AK Press allegations against Michael Schmidt

1024 posts / 0 new
Last post
AES's picture
AES
Offline
Joined: 15-02-04
Oct 1 2015 14:10

For the avoidance of doubt Platformism in South Africa was a very definate break with working class self-organisation, in favour of a minute organisation controlled by career academics. In a heavily segregated country such as South Africa there is a massive significance to that specific departure from revolutionary anarchism.

Flava O Flav's picture
Flava O Flav
Offline
Joined: 10-04-13
Oct 1 2015 14:30
AES wrote:
Michael Schmidt has been directly involved with anarkismo and several of it's associated organisations, so there's an actual direct connection.

I'll decide whether platformism has anything to do with Michael Schmidt's racism when the arguements are made.

This is an absolutely sickening and opportunistic attempt to score points. For starters, MS hasn't been organisationally involved in ZACF or Anarkismo since 2009. Calling him one of the main theorists of platformism is a huge fucking stretch. He wrote what is essentially a history book - Black Flame, it is not so influencial to be universally acclaimed in platformist circles. There are people who like it and people who think it's meh, me being in the latter category. And I think, while your definition of sectarianism is correct, it fits you down to the ground, your eagerness to put the boot in to another tendency of anarchism without evidence and by playing fast and loose with the facts is fairly apparent.

AES's picture
AES
Offline
Joined: 15-02-04
Oct 1 2015 14:35

I chose my words carefully. I'll comment further when the evidence is available, from AK Press and relevant documents from ZACF.

Flava O Flav's picture
Flava O Flav
Offline
Joined: 10-04-13
Oct 1 2015 14:38
AES wrote:
For the avoidance of doubt Platformism in South Africa was a very definate break with working class self-organisation, in favour of a minute organisation controlled by career academics. In a heavily segregated country such as South Africa there is a massive significance to that specific departure from revolutionary anarchism.

That's also playing fast and loose with the facts - platformism does not oppose working class self organisation but favours dual organisation - a theoretically and tactically united political organisation AND mass working class organisation - the union.

AES's picture
AES
Offline
Joined: 15-02-04
Oct 1 2015 14:49

So what would you say to a "Platformist" "[*white*] theoretically and tactically united political organisation [OVER] a [*black*] mass working class organisation - the union." ?

Would that be racist?

akai
Offline
Joined: 29-09-06
Oct 1 2015 14:52

A few thoughts. The first is that one this thread we have seen people say, "don't drag Platformism into this", "don't make generalizations on Platformism", etc. but on the other hand we see ideas that because the author was in EF!, he must be a loon. Same syndrom, different stereotypes.

About the questions of Platformism, MS and Black Flame, I think that, in general, if somebody didn't like Black Flame, they would be better off separating their criticisms of that with those of MS related to these accusations, if only because some people perceive this now as taking shots at somebody accused with no evidence presented. Regardless of what your points might be, you probably would not be properly read at this point. That said, when the accusations are published and if any of them reflect racist ideas and anybody has theories that these all also found in the book or elsewhere in platformist texts, it's certainly legitimate to bring these up.

If AK is to make any convincing point about MS's racism (and I believe, from what I've heard, this is more about racism than fascism), then they should refer to examples not made in the context of the alleged infiltration of Stormfront, but elsewhere. And if this comes out, and if these incidents date back to the time of MS's collaboration with ZACF, then it is appropriate to ask questions to or about ZACF. If this is later (since people have pointed out he has been out of ZACF several years), then perhaps the only question is to LVDW.

Flint
Offline
Joined: 17-12-05
Oct 1 2015 15:05
AES wrote:
So what would you say to a "Platformist" "[*white*] theoretically and tactically united political organisation [OVER] a [*black*] mass working class organisation - the union." ?

I'd say you might be speculating on the current demographics of ZACF in a crude effort to racebait. Looking at the latest copy of Zabalaza #14 that Maisiri, Nyalungu, Maponyane, Sefalafala and Mompe don't sound like English, Dutch, Afrikaner or Boer names. But who knows with the anarchist tendency to use aliases. I don't know if that's reflective ot the current membership demographic.

Unless a small organization prioritizes recruitment along racial lines with particular quotas, it is very easy for a small organization to get demographics that seem skewed. Same could be said for gender. The smaller the group, the least more likely there is going to be a missmatch there. Unions being mass organizations are less likely to be that way--EXCEPT when certain trades/industries are themselves skewed along racial and gender lines that don't match overall society.

Ireland is relatively racially homogenous, the U.S. and South Africa are not (though some areas of the U.S. are less diverse than others).

In the UK, Canada, Ireland, Australia, and the US... the anarchist milieu tends to be majority white and majority male. There have been improvements there; but that's still the trend. Thats the way it is in the IWW, no? It is problematic, but I don't think it means that anarchism as an ideology and practice is a stepping stone to white nationalism or men's rights patriarchy. We can also say the same thing for Trotskyism or the Green Party in the same countries.

Flava O Flav's picture
Flava O Flav
Offline
Joined: 10-04-13
Oct 1 2015 15:05
AES wrote:
So what would you say to a "Platformist" "[*white*] theoretically and tactically united political organisation [OVER] a [*black*] mass working class organisation - the union." ?

Would that be racist?

Your method really is that of the sewer, given that A ZACF is certainly not all white, and doesn't position itself over the movement.

Flava O Flav's picture
Flava O Flav
Offline
Joined: 10-04-13
Oct 1 2015 15:09
akai wrote:

If AK is to make any convincing point about MS's racism (and I believe, from what I've heard, this is more about racism than fascism).

Well the only official statement from AK on this cited fascism in particular rather than racism in general, so unless there is some backtracking going on, that's where things stand.

AES's picture
AES
Offline
Joined: 15-02-04
Oct 1 2015 15:12

We'll wait for further information, including any internal ZACF documents relevant to concerns about racism.

Also, as I say, I was directly involved with ARM and WSF.

Flint
Offline
Joined: 17-12-05
Oct 1 2015 15:16
AES wrote:
Also, as I say, I was directly involved with ARM and WSF.

More than 20 years ago. If you've been sitting on evidence that Michael Schmidt is a racist for 20 years, you better share it!

AES's picture
AES
Offline
Joined: 15-02-04
Oct 1 2015 15:24

Obviously what I'm saying is that (together with other anarchists) I was a member of ARM and WSF before it became platformist and the later formation of ZACF.

Flint
Offline
Joined: 17-12-05
Oct 1 2015 15:32
AES wrote:
Obviously what I'm saying is that (together with other anarchists) I was a member of ARM and WSF before it became platformist and the later formation of ZACF.

If that gives you some special insight to make a persuasive argument... well we are all waiting to hear it! But so far it looks like you have an axe to grind with platformism because the WSF went platformist early on and you didn't have the votes to counter it. So you are looking at the current accusation of AK Press against Michael Schmidt to score some points in your two decade old grudge against South African platformists who... as far as the rest of the world is concerned your politics are nearly identical with (most people not having a concern about a unitary mass organization in the form of a labor union verses specific political organizations that work with and support a mass organization in the form a labor union).

So far, you've only engaged in guilt by association and insinuation. You really aren't helping whatever kind of argument you are trying to make. If you want to show how platformism leads to white nationalism--I think you are going to have trouble coming up with a lot of examples.

AES's picture
AES
Offline
Joined: 15-02-04
Oct 1 2015 15:43

I have not actually made any arguements yet other than that Michael Schmidt is a Platformist and the organisations and websites he has had an involvement in are also needing be considered in the oncoming arguements. Of course this is because there were previous posts/comments made claiming (without knowing the arguements) that Schmidt is a separate issue to Platformism, and even expressing "Solidarity with the ZACF" (that article has been removed since).

I'm against Platformism because of my direct experience with it in South Africa. I was not outnumbered by platformists, the decision to introduce the Platform to the WSF Constitution at a Conference without circulating it to the membership and creating a two tier membership in a racially segregated situation is inconsistent with equality. I left in disgust because of incompatibility.

I went on to work with other anarchists to set up a workers assembly at a factory which is one of the only cases of direct action by anarchists within a workplace during Apartheid.

Flint
Offline
Joined: 17-12-05
Oct 1 2015 15:57
AES wrote:
I have not actually made any arguements.

Believe me, we know.

AES's picture
AES
Offline
Joined: 15-02-04
Oct 1 2015 15:59

Smug.

Serge Forward's picture
Serge Forward
Offline
Joined: 14-01-04
Oct 1 2015 16:19

AES, wind your neck in and stop being a right bell. All we have at the moment is this:

1. Michael Schmidt has platformist politics.
2. He may or may not be an undercover fascist as well.
3. You don't agree with platformism (hey, neither do I, funnily enough).
4. We know fuck all else about the situation.

All the rest of your 'guilt by association' claptrap is giving me the shits. Pack it in mate.

AES's picture
AES
Offline
Joined: 15-02-04
Oct 1 2015 16:35

Yes we'll need to wait.

syndicalist
Offline
Joined: 15-04-06
Oct 1 2015 16:55

I can only say that I hope whatever comes out of this is conclusive. If not, we will just continue to have the same round and round leading nowhere.

jef costello's picture
jef costello
Offline
Joined: 9-02-06
Oct 1 2015 20:25

I'm glad they unpublished all those posts and got this back on track. roll eyes

seahorse
Offline
Joined: 5-08-15
Oct 2 2015 01:19
seahorse wrote:
radicalgraffiti wrote:
several people have quoted this, from http://www.anarkismo.net/article/23404
Quote:
Misdiagnosed by most anarchists as fascist, “national anarchism” fuses radical decentralism, anti-hegemonic anti-statism (and often anti-capitalism), with a strong self-determinist thrust that stresses cultural-ethnic homogeneity with a traditional past justifying a radical future; this is hardly “fascism” or a rebranding of “fascism,” for what is fascism without the state, hierarchy and class, authoritarianism, and the führer-principle?

as evidence that he is sympathetic to national anarchism.

Well I think he makes a convincing case that "nationalist anarchism" is not fascism. It is inherently racist and/or xenophobic. Bad enough! But while fascism is racist and xenophobic, racism and xenophobia is not always fascist.

I'm sad to hear about this scandal. Like others, I'm waiting on evidence before making any judgments. I really hope it's not true!

I'm not sure why this was down voted? Let me be clear, I think "national anarchism" is shameful, dangerous, and terrible due to it being racist/xenophobic. I just don't think it's fascist. Why? Because it is stateless and *the state is an essential part of fascism.* As for saying that racists/xenophobes aren't always fascist, I thought this was obvious? Again to be clear, I think racists/xenophobes are always horrendous, whether they're fascist or not.

If there's something wrong with my post, please educate me, tell me. I try to be open minded to my mistakes.

ocelot's picture
ocelot
Offline
Joined: 15-11-09
Oct 2 2015 10:47

Yeah, despite decades of wrangling between historians of the "archetypal" fascist regimes of the mid-20th century, there is no common agreed definition of the essential characteristics of fascism. From a definition of fascism that emphasises it as a form of extreme statism, then the quoted text is just a logical conclusion from that premiss. Obviously, if you took an alternative definition like Roger Griffen's "palingenetic ultranationalism" then NA would clearly fall within that scope. The debate on what characterises fascism is open and not a simple left-right one, in terms of sides and competing definitions. It's certainly not a basis for finger-pointing or imputing closet fash or racist sympathies to anyone.

rooieravotr
Offline
Joined: 28-10-09
Oct 2 2015 19:46
Quote:
I think "national anarchism" is shameful, dangerous, and terrible due to it being racist/xenophobic. I just don't think it's fascist. Why? Because it is stateless and *the state is an essential part of fascism.*

I think that will not do. National anarchism is not stateless; it implies a state in practice even if it denies it in words. Racism/ xenophobia, if it ha top be imposed to society, will need a violent authority to do so. Communities built upon racism cannot do without a state to keep them "pure" in their racist terms. The stateless character of national anarchism is shallow, a state is implied by the whole logic of its arguments, weh ther adherents recognize it or not. National anarchism is, at the very least, a close relative of fascism.

By the way, I accept that my post borders on off-topic. On the Schmidt controversy, I think we should wait for clarification from the side of AK Press, and Schmidt 's reaction to such clarification, before condemning or supporting him in this case. Hasty and ininformed judgements tend to be bad judgements. The way AK brings the news - condemnation without evidence - does not seem right to me.

seahorse
Offline
Joined: 5-08-15
Oct 3 2015 16:56
ocelot wrote:
Yeah, despite decades of wrangling between historians of the "archetypal" fascist regimes of the mid-20th century, there is no common agreed definition of the essential characteristics of fascism.

Ah. I had no idea there was a controversy.

ocelot wrote:
an alternative definition like Roger Griffen's "palingenetic ultranationalism" then NA would clearly fall within that scope.

Yep, that's a clear fit. Nationalist "anarchism" (oh god the abuse the word anarchism has taken!) is definitely fascist if it's defined on these grounds.

rooieravotr wrote:
I think that will not do. National anarchism is not stateless; it implies a state in practice even if it denies it in words. Racism/ xenophobia, if it ha top be imposed to society, will need a violent authority to do so.

True, I could easily see a state developing. But I could also imagine it being enforced through mob violence. Or militias of volunteers with elected commanders. (How Durruti would spin in his grave!)

rooieravotr wrote:
I think we should wait for clarification from the side of AK Press, and Schmidt 's reaction to such clarification, before condemning or supporting him in this case. Hasty and ininformed judgements tend to be bad judgements. The way AK brings the news - condemnation without evidence - does not seem right to me.

Totally agree. It's really fucking with my head because I don't know whether to despise the guy for being a racist/fascist or to feel sorry for him that his reputation is being wrongly dragged through the shit pile! Before the announcement I respected him, so being in this limbo zone of not knowing how to feel or what to think of him has been a bit draining emotionally. I wish AK Press had delayed the announcement until they were ready to put the evidence forward.

Flava O Flav's picture
Flava O Flav
Offline
Joined: 10-04-13
Oct 3 2015 18:28
rooieravotr wrote:
Quote:
I think "national anarchism" is shameful, dangerous, and terrible due to it being racist/xenophobic. I just don't think it's fascist. Why? Because it is stateless and *the state is an essential part of fascism.*

I think that will not do. National anarchism is not stateless; it implies a state in practice even if it denies it in words. Racism/ xenophobia, if it ha top be imposed to society, will need a violent authority to do so. Communities built upon racism cannot do without a state to keep them "pure" in their racist terms. The stateless character of national anarchism is shallow, a state is implied by the whole logic of its arguments, weh ther adherents recognize it or not. National anarchism is, at the very least, a close relative of fascism.

By the way, I accept that my post borders on off-topic

True but it is probably a debate that is long overdue, considering most of us would have spent a fair chunk of time defining so called anarcho-capitalism. Anything claiming the name of anarchism should be subject to a rigorous critique. I would agree with the close relative of fascism but not full on fascism classification. I think the most likely scenario would be a drift towards traditional statist fascism but would be cautious about declaring it a fait accompli. Given that a revolution could well require a racist minority to be suppressed through means of force, I don't think it is impossible that a racist majority, using democratic (albeit racially exclusionary) committees could enforce it without the traditional state, however, whatever it is, it is not anarchism. There is still a hierarchy, and it is an idea that needs to be crushed, like it's statist cousin.

kingzog
Offline
Joined: 28-10-09
Oct 4 2015 17:52

I could easily see a statless society being racist. A community of racists could democratically enact racist measures. I think what's being confused here is governance and a state.

Even in a statless society(emphasis on society) there will be governance and forms of coercion and incentives(even in the most primitive societies this has been the case). A racist community(majority of members are racist) could forcibly exclude minorities from there community as much as they would capitalist enterprises. However, if the society included different "races" but "included " them as seperate classes with a subordinate or less equal class for the upper class to exploit; that would be a (racially based) class system which would then require a true "state" to enforce the existence of the classes and to mediate between them

Pennoid's picture
Pennoid
Offline
Joined: 18-02-12
Oct 4 2015 18:55

We could likely split this to a different thread, maybe a discussion on the pitfalls of Nationalism in different permutations, but I wanted to make a point:

The social division of labor based upon race, ethnicity, and nation presupposes the ideology of racism. I think this is important to consider, as it poses these categories not as the classic dichotomy of either 'purely ideological/social' or 'actual'. Instead they are the fetish (if you will) of a particular set of historically specific social relations. It further implies that they can be altered, so long as those relations are altered, and that this means we need to go further than "consciousness raising" feel-goodery and two-dimensional views of inherently racists "people" or even individuals. It also means that even with a minority of people holding overtly racist attitudes, their can still exist racist relations of production and distribution, which can engender those attitudes and so on, not to mention structure social life in a way that purposes misery for millions of a particular appearance.

I think it also means that "pure democracy" is a pretty utopian notion, and kinda bleeds into forms of nationalism, because of it's abstract nature; it comments little on the leeway given to those enfranchised in the rural areas of Florida, Georgia, or South Africa for that matter, to deal with what they perceive to be their problem (jewish banksters, immigrants, black "thugs" etc.).

syndicalist
Offline
Joined: 15-04-06
Oct 4 2015 21:57
Quote:
We could likely split this to a different thread, maybe a discussion on the pitfalls of Nationalism in different permutations,

That would be a good thing.

Steven.'s picture
Steven.
Offline
Joined: 27-06-06
Oct 4 2015 22:38

Going back to the OP, it's been a fair while now and still nothing in the way of evidence from AK…

syndicalist
Offline
Joined: 15-04-06
Oct 4 2015 22:44
Steven. wrote:
Going back to the OP, it's been a fair while now and still nothing in the way of evidence from AK…

A bit more then a week. I suspect they did not have it together before making an announcement.
Piss poor way for AK to go about this, regardless of the final disposition