About Schmidt: How a White Nationalist Seduced Anarchists Around the World (Chapter 1)

  • Posted on: 12 October 2015
  • By: Anonymous (not verified)

Originally appears on Medium.

[This article is the first in a multi-part series. Subsequent articles will follow a publication timeline, across the next two weeks. Chapter 2 will appear October 14th. The authors encourage readers to absorb each piece, with its corresponding documentation, in full]

About Schmidt: How a White Nationalist Seduced Anarchists Around the World (Chapter 1)
by Alexander Reid Ross and Joshua Stephens

The Basest Service to the Revolution

On a sunny day in July 2008, six months before the publication of Black Flame: The Revolutionary Class Politics of Anarchism and Syndicalism (Counter Power, Vol. 1), co-author, Michael Schmidt, met with fellow members of the Zabalaza Anarchist Communist Front (ZACF) at his cozy bungalow in Johannesburg, South Africa. It was a gorgeous day, so the four collective mates sat down comfortably on Schmidt’s wooden furniture in his spacious garden, near a lemon tree while his White Swiss Shepherd puppies, Loki and Freya, came out to sniff their guests.

There was a lot going on in Schmidt’s life. He was in the midst of working on Black Flame alongside academic Lucien van der Walt — a work that, since publication in early 2009, has sold roughly 4,000 copies. According to Charles Weigl, a collective member at the book’s publisher, AK Press, “the average nonfiction book in the US sells less than 250 copies a year, and 3,000 over its lifetime.” Sales-wise, Black Flame stood shoulder to shoulder with recent editions of works from some of anarchism’s most recognized names, and Weigl told us that Black Flame was “still selling steadily,” until late this past September.
However, as internal secretary of the ZACF, Schmidt had taken time out of his busy schedule to host a meeting in a different context. Part of the business of the meeting was a “confidential discussion document” circulated by Schmidt titled “Politico-Cultural Dynamics of the South African Anarchist Movement” (which will be referred to as “Politico-Cultural Dynamics” from this point on). One person at the meeting, who asked not to be named for this piece, recalled, “Michael asked about thoughts on the document. Everyone was awkwardly quiet and pretended they hadn’t read it.”

The text at the center of discussion that July day was his take on why anarchist organizing had foundered in post-apartheid South Africa. “Blacks,” he wrote, are “incapable of other than the basest service to the Revolution.” Schmidt explained that while the best anarchist militants “have almost without exception been proven to be whites,” black anarchists, “while good comrades, have not been up to the exacting standards” required of them. He goes on to state that “in [South Africa], where race is often more important than class as a determining factor in consciousness, we find that white anarchist militants are the de-facto leading echelon, while most black anarchist militants merely follow.”

Due to “Bantu national education” and economic disparities facing black people in South Africa, Schmidt claims, “logical process, self-discipline and autonomous strategic thinking has been strangled at birth.” He goes on to list an alphabet soup of different international groups that he claims gain strength from cultural homogeneity, and presents the ZACF as “a white politico-cultural anarchist movement” that cannot “merge” with “the black politico-cultural anarchist movement… at this stage of history.”

Schmidt states that white culture is not culturally identical by calling on his relationship with Black Flame co-author, van der Walt: “For example, Lucien considers himself a ‘European settler,’ despite his Afrikaner heritage, whereas I consider myself an ‘Afrikaner’ or ‘white African’ despite my Anglophone heritage.”

“So, are [South African (SA)] black anarchists unequal to the task [of revolutionary organizing]?” Schmidt asks, well into the document. “After 16 years of activism, I’m forced to say no — as long as the task is established for them under the influence of SA white anarchists.” In other words, black South Africans are equal to the task, but only if the terms of struggle are defined by South African white anarchists. The platform, in this case established by Schmidt and a cohort of white colleagues, becomes a compass to lead allegedly feeble-minded Africans toward their own liberation.

Black Flame, White Blindspot

Such a compass was in the works, as Schmidt and van der Walt worked on their book through the coming months. At five hundred pages, Black Flame is widely considered the first major (non-anthology) work in some time — perhaps ever — to provide a global historical account of anarchist movements. Many viewed the work as a kind of “Anarchist Bible,” or what Immanuel Ness, a professor at City University of New York and author of New Forms of Worker Organization: The Syndicalist and Autonomist Restoration of Class-Struggle Unionism (PM Press, 2014), had described as “perhaps the most important contribution [to] the global history of working class movements from an anarchist perspective.”

While its proletarian message rang true to many, Black Flame did not come without its controversy. The construction of anarchism one finds in its pages is keenly specific, and strikes a deliberate contrast with contemporaneous anarchist literature seeking to grapple with the gritty realities of anarchist practices increasingly deployed by on-the-ground struggles. Alongside the influence of prison-abolition movements, post-structural theory, and leftist solidarity for Indigenous uprisings like the Zapatistas in Mexico, a variety of shifts reaching back some two-decades had effectively put the anarchist tradition’s classical preoccupations with capitalism and the State on equal footing (and in conversation) with struggles around patriarchal and racial domination, Indigenous and gender self-determination, colonialism, and disability. In contradistinction, the construction of anarchism put forth by Black Flame reasserts a temptingly simple primacy of class struggle and workers’ movements with the not inconsiderable force of “big A Anarchism.”

Black Flame maintains historical roots in what its authors deem the “broad anarchist tradition,” drawing from what is known as platformism. Andy Cornell, formerly the Anarchist Studies postdoctoral fellow at Haverford College and author of Unruly Equality: U.S. Anarchism in the Mid-20th Century (forthcoming, University of California Press), argues the tendency emerged in the first decade of the Russian Revolution, reckoning with the direction of the left in the hands of the Bolsheviks. “[Platformists] felt the Russian anarchist movement, and the international movement more generally, was theoretically weak and had insufficient organization to push the revolution in an anarchist direction,” Cornell explained. “So they argued for an anarchism that was more clearly committed to class struggle, and that accepted formal organizations. [Basically,] figure out an organizational structure, develop a strategy, [and] stick to it.”

In Schmidt’s view, the politics of race, gender, sexuality, and other forms of what he calls “identitarianism” are implicit within revolutionary class struggle, so centering them rather than class leads to compromises and half-measures. Perforce, reading Black Flame, one is hard-pressed not to discern this contempt for “identity politics,” and in its indictments, the voices cited are conspicuously white.

Noel Ignatiev, the white firebrand behind the journal Race Traitor, figures as often and substantively in Black Flame as W. E. B. du Bois. Curiously, Schmidt and van der Walt misidentify Ignatiev as a “former-Maoist.” In fact, Ignatiev’s big claim to fame came in 1967, with an article critical of the Maoist tendency within Progressive Labor, published along with Theodore W. Allen’s famous essay, “The White Blindspot,” recalling du Bois’s brilliant book, Black Reconstruction (published in 1935).

A Sordid History

Like most white men until conscription was abolished in 1993, Schmidt was drafted into the South African military, which was putting down black unrest during the end of apartheid. This, he claims, radicalized him, and he visited Rwanda as a journalist just after the genocide of 1994, growing increasingly politicized. Professionally, he appears to have been respected more for his administrative capabilities than his journalism. He founded the Professional Journalists’ Association of South Africa (ProJourn) and The Ulu Club for Southern African Conflict Journalists, and has a personal network of associates that spans an influential set of counter-culture celebrities and highly-regarded media figures.

In conversations with some who’ve known him personally, Schmidt is described as warm and sensitive — a beguiling and experienced man, with a gloominess carried from his time in Rwanda, where as a journalist, he witnessed horrors such as “piles of dead bodies” stacked in warehouses. He is open about his PTSD. From other, less-sympathetic accounts, he figures as an intellectual gatekeeper prone to contrarianism and rowdy outbursts during bouts of drinking. He is known to have come to blows with at least one friend during heated arguments fueled by alcohol.

“Politico-Cultural Dynamics,” however, offers a more intimate portrait of Schmidt’s organizing career. During the 2003 drafting of the constitution for the previous incarnation of the Zabalaza Anarchist Communist Federation, Schmidt declares that he proposed a strategy based on the Brazilian group Federação Anarquista Gaúcha, which maintained a “‘specific’ core, with outlying nodes of social insertion.” With this structure in mind, Schmidt called for distinguishing racially distinct collectives for whites and for “less ideologically convinced black cadre.”

He continues, “My attempt during the drafting of the ZACF Constitution to have this divide explicitly recognized as (white) rearward collectives and (black) frontline collectives was defeated as it was felt this would unduly emphasize the race/class divide in the Federation.”

The defeat of Schmidt’s attempt to create ideologically and structurally separate collectives for white and black cadres is important, inasmuch as it shows that Schmidt’s racialized understanding of platformism was and is not widely shared. While the relative silence that followed the defeat of his proposal raises critical questions, it appears that Schmidt’s explicit use of “the platform” as an intellectual power structure best understood and controlled by whites was of his own making.
This was a major change that broke down the collaborative aspect of the federation — in particular, doing away with action groups in places like the 99%-black township of Umlazi. Within two years of his initial, rejected frontline/rear guard proposal, the Federation had been cut in half; two years after that, in 2007, it was dissolved completely. According to Schmidt, this change took place, due to its black members’ “ill-discipline, inactivity or a lack of theoretical understanding.”

However, the Federation was re-founded as the Zabalaza Anarchist Communist Front with a new structure. Schmidt explains the implications: “[T]he organization lost its last black members in **Swaziland**, reducing it from a biracial ‘international’ organization to a white ‘national’ organization.” The ZACF had gone from a six-branch, multiracial anarchist Federation that was too broad to have a membership roster, but was engaged in activities throughout South Africa and in Swaziland, to an all-white group with only six members dedicated specifically to the development of ideology and propaganda.

According to Schmidt’s “Politico-Cultural Dynamics,” he had been there every step of the way — first advocating unsuccessfully for a racial divide in the Federation in 2003, then arguing for a political hardening into three collectives in 2005, then finally re-founding the group as a “white ‘national’ organization” in 2007, with some six members and three “supporters.” Considering what Schmidt named as his own cultural understandings of his Afrikaner identity, it is clear that he puts “national” in quotations to connote white South Africans who share a common “culture,” which he understands as a standard for organizational specificity and unity.

“[T]he underlying ideology at work here, [is] a more or less direct inheritance of the European New Right. That is why the ‘culture’ / ‘race’ nexus seems so important to him,” says Peter Staudenmaier, an historian at Marquette University and co-author (with Janet Biehl) of Eco-Fascism: Lessons from the German Experience, reflecting on Schmidt’s internal document. “There is a lengthy tradition, especially after 1945, of shifting ‘race’ talk to ‘culture’ talk without really changing the content, and it’s that same conceptual fuzziness that the far right plays on (the radical left hasn’t done much to clarify the fuzziness either). In that sense, this story is a good example of anarchists’ failure to work through the complexities of race not only at a political level, but at an intellectual level.”

Thus, Schmidt encourages the “white ‘national’ organization” to be proud of itself as forming the “white anarchist movement” after purging black militants, who he describes as ill-disciplined, lagging, and incapable of meeting “the exacting standards of platformism.” It was those “exacting standards of platformism that Schmidt would attempt to explain with Lucien van der Walt in Black Flame, gaining greater influence throughout the world through their widely read book. Through Schmidt’s attempts to reconstruct the platform, it would seem as though he saw himself as leading the whites in laying out the “task” of revolution for the “ideologically less convinced” people of color whose “inactivity” had brought about the failure of the anarchist movement in South Africa. However, across more than a hundred pieces of evidence, we located far more sinister ideas at work in Schmidt’s own handiwork whittling the ZACF from a multi-collective federation down to an all-white intellectual “front,” and blaming it on people of color.

Alexander Reid Ross is a moderator of the Earth First! Newswire, the editor of Grabbing Back: Essays Against the Global Land Grab and author of the forthcoming book Against the Fascist Creep (AK Press)

Joshua Stephens is a former collective member with the Institute for Anarchist Studies, and a writer whose work has appeared with Gawker, AlterNet, Truthout, NOW Lebanon, and The Outpost.


they need to release it all. if he was moonlighting as a national anarchist, as opposed to what AK press said an "infiltrator" then we still need to know what is up. if they have hard proof which from all the rumors out of these two, they supposedly do, release it, why this expose in multiple parts, perhaps to make themselves famous? *claps all around* so far shitty antifa work. we need safety!

Who gives a shit about opposing fascism when you can further your career and make tons of factionalist jabs at the same time. By the way, having any issues with the way this is being handled makes you a racist, a fascist, and apologist for schmidt. You should probably go kill yourself you commie nazi scum. Yer probably a meat eating monogamist who likes pop music too. Fuckin wobbly academic trash.

And now that the evidence is coming out, Schmidt's defenders are still stuck on the same old lines they were using last week. Colour me surprised.

Personally, I gotta say, this position paper is kinda damning.

apparently the authors of this are just sitting on the other 3 parts. A+ for effort!

Curious to what "other side" some are waiting for. As if there is an interesting statement that begins with, "sure he tried to wrap white nationalism in Anarchism, but..." Where do you go from there?

"Other parts" dumb fuck. AK and the author of this article have acted and are acting skeevily in putting it out like some three part reality show season finale and left ample room for this to be used broadly to tar organizationalis and class-oriented anarchists and that bothers people completely aside from the issue of what a piece of shit MS is. If you can't fucking understand how opposing one thing doesn't automatically mean you have to support every jackass opposes it then all i can say is have fun voting for Hillary (unless you want Trump to win, you fascist.)

LOL! The platformists are losing it!!!!

Great article anyway! one interesting point is how the construction of a working class identity is seen as a solution to the reformist implications of identity politics, but at the same time is reinforcing white-supremacy by ignoring the reformist implications of a working class identity politic. Another interesting implication is the how the authoritarian doctrine within platformism is so attractive to a white-supremacist progressivism. Also interesting how compatible his ideas about a lack of "autonomous strategic thinking" among black south africans, are with the common trope that you hear about anarchist and autonomist politics, and strategies, being incompatible with "communities of colour", in ally politics in the North American context ("communities need leaders").

Hahaha, the thing that your missing is that a working-class identity can't truly manifest itself in a relatively tiny political movement of activists which is what the anarchist movement is reduced to at this time. As true for all cultures the activist movement of contemporary anarchism creates it's own specific ideological norms and if that is where you primarily reside your going to end up adopting the ideals of that culture. Yes, there is an anarchist culture and all of what are assumed to be "different anarchism's" are but rather esoteric factions of the same culture. Which is why all those various anarchist cultural factions react to external social events as basically one and the same. there is nothing in itself wrong with this phenomena, all cultures experience it, but it is self-limiting. I for one discovered that a world without the existence of a powerful autonomous movement of the working-classes is for an anarchist a very lonely place to be.

Yet, basically, I'm coming to the conclusion that the industrial and agrarian proletariat that once propelled anarchism to an international phenomenon, a movement capable of consciously threatening the existence of the capitalist political order, during the pre-World War two period simply no longer exists. Or perhaps I should say that the capitalist labor-managerial and ideological condition of the proletariat of the period that led to the working-classes being a such a powerful social actor in violent opposition to capitalism no longer exists as such.

The usurpation of the anti-electoral working-class movement by Marxist-Leninism and the concurrent horrors of "real existing socialism" caused the global working class in general to reject the ideas (socialism/communism, left political discourse in general) that they came to associate not with their class emancipation but with the totalitarian horrors of the likes of Stalinism, the Iron Curtain, and the Khymer Rouge. Ideologically, this phenomena left the workers open to accepting the Anti-Communist ideological viewpoint of Liberal-Democracy, which to a varying extant most of them have, although to some extant this is being nullified due to the coming of age of younger generations not exposed to the Cold War Anti-Communist propaganda of older generations.

However, the horrors of the Iron Curtain are only part of the equation though, and maybe not even the most important or enduring. By which I mean, as the the Italian dissident Marxist Agnoli notes, that the liberal-democracies themselves found it possible to dispense with the totalitarianism of classical fascism and yet at the time apply fascism's corporatist ideology within their own liberal-democracies to gain the upper hand against the anti-capitalist current in their own often unruly and anarchistic labor movement. Of course the paid union leadership has been lock step in this betrayal and has helped the capitalist liberal democracies to apply the corporatist structure virtually unopposed in exchange for legal recognition by the state giving them, the union executives, the right to be the sole legal representative of labor under the corporatist legal framework.

Shit, as much as I just know that you all are dying to read my thoughts it is well past my bedtime and I really need to get to bed.

And so, as I lay down to sleep in my makeshift bed in a stuffy room with termite damaged floors I ponder the spectacle of anarchy like I ponder the spectacle of my own heavy heart, and I go to bed wondering - "am I the last proletariat, or the first"?

Without insulting you appropriately, this is how journalism works. Pull up your high chair. When you do exhaustive work, there's a lot of material. This is especially the case when dealing with a person's entire identity within a scene. Add that a person could be very influential, and yes, reports come out in parts. Acting like this is some scheme to with hold information, as opposed to how such pieces have been written throughout the history of the scribe is ridiculous. To read a tarring of class-oriented anarchists in this, is bizarre. The part about his bent to toward class-oriented organizing is valuable context. I read a piece about a particular individual's prism, and how his ideological bent manifested in his manner of organizing. And as far as the last sentence of your response is concerned, I'm pretty sure it's more illustrative of who you are, than me.

This response what meant for the poster above you in the chain, Llud, not you. Apologies.

Badly, no? And it's not a new thing, that is, it's not the fault of the internet. Anarchists had an internet-style hatefest going very strong back in the days when all there was, was magazines. I do understand that when it seems impossible to get the enemy to even notice you, it can feel good to get a reaction from those who should be your friends. But really, the world that is being prefigured here is utterly unattractive, even to someone like me, who is aware of the (supposedly) basic values of anarchist theory and practice. Is there any way at all that this can stop? Now? Here? As in, a bit of direct action?


All I've seen evidence of is that he's not a very subtle racist. He's just put words to what many cadre types think only to themselves. It's more an issue of elitism rather than being an undercover fascist. Racism does not equal fascism, even if the former is often found in the latter.

Pretty much what I think, too, but replace the word "fascist", which can mean anything and nothing, with "white nationalist".

What's interesting for me is that this is a specific case showing how the platformist tradition is open to abuses of power from the people who are its ideological in-group in very much the same way anybody who critiques platformism would have predicted.

Have you read any of the shit posties have been saying here? Did you notice when @news put up an article from a website that supports nationalist anarchism? How about the eco-fascist/anarchist folk? Insurrecto shit is just as co-optable, at least platformism makes a deal out of it and actually denounces it, whereas posties haven't been so vocal to denounce the nationalist part, more so the platformist part.

I think it is wrongheaded to try to make this about him as some exceptional case. from what this article is detailing, it seems that we're talking about a shift away from a mass, cross racial organization, down to an all white intellectual cadre. now I'm not one for mass organization, necessarily, but clearly there is something bigger than just schmidt going on here. its just a little hard to believe that he, as a single racist individual, could somehow purge the entire black membership of an organization.

I mentioned a good amount of people, including some pretty ideologically influential people. Then we see folk spouting the same predictable pc backlash garbage. Almost like post-left anarchism has too many similarities to crypto-nationalism, so many that those who critique post-left anarchism could see it coming. OR we can accept that empire, capitalism, and nationalism is just really good at twisting itself to fit any of our personal ideas.

Care to list these similarities?

One gets the impression that this is all an elaborate ploy to sell some fucking books. At first Schmidt is dropping all this shit about upcoming book Global Fire, the reception of which he really hopes won't be affected by all this (attention-generating) unpleasantness... Now we have Reid Ross mentioning a "forthcoming book" which is about "fascist creep", even as he establishes himself as a fighter of (alleged) fascist creep.

My casual conspiracy theorizing aside, what the fuck is this bullshit about Schmidt being an alcoholic? What the fuck does this have to do with his ideas? This shit is mean. You're making me default-sympathize with a racist platformist, which I don't appreciate.

This whole thing is dumb and I'm dumb too for paying attention. I guess the takeaway is don't Do Revolutionary Activism with Schmidt. Will keep in mind for future if I ever move to South Africa.

I've definitely gotten the impression that they're using this to punt books. Not solely - it does seem like they're making a genuine case, but I definitely feel they're capitalizing on the drama. Each part released will expose the readers to their advertising once more!

If you're in South Africa sometime you can always look into supporting SOS (http://soundzofthesouth.blogspot.com/) or see what's up with the bolobolo collective (bolobolo.co.za) too.

If this is a ploy to make money, it's a terrible one for at least two reasons. Two already published and paid for books were pulled, one of them being one of the better selling books AK has ever published. Pulping books is fucking expensive. All of the time/energy/money that has already been put into publishing Schmidt's (formerly?) forthcoming book is all for naught. They'll be incredibly lucky if Against the Fascist Creep sells enough to make up for the loss incurred by pulping BF and Cartography...

these platformists are sick fucks. I honestly think that the racial fantasies of this guy underly a lot of what most white-led federations and cadre groups actually think, he was just dumb enough to put it in writing. but what does it say that he wrote this shit in 2008 and it is only coming to light now after it was circulated among his comrades. clearly it can't be as shocking to the insiders of that milieu as it is to those of us on the outside.

If you want to read Schmidt's piece being analyzed, here it is: http://www.pdf-archive.com/2015/10/12/schmidt-memo/preview/page/1/

I'm not defending Schmidt because I have no loyalties to him or platformism, but this piece completely misrepresents Schmidt's position in that paper. Schmidt isn't expounding for a white nation here--to the contrary, he's analyzing what he terms the failure of the ZACF to maintain a multiracial membership. He opens with,

The SA anarchist movement revived specifically in 1992 with the rise of ARM and the DAF, key
members of which built the WSF in 1995, which laid the groundwork for today’s ZACF
refounded in 2007. In that period, the movement went from being represented by white/Indian
organisations in the dying days of apartheid, to a black-majority/white-minority organisation
shortly after “liberation”, to an all-white organisation during the consolidation of
“democracy” – an unusual trajectory for a specifically anti-racist organisation, to say the
least. This will attempt to briefly tackle what forces were in evidence that so shaped the

He later questions, "So what is our weakness? Where do we fail?" in apparent reference to the above described trajectory.

One answer he provides is:

That white working class anarchist appreciation of the daily lives of their black
working class and poor comrades mostly amounts to approximation, assumption, and
even caricature – and that in return, working and poor black militants have little or no
understanding of the world within which the white activists operate. There is, in sum, a
deep chasm between daily experiences and troubles: bond repayments on the one
hand, and the price of maize-meal on the other;

I'm not defending his analysis or position, but there is a vast difference between attributing what he perceives to be the failure of his platformist organization to cultural difference and promoting white nationalism. There is no indication that he is a nationalist. Rather, he is analyzing the separate histories of white and black radicals while maintaining loyalty to and pride in the intellectual trajectory (anarchist platformism) to which he has belonged, which leads him to make condescending, patronizing, and "fucked up" statements about black people... but that's a far cry from white nationalism.

This piece shows not a racism of seig-heil (traditional or third positionist), but of clumsy, mediocre analysis.

Thanks for that.

thanks. I thought all this stuff looked pretty grim but this helps contextualize. I have zero interest in the platform or Schmitt, but it's good to have our critique sharp.

Ten bucks says this is Schmidt commenting...

Yes I'm so him that I actually spelled my own name wrong for authenticity's sake. And naturally being a fascist I am obsessed with authenticity. Also disregard my previous "ten bucks" comment, as I suck cocks.

Well I suppose as long as anarchists are going to view society through a politico-cultural lens rather than through an individual sovereign lens, Schmidt is allowed to influence any patriarchal leftists or libertarian anarchists, which is what a majority of anarchists are anyway, so what's the big deal?

Most north american anarchists are fine with black folks forming their own racially divided groups. These groups aren't held to the same radical standards for allyship because of the black folk's upbringing.

Hah, Nth America, the great sinkpool of colonialist capitalist immigration policies, like Rome, its richness sucks the wannabees out of the woodwork, to add to its capitalism, and the black folk all have Sparticus complexes!

I think that Schmidt expressed something about black people that is implicit in the beliefs/practices of most white radical groups. He said aloud what many think but would never say. Fascinating.

He could never be a politician, he's too honest.

Reading some of this so called smoking gun evidence, I might agree with some of his views at least nominally.

As has already been pointed out above, the double standards that black/colored radical groups are allowed to get away with needs to stop. This really goes back to Lenin and that disasterous 3rd international where nationalism was allowed due to the 'opressed' card.

A certain group in the Bey area who's name starts with Q comes to mind.

Yep, and some first people groups are prone to double standards also, the cultural guilt card has been an ongoing debacle and a source of nationalist flexing for boundary recognition and alliances with leftists, when all we want is no borders, no distinctions and no rulers.

No one is thinking these things in "white" radical groups. If anything the trend is the opposite, to unquestioningly follow the first person of color that positions themselves as a leader. I'm white and have been part of many different groups and circles of anarchists over the years, some majority white, some not, so if anyone were going to hear the "in-talk" among white radicals secretly being racist, it would definitely be me and overt racism in the form you're suggesting is definitely not something going on at all. Rather, what is a more problematic trend is what I've already described: an irrational fear of doing anything that could be considered racist, by anybody, which does end up in the end often unfortunately creating a different form of racial separation where the idea of relating to people of color as equals who you can talk to in a real way the same you would white people becomes this almost insurmountable task. But that problem is not the fault of white supremacy, it an ugly offspring of identity politics.

So, I do not at all think that Schmidt's views are indicative of a wider silent majority among white radicals. Schmidt is rather exceptional. And while part of me is smiling at a platformist god being taken down, I don't necessarily think there's anything about platformism that aligns with his racial views either and that he's exceptional in that case as well.

It does help to understand the high context/low context divide when it comes to black/white dynamics. It's also important to know that black enfranchisement happened at a time when Marxism was still popular. A lot of the founding analysis of non white politics (and feminism) comes from a Marxist structuralist analysis which is of course mostly incorrect. This includes notions such as White Supremacy which does exist but not the way the Structuralist Marxist analysis imagines.

Ya'll need to keep in mind that this is in (post-apartheid) South Africa, where an all-white group is more significant, since whites make up 8.4% of the population.

Also the trend to go along with whatever POC leaders are into is not a thing among anarchists there, so far as I know. There aren't enough anarchists around in that country for that dynamic to really even emerge.

A lot of what is being said here has just been impositions of north american understandings of anarchist doings in a different context. Zabalaza is nothing like the Bay area anarchists I've met.

A bunchatwisting of logic and jacketed arguments, with a few hints of White dogs with Norse names and what else? Even if the guy was in the repressive force of the Apartheid State, doesn't mean he could have changed his views on Black native people, kidna like there's many anarchists that used to be Marines.

he never openly condemned his earlier actions though

He literally called for purging of black members. He was active in national-anarchist groups with his own name and in the least should have expected this response. He openly posted a bunch of racist shit and then blamed his medication.


Bob Black and Schmidt should duke it out and whoever wins gets to stay in the milieu.

Got this from a guy in South Africa :

"As for Schmidt my immediate reaction was that he is going to be getting a
lot of flak for at least trying to address consciously the exact same
dynamics that are simply taken for granted in pretty much every anarchist
and leftist organisation. The way he did so was obviously completely wrong
but hardly ‘fascist’ as the allegations state. What better explanations do
all the members of these little groupscules that are jumping to condemn him
have to offer for the fact that you can observe exactly the same sort of
shit in their own relations? The division between unofficial leaders and
followers seen in all leftist scenes around the world often takes a
uniquely racial form in SA, and Schmidt is one of the few who dares to face
up to it. Sure, he does so in a pretty stupid way, but how different is his
attempt ‘to have this divide explicitly recognized (white) rearward
collectives and (black) frontline collectives’ from Bakunin’s invisible
dictatorship? What stands out with Bakunin and Schmidt is not that they
accepted the existence of hierarchical practice despite their professed
anti-authoritarian theories, but that they did so “explicitly” whereas most
anti-authoritarians are either too delusional or too cowardly to do this
and prefer to accept it “implicitly”.

It seems to me that Schmidt’s position regarding blacks is similar to what
you considered the reactionary position of Knabb towards women: if they
have thus far been unable to participate fully as equals it is their
responsibility to try harder rather than expecting the more capable to
stoop down to their level. The difference being that (in theory) Knabb
adopted this position so as to “refuse” any hierarchical relation whereas
for Schmidt it was a means to adopt such a vanguard role “consciously” rather
than attempt to “paper over the cracks between members’ vastly disparate
levels” (of understanding, competence, activity, participation, etc) as
most anti-authoritarians prefer to do.

In general much of this has to do with the entirely ahistorical attitude
most leftists adopt towards questions of organisation. To be able to ask a
question as stupid as “whether the black proletariat is more “politico-culturally” inclined towards Marxist-Leninist or African socialist
authoritarianism” you have to completely ignore the question of whether the
present society is more historically inclined towards conditions favourable
to forms of organisation dominated by passive and spectacular relations –
conditions that can and must be consciously subverted. Indeed for most
leftists, anti-authoritarian or otherwise, such a question will be the last
one ever to enter their heads. And it shows.

As long as leftists remain determined to keep the relation between
themselves and their own practice at the level of the unconscious their associations will remain fundamentally reactionary both internally and externally. This is what happens when you try to imagine revolutionary activity can carve a niche for itself outside the spectacle. It is the inevitable result of separating subversion from everyday life. Don’t expect 99% of these self-righteous libtards to benefit in the slightest from this latest in the long list of pseudo-scandals.

One half of them will simply use it to score points in the usual sectarian
way (‘libertarian communists’ yapping about how this proves the inadequacy
of ‘platformism’, etc) while the other half will try to say that this bears
no reflection whatsoever on anything beyond the ‘purely individual’
attitudes of Schmidt and anyone that says otherwise is sectarian.

I must admit that his talk about “the physical and intellectual rigours of
the anarchist communist organisation” made me smile. The fact that this
person can even mention “in the case of the SACP/YCL, the sale of branded
communist gear’ in the context of serious ‘attempts to (re)build a
popular-class counterculture through something other than toyi-toyi” says a lot about what his idea of “physical and intellectual rigours” might be.
Then again in the very same breath he says that because “logical process,
self-discipline and autonomous strategic thinking has been strangled at
birth” (of course this strangulation is in fact perpetrated by the
spectacle against “all” individuals “on a continuous basis”) every
rebellion “naturally” reverts to authoritarian, leader-led,
anti-autonomous modes of behaviour. Thus, a libertarian socialist
Revolution is impossible in SA under current and foreseeable internal
“politico-social” conditions.

Now, you might as well stop here. What more is there to say for a vanguard
that puts itself at the head of a revolution pre-emptively condemned to
abortion by its own leading theorist? What is there to say for a
self-professed anti-capitalist who believes the propaganda that capitalism,
conflated with human nature, ‘naturally’ renders all attempts at revolution
impossible? In that case, as the surrealists suggested, why not try
suicide? It’s precisely due to his ahistorical perspective that he adopts
this self-defeating determinism. The idea that unfavourable historical
tendencies can be strategically and practically subverted in the everyday
lives of the masses – masses of individuals who are no more or less
stupefied than their self-proclaimed vanguards, vanguards composed of those
who were once just as ‘unconscious’ as the masses but came to adopt
revolutionary positions in an “unnatural” historical process that might
equally embrace masses of individuals, and has done so before – such an
idea has clearly never occurred to this physically and intellectually
rigorous comrade.

Lastly, it should be pointed out that the various reactionary aspects of
this guy have everything to do with a tunnel vision where the point of
reference is shifted from “the real movement” to a ‘revolutionary’
subculture/scene/organisation. It was as if the real problem were the
absence of black cadres in his groupscule rather than the fact that his
‘movement’ is not now nor ever has been even slightly significant to the
actually existing class struggle in this country. The international furore
produced by this entire scandal is equally symptomatic. The amount of
attention, emotion and verbiage expended on this non-event is exponentially
greater than the amount of interest displayed, judging from the written
evidence, towards the real developments fraught with possibility blossoming
in countless interesting actions among millions of people on the ground all
around the world. For all the condemnation of ‘substitutionism’ among
these supposedly ‘theoretically advanced’ people it is undeniable that idle
gossip and inconsequential scandal is today a substitute for anything
resembling intelligent and informed discussion and debate about real social

I see from here ( http://antifascistnews.net/2015/10/07/people-and-organizations-speak-out... ) that there is apparently much more to the fascist allegations than is
mentioned in chapter one ‘from the author of the forthcoming book Against
the Fascist Creep (AK Press) [pre-order your copy now!]’… basically that
he created facebook accounts and a ‘white supremacy’ website called
Stormfront posting apparently very racist content as well as formed some
sort of national-anarchist group. His explanation being that he was
infiltrating NA networks, rather than working as a NA infiltrator of
anarchist-communist networks. Since I’ve yet to see any evidence that NA =
fascism even this information is hardly serious. If he were an undercover
fascist obviously that potentially puts a lot of people in danger so I can
understand why a lot of the anarchist ‘community’ would be very concerned
by it, but I have yet to see evidence for anything of the kind. Also, his
comrades from Zabalaza have apparently already seen all this NA
infiltration stuff and believe his story. Then again the fact that Zabalaza
could recieve a discussion paper like that and make no comment certainly
demonstrates a more than questionable judgement. So I guess we’ll have to
wait for this promised definitively damning evidence. How pathetic it all

Just read ‘Anarchism as Spectacle’ ( http://anarchistnews.org/content/anarchism-spectacle ) and pleasantly surprised that somebody beat me to the punch saying this stuff, some of it, like the bit about gossip v. news of opposition, almost word for word! -

- from http://dialectical-delinquents.com/latest-articles/

I always chuckle cynically at the soap-operatic vehemence erupting around me in everyday life, that's ok for the peasants to engage in, but for anarchs group ethics are embarrassing due to their essentialist nature and binary tributary integration, in the Schmidt case, the recuperation of .ancient Teutonic values, which doesn't make him a nazi.

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