AK Press allegations against Michael Schmidt

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Oct 16 2015 16:49

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
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Oct 16 2015 17:10
Battlescarred wrote:
https://www.facebook.com/zabalazanews
Meanwhile the ZACF are facing State repression

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

Quote:
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!

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Oct 16 2015 18:29
Chilli Sauce wrote:
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

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Oct 16 2015 19:25

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.

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Oct 16 2015 19:33

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
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Oct 16 2015 19:49
Flava O Flav wrote:
Any mention of when part 3 is coming?
Alexander Reid Ross ‏@areidross wrote:
technical difficulties today. will be posting the next article installment ASAP
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Oct 16 2015 20:06
seahores wrote:
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.

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Oct 16 2015 23:53
Red Marriott wrote:
seahores wrote:
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
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Oct 17 2015 01:23

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

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Oct 17 2015 01:26

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
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Oct 17 2015 02:55

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
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Oct 17 2015 03:10

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

Quote:
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.

Quote:
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
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Oct 17 2015 03:40

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

Burgers
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Oct 17 2015 07:46

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)"

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Oct 17 2015 08:18
r-exist wrote:
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?

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Oct 17 2015 08:23
ajjohnstone wrote:
I raised this issue previously but it again re-surfaced in Part 3
Quote:
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.

Quote:
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
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Oct 17 2015 10:18

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?

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Oct 17 2015 11:08
flava wrote:
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;

Quote:
"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;

Quote:
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
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Oct 17 2015 11:48

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.

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Oct 17 2015 12:42

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
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Oct 17 2015 13:04

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.

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Oct 17 2015 14:45

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
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Oct 17 2015 15:52

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)

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Oct 17 2015 15:08

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
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Oct 17 2015 15:18

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
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Oct 17 2015 15:18
syndicalist wrote:
If the third piece is the final piece, well,

There are two more chapters to come according to Ross.

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Oct 17 2015 15:24
AndrewF wrote:
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.

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Oct 17 2015 15:36

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
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Oct 17 2015 15:48

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

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Oct 17 2015 15:53

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

Quote:
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:

Quote:
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.