Ron Sokolsky's Misrepresentation of Victoria Anarchism

  • Posted on: 16 May 2012
  • By: worker

<table><tr><td>From <a href="">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=""></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.

Allan Antliff


"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."

Then you and this collective are guilty as charged.

This is stupid, Ron's crying ass isn't even part of the fucking collective, so because they choose not to sell his book, they're "authority"? GTFO. I don't want any part in your "anarchy", asshole. I got real shit to attend to.

Don't let the door hit you on the way out!

I'll be sitting here motherfucker, you're the one that's getting the fuck out.

Unfunny troll is unfunny.

If I write a book that criticizes someone in the government and that person persuades the government to ban my book (even though my book would still be available on the black market or in other countries) would you say that is authoritarian?

There's no difference, except in scale.

well you both sound like wieners to me.


Less of this bullshit plzkthx.

Both the book and the review seem completely "academic"... pretty hard to get worked up enough to take sides.

respect my boundaries = respect mah authority

yeah this reply isn't making Camas sound less fail. He more or less admits it all, he just doesn't like Ron getting upset about it and calling him names after he wielded his power to get Ron's book un-carried at the store.

why does it matter? who cares? if a collective decides not to carry a product and is then upfront about it what's the problem?

Tyranny of the majority, bro.

Tyranny of the minority, bro.

if i whine about a collective deciding not to carry my product then what's the problem?

Tyranny of the majority, sister.

Tyranny of the minority, sister.

Repetitive troll is repetitive.

is troll repetitive is?

how repetitive is troll is repetitive is troll?

how now brown cow?


If an individual doesn't like having a book critiqued and then uses his influence to have a bookstore collective agree to not carry the book on the basis of a review being a personal attack then the issue is whether the review is actually a personal attack or a substantive critique (or both). I've read Sakolsky's review and thought it was notably not a personal attack. I haven't read Antliff's book so I don't know if the critique is warrented but if not, why not address that rather than claim that it is a personal attack. One problem is that few people have the interest in Surrealism and the intersection of Art and Anarchism, or the attention span to read Sakolsky's very long review. So it comes down to party A says this, party b says that.


Ron Sokolsky is a manly name. I would expect him to have a firm mustache and handshake. Allan Antliff sounds like a total wiener name. My money is on Sokolsky. What's the payout odds on this fight?

I bet Antliff is a scratcher.

youre thinking of ant-eaters.

Ron is the name of a guy who dated my mom. Here's how a conversation went betweeen him and me. Ron: "You know who washes the dishes in my family?" Me: "Who?" Ron: "Women." "Okay." -I continue washing dishes- -As he starts walking away he continues- "You know who else washes dishes? Fag--ts." So yeah, along with some other Ron's I've met, I don't have a great impression of them. This seems to be another case of "gay-bashing" by another Ron in my eyes.

you're thinking of Ron Swanson and Alan Alda.


There's a power imbalance here, so Ron's complaint is somewhat warranted. However, he wrote the bad review, has to live with it - and it Sounds like nothing is to be done about the swift winds situation, so its just a matter of public record.

Similarly, a critic who recently wrote a bad review of a Damien Hirst show was banned from the Tate, and on and on...

I didn't read this article, but I already know what it says: "I'm a academic writer and this other academic writer doesn't like me. You should follow me, anarchists!"

This is "our" version of the tabloids, and these lame ass dudes are our kardashians.

Hardly, the Kardashians are actually relatively important in the tabloid world. These guys are more like Courtney Stodden and Doug Hutchinson.


Ron Sakolsky is hardly an academic. He writes for anarchist zines (Fifth Estate, Modern Slavery, Green Anarchy etc.), publishes his own zine, and has had books on anarchist publishers including Autonomedia, Fifth Estate, and Eberhardt Press. He is 100% DIY and an anarchist.

What's this horseshit about what "other anarchists said about surrealism after WWII"?

Do ya have an opinion
A mind of your own

Since when does Ron Lebowski make books I thought he just got stoned in his bubbly bath and shit

This controversy is getting surreal.

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