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

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Harrison
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Aug 7 2013 12:56
Lugius wrote:
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.

Federating a series of groups is of course a superior method of organisation to a network of individuals, but what you are saying here is nonsense.

Completely antisocial and destructive people like this can act in federations for long periods of time, and as long as they have a few uncritical friends in their group and others refusing to properly engage with either side of the issue by adopting a 'lets all be friends' attitude, the principle of federal autonomy can be bureaucratically wielded to prevent them being held to account to the greater social body. Anarchist principles do not solve this, it shores up toleration of these individuals.

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Lugius
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Aug 7 2013 14:02

Harrison wrote:

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Completely antisocial and destructive people like this can act in federations for long periods of time, and as long as they have a few uncritical friends in their group and others refusing to properly engage with either side of the issue by

You are describing a network of friends , which how a lot of self-styled 'anarchist' groups operate. But with the example at hand (Ites) involved more than one group, makes it far more difficult to get away with because in a federation agroup is responsible for the behaviour of individual member. If the group is unable to deal its own offending member because their all mates - then the group gets the boot.
If ASF, IWW and libcom and AM were part of the same federation there would have been a completely outcome as there would have been a greater incentive to sort it out.

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adopting a 'lets all be friends' attitude, the principle of federal autonomy can be bureaucratically wielded to prevent them being held to account to the greater

How? You seem to be confusing an anarchist federation which is composed of groups with a general membership organisation. Cite a single example to support this assertion.

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social body. Anarchist principles do not solve this, it shores up toleration of these individuals.

How so? Please explain with reference to the topic at hand.

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Lumpen
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Aug 7 2013 14:17
Lugius wrote:
He succeeded in wrecking the SEU. Lumpen could tell you plenty about that.

I can acknowledge a fairly consistent pattern of behaviour, but my contact with him ended some time ago… unless you count the ad hominem attacks on here and the shitty PMs I got when he decided that I was somehow responsible for his unhappiness. I don't have any expertise on him, other than what he has posted.

He doesn't bear all the burden for the demise of the SEU (a tiny group of 5 or so, it should be said). I'd be comfortable in saying that he was responsible for making it unsustainable, as no-one could be fucked dealing with him anymore (both in the SEU and other projects).

I'm reluctant to put it in the same category as the more recent stuff, and maybe those things in the past should be kept separate; for me, they don't compare to his sustained harassment of a comrade that was dismissed by those hostile to the ASF. The issue of the SEU was resolved by him leaving the ASF, but it says something that no attempt was made to revive it.

Afterward, Ites seems to have presented himself as some sort of former insider, posting some rather fantastic things on here (and elsewhere) to give himself credibility, and I presume he also did this internally in the IWW. You can imagine my surprise when he rejoined the IWW and no-one objected, at any rate. Without a federation or good ongoing communication, such characters effortlessly lurch from group to group and their ticket to entry is a visible distaste for rivals.

One of the few positives to come out of this is better lines of communication being set up.

On another note, the admins of Libcom have done a good job in handling the antipodean issues that have arisen on the forum, both now and previously and it is worth acknowledging it must be difficult sorting through it all. Thanks, chaps. wink

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Abbey Volcano
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Aug 7 2013 14:58
Left Leg wrote:
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.

I left the group, yes, but I could still see the public page before Ites shut it down-- and yes, the anarcha-fem admin posted her perspective and Ites was not happy about it. Since he shut down the page shortly thereafter, there's no way to see what she posted any longer. I'm not friends with her and don't know how you could contact her to get a copy.

I am not involved in the new page, altho I 'liked' it out of support for the people putting it together. I really don't care much for AM, never did, and that's why I never posted any content or participated much on the admin page. Ites emailed me a handful of times with detailed rules, etc., for posting (like when was appropriate to post and when wasn't) and it seemed like more of a headache than anything-- I honestly thought it was kind of a joke page and a lot of times I facepalmed reading what they put up, so there's no way I'd put effort into that. Plus, I shut down my FB for days/weeks at a time on the regular. And I also don't 'know' the creators of the new page-- hadn't 'met' any of them until the other day, but they seem like they were trying to put a good faith effort into handling the situation, give and take, and Ites swept the rug out from under them. I can't speak on their behalf, but they seem to be legit.

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GusselSprouts
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Aug 7 2013 15:38
Abbey Volcano wrote:
[

I left the group, yes, but I could still see the public page before Ites shut it down-- and yes, the anarcha-fem admin posted her perspective and Ites was not happy about it. Since he shut down the page shortly thereafter, there's no way to see what she posted any longer. I'm not friends with her and don't know how you could contact her to get a copy.

You can still see the post (and the old page) via Cache on Google. Just search "Anarchist Memes". Google and the NSA have been very nice about keeping a back up copy of the old page (which we can't do anything with obviously).

Also, she is back on the new team as of a few minutes ago.

redxblack
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Aug 7 2013 16:44

The admins of the new page have drafted a statement that we will release later today after everyone has had a chance to edit and amend it. We want to explain why the old page was killed and what was going on in the admin discussions. We also have agreed to sign our admin posts, partly because some really dodgy shit was being posted with the old page's admin account. We also REALLY want people to know that the page is a collective effort and not the domain of one person. As a positive aside, this hopefully will end the constant reposts when there was nothing new to say. We're hoping to do this right this time around. It's off to a good start.

Left Leg
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Aug 7 2013 17:49

Thanks for the responses Abbey Volcano and redexblack -that's good to hear. I feel a lot more comfortable about the page -hope it goes well smile

redxblack
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Aug 7 2013 19:47

Here's our statement:
AMAG Communique #1

The admins (Anarchist Memes Affinity Group) of the new page wish to make the following clear. We established the Anarchist Memes page after being betrayed by an admin who had serious charges leveled against him but refused to accept accountability that was not on his own terms. A survivor named that admin as a serial harasser and a rape apologist. The rest of the admins were in a tailspin for a couple of days trying to figure out how to deal with these charges which (nearly) all of us took very seriously. The accused admin's first suggestion was to unpublish the page for a few months until people forgot about the issue. The rest of the admins rejected that proposal immediately.

We put forth an accountability process and at first the accused admin agreed. The accused admin offered to step away, but then did not. Repeatedly. He continued to post his defense and delete comments that he felt were critical. He also continued to engage in the admin discussions about how to move forward and to give his opinions on the person leveling the accusations against him. All of that was inappropriate. He was asked to stop, but would not. We did not feel it was fair or right to have his participation in creating accountability at that stage. The admins removed his admin status and removed him from the admin discussion group. We then moved on aggressively and sincerely to give voice to the aggrieved parties and to have a survivor-led accountability. We made contact with some of the aggrieved, but before we could go much further, we were betrayed. An admin on the site who never participated in any of the discussions re-added the accused to the page as a manager. The accused admin then demoted all the other admins so they could no longer change page settings, then he unpublished the page.

It is for these all of these reasons we can no longer support or participate in the former Anarchist Memes page that had the rhetoric of a team effort, but ultimately was undone by the person who created it who felt they had individual ownership of the page. We sincerely tried to hold that admin accountable for his behavior. Instead, he gave our community more reasons to want to hold him accountable.

http://theexpropriationist.wordpress.com/2013/08/07/amag-communique-1-wh...

jolasmo
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Aug 7 2013 21:12
Lugius wrote:
Harrison wrote:

Quote:
Completely antisocial and destructive people like this can act in federations for long periods of time, and as long as they have a few uncritical friends in their group and others refusing to properly engage with either side of the issue by

You are describing a network of friends , which how a lot of self-styled 'anarchist' groups operate. But with the example at hand (Ites) involved more than one group, makes it far more difficult to get away with because in a federation agroup is responsible for the behaviour of individual member. If the group is unable to deal its own offending member because their all mates - then the group gets the boot.
If ASF, IWW and libcom and AM were part of the same federation there would have been a completely outcome as there would have been a greater incentive to sort it out.

Quote:
adopting a 'lets all be friends' attitude, the principle of federal autonomy can be bureaucratically wielded to prevent them being held to account to the greater

How? You seem to be confusing an anarchist federation which is composed of groups with a general membership organisation. Cite a single example to support this assertion.

Quote:
social body. Anarchist principles do not solve this, it shores up toleration of these individuals.

How so? Please explain with reference to the topic at hand.

No disrespect mate, but have you ever actually been involved in an anarchist federation? Because it seems like you have a hugely idealised notion of how they operate in practice. As someone who's been active in a federal anarchist organisation for a number of years, I can identify strongly with the issues Harrison raises here.

That's not to say that having some sort of formal organisational structure, along federal lines, isn't helpful. But really I think the problems caused by behaviour like Ites's here is something that can't be solved simply by establishing the correct organisational form. In my opinion, other factors - such as organisational culture; the existence or non-existence of spaces for survivors to organise; and the political will to challenge those who harass and abuse our comrades - are a lot more important in dealing with this sort of shit.

~J.

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Lugius
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Aug 8 2013 00:34

jolasomo wrote:

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No disrespect mate, but have you ever actually been involved in an anarchist federation? Because it seems like you have a hugely idealised notion of how they operate in practice. As someone who's been active in a federal anarchist organisation for a number of years, I can identify strongly with the issues Harrison raises here.

None taken, mate. The short answer is - yes. And as I'm fond of a punt, I'm willing to lay London to a brick that my experience exceeds your own in almost every measure imaginable - quantity, quality, depth and breadth.

I was in attendance and participated in the January 1975 conference in Sydney that founded the Federation of Australian Anarchists (FAA). I was there at the June 1976 conference in Melbourne at which the FAA disintegrated in a shitstorm of bitter acrimony. It wasn't just a lesson - it was an education.

I was one of thirteen individuals, which included Bulgarian exiles and ex-CNT members, who participated in the conference that founded the Anarcho-Syndicalist Federation in January 1986.
Of those thirteen, four are now dead (but not forgotten) and the rest have moved on making me the last one extant.

But enough of the heavyweight showdown; if you read carefully that part of my post that Harrison quoted I did not suggest that federation is a magic bullet that will solve all our problems. But it is infinitely preferable to the 'network of friends' or 'network of affinity' as it is sometimes referred to in terms of having an attenuating effect on this kind of behaviour.

Using the example of Ites, which was the context I was originally refered to, I maintain that a federative structure makes it far more difficult for his kind of behaviour to continue for as long as it would when there is a network of friends who'll rally round.

As Lumpen pointed out:

Quote:
Without a federation or good ongoing communication, such characters effortlessly lurch from group to group and their ticket to entry is a visible distaste for rivals.

In a union, comradeship does not equal friendship. Being in a union means sometimes standing shoulder to shoulder with people you would never be friends with. With a network, everyone has to be mates or, at least, really cool with an amazingly vegan-friendly haircut.

There will be more Ites coming along in the future - guaranteed. The problem is not Ites or similar types, the problem is to find a method of dealing with it that is most effective and consistent with anarchist principles with justice front and centre. In my view, formed by my own experiences, a federative structure provides that possibility better than the model of networks.

Your experience of federation (unspecified) may be different to mine but I do not have an idealised notion of federation. My experience is grounded in harsh reality and the ASF has certainly had its ups downs and fair share of drama.

Harrison said:

Quote:
adopting a 'lets all be friends' attitude, the principle of federal autonomy can be bureaucratically wielded to prevent them being held to account to the greater social body. Anarchist principles do not solve this, it shores up toleration of these individuals.

How so? Where? When? When ever I hear the word 'bureaucratically' I hear the faint echoes of an objection to anarchist organisation per se - the subtext of which is that anarchy is not possible and that the best we can hope for it a cleaner, greener, softer, nicer capitalism obtained by a slow process of reform, human nature being what it is and all. I feel it reflects a cynicism that is feature of anti-federalist discourse.

I don't accept this view - I believe that anarchy is not only desirable, it is possible. And we need to work hard to make it happen. The theories do not originate out of the thoughts of individuals, but out of our own collective practice.

Mike S.
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Aug 8 2013 00:42

Calling a rapist and telling them the victim is lying is backwards as can be. Then going online and slandering the victim is salt in the wound. What's this guy thinking? Whats his reasoning? His "motivation"? I suppose that doesn't matter.

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Joseph Kay
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Aug 8 2013 06:40

And it goes on: this is getting posted round facebook: http://anarchistmemes.info/2013/08/08/on-being-our-own-worst-enemies/

tl;dr version: he's innocent and everyone's a liar but the process wasn't going his way so he had to seize power, expel everyone and shut down a project rather than have his peers look into it.

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Lumpen
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Aug 8 2013 08:03

That was a painful read.

Ites wrote:
The original complaints process came into being an hour after I informed TB that I was going on strike in my capacity as editor of the Australian IWW newspaper, Direct Action, in response to his failure to initiate a harassment complaints procss against EC.

Sums it up, really. "On strike". Oh lawd.

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Mr. Jolly
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Aug 8 2013 21:07

jolasmo
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Aug 8 2013 23:42
Lugius wrote:
None taken, mate. The short answer is - yes. And as I'm fond of a punt, I'm willing to lay London to a brick that my experience exceeds your own in almost every measure imaginable - quantity, quality, depth and breadth.

I was in attendance and participated in the January 1975 conference in Sydney that founded the Federation of Australian Anarchists (FAA). I was there at the June 1976 conference in Melbourne at which the FAA disintegrated in a shitstorm of bitter acrimony. It wasn't just a lesson - it was an education.

I was one of thirteen individuals, which included Bulgarian exiles and ex-CNT members, who participated in the conference that founded the Anarcho-Syndicalist Federation in January 1986.
Of those thirteen, four are now dead (but not forgotten) and the rest have moved on making me the last one extant.

Well... good for you, I guess, although a simple yes or no was really all I was after.

Lugius wrote:
But enough of the heavyweight showdown; if you read carefully that part of my post that Harrison quoted I did not suggest that federation is a magic bullet that will solve all our problems. But it is infinitely preferable to the 'network of friends' or 'network of affinity' as it is sometimes referred to in terms of having an attenuating effect on this kind of behaviour.

I don't know if it's really as simple as that. For example, I think friendship and support networks can play a hugely important role in 'attenuating' this sort of behaviour - if they are mobilised to support survivors rather than defend their abusers. In many ways this side of things can have much more of an impact than what the organisation formally does about abuse. The case at hand is a really good example of this imo: on the formal, organisational level, the IWW expelled Ites and upheld caterpillar's complaint about him. But it didn't matter, because Ites was able to force her out of the group anyway, through a campaign of harassment and bullying carried out by him and his friends. And that's down to organisational culture and affinity at least as much as formal structure.

Having friends is not an alternative to having an organisation. On the one hand affinity groups can't replace formal organisations. Trying to do politics exclusively through affinity groups and friendship networks, with minimal formal organisation, is clearly a mistake. But it's important to remember that on the other hand, formal organisations are not a replacement for the informal relationships, affinities, and friendships, that inevitably continue to exist alongside them.

Lugius wrote:
Using the example of Ites, which was the context I was originally refered to, I maintain that a federative structure makes it far more difficult for his kind of behaviour to continue for as long as it would when there is a network of friends who'll rally round.

But the thing is, much of the time there still is a network of friends who'll rally round - in this example, there was and they did. And indeed this is precisely the issue that Harrison was pointing out above:

Harrison wrote:
Completely antisocial and destructive people like this can act in federations for long periods of time, and as long as they have a few uncritical friends in their group and others refusing to properly engage with either side of the issue by adopting a 'lets all be friends' attitude

I mean there are things effective organisations can do to combat this process, both on a formal and an informal level, especially where it comes to communication between groups in different places, and having formal processes in place to deal with abusive behaviour. But none of that is going to work if the informal relationships within a group are such that it is easy for abusers to find allies and difficult for survivors to do the same.

J.

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GusselSprouts
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Aug 9 2013 00:11

Just a heads up, he republished the old page and is proceeding with The Ites Show, business as usual and most of the likers seem unaware.

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Lugius
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Aug 9 2013 03:04

jolasmo wrote:

Quote:
Well... good for you, I guess, although a simple yes or no was really all I was

Yeah, sorry about the skiting. I saw your challenge as an invitation.

Quote:
campaign of harassment and bullying carried out by him and his friends. And that's down to organisational culture and affinity at least as much as formal structure.

You make an excellent point; the formal structure, in this case the IWW, responded appropriately as you would expect from an organisation with an institutional memory in excess of a century, but the branch itself was split along the lines of who is mates with who rather than reading it straight from the manual, so to speak.

The strength of the informal support that Ites received was powerfully illustrated by the fact that two of his supporters were avowed anarcha-feminists which, on the surface, does not compute. It prioritises personal animosities over and above political allegiances. So how can this be?

Quote:
organisation, is clearly a mistake. But it's important to remember that on the other hand, formal organisations are not a replacement for the informal relationships, affinities, and friendships, that inevitably continue to exist alongside them.

Totally agree. I'm suggesting that the best possible chance of equal decision-making and justice for all is to err on the side of the formal structure. There should no expectation that when you join a group, for instance, everyone has to be your mate. Becoming a member means you are accorded the status of comrade and relations between comrades is always respectful and formal in the assembly or on an action. All comrades should be in no doubt that while all comrades are important, no comrade is necessary. Inevitably, some comrades will form friendships or even more intimate relationships, some may dislike you for whatever reason or be totally indifferent. At the risk of sounding clumsy, there should be a clear distinction between 'business' and 'pleasure'

In an anarchist federation, this would always be the case between groups, particularly if the group is in another city. I think Harrison was talking about the internal relationships inside the group, whether it be part of a federation or a more loosely organised affinity group.

The point I would like to emphasise, and this is certainly true of the ASF, is that, in the context of a federation, the behaviour of individuals becomes the responsiblity of that particular affiliated group that the (offending) individual is a member of. If the group can't get it together to fix it - they risk getting the boot.

Too often, types like Ites get to hide inside groups, particularly stand-alone affinity groups.

My experience with Ites in a group was in ASF-M 1997-98. He pulled every stunt he has subsequently pulled in every other group he has been involved in. I recall vividly that, after listening respectfully to a proposal (to publish a pamphlet in the name of ASF-M about a general strike in Italy in 1920) put by Ites to an ASF-M assembly for a full 25 minutes, he accused the assembly of not taking his ideas seriously (!) It was respectfully explained to Ites in clear and unambiguous terms that taking a proposal seriously is not synomous with agreeing with the proposal put. It was explained that any comrade putting a proposal to an assembly that, in the event of agreement, would be binding on all other comrades, the onus is on that comrade to construct a convincing argument that it would advance the unit's aims and pass a cost/benefit analysis. The onus is not on the assembly to agree to a proposal simply on the basis that a particular comrade is of the opinion that it is a good idea.

Ites twice hinted that he would leave ASF-M if the assembly persisted in not seeing it his way. Again, it was explained that while all comrades are important, no comrade is necessary. He was reminded that a champion team will always beat a team of champions and that a volunteer army will always triumph over a conscript army. It was reiterated to Ites that one joins ASF-M of their own free will and as the ASF-M is not a political party or a religious cult, he is therefore free to leave wherever and whenever he chose - an option he ultimately exercised.

You can issue a warning to other groups, but in my experience, it is rarely heeded. Ites went from ASF-M to IWW Melbourne to SEU-ASF back to IWW Melbourne, got expelled and then on to AM. I'm told he is involved with something called Common Struggle now.

Occassionally, people will want to join because they imagine that is a ready-made friendship network or it affords them some kind of status. Such people should be disabused of this notion and be reminded that we are here to do a job; Rid the World of the Curse of the Evil Vampires.

caterpillar
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Aug 9 2013 03:38

The IWW's formal structures did contribute to Ites being able to form a power base. The branch was based in Melbourne and there were maybe about 10 or so active members. However because delegates are the only members who are able to recruit others and this isn't checked by the branch, it meant that Ites signed up a lot of people via the internet. These new members had pretty much zero contact with the actual branch and weren't very active. Most of them lived in Geelong not Melbourne. While Ites did do a lot of work in IWW, he also took credit for pretty much everything anyone else in the branch did. So these new members basically saw Ites as the IWW. When he was expelled (by a meeting that included most of the active members) they automatically sided with him.

(I'm not putting an argument re culture v formal structures btw... just thought it was worth mentioning what happened)

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Rob Ray
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Aug 9 2013 13:59

Well this is getting confusing... Ites cries uncle and gives page to two female IWW members. Anyone able to confirm? Whosit? Any chance of a reconciliation if Ites and his pet admin are out?

syndicalist
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Aug 9 2013 14:14

I got a PM from Ites telling me he was out. Ites then wished the two comrades luck in continuing the site.

syndicalist
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Aug 9 2013 16:50

self-removed

caterpillar
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Aug 10 2013 00:38

I've decided to name a couple more people on the blog. The reason is that one of them apologised before but now continues to lie about us online and defend Debney. The other I'd only given the benefit of the doubt because he was her friend.
http://emateapot.wordpress.com/2013/08/01/naming-names/

Apparently this is one of the women running the page now too. What a lying scumbag.

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Lugius
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Aug 10 2013 01:42

I would imagine that it is two from Melbourne IWW?

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Lugius
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Aug 10 2013 01:43

Isthis woman not a member of Socialist Alliance in Geelong? A trot from Geelong admin AM. What a look!

caterpillar
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Aug 10 2013 09:12

Apparently she isn't a moderator after all. I don't know what's going.