S. Artesian, Double Standards Regarding Libcom's Posting Guidelines

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S. Artesian
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Jul 15 2017 15:25

removed

el psy congroo
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Jul 15 2017 02:14
S. Artesian wrote:
Removed in protest of Libcom's policy allowing texts by admitted racists.

DevastateTheAvenues
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Jul 15 2017 02:30

Though I mostly lurk, I'm with S. Artesian on this issue. If you were bugged enough to think it was a good idea to get rid of Harman's book but are making excuses to keep Schmidt, your rationale is that Harman was associated with bad people or perhaps did bad acts and so deserves to be removed, but Schmidt's work is somehow valuable enough so that his bad acts don't strike out his works; then you have to make the case that Harman's work is meritless enough or his bad acts bad enough so that the bad acts outweigh the merit, while simultaneously arguing the opposite in Schmidt's case i.e. that either his work is exceptionally good such that his bad acts are actually not so bad relative to it (he might be a racist, white supremacist, and a fascist who negatively affected the organizations he was in and continues to parade himself around as a celebrity anarchist journalist...but Black Flame is such a good read!).

While a case might be made for the former, it's arguing the latter would be awfully disappointing, because either way it helps recuperate Schmidt within anarchism and I can't imagine that Black Flame is good enough to warrant that. The situation should be clear: either one can say that a person's reprehensible acts are not a consideration when evaluating whether their works should be archived by Libcom or one can drop Schmidt and other obviously reprehensible people whose works aren't up to snuff.

I could, of course, be said to be unfairly circumscribing the question. There might be other considerations that mean that keeping Black Flame and other Schmidt works would be worthwhile. It might be argued that keeping the PDF of Black Flame around makes it so that people will be directed to a...strongly worded disclaimer...and having the PDF around makes this disclaimer more likely to reach more people (the negative effects of having the PDF around are either put aside or are apparently outweighed by this benefit). To this, I want to point out that, for me at least, I can get to the PDF hosted on Libcom through a Google search without ever landing on the page that contains the disclaimer; and if I were to try to get Black Flame through the Libcom webpage, I would see the disclaimer regardless of whether the PDF was actually hosted here. While this doesn't fully negate the argument, I think this demonstrates its supposed benefits would actually be rather small while all the negative effects of keeping Black Flame remain. There might be other arguments for other benefits of keeping Black Flame around; these can be answered in turn as they are brought up.

As an aside, whatever one argues, hopefully the metric for merit isn't just having enough anarchist bona fides, or dismissing works out-of-hand for perceived--or even actual--Leninism or something, despite the work's merits.

I think the blog post by Mike Harman, "On accountability", has useful reflections on these questions.

Tom Henry
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Jul 15 2017 02:30

Artesian says:

"I'd much rather be in the company of those who would rather be in the company of a Lenin or a Trotsky or a Chris Harman, than those who rack themselves up in line with Schmidt, Bakunin, Proudhon, Kropotkin, Lukacs, Chomsky, etc."

I think we are now getting somewhere with this.

There are two broad 'teams' here, and this what I have been trying to establish.

However, I think the 'anarchist' team is also leftist. They are ultimately playing on the same side as the more orthodox Marxists and against what might be termed 'the proletariat'.

For the record, even though I have said that I seem to be the only one defending basic 'anarchist' positions here (though epc and zugzwang have also done this), I do not consider myself an anarchist.

radicalgraffiti
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Jul 15 2017 02:57
DevastateTheAvenues wrote:

I could, of course, be said to be unfairly circumscribing the question. There might be other considerations that mean that keeping Black Flame and other Schmidt works would be worthwhile. It might be argued that keeping the PDF of Black Flame around makes it so that people will be directed to a...strongly worded disclaimer...and having the PDF around makes this disclaimer more likely to reach more people (the negative effects of having the PDF around are either put aside or are apparently outweighed by this benefit). To this, I want to point out that, for me at least, I can get to the PDF hosted on Libcom through a Google search without ever landing on the page that contains the disclaimer; and if I were to try to get Black Flame through the Libcom webpage, I would see the disclaimer regardless of whether the PDF was actually hosted here. While this doesn't fully negate the argument, I think this demonstrates its supposed benefits would actually be rather small while all the negative effects of keeping Black Flame remain. There might be other arguments for other benefits of keeping Black Flame around; these can be answered in turn as they are brought up.

yeah one of the admin changed things earlyer have a look https://libcom.org/files/Lucien%20Van%20Der%20Walt%20and%20Michael%20Sch...

DevastateTheAvenues
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Jul 15 2017 03:13
radicalgraffiti wrote:
yeah one of the admin changed things earlyer have a look https://libcom.org/files/Lucien%20Van%20Der%20Walt%20and%20Michael%20Sch...

That's fair, but I'm still getting to a version without a disclaimer through this link, which can be reached directly via Google:
https://libcom.org/files/Lucien%20Van%20Der%20Walt%20and%20Michael%20Sch...

Though I imagine this version can be removed easily enough. That said, the point S. Artesian and William Everard have made, that keeping Black Flame around as a worthwhile anarchist text serves to recuperate Schmidt within anarchism, still stands and should be considered on balance with whatever reasons one thinks makes it worthwhile.

Tom Henry
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Jul 15 2017 03:52

Devastatettheavenues and radicalgrafitti,

Your posts above should really be on the Black Flame thread, not here, people might miss the points you are making if you leave them here.

Red Marriott and Hieronymous. I only know Artesian from what he writes here. As I have said before, I am sure he is a lovable fellow in the flesh. But yes, the point was to get Artesian to show more of 'his hand', and it has worked. I think if he is more honest here then debate can be done more sensibly, but he has a way to go with this.

I don't think it was hard to spot my own obvious and deliberate winding up of Artesian, after he has called me some terrible things and without a shred of humor in his prosaic heart, by the way. Although he got quite poetic when he wrote:

Quote:
This place is enough to gag a maggot.

But comments like this are really unreasonable and ungrateful after all the years he has been here and all the good work the Libcom admins do to keep this site running.

(By the way, I think that there are probably three broad 'teams' at work here on the Libcom forums, rather than just two, I neglected to factor in the communizers and 'ultra-leftists'. But they all, in my opinion, serve a similar purpose in reality.)

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Rob Ray
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Jul 15 2017 08:12
Quote:
Removed in protest of Libcom's policy allowing texts by admitted racists.

That's possibly the most pathetic snit-fit I've seen on libcom.

mn8
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Jul 15 2017 08:43

This seems slightly exaggerated. I'm not sure if this concern about fascism has crossed a line, or if it's just an excuse. Anyway, I'll leave you guys to it. I'd have problems if the attack was on Bakunin, Proudhon, and their place here. I guess that the original accusation was that they were quick to offend, this doesn't give the opposite impression

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Sike
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Jul 15 2017 09:58
S. Artesian wrote:
Bakunin's ok to be in your online library.

S. Artesian wrote:
]I'd much rather be in the company of those who would rather be in the company of a Lenin or a Trotsky or a Chris Harman, than those who rack themselves up in line with Schmidt, Bakunin, Proudhon, Kropotkin, Lukacs, Chomsky, etc

The Libcom Library without Bakunin would be sort of like the Marxists Internet Archive Library without Marx.

Certainly, Bakunin was an ass for his occasional anti-semitic rants but AFIK he never took or attempted to take his antisemitism any future then that. Conversely, I can see your point about Micheal Schmidt because unlike Bakunin the evidence is pretty solid that Schmidt deliberately sought out fraternal associations with white-nationalists amongst whom he, as the Libcom disclaimer says, "advocated merging anarchist and white supremacist ideas."

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Craftwork
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Jul 15 2017 12:57

At the end of the day, these decisions about what/what not to host are not a science, but a question of judgements. However...

My original contention was that Chris Harman's works shouldn't have been posted here because he is not a thinker of the anarchist-communist or anti-state Marxist traditions, nor is he of historical significance, and therefore his work doesn't belong here regardless of his moral failings (i.e. even if he wasn't an asshole, it still wouldn't be appropriate to host his work), but his moral failings, and the fact that he was a leading figure of the SWP for much of its existence lends to my arguments.

With Schmidt, it's different because his texts/ideas were of relevance to the politics of this website, but subsequent controversies exposed worrying facts about him. Therefore, a disclaimer is not necessarily an unsensible option.

However, I don't mind one way or the other whether his work remains or are removed.

DevastateTheAvenues
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Jul 15 2017 16:44
Craftwork wrote:
At the end of the day, these decisions about what/what not to host are not a science, but a question of judgements. However...

My original contention was that Chris Harman's works shouldn't have been posted here because he is not a thinker of the anarchist-communist or anti-state Marxist traditions, nor is he of historical significance, and therefore his work doesn't belong here regardless of his moral failings (i.e. even if he wasn't an asshole, it still wouldn't be appropriate to host his work), but his moral failings, and the fact that he was a leading figure of the SWP for much of its existence lends to my arguments.

With Schmidt, it's different because his texts/ideas were of relevance to the politics of this website, but subsequent controversies exposed worrying facts about him. Therefore, a disclaimer is not necessarily an unsensible option.

However, I don't mind one way or the other whether his work remains or are removed.

It sounds to me like "historical significance" is just another way to say "anarchist bona fides"; I'm sure that Harman is of significance to other socialist traditions, even if they are SWPies. Further, not being a work of anarchist-communism or anti-state Marxism shouldn't immediately discount it; it doesn't say anything yet about whether or not the work is meritless. Consider that Libcom has, say, Black Reconstruction in America by W.E.B. Du Bois in the library. By no stretch of the imagination could you put Du Bois in the anarchist or anti-state Marxist camps--and in fact supported Pan-Africanism and anti-imperialism, generally supported both the USSR and PRC, and even made nice with Mao in person (shock! horror!)--but I would be dumbfounded if anyone thought his work didn't have any merit for either of these traditions.

As for Schmidt's place in the Libcom library, he may have been relevant, but I think the question is whether those who want Black Flame here are ready to vouch for its merit balanced against the, ahem, "controversy" and "worrying" facts about Schmidt.

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Jul 15 2017 17:23

It's a very stupid discussion the reveals very clearly the particular ideological biases of those involved. Just let the shitty texts stand and let commenters discuss how Schmidt ended up being a fascist infiltrator and Harman committed the unforgiveable sin of belonging to an abusive left organization (whoever heard of THAT ?!?!)

bootsy
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Jul 15 2017 19:22

These admins are priceless... Seriously, why is this a conversation and why the hell are you sticking your asses out on this? What does an anarcho-communisationer have to do to get thrown out of the "Libertarian Communist" movement? Seems like so long as they're some half-arsed academic or wannabe professional bigshot then you can do whatever the hell you want.

Tell your friend over at Aufheben I'll be thinking of him next I find myself getting kettled... I'm going back to the damn library and staying well away from the comments.

S. Artesian
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Jul 16 2017 01:15

removed

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Pennoid
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Jul 15 2017 23:54

True that though.

Mike Harman
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Jul 15 2017 23:59

So far we've done the following:

- added a content note to every article we could find by Schmidt, linking to the 1,000 post forum thread.

- unpublished any 'general' articles by Schmidt that there's absolutely no good arguments for hosting whatsoever.

- added a note to the PDF of Black Flame itself.

- added a note to a critical review of Black Flame, written before the controversy came out, that's not authored by Schmidt or Lucien Van Der Welt at all.

@DevastateTheAvenues good point with the older version of the PDF, I've replaced that version of the file as well so they both have the bright yellow message now.

We're still discussing exactly what the end-result with those remaining items should be internally. S Artesian's point that we should remove all the Bakunin/Kropotkin and add some Trotsky I can't take in good faith, but:

Quote:
I could, of course, be said to be unfairly circumscribing the question. There might be other considerations that mean that keeping Black Flame and other Schmidt works would be worthwhile. It might be argued that keeping the PDF of Black Flame around makes it so that people will be directed to a...strongly worded disclaimer...and having the PDF around makes this disclaimer more likely to reach more people (the negative effects of having the PDF around are either put aside or are apparently outweighed by this benefit).

This is exactly the issue, and the trade-off is well put, but it'd really be better to discuss it in the comments on: https://libcom.org/library/black-flame-volume-1-lucien-van-der-walt-mich... as others have pointed out.

S. Artesian
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Jul 16 2017 01:15

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Mike Harman
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Jul 16 2017 00:29

Why are you putting "essential" "libertarian communism" and "proud" in quotes, despite neither the disclaimer nor me using any of those words?

Just quickly on Chris Harman, we have a whole set of articles critical of the SWP, written both before and after the rape crisis - so generally the site does a decent job of exposing the SWP for what it is. Could always be better but there's enough to get an idea without having to wade through or guess.

With Schmidt there is the 1,000 comment forum thread, but we don't have coherent content explaining the situation yet, and none of the top results for 'black flame anarchism' on google even have a reference to his racism/fascism except this site.

S. Artesian
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Jul 16 2017 01:15

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Craftwork
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Jul 16 2017 02:15
Pennoid wrote:
Harman committed the unforgiveable sin of belonging to an abusive left organization (whoever heard of THAT ?!?!)

Harman was one of the leaders of an abusive left organisation. There's a difference.

S. Artesian
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Jul 16 2017 12:43

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Tom Henry
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Jul 16 2017 05:20

Can I just remind everyone that this thread was about S. Artesian's 'bad' behaviour, not the argument over whether the piece of shit Black Flame book should be removed from the Libcom library or not. The fact that it has been derailed into another Black Flame thread does not, I think (?), alter the allegiances. (Unless someone else wants to count up the votes with this as a factor?)

But hey look, since we are all such democrats here, I have just done a count of the up and down votes and the results are in:

'Pro' S. Artesian: 49 votes
'Anti' S. Artesian: 45 votes

Unclear: 2

I was not sure about post #6 which seemed to garner two 'anti' S. Artesian votes, so I put it into the 'anti' section. But it may not have been anti. If it wasn't 'anti' then it just increases S. Artesian's approval ratings here.

Artesian wins! (He always wins.)

This means, as I have been telling S. Artesian all along, that he, and his brand of Leftism, have majority support here. (Presuming no one else posts, of course, and I am guessing this post will bolster the 'pro' Artesian camp by several votes.)

DevastateTheAvenues
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Jul 16 2017 05:54
Tom Henry wrote:
Can I just remind everyone that this thread was about S. Artesian's 'bad' behaviour, not the argument over whether the piece of shit Black Flame book should be removed from the Libcom library or not. The fact that it has been derailed into another Black Flame thread does not, I think (?), alter the allegiances. (Unless someone else wants to count up the votes with this as a factor?)

But hey look, since we are all such democrats here, I have just done a count of the up and down votes and the results are in:

'Pro' S. Artesian: 49 votes
'Anti' S. Artesian: 45 votes

Unclear: 2

I was not sure about post #6 which seemed to garner two 'anti' S. Artesian votes, so I put it into the 'anti' section. But it may not have been anti. If it wasn't 'anti' then it just increases S. Artesian's approval ratings here.

Artesian wins! (He always wins.)

This means, as I have been telling S. Artesian all along, that he, and his brand of Leftism, have majority support here. (Presuming no one else posts, of course, and I am guessing this post will bolster the 'pro' Artesian camp by several votes.)

This is unhealthy.

Tom Henry
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Jul 16 2017 07:12

Devastate the avenues,

Don't be such a serious sausage.

Take yourself less seriously.

It's funny, in an Albert Camus, 'Absurdist', kind of way.

PS
Voting approvals update:
'Pro' S. A. - 52
'Anti' S. A. - 45

Tom Henry
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Jul 16 2017 07:35

Two more votes for the 'pro' camp.

It's turning into a landslide.

Obviously someone will say: "Not really, Tom Henry, it's just that people are voting against you because you are an arsehole."

But that would be either missing or distorting the point:

Is Libcom a platform for offensive Leninists and their supporters, or is it a platform for Libertarian Communists?

Tom Henry
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Jul 16 2017 08:00

Looks like I am close to being banned not only after sticking up for libertarian communism, but also Libcom itself. And also putting up with Artesian's relentlessly foul and self-righteous mouth.

As I said above, S. Artesian (and his politics) always wins here:

https://libcom.org/forums/general/chill-out-14072017#comment-595939

I did predict this, in a reply to zugwang on another thread.

Such is life. But don't get the violins out!

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Rob Ray
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Jul 16 2017 08:43

It's not because you're sticking up for libertarian communism. it's because you're obsessively counting votes as though there's some sort of popularity competition between you and Artesian.

Fwiw I think Artesian has behaved very badly in the course of the Black Flame articles in particular (I've never had any time for the sort of person who tries to bully collectives into doing what they want) but I don't bother up or downvoting about it. I also think your above posts are an unedifying display of pique and haven't voted on that subject either.

Tom Henry
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Jul 16 2017 09:09

Rob Ray.

I actually probably side more with S. Artesian on the specific Black Flame issue, but not on the Harman book issue. I have implied this at least.

It's not about a popularity contest between me and Artesian. That's a really silly interpretation of what I have been trying to do here. Also, I don't ever use the up/down vote buttons as I think they have a deleterious effect on how people read posts.

I am just trying to show what weight Artesian and other 'Leninists' have here. I think that it is useful for good folk like zugzwang to see this. Like zugzwang, I am surprised that there is such little opposition to Leninism and Leftism here on the forums.

Having said that I still think libcom is a great resource and people should respect the fact that Libcom is run by admins and it is not owned by the posters.

Having said that, I have been given a warning from the admins for defending libertarian communism in the face of Leninism.

But I am not complaining about this since I do not own Libcom. It is up to the admins what course they take. I will always use the fantastic library. And good luck to Libcom. (Just in case I get banned before I can say anything else.)

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Serge Forward
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Jul 16 2017 09:27

I'd quite like to see a shift of focus from S.Artesian's smacked arse routine. So how about starting off a "creeping Leninism on Libcom" thread? Fuck it, I'll do it myself.