AK Press allegations against Michael Schmidt

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syndicalistcat
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Dec 31 2015 02:09

Lucien told me (via email) that ZACF is discussing the allegations against MS and will issue a statement.

syndicalist
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Dec 31 2015 02:30
syndicalistcat wrote:
Lucien told me (via email) that ZACF is discussing the allegations against MS and will issue a statement.

How many weeks ago was that?

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syndicalistcat
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Dec 31 2015 02:50

December 3rd. So that's about 3 weeks ago.

subcomandante_juan
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Dec 31 2015 07:18
bastarx wrote:
xx wrote:
akai wrote:
For those interested: http://www.anarkismo.net/article/28923

At least the author signs his own name.

It's good to see some sanity from the US anarchist scene.

Wayne Price writes a really shit article shocker.

Wayne Price's article is apologetic to white racism. Anyone read the 2008 memo? It's 7 pages of non-stop racist vitriol about how inferior blacks are to whites in the South African "liberation" and anarchist movement.

In his "defense", Schmidt says "it is precisely the decline of the ZACF in 2008 into a white group that I objected to!"

(The memo: http://www.pdf-archive.com/2015/10/12/schmidt-memo/)

Schmidt says that "all" the "advanced" anarchists in South Africa are "all" and only white and the "white" "politico-cultural anarchist movement" shouldn't "merge" with the "black" one, lest blacks "debase" the superior "ideas" of the whites. He spends length arguing that white-only organizations are logical. He says blacks in this stage of history can be members of ZACF so long as they do what the all-white "vanguard" "establishes for them".

In his "defense", Schmidt characterizes this memo as "[objecting] to...the decline of ZACF in 2008 into a white group". It's as if his memo expresses a good egalitarian trying to figure out how to stop the organization from being all-white, which is the exact opposite of what he said in the memo. Again, who is defending this?

akai
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Dec 31 2015 07:17

Juan, that is a good question. l suspect different motivations.

What l hate about that memo is the attitude that there are "good anarchists" and those are ones who read the proper stuff and regurgitate the proper line - which we all know is the one laid out by the smart white guys who teach in universities, write books, etc.

The ones jacking off to the same theory and having a similar lack of revulsion towards the white man's antics will basically defend the others, that's my conclusion. Maybe l am not right about some folks, because who the fuck knows why they are doing this - but that'd be my guess about how people can turn a blind eye on it all.

l am obviously not one of these "good anarchists" and am disgusted that anybody would write about people in that way in some internal document. lt is arrogant, racist and elitist - everything the anarchist movement should NOT be. lf this is the way these people apply all the ideas they advocate, then basically we can wipe our asses with their books, because in the end, all those theories translate into crap.

akai
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Dec 31 2015 15:29

By the way, l recommend Jose's comment on that anarkismo thread. Apparently he has just disclosed that the anarkismo people also noticed a problem with MS's thought a while back. Too bad they just didn't say that a few months ago.

Jason Cortez
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Jan 1 2016 15:49
syndicalistcat wrote:
December 3rd. So that's about 3 weeks ago.

27 days is closer to four weeks wouldn't you say?

syndicalist
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Jan 2 2016 18:06

I guess silence by RedBlack whatever tends to confirm it may be LvdW
If not, then they should come forward and say they're not. If so, you "lost me"
In the honesty and respect column

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Jan 2 2016 23:53
Quote:
syndicalistcat wrote:

December 3rd. So that's about 3 weeks ago.

27 days is closer to four weeks wouldn't you say?

whatever. it's time for them to say something openly.

S. Artesian
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Jan 3 2016 01:08
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Lucien told me (via email) that ZACF is discussing the allegations against MS and will issue a statement.

Ask him if he's Red. Black or whatever

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syndicalistcat
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Jan 3 2016 04:52
Quote:
Ask him if he's Red. Black or whatever

Ask him yourself.

subcomandante_juan
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Jan 3 2016 08:31
syndicalist wrote:
I guess silence by RedBlack whatever tends to confirm it may be LvdW
If not, then they should come forward and say they're not. If so, you "lost me"
In the honesty and respect column

Red.Black.Writings must be Lucien van der Walt. He may deny it, but let's see him address the documentation on Pastebin: https://duckduckgo.com/?q=http%3A%2F%2Fpastebin.com%2FJQ3qf7Vm

On Wikipedia, see the edit histories: "RedBlackWritings" created and mostly wrote his "Lucien van der Walt" Wikipedia page, including full authorship of his "Working Class Family Background" section which details personal family info that isn't published; he heavily edited Black Flame; and he created and edited the entry for Anarchism and Syndicalism in the Colonial and Postcolonial World, 1870–1940.

He also added glowing reviews of his work. "Red.Black.Writings" created the "Reception of Work" section and then entered: "Van der Walt's books have been variously praised by reviewers as(for Anarchism and Syndicalism in the Colonial and Postcolonial World, 1870–1940) an "academic masterpiece",[2] "superb",[3] "incredibly valuable",[4] and offering "deep insights".[5] and as (for Black Flame) "deeply impressive", an "outstanding contribution", a "grand work of synthesis," and "remarkable"." (https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Lucien_van_der_Walt&action=hi...)

Across the web, RedBlackWritings uploads & promotes Lucien van der Walt publications, and/or offers sock puppet defenses of his works at: Yahoo Groups, ScribD, Docslide, Facebook, Wordpress Blog, Zabalaza Network, and Reddit. RedBlackWritings also offers South African anarchist videos at YouTube. All links for proof are provided via the Pastebin link above.

Last, "RedBlackWritings" re-posted the same Libcom post promoting Schmidt's blog "defense" (#723) at each of the 6 Reddit threads about the Schmidt affair. (Note the Reddit poster who says, "Did you just search back for every Michael Schmidt related comment in this sub and reply to it?")

akai
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Jan 3 2016 10:08

Maybe he had some injury of inflammation of the brain when he was doing that. smile

meinberg
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Jan 4 2016 11:35
Operaista wrote:
ARR fact-checked MS's autobiography. It looks like he's been openly sympathetic to the far right in a substantial portion of his journalistic output for years (it wasn't just a few articles, in other words).

And, at least from the half of the journalistic output and two-thirds of the radical output found, nothing that required any sort of infiltration of the far right to produce.

Khawaga wrote:
That piece by ARR is well worth the read. If only the original saga had been written as clearly as that one.

I don't want to get into this mess and I don't want to seem apologetic of a guy like MS with at the very least very shady politics.

But, as Khawaga said that piece was much better written and so it was the first I read in full. And I really think it is disastrous, that the guys writing the articles don't seem to have any idea of the situation in South Africa or have very shady politics themselves. I find it disturbing that ARR says that it is racist to call pogroms pogroms. And he doesn't seem to have any idea that the pogroms 2008 were no singular event...

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Jan 4 2016 12:59
subcomandante_juan wrote:
I'm betting Red.Black.Writings is XXX. If it is, he should tell us.

Is your name Subcomandante Juan then?

As far as I can tell there are only a couple of people posting with their actual name or part of it on this thread or even Libcom in general - I'm one of them. It's generally seen as poor form to make judgements as to whether other people need to be anonymous online and out them in this manner, I don't understand what makes it OK here. Outside of the fact that RBW is saying stuff that may be unpopular.

If RBW was lying about their connection with Schmidt that would be a different manner but they admitted themselves to knowing him, to being South African and to be fair are using a fairly transparent identity. The 'detective work' further along the thread was hardly needed and together with the use of their presumed name just ensures google will now blow their anonymity to people with no connection to the movement.

If the intention was to silence them that seems to have worked out which is a pity as they were I think the only poster claiming to know Schmidt (and maybe the only South African) posting here. Reading more of their responses would have been interesting. On the other hand I continue to insist we need a collective process to decide what (probably) happened and as importantly what needs to be done about it.

I rather despair that a number of commentators here find even the idea that the movement might be capable of such a thing ludicrous, despair because perhaps they are right and all that will come out of this is fragmented ongoing squabbling around what individuals choose to believe.

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Jan 4 2016 16:11
AndrewF wrote:
subcomandante_juan wrote:
I'm betting Red.Black.Writings is XXX. If it is, he should tell us.

Is your name Subcomandante Juan then?

As far as I can tell there are only a couple of people posting with their actual name or part of it on this thread or even Libcom in general - I'm one of them. It's generally seen as poor form to make judgements as to whether other people need to be anonymous online and out them in this manner, I don't understand what makes it OK here. Outside of the fact that RBW is saying stuff that may be unpopular.

If RBW was lying about their connection with Schmidt that would be a different manner but they admitted themselves to knowing him, to being South African and to be fair are using a fairly transparent identity. The 'detective work' further along the thread was hardly needed and together with the use of their presumed name just ensures google will now blow their anonymity to people with no connection to the movement.

If the intention was to silence them that seems to have worked out which is a pity as they were I think the only poster claiming to know Schmidt (and maybe the only South African) posting here. Reading more of their responses would have been interesting. On the other hand I continue to insist we need a collective process to decide what (probably) happened and as importantly what needs to be done about it.

I rather despair that a number of commentators here find even the idea that the movement might be capable of such a thing ludicrous, despair because perhaps they are right and all that will come out of this is fragmented ongoing squabbling around what individuals choose to believe.

Andrew -

I agree that anonymity is a crucial and important part of network interaction, and that the option of choosing to be anonymous is an important freedom to preserve. Anonymity brings a sense of empowerment and liberty to individuals who might otherwise be shackled, literally or figuratively, in their speech and actions. This is why, for example, I don't think everyone in this thread should have to "out themselves" and explain their identity, and I take offense to doing that myself.

However, I also believe that individuals can abuse anonymity and I don't think that Schmidt's long-time friend and co-author, who shares a deep personal, professional, and ideological relationship, should enter these discussions disingenuously to debate Schmidt's critics. He is too close to the epicenter to be afforded that luxury while also being afforded months to respond publicly to this issue (asked, in many cases, by close friends and comrades for his side of the story). Lucien van der Walt has been given the ultimate benefit of the doubt in anarchist circles, an opportunity that was not used for open and honest discourse but for deceptive lurking in threads and, ultimately, posts here at Libcom that defend some of Schmidt's most heinous thoughts and behavior. Publicly, requests for comment have been boldy ignored. Privately, Lucien has been campaigning for Schmidt under a (very thin) cover as RBW.

If we're to talk about Internet etiquette, it has always been poor form to enter a discussion about yourself, your work, your close friends, or even well-known enemies without making your identity clear, going back at least as far as the early days of BBS and Usenet. Lucien could have, and I think should have, entered the discussion openly as himself and left the RedBlackWritings moniker for other purposes, if it were vital to protect.

Why Lucien's pseudonym was so so obvious I have no idea, but I think it curiously mirrors Schmidt's sloppy handling of Internet identities. Maybe there's a fundamental misunderstanding of the technology, or maybe the two friends and collaborators consider themselves beyond reproach. Perhaps they think they are much smarter than the wretched crowd (as Schmidt's writings, at least, make quite clear).

A casual look at RBW's history, going back years, reveals that Lucien is happy to pretend he's someone else while self-promoting or giving the opinion of "the author's intent" on his own works. When I read those posts, it's obvious that RBW is Lucien, especially when coupled with the rest of the RBW accounts around the Web. RBW being revealed as Lucien in a comment about Black Flame would have been needlessly embarrassing to the author and is something that, perhaps, should not be done. I would not have done it then, and don't make it a habit or principle to doxx users practicing that behavior. However, in some vital and important corners of the Web such as Wikipedia, such behavior might be enough to get your account/IP banned and your edits reverted. I'll leave it up to the WP editors to figure that out, and will raise the evidence I found with them soon.

Self-promotion and "undercover editorializing" is much less egregious than RBW's comments in this thread. Lucien's actions are a big "fuck you" to everyone giving him the benefit of the doubt.

A few questions for you, since you criticize my "detective work":

* How much longer should we all wait for Lucien to respond publicly to the Schmidt affair?

* The posts of RedBlackWritings in this thread are a (badly hidden) defense by Lucien of Schmidt's words and actions. It was obvious to me that RBW = LvdW, and apparently was to you as well. Don't others deserve to know, especially when RBW is actively debating them? Especially when they have asked LvdW calmly and courteously for some sort of response?

* Should Lucien be held accountable for the posts of his obvious pseudonym RedBlackWritings?

* Do you think it's appropriate for LvdW to respond the way he did? Shedding thousands of words about the Schmidt affair under a pseudonym while refusing to go public with a single sentence? Debating comrades secretively as RBW while rebuffing their requests to LvdW for comment?

My actions were not an attempt to silence Lucien; quite the opposite. Anarchists worldwide deserve an honest response by Lucien van der Walt, not deceptive posts by RedBlackWritings who "has met Schmidt" and other strategically-worded half-truths. You are right that representation from South Africa in these discussions is vitally important. Precisely for that reason, SA anarchists deserve the respect and honesty of Lucien van der Walt.

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Jan 4 2016 17:12
lucien_lies_too wrote:
However, I also believe that individuals can abuse anonymity and I don't think that Schmidt's long-time friend and co-author, who shares a deep personal, professional, and ideological relationship, should enter these discussions disingenuously to debate Schmidt's critics.

I don't think he was being disingenuous as unlike your account the RBW one has been used for a long period of time in a fairly transparent manner that does not suggest the owner is trying to hide their identity from comrades. It wasn't created simply to comment on this particular discussion. It's obvious because it was never, I'd imagine, expected to be fully anonymous. But I'm guessing as to intent here, part of the problem with these sorts of discussions is that people are very prone to assuming either the best or worst of intentions and then continuing as if that was established fact rather than their supposition.

I do think anyone complaining that the identity of RBW is not clear should consider whether their own identity is clear from their handle and how they would feel about their full name being posted here in connection with accusations of clandestine fascism. Would you want your boss goggling your name and reading this thread as a result?

I'm limited in what I can say but there is a certain impatience to some of the demands for public statements. I understand ZACF will be releasing one soon and its not at all unreasonable that this might take some time for an organisation that in the same period has faced some difficult security issues for its members. It would I suspect take a while to review what must be about 100,000 words of accusation and defence, often quite vague and in some cases referencing events from a decade ago. As I understand things this is prior to when most of their current membership joined, indeed many may have never met Schmidt at all. Agreeing any sort of response in depth is going to require discovery, internal education & explanation, drafting, discussion and redrafting prior to release. That takes time.

I'd very much have preferred if ZACF had been informed of this months before the accusation went public. In that case they would have had the time to prepare such a report for the moment the accusation went public but as that's not the way things were done the responsibility for the time required to prepare a response is not theirs alone.

Again my point of view is that there needs to be a movement investigation and determination based not only on such public responses but also on getting access to the information that the various parties have not released publicly (perhaps with good reason). We need a process that will come to a conclusion and recommend concrete actions that we can then expect the various elements of the movement to adhere to.

akai
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Jan 4 2016 17:16

Andrew, to put it mildly, l don't buy it. Yes, anonymity is important - but it should not be abused. ln this case, it does not seem that LvDW is too afraid to be known on the internet. He lists his writings under his own name, the place that he works, he has his photos, you can see content on his FB page. ln other words, normally he conducts himself very openly as an anarchist.

Now anybody who conducts themself openly normally cannot say they are afraid of some police or work repression and that's why they do some things with another name. They might be afraid of something else, but that's another story.

My personal opinion is that this behaviour has been creepy, as well as the whole affair.

subcomandante_juan
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Jan 4 2016 18:17

Andrew, you leveled accusations at myself and others, was given a polite response, and you didn't answer the questions asked of you, which are quite fair to ask.

Also, you just said:

Quote:
I don't think he was being disingenuous as unlike your account the RBW one has been used for a long period of time in a fairly transparent manner that does not suggest the owner is trying to hide their identity from comrades.

Can you point to something? Here's Red.Black.Writings engaging Libcom readers on August 29, 2013: (https://libcom.org/library/rethinking-welfare-radical-critique).

Red.Black.Writings: "I don't think the author has any illusions that these demands can be realized under capitalism, or in social democracy. Definitely not in South Africa's crisis-ridden semi[-industrial capitalism, in today's period. He's pretty clear on this [url= http://libcom.org/library/cosatu%E2%80%99s-response-crisis-anarcho-syndi... ]here[/url] ...."

This post was made before the Schmidt scandal, regarding his own publicly authored article. Hiding from his boss? The police state? And what about the rest of the info, posted at Pastebin?

If you look through the evidence on Schmidt, it's not actually that complicated. The memo is racist. His "defense" explanation of it is pathetic. His lying about his racist Lebensrune tattoo, posted in photos online, is insulting. His incitement to public displays of white supremacy at the World Cup to (other) white supremacists on Stormfront is beyond comprehension. What else do you need?

akai
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Jan 4 2016 18:53

Well, there are always alternative explanations. For example, that Luce has a real, real deep fan. l mean like psycho stuff. Or perhaps he has multiple personalities. Or the other possibility is that he is writing reviews of his own work.

l am open minded. All is possible. smile

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Jan 4 2016 20:01
AndrewF wrote:
Again my point of view is that there needs to be a movement investigation and determination based not only on such public responses but also on getting access to the information that the various parties have not released publicly (perhaps with good reason). We need a process that will come to a conclusion and recommend concrete actions that we can then expect the various elements of the movement to adhere to.

This does not sound like the anarchism I know, if it were even remotely possible. There is no need for special inquiry into this case, let alone some kind of committee/tribunal "that will come to a conclusion and recommend concrete actions that we can then expect the various elements of the movement to adhere to." I won't be taking orders about this, sorry to disappoint.

The facts are straightforward, as some users in this thread have pointed out, and defenses of Schmidt have curiously evaded confronting them directly. In some cases, these lackluster attempts to recover Schmidt's reputation (or perhaps the authors' own in connection with him) raise the bar of evidence so high that nothing short of a video confession by Schmidt would prove he should be kicked out of anarchist orgs. And even then it would not be enough, there would still be campaigns to help publish Global Fire, and perhaps more stories about spies and amnesia.

Start digging in the SF forums for Karelianblue, and you'll see there's still plenty of vile, wretched, racist, homophobic, sexist filth to corroborate the main case against Schmidt. These are posts that apparently Schmidt finds no reason to remove, though others have gone *poof*. They can always be explained away as "establishing cred", but activists involved in antifa will lack such blind naiveté.

Those who are defending Schmidt are digging a deep hole for themselves, and dragging their organizations into it. I suspect many have not even read the racist memo, and are getting wrapped up in the word-storm that has accompanied this whole affair. Perhaps I'll take a page out of Schmidt's and just sign with a few words:

Memo? Lebensrune? World Cup?

syndicalist
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Jan 4 2016 23:00

Let me just say I'm not out to witch hunt LvdW, ZACF or platformism in general. I am, however, interested in hearing the qualified opinions or observations of those who worked with MS during the time periods in question.

That said, I think a very simple thing LvdW and the ZACF could have and should have done
is as follows. On their own, simply say they were reviewing the materials and would, at a time of their own choosing, issue some form of respective comments or statment. Not everyone wants to tag LvdW, the ZACF or platformism as being someone or something negative. The "silent treatment", the undercover and indirect manner of appoach to those who have been patient is what is irksome and basically just makes one wonder.

bastarx
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Jan 5 2016 07:14

Things that platformists talk about online in 2016.

1) The alleged revolutionary nature of stuff happening in Rojava under the control of an ex-Stalinist gang led by a serial rapist.

2) Why we should stop being mean to an anarcho-fascist and his best friend.

akai
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Jan 5 2016 08:10

Well, as critical as I am about the Ocalan cult or MS, I am afraid I find statements like those unhelpful. But MS really deserves being taken to task for his racist views, as well as other matters .

Ramalama
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Jan 5 2016 11:36

I've just been on the AK Press facebook page to re-read the
Aleander Reid Ross/ Joshua Stephens 5-parter. I can't find it,
seems to have been taken down.

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Jan 5 2016 12:03

The Aleander Reid Ross/ Joshua Stephens 5-parter is here; https://medium.com/@rossstephens/about-schmidt-how-a-white-nationalist-s...

Ramalama
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Jan 5 2016 12:27

Cheers Red.

akai
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Jan 5 2016 12:55

To criticise and support something at the same time.

l actually do think that Anarkismo, as a tendency, should make an investigation and say something and, l appreciate that will take some time. lt is not easy to do this across several organizations using a few different languages.

That said, l see that the term "movement investigation" may be rather confusing. Perhaps some people think that this network is "the" movement, but obviously most anarchists, are not involved. Therefore the sort of hostile or doubtful responses to that idea are quite understandable. l would also say justifiable.

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Jan 5 2016 14:21

Reflecting on this - it is clear that this is a disease of the 'anarcho-celebrity' phenom.

I think that basically all organizations that have been around for any decent amount of time have attracted batshit persons and subsequently had to deal with them (expel and so forth).

The only reason anyone gives a single shit at all is because MS wrote a half-shitty book that everyone freaked out over. Ironically, if his main focus was boring on-the-ground organizing in ZACF and it later came to light that he held some fucked up view - I'm pretty sure the anarcho-sphere would largely view it is an internal ZACF issue. In fact, I'm pretty sure the anarcho-sphere would take little notice at all. Instead - click-bait trash pronouncements of a global seduction of the kingdom of anarchy by this clown go viral, are talked about, and actually taken seriously - because he wrote a book.

Why, as a movement, do we value book publications so dearly? We don't seem to hold that particular contribution, which I think is important, in a healthy and reasonable perspective. Are we thrashing around in a pit of irrelevance - grasping on to whatever flotsam happens by?

BorisJobson
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Jan 5 2016 15:36
Quote:
a disease of the 'anarcho-celebrity' phenom.

A symptom of this disease is something I have already pointed out here:

http://libcom.org/forums/news/feesmustfall-student-protests-south-africa-23102015#comment-568972

Namely, that anarcho-lefties seem to be more interested in anarcho-celebs (in this case, an uninteresting elitist who has never even written anything that has been of use to any social movement against this world) than in the actual class struggle. A thread about 1 boring South African now has 841 comments about it, whereas the thread about a significant part of the class struggle in South Africa, involving tens of thousands of individuals, has only 27 comments. Indicative of how most self-styled anarcho-communists have seriously lost their way. Indicative of how most anarchos are more interested in the gossipy intrigues of their narrow scene than in contributing to the subversion of this society. Indicative of how many anarchos find kicking up a celebrity storm in a shattered teacup a worthwhile pastime. Indicative of how most anarchos are not only unable to see the wood for the trees, but cannot even see these trees for a particular close-up view of a specific celebrity leaf.