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?

no1

6 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

radicalgraffiti

so when do we execute him and his supporters?

Not sure I get your point, are you seriously saying that organisations/people who don't exercise state power have an automatic dispensation from sticking to basic principles when dealing with people accused of something? That it is safe to ignore the consequences of someone being publicly denounced e.g. as a fascist, that we don't really need to bother with the details and the accuracy of the accusations?

I think from everything we've seen MS is clearly a racist for whom there's no place in the anarchist movement, and it matters that we work out if he was an infiltrator or 'national anarchist' as alleged, if he always had racist politics or if he's someone whose politics changed when he became disillusioned, how he came to maintain a position of influence, how he went 'undetected' for so many years etc - without that it's impossible to learn much from this. I also think the way this has been revealed has done as much damage, and it would be important to come to some consensus of how organisations should reveal dodgy characters like MS.

I find this attitude pretty shocking, moral outrage is really no substitute for dealing with internal racism, let alone nationalist/fascist tendencies.

factvalue

6 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Pennoid

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.

As ever the fiercest battle cries escape from those who've no ground of their own to cultivate.

radicalgraffiti

6 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

no1

I think from everything we've seen MS is clearly a racist for whom there's no place in the anarchist movement,

well according to some people you the same a Starlinist threatening people into false confessions

Mark.

6 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

How this is playing out in South Africa, outside the anarchist ghetto. This is just a random twitter discussion but I think some of the comments are interesting. I guess MS has a high enough profile as a journalist there for all this to get noticed.

https://mobile.twitter.com/khadijapatel/status/653627697734811648

I felt like a lot of what he is quoted as saying is just a vocalization of what happens in (some) leftist circles

Basically, this is workerism gone cultish on us. But so far, nothing unusual for white lefty

etc.

Auld-bod

6 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

#604

Now this is getting a wee bit too silly.
In matters of opinion and inquisitions we can all get a turn in the comfy chair.

Burgers

6 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

About Schmidt: How a White Nationalist Seduced Anarchists Around the World (Chapter 5)
https://medium.com/@rossstephens/about-schmidt-how-a-white-nationalist-seduced-anarchists-around-the-world-chapter-5-a6ae0f471e9e#.v6bqv697h

Pennoid

6 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Yes. This is exactly like Stalin's show trials.

You guys are rich.

jc

6 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

This is ridiculous. The really damning evidence on Schmidt is that internal document. All AK press had to do was release it and everyone would have shut up. That and being more careful in their wording would have helped a lot.

Mark.

6 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Where the initial public statement from AK Press characterized Schmidt as a white nationalist infiltrator in anarchist movements, it may have figured as an overly-concise shorthand in a moment where time felt of the essence, or that it was the effect of a more limited, circumscribed reading of the evidence to which they had access. Or, in a perhaps more literary reading they opted for an accurate, Merriam-Webster application of the term “infiltrator” where a more precise, lexiconic understanding remains elusive. The actuality, in the opinion of these researchers, is quite messy, and in truth, that messiness is far more deeply instructive than any clear, either/or account of Schmidt’s history.

For Schmidt to have functioned as an infiltrator in the simplistic sense would imply some discernible arrival at a given, static political identity, the politics of which he would then have carried into anarchist milieus.

So not an infiltrator in the simplistic sense then?

Khawaga

6 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Oh ffs, they start with a longwinded discussion about the response to their shitty journalistic account. No wonder it's taking them so long when they're even including reactions to their piece in the story; that's just fucking vain. And again they come with the silly accusation that no anarchist bothered to look into it, but they're so great because they did. Damn, how vain can they get.

Did anyone read the whole fifth part? But for part 2 there has been little of substance, and now they come out with the gem that Mark quoted. Just wow.

Khawaga

6 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Yup, as I expected. Absolutely nothing of substance added in this installment; it is basically more of a reflection on the reaction to their story. That's it. All these folks could have done was to merge bits of part one with part 2 and that would have been all they needed to prove that MS is a racist fuckin scumbag that should be treated like the plague.

radicalgraffiti

6 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

the last part doesn't add as much as i'd hoped, calling his politics fascist seems reasonable accurate to me, unless your being really pedantic, but they haven't really supported ak's infiltrator statement, which although i didn't read it that way i can see why people interpreted it as spy.

my preference for this kind of thing is defiantly more towards just stick all the evidence on pastbin but i guess we cant expect journalists/ writers to do something so straightforward and practical.

ajjohnstone

6 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Having now read the accusation, i am actually somewhat relieved that this has all been about just one person and not an actual organised attempt at infiltration by "national anarchists" or "fascists".

I have in previous posts pondered the organisational structure of ZACF which permitted MS such "latitude" and did not call him to account much earlier because of his informal leadership status and perhaps charisma. I leave it for them to consider if they were indeed at fault and if so what they can do to remedy such failings the best they can.

It does seem from the comments they have become less white-dominated albeit smaller since the departure of MS.

If MS believed he could, given time and opportunity, subvert the anarchist movement as a whole towards some form of national anarchism where race and culture rather than class become the driving force then he was overly optimistic and perhaps delusional that his programme would not be eventually recognised as what it is - racist and nationalistic - and be vigourously opposed which would inevitably lead to his expulsion and ostracisation...(or maybe recantation, who knows)

I suppose all of us because we were all brought up in within our own particular environments carry with us our own baggage of prejudices, which if we are aware of them we try to address and/or take into consideration. (i am minded that one Irish anarchist mentioned to me that the most critical anti-IRA were those from catholic republican backgrounds and those who were seemingly more "understanding" to the IRA was those from protestant communities - be free to shoot me down if i misunderstood and misrepresent.)

Politics is a collective act of those sharing views and opinions and ideas coming together to work in unison for their common goal, it is incumbent upon those involved to be responsible for fellow members...okay, to setimentalise...we are, indeed, our brothers keepers...That is part of the commitment we make when we join a group ...it is neither Stalinism or Spanish Inquisition ..or cult obedience..we abide by an agreed set of political principles and comply with various agreed rules and that includes with a certain degree of leeway - rules of behaviour. We are all free to criticise others if we think they have moved out of bounds.

But as i say, having followed this thread, i am relieved that for the wider movement - outside ZACF and AK Press- that it is not as serious as i first imagined - although that conclusion doesn't mean i believe it to be an irrelevant minor affair. We now all put it down to experience and be that bit more warier in the future.

I doubt we will ever know MS real thoughts and what motivated them and i doubt he himself actually knows. But who even cares now...we aren't psycho-therapists...as the concluding article describes it...the transformation was a gradual process of steps taken, nothing as dramatic as a Road to Damascus revelation for MS. He at some point in his life chose a wrong turning and travelled further and further down the wrong path until there was no way back and just a dead-end ahead.

jc

6 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

So at the end - are they basically having a go at syndicalism and defending "individualism"? Or are they just saying Schmidt was chiming in on that debate to give himself some authority?

r-exist

6 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

There was not much more to expect from the last part. Important it has been out though, finally, because if there will be responses by those close to him or another response by MS himself (which I doubt, he might just not want to answer any more, not sure about this), they hopefully come out soon. It would be very useful to have a reflection on all this by Zabalaza, some hint by LvdW how he sees the whole story (on FB he was said to have known about MS voting for FF+ and he supposedly answered that he would also vote for them if he wasn't an anarchist ???) and also the answer by ITHA-IATH, of which MS was an active member until AK Press launched their public note and they put him on hold - they said they will answer once all the evidence is presented...
If anarkismo.net people could give an insight on how they reflect on this, if they see it as any problem in having published and maintained public texts such as the Terre'Blanche one.

Without agreeing on how all this was handled, one thing I understand the authors try and suggest (though in a pathetic way that little helps to get the point through), that in general with all these fucked up national anarchists and other variations around, we might cross check more than once when digesting or even help spreading stuff on context we little know, written by people we little know about, etc...in terms of international exchange in between groups, organizations, movements.

In general everybody will draw her/his own conclusions but hopefully most will think twice if someone asks to help organize a discussion night on a great new book out named sth. like "bitter almonds" with the author present...

What most impresses me though, is the importance of exclusively online activity and articulation in the whole story. all evidence we know of was on things done from a home computer, except for the 2008 memo which was actually presented to a political organisation and according to chapter 1 he tried to discuss it within the group. No clue yet, what to make out of this.

r-exist

6 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

one thing I have not seen anyone commenting on:

MS in the pentagon

a foto on his public FB account, end of 2012, in the pentagon. what would he have to do there? journalism? anyone have a clue?

syndicalist

6 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

OK, so I read it on my phone. Maybe I need to read it on a full screen.The one thing I'll need to read full screen is the whole question of class struggle politics, intersectionalism and feeling self-defeated. reading it on my phone I seem to get an impression that somehow class politics, particularly anarcho-syndicalism is somehow to blame or at fault. Perhaps it's just reading it on a small screen I've missed reared or misunderstood something.

Sike

6 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

r-exist

one thing I have not seen anyone commenting on:

MS in the pentagon

a foto on his public FB account, end of 2012, in the pentagon. what would he have to do there? journalism? anyone have a clue?

Photoshop.

Obviously the pentagon photo was meant as a joke which leads me to wonder if Schmidt might have been joking around and trying to sound humorously ironic around friends when he made the comment about having voted for FFP? I don't know him and obviously I was not present at the time so I wouldn't know if he is the jokey type or not but some of his FB pictures lead me to believe that he may be.

Also, in saying this I'm not trying to act as an apologist for Schmidt or anything. Especially not in light of the content of some of his stormfront posts.

Joseph Kay

6 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Reid Ross & Stephens

there is not only a correlation, but a positive correlation between national and anarchist syndicalism

As an occasional student of statistics, this jumped out as total bollocks. A positive correlation means this:

I.e. as x - anarchist syndicalism - increases, y - nationalism/fascism - also increases. In lay terms, this would mean the more anarchist syndicalist someone is, the more likely they are to be a nationalist.

The evidence for this is Mussolini, a couple of his mates, and Schmidt. Aside from the fact Mussolini was a member of the Italian Socialist Party (and afaik never an anarchist?), this would be a couple of outliers on the literally millions of anarchists/syndicalists who were firmly anti-fascist/anti-nationalist, tens of thousands of whom ended up KIA, in concentration camps, or in mass graves for it. It's neither here nor there with regard to Schmidt, but can't let piss-weak hackery like that pass without comment.

Devrim

6 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

"there is not only a correlation, but a positive correlation between national and anarchist syndicalism"

Is this a quote from the article? I must confess I haven't read it all. It's pretty shocking.

Devrim

Joseph Kay

6 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Yeah it's from the article. The full paragraph is:

A clear example of this strategy appears in Schmidt’s understanding of nationalism and anarchism in terms of syndicalist thought. “I don’t think that there is any real correlation between anarchist syndicalism and national syndicalism,” Schmidt told us in our interview — a strange denial given that a number of origin voices within national syndicalism, including Mussolini, Valois, and De Ambris, either had been or were supporters of anarchism. However, Schmidt did admit, in a rather glaring contradiction of his own stated views, “I do feel that there is the possibility of purist syndicalism in the post-revolutionary period approximate [to] national syndicalism[.]” In other words, as in the case of the “proper Boerestaat,” a de facto white nationalist state in Africa could function on the basis of syndicalism — i.e., there is not only a correlation, but a positive correlation between national and anarchist syndicalism.

Mark.

6 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Sike

I don't know him and obviously I was not present at the time so I wouldn't know if he is the jokey type or not but some of his FB pictures lead me to believe that he may be.

Here's a youtube clip of him introducing a talk by another journalist. It might give an idea of his style:

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=pHR0wvpNKRo

I've only watched the start of the talk he's introducing but it actually looks quite interesting:

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=3-dzp31V-_Y

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=b1d2laWDkE8

ocelot

6 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Joseph Kay

Yeah it's from the article. The full paragraph is:

A clear example of this strategy appears in Schmidt’s understanding of nationalism and anarchism in terms of syndicalist thought. “I don’t think that there is any real correlation between anarchist syndicalism and national syndicalism,” Schmidt told us in our interview — a strange denial given that a number of origin voices within national syndicalism, including Mussolini, Valois, and De Ambris, either had been or were supporters of anarchism. However, Schmidt did admit, in a rather glaring contradiction of his own stated views, “I do feel that there is the possibility of purist syndicalism in the post-revolutionary period approximate [to] national syndicalism[.]” In other words, as in the case of the “proper Boerestaat,” a de facto white nationalist state in Africa could function on the basis of syndicalism — i.e., there is not only a correlation, but a positive correlation between national and anarchist syndicalism.

But again, with the writing style, they're leaving themselves the get-out clause that that particular proposition is one that Schmidt is making, not themselves. There's a lot of that sorta ambiguity about attribution of statements throughout.

Whether that's deliberate or just really shitty writing is probably impossible to prove.

ocelot

6 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Re part 5. Meh...

I was a little impressed by how they tried to make out MS's work with Philip in trying to set up a social centre in Motsoaledi township is just further proof of what an evil white supremacist he is.

In general they seem to lean towards reluctantly accepting that MS was not always from the beginning a N-A infiltrator, but became progressively so. And yet they still leave the ambiguity there, so as to leave the accusation on the table that he might have been, without having to actually stand behind it or be accountable for actually making the accusation.

Also, a minor thing, but somewhat peeving... they congratulate themselves for having done the right thing by publishing the 2008 memo, so they are free from accusations of selecting quotation from that document - however, the "Neither Fish nor Fowl" document, which they also have a copy of, and quote from, they seem to have neglected to publish.

Which is irritating, because I would actually like to read it. Particularly in relation to quoting Evola, etc.

Anyway, presumably it will become available at some stage. But possibly not from JS/ARR, although that won't stop them from their repeated assertions that all of their research was based on texts in the public domain (transparently not the case).

Mark.

6 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

^Reid Ross refers to this on twitter:

https://mobile.twitter.com/areidross/status/656883902561169408

I'm not sure how he'd now go about politely asking MS for permission to publish it.

Joseph Kay

6 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I think the problem with the 'evidence in the public domain' thing is that if you read those articles looking for evidence that Schmidt's a fascist, you can certainly read that into it. But if you read them without that expectation - as presumably tens to hundreds of people did - while they might have some jarring bits or bad politics, you wouldn't think he was a fascist because of it.

So you have confirmation bias, and the risk of circular reasoning: the articles are evidence of fascism if and only if you read them suspecting Schmidt is a fascist. In other words the key evidence - the stuff that makes you suspect that - is the memo and the online fash aliases/alter-egos. Afaik neither of those were public knowledge until this blew up.

Mark.

6 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

^I certainly don't read them as evidence that he's a fascist.

S. Artesian

6 years 8 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".

So all that Stormfront shit.... that doesn't count? That's not MS's "side" of the story?

To be a libertarian communist, you need to be both a communist and a libertarian, true. Also helps to recognize, and identify, a racist as a racist.

Fall Back

6 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

S. Artesian

So all that Stormfront shit.... that doesn't count? That's not MS's "side" of the story?

To be a libertarian communist, you need to be both a communist and a libertarian, true. Also helps to recognize, and identify, a racist as a racist.

Except pretty much ~no one~ is doubting whether he's a racist. That's about as close to universally accepted as pretty much anything I've ever seen libcom.

Whether or not he's a fascist (and perhaps, more importantly whether he's an organised fascist or just a lone dickhead) is still very much up for grabs.

If that's the final part, then as far as I'm concerned what's been proven is MS is a racist piece of shit no sensible anarchist/communist should have anything to do with, and also Alexander Reid Ross and Joshua Stephens are dangerous, irresponsible and not particularly people we should want anything to do with either.

ocelot

6 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

S. Artesian

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".

So all that Stormfront shit.... that doesn't count? That's not MS's "side" of the story?

To be a libertarian communist, you need to be both a communist and a libertarian, true. Also helps to recognize, and identify, a racist as a racist.

Strawman.

I'm not dismissing the evidence presented. I just wait to see the defence before I pass final judgement.

As a personal story, my first conviction for anti-fascist activity almost 3 decades ago resulted from a trial where at the end of the prosecution case, a move was made to dimiss the charges against my 3 co-defendents. Upon hearing this one of the jury members jumped up and ranted that it was wrong to dismiss the case against them as "they were there, they're all guilty". This was before any defence case was heard. Unfortunately I took the advice of my (idiotic) "lefty" barrister and continued with the case instead of taking the judges offer of a retrial and ended up spending time at Her Majesties Pleasure for a crime that I, in fact, had not committed. That was my 21st birthday present from the British state, in collusion with the fash and the cops who collaborated to set me up. (Long term, their combined attempt to dissuade me from AFA activities failed spectacularly, as it happens)

So, yes,, I do believe in the right to have your defence heard before conviction. But feel free to sneer away.

And, it should be said, that all the Stormfrat postings amount to is the fairly obvious observation that "Nazi persona is Nazi". The key contention is whether MS's various fash personas were "bogus" or actually channeled some of his own personal views, and what purpose or agenda they served.

Many antifa also maintain ostensibly nazi personas on fash websites for fairly obvious intelligence gathering purposes and also to provoke or aggravate internecine gossip or rows that get the fash fighting amongst themselves. None of the KarelianBlue postings selected by JS/ARR seem to fit that profile, but I haven't examined the full corpus of that persona's postings.

S. Artesian

6 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

So, yes,, I do believe in the right to have your defence heard before conviction. But feel free to sneer away.

I didn't "sneer," you sanctimonious self-righteous, and self-aggrandizing, git.

I think the issue is whether or not this guy is a racist/nationalist "within" or alongside his "anarchism." The evidence is painfully clear to the most casual observer. And that's what needs to be acted upon, in the sense of exposing and isolating this person.

You may have missed this minor detail, but nobody here has "state power"-- is assigning MS to any gulag. Mere technicality?

People want to argue about what a shitty investigative and journalistic job AK et al have done? Sure, go right ahead. But this "we have to here from the 'accused' himself" before we draw any conclusions is just so much horseshit. As Pennoid pointed out, we've heard from him. He's a participant in Stormfront.

What? The personas weren't "real." He was what? "mole-ing"?

Do I look like I just got trucked in from Arkansas with a load of pumpkins....and fell off the truck?

That's a rhetorical question, BTW.

Sorry about your experience 3 decades ago. I have no idea what any of that has to do with any of the MS soap opera. Should I tell you about the cops in Chicago who mistook me for a purse snatcher, beat the shit out of me, then...with my face a bloody pulp... showed me to the victim who couldn't identify me... and smart mouth jerk that I was (and am) I said "You guys are a couple of geniuses. You beat me to the point where my own mother wouldn't recognize me, and then stand me up in front of a woman who caught a glimpse of someone in the dark, running away?" Needless to say, the cops beat me again, with extra enthusiasm this time, and dropped me into the gutter. That's what happens when you let your youthful enthusiasm get in the way of sense of self-preservation.

ocelot

6 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

OK, one thing re the 5th part in relation to my previous points of contention:

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 introduce a vector of third positionist or N-A politics into the global anarchist movement

In relation to point 4, we have this from installment #5:

Why would a white supremacist overstate the significance of working with a person of color? The simple answer is that it affords the appearance of equality on the left, and the left enters a snug dream of anti-racism, even when its white-dominated projects exist only for the sake of assuaging consciences and exploiting opportunities to gain prestige. In spite of his attempts to avoid them, according to critics, these implications resonate with the metrics that drive much of Schmidt’s worldview — particularly his understanding of multi-racial labor struggles laid out in published works going back to Black Flame.

Although making sense of "the metrics that drive [MS]'s worldview" is a bit of a challenge, it seems clear that the authors are in some way saying that the understanding of multi-racial struggles presented in Black Flame is in some way marked by a white supremacist outlook.

What analyses in Black Flame are being referred to is not stated, but it appears that my 4th contention is very much in play.

Juan Conatz

6 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

The thing about exaggerating people of color's participation kinda reminds me of the picture ZACF used to have on the front page of their site. It was a group of black South Africans holding either a ABC or ZACF banner. It gave the impression that the group was primarily made up of black South Africans. In reality, none of them were members and ZACF people just had them hold it for the picture. I remember a ZACF member (maybe MS?) admitting this. I'm not sure this really reveals anything about this whole situation, but I know some people were surprised that they were pretty much a white organization then, although I think some of us suspected they had been for a while.

ocelot

6 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

S. Artesian

So, yes,, I do believe in the right to have your defence heard before conviction. But feel free to sneer away.

I didn't "sneer," you sanctimonious self-righteous, and self-aggrandizing, git.

[...bilious rant...]

Yes or no question:

Do you accept the right of any accused to state their defence against the accusations?

It's a simple question.

Mark.

6 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Juan Conatz

The thing about exaggerating people of color's participation kinda reminds me of the picture ZACF used to have on the front page of their site. It was a group of black South Africans holding either a ABC or ZACF banner. It gave the impression that the group was primarily made up of black South Africans. In reality, none of them were members and ZACF people just had them hold it for the picture. I remember a ZACF member (maybe MS?) admitting this. I'm not sure this really reveals anything about this whole situation, but I know some people were surprised that they were pretty much a white organization then, although I think some of us suspected they had been for a while.

Could the memo be seen in part as a way of challenging this kind of presentation? but done in a way that didn't abandon the idea of being a vanguardist elite, and ended up being quite racist. If he'd left it at saying that for now we're just a group of whites, just accept it and don't pretend to be anything else, then there wouldn't be much to object to. He still strikes me as being primarily a white South African failing to get over being a white South African, rather than having some kind of agenda to promote white supremacism.

ocelot

6 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Apropos de rien, my hunch is the "evidentiary bombshell" they were flustering about before the release of #4 was the editor Brendan Whozzisface getting back to them with further info on the whole post-Rwanda PTSD thing. That seems to be a point they took at face value in #1 and now have new info from yer man the ex-editor (who sounds pretty pissed off with MS). The space given over to slagging MS's claims to being a fearless conflict-zone journalist otherwise seems a bit hard to make sense. Seems fairly minor in the grand scheme of things AFAICS, but anyway...

Mark.

6 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Yes I wondered what had happened to that, and I can't recall anything else in episode 5 that would fit. fwiw here's a report that quotes MS on PTSD. It does seem to show a conflict between journalists and management on how to deal with it. Maybe Reid Ross and Stephens are taking the management side.

http://www.journalism.co.za/blog/conflict-reporters-need-better-resources-from-sa-newsrooms/

S. Artesian

6 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

ocelot

Yes or no question:

Do you accept the right of any accused to state their defence against the accusations?

It's a simple question.

I'm happy to disappoint you: It's not a "yes or no" question.

I think the "right of any accused to state" his or her "defence against the accusations" has precisely nothing to do with this. No one has prevented this so-called accused from stating anything. Nobody is threatening this so-called accused with anything. The so-called accused has already made statements in his own defense which have been shown to be false (undercover reporter bullshit).

You on the other hand, when Pennoid pointed out that there was no need to make this more complicated than it is, got all high and mighty, about mini-fascists, or micro-Stalinists, or some such jive (as is your specialty). And how Pennoid wasn't libertarian enough because he evaluated the situation on the basis of what was known to be fact.

How long has this thread been going on? Two weeks? Three weeks? MS has said exactly what in that time? And has he been denied the ability, or the access to state what? Anything?

We're not talking about damage to property, or the preservation of property, which is the basis and the limits to all notions of "rights." We're talking about a so-called "radical" embracing Stormfront.

What's next? The right to a "fair trial"? Jury of one's peers?

Do us a favor.... I think that's the way it's put in Britain.

Haust

6 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

what, precisely and concretely, is "natural justice" and how does it relate to this case?

ocelot

6 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

S. Artesian

ocelot

Yes or no question:

Do you accept the right of any accused to state their defence against the accusations?

It's a simple question.

I'm happy to disappoint you: It's not a "yes or no" question.

That's a no then.

Sharkfinn

6 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

No one has prevented this so-called accused from stating anything. Nobody is threatening this so-called accused with anything. The so-called accused has already made statements in his own defense which have been shown to be false (undercover reporter bullshit).

They could have had someone impartial (defined as someone not having a direct financial incentive to find the accused guilty and the case as lurid as possible to sell their book) doing the research and accusations. The only confirmed facts so far are the ZACF document from 2008, showing that he definitely made a racist argument (long time ago but still) and voting for FF, but no one has described the context for that to my knowledge, so hard to make conclusions about it.

All of this could have been released at once, no need for flowery prose and prehyped episodes. The way this has been done is to maximize trending on twitter and group think on social media. The social media aspect is the key here. Even if all the accusations are untrue -that all he did was write that document in 2008, the way this has gone viral means that his journalist career is probably over (racism, dodgy research practices). Makes it very difficult for the accused to respond if the accusations come in episodes and he has to manage his PR image for the employers at the same time.

On the undercover reporting: that was about something in 2006, right? Its commonly excepted in psychology that eye witness accounts are not reliable on their own. No one has to be lying, people just don't remember business meetings from a decade ago. It's an angle everyone should just drop.

Juan Conatz

6 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

nah a link dump with all the Stormfront links to him would have been a mess to work with. Its not that easy with an article decided what they are

Sike

6 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Thanks for the links Mark, when I get a chanced I'll take a look at the Youtube videos.

MT

6 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

See a separate but related blog: http://libcom.org/blog/anarchosyndicalism-against-fascism-response-recent-lnsinuations-31102015

jc

6 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Just found a quote from Lorenzo Komboa Ervin (from Progressive Plantation), which is really relevant to all this:

I remember some years ago having a critical discussion with some white South African Anarchists, who put forth a political line of white radical domination of the social change movement and the question crossed my mind whether these people had even taken part in the anti-apartheid struggle there, or just appeared as a tendency alter the struggle was over. Clearly they were part of the white settler class, at least ideologically. Now they project themselves as revolutionary “leaders" and lecturers after Black people there have shed blood to overturn a system of racial oppression which benefited a large segment of the white population.

and earlier:

Clearly, there will not be any future labor or community victories that do not include Black and other non-white workers as a strategic force. Yet, the white Left, including regrettably some groups of Anarcho—Syndicalists and “Platformists,” still think that the white industrial workers are the vanguard for the revolution and that workers of color should just wait on them to move from their privileged positions. Now this is not just a matter of semantics, I have actually had them very distinctly tell me this. Yet, it is clear to me that they do not really understand how capitalism and white supremacy operate in America.

It's important to remember that in practise many anarchists of colour experience endemic racism from the anarchist movement. This isn't limited to individuals and definitely isn't limited to syndicalism. Schmidt is clearly racist but he isn't the only one. I'm worried that the next steps the authors suggest is to look into this individual case and ask how a racist ended up in our movement. Actually I think what's more important is to ask: how many more people are racist? How many more act racist, even if they don't write stupid internal documents? Probably a fair few. Just because Schmidt made his racism to obvious doesn't mean there aren't many more people with similar attitudes and views (and my guess is that there would be a lot more middle-class anarchists in that category than normal syndicalists - but I could be wrong)

Another thing - so far as I can tell both of these authors of the series on Schmidt are white. This isn't just people taking important news and serialising it in an odd way. This is two people using a race issue to advance their careers and book sales. That's dodgy too. And while AK press was clearly notified early it looks like other people Schmidt worked with were not. His old organisation has black members now - they deserve to get an early warning if they are at risk from a racist. Also Schmidt listed a load of organisations he's involved with to prove he isn't a racist. If those people weren't told the same time as AK press - then not only did the authors give him a chance to steal their credibility, they also put those people at risk. All so they could serialise the evidence in a career advancing way.

Hope that's not simplifying things too much - just to me what I've seen so far looks kinda fucked and needed pointing out.

EDIT: spelling, typos

Mark.

6 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I'd be sceptical about assuming that MS is much more or less racist than a lot of other white South African leftists who grew up under apartheid. Would non-white South Africans really need warning about this? The memo looks to me in large part an expression of things that would usually go unsaid - that they're left unsaid doesn't mean that they're not there. This is also the sense I get from the couple of reactions from black South Africans that I've seen. Samotnaf's SA correspondent is maybe worth quoting again here:

As for Schmidt my immediate reaction was that he is going to be getting a lot of flak for at least trying to address consciously the exact same dynamics that are simply taken for granted in pretty much every anarchist and leftist organisation. The way he did so was obviously completely wrong
but hardly ‘fascist’ as the allegations state.
....
The division between unofficial leaders and followers seen in all leftist scenes around the world often takes a uniquely racial form in SA, and Schmidt is one of the few who dares to face up to it. Sure, he does so in a pretty stupid way, but how different is his attempt “to have this divide [of] explicitly recognized (white) rearward collectives …[from] (black) frontline collectives” from Bakunin’s invisible dictatorship? What stands out with Bakunin and Schmidt is not that they accepted the existence of hierarchical practice despite their professed anti-authoritarian theories, but that they did so “explicitly” whereas most anti-authoritarians are either too delusional or too cowardly to do this and prefer to accept it “implicitly”.
....
I must admit that his talk about “the physical and intellectual rigours of the anarchist communist organisation” made me smile.
....
Then again in the very same breath he says that because “logical process, self-discipline and autonomous strategic thinking has been strangled at birth” .... every rebellion “naturally” reverts to authoritarian, leader-led, anti-autonomous modes of behaviour. Thus, a libertarian socialist revolution is impossible in SA under current and foreseeable internal “politico-social” conditions.

Now, you might as well stop here. What more is there to say for a vanguard that puts itself at the head of a revolution pre-emptively condemned to abortion by its own leading theorist? What is there to say for a self-professed anti-capitalist who believes the propaganda that capitalism,
conflated with human nature, ‘naturally’ renders all attempts at revolution
impossible?
....
Lastly, it should be pointed out that the various reactionary aspects of this guy have everything to do with a tunnel vision where the point of reference is shifted from “the real movement” to a ‘revolutionary’ subculture/scene/organisation. It was as if the real problem were the absence of black cadres in his groupscule rather than the fact that his ‘movement’ is not now nor ever has been even slightly significant to the actually existing class struggle in this country.
....

From the twitter conversation I linked to before:
Nomalanga Mkhize

The irony is that Schmidt actually recognised that Black people werent buying into the ideology,

And that for me is the beginning of wisdom, when they realise their 'grand ideas' dont fit Black life

What Schmidt in fact seems to recognise is that the Black comrades werent interested in dead ideology

Even this article instead of asking why Blacks dont believe them, they try rescue the ideology
....
Schmidt is the one speaking truth just with crazy white 'culturalist' language

the more I read this memo, the more I am on the side of the crazy Afrikaner anarchist lol
....
Basically, this is workerism gone cultish on us. But so far, nothing unusual for white lefty!

This memo is basically like the missionaries asking 'Why wont these damn Blacks convert!?'

White people and their secular religions though!

no1

6 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Mark.

I'd be sceptical about assuming that MS is much more or less racist than a lot of other white South African leftists who grew up under apartheid. Would non-white South Africans really need warning about this? The memo looks to me in large part an expression of things that would usually go unsaid - that they're left unsaid doesn't mean that they're not there.

Am I really getting you right - you're saying that the South African left is full of unreconstructed racists, and this makes MS's unreconstructed racism somehow .. what? less racist? more understandable? more acceptable? I completely reject this line of reasoning, the historic experience of apartheid should give South African anarchists a particularly acute understanding and hatred of racism.
Can't believe you're still pushing this apologist line. Shameful.

Jim

6 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I don't understand how seeking to contextualise something means you're apologising for it.

no1

6 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Jim

I don't understand how seeking to contextualise something means you're apologising for it.

Because it really doesn't matter what makes a leading member of an anarchist group a racist, it's still a fundamental violation of our basic principles. There is no need to make it understandable. Or do you think it's fine for anarchists to be racist in racist societies? sexist in a sexist society? Those are precisely the things we want to get rid of.

That's if you accept that reasoning, which I don't.

I would also add that there is an enormous difference between people who have internalised racist ways of thinking from their environment and who haven't had an opportunity to confront them, and people who have consciously racist politics, fancying themselves as intellectual leaders.

Mark.

6 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

What about people with 'internalised racist ways of thinking' rather than 'consciously racist politics' who fancy themselves as intellectual leaders? I think this would probably apply to MS. I'm sure he considers himself an anti-racist.

no1

6 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Mark.

What about people with 'internalised racist ways of thinking' rather than 'consciously racist politics' who fancy themselves as intellectual leaders? I think this would probably apply to MS. I'm sure he considers himself an anti-racist.

I think you're bending over backwards.

His racism is not unconscious, as evidenced by the fact that he has an acute idea of when to voice it and when to keep shtum. It mainly seems to come out on Stormfront and in secret internal documents, the rest of the time he mostly keeps quiet about it. Tbh, I'm not totally sure how to assess the stuff he said on Stormfront - while I'm not convinced it's an exact articulation of his genuine political views (he may get off on spouting vile stuff under the cover of anonymity, in the same way other people get off on internet trolling), I think only someone with deeply racist ideas would come out with all this.

Lorenzo Komboa Ervin has it right when he says : "Clearly they were part of the white settler class, at least ideologically." IMO that means MS shouldn't be touched with a bargepole, but it sounds like you're saying it makes it less unacceptable.

Mark.

6 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I'm assuming he set up the Stormfront stuff to do what he says - investigate and infiltrate the far right and national anarchists. It's possible to debate then on how much is there that reflects on his actual views and assumptions.

Mark.

6 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

no1

Lorenzo Komboa Ervin has it right when he says : "Clearly they were part of the white settler class, at least ideologically."

I expect there's something in this, but maybe part of the problem in SA comes with whites trying to set themselves up as an intellectual and organisational leadership (even if this is implicit and unstated). In the ZACF case the combination of the racial dynamics and their particular platformist model looks a bit toxic to me. Maybe it's working out better for ZACF now - I hope so.

Juan Conatz

6 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I think a lot of that information is probably incorrect. A liberal Latina mayor in the KKK?

Flint

6 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Juan Conatz

I think a lot of that information is probably incorrect. A liberal Latina mayor in the KKK?

We will probably need to wait 2 weeks before Anonymous shows their evidence.

syndicalist

6 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Flint

Juan Conatz

I think a lot of that information is probably incorrect. A liberal Latina mayor in the KKK?

We will probably need to wait 2 weeks before Anonymous shows their evidence.

So we're gonna get silly on this now?

Flint

6 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

syndicalist

Flint

Juan Conatz

I think a lot of that information is probably incorrect. A liberal Latina mayor in the KKK?

We will probably need to wait 2 weeks before Anonymous shows their evidence.

So we're gonna get silly on this now?

*shrug* Anonymous dropping serious accusations without evidence. People have to stop doing that shit. Evidence should be provided with the accusation. But this drama is a step removed from our political organization so we can watch how it plays out with people grinding some axes or defending their anarcho-reputations (publishers, authors, acquaintances).

syndicalist

6 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

People have to stop doing that shit. Evidence should be provided with the accusation.

I don't disagree. Just to drag other stuff into this, I dunno... To each their own.

Flint

6 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

syndicalist

People have to stop doing that shit. Evidence should be provided with the accusation.

I don't disagree. Just to drag other stuff into this, I dunno... To each their own.

Dragging other shit into it would be like making an argument that Schmidt is a racist because of some garbage argument that anarcho-syndicalism is a pathway to fascism "because Mussolini".

This Anonymous accusation of KKK members is unfortunately relevant because of the manner the accusation is being made, and now I hear they've said they'll release evidence on 11/5. If this wasn't going after such high profile politicians, I'd think it was someone poking fun at our little milieu.

Chilli Sauce

6 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Just, FWIW, I don't think Mark is trying to justify the racism of MS or South African leftists/anarchists - he's just pointing out that what MS might be most guilty of is making explicit what's often left implicit.

I have no idea if that's true and it does seem to me like that there's an overtness in Schmidt's racism that moves beyond the internalized prejudices that all of us have to be on-guard against. But I also don't think we should read more into Mark's point that what's there.

Mark.

6 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

^This, more or less. I guess I'm also going off my own sense of what South Africa and South Africans are like. One problem with this is that my own experience comes from thirty years ago so I'm not really sure how good a guide it is to South Africa now.

Black Badger

6 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I guess I'm also going off my own sense of what South Africa and South Africans are like.

Should be amended to say "I'm also going off my own sense of what Apartheid South Africa and white South Africans are like." All of your apologetics for Schmidt's racism are predicated on the normatively of whiteness. FAIL.

Chilli Sauce

6 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I mean, he did say he was there 30 years ago - which would have been during apartheid. Normative? Maybe, but I don't think so. However, I don't think it'd be any better if he claimed he could speak for the experiences of black South Africans.

plasmatelly

6 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I think social egalitarianism is so intrinsically at the heart of class anarchist thought that I fail to see how you can remain a racist and be accepted as an anarchist. If you're a racist, you're not an anarchist.

S. Artesian

6 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I don't understand how contextualizing something "explains" it. It's nothing but the old excuse for slaveholders: "slavery was acceptable at that time." It was if you were a slaveholder, that's for sure.

S. Artesian

6 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Mark.

I'm assuming he set up the Stormfront stuff to do what he says - investigate and infiltrate the far right and national anarchists. It's possible to debate then on how much is there that reflects on his actual views and assumptions.

Bullshit. You know what "assume" does? It makes an a-s-s out of "u" and "me." In this case, only you.

Other SA leftists did not participate in Stormfront. To even contemplate that one can be a "leftist" without being anti-apartheidist, to even think that there is any radical opposition to SA capitalism that is not anti-racist at its origin, is delusional.

Chilli Sauce

6 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

plasmatelly

I think social egalitarianism is so intrinsically at the heart of class anarchist thought that I fail to see how you can remain a racist and be accepted as an anarchist. If you're a racist, you're not an anarchist.

No one's arguing to accept him as an anarchist, though.

And, I'd say the same applies to patriarchy. I think anarchist men act in sexist ways all the time - I can look back at times in my life I have, often unintentionally, and I imagine you could, too - and I don't think that disqualified us from being anarchists.

None of this is, of course, to excuse Schmidt - who seems like an unrepentant racist douche bag - but I just feel like people are conflating a lot of arguments on this thread.

r-exist

6 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Mark.

I'm assuming he set up the Stormfront stuff to do what he says - investigate and infiltrate the far right and national anarchists. It's possible to debate then on how much is there that reflects on his actual views and assumptions.

Mark.

Don't you think it takes a lot of lone rider romanticism to believe that one individual takes up white supremacists on his own by infiltrating their platforms, no one else knowing about it (he apologised to people close to him about keeping secrets on black battlefront and fb profiles, the stormfront stuff was apparently discovered years after he started his activity). Could you name a single reason why it would make any sense politically to do all he did completely on his own, with no one else involved? Can you name any possible harm his activity would have caused white supremacist groups over the last decade he has been involved in stromfront?

Chilli Sauce

6 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

The thing is though I feel like this whole conversation reflects just how shittily AK's dealt with this thing. Schmidt obviously a fucking racist, yet we're all debating all sorts of tangental shit. They should have released the damn document and the info on the storefront profile and be done with it.

Instead, we're debating what it means to be an infiltrator, a fascist, and whether and at what point his politics took a turn. Assuming there's no evidence he did turn over info to the fash, none of this really seems that important.

plasmatelly

6 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Chilli Sauce

plasmatelly

I think social egalitarianism is so intrinsically at the heart of class anarchist thought that I fail to see how you can remain a racist and be accepted as an anarchist. If you're a racist, you're not an anarchist.

No one's arguing to accept him as an anarchist, though.

And, I'd say the same applies to patriarchy. I think anarchist men act in sexist ways all the time - I can look back at times in my life I have, often unintentionally, and I imagine you could, too - and I don't think that disqualified us from being anarchists.

Not wanting to disrail here, and I'm certainly not defending any discriminatory behaviour or language, but my understanding of racism is not simple mindless discrimination. Racism is grouping people by characteristics, skin colour, etc. - stereotyping so as to impose a superiority to their inferiority. This isnt social egalitarianism. And people are repeatedly talking about SA anarchists as being racists on this thread. It's not just semantics - we give strength to the idea that someone can be both a racist and an anarchist by not challenging this enough. The very definition of anarchist becomes sullied. Describing yourself as an anarchist means the sum parts of your political and economic belief total that description - which includes the egalitarian belief that stripping away what capitalism has imposed on us, all people are equal on every level. The idea of a racist egalitarian would be an oxymoron - its should be no different for anarchists as they too are egalitarians.

Mark.

6 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

r-exist

Don't you think it takes a lot of lone rider romanticism to believe that one individual takes up white supremacists on his own by infiltrating their platforms, no one else knowing about it (he apologised to people close to him about keeping secrets on black battlefront and fb profiles, the stormfront stuff was apparently discovered years after he started his activity). Could you name a single reason why it would make any sense politically to do all he did completely on his own, with no one else involved? Can you name any possible harm his activity would have caused white supremacist groups over the last decade he has been involved in stromfront?

I think it may make more sense as an investigative journalist, which is what he does for a living, rather than politically. I can't really see any political achievement from it or damage done to the far right.

Jim

6 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

no1

Because it really doesn't matter what makes a leading member of an anarchist group a racist, it's still a fundamental violation of our basic principles. There is no need to make it understandable. Or do you think it's fine for anarchists to be racist in racist societies? sexist in a sexist society? Those are precisely the things we want to get rid of.

Eh? Obviously racism is a fundamental violation of basic anarchist principles. There's no need to make that point. But what do you mean by there's no need to make it understandable? How are you going to stop anarchists from being racist in racist societies or sexist in sexist societies without understanding what's causing them to adopt oppressive attitudes?

no1

I would also add that there is an enormous difference between people who have internalised racist ways of thinking from their environment and who haven't had an opportunity to confront them, and people who have consciously racist politics, fancying themselves as intellectual leaders.

Yeah, I agree, I just don't know which of those Schmidt is and I'm losing interest rapidly.

Fall Back

6 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Maybe I'm misreading, but are people really arguing that if you're maintaining fake fascist social media profiles or accounts on websites that they should be declared or something? Or have someone to vouch that you're doing it for research/intelligence gathering/shit stirring?

S. Artesian

6 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Fall Back

Maybe I'm misreading, but are people really arguing that if you're maintaining fake fascist social media profiles or accounts on websites that they should be declared or something? Or have someone to vouch that you're doing it for research/intelligence gathering/shit stirring?

Nope. The "fascist social media profiles or accounts on websites" weren't fake.

Chilli Sauce

6 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

plasmatelly

Not wanting to disrail here, and I'm certainly not defending any discriminatory behaviour or language, but my understanding of racism is not simple mindless discrimination. Racism is grouping people by characteristics, skin colour, etc. - stereotyping so as to impose a superiority to their inferiority. This isnt social egalitarianism. And people are repeatedly talking about SA anarchists as being racists on this thread. It's not just semantics - we give strength to the idea that someone can be both a racist and an anarchist by not challenging this enough. The very definition of anarchist becomes sullied. Describing yourself as an anarchist means the sum parts of your political and economic belief total that description - which includes the egalitarian belief that stripping away what capitalism has imposed on us, all people are equal on every level. The idea of a racist egalitarian would be an oxymoron - its should be no different for anarchists as they too are egalitarians.

I'm with Jim here in losing interest, but I'm not totally sure who you're arguing against here, Plasma?

As best I can tell, Mark made a comment that Schmidt's explicit attitude may be the implicit attitude of a lot of self-described S.A. anarchists and leftists - which seems to me a fair enough point and in no way implies he's excusing Schmidt's behavior.

Yet, posters whom I like and respect are accusing him of pushing an apologist line. And, your post, I don't disagree with it (although I know people who would take a much stricter line on what defines racism, or at least racist behavior), I'm just not sure who it's aimed at. No one on this thread is defending Schmidt or suggesting his beliefs have anything to do with anarchism.

And I feel like that sort of thing has happened a lot on this thread - conflating all sorts of issues and making assumptions about what other posters are saying.

Anyway, I think I'll try and bow out at this point. Barring any new groundbreaking evidence, I think the keys points are pretty obvious and pretty widely agreed upon.

ocelot

6 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

S. Artesian

Fall Back

Maybe I'm misreading, but are people really arguing that if you're maintaining fake fascist social media profiles or accounts on websites that they should be declared or something? Or have someone to vouch that you're doing it for research/intelligence gathering/shit stirring?

Nope. The "fascist social media profiles or accounts on websites" weren't fake.

Your assertion may be correct. Or it may not. But some evidence would be helpful. If some was provided in the JS/ARR texts then please indicate the relevant bits.

S. Artesian

6 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

My conclusion is based on the fact that MS admits he established these profiles; claiming it was investigative research as authorized, or communicated and approved by the editor of the paper that employed him and that individual claims he never authorized, or approved, or was even aware of any such "bearding."

radicalgraffiti

6 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

i found his explanation unbelievable as soon as he said he was found out because of some one recognising his picture, i don't see how making it easy for a bunch of nazis to recognise you helps with research.
the fact he lied about when he set it up and who he told didn't help either

Fall Back

6 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

ocelot

S. Artesian

Fall Back

Maybe I'm misreading, but are people really arguing that if you're maintaining fake fascist social media profiles or accounts on websites that they should be declared or something? Or have someone to vouch that you're doing it for research/intelligence gathering/shit stirring?

Nope. The "fascist social media profiles or accounts on websites" weren't fake.

Your assertion may be correct. Or it may not. But some evidence would be helpful. If some was provided in the JS/ARR texts then please indicate the relevant bits.

Yea, at this point even if you think he's a national anarchist or in the vicinity there of (and to be honest, at this point I'm minded to think he is), there's two likely explanations to the Stormfront accounts - either he set them up as part of investigating the far right from an anarchist perspective, and then drifted towards national anarchism (more likely than not due to reconciling pre-existing racism with anarcho politics) and at some point he started mouthing his actual views, or that he was a long term 20 year super spy inside anarchy fooling everyone for decades, while simultaneously showing a fairly poor command of security culture toward this end on Stormfront (photos etc).

Given the first requires comparatively few leaps on logic, and is all somewhat plausible (if not straight forward) whereas the second relies on a fairly astonishing series of events of a near unprecedented nature, Occam's Razor kind of suggests the former. Especially when the first requires a shitload more self reflection on our part as to how it could happen in terms of someone so high profile drifting so far from our politics than him being a super secret infiltrator, something I think we (and probably all political partisans tbf) can be reluctant to do.

S. Artesian

6 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Fall Back

Yea, at this point even if you think he's a national anarchist or in the vicinity there of (and to be honest, at this point I'm minded to think he is), there's two likely explanations to the Stormfront accounts - either he set them up as part of investigating the far right from an anarchist perspective, and then drifted towards national anarchism (more likely than not due to reconciling pre-existing racism with anarcho politics) and at some point he started mouthing his actual views, or that he was a long term 20 year super spy inside anarchy fooling everyone for decades, while simultaneously showing a fairly poor command of security culture toward this end on Stormfront (photos etc).

Given the first requires comparatively few leaps on logic, and is all somewhat plausible (if not straight forward) whereas the second relies on a fairly astonishing series of events of a near unprecedented nature, Occam's Razor kind of suggests the former. Especially when the first requires a shitload more self reflection on our part as to how it could happen in terms of someone so high profile drifting so far from our politics than him being a super secret infiltrator, something I think we (and probably all political partisans tbf) can be reluctant to do.

Or it could just be that he was attracted to either one, or both, because it offered him a channel for his feelings of anger and desires for self-aggrandizement and Stormfront became the more attractive venue. What's so difficult, or unlikely, about that? Isn't history full of "socialists" of one sort, or of all sorts, including anarchists, flipping to fascism?

Fall Back

6 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

S. Artesian

Or it could just be that he was attracted to either one, or both, because it offered him a channel for his feelings of anger and desires for self-aggrandizement and Stormfront became the more attractive venue. What's so difficult, or unlikely, about that? Isn't history full of "socialists" of one sort, or of all sorts, including anarchists, flipping to fascism?

And if this is the case, then your assertion he hadn't set the accounts up as fake doesn't follow. This would be a case of him "going native", but that wouldn't mean the accounts weren't set up to do undercover work. I think it's perfectly consistent to believe that he's both become a national anarchist, and that he sets up his Stormfront account with anti-fascist or journalistic intentions.

As I said in my previous post, I don't find it hard to believe that he has slipped towards national anarchism (or something akin to it). If what we've had so far is everything that's going to come out, I'd probably for precautions sake err on the side of assuming it's probably the case. But that has very little to do with whether or not it's unbelievable that an anti-fascist would have fake personas on far right sites, or whether they should get it organisationally signed off when they do so, as multiple people on this thread seem to suggest.

S. Artesian

6 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

And if this is the case, then your assertion he hadn't set the accounts up as fake doesn't follow.

Your interpretation doesn't follow. Somebody somewhere might set up fake personas on far right websites. He is not that somebody and Stormfront isn't that somewhere. He said this was authorized by his employer. His employer says no such activity was ever authorized or even discussed.

r-exist

6 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Fall Back

Maybe I'm misreading, but are people really arguing that if you're maintaining fake fascist social media profiles or accounts on websites that they should be declared or something? Or have someone to vouch that you're doing it for research/intelligence gathering/shit stirring?

That is too general/out of context. How to explain that ten years actively participating in stormfront, without any signs of this being related to any kind of activity of trying to work against this network, is seen by some as possible infiltration of the far right. Mark states he sees it possible only as jornalistic investigative method, where each one is up to her/his own conclusion. To me, I see nothing to convince me of that argument: why lie about/make up an alibi that is false (as far as evidences have been brought forward so far) to defend you participation in stormfront as journalistic activity.

Now to the broader context: Do you say, that great things can be done against the far right, if we proceed individually, without exchanging on our practices with NO ONE, without ever sharing the results and the outcomes of our "infiltration", without any kind of context apart from "me, on my own, against them fascists"?

And back to the narrow context: if there was such a context for Michael Schmidt, where other people would have been part of this supposed infiltration, may be - if it was infiltration - it would not have turned into plain and pro-active participation in stormfront, just helping to promote and circulate plain white supremacist racist views (without anyone contending, at least)?

Fall Back

6 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

S. Artesian

Your interpretation doesn't follow. Somebody somewhere might set up fake personas on far right websites. He is not that somebody and Stormfront isn't that somewhere. He said this was authorized by his employer. His employer says no such activity was ever authorized or even discussed.

I mean, maybe I just have different standards of belief than you. Personally, I don't find his former editor from several years ago - who don't appear particularly fond of MS from the article - saying he didn't authorise his fake accounts (something which a lot of people would consider fairly unethical gutter journalism) to particularly be a smoking gun. And I'd rather try learn lessons from how he degenerated towards the far-right (which seems the far more likely case based on the evidence produced so far) than take the easy answer that he was a fascist infiltrator the whole time.

Fall Back

6 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

r-exist, I'll reply to your post later, not ignoring it!

Mark.

6 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Here's the back cover write-up for MS's next book:

http://drinkingwithghosts.blogspot.co.uk/2015/10/a-taste-of-bitter-almonds-draft-back.html

It's supposed to be out in November so presumably he's going to have a PR problem with running a book launch and responding to ARR/JS at more or less the same time. As yet I haven't seen any SA journalists picking up on the story but I think it's bound to happen.

S. Artesian

6 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Fall Back

I mean, maybe I just have different standards of belief than you. Personally, I don't find his former editor from several years ago - who don't appear particularly fond of MS from the article - saying he didn't authorise his fake accounts (something which a lot of people would consider fairly unethical gutter journalism) to particularly be a smoking gun. And I'd rather try learn lessons from how he degenerated towards the far-right (which seems the far more likely case based on the evidence produced so far) than take the easy answer that he was a fascist infiltrator the whole time.

Whatever. Far too much time spent on this as it is. I'm out.

jef costello

6 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

The first statement from the editor was more arse-covering iirc. Along the lines of 'we never tell people to do stuff but if they do it and then bring us a story...'
The second was a bit different.
Running accounts, even long term is hardly unusual, some of the posts mentioned seem a bit weird as has been said by people who've read them, they resmble disaffected leftist rather than fascist cover.
Fall back's explanation is very plausible, I'd be described if Schmidt considers himself a racist, he might be arguing that based on experience separation is necesary blah blah blah (and as fb said this is normally just re-emergence of existing beliefs)
To be honest I don't see the point of Mark's posts. Pointing out that these beliefs are not surprising or unusual in the context can seem like apologism as otherwise there's no real reason to keep saying it.

syndicalist

6 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

----

r-exist

6 years 8 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I'd say, repeating myself just as arguments are somehow repeating to some degree: we now need the possible answers from ITHA-IHTA, LvW (if he will be so kind as to say something on this), Zabalaza and Schmidt again (if he still answers, I am unsure about that). The only one I see really has to say something is ITHA-IHAT since he is an active member of that group, and they said they will make their statement after evidence and defences are out and if they continue without kicking him out, it might be of interest what their arguments are... (can't think of any single one, that would keep me from distancing from them in general terms). maybe they will give Schmidt the chance to "honourably" renounce from their group...

Also I really feel some urgent need of AK Press put out some better explanations that go beyond some single line statements cited by third parties (ARR/JS) on how a publisher with quite some books and years down the road could come up dealing with this story worse than anyone could imagine.

Other than getting these answers I don't see how to advance any further in the discussion, and in the case... so many out there (some here on libcom, many more out there on fb, etc.) said: "we want to see all the evidences and the answers of the accused before we take stands on the case." "So let's see the answers, folks!" to be able to take some further conclusions and know how to relate of those involved in the future (not just Schmidt, but all involved - relate to what they write, the forms they organize if they still organize, etc.)

Mark.

6 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Michael Schmidt's new book A Taste of Bitter Almonds is now out. It includes his reporting on South Africa's white far right so I suppose it's relevant to the discussion.

http://hsrcpress.bookslive.co.za/blog/2015/11/12/michael-schmidt-interrogates-the-mandela-cult-promise-and-perdition-in-a-taste-of-bitter-almonds/

In this radio interview about the book he talks briefly about the white right, starting at about 17 minutes in.

http://paulgpereira.podomatic.com/entry/2015-11-13T02_19_24-08_00

AES

6 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

[quote=Alexander B. Machno]My full, illustrated 51-page refutation of AK Press' defamation against me is now published online on my blog, Drinking With Ghosts, as "Michael Schmidt: An African Anarchist Biography". There are some errors where paragraphs appear to be whited out (where I cut-and-pasted), but these can be read by highlighting them with one's cursor, or one can copy the entire text into a Word document. Be warned: this was written after taking legal and political advice and may form the basis of a potential future lawsuit against AK Press, their agents Alexander Reid-Ross and Joshua Stephens, their anonymous sources (the identities of some of whom are known) - and anyone who repeats the defamation in future:

Drinking with Ghosts: African writer Michael Schmidt's works:

http://drinkingwithghosts.blogspot.co.za/[/quote]

(not an endorsement)

jc

6 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

51-page refutation

I'm sure people will get tired of hearing this, but - can't anarchists write short things? Please? Ever?

jc

6 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Here's what I reckon the evidence is from the AK press authors:
1) Schmidt wrote an internal document for ZACF, which was racist
2) Schmidt has far-right social media accounts
3) Schmidt has some maybe white supremacist tatoos and army uniforms
4) Schmidt voted for a racist party
5) Schmidt undermined black members in his organisation and pushed them out
6) Some things he's written are trying to make "national anarchism" more acceptable

Here's what I understand his response to be, from skimming the 51 page mega-text:
1) Yeah it was racist, I said sorry at the time (but it was for a good reason and I was in a bad place and it wasn't that bad)
2) It was for journalism, ZACF knew about some of it. Here's the full story from my side...
3) No I don't. Here's a list of my tatoos and all the things I've worn that could be mistaken for racist
4) ?
5) No, here's a whole history of my work which shows I didn't. Actually I think it shows I'm a good anti-racist
6) This is a total misinterpretation, verging on malicious selective quoting

Hopefully someone who isn't as shit at reading as me can go over this and improve it :)

There's also lots of more minor accusations about things Schmidt said - which are either denied or explained. I guess in summary the AK-press authors would say that their case isn't just a list of accusations, but that it's everything linked together that shows a long-thought out plan to shift class-struggle anarchism in a fascist/racist direction. Schmidt's response to this is really long because he's trying to go over his life story to prove this is not what he's about. He's not on some journey towards being a national anarchist and he claims to have been actively anti-racist in his organising. I think that's what the two sides are saying, anyway!

ocelot

6 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

AES

[quote=Alexander B. Machno]My full, illustrated 51-page refutation of AK Press' defamation against me is now published online on my blog, Drinking With Ghosts, as "Michael Schmidt: An African Anarchist Biography". There are some errors where paragraphs appear to be whited out (where I cut-and-pasted), but these can be read by highlighting them with one's cursor, or one can copy the entire text into a Word document. Be warned: this was written after taking legal and political advice and may form the basis of a potential future lawsuit against AK Press, their agents Alexander Reid-Ross and Joshua Stephens, their anonymous sources (the identities of some of whom are known) - and anyone who repeats the defamation in future:

Drinking with Ghosts: African writer Michael Schmidt's works:

http://drinkingwithghosts.blogspot.co.za/

(not an endorsement)[/quote]

Well that took me about 2 and a quarter hours to read. (On the plus side, at least it's not as poorly written as the ARR/JS screed) But then again, as I said before, it is only natural justice to hear the defence as well as the prosecution before passing judgement. Having read the doc, I have to say that my position - that all the people saying "he doesn't have the right to a defence" can go and fuck themselves - is only reinforced (if that was possible).

Not that this is by any means the end of this sordid saga. We have yet to hear from LvdW and ZACF, as we will no doubt, in the fullness of time. But nonetheless, the prosecution case currently lies in ruins. (Which does not mean that MS is proven to be innocent, but no such thing can ever be proven).

As said before, ARR\JS's refusal to put the entirety of ARR's interview with MS in the public domain (instead of cherrypicking snippets) appears increasingly likely to be because the whole thing does not entirely fit well with their argument. MS has said he will publish the whole thing on the blog soon, hopefully that will happen.

radicalgraffiti

6 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

so he combines a vast amount of irrelevant information with the worst style, font size and formatting ive ever seen, the editing is also bad.

this is no where near as convincing as ocelot says

his admission that the internal document he wrote is racist is positive, although he seeks to underplay it and doesn't seem to be willing to accept that cultural racism is a thing.

the current nature of South African fascism doesn't in anyway undermine that someone could seek to establish a new fascist tendency more appealing to young people.

S. Artesian

6 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Having read the doc, I have to say that my position - that all the people saying "he doesn't have the right to a defence" can go and fuck themselves - is only reinforced (if that was possible).

Isn't that fucking precious? Who said "he doesn't have a right to a defence"? Arguing that means that the arguer would attempt to prevent this guy from presenting a defense. Nobody proposed any such thing.

What was said, at least by some, was that his defense is pretty much irrelevant in that he insists he adopted his Stormfront persona as part of a professional investigation authorized by his employer, to which his employer has emphatically replied that that isn't true.

So in response to Ocelot's declared position of distortion, I'm only too happy to reply in the same coin: Go fuck yourself.

ocelot

6 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Well SA, when the lynch mob come for you and try and shout down anyone defending your right to answer your accusers, I will be one of those people defending your right to reply.

But that's because I'm a libertarian communist.

We've both been around the block long enough to have seen many of these lynch mob outbreaks before, it just appears we took different lessons from the experience.

ocelot

6 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

radicalgraffiti

this is no where near as convincing as ocelot says

"convincing" is not a word I used. What I said was that it leaves the prosecution case in ruins. NB I also said that it "doesn't prove MS innocent".

If there is a case to be made that MS is a closet racist, then after a year or more of trying, clearly JS/ARR, with the help of hostile ex-associates S & A, are not capable of making it. Whether that says more about their own failings or the viability of the case itself, is yet to be established.

And there are still things to come into evidence - e.g. the full text of the interview - and statements from other parties - LvdW, ZACF, ITHA, Anarkismo, etc - that will shed further light on the matter.

Sharkfinn

6 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

SA wrote:

What was said, at least by some, was that his defense is pretty much irrelevant in that he insists he adopted his Stormfront persona as part of a professional investigation authorized by his employer, to which his employer has emphatically replied that that isn't true.

Michael Schmidt wrote:

...early in 2005, I asked Seery if I could use my work computer to create a false profile on the international white supremacist site Stormfront as it maintains a South African section that I wanted to monitor to keep my finger on the pulse of what the white right here was talking about; it’s not intensive work, just what journalists call a watching brief. Seery agreed and the fact that he now, as an editor on a very busy newspaper that produces five editions a day cannot remember such a verbal agreement of a decade ago does not dispel the fact that I went undercover using an office computer – the usage of which was monitored by a multiracial IT department who would have alerted Seery if they had found me doing anything unauthorised and in breach of our code of ethic; and membership of a racist website would definitely constitute a cause for disciplinary action unless it was authorised, as mine was. Investigative journalism requires playing one’s cards close to one’s chest, so the only person who I informed about my undercover work was my editor, Seery.


Sharkfinn wrote:

On the undercover reporting: that was about something in 2006, right? Its commonly excepted in psychology that eye witness accounts are not reliable on their own. No one has to be lying, people just don't remember business meetings from a decade ago. It's an angle everyone should just drop.

How long do we have to continue with this? Someone not remembering something a decade later is hardly any kind of evidence for anything. Also, since when do anarchist regard employers as arbiters of truth?

Joseph Kay

6 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Yeah, you have to balance his editor's lack of recollection with - at a scan read - the 20+ articles and 2 books Schmidt cites as the output of his supposed research. In the absence of any journalistic output, the editor's denial would be more significant. With a bunch of articles, it has far less weight.

S. Artesian

6 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Joseph Kay

Yeah, you have to balance his editor's lack of recollection with - at a scan read - the 20+ articles and 2 books Schmidt cites as the output of his supposed research. In the absence of any journalistic output, the editor's denial would be more significant. With a bunch of articles, it has far less weight.

Have you read any of them? Do they rely on information developed from his Stormfront persona? Or are other sources the basis for the reports? MS said he undertook his "penetration" while employed at the newspaper, with the approval of the newspaper. It seems logical then, that such information might produce an article or two in said newspaper. Did it? Is there a single article exposing Stormfront participants with information derived from that persona and attributed to MS? No? Yes? Not likely since the editor says there was never any project to pursue such a story.

The editor reiterated not a "lack of recollection"-- but the implausibility of MS's argument-- in that the newspaper did not, and would not, sanction the activity that MS undertook.

Ocelot, channeling Justice Clarence Thomas of the US Supreme Court raises the bullshit about lynch mobs, indicating precisely how little he Ocelot knows about the history and the functioning of lynch mobs. Nobody's lynching anybody.

I don't much care about MS, one way or the other-- but I do have to say, the more this guy publishes the pictures of himself holding his darker-skinned girlfriends as indicators to how "unracist" he is, the more bullshit I suspect.

Joseph Kay

6 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I haven't read all of MS's response yet, let alone 20-odd articles. *If* he was producing journalistic output on the white supremacist milieu in that period, it's probably impossible to tell from reading the articles how many leads/how much of a sense of what was going on were picked up from Stormfront.

rafi dawn

6 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

///

radicalgraffiti

6 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

ocelot

radicalgraffiti

this is no where near as convincing as ocelot says

"convincing" is not a word I used. What I said was that it leaves the prosecution case in ruins. NB I also said that it "doesn't prove MS innocent".

you clearly found it vary convincing

S. Artesian

6 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Well, if you haven't read them, how can you possibly conclude that the articles support MS's claim that he assumed his undercover identity for professional reasons while employed by a newspaper whose editor says not only that he never had any conversation with MS about this, but such an action is contrary to the policy of the newspaper?

All MS really says is that-- he used a company computer, and that a multi-racial IT department could have flagged it if it thought it was an improper use of the computer. Well maybe the IT department didn't know it was an improper use. Maybe they did and called him and he gave them the same song and dance about "penetration."

If I were of the Ocelot-type, the type that thinks anybody who makes a judgment based on available evidence before the subject has produced his full opus in response, is engaging in lynching, I'd accuse you being an apologist for racism.

Tell you one thing MS's article about the murder of the white farmer by blacks, which was explicitly an act of workers against a boss, a class action triggered by a wage dispute, certainly smacks of an apology for Boers-- with that old crap about how racism is used to divide the Boers from their "natural allies" the blacks, and ,keep them from recognizing their fundamental common interest. That really is crap. And ignores the entire basis of the Boer economic formation on the segregation, oppression, and dispossession of black labor.

That guy can be "right as rain" as an anarchist-- but that article, putting that spin on the historical social basis of the Boer, and Boer ideology, tells me all I need to know.

Ain't worth this much effort, really. I don't know or care if this guy is a fascist, or got swept up in his own internet persona, and I don't think it matters. His little homily to the poor Boers makes me think about all the homilies to the "poor South"-- as a victim of Northern capitalist aggression. Gag and puke.

syndicalist

6 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I'm about 50% thru the MS reply and I feel my initial think still
On track: there will be no winners coming out of this. We shall see if in the end I am swayed one way or another. But from the read of the MS piece, I can't imagine ZACF or LvdW
Going too far against MS' reply.

Read on I will

Joseph Kay

6 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

S. Artesian

Well, if you haven't read them, how can you possibly conclude...

Joseph Kay

*If* he was producing journalistic output...

If is a conditional conjunction meaning 'in the event that' or 'on the assumption that'.

S. Artesian

6 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

You and we all know what "ass-u-me-ing" does.

And BTW, the conditional "if" clause was not part of your original estimation of the veracity of MS's claims. Just to refresh, this is what you wrote:

Yeah, you have to balance his editor's lack of recollection with - at a scan read - the 20+ articles and 2 books Schmidt cites as the output of his supposed research. In the absence of any journalistic output, the editor's denial would be more significant. With a bunch of articles, it has far less weight.

No "ifs" "ands" or "buts"-- just your conclusion that "with a bunch of articles" the editor's denial has far less weight.

Bollocks.

syndicalist

6 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

My takeaway---- Folks are gonna believe what they want to believe.

Joseph Kay

6 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

"at a scan read" "Schmidt cites" "supposed research" "in the absence of X then Y, with X, then Z"

If you read that as an unqualified endorsement of Schmidt that says more about your difficulty with probabalistic judgements tbh.

The fact remains that if he's produced no journalistic output and his editor doesn't back his version of events, then his explanation looks pretty unlikely. But if he has produced relevant journalistic output then the reaction of his editor is of far less significance, because Schmidt can point to the articles as evidence he was researching articles. In other words, a probabalistic judgement needs to be updated to take into account all the available evidence, and can shift one way or the other based on that evidence.

As I say I haven't read any of the articles yet, nor more than scanned Schmidt's response, so I don't know how much weight to give it.

Edit: As a purely illustrative example, pulling numbers out of thin air: If you think there's only a 10% chance his Stormfront posts are explained by his journalistic research, and if he were a fascist there's a 99% chance he'd make posts like that, and that say, 1-in-100 long term anarchists is a fascist (that's surely an overestimate), then given the stormfront posts the probability that Schmidt's a fascist rises from 1-in-100 to 9-in-100 (via Bayes' Theorem).

If the journalism he cites has relevant content, you'd revise that 10% estimate up, and the corresponding result would decrease below 9%. If it's total bollocks, maybe you'd reduce it, and the probability would increase from 9%. You'd then repeat the process for each bit of evidence, updating your probability estimates with the latest information. I'm not sure trial-by-statistical-model is good idea (probably not), but my point is just to illustrate that it's (a) perfectly possible to 'assume both ways' when making a probabalistic judgement, and (b) a rational thing to do, when faced with evidence and uncertainty.

Joseph Kay

6 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

syndicalist

My takeaway---- Folks are gonna believe what they want to believe.

also this, sadly.

S. Artesian

6 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

ex-boss, superintendent of railways [and proud of it], retired; maybe your enemy, but we'll see how that shakes out.

Khawaga

6 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Schmidt is probably not a fascist.

But a fucking racist, so fuck him anyway.

akai

6 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

You know, one can also leave aside the whole of the ARR/JS article and just deal with several things: the racist internal document; the article on Anarkismo; Black Flame and the Stormfront posts.

The racist internal document will probably not be supported by anybody except somebody with racist tendencies. Whether or not somebody wants to view this as an aberration unilke MS probably depends on how they look on the rest of MS's work.

The article on Anarkismo, in my opinion, is also racist and awful. Putting that assessment together with the racist document, l consider that the guy has a major issue and tendencies l don't want to have anything to do with. lf anybody read the Anarkismo article in a more sympathetic light, l wouldn't be surprised if they were slow to think of MS as a racist - because they let elements of racism get past their noses easily.

Black Flame, in my opinion, has a lot of crappy and problematic points. Some good points as well. But the biased and even somewhat fabricated points means that l would not recommend it as a "good book". But surely there are some who not only think it is a good book, but l know people who think it is the best book. l suppose this is because it fits their ideological imagination and requirements more than being a good piece of scholarship. l also notice that some (but far from all) admirers of this book have acted like admirers in general, failing even to criticize obviously bad things such as the racist document.

Then, l guess the most difficult part is related to the Stormfront personality. ln a way, Joseph is right, although l think it is still debatable as to whether it was really necessary to do things like create a whole new FB group and project to get information on the right wing. l really think it was unneccessary. Joseph's equation does not take into account whether or not information could have been obtained without producing new, racist content.

Sike

6 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Michael Schmidt wrote:

...early in 2005, I asked Seery if I could use my work computer to create a false profile on the international white supremacist site Stormfront as it maintains a South African section that I wanted to monitor to keep my finger on the pulse of what the white right here was talking about; it’s not intensive work, just what journalists call a watching brief. Seery agreed and the fact that he now, as an editor on a very busy newspaper that produces five editions a day cannot remember such a verbal agreement of a decade ago does not dispel the fact that I went undercover using an office computer – the usage of which was monitored by a multiracial IT department who would have alerted Seery if they had found me doing anything unauthorised and in breach of our code of ethic; and membership of a racist website would definitely constitute a cause for disciplinary action unless it was authorised, as mine was. Investigative journalism requires playing one’s cards close to one’s chest, so the only person who I informed about my undercover work was my editor, Seery.

As Schmidt's communications on his work computer were being monitored by the staff of the newspapers IT department would not the staff by default be privy of Schmidt's undercover work? Would not that in turn copromise the secrecy that Schmidt alludes to as being absolutely necessary to carry out such an investigation?

The point of the above being, absolute secrecy being such a vital factor for Schmidt in his 10 year investigation of the far right why not use a private computer for such work instead of a work computer being monitored by a staff of various individuals who might be dubiously reliable in keeping information that they glean from work to themselves?

But it could be that I just don't understand how journalism works though.

Sike

6 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

syndicalist

My takeaway---- Folks are gonna believe what they want to believe.

This.

bootsy

6 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I am about to start reading Schmidt's response however... while I was quite unimpressed with the way in which the evidence against him was presented (long winded articles with confusing, confused and largely irrelevant 'analysis'), there are plenty of small bits of evidence which is publicly available and at the very least utterly bizarre if not outright racist (and I think MS is obviously a racist from that internal document alone).

Nevertheless the stormfront posts are extremely unsettling given the degree of casual familiarity Schmidt demonstrates toward the neo-fascist world. Maybe you could say he was just going the extra mile with his undercover persona... However he does in fact have the tattoos which he talks about on stormfront as having white-nationalist significance. If that is part of the persona too then he was really gone to extreme lengths to create this right wing persona.

Combine that with the more dodgy articles which are publicly written by Schmidt-the-anarchist and he really comes across s someone who should be excluded from the scene entirely. At the very least he should have broken with his racist views, renounced that internal document as well as some of his other work on the Boer movement and National Anarchism and given a public and genuine apology toward any black South African comrades who would rightly have felt offended as fuck some by some of the stuff he has written.

While there are no smoking gun pieces of evidence I think that all these different things taken together create a pretty disturbing picture of an 'anarchist' who has some serious racist baggage, regardless of whether or not he's an infilitrator or whatever.

boozemonarchy

6 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

What's this all about now?

:D

Red.Black.Writings

6 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I think it deserves a read and rings true. And yes, I have met Schmidt.

Although long, I can't see how he could have done anything shorter, given the length of the articles by Reid-Ross and Stephens and the

So, Reid-Ross and Stephens never even met Schmidt, never even went to South Africa, never even contacted the ZACF, and seem to have skipped 99% of everything Schmidt wrote and did. Also mangled what they did cite and invented citations.

And then concluded in their "chapter 5" that they can't actually prove he was a fascist infiltrator after all.

No doubt those who have made up their minds, or used the allegations to attacks everything from class struggle politics to Schmidt personally, will not be swayed.

And no doubt AK Press will not carry the reply, or revoke its claim that he was a fascist infiltrator, despite the journalists that it promised would prove its claim, failing to do so.

Red.Black.Writings

6 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Long and apparently final reply by Michael Schmidt to AK Press "charges". Claims Reid-Ross and Stephens' journalism includes manufactured quotes, bogus citations, dishonest interviewing, factual inaccuracies, inconsistencies and selective evidence, and pretty much skips 99% of everything Schmidt has said or done or written. And their admission they can't prove their claim he was a "fascist" anyway. Plus they never actually met the guy or came to South Africa.

http://drinkingwithghosts.blogspot.co.za/2015/11/michael-schmidt-african-anarchist.html

AES

6 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

https://medium.com/@areidross/michael-schmidt-and-the-fascist-creep-75256cca1f2#.uyr6k5k09

Juan Conatz

6 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I've only skimmed MS' giant reply but from what I've read, its not very convincing. The "I have POC girlfriends" is so ridiculous and such a generic, stock response from white people called out on their racism.

In the end, people are going to believe what they want to believe, but I guess the question now is what happens when people or groups continue to have formal relationships with him.

AndrewF

6 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Juan Conatz

In the end, people are going to believe what they want to believe, but I guess the question now is what happens when people or groups continue to have formal relationships with him.

Thats why I'm awaiting the process that will look into this and make a decision. The only alternative is the sort of circles of mutual exclusion that happens when there is no process as people take sides around 'what they want to believe' and then proceed to try and use exclusions to force other to share their beliefs.

The turn to informality of the last decade has seen that sort of non-process reproduce itself over and over with very destructive outcomes. That mostly tends to be local but clearly won't be in this case.

Khawaga

6 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

What process? Short of a legal one, it more or less has to be an informal one.

syndicalist

6 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Juan Conatz.... question now is what happens when people or groups continue to have formal relationships with him.

Those who believe him will continue on as before. Those who don't will shun those who do. And those who prolly have lots of questions but are not convinced either way (and believe there's merit on both end at the moment) will be squeezed.

I suspect there are some folks (like myself) who still want to hear from ZACF and LcVW before tying a bow on their thinking.

One thing no one has pointed out which prolly needs to be. When interviewing MS’ former boss, the authors actually outed MS as being a member of ZACF, something the boss did not know. I mean, folks just got to be cool about that sorta stuff.

FWIW, thus far I've found the stuff about the internal ZACF to be very weak on his behalf. The Terre Blanche piece weak. And the multiphotos of folks of color, a bit over the top, but I think I get it. The stuff about his love of lifes and etc etc, a bit much, but it is his life in that respect.

Loukanikos

6 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

The turn to informality of the last decade has seen that sort of non-process reproduce itself over and over with very destructive outcomes. That mostly tends to be local but clearly won't be in this case.

But what do you envision as a formal process on the sort of scale this would require? There doesn't even seem to be sufficient "unity" on the various local levels to deal with more limited crises. Not sure how it would work in this case.

subcomandante_juan

6 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Red.Black.Writings

Long and apparently final reply by Michael Schmidt to AK Press "charges". Claims Reid-Ross and Stephens' journalism includes manufactured quotes, bogus citations, dishonest interviewing, factual inaccuracies, inconsistencies and selective evidence, and pretty much skips 99% of everything Schmidt has said or done or written. And their admission they can't prove their claim he was a "fascist" anyway. Plus they never actually met the guy or came to South Africa.

http://drinkingwithghosts.blogspot.co.za/2015/11/michael-schmidt-african-anarchist.html

But then what do you say about his Nazi tattoo?

Loukanikos

6 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

But then what do you say about his Nazi tattoo?

Ross addresses that (and more) in his response to Schmidt's response:

https://medium.com/@areidross/michael-schmidt-and-the-fascist-creep-75256cca1f2#.8155zxnht

Khawaga

6 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Andrew F

I'm awaiting the process that will look into this

I'm sincerely curious. You're referring to "the" process, not "a" process. I presume this means that there is a process. Is this by the anarkismo network/ platformist organizations globally? ZACF? By someone else? If it is an anarkismo thing (and not saying this is a bad thing), what if other groups outside of this tendency disagree with the outcome of the process irrespective of the way the dominos may fall?

xx

6 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Ross addresses that (and more) in his response to Schmidt's response:

https://medium.com/@areidross/michael-schmidt-and-the-fascist-creep-75256cca1f2#.8155zxnht

There's heavy reliance on more annonymous sources in that article, and lots of assertions such as about fascists including Indians as Aryans and saying most fascists try to claim Black friends as a cop out - so what if they do? That doesn't mean having and referring to Black friends is inherently racist.

The quote from Seery is laughable as well, what sort of comfortable world is Reid Ross in if he thinks people can just talk about their anarchist affiliations with their bosses?

Lumpen

6 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Reading through Schmidt's reply (read the first third, skimmed the rest), I think AK Press were wrong.

Schmidt's denial is used as evidence of guilt, but it is difficult to see how else he could counter charges of racism other than his record.

Red.Black.Writings

So, Reid-Ross and Stephens never even met Schmidt, never even went to South Africa, never even contacted the ZACF, and seem to have skipped 99% of everything Schmidt wrote and did. Also mangled what they did cite and invented citations.

To be fair, it's not necessary to know or meet someone to have a critique of the things they do. Reid Ross and Stephens apparently presented themselves dishonestly and didn't want to show their hand to pursue a "gotcha" style of journalism, having decided that Schmidt was an undercover racist.

ajjohnstone

6 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Reading through Schmidt's reply (read the first third, skimmed the rest)

Is this really a responsible comment that should be given any credence?

subcomandante_juan

6 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

SCHMIDT HAS A NAZI TATTOO -- A LEBENSRUNE -- ON HIS LEFT SHOULDER.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nazi_symbolism

In his written defense, he says he has a "printer's symbol" on his left shoulder and "no ruinic tattoos" -- but he has TWO tattoos on that shoulder, the printer's symbol AND a LEBENSRUNE (also called the "Algiz Rune") right next to it.

Schmidt thus tells an unambiguous lie, because it is pictured in Chapter 2 of the Ross-Stephens article.

https://medium.com/@rossstephens/about-schmidt-how-a-white-nationalist-seduced-anarchists-around-the-world-chapter-2-1849e232b943#.y4i6afuj0

What do his defenders have to say about his Nazi tattoo?

xx

6 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Which the article goes onto say is also known as the Algiz rune - not explicitly racist.

Red.Black.Writings

6 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

"What do his defenders have to say about his Nazi tattoo? "

Erm, what does his detractors have to say about his anarchist tattoos?

Or his 100s of anarchist writings? Not much really it seems. Rather focus on the tattoos -- except the anarchist ones ... that would complicate the narrative of the evil Michael Schmidt, Nazi-at-large, bwah-ha-ha...

The tattoo on his arm is a rune, but that does not make it a "Nazi tattoo."

With this logic, everyone who plays as "rune caster" in D&D must be a serious "Nazi."

Red.Black.Writings

6 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

This: "To be fair, it's not necessary to know or meet someone to have a critique of the things they do. Reid Ross and Stephens apparently presented themselves dishonestly and didn't want to show their hand to pursue a "gotcha" style of journalism, having decided that Schmidt was an undercover racist. "

I do see where you are coming from, but they did comment at length on South African politics, on Schmidt's personality, drinking habits, personality, on whether he does "soul searching" at Stormfront or was "deeply troubled," had bad taste in music and cars, rubbed some people up the wrong way etc.

So, I still do think its reasonable that they should actually have met the guy. What the article has is a caricature.

And if they want to do their research from abroad, fine too, but then they could have done a better job. They read around 4 of his articles (from hundreds online) and when they read the 4, they misquoted.

As you say, they had a template: "Schmidt was an undercover racist."

The problem was that they grabbed whatever could fit, even with some mangling, and discarded what didn't.

Red.Black.Writings

6 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

"There's heavy reliance on more annonymous sources in that article, and lots of assertions such as about fascists including Indians as Aryans and saying most fascists try to claim Black friends as a cop out - so what if they do? That doesn't mean having and referring to Black friends is inherently racist."

Agreed.

This retcon about white fascists loving Indians is nonsense. NF and BNP, anyone?

And white fascists in South Africa hate Indians, a key plank of the AWB and others being mass deportation from the country.

S. Artesian

6 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I could care less about his tattoos. It's his writing about the poor little Boers, subject of hate crimes when they try to cheat black workers out of wages that bothers me. Of course, I say that as the class enemy; unlike the Boers and Schmidt who are the class itself.

subcomandante_juan

6 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Red.Black.Writings

"What do his defenders have to say about his Nazi tattoo? "

Erm, what does his detractors have to say about his anarchist tattoos?...The tattoo on his arm is a rune, but that does not make it a "Nazi tattoo."...With this logic, everyone who plays as "rune caster" in D&D must be a serious "Nazi."

Red.Black.Writings: Schmidt himself bragged on his Stormfront profile about wearing a t-shirt with this symbol, the Lebensrune ("Algiz"), to express racist sympathies. I'll quote you Schmidt, verbatim:

SCHMIDT: "it's hard to be an open white racist in south africa, but i'm an obvious skinhead, and proudly and publicly wear a mjolnir around my neck, a nazi panzer sidecap and a lebensrune t-shirt...and because dumb-ass darkies don't get it (no big swastikas i guess), i don't get hassled by them. but proud young whites DO get the message and give me the nazi salute for expressing outwardly what they feel, but have been too afraid to express, perhaps until now...."

The Lebensrune ("Algiz") is the same symbol marking the white supremacist flags for the National Alliance, for the Volksfront (People's Front), and for the National Alliance. It was used by Nazis and is today used by white supremacists, who seek it out as merchandise in the same forum, Stormfront:

FROM STORMFRONT POSTER: : (https://www.stormfront.org/forum/t198259/)
"The black symbolizes militancy and the martyrdom of our Folk Heroes, the White symbolizes purity of Folk and ideal, the red symbolizes the working-class yeomanry which are the foundation of our people and the Volksfront organization, the rune 'Algiz' or 'Elhaz' also called the 'Life Rune' symbolizes life and protection."

SCHMIDT'S TATTOO ON NEO-NAZI FLAGS:
http://www.crwflags.com/fotw/flags/us%7Dnalln.html
http://www.crwflags.com/fotw/flags/us%7Dnaz.html#volks

So...
1. Schmidt knows the Lebensrune/Algiz is used as a racist white supremacist symbol by "proud young whites" like those on Stormfront, as he says it himself.
2. On Stormfront, he brags about comfortably displaying it because it isn't understood by "dumbass darkies": the idea being that it is obscure to popular knowledge, but recognizable enough for white supremacists to salute.
3. He is "investigating" the white supremacist right-wing and understands the Lebensrune symbol to be one of their racist symbols.
4. He got a TATTOO of it, knowing all this.
5. He conveniently failed to list it in his defense after noting the other tattoo on his left shoulder (coincidence?!) and then told an unambiguously lie, saying he has "no ruinic tattoos" (just happened to forget that one!!). The picture shows the ruinic tattoo clearly.

Red.Black.Writings, XX, all other defenders, you must be asking us to believe what? This is like a D&D screenname for a magical avatar?

I'll ask again, what do you make of Schmidt's Nazi tattoo?

akai

6 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I think your argument is correct. He clearly knows what white racists see in these symbols . I think we are dealing with, at the very least, a manipulative personality who is used to getting away with any shit with anarchists, most of whom he considers intellectually inferior to himself.

ocelot

6 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

S. Artesian

I say that as the class enemy; unlike the Boers and Schmidt who are the class itself.

Wait. What? So "the Boers" are all collectively the employer class?

That's got to be one of the most self-contradictory supposedly anti-racist, pro-class politics statements I've ever seen. Congratulations.

ocelot

6 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Meanwhile...

It's been over two weeks since MS stated in his defence statement of 26 Nov, that he intended to release the full transcript of the interview he had with ARR on his blog. So far nothing. And there was never any explanation of why he didn't release it there and then on the 26th.

I can't think of any other obvious motive for both sides not wanting to release the full transcript other than that they both think it damages their own story.

Given they both rely repeatedly on it, I don't think it's unreasonable to say that it's impossible to accept that either side is being honest until they release the transcript.

Also I think akai's statement

I think we are dealing with, at the very least, a manipulative personality who is used to getting away with any shit with anarchists, most of whom he considers intellectually inferior to himself.

Is fair comment, based on what we have in front of us so far.

S. Artesian

6 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

ocelot

S. Artesian

I say that as the class enemy; unlike the Boers and Schmidt who are the class itself.

Wait. What? So "the Boers" are all collectively the employer class?

That's got to be one of the most self-contradictory supposedly anti-racist, pro-class politics statements I've ever seen. Congratulations.

Did you read the article by Schmidt? If not, please do. And tell me if it doesn't reek of the "poor, oppressed" Boers, subject to concentration camps by the British (which they were), terrible discrimination, (which they were not).

Do you know anything about the Boer history, and the ascendancy of the Boers over South Africa, and I'm talking about Boers as a social category? The Boers as a land-owning classing; expelling by force the indigenous peoples? Exploiting them mercilessly, under the authority of apartheid? The Boer ideology as wrapped up tight with fascism?

Do you know anything about the history of South Africa?

I'm not the one proclaiming the Boers are entitled to a "homeland;" I'm not the arguing the Boers are victim of hate-crimes. And I'm not the one ignoring what the Boers were as a social category in the history of South Africa and the rise of apartheid. Mr. Schmidt is. And since he wants to identify the Boers as a current specific social category, it is essential to counteract that perversion of the real history of that social category-- just like we oppose the myth of the "poor oppressed" Southerners, victimized by carpetbaggers, scalawags, marauding ex-slaves, the Freedmen's Bureaus, etc.

Are you, Ocelot, really that blind or ignorant that you don't see/know what Boer "national liberation," or Boer "self-determination" is?

The evidence is that indeed you are both that blind and that ignorant.

Loukanikos

6 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

subcomandante_juan

I'll ask again, what do you make of Schmidt's Nazi tattoo?

It is easy to look up Schmidt's own words on Stormfront. His name there is Karelianblue. It is clear that he is well-versed in the meaning of fascist and white supremacist history and symbolism, which is why his "defense" is so obviously filled with lies. Here is what he says on Stormfront about his tattoos:

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

From photos we've seen, at least two of those tattoos are clearly inked on his body: the lebensrune and the Scythian chieftain tattoos. Both are widely understood symbols of white pride in fascist circles (search for "Scythian" or "lebensrune" on Stormfront). In his written defenses and in various Facebook comments, Schmidt pretends to have no knowledge of the white-supremacist meanings of his tattoos. The same is true of the pendant he wears: on Stormfront he calls it a mjolnir; to his anarchist critics he insists it is an Icelandic cross. It is, in fact, known by both names, but he pretends to only know the one without explicit fascist connotations, despite having used the other among fascists.

In his defense, he also points to his anarchist tattoos. Red.Black.Writings echoes that "logic" here. But as Ross says in his response to Schmidt's defense, no one ever said he doesn't have anarchist writings—or tattoos. Bringing them up only serves to cloud the issue and demonstrates a serious lack of knowledge about how National Anarchists and Third Positionists operate: they combine anarchist (and other left) ideology and symbolism with white supremacist shite. That is the whole point of their entryist strategy.

[although it is somewhat funny that, for his Billy Bragg tattoo, he managed to find maybe the one quote that mentions skin: "Money speaks for money, the Devil for his own / Who comes to speak for the skin and the bone?"]

S. Artesian

6 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

they combine anarchist (and other left) ideology and symbolism with white supremacist shite. That is the whole point of their entryist strategy.

Exactly. Hence the pathetic homilies to the poor, oppressed Boers.

akai

6 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

The descriptions on Stormfront seemed too involved and too personal for undercover investigation. Anybody who actually knows any antifascists who try to go on such forums for information know that they do not go about identifying real personal information. Nor do they bother to give such complicated histories and explanations when more primitive posts suffice. The whole story with this is very fishy to me. And the explanations he makes in his defence about the tattoos, as already mentioned, don't hold up given he clearly discusses the symbolism.

Red.Black.Writings

6 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Ocelot says as "the class enemy; unlike the Boers and Schmidt who are the class itself." Then in another post "The Boers as a land-owning classing; expelling by force the indigenous peoples? Exploiting them mercilessly, under the authority of apartheid? The Boer ideology as wrapped up tight with fascism?"

You sound like one of those people who claim all white American Southerners were slave owners, when only a minority were, and of that minority, an even smaller minority owned the majority of saves.

Fact is, round 80,000 white farmers owned all the arable land in the 87% of South Africa that was reserved for whites by the end of apartheid. The white population by then was well over 5 million, the Afrikaner/ Boer section around 60% of that. So, 80,000 out of around 3 million were farm owners, and not all those farm owners were ethnic Boers/ Afrikaners.

So, Boers / Afrikaners are not a class, but an ethnic group. Most were working class, which is why the apartheid government bought votes (as did the segregationist government before it, 1910-1948) by legislating job colour bars. There was a long tradition of trade unions with Afrikaner members, some even Communist-led, e.g. the Garment Workers Union led by the Jewish Communist (Stalinist, really), Solly Sachs (later banned and exiled).

The third biggest union federation in South Africa right now is Solidarity-MWU, which is basically an Afrikaner nationalist outfit that makes a lot of noise about opposing affirmative action.

Why am I explaining on libcom that class matters?

Ocelot:
> "Do you know anything about the history of South Africa?"

I think I do. And I can see you don't.

Red.Black.Writings

6 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Tattoos ...

subcomandante_juan says that "Schmidt himself bragged on his Stormfront profile about wearing a t-shirt with this symbol, the Lebensrune ("Algiz"), to express racist sympathies," so he knew full well what the tattoo meant. A quote was then provided where "Schmidt" goes on about supposedly dressing like an "obvious skinhead" and wearing the rune etc.

But there are problems with this argument.

What you are quoting is one of Schmidt's fake online personas. You can't mix this with his real persona unless you can 100% establish that he was not doing undercover research work. And you can't do that without demolishing his whole case in "African Anarchist" for this claim. Which you haven't actually done.

Then this whole story about being an "an obvious skinhead" and so on just does not ring true.Dressing like an "obvious skinhead" in South Africa would make you look like a complete weirdo. And unless you assume that "KarelianBlue" is right and the "dumb- [email protected]#$%^&* darkies don't get it," it is seriously improbable that an "obvious (white) skinhead" walking around with all this Nazi symbolism in Johannesburg would not get (seriously) "hassled."

And, to date, no one but no one has been able to produce a photo of Schmidt as an "obvious skinhead." For sure if Reid-Ross had one it would be all over the net.

So how do we know the whole "obvious skinhead" story was not complete BS? Why cite as true?

Also, none of us have any idea when Schmidt might have got the tattoo or for what reason. You link it to the Stormfront "Schmidt" but for all you know, he got it in high-school thirty-five years ago because he was an idiot, or in the army - all before he became political. You simply should not assume that he got the tattoo "knowing all this," because you have no idea when or why he got it!

Schmidt in his long "African Anarchist" defence also explains he was preparing for the possibility of meeting right-wing people for interviews. If he had got the tattoo in the past, why wouldn't he just re-purpose it to make him sound more credible?

Then you go onto mention that "The Lebensrune ("Algiz") is the same symbol marking the white supremacist flags for the National Alliance, for the Volksfront (People's Front), and for the National Alliance. It was used by Nazis and is today used by white supremacists..."

Which is great except its not a symbol used in SOUTH AFRICA and would signify pretty much nothing to anyone, "proud young whites" in South Africa included. So it'd be a very very weird choice. This is not a study of symbolism in Western Europe. Its a world apart. (The "Volksfront" you cite is not, by the way, the short-lived South African one of the 1990s - which did not use an Algiz).

In fact if you can find a single South African white right group that uses an Algiz, please provide a link or a scan. Willing to bet you can't.

Then "Loukanikos" puts his oar in: "the lebensrune and the Scythian chieftain tattoos ... are widely understood symbols of white pride in fascist circles."

Please provide a single bit of evidence showing that "Scythian chieftain tattoos" (no, not vague online references to "Scythians" generally) are symbols of white pride in fascist circles."

S. Artesian

6 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Red.Black.Writings

Ocelot says as "the class enemy; unlike the Boers and Schmidt who are the class itself." Then in another post "The Boers as a land-owning classing; expelling by force the indigenous peoples? Exploiting them mercilessly, under the authority of apartheid? The Boer ideology as wrapped up tight with fascism?"

You sound like one of those people who claim all white American Southerners were slave owners, when only a minority were, and of that minority, an even smaller minority owned the majority of saves.

Fact is, round 80,000 white farmers owned all the arable land in the 87% of South Africa that was reserved for whites by the end of apartheid. The white population by then was well over 5 million, the Afrikaner/ Boer section around 60% of that. So, 80,000 out of around 3 million were farm owners, and not all those farm owners were ethnic Boers/ Afrikaners.

So, Boers / Afrikaners are not a class, but an ethnic group. Most were working class, which is why the apartheid government bought votes (as did the segregationist government before it, 1910-1948) by legislating job colour bars. There was a long tradition of trade unions with Afrikaner members, some even Communist-led, e.g. the Garment Workers Union led by the Jewish Communist (Stalinist, really), Solly Sachs (later banned and exiled).

The third biggest union federation in South Africa right now is Solidarity-MWU, which is basically an Afrikaner nationalist outfit that makes a lot of noise about opposing affirmative action.

Why am I explaining on libcom that class matters?

Ocelot:
> "Do you know anything about the history of South Africa?"

I think I do. And I can see you don't.

First off, I wrote that; not Ocelot. Secondly, you are the one who know nothing about the history of the Boers in South Africa. You don't know for example that grievances the Boers held against the British started when British missionaries started to defend the rights of black Africans against the abuse by the Boers; that the "grievances" accelerated when the British outlawed slavery in Britain, and pushed against slavery in South Africa, eventually outlawing it there in 1834.

Dissatisfied with the compensation provided for emancipation, the Boers were positively outraged by the British determination that there should be equality between black and white, and embarked on their "Great Trek." This rejection of racial equality is fundamental to the "Volk" identity of the Boer's and their ideology as a "tribe" not a settler, colonizing formation. The rejection of racial equality was enshrined in the constitution of South Africa.

Secondly, I was referring to the historical role of the Boers as a social formation, as the word coming from the German for peasant but morphing to mean free farmers. The expulsion of black Africans from the land was first a precondition for the development of capitalism in South Africa, and became essential to its maintenance, providing a dispossessed labor force for rural and agricultural employment. That much of the Boer population moved into cities is part of that development, just as it is in every capitalist society. Nothing special about that; and nothing that shreds the legacy of Boer ideology and activity.

The power of the Boer ideology was predominant in South Africa, regardless of the numbers involved in actual farming; just as the ideology of the "happy, pre-Civil War South" was, and still is, dominant in the South That ideology is white supremacy, and it reflects the very real material relations of the Boers to the black Africans.

That white nationalist Afrikans speakers are in labor unions no more changes the historical relations between black labor and the Boers than the fact that white-supremacist workers are employed in auto plants in Michigan. So what? Back in the day, when I was in Michigan, there were KKK cells inside UAW locals. No shit.

Nope, I don't think all white Southerners in the US were slaveholders, but I do think all those who proclaim that the "South" was vandalized, or victimized by "Northern aggression," Radical Reconstruction, or the Freedmen's Bureaus are apologists for slavery.

I think Schmidt is just such an apologist for the Boer "national" or "Volk" ideology.

subcomandante_juan

6 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I'm betting Red.Black.Writings is Lucien van der Walt. If it is, he should tell us.

Black Badger

6 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Just because he's trying so hard to distract people by focusing on the most minuscule details instead of looking at the broader context of the intersections of Boer nationalism/separatism Eurosupremacism, and the requirement of statist institutions to maintain them? Nah, couldn't be another pro-Boer apologist pretending to be an anarchist... No way...

Auld-bod

6 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

S. Artesian #752

‘Dissatisfied with the compensation provided for emancipation, the Boers were positively outraged by the British determination that there should be equality between black and white, and embarked on their "Great Trek."’

I am no expert on South African history though I suspect this statement to be an exaggeration of the truth. Having several relatives who lived in India between the first and second WW and in post war Nigeria, I understand the native people were never treated with anything like equality. For example: in India when a white woman walked a pavement the Indians were expected to get off to let her pass.

S. Artesian

6 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

For those of you who haven't read the Schmidt article on Terre'Blanche, there's this gem of obfuscation, distortion, and apologism:

But who are the Boers, truly, beyond the cartoons of black-bearded back-countrymen, scarecrows in the corn, leaning on ancient muskets? Afrikaners today are often are the sons, daughters, granddaughters and grandsons of the tens thousands of women who were deliberately starved to death in British concentration camps a century before as their farms were put to the torch. Do not brush aside this key fact because of the whiteness of their skin: their women-folk and children were deliberately exterminated in an imperialist war that generated so much global opposition at the time that it was the Iraq of its day: Scandinavians, Irishmen and Russians gave their lives on the far-away veld; angered Québécois burned down public buildings; and awed anti-American guerrillas in the Philippines learned their tactics by night. Scratch a highveld Boer and you will likely find a bitter hatred of British imperialism – based on living-memory family experience of the camps. And that war was provoked by the imperialists because Britain lusted after and finally burgled the goldfields of the highveld from a frontier people who had progressively retreated into the African interior away from the claws of the bankers, into the spears of the Bantu.

True, they were and often remain an austere, narrow people: one of their Calvinist sects, the Doppers, is deliberately named after the tin cap or dop used to extinguish a candle, the message being the need to extinguish the Enlightenment. And true, they often beat “their blacks” with an offhanded cruelty, and at best established a paternalistic overlordship over them known as baasskap (boss-hood). But in their warfare with, suffering at the hands of, and eventual enslavement of the Bantu, a strange relationship developed: alone among all white settlers on the African continent, they self-identified en masse as Afikaners, as Africans, not Europeans, and severed their ties to their distant motherlands. The they and their black neighbours lived, ate, thought and died, merged and became inextricably intertwined: well over 10-million more black South Africans today speak Afrikaans, the slave’s idiom-rich, story-telling pidgin-Dutch of old, than do whites; while platteland (big-sky farmland) Afrikaners are fluent in African vernacular languages. For the British-backed English-speaking elites, the mining bosses and big land-owners, this closeness was worrisome; something had to be done to divide and rule them. Racialised divisions worked successfully among the working class until multiracial revolutionary syndicalism mounted a challenge from 1917 – a challenge undermined and dissipated within five years by the black nationalist mystifications of the aspirant bourgeois party that became the ANC. It may be that despite their progressive approach to the racial question, the syndicalists lost their grip on the labour movement because of the allure of politics of racial polarity that pitted whites and blacks against each other, a politics seized on with fervour by the NP on its ascension to power in 1948.

Brilliant, huh? The British-backed English elites had to "do something" to "divide" the "inextricably intertwined" "black neighbors" from their African-identifying slave masters. So racial divisions were introduced. What crap. Boers as a "Volk," as an identity was born, depends not simply upon racial division, but upon racial supremacy and racial subjugation.

Doesn't this sound a whole lot like the ideology that proclaims that the white Southerner, despite slavery, despite the ideology of white supremacy, truly "understands" and is the "friend" of, is inextricably "merged" with the black people subjected to racial discrimination?

Anybody want to defend that? The poor little Boer thesis? The cannon-fodder thesis? (As opposed to the canon-fodder thesis).

That the British waged a brutal war against the Boers-- triggered by the drive to gain control of the territory and resources the Boers had carved out in the Great Trek, is not in dispute. The Spanish used similar tactics in their struggle against the Cuban revolution. But Kruger was not Antonio Maceo, and the Boers weren't no Mambises.

S. Artesian

6 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Auld-bod

S. Artesian #752

‘Dissatisfied with the compensation provided for emancipation, the Boers were positively outraged by the British determination that there should be equality between black and white, and embarked on their "Great Trek."’

I am no expert on South African history though I suspect this statement to be an exaggeration of the truth. Having several relatives who lived in India between the first and second WW and in post war Nigeria, I understand the native people were never treated with anything like equality. For example: in India when a white woman walked a pavement the Indians were expected to get off to let her pass.

From Ransford's The Great Trek:

For years the eastern province had suffered from droughts which are the curse of Africa and everyone who has experienced the successive failure of the annual rains will know how disappointment will at last drive a man to leave everything he has laboured for and move off to a new country where the rainfall may be more reliable. Then there was the creeping advance of the English tongue, especially in official circles, at the expense of the taal. Worse was the emancipation of the slaves which had been ordained throughout the British Empire in 1833; it was accompanied by what the Boers, with a good deal of justification, considered to be inadequate compensation to the owners, and as though to irritate them more it was timed to take effect during the harvest season. There was, too, the chronic mortification at the way the Boers' actions were so freely criticised by the missionaries: indeed the explorer, Cornwallis Harris, who visited the Cape in 1835, considered that this grudge particularly rankled among the trekboers for, after enumerating all the other reasons for the farmers' unrest, he wrote, `Far greater than these, however, are the evils that have arisen out of the perverse misrepresentations of canting and designing men, to whose mischievous and gratuitous interference veiled under the cloak of philanthropy, is principally to be attributed the desolate condition of the eastern frontier.'

But perhaps what most embittered these early Afrikaners was the official recognition of the equality between coloured men and whites. As one Boer woman, Anna Elizabeth Steenkamp, wrote later, she considered the emancipated slaves `being placed on an equal footing with the Christians, contrary to the laws of God and the natural distinction of race and religion' and added, `wherefore we rather withdrew in order thus to preserve our doctrines in purity'.

Auld-bod

6 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

‘Official’ British policy is one thing its implementation another. The British Empire was always racist - the reason why Indians were imported to Africa for the tasks blacks were considered too dull to perform. All books are selective on their interpretation of the facts.

I’ve often more faith in talking to people who have experienced colonialism than the usual propaganda/half-truths that gets peddled in much printed matter. The mass media is even more unreliable, today the BBC informs us that the British security services have always deplored the use of force in interrogation. Only a few months ago the same media reported the British atrocities in Kenya during the ‘Mau Mau emergency’.

S. Artesian

6 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Yes, indeed, "official" is one thing, implementation is the other. But the issue isn't how effective or sincere the British were, but what the "official" policy meant to the Boers; how the Boers reacted to the formal affirmation of equality.

That's the issue: the Boer motivations, not the hypocrisy of the British.

No one is claiming that British imperialism was not racist, did not use force etc. The argument is about the crap ideology of Boers as poor workers divided from their black African class brothers that Schmidt flogs.

Auld-bod

6 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I agree.

S. Artesian

6 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Thank you. That's the gist of my "beef" with/about Schmidt. I have no idea if he infiltrated anarchists on behalf of the rightists; maybe he infiltrated Stormfront on behalf of his anarchism, but I doubt it given his "creeping Boer-ism."

I just think anybody who plays that card-- "the poor little oppressed, victimized white supremacists" card should be shunned , no matter what the skin color of his/her friends, lovers, partners.

Sharkfinn

6 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I read the original article. I don't think Schmidt is doing, "poor little oppressed, victimised white supremacists", at all. The article doesn't really argue what you read into it and the part you quote doesn't really do it either. The original point of the article - I think - was to argue how relatively diminished the Boer-nationalist far right is today in comparison to the danger it was in the past. Not knowing much about SA politics, I don't know whether to agree or disagree with Schmidt on that. The text argues that many murders of Boers are racialised not class struggle oriented violence, as many of the killed are not particularly wealthy, in capitalist terms, of course its all relative. The idea that ethnic divisions are fostered by capitalist states in order to divide the working class is pretty standard libcom politics. There's nothing particularly outrageous about it.

subcomandante_juan

6 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

The Schmidt Terre'Blanche article is besides the point. Ross-Stephens should have left the extraneous details alone. We should be asking about Lucien van der Walt by now.

What matters is things like Schmidt creating a racist Stormfront account he claims was fake that supposedly one single person knew about it, his newspaper editor, Seery. Yet this supposed witness has three times denied Schmidt's alibi, not only on grounds that he would never forget Schmidt's Stormfront proposition (in response to Schmidt's claim that Seery "forgot" about it), but also on grounds that he would never sanction such a proposal, which he views as an unethical journalistic practice.

So Schmidt has zero evidence anyone knew about this and his one alibi denies it. And Schmidt lied repeatedly, including about his racist remarks, the Black Battlefront website, about the NIA working with "Ardent Smith", and the Nazi tattoo. These are unambiguous lies.

Before we handle Red.Black.Writings on the Nazi tattoo, first we should be asking: where is Lucien van der Walt on this? Red.Black.Writings "knows" him: is he Van der Walt? Will he ignore this question?

S. Artesian

6 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Sharkfinn

I read the original article. I don't think Schmidt is doing, "poor little oppressed, victimised white supremacists", at all. The article doesn't really argue what you read into it and the part you quote doesn't really do it either. The original point of the article - I think - was to argue how relatively diminished the Boer-nationalist far right is today in comparison to the danger it was in the past. Not knowing much about SA politics, I don't know whether to agree or disagree with Schmidt on that. The text argues that many murders of Boers are racialised not class struggle oriented violence, as many of the killed are not particularly wealthy, in capitalist terms, of course its all relative. The idea that ethnic divisions are fostered by capitalist states in order to divide the working class is pretty standard libcom politics. There's nothing particularly outrageous about it.

Maybe you read a different article-- because Schmidt sure does talk about some sort of mystical "merging" of the Boers with the black Africans, something that the Boers explicitly rejected and opposed. Schmidt sure does gloss over the real origins of the Boer "identity," of the Boers real historical relations with black Africans. Schmidt surely does argue that "something is killing" our "poor" Boer farmers at an excessive rate.

If you don't think that Schmidt is glossing over the fundamental elements of the Boer "Volk" ideology with his "scratch a Boer and find an enemy of British imperialism"-- then I can only ask you to study a bit more into the history of the Boer encounters with the indigenous Africans, and the ascendancy of the Boer "ideology"-- white supremacy-- before and after WW1 .

Nobody had to foster "ethnic divisions" between Boers and black Africans-- the entire identity of "Boer" requires ethnic division in the service of racial supremacy...and the most brutal exploitation of black labor.

Do not forget that one of the "original" cases of "resistance" by the, or a, Boer to British imperialism was the refusal of a Boer farmer to appear before a British inquiry into charges of his physical abuse of black Africans he had working for him. IIRC, the British sent an armed detail to force him to appear, and he opened fire against them-- declaring he would never appear alive in front of a British authority to account for his treatment of the "Kafirs." He didn't appear alive. He was killed, along with certain members of the British detail.

The "Boers"-- the victimized Boers, which is precisely what Schmidt is arguing-- would have to renounce their identity as Boers, oppose apartheid, oppose the dispossession of the black Africans, the establishment of the homelands, the attempt to impose Afrikaans as a language of requirement on the students of Soweto, to be considered any sort of allies of black labor. Did the Boers as Boers ever do any of that? Did they, as an organized social formation protest the pass-policy, the system of racial classification? Any of that.\? My research shows that no Boer organization, organized by Boers claiming to be for the advancement of the "interests" of the Boers ever did any of that.

Now if there's a history of Boers doing any of that, I'd sure like to see it, and I'm sure Schmidt or Red.Black. Writings., with their superior knowledge of South African history, can produce the evidence, can't they?

S. Artesian

6 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Just one more thing (until somebody else comes up with another one more thing). I don't much care to get into a general argument about whether white workers are oppressed or exploited or "natural" allies of black workers in South Africa, or the US for that matter.

I'm specifically objecting to the "history" of the Boer settlers as rendered, massaged, obscured, distorted, ignored, and mythologized by Schmidt in that article. I think his distortion is absolutely an apology for white supremacy and an attempt to forge some sort of, not class unity, but rather an appeal to those who think the Boers, THEN, and the Afrikaans-supporters NOW, were in some sense, ANY SENSE, "anti-capitalist."

They were, and ARE, precisely not that, no more than "national Bolshevism" is anti-capitalist; no more than any of the bizarre, and berserk, iterations of "red-browns" are anti-capitalist.

Loukanikos

6 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Red.Black.Writings

Please provide a single bit of evidence showing that "Scythian chieftain tattoos" (no, not vague online references to "Scythians" generally) are symbols of white pride in fascist circles."

You're very good at muddying the waters Red.Black.Writings, and at subtly missing people's central points.

If you read my post, I suggested that you search for the term "Scythian" on Stormfront. Better yet, use Google advanced search, the results are easier to sort through. You will find 575 separate discussions about the ancient Scythian people as proud white warrior ancestors—discussions among fascists and white supremacists. Nothing "vague" about it. And nothing vague about the fact that they also discuss Scythian tattoos on Stormfront. Take a look at https://www.stormfrontDOT.org/forum/t256629/, where "KREWIHONOR" conveniently provides images of the same tattoos Schmidt has. Or read the thread where the boys discuss whether or not it is "trashy" for white women to get tattoos (spoiler alert: Scythian chieftain tattoos are not trashy).

But the point that you somehow chose to avoid was not simply that fascists enjoy constructing Scythian origin myths and recommend Scythian chieftain tattoos when discussing which tattoos have a solid white-race pedigree, but that Schmidt clearly understood this when he described his tattoos on Stormfront. However, when he describes them in his response to Ross and Stephens, he says they "cannot be construed as racial tribal tattoos." It's a pattern of lying that permeates his defense.

admin: broke link to Stormfront

Shorty

6 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Shouldn't that link be broken!?!

radicalgraffiti

6 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

i get the impression that he could have denied having any tattoos at all and people would still be defending him and telling us something like "not all tattoos are fascist"

S. Artesian

6 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

radicalgraffiti

i get the impression that he could have denied having any tattoos at all and people would still be defending him and telling us something like "not all tattoos are fascist"

especially the tattoos he claims not to have!

liberalibro

6 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I haven't seen this posted - neither here nor in Reid Ross and Stephens's articles. This is from an interview with Michael Schmidt and Lucien van der Walt, originally published for the book "Von Jakarta bis Johannesburg: Anarchismus weltweit", with the original English version posted on the Alpine Anarchist website here: http://www.alpineanarchist.org/r_i_africa_english.html

MS: It is possible that, should more working class and underclass whites get involved in anarchism, they may feel the need to develop race-specific organisations to deal with their specific minority circumstances. I foresee that any such move would be condemned and misunderstood both here and abroad, because of the projection of Western social norms onto Africa’s very different conditions, and because of the false assumption that white South Africans are automatically wealthy (sometimes a version of the “white privilege” argument which, as indicated, the ZACF rejects) – but I don’t expect any such development is imminent. It is also not a tactical or strategic line that the ZACF would endorse.

Sharkfinn

6 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I would agree with your summary of Boer history but I don't think its really incompatible with Schmidt's article either. What I got from what Schmidt wrote about the formation "Boer" identity was that early Dutch-speaking settlers and locals adopted cultural practices from each other, as is vernacular languages, cooking, ext. Thus Boers became culturally distinct from other white settlers, that's the "merging" part. I don't think there are "fundamental elements" to any ethnic groups. Ethnicity is about constantly renegotiated identities. The article is not about historical Boer identity per se, so it can consider an aspect of it, without a century spanning summary. It doesn't mean its pushing an ideological line. Its an afternoon opinion column with personal reflection not academic writing.

Suggesting that British imperialism sought to divide people and reinforce racist cleavages isn't downplaying indigenous racism of the Boers.

I’m not saying that outright racism was not their motivating factor; in fact every NP leader until PW Botha had been pro-Nazi during WWII. But white supremacism was more than a motive for the Broederbonders and the elites: it was a divide-and-rule tool, a class-war tool

Neither should suggesting that Boers where historical opponents of British imperialism be interpreted as saying that they were goodies. Most historical opponents of British imperialism (opponents with military strength) were reactionaries, local nationalist or religions fundamentalist. My understanding on why the text doesn't talk about historical role of Boer nationalism in detail is that it is taken as given. The text concentrates on specific sociological aspects of the Boer identity that are not commonly mentioned (the sub heading is called Demystifying the Boers), doing that shouldn't be confused with apologism or historical revisionism. If we did that with all research on fascism, we couldn't form any kind of historical interpretation beyond, they were racist in jackboots that appeared out of nowhere. Is the text good from an academic or topical point of view is another question entirely but it is not white supremacist or apologist.

When the article mentions "poor" Boers it means poor as in not having much money. Its all relative of course but compared to Schmidt or other urban white professionals, I can accept that lot of rural white farmers are poor. Independent farming just isn't a huge business.

I agree with S. Artesians reading of history, but its just not relevant to his argument on what is supposedly said in the Tierre'Blanche piece.

S. Artesian

6 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I think the history is relevant to the argument that Schmidt is trying to make. He certainly thinks it's relevant as he introduces it, and distorts it. I mean it's more than an oversight, or even revisionism, when somebody writes....

Racialised divisions worked successfully among the working class until multiracial revolutionary syndicalism mounted a challenge from 1917 – a challenge undermined and dissipated within five years by the black nationalist mystifications of the aspirant bourgeois party that became the ANC. It may be that despite their progressive approach to the racial question, the syndicalists lost their grip on the labour movement because of the allure of politics of racial polarity that pitted whites and blacks against each other, a politics seized on with fervour by the NP on its ascension to power in 1948.

....and omits, with obvious deliberation, what indeed happened "within five years" of 1917, (as a friend has reminded me, and thanks for that), namely the Rand Rebellion, in which the slogan "workers of the world unite and fight for a white South Africa" was raised, and then supported by the infant Communist Party, and attacks on black workers by whites have been described as "pogroms." Instead Schmidt would make it appear that the alliance of black and white workers fell apart because of black nationalist mystification, rather than identifying such black nationalist mystification as the result of material condition of racism.

xx

6 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I don't have a problem with MS' writing on Boers to be honest, from what I know he is mostly spot on - they are a dispised culture that no one accept for them, have a vested interest in protecting.

The bit he has said which are problematic are around the ZACF position paper and the lack of discipline of Black activists.

Everything else so far is accounted for, or there really is no need to respond.

S. Artesian

6 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

xx

I don't have a problem with MS' writing on Boers to be honest, from what I know he is mostly spot on - they are a dispised culture that no one accept for them, have a vested interest in protecting.

The bit he has said which are problematic are around the ZACF position paper and the lack of discipline of Black activists.

Everything else so far is accounted for, or there really is no need to respond.

Yeah, right. "Despised" culture, like those who fly the Confederate Battle Flag in the US.

From what you know?? Clearly that's the key. It's what you don't know that is so painfully clear

What interest could anyone have in protecting a culture built upon racial subjugation?

You don't have a problem with that? How about this, that during the "General Strike" of 1922, when the great revolutionary slogan-- Workers of the World Unite For a White South Africa-- was raised, the Smuts government, besides using the army, the infant air force against the white workers, called in the Boer Commandos from the countryside to suppress the workers. You got a problem with those poor, despised, Boer Commandos shooting at striking workers?

This crap is enough to gag a maggot.

xx

6 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

So - British workers have behaved in reactionary ways in the past. What about Protestant workers in Northern Ireland?

Does that mean we can't recognise other elements within them?

S. Artesian

6 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Sure thang. What other elements would you like to recognize? God-fearing? Religious? Disciplined? Thrifty? Blue-eyed? Good horsemen? Crack shots? Brewers of good beer? Handy?

OK, on the one hand we have racist, enslaver, anti-working class, anti-communist, vigilante, night-riders. And on the other hand, a bunch of regular boy scouts, with good lager.

Clearly without a full understanding of Hegel's dialectic, we can never appreciate the full, many-sided nature of the Boer "tribe" and their social interactions.

Juan Conatz

6 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I guess, at this point, the questions related to this are:

1) Will those with doubts on the allegations continue or establish formal relationships with MS?

2) Will those who are convinced of the allegations 'no-platform' MS and any groups/individuals with formal relationships with MS?

Personally, I would probably leave a group who did '1'.

syndicalist

6 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I'll take an unpopular view here.

I still would like to hear from both LvdW
and the ZACF on their take. Their continued
silence makes me wonder why it should take these folks who had an intimate working relationship with MS so long to reply. Yet they are certainly allowed the comradely cortesy of allowing them to reply.

rooieravotr

6 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Very small quibble. From Artesian 's comment 752:

the word coming from the German for peasant but morphing to mean free farmers.

.
The word 'Boer' had Dutch, not German, origins (like that other contribution to world 'civilisation', the word Apartheid itself...). The original, 'boer,' can be translated both as 'peasant 'and as 'farmer' .Dutch language does not distinguish between the two.

On the controversy itself: I find the silence of people like Lucien van der Walt puzzling. If he considered his co-writer above criticism, if he considered all the attacks on Schmidt as being a racist or apologist for Boer nationalism or whatever, totally unfounded, unreasonable, he could easily say so and explain. Somehow he does not. Not very comforting for anybody who wants to give Schmidt the benefit of the doubt. I am getting more and more convinced that Schmidt is, indeed, racist, and uses the pretense of being just researching fascism on internet as a smokescreen, to confuse others and maybe even himself. And when even his close friends don 't come up with a serous defense, that conviction grows. No, this is not 'proof', in any juridical sense... But it is my opinion.

Steven.

6 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

syndicalist

I'll take an unpopular view here.

I still would like to hear from both LvdW
and the ZACF on their take. Their continued
silence makes me wonder why it should take these folks who had an intimate working relationship with MS so long to reply. Yet they are certainly allowed the comradely cortesy of allowing them to reply.

while I agree with you with regard to LvdW, I disagree with Zabalaza. As I understand it is currently a majority black organisation, with little or no members still around from when Schmidt was part of it. They are also under attack from government thugs, so probably have bigger things to be dealing with at the moment.

Just to add, agree with the comments from Artesian about the Boers. As for Schmidt's argument that Boers and black South Africans have something in common because more black South Africans speak Afrikaans than whites, it's terrible but I just had to laugh. So many black South Africans speak Afrikaans because lots of them were forced to! That's what the Soweto uprising was about. That's like saying that British imperial occupiers in India had so much in common with the native population, because we had made so many of them speak English

jef costello

6 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

xx

So - British workers have behaved in reactionary ways in the past. What about Protestant workers in Northern Ireland?

Does that mean we can't recognise other elements within them?

First of all, he's not 'recognising elements' he's flat-out re-writing history to try to make a group notorious for racism seem non-racist. In terms of the Brts I think when someone mentioned British opposition to slavery the idea that that meant that the British Empire was committed to equality was called into question within a few posts.

Kingsmill massacre:
"On 5 January 1976 just after 5.30 pm, a red Ford Transit minibus was carrying sixteen textile workers home from work in Glenanne to Bessbrook. Five were Catholics and eleven were Protestants. Four of the Catholics got out at Whitecross, while the rest continued on the road to Bessbrook. As the bus cleared the rise of a hill, it was stopped by a man in British Army uniform standing on the road and flashing a torch. The workers assumed they were being stopped and searched by the British Army. As the bus stopped, eleven masked gunmen with blackened faces and wearing combat jackets emerged from the hedges. A man "with a pronounced English accent" then began talking. He ordered them to line-up beside the bus and then asked "Who is the Catholic?". The only Catholic was Richard Hughes. His workmates—now fearing that the gunmen were loyalists who had come to kill him—tried to stop him from identifying himself. However, when Hughes stepped forward the gunman told him to "Get down the road and don't look back". The lead gunman then said "Right" and the other armed men immediately opened fire on the workers"

The green sectarian shits that can shoot down a bunch of protestants who refused to hand over a catholic, the orange sectarian shits who'd been murdering people for a year to try to provoke an attack like this, those are examples of the culture we fight against. The workers refusing to hand over a colleague to those they think will murder him are the ones we can respect. It wasn't because they were protestants, Irish, British, Northern Irish, it's in spite of all of that.

If someone says that protestant workers or catholic workers are not all bad then I'll agree, if someone writes a defence of orange culture then I'll not be in the same organisation of them.

syndicalist

6 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I disagree with Zabalaza. As I understand it is currently a majority black organisation, with little or no members still around from when Schmidt was part of it. They are also under attack from government thugs, so probably have bigger things to be dealing with at the moment.

I'd respectfully disagree here. Not so much with the current composition of ZACF, or the repression against two members, that the orginzation has no responsibilty. I think there are a couple of ZACF folks around who were active at the time. It would also help set the record stratight about internal discussions of the time (and noted in the reports against MS). And to make sure that the name, the history and integrity of the organization are maintained.

Operaista

6 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

ARR fact-checked MS's autobiography. It looks like he's been openly sympathetic to the far right in a substantial portion of his journalistic output for years (it wasn't just a few articles, in other words).

And, at least from the half of the journalistic output and two-thirds of the radical output found, nothing that required any sort of infiltration of the far right to produce.

Khawaga

6 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

ARR fact-checked MS's autobiography. It looks like he's been openly sympathetic to the far right in a substantial portion of his journalistic output for years (it wasn't just a few articles, in other words).

That piece by ARR is well worth the read. If only the original saga had been written as clearly as that one.

akai

6 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

l looked through a few of the articles linked and think they are quite shady. People should check them out and compare them to Schmidt's defense. l think there are good points made here.

subcomandante_juan

6 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Operaista

ARR fact-checked MS's autobiography. ...And, at least from the half of the journalistic output and two-thirds of the radical output found, nothing that required any sort of infiltration of the far right to produce.

One new thing is Schmidt advocated public displays of white supremacy on his Stormfront account by telling South African neo-Nazis to attend the World Cup and display their symbols, including the Lebensrune (of which he has a tattoo) on flags. Even if Schmidt were an infiltrator, recommending actions that could incite a race riot in public is deeply unethical.

Add to the list that Schmidt incited public displays of white racism and the coming together of white supremacists at the World Cup.

Who is defending this?

akai

6 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Nobody will publically defend this stuff, because it is clearly crap. On the other hand, there are unfortunately a lot of people who defend Schmidt or act in a way to derail conversations, try to get it off mailing lists, etc. Pretty scary.

lucien_lies_too

6 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Red.Black.Writings is Lucien van der Walt, and his continued apologetics for a close friend and co-author are shameful (although quite understandable). See pastebin here (libcom won't let me link directly):

https://duckduckgo.com/?q=http%3A%2F%2Fpastebin.com%2FNZ9mYtcj

There is likely more evidence out there on the Web, with a deeper search. Hey Lucien - care to fess up to your "anonymous" account (which others have already called you out on in this thread)? Seems you're as shitty at "going undercover" as your buddy Schmidt.

akai

6 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Oh come on here. I can certainly understand why people use pseudonyms to protect their identity, but if you are a person known by some name, creating a new one to hide your identity is not cool. It would be especially uncool in this case where dozens of people (including myself) have asked Lucien for his opinion.

syndicalist

6 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

If red black is LvdW, I guess he's laid out where's he coming from then
If it is LvdW, it's a pity you choose to go the "underground" route. I'd venture to say that a number of folks have been patiently and respectfully waiting for your reply. Trusting you recognize that and if is LvdW it'd be appreciated if you simply come out and say so. If it's not LcvD, then it really is time for him to make a statement of perspective and so forth

lucien_lies_too

6 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Edited paste with more evidence available here:

https://duckduckgo.com/?q=http%3A%2F%2Fpastebin.com%2FJQ3qf7Vm

Most damning is the redblackwritings Scribd account. 88 of the 100 articles uploaded were authored or co-authored by Lucien and 12 by Zabalaza; it's very obviously a personal repository of articles for Lucien to share with others.

I suppose there's just some superfan of Lucien out there who happens to use the same username across the Web, to only write about Lucien and his books and upload his works?

I will continue to dig and find more. I may not find the "smoking gun" that shows a photo of Lucien as redblackwritings, or absolutely proves his ownership of the Libcom account, but I think any rational reading of the evidence so far links the redblackwritings moniker to him. A further familiarity with his interests, writing style, and approach to dialogue makes the linkage very clear.

Lucien - Care to come out and stop trying to shape the discussion from the shadows? Or have you now been backed too far into a corner where you'd have to admit to infantile tactics?

Join the debate now, openly and honestly. An apology is also in order, given the patience and respect you've been given so far in the Schmidt affair. Posting defenses of Schmidt in hiding and arguing with the same people who have nicely asked you to present your side of the story is nothing but a slap in the face.

Flint

6 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

(deleted)

lucien_lies_too

6 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

No shit sherlock, but I'm happy to burn this account as long as the discussion about Red.Black.Writings continues. Attacking me goes nowhere, and the pastebin posts can't be taken down and are available for all to see:

https://duckduckgo.com/?q=http%3A%2F%2Fpastebin.com%2FJQ3qf7Vm

Who I am has no bearing on the evidence I present, and I know no one personally involved with this story; not Schmidt, not the key players, not their friends, not Schmidt's investigators/accusers, not anyone at AK Press. I have been watching this issue from the distance, as thousands of others have worldwide.

Let's stay on point here: Schmidt's co-author Lucien van der Walt used the Red.Black.Writings account to defend Schmidt in these forums and others, rather than make a public statement. Lucien has a long history of using sock puppet accounts, now public for anyone to peruse.

Flint

6 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

(deleted)

syndicalist

6 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Flint, I do have a question. What if it is LvdW posting under RedBlack whatever?
Not that I would want to see things derailed, but I think, at this point, what he has to say and how he says it will have some bearing. I know that some of us have been patient in waiting for him to provide us with his insight and so forth. Same with ZACF. But if folks are gonna do stuff under cover and so forth, I think it diminishes some things and plays into others.
Anyway, in this instance the clock has run out and the more time wasted just plays into the negative, IMO

lucien_lies_too

6 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

This is my one and only Libcom account, created specifically for the purpose of making this case and publishing the evidence that Red.Black.Writings is Lucien van der Walt. I could have chosen a name like "citizenzero" or "John Doe12345" but I didn't because I want these posts to be focused upon one subject. It would have made 0% difference if I had chosen another name.

Red.Black.Writings, on the other hand, is being purposefully deceptive and "going undercover" to defend his friend and co-author, rather than approach the situation in an open and honest manner. Lucien has been asked many, many times to say something about this issue, and his public silence is telling. His "undercover" chattiness is also telling.

We should no longer give Lucien the benefit of the doubt. He is willing to write hundreds (thousands?) of words in this forum alone about Schmidt, but not a single one in public since Schmidt came under scrutiny.

We should go back, look at the Red.Black.Writings posts, and hold Lucien accountable for their content. It is only a matter of time before those who know Lucien personally are able to reinforce my case with more evidence.

Beyond that, I am working on more technical analyses of the multiple accounts of Redblackwritings, and may be able to link them directly to Lucien's contact info as time goes on. If not, the evidence is still extremely clear that Red.Black.Writings is Lucien. The only other explanation belongs in the realm of speculative fiction, something like the existence of a Lucien clone with family memories and an extreme interest in his career.

Again, let's keep this discussion focused. Flint, do you have any comments about the evidence I presented?

Flint

6 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

syndicalist

Flint, I do have a question. What if it is LvdW posting under RedBlack whatever?
Not that I would want to see things derailed, but I think, at this point, what he has to say and how he says it will have some bearing. I know that some of us have been patient in waiting for him to provide us with his insight and so forth. Same with ZACF. But if folks are gonna do stuff under cover and so forth, I think it diminishes some things and plays into others.
Anyway, in this instance the clock has run out and the more time wasted just plays into the negative, IMO

Sure. Lucien should post something about it. I think its more Lucien's responsibility than ZACF.

syndicalist

6 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

As I've said before,Flint, the ZACF has some responsibility to respond.
MS was a founding and longstanding member and a major public face of the various incarnations
of ZACF. Some of the allegations against MS occurred while he was a member, related specifically to internal discussions and position papers and do forth. IMO they have some responsibility in promoting organizational integrity, historical organizational accuracy and ultimately an organizational defense of their ideological integrity. Maybe it's just what I would want to see any organization do in difficult matters such as this, including my own.

bastarx

6 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

This is a good example of what an organisation has said in the wake of a member's serious misbehaviour:

http://libcom.org/forums/announcements/af-statement-disassociation-sam-sheffield-group-5810-06082010

akai

6 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Personally, l don't like the user name lucien lies, which seems a bit obsessive, but l agree with what the user is saying. lt looks like this is Lucien and, if that's true, l'd say it's pretty ball-less not to discuss openly while trying to influence the discussion.

lt's also senseless given the fact that it seems like plenty of people are bending over backwards to give both him and Schmidt the benefit of the doubt.

This all said and moving to another related topic, l've never had time to write a serious critique of Black Flame, pointing out all it's problematic points, but maybe all of this will give some people reason to look through it, or look through it again. What l mean is that, like the Schmidt article on Anarkismo, or another article there (which l also hadn't seen but was pointed out by ARR in his last piece), this guy has been writing shady or untrue stuff for a while and almost nobody has called him out. l am interested in how people with such ideas have been trying to smuggle them past anarchists for years.

akai

6 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

For those interested: http://www.anarkismo.net/article/28923

At least the author signs his own name.

Red Marriott

6 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Flint

"lucien_lies_too"
Could we not be so obvious with sock puppets, please. [...]
I really don't care who you are. Site policy is against sock puppets for obvious reasons (which would include Red.Black.Writings if it is a sock).
I'm happy for the conversation to stay on point about about Schmidt, but sock puppets are not part of the terms of discussion here. Your the one that decided to go that route to make a joke or whatever it is you are doing with this sock.

You made a similar 'sock puppet' accusation about ‘AntiWar’ on a Rojava thread, http://libcom.org/library/negri-harvey-graeber-wallerstein-holloway-cult-abdullah-ocalan-rojava-revolution
... failed to back it up with any evidence when asked and then similarly said you didn’t care anyway. Sock puppeting – whether by ‘Lucien lies’ or van der Walt ( and at present there’s only good evidence for the latter) – is devious but so is repeatedly using unfounded claims against political opponents. You’re free to inform admins of breaches of site rules. But again, if you have evidence, show it, or stop making the public accusations/smears against your opponents - as that appears just as devious.

Edit; Flint has since deleted some of his accusations above, both here and on the Rojava thread - which, if anything, makes his behaviour even more devious as he wasn't even willing to either stand by his unfounded claims nor explicitly retract them.

subcomandante_juan

6 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Lucien will have a lot to answer to for his antics and comments here on Libcom.

Lucien and fellow apologists should be pressed to squarely address the core facts, such as the racist 2008 memo, Schmidt's Nazi (Lebensrune) tattoo (and how he lied about it in his "defense"), his inciting people to display racist symbols at the World Cup, and so on.

These are specific things no person defending Schmidt can ignore. Let's see Lucien go public and defend them.

lucien_lies_too

6 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Red Marriott

Flint

"lucien_lies_too"
Could we not be so obvious with sock puppets, please. [...]
I really don't care who you are. Site policy is against sock puppets for obvious reasons (which would include Red.Black.Writings if it is a sock).
I'm happy for the conversation to stay on point about about Schmidt, but sock puppets are not part of the terms of discussion here. Your the one that decided to go that route to make a joke or whatever it is you are doing with this sock.

You made a similar 'sock puppet' accusation about ‘AntiWar’ on a Rojava thread, http://libcom.org/library/negri-harvey-graeber-wallerstein-holloway-cult-abdullah-ocalan-rojava-revolution
... failed to back it up with any evidence when asked and then similarly said you didn’t care anyway. Sock puppeting – whether by ‘Lucien lies’ or van der Walt ( and at present there’s only good evidence for the latter) – is devious but so is repeatedly using unfounded claims against political opponents. You’re free to inform admins of breaches of site rules. But again, if you have evidence, show it, or stop making the public accusations/smears against your opponents - as that appears just as devious.

Thanks Red Marriott, that's exactly right.

Just to clarify for everyone here, since the phrase "sock puppet" is flying around pretty loosely:

* This is my one and only Libcom account, I'm not violating any site policies. If you mean "sock puppet" like I'm another poster in this thread hiding my identity with an alternate account, you're wrong.

* If you mean "sock puppet" like "obvious pseudonym", then of course it's a pseudonym. Maybe it's poorly chosen or "obsessive", but the account has one purpose: exposing Lucien van der Walt's covert participation in this discussion.

Enough with my username already, this is not about me.

lucien_lies_too

6 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

This thread is about to get a lot more exposure:
https://twitter.com/areidross/status/682082206525722624

xx

6 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

akai

For those interested: http://www.anarkismo.net/article/28923

At least the author signs his own name.

It's good to see some sanity from the US anarchist scene.

S. Artesian

6 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

xx

akai

For those interested: http://www.anarkismo.net/article/28923

At least the author signs his own name.

It's good to see some sanity from the US anarchist scene.

"Sanity" and "from the US" are generally incompatible terms.

Loukanikos

6 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

akai

For those interested: http://www.anarkismo.net/article/28923

At least the author signs his own name.

I much prefer the first comment on that article, much of which could be addressed to people on this thread (including Lucien):

Not the principled response we need
author by AFAB Wed Dec 30, 2015 23:58

As much as I admire your work, Wayne, I have to say that this is one of the most simplistic and superficial analyses of the Schmidt situation I have seen yet. You have managed to reduce the five-part article by Ross and Stephens (and two addendums by Ross) to, essentially, “Michael Schmidt wrote some things on fascist websites.”

Either you are a very bad reader or you have willfully left out a whole range of evidence. You have, in a very doctrinaire fashion, limited yourself to an entirely textual analysis that amounts to an equally simplistic “but he wrote (or co-wrote) a lot of anarchist stuff too!” The real world is far more complex than that, Wayne.

Your analysis completely avoids such basic facts as:

1) Schmidt’s fascist alter ego both joining conversations among anarchists on Schmidt’s Facebook page and contacting South African anarchists in an attempt to lure them toward National Anarchism.

2) Schmidt’s description of his tattoos (to his fascist audience) as symbols of white pride on Stormfront, tattoos that he actually has, which can be seen in multiple photos.

Just these two things alone have been repeated so many times online that I can’t imagine that you missed them. There are many others. I must assume that your avoidance of them is intentional.

Your basic logic—that one cannot be both an anarchist and a fascist or white nationalist—betrays your insufficient understanding of the contemporary forms that neo-fascism takes. I suggest reading up on National Anarchism, National Bolshevism, and Third Positionists. While you and I know how deeply flawed and contradictory such ideologies are, there are plenty of people like Schmidt who disagree.

As a life-long organized anarchist partial to both especifismo and platformism, I in no way considered Schmidt’s undercover fascism to reflect upon those traditions themselves. The real test, though, will be how living, breathing platfomists—actual individuals and organizations—deal with his betrayal. Doing a poor job of it will damage our traditions far more than Schmidt's actions ever could.

Respectfully, I have to say that I think this is precisely what you have done here. In this situation, we need serious and principled responses from our organized anarchist traditions. If we circle our wagons, rely entirely on doctrine, wear blinders to the full range of the accusations, attack the messengers—all of which have so far been the main responses I’ve seen—we will isolate ourselves from the anarchist and radical movements. We will become irrelevant. And Schmidt will have won.

I hope others are more up to the task.

AFAB

bastarx

6 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

xx

akai

For those interested: http://www.anarkismo.net/article/28923

At least the author signs his own name.

It's good to see some sanity from the US anarchist scene.

Wayne Price writes a really shit article shocker.

akai

6 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

l'm not shocked about the Price piece: it was what l expected and unfortunately l was correct about how this would play out in certain corners. And it is very unfortunate.

l put my comment there and hope Anarkismo will publish it. l also commented on a piece that was pointed out by ARR in his last article, about a "neo-Makhnovist" organization. Personally, l don't think it is the best piece to show MS's right-wing sympathies, but it does show some other things. For example, that people sometimes write articles on topics they know nothing about. That one has a lot of mistakes. Some seem deliberate, others are misinformed or just plain propaganda.

l suppose for some, these types of articles are proof that MS is helping to build the international anarchist movement - only if such articles are so poorly researched and so off-the-mark, they are not too useful. Also, l show how there is a repeated use of manipulation in the arguments. For example, MS would have people believe that people who criticize some hierarchical practices in organizations are "anti-organization" "against organizational discipline" or "synthesist anarchists". He implies that the reason l see an organization as hierarchical must be that he sees things as a platformist, and l as a synthesist. lt's really manipulative crap. His work is full of that, really.

syndicalist

6 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

S. Artesian

"Sanity" and "from the US" are generally incompatible terms.

O jolly ole england....

syndicalistcat

6 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Lucien told me (via email) that ZACF is discussing the allegations against MS and will issue a statement.

syndicalist

6 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

syndicalistcat

Lucien told me (via email) that ZACF is discussing the allegations against MS and will issue a statement.

How many weeks ago was that?

syndicalistcat

6 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

December 3rd. So that's about 3 weeks ago.

subcomandante_juan

6 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

bastarx

xx

akai

For those interested: http://www.anarkismo.net/article/28923

At least the author signs his own name.

It's good to see some sanity from the US anarchist scene.

Wayne Price writes a really shit article shocker.

Wayne Price's article is apologetic to white racism. Anyone read the 2008 memo? It's 7 pages of non-stop racist vitriol about how inferior blacks are to whites in the South African "liberation" and anarchist movement.

In his "defense", Schmidt says "it is precisely the decline of the ZACF in 2008 into a white group that I objected to!"

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

Schmidt says that "all" the "advanced" anarchists in South Africa are "all" and only white and the "white" "politico-cultural anarchist movement" shouldn't "merge" with the "black" one, lest blacks "debase" the superior "ideas" of the whites. He spends length arguing that white-only organizations are logical. He says blacks in this stage of history can be members of ZACF so long as they do what the all-white "vanguard" "establishes for them".

In his "defense", Schmidt characterizes this memo as "[objecting] to...the decline of ZACF in 2008 into a white group". It's as if his memo expresses a good egalitarian trying to figure out how to stop the organization from being all-white, which is the exact opposite of what he said in the memo. Again, who is defending this?

akai

6 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Juan, that is a good question. l suspect different motivations.

What l hate about that memo is the attitude that there are "good anarchists" and those are ones who read the proper stuff and regurgitate the proper line - which we all know is the one laid out by the smart white guys who teach in universities, write books, etc.

The ones jacking off to the same theory and having a similar lack of revulsion towards the white man's antics will basically defend the others, that's my conclusion. Maybe l am not right about some folks, because who the fuck knows why they are doing this - but that'd be my guess about how people can turn a blind eye on it all.

l am obviously not one of these "good anarchists" and am disgusted that anybody would write about people in that way in some internal document. lt is arrogant, racist and elitist - everything the anarchist movement should NOT be. lf this is the way these people apply all the ideas they advocate, then basically we can wipe our asses with their books, because in the end, all those theories translate into crap.

akai

6 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

By the way, l recommend Jose's comment on that anarkismo thread. Apparently he has just disclosed that the anarkismo people also noticed a problem with MS's thought a while back. Too bad they just didn't say that a few months ago.

Jason Cortez

6 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

syndicalistcat

December 3rd. So that's about 3 weeks ago.

27 days is closer to four weeks wouldn't you say?

syndicalist

6 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I guess silence by RedBlack whatever tends to confirm it may be LvdW
If not, then they should come forward and say they're not. If so, you "lost me"
In the honesty and respect column

syndicalistcat

6 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

syndicalistcat wrote:

December 3rd. So that's about 3 weeks ago.

27 days is closer to four weeks wouldn't you say?

whatever. it's time for them to say something openly.

S. Artesian

6 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Lucien told me (via email) that ZACF is discussing the allegations against MS and will issue a statement.

Ask him if he's Red. Black or whatever

syndicalistcat

6 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Ask him if he's Red. Black or whatever

Ask him yourself.

subcomandante_juan

6 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

syndicalist

I guess silence by RedBlack whatever tends to confirm it may be LvdW
If not, then they should come forward and say they're not. If so, you "lost me"
In the honesty and respect column

Red.Black.Writings must be Lucien van der Walt. He may deny it, but let's see him address the documentation on Pastebin: https://duckduckgo.com/?q=http%3A%2F%2Fpastebin.com%2FJQ3qf7Vm

On Wikipedia, see the edit histories: "RedBlackWritings" created and mostly wrote his "Lucien van der Walt" Wikipedia page, including full authorship of his "Working Class Family Background" section which details personal family info that isn't published; he heavily edited Black Flame; and he created and edited the entry for Anarchism and Syndicalism in the Colonial and Postcolonial World, 1870–1940.

He also added glowing reviews of his work. "Red.Black.Writings" created the "Reception of Work" section and then entered: "Van der Walt's books have been variously praised by reviewers as(for Anarchism and Syndicalism in the Colonial and Postcolonial World, 1870–1940) an "academic masterpiece",[2] "superb",[3] "incredibly valuable",[4] and offering "deep insights".[5] and as (for Black Flame) "deeply impressive", an "outstanding contribution", a "grand work of synthesis," and "remarkable"." (https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Lucien_van_der_Walt&action=history)

Across the web, RedBlackWritings uploads & promotes Lucien van der Walt publications, and/or offers sock puppet defenses of his works at: Yahoo Groups, ScribD, Docslide, Facebook, Wordpress Blog, Zabalaza Network, and Reddit. RedBlackWritings also offers South African anarchist videos at YouTube. All links for proof are provided via the Pastebin link above.

Last, "RedBlackWritings" re-posted the same Libcom post promoting Schmidt's blog "defense" (#723) at each of the 6 Reddit threads about the Schmidt affair. (Note the Reddit poster who says, "Did you just search back for every Michael Schmidt related comment in this sub and reply to it?")

akai

6 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Maybe he had some injury of inflammation of the brain when he was doing that. :-)

meinberg

6 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Operaista

ARR fact-checked MS's autobiography. It looks like he's been openly sympathetic to the far right in a substantial portion of his journalistic output for years (it wasn't just a few articles, in other words).

And, at least from the half of the journalistic output and two-thirds of the radical output found, nothing that required any sort of infiltration of the far right to produce.

Khawaga

That piece by ARR is well worth the read. If only the original saga had been written as clearly as that one.

I don't want to get into this mess and I don't want to seem apologetic of a guy like MS with at the very least very shady politics.

But, as Khawaga said that piece was much better written and so it was the first I read in full. And I really think it is disastrous, that the guys writing the articles don't seem to have any idea of the situation in South Africa or have very shady politics themselves. I find it disturbing that ARR says that it is racist to call pogroms pogroms. And he doesn't seem to have any idea that the pogroms 2008 were no singular event...

AndrewF

6 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

subcomandante_juan

I'm betting Red.Black.Writings is XXX. If it is, he should tell us.

Is your name Subcomandante Juan then?

As far as I can tell there are only a couple of people posting with their actual name or part of it on this thread or even Libcom in general - I'm one of them. It's generally seen as poor form to make judgements as to whether other people need to be anonymous online and out them in this manner, I don't understand what makes it OK here. Outside of the fact that RBW is saying stuff that may be unpopular.

If RBW was lying about their connection with Schmidt that would be a different manner but they admitted themselves to knowing him, to being South African and to be fair are using a fairly transparent identity. The 'detective work' further along the thread was hardly needed and together with the use of their presumed name just ensures google will now blow their anonymity to people with no connection to the movement.

If the intention was to silence them that seems to have worked out which is a pity as they were I think the only poster claiming to know Schmidt (and maybe the only South African) posting here. Reading more of their responses would have been interesting. On the other hand I continue to insist we need a collective process to decide what (probably) happened and as importantly what needs to be done about it.

I rather despair that a number of commentators here find even the idea that the movement might be capable of such a thing ludicrous, despair because perhaps they are right and all that will come out of this is fragmented ongoing squabbling around what individuals choose to believe.

lucien_lies_too

6 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

AndrewF

subcomandante_juan

I'm betting Red.Black.Writings is XXX. If it is, he should tell us.

Is your name Subcomandante Juan then?

As far as I can tell there are only a couple of people posting with their actual name or part of it on this thread or even Libcom in general - I'm one of them. It's generally seen as poor form to make judgements as to whether other people need to be anonymous online and out them in this manner, I don't understand what makes it OK here. Outside of the fact that RBW is saying stuff that may be unpopular.

If RBW was lying about their connection with Schmidt that would be a different manner but they admitted themselves to knowing him, to being South African and to be fair are using a fairly transparent identity. The 'detective work' further along the thread was hardly needed and together with the use of their presumed name just ensures google will now blow their anonymity to people with no connection to the movement.

If the intention was to silence them that seems to have worked out which is a pity as they were I think the only poster claiming to know Schmidt (and maybe the only South African) posting here. Reading more of their responses would have been interesting. On the other hand I continue to insist we need a collective process to decide what (probably) happened and as importantly what needs to be done about it.

I rather despair that a number of commentators here find even the idea that the movement might be capable of such a thing ludicrous, despair because perhaps they are right and all that will come out of this is fragmented ongoing squabbling around what individuals choose to believe.

Andrew -

I agree that anonymity is a crucial and important part of network interaction, and that the option of choosing to be anonymous is an important freedom to preserve. Anonymity brings a sense of empowerment and liberty to individuals who might otherwise be shackled, literally or figuratively, in their speech and actions. This is why, for example, I don't think everyone in this thread should have to "out themselves" and explain their identity, and I take offense to doing that myself.

However, I also believe that individuals can abuse anonymity and I don't think that Schmidt's long-time friend and co-author, who shares a deep personal, professional, and ideological relationship, should enter these discussions disingenuously to debate Schmidt's critics. He is too close to the epicenter to be afforded that luxury while also being afforded months to respond publicly to this issue (asked, in many cases, by close friends and comrades for his side of the story). Lucien van der Walt has been given the ultimate benefit of the doubt in anarchist circles, an opportunity that was not used for open and honest discourse but for deceptive lurking in threads and, ultimately, posts here at Libcom that defend some of Schmidt's most heinous thoughts and behavior. Publicly, requests for comment have been boldy ignored. Privately, Lucien has been campaigning for Schmidt under a (very thin) cover as RBW.

If we're to talk about Internet etiquette, it has always been poor form to enter a discussion about yourself, your work, your close friends, or even well-known enemies without making your identity clear, going back at least as far as the early days of BBS and Usenet. Lucien could have, and I think should have, entered the discussion openly as himself and left the RedBlackWritings moniker for other purposes, if it were vital to protect.

Why Lucien's pseudonym was so so obvious I have no idea, but I think it curiously mirrors Schmidt's sloppy handling of Internet identities. Maybe there's a fundamental misunderstanding of the technology, or maybe the two friends and collaborators consider themselves beyond reproach. Perhaps they think they are much smarter than the wretched crowd (as Schmidt's writings, at least, make quite clear).

A casual look at RBW's history, going back years, reveals that Lucien is happy to pretend he's someone else while self-promoting or giving the opinion of "the author's intent" on his own works. When I read those posts, it's obvious that RBW is Lucien, especially when coupled with the rest of the RBW accounts around the Web. RBW being revealed as Lucien in a comment about Black Flame would have been needlessly embarrassing to the author and is something that, perhaps, should not be done. I would not have done it then, and don't make it a habit or principle to doxx users practicing that behavior. However, in some vital and important corners of the Web such as Wikipedia, such behavior might be enough to get your account/IP banned and your edits reverted. I'll leave it up to the WP editors to figure that out, and will raise the evidence I found with them soon.

Self-promotion and "undercover editorializing" is much less egregious than RBW's comments in this thread. Lucien's actions are a big "fuck you" to everyone giving him the benefit of the doubt.

A few questions for you, since you criticize my "detective work":

* How much longer should we all wait for Lucien to respond publicly to the Schmidt affair?

* The posts of RedBlackWritings in this thread are a (badly hidden) defense by Lucien of Schmidt's words and actions. It was obvious to me that RBW = LvdW, and apparently was to you as well. Don't others deserve to know, especially when RBW is actively debating them? Especially when they have asked LvdW calmly and courteously for some sort of response?

* Should Lucien be held accountable for the posts of his obvious pseudonym RedBlackWritings?

* Do you think it's appropriate for LvdW to respond the way he did? Shedding thousands of words about the Schmidt affair under a pseudonym while refusing to go public with a single sentence? Debating comrades secretively as RBW while rebuffing their requests to LvdW for comment?

My actions were not an attempt to silence Lucien; quite the opposite. Anarchists worldwide deserve an honest response by Lucien van der Walt, not deceptive posts by RedBlackWritings who "has met Schmidt" and other strategically-worded half-truths. You are right that representation from South Africa in these discussions is vitally important. Precisely for that reason, SA anarchists deserve the respect and honesty of Lucien van der Walt.

AndrewF

6 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

lucien_lies_too

However, I also believe that individuals can abuse anonymity and I don't think that Schmidt's long-time friend and co-author, who shares a deep personal, professional, and ideological relationship, should enter these discussions disingenuously to debate Schmidt's critics.

I don't think he was being disingenuous as unlike your account the RBW one has been used for a long period of time in a fairly transparent manner that does not suggest the owner is trying to hide their identity from comrades. It wasn't created simply to comment on this particular discussion. It's obvious because it was never, I'd imagine, expected to be fully anonymous. But I'm guessing as to intent here, part of the problem with these sorts of discussions is that people are very prone to assuming either the best or worst of intentions and then continuing as if that was established fact rather than their supposition.

I do think anyone complaining that the identity of RBW is not clear should consider whether their own identity is clear from their handle and how they would feel about their full name being posted here in connection with accusations of clandestine fascism. Would you want your boss goggling your name and reading this thread as a result?

I'm limited in what I can say but there is a certain impatience to some of the demands for public statements. I understand ZACF will be releasing one soon and its not at all unreasonable that this might take some time for an organisation that in the same period has faced some difficult security issues for its members. It would I suspect take a while to review what must be about 100,000 words of accusation and defence, often quite vague and in some cases referencing events from a decade ago. As I understand things this is prior to when most of their current membership joined, indeed many may have never met Schmidt at all. Agreeing any sort of response in depth is going to require discovery, internal education & explanation, drafting, discussion and redrafting prior to release. That takes time.

I'd very much have preferred if ZACF had been informed of this months before the accusation went public. In that case they would have had the time to prepare such a report for the moment the accusation went public but as that's not the way things were done the responsibility for the time required to prepare a response is not theirs alone.

Again my point of view is that there needs to be a movement investigation and determination based not only on such public responses but also on getting access to the information that the various parties have not released publicly (perhaps with good reason). We need a process that will come to a conclusion and recommend concrete actions that we can then expect the various elements of the movement to adhere to.

akai

6 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Andrew, to put it mildly, l don't buy it. Yes, anonymity is important - but it should not be abused. ln this case, it does not seem that LvDW is too afraid to be known on the internet. He lists his writings under his own name, the place that he works, he has his photos, you can see content on his FB page. ln other words, normally he conducts himself very openly as an anarchist.

Now anybody who conducts themself openly normally cannot say they are afraid of some police or work repression and that's why they do some things with another name. They might be afraid of something else, but that's another story.

My personal opinion is that this behaviour has been creepy, as well as the whole affair.

subcomandante_juan

6 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Andrew, you leveled accusations at myself and others, was given a polite response, and you didn't answer the questions asked of you, which are quite fair to ask.

Also, you just said:

I don't think he was being disingenuous as unlike your account the RBW one has been used for a long period of time in a fairly transparent manner that does not suggest the owner is trying to hide their identity from comrades.

Can you point to something? Here's Red.Black.Writings engaging Libcom readers on August 29, 2013: (https://libcom.org/library/rethinking-welfare-radical-critique).

Red.Black.Writings: "I don't think the author has any illusions that these demands can be realized under capitalism, or in social democracy. Definitely not in South Africa's crisis-ridden semi[-industrial capitalism, in today's period. He's pretty clear on this here ...."

This post was made before the Schmidt scandal, regarding his own publicly authored article. Hiding from his boss? The police state? And what about the rest of the info, posted at Pastebin?

If you look through the evidence on Schmidt, it's not actually that complicated. The memo is racist. His "defense" explanation of it is pathetic. His lying about his racist Lebensrune tattoo, posted in photos online, is insulting. His incitement to public displays of white supremacy at the World Cup to (other) white supremacists on Stormfront is beyond comprehension. What else do you need?

akai

6 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Well, there are always alternative explanations. For example, that Luce has a real, real deep fan. l mean like psycho stuff. Or perhaps he has multiple personalities. Or the other possibility is that he is writing reviews of his own work.

l am open minded. All is possible. :-)

lucien_lies_too

6 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

AndrewF

Again my point of view is that there needs to be a movement investigation and determination based not only on such public responses but also on getting access to the information that the various parties have not released publicly (perhaps with good reason). We need a process that will come to a conclusion and recommend concrete actions that we can then expect the various elements of the movement to adhere to.

This does not sound like the anarchism I know, if it were even remotely possible. There is no need for special inquiry into this case, let alone some kind of committee/tribunal "that will come to a conclusion and recommend concrete actions that we can then expect the various elements of the movement to adhere to." I won't be taking orders about this, sorry to disappoint.

The facts are straightforward, as some users in this thread have pointed out, and defenses of Schmidt have curiously evaded confronting them directly. In some cases, these lackluster attempts to recover Schmidt's reputation (or perhaps the authors' own in connection with him) raise the bar of evidence so high that nothing short of a video confession by Schmidt would prove he should be kicked out of anarchist orgs. And even then it would not be enough, there would still be campaigns to help publish Global Fire, and perhaps more stories about spies and amnesia.

Start digging in the SF forums for Karelianblue, and you'll see there's still plenty of vile, wretched, racist, homophobic, sexist filth to corroborate the main case against Schmidt. These are posts that apparently Schmidt finds no reason to remove, though others have gone *poof*. They can always be explained away as "establishing cred", but activists involved in antifa will lack such blind naiveté.

Those who are defending Schmidt are digging a deep hole for themselves, and dragging their organizations into it. I suspect many have not even read the racist memo, and are getting wrapped up in the word-storm that has accompanied this whole affair. Perhaps I'll take a page out of Schmidt's and just sign with a few words:

Memo? Lebensrune? World Cup?

syndicalist

6 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Let me just say I'm not out to witch hunt LvdW, ZACF or platformism in general. I am, however, interested in hearing the qualified opinions or observations of those who worked with MS during the time periods in question.

That said, I think a very simple thing LvdW and the ZACF could have and should have done
is as follows. On their own, simply say they were reviewing the materials and would, at a time of their own choosing, issue some form of respective comments or statment. Not everyone wants to tag LvdW, the ZACF or platformism as being someone or something negative. The "silent treatment", the undercover and indirect manner of appoach to those who have been patient is what is irksome and basically just makes one wonder.

bastarx

6 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Things that platformists talk about online in 2016.

1) The alleged revolutionary nature of stuff happening in Rojava under the control of an ex-Stalinist gang led by a serial rapist.

2) Why we should stop being mean to an anarcho-fascist and his best friend.

akai

6 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Well, as critical as I am about the Ocalan cult or MS, I am afraid I find statements like those unhelpful. But MS really deserves being taken to task for his racist views, as well as other matters .

Ramalama

6 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I've just been on the AK Press facebook page to re-read the
Aleander Reid Ross/ Joshua Stephens 5-parter. I can't find it,
seems to have been taken down.

Red Marriott

6 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

The Aleander Reid Ross/ Joshua Stephens 5-parter is here; https://medium.com/@rossstephens/about-schmidt-how-a-white-nationalist-seduced-anarchists-around-the-world-chapter-1-1a6fa255b528#.qdwbsvajh

Ramalama

6 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Cheers Red.

akai

6 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

To criticise and support something at the same time.

l actually do think that Anarkismo, as a tendency, should make an investigation and say something and, l appreciate that will take some time. lt is not easy to do this across several organizations using a few different languages.

That said, l see that the term "movement investigation" may be rather confusing. Perhaps some people think that this network is "the" movement, but obviously most anarchists, are not involved. Therefore the sort of hostile or doubtful responses to that idea are quite understandable. l would also say justifiable.

boozemonarchy

6 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Reflecting on this - it is clear that this is a disease of the 'anarcho-celebrity' phenom.

I think that basically all organizations that have been around for any decent amount of time have attracted batshit persons and subsequently had to deal with them (expel and so forth).

The only reason anyone gives a single shit at all is because MS wrote a half-shitty book that everyone freaked out over. Ironically, if his main focus was boring on-the-ground organizing in ZACF and it later came to light that he held some fucked up view - I'm pretty sure the anarcho-sphere would largely view it is an internal ZACF issue. In fact, I'm pretty sure the anarcho-sphere would take little notice at all. Instead - click-bait trash pronouncements of a global seduction of the kingdom of anarchy by this clown go viral, are talked about, and actually taken seriously - because he wrote a book.

Why, as a movement, do we value book publications so dearly? We don't seem to hold that particular contribution, which I think is important, in a healthy and reasonable perspective. Are we thrashing around in a pit of irrelevance - grasping on to whatever flotsam happens by?

BorisJobson

6 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

a disease of the 'anarcho-celebrity' phenom.

A symptom of this disease is something I have already pointed out here:

http://libcom.org/forums/news/feesmustfall-student-protests-south-africa-23102015#comment-568972

Namely, that anarcho-lefties seem to be more interested in anarcho-celebs (in this case, an uninteresting elitist who has never even written anything that has been of use to any social movement against this world) than in the actual class struggle. A thread about 1 boring South African now has 841 comments about it, whereas the thread about a significant part of the class struggle in South Africa, involving tens of thousands of individuals, has only 27 comments. Indicative of how most self-styled anarcho-communists have seriously lost their way. Indicative of how most anarchos are more interested in the gossipy intrigues of their narrow scene than in contributing to the subversion of this society. Indicative of how many anarchos find kicking up a celebrity storm in a shattered teacup a worthwhile pastime. Indicative of how most anarchos are not only unable to see the wood for the trees, but cannot even see these trees for a particular close-up view of a specific celebrity leaf.

ocelot

6 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

lucien_lies_too

And even then it would not be enough, there would still be campaigns to help publish Global Fire,

Question - is it your intention that Global Fire should not be published?

ocelot

6 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

akai

By the way, l recommend Jose's comment on that anarkismo thread. Apparently he has just disclosed that the anarkismo people also noticed a problem with MS's thought a while back. Too bad they just didn't say that a few months ago.

For the record I was one of the people who argued for us not publishing one of the two articles MS submitted that we refused to publish (even though I am not formally a member of the editorial board, being primarily tech support). And for the record the issue in question were islamophobic views, of a kind that have been expressed by a number of contributors here on libcom in various threads (eg CharlieHebdo) without incurring the libcom ban hammer or accusations of closet fascism. I have no doubt that Maryam Namazie, for e.g., would have no problem with the article we banned, as it contained similar allegations (e.g. Islam being the source of FGM) that she routinely puts forward.

And for the record, anyone can submit an article to anarkismo.net for publication, the role of editorial committee is to review the article to see if it meets certain minimum quality standards (legible, not mental or factually wrong in a way obvious to anyone with only general outside knowledge), and does not violate certain political red lines. Other than that, there is nothing that makes the appearance of an article by MS, Warren Price, Akai, Joseph Kay, the EZLN, the PKK, Krusty the Clown or whoever, an instance of said author being a "collaborator" of the Anarkismo editorial committee or network of affiliated organisations.

As has been said, repeatedly, from the outset, the order of statements will follow in a fairly obvious fashion - at least as far as organisations goes - once the ARR/MS exchanges are complete (as they now appear to be - although I note from the above that yet another ARR piece has appeared over the holidays for me to wade through) we can expect statements from ZACF and the Institute for Anarchist Theory and History (of which MS is still a member, albeit currently suspended while this matter is looked into), and then, probably last, the Anarkismo network.

In relation to the length of time it will take to organise a statement that represents the position of the Anarkismo network, comrade Johnny's comment on the Wayne Price response thread is worth repeating here:

about the time we'll take to say something
.
by Johnny - anarkismo editorial collective Tue Jan 05, 2016 08:39
.
I speak here as individual, this is not a collective statement. I will not comment on the thread...
I would only make this remark. Anarkismo is a network of 20 organisations. among these 20 organisations, only 7 are english-speaking orgs. All material published in accusation or defense of schmidt has been in english, and that's a lot of text. you understand now the problem we actually face if we want, and we will, to maintain the democratic framework we have inside the network.
that's all
greetings
johnny

NB the same problem applies also to the IATH, as their primary languages are Spanish and Portuguese.

lucien_lies_too

6 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

ocelot

lucien_lies_too

And even then it would not be enough, there would still be campaigns to help publish Global Fire,

Question - is it your intention that Global Fire should not be published?

I don't care or have strong opinions about Black Flame's contents, which I skimmed through years ago and have on the shelf for reference. I am likely to take a much more critical read if I ever pick it up again.

Let's not talk about "my intention" as if I'm the one ruining the reputation of the authors of Black Flame and the (still upcoming?) Global Fire, or have any say over its publication. Schmidt, at least, has sunk himself, and Lucien is following hand-in-hand with covert defenses of him under an alias. All I did was compile a quick list of publicly-available and already-Google-indexed information and make it accessible in this thread, to reveal Lucien's deception and keep the conversation honest.

There is no rational defense of Schmidt when even a small part of the evidence is taken into account. Lucien has thrown his hat in the ring as a supporter of Schmidt under the handle RedBlackWritings. Maybe the exposure will allow Lucien to clear his head, put pen to paper, and finally give his comrades a public response to the Schmidt affair. If he does, I assume he will be a staunch supporter of Schmidt, but one never knows. He will have to answer for the RedBlackWritings posts, perhaps apologizing or disavowing their content as a lapse in judgment, before he can be taken seriously.

Schmidt's behavior long precedes Black Flame, and he has used at least part of the proceeds from its sales to purchase and promote fascist memorabilia/propaganda while also inciting white nationalists to violence in one of the most racially-divided countries in the world. It's all in the Stormfront posts if you care to look.

I believe in true freedom of speech and expression, even the publishing of vile filth that I despise. However, I don't think any anarchist or left press can carry work authored or co-authored by Schmidt (and perhaps Lucien) with a clean conscience. The Internet exists, it's not as if the text will never see the light of day if the authors want it to.

Which brings me to the quote you take out of context... I was saying that no matter what evidence there is that connects Schmidt to white nationalism and abhorrent ideas and culture, there seems to be a strange phenomenon where his work "must be printed, sold, and disseminated for its scholastic value!" AK Press isn't falling for it, to their credit.

ocelot

6 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

So you think that left or anarchist publishers should not publish Global Fire, (as far as I can see). Good to know.

lucien_lies_too

6 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

ocelot

So you think that left or anarchist publishers should not publish Global Fire, (as far as I can see). Good to know.

I don't know what kind of case you're trying to build. That is for the publishers themselves to decide. Whether or not it's moral or the correct decision is another matter.

S. Artesian

6 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

lucien_lies_too

ocelot

So you think that left or anarchist publishers should not publish Global Fire, (as far as I can see). Good to know.

I don't know what kind of case you're trying to build. That is for the publishers themselves to decide. Whether or not it's moral or the correct decision is another matter.

That's Ocelot's MO: take an issue of criticism based on the information at hand it and obscure the practical content by appealing to grand principle-- i.e. Schmidt's own writings expose him as a racist becomes in Ocelot's world "Don't you think that a person has the right to defend himself from accusations?"

I hope Ocelot would deal with certain concrete matters, but I'm not optimistic. He made his one sally "denouncing" my "blanket" disgust with pro-Boerism, and then went silent when the discussion delved into the class origins, functions, and ideology of the Volk.

radicalgraffiti

6 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

ocelot

So you think that left or anarchist publishers should not publish Global Fire, (as far as I can see). Good to know.

so are you saying you think anarchist/leftist publishers should publish a book by a know racist with fascist sympathies and a history of promoting racism, including trying to get an anarchist organisation to adopt explicitly racist politics?

akai

6 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

As l have said before here, l think Anarkismo should publish it's stance and l do appreciate it will take a lot of time to decide. lt's not the same as a single person writing their opinions on the internet and we have to respect at leastt that, just as we have to respect that all have the right to address accusations made against them.

Personally, l really was not impressed by MS's self-defence. And as for things such as the racist memo, the only thing that should have been published was an apology. One of the commentors here was right - we get kooks in the movement here and there all the time. lt can really happen to anybody, to any tendency or organization. People evolve, change their opinions, etc. The reason this grabbed so much attention was that people made this guy a celebrity and put too much focus on him. We are living in a situation where some parts of anarchism put just too much focus on "expertise", the "correct line" etc. The racist memo is also full of this sickness.

That said, l wrote my opinions on it because for me it is not acceptable at all that people stay quiet. l think we have to say clearly, this is not related to anarchism that we want to see. Otherwise we are just bullshit enablers. Unfortunately, people from time to time meet stuff that they shouldn't in our movements - sexual harrassment, ageism, homophobia, xenophobia, racism, nationalism... This really is a big negative advertisement, and it is worse when people bullshit. Since l personally met a lot of crap from authoritative men in the movement in my life - sexual harrassment, sexism, academic bigotry, l never have appreciated the charming manipulative types who think they are above any criticism and can worm their way out of anything with bullshit. l talk about this now because this is a more generalized problem than MS - it's a problem of all the people who tend to enable people like this. And the problem of how nationalist and fascist ideological contamination is dealt with is also a bigger problem than MS. Since we see that some organizations refuse to even discuss this.

Luckily, there are plenty of people in our movements that also will talk things out and take a firmer stand. These ones will provide models that will be appreciated by those who have been so unfortunate to have met any of the aforementioned unacceptable crap.

Yes, l believe people have the right to publish what they want. Even if it is bad crap. Other people will have the right to criticize it. lf the Anarkismo folks feel a need to release Part 2 of this book, they can surely pool some money and publish it, on paper or on the lnternet. But they should be aware that not everybody wants to see a racist again elevated to the ranks of anarchisms main spokesman. A lot of people think he should just fuck off. And these stupid comments about "synthesist anarchists" or anti-Platformists acting up for ideological reasons are gonna look even more like bullshit.

The part about "synthesist anarchists", l don't know if it was on Libcom or not, but in ARR's last piece it was brough to my attention that MS was defending some organization, which had a number of problems some comrades and other people pointed out. l had commented on it too. But MS's argument was more or less than l must be bothered by that org because l (and the comrades) were "synthesist anarchists". What complete bullshit. The same sort of arguments were made about the MS situation - defending MS by pidgeon-holing the critics into some "politically incorrect" anarchist option. That's really pathetic.

Sorry, l am grumpy today and this stuff just pissed me off.

ocelot

6 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

S. Artesian

He made his one sally "denouncing" my "blanket" disgust with pro-Boerism, and then went silent when the discussion delved into the class origins, functions, and ideology of the Volk.

No I went silent because I had work to do, as the industry I work in gets busy immediately before the xmas change freeze and then I had family matters to attend to. I could go back and apply you paralogic to the case of Northern prods or Israeli Jews to demostrate the obvious problems of your conflation of ethno-linguistic-cultural groups with ideologico-political identitties, but I would hope the workings would be obvious to any halfway capable thinker, and given the converrsation has moved on, it seemed pointless to go back just for the purposes of showing where your essentialising politics intersects with the very reactionary identitarian ideologies you claim to oppose, when it's clearly a derail from the main purposes of the thread.

But the question of just process is not a derail, imo, it is fundamental to anyone who's been around long enough to see how much more energy the left and anarchist milieus put into a scandal than in actual political work. Like I say, anyone who thinks such "fastidiousness" over handling serious accusations is misplaced needs to go back and read the COINTELPRO papers again to see how the intelligence services make use of movement weaknesses for witchhunts (and the occassional bookburning).

ocelot

6 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

radicalgraffiti

ocelot

So you think that left or anarchist publishers should not publish Global Fire, (as far as I can see). Good to know.

so are you saying you think anarchist/leftist publishers should publish a book by a know racist with fascist sympathies and a history of promoting racism, including trying to get an anarchist organisation to adopt explicitly racist politics?

Many of the books about anarchist history are by people who are not anarchists. Putting aside the matter of payment for a moment, the decision to publish a work on anarchist history depends on the content of the text itself, Once the publishers have reviewed the text and made sure it doesn't promote hateful views contrary to their politics (racism, etc) - as AK Press did with Black Flame, (obviously successfully given that ARR/JS couldn't find anything to point to there), then they have to judge whether it's a useful addition to the bookshelf. And whether they can sell enough to recoup the costs of printing and distributing it, ovs.

I haven't seen the draft personally, but those who have that I've talked to have said - as syndicalist did earlier on this thread - that it's a good mass of anarchist movement history, with especial emphasis on geographical regions and areas outside of the traditional eurocentric focus of what currently exists in published form (at least in English). If they are correct (and I have no reason to doubt the various different comrades assessment) then yes, I am in favour of it being published. And given that it is most likely to be published by left or anarchist publishers, then yes I am in favour of one of them doing so.

I can see a problem with the question of royalties however. I think it may be reasonable that movement publishers wouldn't want to see money from the publication of the book going to fund MS, if they thought he was actively promoting racist politics on the side. If so there may be a case to be made for making the foregoing of royalties (I'm not sure how much sacrifice that really is, tbh, I'm not aware of anyone who ever made a living writing books on anarchist history, but I may be naive on that score) as a precondition for publishing.

In relation to Akai's point about MS using the publication as a platform to present himself as some kind of international spokesperson for anarchism (of whatever variety), I wasn't really aware that MS had done that in any region, Maybe I'm being parochial, but I don't recall MS headlining meetings at the London bookfair or any other nearby movement platforms. Maybe things are different in the US, In terms of his own status, the only organisation that Schmidt is currently actually a member of (currently suspended) is the ITHA. So in the immediate term their decision whether to back him or sack him, so to speak, will have the most immediate impact on his ability to claim being part of some contemporary anarchist project. After that, obviously the positions taken by ZACF and, eventually, the Anarkismo network, will also impact his claims to status beyond being a researcher and a writer. I've no doubt Peter Marshall's book has sold far more than BF or any other contemporary book on the history of the anarchist movement, but that doesn't make him the spokesman for anarchism, last I checked.

S. Artesian

6 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

ocelot

S. Artesian

He made his one sally "denouncing" my "blanket" disgust with pro-Boerism, and then went silent when the discussion delved into the class origins, functions, and ideology of the Volk.

but I would hope the workings would be obvious to any halfway capable thinker, and given the converrsation has moved on, it seemed pointless to go back just for the purposes of showing where your essentialising politics intersects with the very reactionary identitarian ideologies you claim to oppose, when it's clearly a derail from the main purposes of the thread.

Except "no halfway capable thinker" took up your claim "to demostrate the obvious problems of your conflation of ethno-linguistic-cultural groups with ideologico-political identitties," Lucien v. RedBlack whatever took a shot, but he couldn't even distinguish me from you, and slipped back into silence.

The discussion did establishe, it appears to me, a consensus on the role of Boer ideology, the bullshit that MS was flogging on the relations between black Africans and the Boer-Afrikaaners, and the dishonesty with which MS tried to reshape the history of those relations.

And it isn't a derail. MS's distortion of history, social role, and class relations is a fundamental issue. I know you don't think so, but that's your weakness. Not the discussion's.

But the question of just process is not a derail, imo, it is fundamental to anyone who's been around long enough to see how much more energy the left and anarchist milieus put into a scandal than in actual political work. Like I say, anyone who thinks such "fastidiousness" over handling serious accusations is misplaced needs to go back and read the COINTELPRO papers again to see how the intelligence services make use of movement weaknesses for witchhunts (and the occassional bookburning).

Oh, I get it. Those who examine Schmidt's own writings and draw conclusions based on his writings, and on the holes in his explanations are really participating in an FBI witch-hunt, complete with occasional book burning? That's a real astute observation.

Nice smear attempt that. WTF? Schmidt appears on Stormfront urging racist action; writes racists memos; bemoans the fate of the "anti-imperialist" Boers-- but nobody's supposed to draw conclusions, because what? That's all "false flag" planted by the FBI? And YOU talk about evidence? What evidence do you have that any of the accusations against MS have been planted, manipulated, constructed by intelligence agencies? What evidence do you have that those who, based on MS's own writings, regard him as a white supremacist are conducting a witch hunt or advocate the burning of books?

And BTW, MS has produced his defense. I've read it. It's lame.

Red Marriott

6 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

ocelot

anyone who thinks such "fastidiousness" over handling serious accusations is misplaced needs to go back and read the COINTELPRO papers again to see how the intelligence services make use of movement weaknesses for witchhunts (and the occassional bookburning).

Things like this only discredit the defence of MS even more; as artesian says above, this is nothing like COINTELPRO - and it's an insult to the victims of COINTELPRO to have it misused in such an opportunist way. Cointelpro was proven to have been state infiltrators spreading misinformation to ferment murderous division between political groups. Where's the comparison with that here? No one afaik - except perhaps MS with his 'jokey' pic of him with a table full of guns and a caption threatening a "whipping" to AK & co - has shown any evidence of that kind of danger.

S. Artesian

6 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Me? I can't wait for the blurb on the back of MS's next book, no matter who publishes it.

MS has participated in anarchist actions for years in South Africa, and frequently appeared on Stormfront as a white supremacist. He is well known for his previous writings on race and class in South Africa, the prospects for an enlightened homelands policy, and the heroic struggle of the
Boer Volk against British imperialism. He sports some swell tattoos. He is proud to say that he dates women of various colors.

akai

6 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Good one.

Yes, the COlNTELPRO point is bad. This is a problem of one person's doing and l don't believe any criticisms of MS came out of any desire to make the movement weaker or fight amongst itself. ln case people haven't noticed, some people think that people with shady racist politics make things weaker, not those who speak out against it.

Of course there are those who might believe that what "the movement" needs most now is a "good book" which talks about anarchism outside of the typical geography. As an internationalist, l am all for. But there are many different assessments on both Black Flame and Schmidts abilities as a history. For me, Schmidt is more of a myth-making than historian. l won't go through BF now, but it is enough for me to see this crazy Anarkismo article from last year about the neo-makhovist movement in Ukraine to know that he is quite comfortable making things up that have no connection with reality or to put labels on things he knows nothing about. When l read BF, l had tons on notes in the margins on factual mistakes and things like this. (Too bad l gave that copy away .. but lots of others have pointed these things out as well.)

Since l cannot really get into BF just now (would have to re-read), but can comment on his Anarkismo piece (which l commented on there recently), l will give examples:

1. MS puts ideological labels on people and organizations that don't correspond to reality and uses them as part of his argumentation

So, in that article, he calls the lWA a synthesist organization, although it's stated goal is libertarian communism, he calls people from KRAS synthesist, he calls me synthesist.

2. When commmenting on the history of an organization, he is unable to use any reliable references in the language of the organization, that is, he cannot read their publications, web pages, internet forums where the members write. Although a criticism of that organization he responded to did use quotes and facts which come from the organization more directly. ln other words, his expert knowledge probably comes from meeting one guy once and reading a few texts in English (as opposed to spending a few decades in the same movement talking to those people).

3. MS writes completely illogical stuff. For example, in his article, he writes (about an organization which in practice did not even exist at the time of writing that)

Revolutionary Confederation of Anarcho-Syndicalists – “N.I. Makhno” (RKAS), which was founded in 1994 and had attained 2,000 members by the year 2000

They never achieved a membership level of 2000 members. This level of membership (or higher as Schmidt later claims) has been achieved only by a few organizations like CNT of Spain, SAC, probably CNT-SO of France. (l don't put CGT of Spain here because it is a different category). Anybody can compare these things and logically see how that is not possible.

The neo-Makhnovist RKAS continued to grow, though its organisational discipline horrified synthesist anarchists such as those from the declining anarcho-syndicalist International Workers’ Association (IWA)

So MS claims that it attained 2000 members in 2000 AND continued to grow. Nota bene, the organization was non-functioning at the time of writing. There was an interview written 5 months before MS's article on Anarkismo, published in English and even referred to at the end of the MS article:

As far as RKAS n.a. Makhno (Revolutionary Confederation of Anarcho-Syndicalists named after Makhno) is concerned, it does not exist anymore in the quality you have known it until now. Officially but tacitly RKAS was disbanded and its nucleus made the switch to illegal operation.

https://linksunten.indymedia.org/de/node/119908

However, members of RKAS that l know have said that it was not disbanded at all, there was no organizational decision as such and that the information given in this interview is not correct. So, there is even a problem with this as somebody was giving an interview and saying something incorrect and not in line with the organization.

What both l was told and was written more than once by members of RKAS on forums was that the organizations was in bad organizational state, could not manage to meet, etc. This of course would make more sense from both the point of view of the situation in Ukraine and the real (not imagined or mythological) size of the organization.

Further, MS takes one of his shots at the lWA he doesn't like claiming it is declining. The membership of lWA increased after 2010, picking up new affiliations and most of its member Sections (with the exception of maybe 3-4) had growth. Maybe it is all too modest for MS, but at the time of writing, it was the wrong adjective.

What is illogical in all this is how MS claims this was an organization of thousands, but by 2014, this organization which was training kids for combat suddenly disappeared. By contrast, other Ukrainian organizations who have more modest size 100-200 people, were quite visible during protests etc. (No, it was not that it was impossible to be present on the streets.)

4. There are a number of other factual errors, claiming SKT was in KRAS, claiming that SAC supported it financially to split from KRAS, etcl etcl

To sum up, what l see are a lot of factual errors and biased comments which serve to exaggerate the importance of tendencies MS supports and take shots at ones it dislikes.

Now, people who defend MS, tend to say the reason is because his books are great, etc. - but is he a good historian? With so many errors in one simple article, one can see that he didn't fact check that article, that he put info with no basis at all . (A list of the errors is in my comment.)

OK, l think it is fair that anarchists who write stuff sometimes have bad info. Happens - l am sure it has happened to me more than once. Also, writings do reflect biases. But one would hope that people who are "professionals" would have some rigeur.

Elsewhere on Libcom other people have pointed out that there were lots of mistakes with BF and there were criticisms of the treatment of people such as Connolly...

All of this makes one wonder if Black Flame is seen as a "great book" more because it fits the narrative that some people want to ascribe to anarchism.

Sorry for the digression on the Ukraine article, but l read more much more recently than BF and could recall it more easily.

Mr. Jolly

6 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

ocelot

I have no doubt that Maryam Namazie, for e.g., would have no problem with the article we banned, as it contained similar allegations (e.g. Islam being the source of FGM) that she routinely puts forward.

Islam writ large is not the sole source of FGM/female genital cutting, but it is practiced in certain Islamic cultural groups/schools of thought and not because it's necessarily something syncretic absorbed by the surround cultures wherever Islam settled. Southeast Asia is a good example, female genital cutting just didn't exist until islam expanded into the region.

Don't know the Namazie article which you refer to, if she said that FGM is solely linked to Islamic practice then she is quite wrong, but I do hear her regularly saying that it is a site of FGM/FGC she is quite correct.

But to say that that islam is not a major source or FGM/FGC and does not inform this practice is also quite clearly wrong as well.

So what was anarkismos and your problem with Namazie here? And why do you bring it up in light of MS accusations? Trying to shoehorn an accusation of Islamophobia at certain posters on here in a way to tar a number of us on here as closet racists. Dear me.

Sorry for derail.

ocelot

6 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Mr. Jolly

[re FGM]
Sorry for derail.

Yeah, it is a bit of a derail, so I'll be brief [edit: fail]. The article from 12 April last year that we binned was entitled "Menace in Europe - Lessons on unassimilated fascist Islam in Europe", the first part of the title being taken from a 2006 book by right-wing US journo/writer/FP hack Claire Berlinski. There were multiple issues with the article, not least that it was poorly written, meandering and without any obvious conclusion or real point, other than to quote (approvingly) snippets from Berlinksi's book alongside pointless personal anecdotes, ill-informed speculations on the threat of the Islamic "cuckoo" in the European nest and the inevitable "some of my best mates are muslamics" disclaimers. In the end, the muddled nature of the writing and lack or any clear point made it necessary for those of us vehemently opposed to it being published to pick out an exemplar point that would make spiking it a no-brainer, and in the end I picked this phrase from Berlinksi that MS quoted approvingly:

"[Fortuyn] deplored forced marriages, honour killings, and female genital mutilation, all of which had been brought to the Netherlands by Muslim immigrants and by no other kind of immigrant." "

The "white-washing" of Fortuyn as maligned liberal was unacceptable in itself, but the assertion that no other kind of immigrant brought the three issues of forced marriage, honour killings and FGM to the Netherlands was and is a falsehood, and a racist one at that. Honour killings occur across the religious spectrum in MENA, Central and South Asian societies (my first introduction to izzat/"honour" crimes was when someone tried to petrol bomb my next door neighbours, a Sikh family, over an arranged marriage breakdown). But on the specific case of FGM, my Chilean comrade pointed out that he knew for a fact that there were Embera-Chamís (Colombia/Panama indigenous group) in the Netherlands, and they are afflicted by this vile practice. And indeed FGM is known in various indigenous groups in Central and South America that have no exposure to Islam.

That may seem an obsessive attention to detail, but the point here is this. Your comment started by saying that "Islam writ large is not the sole source of FGM*, but..." and then go on to assert that Islam was the principal vector through which FGM was introduced to Southeast Asia (I don't know whether that's true or not), which looks to me like you're defending the Islam/FGM association, nonetheless. Which is to say, I'm sure it comes as no surprise to you, given our past exchanges, that I think your politics on Islam and islamophobia are a bit shit - not quite as shit as the ones in the Berlinski quotes in the MS article we spiked, but that's a matter of degree, rather than kind - but that in itself does not lead me to suspect you of being a closet nazi or otherwise a racist. Similarly the islamophobic crap in MS's "Menace in Europe" piece was no indication of the kind of racist crap that appears in the 2008 memo. I've certainly seen anarchists with otherwise perfectly decent anti-racist politics go all weird once Islam enters the conversation.
----
* incidentally how is cutting not mutilation? I fail to see the political usefulness of the FGM/FGC distinction

ocelot

6 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

lucien_lies_too

ocelot

So you think that left or anarchist publishers should not publish Global Fire, (as far as I can see). Good to know.

I don't know what kind of case you're trying to build. That is for the publishers themselves to decide. Whether or not it's moral or the correct decision is another matter.

It's a matter on which you have expressed your opinion that it is not moral and not correct for anarchist or left publishers to publish it. Presumably you also think that this should be the opinion other anarchists (if you consider yourself one) and right-thinking people, no?

Seems a bit odd to be getting coy at this stage.

ocelot

6 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

S. Artesian

Me? I can't wait for the blurb on the back of MS's next book, no matter who publishes it.

MS has participated in anarchist actions for years in South Africa, and frequently appeared on Stormfront as a white supremacist. He is well known for his previous writings on race and class in South Africa, the prospects for an enlightened homelands policy, and the heroic struggle of the
Boer Volk against British imperialism. He sports some swell tattoos. He is proud to say that he dates women of various colors.

Sarcasm is the lowest form of wit, but it frequently appears as the zenith of your contributions SA.

From this can I take it that you are content that Black Flame has been withdrawn from publication on the basis that you think one of it's authors is an unacceptable person?

We get occasional requests here from republican prisoners to have books on anarchist history and politics sent in. At present we would not be able to include BF in the set of books because fresh copies (in English) are no longer available. I think this is a bad outcome, but I'm interested in whether you think it's a good outcome or not?

S. Artesian

6 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

"Sarcasm is the lowest form of wit, but it frequently appears as the zenith of your contributions SA," said Ocelot, sarcastically, attempting thereby to demonstrate the veracity of his own, and only his own, thesis.

But putting the lowest wit from the lowest wit to one side......

From this can I take it that you are content that Black Flame has been withdrawn from publication on the basis that you think one of it's authors is an unacceptable person?

Talk about derails, wtf does this have to do with the charge that those criticizing MS are participating in COINTELPRO actions, witch hunts, book burnings?

In a word: nothing. It's yet another example of Ocelot's use of misdirection to obscure the concrete issues at hand.

Black Flame has been withdrawn? Who withdrew it? Why? The publishers withdrew it? That's their issue, literally; their property, literally. I never read Black Flame, so I have no opinion on its availability or withdrawal based on its content.

Why did the publisher withdraw it? Because evidence has surfaced that Schmidt is dishonest or pathological or both; is a racist; engages in Volk -mongering?

If those are the reasons, then I'd say the publisher is acting in a prudent manner, withdrawing the book, and is making a sound business decision, based on their obligation to protect the reputation of their company, which after all, is what publishers are often compelled to do.

"Bad outcome"??? Do us a favor..... Deal with the real issue.

The accusations have been presented. Schmidt has responded. His response has been examined. So what are you waiting for, Ocelot?

Schmidt:-- racist or not? Schmidt-- advocate of neo-Nazi type ideology and action or not? Schmidt: radical reactionary or revolutionary anarchist?

Make the call.

ocelot

6 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I'll come back to you later SA, if I can be bothered. There are more interesting posts to reply to first. In passing I have to say I admire your recourse to appealing to the authority of market forces and business prerogatives in this question. But in relation to the question of my own personal opinion of MS as a revolutionary anarchist - I already gave my opinion that the 2008 memo represents not just a racist and elitist viewpoint, but one that openly states that libertarian socialist/communist or anarchist revolution is impossible in SA, so MS is clearly no longer a revolutionary anarchist. There is a common pattern here both from yourself and others on this thread as casting my (and others') objections to mob justice with no regard for fair process, as a defence of MS. I am not here to defend MS, I am here to attack all those people in extreme bad faith (ressentiment) who started by saying that the gravity of the allegations invalidated any right to the accused to defend themselves (as you did) and continually assert that the end justifies the means and that anyone who says different is an MS apologist. To be hipster about it, I censored MS's writings before it was cool, remember?

As for the rest, maybe later, but now onto something more important.

Mr. Jolly

6 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

ocelot

That may seem an obsessive attention to detail, but the point here is this. Your comment started by saying that "Islam writ large is not the sole source of FGM*, but..." and then go on to assert that Islam was the principal vector through which FGM was introduced to Southeast Asia (I don't know whether that's true or not), which looks to me like you're defending the Islam/FGM association, nonetheless.

I mentioned SE Asia because there is a clear example of a movement of a peoples into an area that did not absorb FGM/FGC from its surrounding culture the picture is much more confused in say Africa. The vast majority of say malay muslims who undergo the procedure see it as a religious ritual like male circumcision, although a lot more private. Edicts/fatwas come and go about whether it should be seen as permissible or good, or frowned upon depending on difference of opinion within different groups and places.
And no I don't think FGM worldwide was invented by muslims, again you are being rather myopic in what I was trying to say. It similar to male circumcision seems to have sprung up in certain times and unconnected places and cultures.
In some places there is a clear connection between being a muslim and whether you will go through FGM/FGC and others clearly not. Islam is not monolithic.

ocelot

* incidentally how is cutting not mutilation? I fail to see the political usefulness of the FGM/FGC distinction

Because for example, when there are Islamic idicts/fatwas put in place they tend to be about FGM at its least vile, is not the removal of the clitoris or infubulation, but a range of practices from the removal of the clitoral hood to say amongst Thai and Malay groups where it just the pricking or slight cutting of the clitoral hood. Which if done correctly has absolutely no impact on a woman sexual pleasure/health, its premise is not to remove a woman's sexual pleasure, and is alot less invasive than say male circumcision. Certainly I wouldn't recommend it for anyone to a have to go through any of these procedures, but to lump everything under FGM westerners see it all as one absolutely horrendous procedure, rather than a whole range of procedures some quite benign.

Im not even going to respond to the accusations of islamophobia. :\

ocelot

6 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

akai

Of course there are those who might believe that what "the movement" needs most now is a "good book" which talks about anarchism outside of the typical geography. As an internationalist, l am all for. But there are many different assessments on both Black Flame and Schmidts abilities as a history. [...] When l read BF, l had tons on notes in the margins on factual mistakes and things like this. (Too bad l gave that copy away .. but lots of others have pointed these things out as well.)

Well I think the movement needs many other things outside of the development of historical work and theory in isolation from real engagement in social work directed at social insertion. But I do think the intellectual and theoretical development dimension is also a significant area for development. In that area what the movement needs is more and better books, not a single "good book".

One of the advantages of books like Black Flame and Global Fire is that precisely they prompt people to make notes in the margins, go and check sources quoted for narratives they find questionable, and then go on to find other additional sources that shed more light on the matter. To that extent the worth of a history text is not how near it is to being "right" in a final sense, but the degree to which it is close enough or provoking enough to prompt others to review and revise it's propositions and then write the next generation of better books.

The problem with traditional "great beards of history" model of anarchist history like Nettlau's Short History or Marshall's heavily eurocentric and beard-centric tome (poor old Emma G being roped in as token non-beard again) is that there's no incentive to dig into the archives to find the less "great thinker"-centred data of membership dues records, meeting minutes, strike reports, etc, etc, that can actually build up a more movement-oriented history. BF/GF is a much better starting place for that work, even with it's obvious faults - and even, to the extent that those faults provoke people to go and rewrite the bits of that version of history they find obviously wrong and know more about, that in itself is productive.

I remember expressing my frustration to one of the ZACF comrades at St. Imier in 2012 that LvdW & MS had chosen to release the less interesting (imo) political interpretative framework of BF first, before GF. He pointed out, reasonably I suppose, that to select the mass of data to look at in the more factual historical section, you first need to define your methodology, in terms of what is to be included and excluded as events to be looked at. He said, at that time, that the basic draft of GF was mostly finished, but had been (and has been since) subject to the long delays necessary for circulating amongst the volunteers in different countries prepared to do the fact checking of references, etc. And the inevitable back and forth that results.

Which brings us on to your question about MS's reliability as a historian. I think we need to distinguish between the quality of what he writes individually and sends out in a "publish and be damned" way, and the result of the more collective process of deliberation, not just between LvdW and MS, but also with the various reviewers and fact checkers who worked on the draft of BF and have been working on the draft of GF up until now. My recollection is that the ZACF comrade intimated that it was partly a result of the negative feedback to the failures of fact-checking in BF that was contributing to the greater effort on GF. All of which to say, I don't think the quality of MS puts out when he's free to write whatever the hell he likes (and we are equally free not to publish, if it's shite), and the results of the more collective process that has been going on around the draft of Global Fire for the last 4-5 years, should be confused.

So, in relation to this:

akai

Now, people who defend MS, tend to say the reason is because his books are great, etc. - but is he a good historian?

I don't really see BF as MS's book, but one he contributed to. And given the greater input of third parties outside of the two listed authors, I don't see GF as "his" book either, I can't say I've ever read any of the books MS has written on his own account.

akai

All of this makes one wonder if Black Flame is seen as a "great book" more because it fits the narrative that some people want to ascribe to anarchism.

It's not a great book - but it's a better book than Nettlau or Marshall, and a better place to start the process of revision, counter-revision, etc that will create a more useful, more global and more movement-focused historiography than the current "great european anarchist beards of history" that still haunts the bookshelves of our general anarchists histories in english sections.

edit: also better not give the copy you have now away, as you might not be able to replace it this time

S. Artesian

6 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

ocelot

I'll come back to you later SA, if I can be bothered. There are more interesting posts to reply to first. In passing I have to say I admire your recourse to appealing to the authority of market forces and business prerogatives in this question. But in relation to the question of my own personal opinion of MS as a revolutionary anarchist - I already gave my opinion that the 2008 memo represents not just a racist and elitist viewpoint, but one that openly states that libertarian socialist/communist or anarchist revolution is impossible in SA, so MS is clearly no longer a revolutionary anarchist. There is a common pattern here both from yourself and others on this thread as casting my (and others') with no regard for fair process, as a defence of MS. I am not here to defend MS, I am here to attack all those people in extreme bad faith (ressentiment) who started by saying that the gravity of the allegations invalidated any right to the accused to defend themselves (as you did) and continually assert that the end justifies the means and that anyone who says different is an MS apologist. To be hipster about it, I censored MS's writings before it was cool, remember?

As for the rest, maybe later, but now onto something more important.

God, you are a pretentious twit. I don't appeal to "the authority of market forces." I asked who and why the book was withdrawn. You didn't answer the original questions, who or why the book was withdrawn.

One appeals to authority when one is trying to support his or her own argument. I suggested that the publisher may make the determination based in part on market forces. That's what publishers do. The publisher might or might not justify the decision based on an appeal to market forces.

Personally, I don't give a rat's ass.

objections to mob justice

Here's the common pattern: you smear those who have read the material and made a determination as engaging in "mob justice" [you forgot "lynch"]. You engage in this deliberate distortion because it allows you to present the issues as some sort of moral divide, where assessment of the actions of Schmidt becomes immaterial and can be ignored because of some meta-commitment to your concept of justice-- which is the apotheosis of liberalism; liberalism being a philosophy of the abstract that capitulates to the world of the concrete.

come back to you later SA, if I can be bothered.

Please don't.

lucien_lies_too

6 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

ocelot

lucien_lies_too

ocelot

So you think that left or anarchist publishers should not publish Global Fire, (as far as I can see). Good to know.

I don't know what kind of case you're trying to build. That is for the publishers themselves to decide. Whether or not it's moral or the correct decision is another matter.

It's a matter on which you have expressed your opinion that it is not moral and not correct for anarchist or left publishers to publish it. Presumably you also think that this should be the opinion other anarchists (if you consider yourself one) and right-thinking people, no?

Seems a bit odd to be getting coy at this stage.

I'm not going to dictate actions to people or organizations. I personally would not disseminate Black Flame unless it were gratis, and with some background on the authors and the Schmidt affair.

If I'm being "coy", it's because I would like to avoid statements that can be twisted into "this is a campaign to block the publishing of Global Fire". The authors themselves are responsible if that's the outcome, though I suspect it will see the light of day.

If we're to talk about publishing Schmidt's works, can you publish the contents (or PDF copies of) the two Schmidt articles that were rejected from Anarkismo.net? Perhaps you can point to copies already out there in a place like http://www.pdf-archive.com?

akai

6 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Ocelot, OK, l take your point about the work being a collaboration, but l don't think it was a strong point of the book that it inspired me to write all over it. l usually like books, don't like to deface them and don't like to get rid of them so fast. :(

l don't think the fact that it was a collaboration rid it from crazy points and really bad examples of bias.

That said, l agree with you that we need to have more books and histories from outside the "great bearded guy approach" ... and which are more global in their range. l have appreciated quite a number of such works over the past years, so it is not exactly like things have not been covered. Some things have yet to be translated.

l just hope some other people will indeed write better things,

S. Artesian

6 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I am here to attack all those people in extreme bad faith (ressentiment) who started by saying that the gravity of the allegations invalidated any right to the accused to defend themselves (as you did) and continually assert that the end justifies the means and that anyone who says different is an MS apologist.

The above from Ocelot is just total bullshit; a deliberate distortion; an overtly dishonest statement.

1. I never stated Schmidt should not be allowed to defend himself. I stated that I reached my conclusions that a) his story about "going underground" as a professional journalist to penetrate Stormfront was baloney based on the response by the editor of the paper b) that his own writings condemned him as a racist, and that he was attempting to propagate the myth of the "oppressed Boer."

2. I never asserted that the ends justifies the means in this instance or any instance. I don't engage in such metaphysical discussions. Ocelot wants that to mean what he wants that to mean, but that doesn't make his representation any less dishonest.

3. I never said that anyone who "says different" is "an MS apologists." Just so happens that one or two in the thread were saying things like MS's racism probably isn't that different from the racism of most white leftists? radicals? anarchists? in SA given the history and environment. Remember that? I said that was being an apologist.

So here's the skinny: Let our great liberal Ocelot produce the posts where I said Schmidt should not be allowed to defend himself. The great liberal asked if I thought everyone has an unconditional right to a defense, "yes or no." and I said that ain't no yes or no question with a yes or no answer. I also pointed out that nobody on this discussion list had anything like state power, or any power to deny MS a defense, making Ocelot's questions not only irrelevant but disingenuous.

Let our great liberal Ocelot provide the posts where I argue the ends justifies the means-- where I even mention ends and means.

Let our great liberal Ocelot produce the posts where I said anyone disagreeing with me is a "Schmidt apologist."

Now we're talking verbatim when you make charges like that, so I'm looking for verbatim citations.

There aren't any. But here's a verbatim for whoever is interested. Ocelot is lying sack of shit.

ocelot

6 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

lucien_lies_too

If we're to talk about publishing Schmidt's works, can you publish the contents (or PDF copies of) the two Schmidt articles that were rejected from Anarkismo.net? Perhaps you can point to copies already out there in a place like http://www.pdf-archive.com?

I was only involved in the discussion over the "Menace in Europe" piece, so I have a copy of that one, but I wasn't involved in the discussion over the other piece, so I haven't seen that one, or have a copy of it. I have passed on the request to release the docs to the Editorial committee, so I imagine that they will be released after the necessary discussion and agreement. Whether they will be released at the same time as the Anarkismo statement (which is in the pipeline) or sooner, I don't know yet.

akai

6 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

"Menace in Europe"? Wow, that sounds promising.

ocelot

6 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Like I said, multiple issues - the title was a bad start.

vanilla.ice.baby

6 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Of course Islamist extremism is not a menace at all.

akai

6 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Neither is xenophobia, war and border politics. Or home born terrorists... But why mention people like Brevik?

Nymphalis Antiopa

6 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

ocelot - you haven't answered this from Red Mariott:

ocelot wrote:

anyone who thinks such "fastidiousness" over handling serious accusations is misplaced needs to go back and read the COINTELPRO papers again to see how the intelligence services make use of movement weaknesses for witchhunts (and the occassional bookburning)

.

Things like this only discredit the defence of MS even more; as artesian says above, this is nothing like COINTELPRO - and it's an insult to the victims of COINTELPRO to have it misused in such an opportunist way. Cointelpro was proven to have been state infiltrators spreading misinformation to ferment murderous division between political groups. Where's the comparison with that here? No one afaik - except perhaps MS with his 'jokey' pic of him with a table full of guns and a caption threatening a "whipping" to AK & co - has shown any evidence of that kind of danger.

And s/he's not the only person to have pointed out your evasive attitude (S.Artesian especially but not only him/her). You come over as having (I'm not sure, since I don't know you) your organisational role to defend that stops you ever thinking about how pathetic you come over in your intellectual arrogance, a role that needs to assert yourself as always certain and fixed, digging your heels in and refusing to backtrack on what are very self-evident false equivalents (comparing with COINTELPRO, etc.). You're not the type to admit any significant mistake. An admission like that would make you feel weak, though in fact it would make you seem more human, more eager to communicate rather than pontificate. Doubtless if you respond to this, it'll be to laugh it off with a sneering joke. Or you could choose to be unpredictable and surprise us.

So - either respond to Red Marriott's points about COINTELPRO or ... well, the rest of us can draw our own conclusions.

S. Artesian

6 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

So - either respond to Red Marriott's points about COINTELPRO or ... well, the rest of us can draw our own conclusions.

Or both....although I think it's quite unlikely that Ocelot will respond. Substantive responses to substantive issues don't seem to be Ocelot's strong suit.

syndicalist

6 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

It will be interesting to see what plays out over the next few years. I'm rapidly coming to the conclusion that we may never fully know the extent of reality and individual fantasy (as nasty as it seems to be). And what was known and when it was known and how things were dealt with by south african comrades. I am tending to think they will circle the wagons on this and maybe say something mild. Who really knows as there seems not to be a desire for them to say peep about things. Which in and of itself a pity.

I'm pretty cynical that buying more time on tribunals that that sort of thing will do anything. Those who believe minor transgressions were made will believe that. Those who think something more full blown will believe that. Some may think that there's something fishy but not willing to say the BF book should never be republished (even if I have significant disagreements with it). I guess I fall into the later category.

Time has a funny way of revealing reality and fiction.

akai

6 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

l know only one reality. Racist and nationalist ideas are not acceptable, but slimy people sometimes find ways to smuggle them into the movement, especially when they come packaged in something similar to left politics or, for anarchists, for autonomy. Over the last almost 30 years l have seen the various attempts to pass this shit in movements in E. Europe. Many people have either been suckered in or have picked up these ideas themselves. Here there was a rather good fight back against this for a while. But in the past 2-3 years there were major setbacks in this field and we see that a lot of shit has also passed on to people in other countries. The biggest example being the spread of the red-brown ideological package. All l can say is that you have a lot of people who are confused and you have a lot of people with bad, superficial knowledge of these trends. But l observe more anarchists who cannot take positions or who sit the fence. And in the whole conversation, it is treated like some isolated incident and people are not looking for the pattern.

ocelot

6 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Nymphalis Antiopa

ocelot - you haven't answered this from Red Mariott:

ocelot wrote:

anyone who thinks such "fastidiousness" over handling serious accusations is misplaced needs to go back and read the COINTELPRO papers again to see how the intelligence services make use of movement weaknesses for witchhunts (and the occassional bookburning)

.

Things like this only discredit the defence of MS even more; as artesian says above, this is nothing like COINTELPRO - and it's an insult to the victims of COINTELPRO to have it misused in such an opportunist way. Cointelpro was proven to have been state infiltrators spreading misinformation to ferment murderous division between political groups. Where's the comparison with that here? No one afaik - except perhaps MS with his 'jokey' pic of him with a table full of guns and a caption threatening a "whipping" to AK & co - has shown any evidence of that kind of danger.

And s/he's not the only person to have pointed out your evasive attitude (S.Artesian especially but not only him/her). You come over as having (I'm not sure, since I don't know you) your organisational role to defend that stops you ever thinking about how pathetic you come over in your intellectual arrogance, a role that needs to assert yourself as always certain and fixed, digging your heels in and refusing to backtrack on what are very self-evident false equivalents (comparing with COINTELPRO, etc.). You're not the type to admit any significant mistake. An admission like that would make you feel weak, though in fact it would make you seem more human, more eager to communicate rather than pontificate. Doubtless if you respond to this, it'll be to laugh it off with a sneering joke. Or you could choose to be unpredictable and surprise us.

So - either respond to Red Marriott's points about COINTELPRO or ... well, the rest of us can draw our own conclusions.

I didn't reply to Red's post for the same reason I don't reply to the majority of stuff people say that I don't agree with - there isn't enough time or space, and for me to respond to every single point would not only hijack the thread but try everyone's patience (mine included).

I disagree with Red's imputation that I am comparing the MS affair with COINTELPRO. My point was that that saga demonstrated clearly the need for antagonist movements to be disciplined about process when it comes to dealing with serious allegations against people. That is all.

edit: also, as I've previously said - I take particular umbrage at Red's imputation that I am defending MS rather than opposing self-destructive (from a movement perspective) process.

S. Artesian

6 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

No, Ocelot, you're not comparing the MS affair with COINTELPRO actions, you're just specifically accusing those you have accused as participating in "mob justice" as, at the very least, aadvocating actions destructive to "the movement."

That's bollocks.

Your claims about mob justice, lynchings, mini-Stalinism, creeping authoritarianism whatever are also bollocks.

lucien_lies_too

6 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Everyone involved in this has had plenty of time for responses, even the organizations. Though most of the groups are multilingual, a draft can be prepared in English and then circulated, translated, discussed, and edited.

This is all about the waiting game; looking for any excuse to keep the clock ticking and hoping that we all settle down, move on, and forget. For communities of exceptionally-prolific writers, these calls for more time are disingenuous.

Hey Lucien - how's your response coming? No doubt it will take some finesse to shoehorn your apologetics into the warped timeline of your buddy. Fiction is a tough trade.

akai

6 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

People, l spent some time this morning reading the reply of ZACF. l don't see it on the lnternet anywhere, so l actually do not know if l am free to publish it - l assume not.

lt is 40 pages. A few lines refer to the racist document written by Schmidt. Most of the document is a criticism of the poor journalism of JS and ARR and a defense of ZACF. The defense has disappointed me in this respect as, whether or not they ultimately agree with calling Schmidt a racist, which it seems they do not, l would have hoped they could spend more time telling us, if they consider him not a racist, why. They do say that they did not accept the racist document.

l have some critical observations on it, but keeping in mind nobody here has read it, l will wait for its publication. One thing which it strongly criticizes is the author's priveleged role as Americans. They also point out that members of ZACF were largely left of the discussions, because of failure to be asked by the authors of the expose and by virtue of the fact that few members are sitting on the internet and have followed this.

Regardless of what impression l have overall of the document, l think this point is quite valid. l personally did not get the feel that the critical articles by JS and ARR were aimed against ZACF, so l was a little surprised that they concentrated on defending themselves rather than addressing the more immediate issue, but maybe that is how they perceived it.

As far as the JS and ARR articles are concerned, they call for the Anarkismo network to start a commission of inquiry.

Anyway, hopefully to be published soon.

Red Marriott

6 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

My earlier comment wasn’t made as a question expecting an answer, but anyway...
Whether or not proposing a valid relationship with COINTELPRO qualifies as a “comparison”, the reference to COINTELPRO was completely unnecessary and inappropriate if one only wanted to emphasise the need for assessment based on complete examination of all available facts in a fair and transparent way. (Which is not something that’s been practiced by some of MS’s closest defenders, eg VdW.) It could be seen as an attempt to fearfully invoke the horrors of COINTELPRO where the dangers are not at all comparable or equivalent; nor the consequences. Making such false implications could easily be seen as opportunist and as attempting to be emotionally manipulative. (In trying to find the relevance, nor is it clear how a tribunal/”just process” would have prevented COINTELPRO.)

Unless someone has some new epic revelations, this is not an external state attack of being fed deadly misinformation by infiltrators but an issue internal to and generated within certain groups and scenes who’ve all been able to present their evidence as they wish. So I’m foxed as to what bearing COINTELPRO has on it, unless you want to try to influence events through exaggerated scaremongering by invoking a danger out of all proportion to any likely consequences in this case.

If these aren’t the acts of a “defender” – well, aside from scaremongering, there are ways of trying to ‘excuse with faint criticism’. And there are ways of ‘urging caution’ that, intentionally or not, just indefinitely delay decisive judgement and imply that already available damning evidence is therefore indefinitely ‘insufficient’.

lucien_lies_too

6 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

akai

People, l spent some time this morning reading the reply of ZACF. l don't see it on the lnternet anywhere, so l actually do not know if l am free to publish it - l assume not.

lt is 40 pages. A few lines refer to the racist document written by Schmidt. Most of the document is a criticism of the poor journalism of JS and ARR and a defense of ZACF. The defense has disappointed me in this respect as, whether or not they ultimately agree with calling Schmidt a racist, which it seems they do not, l would have hoped they could spend more time telling us, if they consider him not a racist, why. They do say that they did not accept the racist document.

l have some critical observations on it, but keeping in mind nobody here has read it, l will wait for its publication. One thing which it strongly criticizes is the author's priveleged role as Americans. They also point out that members of ZACF were largely left of the discussions, because of failure to be asked by the authors of the expose and by virtue of the fact that few members are sitting on the internet and have followed this.

Regardless of what impression l have overall of the document, l think this point is quite valid. l personally did not get the feel that the critical articles by JS and ARR were aimed against ZACF, so l was a little surprised that they concentrated on defending themselves rather than addressing the more immediate issue, but maybe that is how they perceived it.

As far as the JS and ARR articles are concerned, they call for the Anarkismo network to start a commission of inquiry.

Anyway, hopefully to be published soon.

Thanks for the update. I do think, however, that you are perfectly within your rights to publish ZACF's response, if it's circulating around the community anyway. It seems to me that this is another attempt to a) bury us with words, b) ignore most of the body of evidence, c) whitewash the Schmidt memo as something less abhorrent, and d) shoot the messengers. Without seeing it, I can't be more specific than that, but if I'm reading your comment correctly, this is exactly the type of response from ZACF I had feared.

Rather than face the facts of the case and keep close to them, we're blaming ARR and JS for their U.S. privilege? I'm not in agreement with everything in their analysis (some extraneous trains of thought flow through the prose) but let's stay the fuck on topic and face the evidence!

Keep in mind that we still have not heard from Lucien and others close to Schmidt, and it may well be that there is campaigning behind the scenes to bury the truth (or, at least, blunt its impact through careful half-truths and weasel words). Earlier drafts of the ZACF response may reveal inconsistencies and/or purposeful distortion. I, for one, do not trust the people who shielded Schmidt for about a decade to be honest and straightforward.
Edit: by "the people who shielded Schmidt" I do not mean everyone at ZACF, especially newer members.

There is NO proper response besides an all-out denouncement of Schmidt, and a strong one at that. Here is a good example, not 40 pages in length:

As a group we’ve read the recent series of articles by Alexander Ross and Joshua Stephens with substantial shock and concern.

Michael Schmidt is an author we have read, hosted in public events, and published in our magazine. The documents and information published by Ross and Stephens demonstrate that Schmidt has argued for and advanced deeply racist and white supremacist politics since at least 2006.

The explanations offered by Schmidt have been seriously unconvincing. The argument advanced by Schmidt that his racism on Stormfront and elsewhere was part of an undercover investigation (undertaken for eight years without result) stretches credulity. Even were this explanation accepted, the internal correspondence by Schmidt, that Ross and Stephens have published, demonstrates deeply unacceptable racism.

Whilst there have been reasonable objections to the manner in which the Schmidt material was announced and published; these are significantly less important than dealing with the problem that a prominent anarchist author, someone many in our tradition (including Anarchist Affinity) have drawn on, has concealed deeply racist views and practice for a number of years.

As a group, Anarchist Affinity has decided to cut ties with Michael Schmidt, and to remove works by Schmidt from our website.

http://www.anarchistaffinity.org/2015/11/motion-regarding-michael-schmidt/

akai

6 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

There are a number of legitimate points in the ZACF piece. (However, l have already seen evidence that at least one point is not true - but that will come out later.)

That said, it is slightly different than what l thought might be produced, but is more or less in line with predictions. After reading it, l would personally be most interested in talking directly to the current members of ZACF and would hope to be able to do that.

subcomandante_juan

6 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

My guess is they bury the evidence again in 40 pages. Let's see them answer straight-forward facts about the evidence:

Memo: Is Schmidt's 2008 ZACF memo entirely racist? Is Schmidt's 2-paragraph media response and his 11-paragraph explanation in his auto-biography accurate and acceptable? (Schmidt's claims: his memo is inclusive to blacks, that one paragraph is borderline racist, etc.)

World Cup: Schmidt incited South African white supremacists on Stormfront to "flood" the World Cup and display their hate symbols on flags and shirts. Can this be in any way justified?

Nazi tattoo: Is the fact that Schmidt has Nazi-associated tattoo (Lebensrune symbol) of relevance? What about the fact that he left it off his list of tattoos in his "defense"? Just a "mistake"? Or the fact that he notes the "printing press" symbol next to it is not a racist "runic" symbol, as if the "printing press" symbol were the one in question?

This is not to mention the editor disavowal and other insanely racist things Schmidt did.

I'm betting Lucien van der Walt and Schmidt had a heavy hand in trying to persuade ZACF of Schmidt's innocence and constructing the arguments in the ZACF response. Now they want to lean on Anarkismo, an organization with individuals they know well (Schmidt was originally a co-founder and ZACF delegate to Anarkismo) and with strong ideological affinity, for a "commission" which they believe they can influence and persuade, so they can claim "peer review". You know, not a commission of journalists and media organizations in South Africa, black anti-racist professors, or Black Student Movement individuals they don't know from a hole in the wall.

Incredible huh?

Tarwater

6 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Am I the only one who finds the preoccupation with this "celebrity" author worrisome? This thread in general depresses me and I'm dubious of our ability to learn anything meaningful from this whole affair.

akai

6 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

l think it is more depressing that in the 21 Century, people are able to carry on such activities, write such things and not be dealt with in a clearer fashion.

As for what Juan supposes, it is better to wait than suppose. But, that said, you do suppose very well.

Only a few lines about the racist document and much more about the poor journalism of the authors. Nothing about the world cup matter. Nothing about the tattoos. Not even anything really about all the other stuff - MS's articles as a journalist or about the defence article.

ln short, it is more or less a "how dare you slander Zabalaza" (you Americans) piece that is meant to turn the criticism of MS into a non-existant slander campaign against Zabalaza, which we are supposed to feel guilty about. l might even feel guilty about it - if the whole thing was really aimed against them, l mean about the current membership. Maybe somebody read that into it, or maybe they are defensive about it. OK. But for me, it is an mainly an attempt to pay steer the questions away, Although with some points.

A few people have already commented it privately, so l expect if these people (the Anarkismo, Lucien ones) are smart, they've already modified the text.

Also, if some of the ideas expressed in the text are indeed the ideas of the Zabalaza collective, well...

lucien_lies_too

6 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Tarwater

Am I the only one who finds the preoccupation with this "celebrity" author worrisome? This thread in general depresses me and I'm dubious of our ability to learn anything meaningful from this whole affair.

Schmidt still enjoys the active defense and passive protection of influential anarchists and organizations, despite the egregious evidence against him. We have learned a lot from this affair, and that is that if a prolific anarchist author turns out to be something dangerous, in this case some bizarre admixture of anarchism and fascism, he or she will not be denounced accordingly. In fact, there will be behind-the-scenes politicking and distortion of the facts. As it turns out, this is even true if that person was actively recruiting anarchists into fascist circles and inciting white nationalist violence.

You are correct that Schmidt and his allies have a lot of influence at home and abroad, and might be considered "celebrities". Of these, Lucien van der Walt is perhaps the best known, though he has publicly remained silent on this issue and would rather defend Schmidt through pseudonyms (as has been made clear in this thread and on reddit) and organizations (as I think will be made clear from the ZACF and Anarkismo responses).

There would be no "preoccupation" if Schmidt wasn't being defended with willful ignorance and devotion by those closest to him. Except, perhaps, the proper response of introspection and reflection.

akai

6 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Well, l feel the same when syndicalists defend people with ties to the right or brush the incidents under the carpet for whatever different reasons.

radicalgraffiti

6 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

ocelot

One of the advantages of books like Black Flame and Global Fire is that precisely they prompt people to make notes in the margins, go and check sources quoted for narratives they find questionable, and then go on to find other additional sources that shed more light on the matter. To that extent the worth of a history text is not how near it is to being "right" in a final sense, but the degree to which it is close enough or provoking enough to prompt others to review and revise it's propositions and then write the next generation of better books.

i meant to reply before
this is not how i've ever seen bf presented, usually people recommending bf recommend it as an introductory to anarchism without any criticism of the contents or indication that it should be read critically

syndicalist

6 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

(as I think will be made clear from the ZACF and Anarkismo responses).

Is the ZACF report public yet. This is the second mention of it and have yet to see it anywhere.

Red Marriott

6 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

radicalgraffiti

ocelot

One of the advantages of books like Black Flame and Global Fire is that precisely they prompt people to make notes in the margins, go and check sources quoted for narratives they find questionable, and then go on to find other additional sources that shed more light on the matter. To that extent the worth of a history text is not how near it is to being "right" in a final sense, but the degree to which it is close enough or provoking enough to prompt others to review and revise it's propositions and then write the next generation of better books.

i meant to reply before
this is not how i've ever seen bf presented, usually people recommending bf recommend it as an introductory to anarchism without any criticism of the contents or indication that it should be read critically

Agreed; and to the extent that a history text misuses sources, misrepresents their factual meaning and is an ideologically biased revisionism its distance from "being right" is in that sense dishonest and a serious problem, not one to try to excuse.

http://libcom.org/forums/history-culture/new-historical-syndicalist-book-03032009
http://libcom.org/forums/history-culture/books-italian-anarcho-syndicalism-05102010#comment-400771
But then, if writers (esp. professionals with more time and resources to check facts than most of their readers) are economical with historical truths - and even applauded for it - then other economisms may well follow.

akai

6 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

About the status of the ZACF document, apparently it was published on some Black Rose site. But since it was circulated, a letter was sent saying it is not the final version. So l guess most of you will not see the version l did and maybe the new version will be different.

ocelot

6 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

radicalgraffiti

ocelot

One of the advantages of books like Black Flame and Global Fire is that precisely they prompt people to make notes in the margins, go and check sources quoted for narratives they find questionable, and then go on to find other additional sources that shed more light on the matter. To that extent the worth of a history text is not how near it is to being "right" in a final sense, but the degree to which it is close enough or provoking enough to prompt others to review and revise it's propositions and then write the next generation of better books.

i meant to reply before
this is not how i've ever seen bf presented, usually people recommending bf recommend it as an introductory to anarchism without any criticism of the contents or indication that it should be read critically

Well I don't know about other countries, but in Ireland this is not an option as the claim that James Connolly was part of some "broad anarchist tradition" is obvious bollocks and not accepted by any Irish anarchist, ever. And given Connolly's (tediously omnipresent) local role as the patron saint of the Irish left, this is not a marginal issue here.

Flint

6 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

akai

About the status of the ZACF document, apparently it was published on some Black Rose site. But since it was circulated, a letter was sent saying it is not the final version. So l guess most of you will not see the version l did and maybe the new version will be different.

It was a draft document that Anarkismo delegates had access too. It wasn't intended for publication yet. Someone misunderstood. Its not published on the Black Rose webpage, FB, etc... an email about it got forwarded outside the org.

ZACF doesn't intend that draft to be out in public, so I think its probably wise to wait until they do have something they want to publish publicly.

S. Artesian

6 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Ocelot:

One of the advantages of books like Black Flame and Global Fire is that precisely they prompt people to make notes in the margins, go and check sources quoted for narratives they find questionable, and then go on to find other additional sources that shed more light on the matter.

That "reasoning" can be used to justify an anarchist press publishing Mein Kampf, ffs. No, publishers do not publish books so people will make notes in the margins and check sources for quotes. That's complete bollocks.

Ocelot's glorious liberalism gets us to the point where editors, publishers have no responsibility for what gets disseminated, distributed, under the banner of anarchism or "radicalism."

Any publisher responsible for a book with dubious information, written by a dubious character, has an obligation to resolve those issues-- by withdrawing the book or providing a disclaimer, or identifying in a preface the issues and items in dispute.

Can you imagine a anarchist publisher publishing works by Stalin or.... Donald Trump.. in the hope that readers will pencil notes in the margins? What shite.

Do us the favor Ocelot. After you climb down from that high horse you're on, let it drink itself to death.

S. Artesian

6 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Flint

akai

About the status of the ZACF document, apparently it was published on some Black Rose site. But since it was circulated, a letter was sent saying it is not the final version. So l guess most of you will not see the version l did and maybe the new version will be different.

It was a draft document that Anarkismo delegates had access too. It wasn't intended for publication yet. Someone misunderstood. Its not published on the Black Rose webpage, FB, etc... an email about it got forwarded outside the org.

ZACF doesn't intend that draft to be out in public, so I think its probably wise to wait until they do have something they want to publish publicly.

What ZACF wants or does not want to be public at this point is worse than immaterial, it's antithetical to a full exploration of the issue.

Gepetto

6 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

What's the most interesting is that his article crying about poor white racist landlords getting killed (while blacks remain the most exploited, marginalised and oppressed section of South African working class, with ANC being basically "house negros" of the mostly white capitalist class) did not raise anybody's eyebrow on Anarkismo, and even here there are people who think this wasn't dubious at all...

Flint

6 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

S. Artesian

What ZACF wants or does not want to be public at this point is worse than immaterial, it's antithetical to a full exploration of the issue.

Personally, I think once ZACF sent out anything even in draft to Anarkismo--while they may request that such a draft document be kept in confidence by all the groups in Anarkismo, I think that's hundreds if not thousands of people. And the internet being what it is...

Still, they did not want that draft to be published yet. If you want the draft, I think the thing to do is ask ZACF for it. ZACF is clearly preparing something for publication.

I'm sure everyone can drag this on for a few more months and another thousand or so comments.

syndicalist

6 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

And your impressions of the document, Flint?

akai

6 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Well, l have another question. As l understand it, the document is being changed and editted by people outside ZACF. Correct me if l am wrong (that's what l heard). lt also looked to me like the document was rather inspired by (if not largely written by) a certain SA professor.

l think a lot of people want to hear what ZACF have to say, but personally l am not sure if we are gonna get that or a carefully redacted damage control piece.

And it does not address the main questions people want to know about.

Flint

6 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

syndicalist

And your impressions of the document, Flint?

Even if I had read it (which I haven't), I wouldn't be at liberty to discuss it.