AK Press allegations against Michael Schmidt

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Jan 5 2016 15:41
lucien_lies_too wrote:
And even then it would not be enough, there would still be campaigns to help publish Global Fire,

Question - is it your intention that Global Fire should not be published?

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Jan 5 2016 16:09
akai wrote:
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.

For the record I was one of the people who argued for us not publishing one of the two articles MS submitted that we refused to publish (even though I am not formally a member of the editorial board, being primarily tech support). And for the record the issue in question were islamophobic views, of a kind that have been expressed by a number of contributors here on libcom in various threads (eg CharlieHebdo) without incurring the libcom ban hammer or accusations of closet fascism. I have no doubt that Maryam Namazie, for e.g., would have no problem with the article we banned, as it contained similar allegations (e.g. Islam being the source of FGM) that she routinely puts forward.

And for the record, anyone can submit an article to anarkismo.net for publication, the role of editorial committee is to review the article to see if it meets certain minimum quality standards (legible, not mental or factually wrong in a way obvious to anyone with only general outside knowledge), and does not violate certain political red lines. Other than that, there is nothing that makes the appearance of an article by MS, Warren Price, Akai, Joseph Kay, the EZLN, the PKK, Krusty the Clown or whoever, an instance of said author being a "collaborator" of the Anarkismo editorial committee or network of affiliated organisations.

As has been said, repeatedly, from the outset, the order of statements will follow in a fairly obvious fashion - at least as far as organisations goes - once the ARR/MS exchanges are complete (as they now appear to be - although I note from the above that yet another ARR piece has appeared over the holidays for me to wade through) we can expect statements from ZACF and the Institute for Anarchist Theory and History (of which MS is still a member, albeit currently suspended while this matter is looked into), and then, probably last, the Anarkismo network.

In relation to the length of time it will take to organise a statement that represents the position of the Anarkismo network, comrade Johnny's comment on the Wayne Price response thread is worth repeating here:

Quote:
about the time we'll take to say something
.
by Johnny - anarkismo editorial collective Tue Jan 05, 2016 08:39
.
I speak here as individual, this is not a collective statement. I will not comment on the thread...
I would only make this remark. Anarkismo is a network of 20 organisations. among these 20 organisations, only 7 are english-speaking orgs. All material published in accusation or defense of schmidt has been in english, and that's a lot of text. you understand now the problem we actually face if we want, and we will, to maintain the democratic framework we have inside the network.
that's all
greetings
johnny

NB the same problem applies also to the IATH, as their primary languages are Spanish and Portuguese.

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Jan 5 2016 16:49
ocelot wrote:
lucien_lies_too wrote:
And even then it would not be enough, there would still be campaigns to help publish Global Fire,

Question - is it your intention that Global Fire should not be published?

I don't care or have strong opinions about Black Flame's contents, which I skimmed through years ago and have on the shelf for reference. I am likely to take a much more critical read if I ever pick it up again.

Let's not talk about "my intention" as if I'm the one ruining the reputation of the authors of Black Flame and the (still upcoming?) Global Fire, or have any say over its publication. Schmidt, at least, has sunk himself, and Lucien is following hand-in-hand with covert defenses of him under an alias. All I did was compile a quick list of publicly-available and already-Google-indexed information and make it accessible in this thread, to reveal Lucien's deception and keep the conversation honest.

There is no rational defense of Schmidt when even a small part of the evidence is taken into account. Lucien has thrown his hat in the ring as a supporter of Schmidt under the handle RedBlackWritings. Maybe the exposure will allow Lucien to clear his head, put pen to paper, and finally give his comrades a public response to the Schmidt affair. If he does, I assume he will be a staunch supporter of Schmidt, but one never knows. He will have to answer for the RedBlackWritings posts, perhaps apologizing or disavowing their content as a lapse in judgment, before he can be taken seriously.

Schmidt's behavior long precedes Black Flame, and he has used at least part of the proceeds from its sales to purchase and promote fascist memorabilia/propaganda while also inciting white nationalists to violence in one of the most racially-divided countries in the world. It's all in the Stormfront posts if you care to look.

I believe in true freedom of speech and expression, even the publishing of vile filth that I despise. However, I don't think any anarchist or left press can carry work authored or co-authored by Schmidt (and perhaps Lucien) with a clean conscience. The Internet exists, it's not as if the text will never see the light of day if the authors want it to.

Which brings me to the quote you take out of context... I was saying that no matter what evidence there is that connects Schmidt to white nationalism and abhorrent ideas and culture, there seems to be a strange phenomenon where his work "must be printed, sold, and disseminated for its scholastic value!" AK Press isn't falling for it, to their credit.

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Jan 5 2016 17:03

So you think that left or anarchist publishers should not publish Global Fire, (as far as I can see). Good to know.

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Jan 5 2016 17:11
ocelot wrote:
So you think that left or anarchist publishers should not publish Global Fire, (as far as I can see). Good to know.

I don't know what kind of case you're trying to build. That is for the publishers themselves to decide. Whether or not it's moral or the correct decision is another matter.

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Jan 5 2016 17:35
lucien_lies_too wrote:
ocelot wrote:
So you think that left or anarchist publishers should not publish Global Fire, (as far as I can see). Good to know.

I don't know what kind of case you're trying to build. That is for the publishers themselves to decide. Whether or not it's moral or the correct decision is another matter.

That's Ocelot's MO: take an issue of criticism based on the information at hand it and obscure the practical content by appealing to grand principle-- i.e. Schmidt's own writings expose him as a racist becomes in Ocelot's world "Don't you think that a person has the right to defend himself from accusations?"

I hope Ocelot would deal with certain concrete matters, but I'm not optimistic. He made his one sally "denouncing" my "blanket" disgust with pro-Boerism, and then went silent when the discussion delved into the class origins, functions, and ideology of the Volk.

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Jan 5 2016 19:00
ocelot wrote:
So you think that left or anarchist publishers should not publish Global Fire, (as far as I can see). Good to know.

so are you saying you think anarchist/leftist publishers should publish a book by a know racist with fascist sympathies and a history of promoting racism, including trying to get an anarchist organisation to adopt explicitly racist politics?

akai
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Jan 5 2016 20:58

As l have said before here, l think Anarkismo should publish it's stance and l do appreciate it will take a lot of time to decide. lt's not the same as a single person writing their opinions on the internet and we have to respect at leastt that, just as we have to respect that all have the right to address accusations made against them.

Personally, l really was not impressed by MS's self-defence. And as for things such as the racist memo, the only thing that should have been published was an apology. One of the commentors here was right - we get kooks in the movement here and there all the time. lt can really happen to anybody, to any tendency or organization. People evolve, change their opinions, etc. The reason this grabbed so much attention was that people made this guy a celebrity and put too much focus on him. We are living in a situation where some parts of anarchism put just too much focus on "expertise", the "correct line" etc. The racist memo is also full of this sickness.

That said, l wrote my opinions on it because for me it is not acceptable at all that people stay quiet. l think we have to say clearly, this is not related to anarchism that we want to see. Otherwise we are just bullshit enablers. Unfortunately, people from time to time meet stuff that they shouldn't in our movements - sexual harrassment, ageism, homophobia, xenophobia, racism, nationalism... This really is a big negative advertisement, and it is worse when people bullshit. Since l personally met a lot of crap from authoritative men in the movement in my life - sexual harrassment, sexism, academic bigotry, l never have appreciated the charming manipulative types who think they are above any criticism and can worm their way out of anything with bullshit. l talk about this now because this is a more generalized problem than MS - it's a problem of all the people who tend to enable people like this. And the problem of how nationalist and fascist ideological contamination is dealt with is also a bigger problem than MS. Since we see that some organizations refuse to even discuss this.

Luckily, there are plenty of people in our movements that also will talk things out and take a firmer stand. These ones will provide models that will be appreciated by those who have been so unfortunate to have met any of the aforementioned unacceptable crap.

Yes, l believe people have the right to publish what they want. Even if it is bad crap. Other people will have the right to criticize it. lf the Anarkismo folks feel a need to release Part 2 of this book, they can surely pool some money and publish it, on paper or on the lnternet. But they should be aware that not everybody wants to see a racist again elevated to the ranks of anarchisms main spokesman. A lot of people think he should just fuck off. And these stupid comments about "synthesist anarchists" or anti-Platformists acting up for ideological reasons are gonna look even more like bullshit.

The part about "synthesist anarchists", l don't know if it was on Libcom or not, but in ARR's last piece it was brough to my attention that MS was defending some organization, which had a number of problems some comrades and other people pointed out. l had commented on it too. But MS's argument was more or less than l must be bothered by that org because l (and the comrades) were "synthesist anarchists". What complete bullshit. The same sort of arguments were made about the MS situation - defending MS by pidgeon-holing the critics into some "politically incorrect" anarchist option. That's really pathetic.

Sorry, l am grumpy today and this stuff just pissed me off.

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Jan 5 2016 22:01
S. Artesian wrote:
He made his one sally "denouncing" my "blanket" disgust with pro-Boerism, and then went silent when the discussion delved into the class origins, functions, and ideology of the Volk.

No I went silent because I had work to do, as the industry I work in gets busy immediately before the xmas change freeze and then I had family matters to attend to. I could go back and apply you paralogic to the case of Northern prods or Israeli Jews to demostrate the obvious problems of your conflation of ethno-linguistic-cultural groups with ideologico-political identitties, but I would hope the workings would be obvious to any halfway capable thinker, and given the converrsation has moved on, it seemed pointless to go back just for the purposes of showing where your essentialising politics intersects with the very reactionary identitarian ideologies you claim to oppose, when it's clearly a derail from the main purposes of the thread.

But the question of just process is not a derail, imo, it is fundamental to anyone who's been around long enough to see how much more energy the left and anarchist milieus put into a scandal than in actual political work. Like I say, anyone who thinks such "fastidiousness" over handling serious accusations is misplaced needs to go back and read the COINTELPRO papers again to see how the intelligence services make use of movement weaknesses for witchhunts (and the occassional bookburning).

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Jan 5 2016 22:48
radicalgraffiti wrote:
ocelot wrote:
So you think that left or anarchist publishers should not publish Global Fire, (as far as I can see). Good to know.

so are you saying you think anarchist/leftist publishers should publish a book by a know racist with fascist sympathies and a history of promoting racism, including trying to get an anarchist organisation to adopt explicitly racist politics?

Many of the books about anarchist history are by people who are not anarchists. Putting aside the matter of payment for a moment, the decision to publish a work on anarchist history depends on the content of the text itself, Once the publishers have reviewed the text and made sure it doesn't promote hateful views contrary to their politics (racism, etc) - as AK Press did with Black Flame, (obviously successfully given that ARR/JS couldn't find anything to point to there), then they have to judge whether it's a useful addition to the bookshelf. And whether they can sell enough to recoup the costs of printing and distributing it, ovs.

I haven't seen the draft personally, but those who have that I've talked to have said - as syndicalist did earlier on this thread - that it's a good mass of anarchist movement history, with especial emphasis on geographical regions and areas outside of the traditional eurocentric focus of what currently exists in published form (at least in English). If they are correct (and I have no reason to doubt the various different comrades assessment) then yes, I am in favour of it being published. And given that it is most likely to be published by left or anarchist publishers, then yes I am in favour of one of them doing so.

I can see a problem with the question of royalties however. I think it may be reasonable that movement publishers wouldn't want to see money from the publication of the book going to fund MS, if they thought he was actively promoting racist politics on the side. If so there may be a case to be made for making the foregoing of royalties (I'm not sure how much sacrifice that really is, tbh, I'm not aware of anyone who ever made a living writing books on anarchist history, but I may be naive on that score) as a precondition for publishing.

In relation to Akai's point about MS using the publication as a platform to present himself as some kind of international spokesperson for anarchism (of whatever variety), I wasn't really aware that MS had done that in any region, Maybe I'm being parochial, but I don't recall MS headlining meetings at the London bookfair or any other nearby movement platforms. Maybe things are different in the US, In terms of his own status, the only organisation that Schmidt is currently actually a member of (currently suspended) is the ITHA. So in the immediate term their decision whether to back him or sack him, so to speak, will have the most immediate impact on his ability to claim being part of some contemporary anarchist project. After that, obviously the positions taken by ZACF and, eventually, the Anarkismo network, will also impact his claims to status beyond being a researcher and a writer. I've no doubt Peter Marshall's book has sold far more than BF or any other contemporary book on the history of the anarchist movement, but that doesn't make him the spokesman for anarchism, last I checked.

S. Artesian
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Jan 5 2016 22:54
ocelot wrote:
S. Artesian wrote:
He made his one sally "denouncing" my "blanket" disgust with pro-Boerism, and then went silent when the discussion delved into the class origins, functions, and ideology of the Volk.

but I would hope the workings would be obvious to any halfway capable thinker, and given the converrsation has moved on, it seemed pointless to go back just for the purposes of showing where your essentialising politics intersects with the very reactionary identitarian ideologies you claim to oppose, when it's clearly a derail from the main purposes of the thread.

Except "no halfway capable thinker" took up your claim "to demostrate the obvious problems of your conflation of ethno-linguistic-cultural groups with ideologico-political identitties," Lucien v. RedBlack whatever took a shot, but he couldn't even distinguish me from you, and slipped back into silence.

The discussion did establishe, it appears to me, a consensus on the role of Boer ideology, the bullshit that MS was flogging on the relations between black Africans and the Boer-Afrikaaners, and the dishonesty with which MS tried to reshape the history of those relations.

And it isn't a derail. MS's distortion of history, social role, and class relations is a fundamental issue. I know you don't think so, but that's your weakness. Not the discussion's.

Quote:
But the question of just process is not a derail, imo, it is fundamental to anyone who's been around long enough to see how much more energy the left and anarchist milieus put into a scandal than in actual political work. Like I say, anyone who thinks such "fastidiousness" over handling serious accusations is misplaced needs to go back and read the COINTELPRO papers again to see how the intelligence services make use of movement weaknesses for witchhunts (and the occassional bookburning).

Oh, I get it. Those who examine Schmidt's own writings and draw conclusions based on his writings, and on the holes in his explanations are really participating in an FBI witch-hunt, complete with occasional book burning? That's a real astute observation.

Nice smear attempt that. WTF? Schmidt appears on Stormfront urging racist action; writes racists memos; bemoans the fate of the "anti-imperialist" Boers-- but nobody's supposed to draw conclusions, because what? That's all "false flag" planted by the FBI? And YOU talk about evidence? What evidence do you have that any of the accusations against MS have been planted, manipulated, constructed by intelligence agencies? What evidence do you have that those who, based on MS's own writings, regard him as a white supremacist are conducting a witch hunt or advocate the burning of books?

And BTW, MS has produced his defense. I've read it. It's lame.

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Jan 6 2016 00:08
ocelot wrote:
anyone who thinks such "fastidiousness" over handling serious accusations is misplaced needs to go back and read the COINTELPRO papers again to see how the intelligence services make use of movement weaknesses for witchhunts (and the occassional bookburning).

Things like this only discredit the defence of MS even more; as artesian says above, this is nothing like COINTELPRO - and it's an insult to the victims of COINTELPRO to have it misused in such an opportunist way. Cointelpro was proven to have been state infiltrators spreading misinformation to ferment murderous division between political groups. Where's the comparison with that here? No one afaik - except perhaps MS with his 'jokey' pic of him with a table full of guns and a caption threatening a "whipping" to AK & co - has shown any evidence of that kind of danger.

S. Artesian
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Jan 6 2016 00:56

Me? I can't wait for the blurb on the back of MS's next book, no matter who publishes it.

Quote:
MS has participated in anarchist actions for years in South Africa, and frequently appeared on Stormfront as a white supremacist. He is well known for his previous writings on race and class in South Africa, the prospects for an enlightened homelands policy, and the heroic struggle of the
Boer Volk against British imperialism. He sports some swell tattoos. He is proud to say that he dates women of various colors.

akai
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Jan 6 2016 16:26

Good one.

Yes, the COlNTELPRO point is bad. This is a problem of one person's doing and l don't believe any criticisms of MS came out of any desire to make the movement weaker or fight amongst itself. ln case people haven't noticed, some people think that people with shady racist politics make things weaker, not those who speak out against it.

Of course there are those who might believe that what "the movement" needs most now is a "good book" which talks about anarchism outside of the typical geography. As an internationalist, l am all for. But there are many different assessments on both Black Flame and Schmidts abilities as a history. For me, Schmidt is more of a myth-making than historian. l won't go through BF now, but it is enough for me to see this crazy Anarkismo article from last year about the neo-makhovist movement in Ukraine to know that he is quite comfortable making things up that have no connection with reality or to put labels on things he knows nothing about. When l read BF, l had tons on notes in the margins on factual mistakes and things like this. (Too bad l gave that copy away .. but lots of others have pointed these things out as well.)

Since l cannot really get into BF just now (would have to re-read), but can comment on his Anarkismo piece (which l commented on there recently), l will give examples:

1. MS puts ideological labels on people and organizations that don't correspond to reality and uses them as part of his argumentation

So, in that article, he calls the lWA a synthesist organization, although it's stated goal is libertarian communism, he calls people from KRAS synthesist, he calls me synthesist.

2. When commmenting on the history of an organization, he is unable to use any reliable references in the language of the organization, that is, he cannot read their publications, web pages, internet forums where the members write. Although a criticism of that organization he responded to did use quotes and facts which come from the organization more directly. ln other words, his expert knowledge probably comes from meeting one guy once and reading a few texts in English (as opposed to spending a few decades in the same movement talking to those people).

3. MS writes completely illogical stuff. For example, in his article, he writes (about an organization which in practice did not even exist at the time of writing that)

Revolutionary Confederation of Anarcho-Syndicalists – “N.I. Makhno” (RKAS), which was founded in 1994 and had attained 2,000 members by the year 2000

They never achieved a membership level of 2000 members. This level of membership (or higher as Schmidt later claims) has been achieved only by a few organizations like CNT of Spain, SAC, probably CNT-SO of France. (l don't put CGT of Spain here because it is a different category). Anybody can compare these things and logically see how that is not possible.

The neo-Makhnovist RKAS continued to grow, though its organisational discipline horrified synthesist anarchists such as those from the declining anarcho-syndicalist International Workers’ Association (IWA)

So MS claims that it attained 2000 members in 2000 AND continued to grow. Nota bene, the organization was non-functioning at the time of writing. There was an interview written 5 months before MS's article on Anarkismo, published in English and even referred to at the end of the MS article:

As far as RKAS n.a. Makhno (Revolutionary Confederation of Anarcho-Syndicalists named after Makhno) is concerned, it does not exist anymore in the quality you have known it until now. Officially but tacitly RKAS was disbanded and its nucleus made the switch to illegal operation.

https://linksunten.indymedia.org/de/node/119908

However, members of RKAS that l know have said that it was not disbanded at all, there was no organizational decision as such and that the information given in this interview is not correct. So, there is even a problem with this as somebody was giving an interview and saying something incorrect and not in line with the organization.

What both l was told and was written more than once by members of RKAS on forums was that the organizations was in bad organizational state, could not manage to meet, etc. This of course would make more sense from both the point of view of the situation in Ukraine and the real (not imagined or mythological) size of the organization.

Further, MS takes one of his shots at the lWA he doesn't like claiming it is declining. The membership of lWA increased after 2010, picking up new affiliations and most of its member Sections (with the exception of maybe 3-4) had growth. Maybe it is all too modest for MS, but at the time of writing, it was the wrong adjective.

What is illogical in all this is how MS claims this was an organization of thousands, but by 2014, this organization which was training kids for combat suddenly disappeared. By contrast, other Ukrainian organizations who have more modest size 100-200 people, were quite visible during protests etc. (No, it was not that it was impossible to be present on the streets.)

4. There are a number of other factual errors, claiming SKT was in KRAS, claiming that SAC supported it financially to split from KRAS, etcl etcl

To sum up, what l see are a lot of factual errors and biased comments which serve to exaggerate the importance of tendencies MS supports and take shots at ones it dislikes.

Now, people who defend MS, tend to say the reason is because his books are great, etc. - but is he a good historian? With so many errors in one simple article, one can see that he didn't fact check that article, that he put info with no basis at all . (A list of the errors is in my comment.)

OK, l think it is fair that anarchists who write stuff sometimes have bad info. Happens - l am sure it has happened to me more than once. Also, writings do reflect biases. But one would hope that people who are "professionals" would have some rigeur.

Elsewhere on Libcom other people have pointed out that there were lots of mistakes with BF and there were criticisms of the treatment of people such as Connolly...

All of this makes one wonder if Black Flame is seen as a "great book" more because it fits the narrative that some people want to ascribe to anarchism.

Sorry for the digression on the Ukraine article, but l read more much more recently than BF and could recall it more easily.

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Jan 6 2016 10:30
ocelot wrote:
I have no doubt that Maryam Namazie, for e.g., would have no problem with the article we banned, as it contained similar allegations (e.g. Islam being the source of FGM) that she routinely puts forward.

Islam writ large is not the sole source of FGM/female genital cutting, but it is practiced in certain Islamic cultural groups/schools of thought and not because it's necessarily something syncretic absorbed by the surround cultures wherever Islam settled. Southeast Asia is a good example, female genital cutting just didn't exist until islam expanded into the region.

Don't know the Namazie article which you refer to, if she said that FGM is solely linked to Islamic practice then she is quite wrong, but I do hear her regularly saying that it is a site of FGM/FGC she is quite correct.

But to say that that islam is not a major source or FGM/FGC and does not inform this practice is also quite clearly wrong as well.

So what was anarkismos and your problem with Namazie here? And why do you bring it up in light of MS accusations? Trying to shoehorn an accusation of Islamophobia at certain posters on here in a way to tar a number of us on here as closet racists. Dear me.

Sorry for derail.

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Jan 6 2016 11:43
Mr. Jolly wrote:
[re FGM]
Sorry for derail.

Yeah, it is a bit of a derail, so I'll be brief [edit: fail]. The article from 12 April last year that we binned was entitled "Menace in Europe - Lessons on unassimilated fascist Islam in Europe", the first part of the title being taken from a 2006 book by right-wing US journo/writer/FP hack Claire Berlinski. There were multiple issues with the article, not least that it was poorly written, meandering and without any obvious conclusion or real point, other than to quote (approvingly) snippets from Berlinksi's book alongside pointless personal anecdotes, ill-informed speculations on the threat of the Islamic "cuckoo" in the European nest and the inevitable "some of my best mates are muslamics" disclaimers. In the end, the muddled nature of the writing and lack or any clear point made it necessary for those of us vehemently opposed to it being published to pick out an exemplar point that would make spiking it a no-brainer, and in the end I picked this phrase from Berlinksi that MS quoted approvingly:

"[Fortuyn] deplored forced marriages, honour killings, and female genital mutilation, all of which had been brought to the Netherlands by Muslim immigrants and by no other kind of immigrant." "

The "white-washing" of Fortuyn as maligned liberal was unacceptable in itself, but the assertion that no other kind of immigrant brought the three issues of forced marriage, honour killings and FGM to the Netherlands was and is a falsehood, and a racist one at that. Honour killings occur across the religious spectrum in MENA, Central and South Asian societies (my first introduction to izzat/"honour" crimes was when someone tried to petrol bomb my next door neighbours, a Sikh family, over an arranged marriage breakdown). But on the specific case of FGM, my Chilean comrade pointed out that he knew for a fact that there were Embera-Chamís (Colombia/Panama indigenous group) in the Netherlands, and they are afflicted by this vile practice. And indeed FGM is known in various indigenous groups in Central and South America that have no exposure to Islam.

That may seem an obsessive attention to detail, but the point here is this. Your comment started by saying that "Islam writ large is not the sole source of FGM*, but..." and then go on to assert that Islam was the principal vector through which FGM was introduced to Southeast Asia (I don't know whether that's true or not), which looks to me like you're defending the Islam/FGM association, nonetheless. Which is to say, I'm sure it comes as no surprise to you, given our past exchanges, that I think your politics on Islam and islamophobia are a bit shit - not quite as shit as the ones in the Berlinski quotes in the MS article we spiked, but that's a matter of degree, rather than kind - but that in itself does not lead me to suspect you of being a closet nazi or otherwise a racist. Similarly the islamophobic crap in MS's "Menace in Europe" piece was no indication of the kind of racist crap that appears in the 2008 memo. I've certainly seen anarchists with otherwise perfectly decent anti-racist politics go all weird once Islam enters the conversation.
----
* incidentally how is cutting not mutilation? I fail to see the political usefulness of the FGM/FGC distinction

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Jan 6 2016 11:54
lucien_lies_too wrote:
ocelot wrote:
So you think that left or anarchist publishers should not publish Global Fire, (as far as I can see). Good to know.

I don't know what kind of case you're trying to build. That is for the publishers themselves to decide. Whether or not it's moral or the correct decision is another matter.

It's a matter on which you have expressed your opinion that it is not moral and not correct for anarchist or left publishers to publish it. Presumably you also think that this should be the opinion other anarchists (if you consider yourself one) and right-thinking people, no?

Seems a bit odd to be getting coy at this stage.

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Jan 6 2016 12:02
S. Artesian wrote:
Me? I can't wait for the blurb on the back of MS's next book, no matter who publishes it.

Quote:
MS has participated in anarchist actions for years in South Africa, and frequently appeared on Stormfront as a white supremacist. He is well known for his previous writings on race and class in South Africa, the prospects for an enlightened homelands policy, and the heroic struggle of the
Boer Volk against British imperialism. He sports some swell tattoos. He is proud to say that he dates women of various colors.

Sarcasm is the lowest form of wit, but it frequently appears as the zenith of your contributions SA.

From this can I take it that you are content that Black Flame has been withdrawn from publication on the basis that you think one of it's authors is an unacceptable person?

We get occasional requests here from republican prisoners to have books on anarchist history and politics sent in. At present we would not be able to include BF in the set of books because fresh copies (in English) are no longer available. I think this is a bad outcome, but I'm interested in whether you think it's a good outcome or not?

S. Artesian
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Jan 6 2016 14:17

"Sarcasm is the lowest form of wit, but it frequently appears as the zenith of your contributions SA," said Ocelot, sarcastically, attempting thereby to demonstrate the veracity of his own, and only his own, thesis.

But putting the lowest wit from the lowest wit to one side......

Quote:
From this can I take it that you are content that Black Flame has been withdrawn from publication on the basis that you think one of it's authors is an unacceptable person?

Talk about derails, wtf does this have to do with the charge that those criticizing MS are participating in COINTELPRO actions, witch hunts, book burnings?

In a word: nothing. It's yet another example of Ocelot's use of misdirection to obscure the concrete issues at hand.

Black Flame has been withdrawn? Who withdrew it? Why? The publishers withdrew it? That's their issue, literally; their property, literally. I never read Black Flame, so I have no opinion on its availability or withdrawal based on its content.

Why did the publisher withdraw it? Because evidence has surfaced that Schmidt is dishonest or pathological or both; is a racist; engages in Volk -mongering?

If those are the reasons, then I'd say the publisher is acting in a prudent manner, withdrawing the book, and is making a sound business decision, based on their obligation to protect the reputation of their company, which after all, is what publishers are often compelled to do.

"Bad outcome"??? Do us a favor..... Deal with the real issue.

The accusations have been presented. Schmidt has responded. His response has been examined. So what are you waiting for, Ocelot?

Schmidt:-- racist or not? Schmidt-- advocate of neo-Nazi type ideology and action or not? Schmidt: radical reactionary or revolutionary anarchist?

Make the call.

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ocelot
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Jan 6 2016 15:31

I'll come back to you later SA, if I can be bothered. There are more interesting posts to reply to first. In passing I have to say I admire your recourse to appealing to the authority of market forces and business prerogatives in this question. But in relation to the question of my own personal opinion of MS as a revolutionary anarchist - I already gave my opinion that the 2008 memo represents not just a racist and elitist viewpoint, but one that openly states that libertarian socialist/communist or anarchist revolution is impossible in SA, so MS is clearly no longer a revolutionary anarchist. There is a common pattern here both from yourself and others on this thread as casting my (and others') objections to mob justice with no regard for fair process, as a defence of MS. I am not here to defend MS, I am here to attack all those people in extreme bad faith (ressentiment) who started by saying that the gravity of the allegations invalidated any right to the accused to defend themselves (as you did) and continually assert that the end justifies the means and that anyone who says different is an MS apologist. To be hipster about it, I censored MS's writings before it was cool, remember?

As for the rest, maybe later, but now onto something more important.

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Mr. Jolly
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Jan 6 2016 16:03
ocelot wrote:

That may seem an obsessive attention to detail, but the point here is this. Your comment started by saying that "Islam writ large is not the sole source of FGM*, but..." and then go on to assert that Islam was the principal vector through which FGM was introduced to Southeast Asia (I don't know whether that's true or not), which looks to me like you're defending the Islam/FGM association, nonetheless.

I mentioned SE Asia because there is a clear example of a movement of a peoples into an area that did not absorb FGM/FGC from its surrounding culture the picture is much more confused in say Africa. The vast majority of say malay muslims who undergo the procedure see it as a religious ritual like male circumcision, although a lot more private. Edicts/fatwas come and go about whether it should be seen as permissible or good, or frowned upon depending on difference of opinion within different groups and places.
And no I don't think FGM worldwide was invented by muslims, again you are being rather myopic in what I was trying to say. It similar to male circumcision seems to have sprung up in certain times and unconnected places and cultures.
In some places there is a clear connection between being a muslim and whether you will go through FGM/FGC and others clearly not. Islam is not monolithic.

ocelot wrote:
* incidentally how is cutting not mutilation? I fail to see the political usefulness of the FGM/FGC distinction

Because for example, when there are Islamic idicts/fatwas put in place they tend to be about FGM at its least vile, is not the removal of the clitoris or infubulation, but a range of practices from the removal of the clitoral hood to say amongst Thai and Malay groups where it just the pricking or slight cutting of the clitoral hood. Which if done correctly has absolutely no impact on a woman sexual pleasure/health, its premise is not to remove a woman's sexual pleasure, and is alot less invasive than say male circumcision. Certainly I wouldn't recommend it for anyone to a have to go through any of these procedures, but to lump everything under FGM westerners see it all as one absolutely horrendous procedure, rather than a whole range of procedures some quite benign.

Im not even going to respond to the accusations of islamophobia. :\

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Jan 6 2016 16:06
akai wrote:
Of course there are those who might believe that what "the movement" needs most now is a "good book" which talks about anarchism outside of the typical geography. As an internationalist, l am all for. But there are many different assessments on both Black Flame and Schmidts abilities as a history. [...] When l read BF, l had tons on notes in the margins on factual mistakes and things like this. (Too bad l gave that copy away .. but lots of others have pointed these things out as well.)

Well I think the movement needs many other things outside of the development of historical work and theory in isolation from real engagement in social work directed at social insertion. But I do think the intellectual and theoretical development dimension is also a significant area for development. In that area what the movement needs is more and better books, not a single "good book".

One of the advantages of books like Black Flame and Global Fire is that precisely they prompt people to make notes in the margins, go and check sources quoted for narratives they find questionable, and then go on to find other additional sources that shed more light on the matter. To that extent the worth of a history text is not how near it is to being "right" in a final sense, but the degree to which it is close enough or provoking enough to prompt others to review and revise it's propositions and then write the next generation of better books.

The problem with traditional "great beards of history" model of anarchist history like Nettlau's Short History or Marshall's heavily eurocentric and beard-centric tome (poor old Emma G being roped in as token non-beard again) is that there's no incentive to dig into the archives to find the less "great thinker"-centred data of membership dues records, meeting minutes, strike reports, etc, etc, that can actually build up a more movement-oriented history. BF/GF is a much better starting place for that work, even with it's obvious faults - and even, to the extent that those faults provoke people to go and rewrite the bits of that version of history they find obviously wrong and know more about, that in itself is productive.

I remember expressing my frustration to one of the ZACF comrades at St. Imier in 2012 that LvdW & MS had chosen to release the less interesting (imo) political interpretative framework of BF first, before GF. He pointed out, reasonably I suppose, that to select the mass of data to look at in the more factual historical section, you first need to define your methodology, in terms of what is to be included and excluded as events to be looked at. He said, at that time, that the basic draft of GF was mostly finished, but had been (and has been since) subject to the long delays necessary for circulating amongst the volunteers in different countries prepared to do the fact checking of references, etc. And the inevitable back and forth that results.

Which brings us on to your question about MS's reliability as a historian. I think we need to distinguish between the quality of what he writes individually and sends out in a "publish and be damned" way, and the result of the more collective process of deliberation, not just between LvdW and MS, but also with the various reviewers and fact checkers who worked on the draft of BF and have been working on the draft of GF up until now. My recollection is that the ZACF comrade intimated that it was partly a result of the negative feedback to the failures of fact-checking in BF that was contributing to the greater effort on GF. All of which to say, I don't think the quality of MS puts out when he's free to write whatever the hell he likes (and we are equally free not to publish, if it's shite), and the results of the more collective process that has been going on around the draft of Global Fire for the last 4-5 years, should be confused.

So, in relation to this:

akai wrote:
Now, people who defend MS, tend to say the reason is because his books are great, etc. - but is he a good historian?

I don't really see BF as MS's book, but one he contributed to. And given the greater input of third parties outside of the two listed authors, I don't see GF as "his" book either, I can't say I've ever read any of the books MS has written on his own account.

akai wrote:
All of this makes one wonder if Black Flame is seen as a "great book" more because it fits the narrative that some people want to ascribe to anarchism.

It's not a great book - but it's a better book than Nettlau or Marshall, and a better place to start the process of revision, counter-revision, etc that will create a more useful, more global and more movement-focused historiography than the current "great european anarchist beards of history" that still haunts the bookshelves of our general anarchists histories in english sections.

edit: also better not give the copy you have now away, as you might not be able to replace it this time

S. Artesian
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Jan 6 2016 16:09
ocelot wrote:
I'll come back to you later SA, if I can be bothered. There are more interesting posts to reply to first. In passing I have to say I admire your recourse to appealing to the authority of market forces and business prerogatives in this question. But in relation to the question of my own personal opinion of MS as a revolutionary anarchist - I already gave my opinion that the 2008 memo represents not just a racist and elitist viewpoint, but one that openly states that libertarian socialist/communist or anarchist revolution is impossible in SA, so MS is clearly no longer a revolutionary anarchist. There is a common pattern here both from yourself and others on this thread as casting my (and others') with no regard for fair process, as a defence of MS. I am not here to defend MS, I am here to attack all those people in extreme bad faith (ressentiment) who started by saying that the gravity of the allegations invalidated any right to the accused to defend themselves (as you did) and continually assert that the end justifies the means and that anyone who says different is an MS apologist. To be hipster about it, I censored MS's writings before it was cool, remember?

As for the rest, maybe later, but now onto something more important.

God, you are a pretentious twit. I don't appeal to "the authority of market forces." I asked who and why the book was withdrawn. You didn't answer the original questions, who or why the book was withdrawn.

One appeals to authority when one is trying to support his or her own argument. I suggested that the publisher may make the determination based in part on market forces. That's what publishers do. The publisher might or might not justify the decision based on an appeal to market forces.

Personally, I don't give a rat's ass.

Quote:
objections to mob justice

Here's the common pattern: you smear those who have read the material and made a determination as engaging in "mob justice" [you forgot "lynch"]. You engage in this deliberate distortion because it allows you to present the issues as some sort of moral divide, where assessment of the actions of Schmidt becomes immaterial and can be ignored because of some meta-commitment to your concept of justice-- which is the apotheosis of liberalism; liberalism being a philosophy of the abstract that capitulates to the world of the concrete.

Quote:
come back to you later SA, if I can be bothered.

Please don't.

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Jan 7 2016 01:42
ocelot wrote:
lucien_lies_too wrote:
ocelot wrote:
So you think that left or anarchist publishers should not publish Global Fire, (as far as I can see). Good to know.

I don't know what kind of case you're trying to build. That is for the publishers themselves to decide. Whether or not it's moral or the correct decision is another matter.

It's a matter on which you have expressed your opinion that it is not moral and not correct for anarchist or left publishers to publish it. Presumably you also think that this should be the opinion other anarchists (if you consider yourself one) and right-thinking people, no?

Seems a bit odd to be getting coy at this stage.

I'm not going to dictate actions to people or organizations. I personally would not disseminate Black Flame unless it were gratis, and with some background on the authors and the Schmidt affair.

If I'm being "coy", it's because I would like to avoid statements that can be twisted into "this is a campaign to block the publishing of Global Fire". The authors themselves are responsible if that's the outcome, though I suspect it will see the light of day.

If we're to talk about publishing Schmidt's works, can you publish the contents (or PDF copies of) the two Schmidt articles that were rejected from Anarkismo.net? Perhaps you can point to copies already out there in a place like http://www.pdf-archive.com?

akai
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Jan 6 2016 22:07

Ocelot, OK, l take your point about the work being a collaboration, but l don't think it was a strong point of the book that it inspired me to write all over it. l usually like books, don't like to deface them and don't like to get rid of them so fast. sad

l don't think the fact that it was a collaboration rid it from crazy points and really bad examples of bias.

That said, l agree with you that we need to have more books and histories from outside the "great bearded guy approach" ... and which are more global in their range. l have appreciated quite a number of such works over the past years, so it is not exactly like things have not been covered. Some things have yet to be translated.

l just hope some other people will indeed write better things,

S. Artesian
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Jan 6 2016 23:44
Quote:
I am here to attack all those people in extreme bad faith (ressentiment) who started by saying that the gravity of the allegations invalidated any right to the accused to defend themselves (as you did) and continually assert that the end justifies the means and that anyone who says different is an MS apologist.

The above from Ocelot is just total bullshit; a deliberate distortion; an overtly dishonest statement.

1. I never stated Schmidt should not be allowed to defend himself. I stated that I reached my conclusions that a) his story about "going underground" as a professional journalist to penetrate Stormfront was baloney based on the response by the editor of the paper b) that his own writings condemned him as a racist, and that he was attempting to propagate the myth of the "oppressed Boer."

2. I never asserted that the ends justifies the means in this instance or any instance. I don't engage in such metaphysical discussions. Ocelot wants that to mean what he wants that to mean, but that doesn't make his representation any less dishonest.

3. I never said that anyone who "says different" is "an MS apologists." Just so happens that one or two in the thread were saying things like MS's racism probably isn't that different from the racism of most white leftists? radicals? anarchists? in SA given the history and environment. Remember that? I said that was being an apologist.

So here's the skinny: Let our great liberal Ocelot produce the posts where I said Schmidt should not be allowed to defend himself. The great liberal asked if I thought everyone has an unconditional right to a defense, "yes or no." and I said that ain't no yes or no question with a yes or no answer. I also pointed out that nobody on this discussion list had anything like state power, or any power to deny MS a defense, making Ocelot's questions not only irrelevant but disingenuous.

Let our great liberal Ocelot provide the posts where I argue the ends justifies the means-- where I even mention ends and means.

Let our great liberal Ocelot produce the posts where I said anyone disagreeing with me is a "Schmidt apologist."

Now we're talking verbatim when you make charges like that, so I'm looking for verbatim citations.

There aren't any. But here's a verbatim for whoever is interested. Ocelot is lying sack of shit.

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Jan 7 2016 10:10
lucien_lies_too wrote:
If we're to talk about publishing Schmidt's works, can you publish the contents (or PDF copies of) the two Schmidt articles that were rejected from Anarkismo.net? Perhaps you can point to copies already out there in a place like http://www.pdf-archive.com?

I was only involved in the discussion over the "Menace in Europe" piece, so I have a copy of that one, but I wasn't involved in the discussion over the other piece, so I haven't seen that one, or have a copy of it. I have passed on the request to release the docs to the Editorial committee, so I imagine that they will be released after the necessary discussion and agreement. Whether they will be released at the same time as the Anarkismo statement (which is in the pipeline) or sooner, I don't know yet.

akai
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Jan 7 2016 10:46

"Menace in Europe"? Wow, that sounds promising.

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Jan 7 2016 11:18

Like I said, multiple issues - the title was a bad start.

vanilla.ice.baby
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Jan 8 2016 17:31

Of course Islamist extremism is not a menace at all.