Ron Sokolsky's Misrepresentation of Victoria Anarchism
<table><tr><td>From <a href="http://vancouver.mediacoop.ca/blog/allan-antliff/10926">Vancouver Media coop</a>
I see Ron Sokolsky has posted a lengthy rant on his Oystercatcher blog in which he characterizes me as a "Commissar" and Victoria Camas Books Collective as . . . a bunch of horrid stuff implying a 20 plus collective follows the Commissar's orders.
I have not written or published any such derisive characterizations of Ron Sokolsky. Nor have I circulated any insulting and harsh reviews of any of his books over the internet.
I did ask the Camas Books Collective to consider not purchasing Swift Winds if the offer arose at Ron Sokolsky's May 12th book launch because it contains a personalized attack on a collective member in the form of a book review. This was discussed by the collective, debated, and approved.</td><td><img title="yet" src="http://anarchistnews.org/files/pictures/2012/falco.jpg"></td></tr></tabl...
Incidentally, the Fifth Estate journal carried a review of Swift Winds that also deemed Ron Sokolsky's rant against my book 'regrettable' for similar reasons, because it adopts a very personal and vindictive tone.
As to "anarchist writings" being "banned" in Victoria, Camas Books has purchased all of Ron Sokolsky's other books and Ron Sokolsky was invited to sell Swift Winds at his latest book launch, a point worth noting, given the accusations he is circulating.
So Swift Winds is not "banned from Victoria" (it’s available in a record store right across the street from Camas), however the Camas Books Collective has chosen not to purchase it.
Is a collective decision not to purchase a book a violation of anarchist principles?
Recently AK Press ceased to distribute Anarchy Magazine after it published a review of the AK catalog that took on a hostile personalized tone, in this instance directed at Ramsey Kannan (who was no longer part of the AK collective at the time the review appeared).
Any anarchist bookstore collective can choose what book or magazine to purchase (or not) based on various criteria, just as any anarchist publishing collective may choose to publish or not publish this or that manuscript (which is why we have such a rich diversity of publishing collectives in our movement).
There are political, personal, and affinity related factors that figure in every instance.
For the record, I respect Ron Sokolsky's work to bring an anarchist politics to contemporary surrealism. Where we differ concerns some nuances in the history of the surrealist movement. Having discovered a number of anarchists in the arts criticized or moved beyond surrealism during WW2, I have written on that topic. I have also published book chapters on Herbert Read's more positive take on the surrealist movement, one of which Ron Sokolsky is aware of and approved of when it first appeared in the Fifth Estate.
So we have some differences, clearly, but they are not insurmountable. Ron Sokolsky could agree to disagree, respect my boundaries, and respect the decision of the Camas Collective to not purchase Swift Winds for the reasons already outlined.
Now, regarding Ron Sokolsky's blog posting:
Echoing the tone of his Swift Winds book review, Ron Sokolsky now posts a portrayal of anarchist activism in Victoria over the internet that belittles the entire Camas Collective, the Victoria Anarchist Bookfair Collective, and me gratuitously.
Since Swift Winds appeared I have participated in hosting Ron Sokolsky at the annual Victoria Anarchist Book Fair (where he has also given a workshop and where he has sold Swift Winds every year).
Before his latest book launch I placed other books by Ron Sokolsky in the Camas Books display window and made sure a new edition of one of them was on display on our new book shelf.
Ron Sokolsky sold Swift Winds at the book launch itself, because that is his prerogative as an author.
I recognize passions have been raised and I certainly do not wish to engage in any further escalations that start from a place of personal attack. I have attempted to deal with this matter constructively in the past--here's hoping it can be resolved in that spirit.