Tag Archives: national anarchism

Under the Radar: The Neo-Folk Band “Changes” And Their Open Fascism

changes2

The anti-fascist tradition, starting in the interwar period in Europe and Japan, and moving through the nationalist insurrections in the decades that followed, have always created a difficulty of adaptation.  American fascist organizations have often been built on deeply American traditions like Christianity, U.S. patriotism, and the legacy of the Confederate south.  This has created a uniquely American form of far-right organizing, that still had cultural connections to the mainstream GOP and socially conservative culture.  It is the shift away from this in the contemporary fascist incarnations that has confused many people on the anti-fascist left, especially as the syncretic nature of adaptive contemporary fascism comes forward.  Involving itself in deep green movements, animal rights, anti-capitalism, and other social movements usually associated with the left, this fascist kernel takes on these social issues, yet for many different reasons that those on the radical left.

Where this breaks even further is the growing far-right cultural sphere that looks more like the rainbow gathering than a Klan rally.  The shift towards Euro-paganism because of its assumed “European ethnic” core, as well as much of the music and art that is associated with this revival.  It is through this that the musical current of Neo-Folk and related genres have become a difficult place for those in the music underground as far-right elements have become the most vocal members of the scene, using the music as a way of focusing on a romantic and mystical reading of European history.  There have been obvious controversies as anti-fascists shut down appearances of Neo-Folk bands like Death in June and Sol Invictus, who draw so clearly on the traditionalist fascist right that is hard to argue with, but many others go under the radar.  One of these is the band Changes, who has ridden the fence enough to be accepted in both political camps.  At least until recently.

The question of Neo-Folk and the fascist right is a more complicated one, but the ability to identify the bands in question are not.  Changes has a much longer history than most of these bands, all the way back to the American flower child year of 1969.  Made up of Nicholas Tesluk and the better known Robert Taylor, the music has been so closely aligned with the resurrection of Germanic Heathenry that they helped to set the template to the cultural influence on the musical movement.

When looking at their history it looks like most narratives of middling bands with moderate followings, until you are able to see enough spots that drive out questions.  Their recent history outlines a more explicit connection to the traditionalist far-right, as well as folksih Heathenry.  In 2013 the Asatru Folk Assembly and their most vocal member, Stephen McNallen, hosted a music festival called Stella Natura.  This was essentially to be a music festival to reflect the cultural influence and ideas at play in the AFA, which are racial and ethnic identity tied to European history and aesthetics.  There were a couple of dozen bands, mainly made up of musical backgrounds that have some problematic associations like Viking Metal and Neo-Folk, including people like Hell, Cauldron Black Ram, and Hail.  Changes was also in the line-up there, with Stephen McNallen elevating them from the rest of the list by performing a Heathen blot as an announcement for their taking of the stage.

Out of the two members, Robert N. Taylor has been the most vocally problematic as he has continued to associate himself with racially defined movements.  In 2006 he was quoted in Chronicles of Chaos as saying “None of this had any real connection to integration or peace between races.  Integration did not occur – flight of the whites occurred.  It has no secret that once blacks predominated in an area, the crime rate would soar and the streets would become dangerous to walk.”  Taylor has made a name for himself in the right-wing music press for inflammatory comments that certainly cannot be misread.  In Stigmata, which is a well known racial Neo-Folk publication, he discussed his involvement with the neo-fascist “Minuteman” organization in the early 1960s.

Minutemen drew from the full scope of those on the right. From “Barry Goldwater” type conservatives, Objectivists and libertarians, anti-communists, constitutionalists, Christian Identity, neo-Fascists, Nazis, gun-owner advocates, etc..”

“My involvement in the Minutemen was considerable. I became a member of the newly formed organization at about 14 years old. I first was a member, then became the principle organizer and leader in the Chicago area. Then I became a member of the Executive council of ten as the director of intelligence. By the time I was 24 years old I was the editor of the organization’s publication, On Target as well as the national spokesman for the group. My involvement lasted through most of the years of the organization’s existence.”

What made On Target uniquely different from other anti-communist or right-wing publications was that in addition to articles and commentary on various current issues, it also contained names, addresses and phone numbers of its assumed communist and liberal enemies. Often literal dossiers on such people were featured. Combine the slogan, cross-hair masthead, and such detailed information on perceived enemies, and the potential threat was implied, without ever being actually stated.”

“We have studied your Communist smirch, Mao, Che, Bhukarin. We have learned our lessons well and have added a few homegrown Yankee tricks of our own. Before you start your next smear campaign, before you murder again, before you railroad another patriot into a mental institution…better think it over. See the old man at the corner where you buy your paper? He may have a silencer equipped pistol under his coat. That extra fountain pen in the pocket of your insurance salesman that calls on you might be a cyanide-gas gun. What about your milkman? Arsenic works slow but sure. Your auto mechanic may stay up nights studying booby-traps. These patriots are not going to let you take their freedom away from them. They have learned the silent knife, the strangler’s chord, the target rifle that hits sparrows at 200 yards. Only their leaders restrain them. Traitors beware! Even now the cross-hairs are on the back of your necks…”

In the early 1960s, both of the members joined the Chicago Minutemen, which was a far-right militia dedicated to combating the “communist threat.”  This meant that at the same time that the hippie “back to the land” movement helped to birth much of their fan base, they were taking on a popularization of post-WWII racialism.

Like many in this community, Julius Evola’s poetically racist spirituality is both a philosophical and artistic inspiration.  In their 2013 tour they referenced Evola’s ideas and rhetoric in subtle ways, going as far as to take the title of Evola’s book Ride the Tiger as the name for their tour.    They went on to reference the Kali Yuga at the bottom of tour posters, a reference to what Evola listed as a degenerate “fourth age” where by the proper roles and social hierarchies are no longer in effect and the world needs to be destroyed.  This is the defining idea for their “anti-modernism,” a term and idea that flows through their work and the rest of the Neo-Folk fringe.

They have had a community of support that strays far from conventional music connections to those that alternate between organizing, writing, and using music as a venue for ideas of Social Darwinism and Blood and Soil nationalism.  Blood Axis’ Michael Moynihan, who has his hands every fascist esoteric tradition from militaristic Odinism to Satanic Fascism associated with Charles Manson veneration, produced one of their albums.  They continued relationships with the far-right Neo-Folk edge musicians like Andrew King from Sol Invictus, Allerseen, and David E. Williams.

With all of these associations, why is it that Changes continues to appear in folk music circles where left-wing politics tend to dominate?  Well this has happened by general intent in Changes where they intend to play on the obscurity of many references and outright lying about associations.  They often do not refer to Michael Moynihan by name on their promotional material, and they do not usually have the cultural and social following of the more radical edge of the music scene like people like Death in June do.  That being said, the politics are up front if you are looking for them.  Again, in Chronicles of Chaos, they listed that there was confusion about their positions in the past, but today the audience is more in line:

“In the early to mid ’70s the audiences were alright, but I doubt that most of them knew what our music was all about. The folk music scene was pervaded with leftists at that time, both as performers and as audiences. That has radically changed. It was as if Changes had to wait over thirty years to find the real audience it had been seeking all those years.” 

This does not mean that they have gone entirely unnoticed as anti-fascists have repeatedly had them removed from their platform.  In Chicago, Changes had their concert with Death in June canceled after their positions were discovered.  The venue The Green Note canceled their show, noting “if there is any truth to the extreme political views held by the members of Changes, these run in contrast to our beliefs and we felt unable to go ahead with the show.”

Robert Taylor in Front of a Germanic Rune
Robert Taylor in Front of a Germanic Rune

We come back to the band Changes here because of one of their most recent show announcements.  Robert Taylor, on his own, will be performing in the evening portion of the white nationalist National Policy Institute.  This is an appropriate setting as NPI often makes up the more “alternative” cultural side of white nationalism, that often meets up with the European New Right and is attended by friends of theirs like Stephen McNallen.  At this conference there will be speeches by the “who’s who” of movements like Men’s Rights, white nationalism, pan-Europeanism, National Anarchism, and folksih spirituality.  In this new world of bizarre ideas trying to act as religious and intellectual justifications for racial hatred and separatism, Taylor’s obscure references and dark musical edge create an aesthetic fence that allows them to further obscure their own image.  This allows them to just seem like “controversial” or “alternative” ideas rather than what they are: the same racists and fascists that we have had to deal with since WWII.  While Taylor may couch these ideas in talk of nature and ancestors, the key issues are the same as those who have been burning crosses and attacking minorities.  We cannot let their style and cultural status obscure the issue, and their appearance at NPI should be the last straw for anti-fascists.

With that we should return to the Anti-Fascist Action principle: No Platform.  They will not be allowed in our venues, their music and voices not allowed in our spaces.

Special thanks to Who Makes the Nazis for so much of their research on Changes, which we used as part of this report.

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People and Organizations Speak Out on Michael Schmidt Accusations

As we collectively wait for the longer article discussing the recent allegations that well known anarchist author Michael Schmidt has also been working as an active white nationalist, the dialogue all around the board has become confusing.  Schmidt’s book Black Flame has been important in “red and black” anarchist circles, and he has certainly been known and trusted by many inside of organizing circles.  The revelation that he could very well be joining the South African reactionary front is frightening, and people are reeling.

The global Anarkismo network, which ties together various “platformist” and “especifist” anarchist organizations released a statement on the issue, though it should be said that this does not necessarily reflect the opinion of all of the organizations or individuals involved with the project.

The international Anarkismo Network, which brings together class struggle anarchist organisations from more than a dozen countries in both the global South and North, and has relations with far more from across the globe, has noted with great surprise and concern the recent accusations by AK Press that Michael Schmidt is a fascist working undercover to infiltrate the anarchist movement [1].

Michael Schmidt has been a regular and long-standing contributor to Anarkismo.net and, in the past, has sat on its editorial and delegates groups. If these accusations are proven to be true Anarkismo will take immediate and appropriate action to ban him from posting on the website, as well as to guard against any possible future infiltration.

Before we can make any pronouncements on the matter, however, we need to carefully examine both the AK Press evidence, the article by Alexander Reid Ross, as well as Michael Schmidt’s response to the evidence and article. As a network Anarkismo has not taken sides, and will not accuse the accuser or the accused before there is more information and all the evidence has been presented. Both sides will have to explain themselves thoroughly first and be available for answering any serious questions about the information.

However, we must be clear that we feel the way in which AK Press has dealt with the matter is irresponsible and prejudicial, judging and condemning Michael Schmidt without presenting any evidence, and without allowing him the right to defend himself, or to respond to the article before making the public announcement of 25 September 2015.

Both sides must be given a fair chance to have their say.

The Anarkismo Network therefore demands that the alleged “incontrovertible evidence” be released by AK Press with immediate effect, and not to refer us to the journalist: since AK Press itself has endorsed the position, it must take responsibility for the proof.

We furthermore demand that AK Press unconditionally and explicitly state, also with immediate effect, that its allegations refer to Michael Schmidt alone, and not to any publishers, co-authors, editors, left organisations or currents with which Michael Schmidt may have been associated.

We urge AK Press to publish Michael Schmidt’s official responses on its newswires and sites, as we believe that he has the right to defend himself.

Schmidt has been active in the Anarkismo project, publishing quite a bit of original work there over the years and interacting with many of the member organizations.

The Institute for Anarchist Theory and History took a somewhat stronger stance in support of Schmidt, mainly citing the lack of evidence presented along with the accusations.

The Institute for Anarchist Theory and History (IATH) – a multinational research project currently based in the Global South (Brazil and South Africa) – heard the shocking AK Press accusation (Sept. 25th, 2015) that Michael Schmidt, one of our members, is supposedly an “undercover fascist”. AK Press states that they have “received and compiled” what they “consider to be incontrovertible evidence that Michael Schmidt is a white nationalist trying to infiltrate the anarchist movement”.

This statement was made without presenting any supporting evidence. It is only stated that a person called Alexander Reid Ross “will soon be publishing an article that presents all the details in a more comprehensive manner.”

The allegations came as enormous and terrible surprise. We would like in this statement to point out some of the measures we have already taken to deal with this matter, and to note some concerns regarding the manner in which the matter is being handled by AK Press.

Michael Schmidt is, at this moment, on a leave of absence from the IATH to allow him, and the IATH, to deal adequately with the matter. He will be on leave to prepare his defense, and will remain so until the IATH Council has taken a final position.

We will only make our final statement on the matter after carefully analyzing the AK Press evidence (not presented yet) and Michael Schmidt’s responses.

We cannot proceed further without criticizing the way in which AK Press has acted. AK Press has already tried, condemned and sentenced Michael Schmidt (in a “juridical” sense). They alone received and compiled the evidence, interpreted it, reached judgment and sentenced Michael Schmidt by cancelling his upcoming book, and by putting out of print two previous books in which he was involved.

All this was done without presenting evidence to the public, and without allowing him the right to defend himself.[2] We think that these measures – which are guaranteed in the most basic of the “democratic” states that we so regularly criticize – must surely be guaranteed in any model of libertarian “justice.”

The result should have been foreseen. Hundreds of people have shared AK Press Facebook’s sentencing, and individuals and organizations have reproduced it. Michael Schmidt has been publicly condemned, with no evidence presented, and no opportunity to defend himself.

We are not here, to defend one side, or the other. We believe that we will only be able to do so once all the evidence has been presented by AK Press and by Michael Schmidt in his responses.

But we would like to appeal to people in the “libertarian milieu” to proceed in the same way, taking into account the basic ethics that we believe anyone, who claims to be an anarchist, should uphold.

To minimize the damage, we insist that AK Press immediately make public the evidence it used so that we, and others, can analyze the case and take a definite, well informed and evidence-based position.

Likewise, the Anarchist Federation out of the UK was less confident in Schmidt, and reminds people that this situation with Schmidt should be a ‘wake up call’ about infiltration and ultra-right ideas.  But this only lasted a moment, as they actually pulled the article they originally posted and replaced it with the line:

This article has been removed at this time on the back of internal discussions within the AF and communications with the ZACF. We should have an updated version of this article available shortly.

What this really says is that people are hesitant to roundly remove Schmidt from their community until they have hard proof, which is a reasonable position to take.

Schmidt uses several different Facebook accounts, with various different names ranging from his taken name(Michael Schmidt), to other aliases.  On one of these he has posted responses to the AK Press accusations, as well as going deeper into how the issue was raised and how it was handled in the Zabalaza Anarchist Communist Front.  On these Facebook threads, members of the Third Positionist National Revolution chimed in, which was alarming since they were clearly friends with Schmidt.

This seemed especially noteworthy after a fake page was created for AK Press that posted a long message saying that they retracted the accusations against Schmidt and have begun to see the “revolutionary potential” of National Anarchism.  This is untrue, Schmidt’s books are remaining out of print at AK Press and there is no reason to believe that they will ever support decentralist fascist movements like National Anarchism.

Schmidt, in his large response to the accusations, said he thought that he was being interviewed by Alexander Reid Ross, who exposed this news, because he was listed as a source on Wikipedia about National Anarchism.  The quote, which he was surprised was used as a source for this encyclopedia page, was taken from an article he did for Anarkismo.  This line does sound somewhat sympathetic towards National Anarchism, but at the very least is uninformed about the way that National Anarchism actually plays into the ideological legacy of third positionist fascism.

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?

We know that there is a Stormfront account run by Michael Schmidt, though he stated that this was used for research for his position as a reporter.  The account, which is called Karelianblue, has a great number of extremely racist posts, going far beyond what appears to be reasonable research.  There are also posts about the National Anarchist organization that he is accused of starting called Black Battlefront.

Black Battlefront is a racially-aware, anti-racist revolutionary cadre network of White African politico-social soldiers defending our unique culture, under the anarchist black flag! We are pan-secessionist militants who staunchly oppose Boer Genocide and we work for the establishment of White African base area communities in South Africa and Namibia (in particular, but also elsewhere in Africa) where we can live out our cultural prerogatives unmolested by the Black majority. We take our inspiration from militants and cultural warriors of the calibre of Nestor Makhno, Kai Murros, Jim Goad and Troy Southgate. Interested people can apply to join our facebook group and if we believe you are genuine, we’ll sign you up.

Now, the group mentioned was stated to be a fake by Schmidt used to get him closer to members of National Anarchist movements, but the double-sided politics displayed here looks more like an honest attempt to form this group than a total artifice.

These various connections should not be used as a hard evidence of Schmidt’s connection to the larger “alt fascist” movement, but they are creating a general confusion about what is true and showing that there is certainly an organized right-wing contingent that is holding a stake in Schmidt’s place in the anarchist movement.  Schmidt has been using social media since the accusations came forward to constantly post articles and photos about anti-fascist traditions and issues that are relevant to a multiracial South Africa.

One notable absence from this discourse is Lucien van Der Walt, Schmidt’s co-author of Black Flame.  He very well may just be staying out of the discussion until more clear evidence is made available, which may be a smart position to take.  Many have thrown out accusations that he knew about Schmidt’s alleged association with the far-right, but this is really just hearsay at this point.

Any evidence about Schmidt’s connections to the far right has yet to be released, so for those who are unsure of what to do in this situation will have to wait a bit longer until the large expose is released.  Right now there are forums everywhere that are becoming heated arguments taking sides on the issue.  We prefer to say that it remains to be seen, though we respect the people making the accusations as well as Schmidt’s right to respond to them.

Michael Schmidt Responds to Allegations of White Nationalism

In the last few days, those in anarchist, platformist, syndicalist, and related circles have been reeling from the accusations from AK Press that their Black Flame author, Michael Schmidt, is a closet white nationalist.  The accusations were made while they were getting ready to publish the sequel to Black Flame, Global Fire, which he would begin book tours on shortly.  As of yet the main evidence has not been made available as the author, Alexander Reid Ross, is still working on the story.  Since then many organizations have put out responses, with many asking for evidence before taking the accusations as fact.

In response, Michael Schmidt responded to the accusations directly with a lengthy statement outlining a defense to these accusations.  He states plainly and without ambiguity that the claims are untrue and a misreading of the ‘evidence.´

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 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 back 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 agree to disagree over my methods of research, at least then part with no ill feelings.
Red & Black regards
Michael Schmidt

The rumors and evidence pieces are numerous at this point, but without a coherent claim we will just say that the accusations have been made by trusted sources, but we have yet to see exactly what is being accused.