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AK Press allegations against Michael Schmidt

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William Everard
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Jun 6 2016 22:36

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):

Quote:
Anarkismo editors, you do know we can take screenshots. Who is censoring? Anarkismo wants to involve itself in a so-called "commission" but claims to be unbiased?

Explain to us what violate guidelines of the following post you now removed twice.

REMOVED POST:

The conversation Anarkismo removed was relevant. Above ZACF says:

"27. The ZACF also expresses its serious concern about the venomous and polarised tone that online debates on the Schmidt affair have assumed. A vocal anti-Schmidt current dominates many forums by relying, not on substantive debate, but on innuendos and on labelling, with any disagreement with any part of Reid Ross and Stephens’ / AK Press’ claims treated as the work of fascists, racists, tools of Schmidt etc. In this climate, those with contrary views soon withdraw, rational debate is closed, and more nuanced views that do not fit a neat pro-/ anti-Schmidt position, are lost. This is not a constructive approach to any debate, regardless of the severity of the accusations."

ZACF is wrong. The conversation removed by Anarkismo shows exact opposite.

Almost every poster calling out Schmidt for lies and racism sticks to substance in the comments at Anarkismo and Libcom. Anyone can read them https://libcom.org/forums/general/ak-press-says-michael-schmidt-fascist-...

When will people admit this?

When will people explain the fact that Schmidt has a Lebensrune, a Nazi symbol, tattooed on his left shoulder pictured in Chapter 2 by Ross and Stephens? https://medium.com/@rossstephens/about-schmidt-how-a-white-nationalist-s...

When will people explain the fact that Schmidt lied about having a Nazi tattoo when he listed the "sum total" of his tattoos and left his Lebensrune off the list? http://drinkingwithghosts.blogspot.de/2015/11/michael-schmidt-african-an...

Where do you stand on this Johnny? Anarkismo editors?

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.

syndicalist
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Mar 23 2017 20:52

Institute for Anarchist Theory and History (IATH)
2017 STATEMENT ON MICHAEL SCHMIDW CASE

https://ithanarquista.wordpress.com/2017/03/23/2017-statement-on-michael...

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Khawaga
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Mar 23 2017 21:54

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.

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Juan Conatz
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Mar 23 2017 23:54

I missed it at first but this statement contains no new information. It just is their take on statements that were already public.

syndicalist
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Mar 24 2017 01:25

I posted it as an FYI

Juan Conatz wrote:
I missed it at first but this statement contains no new information. It just is their take on statements that were already public.

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.

S. Artesian
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Mar 24 2017 12:29

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.

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Steven.
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Mar 24 2017 19:41
Juan Conatz wrote:
I missed it at first but this statement contains no new information. It just is their take on statements that were already public.

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.

syndicalist
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Mar 27 2017 20:19

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
http://www.anarkismo.net/article/30115

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Steven.
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Mar 28 2017 10:09
syndicalist wrote:
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
http://www.anarkismo.net/article/30115

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.

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Juan Conatz
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Mar 28 2017 16:49

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.

Flint
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Mar 28 2017 16:54

1000 posts! Congratulations! We did it, everyone!

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Juan Conatz
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Mar 28 2017 17:00

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.

syndicalist
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Mar 28 2017 20:45
Flint wrote:
1000 posts! Congratulations! We did it, everyone!

He brought this shit on himself and dragged Lucien with him.

Jim
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Mar 29 2017 12:14
Juan Conatz wrote:
Basically, the central, and most important point in the various articles that came out about him, is true, then.

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.

bootsy
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Mar 29 2017 21:09

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.

Mike Harman
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Apr 3 2017 14:44

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.

jim wrote:
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

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.

syndicalist
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Apr 3 2017 23:44

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.

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white-liars-matter
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Apr 4 2017 18:33

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:

Quote:
Time will tell what themes dominate the news in 2017 in South Africa, but the scourge of ingrained social racism and the structural enablers of white privilege hogged headlines in 2016. I covered the Institute for the Advancement of Journalism / Ahmed Kathrada Foundation Reporting Racism Conference in October for ProJourn's Southern African Cities of Refuge Project.

source

let us not forget the correct words of the intro to Michael Strandwolf's Creed, more true now than ever ---

Quote:
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](http://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](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_Flame:_The_Revolutionary_Class_Polit...) with longtime friend and collaborator [Lucien van der Walt](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/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](http://www.pdf-archive.com/2015/10/12/schmidt-memo/schmidt-memo.pdf).

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 '
https://drinkingwithghosts.blogspot.com/2017/01/fallist-politics-critiqu...

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white-liars-matter
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Apr 10 2017 19:35

this motherfucker hides behind his output.

THREE projects on the burner.

BLACK FLAME vol 2 (sans Lucien):

https://drinkingwithghosts.blogspot.com/2017/04/contents-of-wildfire-glo...

Two more histories, one explicitly anarchist ---
https://drinkingwithghosts.blogspot.com/2017/04/contents-of-peoples-flag...

https://drinkingwithghosts.blogspot.com/2017/04/contents-of-death-flight...

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

William Everard
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Apr 11 2017 17:01

van der Walt reply, with no mention of the sequel to Black Flame

https://ithanarquista.wordpress.com/2017/04/11/lucien-van-der-walt-2017-...

Schmidt letter

https://share.riseup.net/#nre-DQ6W1OIiUfXnmqoR2w
https://pastebin.com/raw/dXbMUWMF

Quote:
*******

5 March 2017
TO: The Council
Institute for Anarchist Theory and History (IATH)
RE: Resignation (and yet, Hope)

Dear comrades I am writing this letter in order to make official my resignation with immediate effect from the Council of ITHA, with regret but in good faith and good humour, and in doing so concede ITHA’s right to make public this letter or portions of it as it deems fit in responding as it may to my decision. I will divide this message into thematic sections in order for it to be more readily digestible.

1. The good work of ITHA
I firstly want to stress that my resignation must in no way be interpreted as a signal of any doubt in my mind regarding the great research, analysis and publication undertaken by ITHA, which I was proud to help co-found. I salute ITHA for the invaluable work it continues to undertake in favour of rigorous anarchist analysis with the aim of reconstructing an anarchist movement restored to its prior position of primacy among the oppressed classes.

2. Apology and Caveat
Secondly, but foremost in my mind, I want to humbly apologise for the untenable position that my past actions and omissions in monitoring the far right, first as a journalist and then as an activist, put the Institute in, and the resulting political difficulties that have arisen from that, not least the personal sense of betrayal felt by individual comrades.

In particular I want to stress in a caveat that, as they were not party in any way to my undercover work – as a result of my failure to disclose the full extent of such when questioned – that in no legitimate sense can either ITHA, the ZACF and CAB or their members, the contributors to the Anarkismo project, or especially Black Flame primary author Lucien van der Walt, be considered tarnished or compromised by my actions or omissions. My undercover actions and omissions were secretive and they were mine alone.

3. Reason for my Resignation
I recognise that the failure of the international commission announced more than a year ago to convene has bedeviled ITHA’s good work and its reputation – but also admit the fact that my lengthy published defense in November 2015 failed to supply adequate reasoning for my past actions. This omission was partly because I know the faceless original sources of the allegations against me, and in my view they are partisans of a form of anarchism that seeks to discredit the
movement’s mass-organisational tradition. Nevertheless, I foolishly reacted against the claims as an individual would respond to a personal attack, without, at least initially, recognising that their charges affected more than myself, but also innocent parties: the ZACF, ITHA, CAB, Anarkismo, and the organised movement more broadly.

Taken together, the failure of the commission to convene and my own failure to detail the reasoning behind the substance of my career as a journalist and as an anarchist has left ITHA in an unfair limbo that must not be allowed to continue, so I ask that I may be allowed to resign with immediate effect. I do so with no hard feelings; indeed, I respect ITHA’s honourable and open approach to this problem.

4. The Heart of the Matter
I take to heart in particular ITHA’s concern that in the process following the AK Press accusations in late 2015, I failed to engage in (public) self-criticism. There is a reason for this, and it is a difficult one for me to address for, as the saying goes, a house divided against itself must fall. So I beg your compassion as I lay this out for you, for I am only now having this conversation with myself, and have not yet raised it with my closest comrades, friends or family, so I am writing this as I wrestle with the issue. I am not admitting more than I have previously for there is nothing more to admit to – but what I am doing is giving reasons for my noxious actions and omissions.

It is not easy for me even now to revisit the depth of the post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and depression that enveloped me over a successive period of years, starting with my unnerving war experience in Lebanon in July 2006 which turned a patch of my beard white in a single day, escalating with the extremely painful divorce from my wife and the freezing of the Africa Correspondent post I had worked towards for 19 years in 2007, and exacerbated by the horrors of the 2008 Xenophobic Pogroms and the 2012 Marikana Massacre, the delirium caused by meningitis and breaking my spine in five places in 2010, and the losses of my friend Anton Hammerl in the Libyan Civil War in 2011 and of my brother in a motorbike accident in 2014. I subsequently lost my job, my car and my home.

Mental illness is a lonely experience at best, in no small measure because one becomes uncertain of oneself, unable and unwilling to communicate one’s distress to those one loves out of fear they recoil, or even become infected by one’s despair. When my family emigrated to the Antipodes in 2000, I alone remained behind, precisely because I have a heart for Africa and was committed to the democratic transition in South Africa; this has not changed. By the time of the onset of PTSD, my family no longer lived in the country, my closest friends lived in other cities or constantly worked abroad, so there were few I could trust with such intimate details; and though I discussed my life in some detail with my psychologist (but only after I was diagnosed with PTSD in early 2012), I did not know how to express to her the crisis of political conscience I was undergoing in addition to all the depression, violence and the other effects of PTSD.

I stand foursquare by the honest intent of my initial foray into the underworld, the properly authorised (though it seems that fact is forgotten) creation of a Stormfront account as a Group
Special Investigative Writer for Independent Newspapers in 2005. That was indeed straightforward investigative journalism and a watching brief that was legitimately maintained up until at least December 2007 when I left journalism: my publication of strings of stories on the right adequately demonstrates this. That I put noxious words in the mouth of my undercover persona in order to establish a profile with those I was keeping an eye on was distasteful to me, but this does not detract from the nasty, racist content of those posts – and I reject them utterly as being in any way indicative of my true socio-political positions.

But my second foray into the underworld, the creation of false Facebook accounts, initially with the honest intent of trying to understand the marginal phenomenon of so-called “national-anarchism,” took on a life of its own as my mental breakdown increased in successive waves, and things became murkier and more erratic. This is clear from the abhorrent content of the Creed document: though one part of my mind was convinced I wrote it merely to be taken seriously in order to be able to access the intellectual leadership of the “national-anarchist” movement and engage them on an intimate level, the obsessive detail of the document revealed that another part of my mind was toying with its disastrous, racist arguments. Painfully, privately, the foundations of my house were cracking – despite all my numerous and sincere public engagements grappling with pressing issues of the day such as hate speech, massacre, and xenophobia.

Fortunately, if I recall correctly, website analytics proved only sixteen people, most of them already-convinced “national-anarchists,” read that horrible Creed, and as such its impact was essentially zero. It would have remained unknown had AK Press’ agents not unfortunately taken the poor decision to republish it in its entirety – rather than more judiciously selecting damning paragraphs in support of their argument. I reiterate that it was designed to have no possibility of purchase in the South African white right by virtue of its white-coloured-indigenous multiracial framework, its right-radicalism, and the use of symbols such as an inverted cross – all elements which are despised by the SA right which is white-exclusivist, conservative, and Calvinist Christian. As such, I remain confident it has no resonance in the real world.

I need not have admitted to having authored it; there would have been no way for AK Press to have proven provenance. But I publicly admitted authorship in 2015 in the interests of honesty and, restored to my right mind by that stage, I rejected and continue to reject the nasty document in its entirety. I am deeply ashamed that I wrote it, even if only as a key to understand a few right-wing leaders – as I reject the hate-infused sentiment of my Stormfront posts of this period of mental instability.

5. Conflict & Identity in South Africa’s Transition
In the afterglow of Mandela’s ascension to the Presidency, it is often forgotten that South Africa went through a very violent transition from autocracy to democracy, with some 25,000 people murdered in political violence between the unbanning of the liberation movements in February 1990 and the first democratic elections in April 1994. And, as my last two books have detailed, the apartheid state’s exclusionary class-race practice has continued to do damage well into the
democratic era. Even today, we remain a society in often violent class conflict and racism-inflected transition.

During my period of mental instability, I was more than merely, as one comrade abroad suggested, a white African grappling with issues of identity; I was something else grappling with identity in a country with pervasive structural white privilege for a minority, and yet a virulent, rising black majoritarian nationalism that has now taken the form of a populist party that preaches a racialised doctrine. This dynamic is poorly understood by my US accusers. That I am not actually white – a fact that I continually stressed publicly not least with my involvement in the Human Genome Project in 2006 and in A Taste of Bitter Almonds in 2015 – was relevant to me personally, but irrelevant to a society which made presumptions of who and what I was. It does bear repeating, however, that AK’s initial charge that I am a white supremacist cannot stand if in all periods relevant to its charges right up to the present day, I have not considered myself white, but rather an Africanised Latino-Saxon descended from a Bengali slave.

Yet I was indeed a house divided – and that house was falling as my PTSD unraveled my sense of a unified self. Was it Stockholm Syndrome, as some have suggested, that familiarity of discourse with the right, as human beings rather than as political strawmen, lead to a shifting of my sympathies? I initially rejected this idea, for to be intellectually and / or emotionally captured by one’s polar enemy is deeply humiliating. But on painful reflection there is some truth to that. However, that I was never entirely convinced by the racist right or the “national-anarchists” is demonstrated by the facts that:

● I never expressed any racist or right-wing views in my own name, either in public or in private, such engagements being entirely restricted to (anti-)social media in the names of my false online personae;

● I have never in my life met a single racist or right-wing individual let alone group in my personal or political capacity, I have never in my life been a member of any race-exclusivist group, and the tiny and false “group” I set up online was merely a Trojan Horse;

● Until these allegations in 2015, I have never in my personal, political or professional lives ever been accused of racist, discriminatory or other unwholesome actions or beliefs – and this would seem to be impossible If I was truly a racist;

● Throughout the period of my mental illness, despite being deeply troubled, I publicly maintained anarchist ethics and practice, promoted Black Flame, wrote Bulgarian Anarchism Armed, Cartography of Revolutionary Anarchism and other unquestionably anarchist works dedicated to restoring the validity of anarchism outside of what could crudely be called the “white” North Atlantic – especially in Africa – and engaged constructively in internationalist dialogues with anarchists of all colours from Canada to Slovenia, Brazil to Lebanon, Kenya to New Zealand, Mexico to Iran, not a single one of whom raised any concerns about my transnational, multiethnic approaches to race;

● In the same period of illness, in my personal life, I not only actively sought work across Africa and in other non-European societies such as Solomon Islands, but maintained good relations and close political friendships with people identifying as black African, Asian, Indian, indigenous, Arab, Berber, Mayan, Maori, Jewish, Muslim, Christian, atheist, etc – and had an intimate relationship lasting more than two years with Eve, who is an African lawyer of Indian descent (this in particular is abhorrent to white supremacists, and if anyone would know whether I was truly a racist, it would be Eve, yet no-one bothered to speak to her); and

● In the same period, my cultural practices in terms of the art I collected, the music I listened to, the events like Chinese New Year that I participated in, show a continued, engaged interest in multiculturalism, even while I wrestled privately with issues of an identity imposed on me by apartheid, and unalleviated by democracy.

6. My Errors
It was only in early 2012, having just been diagnosed with PTSD, and starting out on the long process of mental repair, that the allegations of my misdeeds via my online personae were first brought to the notice of the ZACF. As you know, I immediately admitted to the legitimate undercover journalism work on Stormfront, but not to my engagements with the “national-anarchists”. This naturally amounts to a betrayal of trust of my comrades and friends, which would later have broader ramifications in untrue allegations that the ZACF had failed to weed its garden, and I accept my guilt. I am ashamed I did not feel confident enough at that time to be up-front about everything, and apologise unreservedly to the ZACF for that.

My error was further compounded by a long personal engagement I had sometime in this period with Lucien van der Walt, who as my co-author on the Counter-power project was rightly concerned; but he was unable to get me to talk about the deeper reality of my mental distress and my loss of political moorings. Perhaps if we’d been able to speak at greater length – for he had to go back to work in the Eastern Cape and was only visiting for a weekend – he would have gotten my façade to crack, and we could have been spared all that followed. But I was depressed, secretive, paranoid, confused, embarrassed and unsure of how to raise the real problem, even with my best friend, so he remained in the dark about what was going on. This too, I accept was a betrayal, and I am mortally ashamed of it. I cannot stress enough that Lucien remains wholly innocent in this affair and his wonderful works on anarchism entirely untainted by my silence.

I perhaps need to make at this stage an admission that might be shocking: that I have never read a single paragraph of the exhaustive and meandering seven-part allegations of AK Press’ agents other than AK’s initial Facebook post. This is firstly because I already knew what they consisted of, in reality at least, for with the exception of my period of meningitis-induced delirium in mid to late 2010, I was fully aware of what I had and had not done. But it is also because by the time the allegations – and they are very far from all being true – were made in late 2015, I was well recovered and restored to both my sanity and my undivided adherence to revolutionary anarchism; to read their charges risked my mental health and a return to the wasteland of PTSD. I was not willing to return to that lonely condition, and so vicariously allowed good comrades to fill me in on the necessary and often absurd details. I trust the commission, when it convenes, will determine which of these are true and which constitute character-assassination.

7. My Condition Now
My fear of a return to mental instability is not unfounded: my fragility is demonstrated by the fact that since my brother’s death in June 2014, I have in all my waking hours suffered from olfactory hallucinations. I first experienced this briefly during the Guatemalan Civil War in 1996 when watching a film on army massacres provoked an olfactory hallucination in which I smelt the corpses I had witnessed in the aftermath of the Shobashobane Massacre in Zululand some weeks previously; that condition is now constant and I must tell you, for someone who used to delight in the scents of the world, most unpleasant and destabilising. As far as I understand, there is no sure way to cure this condition.

I trust too that you understand how difficult this is to write, for it presents me with a core conundrum. If, as Polonius’ words in Hamlet have it, the most important rule in venturing into the world is “This above all: to thine own self be true, And it must follow, as the night the day, Thou canst not then be false to any man,” with my history of mental illness, what is my own self? Since my emergence from that dark period, I avoided admitting even to myself that any of my noxious words on (anti-)social media were true in the sense that I had been convinced or even partly-convinced of them at the time; for to do so meant admitting to my own self being abhorrent – not the sort of self that one would wish to be true to! To even admit to the existence of that dark alter-ego would mean to admit that my house was sundered by an unbridgeable faultline; this admission alone, I feared, would precipitate its fall. So, in returning to sanity, I have tried to be true to the part of myself that is honourable, anti-racist and anti-fascist – but in doing so, I have been partly false to many women, trans*persons and men, yourselves not least, who were my friends and comrades by not offering full disclosure. I hope you can appreciate how, honestly troubling this position was, and remains, though perhaps this letter is the first step in resolving the conundrum, improving my mental health, and restoring our friendship.

Conclusion
The innocent: In concluding, I stress again that Black Flame is primarily Lucien’s work and that he submitted the manuscript to AK Press in January 2006, before the onset of my PTSD in the wake of the Summer War in Lebanon in July 2006. So the good reputation of that work cannot be damaged in way by my later actions or omissions; more to the point, the text itself is unambiguously anarchist in its multiethnic approaches to race, colonialism and imperialism.

Next, again I emphasise that in the period in which I was mentally ill, neither Lucien nor the ZACF were initially aware of the seriousness of my condition, and when they were made aware of my transgressions, they immediately called me to task: thus, no racially suspect ideas can be claimed to have been current in the ZACF or associated circles; it cannot be construed as their fault that I omitted to tell them everything. The same goes for Anarkismo, ITHA, CAB, and any other organisation that hosted me as a guest speaker, or that I worked for or interacted with in the period concerned: no-one was aware of the severity of my mental disorder, or of my political deviations, and cannot in any way be tainted by the latter, nor even be accused of passive connivance. Again, I humbly apologise for the political difficulties and personal pain I have caused to all concerned.

My politics: I still stand by my 2015 public defense – my life’s work for our cause over a quarter of a century. I want to underline that I worked for decades both as a journalist and an activist among the largely black working class and poor of Africa and continue to do so. But I recognise that my detailing of my career failed to deal with the reasons behind instances where I had indeed diverged from anarchist ethics and practice, even if only by word and never by deed, and then only in narrow far-right online enclaves.

Though I went through a period of mental anguish and political doubt some years ago, I have since recovered my unity of mind and I remain a committed revolutionary anarchist, and as such a firm anti-fascist and anti-racist. I continue to work with a global cohort of activists who provide safe haven to persecuted writers, journalists, authors and musicians of all colours, to work for non-profit organisations operating across Africa on human and LGBTI rights, HIV and other issues, to work on a transnational multilingual online project on massacre and memory, and am currently preparing to work on the ground in countries such as Sri Lanka.

I continue to labour ceaselessly in my own time and at my own expense on numerous studies of our movement, especially regarding Sub-Saharan Africa, the Arab World, Latin America, Russia and the CIS, South Asia and Asia-Pacific – including the Anarchist-Communist Mass-Line series, the Arabic and Spanish editions of Cartography, and Wildfire: Global Anarchist Ideological and Organisational Lineages, an intense labour of love of sixteen years and counting which will be, when published, the most comprehensive history in any language of the anarchist movement globally over fifteen decades.

Finally, I wish to thank ITHA for its understanding and wish it all success in its invaluable endeavours.

Red & Black regards
Michael Schmidt

Mike Harman
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May 9 2017 22:04

@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.

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Flava O Flav
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May 11 2017 16:29
Mike Harman wrote:
I haven't seen many examples of those same accountability processes happening around racism outside of Schmidt.

Have there been many instances? What org was Rechtenwald with and what's the story with Nick Land?

Mike Harman
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May 23 2017 10:45

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-h...

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-o...

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white-liars-matter
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May 23 2017 14:23

quick updates.........

Schmidt published an article with Arts Everywhere:

https://drinkingwithghosts.blogspot.com/2017/05/should-i-wait-for-darkne...

it talks of 'the rise of right-populism and neo-fascism'....

https://web.archive.org/web/20170421031109/http://artseverywhere.ca/2017...

the group was horrified by Strandwolf and pulled his article and bio......

http://artseverywhere.ca/2017/04/11/wait-for-darkness/

In other news the SAJBD tweeted this.......

https://twitter.com/SAJBD/status/859714022601568256

they also tweeted this, about neonazi posters featuring a lebensrune symbol...

https://twitter.com/SAJBD/status/864789179460460548

So far they have done nothing when were notified that Schmidt also has lebensrune tattoo and the rest of the scandal.

syndicalist
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Jun 22 2017 22:51

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"
https://anarkismo.net/article/30351

akai
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Jun 23 2017 16:05

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.

William Everard
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Jul 14 2017 04:08

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.

https://libcom.org/forums/news/anarkismo-down-13072017
https://libcom.org/library/black-flame-volume-1-lucien-van-der-walt-mich...

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?

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Eocentaur
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Jul 21 2017 06:34

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

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Khawaga
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Jul 21 2017 12:45

Professor Rat seems to just be not fond of class struggle anarchists in general, i.e. s/he is being secterian.

Mike Harman
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Dec 6 2017 00:11

Catching up with some Lorenzo Kom'boa Ervin, I found this paragraph:

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

https://libcom.org/library/progressive-plantation-racism-inside-white-ra...

Has to be him.