AK Press allegations against Michael Schmidt

1024 posts / 0 new
Last post
vicent
Offline
Joined: 21-03-13
Oct 13 2015 02:05

That document helps explain why Zabalaza seems so disconnected from the proles, you would never imagine that South Africa has had consistently high (probably highest in the world) level of class struggle, from reading their media. Michael had used the platform to allow the whites to control the blacks, who all left en masse.
Hopefully this spurs a recomposition in the anti state left because the proles in South Africa desperately need radical and independent media to allow communication and reflection amongst themselves

Pennoid's picture
Pennoid
Offline
Joined: 18-02-12
Oct 13 2015 02:10

1. Has a stormfront account with years of posts spouting racist shit. (claims it was for research for newspaper articles that don't exist)
2. Advocated(maybe still currently does) a white vanguard.

Yep, lookin' grim.

Chilli Sauce's picture
Chilli Sauce
Offline
Joined: 5-10-07
Oct 13 2015 02:32

How is this all playing out within Zabalaza, anybody know?

kingzog
Offline
Joined: 28-10-09
Oct 13 2015 05:53

Honestly, I don't think it even matters whether or not he was a true infiltrator. Like, after reading all his stormfront shit and def after the article- what difference does it make? Yeah AK made a big mistake the way they announced it, sure. Bigger issue is how and why someone like Schmidt made this "turn" or whatever and also this issue of national anarchism and nationalism in anarchism in general. I think anarchos have some "soul searching to do"

no1
Offline
Joined: 3-12-07
Oct 13 2015 08:42

I really dislike the journalistic style and serialisation. This isn't meant to be a feature in some shitty newspaper supplement, and we're not your audience asking to be entertained. Please give us the facts and leave out the editorialising.
Schmidt sounds like a racist shitbag, but we need to work out what kind of racist shitbag. So far there's nothing in there supporting the notion he's a 'fascist infiltrator' - making him out to be some kind of outside agent seems like a way to dissociate the wider milieu from culpability.
Also, the attempt to associate platformism and more generally class politics with white supremacism is beneath contempt.

Jim
Offline
Joined: 30-04-06
Oct 13 2015 09:16
kingzog wrote:
Honestly, I don't think it even matters whether or not he was a true infiltrator. Like, after reading all his stormfront shit and def after the article- what difference does it make? Yeah AK made a big mistake the way they announced it, sure. Bigger issue is how and why someone like Schmidt made this "turn" or whatever and also this issue of national anarchism and nationalism in anarchism in general. I think anarchos have some "soul searching to do"

If he was a true infiltrator he's potentially been passing information on anarchists around the world to the far-right which could put hundreds of people at risk. The amount of information he will have been able to gather as a respected author who has toured the world and leading anarchist in his own country will be massive. Think about all the comrades who will have met him, who will have put him up, worked along him etc. If you think the far-right getting hold of that kind of information is less important than some philosophical shit about political positions your priorities are fucked up.

Joseph Kay's picture
Joseph Kay
Offline
Joined: 14-03-06
Oct 13 2015 09:20
kingzog wrote:
Honestly, I don't think it even matters whether or not he was a true infiltrator. Like, after reading all his stormfront shit and def after the article- what difference does it make?

Because if he's an infiltrator the immediate concern is security - has he ever had access to membership lists, email lists, did he ever request info on people buying his book or solicit active anti-fascists to contact him for 'research' etc?

If he's 'just' got racist rationalisations for the proles not following his vanguard grouplet that has different implications; how was this dealt with within ZACF, who was aware, were suspicions investigated/acted upon?

I was expecting a document dump with a summary explaining the contents and provenence of the documents. I guess we'll just have to stay tuned for the next thrilling episode from the author of the forthcoming book Against the Fascist Creep (AK Press) [pre-order your copy now!].

Ed's picture
Ed
Offline
Joined: 1-10-03
Oct 13 2015 09:24
Joseph Kay wrote:
I was expecting a document dump with a summary explaining the contents and provenence of the documents. I guess we'll just have to stay tuned for the next thrilling episode from the author of the orthcoming book Against the Fascist Creep (AK Press) [pre-order your copy now!].

This is actually the bit that really pisses me off tbh. Considering how serious the implications are if true, it's a bit of a pisstake for the Reed Ross guy to be using it to milk as much publicity for his upcoming book as possible..

Joseph Kay's picture
Joseph Kay
Offline
Joined: 14-03-06
Oct 13 2015 09:26

Fwiw, Alexander Reid-Ross's book blurb makes the following claim:

AK Press wrote:
Against the Fascist Creep maps the connections and names the names, showing how infiltration is a conscious and clandestine program for white nationalist and neo-Nazi groups. After the election of Obama, their activity expanded, and they have attempted to co-opt new social movements against the financial crisis and police repression to influence both mainstream and radical groups, including anarchists.

So there's presumably much more to come to substantiate the claim of a global clandestine infiltration program.

Jim
Offline
Joined: 30-04-06
Oct 13 2015 09:27

At the moment the way Reid-Ross has handled this leads me to believe the book will be shit, poorly researched and leaping to a load of incorrect conclusions. Like a lot of the claims in the blurb sound like nonsense.

ajjohnstone
Offline
Joined: 20-04-08
Oct 13 2015 10:19
Quote:
One person at the meeting, who asked not to be named for this piece, recalled, “Michael asked about thoughts on the document. Everyone was awkwardly quiet and pretended they hadn’t read it.”

Umm...what does this say about the group as a whole...that they refrained from any criticism of another comrade (even if the meeting was held in his home)...reminded me of what i read in the Tyranny of Structurelessness...members a political group reluctant to disagree with a "leader" figure. I'm used to comrades challenging every dot and comma.

The quoted document certainly doesn't represent an anarchist critique as i understand it to be but more a Trotskyist uneven development of consciousness analysis. Some of it such as the Brasilian analogy was above my head, i have to confess, though

I have concerns with this Reid-Ross who feels it necessary to pad out his expose by telling us Schmidt lives in a cosy bungalow and has two pedigree dogs if this makes any difference if he lived in a single-end tenement with a mongrel. We simply wish the evidence laid out in a oner, for us to read everything and not go flicking back and forth separate posts.

ocelot's picture
ocelot
Offline
Joined: 15-11-09
Oct 13 2015 10:32
Chilli Sauce wrote:
How is this all playing out within Zabalaza, anybody know?

I hear that Zabalaza intend to await seeing the whole of the case for the prosecution and Schmidt's defence to same, before making their statement on both. Which, arguably, is probably the only approach that approximates natural justice

(with the obvious caveat that the emergence of any evidence of an actual security threat to comrades who have had contact with Schmidt in the past would justify a more expedited response.)

edit: goes without saying that I am equally frustrated with everybody else by this "tune into next week's exciting installment" approach, which is not only crass and completely inappropriate, but at this rate will drag all this out for weeks if not months before the Zabs get a chance to have their say.

Pennoid's picture
Pennoid
Offline
Joined: 18-02-12
Oct 13 2015 11:30

How.... Invested are people in black flame as a resource or the "zabs" as point people in SA (what like 6 people?) that they're not seeing the writing on the wall here.....? The implication is that they knew his politics for years and did nothing. And yet we all whine about ak and Reid Ross ( not excusing then either but let's keep it in perspective).

Burgers
Offline
Joined: 20-08-14
Oct 13 2015 11:35

According to his Facebook

Quote:
next one on Wednesday
Rob Ray's picture
Rob Ray
Offline
Joined: 6-11-03
Oct 13 2015 11:39

Oh Jesus don't start that again, no-one's "invested" in anything, no-one's arguing Schmidt's article is anything but awful. Criticisms of how Ross and AK have broached the subject are just that, not precursors to some conspiracy to shut down discussion.

As a request, if there's going to be debate can we please just keep it on the subject matter rather than insinuating dodgy motives on the part of anyone disagreeing.

Flava O Flav's picture
Flava O Flav
Offline
Joined: 10-04-13
Oct 13 2015 12:35

IMO there's an odd smell of Leninism off the document - replace black with working class and you pretty much have passages straight out of What is to be done? He also uses the exact phrase, "better fewer but better" that was the title of a Lenin essay. The vanguard logic - which is on a whole different level to any platformism I'm familiar with - taken to an extreme by white people in a society like South Africa is logically going to bring about racist conclusions. So there is that, and the bizarre aside on how he identifies as opposed to how Lucien identifies. Then there is the bit where he says he is not arguing for permanent segragation and praising mostly black organisations elsewhere, it makes for a very confused piece with a strong elitist tone and conclusions that can only be described as racist - though if he had simply said that the poor level of education inherited from apartheid South Africa and the cultural hegemony of black nationalism makes it difficult to recruit to anarchism from the majority black population - it probably would have been fine. To deny these things were major factors would be to deny that religion and sectarianism were factors in the six counties. The terms, 'not capable' and white vanguard are where the racism lies in his conclusions - but certainly no proof of fascist infiltration.

On Reid Ross, I'm quite annoyed about how he's playing this, which seems to put his journalistic ambitions ahead of any sense of justice. As I said to him on twitter "you should be releasing the evidence that he's a fascist, not a serialised Norman Maileresque version of it." I want to know if the allegation is still of fascist infiltration or if it is drift towards National Anarchism or that he has a tendency towards dodgy racist views (clearly it's at least the last one). I want to see all the documents that prove this (with relevant sections highlighted).

If the answer is fascist infiltration, I want to know to what end, what information has been gathered, is anyone in danger? If it is NA, what is his game? Why did he write all those books, is there a hidden message in them that leans towards NA, what has he done organisationally, for, within the NA movement? If it is that he has dodgy racist views, why not just say that in the first place?

It really isn't the time for flowery prose and I don't care what kind of dogs he has or what their names are or about knowing about his home decor preferences (unless there's a lot of swastikas and celtic crosses about the place)

Rob Ray's picture
Rob Ray
Offline
Joined: 6-11-03
Oct 13 2015 12:18
Quote:
If the answer is fascist infiltration, I want to know to what end, what information has been gathered, is anyone in danger?

This should be the priority stuff, because it's the most time sensitive. There's all the space in the world to expound on documents highlighting racist tendencies, but if he's an infiltrator and he thinks he's being outed then it needs to be on the table asap so affected comrades can do something about it.

If Schmidt is indeed fact gathering for fash and knows he's soon to be exposed then he's just had two weeks to copy and paste everything he can get his hands on, tap up people who don't know about it or who are unconvinced there's anything wrong, sow discord and disruption, bury important follow-up evidence pointing to any allies etc, and the clock's still ticking.

jef costello's picture
jef costello
Offline
Joined: 9-02-06
Oct 13 2015 12:32
Joseph Kay wrote:
guess we'll just have to stay tuned for the next thrilling episode from the author of the forthcoming book Against the Fascist Creep (AK Press) [pre-order your copy now!].

I really hoped this was a joke.

So Michael Schmidt is a racist, although he sounds more like a patronising elitist who couches racism in "I'm not racist but .." constructions than a fascist infiltrator.

As has been said if the interest here is the anarchist movement then getting this information out so that militants can defend themselves is the priority, not acting like someone trying to build up buzz. Exposing a fascist infiltrator or denouncing a comrade is a serious thing, it's not a marketing tool.

kingzog
Offline
Joined: 28-10-09
Oct 13 2015 15:27
Quote:
if he was a true infiltrator he's potentially been passing information on anarchists around the world to the far-right which could put hundreds of people at risk. The amount of information he will have been able to gather as a respected author who has toured the world and leading anarchist in his own country will be massive. Think about all the comrades who will have met him, who will have put him up, worked along him etc. If you think the far-right getting hold of that kind of information is less important than some philosophical shit about political positions your priorities are fucked up.

And just what would they do with this "info"? What sort of info? Personal info? What would they do with it? Especially in this age of fb and the internet where there is so much public about ones life?

really, I think you are thinking the anarchist " movement " is more significant than it really is. The most an infiltrator could do, realistically the best use of their situation, would be to poach people over to their side.

ocelot's picture
ocelot
Offline
Joined: 15-11-09
Oct 13 2015 15:27
Pennoid wrote:
How.... Invested are people in [...] the "zabs" as point people in SA (what like 6 people?) [...]

Just as an FYI for those that don't know, in the years since MS left ZACF (effectively in 2009) and LvdW dropped down to supporter status, the ZACF has changed in composition substantially such that today it is a majority black organisation, most of whom were not around at the time MS was in the process of leaving the organisation.

Chilli Sauce's picture
Chilli Sauce
Offline
Joined: 5-10-07
Oct 13 2015 15:42

Kingzog, I'm a bit too much of a pansy to be heavily involved in anti-fascist stuff, but I can tell you that if, for example, Schmidt was trusted enough to have access to names and numbers from antifa, yeah, him sharing that information could put people seriously at risk. Not to mention the potential access to cut keys or whatever to anarchist spaces.

I mean, you are aware the Freedom bookshop has been f*cking firebombed more than once in its history? Somehow I don't think that was a recruitment exercise...

ocelot's picture
ocelot
Offline
Joined: 15-11-09
Oct 13 2015 15:45
Flava O Flav wrote:
Then there is the bit where he says he is not arguing for permanent segragation and praising mostly black organisations elsewhere, it makes for a very confused piece with a strong elitist tone and conclusions that can only be described as racist - though if he had simply said that the poor level of education inherited from apartheid South Africa and the cultural hegemony of black nationalism makes it difficult to recruit to anarchism from the majority black population - it probably would have been fine. To deny these things were major factors would be to deny that religion and sectarianism were factors in the six counties. The terms, 'not capable' and white vanguard are where the racism lies in his conclusions - but certainly no proof of fascist infiltration.

The document is more than confused. It contains this passage, which kinda leaped out at me (but then maybe that's just me).

Quote:
[Because ....dodgy racist claptrap...] Thus, a libertarian socialist Revolution is impossible in SA under current and foreseeable internal politico-social conditions

It is pretty unsurprising that the author effectively dropped out of the organisation a few months after writing that.

Aside from it's obnoxious content, no actual strategy is proposed in the document. Overall it reads as a confession of despair masquerading as an attempt at self-justification.

Fall Back's picture
Fall Back
Offline
Joined: 22-09-03
Oct 13 2015 16:00
kingzog wrote:
And just what would they do with this "info"? What sort of info? Personal info? What would they do with it? Especially in this age of fb and the internet where there is so much public about ones life?

really, I think you are thinking the anarchist " movement " is more significant than it really is. The most an infiltrator could do, realistically the best use of their situation, would be to poach people over to their side.

You're genuinely asking what an organised fascist could do with personal information on anarchists, anti-fascists and anti-racists collected over an extended period of time?

Setting people up for physical attack, costing people their jobs, passing on information of illegal activity to law enforcement, passing information about activists to the media, disrupting planned activities, just as a start.

Sure there are bits of that you could get off Facebook, but there's a shit load more you'd have at your fingertips if you'd posed as people's trusted comrade for 20 years. And we're talking internationally here too, given his travels and profile.

So yes, it does make a huge, practical difference whether he's an infiltrator or not.

Pennoid's picture
Pennoid
Offline
Joined: 18-02-12
Oct 13 2015 16:04

So once the white vangaurdist left the racial composition changed dramtically.

Flint
Offline
Joined: 17-12-05
Oct 13 2015 16:16
kingzog wrote:
The most an infiltrator could do, realistically the best use of their situation, would be to poach people over to their side.

They could provide easy information about the location and security of people's homes and a few boneheads could come along to beat or kill someone. But beyond that, nothing to worry about.

Yeah, its not impossible to get people's home addresses if someone is a determined enough investigator, but crime is often as much about opportunity. I don't want to post my home address on stormfront. Sometimes it happens when there is a big arrest of antifa and people usually take steps when that happens. Folks have gotten harassed because of that in the recent past.

Maybe it is best for you not to define what other people are concerned about.

Mr. Jolly's picture
Mr. Jolly
Offline
Joined: 28-04-11
Oct 13 2015 16:44
Soapy wrote:
storm in a teacup

Stormfront in a proper tea is theft cup.

Mr. Jolly's picture
Mr. Jolly
Offline
Joined: 28-04-11
Oct 13 2015 17:11

Having just skimmed the document, how come noone said, 'hold on, what did you just say?'

Flava O Flav's picture
Flava O Flav
Offline
Joined: 10-04-13
Oct 13 2015 17:33
Mr. Jolly wrote:
Having just skimmed the document, how come noone said, 'hold on, what did you just say?'

How do we know they didn't? Well it seems like they didn't adopt it anyway.

Flint
Offline
Joined: 17-12-05
Oct 13 2015 17:35
Flava O Flav wrote:
Well it seems like they didn't adopt it anyway.

Sure, but I don't see how they could have had much hope of political unity with the author and they should have cut ties.

Mr. Jolly's picture
Mr. Jolly
Offline
Joined: 28-04-11
Oct 13 2015 17:50
Flava O Flav wrote:
Mr. Jolly wrote:
Having just skimmed the document, how come noone said, 'hold on, what did you just say?'

How do we know they didn't? Well it seems like they didn't adopt it anyway.

So its a case of 'what goes on in The Cadre stays in The Cadre?'.