AK Press allegations against Michael Schmidt

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klas batalo's picture
klas batalo
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Oct 14 2015 20:50

Not surprised by the limited info the authors sent to platformists this is what I expected. They still need to just release it all, c'mon people care more about the movement's saftey than your damn book and careers.

Burgers
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Oct 14 2015 21:17
Khawaga wrote:
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Editor = his boss, bosses never tell lies, cover shit up, always tell the gods honest truth. Anyone remember the phone hacking, News of the World? and a billion other events.

His boss said so, so must be true?

I'm just saying.

I get what you're saying, but what's the motive of his editor lying about this? And in the context of the rest of A.R-R's analysis, it appears to be true to me. Remember that this is to refute that MS had talked with his editor about his "infiltration" of fasc movements as part of writing a story and that's why he had so many accounts on various sites etc.

Looking at the stuff that was posted it is clear any editor whether in the know or not would have to deny it and sometimes investigative journalists (undercover cops do it as we know) get themselves deeper in than they meant to. Likewise I'm sure it will have happened many times with anti-fascists accounts on places like stormwatch.

Discrepancies with dates and cos the boss said so doesn't make it fact. Regardless of this, the guy clearly has some serious racist issues, beyond that I think it is best to wait and see all the evidence together as one piece.

On a side note this Ross character is clearly a complete wanker smile

Burgers
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Oct 14 2015 21:07

And the next "instalment" is Friday, seems there maybe a pattern to it?

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Oct 14 2015 21:10

Yeah, I'm more confused than anything now. I mean, the first time I read it I was shocked, then I went back and read it again and I was just baffled. I think the infiltration thing is clearly not the case, unless some startling new evidence comes in the next parts. So for me, we're left with either - a white anarchist whose convictions didn't hold up when put to the test of losing his white privilege and drifted towards national anarchism, or, a guy who went off the rails on a multiple personality disorder level. For me, neither of their stories - Schmidt's or Red Ross's add up now. On the level of bourgeois justice, there's an awful lot of circumstantial stuff in there. I mean it's not unknown for Irish anti-fascists to have celtic tattoos, I don't get the bit about the hat, it just looks like a hat to me, or is it some SA nazi thing? The Stormfront posts we already knew about, but yeah they are weird and it looks like more than just a cover.

Yeah I'm none the wiser, other than he's some sort of racist. Wish they'd just release the rest of it.

ajjohnstone
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Oct 14 2015 21:20

Certain questions raised

Why is Part 2 quoting Schmidt's "defence" which i assume came out after the allegations...Seems as this accusation is itself a rushed job, written afterwards, which makes me now ask why AK Press does not release their original correspondence that made them cancel the book deal and existing contracts. They do have the emails, don't they?

When i tried to link to the Strandwolf blog i found it is now removed ...When did it get removed so i have an idea when these screenshots of it was taken, to determine just how long someone has been sitting on it?

I'm also curious to know how Ross Reid got to learn of all this in the first place. They have been amiss in describing their own involvement started in the uncovering of this saga (hope the use of that word doesn't link me to Nordic racial history) Who actually drew their attention to it? The whistle-blower? (Did i miss something in Part One)

Part One had an anonymous source (at the informal meeting on the document)...and Part Two has an anonymous "eye-witness" of Schmidt entering a store where you can buy German/Nazi paraphenalia. ...What do they say in courts...hear-say is not permissible, particularly from un-named sources.

S. Artesian
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Oct 14 2015 21:32

Did Schmidt ever file a single story about his "penetration" of right-wing groups? That's the questions that settle the issue of his "under-cover" status.

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Oct 14 2015 22:14
S. Artesian wrote:
Did Schmidt ever file a single story about his "penetration" of right-wing groups? That's the questions that settle the issue of his "under-cover" status.

Well not necessarily, I raised that in a conversation with someone earlier and made the exact point you made, and they were saying, well, lots of people do extensive research for books and projects they never complete. (In fact they way I phrased it was, "as Nessa said in Gavin and Stacy, 'Where's the book Pete?'")

Edit: http://drinkingwithghosts.blogspot.ie/2015/09/proposed-cover-for-taste-o...

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Oct 14 2015 21:50
ajjohnstone wrote:

When i tried to link to the Strandwolf blog i found it is now removed ...When did it get removed so i have an idea when these screenshots of it was taken, to determine just how long someone has been sitting on it?
.

Well I tried the wayback machine and there seemed to have been activity on it on the fourth of August, but there are no snapshots so it seems to have been removed from that too.

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Oct 14 2015 21:56

Fwiw I've been cynical about the way this is being released. People who know AK people on Facebook have said that AK went public before ARR was ready to publish, which then put him on the clock, hence putting it out in instalments. That seems a plausible alternative to book-promotion, so I might be wrong about that. I think if the 'memo' had been put online on day 1, with a promise that the rest of the evidence was complicated and would be released once it was formatted/presented clearly, this would have been a lot less messy.

On the actual content, it looks pretty damning, especially as he's apparently been caught lying in his pre-emptive defence. Imho the comment from his editor disproves beyond reasonable doubt his cover story (however implausible you thought it sounded, if his editor had backed him up it would have been a much messier case of showing he went beyond plausible cover and that he hadn't produced either sufficient journalistic output or actionable anti-fascist intelligence to justify it).

The comment from a web designer (assuming we trust an unnamed source here) about Schmidt soliciting a white nationalist site in 2002 also demonstrates this is a long term interest, not a work-related infiltration or a later disillusionment leading to racist conclusions.

Edit: I'm told Schmidt *did* publish journalistic articles on fash in this period, though I haven't seen links from him or his critics. If that's so, his editor not backing him up may not be as conclusive.

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Oct 14 2015 23:06

From everything I've heard from IAS contacts, the timeline you sorta put out is true. They said AK Press folks feel like they fucked up (probably even messed up saying he was an infiltrator) though Reid Ross I think has a broader definition of infiltration than many here would hold.

Specifically on the MS' editor though, he basically said he wouldn't need to give permission? So sorta weird both ways O.o

Quote:
“[A]nd because of his seniority and the way newspapers work, I would not have to give him permission at all to investigate. That would be something a good investigative journalist would do off his own bat.”

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Oct 14 2015 23:14

I mean, Schmidt does have a forthcoming book partly on neo-Nazis. But he specifically named that editor as someone who could vouch for him, and he hasn't. And his reaction to the memo suggests he doesn't see anything wrong with it, even in hindsight. So on the two points we have Schmidt's side of the story, neither appear to stand up.

orange.ruffy
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Oct 15 2015 00:46

I think it's very telling that KarelianBlue was grinding axes from Schmidt's other political existence. If the goal was to deceive people on Stormfront, why not only pander to their existing biases? Why rail against Debord? Or even Guevara? Taking a strong stance against Debord's "post-modernism" isn't going to earn you many points in bonehead circles. But it does likely reflect authentically-felt frustrations about the state of discussion in anarchist circles.

This indicates something sloppier and more confusing than what either Ross or Schmidt are indicating. Whether he was infiltrating the anarchist or the fascist movement, Schmidt wasn't making efficient or coherent moves. As a former friend was quoted as saying, Schmidt is "compartmentalized," but it seems likely that that's an understatement - rather than assume that he's either telling the truth or that he's a lying WN-infiltrator, it's quite possible he's just very split, broken, and isolated.

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Oct 15 2015 00:55

That's an interesting interpretation.

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Oct 15 2015 01:55

S. Artesian, I raised the same point. In response to Flava: Didn't he say it was in his capacity as a journalist? Didn't he say it was for a specific boss? And (I may be wrong on this one) didn't he claim to have published articles?

I know journalists can write books, but don't they make their money publishing articles, and wouldn't his editor want material to print?

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Oct 15 2015 03:11

Has anyone been self-loathing enough to see how this is playing out on Stormfront?

akai
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Oct 15 2015 04:49

Here in Poland we have a history of third positionists writing in both the anarchist press and fascist press at the same time. And not covertly. The "anarchists" simply had no analysis and, unfortunately, to this day, a lot of nationalist shit is passed as normal. ln Russia, where l used to live, also. The reason l say this is that l have seen those who are living in two worlds in action and after reading these Stormfront pieces, l can say l recognize some things in common. l am rather pressed for time, but probably it would be informative to compare some of the positions of these people.

BTW, in the case of Poland, it was always this way that the "anarchist press" knew exactly that these authors were writing in fascist press, just like all the "anarchists" knew when certain self-professed anarchosyndicalists were appearing at events with fascists. But for years we heard explanations such as "well, we have to reach out to everybody" or that it is good to find common points. On the few occasions where observers from other countries actually said something about this, which isn't always the case these days, the anarchists have tended to claim that they "didn't know" and have been "infiltrated".

This might not be relevant to the MS situation, but due to this, l always have questions about who knew what and am suspicious of claims of infiltration. Sorry if it annoys some people, but really.

BTW, somebody asks about the Strandwolf stuff and when it was deleted, etc. Somebody who was following it suggested it was deleted recently, perhaps as the AK allegations appeared.

pgh2a
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Oct 15 2015 04:58

I believe MS wrote he had permission from his boss, and I suppose one could say he did if he didn't have to ask for it and that was understood ...however MS implies there was some affirmative permission given, especially where he talks about what he did being vetted. That's one of the things for which I'm most interested in seeing his response.

ajjohnstone
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Oct 15 2015 07:17

It was me who asked about the blog.

If it was as recent as you say, it suggests to me that MS endeavoured to carry out a (politely) damage-limitation or (ungenerously) cover-up of his tracks and not declare full transparency of activities that i would expect from someone claiming to be sincere.

So far i agree with Khawaga in seeing Orange.ruffy's MS's personality defect/character flaw as so far the strongest analysis rather than sinister infiltration motives where i still struggle to identify the purpose.

I remember in my youth i was drawn to the fantasy literature of sword and sorcery such as Conan and Kull the Conqueror with their imaginary lands and mysterious peoples...(some enjoy computer games of similar nature, these days)...perhaps MS forgot to leave childish things behind and re-lived them in his make-believe world of Nordic/Germanic/Boer nationalism/racism.

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Oct 15 2015 09:03

It reads a bit like one of those "bigamous bloke" stories you get in the meeja, where they have a wife and 2.5 kids (x2) in different towns where neither family knows about hubby's other "secret life"...

Either way, he comes across a big racist twat and, increasingly, some sort of quasi-fascist fantasist.

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Oct 15 2015 10:50
Pennoid wrote:
S. Artesian, I raised the same point. In response to Flava: Didn't he say it was in his capacity as a journalist? Didn't he say it was for a specific boss? And (I may be wrong on this one) didn't he claim to have published articles?

He did say he started doing it for The Star under a specific editor, I don't think he mentioned specific articles, did a quick google search and nothing relevent came up but googling his name and far right or neo nazi now throws up a lot of stuff about the allegations that makes older stuff harder to find. I guess if he wrote them, he'll supply them as evidence when he responds.

orange.ruffy wrote:
This indicates something sloppier and more confusing than what either Ross or Schmidt are indicating. Whether he was infiltrating the anarchist or the fascist movement, Schmidt wasn't making efficient or coherent moves. As a former friend was quoted as saying, Schmidt is "compartmentalized," but it seems likely that that's an understatement - rather than assume that he's either telling the truth or that he's a lying WN-infiltrator, it's quite possible he's just very split, broken, and isolated.

In support of this and Serge's bigamist musings, while I was searching I came accross this, an interview from last year (Page 56) that reads like it's a different person to the one who wrote the stormfront posts.

bootsy
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Oct 15 2015 11:36
bootsy wrote:
From his stormfront account:

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

I guess one way to get to the bottom of all of this would be to find out whether or not he actually has these tattoos.

Can't add the image because my computer is going doo-lally however the link is here for those who want to take a look. It would appear that Schmidt does indeed has these tattoos. The 'Scythian Chief' Tattoos are on his arms.

https://cdn-images-1.medium.com/max/800/1*q_xD1UIHN9CfoBmbfnTuIA.jpeg

Burgers
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Oct 15 2015 11:48

Do we have a timeline for the tattoos?

WattTyler1381
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Oct 15 2015 15:53
Quote:
from a guy in South Africa about the current Michael Schmidt “scandal”:

As for Schmidt my immediate reaction was that he is going to be getting a
lot of flak for at least trying to address consciously the exact same
dynamics that are simply taken for granted in pretty much every anarchist
and leftist organisation. The way he did so was obviously completely wrong
but hardly ‘fascist’ as the allegations state. What better explanations do
all the members of these little groupscules that are jumping to condemn him
have to offer for the fact that you can observe exactly the same sort of
shit in their own relations? The division between unofficial leaders and
followers seen in all leftist scenes around the world often takes a
uniquely racial form in SA, and Schmidt is one of the few who dares to face
up to it. Sure, he does so in a pretty stupid way, but how different is his
attempt “to have this divide [of] explicitly recognized (white) rearward
collectives …[from] (black) frontline collectives” from Bakunin’s invisible
dictatorship? What stands out with Bakunin and Schmidt is not that they
accepted the existence of hierarchical practice despite their professed
anti-authoritarian theories, but that they did so “explicitly” whereas most
anti-authoritarians are either too delusional or too cowardly to do this
and prefer to accept it “implicitly”.

It seems to me that Schmidt’s position regarding blacks is similar to what
you considered the reactionary position of Knabb towards women: if they
have thus far been unable to participate fully as equals it is their
responsibility to try harder rather than expecting the more capable to
stoop down to their level. The difference being that (in theory) Knabb
adopted this position so as to “refuse” any hierarchical relation whereas
for Schmidt it was a means to adopt such a vanguard role “consciously” rather
than attempt to “paper over the cracks between members’ vastly disparate
levels” (of understanding, competence, activity, participation, etc) as
most anti-authoritarians prefer to do.

In general much of this has to do with the entirely ahistorical attitude
most leftists adopt towards questions of organisation. To be able to ask a
question as stupid as “whether the black proletariat is more “politico-culturally” inclined towards Marxist-Leninist or African socialist
authoritarianism” you have to completely ignore the question of whether the
present society is more historically inclined towards conditions favourable
to forms of organisation dominated by passive and spectacular relations –
conditions that can and must be consciously subverted. Indeed for most
leftists, anti-authoritarian or otherwise, such a question will be the last
one ever to enter their heads. And it shows.

As long as leftists remain determined to keep the relation between
themselves and their own practice at the level of the unconscious their associations will remain fundamentally reactionary both internally and externally. This is what happens when you try to imagine revolutionary activity can carve a niche for itself outside the spectacle. It is the inevitable result of separating subversion from everyday life. Don’t expect 99% of these self-righteous libtards to benefit in the slightest from this latest in the long list of pseudo-scandals.

One half of them will simply use it to score points in the usual sectarian
way (‘libertarian communists’ yapping about how this proves the inadequacy
of ‘platformism’, etc) while the other half will try to say that this bears
no reflection whatsoever on anything beyond the ‘purely individual’
attitudes of Schmidt and anyone that says otherwise is sectarian.

I must admit that his talk about “the physical and intellectual rigours of
the anarchist communist organisation” made me smile. The fact that this
person can even mention “in the case of the SACP/YCL, the sale of branded
communist gear’ in the context of serious ‘attempts to (re)build a
popular-class counterculture through something other than toyi-toyi” says a lot about what his idea of “physical and intellectual rigours” might be.
Then again in the very same breath he says that because “logical process,
self-discipline and autonomous strategic thinking has been strangled at
birth” (of course this strangulation is in fact perpetrated by the
spectacle against “all” individuals “on a continuous basis”) every
rebellion “naturally” reverts to authoritarian, leader-led,
anti-autonomous modes of behaviour. Thus, a libertarian socialist
Revolution is impossible in SA under current and foreseeable internal
“politico-social” conditions.

Now, you might as well stop here. What more is there to say for a vanguard
that puts itself at the head of a revolution pre-emptively condemned to
abortion by its own leading theorist? What is there to say for a
self-professed anti-capitalist who believes the propaganda that capitalism,
conflated with human nature, ‘naturally’ renders all attempts at revolution
impossible? In that case, as the surrealists suggested, why not try
suicide? It’s precisely due to his ahistorical perspective that he adopts
this self-defeating determinism. The idea that unfavourable historical
tendencies can be strategically and practically subverted in the everyday
lives of the masses – masses of individuals who are no more or less
stupefied than their self-proclaimed vanguards, vanguards composed of those
who were once just as ‘unconscious’ as the masses but came to adopt
revolutionary positions in an “unnatural” historical process that might
equally embrace masses of individuals, and has done so before – such an
idea has clearly never occurred to this physically and intellectually
rigorous comrade.

Lastly, it should be pointed out that the various reactionary aspects of
this guy have everything to do with a tunnel vision where the point of
reference is shifted from “the real movement” to a ‘revolutionary’
subculture/scene/organisation. It was as if the real problem were the
absence of black cadres in his groupscule rather than the fact that his
‘movement’ is not now nor ever has been even slightly significant to the
actually existing class struggle in this country. The international furore
produced by this entire scandal is equally symptomatic. The amount of
attention, emotion and verbiage expended on this non-event is exponentially
greater than the amount of interest displayed, judging from the written
evidence, towards the real developments fraught with possibility blossoming
in countless interesting actions among millions of people on the ground all
around the world. For all the condemnation of ‘substitutionism’ among
these supposedly ‘theoretically advanced’ people it is undeniable that idle
gossip and inconsequential scandal is today a substitute for anything
resembling intelligent and informed discussion and debate about real social
contestation.

I see from here that there is apparently much more to the fascist allegations than is
mentioned in chapter one ‘from the author of the forthcoming book Against
the Fascist Creep (AK Press) [pre-order your copy now!]’… basically that
he created facebook accounts and a ‘white supremacy’ website called
Stormfront posting apparently very racist content as well as formed some
sort of national-anarchist group. His explanation being that he was
infiltrating NA networks, rather than working as a NA infiltrator of
anarchist-communist networks. Since I’ve yet to see any evidence that NA =
fascism even this information is hardly serious. If he were an undercover
fascist obviously that potentially puts a lot of people in danger so I can
understand why a lot of the anarchist ‘community’ would be very concerned
by it, but I have yet to see evidence for anything of the kind. Also, his
comrades from Zabalaza have apparently already seen all this NA
infiltration stuff and believe his story. Then again the fact that Zabalaza
could recieve a discussion paper like that and make no comment certainly
demonstrates a more than questionable judgement. So I guess we’ll have to
wait for this promised definitively damning evidence. How pathetic it all
is!

PS
Just read ‘Anarchism as Spectacle’ and pleasantly surprised that somebody beat me to the punch saying this stuff, some of it, like the bit about gossip v. news of opposition, almost word for word!

- from this.

r-exist
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Oct 15 2015 16:26

Flava o Flav. You cite the interview and I went and took a read. How does this idea of historical research on anarchism sound to you? I'm not intending mixing this discussion with the question of his racism, but I am interested if people share that this approach is quite problematic...

On page 57 of the interview he says:
"The results of this historically-revealed universalism are vitally important to any holistic understanding of anarchism and syndicalism."

"historically revealed universalism" so that means there is a final truth and then if there is who is the owner of it? the researchers who reveal it?

radicalgraffiti
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Oct 15 2015 16:41
WattTyler1381 wrote:
snip

some good points there, but our politics has to progress through examining the results of existing politics in practice, if its possible for someone with fascist politics to become a prominent anarchist thats indicative of some pretty major flaws, and we can improve by examining them. minimizing this as not worth discussing is a good way to perpetuate a environment where theory and practice are disconnected.

seahorse
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Oct 15 2015 18:27

What do people think of Michael Schmidt claiming that Nestor Makhno is a nationalist-anarchist?

I think it's total bullshit -- and explain my reasons in post #264 (https://libcom.org/forums/general/ak-press-says-michael-schmidt-fascist-...). But since that post got a couple downvotes, it's making me wonder if some people believe Makhno was a nationalist?

If so I'd really like to know why.

Yeah he fought against Russian imperialism, but he also fought against Ukrainian nationalists! They were his bitter enemies. So I'm pretty confused.

Jim
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Oct 15 2015 19:05

Well we don't know for sure that Michael Schmidt definitely thinks Makhno is a national anarchist and Schmidt is saying that those comments were made while he was researching the right. But Makhno is cited as a national hero in Ukraine, plenty of Ukrainian fascists see him as a hero. Far-right group Right Sector, the sponsors of the Azov Batallion, have been seen with Makhnovist flags. But the far-rights co-option of Makhno doesn't make him a nationalist, he was an anarcho-communist. It's probably best starting another thread if anybody wants to discuss this point further.

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Oct 15 2015 19:48
r-exist wrote:
Flava o Flav. You cite the interview and I went and took a read. How does this idea of historical research on anarchism sound to you? I'm not intending mixing this discussion with the question of his racism, but I am interested if people share that this approach is quite problematic...

On page 57 of the interview he says:
"The results of this historically-revealed universalism are vitally important to any holistic understanding of anarchism and syndicalism."

"historically revealed universalism" so that means there is a final truth and then if there is who is the owner of it? the researchers who reveal it?

I think it's part an parcel of the ideological dogmatism that is in Black Flame, that as a former Trotskyist I find disturbingly familiar.

syndicalist
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Oct 15 2015 20:25

I dunno about this. I mean, I have very serious differences, but not sure I'd agree with this sentiment:

Flava O Flav wrote:
I think it's part an parcel of the ideological dogmatism that is in Black Flame, that as a former Trotskyist I find disturbingly familiar.

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Oct 15 2015 20:56

Just to add, I find the tattoos as pretty damning evidence as well. If you're doing undercover research you don't disclose true and such easily identifiable personal characteristics.