On 11 February 2016, I issued an initial personal statement on the Michael Schmidt affair. I completely rejected the irredeemable racist and right-wing statements attributed to Schmidt, which were mainly posted under false names online. They represent positions I have consistently opposed, for decades, to the best of my abilities. I noted problems with his explanation, centred on the claim that his posts and false personas were solely means for infiltrating the radical right for undercover research.
In our last statement on the Michael Schmidt case and accusations by journalists Alexander Reid Ross and Joshua Stephens that he is a fascist and white nationalist that attempted to infiltrate the anarchist movement, we said that the Anarkismo network had decided “to call for a commission of enquiry to investigate more closely both the accusations and the defence, and to make recommendations to the broader anarchist movement based on their findings”.
On 28 September 2015, Michael Schmidt was suspended from the Institute for Anarchist Theory and History (IATH) / Instituto de Teoria e História Anarquista (ITHA), a multi-national research project in the Global South. This followed shocking claims by US-based publisher, AK Press, that South African-based Michael Schmidt, a well-known writer on anarchism, was an “undercover fascist” and “white nationalist” seeking “to infiltrate the anarchist movement.” The serious charges demanded immediate action. Michael Schmidt was thereby completely excluded from IATH/ITHA decisions, internal processes and new publishing 18 months ago, pending investigations.
The first reaction to the Michael Schmidt infiltration by most thinking anarchists has been: that’s not us! But lets not take this as an opportunity to reassert our moral purity. It is us – we were all reading Schmidt, debating it, and, truth be told, the least we can say is that we all enjoyed very much rejecting his work. Today more than ever there is a certain enjoyment, a self-satisfaction, that we get from his expulsion from the movement and indeed from his infiltration as well. We would be wise to recognize this instead of avoid it.
The following is the official statement of the Zabalaza Anarchist Communist Front (ZACF) of South Africa on the controversy that erupted around Michael Schmidt, a South African activist, several months ago. It follows a careful collective discussion process and research and comes several weeks after the last installment in a series of articles claiming to be an expose of Schmidt. As we are also committed to a number of ongoing workshops, activities and publications, our time was limited. It has two main aims: to outline our position on the claims made for, and against, Schmidt, and to respond to a number of false statements that have been made about the ZACF in the course of the developing Schmidt affair.
From Anarkismo by Wayne Price
Response to Charges that He is a Fascist as Well as an Anarchist
For months there has been a heated discussion over charges that Michael Schmidt, author of well-known books about anarchism, is actually a fascist and "white nationalist." Now that the main statements are out on both sides, I have been waiting for an evaluation by some panel of reputable anarchist activists and theorists. As this has not happened, I am publishing my own conclusions.
Michael Schmidt: An African Anarchist Biography
From: Drinking with Ghosts
Michael Schmidt (born in Johannesburg, South Africa, 1966) is an anarchist journalist, grassroots organiser, ideologue, historian, media trainer, researcher, consultant, and international free press and human rights activist. He was raised by a middle-class family of working class origin that was classified “white” – and as a result was uplifted by apartheid to the middle class.