René Berthier's comments on Black Flame

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Sike
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Jun 26 2019 20:28

I guess that it would have been more accurate had I written in my comment above that very few anarchists are likely going to suggest books authored or co-authored by Schmidt for study rather than "no anarchists" are going to suggest them for study since Berthier's comments on BF demonstrate a continued willingness to study and engage BF, even if only by way of critique of it's theoretical conclusions.

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Juan Conatz
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Jun 27 2019 13:14
Anarcho wrote:

Oh come on. When Black Flame was published no one suspected that Michael Schmidt was a white nationalist. Moreover, there was nothing in the book itself which suggested he was -- which in part explains why it took many class struggle anarchists a long time to accept the evidence.

For someone who can scan ancient and boring walls of text for any possible negative mention of Proudhoun, your reading comprehension of my post is poor. I said "in 2019". I understand why people were excited about Black Flame when it came out. But if you're giving that book as an intro to interested people, in 2019, when we already know the co-author is a fascist, you're a fucking moron.

The open question on Black Flame is how much of Michael Schmidt's secret white separatist views and priorities become intertwined into the research and outlook of the book. This might not even be possible to know or may not be possible unless one undertakes a project similar to BF.

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Jun 27 2019 16:46
Anarcho wrote:
Oh come on. When Black Flame was published no one suspected that Michael Schmidt was a white nationalist. Moreover, there was nothing in the book itself which suggested he was -- which in part explains why it took many class struggle anarchists a long time to accept the evidence.

But there was plenty of evidence in BF of a very un-anarchist attitude to nationalism, trying to claim Connelly for anarchism etc. Which the book’s fans & reviewers were eager to gloss over or excuse – or, for those whose softness on national liberation it mirrored, to even defend it. They were happy to ignore its historical distortions too. And as I said earlier, it’s strongest defenders were generally from the currents most flattered by BF’s revisionism; which almost tried to make all of anarchism syndicalist and all syndicalism anarchist.

The dishonest & slanderous attempts to accommodate nationalists into anarchist tradition turned out to be, not a minor fault of the book’s position, but the thin end of the wedge that led somewhere far worse.

Juan wrote:
The open question on Black Flame is how much of Michael Schmidt's secret white separatist views and priorities become intertwined into the research and outlook of the book. This might not even be possible to know or may not be possible unless one undertakes a project similar to BF.

It may be impossible to know the exact measurement, but it's not hard to see some link between his nationalist inclinations. BF should have been roundly condemned from the start for its nationalism and narrow revisionism, rather than have it excused or glossed over as a minor error by fans & reviewers. Instead, its fans were equally late to criticise and believe MS’s worse errors as that would mean admitting the weakness of their earlier uncritical adoration.

Mike Harman
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Jun 27 2019 20:33

For pre-Black Flame, pre-revelations dodgy writing by Schmidt, see his introduction to Stephen Halbrook's article on the Mau Mau uprising (which is itself bad).

Schmidt repeats several times the claim that Jomo Kenyatta was a Mau Mau leader, which has been debunked by countless accounts of the uprising from various perspectives. The colonial government thought he was one of the leaders when they arrested them, and soon realised they were mistaken. Once he was in prison his popularity was boosted - people thought that the conservative, anti-class struggle figure they'd dismissed as an opportunist must have been secretly doing something better if the British had thrown him into jail, but they were also mistaken and this was only after his arrest.

So it is an historical woeful introduction to a similarly historically woeful pamphlet.

https://zabalazabooks.files.wordpress.com/2011/08/anarchism_and_revoluti...

Anarcho
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Jun 28 2019 21:25
Red Marriott wrote:
But there was plenty of evidence in BF of a very un-anarchist attitude to nationalism, trying to claim Connelly for anarchism etc. Which the book’s fans & reviewers were eager to gloss over or excuse – or, for those whose softness on national liberation it mirrored, to even defend it.

Yes, I wonder why they included that well known Marxist-syndicalist in their book... Not that the claims that Connelly or de Leon were anarchists remotely convincing, as I and others noted at the time. As for "nationalism," plenty of anarchists supported national liberation struggles. So both these claims are weak.

Red Marriott wrote:
They were happy to ignore its historical distortions too. And as I said earlier, it’s strongest defenders were generally from the currents most flattered by BF’s revisionism; which almost tried to make all of anarchism syndicalist and all syndicalism anarchist.

Given that anarchists have supported "syndicalist" strategies since the late 1860s, I'm not sure what is meant here. Given that Bakunin, Kropotkin, Malatesta, Goldman, etc. all advocated syndicalist tactics, BF was hardly "revisionist."

Red Marriott wrote:
The dishonest & slanderous attempts to accommodate nationalists into anarchist tradition turned out to be, not a minor fault of the book’s position, but the thin end of the wedge that led somewhere far worse.

Rather than the more obvious attempt to squeeze all syndicalists into the "wider anarchist tradition"? As noted, this is weak.

Anarcho
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Jun 28 2019 21:35
Juan Conatz wrote:
For someone who can scan ancient and boring walls of text for any possible negative mention of Proudhoun, your reading comprehension of my post is poor.

Yawn. But I can agree that Marx's The Poverty of Philosophy is both ancient and boring... Still, I find it somewhat depressing that some anarchists are not interested in their history and seeking to better understand it, and to know when people are talking nonsense about it.

Juan Conatz wrote:
I said "in 2019". I understand why people were excited about Black Flame when it came out. But if you're giving that book as an intro to interested people, in 2019, when we already know the co-author is a fascist, you're a fucking moron.

Which, of course, explains why BF quickly stopped being referenced.

Juan Conatz wrote:
The open question on Black Flame is how much of Michael Schmidt's secret white separatist views and priorities become intertwined into the research and outlook of the book. This might not even be possible to know or may not be possible unless one undertakes a project similar to BF.

Reading the book indicates some of this, as there is nothing there which would suggest it did (hence its welcome back in the day). Attempts by some to say their inclusion of Connelly showed "nationalist" tendencies is so weak as to be a joke, given he was obviously included because he was an advocate of syndicalism -- and so part of BF's frankly silly attempts to incorporate Marxists into the "wider" anarchist tradition.

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Jul 1 2019 21:10
Anarcho wrote:
RedM wrote:
But there was plenty of evidence in BF of a very un-anarchist attitude to nationalism, trying to claim Connelly for anarchism etc. Which the book’s fans & reviewers were eager to gloss over or excuse – or, for those whose softness on national liberation it mirrored, to even defend it.

Yes, I wonder why they included that well known Marxist-syndicalist in their book... Not that the claims that Connelly or de Leon were anarchists remotely convincing, as I and others noted at the time. As for "nationalism," plenty of anarchists supported national liberation struggles. So both these claims are weak.

My two “claims” that;
1. Connelly (& De Leon etc) weren’t anarchists (eg Connelly was nationalist & statist).
2. support for national liberation is contradictory to anarchism.
.. are “weak”, according to the self-appointed guardian of anarchist history? Really? You agree that Connelly & De Leon weren’t anarchists so how is it “weak” to say so?
National liberation advocating state-seizure/building contradicts the most basic anti-statism of anarchism by doing so. But not, apparently, according to BF (or Anarcho?). It's not "weak" to point out these blatant contradictions just because other 'anarchists' have also contradicted their anti-statism. Marxists and statists aren't anarchists, whether they're syndicalists or not. What's left of anarchism when you take away its core anti-statism? A very “weak” distortion of history.
You and other fans of BF don’t want to admit that there could be any possible link between BF’s accommodation of nationalists into anarchism and MS’s later white nationalist crap – as that leaves you with egg on your face for your earlier glowing reviews. But such a link or trajectory is not unlikely at all.

A further point is that there’s an obvious difference between including in anarchist history self-identified anarchists who contradicted their anarchism and including those – like Connelly, De Leon - who never identified as anarchists and explicitly denied they were.

Quote:
Given that Bakunin, Kropotkin, Malatesta, Goldman, etc. all advocated syndicalist tactics

Deliberately or not, you’re trying to play the same tricks with anarchist history as BF/MS. Malatesta's position on syndicalism is more complex than you pretend - he made a clear distinction between anarchist and non-anarchist syndicalism;

Quote:
If it is a question of what one wants from the future, if, that is, by syndicalism is meant the form of social organisation that should replace capitalism and state organisation, then either it is the same thing as anarchy and is therefore a word that serves only to confuse or it is something different from anarchy and cannot therefore be accepted by anarchists. In fact, among the ideas and the proposals on the future which some syndicalists have put forward, there are some that are genuinely anarchist. But there are others which, under other names and other forms, reproduce the authoritarian structure which underlies the cause of the ills about which we are now protesting, and which, therefore, have nothing to do with anarchy...
Syndicalism (by which I mean the practical variety and not the theoretical sort, which everyone tailors to their own shape) is by nature reformist. All that can be expected of it is that the reforms it fights for and achieves are of a kind and obtained in such a way that they serve revolutionary education and propaganda and leave the way open for the making of ever greater demands. Any fusion or confusion between the anarchist and revolutionary movement and the syndicalist movement ends either by rendering the union helpless as regards its specific aims or with toning down, falsifying and extinguishing the anarchist spirit. A union can spring up with a socialist, revolutionary or anarchist programme and it is, indeed, with programmes of this sort that the various workers’ programmes originate. But it is while they are weak and impotent that they are faithful to the programme – while, that is, they remain propaganda groups set up and run by a few zealous and committed men, rather than organisations ready for effective action. Later, as they manage to attract the masses and acquire the strength to claim and impose improvements, the original programme becomes an empty formula, to which no-one pays any more attention. Tactics adapt to the needs of the moment and the enthusiasts of the early days either themselves adapt or cede their place to ‘practical’ men concerned with today, and with no thought for tomorrow.
https://www.marxists.org/archive/malatesta/1925/04/syndic1.htm

That took one minute’s googling to find; yet the self-appointed guardians and ‘historians’ of anarchism ignore such evidence in their distorted revisionism; Malatesta argues explicitly against the BF approach of amalgamating anarchism & syndicalism. While he wasn't against anarchists having some participation in unions he didn't advocate syndicalist tactics, wasn't a syndicalist, had an explicit critique of syndicalism. But you'd never guess that from either BF or Anarcho's claims.

As for Bakunin; he was pre- what we now know as syndicalism, he advocated general workers' collective organisation that anarcho-communists would have near as much agreement with. No one (except a self–interested revisionist) can be sure he wouldn't have had some differences with particularities of later syndicalism, perhaps along similar lines to Malatesta’s. But then that’s revisionism – projecting your preferred interpretations onto things regardless of real historical complexities.

Quote:
Attempts by some to say their inclusion of Connelly showed "nationalist" tendencies is so weak as to be a joke, given he was obviously included because he was an advocate of syndicalism -- and so part of BF's frankly silly attempts to incorporate Marxists into the "wider" anarchist tradition.

That is your preferred interpretation, nothing more, to try to avoid any responsibility for being originally so soft on the book’s errors & distortions in your praise of it. That’s what others who try to salvage some value for the book also do. But, as a nationalist-inclined syndicalist, Connelly would seem an ideal model for MS, given what we now know. On how Connelly’s nationalism was embedded in and integral to his socialism; http://libcom.org/forums/history/james-connolly-nationalism-socialism-sy...

No surprise that the present-day anarchists - platformists etc - who mirror most closely bureaucratic Leninist practice should be most invested in such revisionism to supposedly purify their ancestral bloodline (mirroring also the left-communists’ obsession with their ideological bloodlines). And yet, even though he has to acknowledge their historical categories are daft and Anarcho’s great hero Proudhon is explicitly excluded by BF's categories from the anarchist bloodline, he still wants to tail-end their revisionism.

Black Badger
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Jul 2 2019 01:05

just need to point out that the damning internal ZACF document that was the basis for the wholly justified condemnation of Schmidt as a piece of shit was written in 2008, a year prior to the publication of BF. Schmidt had to have been entertaining highly questionable (for an alleged anarchist) positions on race, culture, and nationalism for a while prior to the dating of the internal document, which had to have included at least part of the time he was researching the material and reaching the conclusions that eventually made it into BF. those who continue to insist that BF was not at least partially influenced by its co-author's slide into Boer nationalism are living in an ideological echo chamber.

radicalgraffiti
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Jul 2 2019 01:25
Juan Conatz wrote:
radicalgraffiti wrote:

i actual saw someone recommending it a couple of months ago, they had accepted the idea that van de walt had written most of it and so it wasn't affected by the revelations about schmidt, and was generally a good history of anarchism

That is incredibly bizarre to me. Particularly considering that anarchists and syndicalists have long avoided recommending or even speaking about Sorel, and his connection to fascism was more tenuous than the co-author of Black Flame. I can't imagine recommending Black Flame in 2019 is a very good idea. If someone had recommended a book co-written by a white nationalist to me when I was first getting into things it would have for sure repelled me from anarchism.

i was surprised too, i think there are a lot of anarchists who are not very aware of discussions about things like this, at least on the internet

for example ive twice have to warn people about anarchy.no within the last few months

sherbu-kteer
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Jul 2 2019 07:50

What's anarchy.no?

radicalgraffiti
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Jul 2 2019 08:29
sherbu-kteer wrote:
What's anarchy.no?

a website run by some guy in norway that claims to be the official websites of ifa, iww, ati etc
they post weird stuff, like claiming norway is 56% anarchist and other nonsense

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Jul 2 2019 09:32
BB wrote:
just need to point out that the damning internal ZACF document that was the basis for the wholly justified condemnation of Schmidt as a piece of shit was written in 2008, a year prior to the publication of BF. Schmidt had to have been entertaining highly questionable (for an alleged anarchist) positions on race, culture, and nationalism for a while prior to the dating of the internal document, which had to have included at least part of the time he was researching the material and reaching the conclusions that eventually made it into BF. those who continue to insist that BF was not at least partially influenced by its co-author's slide into Boer nationalism are living in an ideological echo chamber.

Exactly, well put.

sherbu-kteer
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Jul 2 2019 16:34
radicalgraffiti wrote:
sherbu-kteer wrote:
What's anarchy.no?

a website run by some guy in norway that claims to be the official websites of ifa, iww, ati etc
they post weird stuff, like claiming norway is 56% anarchist and other nonsense

Holy moly, just opened it up and found this:

http://www.anarchy.no/a_e_p_m.html

Gives off a very 'timecube' vibe.

Anarcho
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Aug 31 2019 20:53
Red Marriott wrote:
My two “claims” that;
1. Connelly (& De Leon etc) weren’t anarchists (eg Connelly was nationalist & statist).
2. support for national liberation is contradictory to anarchism.
.. are “weak”, according to the self-appointed guardian of anarchist history? Really? You agree that Connelly & De Leon weren’t anarchists so how is it “weak” to say so?

You misunderstand what I meant. I suggested that claiming that as Black Flame included Connelly as "within the board anarchist tradition" showed its nationalist (or fascist) tendencies was weak. I think it is obvious that they included Connelly not because of his nationalism but because he was and is a well-known advocate of industrial unionism.

As I noted, suggesting he was an anarchist or part of a "board anarchist tradition" was clearly wrong -- not all syndicalists were/are anarchists, so that was a clear flaw in the book.

Red Marriott wrote:
National liberation advocating state-seizure/building contradicts the most basic anti-statism of anarchism by doing so. But not, apparently, according to BF (or Anarcho?). It's not "weak" to point out these blatant contradictions just because other 'anarchists' have also contradicted their anti-statism.

Oh, right, so supporting imperialist occupation is consistent with "the most basic anti-statism of anarchism"?

As noted, opposing foreign domination and imperialism has been part of the politics of many anarchists -- that BF took an anti-imperialist position is not, then, an example of showing nationalist (or fascist) tendencies.

That was why I used the word weak.

Red Marriott wrote:
Marxists and statists aren't anarchists, whether they're syndicalists or not. What's left of anarchism when you take away its core anti-statism? A very “weak” distortion of history.

I think you will discover that I criticised Black Flame for claiming Marxists were anarchists when the book came out. I find it "weak" to use the book's (wrong) perspective on Connelly was some kind of evidence of nationalist (or fascist) tendencies. They also suggest de Leon could be considered as a libertarian, so showing its Connelly's syndicalism that is relevant and not his nationalism (or anti-imperialism).

Connelly You and other fans of BF don’t want to admit that there could be any possible link between BF’s accommodation of nationalists into anarchism and MS’s later white nationalist crap – as that leaves you with egg on your face for your earlier glowing reviews. But such a link or trajectory is not unlikely at all.

As noted, such a claim is weak -- "accomodation of nationalists" seems to rest of Connelly, who was clearly included for his syndicalism. As for "earlier glowing reviews," well I noted its flaws at the time. In terms of what latter came out in terms of MS, many people -- including myself -- found it hard to believe at first because there was nothing in BF to suggest it.

And pointing to support for national liberation struggles and the inclusion of Connelly is weak in the extreme in terms of evidence that BF somehow expresses a white nationalist perspective.

Red Marriott wrote:
A further point is that there’s an obvious difference between including in anarchist history self-identified anarchists who contradicted their anarchism and including those – like Connelly, De Leon - who never identified as anarchists and explicitly denied they were.

So anarchists how support imperialist occupations because "anti-statism" excludes support of movements aiming to end it? Personally, I think anarchists should be seeking to influence any popular movement, including national liberation ones in order to turn them into human liberation struggles -- so seeking to make them go beyond changing local masters for foreign masters.

Red Marriott wrote:
Quote:
Given that Bakunin, Kropotkin, Malatesta, Goldman, etc. all advocated syndicalist tactics

Deliberately or not, you’re trying to play the same tricks with anarchist history as BF/MS. Malatesta's position on syndicalism is more complex than you pretend - he made a clear distinction between anarchist and non-anarchist syndicalism

As i said, Malatesta advocated syndicalist tactics -- I never said he was a syndicalist. As for "pretending" on Malatesta, I've quoted Malatesta extensively in An Anarchist FAQ on why many anarchists are not syndicalists. Indeed, I agree with Malatesta on this. To quote one article:

Quote:
As far as critiques of syndicalism go, sad to say those seeking a real one are best served by reading Malatesta’s speech at the 1907 International Anarchist Congress than Darlington’s book.[90] Indeed, in almost every valid aspect of the Leninist critique of syndicalism Darlington defends was first formulated far better by Malatesta – whether on the reformist pressures on trade unions,[91] union bureaucracy, the need to turn the general strike into an insurrection and for political organisations to work within unions to introduce and maintain a revolutionary spirit.[92] Yet this short but powerful critique of syndicalism is summed up as “Malatesta challenged [the syndicalists] for not being sufficiently ‘revolutionary.’” (73)

This did not stop him advocating anarchist involvement in the labour movement and syndicalist tactics. In this, his position was the same as Kropotkin, Bakunin, Goldman, etc. In this Black Flame is right, for it stressed that communist-anarchism had long advocated anarchist activity in unions -- they rejected the idea that syndicalism was sufficient of itself.

Red Marriott wrote:
That took one minute’s googling to find; yet the self-appointed guardians and ‘historians’ of anarchism ignore such evidence in their distorted revisionism; Malatesta argues explicitly against the BF approach of amalgamating anarchism & syndicalism. While he wasn't against anarchists having some participation in unions he didn't advocate syndicalist tactics, wasn't a syndicalist, had an explicit critique of syndicalism. But you'd never guess that from either BF or Anarcho's claims.

So Malatesta did not advocate "syndicalist tactics"? So he was against direct action, solidarity, strikes, the general strike? That is news to me -- perhaps you could google that? And, yes, he opposed syndicalism replacing anarchism (and he was right, as I discuss here) but he was hardly opposed to anarchist involvement in the labour movement to encourage direct action, self-management, etc.

So much for claims of "self-appointed guardians and ‘historians’ of anarchism ignore such evidence in their distorted revisionism"!

Red Marriott wrote:
As for Bakunin; he was pre- what we now know as syndicalism, he advocated general workers' collective organisation that anarcho-communists would have near as much agreement with. No one (except a self–interested revisionist) can be sure he wouldn't have had some differences with particularities of later syndicalism, perhaps along similar lines to Malatesta’s. But then that’s revisionism – projecting your preferred interpretations onto things regardless of real historical complexities.

Sorry, but have you actually read any Bakunin? I would suggest The Policy of the International as a good starting place. And given that Malatesta argued as Bakunin did on the need for an anarchist grouping to work within the labour movement, we surely know his position on what would later be called revolutionary syndicalism...

And James Guillaume saw the links of syndicalism with the federalist-wing of the IWMA, as did Kropotkin... perhaps they projected their preferred interpretations onto things regardless of real historical complexities?

Red Marriott wrote:
That is your preferred interpretation, nothing more, to try to avoid any responsibility for being originally so soft on the book’s errors & distortions in your praise of it.

So soft? Hmmh, not in my case -- I noted its flaws (not least its flawed inclusion of Marxists into a broad-anarchist tradition). However, over all, the errors were few -- as for distortions, well, you would know about that.

Red Marriott wrote:
That’s what others who try to salvage some value for the book also do. But, as a nationalist-inclined syndicalist, Connelly would seem an ideal model for MS, given what we now know. On how Connelly’s nationalism was embedded in and integral to his socialism

Again, Connelly was included along with the likes of de Leon for their syndicalism...

Red Marriott wrote:
No surprise that the present-day anarchists - platformists etc - who mirror most closely bureaucratic Leninist practice should be most invested in such revisionism to supposedly purify their ancestral bloodline (mirroring also the left-communists’ obsession with their ideological bloodlines). And yet, even though he has to acknowledge their historical categories are daft and Anarcho’s great hero Proudhon is explicitly excluded by BF's categories from the anarchist bloodline, he still wants to tail-end their revisionism.

What a load of utter nonsense...

Still, I should note I'm not a platformist (I agree with Malatesta's position -- you can google that too, if you like). And, yes, I criticised their exclusion of Proudhon as being wrong -- however, the book showing that Bakunin, Kropotkin, Malatesta, Goldman, etc. all advocated anarchist involvement in the labour movement, syndicalist tactics, etc., was all correct. I was nice to see the class struggle nature of anarchist recognised and celebrated -- particularly when so many (usually Marxists, although some anarchists too) sought to deny it.

Anarcho
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Aug 31 2019 20:59
Black Badger wrote:
just need to point out that the damning internal ZACF document that was the basis for the wholly justified condemnation of Schmidt as a piece of shit was written in 2008, a year prior to the publication of BF. Schmidt had to have been entertaining highly questionable (for an alleged anarchist) positions on race, culture, and nationalism for a while prior to the dating of the internal document, which had to have included at least part of the time he was researching the material and reaching the conclusions that eventually made it into BF. those who continue to insist that BF was not at least partially influenced by its co-author's slide into Boer nationalism are living in an ideological echo chamber.

Do you have any idea how long it can take a book to be published after it has been submitted?

Even assuming Schmidt had always been a white-nationalist, he seems to have hidden it well -- which makes sense, if he were indeed infiltrating the movement. And it is not reflected in the book. Did anyone note white-nationalist elements in it before he was exposed?

Afterwards, it seems to come down to including Connelly as part of a "broad anarchist tradition" (along with de Leon and Pannekoek, amongst others) and taking an anti-imperialist position. As I said, this is weak in terms of suggesting the book expresses fascist ideas.

Anarcho
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Aug 31 2019 21:10

Further to René Berthier's comments, in terms of Kropotkin and syndicalism this article (in the latest ASR) may be of interest -- it is the third in my series on Precursors of Syndicalism and discusses communist-anarchism (using Kropotkin as an exemplar).

The first is on the federalist-wing of the IWMA (including a full translation of an article by Eugene Varlin) and the second on the Chicago IWPA (including an article by Albert Parsons).

I think the third article (already planned and partly written before I read Berthier's comments, I should note) shows pretty well that communist-anarchists were advocating many of the tactics later called "syndicalism" (as had been Bakunin in the IWMA and the IWPA). The next installment will include the communist-anarchist critique of syndicalism, based on Malatesta's and Kropotkin's comments (which I don't need to google, being well aware of them and having used them in other works).

I may do a fifth on Bakunin, we will see, but I covered this in the introduction to Direct Struggle Against Capital but I do think the first installment is a bit short...

Black Badger
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Aug 31 2019 22:43
Quote:
As I said, this is weak in terms of suggesting the book expresses fascist ideas.

I have made no such claim for the simple reason that I don't believe that Black Flame expresses fascist ideas. Ridiculous, unsubstantiated, internally incoherent, deliberately skewed, and historically untenable for sure. But fascist? No. The only claims I have made about Black Flame is that it is overflowing with revisionist nonsense and that the backpedaling of van der Walt regarding how much Schmidt actually contributed is unconvincing.

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Red Marriott
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Sep 12 2019 18:43

I have never claimed (nor, iirc, anyone else here) that BF showed evidence of white nationalism or fascism so Anarcho can drop using that red herring. But BF was happy to accommodate nationalists into anarchism. Yet you claim that there is no possible connection or trajectory between seeing nationalists as compatible with anarchism and Schmidt’s nationalist views. Even though, as Black Badger pointed out earlier (#39), he was already writing dodgy nationalist texts long before BF was published. That denial doesn’t seem rational to me but it’s what you want/need to believe in defence of the book’s wider revisionism.

For a ‘historian’ it’s ironic that you insist on only taking account of the official written evidence and not the wider context and related circumstances. You can claim to know for certain what MS’s motives were; but the fact is he was writing nationalist texts a long time before BF was published and while it was being researched/prepared for publication.

Yet, in earlier defences of BF, after repeatedly insisting that nationalists like Connelly were only included as anarchists in BF due to their syndicalism, you completely contradicted yourself when dealing with why fascist syndicalists were, rightly, excluded from BF;

Anarcho wrote:
And note that BF discusses the Italian Marxist-syndicalists who turned to nationalism in WWI and who later became fascists -- and rightly argued that they were not anarchists or syndicalists when they embraced nationalism.

To which I replied;

RM wrote:
Right. And that's why the Black Flame revisionist bullshit of including nationalists like Connolly within anarchism is so contradictory – and made even more damaging to any credibility when 'anarchists' try to excuse/gloss over it and absolutely deny any possibility that it could have any connection to later developments in this sorry tale. And yet Anarcho in earlier posts calls BF "an obviously anarchist book ... a good introduction to anarchism" – a book that embraces a nationalist like Connolly as an anarchist. No contradiction to see there at all folks... Unlike some others I've noted from the beginning that people "were not anarchists or syndicalists when they embraced nationalism". https://libcom.org/forums/general/ak-press-says-michael-schmidt-fascist-...

You may not be a platformist but certainly seem to be a fellow traveller of some of their pro-statist/nationalist views. If you can’t see any difference between support for statist national liberation struggles, being anti-imperialist or an anarchist critique of all forms of state and class domination, whether local or imperial or whether state or state-in-waiting, that’s an unfortunate limitation of your interpretation of anarchism. But such a critique is a part of the anarchist history you claim to be a master of. Worse, you defend nat-lib statism even as you pretend to be a guardian of ‘true anarchism’. You apparently equate criticising nat-lib struggles with being pro-imperialist; a typically crude reductive leninist position. Go preach that, eg, to the Cuban anarchists repressed & murdered under ‘anti-imperialist’ Castro; http://blackrosefed.org/cuba-demonization-of-anarchists/ (ironically, that article cites your FAQ).

It is an obvious massive over-simplification to reduce Malatesta’s highly critical position on syndicalism to saying he ‘advocated syndicalist tactics’ – as is including him in your series on ‘precursors of syndicalism’; http://www.anarchism.pageabode.com/anarcho/precursors-syndicalism Accepting the possibility of participating in unions is not equivalent to ‘advocating syndicalist tactics’. You seem determined to pursue a similar revisionist path to BF, which I guess is the motivation for your long-winded arguments here. For all your regular denunciations of Marxist distortions of anarchism you engage in much the same untrustworthy myth-making for your own ideological sectarian goals.

Malatesta wrote:
Any fusion or confusion between the anarchist and revolutionary movement and the syndicalist movement ends either by rendering the union helpless as regards its specific aims or with toning down, falsifying and extinguishing the anarchist spirit. A union can spring up with a socialist, revolutionary or anarchist programme and it is, indeed, with programmes of this sort that the various workers’ programmes originate. But it is while they are weak and impotent that they are faithful to the programme – while, that is, they remain propaganda groups set up and run by a few zealous and committed men, rather than organisations ready for effective action. Later, as they manage to attract the masses and acquire the strength to claim and impose improvements, the original programme becomes an empty formula, to which no-one pays any more attention. Tactics adapt to the needs of the moment and the enthusiasts of the early days either themselves adapt or cede their place to ‘practical’ men concerned with today, and with no thought for tomorrow.
https://www.marxists.org/archive/malatesta/1925/04/syndic1.htm

You baldly claim that those are the words of ‘an advocate of syndicalist tactics’ and a ’precursor of syndicalism’, so distorting history for your own revisionist ideological agenda – therefore as untrustworthy as those you criticise. Much like the distortions of your beloved BF.

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Method of Freedom
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Oct 2 2019 23:32

Berthier has written responses to this thread on monde nouveu

http://monde-nouveau.net/IMG/pdf/concerning_black_flame_libcom---.pdf

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Oct 3 2019 12:25

Berthier's response echoes and fleshes out some of my earlier comments about Anarcho's historical distortions. But his reply to me at the end seems to assume I was defending Malatesta's views; but I was neither defending nor attacking them, only pointing out their distorted misuse by Anarcho & co.