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.
The AK Press Collective
anyone know any more about this?
Flint wrote: syndicalist
Yes of course. Silly to have asked
Chew on this while you wait
Chew on this while you wait for the inevitable leaked ZACF response. Much of this is being published here first.
Fascist Schmidt posts:
More Fascist Schmidt posts:
PDF version: http://www.pdf-archive.com/2016/01/27/michael-schmidt-strandwolfs-creed/
MarkDown Source: http://pastebin.com/zFsEdJdE
“Strandwolf’s Creed” by Michael Schmidt
The Black Battlefront Manifesto
These are ideological blog posts by prominent anarcho-fascist writer Michael Schmidt from 2010 and 2011. These posts were once published at strandwolf.blogspot.com but were taken down by Schmidt in 2015 once his identity as the writer was revealed. Before being outed as a white supremacist, Schmidt was best known for co-authoring the controversial anarchist history Black Flame with longtime friend and collaborator Lucien van der Walt.
“Strandwolf’s Creed” is deeply personal, revealing the author’s political vision as the product of his proud Afrikaner heritage. Schmidt’s outline for Boer progress is steeped in history, providing a racist, elitist, and deterministic view of not only human evolution, but human progress well into the 21st Century. Through his writings as “Strandwolf” (or, early on, “Ardent Vinlander”), Schmidt is building the plan for his movement, a red-brown admixture of anarchism and white power.
Black Battlefront, the militant group fueled by this manifesto, would be the culmination of decades of activism for Schmidt, allowing him to recruit activists into a whites-only organization with aggressive racism at its core (curiously an “anti-racist” concept to the author). Schmidt’s calls for racial segregation closely mirror his recommendations for the Zabalaza Anarchist Communist Front (ZACF), revealed in a leaked internal memo.
These writings coincide with posts by Schmidt as “Karelianblue” (in the white supremacist Stormfront forums) and “Françoise Le Sueur” (on Facebook), where Schmidt was actively recruiting for Black Battlefront. For background, see Schmidt’s posts here or here.
“Strandwolf’s Creed” has been reassembled for clarity and legibility, but the original text has not been altered (even misspellings and typos have been kept). There are bound to be other minor formatting errors from the OCR/transcribing process; feel free to download the text as MarkDown or PDF and fix these bugs.
See screenshots of the original posts, complete with white nationalist imagery, here or here.
White African National-Anarchist
The Strandwolf (“beach wolf”) is the brown hyaena found on the lonely Atlantic beaches of the Namib desert: with more powerful jaws and greater stamina than a lion, the hyaena hunt in matriarchal packs and, inverting their clitori, are impossible to rape. They are viewed by the indigenous people as spirit-animals. Strandwolf is the blog of Black Battlefront, an anti-racist revolutionary cadre network of White African politico-social soldiers in Southern Africa who aim at defending our unique culture, under the anarchist black flag! We take our inspiration from militants and cultural warriors of the calibre of Nestor Makhno, Kai Murros, Jim Goad and Troy Southgate. Strandwolf is a ghost in the machine of the African night, a spectral flicker on the shores of the Skeleton Coast, a low-slung hunter on the night-time highway that stretches forever away from the roiling smokes of Johannesburg into the bleach-and-acetate reaches of the platteland where gaunt windpompe scratch stars in the sky.
MY CREED PART I: CONQUEST – by Ardent Vinlander
Wednesday, February 17, 2010, 4:48am
MY CREED PART II: CULTURE – by Ardent Vinlander
Wednesday, February 17, 2010, 4:51am
MY CREED PART III: AGGRESSION – by Ardent Vinlander
Wednesday, February 17, 2010, 6:00am
MY CREED PART IV: RACE
Sunday, September 26, 2010, 2:08am
MY CREED PART V
Editor’s Note: There is no post with this title in known screenshots of strandwolf.blogspot.com. Keeping this placeholder in case the text surfaces.
MY CREED PART VI: NATIONAL-ANARCHISM
Tuesday, November 16, 2010, 9:54am
MY CREED PART VII: HEARTLAND
Sunday, April 17, 2011, 6:20am
More strandwolf.blogspot.com posts by Michael Schmidt
Thanks for posting that,
Thanks for posting that, however it isn't necessary to post that same thing on multiple articles and threads.
I've slectively read parts
I've slectively read parts (due to time constraaints), this is some crazy ass stuff.
my source wanted me to spread
my source wanted me to spread it so I did. If you are members on anarchist mailing lists, I would appreciate spreading there as well...people really don't understand the depths of this and need to... Schmidt is still enjoying a fruitful career as a celebrated lefty writer -- https://www.facebook.com/Drinking.with.Ghosts
That goes double for those who can spread this Creed and the screenshots on Zabalaza list(s). They need to know while their statement on MS is still being drafted.
Juan Conatz wrote: Thanks for
Juan, as you know this data dump at Anarkismo has already been beneficial because others, including Wayne Price, have seen and commented about this new content under the Price article. And we can see Price already condemned these Schmidt posts. (Comments section worth reading: http://www.anarkismo.net/article/28923)
Schmidt has not only campaigned for a vile racist agenda, but he has incited racist violence and hatred to extremist white supremacist audiences. Nobody knows exactly who reads which site or forum thread, and each audience deserves to be informed.
Juan is objecting to my
Juan is objecting to my duplicate posts on BF and Schmidt interviews on libcom, all three of which were removed... I'm done here anyway. We all need to raise awareness outside of a single libcom thread. Many other things going on in the world, sure, but Schmidt and his ideology are cancer to our movement and it hasn't been addressed by even the comrades and groups closest to him. Except cowardly defenses of course... mean while Schmidt is a welcome guest at conferences about journalists, integrity, and persecution -- http://pensouthafrica.co.za/sa-cities-of-refuge-project-repaying-south-african-exiles-debt-of-hospitality/
Thanks for the post, William.
Thanks for the post, William. It's about the funniest thing I've read. Here's a taster:
With the best will in the
With the best will in the world, I can't really get my head round why people aren't falling over themselves to publicly break from him at this point. Maybe people who were close to him personally are frozen by shock?
"Considerations of the
"Considerations of the Anarkismo network about the accusations against Michael Schmidt" http://www.anarkismo.net/article/29047
"The Anarkismo network has already published a statement that it would wait until all parts of the accusations by Reid Ross and Stephens were published, as well as the answers of M. Schmidt, before making any judgements on the case. Now that this has been forthcoming, as well as two more responses by Reid Ross, we are issuing a second statement to make public our intentions regarding the present situation.
It is difficult for us to draw definitive conclusions about this case based on the evidence provided so far by both sides. This is because to do so would require translating all the material, accusations and defence, into numerous languages in order to allow debate in each organisation, with organisations then debating each other through their delegates to the Anarkismo network. This is impossible to carry out with our current capacity – especially for organisations with daily militancy and work of social insertion and/or operating under difficult social contexts – without sacrificing other daily activities. However, the accusations against Schmidt are extremely serious and we take the issue of fighting racism and white supremacy as high priority. Therefore, the Anarkismo network has decided to call for a commission of enquiry to investigate more closely both the accusations and the defence, and to make recommendations to the broader anarchist movement based on their findings. As it is well known that Schmidt was a former militant in one of our member organizations and both helped to found and contributed extensively to the anarkismo.net website, it is our intention that the commission should include members of other tendencies and non-affiliated anarchists in order to avoid partiality.
We have already stated in our previous statement how we feel about the methods of the accusers. Further than the specific case of M. Schmidt, those methods raised an internal debate about how we deal with such situations. The accusations may be true or not: this will be for the commission to settle. We cannot ignore that the methods used by the accusers – especially the lack of a criteria for minimum of justice – could be used one day in an unjustified accusation against any one of us in order to defame a militant, an organisation or a whole movement. As political organizations we have a duty to protect our members. While Schmidt may not be a member of any of our affiliated organisations, the way we deal with the current situation will have consequences for similar situations in the future.
This is why the Anarkismo network, before sending an invitation to members of other tendencies to join the commission of enquiry, will now work internally to figure out the commission's composition, the parameters of what decisions are within its range and on the questions of how we define justice and ethics in a way that does not reproduce the modus operandi of mainstream society. This is in order to propose a methodological and ethical framework for this commission (which, then, will need to be discussed with the tendencies we wish to invite to form the commission). We think this is necessary because, if this commission has no clear criteria, it will end up adopting, as a result of a dynamic of social pressure, those of the movement in general. And unfortunately, we cannot say that the criteria of ethics and justice today in our milieu are the best.
This work will take us a while. Not only because it is a vast discussion, but also because we lack the capacity to deal properly with this case without stopping our daily work.
There will be a further communication when the Anarkismo network is ready to make a formal proposal.
The Anarkismo Network
Quote: It is difficult for us
Which brings us to the question-- how does Anarkismo draw definitive conclusions about anything?
basically what has been
basically what has been indicated for the past while.
By the time this Commission
By the time this Commission of Enquiry is seated, most of the eyewitnesses will either be long gone from the anarchist milieu and/or dead from old age...
Guys, guys haven't you heard,
Guys, guys haven't you heard, platformist groups operating in a very Leninst manner allows them to respond quickly and decisively to events.
Dannny: Quote: I can't really
To make such a public rupture would be an admission of being bedfellows in the past.
Fascists? Or just some blokes
Fascists? Or just some blokes worried about the "Menace in Europe"?
Any bets on when the ZACF
Any bets on when the ZACF response will be published? If so, odds that it's just another "we're waiting for a commission to decide" message? How about Lucien?
More important things in the world, yes, but this also shouldn't be that hard unless there's damage control going on.
I gather this has been punted
I gather this has been punted to some commission
Quote: To make such a public
I say this comradely, but there is an element of truth to this. I mean, after all, he was respected by many for a long time. Wrote stuff that some thought had elements of lots of merit. I can get how some feel. And why some want to defend what they think are the best parts and reputations
of those who have clean hands, but have been associated with a particular tendency.
The end result of some lame commission doesn't do much (for me at least), as it just seems like punting the ball, but I get where some of the more decent and honorable folks are coming from. Tough spot for some.
Hello. This is Lucien van der
This is Lucien van der Walt. In early December 2015, I posted several times online, under a once-well-known name I used to use, Red.Black.Writings, on the Schmidt issue. I had resolved not to post or debate online at all, but I got emotional.
I apologise sincerely and unreservedly for engaging the issues under the Red.Black.Writings identity without clearly identifying it as mine. I should have done so, from the start. I am sorry if it was misleading. I acted emotionally, and without care. I am truly sorry. I didn’t create the Red.Black.Writings identity to engage on the Schmidt issue (it has been around for years, and is fairly well-known as mine), and I was posting on a board where pretty much no-one uses their real names. But that does not excuse me.
In these posts I argued that Schmidt’s reply was pretty strong, and that his critics were missing some of its key claims, being a bit selective when using evidence (for example, skipping over Schmidt’s anarchist tattoos, highlighting instead a runic tattoo), not always considering other explanations, and so on. This was soon after Schmidt posted his second reply.
There was one positive outcome of this unhappy experience: I found some of the replies to my points difficult to answer. I left the board because I needed to think these through. I haven’t posted there since.
The fact is that I was forced to do some serious reflection by the exchanges, to recognise more problems in Schmidt’s actions and arguments (as my fuller statement, which I will post now, shows, while I continue to have a range of reservations about the Reid-Ross and Stephens arguments and actions, I have a range of reservations about Schmidt’s too).
I don’t particularly like the way many online debates about the Schmidt affair have been conducted, but that doesn’t mean I can’t recognize important points when they are made.
Anyway, I am deeply sorry. I am also sorry it has taken so long to reply, but I have stayed away from online debates on the Schmidt issue since mid-December.
Finally, I will be posting a fuller statement on the Schmidt affair after this message, called “Personal statement on the Michael Schmidt affair: Lucien van der Walt, 11 February 2016."
Lucien van der Walt, Makana, South Africa, 11 February 2016
Personal statement on the
Personal statement on the Michael Schmidt affair: Lucien van der Walt, 11 February 2016
Many people have asked me to comment on the Schmidt affair, and to those who wrote to me, I said I would comment after all the articles were out, and after all Michael Schmidt’s replies were out. Those following the affair will know it centres on the claim that Schmidt was, from at least 2002, some sort of racist right-winger or fascist working inside the anarchist movement – a charge Schmidt has denied.
Now that what looks to be the final instalment in the series of seven articles by Alexander Reid-Ross and Joshua Stephens has appeared (24 December 2015), and that it seems Schmidt is not issuing a third reply to them (he did two in 2015), I have tried to put pen to paper to comment.
And I have found it very difficult.
The reasons are quite simple. I have mixed feelings, I am unsure what to think. I want to reach a final position, and have tried to do my best to hear all sides of the story, not just those that fit what I initially thought. My views have shifted over time, they shift daily.
I have problems with the actions and arguments of Reid-Ross and Stephens, but I also have problems with the actions and arguments of Schmidt.
I find it difficult to reconcile the Michael Schmidt I saw, with the statements he has admitted to posting online under fake personas. These include comments on boards, as well as what appears to be a longer manifesto, called the “Strandwolf’s Creed.”
I find those online statements to be deeply abhorrent, shocking – no matter what reason is given to explain them, in their own right they are just awful. I completely distance myself from those statements. They embody racist and fascist positions that I find appalling, and that I have opposed consistently, for decades, to the best of my abilities – and let me stress here that, despite my ethnic background, I reject Afrikaner nationalism, in all its forms, as an essentially reactionary current. The “Strandwolf’s Creed,” posted under one of Schmidt’s online fake personas, had clearly racist and fascist content, I reject it entirely. I also believe some of the online posts by these personas were inflammatory and irresponsible, going beyond, in my view, the ethics of journalism and social research.
I also completely reject a document that Schmidt authored in his own capacity, and circulated in 2008 in the South African anarchist political group, Zabalaza/ ZACF, called “Politico-Cultural Dynamics …” I was not part of that organisation at the time. I was not party to the discussions in Zabalaza over it. When I checked later, Zabalaza’s records showed that the organisation rejected the text, and that Schmidt recanted its worst formulations as “bordering on racism,” in 2008. Many years later, when I was informed of this text for the first time, by someone else, I asked Schmidt about it: he stated that he wrote it when disillusioned and burned-out, and that he distanced himself from it. But no matter what his intentions and situation may have been when he wrote it, I think it’s an irredeemable and unacceptable text.
Schmidt’s core defense of the right-wing online statements and the “Creed” that he posted under false personas has been that the statements emphatically did not reflect his real views, but were as fake as the personas he created online. So he says that his online statements (through these personas) were certainly and definitely racist and fascist – but insists that they are inventions, used cynically as part of an undercover investigation into the radical white right, first as a journalist, and then for research towards a book called “Global Fire.” His real views, he insists, are those expressed in a long history of progressive and left-radical political work, and a social life, that locates him firmly in the camp of the country’s black working class.
Reid-Ross and Stephens argue, on the other hand, that Schmidt’s online statements through his various online right-wing personas are far too consistent with elements of his public persona and writings, and far too offensive, to be explained away as simply part of a research project. They also argue against the undercover-journalism defense on the grounds that he has, they insist, produced little in the way of research outputs as a result.
Versions of these claims and counter-claims have been in circulation for some time, at least back into 2011, in some circles. But never as detailed and extensive as now: it is only with Reid-Ross and Stephens’ articles, and the two Schmidt replies, that a fuller picture has started to emerge.
Where does the truth of the matter lie? Does it lie with one or other of the two main narratives that have been put forward? Does it fit uneasily with both?
Right now, I find it difficult to reach definite conclusions.
I was deeply disappointed to read, in Schmidt’s two replies to his accusers, his frank admission that he had not only concealed his claimed undercover journalism from Zabalaza and others for years – and it was even worse, to learn, from those replies, that he had continued to conceal the full scope of his online activities and personas even when he was confronted by Zabalaza and others, including me, from 2011.
I do think that there are important elements of the claims by Reid-Ross and Stephens that have not been clearly addressed by Schmidt’s replies. These are some examples. One is the claim Schmidt has a runic tattoo on one arm, of a symbol associated with the white radical right, and that he got this to signify a radical right position. Another is the allegation that he voted for the Afrikaner nationalist Freedom Front Plus in South Africa’s 2009 general elections. A third is the argument that some of his journalistic articles in the mainstream press show sympathies with the white radical right.
On the other hand, there are important elements of Schmidt’s replies that have not been adequately addressed by Reid-Ross and Stephens, in their responses. These are some examples. One is the claim Reid-Ross and Stephens skip over Schmidt’s tattoos that are clearly anarchist, like an Anarchist Black Cross tattoo, ignoring evidence that does not neatly fit. Another is the allegation that at least one of the major statements they attribute to Schmidt does not actually appear in the text they cite. A third is the argument that, even now, they have not engaged with the bulk of what Schmidt has written, skipping three of five books, various anarchist pamphlets, and most of the many hundreds of articles he’s written, anarchist as well as journalistic. A fourth claim is that they have acted at odds with journalistic ethics, interviewing with Schmidt under false pretenses, not giving him a right-of-reply before publication, displaying overt personal hostility, and making dubious claims to, for instance, treat the fact Schmidt had a black wife and friends as irrelevant, even damning.
Now, let me be clear. I hope that there are simple explanations, from both sides, for all these concerns. I really hope so. I’d like to see all these issues addressed, by both sides. I am not taking sides, because I am not sure what to think.
Well, that’s where I am today, unsure, with reservations about both Schmidt and Reid-Ross and Stephens, in turmoil, not sure how to proceed and hoping for the issues to be resolved.
I have tried to think through the issues, vacillated, changed my mind. Sometimes I have acted emotionally and foolishly – for which I apologize sincerely and unreservedly.
In early December 2015, for example, I posted a several times online, under a once-well-known name I used to use, Red.Black.Writings. I had resolved not to post or debate online at all, but I got emotional. This was soon after Schmidt posted his second reply. In these posts I argued that Schmidt’s reply was pretty strong, and that his critics were missing some of its key claims, being a bit selective when using evidence (for example, skipping over Schmidt’s anarchist tattoos, highlighting instead a runic tattoo), not always considering other explanations, and so on.
I apologise sincerely and unreservedly for engaging the issues under the Red.Black.Writings identity without clearly identifying it as mine. I should have done so, from the start. I am sorry if it was misleading. I acted emotionally, and without care. I am truly sorry. I didn’t create the Red.Black.Writings identity to engage on the Schmidt issue (it has been around for years, and is fairly well-known as mine), and I was posting on a board where pretty much no-one uses their real names. But that does not excuse me.
There was one positive outcome of this unhappy experience: I found some of the replies to my points difficult to answer. I left the board because I needed to think these through. I haven’t posted there since. The fact is that I was forced to do some serious reflection by the exchanges. I was forced to recognise more problems in Schmidt’s arguments. While I continue to have reservations about the Reid-Ross and Stephens arguments, I have, let me state it again, reservations about Schmidt’s arguments.
I don’t particularly like the way many online debates about the Schmidt affair have been conducted, but that doesn’t mean I can’t recognize important points when they are made.
To understand the emotional side of the issues, and my conflicted views, let me say something on a personal level: I have known Michael Schmidt for a long time, since the mid-1990s; I was in radical groups with Schmidt from 1995 until about ten years ago, 2007; and I was in contact with him when he got divorced in 2007, and burned-out, ill and depressed from 2008.
Also around ten years ago, my main written collaboration with Schmidt took place. This was, of course, the book “Black Flame: The Revolutionary Class Politics of Anarchism and Syndicalism.” Although “Black Flame” appeared in print in 2009, it was largely written in 2005-2006, the proofs for correction arriving late 2007. I was the primary author.
It was an effort at a global, non-Eurocentric account of mainstream anarchist and syndicalist history and theory – one with flaws, certainly, but one with many strengths too. The book went for peer-review, at my insistence, and no reviewer then, or critic later, made any allusion to right-wing themes in the book. Those who criticized the book tended to take issue with its stress on class-struggle, or its definition of anarchism.
Schmidt’s lengthy (second) reply to Reid-Ross and Stephens reminded me of his track record as an activist-writer, and reflected the person I saw. I saw a long history of non-racial action, and dedication to a black working class-based anarchism, which I find difficult just to forget. The Schmidt I saw dedicated a great part of his life to anarchism and syndicalism, in his writings, militancy and daily life. This is the Schmidt that many people, in South Africa and worldwide saw, not just me, a man involved in unions, protests, agitation, and radical publishing.
And in this long period, Michael Schmidt never expressed to me the sorts of views that Reid-Ross and Stephens insist he has held since at least 2002. I never saw him politically active in ways that suggested a radical right-wing agenda. I never saw, in any draft of what became “Black Flame,” or in the drafts that I saw of its successor “Global Fire” (which have been written by Schmidt), the sorts of views critics claim Schmidt has long held. Even when he was grappling, from 2007, with personal demons, job issues, divorce, and general disappointment, he did not express such views to me.
I also never saw the sort of manipulative, duplicitous and aggressive personality described by the Reid-Ross and Stephens’ articles, or some of the anonymous sources they cited. And again, I am not alone in this.
In the long period I have known Schmidt, we have had many disagreements on many issues, including political ones, but the side of himself he showed to me was always that of a pretty standard class-struggle anarchist.
But I say “showed to me,” very deliberately, because I knew his writing and research and militancy basically through his public anarchist and anarchist-related writings and activities in the 1990s and 2000s.
Our interaction was around left-radical projects. Sometimes I worked with him as a co-author. Sometimes he asked for feedback on drafts, on the understanding that he bore final responsibility for their content. I can’t say I followed his newspaper pieces articles very closely. And of course, he was his own man, and he did not run everything by me, as if I was his editor or commissar. Many of his articles I only saw after they were published – I can recall some I hotly rejected, including one on the late, unlamented Eugene Terre’blanche.
And I say “showed to me,” deliberately, because obviously a person can have different sides, not all visible. While I can say the Schmidt I saw seemed the genuine article, I can’t claim I saw every part of Schmidt, I can’t claim that I saw everything he said or did. But if he had another political persona, it was not shown to me.
And I say “showed to me,” deliberately, because the Reid-Ross and Stephens articles have drawn to my attention to a body of materials of which I was not previously aware, and made some criticisms about Schmidt’s explanation for his online fake personas that do need to be addressed – as I have indicated earlier.
And I also say “showed to me,” deliberately, because Schmidt did not inform me he was creating fake online personas, never shared with me the texts he posted through such personas, nor did he state to me and others in the 2000s that he was undertaking a claimed undercover-journalism / research on the radical white right. It’s not just that I did not see all of Schmidt: this activity, at least, was specifically kept under wraps by Schmidt.
It was in early 2011 that Zabalaza was informed, by other sources, that Schmidt was operating false personas on radical white right sites and showing affinities to the radical right. Schmidt had left Zabalaza a year before. I was not in Zabalaza, so I do not know all the details or the exact dates of this informing. I was soon approached by a member of Zabalaza about the matter, and I replied that Zabalaza needed to deal with the issue firmly, and confront Schmidt.
Zabalaza did confront Schmidt in 2011 – as did I, in my own capacity – and he was confronted about these issues several times subsequently. His reply was always roughly the same as that he still maintains, that the fake personas were for undercover research purposes, and emphatically did not represent his real views. Remember also that he had rejected “Politico-Cultural Dynamics …” in 2008, so this matter was not brought into the discussion.
For my part, I took Schmidt’s explanation at face value, based on the Schmidt I knew, and the record of action, that I saw. And based, I must admit, on the fact I respected, trusted and liked him.
Maybe I am naïve, but I have been guided by a belief in human decency, and a trust in people, based on what I have experienced directly. When I express reservations about the case against Schmidt, it does not come from a stubborn effort to see only one side of the story, or to defend anything and everything that Schmidt may have ever done. It does not come from an effort to cover up. It certainly does not come from any sympathy for noxious views or from any hidden agenda.
Yet I warned Schmidt, on these occasions, that if there was substance to the claims that he had was affiliated to the radical white right he would face ostracism and lose friends, that people who did not like him would also actively try to ruin him.
And if now, after all, there is indeed substance to the claims, I and many other will feel deeply betrayed by him, and how he turned his back on his anarchist writings and militancy.
Where to now?
I understand that there is a non-partisan anarchist and syndicalist commission being called to look into the Schmidt affair.
Maybe that can lead to some resolution. Maybe the commission can help anarchism and syndicalism globally think through how to deal with matters like the Schmidt affair in a more constructive, comradely and movement-building manner.
And maybe, in the process, people can consider just what they want to achieve in affairs like this.
There will probably never be a consensus on this case, and people will need to decide how they deal with difference here, and how to move beyond what has become a very vitriolic debate, including insults, smears, and even hate-mail.
For me, for now, my feelings are mixed, my mind not made up, my emotions in turmoil, and my path unclear. I know some people want me to make a clearer statement, but this is where I am right now. Unsure.
So, for now, I wait. I wait for the commission, I discuss with comrades, colleagues and friends.
And I will take a final position after the commission.
Lucien van der Walt, Makana, South Africa, 11 February 2016
Thanks for these comments,
Thanks for these comments, Lucien. I appreciate this must have been a shitty time for you.
On this point:
If Schmidt is a fascist then it seems to me that the anarchist activity, tattoos and writings can be explained by two possible factors: 1) he meant them sincerely at the time but changed his position. 2) the 'national anarchism' he advocates is an attempt to make racism and various other tenets of fascism compatible with anarchism, in which case knowledge of and credibility within anarchism are a plus for him, even if to achieve this he has to behave in contradictory ways and write things contrary to what he believes.
For someone who knows him, those explanations might not convince, but that's how it looks from the outside. And from here it looks like Schmidt is a fascist because what kind of undercover anti-fascist activity could feasibly, in a million years, involve advocating a 'black battlefront' that expicitly attempts to wed 'anarchism' to violent racism? So one of those above explanations must broadly suffice, regardless of the content of that activity and those texts. In that sense, the weaknesses of the investigation seem largely irrelevant at this point.
In any case, I hope that all those who were close to Schmidt get through this experience as best they can, without making any concessions to or excuses for racism and nationalism, and I'm glad and gratified to see that approach in your comments.
thanks Lucien, my work is
thanks Lucien, my work is done here, so I won't be posting any longer. I know it is difficult to eat crow after those older posts, and the humble response is appreciated. I apologize sincerely for the vitriol and will now spread this response of yours far and wide.
In regard to your analysis so far, I don't think the "my emotions are still blinding me so I wait for the commission decision" response is good enough -- surely an academic of your caliber can dig through all the material? it's really not as complex as you make it sound.
That, and I'm sure you have evidence of your own which would shed some light on the situation... Schmidt's trangressions into "national anarchism" and racist/Boer nationalist outbursts must have creeped into correspondence and other writings -- likely episodes you've seen in person as well. Releasing the rejected Anarkismo articles ("Menace in Europe", "Neither Fish nor Fowl", etc.) as well as any incriminating ZACF memos etc., would not only help make the discussion more open and rational, it would further distance you from a man who has already damaged your career significantly. Even if you think Schmidt is a "sometimes racist", there's no excuse for it, and the fallout has been substantial. You would also do well to distance your colleagues and comrades from him and be proactive about letting them know your position in regard to this; there are still books and articles of Michael's being promoted in SA that contain a more 'politically correct' version of his nationalism/racism.
If your opinion truly does change daily, I hope that you will take the time to look closely at the comments here and what else is out there, and engage thoughtfully with the people here and elsewhere online, before waiting for some drawn-out commission (which is waste of everyone's time and energy). The facts are rather plain when you're at a personal distance from the man himself, even if difficult to fathom. Conclusions from you will likely carry more weight than the response of an entire commission.
I know you've seen most of it, but I'll post again. This is *almost* everything, besides a handful of Stormfront posts that don't add much relevance (though I will make sure they get published in a legible form). I'll leave out Michael's responses, which are obviously linked in the ARR and JS pieces and I'm sure you're quite familiar with.
Primary sources --
How the story broke --
The story --
IMO, it all comes down to
IMO, it all comes down to this:
In 2011. And neither ZACF nor LVDW say a word about this until after the Reid-Ross/Stephens articles expose the mess. Four years of silence. Four years of accepting Schmidt's explanations, without further investigation. No requests for a commission of inquiry then. No awaiting the determination of an independent panel, then.
And after the exposure-- no acknowledgement for months that LVDW already knew about these actions by Schmidt.
Nothing but silence on this. Until now. Now LVDW has "problems" with the methods and the exposures made by Reid-Ross/Stephens. Now LVDW awaits the determination of a commission of inquiry.
Now somebody might consider LVDW's statements, his call and wait for an independent panel of inquiry, part of the same stall, the same cover-up that was engaged in then
I said I wouldn't be back on
I said I wouldn't be back on here but fuck it. This is not a good enough response from Lucien and I'm sure he knows that.
100% fucking right. This echoes one of the other concise statements on this, from user hm on the first Anarkismo statement in September 2015.
We who have been working hard to get the information on Schmidt out there have been pleading for strong principled responses, and found few. We certainly don't have any idea how big a potential "cover up" was, or if it was just bad judgment and irrational protection of a friend ("maybe he's not actually racist, he's a good guy" etc.)
It's nice that Lucien is sorry, apologizing for his online conduct, but not apologizing for anything else, like harboring Schmidt. The criticisms keep falling instead on the messengers, the people who are, in many cases, "digging" for info that's already online (really, we're re-packaging it so that it can't be misinterpreted and is very, very clear for Schmidt supporters).
Why did it take so much fucking energy to get this response? Or any response? And we don't need a commission as many have said.
Lucien - if you really care, release everything you know including the articles you rejected via Anarkismo or otherwise. This is an opportunity to turn the corner. You will be badgered for them if you don't, and properly so.
Also, I'm convinced this response is only humble because damage control efforts over the ZACF response were not successful. We know you had a strong hand in the draft of the ZACF response and that it wasn't an indictment of Schmidt like this personal response...all it did was muddy the waters even more, slow down the process even more, proving such a process to be impotent.
A day late and a dollar
A day late and a dollar short. Lucien's months-long refusal to admit he was RBW when confronted multiple times rings hollow; saying "everyone knows" it was him when he was consistently silent and/or coy is absurd. Waiting for this ridiculous commission of inquiry is equally -- if not more -- ludicrous. Like the ZACF statement, this is wholly inadequate.
Quote: the ZACF response
where is this posted
Black Badger wrote: A day
Right. Confronted (3 or 4 times on just this thread?) before the lucien_lies account was even created. There are clever omissions in even his apology for RBW posts, and you've hit the nail on the head.
The question is whether his behavior now will be good enough to forgive the past. Some seem to think so, I'm not convinced. To start, let's see the ZACF draft and whether or not he had a hand in it. There's no good reason to accept the "waiting for commission" response from everyone close to this affair, especially if there's no actual transparency, and even then it's a fucking joke..... which will no doubt carry mock-stoic pretenses of "justice" and so on.
And, let's not forget, there are years of protection ("naivety" some would claim) for Schmidt going on here... the Creed was circulated most widely by me, but it was the exact same text available to Lucien and ZACF et al in 2011 at strandwolf.blogspot.com Read it. Does anyone believe it's there to be a cover? Why not just make copypasta NeoNazi crap to lure in fash trash..... instead it's a purposeful marriage of anarchism and Boer white supremacy.
I don't want to hear "because it's long it was hard to really understand" or that "it was unpleasant so I didn't read it all" from Lucien and co... some of us had to type up that garbage from screenshots and copyedit it to make sure it matched, and that was much more abysmal. But it had to be done or we'd all still be clockwatching for what few responses we have gotten now.
Edit: to clarify my questions about the creed and last paragraph were not directed at Black Badger.
We only know it from summaries of those who have read it, sorry to give another impression. I would very much like to see the text...I know many others have it but have either been unwilling to publish it or our paths haven't crossed.
I think the draft response may be even more important than the final version and the discrepancy between the two will reveal a lot about how potential "commissions" are going to work (very badly I hazard to guess). If anyone has it, please post it even after the final ZACF response so we can contrast... it may give lie to some things in Lucien's statement above as well.
Previous entry removed. Said
Previous entry removed. Said all I needed to say. I'm out.
In times like this, when
In times like this, when we're being battered down by bullshit, we have to keep moving but we also have to call out our "academic representatives" when we see the shit they wallow in. The coopting of real anarchist movements by academic elites with sketchy excuses must NOT be allowed. We work way too fucking hard, and many others work harder than I do, to keep real movements churning.
For my part, I engage in real community activism and am not so easily swayed by elites claiming to be militant organizers, who either turn out to be fascists or making excuses for them. What real organizing has Lucien et al done recently? All I see is his country awoken by activism and Lucien as an elite meeting even his past comrades with silence and then excuses, failing to engage the next generation at his doorstep whom he should be encouraging. Were I to even have half that opportunity to be a mentor, I would cherish it...... instead we get infantile garbage.
I see nothing from Lucien but outdated reposts of Wobbly-style speeches about class war... there's a complete disconnect between the people close to this story and those involved in actual activism. I don't care about people forming "sacred texts" in isolation and with nothing but armchair rhetoric, and I disdain the approach of the Lucien response the more I digest it. It's a taste of bitter academia.
I'm "unsure" about you, Lucien... if you can't make up your mind about outward racism and fascism (which you acknowledge but won't "take sides" on) perhaps you're too compromised to be part of the movement you supposedly cherish. Or, perhaps, no one should care about you anyway because you're so distant from actual action and might as well be a voice from the past.
Here we go again, the classic
Here we go again, the classic shitting on teachers and academics for all the faults of anarchism, leftism or whatever.
Khawaga wrote: Here we go
No that's not it at all. The problem is the lack of engagement perceived within this small cadre of academics, beyond punting of their own articles and books. You think I'm wrong, fine, but don't twist my words into a kneejerk reaction.
Fair enough, my apologies
Fair enough, my apologies then. But it's sadly a pretty common refrain. Fwiw, I do agree that a lot of academics' activism stays contained firmly within the gates of the ivory tower.
Haven't posted in this thread
Haven't posted in this thread for a while but definitely been watching it. Not counting the frankly laughable investigative inquiry that Anarkismo is attempting to solicit, there's not much more to say about this situation other than the effects of it all.
I have to admit, it has been extremely disappointing, indeed, even disillusioning to see what certain people's reaction to this has been. Not just random people on the internet, either, although those are hard to ignore. No, even some people that I've known or respected for many years, that have been part of stuff I have as well, have thrown their hat into the ring to seemingly defend MS at all costs, acting as an informal defense counsel and trying to find any possible holes in the exposé of MS.
Before the authors of the multipart exposé released them, it was understandable to have major problems with how this thing was happening, specifically AK Press. But to keep bringing up objections over process is a de facto defense of not only MS' fascist politics, but of the silence surrounding it by numerous people. This may be a strong statement, but anyone bringing up process after the point where Alexander Reid Ross had released all the entries on the MS series, I basically consider you an apologist for racism and fascism if it suits your political needs.
The broad scene around neoplatformism looks really bad out of all of this. It proves that having structure or organization doesn't necessarily mean anything when it comes to the 'tyranny of structurelessness'. If MS was some random member of one of the Anarkismo groups, he most likely would have been cast out and exposed long ago. Because he co-wrote probably the most important document for the neoplatformists other than The Platform itself, his racism and fascist sympathies were kept silent and/or defended.
ZACF, perhaps the leading purveyor in the world of neoplatformist propaganda and literature, kept silent about MS, even though they knew the majority of what came out in ARR pieces long ago. Lucien, the co-writer of Black Flame, as mentioned one of the most important books for neoplatformists, also kept silent, and uses a significant amount of space in his statement, claiming to not know who to believe, and objected to, again, the process. Wayne Price, although not in any organization, unquestionably is one of the most important people in the English speaking world when it comes to neoplatformism, and he needlessly put out a dreadful defense of MS. Plus, I've seen numerous people I personally know that are in these Anarkismo affiliated organizations go to great lengths on here or Facebook to go after ARR and/or defend MS, based on perceived ideological stakes on how neoplatformists would look.
Of course, it's not just those people either, the defense of MS has crossed over into stuff I have been more involved in, with individuals in the IWW, libcom group or Recomposition also defending MS at a point far longer in this timeline than makes me comfortable.
More than anything I can think of, this has made me question my involvement in the libertarian far left. Can I, as a person from both a Puerto Rican and Jewish background, tolerate an event in which people mindlessly defend a fascist? I am not sure.
Since the tattoos have been
Since the tattoos have been shown to be indicative of Schmidt's white pride, we might do well to dig for a while and figure out just exactly which printer that "printer's mark" belongs to, and if it's a printer's mark at all. Though it may seem excessive, Schmidt openly lied before and omitted his lebensrune (through sloppy reading of the ARR/JS article and not looking at the second photo where it's clearly next to the "printer's mark"?)
Here is an approximation of the "printer's mark" symbol:
I have looked through hundreds of printer's marks/devices. Databases are difficult to search and there's no centralized collection. Many printers marks bearing a cross were variants of the orb and cross (globus cruciger), with the orb at the bottom giving room for the printer's initials.
If the tattoo is a printer's mark inverted, there is one approximation I can find, that of the Society of Venetian Printers, circa 1481:
However, Schmidt's version is missing one of the cross's arms, and is stylized to closer resemble a celtic cross.... another motif of Aryan pride and mysticism seen in many NeoNazi circles and, notably, Stormfront's logo. There are variants of Nordic runes/artwork that resemble it, but none closely enough to be worth mentioning.
I doubt we'll get much clarification on this, but I thought I'd post to keep a record and also because someone involved in antifa action may recognize it.
Juan Conatz wrote: The broad
Not being a neoplatformist, I do have to say this is unfair -- Black Flame may be many things but it is a good book on anarchism and the anarchist tradition (see my review). No one -- even the most critical -- saw anything fascist, racist or "national anarchist" about it. For good reason -- no such material is in there -- quite the reverse.
This explains much of what was said -- or said belatedly -- by the "broad scene around neoplatformism": simply shock because the book he co-wrote was good and an obviously anarchist book. There was no sign of "his racism and fascist sympathies" to be "kept silent" about in that work. So some context would be nice -- and less willingness to attack others (particularly for things they were not aware of).
As for linking it to "the tyranny of structurelessness", that is just strange. The problem seems to be that AK Press and others did not do a rigorous background check on Schmidt -- does anyone do that routinely anyway? If someone is trying to infiltrate the anarchist movement they are not going to be making it easy for people to identify them as such...
That's a very strange
That's a very strange response to Juan's post and very dismissive of the thrust of his argument.
Khawaga wrote: That's a very
I concentrated on one part of his argument because that part seemed unfair -- and it is. As indicated, Black Flame is not a racist book, while flawed it is (in general) a good introduction to anarchism. This in itself explains much in terms of the response of many people -- shock and disbelief given the work he co-wrote.
The bulk of the evidence produced against Schmidt come from work most anarchists -- including "neoplatformists" -- would not be aware of. As such, shock, surprise, disbelief are to be expected. It wrong to generalise from this to a general comment on "neoplatformists" as done in the post.
A few takeaways from this:
* Most of the statement is besides-the-point, and is a history and outline of the ZACF.
* A structure for these responses is beginning to emerge:
1. here's who I am/who we are and our anarchist credentials
2. condemnation of racist/fascist statements by Schmidt's as "inexcusable", "regardless of rationale", "in their own right", while being careful not to attribute them to the "real" Schmidt
3. condemnation of Schmidt only "if proven" to be racist/fascist/national anarchist by a commission
4. shooting the messengers while saying you're not shooting the messengers, "not taking sides" while taking sides against ARR/JS
5. statement that Schmidt was properly questioned/investigated in 2011
6. condemnation of Internet commentators
7. and on and on and on and on...............
* Unique to this statement is the long diatribe(s) about ARR/JS as American Eurocentrists and perhaps even racist. AK is called out on the carpet with similar accusations.
* It is far too long, and strays into sidetracking territory about "settler and nationalist historiographies". We know the draft was leaked in late December as draft #18(!), so we can only assume this version is revision #20+ and it's now obvious why it took so long. It seems the long wait is not primarily an issue of translation or democratic input, but of thesis-length text.
* The so-called questioning/investigation of Schmidt in 2011 is again used as an excuse to claim appropriate steps were taken 4-5 years ago. This is dubious on (at least) three counts:
1. The evidence that ZACF, Lucien, and likely others had in 2011 is the same evidence most strongly denounced in these statements, that of the Strandwolf/Black Battlefront blog. It sat active for half a decade, and was brushed off by Schmidt's closest comrades until brought to prominence first by ARR/JS's articles, and then by a few Internet commentators spreading the full text online (most notably, me).
2. All of the corroborating evidence was also online, a quick Google search away as well as obvious on Facebook, and in some cases linking to the Strandwolf/Black Battlefront blog.
3. If not obvious from appearance (e.g. tattoos, Nazi caps and pins), a fuller picture of Schmidt's ideology should have emerged not only from the controversy surrounding the 2008 memo, but from other political statements, like this gem from a 2010 interview with both LvdW and MS:
That quote was also revealed through ARR's searching, and he has a thoughtful Feb 16 post referencing it here: http://alexanderreidross.com/ideological-influence-and-the-schmidt-affair/
I started to compile contradictory quotes in the ZACF statement, but there are too many for a post here, and it's perhaps not worth anyone's time.
I'm back just to try to make
I'm back just to try to make this as painfully clear to the most casual observer as is humanly possible.
1) The "position" of ZACF, LVDW, and others that they "await" the determination of an independent commission is indefensible in that ZACF, and LVDW, and probably others knew about MS's actions for 4 or 5 years and shut up about it. If it didn't require an independent commission then, why does it now?
2) The position of ZACF, and LVDW, and others that they take exceptions to how RR,S presented their investigations is indefensible in that when proclaiming their reservations they did not forthrightly acknowledge that they knew of these matters 4 or 5 years ago and shut up about it. There is no credibility complaining about the methods and presentations employed to expose information when the information has been suppressed for 4 or 5 years.
I've not read this yet. ZACF
I've not read this yet.
ZACF Reply to the Misrepresentation of the ZACF by American Journalists and on the Schmidt Affair
It contains a lot of
It contains a lot of deflection, and takes a "wait till the commission rules" position -- even after they admit that they knew something was off in 2011, and sat on the information. Not good enough. Oh, and racism.
ln general, l think if
ln general, l think if something is contentious, a group of people can come together to make some judgment. However, in this case, a few things are a little stinky. The first is that the folks from S.Africa, while distancing themselves from these racist statements, don't know what to think about the person who made them. The second problem is that one has to wonder about the composition of said commission and how it is that people from around the world are supposed to make a more informed decision that the closest comrades of said person. The last one is that there is still no sign at all that any of these people understand the traits which are common to people who can, on the one hand belt out anarchist ideology and, on the other, be racists or nationalists. ln addition, some of those connected with MS have been known to have rather soft views on nationalism themselves.
It is strange how much effort
It is strange how much effort ZACF put into defending thier organization and how little into addressing any issues regarding Schmidt. Do they think that anyone cares enough about a tiny sect to read 50 pages about it? Even if Reid-Ross and Stephens got some things wrong about ZACF itself, such a bizarre and repetitive analysis is unnecessary and completely beside the point to anyone outside the organization.
I doubt they are really that dense. They can read, they've seen the same things that R-R and S have shown everyone: from the sick fascist rants to the mainstream articles about reverse racism that defend white vigilantes "hunting" blacks, to the tattoos, to the continualy uncovering of new lies. To anyone who is more interested in fighting white supremacy than in defending the good name of thier organization, the evidence is clear. The fact that they have wasted what must have been months of their supposedly valuable revolutionary time to produce this ridiculous document can only mean that the real point is to, once again, shoot the messenger and redirect attention away from Schmidt. The same tactics used by every member of the Anarkismo network who has bothered speaking publicly so far (Price, Vander Walt, Bekken, the Anarkismo network itself, the IATH). So much time and effort wasted on constructing fake conspiracy theories, circling the wagons, doing damage control, and character assassination of anyone who has had the courage to actually dig into the Schmidt affair.
And it looks like Schmidt himself is happy. A commenter on the Anarkismo site posted his response to the ZACF document: "Well that's pretty exhaustive. In sum they'll stand by the decisions of the multipartisan commission, which I suspect will be formed of Anarkismo, IWA, IFA and IWW comrades, all those who organised St Imier 2012."
Looks like the fascist is still chummy enough with the Anarkismo network to have the inside scoop on thier "impartial" commission.
Hi Tranq girl. Thank you for
Hi Tranq girl. Thank you for pointing out the comment of Schmidt. l would like to point out something, before a misunderstanding takes place.
The lWA was not an organizer of the St. lmier events. lt was invited to attend and even the organizers put the name in some places - before the lWA was contacted - since lWA members participated. Truly we see that sometimes there is a genuine lack of understanding about such issues. MS, has long been a classic example of failing to understand some basic ideas of anarchosyndicalism - for example, that we write that the Federation particpates when the Federation as a whole has agreed, not when one person FROM that Federation or even when one Section of that Federation takes part ... unless of course it is specifically delegated by said Federation.
What we mean to say is that the lWA has not received any invitation to participate in said commission. lf it did, it would have to set a referendum and ask the Sections (this includes thousands of people) whether or not we should delegate people, then there should be oversight and really this stuff should be somehow approved. Which would make our participation in this rather unpractical.
lt is one thing when you have small organizations which are used to a few intellectuals creating opinions and writing for them - it's another thing if you are dealing with a large federation such as the lWA which still has not gone away from certain principles.
So, l would not like to speculate on what the lWA Sections might say if asked, but you know, personally, if l had a choice between doing my union work, preparing the next Congress or spending who knows how long on a commission of people who l know are soft on nationalism and have been pretty shady in their previous comments, l'd rate the latter a big waste of time. Besides, whatever potential lWA involvement should rely reflect the position of the lWA Sections, not any representatives chosen by Anarkismo (not the Sections). lf the lWA needs to make any statements, it should do so independently, but l don't imagine that this would be seen as a pressing need. Besides, we do allow people to have their own opinions. l have written mine, some other comrades have written theirs.
Another possible correction is that l do not believe Bekken is a member of the Anarkismo network, although l may be wrong. Stranger things have happened.
lf the Anarkismo folks of Schmidt would like to imply that the lWA has been part of a process that it has not agreed to through a federalist form of decision making, or if they misuse the organization's name in that way, they can expect both a disclaimer and a lesson, at least on my part.
What is this anarkismo thing
What is this anarkismo thing anyway? I mean, are those people relevant in any way in terms of practical organizing and activity? Perhaps an offtopic, but I think it is pretty clear that MS is a weirdo (at best) and even if the flame book was whatever cool and great, why someone thinks that writing a book gives anyone any credit as a personality? There is so many good writers or artists whose work could be admired but you would never shake hands with, isn't it?
Anarcho wrote: No one -- even
But nor is the racism probably wholly unrelated to BF. Even Anarcho in his review of BF disagreed with its ridiculous partisan revisionism. Now the recent revelations about advocating a Boer-state, MS’s national-anarchism etc surely put BF’s revisionist crap about socialist nationalists like Connelly ‘being in the anarchist tradition’ in a different light; and surely that has some relation to MS’s expressed leaning toward a racialised categorising of nations?
Whatever else it did, Black Flame in part told an idealised and distorted ‘history’ that neatly fitted a preferred ideological agenda for some anarchists; http://libcom.org/forums/history-culture/new-historical-syndicalist-book-03032009
The intellectual reverence, authority & status given Schmidt & VdW on this basis has encouraged in some – even when presented with such damning evidence - a loyalty beyond all bounds of sense and reason. And, even though some here don’t like drawing the parallel, it remains very relevant to point out that a similar dynamic was at work with the apologetics for Aufhebengate.
BF’s ridiculous partisan revisionism, inaccuracy and distortion of historical sources; this lack of integrity was present way before the present scandal which, arguably, should’ve been warning signals long before now. Due to the BF inaccuracies, even the BF admirers apparently asked for the follow up book to be peer-reviewed/fact-checked before publication. Rather than praise it as some great work I’d see it more as a cause for concern that such a seriously flawed work has been so influential – largely due to the uncritical attitude of too many anarchists. (For balance we can also note that the MS expose author Reid on this thread http://libcom.org/blog/anarchosyndicalism-against-fascism-response-recent-lnsinuations-31102015 was similarly inaccurate as BF was about Italian syndicalism - in this case re. its relationship to fascism- perhaps pursuing their own ideological agenda.)
It’s certainly a recurring tendency in politics to want to defend an image of a group and/or ideology even at the expense of a contradictory reality – so all the praise for BF, with its misuse of historical sources seen as unproblematic/insignificant and largely ignored in favour of praise and lapping up its feel-good idealised history; and a similar reluctance now from some of those feeding from that ideological trough to face inconvenient facts that dispute the idealised view. It seems some just prefer a neat blinkered belief system rather than reality; they truly speak with a forked tongue. The level of attempted deceit in such defences suggests the defenders – even if indulging in chronic self-delusion – are as untrustworthy as what they try to defend.
Another possible parallel with Aufhebengate is that – after MS drawing the prestige for years of being BF co-author and until very recently lecturing & being interviewed etc on that basis – the ZACF & VdW statements now seek to distance him from the bulk of the book, emphasising his involvement ended years before publication. If authors want to claim the benefits of association with a text they have to stand by its content; equally, books will be judged, partly, by the reputations and assumed motives of their authors and the relation of their writing to the content of their acts. With some of the recent comments it’s almost like some have decided ‘well even if we can’t credibly save the reputation of MS the author we must save the reputation of The Great Book’. But presumably the copyright remains with the authors anyway so its reprinting could continue if wanted.
Well not everyone is so blinkered. But, yes, in this sense of loyalty based on reverence for the ideological authority of ideological producers, I believe that Aufhebengate is strongly related. And, like with Aufhebengate, if the boot was on the other foot and the accused party had been a rival political current, rather than their ideologically close/admired comrades, that at least some of the defenders would have been leading the condemnation. What is a greater danger than the likes of Dr J, MS etc is the tolerance of them and reluctance to admit their failings by so many who in doing so utterly contradict their own claimed radicalism. Juan Conatz is right to have his doubts.
Actually, like Aufhebengate
Actually, like Aufhebengate and like the SWP's response to the complaint of sexual abuse brought by a female member against a highly "valued," and placed, cadre. You will recall that SWP set up committee of inquiry, tasked with being neutral, and "weighing the evidence."
And all that rubbish.
Didn't work out too well then, won't work out well now, unless of course, you're looking to make the waters even muddier and exonerate, not so much MS, but those who knew about this and shut up.
l agree with much of what Red
l agree with much of what Red Marriot is saying.
MT also asks is this Anarkismo thing is really important and who cares about this book. l think that BF is, in many ways, an attempt to revise anarchist history so it is more suited to the ideology of this current, so it is not so much a "good" intro to "anarchism" as it is an intro to how this current wants people to see anarchism.
So yes, people are going to turn a blind eye to things if they revere "the book".
Now, if we want to speculate about how a commission might take place, a lot depends on who will be in it. Having seen a few "commissions" in recent years, l am not at all sure that this will produce anything fruitful.
l have seen a few folks around that network in action when El Libertario was banned from Ainfos. (This is independent of Anarkismo, but the people in question where also in that tendency.) For those who don't know, EL criticized Popular Power as having statist tendencies and there was a large criticism/expose of EL as a right-winger. The "process" (LOL) was actually quite disturbing, with the jury already in before the discussion began, since EL criticized tendencies in S. America that Anarkismo supports. ln short, there was not even any attempt to ask EL for comments and probably not even any information to them that they were being banned and why. When l compare these 2 cases (ie, buddy gets a process, non-buddies do not) and when l hear all the grumbling about AK Press withdrawing BF, there is some double standard. Of course the Anarkismo network has a few hundred people, so l will not make assumptions that these people involved with the EL situation are "typical" of the rest. But just to say that this political bias creates different treatment.
On top of that, so far l have been quite underimpressed by attempts to create huge texts that essentially divert attention from the basic issues.
For Juan Conatz, l am sorry about your feelings. The fact of the matter is that we have an idealized vision of how people can behave which is inherent in anarchist ideas, but people are human and don't always behave as we think they should. Having been around a while, l have run into lots of situations which have disappointed me or made me sick. l also get so fed up sometimes that l question what l am doing with some people. You know, l also question if l should ever open Libcom, which you are part of, because l was very disgusted with shit here. But hopefully we just get through these things and manage to get around and keep true to our own ideas. So hoping you will manage to stick to your guns and manage your disappointment.
Interesting to hear about
Interesting to hear about these other articles, "Menace in Europe" and "Neither Fish nor Fowl", which apparently Schmidt wrote but were rejected by anarkismo?
If this is true, and they could be relevant for this discussion then I agree with the above poster who says they should be released. Has anyone requested that anarkismo do this?
On a similar vein to Akai's
On a similar vein to Akai's earlier post, the IWW has not been asked to take part in any commission.
Nor did the IWW take part in organizing the St Imier congress, even if some individual members may have been involved.
Steven. wrote: Interesting to
Libcom user ocelot apparently asked Anarkismo to release "Menace" earlier in this thread. He or she reviewed and rejected a copy of it along with other Anarkismo reviewers, but didn't feel comfortable publishing it without their consent, which I highly doubt will be forthcoming, if Anarkismo can truly decide on anything (I'm starting to seriously doubt that).
Either ARR/JS have a copy of "Neither Fish...", or they only have excerpts; they're the only ones who had referenced it although it's been rumoured to have been published on Anarkismo for a short time then taken down. If so, it's nowhere in any Internet Archive snapshots of the website (I've looked).
Although I think disclosures are extremely important and I would like to see any and all articles/evidence relevant to this affair made available for the public, I might feel intimidated by legal threats if I were ARR/JS. We don't know what kind of correspondence they've had with Schmidt, and defamation/libel law is awful in SA....... it doesn't take truth into account -- http://mg.co.za/article/2012-11-02-00-ten-things-about-defamation
Oliver, to tell the truth, if
Oliver, to tell the truth, if they would want lWW or lWA to be involved, it might be better just to make a statement of those organizations. At least then everyone who know who thinks what. But rather a waste of time to drag our orgs into let.
As for libel laws, actually, the situation in Poland is exactly the same --- except in our situation these laws can become criminal cases. And we have been involved in this a few times and manage to win. That said, if MS wanted to make any case against people, l think if would just be another reason to criticize.
Comrades have stated that
Comrades have stated that Anarkismo is deleting comments on Schmidt's articles that reference his "national anarchist" tendencies.
This article specifically has been called out
Unfortunately, I didn't make copies of every single comment section on a Schmidt article, but will now. The comments would have been left after Sep 21 (last Internet Archive backup) and yesterday. Looking for more information.
ocelot -- any info about this would be great. Not sure if this is a sysadmin issue or someone with administrator access to the content management system would have done that.
Red Marriott wrote: But nor
I always thought their inclusion of James Connolly was driven by his well-known syndicalism rather than his Irish Nationalist tendencies. They also claimed de Leon. As for Connolly, I've never heard anyone claim he was a racist -- his support for Irish independence hardly suggests a "national-socialist" (proto-fascist) position. So I class this as clutching at straws.
Other than excluding Proudhon and including Connolly, de Leon, etc., I found Black Flame very good -- there are few serious mistakes (every book has mistakes or overeggs at times). That is why I was so surprised by the claims made against Michael Schimdt.
I have to disagree with that -- I am critical of certain elements of it, but in general it was a good account of anarchism and anarchist history. It did focus on what modern anarchism is and came from -- class struggle revolutionary libertarian socialism. I know that some people did not like its basic thrust but unfortunately for them, the book's basic thrust was correct -- modern, revolutionary anarchism was born in the First International. They were right to ignore Godwin, Stirner, etc. to focus on anarchism as a theory and as a movement.
In terms of Schimdt, infiltration is precisely that -- he would have hidden his positions in order to gain entry and trust. Unless we do rigorous background checks on all possible joiners to the movement, this sort of thing can happen. There were police spies in the Bolshevik central committee, for example.
Schmidt via Facebook:
Lux Éditeur is the publisher -- http://www.luxediteur.com/catalogue/categorie/auteurs/michael-schmidt/
We need organisations to make
We need organisations to make statements about Schmidt. Locally in South Africa he's still enjoying success and, for all we know, still recruiting white supremacists behind the scenes (this whole thing may have even stoked his fires). This is the review from the Sunday Times, SA's biggest paper.
"A Taste of Bitter Almonds: Perdition and Promise in South Africa" by Michael Schmidt, 4 out of 5 stars
Journalism is supposed to speak truth to power, which Schmidt does fearlessly (and sometimes personally) in this collection of stories gathered over the course of his long career. A compendium of forgotten histories across all cultures and creeds, as well as a look at some of the stories that threatened to tear South Africa apart, this is a fascinating, if difficult, look at our shared and complex history -- Zoe Hinis @Zoe Hinis"
Anarcho wrote: Red Marriott
I'm sure - before the recent revelations – that many people may've thought that
But in light of those revelations - of MS's national-anarchist tendencies etc - to dismiss the likelihood that the nationalist Connelly was approvingly re-labelled an anarchist due to his left nationalism seems more like "clutching at straws".
Claiming nationalists as anarchists seems about as serious a "mistake" as can be for the remaining integrity and definition of anarchism, as is the attempted minimising of it by those who claim to defend that integrity and its history – so we'll have radically to disagree on that. I've posted links to these threads previously where what I'd consider serious BF errors are shown;
Red Marriott wrote: Anarcho
Of course Connolly was no anarchist, and neither was Daniel DeLeon. To me, the mistake made in Black Flame was to overestimate the form of organisation (syndicalism) and underestimate the ideas which were dominant among the members (whether it was the 'Detroit IWW' / Socialist Trades & Labor Alliance or Ireland's ITGWU). There is always a battle of ideas and if anarchists don't win it another set of ideas will. People don't wander around with no ideas in their heads.
However the notion that anything in Connolly's legacy could, in any way, be seen as useful to the far right or helping to lead readers in their direction is laughable.
Connolly has been 'interpreted' by many writers to serve their own political positions (most famously by the CPGB's Desmond Greaves). His legacy, or at least parts of it, is claimed by almost the entirity of the Irish left and most trade union activists. Ditto with Irish republicans and nationalists.
But I have never seen any fascist or racist who wanted to be associated with the legacy of the man who declared the socialist of another country is a fellow-patriot, as the capitalist of my own country is a natural enemy.
There is a critical appreciation of Connolly from an anarchist-communist viewpoint, which deals with both his syndicalism & nationalism, on the Irish Anarchist History site.
Alan52 wrote: the notion that
It's "laughable" that Connolly & De Leon should be considered anarchists but it happened in Black Flame. Just because something is "laughable" doesn't mean it's impossible. That those inclined towards national-anarchism should be similarly selective in their interpretation/appropriation of left nationalists like Connolly doesn't seem far-fetched to me. Nor do we know what stage Schmidt's politics was at during his contributions to BF; whether he was then more inclined towards a left anarcho-nationalist position which later mutated maybe nobody – perhaps not even MS – can be sure. But whether by design or not, a process of making connections between those claimed as anarchist and their nationalism as being a valid part of it would seem likely. Whether there was ever a plan of deliberate 'infiltration' or not, to dismiss the possibility of any connection between BF's accommodation of the nationalist Connolly within anarchism and MS's later national-anarchist declarations seems more "laughable".
"Laughable" as it may be, and despite the fact that the Makhnovists fought against Ukrainian nationalists, today there are Ukrainian nationalists who claim Makhno as a hero;
Yes, l agree with you. ln E.
Yes, l agree with you. ln E. Europe it is not a recent thing though, so it is hard to link it exactly to some "drift".
My own reservations on
My own reservations on Connolly here
As i am oft to repeat, during the time of militant strikes by Edinburgh postal workers, we had one member who was a staunch Orangeman, not just in a lodge, but an independent expelled one at that. He was always on the walks in NI and eventually transferred there. But when it came to union activity he was as equally committed, a unit rep for a time. He had no issue with a banner of Connolly on the picket line, able to distinguish between Connolly the trade unionist and Connolly the nationalist.
Being Scotland the sectarian divide is hard to avoid in the work-place. I found myself describing part of the branch as the Orange Reds ... as distinct from the Blue Loyalists.
Also being Connolly's birth-place and home of Hibernian FC, the football ground was my first taste of Irish nationalism and the rebel songs.
Apologies for the off-topic ramble.
ln the history of Polish
ln the history of Polish syndicalism, there was historically a big question of nationalism, the situation here being as it was. And there were lots of disagreements about Pilsudski. Now, whether or not these things made sense in their time is one question. Quite another question are those who, in the here and now, like to claim Pilsudski to their socialist tradition or to highlight, as syndicalist today, the importance of Pilsudski or Sorel and try to use this to foster nationalist ideas in "the left".
This is not exactly off topic since it is obvious that the folks doing this have nationalist sympathies and also think it is legitimate to try to claim such people to make their movements more attractive to those with nationalist leanings.
BTW, just to add that someone
BTW, just to add that someone has sent me a link, apparently to the unpublished article by Schmidt about the EFF referenced in the original exposé, which is very bizarre, in which he bigs up "black racism" in South Africa and tries to argue the EFF are fascist: http://pastebin.com/2ZJ9EJ8P
Steven. wrote: BTW, just to
I think that's not a bad article at all - he clearly as a reasonable point linking the EFF to South American and global populism, and makes a very reasonable conclusion which is clearly more about the danger of the EFF's politics to African migrants rather than Whites, which indeed is the point he makes through out the article. I think the explicit fascism accusation is a bit flimsy, but certainly not strange and his point about most White South Africans being working class is correct, as is his point that the EFF do not propose anything that really threatens South African capital.
Steven. wrote: BTW, just to
I'd largely agree with what xx says above. In what way do you think the article is bizarre? I don't know that much about the EFF, so I'd find it hard to judge the claim of closeness to fascism, but I don't find the claim strange in itself. There's no shortage of nationalist movements in Africa that have led to something rather like fascism. Having leftist ideological roots isn't any bar to this.
The argument that Black
The argument that Black Flame's treatment of James Connolly should be treated as some kind of indication of racist or far right politics is both bizarre and tendentious in the extreme.
Connolly was not an anarchist. He, like De Leon, was a Marxist syndicalist, a species closely related to anarcho-syndicalism but not the same thing. Both men get folded into Black Flame's anarchist tradition because of a desire to bolster the historical significance of anarcho-syndicalism by assimilating other radical syndicalisms to it. It needs no further explanation.
If we were going to look through Black Flame for the suspicious inclusion of "nationalists" or chauvinists we might be better advised to start with various anarchists who supported World War One or the various anarchists with a record of anti-semitic views. I suspect that for instance the support for their "own" side in World War One of Kropotkin and various French anarcho-syndicalists among many others might be more generally approved of by far right elements than Connolly's simultaneous opposition to the war and support for anti-colonial revolution.
Seems there's some confusion
Seems there's some confusion in Montreal.
Really shameful that they can recognise him as a fash and just brush it off... the "boys will be boys" rule must be in effect: http://simpsons.wikia.com/wiki/Roy_Snyder
IrrationallyAngry wrote: The
I don't think any of that refutes what I said earlier, which is not quite how you interpret it;
I didn't say it was evidence "of racist or far right politics" but of a possible trajectory; a creeping nationalism that went from left to right (insofar as any nationalism is ever 'left') is hardly implausible given the later evidence re. MS. That Connolly's nationalism wasn't seen as problematic for his inclusion within the anarchist tradition is hardly irrelevant to the facts so far established (except maybe to 'anarchists' & co who're similarly soft on nationalism), no matter how much devotees of BF may like to pretend otherwise.
Red Marriott wrote: That
Connolly doesn't belong in the anarchist tradition because while he was part of a closely related tradition, Marxist syndicalism, he was not an anarchist. The explanation for his inclusion along with De Leon is straightforward and has nothing to do with his nationalism. The book amalgamates radical syndicalisms generally with anarcho-syndicalism.
If however we are to regard there as being something suspicious about the inclusion of people with nationalist views in the anarchist tradition in the pages of Black Flame, Connolly is far from the most egregiously nationalist figure included. Singling his inclusion out as evidence of creeping nationalism is bizarre when the book includes many people who had much more obnoxiously nationalist or ethnic chauvinist views. Like Kropotkin or Jean Grave at much the same time as Connolly. Is the inclusion of anarchists who supported their own ruling classes in the First World War also to be taken as evidence as a slide towards nationalism? Or those who expressed anti-semitic views? And if not, why not?
The whole Connolly issue is completely irrelevant and a distraction from the substantial allegations.
If you insist on missing the
If you insist on missing the point I'm making then let's leave it here.
Yup s/he's defo missing your
Yup s/he's defo missing your point, Red.
About what Angry said, BF is
About what Angry said, BF is quite awful in its revisionist take of anarchosyndicalism, which also just coincides a lot with the ideological biases of the authors. Which is towards reform syndicalism, including the other lines of syndicalism they attach "anarcho" to but l certainly would not. This is part of an ideological plan of that movement to promote these tendencies, nothing more.
l will not comment on the morals of the publishers in Montreal, however that book is quite a deal worse than BF in terms of accuracy.
akai wrote: l will not
Seems clear to me that supporting a known racist/fascist through book sales is morally bankrupt, and that AK was correct to pull Black Flame. But yes, I agree, Cartography is full of problems... not the least of which is a strong disdain for any current but platformism.
William Everard wrote: Seems
And yet the silence on AK's relationship with Adam Palfrey and Feral house as raised previously is deafening.
What a shame you haven't quite yet destroyed a dedicated progressive journalist's career before any charges against him are proven
XX, can l ask for a
XX, can l ask for a clarification of your politics? Are you from this network with mostly Green and Labour Party folks seeking reform? Do you see Green and Labour Party folk as "progressive"? Just curious.
l agree that AK has sold a lot of shit, not only what you mentioned, so their actions on not consistant.
As far as anybody wanted to destroy a journalists' career, l guess that the press don't give a rats' ass. That doesn't been that anarchists should not care what is being passed off or printed on anarchist portals, etc.
xx wrote: And yet the silence
Worth mentioning that someone called out AK on facebook about Hakim Bey and they didn't respond to that... there isn't consistency. But AK has been responsive in the past; they dropped shit like Alex Jones long ago.
At any rate, are you seriously trying to blame me for Schmidt's self-destruction? He's made his own legacy and is an actual racist/fascist, still leading a bizarre double-life and hoping his boys will cover for him again, as they did 5-6 years ago.
"Before any charges against him are proven"? You're clearly blind to the evidence, which could not be clearer... does Schmidt need to actually shout "sieg heil" in range of your ears, or would you excuse that as "undercover journalism", temporary amnesia, or a plot by NIA spooks?
Khawaga wrote: Yup s/he's
The responses above suggest it seemed more like an attempt to try to discredit those who dare to criticise MS/BF rather than a serious argument. But for anyone who genuinely didn't understand;
I don't find that a valid comparison, it's not about mere inclusion; unlike Connolly Kroptokin was a self-proclaimed anarchist for most of his life and historically one of the most prominent – so no surprise that he would be included in an anarchist history book. So not "bizarre" to not amalgamate Kropotkin and Connolly. Near the end of his life he then took the wrong 'lesser evil' position for WWI which even at the time was criticised by many as contradictory to anarchism.
Whereas Connolly was never an anarchist but always a nationalist – but BF's revisionism has claimed him as someone who can be defined an anarchist. It's argued above that this is due to his syndicalism (though it's agreed syndicalism isn't in itself necessarily anarchist). But I suggested that BF's choice to not see his nationalism as contradictory to defining him as anarchist is indeed a form of creeping nationalism within their defining of anarchism. (If anyone wanted to dispute that left nationalism is actually contradictory to anarchism then that's a different kettle of - rancid - fish.)
I don't see you can separate Connolly's consistent nationalism (his "precious racial and national history") from his socialist politics;
Red Marriott wrote: But in
Again, clutching at straws -- BF included De Leon along with Connolly because of their syndicalism. Unless you are now claiming De Leon was a "Left nationalist" as well?
As many, including myself, argued when it was published both De Leon and Connolly were Marxists and so including them into the "broad anarchist tradition" was just silly -- in spite of their well-known syndicalist ideas.
The book claimed Marxists as anarchists, not "nationalists" -- Connolly was included because of his syndicalism just as de Leon was. As I indicated my blog:
And note that BF discusses the Italian Marxist-syndicalists who turned to nationalism in WWI and who later became fascists -- and rightly argued that they were not anarchists or syndicalists when they embraced nationalism. So the notion that BF included James Connolly due to his nationalism rather than his syndicalism is clutching at straws -- the book was wrong to include him within its "broad anarchist tradition" because, as so many have indicated, he was a Marxist albeit one who embraced syndicalist ideas.
I've always known the
I've always known the official reason is that their syndicalism supposedly qualified them as 'anarchists' in BF - as I've acknowledged previously. (And yes, I'm aware of the history of Italian syndicalism; http://libcom.org/blog/anarchosyndicalism-against-fascism-response-recent-lnsinuations-31102015 see comments below article.) That is not my point. Of course it's no surprise at all that Italian syndicalists who became fascists were excluded from anarchism by BF - despite their syndicalism – but that just shows the selectivity and inconsistency of BF. But you're ignoring the difference between Italian fascist nationalism and the left nationalism of Connolly. Unlike fascism, Connolly's is the kind of nationalism we tend to see some anarchists be soft on (esp. modern platformists; http://libcom.org/forums/organise/whats-your-quarrel-neo-platformism-06042010 ). That MS apparently later went much further rightwards is what broke the scandal. My suggestion is that there may be a development between the soft nationalism and MS's apparent later harder version of national-anarchism. (Which is not to imply that this is a typical occurrence among, eg, platformists. Though for such anarchoes it seems the problem with people like Connolly is not that they were nationalist but that they weren't anarchist...) That this simple point has provoked such a strong reaction from the book's defenders people can interpret as they wish.
We're all interpreting the likely motivations of MS & BF – a difficult task as the authors have hardly been the most open. I remain more convinced by my interpretation;
As for the "clutching at straws" claim, it implies I'm suddenly desperate to condemn BF. But in fact I've been pointing out the ridiculous revisionism of BF probably longer than anyone; http://libcom.org/forums/history-culture/new-historical-syndicalist-book-03032009
It may be unsettling for anarcho-experts and 'historians' to find that the elements they glossed over in their praise of The Great Book have returned to haunt them. But continued attempts to gloss look even more unconvincing. The closing ranks in response to this scandal really isn't any better than the SWP's response to their own scandals. For those who claim to be defenders of the credibility of anarchism they couldn't really be doing it any worse damage.
Right. And that's why the Black Flame revisionist bullshit of including nationalists like Connolly within anarchism is so contradictory – and made even more damaging to any credibility when 'anarchists' try to excuse/gloss over it and absolutely deny any possibility that it could have any connection to later developments in this sorry tale. And yet Anarcho in earlier posts calls BF "an obviously anarchist book ... a good introduction to anarchism" – a book that embraces a nationalist like Connolly as an anarchist. No contradiction to see there at all folks... Unlike some others I've noted from the beginning that people "were not anarchists or syndicalists when they embraced nationalism".
An accessible (though very
An accessible (though very incomplete) critique of BF, which is all the better for the suggestions of "intros to anarchism" at the bottom:
Anarkismo commission apparently forming:
Johnny - Anarkismo Editorial Group
Radio interview with Michael
Radio interview with Michael Schmidt - read what you want into it
Mark. wrote: Radio interview
listened to it a few days ago. He's very good at self-promotion, name-dropping etc. The last two posts on his blog are obvious pandering; an attempt to bury the admitted neo-Nazi writing by associating himself with a holocaust museum, prominent black activists, etc.
The takeaway we're supposed to have is "how can such a person be a skinhead??" The time for shock at the contrast between public and private persona is long over. The talk about who his books are published "alongside", as if that creates some association between himself and those authors, is not much different than the "I have black friends" strategy. The sentence about what's on his bookshelf is even more pathetic.
Oh, and any discussion about Schmidt's *publicly admitted racist and fascist writing* is all of a sudden a "defamation campaign".
Quick Edit --- Sometimes I wonder whether or not Schmidt is working with a PR person or has a list of talking points/prepared comments meant to distance himself from his Strandwolf persona. One example from the radio interview- he talks about "being one of the few whiteys to vote for the PAC in '94" (paraphrasing), in obvious contrast to his well-known vote for the FF+.
...and now, the host of one
...and now, the host of one of Schmidt's book launches posing with an antifa shirt, for the express purpose of Michael mentioning it in the blog post:
Of note, HSRC/Best Red (or someone) is publishing a South African version of BF. Supposedly, if those copies weren't just left over from previous print runs.
Just 11 more posts (10 after
Just 11 more posts (10 after this one) and we make it to 1,000! Will this be a new libcom record?
Book launch/talk by Michael
Book launch/talk by Michael Schmidt. The sound is missing for the introduction so skip to 5:30 for the start of the talk.
Anarkismo is censoring
Anarkismo is censoring comments critical of Schmidt under the article ZACF response to ARR/JS (http://www.anarkismo.net/article/29106). Yet Anarkismo is participating in the so-called "commission" for an "unbiased" assessment of the Schmidt affair.
Here's the scoop: Earlier in May a commentator posted derisive remarks to ARR/JS and their backers. Johnny at Anarkismo removed the post and a response to it per Anarkismo comments guidelines, which prohibits trolling and hateful posts (made by the original poster). A few days ago, a commentator "anon" made a post noting that the removed conversation had relevance, in the quote sent to me as follows (verified with screenshots):
After Anarkismo (Johnny?) removed this comment, an additional post was made asking solely about the Nazi Lebensrune symbol that Schmidt has tattooed on his left shoulder and lies about in his blog post.
Even though that post adheres to every tenet of Anarkismo comments policy (read here: http://www.anarkismo.net/editorial), Anarkismo removed it.
On record now, Anarkismo is censoring its audience.
Institute for Anarchist
Institute for Anarchist Theory and History (IATH)
2017 STATEMENT ON MICHAEL SCHMIDW CASE
That is a pretty damn good
That is a pretty damn good statement. And importantly contains a brief section explaining that Schmidt has actually confessed to some of the things he's been accused of. I recommend everyone to read the statement.
I missed it at first but this
I missed it at first but this statement contains no new information. It just is their take on statements that were already public.
I posted it as an FYI Juan
I posted it as an FYI
In some ways, it's a validation of some of the "movement" concerns with MS. The real "value", so to speak, is it comes from people who were politically and academically close to MS.
No, there's real information
No, there's real information in the letter-- MS admits to the charges made against him, except for the charge of infiltrating the anarchist movement for right-wing purposes. He explains his "turn to the right" by claiming mental incoherence. And he now claims he has renounced the radical right, meaning contrary to previous assertions, he was not "playing" the radical right as part of an undercover mission to "expose" it in the press; and meaning that the defense of MS mounted by other organizations was nothing but a cover-up.
Wonder how Anarkismo is going to handle this.
Juan Conatz wrote: I missed
yeah like Artesian says there is really significant new information here. That he basically admits he adopted racist ideas from the radical right, is very sorry, says he has mental health problems and says he has now renounced the radical right. Also he says he was only very slightly involved with Black Flame, and that it was mostly written by Lucien.
Very interesting stuff, but as the statement basically says, this is too little too late as before he consistently just denied it, and even wrote a long waffling statement trying to disprove the allegations which were clearly true.
I've not read this yet. For
I've not read this yet. For your info.
Statement on the Schmidt Case and Proposed Commission of Inquiry
Tuesday March 28, 2017 04:08author by Anarkismo - Anarkismo network
syndicalist wrote: I've not
TLDR version: as he's admitted being a racist they are cutting ties with him and having no communication with him (about time). But they still plan to put together an independent ethics commission to examine the allegations in detail at some point.
Ah, yes, I thought the IATH
Ah, yes, I thought the IATH statement was referring to something that was already available publicly and online, but it seems like it is talking about a letter or exchange with MS isn't available online.
Basically, the central, and most important point in the various articles that came out about him, is true, then.
1000 posts! Congratulations!
1000 posts! Congratulations! We did it, everyone!
Meh. Michael Schmidt is the
Meh. Michael Schmidt is the co-author of one of the most read and referred to texts on class struggle anarchism. This is (in part) a class struggle anarchist website. It's not surprising that this would be a controversial situation.
Flint wrote: 1000 posts!
He brought this shit on himself and dragged Lucien with him.
Juan Conatz wrote: Basically,
I largely agree and suspect what I'm saying is basically semantics now. When the AK statement said Schmidt was an "undercover fascist" and "white nationalist trying to infiltrate the anarchist movement" I was expecting evidence which would show he had fully formed white nationalist and fascist politics before he entered the anarchist movement and that everything he did as an anarchist was an attempt to pull anarchists to the right or gather information on the right's political opponents. But that doesn't seem to be quite what's happened. This seems to be more someone who was racist becoming an anarchist, briefly being less racist and then becoming a white nationalist in secret. So rather than thinking about how we were infiltrated, I think we need to think about how his racism wasn't eradicated while becoming an anarchist, and how he was able to drift to the right while active as an anarchist. Which are slightly different questions to the ones I initially thought we might be needing to answer.
Since Schmidt is one of the
Since Schmidt is one of the more well known Anarchist Communist activists and historians in the world I think a bit of a discussion on the matter is quite justified since its pretty scandalous. As Jim has already begun doing it deserves some serious inward reflection so that we can understand just how it was possible for a secret fascist to operate in the movement for years without anyone becoming aware of it, despite the fact that he has written more than a few articles which blatantly hint at his racist sympathies.
I look forward to the results of Anarkismo's investigation of this sorry saga.
I missed this thread when it
I missed this thread when it started, but recently caught up all the way through it more or less. Reading 900+ posts in such a short space of time was interesting to say the least...
A few things that came to mind:
Not just with this case, the way that allegations come out about people is often not very well handled. In this case the original statement by AK Press had at best imprecise wording, then the specific allegations were serialised. Neither of these helped the reception of the information itself. It's very, very hard to maintain a distinction between being critical of process vs. undermining the point people are actually trying to get across (speaking to past me as well here).
What this is reflective of is that anarchists/communists don't necessarily handle accountability of individuals any better than other kinds of groups, then get caught wrong-footed. This goes for both abusive behaviour and incompatible politics, and it goes for those releasing information as well as those receiving it.
I think it goes slightly beyond this in that after an unknown number of ZACF members had seen that position paper, he was able to continue as a member for a fairly long stretch of time. So he wasn't just drifting to the right separate from being active as an anarchist but was specifically pushing bad racial politics (specifically racist politics) within an anarchist group. We don't know how much that got challenged internally, but it also wasn't ZACF that publicly challenged him in the end.
It also immediately made me think of the more recent (but less drawn out?) case of Michael Rectenwald. Looks like Insurgent Notes started a process of removing him from their site, but did a reversal at least for now: https://twitter.com/antipcnyuprof/status/847875555626295296- in this case Rectenwald mostly outed himself, not aware of any explicit statements from places he was involved with disassociating with him yet.
I wonder if AK Press will
I wonder if AK Press will ever reprint "Black Flame" with a new authors intro and without mentioning MS? It has long been rumored that LvdW was really the ,main author.
As to how AK rolled out their attack, prolly piss poor. As how LvdW posted under a false name hear, prolly piss poor. That ZACF didn't get out in front, disappointing and who really knows the internal dynamic during most of that period as well (roll over of members, majority new members, etc). It will be interesting to see what report ZACF rolls out. And I hope they are self-reflective in a helpful and positive way.
two things to start --- -
two things to start ---
- it's about fucking time we get -some- update.
- the timing is not coincidence. activists have been engaged in a letter writing and online campaign to finally push the 'commision' to give answers, culminating in a final push in early//mid March. some of you in this thread were contacted
a few more food for thought.
1. whoever has letter(s) from Michael Strandwolf should publish them, not hoarde them. a summary that says ' well he kinda admitted he hates blacks or used to' is not good enough. use tor browser and a pastebin or share.riseup.net
2. where are the two articles rejected from Anarkismo? the islamophobic article should see the light of day -- I'm looking at you ocelot and johnny. or is a better name for the 'collective' Klanarkismo? we want transparency, not the cover-your-asses report of 'the commision"
3. Lux Editeur sure doesn't care about the 'lux' part of the name. Why are they still filling the coffers of a known white supremacist, who now finally admits to it? anyone know how to say 'Stop selling nazi books' en francais?
4. a big THANK YOU to AK Press, ARR and Js is in order. perhaps apologies from some.
5. ZACF is a dead org, or needs to distance itself completely from the past statement on Strandwlof which was too much length and too much mental gymnastics, and BLAMING THE VICTIMS. no new statement will correct this without total break from the past (aka harboring of white supremacism)
6. Et tu Lucien? better own up quick, buddy. You've had your time to reflect, and we need clarification. 'I was conflicted' won't hold up too well and your past statement has been given far too much time and sympathy. you gonna still put your coauthor's name in your CV or what? David duke has as much credibility as Strandwolf, so better to break with him before it's too late.
7. hey Strandwolf, I know you're an egotistical ass still trying to save your career, and will eventually read this. How much did you pay off Wayne Price and co to wax philosophical on ur status as 'real anarchist Michael' or 'fake fascist Michael'? Existentialism about the essence of your bigotry will no longer suffice.. 'which Michael wrote [insert article or book]?' no longer passes mustard. Wayne, you know this already and SHAME for bashing Strandwolf's critics on your Anarkismo posts as enemies of anarchism
8. JOIN US. we have been trying to convince publishers and co that Michael Strandwolf is who he is, a white nationalist Boer fascist. Almost no one will listen except those who have already seen some of him in the true light of day. His books can no longer reach bestseller lists and 4-star reviews in perhaps the most racist state on the planet South Africa. He can no longer be the journalist of respect with jobs like this:
let us not forget the correct words of the intro to Michael Strandwolf's Creed, more true now than ever ---
if Schmidt 'won' and realized his dream, what would be the result? he wasn't just playing with rightwing ideas he was actively trying to destroy-assimilate anarchism in South Africa. An army of white nationalist Boers with black underlings as footsoldiers... these are the ideas of a dangerous maniac we cannot suffer.
Edit --- fixed link for Schmidt's selfaggrandizing post 'Fallist Politics Critiqued at Racism Conference '
this motherfucker hides
this motherfucker hides behind his output.
THREE projects on the burner.
BLACK FLAME vol 2 (sans Lucien):
Two more histories, one explicitly anarchist ---
Anyone out there upset enough to raise the alarm? He's becoming our top 21st century anarchist historian, if he produces at this rate and with this bullishness
van der Walt reply, with no
van der Walt reply, with no mention of the sequel to Black Flame
@white-liars-matter in terms
@white-liars-matter in terms of raising the alarm, I personally think it would be useful to have some of the material around this in the libcom library - although there's a /lot/ at this point so hard to know where to start - I guess re-posting the original 4-5 blog posts with a reference to this discussion would be OK though. Any registered user can post to the library, so if someone was up for archiving some of this material, please go ahead.
This isn't a one off, the situation has parallels with that of Michael Rectenwald and while I haven't read up on it as much, maybe Nick Land? With Rectenwald a rejection of 'identity politics' ended up with him embracing white, male identity politics and rejecting class.
We know that many radical political groups have had poor (but recently improving, maybe?) records of accountability for sexual harassment. I haven't seen many examples of those same accountability processes happening around racism outside of Schmidt.
Mike Harman wrote: I haven't
Have there been many instances? What org was Rechtenwald with and what's the story with Nick Land?
I don't think Rectenwald was
I don't think Rectenwald was in an organisation, he's a full professor at NYU, however he was published by Insurgent Notes and others, from some twitter chatter I got the impression they haven't decided what to do about it yet. https://twitter.com/antipcnyuprof/status/847875555626295296 / thread here: https://libcom.org/forums/general/michael-rectenwald-doing-christopher-hitchens-28022017
Land wrote 'The Dark Enlightenment' (http://www.thedarkenlightenment .com/the-dark-enlightenment-by-nick-land/) which along with Mencius Moldbug has been credited with the development of the NRx movement (popular with Steve Bannon, Peter Thiel etc.) Haven't read the whole thing, it has a lot of dogwhistles/open ranting about the reaction to the killing of Trayvon Martin though. More or Land here: https://shutdownld50.tumblr.com/post/158928600961/no-platform-for-land-on-nick-lands-racist
Schmidt published an article with Arts Everywhere:
it talks of 'the rise of right-populism and neo-fascism'....
the group was horrified by Strandwolf and pulled his article and bio......
In other news the SAJBD tweeted this.......
they also tweeted this, about neonazi posters featuring a lebensrune symbol...
So far they have done nothing when were notified that Schmidt also has lebensrune tattoo and the rest of the scandal.
I gather this is fresh off
I gather this is fresh off the press....
"ANARCHISM, ETHICS AND JUSTICE: THE MICHAEL SCHMIDT CASE....
Anarkismo network framework for international Ethics Commission and statement on convening it"
Well, this looks like an
Well, this looks like an attempt to find 7 patsies to help rehabilitate MS.
Also they are very creepy in claiming that there is a "renovated" lWA. Now l have no idea who the worse revisionist is: MS or Anarkismo. Probably the latter.
For anyone still interested,
For anyone still interested, as much as I like this massive thread, please see the "Anarkismo Down" thread and the Black Flame library page, which has a renewed discussion.
It seems the Anarkismo commission proposal article was removed after a pattern of censorship/removing comments/locking the comments section. The whole time, the Anarkismo website was mysteriously going up and down and being configured incorrectly, along with Schmidt's ProJourn and IAJ sites. How much it's all related is up in the air, but worth reading that Anarkismo Down thread if only for the ZACF contribution.
No more commission proposal means no more commission? What the fuck happened behind the scenes?
I am honestly very confused
I am honestly very confused about this. I have never heard of Schimdt before this, or Black Flame. But reading all this stuff, him denying it initially it makes this very sketchy and a long letter is not enough to prove he is not a white nationalist. Considering that, it is indeed important to not include him among anarchists until such a day ever comes that he proves these allegations false or the accused white centrism in anarchism becomes true. If I am misreading this, as I very often do because I'm autistic, let me know.
Also, looking into this, I came across some comments and want to know what this professor rat is talking about in regards to libcom and AK Press. And why syndicalism is being equaled to white supremacy. I'm not one but that seems ridiculous. Not sure either why Schmidt's rejection of Proudhon was a sign of white supremacy, wasn't Proudhon racist and very misogynistic? https://anarchistnews.org/content/michael-schmidt#comments
Professor Rat seems to just
Professor Rat seems to just be not fond of class struggle anarchists in general, i.e. s/he is being secterian.
Catching up with some Lorenzo
Catching up with some Lorenzo Kom'boa Ervin, I found this paragraph:
Lorenzo Kom'boa Ervin
Has to be him.
Lorenzo is on Facebook, you
Lorenzo is on Facebook, you could always ask him to check, but certainly it sounds like him. Although by his mention of "lecturers" that seems like he is talking about Lucien van der Walt, who has never written anything racist (although did initially defend Schmidt, who was a long-term friend)
Khawaga wrote: Professor Rat
Professor Rat has been pestering various anarchoid forums for years and seems like a total crank. I think his professed positions have changed numerous times but the crankishness has been constant.
The Kom'Boa Ervin comment was
The Kom'Boa Ervin comment was actually already quoted on this thread 2 yrs ago by jc; http://libcom.org/forums/general/ak-press-says-michael-schmidt-fascist-25092015?page=22#comment-567978
Schmidt has done plenty of speaking engagements, lecture tours etc, eg;