"Anarchist Memes" admin named in connection with harassment and rape apologism

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no1
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Aug 6 2013 14:39

As far as I understand it, AM have something like two dozen admins on 3 different continents (i.e. completely different time zones) - so it's quite unreasonable to expect them to react quickly and we should probably hold off judgement until there's an actual outcome.

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Abbey Volcano
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Aug 6 2013 15:18

My history: I was made an admin months ago by the creator of the page (I assume we're not using real names) and never posted anything. I was added to the admin page as well, and don't participate much there either. I am now, tho.

I am uncomfortable with the way AM is handling this situation right now and there is no collective agreement on anything. Things have been posted that I'm pretty furious about. Right now I'm explaining on the admin page how terribly "we've" handled this and I'm trying to figure out if I want to stick around to help fix it or not. I don't have any dedication or history with the page, so I'll likely just leave it.

To clarify, tho, we're not a collective, we're not functioning in agreed-upon ways, any admin can post anything they want, and in my case, I knew nothing of any of this situation until the other day-- I think yesterday. I don't personally know any of the people involved in this situation. I know the creator of the AM page from some brief FB interactions over the past few years.

But I am embarrassed by AM's response. An anarcha-fem admin member is currently writing up a statement on her perspective, which I was invited to participate in but probably won't. I have personally asked (and then requested) for the creator of the page to step back, and again after he said he would and didn't.

So that's where I'm at, hope it sheds some light. To be clear, it's been difficult for me to even figure out what the accusations are-- even with these threads and AM's creator's explanation (which really didn't explain much or clear anything up for me). I am hoping things will be handled better from here on out now that the creator has stepped back and someone else is stepping up. Many of us on the admin page have now discussed how this has not been handled well and hopefully something better will be coming soon.

no1
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Aug 6 2013 15:32
Abbey Volcano wrote:
To be clear, it's been difficult for me to even figure out what the accusations are-- even with these threads and AM's creator's explanation (which really didn't explain much or clear anything up for me).

The findings of the second IWW complaints committee are available on a page on facebook.

Abbey Volcano wrote:
I have personally asked (and then requested) for the creator of the page to step back, and again after he said he would and didn't.

Abbey Volcano wrote:
I am hoping things will be handled better from here on out now that the creator has stepped back and someone else is stepping up.

So has he suspended himself or not?

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Abbey Volcano
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Aug 6 2013 15:49

I asked him to formally leave AM and what he's done instead is relegate himself to the lowest position available. That's not formally leaving the page, so I'm going to leave. I am an admin and can't control anyone's role on the page but my own.Things are a bit shady on AM and the admin page right now (b/c of the creator) and I'm not comfortable being associated with it. Anyway, I won't be able to send updates about how the admin page is dealing with things from here on out since I'm leaving.

no1
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Aug 6 2013 16:00

thanks for the clarification

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klas batalo
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Aug 6 2013 16:24
akai wrote:
Klas, are we talking about the same page? There is more than one page and a group. I was told by somebody from the admin that one of the pages was made by him - but maybe he was mistaken. Just asking...

facebook.com/anarchosyndicalism.ftw

i think he is an admin on that.

anyway i've removed myself as a content creator on AM memes... and the AM admin collective as well... ites started threatening admins there and just really not ceding to requests of his fellow admins, but with the amounts of influence he has i don't know how he can be effectively dealt with.

other admins are also leaving. that's all i'm gonna say.

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Rob Ray
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Aug 6 2013 17:02

Bit of a shame tbh, if all the decent admins leave that just leaves him and his mates as the only admins on a platform with 80,000-odd followers sad.

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Abbey Volcano
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Aug 6 2013 17:03

You're right, tho it seems like some good folks who have dedication to the page are sticking with it, as far as I could tell when I left.

syndicalist
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Aug 6 2013 17:05

I have "known" Ites since he created anarcho-syndicalism 101 many years ago. So I am saddened by all these events. And saddend by his way in dealing with differences between himself and ASF comrades.

here are my two major emails I posted on AM Admin group:

Quote:
Comrades, I have been hesitant to get involved in this. It is unclear to me what this is all about, as I've not read specifics. That said, it saddens me that someone with so much talent can allow themselves to fall into what seems to be a pretty negative pattern with other comrades.

I recall a young [admin no real names], full of piss and vinegar establishing, virtually on their own, the groundbreaking "Anarcho-syndicalism 101" site, well before Libcom, Anarkismo or ABC. The site provided a new beach head for anarcho-syndicalist materials before the latest english speaking surge in a/s interest.

While I can not speak to the specifics of any of the accusations or why they have resurfaced, it is troubling that they are out there at all.

After close to 40 years in the movement, I am troubled by these periodic episodes. But I am also deeply disturbed by the often times sectarian nature in which "Ites" seems to engage in with others. While I have respect for the comrades skills and abilities, it is troubling that we have to deal with the other issues as well.Sectarianism is something that can be written off, poor behavior is harder to do so.

If AM is to be a real collective, admin stuff should be done collectively.
Banning folks, removal of links and other such stuff should be collectively decided. And all, including the founder of AM, should have a fair hearing.

In closing, a comradely and far manner in resolving AM issues, issues of external relations and real or perceived poor image should be taken up forthrightly, resolved forthrightly and closed forthright lightly.

And following my departure as an Admin:

Quote:
It's a tough one for me. But I have serious time constrants. And alot of this seems very detailed and dirty. Perhaps at some other time when I have a greater attention span. But I will end on saying thanks to [name removed] for all the good he's done over the years.In spite of current stuff, which i hope works out, i am not one to forget the positive. Trusting it all works out in a manner which all those directly engaged can live and work with.

Last comment, it is always sad when talented comrades fall into bad situations, often times of their own creation. And I hope that meaningful resolution can be found.

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klas batalo
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Aug 6 2013 17:07
Rob Ray wrote:
Bit of a shame tbh, if all the decent admins leave that just leaves him and his mates as the only admins on a platform with 80,000-odd followers sad.

he's not an admin anymore, as far as i know. he can only see insights i.e. site stats.

akai
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Aug 6 2013 17:20

I think this is a good moment for comrades all around to reflect on sites that seem to be "open publishing" or composed or various admins who are just added, without any discussion of internal process. It may be a little off-topic from the main point, but it is relevant.

redxblack
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Aug 6 2013 18:22

I'm one of the admins on the page (Walter Melon) still sticking around on the condition that the accused admin is not participating in any of the inner workings until this process can be formed and worked through a resolution. Yesterday the page had 22 admins. Today it has 17. The accused admin is no longer administering the page or participating in the administrative group. That person has voluntarily stepped away pending the outcome of a process we're trying hard to create on the fly. An update will be posted soon on the page.

redxblack
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Aug 6 2013 19:41

Latest post:

Update: The accused member of the admin team is no longer an admin and will not be participating in the page nor in any admin functions pending the outcome of an accountability process. This has been a difficult task for the admins in trying to coordinate across three continents and many time zones, and initially there were more stumbles than successes. Several admins have resigned from the page as well. Those of us staying on are seeking to help reconcile and heal as much as possible all parties affected. We have reached out to those people who have publicly stated that they were harmed. If you are an aggrieved party who has not been contacted, please send a message to our inbox. This process is slow going. We are doing our best to uphold the dignity and working toward the equality of all. Please be patient. Thank you for your continued support.

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GusselSprouts
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Aug 6 2013 20:38

Also, anyone who left during this time did something very respectable and principled, and I would never want to make you be a part of something you don't want to be a part of. If you want to come back that is more than fair. I would still like you to be a part of AM.

caterpillar
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Aug 6 2013 22:25

I don't know what is going on with the moderators at AM and I'm going to wait and see what happens. But I just wanted to say that someone from AM did contact me yesterday asking me to participate in the accountability process. I do believe they were sincere and taking the issue seriously.

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GusselSprouts
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Aug 7 2013 00:04

Ites was re-added (by someone who's real name has been given to me, and I believe you Aussie folk know) that I did not know had a relationship or sympathy with [name removed]. [No real names] was able to remove me as a manager, and then unpublish the page entirely. So he decided sinking the largest Anarchist community on the internet was fair, instead of taking any responsibility.

So if there was ever doubt in my trying to understand this whole fiasco (which I never had, to be honest, but I also thought this could be resolved), I certainly have no doubt that Ites is a class A shitlord.

New page, from scratch: https://www.facebook.com/anarchistmemes1

caterpillar
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Aug 7 2013 00:34

I've named him on my blog (in the comments). People should know who they are working with.

redxblack
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Aug 7 2013 01:00

I had the same experience as Gus above. I'm profoundly disappointed after having spent the better part of three days trying to help heal the hurt. As soon as we started getting traction, the rug was pulled out from under us.

I do not think there will be any accountability possible. The efforts of the admins were absolutely sincere. Our efforts have been scuttled in what I feel was a huge breach of trust.

Obviously, I removed myself as an admin of the now unpublished page.

syndicalist
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Aug 7 2013 00:56

This has all become a real pity.

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Lugius
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Aug 7 2013 01:24

akai wrote:

Quote:
I think this is a good moment for comrades all around to reflect on sites that seem to be "open publishing" or composed or various admins who are just added, without any discussion of internal process. It may be a little off-topic from the main point, but it is relevant.

Most definitely! While the internet is an incredibly useful tool for communication and organistion, it can never substitute for face-to-face contact in the assembly. It is only there that you can see with you own eyes who they really are and how they conduct themselves.

I first met 'Ites' in late 1996. (I believe he also posts as 'Horselover Fat') He was a first-year uni student and he showed me a constitution for an anarchist federation authored by him. I explained that such constitutions are never written by a single individual.

He joined the Melbourne ASF in January 1997 and left 12 months or so later and eventually joined the Melbourne IWW in 1999. In this short time, he demonstrated to me an incapacity to work collectively. The trigger for his departure was the failure of his proposal to have the ASF-M publish a pamphlet on the General Strike in Italy 1920. He accused ASF-M of not taking his ideas seriously.

Before he left the Melbourne ASF, his sexist behaviour (among others) was cited by two senior members (a husband and wife) of the Melbourne IWW as their reason for resigning from the Barricade Bookshop in 1998. Yet, a year later these same two senior members of the Melbourne IWW raised no objections to his membership in the IWW despite them knowing of his sexist behaviour (which was never specified).

Here I think is an example of perhaps what might be called 'sectarian blindness'; someone is bad when they are a member of a 'rival' group but are miraculously redeemed when the get inside the tent.

By 2000, Ites had left the Melbourne IWW (but no-one knows why) and joined another ASF affiliate SEU. It was here that his authoritarian behaviour was put on full display leading to the disintegration of this affiliate by 2002. It was at this time that a woman not connected to any group but on the periphery, was subjected to Ites unwanted attentions. The woman fled the anarchist scene at a rapid rate of knots. Ites rejoined to Melbourne IWW soon after and was a member until his expulsion last year.

It is not known how many women he has harrassed but one of them is the Secretary of the ASF (name withheld). She was pursued and harassed by Ites some years ago before joining the Melbourne ASF. When she had discovered that Ites was one and the same listed as a an IWW Delegate and involved with the 2012 Melbourne Anarchist Bookfair, it became a problem for the Melbourne ASF who had a stall booked. She felt intimated enough by Ites to prevent her from attending. This issue arose at a meeting of ASF-M in July last year and the ASF-M Secretary was instructed by the assembly to write to the Secretary of the Melbourne IWW.

To the credit of the Secretary of the Melbourne IWW, he responded promptly and respectfully. But it is my understanding that there were those in the Melbourne IWW GMB who regarded it as a beat-up by Melbourne ASF to embarrass the Melbourne IWW and openly supported Ites (including women). Those in the Melbourne IWW who did not gives Ites unqualified support were subject to round-the-clock electronic harassment by him. (All of this I've heard second-hand)

Ites was eventually expelled from the Melbourne IWW but he has since embarked on a campaign of harassment of his perceived enemies (The last email I got was on the 27 July). It is my experience he will not stop and will never change.

Looking at it from the point of libcom admins, I can understand their reluctance to act on hearsay from people on the other side of the planet. I think Ites has been treated fairly by libcom admins and have acted on evidence. I think AM are in a similar situation.

I make the same prediction to AM as I did to one libcom admin; Ites will not cease and desist, he will be banned from AM entirely or AM will be destroyed by him.

This is the problem with the 'network of individuals' structure as opposed to the 'federation of groups' structure. Networks enable the the behaviour of individuals like Ites. Behaviour that simply cannot be reconciled with anarchist principles. Little wonder that these types hate the idea of federation.

It is my understanding that AM was created by Ites and others around the world have subsequently become involved (he certainly boasted about to me in emails and text messages). I'm not surprised at all there was no procedure in the first place, that would be too much like accountability.

redxblack
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Aug 7 2013 01:34

AM admins asked him to step away after he volunteered to do so. He said he would, but then continued to post and participate. Another admin removed him from the administrative functions and the AM Admins discussion group. After that, his collaborator added him back and all the other admins (but two) were demoted to a position where they could not edit the page or change admin permissions. Then the page was unpublished. Ites offered to unpublish the page for a few months (before he left/was removed) and all the admins participating shot that down immediately. It happened anyway against our consensus on the issue. I would expect AM to be up again in a few months. I won't be a party to it.

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Aug 7 2013 01:50

What's worse is that he can republish AM at any time have the largest amount of Anarchists listening to him than ever before. He needs to be discredited as soon as possible.

If I knew the story that went back 15 years I wouldn't have put so much effort into trying to make this work for everyone.

caterpillar
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Aug 7 2013 02:49
Quote:
What's worse is that he can republish AM at any time have the largest amount of Anarchists listening to him than ever before. He needs to be discredited as soon as possible.

I'm certain he will do that at some point. And when he does there will be all kinds of lies about what happened on there.

caterpillar
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Aug 7 2013 03:01
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By 2000, Ites had left the Melbourne IWW (but no-one knows why) and joined another ASF affiliate SEU.

Ites left the IWW after wrecking the branch because he couldn't get his way on things. I only found this out after all this blew up. I am extremely pissed off because the "husband and wife" who you refer to knew about this, and obviously his other past behavior. Yet they not only let him rejoin (this was in 2011) but made him delegate and DA editor that very month. He was also placed on the ROC without being elected.

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Lugius
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Aug 7 2013 04:26
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Ites left the IWW after wrecking the branch because he couldn't get his way on things. I only found this out after all this blew up. I am extremely pissed off because the "husband and wife" who you refer to knew about this, and obviously his other past behavior. Yet they not only let him rejoin (this was in 2011) but made him delegate and DA editor that very month. He was also placed on the ROC without being elected.

Well, that sounds completely right to me. He was unable to wreck the ASF Melbourne though he tried. The group had similar experiences before with other disruptive types. He succeeded in wrecking the SEU. Lumpen could tell you plenty about that.

I'm not surprised about the way he placed on the ROC. I imagine the H&W thought they could manipulate him and would have recognised his addiction to titles and power. This same H&W team run the show at the Melbourne Anarchist Bookfair and engage in similar practices.

Being a Delegate or an Editor or a Secretary are serious responsibilities, not offices of power. They have a limited mandate and should always be accountable.

Good luck to you, Caterpillar, as I imagine you will be slagged off from here until the cows come home.

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Aug 7 2013 04:53

Gussel Sprouts wrote:

Quote:
What's worse is that he can republish AM at any time have the largest amount of Anarchists listening to him than ever before. He needs to be discredited as soon as possible.

If I knew the story that went back 15 years I wouldn't have put so much effort into trying to make this work for everyone.

Again, one of the problems of organising on the internet; any space cadet can get on and claim anything they like. Particularly if you subscribe to the view that anarchy means anything you want it to mean.

I don't envy you in your task to deal with this - the amount of time and effort that goes into fixing this mess up could certainly be better spent.

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Aug 7 2013 05:50

We were a strategic force engaged in a lot of agitation and education, reaching millions of people a week.

Also, you don't need to tell me to get my feet on the ground and organize. AM was a major project of mine but far from my only endeavor.

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Lugius
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Aug 7 2013 06:06
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Also, you don't need to tell me to get my feet on the ground and organize. AM was a major project of mine but far from my only endeavor.

I wasn't. Nor was I suggesting it was your only effort. I was speaking in general terms about how distracting this can be - I'm speaking from experience.

no1
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Aug 7 2013 07:31
Lugius wrote:

Again, one of the problems of organising on the internet; any space cadet can get on and claim anything they like. Particularly if you subscribe to the view that anarchy means anything you want it to mean.

Organisations that have experienced his behaviour (ASF, IWW, libcom, AM admins) could write a letter to warn others about him. If this had been done earlier, then the AM fiasco wouldn't have happened this way. Individuals like this are able to do a huge amount of damage if we just let them get on with it, it's not just a question of the internet.

Left Leg
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Aug 7 2013 10:52
Abbey Volcano wrote:
But I am embarrassed by AM's response. An anarcha-fem admin member is currently writing up a statement on her perspective, which I was invited to participate in but probably won't. I have personally asked (and then requested) for the creator of the page to step back, and again after he said he would and didn't.

I admit I am cautious of the new Anarchist Memes page, partially because there is no indication that it has been organised any differently and partially because as of yet there has been no clear public statement about what has happened. Is the statement still being written by the anarcha-fem admin (assuming they are still an admin)? Will they be posting their (updated) report on the page? I don't feel that I can support the new page until the failings of the old page (and it's creator) have been made properly transparent.

I realise you left the page Abbey, and I'm not sure whether you are involved in the new page, so this question is to the admins involved in the new page.