Monsieur Dupont?

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birdtiem
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Dec 22 2021 08:25
Monsieur Dupont?

Anybody on here know if both parts or either half of Monsieur Dupont are still producing anything politically? Writing, analysis, whatever?

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Fozzie
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Dec 22 2021 09:50

One of them is here

https://twitter.com/a_certain_plume

https://insipidities.blogspot.com/

birdtiem
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Dec 22 2021 10:40

Jesus fucking christ, he's gone down the covid conspiracy rabbithole too...?? What a shame... So many people have just gone straight off the deep-end these past two years and it's been gutting to witness. Thanks for the links, even though I now somewhat regret having asked.

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Dec 22 2021 11:15

It's certainly not great. Perhaps a consequence of boldly thinking the unthinkable + isolation, I'm not sure.

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Dec 22 2021 16:16

Hold on, so was Lazy Riser related to Monsieur DuPont? That was something I had no idea about.
That said, can't say I'm surprised about either of them getting into conspiracy Covid nonsense unfortunately.

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Dec 22 2021 18:00

I think Lazy Riser on here was a former Class War type? I’d be surprised if they became a Dupont- and the writing style seems very different.

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Juan Conatz
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Dec 22 2021 21:24

When contrarianism as politics goes a bit too far...

birdtiem
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Dec 22 2021 21:30

[EDIT: this was a reply to Steven; apparently I don't know how to use the quote function!]

On your second point, I'm from the USA and don't know these people personally. I knew people who were sort of enamored with them when I was younger, and at the time, I found the writing style irritating and also had a somewhat kneejerk defensive reaction to most of their criticisms of the left.

I went back and reread some of their stuff years later, and while I still found the writing style pretentious and off-putting, I found their criticisms of 'the left' (as a concrete grouping that they'd had direct experience with, rather than some vague amorphous entity), of national liberation, of identity politics...to be extremely valid.

If nothing else, they came across as people who had been deeply principled for a very long time, and I guess it's the latter part more that anything that makes it shocking to me to see that twitter account, which is approvingly QTing two of the most insidious third-positionist podcasters in the USA, people with a basically proto-fascist politics. But as I said, I don't know these guys personally, and maybe there are details that make that less shocking to people who do, idk.

birdtiem
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Dec 23 2021 00:04

I found this on Twitter just a minute ago, ironically it's very recent, but I don't know anything about the poster or his/her political bent: https://twitter.com/nihil_evadere/status/1471642208503668736

birdtiem
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Dec 23 2021 00:53

It's funny, when there's no possibility of doing anything beyond an individual level w/r/t workplace action, I periodically tend to try to find organizations and individuals online (being that I live in a small, conservative opioid-ravaged suburb) whose political beliefs are close to mine, and each time I do it, I come away more demoralized than the last. Not only is virtually everyone you find an academic who is 'doing radical politics' as part of a CAREER (that MD didn't fit this bill was admittedly part of the appeal), the politics themselves are generally shit as well. Approaching my mid-thirties now and definitely ready for the 'I'm no longer going to waste any more of my life like this' phase. Yet here I am on libcom, so who knows. K I'm done, sorry.

adri
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Dec 23 2021 03:22
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Not only is virtually everyone you find an academic who is 'doing radical politics' as part of a CAREER (that MD didn't fit this bill was admittedly part of the appeal), the politics themselves are generally shit as well.

Is this that widespread, and what careers are people making out of radical politics (besides teaching etc.)? I think there's definitely a critique to be made of capitalist education and leftist/reformist academics (at whatever level), but it's not like most radicals with non-STEM focuses have much to look forward to career-wise, except to just be slightly better off maybe. I could personally understand radicals who go into the humanities just because the idea of everything else being geared toward the valorization of capital doesn't appeal to them (not to say people can't use STEM-skills for revolutionary ends, but that's not where the money is).

birdtiem
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Dec 23 2021 06:06

Teaching certainly seems to be the main one so I'm not sure why you've specifically excluded it? At any rate, I don't know how to 'objectively' evaluate how 'widespread' something is in the tiny orbit of communist politics, particularly when - as I've said - this is done thru the internet. I do know that, even as the proportion of working class people attending university has undoubtedly increased, it continues to be *disproportionately* working class people for whom university is inaccessible/impractical/not-possible, for a whole host of reasons.

My sentiment is not that people with the means/ability/desire to pursue careers in academia should abstain from doing so; that would be ludicrous. Absolutely, go for it. It's just very bizarre to me that there is this stratum of people I basically never ever *even cross paths with* in my day-to-day life, yet when I go looking specifically for radical working class politics, those are precisely the people I find: ppl doing phds at like Columbia U while teaching and writing articles for 'radical' publications or working on 'their book'; ppl doing postdoctorate fellowships (I'll be honest, idk what that even is) in Berlin or Madrid. At the very least, virtually everybody seems to have attended university, most seem to have completed a degree, and a stunning proportion seem to have phds or to be in the process of completing their phd. I barely completed high school, and maybe to some extent it's my own self-consciousness at play, but I always end up with the distinct sense that these are highly exclusive social circles and I don't have the appropriate pedigree.

adri
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Dec 23 2021 09:22
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Not only is virtually everyone you find an academic who is 'doing radical politics' as part of a CAREER (that MD didn't fit this bill was admittedly part of the appeal), the politics themselves are generally shit as well.

Quote:
Teaching certainly seems to be the main one so I'm not sure why you've specifically excluded it?

I was genuinely curious because it would be unusual if everyone you've encountered taught at universities, which requires at least a master's most of the time. That's a bit different from coming across undergraduate/graduate students in the humanities (who may or may not go into teaching), and those are not "academics who are doing radical politics as part of a career." Most teachers and students in the humanities are also far from "living the high life"; many take on loads of debt, and I've personally met a couple graduates working retail before. I understand however disliking "educated" leftist snobs, people over at Jacobin, etc.

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Dec 23 2021 19:55
Fozzie wrote:
I think Lazy Riser on here was a former Class War type? I’d be surprised if they became a Dupont- and the writing style seems very different.

That's right, former CW. And he didn't seem to have anything in common with MD, hence my confusion, because I thought it was you who said that a member of MD ran these:

https://twitter.com/a_certain_plume

https://insipidities.blogspot.com/

But these are by Lazy Riser – you can see every tweet is signed "LR"

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Dec 23 2021 21:43

Yep yep. I saw that too.

Still doubt they are the same people though.

I claim no special insights on this or anything. Just seems unlikely.

birdtiem
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Dec 24 2021 06:36

FWIW, the blog Fozzie linked earlier (by the same person who signs their *Twitter posts* 'Lasy Rizer') has links to a bunch of nihilist communism/monsieur dupont stuff and, based on the twitter thread I linked a few posts above, he does seem to have been part of the MD duo. The pompous writing style is definitely consistent... Maybe he jacked the name Lasy Rizer (swapped letters and all) after seeing it on libcom. Which would itself be an extremely weird thing to do. Maybe we'll get some input from someone who actually knows the guy, altho the forums don't seem to be anywhere near as active as they were when I used to lurk here back in the day, so maybe not.

Battlescarred
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Dec 24 2021 14:44

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=90t8vOnKcMU

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Dec 24 2021 15:11
birdtiem wrote:
Teaching certainly seems to be the main one so I'm not sure why you've specifically excluded it? At any rate, I don't know how to 'objectively' evaluate how 'widespread' something is in the tiny orbit of communist politics, particularly when - as I've said - this is done thru the internet. I do know that, even as the proportion of working class people attending university has undoubtedly increased, it continues to be *disproportionately* working class people for whom university is inaccessible/impractical/not-possible, for a whole host of reasons.

My sentiment is not that people with the means/ability/desire to pursue careers in academia should abstain from doing so; that would be ludicrous. Absolutely, go for it. It's just very bizarre to me that there is this stratum of people I basically never ever *even cross paths with* in my day-to-day life, yet when I go looking specifically for radical working class politics, those are precisely the people I find: ppl doing phds at like Columbia U while teaching and writing articles for 'radical' publications or working on 'their book'; ppl doing postdoctorate fellowships (I'll be honest, idk what that even is) in Berlin or Madrid. At the very least, virtually everybody seems to have attended university, most seem to have completed a degree, and a stunning proportion seem to have phds or to be in the process of completing their phd. I barely completed high school, and maybe to some extent it's my own self-consciousness at play, but I always end up with the distinct sense that these are highly exclusive social circles and I don't have the appropriate pedigree.

I mean, I definitely get what you're saying, but I suppose there is also the thing that academics and similar types have their personal brand to promote, so it makes sense for them to make themselves visible, whereas for just working class people who are communists but don't get to write about communism for our jobs, the risk/reward ratio of making ourselves visible online is very different so it makes sense to make our online profiles more anonymous and give less information about who we are. I'm sure the stuff you're noticing 100% exists as well, I just reckon that might be an aggravating factor, I suppose?

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Dec 24 2021 18:15
Quote:
If nothing else, they came across as people who had been deeply principled for a very long time, and I guess it's the latter part more that anything that makes it shocking to me to see that twitter account, which is approvingly QTing two of the most insidious third-positionist podcasters in the USA, people with a basically proto-fascist politics. But as I said, I don't know these guys personally, and maybe there are details that make that less shocking to people who do, idk.

It doesn't feel that far fetched from the original writings from what I remember. The core of Nihilist Communism is on some level that we can't really change the world through organizing, therefore also a hostility towards the "left" in general.

adri
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Dec 24 2021 22:29

More on universities, I guess it's also worth noting a number of recent and historical movements/protests have been sparked by, or at least involved, students (France in '68 for instance, as well as the 19th century "going to the peasants" movement led by student-narodniks in Russia). Most famous radicals of the 19th century essentially "broke ranks" with the upper/middle classes (businessman Engels and prince Kropotkin for example). There are of course exceptions, but the exclusiveness of education at the time, along with illiteracy among the lower classes (peasantry/workers) and their preoccupation with simply surviving, contributed to radically-minded people mostly coming from the upper echelons (which is not to say the lower classes never resisted the conditions imposed upon them). While still far from accessible to everyone, it's not like the majority of people involved in academics today are living comfortably as compared to the rest of the working class. Making one-off contributions to left-leaning magazines for example is not a "career," and is not really the same as being part of the editorial staff or holding some other full-time position. It's really not uncommon to see students, at least those not coming from wealthy backgrounds, working "blue collar" jobs, and again the prospects for students in the humanities are only slightly better (if even) than most blue collar workers. You could also rightly argue whether people should even bother with capitalist education to begin with, but I guess the appeal (for people who have a choice) is having a slightly better life.

birdtiem wrote:
It's just very bizarre to me that there is this stratum of people I basically never ever *even cross paths with* in my day-to-day life, yet when I go looking specifically for radical working class politics, those are precisely the people I find: ppl doing phds at like Columbia U while teaching and writing articles for 'radical' publications or working on 'their book'; ppl doing postdoctorate fellowships (I'll be honest, idk what that even is) in Berlin or Madrid.

I also don't see why it's so "strange" for people involved with academics to sympathize with the working class (which they're mostly a part of today) or radical politics.

More importantly, Sandie and Marr should definitely reform the Smiths without Moz

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Dec 26 2021 12:29
comradeEmma wrote:
It doesn't feel that far fetched from the original writings from what I remember. The core of Nihilist Communism is on some level that we can't really change the world through organizing, therefore also a hostility towards the "left" in general.

I mean, I was never a big fan of their original work, but there's a big gulf between that, which is not that far off from standard ultra-left positions, and taking up positions that are third-position/pro-fascist-sympathetic. I mean, lots of people have "a hostility towards 'the left' in general", arguably the one thing that unites most of the left is agreeing that most of the left is shit.

adri wrote:
I also don't see why it's so "strange" for people involved with academics to sympathize with the working class (which they're mostly a part of today) or radical politics.

I don't think anyone's saying that academics shouldn't have radical or pro-working-class politics, I think what birdtiem was saying is that it's a bit worrying when this group, which makes up a tiny tiny proportion of the population at large, or of the working class, is so vastly over-represented in radical politics. Or everyone who isn't an academic is so under-represented, if you want to look at it that way. As mentioned above, I think there probably is a visibility bias here, in that academics have career incentives to maintain a visible presence that don't apply to other people, but I do recognise it as being a real issue as well. That's not really saying anything much against academics, like I don't have any particular objection to vegan crusties but I think it's an issue if/when radical spaces are disproportionately dominated by them as well.

Spikymike
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Dec 27 2021 11:18

This is one of the last connections I had with old comrades in 2018 one of which had bean connected with MD. A book I eventually bought and read even if it was a bit of a struggle given my lack of knowledge of certain of the areas covered. Either way it is fairly squarely relevant to many of the areas of interest and past discussions on this site and a challenge to some from both an anarchist and Marxist influenced politics. I never got further, prior to this, in a partial agreement with the author on a limited area of what was a former common communist political outlook.
See here:
https://dreamflesh.com/interview/primitive-heresies-peter-harrison/
Maybe someone else who has read the book referred to in this interview might follow up with a critical review.
By the way there are several past critical discussions of MD and associated authors of that project (including one on 'Species Being') on libcom, which though they might irritate some are still worthy of rereading in some cases to sharpen up your critical faculties.

adri
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Dec 26 2021 23:27
R Totale wrote:
adri wrote:
I also don't see why it's so "strange" for people involved with academics to sympathize with the working class (which they're mostly a part of today) or radical politics.

I don't think anyone's saying that academics shouldn't have radical or pro-working-class politics, I think what birdtiem was saying is that it's a bit worrying when this group, which makes up a tiny tiny proportion of the population at large, or of the working class, is so vastly over-represented in radical politics. Or everyone who isn't an academic is so under-represented, if you want to look at it that way. As mentioned above, I think there probably is a visibility bias here, in that academics have career incentives to maintain a visible presence that don't apply to other people, but I do recognise it as being a real issue as well. That's not really saying anything much against academics, like I don't have any particular objection to vegan crusties but I think it's an issue if/when radical spaces are disproportionately dominated by them as well.

I'm assuming you're talking about academics being over-represented in magazines and other leftist/radical media? It sort of make sense to me that someone who's studied, say, the relation of industrialization and climate change, would be "over-represented" in magazines like Monthly Review as opposed to someone who hasn't. Large-scale workers' protests are also usually picked up by leftist/radical media, so it's not like they're being "ignored" for the sake of academics (here's MR re-posting an article on the recent, and "successful," strike of Kellogg workers). If there is not enough news about workers' struggles in leftist/radical media, then that's often more a reflection of a lull in open class-struggle than leftist/radical media "purposefully" ignoring blue-collar workers.

It's bizarre to me to ever think Sandie's pompous "French" (really two English blokes who believe French and "nihilism" make them look cool) lover from the '60s is somehow more accessible or closer to the working class than communist students researching and writing about relevant topics/issues in Monthly Review and elsewhere. As I said there's definitely a critique to be made of the politics of leftists and other academics, and there are certainly those who are in a position to "write about Bernie Sanders or communism as a career," but those do not represent all leftists/radicals involved in academics.

Quote:
I don't think anyone's saying that academics shouldn't have radical or pro-working-class politics [...]

It's good also that academics are allowed to have working-class politics, otherwise graduate students striking for a pay raise in California because they can't afford housing, in addition to other struggles on the part of students/academics, would be even more scandalous than it unfortunately already is.

adri
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Dec 27 2021 02:09

With respect to teaching in the States, I think we should also distinguish between tenured positions on the one hand, and assistant (which even undergrads can do), adjunct and other non-tenured positions on the other, with the latter in particular often being more precarious and a larger source of conflict. Just because a graduate student also works temporarily as a teaching assistant doesn't at all mean they seek to teach as a career (and being a student teaching assistant is hardly a "career" itself).

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Dec 27 2021 10:18

I mean, what birdtiem originally said was "I periodically tend to try to find organizations and individuals online (being that I live in a small, conservative opioid-ravaged suburb) whose political beliefs are close to mine", so I guess that it's less about who gets published and more just individuals/members of organizations who are visible online? I would imagine that's probably more a matter of social media presence and the like than anything else?
Also,

Quote:
It sort of make sense to me that someone who's studied, say, the relation of industrialization and climate change, would be "over-represented" in magazines like Monthly Review as opposed to someone who hasn't.

I feel like assuming that someone who's "studied, say, the relation of industrialization and climate change" must therefore have studied it in an academic setting is precisely part of the problem. I'm reminded of the Wildcat text on profession and movement:
http://www.wildcat-www.de/en/wildcat/96/e_w96_berufubewegung.html

Quote:
The reverence for experts within social movements (theory experts, organisers, lawyers) is also related to ‘technical’ changes. With an increase in the polarisation of the social division of labour and intensified control of labour the gap between the intelligence of the collective worker (as an antagonistic subject) and the special knowledge (as scientists or ‘high-skilled’ professions) widens. A collective of mechanics was able to understand and anticipate the work of engineers (often engineers merely appropriated their ‘inventions’). Today we are often confronted with strikes of (migrant) workers who on their own are not able to make use of their productive power, given that machine operators and technicians are able to run production without them (because the training period of newly hired workers would be sufficiently short)...
You cannot simply proceed in a professional career and be ‘revolutionary’ in your free-time. We need our own structures as a material alternative to the ‘profession’; we need commonly organised living arrangements, collectives and (social) centres which would allow as a different way to approach ‘work’: to kick a shit-job if necessary; to work for a low-wage, because the job is politically interesting; to stir up a work-place collectively. Instead of ‘professionalisation’ and Realpolitik we have to advance the movement through a continuous international exchange.

Pros piss off!
Everyone can learn everything.

adri
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Dec 28 2021 00:34
R Totale wrote:
Also,

adri wrote:
It sort of make sense to me that someone who's studied, say, the relation of industrialization and climate change, would be "over-represented" in magazines like Monthly Review as opposed to someone who hasn't.

I feel like assuming that someone who's "studied, say, the relation of industrialization and climate change" must therefore have studied it in an academic setting is precisely part of the problem. I'm reminded of the Wildcat text on profession and movement:

I don't believe MR discriminates on the basis of credentials (it would be a bit unusual if any socialist mag did). I'm not assuming that only academics, and not autodidacts, can research stuff; people's ideas and what they're arguing is what's important. Credentials, or ways to denote experience/competence, are also not without purpose, and it's another question how education and the conferring of credentials (if these will even exist) would be organized in a socialist/communist society.

lurdan
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Dec 27 2021 23:18
Spikymike wrote:
Either way it is fairly squarely relevant to many of the areas of interest and past discussions on this site and a challenge to some from both an anarchist and Marxist influenced politics. I never got further, prior to this, in a partial agreement with the author on a limited area of what was a former common communist political outlook.
See here:
https://dreamflesh.com/interview/primitive-heresies-peter-harrison/
Maybe someone else who has read the book referred to in this interview might follow up with a critical review.

Being idly curious I looked for a free copy on the internet without success. From the extract available on Amazon I see it's published by the TSI Press, the publishing house of the 'Transformative Studies Institute'. All the British and a couple of the American members of the TSI Press Editorial Board are ex-RCP/LM Network/Institute of Ideas types.

No wish to practise guilt by association however. Having said which I also presume it's not being suggested that Peter Harrison is the shithead doing the insipidities blog. If so it would perhaps be good to make that clear.

He does seem to have written a lot of articles for CounterPunch. This one is paywalled at the CounterPunch site but available at archive.org
Why Leftism – All the Way to Anarchism – is the Last Colonial Project

Does anyone know anything about the 'Transformative Studies Institute'? I see one of their leading figures John Asimakopoulos has published texts on democracy and anarchist economics (sic) some of which have turned up in the Libcom library.

Spikymike wrote:
By the way there are several past critical discussions of MD and associated authors of that project (including one on 'Species Being') on libcom, which though they might irritate some are still worthy of rereading in some cases to sharpen up your critical faculties.

Am I having a 'senior moment' or did there use to be a search engine?

adri wrote:
Credentials, or ways to denote experience/competence, are also not without purpose, and it's another question how education and the conferring of credentials (if these will even exist) would be organized in a socialist/communist society.

Perhaps we could put them in a Museum of Comedy and laugh at them.

adri
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Dec 28 2021 00:44
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Perhaps we could put them in a Museum of Comedy and laugh at them.

Well I think we can certainly have a laugh at, for example, Imperial Russia's table of ranks and the ways people obsessed over their standing/rank in society (a corrupt system which excluded the majority of people and was hardly based on merit; Gogol's satire in "The Nose" is worth checking out), but academic credentials (or some other way to show experience/competence) seem to serve some purpose. I personally wouldn't want Monsieur Dupont performing tooth surgery on me, or anyone for that matter...

Spikymike
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Dec 29 2021 10:30

For the record It appears that Peter Harrison (mentioned in my post #22 above) no longer holds to the views expressed along with his former co-author of MD to be discarded as still within the orbit of the ''ultra-left' and is not responsible for anything posted on the insipidities blog or any other connection with those at the TSI other than beholding to them for facilitating the publication of his book. Any other relevance to this discussion if at all would be to the side issue of the role of teachers and academics in influencing radical politics. Tracing the subsequent evolution in the politics of past active individuals from the tiny organised anarchist/communist 'ultra-left' tendencies is a pastime of little interest to most people other than those of us who new them personally.

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Dec 28 2021 12:09

Not an expert on anthropology myself, but I see PH/MD has been getting quite into Clastres. For a critical discussion - mainly about the uses that some idiots have made of Clastres, but also touching on Clastres' own work - see https://libcom.org/library/indiscriminate-attacks-wild-reactions-anti-ci...

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Dec 29 2021 03:39

lurdan, you are right that libcom no longer has an internal site search as the module we used no longer works. We hope to rectify this with the upgraded version of the site. In the meantime we recommend people search the site using Google and adding "site: libcom.org" to the search