“Michael Schmidt is a white nationalist trying to infiltrate the anarchist movement.”

Update (October 30) : Alexander Reid Ross and Joshua Stephens have finished publishing their exposé on Schmidt. It is serialised. About Schmidt: How a White Nationalist Seduced Anarchists Around the World (Chapter 1) | About Schmidt: How a White Nationalist Seduced Anarchists Around the World (Chapter 2) | About Schmidt: How a White Nationalist Seduced Anarchists Around the World (Chapter 3) | About Schmidt: How a White Nationalist Seduced Anarchists Around the World (Chapter 4) | About Schmidt: How a White Nationalist Seduced Anarchists Around the World (Chapter 5).

Update (September 29) : The Institute for Anarchist Theory and History (IATH) (Instituto de Teoria e História Anarquista (ITHA)) — of which Michael Schmidt is a member — have published a ‘Statement on AK Press versus Michael Schmidt Case / Declaração sobre o caso AK Press versus Michael Schmidt’ | (September 30) : Statement from Anarkismo on the AK Press accusations against Michael Schmidt.

Briefly:

Anarchist publisher + distributor AK Press has issued a public statement on the subject of Michael Schmidt, among other things the co-author of Black Flame: The Revolutionary Class Politics of Anarchism and Syndicalism (AK Press, 2009). According to AK Press, Schmidt, while posing as a revolutionary anarchist, is in reality “an undercover fascist” and “a white nationalist trying to infiltrate the anarchist movement.”

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As I see it, until such time as AK Press publishes its evidence — and Schmidt is given an opportunity to respond — it’s very difficult, if not impossible, to make a reasonable assessment of the situation. Nevertheless, some discussion has floated the possibility that Schmidt was moonlighting as a ‘national anarchist’. If so, this would be a case of ‘deep entrism’.

In any event, in Australia at least — and despite the best efforts of its chief promoter, Sydney-based businessman Welf Herfurth — ‘national anarchism’ appears to have been a largely abortive political project. Thus, other than arrange a handful of media stunts (see : When White nationalists attack! New Right @ Gaza solidarity rally, Sydney, November 24, December 7, 2012), ‘national anarchism’ has failed to establish itself as even a minor grouping on the far right. Indeed, one of Herfurth’s former acolytes, Scott Harrison, after taking a detour thru Creativity, eventually wound up as a Young Liberal (much to former Victorian premier Dennis Napthine’s embarrassment).

Obviously, there’s much more to come, but in the meantime note that ‘national anarchists’ are organising a conference to take place somewhere in Europe in 2017, at which Herfurth along with Troy Southgate, Keith Preston et al are scheduled to speak.

namcon

See also : ‘Co-opting the Counter Culture: Troy Southgate and the National Revolutionary Faction’ by Graham D. Macklin (May 30, 2009) | Rebranding Fascism: National-Anarchists, Spencer Sunshine, PublicEye.org, 2008 | Rising Above the Herd: Keith Preston’s Authoritarian Anti-Statism, Matthew N. Lyons, New Politics, April 29, 2011.

About @ndy

I live in Melbourne, Australia. I like anarchy. I don't like nazis. I enjoy eating pizza and drinking beer. I barrack for the greatest football team on Earth: Collingwood Magpies. The 2018 premiership's a cakewalk for the good old Collingwood.
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13 Responses to “Michael Schmidt is a white nationalist trying to infiltrate the anarchist movement.”

  1. ablokeimet says:

    Regardless of the truth or falsity of the allegations (all allegations of this nature must be treated seriously), I am very disappointed about the manner in which AK Press has conducted itself. Michael Schmidt has been a comrade held in high respect worldwide and his published works not only bear no trace of his alleged “white nationalist” proclivities (even in the form of strategically chosen areas of silence), but carry lines of argument that any white nationalist would have difficulty reading, let alone writing, without blowing a gasket. As Slackbastard says, it would be a case of very “deep entry” indeed. Because of this, allegations published without evidence do not have prima facie credibility and, at the very least, Michael should have been given the courtesy of a right of reply before AK Press went public.

    If the alleged evidence is made public in the near future, the Anarchist movement should swiftly establish a tribunal composed of people with the confidence of both Michael Schmidt and AK Press. That tribunal should investigate the allegations impartially, using the principles of natural justice, and publish its report, along with a record of its proceedings. If the evidence is not made public within two months, the tribunal should be established anyway and AK Press should be asked to hand the evidence over.

    Somebody is going to emerge out of this with their reputation destroyed. As yet, I cannot be certain who that is.

  2. Butt Darling says:

    Schmidt discredited himself with the Black Flame nonsense about trading-in Stirner & Proudhon for James Connolly & Bill Haywood. That was around 2009-11 when any sensible anarch distanced themselves from this bodysnatcher. Most did.

    Nothing to see here – move along…

  3. @ndy says:

    FWIW, Schmidt published the following statement yesterday …

    Two swallows don’t make a summer – Michael Schmidt’s reply to AK Press allegations, 27 September 2015

    Introduction

    Right up front I want to state that the hurtful allegations made against me by the AK Press Collective – that I have been masquerading as an anarchist while I am in fact a fascist – do not only have an impact on me, but directly damages more than two decades of hard work on behalf of the anarchist movement by my closest comrades. This is especially true of Prof Lucien van der Walt, my co-author of Black Flame, who has committed the past 15 years to researching and writing its as-yet unpublished sister volume, Global Fire, a huge synthesis of world anarchist organisational and ideological history. I must stress in the strongest possible terms that Lucien and others such as my comrades at the Institute for Anarchist Theory and History (IATH) in São Paulo, Brazil, https://ithanarquista.wordpress.com/ are entirely faultless in this affair and so cannot possibly be tarred with the same brush: the allegations relate solely to myself and to no-one else.

    Secondly, thanks for all the messages of support from my friends and comrades around the world, including those that have taken a “let’s hear the evidence first” approach, because that’s the polite way to do things. I initially thought AK Press had gone public without contacting me first, but on trawling through my alternate email I found a message from Zach Blue – so thanks to the AK Press Collective for attempting to alert me to the pending allegations.

    Researching the white ultra-right

    AK Press has yet to produce its evidence against me, but I know what it consists of. The allegations arise from a lengthy interview conducted with me by the writer Alexander “Sasha” Reid-Ross over June to August 2015. Sasha told me he was researching a book on that weird and worrying new entryist tendency called “national-anarchism” for publication by AK Press under the title Against the Fascist Creep (I have a record of the entire interview if needed). I expected that he had approached me because for some reason, Wikipedia cites me as a source on “national-anarchism” because of a paragraph extracted from a very long review of two brilliant books on South Asian anarchism by Maia Ramnath in which I say that Gandhi’s thought, far from being anarchist, appears more as a precursor to “that strange hybrid of recent years,” as I called it, “national anarchism”; the full review is online here: http://www.anarkismo.net/article/23404.

    It is definitely an unusual take on Gandhi, but it is obvious that I in no way support “national-anarchism” nor find it has anything in common with genuine anarchism. Bear in mind that the article was peer-reviewed by both Lucien van der Walt and the anarkismo editorial collective before being published. In any case, I was eager to assist and Sasha is very knowledgeable and a thorough researcher. I’m now not sure if he really is planning such a book, or whether he was simply tasked by AK Press with investigating allegations that I was involved with the “National Anarchist Movement,” but that is irrelevant to the issue at hand.

    The allegations have their origin with the fact that since 2005 until I shut it down recently, I maintained a profile on the white supremacist website Stormfront. Let me explain: I am an investigative journalist by profession and in 2005 was working at the Saturday Star in Johannesburg. My beat included extra-Parliamentary politics – social movements, trade unions, and political organisations from the ultra-left to the ultra-right. My editor Brendan Seery allowed me to set up a Stormfront account under which I could pose as a sympathetic fellow-traveller in order to keep an eye on what the white right-wing in South Africa was talking about: in other words, this was professionally vetted by my editor.

    For the next decade I kept my finger on the pulse of the right by reading and occasionally posting on Stormfront. Most of my posts were pretty neutral in tone, though I did have to take an essentially racist stance in order to fit in and not arouse suspicion: this was distasteful, but is part and parcel of doing undercover work. I have since shut the account down, but some of the results of my work on the white right are included in the first chapter of my new book, A Taste of Bitter Almonds, which is due out in November (see Background below); these make it clear that while I attempt to understand the white right, I am no friend of theirs.

    In 2009, with Black Flame published, I started researching contemporary claims to the anarchist label, including “anarcho-primitivism,” “post-anarchism” and “national-anarchism” for a section in the up-coming volume with Lucien van der Walt, Global Fire: the intent was to critique and discredit their claims to anarchist legitimacy, but I needed to get to know their materials properly first. I used my Stormfront profile to make contact with Troy Southgate, the founder of “national-anarchism”. In order to establish my bona fides with him and his circle, I established two false Facebook profiles, one of a woman, another of a man, and a blog purporting to be that of a Southern African “national-anarchist” outfit called Black Battlefront set up by the couple.

    I fleshed things out by inventing back-stories on the couple, the guy as a white Namibian, and the woman as a risk analyst of Ukrainian-American descent; I also had them write two detailed pieces, one a “Creed” of Black Battlefront in order for the false organisation to sound plausible in a “national-anarchist” context, and another a critique of Jared Diamond’s great book Guns, Germs and Steel, to establish the woman as a serious thinker who would be of interest to Southgate. This positioning allowed me to talk on a personal level with Southgate and his cronies and so round out my research.

    To be frank, though I readily admitted my Stormfront profile to Sasha, I lied to him about those profiles when he asked me because although I finished my research on “national-anarchism” more than a year ago, I still wanted to maintain the links to Southgate and his “National-Anarchist Movement” just in case – and the first rule of undercover work is you only tell who you absolutely need to, so I did not even tell my former comrades in the ZACF. Sorry for lying, Sasha, Lucien and the rest, but intense confidentiality is my practice as an investigative journalist; for example, in the 2000s, I never even discussed with my then-wife what I was working on until it was published (do I need to state that she’s an Indian woman and that she very kindly did the hard work of proof-reading Black Flame?). But now that my cover is blown, it makes no difference.

    My life took a dramatic turn for the worse in July 2010 when I was hospitalised with meningitis – and as a parting gift, the meningitis provoked a massive seizure that broke my spine in five places. In the aftermath of that, I spent a month in hospital, mostly in a delirium caused by the virus and the medication. In the subsequent months, due to heavy pain medication and perhaps some brain damage caused by the meningitis/seizure, my memory is patchy about what I posted online under my Stormfront and Facebook aliases – Sasha questioned me in detail about this period, but, for example, I remember absolutely nothing about the entire first month out of hospital when I was apparently cared for by some friends (thanks, guys, but my mind is still a blank!). Although I initially thought my account had been hacked, because I couldn’t remember making some of the posts, I now accept that I must have posted what is there.

    In any case, as a result of one of those posts in that period, in 2011 some anarchist comrades came across a Black Battlefront link to my Stormfront profile and in shock recognised my face. My ZACF comrades hauled me onto the red carpet and grilled me about this – and rightly so! I admitted to them that the Stormfront profile was mine, but explained that it had been vetted by my editor and that I still used it for research; I did not admit to the Facebook profiles because a few months before, a good friend had confessed to me that for years she had worked as an agent for the National Intelligence Agency (NIA), actually being paid to be the girlfriend of one of our comrades, to keep an eye on us; I could not risk my penetration of the “National-Anarchist Movement” becoming known in activist circles in case other NIA agents got wind of it and used the information for their own ends. Nevertheless, the ZACF accepted my explanation. What AK Press has now discovered, I believe, based on Sasha’s questions, is exactly what the ZACF discovered back in 2011; I infiltrated the far-right; it did not infiltrate me!

    Background: my position on race & nationalism

    I won’t detail my anarchist activism, save to say that in 1992 I joined what became the Durban Anarchist Federation (DAF) in 1993 – while apartheid was still in force and I was ducking the Military Police who were trying to force me into part-time military service – and was in Chiapas in 1996 as a DAF delegate, then switched to the anarcho-syndicalist Workers’ Solidarity Federation (WSF) in 1997, following its key comrades into the Bikisha Media Collective in 1999 when the WSF disbanded, and again into the Zabalaza Anarchist Communist Federation (ZACF) when it was founded in 2003, taking with me the Anarchist Black Cross (South Africa) which I founded in 2002. It goes without saying that all these organisations were multi-racial and anti-fascist.

    After two decades of activism in black working class and poor townships, I resigned from the ZACF in 2009 to focus on my research and writing. Apart from numerous Workers’ Solidarity and Zabalaza journal and online http://www.anarkismo.net articles, which serve to affirm my anti-racist credentials, my published books are:

    1) Anarquismo Búlgaro em Armas (Brazil, 2008). This, on the Bulgarian Anarchist Communist Federation over 1919-1948, is the first in a series looking at anarchist mass movements that defended themselves by force of arms. The next in the series will be on Uruguay in 1956-1985, and on Manchuria in 1929-1945 – which shows that not all such movements were “white”.

    2) Black Flame: the Revolutionary Class Politics of Anarchism and Syndicalism (AK Press, USA, 2009), with Lucien van der Walt. A controversial attempt to discover the coherent heart of anarchist theory by looking at the historical record, it has been translated into German (Nautilus, Germany, 2012), and translations are pending in Spanish, French and Greek. This book remains my core statement of political belief and I have not wavered from it (note the positions in Chapter 10 in particular on the intersections of race, nationalism and class, which are profoundly anarchist). Its unpublished sister volume Global Fire stresses the practical internationalism of the anarchist movement and its practical engagement with race and national liberation particularly in Africa, the Middle East, Latin America, Oceania and Asia.

    3) Cartography of Revolutionary Anarchism (AK Press, USA, 2013), which is the English translation of the French original (Lux Éditeur, Canada, 2012). This is in some ways a pocket version of Black Flame & Global Fire together: a potted history of the international anarchist movement in five waves from 1868, it stresses the multi-ethnic, transnational nature of the movement across the decades and is unique for its non-Western scope.

    4) Drinking with Ghosts: the Aftermath of Apartheid’s Dirty War (BestRed, South Africa, 2014). This looks at the continuing damage done by the legacy of apartheid transnationally in Southern Africa – it avoids most local books’ narrow nationalist perspective and is explicitly anarchist in perspective.

    5) A Taste of Bitter Almonds: Perdition and Promise in the New South Africa (BestRed, South Africa, due November 2015). This takes the controversial position that the corporate entity that is “South Africa” was established on the bones of the genocide of First Nations people here, stresses the multi-ethnic and mixed-race nature of all South Africans including myself, and consists of interviews across the country with the poor and excluded, mostly black, majority from an anarchist perspective.

    Conclusion

    Two swallows don’t make a summer, and the fact that I maintained a Stormfront profile and some fake Facebook accounts does not make me a fascist: they need to be seen in their proper context of my exhaustive research into the international anarchist movement over the past 15 years – work that is pretty much unique in terms of the breadth and depth of its non-Western (ie: non-white) materials. In 26 years of paid journalism and 23 years of unpaid anarchist activism, I don’t believe I’ve ever written an article that had even a whiff of white supremacy, fascism or racism to it – yet I do realise I am saying this as a white South African who continues to benefit directly from centuries of institutional racism. I won’t make any claim about how many b[l]ack friends I have, but the fact is that my most beloved friends and comrades hail from diverse cultures across the planet. I truly hope that this response is taken by those friends and my comrades at AK Press in a constructive spirit and that, even if we only finally manage [to] agree to disagree over my methods of research, at least then part with no ill feelings.
    Red & Black regards
    Michael Schmidt
    [ENDS]

  4. Futilitarian says:

    Hmm, seems like a possible case of hurling accusations before all the evidence is in. A tribunal of inquiry, however, with Ablokeimet as lead interrogator, should sort out the wheat from the chaff.

  5. Butt Darling says:

    FANTASTIC IDEA – kind of a reverse cadaver-synod. Andy might even be called as an expert witness as he’s already been mentioned in despatches at An-news. Such a tribunal could even become a model for best practise dispute resolution, moving forward.

    ” The past is not dead – it’s not even past ” – William Faulkner

  6. @ndy says:

    Another statement by MS on AK FB pg …

    ======

    Because of AK Press’ charge that I am some kind of closet white supremacist, in addition to my response on their Facebook page, I should perhaps add the following unpaid voluntary work I do, all of which is distinctly multiracial in character:

    1) I sit on the Station Oversight Board of Radio Freedom, a project of Zimbabwean NGO Media & Technology Trust (MTT), run by Taurai Mabhachi, to get more than 10 community radio stations on-air in Zimbabwe; the project includes white and black Zimbabweans and South Africans – activists, lawyers, journalists, clergy – concerned about the lack of grassroots information to ordinary people living under the Zimbabwean autocracy;

    2) I am the founder and current administrative secretary of the Professional Journalists’ Association of South Africa (ProJourn), which has a multiracial support base of more than 3,500 journalists, and of its Ulu Club for Southern African Conflict Journalists which is, again, of its nature, multiracial and transnational. I am extremely passionate about safety training for field journalists, especially local-hire freelance media workers across Africa who are the most vulnerable in conflict zones (and I have worked in conflict and post-conflict situations in SA, Lesotho, DRC, Guatemala, Chiapas, Darfur, Mozambique, and Lebanon, and have trained journalists in safety in countries such as Egypt, Mexico and the Solomon Islands – hardly “white” countries).

    3) I am the convenor of the South African Cities of Refuge Project, which is a joint project with writers’ guild SA Pen to get the SA cities of Johannesburg and Cape Town and the university towns of Stellenbosch and Grahamstown on board the International Cities of Refuge Network http://www.icorn.org, a network of more than 50 cities that provide safe haven to persecuted journalists and writers from Latin America, Africa, Asia, the Middle East, as well as elsewhere (Belarus, Ukraine). This is a huge project of my heart, partly self-funded – because these people have all been jailed, have mostly been tortured and yet are some of the loveliest leading lights of their countries’ pro-democratic movements. I have made very close friends among ICORN “Guest Writers” from Iran, Egypt, Kenya, Algeria and Morocco, and I am excited that we are close to securing philanthropic funding for this project.

    4) I am the joint curator with Lebanese Arab writer Rasha Salti of a project in planning to be called Not Night, but an Absence of Stars, which will be an online interactive multilingual multimedia memorial to the victims of torture, murder and disappearance by state forces globally.

    That list even more than my writing betrays my obsessions with transnational liberation-oriented anti-state projects and the protection of the vulnerable of all colours.

    Red & Black regards
    Michael

    ======

  7. ablokeimet says:

    Futilitarian: “A tribunal of inquiry, however, with Ablokeimet as lead interrogator, should sort out the wheat from the chaff.”

    No, I prefer an adversarial system, with advocates for the prosecution and the defence, conducted according to the principles of natural justice. Like the capitalist courts pretend to be, but without the hypocritical class bias.

    And there are bound to be plenty of comrades better qualified to preside than I am.

  8. Butt Darling says:

    I too advocate for the judge-jury model over the Inquisitorial model as a general rule, and the presumption of innocence. And whatever results from this accusation, I’m going to keep accusing Schmidt (& De Walt) of graverobbing for a narrow view of anarchism that should have died a natural death around 1959.
    Black Flame needs to be pulped.

  9. Futilitarian says:

    Ablokeimet, you’re way too modest. I think you’d do a splendid job. Your judgement would be a joy to read. I would suggest, though, that an inquisitorial system, since it’s all about establishing the objective facts of a situation, would be the way to go. An adversarial system, because of the intensely competitive pressures inherent in it, has a tendency to produce a bit too much rhetoric and bullshit, and hence favours defendants whose advocates are more skilled. I suggest that an international convocation of delegates from anarchist groups of all countries be held to decide on the type of legal system to be employed in this matter.

  10. @ndy says:

    I’ve (briefly) looked and Schmidt makes at least two direct refs to ‘national anarchism’ in his writings. The first is contained in a review of Maia Ramnath’s Decolonizing Anarchism: an Antiauthoritarian History of India’s Liberation Struggle (AK Press, USA, 2012) and her Haj to Utopia: How the Ghadar Movement Charted Global Radicalism and Attempted to Overthrow the British Empire (California World History Library, USA, 2011) in which he rejects the application of the term ‘fascist’ to describe ‘national anarchism’, instead presenting it as an ideology which “fuses radical decentralism, anti-hegemonic anti-statism (and often anti-capitalism), with a strong self-determinist thrust that stresses cultural-ethnic homogeneity with a traditional past justifying a radical future.”

    “Moreover, the mainstream of the anarchist tradition is rationalist, and thus opposed to the state-bulwarking mystification of most organised religion, whereas Gandhian Sarvodaya explicitly promoted Hinduism as part of its uncritical embrace of traditionalism. So what do we make of Gandhi himself? Speaking plainly, I do not like Gandhi because I am a militant anti-militarist who believes that pacifism enables militarism. I am very suspicious of Gandhi’s central role in midwifing the Indian state. On balance, in his völkisch nationalist decentralism, I would argue for him to be seen as something of a forebearer of “national anarchism,” that strange hybrid of recent years. Misdiagnosed by most anarchists as fascist, “national anarchism” fuses radical decentralism, anti-hegemonic anti-statism (and often anti-capitalism), with a strong self-determinist thrust that stresses cultural-ethnic homogeneity with a traditional past justifying a radical future; this is hardly “fascism” or a rebranding of “fascism,” for what is fascism without the state, hierarchy and class, authoritarianism, and the führer-principle?”

    http://www.anarkismo.net/article/23404 (July 17, 2012)

    The second ref is contained in another article he wrote for anarkismo on the subject of the ‘Revolutionary Confederation of Anarcho-Syndicalists – “Nestor Makhno” (RKAS)’ in which he disputes the characterisation of the RKAS by an IWA correspondent as a ‘platformist party and psychosect’ and further:

    “The nameless IWA correspondent went further in their accusations, however, reporting that public debates took place between RKAS militants and “neo-fascists” in the city of Voronezh, adding the news of the “participation of its [RKAS] representatives [in the] Kiev Congress of National-‘Communists’ and National-‘Anarchists’ in the summer of 2012”. But this may merely demonstrate that RKAS was unafraid to debate its positions with all political factions in order to win the battle of ideas and create militants – in its Programme, the RKAS position was explicit, that its militants undertook to “fight against nationalism in all its manifestations, against fascism, militarism, clericalism and other anti-human movements and phenomena.” Hardly the position of an organisation friendly to national-Bolshevism or national-anarchism. Again, let’s not forget that the original Makhnovists, while driven by specific anarchist-communist cores, were a hetereogenous organisation of the revolutionary left: and here is perhaps the only confusion in their structure, between mimicking Makno’s specifically anarchist-communist GAK organisation of tendency, and the mixed organisation of class of the Makhnovists themselves.”

    http://www.anarkismo.net/article/27678 (December 5, 2014)

    In a comment on that article, Schmidt writes:

    ” … I am disappointed at the slur against me personally. It’s dishonest to claim that I somehow “so often” circle around the issues of “national anarchism, ‘clanism’ and the like”, when in more than two decades of anarchist activism that includes three books and scores of essays I have never *once* written on such issues – unless you mean my 2008 critique of what I disparagingly called “nostalgic tribalism” in the Zabalaza journal. A swallow does not a summer make, and a *single sentence* extracted by Wikipedia from my 8,000-word review of Maia Ramnath’s books in which I say that Gandhi comes across as a forerunner of national anarchism (which I call a “strange hybrid”) cannot be taken as proof of your claim. If you are going to make incendiary allegations, at least be grown up enough to use your real name.”

    Apart from anything else, titling his pre-emptive response to AK Press and Ross’s as-yet unpublished case against him ‘two swallows does not a summer make’ makes more sense in this context; further, on the subject of ‘national anarchism’, Schmidt has obviously not availed himself of either Graham Macklin’s 2005 essay ‘Co-opting the Counterculture: Troy Southgate and the National Revolutionary Faction’ or Spencer Sunshine’s 2008 essay ‘Rebranding Fascism’ — a fact which strikes me as being slightly odd …

  11. Butt Darling says:

    Schmidt’s handling of the lengthy Stormfront episode looks a little dodgy – like he lied to comrades.
    Perhaps a set of judges or a jury might find that no one allegation is serious enough – but taken as a whole they are.
    This would be like a case decided on circumstantial evidence.

    Also defining ‘fascist’ broadly as ‘unacceptable’, I submit the Black Flame book under that category as burying Stirner & Proudhon & digging up the corpses of several syndicalists to replace them is repugnant & borderline insanity.

    If Lucien De Walt gets roped in here then that’s bad luck for him, too. What were they thinking!?

  12. @ndy says:

    From Chapter Two:

    … Schmidt, of course, has claimed that this elaborate, circuitous trail — as often confused as confusing — was ultimately nothing more than an investigative ruse carried out for the purposes of journalism. Setting aside the correspondence between the sentiments of his allegedly undercover persona and his own publicly-stated beliefs, and his bizarre attributions to conspiratorial counter-intelligence operations and selective amnesia, there is nothing in his online activity that, in principle, anyway, conflicts with a (perhaps staggeringly overzealous) long-con for the sake of investigation.

    Only, it wasn’t.

    When we tracked down Brendan Seery — the editor Schmidt claims authorized his journalistic foray into the depths of the white-nationalist internet — he seemed bewildered by Schmidt’s story. “Mike did work for us as a senior reporter and on a number of big stories,” he told us. “[A]nd because of his seniority and the way newspapers work, I would not have to give him permission at all to investigate. That would be something a good investigative journalist would do off his own bat.”

    Schmidt having laid oversight at Seery’s feet aside, it was never likely Seery would’ve authorized such an undertaking, if only because gathering information through deception, while standard for police, is at odds with basic journalistic standards. “My style as an editor is that journalists should be as upfront as possible in order to get a story with subterfuge only as a last resort,” Seery told us. “If, however, you mean that we ordered or gave permission to him to pose as a right-winger, then I certainly don’t recall that.”

    Since Seery ran the Saturday Star until 2007, after Schmidt left and after the Stormfront account went up, there’s zero chance that a subsequent, incoming editor approved Schmidt’s alleged project.

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