AK Press allegations against Michael Schmidt

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Chilli Sauce's picture
Chilli Sauce
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Sep 28 2015 13:55

"As much", are you out of your mind?

You know what journalist I hate? Kropotkin.

pgh2a
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Sep 28 2015 13:55

Someone asked about his profiles on Black Battlefront's facebook page. There were two other profiles there the other day, that were then deleted. I identified one of them because it was of a woman who said she was in "risk managment" which was the same industry stated by Kirelianblue's profile on stormfront. Schmidt wrote he created a husband and wife profile. Both of them were deleted from the facebook page. Why would he have created a husband and wife profile if he just wanted an alter ego to support his fascist activities?

P.S. Can an admin please change my screen name to pgh2a ?

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Sep 28 2015 14:06
pgh2a wrote:
Why would he have created a husband and wife profile if he just wanted an alter ego to support his fascist activities?

To create a believable back story perhaps? Turn that around, if he was a fascist infiltrating the anarchist movement or if he was simply a National Anarchist, why would he create a husband and wife as two alternate personas to use within the fascist/NA movement?

pgh2a
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Sep 28 2015 15:02

The only reasonable construction I can make of these two different profiles is that he would want to make Black Battlefront look like it had more members. But then wouldn't most people have decided to make two different, unrelated (unmarried) profiles to show that the "movement" isn't just a couple that went in together but rather a more diverse (irony noted) group? I think it supports his story that he was trying to infiltrate the national anarchist movement and not the other way around.

P.S. Thanks, admin!

syndicalist
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Sep 28 2015 15:21

FWIW, My own position is to play this straight down the middle until everything is on the table, full documentation by AK and full reply by MS., ZACF statement(s) and that of LvdW. It's right and fair. My own allegiance is to fairness at this point And fairness to me is making sure that all info is open and on the table.

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Sep 28 2015 15:28
AvengingAngel wrote:
Of course, for he's 'just doing his job'. Journalists (and academics, teachers, 'professional' activists and so on) do as much to sabotage the class as fascists.

spaceman spiff
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Sep 29 2015 06:53

This whole thing stinks, and smacks of a high-school level smear campaign. You can't just potentially ruin a man's career and reputation without providing full evidence.

And what's more, I can't understand this story of fascist infiltration. What sort of a man spends years writing an academic treatise on a political ideology just to 'infiltrate' a movement? Who has the time and inclination for such a thing? And to what end? To sow some cancerous seeds of nationalist racist ideology in the minds of young anarchists? To slowly take down the movement from within?

I've read plenty of positive reviews of Black Flame. The work should stand for itself, accusations of thought-crimes notwithstanding.

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Sep 29 2015 08:19

The Institute for Anarchist Theory and History (of which Schmidt is a member) has put out a very sensible statement: https://ithanarquista.wordpress.com/2015/09/28/akpressschmidt/

spaceman spiff
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Sep 29 2015 08:48
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AK Press has already tried, condemned and sentenced Michael Schmidt (in a “juridical” sense). They alone received and compiled the evidence, interpreted it, reached judgment and sentenced Michael Schmidt by cancelling his upcoming book, and by putting out of print two previous books in which he was involved.

All this was done without presenting evidence to the public, and without allowing him the right to defend himself.[2] We think that these measures – which are guaranteed in the most basic of the “democratic” states that we so regularly criticize – must surely be guaranteed in any model of libertarian “justice.”

Absolutely well stated

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Sep 29 2015 11:06

Just on the issue of AK announcing before they had the evidence ready, it should probably be borne in mind that they were likely in a difficult position when they came to the conclusion that MS wasn't on the level.

From their perspective, they clearly would have wanted to give Ross* time to complete his investigation before tipping off MS, but were also in the process of publishing his book. What it sounds like is they ran out of time on the schedule and decided they would have to cancel it, but obv you can't do that without questions being raised and effectively tipping MS off that something's wrong. Hence the brief explanation.

It sounds like they should have done more due diligence, if MS is right that they only sent one email to an alternate account of his and didn't try any other method of getting in touch that's pretty rubbish. But it doesn't feel like they're doing a Satmonaf to me.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
* As a note AK aren't the ones investigating, one of their authors is

Battlescarred
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Sep 29 2015 12:07

Satmonaf??

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Rob Ray
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Sep 29 2015 12:24

Samotnaf, even. The fellow in France who did that super-long denunciation against Aufheben/Libcom and then flounced spectacularly when people started criticising him for not bothering to actually talk to the people he was denouncing (he later started crying because whackos were citing him in full-on conspiracy theorising about Libcom being a state front, as though this wasn't a very predictable outcome).

petey
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Sep 29 2015 12:38

he gave me my custom title

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Sep 29 2015 13:22

AK Press can chose who they publish or not, especially if they decide that there are contrast of political interests (to say the least) about a writer/researcher. They have obviously decided that the information that has been brought forward is sufficient to distance themselves from Michael Schmidt rather than go ahead with previous arrangements.

I agree with the suggestion that has been made that ZACF and also specifically Lucien van der Walt should make statements about this, and include sharing anonymised full versions of all internal documents written by Schmidt which mention specifically race, particularly if any controvertial writings by him exist.

I agree that there is a need for analysis of nationalist depature from social revolutionary theory and practice.

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Sep 29 2015 14:55
AES wrote:
AK Press can chose who they publish or not, especially if they decide that there are contrast of political interests (to say the least) about a writer/researcher. They have obviously decided that the information that has been brought forward is sufficient to distance themselves from Michael Schmidt rather than go ahead with previous arrangements.

Hang on, it's a bit early for this kind of revisionism. AK Press have not said that the information they have seen has lead them to feel that a sufficient level of suspicion has been raised over MS's activities and political views, that they feel they are no longer comfortable continuing their association. That would be another thing entirely.

They have said that MS is:

1. "an undercover fascist"
2. "a white nationalist trying to infiltrate the anarchist movement"

Which are extremely serious allegations and ones, which if sincerely believed, would certainly open the accused to serious physical violence, if not summary execution, in many of the more repressive political circumstances or militant cultures*.

That they then sanctimoniously claim:

"we are not comfortable sitting on this information any longer"

and then proceed to do precisely that - i.e. sit on the information - is outrageous.

Regardless of what the actual truths of the matter turn out to be, when we get a chance to view the actual evidence, and the accused gets a right of reply, this act by AK, is entirely an unacceptable way to behave for a movement that holds to any notion of justice and prefigurative politics.

It is a regrettable reality that our movement (and indeed any political movement, outside the state) periodically needs to deal with the difficult process of responding to the most serious allegations against members.

Everybody needs to accept that the way AK Press have done this, is the picture in the dictionary of "how not to do it".

Unless such practices are stamped out, then the movement is open to the kind of COINTELPRO-style manipulations that have destroyed so many historical movements.

Rigorous process is not simply a matter of ethics, its an existential matter of self-defence.

----
* I mean if you tried denouncing someone as a cop or an undercover loyalist spy in Irish republican circles and then said "...sure, we'll have the evidence in a bit", you'd get knee-capped. And no-one, republican or not, would find that in the least surprising.

Black Badger
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Sep 29 2015 15:07

... as if this were the first time that AK folks had done something disappointing, stupid, sectarian, or outrageous ...

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888
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Sep 29 2015 21:07

Maybe they wanted to bait MS into posting a reply that they could then demonstrate was untrue.

pgh2a
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Sep 29 2015 21:09
888 wrote:
Maybe they wanted to bait MS into posting a reply that they could then demonstrate was untrue.

Look, either they have the evidence or they don't. They need to stop being coy or withdraw their accusation.

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Sep 29 2015 21:40
RR wrote:
Samotnaf, even. The fellow in France who did that super-long denunciation against Aufheben/Libcom and then flounced spectacularly when people started criticising him for not bothering to actually talk to the people he was denouncing (he later started crying because whackos were citing him in full-on conspiracy theorising about Libcom being a state front, as though this wasn't a very predictable outcome).

That is a poor biased summary of a long convoluted dispute. In any case the essential criticisms of Dr J have been reinforced by more recent damning facts; see my comments on p.1 & 2 under article here; http://libcom.org/library/sic-international-journal-communisation
There are better and worse ways to handle issues and 'out' them; but unfortunately people sometimes try to distract from/bury inconvenient truths by trying to discredit their presentation/delivery.

Edit; The only rational conclusion I can come to is - in the face of the now-available evidence - that those who deny or doubt Dr J is involved in helping develop policing tactics must be either really stupid or blatantly dishonest or know they've been misled but are trying to save face by refusing to acknowledge it. I don't think anyone here is that stupid - and, as I've said, the fact they'll always try to trash the messenger rather than deal with the evidence doesn't add to anyone's credibility.

syndicalist
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Sep 30 2015 01:41

anarkismo peeps ------ http://www.anarkismo.net/article/28576

Curious Wednesday
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Sep 30 2015 09:19

I forgot to link to the text about Schmidt: "South Africa & Some Anarchist Responses To Mandela’s Death"

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Sep 30 2015 12:13

I don't know much about MS' case but I think the relation between professionals and revolutionary movements present an important problem. Historically, especially before the WWI and in the Second International the working class tended to pay for its own professional intellectuals. German SDP had its own papers with paid journalists, its own party schools with teachers. Pannekoek, Luxemburg, Radek, Ruhle etc and several others lived with the support of these kind of institutions. No doubt SDP was independent of the state - more like a state within the state- until WWI. However, as its foreign policy became milder and more conciliatory towards the Germany's policy orientation, it was also simultaneously becoming more bureaucratic escaping the control of the workers. Many faced the choice of either being thrown into misery and defend internationalism, or serving the state and Burgfreide and betraying the workers in order to preserve their social status and well being when faced with the world war in 1914. Revolutionary intellectuals chose the difficult path without hesitation.

Still we see revolutionary intellectuals tied to the state first in the Soviet Russia. In 1920s and 30s revolutionary intellectuals began working for soviet universities or communist international organizations as propagandists, journalists or translators. Later during the WWII leftist intellectuals increasingly entered the service of their own states in the west. Take Christopher Hill from the British CP for instance, who worked for the British intelligence. This became possible only thanks to popular front tactics (in their trotskyist, stalinist or even "anarchist" forms).

Cold War established this trend as a norm with leftists entering academia and journalism everywhere. Some produced really good works. Some universities became leftists strongholds (like Wisconsin in the US, Vincennes in France etc). With the crisis of the strong left parties in the west, the university and journalism intellectuals lost their political allies in 70s and 80s. Thus intellectuals lost their political direction. This was the age of Foucault, post-structuralism and rise of "interest" in anarchism in the academia. In the US academy academics w/o political backings tended towards campaign building and single issue struggles aiming for building civil society class blind coalitions. So, it is possible to see in "radical intellectuals" with most ignominious careers reflections of the most horrible defeats of the working class.

The situation is changing now. Capitalism is unable to confront the proletarians with a systematic and coherent ideological outlook. It increasingly relies on force rather than consent. Hence its reliance on intellectuals is diminishing. Today an increasing number of intellectuals are desperate. They are proletarianized. In academia or outside of it, most academic jobs are repetitive, administrative, dull and uncreative. They pay little. Many social scientists are without tenure, many young PhDs hardly have a safe prospect of finding jobs. Many young journalists are insecure and their work is outsourced. Leftist intellectuals in order to build "successful" careers have to find more and more scandalous ways to stand out in the crowd, because competition is ferocious and cruel.

There is no point in denigrating this stratum because of its misery and shame. Working class would be stronger with its intellectuals serving its class needs. The solution can only lie in stronger political organizations that would direct and orient intellectuals -who are unprecedentedly poorer and insecure- towards the general goals of the working class, towards communism. intellectuals don't own their own means of production. Their labor is devalued to the point that they are unable to reproduce themselves even in the basest minimum. Communist organizations must show these intellectuals that only a proletarian revolution can pull them out of their misery and hopelessness. Only organization can give hope and a collective sense of security for independent thinking and honest intellectual labor. It is true, revolutionary organizations can not give a sense of financial security or social status to intellectuals. However, it can show them the strength of class solidarity, give them a confidence in the future. For the best of intellectuals such a push would suffice.

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Sep 30 2015 12:53

I think the issue with this guy's job isn't that he is a journalist, but that he is a political investigative journalist. I wouldn't have a problem with a journalist who wrot about fashion, or the horses being part of an organisation. What is problematic about this guy's job is that it is, in itself, political. I think that this brings up all sorts of potential problems.

One of these problems which is outstandingly clear to me from his reply is the whole idea of an investigation into the far right. If something like this is to take place do people think it should be organised through an organisation, or by individuals keeping it secret for OK their organisation?

I also think there are parralleles with the Aufhaben case in many ways always, and regardless of what people think about how one individual pr dented it, there were real problematic issues there.

Devrim

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Sep 30 2015 13:07
Devrim wrote:
I think the issue with this guy's job isn't that he is a journalist, but that he is a political investigative journalist. I wouldn't have a problem with a journalist who wrot about fashion, or the horses being part of an organisation. What is problematic about this guy's job is that it is, in itself, political. I think that this brings up all sorts of potential problems.

One of these problems which is outstandingly clear to me from his reply is the whole idea of an investigation into the far right. If something like this is to take place do people think it should be organised through an organisation, or by individuals keeping it secret for OK their organisation?

I also think there are parralleles with the Aufhaben case in many ways always, and regardless of what people think about how one individual pr dented it, there were real problematic issues there.

Devrim

That's a whole different matter though.

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Sep 30 2015 13:19
Flava O Flav wrote:
That's a whole different matter though.

It's a whole different matter from what?

Devrim

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Sep 30 2015 13:28
Devrim wrote:
Flava O Flav wrote:
That's a whole different matter though.

It's a whole different matter from what?

Devrim

From the allegations made against MS by AK. The OP.

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Sep 30 2015 13:34

Devrim, what job isn't political?

I believe we've both been in English teaching? You don't think there's political implications to the fact that we generally teach either people who want English for business purposes or migrants who are moving country for economic reasons? Language teaching is intimately tied up with the flow of global capital. That's pretty political.

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Sep 30 2015 14:00

Anti-intellectualism is 100 more times dangerous than having academics/journalists in a political organization. After all fascism itself is partially a crude socialist-nationalist demagogy combined with hateful anti-intellectualism (sometimes expressing itself as antisemitism). The first step towards a proper understanding of intellectuals role in the revolutionary struggle is to completely discard anti-intellectualism.

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Sep 30 2015 14:11
Chilli Sauce wrote:
Devrim, what job isn't political?

I believe we've both been in English teaching? You don't think there's political implications to the fact that we generally teach either people who want English for business purposes or migrants who are moving country for economic reasons? Language teaching is intimately tied up with the flow of global capital. That's pretty political.

No, I don't think it's political in the same way. I'm not politically attached to my work, and heather I'm teaching English or laying bricks, or in the past delivering letters in the same way that a political journalist investigating anti-fascists is. I don't see my work as having a political content in that way.

Devrim

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Sep 30 2015 14:13

Yeah, you would say that, wouldn't you Mikhail Flirtini?

Hardly surprising from someone who has Karl Marx - academic, intellectual, and journalist par excellence - listed as one of his favorite thinkers!