), so I have to type word for word, but a few things I will cite here:

Among other things, this is what Schmidt argues in the 2008 memo (I was not able to localize the "cut at birth" one right now)

...What does this mean for the organisation and for the SA movement of which it is the VANGUARD?

...yet middle class black members have been ineffective and working-class whites effective...

... we find that white anarchist militants are the de-facto leading echelon, while most black anarchist militants merely follow...

And it is possible to say ... that within that layer, a tiny minority of anarchist has found itself reduced by a variety of internal and external circumstances to a small group of white activists - all of the blacks (and some whites) within this tiny faction having proven incapable of keeping pace with the physical and intellectual rigours of the anarchist communist organisation.

That if we see ourselves as the vanguard of the libertarian socialist Revolution regionally (...) it is patently a white leading echelon

about brazil (wtf?):
...and in many instances these poor white immigrants were paid less and constituted a lower class than slave-originated black Braszilian population - a neat inversion of both white supremacist ideas and negritude-influenced ideas that paint all whites as blue-eyed devils. In other words, the class-race dynamics was somewhat inverted in Brazil...

... instead we should proudly recognize we that we are (currently, and presumably) a white anarchist movement.

So, you still trying to convince me, that he is not talking about whites having to lead the revolution (whites are the only possible vanguard at present) if it possible or not, is another question here it seems, and if his arguments are in contradiction to each other, also. May be there is a basic question here, too, that might be interesting: is there any possibility of talking of a vanguard without talking about a process in which this vanguard has its main or only objective in leading to a revolution?

Is being "proud" of being a white anarchist movement less fucked up, just because the revolution it would like to lead is interpreted as impossible at the present stage?

And just to add up to MS's Black Flame attempts to say who is and who isn't anarchist: with his positive reference to a vanguard I cannot see how he would argue to include himself within the broad anarchist tradition that he himself defines as such. The specifist organisation FAG he refers to uses as his reference "active minority", which arguably can turn into something similar to a vanguard, but as a basic idea is something very different.

r-exist

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

ocelot, just one more question: are you saying that MS's memo is before all else about arguing why a revolution in SA is impossible at the moment. Than send me the memo you read, because it seems I might have read a different one...

seahorse

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

ocelot

To be a libertarian communist you need to be both a communist and a libertarian - i.e. to have some basic grasp of political justice rather than Stalinist or Maoist "Popular Justice".

Hey. Could you explain what you mean by political justice?

ocelot

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

r-exist

ocelot, just one more question: are you saying that MS's memo is before all else about arguing why a revolution in SA is impossible at the moment. Than send me the memo you read, because it seems I might have read a different one...

No. I have read the same memo as everybody else - http://www.pdf-archive.com/2015/10/12/schmidt-memo/

Just it seems that not everybody is capable of reading the same text and understanding it the same way (see Capital Ch 1, for e.g.).

I am not saying that the memo is "before all else" about why libertarian communist revolution is impossible in SA.

Overall it appears to be the confused (and unconvincing) attempt to justify that ZACF, reduced to 6 white people, is not a complete irrelevance in a black majority society like SA. In the process, MS's self-justifying (and racist) premiss that the black majority proletariat is somehow essentially incapable of autonomy and self-emancipation, due to "political cultural dynamics" and apartheid conditioning, forces him to the conclusion that a libertarian communist revolution is thus impossible.

The fact that the writer of the text has not fully digested the full implications of that conclusion is apparent in the text - however, despite an attempt to compensate for loss of orientation by turning the machismo up to 11, the memo actually has no new strategic direction to advocate, exposing it's own impasse.

So the contradiction you cite is a contradiction within the proper memo

Absolutely.

But the entirely proper debate over the racist (and demonstrably incorrect) premiss to MS's argument should not distract (as JS/ARR intend) from the fact that the conclusion is fatally liquidationist from a revolutionary class struggle perspective. Hence why it is not surprising that MS left ZACF soon after said memo.

But also why it is not a premeditated attempt to introduce white nationalist vanguardist thought into revolutionary class struggle anarchism.

So, you still trying to convince me, that he is not talking about whites having to lead the revolution (whites are the only possible vanguard at present) if it possible or not, is another question here it seems, and if his arguments are in contradiction to each other, also.

And I'm insisting that it is not "another question" (once again: dismiss all notions of relative moral significance) - in relation to the specific charge of the memo being an attempt to introduce white racial nationalist thought into the ZACF specifically and the global anarchist movement generally* it is a question that should be answered - and yet cannot be.

---
* (and if that really was the intent, why did MS also collaborate with the covering up of the memo, rather than emailing it - or possibly a rewritten version - to anarchist websites and groups around the world?)

ocelot

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

seahorse

ocelot

To be a libertarian communist you need to be both a communist and a libertarian - i.e. to have some basic grasp of political justice rather than Stalinist or Maoist "Popular Justice".

Hey. Could you explain what you mean by political justice?

Well the Godwin reference implies that it's a concept of justice that does not necessarily presuppose the state or bourgeois judiciary, but is still focused on the indispensability of justice.

In Stalin's Moscow trials of 1937-38, which consumed most of the revolutionary generation of Old Bolsheviks, defendants were of course given no chance to respond to the charges (other than a grovelling acceptance of them, in exchange for sparing their family).

By extension, any argument that says that the political crimes of which the defendant is charged are so heinous that we owe them no right of response, and that anybody that argues otherwise is liberal, bourgeois deviationist or closet wrecker/saboteur/racist/boogeyman/etc, is Stalinist metaphorically. And such arguments have definitely been made both on Facebook and even on this thread.

radicalgraffiti

6 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Jim

radicalgraffiti

"not the kind of evidence you could use in a UK court to defend a libel claim" = Stalinist show trial and trying to lynch him apparently.

Well it's a show trial in the sense that Reid-Ross and Stephens didn't contact Schmidt to put any of the allegtions to him. In a legal sense we're seeing all of the prosecutions case and none of the defence (bar a couple of short statements issued by Schmidt).

so when do we execute him and his supporters?