Reid-Ross falls victim to his own absurd narrative

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Black Badger
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Mar 15 2021 19:35
Reid-Ross falls victim to his own absurd narrative

Reid-Ross, who helped expose M Schmidt as a POS is now actively collaborating with a right wing think tank

https://thegrayzone.com/2021/03/14/anarchist-alexander-reid-ross-cops-ci...

Black Badger
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Mar 15 2021 19:45

It's important to notice that the greyzone is shady as fuck, but they are correct about SPLC issuing an official apology and retraction:
https://www.splcenter.org/hatewatch/2018/03/09/update-multipolar-spin-ho...

This is the right wing think tank ARR is aligned with:
https://networkcontagion.us/

Who's the fascist creep now?

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Juan Conatz
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Mar 15 2021 19:59

I think most longtime libcom posters have been aware of ARR's often tenuous relationship with fact checking and basing extraordinary claims on a few facts mixed with leaps of faith.

However, I don't trust Max Blumenthal as far as I could throw him. Greyzone is his project and is dedicated to the sort of murky 'anti-imperialism' that dangerously flirts with backing both right wing and left wing dictatorships.

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R Totale
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Mar 15 2021 20:04

I don't think this needs to be a news story, was this meant as a forum post? Will read more later, but it's important to stress that the SPLC apology/retraction was only issued as a result of Blumenthal threatening to sue them, I think this two-part fact-checking of that piece is largely correct:
https://brockley.blogspot.com/2018/03/fact-checking-splc-on-max-blumenth...
https://brockley.blogspot.com/2018/12/fact-checking-splc-on-max-blumenth...

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R Totale
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Mar 15 2021 20:06
Juan Conatz wrote:
However, I don't trust Max Blumenthal as far as I could throw him. Greyzone is his project and is dedicated to the sort of murky 'anti-imperialism' that dangerously flirts with backing both right wing and left wing dictatorships.

Also, given how he loves to paint himself as the One True Anti-Imperialist and everyone who disagrees with him as being a neocon in bed with the Pentagon and CIA, it is very, very funny that when Clinton's emails were leaked it turned out she'd been emailing Blumenthal's dad saying what a good boy he is.

syndicalist
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Mar 16 2021 16:10

I saw this elsewhere. Not really sure what to make of it. The accusers are, seemingly, pro-Assad. ARR, well, he's posted enough here for folks to make of him what they may.

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Reddebrek
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Mar 17 2021 15:47

Is there a better source than this? Aside from the authors its absolutely terrible, I tried looking for the actual smoking gun so to speak and it was just a screenshot and a weblink at the bottom of the page. Took forever to wade through people I've never heard of and who may or may not have some connection to someone else whose bad.

Most of it just seems to be pure character assassination by association shit, does it matter that a politician likes bigfoot pornography? I didn't even laugh since to get to that part I had already come across multiple rambles about a dozen other no names.

Quote:
I don't think this needs to be a news story, was this meant as a forum post? Will read more later, but it's important to stress that the SPLC apology/retraction was only issued as a result of Blumenthal threatening to sue them, I think this two-part fact-checking of that piece is largely correct:
https://brockley.blogspot.com/2018/03/fact-checking-splc-on-max-blumenth...
https://brockley.blogspot.com/2018/12/fact-checking-splc-on-max-blumenth...

Yeah and back when I still had the patience to bother looking up this blogs arguments I noticed a lot of the links were not accurately representing anyone. Like this bit on ARR and Norman Finkelstein

Quote:
"Among those smeared by Ross was academic Norman Finkelstein, the son of Holocaust survivors, whom he accused of Holocaust denial. Finkelstein spoke at length about his family’s suffering during the Holocaust in the interview that Ross referenced in his article, which Finkelstein conducted on the podcast TrueAnon. But Ross, in an especially revealing example of his misleading smear tactics, chose to ignore his target’s personal testimony. Indeed, Ross did not mention Finkelstein’s family history at all, and omitted his well-established scholarly credentials, describing the academic merely as “an anti-Zionist activist.”"

I don't know this ARR bloke but this sounds awful. But there's a link in the article that goes to ARR's very long and rambling piece, But the only time it talks about Finkelstein is this

Quote:
"A more recent guest at TrueAnon is Norman Finkelstein, an anti-Zionist activist who caused controversy last year for calling Holocaust denier David Irving a “very good historian,” adding, “I don’t know what a Holocaust denier even is.” Irving is, among other things, notorious for urging a German court to “fight a battle for the German people and put an end to the blood lie of the Holocaust.”"

Which isn't what Grayzone is claiming ARR said, and in that text there's a link (of course there is) to another article this time by the Jewish Chronicle, which covers the controversial comments by Finkelstein in detail https://www.thejc.com/news/uk/norman-finkelstein-praises-holocaust-denie...

So this example of ARR revealing his misleading smear tactics, is also a revealing example of grayzone's misleading smear tactics.

ZJW
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Mar 22 2021 12:59

http://normanfinkelstein.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/Finkelstein-HDen...

bootsy
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Mar 23 2021 01:49

ARR's connection to the right wing think tank Network Contagion Research Institute is mentioned on his own Twitter page...

Despite the fact Grayzone it a shitty tankie blog, even a broken clock is right twice a day as the saying goes. It does not take much effort to confirm his genuine connection to the think tank.

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R Totale
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Mar 23 2021 19:54

Posted for discussion rather than as a straight endorsement: https://abeautifulresistance.org/site/2021/3/16/mission-creep

This seems a bit more interesting, although there's also a fair few pieces that set alarm bells ringing - for instance, "In his Haaretz columns, Ross has also named leftist politician George Galloway, founder of The Intercept Glenn Greenwald, and even the anti-war collective Code Pink as part of this large-scale Russian conspiracy." - As if it was ridiculous for people to be critical of the tory bootlicker Galloway or the other GG!
Similarly, the writer is very defensive of Little Black Cart - see here for extensive documentation of the utter shit that project ended up publishing.

But anyway, this statement seems at least worth discussing:

Quote:
To understand the problems of these three postulates, it’s helpful to look at the other dominant understandings of what fascism is and how it works. The first, which is a Liberal Democratic view, is best seen in Umberto Eco’s theory of ‘Ur-fascism.’ In this framework, fascism is a kind of ahistorical and eternal force laying in wait throughout all of humanity’s history, a regression to authoritarian, tribalistic in-group vs. outside-other dynamics from which the Enlightenment, Democracy, Human Rights and Capitalism have rescued us. This view is not very different from Ross’s framework, in that it sees fascism as the enemy of progress and western conceptions of human rights.

The other dominant understanding of fascism is the Marxist view, which differs radically from both Ross’s idea of “fascist creep” and also the Liberal Democratic idea that fascism is a rejection of modern progress. In the Marxist framework, fascism is a defense mechanism of the industrialised capitalist nation-state itself. In times of crisis where capitalists find their power threatened by lower-class revolt, ultranationalism becomes a kind of immune response meant to fight off the infection of revolution.

All three frameworks differ significantly in their answers to one historical question: how can we explain the powerful communist movements that preceded the birth of the three really-existing fascist states in human history (Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy, Spain under Franco)? In each of these fascisms, liberal-democratic politicians made choices to align with the fascists against the communists, often times specifically aiding the fascists in hunting down and killing communist organizers, intellectuals, and leaders.

This point is of course an embarrassment for frameworks that see fascism as the “enemy” of Liberal Democracy and capitalist modernity. In Eco’s framework—one which liberals in the United States re-tooled in their fight against Donald Trump—the state was making a difficult decision between two threats to its existence: far-right and far-left revolution, both of which were “anti-democratic” and part of that latent regressive (ur-)fascist urge. That is, the Weimar government, for example, was being attacked by two existential enemies, and had no possible hope of winning against both.

In the Marxist framework, the answer lies in the strange fact that the state never sided with the leftists, but only ever with the fascists. At no point in the lead-up to Hitler’s rise to Chancellorship did the government stop their repression of communists or enlist their aid against this “other” existential threat. Likewise in Italy and Spain, the government—and especially the capitalist class—repeatedly sided with the fascists against the communists and anarchists and relied on fascists within their police and military forces to be particularly brutal in this repression. Such facts makes the conclusion of the Marxist framework seem self-evident: the fascists were a necessary weapon against left-wing revolution.

Ross’s framework rarely ever mentions the state at all, and rather focuses on the similarities between the fascists and their left-wing rivals. This allows him to then conclude that the fascists were really a hybrid of the right and the left (in the figure of Mussolini, for example, who was an anarcho-syndicalist before becoming a fascist), and that eventually the large leftist opposition to fascism was contaminated by their proximity to the far-right and their distance from the center.

Fight Fascists, The Capitalist State, or both?

What is most important about the differences in these three frameworks are their conclusions for the present, especially in regards to fighting any attempted revival of fascist ideology now, because each affects the way our political conceptions have been shaped.

The conclusion of the Marxist framework is that the capitalist state and the fascists will inevitably side with each other, and thus both must be fought simultaneously. Thus, the way to fight fascism is to build an alternative political movement that opposes both the fascists and the state, and (as in Walter Benjamin’s conception) to recognize that the “emergency” of fascism is a feature of the capitalist state, not an exception. Therefore, the state and the capitalist class are never seen as a potential ally against fascism, but rather the actual cause of fascism itself.

In the Liberal Democratic view, the state is ultimately the only way to protect human rights and progress, and fascism is a threat to all of that. Therefore, no matter what critiques, criticisms, or opposition a leftist or an oppressed minority might have with the nation, all that must be set aside temporarily to stop fascism. Trump and the 60 million or so people who voted for him, for example, was an “emergency” worse than capitalist exploitation of the poor, US military interventions around the world, or police state repression of Black people, and thus everyone needed to unite and vote for Biden (regardless of his support for police repression, imperialist policies, and for capitalism). Fighting fascism in this framework requires opposing right-wing populism at all costs and supporting the capitalist class against them, postponing or even silencing our own movements for justice.

In the “creep” framework, the Liberal Democratic view is expanded into a fear about contagion. Rather than merely postponing revolutionary action until after the emergency is over, a leftist must vigilantly police the borders of leftist thought itself, being constantly on guard for signs of heretical thought which might lead to fascist “conversions.” Especially worrisome for this framework are points of intersections, cross-over points where a true believer might be led astray and become apostate.

I think this line of argument is worth considering. Edited to add: And that's not to say that I think that it's necessarily right! I think Wildermuth does fall down on the side of defending some dodgy shit, and that last paragraph has its problems, but it'd require some careful thought to pick it apart.

bootsy
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Mar 23 2021 23:30

Here's a Network Contagion article with ARR listed as an author, I wonder if he will claim it was put there without his knowledge and against his will! Apparently these things happen...

https://networkcontagion.us/reports/the-qanon-conspiracy-destroying-fami...

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R Totale
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Mar 24 2021 17:37

Actually, the more I think about that article posted above, the more problems it has - a few observations:
1) he complains that "Ross warned in the last few years against eco-extremism, anarcho-primitivism, esoteric leftism, anti-modernism, and many other “fringe” leftist positions, and cast repeated aspersions on one anarchist publisher, Little Black Cart." For a recap of the controversy over eco-extremism and Little Black Cart, see here: http://libcom.org/library/indiscriminate-attacks-wild-reactions-anti-civ... I think the quote from ITS about "as the humanist anarchists in the U.S. were run over by neo-Nazis (both groups are cocksuckers), the Islamic State finally struck in Spain where you are, you son of a thousand whores! While it's true that neither of these acts were carried out by eco-extremists, it's a sign of the wild curse that has fallen on you and your loved ones for defaming us. Be careful, shitty atheist, the ancestral spirits roam free and will torment you until your death!" really says all that needs to be said about that particular ideological trajectory.
2) "And any leftist who dare suggest that right-leaning people might be brought into a leftist movement by addressing their material conditions—rather than lecturing them on non-binary pronouns—is of course definitely a “crypto.”" Wow, a sneering reference to non-binary pronouns, so brave and radical and inventive, never seen that one before.
3) In the comments, someone links to this article https://libcom.org/library/field-guide-straw-men-sadie-exile-esoteric-fa... and he responds "I still know many anarchists who know those two who do not believe they are actually fascists, but rather just played with the aesthetic (the Black Sun, in particular, is used by many, many non-fascists)." Just playing with the fucking sonnenrad for the aesthetic, jesus christ.

Mike Harman
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Mar 25 2021 10:00
R Totale wrote:
As if it was ridiculous for people to be critical of the tory bootlicker Galloway or the other GG!

Yeah Galloway who did photoshoots with Farage and told everyone to vote Tory, and Greenwald who spends nearly his entire life nodding along to Tucker Carlson on Fox.

ARR's work on Schmidt simultaneously discovered someone who had gone very bad, while in its approach undermining any serious way of dealing with it - not contacting Zabalaza, the original AK Press statement that Schmidt was a 'fascist infiltrator', the three part release with weeks in-between. And everything since has been quite similar. This then allows the Grayzone to cast any criticism of them as being as weak as ARR's.

I think this is compounded by the US media landscape - there's whatever the fuck Grayzone's business model is ('anti-imperialism' with undisclosed funding sources). Then there's also an emerging economy for 'anti-extremism' writers which it seems ARR is tapping into with the thinktank work. They could potentially get paid for writing hit pieces on each other for another decade or two.

syndicalist
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Mar 25 2021 21:50

Indeed:

Quote:
ARR's work on Schmidt simultaneously discovered someone who had gone very bad, while in its approach undermining any serious way of dealing with it - not contacting Zabalaza, the original AK Press statement that Schmidt was a 'fascist infiltrator', the three part release with weeks in-between. And everything since has been quite similar. This then allows the Grayzone to cast any criticism of them as being as weak as ARR's.

bootsy
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Mar 28 2021 22:15

Mike Harman

Quote:
... the three part release with weeks in-between.

I think it was more like 4-5 parts from memory, most of which consisted of rambling conspiracy theories about the 'red-brown menace'. The pertinent information could have easily been reduced to a single short statement, which should have been sent to Zabalaza before being released publicly, in order for them to have time to investigate and respond to the allegations.

I also understand he sat on the information for quite some time before the cryptic announcement that came out from AK Press, supposedly he was looking to sell the story to the bourgeois media first. When that fell through (I guess the bourgeois media weren't so interested in a story about some obscure South African Anarchist-cum-white supremacist) he released the information slowly, for no reason other than to hype his own name.

I'm not sure if it's possible for him to have gone about sharing the info on Schmidt in a more self-interested and unprincipled manner. Hardly surprising then that he has no problems working for a reactionary think tank.

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Juan Conatz
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Jun 8 2021 13:14

A far better source than Blumenthal, Matthew Lyons, wrote something on that think tank and also mentions ARR in it: http://threewayfight.blogspot.com/2021/05/network-contagion-research-ins...