the strange case of dr. johnny and mr. drury (2011)

pdf: Aufheben’s cop consultant Oct 23rd 2011

Aufheben’s
Crowd Controlling Cop Consultant:
The Strange Case Of
Dr. Johnny And Mr. Drury

(see also the later text Cop-Out…)

(Originally published by me, in a bowdlerised form, on Libcom Blog, in mid-October 2011; this final version was produced as a pdf on October 23rd. 2011)

A Case Study In Strange Contradictions – being also a pretext for developing a critique of Psychologism, Academia, Theoreticians and other aspects of the contradictions we live…

john.drury

dr j mr h various images“…whichever of one’s multiple identities is salient in relation to the identities of others present.”
– Dr. John Drury: http://www.sussex.ac.uk/affiliates/panic .

Johnny, involved in the publication of Aufheben ever since its inception in the early ’90s, is openly giving lectures on crowd control to the British cops and has written for            Jane’s Police Review (see “Chaos Theory”) giving them advice on controlling political demonstrations. This guy also proudly states that his insights, and that of his fellow social psychologists, have been used by the Cabinet Office and by NATO

Dr. Johnny:
Life Is What You Fake It

Johnny, to those who know him, defended by Aufheben (http://libcom.org/library/response-tptg) – has probably lied to his Aufheben comrades (footnote 1) – who have been willing dupes – who have then passed on his lies to libcom, who have also been willing dupes – both of them not seriously checking the facts, basically taking Dr.Johnny’s word for it all. When someone is asked if they’re doing something utterly repugnant they innocently reply, putting on their most wide-eyed angelic face and shrugging, “What? Me? I’m as pure as the driven snow, guv – honest”. Now most people wouldn’t take that any more at face value than they would if it was Tony Blair who said it. But, amazingly, it seems that some of those with the pretension to having a well-developed radical critique of this world in fact have the naivety of a 5-year-old.
The proof is here in the ‘Chaos Theory’ article. No need to know the hearsay evidence, the private emails and secret gossip that Aufheben, and libcom admin in their blind faith, have had the pretentious nerve to attribute to others (particularly the TPTG): the facts are all here on the internet.

There is no way that this article can be passed off (as Dr.Johnny has tried to do with other articles) as something written for an academic journal in which his name appeared just because he happened to be part of the research team and naively failed to ask for it to be removed. This was clearly written for Jane’s Police Review to provide advice on how to improve cop crowd control.
So now we know that not only has Dr.Johnny openly given lectures on crowd control to the British cops in Knowledge-based Public Order Policing: Principles and Practice (also available here if you pay for it) but he has also written for Jane’s Police Review (http://www.policereview.com/) designed mainly for cops and those who work with them, giving them advice on controlling political demonstrations. This guy, as the TPTG have pointed out, also proudly states (http://www.sussex.ac.uk/profiles/92858) that his insights, and that of his fellow social psychologists, have been used by the Cabinet Office (interim.cabinetoffice.gov.uk/media/…/supportingdocumentation1.pdf) and by NATO (footnote 3)

The Facts

The objectively available facts of the matter are now available from the previously mentioned articles:
He and his fellow cop consultants link specialising in “Crowd Psychology” suggest things like policing demonstrations with tactics such as:
• embedding frontline cops within crowds (whilst keeping riot cops out of sight) who would work in pairs, interacting with the crowd to encourage legal behaviour and discourage illegal actions, gathering information so as to monitor for and quickly react to any risk of illegal acts
• avoiding indiscriminate attacks on crowds so as to divide the violent disorderly sections from the generally more legalistic majority, thus giving the cops an image of legitimacy
• using a ‘dialogue police’ unit, whose officers work before, during and after risky situations to communicate with radical groups and getting the crowd to “self-police” by actively undermining those trying to initiate “trouble” or at the very least making it easier for the cops to deal with them.
In this way they openly declare that they hope to help the cops alleviate their need to use force, particularly by promoting a self-policing culture within demonstrations.

The most explicit article in which this is elaborated is “Chaos Theory”, which appeared in the April 24th 2009 edition of Jane’s Police Review (Volume 117, No. 6026) as the cover story – in response to the uproar over the G20 protests in the City of London, in which newspaper vendor Ian Tomlinson was killed by a cop. It starts like this: “Where have the G20 protests left public order policing? Clifford Stott, Stephen Reicher and Dr. John Drury look at how new research into crowd control could have helped officers police the G20 protests.”.
It then goes on to say: “In the leading up to the 2004 European Championships in Portugal, the Home Office provided us with funding to conduct research on the effective management of English fans travelling to continental Europe…
….By collaborating with the Portuguese Public Security Police, this model was implemented for the tournaments in all of Portugal’s major cities.
A central feature of the Portuguese approach was the strategic facilitation of lawful behaviour. The graded tactical model that grew from this strategy began with officers in normal uniform. Riot police were on hand, but were deliberately kept out of sight. Frontline officers were then embedded within crowds (even during events categorised as high risk), working in pairs, interacting and encouraging legitimate behaviour.
As a result, police officers were able to gather information and constantly monitor for, and then react quickly to, emergent risk. By using modern crowd theory and principles in this way the police were able to avoid indiscriminate interventions against large crowds, although they still maintained this as a tactical option.
What was also evident was that in this context of perceived police legitimacy, fans began to ‘self-police’ by actively undermining those trying to initiate trouble or at the very least making it easier for the police to deal with them.
But most important of all, there was an almost total absence of disorder in match cities.
The success of this approach has now been recognised internationally. The research-led model has been adopted by the European Council Working Group in International Police Co-operation and continues to be used across Europe….
… But the approach has implications far wider than football. The Stockholm Police Department has been using this theory to develop their tactics for public order management following the widespread disorder and the death of a protestor during an international summit in Gothenburg in 2001.
Rather than focussing on techniques of corralling crowds, their tactical approach uses a ‘dialogue police’ unit, whose officers work before, during and after high-risk events to communicate with radical groups. What they have found is that this tactical option helps to alleviate the need to use force and promotes a self-policing culture within high-risk crowds.
This unit is already achieving great success. For example, it was used during the recent anti-war demos in Stockholm following Israel’s assault on Gaza in January. The tense demonstrations passed without major incident and the tactic bodes well for any forthcoming international summits in the city.”

And further on the article talks of “the need to move away from the idea that the way to control crowds is to repress them. Crowds can and do contain people who seek to be violent and break the law. But our research suggests that the best way to manage these people is to create environments where they are isolated because the majority of the crowd identifies with police goals.”
The opening paragraphs are as follows:
“Mass containment of crowds during public order incidents may be legally justifiable, but how effective it is in managing crowd dynamics remains open to question….
In the High Court on 23 March 2005, the judge Mr. Justice Tugendhat concluded that the police tactic of surrounding and holding large crowds was legal where it could be justified that there was a threat of violence or damage to property”,(Police Review, 1 April 2005).
The judgement was critical because it freed the way for the Met to use mass containment as a formal part of tactical planning for future incidents, including this month’s G20 protests.
Once intelligence was received that there was a threat to public order at G20, it was therefore almost inevitable that some form of crowd corralling would occur.
Despite widespread predictions of impending chaos, there were no major riots and relatively minor criminal damage. There was even the initial sense that the tactic of forceful containment had been very successful. But within days, the police handling of the G20 protest was the subject of ongoing negative national news headlines.
As Police Review was going to press, police officers’ use of force has been implicated in the death of a member of the public, and two territorial support group officers have been suspended and may face criminal charges. The media has also begun to question the relationship between the police service and society. An IPCC inquiry has begun and HM Inspectorate of Constabulary has been invited to conduct a review of public order tactics.
What is clear is that policing a major event in central London has turned into another critical incident for the service, and the more positive aspects of the operation will be widely ignored. (emphasis mine).

Dr.Johnny has also written for Policing: A Journal of Policy and Practice (http://journals2.scholarsportal.info/details.xqy?uri=/17524512/v01i0004/403_kpoppap.xml) (”A leading policy and practice publication aimed at senior police officers, policy makers, and academics”) as well as Business Continuity Journal (http://www.sussex.ac.uk/affiliates/panic/businesscontinuityjournalvolthreeissuethreeUKstandard.pdf) (“This paper describes some of the latest ideas in the field of mass emergency psychology, and how they can inform best practice in business continuity”)[/i] amongst several other seemingly less controversial publications like The British Journal of Social Psychology (http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1348/014466604X18523/abstract), for instance.
Mr. Drury denies co-authoring the article in Policing: A Journal of Policy and Practice. In the immortal words of Mandy Rice-Davies, “Well, he would, wouldn’t he?” (http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Mandy_Rice-Davies).
Here he says : ”We challenge traditional assumptions about crowd psychology and demonstrate how widespread conflict derives from the interactions between police and crowds. From this, we develop general guidelines as to how policing can reduce crowd violence and lead crowd members themselves to self-police violent groupings in their midst. We then use examples from anti-globalisation protests and the Euro 2004 football championships to show how these guidelines can be applied in practice and how effective they can be. We conclude by arguing that such knowledge-based crowd policing can turn crowd events into opportunities to overcome seemingly intractable conflicts between the police and groups within our society.” [bolded emphases mine].
Well, we’re all forced to produce, or do, crap for our money, but some of us think getting paid for directly giving the State ideas about how to undermine our side in the war against it is not quite cricket. There’s nothing “seemingly intractable” about our conflicts with the State, though all opposition for Dr. Johnny is just seemingly. This garbage is quite the worst bit of recuperative self-contradiction we’ve heard about from “the radical milieu” during our lifetime (footnote 4).
So why are libcom admin and Dr. Johnny’s cohorts in and close to Aufheben so incredibly – wilfully – gullible? It’s not just love and faith that are blind: friendship, abstractly theoretical closeness, the political gang mentality of circling the wagons – all these also, it seems. On reading this, they might well be writhing in acute embarrassment and choking on their own nausea; but the essential lesson to learn is what is it in these “radicals”’ ideological practice that they took the self-assurances of this scumbag for his word? This is undoubtedly a big scandal in a small pond, but if we are to make waves, then we have to begin with the radical current in which we’re mired.

The first contribution of these sleepwalkers to the social movements beginning to wake up from the stupor of the spectacle is to consider and subvert the social relations they directly tolerated themselves, the daily life that led them to believe that with Dr. Johnny what you see is what you get. Like all forms of false consciousness, such a degree of denial, of naivety, stems from a persistently repeated self-repression of what is semi-conscious: the niggling questioning at the back of each individual’s mind that says “doubt everything” (and doubt everything not just through some, often arbitrary intellectual negativism but through practical experiment and enquiry with clear goals). And such doubt should firstly be for yourself, not necessarily with the immediate support of all those you have automatically trusted up until now. In this case, such a doubt should lead to the recognition that the unbelievable truth is stranger than fiction – the absurdity that an “anti-state communist” is – like the Alec Guinness character in “Bridge on the River Kwai” – giving what he claims are his enemies ideas to help them repress his ostensible antagonistic perspective.

Shrinks Shrink

Much of the content of the articles for The British Journal of Social Psychology are simply petty recuperation for academics of the most obvious aspects of social movements, which anybody who participates in such movements is well aware of – that they provide a feeling of empowerment, for example – ”empowerment” being a typical socio-psychological buzz word. Or such inoffensive pretentious waffle as: ”I have sought to problematize such accounts and hence suggest a language for the crowd that recognizes and indeed celebrates its positive role in the social world.”
This social psychological discourse is indicative of the fundamental use of all forms of psychology (whether ”crowd psychology” or some other category): the reform of, and adaptation to, the objective forces maintaining the misery of social relationships. When this misery appears to be inevitable and unresolvable – because the whole notion of a revolutionary attack on hierarchical social relations seems unrealistically utopian – psychology functions as an apparent individualised solace and mode of reconciliation to these ”seemingly intractable” contradictions, and in this process gives the individual the illusion of progress. Yet, as many a psychoanalyst has discovered, the ‘patient’ even when s/he seems to be making a breakthrough, falls back into their separate misery, the progress they seemed to be making falling into a vast void. Because all “psychological” explanations maintain the individual as an isolated separate individual facing the material basis of this separation as if it was beyond contestation. In this, pacifism and psychologism – both reducing furious expressions against the existing world to mere individual &/or ideological pathology – are allies (footnote 5).
In the past, “psychology as a serious academic or professional discipline – as a field with credible pretensions to being a science – could only exist as long as private life could be studied as a self-contained entity…As soon as the misery of private life becomes something social – not something you hide – therapy becomes a mass commodity, as vulgar in its manifestations as different styles of shoes and equally prolific…The mass proliferation of therapies-for-sale has less to do with ideas than with the general recognition of the social misery of private life, and the concomitant search for individual solutions which are less demanding than a full scale attack on the objective bases of that misery” – Chris Shutes,  “On the Poverty of Berkeley Life”, 1983. But given the explosive return of a revolutionary answer to the social question, provoked by a fundamentally irrational system on the verge of an even Greater Depression than that of the 30s, driving those who submit to it increasingly mad, people are beginning to discover that confronting the social bases of their neuroses, depressions, suicidal tendencies and creeping insanity means participating in crowds involved in sometimes violent attacks on some of the symptoms of their misery. Here “crowd psychology” enters the fray to calm the hotheads. And to try to reinforce the material basis for depression, neurosis, etc.

Reformist psychology speaks of ”empowerment” as just a momentary feeling of power, which derives from being part of a crowd. The crowd having departed, the task is then to get into some other immediate feeling. This is a bit like the dominant taming of the originally fundamentally critical concept of “alienation”: in this now common usage, it has nothing to do with an objectively imposed social relation, merely an individual feeling. In the same way, the struggle against alienation is reduced to merely a feeling of empowerment, not a subjective force against the alien world where proletarians refuse to alienate their powers to an external authority. So it aims to limit this ”empowerment” to firstly fitting into the social straitjacket of this society’s notion of social acceptability and only then loosening some of the belts so as to be able to wriggle around within the tiny margin of freedom this loosened straitjacket gives you. This is the social acceptability that represses rage – e.g. those in demonstrations who are just there to have a particular notion of fun little different from what they’d try to get at a music festival.

In this margin of separate ”freedom”, art therapy, music therapy, primal scream therapy become forms of anger management: painting, playing with ones musical talents, screaming etc. have to be compartmentalised by this society because this society – sometimes consciously, sometimes unconsciously – represses all tendencies to break out of separations. These aspects of self-expression only become forces of a tendency to a unified expression when people overcome their avoidance of confronting the material social relations that make them depressed and isolated. The best graffiti, the best music, the best screams are in uprisings.

Outside the moments when contestation becomes a mass movement, we all are forced to adapt most of the time, and there’s an increasingly strict limit to how much as an individual one can refuse such adaptation. But within the fragment of freedom that bourgeois ”democracy” permits, one can act in a way that is both individually therapeutic and helps advance one’s understanding of the world we’re up against, in a way which is a practical critique of reformist psychologism and its constraints. Subverting the tendency to reformism and psychologism in one’s social relations involves subverting one’s own resistances to rational practical analysis. It involves advancing into the unknown, struggling to break with the past. An element of ”freedom of speech” in a bourgeois democracy allows individuals to express, at least verbally, the violence (as well as the affection) they’d like, given possible circumstances, to express against this stupid world more passionately. What could seriously happen from subverting some spectacle or other, from expressing to other proletarians (though not to your boss), in angry words and some non-violent acts, your point of view unsupported by external authority? What could seriously happen in directly, even if within socially constraining circumscribed boundaries, articulating your desires and hatred of the system? For the moment at least, for most of the time, the worst that could happen is to get into a bit of a fight. However, beyond that necessary margin of pre-revolutionary experimentation, all practical expressions of a ”nothing left to lose” desperation on a mass scale seriously threaten the powers-that-be, who have good reason to imagine that their world is unquestionable. Mr. Drury’s “guidelines as to how policing can reduce crowd violence and lead crowd members themselves to self-police violent groupings in their midst.” is inseparable from the psychological jargon of ”empowerment”, ”empowerment” defined as being within the prescribed notions of repressive power that acceptance or reform of this society’s roles and rules provide. This analysis should clarify why writing for The British Journal of Social Psychology or Business Continuity Journal and Policing: A Journal of Policy and Practice or Jane’s Police Review are utterly compatible, mutually reinforcing each other.

Polite Police

In February 2009, Dr. Johnny participated in a 2-day conference-cum-training course ”Designed Specifically for Operational Police Officers” called ”Policing major incidents: major events, public disorder and mass emergencies”. (footnote 6)
Each day was singly available for £350 per person or both as a two day block at the knock-down price of £550. Your guess is as good as mine as to how much of this small change went to Dr. Johnny.
But you might have a better chance of guessing that the following advice to our enemies could put more than just food on the table:
‘With the dangers posed by terrorism and global warming the effective management of public order during major incidents and events is perhaps one of the primary policing challenges of the twenty first century. This professional development course is designed to respond to this challenge by bringing together leading academics and police practitioners to outline the latest knowledge, research and practice. …Block one focuses upon theory and research and involves a series of lectures from the world’s leading scientific researchers on the psychology of crowd events as this relates to the policing of political demonstrations, urban riots, football, mass emergencies and disasters. These include Prof Stephen Reicher (St Andrews University), Dr. Clifford Stott (University of Liverpool) and Dr. John Drury (University of Sussex). There will also be presentations from Kenny Scott ex-Supt Strathclyde Police and now UEFA delegate and Stadium Manager for Ibrox.
…Block two concentrates on police practice and will contain presentations from Dr. Clifford Stott, James Hogget and police officers who hold unprecedented levels of experience with respect to policing public order in the U.K. These include: Supt. Roger Evans Deputy Commander of the Met Police Territorial Support Group; Chief Inspector Richard Woolford, Police Commander at the Emirates Stadium; Supt. Alan King CBRN [Samotnaf note:check out this link: http://www.icbrnevents.com/past-events/the-hague-2009] policy co- ordinator in London and from South Wales Police on the role of FIOs in the management of high risk fan groups. …
For further details please contact Dr. Clifford Stott, School of Psychology, Bedford Street South, Liverpool. L69 7ZA.
Tel +44 (0)151 794 1417 email c.stott@liverpool.ac.uk or visit the course website : http://www.majorincidents.org.uk.”

A letter, from Clifford Stott of Liverpool University, the aforementioned guy Mr. Drury often does research with, writes papers and shares ‘crowd psychology/control’ lecture platforms with, who obviously feed off each others’ research, appeared in the London Evening Standard on 29 March 2011. Commenting on the March 26th demo and a story the previous day about “ring of steel” security preparations for the royal wedding, he advises:
“UK public order policing remains limited in its reliance on arrest, dispersal or containment tactics. If research on crowd behaviour is anything to go by, the way to avoid “anarchy” during the royal wedding is not to increase already draconian stop and search powers but to focus on developing the police capability to work with potentially hostile crowds through dialogue.
This “graded” approach was central to Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary recommendations following the G20 protests and has a proven track record. Liaison officers were deployed for protests at this month’s Lib-Dem spring conference who were trained negotiators able to deal effectively with emerging tensions. It is unlikely we can avoid scenes of confrontation in the “age of austerity” but at least we should try to learn from past mistakes.” (footnote 7)

The cops in the UK follow a very long tradition of ruling class 2-faced hypocrisy – the diplomacy that stole whole countries and at one time had the biggest Empire in the world, the white men that talked with forked tongue, aided now by social psychologists specialising in crowd control. UK cops have always presented themselves, and been presented by the dominant ideology, as “the best police in the world”, apparently unarmed and always ready for a chat. The best PR in the world. Generally speaking on demos they’ll have the nice polite police saying in charming dulcet tones, “Will you please move back now”, whilst the riot pigs are ready behind these front lines, ready to do their worst if you don’t move back.

Added, 20/10/2011: Drury & co.s work appears like something obvious to those of us who aren’t cops, but cops are not known for their grasp of the obvious. The results of their research, as applied to the more culturally embedded two-faced mentality amongst cops in the UK, is a slight extension of what UK cops have often done up to now – but by making explictly conscious what has been bit by bit partly and haphazardly practiced spontaneously and only semi-consciously over the last 20 years, it helps give a mildly original focus to UK cop training (though it would take some intensified training for such ideas to be applied consistently). But their suggested future application for many countries, such as Greece, are far more overtly innovative. Incidentally, a current expression of the institutionalised hypocrisy of the British police is the fact that loads of cops are saying how they support the strikes and are against the cuts, etc: if they apparently support the cause – at least until their own position is secured – it’s better than a riot shield, deflecting any anger before it’s even begun to be expressed, disarming the flak8 ; similarly, Aufheben occasionally declares itself critical of the University, particularly of academic recuperators9

Dr.Nice and Mr.Nasty

LIBRIVOXTheStrangeCaseOfDrJekyllAndMrHyde500

“Though so profound a double-dealer, I was in no sense a hypocrite; both sides of me were in dead earnest; I was no more myself when I laid aside restraint and plunged in shame, than when I laboured, in the eye of day, at the furtherance of knowledge or the relief of sorrow and suffering. And it chanced that the direction of my scientific studies, which led wholly towards the mystic and the transcendental, reacted and shed a strong light on this consciousness of the perennieal war among my members. With every day, and from both sides of my intelligence, the moral and the intellectual, I thus drew steadily nearer to that truth by whose partial discovery I have been doomed to such a dreadful shipwreck: that man is not truly one, but truly two. I say two, because the state of my own knowledge does not pass beyond that point…..I hazard the guess that man will be ultimately known for a mere polity of multifarious incongruous and independent denizens. I, for my part, from the nature of my life, advanced infallibly in one direction and in one direction only. It was on the moral side, and in my own person, that I learned to recognise the thorough and primitive duality of man; I saw that, of the two natures that contended in the field of my consciousness, even if I could rightly be said to be either, it was only because I was radically both; and from an early date, even before the course of my scientific discoveries had begun to suggest the most naked possibility of such a miracle, I had learned to dwell with pleasure, as a beloved daydream, on the thought of the separation of the elements. If each, I told myself, could but be housed in separate identities, life would be relieved of all that was unbearable; the unjust might go his own way, delivered from the aspirations and remorse of his more upright twin; and the just could walk steadfastly and securely on his upward path, doing the good things in which he found his pleasure, and no longer exposed to disgrace and penitence by the hands of this extraneous evil.” – R.L.Stevenson, The Strange Case Of Dr.Jekyll and Mr.Hyde .

dr j mr h 9

“In order to communicate their critique…revolutionaries will have to come to terms with the roots of their own alienation, their own production and consumption of the society of the spectacle. They can no longer talk only of the work and leisure of others without first comprehending what they themselves do and observe, and not simply as a necessary evil, but as the essential raw material of their revolt. This does not entail an acceptance of the equality of alienation. On the contrary, it is based on a comprehension of the overriding criterion by which individual action must be judged: its impact on class society.” – Isaac Cronin, ”The American Situationists”, 1978.

Within everyone there’s a Jekyll and Hyde which is the superficial fictionalised expression of the contradiction of bourgeois normality: the respectable face hiding the brutal reality. Business(wo)men and other gangsters justify some repugnant act or other with “Nothing personal…”. Whilst the discreet charm of the bourgeoisie is both a result and part of the culture of their easier life, it is essentially an image, a role, a way for the ruling class to hide from itself and from others its fundamental inhumanity, its reification of human beings: ”No one likes to think of themselves as a bad person” says Ripley in the movie The Talented Mr.Ripley, after he’s murdered a couple of people. It has been said that Dr. Johnny is a nice guy and one may wonder if this is one of the reasons why his ‘comrades’ and former comrades-in-the-know have repressed their denunciation of his other persona – Mr. Drury, his overtly inhuman side, have trusted his version of events, taken it at 2-faced value.

‘Niceness’ is a part of the spectacle if it’s not a genuine expression of affection, of a struggle for friendly recognition against this world which, in reducing people to commodities (or obsolete commodities), represses warmth, consideration, generosity and empathy. “Empathy” becomes something you remind yourself you really ought to show. ‘Niceness’, when it lacks a basic integrity, is a facade, the path of least resistance, a way of getting by with the least aggravation as possible. Encouraged by capital objectively, which needs an increasing chameleon-like malleability of its ‘flexible’ workforce, subjectively it’s expressive of an increasing absence of any point of view and of the will to hold to it. On the other hand, people react to the social pressure to be nicely masochistic by being nastily sadistic. Here, Mr.Hyde takes the form of spiteful, resentful malice, embittered put-downs, bottomless contempt, deceitful distortions of those you fall out with or just plain psychotic viciousness that are as much part of the petty soul-destroying exhaustion of the war of each against all as the more obviously recognised hierarchical attitudes such as racism, homophobia, mysogeny or its ideological feminist anti-male equivalent. ‘Nice’ & ‘Nasty’ are just different aspects of character, in Reich’s sense of the term (footnote 10)  – a defence against communication, a will to separation. Going beyond an indiscriminate niceness, wanting to pretend separations don’t exist, and a directionless nastiness, wanting to intensify separations, involves confronting the contradictions and their material base, constantly recognising them within yourself and recognising how the alien forces of the commodity inevitably produces and encourages this just so long as one doesn’t attempt to develop one’s authentic humanity against these forces. Mr. Drury’s well-paid unnecessary compromises, if accepted, intensify the contradiction, and justify it in social psychological jargon: ‘We have used an original experimental paradigm to explore the way that one’s ‘tolerance’ for crowding, or ‘personal space’, isn’t a given of situation, person or culture, but is variable depending on whichever of one’s multiple identities is salient in relation to the identities of others present.” (from: http://www.sussex.ac.uk/affiliates/panic ). Or, to be succinct, ”Our research shows us how to be 2-faced bastards”. But a constantly renewed struggle against the ”multiple” totality of ones alien and contradictory identities is also one against the alienated 2-faceted nature of spectacular society: the exhausting repression of its constraints, and the glittering
falsity of its seductions. We are partly complicit in these miseries, partly by unnecessary choice, on top of the fact that we’re unavoidably forced to repress and distort our real desires. Within the given varying margins of freedom any particular social situation allows us, this struggle develops inseparably a “nice” generous warmth and critical openness towards one’s fellow proletarians as well the “nasty” violent raging ”monster” of proletarian violence against our enemies and a usually less physical expression of this rage against the reproduction of our enemies’ attitudes amongst our friends and fellow proletarians. This is a way of defining the proletarian expression of the process ofsuperceding the Jekyll and Hyde contradiction, of a struggle for suppressing our own ”multiple identities” in the struggle for unity, for mutual recognition.

Academia: Product & Producer of The Division of Labour

”The need for money is thus the real need produced by political economy and the only need it produces” – Marx (Economic and Philosophical Manuscripts).

”The only need produced by the spectacle is the need for submission” – The Situationist International.

The only need created by the spectacle of rebellion is the need to preserve the thrill of refusal and the security of submission at one and the same time. 20 years or so of counter-revolution, which is only now beginning to be challenged, has nurtured this contradiction to the point where the dominant TV shows for teenagers, the dominant spectacle of rebellion, (The Simpsons, Misfits, Skins, etc.) continue to try recuperating, often with a great deal of genuine wit, almost everything of radical critique that has ever popped up through innovative experiment and adolescent audacity.

Unlike TV shows, academia, however, recuperates in a way that has the appearance of a serious challenge to society. Academic Marxians have merely interpreted the struggle against this world; the point, however, is to help change and advance these struggles. Frederick the Great said : ”Complain all you want but do as you’re told”. Not much has changed since then – the democratic spectacle, of which the spectacle of theory as represented by Dr. Johnny has become a part, says, ”Critique all you want – but collaborate like fuck – you need the money”.

Since the 90s academics and journalists have been uncritically tolerated by some younger politicos/activists far more than previously. Critiques of processes of recuperation are ignored, shrugged off. The vast decline of class struggle in the UK since the 80s has encouraged the emergence of activists (many from university) for whom class struggle, in its marginality, has remained largely intellectual and abstract. These activists often reacted to the limitations of activism by turning to its flip-side – theorism, without recognising the basis of their previous activism as being the fact that the practical critique of daily life at work and elsewhere was being greatly repressed by the increasing atomisation and defeat at the hands of the neo-liberal project (”Thatcherism”/”Blairism”) of the seriously consequential class revolts that had been contesting it. With the project of the self-emancipation of the working class greatly repressed for a generation, the appearance of radical critique seemed compatible with the ultra-left of the University ivory tower. In the 60s a critique of the University (http://www.bopsecrets.org/SI/poverty.htm) (footnote 11) significantly contributed to the social explosions in France, May ’68 (e.g. 11http://www.cddc.vt.edu/sionline/si/enrages.html. ) There were a few leftist academics who supported and participated in student movements and consequently were fired (eg Robin Blackburn of New Left Review fame, who got the sack from his job at LSE for supporting the ”vandalistic” dismantling of gates designed to suppress and control student occupations). Anglophone academia certainly produced some interesting historians and social critics on the Left (e.g. Zinn, Chomsky, Portis from the USA, E.P.Thompson, Christopher Hill, Tom Nairn and others in the UK) but what they had to say about immediate history and social contradictions that was any independent use to the movement of social contestation could have mostly been written on the back of a postage stamp. Admittedly there are occasional exceptions to this – e.g. Mike Davies – but their need for an acceptable image of radicality, their alternative celebrity status as social critics, generally , though not always, obviated any direct participation in concrete social contestation.

(Unlike these professionals, Aufheben, as a project not directly linked to a career, has clearly made at times some very interesting analyses of contemporary social movements, though often with an eye to being the ultra-ultra-left for University students, in rivalry with the less ”radical” marxists, and particularly with an eye to gathering together a following of devotees admiring hierarchically the intellectual versatility of these theoreticians – rather than genuinely influencing subversive activity).

Those who weren’t leftists or anarcho-leftists (in the sense of having very definite positions either as paid ideologues or as political organisers) recognised that theory and an ideological career were incompatible, and at the very least, should be kept clearly separate. Those who thought you could combine the two became ”radical sociologists”, ”radical psychologists”, ”radical architects”, ”radical social workers”, ”radical philosophers”, etc. No-one, however, suggested you could combine bricklaying as a means of survival and that the work itself could be radical. Anyone thinking they could consistently make money out of building walls in the form of an ”A” in a circle, or chiselling ”Abolish wage slavery!” into their bricks would have been seen as slightly eccentric and virtually unempoyable (except if they’d defined themselves as “artists”). When the more obviously proletarian workers revolted it was usually against their work, not an attempt to dress it up as something subversive in itself. The few genuine radicals who briefly flirted with a career in academia, particularly those from more proletarianised backgrounds, quickly gave it up because it was doing their head in. The domination by intellectual concepts (as opposed to dominating and applying such concepts where subversively useful) and by having to endure the artificial up-in-the-air conversations, the teaching of people who you knew would expropriate your ideas and turn them against you – all this just tore them away from the reality they still wanted to challenge and change, and not justtalk about challenging and changing.

(One very unpleasant example of a “radical” academic was a woman who got her street cred from squatting and participating in things radical before embarking on her career lecturing in this radical past experience much to the admiration of many a naive student; when she decided to totally prevent the father of her kid, from whom she’d separated, from having any access to him she went to court showing the judge all the terrible radical things he’d written and participated in, hoping the judge would thereby deem him an unsuitable father and banish him from all chance of having such a terrible influence over his own child; fortunately the ploy didn’t work, but she still continued giving lectures in “radical” stuff; but this personally disgusting hypocrisy is easily dwarfed by Mr. Drury’s far more socially consequential vocational activity).

The spectacle’s division of labour allots to its most precocious intellectual strata the task of presenting its image of struggle (footnote 12) in order to preserve the reality of the division of labour, of proletarian misery. One graphic concrete example of this comes to mind. There’s a film of Chomsky giving an ok lecture deconstructing the contradictions of US foreign policy, surrounded by fawning fans avid for his autograph. He leaves with his wife, who both step into a smart black limousine, driven by his chauffeur. Nevertheless, in saying that we need to keep theory and one’s mode of survival separate (except insofar as we subvert this mode of survival), we think the utter schizophrenia of Dr. Johnny and Mr. Drury is carrying such an insight a little too far. This sitting on the very spikey fence slices him in two (footnote14). Even highly compromised academics like Chomsky would most definitely balk at such crude hypocrisy. Even Adorno, who famously called the cops on students who’d occupied his faculty and disrupted his lectures (and then later complained that the students had taken seriously and practically what he’d merely intended to be philosophical constructs), would have probably felt a little uncomfortable making a career out of helping the cops.

There are building workers who refuse to participate in the building of prisons. There are building workers who help build prisons but put sugar or something else in the cement so that the walls crumble. And there are building workers, with far less integrity, who participate in the building of prisons and don’t sabotage their shitty job. But even amongst the latter, not one of them publicly puts their name to it, not one of them inscribes their signature onto the prison bars. Intellectual cadres, however, are always proud of their alienated labour, and wholly identify with it, even when it’s so alienated it goes totally against everything they claim to stand for.

Let no-one say ideological work is the same as building work or working in a hospital or a call centre: the hierarchical division of labour has always meant that capitalism, even in its initial development, wasn’t just capital but was also an “ism”. It meant that, as well as an armed and economic force, it was also an ideology brutally materialised. Ideas for the ruling class, developed by professional intellectuals, were not “merely” ideas any more than religion, developed by the priesthood before the bourgeoisie, was “merely” religion. The threats to this hierarchical division of labour since WWl has resulted in ideology, colonising the potential destroyers of class society with self-policing, becoming a far more useful force, especially for the richer capitalist countries, than bullets or truncheons, a necessary support for the physical, mental and financial pain and death inflicted by capital.

In all the debate about Stott, Reicher and Drury’s critical insights into how better to divide and rule potentially subversive crowds, there’s an ideology that says their ideas are simply “idealist” without concrete effect. Various police forces throughout Europe differ: they claim that their ideas have helped them, though one could disingenuously put this down to just politeness. They asked and paid these researchers to do this, so they have to pretend what they’ve done is useful. Be that as it may, all “idealism” takes time to have an influence: rank and file cops may not find it easy to control their power-mad desires indiscriminately, but, given time and training, their commanders could bring them into line. Besides, even if it had no material influence whatsoever, if I were to publish “all blacks, homosexuals and anti-capitalists should be sent to the gas chamber”, forced to do it as part of my wage labour for The University Of Goebellstadt, it’s not something that should endear me to “communists”.

In fact, this dismissal of this so-called “liberal-reformist” ideology as idealist without material influence is more likely to be a projection of the feeling of these “libertarian communists” of the utter inconsequence of their own ideas.

Moreover, how “liberal/reformist” are these ideas? They’re not just there to stop cops being violent – on the contrary, this team don’t care about them being violent towards “troublemakers” – what they want is for the cops to discriminate between the troublemakers and the rest so that the rest don’t then take up a more radical attitude, so they say, like so many did after March 26th in London, “the troublemakers deserve what they get because they hijack our nice A to B demo and bring us peaceful protesters into disrepute.” They want the cops to act softly softly to those softies who pose no threat, to divide them violently from those who do.

There’s a great deal of repetition of the same good cop/bad cop theme in Dr. Johnny’s word production assembly line, with hardly even a nuance of style to tell them apart. Bad cop: batter the crowd indiscriminately/Good cop: distinguish between the Angelic and the Devilish demonstrators – word muzak endlessly duplicated. Academia demands of its professional ideologists that they churn out a certain amount of publications per annum. So what better way to earn a professional’s salary than to cut and paste, change a word or two here and there, and then present this accumulated rearrangement of the same text as lots of different original contributions. Looks great on his CV.

As with much academic research, academics are paid vast amounts to provide discourses with fashionable vocabulary which, if they say anything at all, in fact say what everybody with a little suss has known for years. The contradiction for this guy though, is Aufheben’s constant attacks on academic recuperators. It takes one to know one, I suppose. Now how much of this charming advice to our enemies ”can be applied in practice and how effective they can be” (from “Policing: A Journal of Policy and Practice”) remains to be seen: generally speaking, the intellectual is paid to supply the rulers with remedies for their sick world, but in fact, they usually, up until this epoch, have got very little from their investment which is of directly concrete value. Often, academics are subsidised because, if nothing else, they demonstrate the well-paid rewards of thought without consequence, consequence being a hazardous risk, which could quite upset the security of their niche. Nevertheless, in this case the ideas such creeps have provided do help cop spokesmen with articulating a recuperative discourse, and in the case of some of these particular articles, will have helped practically, and will continue to help practically, the rulers’ divide and rule tactics, leading ”crowd members themselves to self-police violent groupings in their midst” . Fluffies against spikeys. Divide and rule. Conflicts reduced to the “seemingly intractable”.

Gone are the days when researchers were funded for such whimsical questions as why the Dutch tend to lose left foot shoes at sea as compared to the Scots who tend to lose right foot shoes at sea. The kind of questions that gave rise to phrases such as “It’s purely academic”. Academics will less and less be paid to display their eccentric impotence, asking a thousand more questions than they can answer, but will increasingly have to justify their inflated salaries by providing this society with at least temporary answers to its intensified contradictions, and will find less and less career opportunities if they don’t. Academics like Drury who mix amongst radical scenes and feed off what’s original there help academia shake off its musty cobwebs of irrelevance and clothe themselves with innovative insights, to help spawn an even more nuanced repression than before.

Such as this, for the most part, suffocating socio-psychobabble : http://books.google.co.uk/books?hl=en&lr=&id=_TYat3j1VMUC&oi=fnd&pg=PA229#v=onepage&q&f=false It’s innovative insofar as it clearly expresses an ideological valorisation of the professional revolutionary researcher. The text, written by Dr. John Drury and Carla Willig, is about the resistance to the M11 link road in Wanstead in London, 1993. Take a look at this part of the article (where he refers to himself in the 3rd person – as “the researcher”), the only bit that doesn’t make you feel your brain, throat and thyroids have rapidly clogged up with quick-drying plaster: “One of the criteria for choosing the anti-road campaign for the research project was that it was one for which the researcher already had sympathies. As a ‘political subject’ he would not have chosen to research a movement in which he would not have taken part anyway…The researcher had already been participating in campaign actions and collecting material for over a month previously. He participated in resisting…by sitting down with the rest of the crowd and being forcibly ejected by the police. He then remained with the crowd, which attempted to block the road contractors’ vehicles and breach police lines for most of the rest of the event, which lasted around 12 hours… It was precisely because Dr. Drury was known personally to the anti-road participants as “one of that campaign” that people were willing to cooperate with him in these ways…So many participants were willing to donate their time: 56 people were interviewed in relation to the event… The researcher could not have expected people who were making such a commitment to the anti-road campaign to cooperate with him in these ways unless he was on their side…If he were simply in it for his career, he would have been seen (correctly) as a parasite.”

History is full of people who participated and risked themselves in radical activity even as they transformed this (or already were) into a professional radical role: Bolsheviks, trade union leaders, artists, musicians, etc. The point is not whether their insights or ‘creative expressions’ had some quality or not (look at what Aufheben wrote about this particular anti-roads protest : http://libcom.org/library/m11-anti-road-aufheben – it’s pretty excellent); the point is that they were expressive of an acceptance of the contradiction of wanting their cake and eating it, wanting their critique and swallowing it. Imagine going along to a confrontation with the state with the express purpose of writing about it as part of your job at the same time as identifying with it – seeing it as necessary to get stuck in, in part to maintain credibility with those who were the object of your study. It’s a form of self-recuperation – and, indeed, at that time a couple of radicals got angry with Aufheben because Dr. Johnny was doing just that; unfortunately they didn’t take this to a more public level; otherwise, the result might have been that Drury would have thought twice about the later development of his career.

Aufheben have criticised Harry Cleaver for his desire to be “a radical academic” but here comes Mr Drury precisely advocating this role. On his official blog, The Crowd (http://drury-sussex-the-crowd.blogspot.com/2011/01/psychology-and-politics-of-going-native.html ) Drury refers, at the beginning of this year, to this activity in Wanstead in his comments about the cop informer Mark Kennedy “going native”: “I was reminded on hearing this story of an episode in my ethnographic research study of the ‘No M11’ campaign…Here too I was studying a type of psychological change that occurred in people involved in an environmental direct action campaign. Wanstead residents objected to their local green being dug up for the construction of a trunk road. They changed on a number of levels. They came to see themselves as in the ‘same group’ as the ‘activists’ who had come to the area for the protest…They therefore came to see themselves as different from their local neighbours who stood passively by and watched the loss of green space. They also adopted a much more critical view of the police force: when previously the police had been seen as neutral or a protector of their individual rights, now they were seen as agents of unpopular government policy and hence ‘political.’…The (unintended) consequence of the ‘locals’ acting ‘with’ the rest of the crowd was police action which served to impose a common experience (of ‘illegitimate attack’) on all, such that the distinction between ‘activist’ and ‘local’ could no longer be easily sustained.” On its own, this observation might seem as neutral as the cops in this conflict seemed to the locals before their role became clear. In the light of Mr. Drury’s social function as a cop consultant, the implication, yet again, is that the cops should be more careful in future if they want to maintain a divide and rule. But the point in quoting all this is to show how from little acorns of fairly minor self-contradictory forms of self-recuperation, mighty oaks of nasty collaboration with the state grow. We should be very vigilant with today’s self-recuperators, particularly when we see ourselves and our friends or comrades doing some minor form of recuperation. And we should nip these acorns in the bud.

Interestingly in this The Crowd blog of his, he compares himself with Mark Kennedy, who he speculates possibly “went native”: “What about me? When I carried out my ethnographic study, did I come to adopt the worldview of those I studied? Before answering this directly, let’s point out the two most obvious differences between undercover police officers and ethnographers in the environmental direct action movement. First and most obviously, the police officer is undercover for a reason – because his or her aim is to find (or, it is alleged, create) ‘intelligence’ for the purposes of disruption…The social scientific ethnographer is usually neutral or sympathetic…is not usually covert…There are practical as well as ethical reasons why most declare themselves to those whose worlds they are researching. For one thing, trying to hide one’s true aims or identity risks discovery, anger and physical assault [my emphasis]…So did I ‘go native’ in my analysis?…For my research, I wanted to understand something of the police view of ‘the crowd’ just as much as I wanted to document and analyse the protesters’ views. By adoption of an ethnographic framework – involving interviews, observations, soundtrack recordings, and collection of archive material – I was able to achieve both things.” I’ll leave it to the reader to develop some reflections on this very peculiar reflection by Drury of himself, of how he gives a positive value to his contradictions. (footnote Oct16).

Is it really extraordinary that, even after the end of the cold war, the State continues to spend millions on academic marxism? Certainly there may well be several reasons, but probably a significant one is because it helps some sections of the State develop a certain apparently sympathetic discourse, seemingly critical of aspects of its policies, and so gives people some illusions in some external saviour – hope and confidence that at least some of those at the top (top cops, journalists, even politicians, maybe) aren’t as out-of-touch as the toffs who used to go to Eton.

The End Of Theory

or

Theory As An End

or

Theory As A Means To An End?

”The question can only be posed in terms of a sufficient critique of everyday life, when activity no longer separates itself from this critique…critical activity…is envisioned…in a narrow manner, as essentially written and public production. This written production is considered not as one necessary and natural moment in the ensemble of the work of the negative… but as its whole. Even those who in speaking and writing pose the critique of everyday life as central can ignore the critique of their everyday lives. And it is only because it is envisioned as separate activity – by its spectators and all too often by its producers – that theoretical activity is considered prestigious” – Nadine Bloch, ”All Things Considered”, 1976.

Aufheben have certainly produced some good analysis – particularly the stuff during the 1990s – e.g the really excellent text on the Rodney King uprising in the USA in 1992 or the insights into the intifadas in Palestine, and much of the texts on social movements, like the anti-globalisation protest, or, as I’ve already said, the roads protests of the 1990s.

Yet I have increasingly found, as it settled into a regular annual journal, that it’s become ”interesting in a boring way” (i.e. factually informative, even with some clear accurate analysis considered in “objective” terms, but stylistically tiring).

What is the basis for this doggedly pedantically correct research, this almost anally obsessive fear of being caught out in some minor infringement of theoretical imprecision or imperfection, constantly turning in on itself? It’s often a ”self” that is so fearfully conservative it is incapable of taking risks even in writing. This is not to imply one shouldn’t aim to be accurate in one’s research and analysis, just that pedantry misses the aim of analysis – to push discussion and activity further, to agitate – oneself, others and inseparably ones relation to others. Their focus almost entirely on the ”objective” even to the point that the ”subjective” is treated merely as a Marxian category (”the proletarian subject”) in order to critique the more vulgar marxist ”materialists”, hides the most basic absence of personal integrity on the part of Mr. Drury, presumably because ”personal integrity” is not a historically materialist concept, certainly not one which Marx ever mentioned and can be smugly dismissed as “moralism”. On the part of the rest of the Aufheben crew, this absence of subjectivity comes from a standardised “house-style” imposed collectively. Here, a long-entrenched family based on familiar routine unemotional theorising has become a fixed unquestioned reference point draining the confidence of all individual initiative. The result is an increasingly tedious way of writing, complete with a heavy manner which summarises the rest of the article before you’ve got to it, and then even after just in case you’ve forgotten what came before. It’s a style expressive, in written form, of the monologue of the lecture hall, where largely passive students have to be told what’s just been said and what’s going to be said in order to make them understand the point of what’s being said, to hold their attention, to keep them obediently taking notes and not falling asleep. In a radical dialogue such a “perfectionist” way of expressing oneself is impossible, because both sides are learning and teaching at one and the same time. This is not to say that subversive writing should be like speech, obviously; but it should be open-ended, subject to correction by acts and discussion, launching into the unknown. Not defined by the need to be “definitive” in a way that freezes the flow of movements into as yet unfathomed waters.

For the most part, Aufheben’s increasingly uniform style of reminding you of what’s just been said and signalling what’s to come is an intellectual representation which hides a very real absence of trying to know where they’re going, and where they’ve been, in fact. Here, the theoreticianist absence of any experimental practice based on a confrontation with past limitations and a strategy for the future which is more than just ”what shall we produce in time for the bookfair this October ?” is coupled with the absence of even the most basic simple honest communication in everyday life. ”Everyday life” becomes a concept, not a reality where the struggles and contradictions are argued about and played out. No wonder they were so sneeringly dismissive of Vaneigem’s ”The Revolution of Everyday Life”: despite its weaknesses and limitations, its excessive rhetoric and elements of mysticism, partly arising from the limited struggles of its epoch (it was completed in 1965), it at least posed things in terms of the basics of daily life experience, of isolation and humiliation, of the critique of roles and the subjective experience of separation, etc. And the notion of “reversing perspective” – beginning again and again with the relentless struggle to see the world through one’s own eyes – is perceived by these arrogantly petrified perfectionists as useless.

Probably, none of Dr. Drury’s co-participants knew a thing about his other life. It’s not even as though it was kept secret – like Poe’s ”Purloined Letter ”, it’s all on public display where you least expect it , out there ready to be perused by the likes of me or you (footnote 13). The fact that these people are so uncommunicative that they obviously hardly even discussed their work, the labour they bang on about when it comes to analysing others, says much for their ”communism”. And the fact that, unlike the letter purloined in Poe’s short story, almost certainly Dr. Johnny had no intention of ”hiding” himself so publicly indicates a blissful lack of awareness of his virtually unprecedented betrayal. It kind of elevates Gabel’s notion of false consciousness into a category exclusively reserved for this pathology, Drurophrenia – though obviously it also fits perfectly into this very general take on it by Debord:

”The parallel between ideology and schizophrenia demonstrated in Gabel’s False Consciousness should be considered in the context of this economic materialization of ideology. Society has become what ideology already was. The repression of practice and the antidialectical false consciousness that results from that repression are imposed at every moment of everyday life subjected to the spectacle — a subjection that systematically destroys the “faculty of encounter” and replaces it with a socialhallucination: a false consciousness of encounter, an “illusion of encounter.” In a society where no one can any longer be recognized by others, each individual becomes incapable of recognizing his own reality. Ideology is at home; separation has built its own world.”Society of the Spectacle, Thesis 217, 1967.

The difference between this very general insight and Drurophrenia is that the Drurophrenics have read Debord and would probably ”agree” with him whilst desperately repressing the consciousness of how much this take applies to them. Doubtless there will be those who will say, ”Well – that shows you where all that egg-head theory gets you”’; and they will be partly right. If ”theory’ is seen as something specialised and separate from ones’ daily attitudes, even as a distraction from them, it can very easily fall into a schizophrenic support for the division of labour, to the point where what one writes is like the board game of Class Struggle  which has no concrete meaning whatsoever. And if the English working class has traditionally been ”anti-theory” it’s partly because, rightly or wrongly (and usually partly rightly, partly wrongly), ”theory” is seen as part of ”them”, as a Middle Class method of being superior and not taking a single risk, as part of the very entrenched social apartheid that is the UK. However, it’d be wrong to describe the people at Aufheben as fitting neatly into this categorisation: Dr. Johnny himself, back in the 90s at least, was directly involved in more obviously practical anti-State activity;
and some of the others continue to be involved in certain local practical struggles. But, as with all activity against this world, if the centre of such activity isn’t also a struggle against alienation in ones daily personal relations, then it’s often just a change of roles, from theoretician to activist and back again.

Clearly all this is very far from the justification for the dismissal of theory by those who don’t want to clarify and confront the contradictions of their lives, their relationships and their world. Everyone is a mix of theory and ideology, of experience-based critique and of untested fixed dogmas or of theory congealed into dogmas (past experience-based ideas that have not been re-tested in the light of differing circumstances). But to say ”I’m not very good at theory” or ”Me – I’m practical – fuck theory” only means you communicate ideologically, you allow others to do your thinking for you, constantly referring to this or that text which will explain your perspectives for you; you don’t try to express your repressed semi-consciousness, and end up borrowing other people’s ideas unsifted through your own point of view, or unnuanced ideas you formed some time ago but haven’t subjected to re-examination or renewal in the light of current history. You always end up sliding in a little word or opinion which isn’t yours, or no longer is, and which bothers you by the memory it awakens.

”Theory” as exemplified by Aufheben, tends to become an expression of the dominant division of labour, where writing is seen as an end-in-itself, a method of valorising oneself in the eyes of others with how well-read one is in the world of Marxisms, not as a means to a practical end. In fact, there’s a lot of the old Bolshevik mentality in their Marxist/Marxian theorising, not certainly in relation to the more obvious crap of Leninism, but that of Bolshevik intellectuals who posed analysis in terms of ”What would Marx have to say about this?” .

When theory is seen as practical theory, then the question is one of direction, of movement, of becoming by making and correcting mistakes, of stepping back, reflecting and distanciating oneself from the contradictions of daily life, in order then to go forward and choose to change or challenge social relations. Unless one explicitly and consciously puts oneself in a position of testing, and re-testing, beginning again and questioning, ones ideas on the basis of what ones wants and doesn’t want against the hierarchical forces that separate us (insofar as one can within the tiny margin of freedom, of radical choice, that always exists), ”theory” just becomes yet another standard discourse expressing what one happens to think at the time, but given some appearance of a ”correct” Marxian (or whatever) material base. This is not to say that all aspects of theory have an immediate applicability. The abolition of money, for instance, is not on the agenda this week. But recognising this evident truth can’t become a justification for meanness or for becoming a banker. Likewise, the destruction of the State is not going to happen tomorrow; but recognising this, is hardly a justification for becoming a cop consultant. Long-term perspectives must have some current implication or else such perspectives are mere ideals, nothing to do with the real movement that abolishes the present order of things, nothing to do with the struggle to become human.

Beyond the rigid notion of theory compatible with such chronic alienated relations that enable the sociopathological split personality of a Dr. Johnny and a Mr. Drury, and the intellectual ‘theoreticianist’ notion of communication that has allowed the
rest of Aufheben to block it out, practical theory is still essential if we are to consciously determine our struggles and supercede their limits.

Theory still remains to be developed as an analysis of the obstacles facing us in all aspects of our lives and the world, as a tool to help support the enormity of the tasks of the struggles that are beginning to develop internationally against an assault by capital on the verge of probably its worst crisis ever. Reflections on Marx, Bakunin, Korsch or Debord or whoever remain safely philosophical if they’re not precisely applied and extended to current developments. Arguments about the minutiae of the origins of the crisis are usually (though not always) as useless in the struggle to go forward as psychology’s constant need to look for the origins of an individual’s current misery in some unalterable childhood trauma. Critiques of some aspects of past uprisings remain abstract historicism unless they help clear the way for what is NOT to be done in the present. Articles about parts of the world people have no direct connection to can certainly be helpful in informing us of other people’s situations and struggles, and so encourage us in our own attempts to subvert the meaninglessness of our own situation. Yet it’s only in this latter perspective that their truth, and the insights we can bring to them, make sense – in the dialectic between personal struggle, local struggle and global struggle. If we can’t be clear about our own misery and contradictions and their historical connections, and our attempts to confront and/or modify them, and how we are sometimes unnecessarily complicit in them, then trying to be clear about other people’s miseries etc. is often a distraction, compensation and pretension, a foil for yourself and others to convince you that you are making your contribution to the struggle against capitalism, another form of representation. It’s also not very useful as it doesn’t help us connect to the aspects of these very different situations that are similar and so contribute to their struggle against them. It’s not just a question of solidarity beginning at home, but also clarity beginning at home. And this obviously applies as much to me as to those reading this.

Many of those who claim to want a significant opposition to this society – ”revolutionaries” for want of a better word – seem to just want to continue in the same old way, ignoring how at least 20 years of counter-revolution have effected them themselves, as well as others. They just want to continue writing or organising in the way they’ve always done, even though the consequences of their ‘good intentions’ has fallen far short of their apparent desires. It’s not for nothing that it’s in countries like Greece, which have had ongoing forms of mass social contestation over decades, that there are people who express, in very different ways, their critique of this society with a passionate urgency which, so far, is, generally speaking, all too absent in places like the UK. Despite the enormity of the social movements, particularly post-Tunisia, that are tentatively beginning to erupt in different parts of the world, there’s also an enormous amount of complacency towards the rulers’ onslaughts. Some people, despite their claims to a radical critique, are often resigned to an abstract emotionless specialism, often continuing with the reflexes of a passive detached ‘critique’ which is often little better than a “theorised” version of the complaints of the majority of spectators whose passivity supports this world. Far too few want to do anything other than sleepily switch off the persistent alarm that could wake them up from the comatose nightmare of the sleep of practically subversive reason. Outside of fragmentary moments of mass contestation, most seem so habituated and resigned to an ever-desperate irrational daily life that they accept as almost inevitable the future logical capitalist end product of this: environmental collapse accompanied by a technologically-equipped totalitarian marriage of State and market-imposed poverty and psychotic separation, a future of ever-intensifying depression and war till death us do part. And many adopt an individualist consciousness that, however disastrous the world will become, they personally will be able to ride out the storm even if they don’t seriously commit practically to the struggle against the disaster.

For theory to become once again both a dangerous and adventurous endeavour, as dangerous and as adventurous as the class struggle it hopes to contribute to, we must overcome the risk-free familiarity of our characterological routines.

Written by Samotnaf, October 2011, with the help, support, encouragement and collaboration of the TPTG, who contributed some of these insights (although they obviously do not share the same views on all the issues outlined in the text) – along with others, a few of whose words I’ve plagiarised.

NOTE: Originally, back in late January when the TPTG discovered this about Dr. Johnny (no-one I know has ever heard about it being “10 year old gossip”), I wanted to write an article about this guy, but for various reasons (personal crises, financial problems, discouraging attitudes, etc.) this was put aside for the moment. Then in late July I started to write, prompted partly by renewed concerns of friends in the TPTG. An earlier version, a first draft, of this text – fairly different from this final version – was given to 2 former members of Aufheben in early August, clearly indicating it was not the final version. This got into the hands of Aufheben and some of their friends, who, fearful of making this public, responded disparagingly, to say the least. Worse, so did a few friends (though not all) in London. A later draft was sent to libcom in private because, having heard about it from Aufheben, they wanted to see it before it was put up – an unusual practice involving pre-moderation. Clearly under pressure from Aufheben, they decided after looking at it that if I were to put it up, it would be taken down immediately afterwards, mainly for the ostensible reason that he could possibly lose his job. If he loses his sinecure as a cop consultant, I’d regard that as a result (though, sadly, such a sacking is unlikely, as it could discourage others from helping the state). The chances of him losing his job in the University, which quite possibly have already known about his connections with Aufheben for some time, seem unlikely because it would cause the University more problems (uproar from lefty academics, who might turn him into a cause celebre and liken it to lefties losing their jobs under Hitler) than it solves – and even the idea of solving the problem of the University’s possible image would be fraught with the contradiction of exacerbating their bad image (in, say, The Daily Mail’s eyes). This final version follows further research made from the beginning of September onwards. Originally, we wanted to put up the first text mid-September (we wanted Aufheben to openly state what they’d said in private to us, which they did last week; when it comes to such things as this, publicity is the best way to have things out; in privacy, gossip, hearsay, Chinese whispers – all the things attributed
to the TPTG, of which they are the least guilty – dominate and nothing gets clarified). However, the trivial distraction small-smiley-013[1] of the class war in Greece, plus a few other things, slowed us down. I would like to thank all those contributors to the relevant threads (mainly this one) who, over the last week, have shown a healthy scepticism towards the Aufheben “critique” and libcom’s attacks on the TPTG, contributors who were not privy to the recent material we have gathered; special thanks go to the contributors who have pointed out internet pages which we hadn’t paid attention to. Apologies for not putting up this new material earlier, but these things take time. And though there’s been an element of coordination with the TPTG, these texts are meant to stand on their own, independent of each other, and hence there’s inevitably some element of repetition of the same points between the different texts. Finally, in order to not get too distracted from our goals into concentrating too much on Dr.Who?, we should all also focus on the explicit motives of the TPTG in their “Open Letter”, namely to look into how ideological and practical development of crowd control techniques are developing internationally (which some of the posters have already begun to contribute towards): “We would urgently like to appeal to the British internationalist/anti-authoritarian milieu so that a more thorough proletarian counter-inquiry is carried out. This may include (but should not be limited to): newspaper articles, cop consultant university research-projects (especially those related to the faculties of sociology/psychology etc.), cop blogs and websites and/or the vast literature on the subject of crowd management, just to name a few obvious steps. By doing so, we hope that information (e.g. scientific papers, articles, police guidelines, reports or other details regarding seminars to cops, field-research projects, activist interviews conducted by sociologists etc.) related to the knowledge-based crowd psychology and modern policing strategies the cops are using against us will be disclosed, disseminated and discussed among the internationalist milieu, facilitating the development of our own counter-strategies. Personal witnessing of the implementation of such policing strategies in demonstrations or riots needs to be recorded, circulated and then discussed amongst us. Attempts by various sociologists to gain access to the milieu and conduct interviews have to be met with firm rejection, to say the least. [See: http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2011/sep/07/england-riots-researchers-wanted ] We all know perfectly well that what they try to do is to understand us, our temporary communities of struggle, our thoughts, the way we organize against this decomposing world of capital and its spectacle and, then put this valuable knowledge into practice against us, tearing us apart. Our response should equally be collective and knowledgeable ! ” The information here has also been gathered from the following websites and the various links off them: http://www.sussex.ac.uk/profiles/92858 http://www.sussex.ac.uk/affiliates/panic/CDP%20psych%20of%20crowd%20management.html http://drury.socialpsychology.org/#overview
http://policing.oxfordjournals.org/content/early/2007/01/01/police.pam067 http://www.sussex.ac.uk/affiliates/panic/Publications.html http://www.sussex.ac.uk/affiliates/panic/Other%20research%20on%20crowds.html http://drury-sussex-the-crowd.blogspot.com/ http://www.sussex.ac.uk/newsandevents/?id=2567 http://www.hmic.gov.uk/media/adapting-to-protest-nurturing-the-british-model-of-policing-20091125.pdf http://www.liv.ac.uk/Psychology/cpd/Reicher_et_al_%282007%29.pdf http://www.liv.ac.uk/Psychology/cpd/Reicher_et_al_%282007%29.pdf
Some of John Drury’s other, previously unmentioned, publications include :
Drury, J., Reicher, S. & Stott, C. (2003) Transforming the boundaries of collective identity: From the ‘local’ anti-road campaign to ‘global’ resistance? Social Movement Studies: Journal of Social, Cultural and Political Protest, 2, 191-212.
Drury, J. & Reicher, S. (2005). Explaining enduring empowerment: A comparative study of collective action and psychological outcomes. European Journal of Social Psychology, 35, 35-58.
Barr, D. & Drury, J. (2007). ‘Activist’ identity as a motivational resource: Dynamics of (dis)empowerment at the G8 direct actions, Gleneagles, 2005. Twelfth annual ‘Alternative futures and popular protest’ conference. Manchester Metropolitan University, April.
Drury, J. (2009). Managing crowds in emergencies: Psychology for business continuity. Business Continuity Journal, 3, 14-24.
Drury, J., Cocking, C., & Reicher, S. (2009). Everyone for themselves? A comparative study of crowd solidarity among emergency survivors. British Journal of Social Psychology, 48, 487-506. DOI:10.1348/014466608X357893
Drury, J., Cocking, C., & Reicher, S. (2009). The nature of collective resilience: Survivor reactions to the 2005 London bombings. International Journal of Mass Emergencies and Disasters, 27, 66-95.
Drury, J., Cocking, C., Reicher, S., Burton, A., Schofield, D., Hardwick, A., Graham, D., & Langston, P. (2009). Cooperation versus competition in a mass emergency evacuation: A new laboratory simulation and a new theoretical model. Behavior Research Methods, 41, 957-970. doi:10.3758/BRM.41.3.957
Drury, J., & Reicher, S. (2009). Collective psychological empowerment as a model of social change: Researching crowds and power. Journal of Social Issues, 65, 707-725. DOI: 10.1111/j.1540-4560.2009.01622.x
Singha, H., Arter, R., Dodd, L., Langston, P., Lester, E., & Drury, J. (2009). Modelling Subgroup Behaviour in Crowd Dynamics DEM Simulation. Applied Mathematical Modelling, 33, 4408-4423. doi:10.1016/j.apm.2009.03.020
Smith, A., James, C., Jones, R., Langston, P., Lester, E., & Drury, J. (2009). Modelling contra-flow in crowd dynamics DEM simulation. Safety Science, 47, 395-404. doi:10.1016/j.ssci.2008.05.006
Williams, R., & Drury, J. (2009). Psychosocial resilience and its influence on managing mass emergencies and disasters. Psychiatry, 8, 293-296. doi:10.1016/j.mppsy.2009.04.019
Cocking, C., & Drury, J. (2008). The mass psychology of disasters and emergency evacuations: A research report and implications for the Fire and Rescue Service. Fire Safety, Technology and Management, 10, 13-19.
Reicher, S., Stott, C., Drury, J., Adang, O., Cronin, P., & Livingstone, A. (2007). Knowledge-based public order policing: Principles and practice. Policing: A Journal of Policy and Practice, 1, 403-415.
Reicher, S., Stott, C., Drury, J., Adang, O., Cronin, P., & Livingstone, A. (2007). Knowledge-based public order policing: Principles and practice. Policing: A Journal of Policy and Practice, 1, 403-415. doi:10.1093/police/pam067
Use by practitioners of his ideas and materials :
Psychosocial care for people affected by disasters and major incidents. NATO: Brussels (Department of Health Emergency Preparedness Division NATO consultancy report: consultation on crowd behaviour and collective resilience, 2008)
”A MODEL FOR DESIGNING, DELIVERING AND MANAGING PSYCHOSOCIAL SERVICES FOR PEOPLE INVOLVED IN MAJOR INCIDENTS, CONFLICT, DISASTERS AND TERRORISM”
Understanding crowd behaviours. Cabinet Office/Emergency Planning College (2009). (Cabinet Office review of research on crowd behaviour, 2008)
Police National CBRN centre training seminar, 2008-9
FOOTNOTES

1.I think I’m doing Johnny’s comrades a favour here: the idea that they have known all along how much this guy is up to his eyelids in decomposed diarrhoea makes them look far worse than I suspect they are. They claimed, in response to the first draft of this, that they did know – but if true, and I very much doubt it, that indicts them even more.

2.See: interim.cabinetoffice.gov.uk/media/…/supportingdocumentation1.pdf

3.Various people have emphasised that Dr.Johnny is “only” involved in supplying advice on how NATO should deal with emergencies, such as earthquakes or hurricane-induced disasters. Though this help might be slightly better than directly supplying NATO with ideas on how to bomb Kosovo or wherever, there’s nothing “neutral” or “humane” about it – Hurricane Katrina shows how ‘neutral’, ‘humane’ etc. State-organised responses to ‘natural’ disasters are. When ‘natural’ disasters strike often people develop forms of self-organisation and solidarity utterly independent of State control. NATO, and other state bodies, need, as part of their aim in such situations, to rein in these autonomous aspects in case they get too far out of the State’s control. Ideologists, like Dr.Johnny, are there to give them a justificatory discourse to present their forms of social control to “the public”. And possibly some practical ideas on how to deal with such emergencies through the military. It’s not as if he is out there giving practical help, like, say, nurses or even Christian charities: no – he’s an “ideas man”.

4.Herbert Marcuse worked for the OSS (the precursor to the CIA) up until 1945, and then for the US Department of State until 1951, but at least he’d left by the time he wrote his most interesting work, Eros and Civilisation. Paul Mattick was also offered work by the OSS shortly after Hitler came to power – he refused point blank. Phil Cohen, who was around King Mob in the late 60s and initiated the massive 144 Piccadilly “London Street Commune” squat in 1969, escaping from the cops over the roof, later – in the early 80s – gave lectures to the cops in Hendon on “Youth Culture”; obviously a sell-out – but at least by that time he’d given up his radical pretensions.

5.Psychologism becomes a way of dismissing someone’s protests against misery by saying it’s just a displacement for some other misery – like Brecht’s brief allegory of a psychoanalyst saying that a beggar’s dream about a millionaire expressed a problem the beggar had with his father.

6.I’ve heard from people who believe that Dr.Johnny is a grossly unfairly maligned innocent angel, that he “only” participated in this CPD course by giving lectures on crowd reactions to emergencies or disasters, not the controlling of protests. Yet all the quotes that we’ve got from him online (check them
out for yourself) don’t at all imply this limited focus (see, for instance: http://www.sussex.ac.uk/affiliates/panic/CPD%20further%20details.html ). But even if you can’t be bothered to look at all these various links, giving a lecture to loads of top cops, whether about emergencies, disasters, riots or helping little old ladies across the road, still stinks of collaboration. It’s not at all like, say, a nurse having to sometimes work with cops.

7.Whilst Mr. Drury might be a little ill-at-ease writing or talking like his friend and cohort Mr.Stott, he still feeds him ideas that help the cops, and has been doing so for years and years. By your friends shall ye be known. Some may conveniently dismiss this as “guilt by association”. But we are the sum total of the relations we’re forced and/or we choose to have. If either Marx or Engels, who collaborated over most of their adult lives, suddenly said, without denouncing each other for their words, “I’m not at all implicated in that reformist State capitalist determinist crap my mate wrote – he’s an autonomous individual like me” , you’d think that dismissing this as ‘guilt-by-association’ would be an evasive expression of individualist ideology to hide the fact of being over tolerant towards a dangerously counter-revolutionary perspective. Drury cites Stott constantly in his work, just as Stott cites Drury. We are our social relations, and we are particularly the social relations we choose to have. In the world of ideological production that academia is, who people directly work with over years involves a far greater degree of choice than other work situations. It’s very different from, say, the fact that one might find oneself next to a mysogenist Islamic fundamentalist anti-semite stacking shelves in a supermarket: the collaboration is close, involving developing ideas and is pretty much mutually self-organised, even if it’s within the framework of the University’s policy over which they have no control. 8.In the current “Occupy#” movement in the USA, there are quite a few who, when espousing the 99% ideology, claim that the cops are part of this 99% (revealingly, there are some who also declare that Nazis are part of this 99%). There are even a few old hands from the traditional workers’ movement who still declare that cops are workers in uniform. For instance, the SPGB (Small Party of Good Boys, as they used to be known), stuck as they are in a past before they were born, who point to the 1919 Police Strike, which has gone down in mythology as an example of the proletarian nature of the cops. What these ridiculous people, who try to use the past to justify their present conservative attitudes, show in this is “their inability to understand the present. The radical point of view…starts rather with a disabused analysis of the present and works backwards. It turns pitilessly on the compatibility of the results of past struggles with the present brutality of human reification, and the inordinate support that insufficient rebellion in the past gives to the glorification of the status quo.” (Chris Shutes, [ http://libcom.org/library/two-local-chapters-spectacle-decomposition-chris-shutes]Two Local Chapters In The Spectacle Of Decomposition). So what was this insufficient rebellion in the case of the 1919 police strike? Simply put, in 1919 less than 4% of UK cops went on strike. Previous to 1919 – at the end of August 1918, when Europe was still at war – a 36-hour police strike, whose history is virtually unknown, took place; a couple of thousand cops went on strike for a wage increase – this at a time when the average copper was getting less than an unskilled labourer and only a third of the take-home pay of a munitions worker. With the mutiny at Verdun a recent terrifying memory for the ruling class, along with the revolutionary upheaval in Russia, plus other revolutionary rumblings, the Lloyd George government quickly gave the cops a pay rise and hinted that they might allow them to have a union after the war, which of course, was denied them later on. From then on, until the more famous failed strike a year later, both sides in this battle tried to prepare for what they knew was coming, though the state exploited best the contradictions of the cops wanting the rest of the working class to support them in the struggle for union recognition. At the beginning of June 1919 there was to be a rally of all the big unions alongside of the nascent illegal police union struggling for recognition. But just 6 days before, on 27th May, there was a bloody clash between members of the
Discharged Soldiers and Sailors and the Met, when the latter tried to stop the former marching on Parliament. In a battle that raged along the entire length of Victoria Street, the demonstrators used scaffolding poles and paving stones to inflict more than 150 casualties on the cops, over 20 of them serious. The cops, of course, did their usual beating and batoning, as usual (so far) giving worse than they got. The leader of the would-be union, the NUPPO (National Union of Police and Prison Officers), J.L.Hayes, issued a press statement on behalf of the NUPPO apologising for the cops’ behaviour, putting the responsibility purely onto the government : ‘We appeal to the discharged soldiers and sailors not to judge the union on yesterday’s happenings. Let them blame the Government, the Home Secretary, the Commissioner of Police, and the military system against which we are strenuously fighting. As a union we look upon our comrades in the workshops and from the army as comrades.’ Here we see the socialist ideology of a movement which still had illusions in a hierarchical specialism in the maintenance of a Law’n’Order that could somehow be on the side of the proletariat, whilst at the same time playing their role of defending the bourgeoisie’s precious Parliament. Today, one can hardly imagine the Police Federation nowadays participating in a TUC conference using such rhetoric as Hayes to attack the government, even if the TUC is known as the Tories’ Unofficial Cops, and even if the Police Federation is pressurising the government for more cop funding. At that time, both seemed to be very openly antagonistic to the government using a “solidarity with our comrades”-type vocabulary. Yet, although at the beginning of June, the vote for striking was over 90% in favour (44,539 for, 4,324 against) when it came to actually striking in August, the government having given wage, and social wage, increases to the cops, only just over 3% went on strike. 2300 strikers were consequently sacked (of whom 955 were in Liverpool) and the Liberal government instituted a very clear anti-strike clause in the police’s contracts. No sector of the working class had come out in support of them. Liverpool workers still remembered “Bloody Sunday” of 8 years previously when in 1911 a Protestant carter and a Catholic docker were shot dead, the funeral becoming an occasion for sectarianism to be swept aside in a massive display of working-class solidarity Since then, the strike has been so passed into the land of misty myths that, at the London march against the more modern Bloody Sunday, the Derry massacre in 1972, I found myself next to someone who screamed at the cops “Remember the 1919 strike!”, as the cops ran out between the towering horses truncheoning people left, right and centre. Clearly the guy himself had no memory of it other than what his Trotskyist party had taught him to believe.

9.On the level of the immediate content of their written stuff, and even in terms of their professions as well-known academics, people like Harry Cleaver or Moishe Postone, get accurately critiqued. But this is the classic hypocritical contradiction of those who don’t firstly begin critiques with their own practical lives, with the need to subvert their own complicity with this world, the need to struggle to liberate themselves insofar as one can – another banal case of “do as I say, not as I do”.

10.”As a result of his practical and theoretical struggle against resistances in analysis, Reich came to conceive of character (character neurosis) as the very form of those resistances. (see Character Analysis). In contrast to a symptom — which must be considered as a production and concentration of character and which is felt as a foreign body, giving rise to an awareness of illness — a character trait is organically embedded in the personality. Unawareness of the illness is a fundamental symptom of character neurosis. An explanation of this degradation of individuality cannot appear except within an attempt to communicate, in this case within the analytic technique itself. However unilateral this technique may be, it rapidly revealed character for what it is: a defence against communication, a failure of the faculty of encounter. This is the price paid for the primary function of character, the defence against anxiety (The critical situation in which the magnitude of this price is fully revealed is love. It remains Reich’s merit to have shown that character defence against anxiety is paid for in this situation by an incapacity for tenderness, which he labels, unfortunately, “orgastic impotence.” At this
level character is itself a symptom). There’s no need to dwell on the origin of anxiety, on its causes and their permanence. Let us simply note the obvious fact that the particular form of one’s character is a pattern that takes shape before the tenth year . The discretion of this arrangement explains why it is not recognized as a social plague, and thus why it is lastingly effective. This setup produces damaged individuals, as stripped as possible of intelligence, sociability and sexuality, and consequently truly isolated from one another; which is ideal for the optimum functioning of the automatic system of commodity circulation. The energy which the individual could use to recognize and be recognized is [i]harnessed to his character, i.e. employed to neutralize itself. In all societies in which modern conditions of production prevail the impossibility of living takes individually the form of death, madness or character. With the intrepid Dr. Reich, and against his horrified recuperators and vilifiers, we postulate the pathological nature of all character traits, i.e. of all chronicity in human behaviour. What is important to us is neither the individual structure of our character nor the explanation of its formation, but the impossibility of applying it toward the creation of situations. Character is thus not simply an unhealthy excrescence which could be treated separately, but at the same time an individual remedy in a globally ill society, a remedy that enables us to bear the illness while aggravating it. People are to a great extent accomplices in the reigning spectacle. Character is the form of this complicity. We maintain that people can dissolve their character only by contesting the entire society (this is in opposition to Reich insofar as he envisages character analysis from a specialized point of view). On the other hand, since the function of character is to accommodate us to the state of things, its dissolution is a prerequisite to the total critique of society. We must destroy this vicious circle.” J.-P.Voyer – Reich: How to Use (1971).

11.At that time, the University in the UK (and in France, where this text was first produced) was a far more privileged place than it later became: despite the notion of upward mobility, only about 15% of British students came from working class backgrounds. Obviously it would be ridiculous to apply the same critique of student poverty as was made in the 60s to the period since (although the recent vast rise in tuition fees is already clearly telling those from working class backgrounds not to be too uppity mobile).

12.What is this image of struggle? It’s simply a struggle over different interpretations of the world of struggle separated from the reality of struggle in which interpretation becomes part of a consequential attack. The worst of these, for the most part, purely intellectual attitudes born from the University, is certainly not Aufheben, which has sometimes been excellent. One can see, for example, in most of Théorie Communiste a dreadful superior abstraction which looks down from on high upon the whole history of class struggle and concludes that it was doomed to failure up until the present epoch. This determinism, predicated on a fear of making mistakes, on a perfectionist model of revolution which has never existed and can never exist, is largely expressed in convoluted verbiage which gives the impression of saying something new, but in fact hides the fact that it’s simply a repetition of what Marx said more simply and directly some 150 years ago or so, and even repeats some of his worst aspects. “The radical critique of Marx has always presented the two dominant ideological tendencies of his activity as separate. On the one hand he is attacked for his determinism, for presenting proletarian revolution as the inevitable product of economic decay; on the other hand he is seen as a hierarch because of his Machiavellian practices within the international revolutionary movement….those who have created their own “good reasons” to see revolution as inevitable invariably create a hierarchy in which the partisans who recognise their explanation are placed at the top; the as yet neutral masses are in the middle, and their opponents who may have competing reasons or no reason at all, are at the bottom. Determinism, in turn, is a natural outcome of the separation created by revolutionaries between themselves and the proletariat. If one cannot conceive of the masses as individuals capable of determining the conditions of their existence through revolution, then it is necessary for a special enlightened group to supply them with an external motivation they can’t resist”. – Isaac Cronin, ‘The American Situationists’. The rivalrous and manipulative practices of ‘Théorie Communiste’ confirm this insight, which was written as long ago as 1978.

13.Or was, until he realised that some people who take their desire for a movement against this world seriously had discovered this public secret and so did his best to sweep it all under the carpet.

14.In this post : http://libcom.org/forums/feedback-content/why-article-has-been-removed-07102011?page=7#comment- lurdan quotes Drury: “It may be hard to think of yourself as exactly ‘the same person’ if you have in effect changed the social environment that gives you your self-definition! ” Lurdan added: ‘The problem is that this really does cut both ways’. Yeah – cut both sides of the fence, and cuts you off.

Oct16. L.Bird, commenting on The Crowd blog article quoted above says, “The ‘non-perspective’ method of academia is an ideological lie. If one doesn’t ‘go native’, one by necessity ‘remains imperialist’.There is no ‘outside of the exploitative system’. ”

dr j mr h5

“life” is what you fake it

“…he thought of Hyde, for all his energy of life, as of something not only hellish but inorganic. This was the shocking thing…that what was dead, and had no shape, should usurp the offices of life. ”

– Robert Louis Stevenson, The Strange Case Of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.

dr j mr h 3 death skull
“Capital is dead labour, which, vampire-like, lives only by sucking living labour, and lives the more, the more labour it sucks.”

– Marx, Capital

“The spectacle in general, as the concrete inversion of life, is the autonomous movement of the non-living.”

– Debord, Society of the Spectacle

The spectacle of “theory”, vampire-like, lives only by sucking living struggles……

cropped-delinquent-book-title-e1355336242477-300x285
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3 Responses to the strange case of dr. johnny and mr. drury (2011)
  1. The following appeared on the libcom version before they locked the topic:

    Samotnaf
    Oct 21 2011 04:31

    Dr. Who? & co.s work appears like something obvious to those of us who aren’t cops, but cops are not known for their grasp of the obvious. The results of their research, as applied to the more culturally embedded two-faced mentality amongst cops in the UK, is a slight extension of what UK cops have often done up to now – but by making explictly conscious what has been bit by bit partly and haphazardly practiced spontaneously and only semi-consciously over the last 20 years, it helps give a mildly original focus to UK cop training (though it would take some intensified training for such ideas to be applied consistently). But their suggested future application for many countries, such as Greece, are far more overtly innovative.
    #3
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    Samotnaf
    Oct 22 2011 01:24

    pdf of this text in unbowdlerised form is available if you contact: endangeredphoenix@aliceadsl.fr
    #4
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    RedEd’s picture
    RedEd
    Oct 23 2011 05:58

    I haven’t read all of this yet. However, I think you might improve your text by being a little more cautious in your criticisms of psychology. You tend to present the discipline as a monolithic whole with a particular social role and attitude to society and the individual. I don’t think that this is supportable in light of the facts. For example social constructivism, for all it’s tendencies to po-mo liberalism, is almost the exact opposite of some of the criticisms you level at psychology. In fact, the breaking down of society into the base units of isolated individuals that you object to is also not the approach taken by most crowd psychology which tends to deal with large social groupings as irreducible phenomena. Tangentially, psychologists who spend their lives studying the details of how human brains turn writing on a page into understandable words in their mind seem completely unrelated to your overarching critique of the discipline. Whilst you have identified some genuine trends within psychology, your presentation of them could benefit from a bit more caution.
    #5
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    Samotnaf
    Oct 23 2011 19:44

    “Critical theory does not present a fixed, “objective” truth. It is an assault, a formulation abstracted, simplified and pushed to the extreme. The principle is, “If the shoe fits, wear it”: people are compelled to ask themselves to what extent the critique rings true and what they are going to do about it. Those who wish to evade the problem will complain about the critique as being unfairly one-sided, not presenting the whole picture. ”

    Wasn’t intending to produce an extensive breakdown of psychology as a discipline (I’m certainly no expert), more of psychologism (particularly its popular use, rather than how it’s used by experts) and of the bits of “crowd psychology” I’ve seen from Dr Who and co.s writings. Turning ” writing on a page into understandable words” in your mind wasn’t my main intention – I aimed to provoke a reflection on how psychologism is used to evade social critique, and to adopt a reformist attitude to your social relations, in life, though obviously understanding such words in your mind is a first step. Though not always – I’ve often understood (in my mind) just 25% of complex texts, but because I tried to use them, practically, I’ve been later able to understand much more; and of course, the best texts are worth coming back to again and again, and even if you think you understood them in your mind, you always see something different if you’ve advanced your struggle in life and if the general class struggle has advanced as well. Like understanding someone is different after just looking at them from after talking to them.

    If I ever have a greater amount of time on my hands than at the moment (eg when I don’t have to work at all, or in some isolated hideout, or in hospital, in prison , in an asylum, or in a concentration camp) – then, amongst books like ‘War and Peace’, I might read the works of various psychologists along with a more extensive reading of Freud, if the situation allows me to. But although I’m often as cautious as I am not, I could doubtless “benefit from a bit more caution” in some areas of life, and a bit less in others. Sometimes that applies to writing. It would be great to have a perfect balance between being a fool rushing in and being an angel fearing to tread, but that’s not always possible. Still, I measure the success of caution or its absence, in whatever area, by the results – whether I learn something different, whether I gain confidence in my contribution to the struggle against this society, whether I meet new people who I feel good with, whether I manage to get something of what I want, whether others are moved by what I say to change things, etc. etc. and the interaction between all these. And such a formulation should apply to the class struggle too: whether the communities of struggle learn something new, gain confidence, make new contacts and connections, get something of what they want, influence other movements, etc.etc. And in this perspective psychology as a discipline or psychologism as a reflex ideology people use to say “in confronting social misery X, you were really just avoiding dealing with your own personal misery Y” is no use at all.
    #6
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    Samotnaf
    Oct 24 2011 05:40

    For those who think the crowd psychologist team of Dr Who and co. is liberal reformist and innocuous, I refer to this extract about Greece from an article in yesterday’s Eleftherotypia, a liberal newspaper of wide circulation:

    “It is obvious that attempts are being made at readapting the doctrine of the security forces’ involvement in social reactions, which will escalate continuously. A society that suffers badly from economic measures cannot be beaten up by the forces of repression which have not found or do not want to find a way to isolate those who regard violence as an end in itself.
    The events of recent days, if not marked by the death of the 53-year-old PAME trade unionist, could be seen as a sign of an effective change in police doctrine towards a softer management of demonstrations.
    Indeed, in those two days that police were fully in a transitory phase in terms of its leadership team, the risk was double. Initially, the apparatus was led for two days by those available since changes in leadership were announced simultaneously with the big demonstrations. And even with the participation of Christofareizis C., who was recalled from retirement, the designer of the MAT [TN: the riot squad] in the ’90s, whose name was associated with the attack against pensioners out of Maximou [TN: the Presidential Mansion] in 1995. The other change observed was the return of the doctrine of self-control and inconspicuous granting of power to organized unions to self-guard the demonstrations.
    What happened on Thursday with PAME guarding its demo not only in a defensive but also in an offensive way at the Unknown Soldier monument was the beginning of a new tactic which gives room for self-regulation to the demonstrators that will have the first say in the prevention of the intrusion of troublemakers in the body of the mobilizations. And this is risky, because the incredible violence between protesters, while the police were discreetly absent, could have had more serious consequences. Although any police involvement might have had even worse consequences. In any case this tactic is likely to be applied again after consultations have been made.
    In this critical period it was clear that Chr. Papoutsis [TN: Minister of Public Order, or in the neo-orwellian language of the PASOK government, Minister of Citizen Protection] wished for a softer administration at all levels of the Staff and not only at the leadership. That is why he transfered hardline officers that he thought were damaging the image of the police due to the behaviour of policemen who had seriously injured protesters and professional journalists in recent months, during demonstrations. Obviously, for reasons of balance, the minister also hired an experienced veteran and put him in the position of operations consultant.
    For over a year, the minister has been talking about a lack of democracy in the security forces and has threatened that he will not hesitate to attack some structures, units and commanders. Certainly these commanders were appointed by the same government two years ago, when the offensive doctrine was applied for the regaining of the streets, according to the official announcement that was made then.
    The murder of student Al. Grigoropoulos had repercussions on the police as they were delegitimised in huge parts of society, i.e. they were marginalized socially and professionally. There is an attempt now by the Ministry of Citizen Protection to reverse this disturbance of professional self-image and behaviour, in the worst period in decades, as the economic crisis is ruining people and cracks in social cohesion are increasing.” [TN: It is not surprising then that some riot squads were telling the demonstrators that they were there for their protection!]”
    (Greek Police: softly-softly is the new doctrine, Eleftherotypia, 23/11/2011)
    #7
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    Samotnaf
    Oct 30 2011 03:58

    Clifford Stott, Dr Who’s friend and co-collaborator with the cops in the crowd psychology team, is producing a book on the UK August riots. It’s called “Mad mobs and Englishmen?:Myths and realities of the 2011 riots”, the release date being 18th November. Should show something about how “useless” Dr.Who’s team is for the State.
    On Stott’s facebook site, there’s a top cop from Wisconsin – David C. Couper, advertising his own book:
    Quote:

    You may be interested in my forthcoming book, “Arrested Development: One Man’s Lifetime Mission to Improve Our Nation’s Police.” I have an extensive comparison of my successful efforts to manage crowds in Madison, WI for twenty years as its Chief of Police. Your “softly-softly” method is what we used. I am also blogging into the book’s release date (Jan, 2012) and next week it will be on crowds!n(http://improvingpolice.wordpress.com/

    People might remember the pro-ocupation cops with their “Cops for Labour” banners, who then later evicted the occupation and prevented a re-occupation. Nice softly softly approach, which clearly the Oakland cops will be told to learn from.

    Stott replies:
    Quote:

    David, your book sounds interesting. I look forward to reading it and I’ll be interested to read your blogs on crowds next week.

    David Couper responds:
    Quote:

    Thanks — and thanks for your contribution to democratic policing!!

    There are some other interesting things on Dr Who’s mate’s Facebook, which can be seen here: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Dr-Clifford-Stott/179023995454028

    Anybody not totally submerged by the fog of indifference nurtured by libcom admin, Aufheben and their fellow travellers, those Thatcher’s children who seem to have succumbed to the symptoms of market nihilism that have permeated almost every aspect of life in London and London-on-sea, could help the original TPTG project of looking into how policing has changed and is changing by maybe looking into how the CBRN is helping policing in London, as exemplified by their machine next to a cop van outside St.Pauls (see: http://www.indymedia.org.uk/en/2011/10/487566.html?c=on#comments) .
    And by maybe looking into this, posted up by Wellclose Square on the “Response to the TPTG” thread:
    Quote:

    Surfing around stuff about the Occupy movement I stumbled across this:
    http://www.indymedia.org.uk/en/2011/10/487566.html?c=on#comments
    Amidst the paranoia about what the device with the CBRN serial number was, this comment jumped out:
    “The UK Police National CBRN Centre is a unique organisation. While having the name Police prominently in its name, it is in fact an organisation that has an ethos of multi-agency working at its core. The Centre has been providing CBRN training for a number of years that is thoroughly multi-agency in both content and reach, being provided to emergency response organisations throughout the UK.”
    That reminded me of Aufheben’s defence of J’s work:
    “TPTG take the word ‘consultancies’ on J’s university profile too literally. The ‘NATO’ reference is actually a literature review by the Department of Health which cites J’s research on a mass emergency. The review and the research are about psychosocial care and nothing to do with crowd control (this can be checked by the link on his research website); J had nothing to do with anyone from NATO; and J is not responsible for the views expressed by the document authors or any of their statements or recommendations. As TPTG know, The talks to the ‘policing major incidents’ meeting, the CBRN centre, and Civil Contingencies Secretariat were each about his research on mass emergencies. They were part of the dissemination of his research to the emergency services and other relevant organizations that he is expected to do as part of his work at the university. The ‘blue light services’ work closely together; and so talking about emergencies means probably talking to cops as well as the others. His University encouraged this, and it would have looked odd to refuse to communicate with the cops. So he accepted this as a small cost of the overall job of research work.”
    Curiouser and curiouser…

    #8
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    Spikymike
    Oct 30 2011 16:05

    This might not be directly relevant here but I thought the report of a new campaign by the ‘network for police monitoring’ in the latest Freedom Nov 2011 seemed a bit odd at first glance.

    This network seems to have done useful work on a number of demonstrations doing what it’s title suggests and assisting demonstrators to avoid arrest or defend themselves at a later date but now announces a new campaign and says, ”…..we need to start demanding that draconian police powers are abolished instead of reformed,” and calls for ”A new approach towards public protest that recognises it’s value as a positive and essential expression rather than an inconvenient nuisance that must be contained.”

    Not sure who these words (which seem familiar from the above debate) are addressed to? as we already know the value which our demonstrations at least sometimes have for us.

    Seems more like a typical liberal reformist campaign rather than an anarchist approach to the problems we have with the police?
    #9
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    Red Marriott’s picture
    Red Marriott
    Oct 30 2011 18:48
    Samotnaf wrote:

    looking into how policing has changed and is changing by maybe looking into how the CBRN is helping policing in London, as exemplified by their machine next to a cop van outside St.Pauls (see: http://www.indymedia.org.uk/en/2011/10/487566.html?c=on#comments)

    Indymedia commenters wrote:

    Looks like a MICROWAVE HORN
    27.10.2011 16:37
    This is genuinely very disturbing – this looks like a microwave horn – if so we have a major scandal / covert weapons tech scandal here – please contact The Guardian and The Independent about this IMMEDIATELY

    I believe microwave beams can be used for sending phone and video signals, so this could be a communications device, but even if it is, if it’s powerful enough, it could still be used to deliberately microwave protestors.

    IF the Met are doing this, then it’s criminal assault on a grand scale. Let’s not jump to conclusions but this COULD be big

    Microwave guns
    27.10.2011 17:09
    Here’s a video of a home-made microwave gun that looks just like the horns in the protest photo, according to the video description “in addition to what is shown in the video, the gun will jam any radio or cellphone within a large distance” and “1 Kw of microwave energy is enough to cause blindness in a matter of seconds if you were to stick your face too close”

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DoOT2_Z-GIE

    Contact the newspapers about this NOW please
    […]
    Simply a scrolling LED sign
    27.10.2011 22:22
    This was used to let us know we were being kettled to prevent a breach of the peace and let kids and vulnerable people know where to go to get out. A couple of loudhailers attached. Simple

    Some analysis from a professional
    28.10.2011 23:57
    I was an RF engineer for 10 years, dealing with Microwave comms and radar equipment and tripped over this on Google. I used to work for one of the insidious American killing corporations starting with an R that activists like to sit on the roof of (hint hint). No longer – I came to my senses and gave them the middle finger out of the blue one day.

    The things in question are simply PA speakers on an information rig. CBRN dump these around the country in strategic locations to tell people to stay away if there are any chem/nuclear attacks etc. They are much like the big LED road signs that say “lane closed” except for public assembly areas.

    Evidence:

    1. Not enough space in the horn assembly for a magnetron. Magnetrons are quite big, quite heavy and consume crap loads of power.

    2. There’s no tech which can hurt people that you can cram in that space without meters of waveguides and larger microwave generation equipment on the base of the unit (much more than is there).

    3. There’s not enough power generation or storage capacity to get more than a few inches from the end of the horns which would be silly as it’s on the end of an extendable rig. You have to knock out SERIOUS amounts of watts as the effective power decreases very quickly the further you go out of the emitter. I know people post microwave weapons on youtube but they are pointlessly underpowered and would do sod all at even 2m range (despite what they’d have you think).

    4. They use XLR connectors (if you look closely) which are balanced audio. Military stuff tends to use massive multipole cables and flat PDU cables which are obviously not there.

    5. I’ve seen the cones before in the Farnell electronics catalogue a few years ago (before they became element 14) and they are audio!

    6. Weapons like that are damn expensive (£100k+). They would be mounted on a military platform rather than a cheap trailer and not have any exposed cabling.

    Chill out everyone – you’re not going to get microwaved. They just borrowed some signs and a PA system to patronise you with.
    ktf

    grin
    #10
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    no1
    Oct 30 2011 19:50

    I hear tin foil hats work wonders against microwaves. Luckily they are easy to make at home, so hopefully samotnaf should still be able to protest safely in future, but do let all your friends know about this, perhaps another open letter is in order.
    #11
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    Wellclose Square
    Oct 30 2011 20:31

    What I thought was of note was the involvement of the CBRN in a public order situation (rather than a mass emergency, as Aufheben and co have been at such pains to tell us), not the paranoid comments that indymedia posters put up on that particular thread. If Red Marriott and no 1 choose to ignore that, admittedly small, and rather mundane observation, to take the piss (sidestepping the question of how Aufheben and Libcom have taken the piss) then that’s a pity.
    #12
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    Steven.’s picture
    Steven.
    Oct 30 2011 20:34
    Wellclose Square wrote:

    What I thought was of note was the involvement of the CBRN in a public order situation (rather than a mass emergency, as Aufheben and co have been at such pains to tell us), not the paranoid comments that indymedia posters put up on that particular thread.

    all that picture shows is the involvement of a sign with CBRN on it
    #13
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    Red Marriott’s picture
    Red Marriott
    Oct 30 2011 21:44
    Quote:

    If Red Marriott and no 1 choose to ignore that, admittedly small, and rather mundane observation, to take the piss (sidestepping the question of how Aufheben and Libcom have taken the piss) then that’s a pity.

    The only people I was taking the piss out of were the Indymedia paranoids jumping to their assumptions – I don’t know if you & Samotnaf were referring to the paranoid assumptions as evidence – or to the use of message boards/tannoy as evidence of softer policing tactics. That might depend on whether you saw only the earlier comments or also the later explanation.

    But Steven is correct,
    Quote:

    all that picture shows is the involvement of a sign with CBRN on it

    – as the last comment says, it seems;
    Quote:

    They just borrowed some signs and a PA system to patronise you with.

    #14
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    Juan Conatz’s picture
    Juan Conatz
    Oct 30 2011 23:04

    Micorwaves? How long before 9/11 theories?
    #15
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    Wellclose Square
    Oct 30 2011 23:16
    x wrote:

    Micorwaves? How long before 9/11 theories?

    Spelling

    admin: no flaming
    #16
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    Red Marriott’s picture
    Red Marriott
    Oct 30 2011 23:22

    Well, I certainly wouldn’t rule out research into, and possible eventual use, of many types of repression/weaponry by intelligence/security forces if they prove effective in appropriate situations. Here is a relatively mild application of an invisible weapon;
    Quote:

    Another related, more sinister, form of policing public space is also now in use, sometimes used in combination with muzak; “Mosquito units are small generators giving out a[n irritating] high frequency sound which, it is claimed, only people aged under 25 can hear due to the density of their inner ear bones.” These are turned on and off as necessary to give the youth an aural cattle prod to get moving. So there is a low level guerrilla techno-war going on in the arena of public space. On the one side, the homeless who live in the streets, and also those youths with no communal leisure spaces of their own. On the other, the market forces of shopkeepers, shopping mall man­agers, security guards and other cops. The message is that if you’re not here to consume then you have no business being here. One might expect that some smart young techies could come up with a blocking device against the mosquito units. (There have been calls – in Feb 2008 – by the Children’s Commissioner for the device to be banned, as it is an indiscrimi­nate targeting based solely on age which, for example, also affects babies – whose source of discomfort would not be under­stood by their parents.) http://libcom.org/library/muzak-my-ears-canned-music-class-struggle

    #17
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    Samotnaf
    Oct 31 2011 05:58

    It seems to me that libcom admin and their fellow travellers don’t actually want to oppose this society – they just want to give the appearance of doing so. Anyway, this is is the only conclusion I can draw from all the trivialisation and/or ignoring of what is a serious issue by various people who only show their avoidance of any simple questioning. It seems they like the “security” of burying their heads even further into the sand (most out of a blind partisanship similar to the more easily criticisable and cruder mentality that made loads of people in the past shut their mouths about the obvious contradictions of, say, the Stalinist rackets that libcom have no qualms about attacking). This lack of integrity, which even fails to live up to the pretension of an anti-state perspective when applied to those who move in their particular clique, makes them, in this case, ignore and distort the fact that the CBRN is clearly involved in public order situations (though whether or not they were/are directly involved in the policing of St.Pauls isn’t clear):
    Quote:

    A Police Support Unit or PSU is a unit of police officers who have undergone specialist training in public order policing.
    Police Support Unit training in the United Kingdom is voluntary tactical training undertaken by selected candidates that provides students with the skills required to safely and effectively deal with a variety of public order situations outside the remit or capability of regular divisional officers.
    PSU trained officers in the UK are commonly referred to as Level 2, Mutual Aid Trained (MAT), or PSU.
    The majority of UK Forces use Mercedes Sprinter Vans, known as ‘Carriers’, as standard transport for PSUs. These vehicles are equipped with mesh window shields and outfitted with storage compartments for officers riot and CBRN kit. Carrier drivers must undergo specialist driver training in ‘riot conditions’ before qualifying as a carrier driver.
    Standard kit for PSU officers consists of a transparent acrylic riot shield, a baton, a visored ‘NATO’ helmet, shin and elbow guards, along with fireproof coveralls when required. This level of protection allows officers to deal with a variety of violent situations, including riots, football violence and suspects armed with a variety of weapons. Some PSU teams are also dual-trained as first-line responders for CBRN incidents and carry relevant detection kit as well as major incident equipment.

    – from here. (my emphases)
    #18
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    Mike Harman
    Oct 31 2011 08:43
    Quote:

    in this case, ignore and distort the fact that the CBRN is clearly involved in public order situations

    Has that actually been disputed?

    I thought the whole argument about the Aufheben member’s work with emergency services is that CBRN situations are treated as public order situations and he thinks they should not be? That seemed to me to be one of the core arguments about his own work (not any of his associates) being not ‘past the line’ – so denying that there is any relation to public order situations (which in this case would be more or less any public emergency) wouldn’t make sense, but perhaps I missed this. Without reading through the whole thread again what I remember being said was that he has argued that riot police etc. should not be deployed to do things like contain quarantine zones (think of any number of TV shows where they are shooting people who’ve been infected during a biological attack and are trying to escape from quarantine – that sort of thing). That’s the exact opposite of claiming the CBRN are never involved in public order situations – it’s saying they treat everything as a public order situation even when it might not be.

    Now you might disagree with talking to the emergency services on that level, but if that’s the basis it was done, then it is different to consulting with the police on how to do public order policing better – very different from the Stott stuff.

    Or are you arguing that CBRN units get deployed for non-emergency situations (i.e. riots/protests as opposed to other kinds of public emergencies), and this was knowingly denied by Aufheben/libcom? I’m not sure from the quote you posted whether that’s actually the case – it looks from that excerpt like some units get deployed for both types of situation but does not suggest that riot policing would be done by a CBRN unit at all. And again I don’t think anyone’s tried to confuse that issue (whether it’s the case or not) anyway.
    #19
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    Valeriano Orobó…
    Oct 31 2011 15:27

    I haven’t read the whole of sam’s intervention or about the use of cbrn but apparently no one is denying that a member of aufheben (a review whose analysis i used to consider brilliant), is publishing in a police review and has worked for the nato in the past. I think that’s fucking serious and if true frankly revolting, equally i think an answer is to be expected (hopefully convincing) from aufheben’s staff. Has it been already published? If so i haven’t seen it.
    #20
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    Ed’s picture
    Ed
    Oct 31 2011 15:47

    Valeriano, this ground has been covered A LOT.. the member of Aufheben in question didn’t publish an article in a police review, his name was added as another author by people who did write an article for police review (stupidly, without him having read the article – we have seen the emails, as can anyone who asks Aufheben for them). He didn’t work for NATO either, he was mentioned in a literature review on psychological care by the Department of Health, acting on behalf of EAPC (NATO’s civilian/political wing).

    There’s another thread on it here, but I would particularly recommend reading Joseph K’s post on page 10 (and no, page 10 is not the last page! sad )..

    To be honest, at this point I’m thinking of locking this thread as we’ve already had this long long discussion and I don’t really see where this new thread will really take us. If anyone has anything else say related to Aufheben-gate, then they can take it to the thread linked to above.
    #21
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    Valeriano Orobó…
    Oct 31 2011 15:51

    Ok thanks. I’ll have a look at the links.
    #22
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    Samotnaf
    Oct 31 2011 15:57

    Unfortunately the party line (from Aufheben and joseph Kay and libcom admin) is that Dr Who had his name put in Jane’s Police Review (over 2 years ago) and on another article over 4 years ago without his knowledge, but didn’t bother to have it taken off. As Spike Milligan said after playing a penny whistle version of the National Anthem in a theatre in the 60s: “If you stand for that, you’ll stand for anything”. Plus, look at his blog, for example, this:
    http://drury-sussex-the-crowd.blogspot.com/2011/01/psychology-and-politics-of-going-native.html

    By the way, the latest Aufheben text on the August riots is very good (as far as I can see – I wasn’t there). But it’s not written by the Aufheben team – it’s an “intake”, which means that it’s written by an outsider.

    Mike Harman – I was going to reply at length to you and other stuff, but I’ve not got the time at the moment; might have time tomorrow or next day.

    Edit: The above was written before reading Ed’s post and is a response to Valeriano O.
    #23
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    Mike Harman
    Oct 31 2011 16:29
    Quote:

    Unfortunately the party line (from Aufheben and joseph Kay and libcom admin) is that Dr Who had his name put in Jane’s Police Review (over 2 years ago) and on another article over 4 years ago without his knowledge, but didn’t bother to have it taken of

    If you’re going to call things the ‘party line’ at least try to actually summarise what has been said.

    The Aufheben member agreed to have his name added to articles that he not had written, as a way to boost his publishing numbers, which is obviously a stupid thing to do, especially if it’s an article in Police Review.

    That is a very different claim to saying that people were adding his name to articles without his knowledge nor consent (which would not imply stupidity on his part, rather ignorance), but again no-one has said this.
    #24
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    Samotnaf
    Oct 31 2011 16:31

    I’ve just read Ed’s Auful proposal to lock this thread (having only momentarily glanced at it before). I’ve just sent him the following pm, but realise it should be public:
    Quote:

    I have further things to say on this thread – which I started and YOU want to lock…? How many threads started by other people which haven’t ended in flaming and arbitrary acrimony get locked? What is the logic of this proposed decision? Apart from wanting everything to be mediated by the Aufheben response to the TPTG, which should really be accompanied by a Pinnochio picture and a warning that this is a smear? Explain!

    Clearly I hadn’t linked to the thread Ed is proposing should take over from this discussion before sending the pm. Having now realised it’s “Why this article has been removed?”, I realise that Ed’s decision is to avoid having my article going to the top of the recent posts list and have a thread that many people have ignored (Valeriano is one of them, it seems) because it seems like something not very interesting and very internal to libcom. It’s an appalling thread in which everything gets lost and confused amidst Joseph Kay’s constant self-contradictions which the rest of libcom admin and their hangers-on have taken on trust and without showing the slightest attempt at independent reflection or self-reflection. A good reason (something a bit better than “this is critical of our cop collaborating mate – we prefer to keep such criticisms hidden under a mass and mess of constantly repeated confusion, and particularly in a thread that looks uninteresting”) for locking this thread should be given, if there is one.
    #25
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    the button’s picture
    the button
    Oct 31 2011 16:44

    That’s what *they* want you to think.
    #26
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    no1
    Oct 31 2011 16:53

    tin foil hats
    #27
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    Red Marriott’s picture
    Red Marriott
    Oct 31 2011 16:56
    no 1 wrote:

    tin foil hats

    The reason I made my earlier post was not to feed lame one liners like this.
    #28
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    vanilla.ice.baby
    Oct 31 2011 17:16
    Ed wrote:

    Valeriano, this ground has been covered A LOT.. the member of Aufheben in question didn’t publish an article in a police review, his name was added as another author by people who did write an article for police review (stupidly, without him having read the article – we have seen the emails, as can anyone who asks Aufheben for them). He didn’t work for NATO either, he was mentioned in a literature review on psychological care by the Department of Health, acting on behalf of EAPC (NATO’s civilian/political wing).

    There’s another thread on it here, but I would particularly recommend reading Joseph K’s post on page 10 (and no, page 10 is not the last page! )..

    To be honest, at this point I’m thinking of locking this thread as we’ve already had this long long discussion and I don’t really see where this new thread will really take us. If anyone has anything else say related to Aufheben-gate, then they can take it to the thread linked to above.

    I think you should close the thread – the nutters have had their chance at creative writing and seized it with gusto, and proven to be badly wrong.
    #29
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    Ed’s picture
    Ed
    Oct 31 2011 17:20

    Oh ffs Samotnaf, can you stop reading intrigue into everything? Is it literally impossible for you? Anyway, here was my response which I’ve just written Samotnaf, in case anyone actually gives a fuck:
    Quote:

    Sam, a couple of things:

    1) A lot of threads get locked, especially threads which compromise the anonymity of other radicals. And even moreso when there already is another extremely long thread on the exact same subject that covers all the same ground..

    2) It doesn’t really matter who starts a thread, if it’s unconstructive, we lock it or we move it to libcommunity..

    3) I haven’t locked it, and haven’t said that I will.. I said that I feel like doing it (though me feeling like doing something isn’t the basis on which we run this website, luckily).. so please don’t cry censorship; perhaps one day we’ll all experience the reality of bourgeois reaction and our newspapers/websites etc banned. Perhaps then we’ll all have some perspective with regards to ‘libcop censorship’..

    And honestly, I’ve got a lot on my plate right now and I could really do without this intra-European ultra-left politicking taking up more of my time. If you want to ask me questions like this, I suggest you use the feedback forum in future and mark it ‘FAO: Ed’.. for other things (solidarity call-outs, help with publishing articles about the class struggle etc) don’t hesitate to send me another PM.

    All the best,

    Ed

    Sam, in future, don’t waste my time writing me PMs and then posting them to the forums so I have to reply twice.. some of us have things to do..
    #30
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    petey
    Oct 31 2011 17:49
    Ed wrote:

    Is it literally impossible for you?

    here i think we’re looking at the crux of it, but such stuff is not for this forum.

    btw again, in humanities anyway, a person would never allow his/her name to be added to a paper in this way. i understand the need to increase one’s publication list (boy do i) and a generous interpretation is that among the people who may decide his employment status, a reference in such a journal wouldn’t be to dr x’s discredit, and since (as far as he’s concerned) he’s not a state asset, nobody else would care.
    #31
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    Valeriano Orobó…
    Oct 31 2011 18:51

    Yes sam i was one that missed this…Having read much of what was written i don’t like the way tptg have done the accusations but i’m unconvinced by aufheben’s answer and libcom too. Even if the accusations imo go too far and even if (the way i see it) most of the problem could come from a kind of sorcerer’s apprentice attitude, that’s worrying enough in my opinion as it is the kind of investigation he does as listed in his uni page. To teach cops is worrying enough too, let aside to teach them about crowd behaviour even if the course is not aimed at helping them to control crowds (which seems quite absurd imo, how could the explanation of any kind of crowd behaviour not help cops in a cops school?) The presence of cops around education places in my land hasn’t stopped to increase which is something really revolting. Contact with them should be avoided at all costs.

    BTW, i’m a teacher, just in case…

    jesuithitsquad
    Oct 31 2011 23:22
    samatnof wrote:

    t seems to me that libcom admin and their fellow travellers don’t actually want to oppose this society – they just want to give the appearance of doing so. Anyway, this is is the only conclusion I can draw from all the trivialisation and/or ignoring of what is a serious issue by various people who only show their avoidance of any simple questioning.

    I find this quote really interesting sam. I have had a very busy couple of weeks and have been very short on time as of late on top of being ill, and the very little time I DO have should be spent doing things with the growing social movement in my area, but I can’t resist responding to this.

    Since you’re in to publishing PMs I’d like to add this exchange to the record, edited for relevance:
    Samatnof wrote:

    JD (edited out name. Why do you insist on using his real name?) is very clearly NOT on the side of the social movement against capital despite his pretensions to the contrary and that his collaboration well deserves publicity (would you like to find yourself next to him on a demo, being treated as some guinea pig in his lab?); if you are capable of a modicum of clarity, you would see this is true.

    And my response:
    I wrote:

    One quick point about your message, you asked if I would feel comfortable standing next to JD on a demo, and I will be completely honest and say I am uncertain. I will reflect on the question because I do think it does break down the matter to a very basic point.

    That said, and I do say this with all sincerity and respect, if the same question were put to me in regards to you following this episode, I think I would have to say the same thing. I’m not sure I would feel comfortable with you having any of my personal details or knowledge of my activity because while I sincerely believe you to be committed to the class struggle, I feel you handled JD’s information in an uncomradely and dangerous manner. Heaven forbid you ever find out something about me you find objectionable and google becomes awash with my name and other identifying information. All point scoring aside, this is my honest and sincere point of view at the moment, presented with all due respect.

    As I said, I will reflect further on your question about JD. Will you commit to doing the same regarding my reservations about you?

    And you never responded. Would it be fair of me to conclude from your lack of response that you’re not really opposed to this society? I mean after all, you’ve ‘ignored this very serious issue’ and have shown an ‘avoidance to answering a simple question.’

    Or, is it more likely that you’re busy and have forgotten to respond? Or maybe there are more important uses of your time? Do you see the point? It might be worthwhile to lay off the bombast just a bit because none of us are perfect, and anyone can draw a straight line between any two points, even if it doesn’t make sense to do so.

    Back to your initial question from the PMs, yes upon further reflection I think I would feel comfortable standing next to JD in a demo because nothing he’s done, from what I’ve seen, has compromised individual security, and I really don’t think his mass emergency work has compromised collective security. (Though I still believe your question is an important one to ask.) Conversely, I’m more certain than before that I would NOT want to stand next to you in a demo because you have shown a continual propensity for both handling personal details in haphazard (at best) manner and for drawing extreme conclusions from minimal or distorted information.

    I still would be interested in finding out if my reservations give you second thoughts about how you’ve comported yourself in this debacle.

    Now hopefully, I’ll move on to doing something worthwhile with my very minimal time…
    #33
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    Blasto
    Nov 1 2011 14:04

    Just to correct some of the points made earlier about J publishing various articles on public order policing, he HAS infact published articles on policing public order, such as here, here and here.

    They are there in back and white, in print and online. The links to further examples are given in a previous post. J agreed to be listed as an author, which makes him an author. His involvement in this work is indisputable.

    Likewise, J has trained the police. This is also indisputable – here is an example

    J has also participated in policy development on public order policing, for example in Manchester.

    As the Chaos Theory article in particular also makes clear, there is a joint development of a crowd psychology model that has involved a number of UK psychologists and which J has made significant contributions to. Js contributions have included field research in highly politicised public order situations, including the Poll Tax riot and road protests

    This is a big problem. Arguably bigger still is the subsequent complicity of Aufheben and Libcom.
    #34
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    Wellclose Square
    Nov 1 2011 18:03
    Blasto wrote:

    Just to correct some of the points made earlier about J publishing various articles on public order policing, he HAS infact published articles on policing public order, such as here, here and here.

    They are there in back and white, in print and online. The links to further examples are given in a previous post. J agreed to be listed as an author, which makes him an author. His involvement in this work is indisputable.

    Likewise, J has trained the police. This is also indisputable – here is an example

    J has also participated in policy development on public order policing, for example in Manchester.

    As the Chaos Theory article in particular also makes clear, there is a joint development of a crowd psychology model that has involved a number of UK psychologists and which J has made significant contributions to. Js contributions have included field research in highly politicised public order situations, including the Poll Tax riot and road protests

    This is a big problem. Arguably bigger still is the subsequent complicity of Aufheben and Libcom.

    Thanks for refocusing on the issue in hand. It is a big problem, as well as the subsequent complicity.
    #35
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    Blasto
    Nov 1 2011 19:10

    Further to J’s contributions to policing policy (and for those who claim his research is innocuous), does this sound familiar?
    Quote:

    The evidence we gathered showed that, in some situations, the police can act from the standpoint that conflict will occur (i.e. the worst case scenario) when this is not necessarily true. Any use of force against individuals should be a last resort as, on occasions, this may do more harm than good.
    “With the poll tax riots in the 1990’s, police intervention in the crowd changed the crowd dynamic. Their intervention was seen as illegitimate and indiscriminate and an attack on the crowd as a whole. This created a unity that hadn’t existed before and changed the view of the crowd towards the police. Violence on the part of the protesters became ‘self defence’ and thus seen by them as legitimate”. (Academic source)

    This is from the Greater Manchester Police Authority review “Policing of Major Events in Greater Manchester” (and no, there are no references at all to emergencies or disasters – it’s strictly public order policing).

    Here is their subsequent recommendation regarding police tactics:
    Quote:

    Policing Crowds:
    Recommendation
    The police should avoid making assumptions about how crowds will behave and not treat large groups of people attending events as homogeneous, recognising that people attend events for different reasons and with different motivations. Any tactics used to police crowds must be legitimate, proportionate and risk assessed to ensure that their use will not have an adverse effect on the wider group.

    And who where these academic sources, these crowd specialists? I can’t print names here, so have a look at Appendix A of the report.
    #36
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    Wellclose Square
    Nov 1 2011 19:15

    Blasto wrote
    Quote:

    “This is from the Greater Manchester Police Authority review “Policing of Major Events in Greater Manchester” (and no, there are no references at all to emergencies or disasters – it’s strictly public order policing).

    Here is their subsequent recommendation regarding police tactics:
    Quote:

    Policing Crowds:
    Recommendation
    The police should avoid making assumptions about how crowds will behave and not treat large groups of people attending events as homogeneous, recognising that people attend events for different reasons and with different motivations. Any tactics used to police crowds must be legitimate, proportionate and risk assessed to ensure that their use will not have an adverse effect on the wider group.

    And who were these academic sources, these crowd specialists? I can’t print names here, so have a look at Appendix A of the report.”

    This on its own ought to nail the argument once and for all. Time for serious soul-searching…
    #37
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    Blasto
    Nov 1 2011 19:20

    And this from Dr J himself, on his excitement at being funded to apply his crowd control research to emergencies.
    Quote:

    Our research in the related field of crowd protest has demonstrated a pattern whereby certain forms of police intervention can inadvertently create and escalate the mass conflict that senior police seek to prevent. One factor in this recurring pattern is the adoption by senior police officers of pathologizing representations of the crowd (e.g. inherent crowd irrationality and tendencies to violence). These representations parallel the “disaster myths” surrounding mass emergencies.

    The research on police-crowd conflict shows how particular representations of crowd psychology inform crowd management practices, often with negative and unforeseen consequences.

    #38
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    Blasto
    Nov 1 2011 20:07
    Wellclose Square wrote:

    This on its own ought to nail the argument once and for all. Time for serious soul-searching…

    My point here being threefold:

    – J is a cop consultant. Fact.
    – J actively and openly uses his experiences as a participant on demonstrations to inform police policy. Fact.
    – These attempts to influence police tactics are effective. Fact.

    It’s possible to see these tactics in action on demonstrations if you go on them (J certainly does). It’s hard to show that here, but have a watch and listen to his research and publishing chum Clifford Stott (in this case looking at policing football) and see if this birds-eye view of crowd manipulation rings true with any demos anyone has been on in 2011…
    #39
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    Blasto
    Nov 5 2011 12:54

    Further to my last post, someone has sent me this info,which if nothing else shows that J has been training police for at least ten years. Here with his usual chums, he’s teaching cops about the Psychology of Public Disorder at the Centre for Investigative Psychology’s Sixth Conference in 2001:
    Quote:

    SYMPOSIUM D: THE SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY OF ‘PUBLIC DISORDER’

    Chair: Dr Clifford Stott, University of Liverpool

    S Reicher, University of St Andrews;
    Crowd Behaviour: An Elaborated Social Identity Model
    abstract & author

    C Stott, University of Liverpool;
    The Dynamics of Change:
    The Development of Public ‘Disorder’ During the
    1990 Anti Poll Tax Demonstration
    abstract & author

    P Cronin, University of St Andrews;
    Policing Public ‘Disorder’:
    An Analysis of Police Decision Making During the
    ‘J18’ Anti Capitalist Riots
    abstract & author

    J REDACTED, University of Sussex;
    Collective Action and Psychological Change:
    Intergroup Dynamics at an Anti-Road Protest

    #40
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    waslax’s picture
    waslax
    Nov 3 2011 09:12

    Let’s see how the JD protection racket tries to weasel out of that!
    #41
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    posi
    Nov 3 2011 09:39

    Erm, I anticipate they will ask whether there is any evidence that there were any cops at the 2001 conference of the Centre for Investigative Psychology, and how even if there were, how far the symposium in question could be shown to be directed at cops. And how far what was said in the presentation differs from what is publicly available in movement publications.

    I mean, a text like Piven and Cloward’s Poor People’s Movements could be very useful to the state, if they read it the right way. In fact, I’m sure people from a capitalist point of view have found it useful. Yet prole.info and libcom host chapters from that book. But if I saw Frances Fox Piven speaking on a panel entitled Mobilisation and Co-option at a sociological conference, I wouldn’t think that was evidence that she was supporting the co-option of social movements.
    #42
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    Blasto
    Nov 3 2011 10:37
    posi wrote:

    Erm, I anticipate they will ask whether there is any evidence that there were any cops at the 2001 conference of the Centre for Investigative Psychology, and how even if there were, how far the symposium in question could be shown to be directed at cops. And how far what was said in the presentation differs from what is publicly available in movement publications.

    Of course they will. And if people cannot see the difference between writing a book aimed at lefties and delivering at a conference or writing an article specifically aimed at improving police practice, then perhaps we have to ask if there is any role that beyond the pale for communists?

    Re the attendance of cops at the conference, it was opened by one. The “symposiums” were titled:

    SYMPOSIUM A: THE CLASSIFICATION OF VIOLENT CRIME
    Symposium B: INTERNATIONAL CASE STUDIES IN PROFILING
    SYMPOSIUM C: EVALUATING INVESTIGATIVE INFORMATION
    SYMPOSIUM D: THE SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY OF ‘PUBLIC DISORDER’
    SYMPOSIUM E: INVESTIGATIVE DECISION SUPPORT SYSTEMS
    SYMPOSIUM F: THE MYTHOLOGY OF OFFENDER PROFILING
    SYMPOSIUM G: WORK AT THE NATIONAL RESEARCH INSTITUTE OF POLICE SCIENCE, JAPAN
    SYMPOSIUM H: SOCIAL PROCESSES IN CRIME
    SYMPOSIUM I: ACTION SYSTEMS RESEARCH IN INVESTIGATIVE PSYCHOLOGY
    SYMPOSIUM J: THE CRIMINAL ACT

    Aside from academics, contributors included:
    Merseyside Police
    Kumamoto Prefecture Police Tokyo
    Institute of Forensic Research
    National Police, Italy
    Institute of Criminal Profiling and Analysis, Paris
    National Crime Faculty, UK
    Las Vegas Metropolitan Police
    Forensic Sciences International, USA
    Hokkaido Prefecture Police, Japan
    NATIONAL RESEARCH INSTITUTE OF POLICE SCIENCE, JAPAN
    HMP Holme House, Cleveland

    Make what you want of that, but it seems to paint a pretty clear picture of the nature of the event.
    #43
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    vanilla.ice.baby
    Nov 3 2011 10:39

    Holme House? lol I probably know their contributor then grin
    #44
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    posi
    Nov 3 2011 11:05

    Well – in that case I guess the audience was more or less police, fair enough. I suppose the question is then the content of the paper…

    http://www.sussex.ac.uk/affiliates/panic/DruryReicher2000.pdf

    I’ve just skimmed it, and I’ve gotta say, I don’t think it is aimed an improving police practice, and doesn’t make any suggestions for police to do anything different. It just makes the point that police violence causes radicalisation amongst protestors. It doesn’t say that the police ought to have been less violent, or make any suggestions to them. I guess giving the paper in front of an audience of police is probably not the author’s ideal scenario, but I don’t think – given that it makes no proposals or suggestions, and I can’t imagine what any suggestions based on it would look like – it amounts to giving advice to the police.
    #45
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    Blasto
    Nov 3 2011 11:39

    Yes keep going… so training cops is ok? Training them on “The Psychology of Public Disorder” is ok? So long as there is a paper on his bio page with a completely different title?

    In the world of J, nothing is as it seems. Someone else writes under his name. He trains cops without training them. And when he does train them, he is telling them nothing. The research he is contributing to is non-influential, but appears as recommendations in policing policy. A strange case indeed!

    Why defend this?
    #46
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    vanilla.ice.baby
    Nov 3 2011 11:51

    The man is an enigma wrapped in a puzzle all bound up in guessing game
    #47
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    Blasto
    Nov 3 2011 12:02

    The man is a two-faced cop consultant wrapped up in his own self-delusion and bound up in his own tangled web.

    He also has some very loyal mates who would rather argue black is white than have the honesty to accept that something has gone badly wrong in the little world of Aufheben.
    #48
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    Arbeiten’s picture
    Arbeiten
    Nov 3 2011 12:10
    Blasto wrote:

    He also has some very loyal mates who would rather argue black is white than have the honesty to accept that something has gone badly wrong in the little world of Aufheben.

    Apart from tarnishing the reputation of one individual involved in the journal, what implications does this actually have for Aufheben. Call me a cop consultant collaborator if you want, but I am going to still read the stuff they produce roll eyes
    #49
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    tastybrain
    Nov 3 2011 15:48
    Blasto wrote:

    posi wrote:

    Erm, I anticipate they will ask whether there is any evidence that there were any cops at the 2001 conference of the Centre for Investigative Psychology, and how even if there were, how far the symposium in question could be shown to be directed at cops. And how far what was said in the presentation differs from what is publicly available in movement publications.

    Of course they will. And if people cannot see the difference between writing a book aimed at lefties and delivering at a conference or writing an article specifically aimed at improving police practice, then perhaps we have to ask if there is any role that beyond the pale for communists?

    Yeah for real. Are you serious, posi? This guy is actually trying to improve policing. Whether he has succeeded or not and whether or not the same insights could be gleaned from cops reading radical literature (something I doubt they have much time for unless they can realize immediate gains from it), the intention is still reprehensible.
    Arbeiten wrote:

    Blasto wrote:

    He also has some very loyal mates who would rather argue black is white than have the honesty to accept that something has gone badly wrong in the little world of Aufheben.

    Apart from tarnishing the reputation of one individual involved in the journal, what implications does this actually have for Aufheben. Call me a cop consultant collaborator if you want, but I am going to still read the stuff they produce

    I don’t think anyone has any problem with people continuing to read Aufheben. They have a problem with the ridiculously tortured defense of someone who seems to be, literally, a cop consultant.
    #50
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    Blasto
    Nov 3 2011 16:52

    Arbeiten wrote:

    Apart from tarnishing the reputation of one individual involved in the journal, what implications does this actually have for Aufheben. Call me a cop consultant collaborator if you want, but I am going to still read the stuff they produce

    Reading or not reading Aufheben is hardly the point, unless you are into book burning?

    So what are the consequences? There appear to be none from your perspective, so you have answered your own question.

    From where I’m standing, Aufheben have already trashed their own project.

    *****
    EDIT: Just to note that I hadn’t seen tastybrain’s post – but I think we make a similar point.
    #51
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    posi
    Nov 3 2011 20:18
    Quote:

    This guy is actually trying to improve policing.

    I really doubt that that is his intention. I imagine his aim is to spend his time reading, thinking and writing about the micro-sociology of identity formation in protest movements, and get paid for it. Why on earth would he actually want to help the police, even if that was an outcome of what he does?
    #52
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    Mr. Jolly’s picture
    Mr. Jolly
    Nov 3 2011 20:56

    Can a person not have a hobby as well as a day job that are quite contradictory? I mean Britain’s strongest man Geoff Capes used to breed budgies.
    #53
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    waslax’s picture
    waslax
    Nov 3 2011 23:00
    posi wrote:

    Quote:

    This guy is actually trying to improve policing.

    I really doubt that that is his intention. I imagine his aim is to spend his time reading, thinking and writing about the micro-sociology of identity formation in protest movements, and get paid for it. Why on earth would he actually want to help the police, even if that was an outcome of what he does?

    Surely this can also be turned around to ask:

    Why on earth would he actually NOT want to help the police? How are we supposed to know what the hell goes on inside his head? None of us knows, really, though some here have tried very hard to convince the rest of us that they do know. He voluntarily chose his profession and position, and it simply isn’t credible that he didn’t know that the results of his work would be fodder for the forces of increasing domination over the population by capital and the state. Hell, that was obvious to me as an undergrad when I took a course in Social Psychology, years before adopting a pro-revolutionary perspective.
    #54
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    RedEd’s picture
    RedEd
    Nov 4 2011 02:48

    I actually massively don’t care if some guy who has written stuff for Aufheben has also written stuff for the use of cops. I mean, how does this really matter? And people have shown loyalty according to whether they have been assosiated with him or his friends? Well, no surprises there, that just means they are human. What surprises me is that so much effort and emotional investment has gone into condemning this guy. Like, seriously, he writes for an incredibly theoretical journal. What’s the actual conflict of interest? Are we unable to understand and react to ideas independently of who wrote them? I hope not. Or is ‘our movement’ a social club for those of upright moral stature (as endlessly defined and redefined by the intellectuals amongst us).

    There’s a huge deficit of information about the political events in Greece from a libertarian communist perspective. Maybe TPTG could have benefitted their UK based comrades more (if that’s their aim, no reason it should be) by helping us learn the lessons from the inspiring Greek class struggle rather than warning us of the dodgy doings of one of ours. And for UK based posters, is this really worth your trouble? Will ‘winning the argument’ here really help class struggle at all, or are you just thrashing around in the ‘scene’? And that goes for both sides of the debate. Given the amount of detailed niggling over which ‘side’ is right or wrong with no obvious resolution, I’m inclined to thing neither side is worth being on.

    And if this ‘objectively’ gives cover to a cop colaberator, then fine. Jesus doesn’t everything ‘objectively’ help with some dynamic of capitalism. Let’s get our priorities straight, and the purity of ‘the movment’ needs to be bumped down a few notches.

    Edit: Jeus fuck. I just realised I told people on libcom to stop arguing about pointless shit. I hereby retract this post (not least on grounds of hypocracy!) smile
    #55
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    Khawaga’s picture
    Khawaga
    Nov 4 2011 03:34

    Hear, hear.
    #56
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    vanilla.ice.baby
    Nov 4 2011 05:53
    Mr. Jolly wrote:

    Can a person not have a hobby as well as a day job that are quite contradictory? I mean Britain’s strongest man Geoff Capes used to breed budgies.

    He was a copper as well.
    #57

  2. This is a continuation of the libcom thread just mentioned (apparently there’s a limit to how many words can be put in any single comment box):

    Blasto
    Nov 4 2011 11:28
    RedEd wrote:

    I actually massively don’t care if some guy who has written stuff for Aufheben has also written stuff for the use of cops. I mean, how does this really matter? And people have shown loyalty according to whether they have been assosiated with him or his friends? Well, no surprises there, that just means they are human. What surprises me is that so much effort and emotional investment has gone into condemning this guy. Like, seriously, he writes for an incredibly theoretical journal. What’s the actual conflict of interest? Are we unable to understand and react to ideas independently of who wrote them? I hope not. Or is ‘our movement’ a social club for those of upright moral stature (as endlessly defined and redefined by the intellectuals amongst us).

    There’s a huge deficit of information about the political events in Greece from a libertarian communist perspective. Maybe TPTG could have benefitted their UK based comrades more (if that’s their aim, no reason it should be) by helping us learn the lessons from the inspiring Greek class struggle rather than warning us of the dodgy doings of one of ours. And for UK based posters, is this really worth your trouble? Will ‘winning the argument’ here really help class struggle at all, or are you just thrashing around in the ‘scene’? And that goes for both sides of the debate. Given the amount of detailed niggling over which ‘side’ is right or wrong with no obvious resolution, I’m inclined to thing neither side is worth being on.

    And if this ‘objectively’ gives cover to a cop colaberator, then fine. Jesus doesn’t everything ‘objectively’ help with some dynamic of capitalism. Let’s get our priorities straight, and the purity of ‘the movment’ needs to be bumped down a few notches.

    Edit: Jeus fuck. I just realised I told people on libcom to stop arguing about pointless shit. I hereby retract this post (not least on grounds of hypocracy!) 🙂

    Wow. That’s staggering.The irony of the bookfair was of all the stalls selling anarchist badges, tee shirts, coasters, posters and all the other consumer bric-a-brac, Aufheben had the one item of practical consequence – a luddite’s hammer. I was sorely tempted to use it, but thought better of it. Instead I decided to come back to try and explain why there is a problem. It seemed more constructive. From your comments, there is a long, long way to go….

    There are cops who go and control and limit the potential of movements on an immediate and practical level, and then there are ‘experts’ who study how well that worked and develop ways of doing it better next time. And then there are those who go a step further. They move within the struggle, within movements, and participate, study at close quarters and discuss tactics, feelings, perceptions and then develop ways to police it better the next time. I am at a loss at how people are finding it so very easy and convenient say this isn’t of any consequence.

    Isn’t this a problem for you. Don’t you do anything? Why ask for information about Greece? Is it entertainment for you?

    On any kind of meaningful level, the revolution doesn’t start in Greece or in Spain ’36. It starts with you, with a shift in perspective. But that only has any consequence when it realises itself in a practical way. That is the class struggle.

    So in terms of Greece, solidarity isn’t words, its action. It’s how we respond to the world as we find it. Yes, we all get on with surviving in it. And when and where we can we find ways and moments to attack it. Our experience informs our theory and our theory helps to make sense of our experiences. And of course, we are not alone. We exist within a capitalist society and therefore we exist within a situation of class struggle. That is something real that exists all around us and we either help or hinder it. It is not some Saturday afternoon activity. So regardless of whether we are directly participating in a practical realisation of it or just getting on with surviving, we DO NOT undermine the efforts, the struggles, the survival of others. This is absolutely fucking basic.

    But this is exactly what is going on. And Aufheben, as we now know, were made aware of this at least ten years ago. So they have made themselves part of the problem. And now we have libcom admin throwing their hat into the ring. I had honestly thought that the worst consequence of the long lull in class conflict was the epidemic of depression that affected so many of us. It seems that a lot of other things have gone wrong in that time too, not least a breakdown in critical faculties, but creeping arrogance within the milieu, an arrogance that because we know the score, we can do what the fuck we like, regardless of its consequences to others.

    What really astounds me, angers me, is the arrogance of “revolutionaries” who, for the sake of some twat friend, want to justify the utter betrayal of what he has done. As if they are the centre of the world and its only them, or “the milieu”, that matters. Go ask the thousands in jail, those kettled, batoned or singled out at demos, or even those he interviewed at the M11 protest, Show them the catalogue of collaboration – the conferences, interviews, committees, the articles, the cop classes, and see if they think this is niggling.

    Regardless of how nice J is, how much he has sleepwalked into this (though there’s been a clear relationship between him and the police since at least 2001), it doesn’t alter what he is doing. Get out of your black and red ivory tower and face up to this utter shit. Read the TPTG letters again. You want perspective from Greece. They gave it to you. They are fighting tooth and nail. They have asked for some practical solidarity. Try showing some.
    #58
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    posi
    Nov 4 2011 10:41
    Quote:

    Why on earth would he actually NOT want to help the police? How are we supposed to know what the hell goes on inside his head?

    The standard method is to ask the person concerned.
    #59
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    Blasto
    Nov 4 2011 10:56
    posi wrote:

    Quote:

    Why on earth would he actually NOT want to help the police? How are we supposed to know what the hell goes on inside his head?

    The standard method is to ask the person concerned.

    Unless he has some kind of mental health problem, his actions and intentions somehow connect, surely? If he doesn’t want to train police in crowd management, he refuses. There is no gun to his head, only, perhaps, his big salary.
    #60
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    Arbeiten’s picture
    Arbeiten
    Nov 4 2011 12:51

    This thread is getting pretty circular isn’t it? It seems like the ‘anti-J’ section are now just getting frustrated that there is a difference in opinion. No ‘pro-J’ has posted on the two threads concerned in ages. For what ever reason. Now we have a certain number of posted resurrecting a thread every day basically saying AGREE WITH ME AGREE WITH ME! I notice it isn’t really ‘pro-J’s’ who are posting anymore, but people like me and Red. people who are probably pretty on the fence about it, but are wondering exactly what you people want?

    As for ‘showing some’ (practical solidarity) SURELY those of us involved in day to day organizing the class struggle on the ground here in Britain is showing ten times more solidarity to Greece than writing long posts about some prof who wrote shite papers. Try get things in perspective huh?
    #61
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    Blasto
    Nov 4 2011 14:08

    Perspective? Sorry, I forgot that its the libertarian communists who are organising the class struggle in the UK. How could I have not noticed? smile

    But seriously, (and with genuine respect) that is why I am posting. Because here we have a situation of a complete loss of perspective. What is the class struggle? Does it revolve around a small bunch of anarchos? Its a huge number of people who are taking real chances, real risks. Don’t they deserve a little more respect and consideration?

    It is just arrogance and decadence for people to be so dismissive of what is being said, when in all likelihood its not them who are going to face the consequences. As I said before, I’m posting here as it seems a constructive way to address this.

    As for the silence of the JD defenders (deliberate or otherwise), this is a public forum, not an audience with Joseph Kay. We speak to the readers of posts, not just those who respond, if you get my meaning.

    Khawaga
    Nov 4 2011 15:22
    Blasto wrote:

    We speak to the readers of posts, not just those who respond, if you get my meaning.

    Blasto, you’ve been far from constructive at all. I am not making a judgement on J. here at all (I lean more to “your” side than the other), but the way in which you’ve gone about all of this has been less than stellar. That you keep on bleating about this seems to me being more about your ego rather than anything else.
    #63
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    dinosavros
    Nov 4 2011 15:44

    I don’t think ego has much to do with it. As I understand it the point is that Blasto and others (me included) feel that what J has done is very harmful. That a member of the movement* can get away with doing what he did without being isolated and condemned discredits the movement itself. I think this in the long term will cause a lot of damage to the credibility of Aufheben but also to the movement close to it in general i.e. libertarian communists. Can you imagine telling a young person involved in the anti-cuts demos or the riots, someone beginning to develop a critique of the system, “here have a look at our magazine, we’ve also got a web site with forums and a library, we are anti-capitalists and anti-state, oh yeah one of our members works with the police but don’t worry about it everything’s ok, he’s really on our side”, who the fuck is going to take you seriously?

    *in greek the term is ‘space’ but it doesnt translate well.
    #64
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    Spikymike
    Nov 4 2011 16:26

    Does my earlier slim post No 8 on this thread deserve a separate thread?

    Probably shot it down myself by suggesting it wasn’t directly relevant but the quote:

    It calls for…

    ”A new approach towards public protest that recognises its value as a positive and essential expression rather than an inconvenient nuisance that must be contained.” apparently addressed to the ‘public’ and those in ‘authority’?

    …from a newly launched campaign by the ‘network for police monitoring’ promoted in the current edition of ‘Freedom’ journal seemed to me to echo, in it’s words and content, the approach of JD’s professional colleagues in it’s liberal appeal, and was possibly an example of the dangerous overlapping between pro-revolutionary and anarchist politics and the academic liberal establishment.

    If I have misread the situation I’d like to know.

    I don’t see a need to add to my much earlier comments on the other thread regarding the error of JD’s mixing of his professional and political work and the failure of his comrades in Aufheben to sort this problem out, but the underlying theoretical and practical issues are of serious concern and it is these which seem to have been lost to Aufheben and the libcom admins. Some of the heated personal language on this and the related thread is unfortunate (if not suprising) but without Samotnaf, Blasto, Welclose Square,Tastybrain and others persisting with this debate they would not get the airing that they deserve. At least the libcom admins have wisely and rightly stepped back from closing the debate down.
    #65
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    waslax’s picture
    waslax
    Nov 4 2011 19:52
    posi wrote:

    Quote:

    Why on earth would he actually NOT want to help the police? How are we supposed to know what the hell goes on inside his head?

    The standard method is to ask the person concerned.

    The standard method, yes. But we all know that not everyone is honest in their answer, for one or another reason, including having something that they want to hide from others. From what I have heard and read, it seems quite clear that JD is in denial about the significance of his work, and must be suffering from extreme cognitive dissonance, so as to rationalize his ‘professional’ activity and reconcile it with his pro-rev convictions and activity. This leads me, and I think it should lead others, to have doubts about how honestly he would answer such a question. My point was that if we go solely on the basis of his pro-rev activity, then, yes, we would wonder why on earth he would want to help the police; but if we go on the basis of his professional work, then we could well reasonably wonder why on earth he wouldn’t want to help the police.

    I believe it was a man from the 19th century named Karl Marx who once said that we don’t judge a man by his words but by his actions. It is a fundamental axiom of the materialist method of analysis of social phenomena. It needs to be asked why so many here seem to have either forgotten or discarded this axiom?
    #66
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    Wellclose Square
    Nov 5 2011 11:49

    OK, so the ‘defence team’ have stopped defending (otherwise engaged posting up Aufheben articles) and the ‘hangers on’ shrug their shoulders saying it’s ‘no big deal’. How far we have come.
    Quote:

    dinosavros wroteThat a member of the movement* can get away with doing what he did without being isolated and condemned discredits the movement itself. I think this in the long term will cause a lot of damage to the credibility of Aufheben but also to the movement close to it in general i.e. libertarian communists. Can you imagine telling a young person involved in the anti-cuts demos or the riots, someone beginning to develop a critique of the system, “here have a look at our magazine, we’ve also got a web site with forums and a library, we are anti-capitalists and anti-state, oh yeah one of our members works with the police but don’t worry about it everything’s ok, he’s really on our side”, who the fuck is going to take you seriously?

    *in greek the term is ‘space’ but it doesnt translate well.

    That summarises the problem quite nicely. Detailed analysis of how such a situation can be tolerated among ‘libcom-types’ will doubtless be carried out away from these boards. I’m done here.
    #67
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    proletarian.
    Nov 5 2011 12:21
    Wellclose Square wrote:

    I’m done here.

    I can’t help but chuckle despite agreeing with your general attitude to this situation. How many have said “I’m off” then returned to post further comments so soon. Apart from that, ‘going’ doesn’t really solve anything. In any case I can’t see what actually can be done to rectify the situation. I would argue he should be ‘disassociated from revolutionary circles’ – you know what I mean. But I’m not sure there is the organisation or structure to do this. And there certainly doesn’t appear to be the will. I don’t really want to bring this up (but I will) because it looks like I’m antagonizing people but the ICC and their calls for a Jury of Honour or whatever were ruthlessly taken the piss out of but wasn’t there some ‘method in the madness’? There needs to be some kind of way of dealing with these and similar incidents. And I think it’s worth looking at how previous workers struggled with difficult questions like this. (I obviously think the guy has crossed a class line)
    #68
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    Fall Back’s picture
    Fall Back
    Nov 5 2011 18:52

    I’m finding it hard to motivate a reply here, as I’m pretty tired of dealing with all the goalpost-shifting mudslinging that has taken up far too much time already (not an attempt to “shut down debate” – this is all hosted on libcom ffs – but rather a statement of fact: spending time on this has seriously distracted from srs bsns politics). But I do think there are serious and important issues at stake here, so I shall perservere. Namely: if this shit passes so easily when so little is at stake (no one is being kneecapped or shot, revolutionaries aren’t being locked up wholesale…) then it terrifies me where we’ll be when the shit hits the fan and the state starts sowing serious division. So, on that basis alone, I shall perservere for now.

    As Arbeiten said earlier tho, the thread(s) are just going round and round – there is far more quantity than substance here. One minute the charge is that J’s a paid agent of the state designing counter-class struggle tactics across europe, next minute it’s shifted to ‘oh well he spoke about social identity at an academic conference in 2001’. I suspect the move to this one by our budding witchfinders is that they know very few people will be bothered to read the tens (maybe hundreds) of thousands of words on the other thread, TPTG and Samotnaf letters and Aufheben response, and will just assume from all the muck here that J must have done something. However, with charges like this, there isn’t a “reasonable middle ground” to be found – the allegations are either true or they’re not. If they’re not, there may still be issues to discuss, but these are completely obscured by the prosection’s shrill accusations that anyone who disagrees with them is in league with the cops (‘the defence team’ etc).

    The main issues of authorship of the 2 main pieces has been on over and over in the main thread. If you’ve followed it all, and don’t believe that J didn’t write them (or you think it doesn’t matter because his name was on it, or just that any contact with the police/those who work with the police is unacceptable) then there’s nothing much more that can be done to convince – the prosecution have already declared that any evidence that is presented is not enough, that it must be faked. But I’d urge people to actually read the material in question before assuming a “reasonable middle-ground” stance. And if you don’t believe Aufheben, instead of speculating about it, just ask them to back it up like libcom did. Apparently nobody has yet done this in four weeks, yet for far less time and effort than put into public denunciations anyone could have sent them an email saying ‘this looks dodgy, can you back up your explanation?’. A really basic step with charges this serious (and as Juan Conatz and others have mentioned, a courtesy extended to actual paid agents of the state, but conspicuously not in the far less serious case here).

    Of course, even though he didn’t write the papers but simply allowed his name to be used on them, this was a mistake (as Aufheben and J have been open about that from the off). Fucking hell, having wasted endless hours on this shit, I know this as much as anyone. But this isn’t really the issue – the allegation is not that someone made a mistake, or should be more careful what his name ends up on. Rather the prosecution are determined to show that J (and by extension Aufheben) are eternally damned assets of the state and that his work has played a major role in the “pacifying the class struggle” across Europe. The prosecution seek to use peoples’ (understandable) unease at seeing a communists name next to policing related papers and expand this into a much grander narrative with no basis in fact. Just showing he made a mistake isn’t juicy enough – as we’ve seen, people have tired of this – even of those who followed the thread at first, very few people retain an interest any more.

    Similarly, the charges that J “trains cops” in crowd control has been refuted again and again. He has spoken about social identity at conferences where police have been, yes, and has spoken to the police about mass emergencies (not protest tactics or class conflict). Again, it might be a mistake (I’m fairly open minded on this tbh – I think it’s less of a fuck up than letting his name be on the papers, certainly), but does critiquing police responses to crowd situations constitute ‘training the police to pacify class struggle’? No. J’s work as a whole is a critique of the police as being a major cause of disorder in crowd situations – an argument made again and again by all kinds of radicals without criticism, I would add. However, from J writing as an academic, there’s nothing particularly radical about this. Contrary to claims elsewhere, J doesn’t see his work as being “radical” or part of a communist project – it’s just his job. As said earlier, J is no more a “radical academic” than a communist bricklayer is a “radical bricklayer”. This is exactly what the Aufheben critique of “radical academia” is about. J’s situation isn’t so much in contradiction to this position as the basis of it (he’s the sole academic in Aufheben).

    Now, is there an issue that even stuff written with benign intent could later be taken on an used for adverse reasons? Sure, of course. It’s a perfectly valid discussion. But does it tie in with the case that the prosecution are making against J? Again, no, it doesn’t. The case being made is that he is actively and consciously working for the class enemy. In the view of some of the prosecution, he not only doing this, but is deliberately infiltrating movements in order to give the police secret knowledge to suppress them. If people want to have the wider debate here, then sure, go for it – but as people have raised, you are then left with the problem that almost anything written about class struggle can be used against us. Just as we wouldn’t persecute someone who had written an account of say, a subversive workplace action if it was found by bosses and used to inform counter-strategy. Even if J’s work was used in order to police dissent (which as has been repeatedly pointed out on the other thread, it hasn’t been because it’s not applicable to situations where there is an underlying conflict of interests between police and the crowd), then this is still entirely different to being a paid agent of capital, actively working for the other side.

    As has been said repeatedly, J’s work is not about how to police crowds in the slightest. It is the exact opposite: a critique of the police approach. J’s work argues that police tactics are a cause of violence, and calls for emergency situations to not be treated as public order situations at all. In his mass emergencies work (his overwhelming focus) it even goes as far as to argue that the police shouldn’t even be present in some emergencies. Unless you have a ‘never talk to the police under any circumstances stance’, I really find it hard to see much issue with this. Is there really a problem with a communist in a work capacity saying – and yes, telling – police shouldn’t treat disaster situations (or by extension other crowd situations that aren’t inherently hostile) as being public order situations? If it has any real-world consequences at all, it would mean the police stop repressing survivors of disasters. Not revolutionary or anything, but probably a good thing (‘worthwhile and humane’ rather than political, as Aufheben/J put it).

    What I do find interesting here is how in the process of trying to attribute the views of Reicher and Stott on public order to J (despite J’s explicit rejection of them), the prosecution mirror several of Reicher and Stott’s core assumptions. Say for the sake of argument we follow the various logical leaps that lead us to ‘ESIM methods being utilised to pacify class struggle’, are we really to believe that society is so free of antagonism that if the police just act nicer and don’t attack people indiscriminately, then this will stifle class struggle? That all the state has to do in order to pacify class conflict is to not hit liberals? That’s what Reicher and Stott believe as liberal/leftist human rights types, and apparently, it’s also what the prosecution believe. We’re not talking about some magic mind control super science here – if you actually read the academic papers, this is pretty much the only insight the police could gain from his work (in laymans terms ‘if you piss people off they kick off against you’). The ESIM (‘Elaborated Social Identity Model’) is an ontology of the crowd. It’s not about kettling, developing tactics for isolating out militants or whatever else it’s been accused of. It’s actually pretty banal, which I suspect is why so few people have bothered to read it, and why the prosecution have barely quoted any of J’s work except to try and snip bits out of context to imply sinister intent or to go on bizarre polemics about ‘psychologism’.

    But if you realise that the liberal worldview of ‘harmonious interests if only the police are nice’ is patently ridiculous, then what? How then has the work been used to police class struggle? The ESIM model, by it’s very nature, can’t be applied to hostile crowds. You can’t peacefully facilitate a riot or a picket line shutting down a workplace if your social function is to prevent these things. What are the police going to do, stand by and let looters empty a high street? Sit and watch while pickets shut down a factory? To be honest if J had somehow secretly managed to convince the police that they should do this, I’d probably think it was brilliant. But I don’t, because it obviously hasn’t happened and isn’t going to.

    Anyway, there’s another chunk of my life I’m not getting back. But I’d implore those who aren’t in the prosecution to actually look at what is being alleged and what is said in response, and read the main thread. Even if you think J has fucked up (or worse), then please at least look at what he’s actually done and not the chimerical, ever-shifting trumped up charges of the prosectution. At the very worst (I don’t accept this in the slightest, but just for argument’s sake), he’s done work that could subsequently be used by the police to justify more ‘hands-off’ tactics. This is a million miles away from the various charges being thrown about so casually by the assembled anonymous interlocutors. He hasn’t given the state new tactics to police class struggle, he doesn’t train police in public order situations and he isn’t a fucking infiltrator. For all the talk about ‘would you stand next to him on a demo’, it’s not people in Brighton making a fuss over this, it’s people in Greece, France, the US and god knows where who will never even face that supposed dilemma. If you’ve followed the whole thing and still think he’s crossed the line then I’m probably not going to be able to convince you. But at least be clear about what he has actually done. None of it comes close to the various charges the prosecution have made, and even if there is a problem here, it’s not the one that is being presented.
    #69
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    Steven.’s picture
    Steven.
    Nov 5 2011 21:02

    fall back, well said.

    I’ve been trying not to get involved in these discussions, as I think it is such a colossal waste of time. Especially with the ongoing struggles against austerity, our strike on November 30, a wildcat general strike in Oakland, etc.

    And as has been mentioned before, Aufheben and J have written a more detailed response to all the allegations which will be sent to any trusted individuals who contact them – but not a single person apart from us has. Having seen all the evidence I am happy that he has not done anything which makes him not a comrade or not collaborate with him.

    Plenty of people, especially workers in the public sector, say like social workers, youth workers, firefighters, paramedics etc have to work with police on occasion, even if we don’t like it.

    Even if what he did was all that bad, what would that mean? That even if he wrote good stuff for Aufheben he shouldn’t be able to anymore? That he should immediately desist writing good communist analysis?

    Now, on the other hand I would be worried about collaborating with Samotnaf, as he has shown that he is happy to reveal the real names and political affiliations of individuals he has disagreements with. In my case this would put me in danger of losing my job (and therefore home etc, not to mention giving it to the security services), so this makes me feel now like he cannot be trusted, which is unfortunate as previously I did not.
    #70
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    bootsy
    Nov 5 2011 22:49

    Actually I sent them an email almost immediately after TPTG’s letter was made public and am still waiting on a response.
    #71
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    Joseph Kay’s picture
    Joseph Kay
    Nov 5 2011 23:54

    bootsy – I’ll ask them about that. They’re massive Luddites* and it may have gone to spam or something. I know there’s been some issues with libcom emails to/from Aufheben not arriving and having to be resent.

    * in the popular slanderous sense
    #72
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    radprole
    Nov 6 2011 00:10

    This is the first time that I write in Libcom but after reading about this incredible story and how some supposedly revolutionary people reacted to it I felt obliged to intervene… I have read carefully the texts mentioned as well as the evidence provided by Blasto in another thread and the whole discussion in this and the previous thread.

    First, I would like to comment on the claim of Fallback that the charges raised against J shift all the time. Sorry fellows, I don’t have this impression. For me it’s clear that J is accused of being a police consultant who used experience which he was able to gather through his participation in social struggles in order to define the ESIM model according to which specific guidelines for the policing of protests and mass emergencies have been determined.

    As far as I have seen no evidence at all has been presented for the claim that he did not co-author the two articles in policing journals. We are expected to accept unconditionally the claim of Aufheben that he did not co-author them and that he disagrees with them when he has not even removed the “knowledge-based policing” one from the list of the “Selected Publications” from his University profile. Not to mention that it is totally absurd to believe that he repeated the same mistake two times, supposedly for a better academic record, when one of the publications (in Jane’s Police Review) does not count research-wise since Police Review is not a scholarly peer-reviewed journal.

    As far as the charges that J trains cops are concerned, sorry again fellows, there are no refutations to be found. How on earth can the Police CBRN Consultancy (http://jdarchive.files.wordpress.com/2011/10/police-cbrn-consultancy.pdf) be refuted? The specific consultancy was given by J alone and its content includes the following advice: “Successful policing of potentially disorderly crowds involves Communication of police aims, facilitating the crowd’s legitimate aims in order to empower self-policing in the majority, a graded response to potential disorder”.

    How can you refute the fact that J was the organizer of a Continued Professional Development course in the University of Sussex entitled “The psychology of crowd management” whose description contains the following: “This CPD course is aimed at all professionals who work with, or plan around, crowd events, including the emergency services, event organizers, stewarding organizations, stadium managers, health and safety officers, emergency/resilience planners and business continuity managers. Crowding and public safety, emergencies, terrorist attacks, natural disasters, and the potential for crowd conflict and disorder are some of the most pressing contemporary hazards. Those who work with crowds depend upon knowledge of crowd behaviour in order to manage these risks “(http://jdarchive.files.wordpress.com/2011/10/cpd_sussex.pdf). Why these references have disappeared from his university site?

    Further, the conference that was mentioned before by Blasto and held in 2001 had a specific policing content (we’re talking about the 6th international conference of Investigative Policing with participants from worldwide police forces) and there J did not talk about “mass emergencies” but about “intergroup dynamics at an anti-road protest”, i.e. about the dynamics between police and protesters in the “anti-road protest”.

    About the supposed inapplicability of “J’s work… to situations where there is an underlying conflict of interests between police and the crowd”, it seems that Fallback has not read his papers or deliberately misrepresents them. As far as I have read it’s clear that J has written about situations where there are different groups within the crowd with different attitudes in relation to legality, peaceful or violent means, etc. According to what he has written the tactics of the police can either promote the unification of the crowd or help in the preservation or deepening of divisions that may lead to self-policing and even moderation in the case of the “violent minorities”. We all know that contrary to what Fallback asserts, the crowd does not usually face police in a uniform way even if “there is an underlying conflict of interests between the state and the crowd”. There are always conflicting interests, viewpoints and practices within the crowd itself.

    Regarding the issue of “emergencies” I have to note that according to my reading J calls for emergency situations to be treated cautiously by the police (similarly to the graded policing of protests) because of the existing danger of turning a public safety situation into one of public disorder (see http://jdarchive.files.wordpress.com/2011/10/police-cbrn-consultancy.pdf). It’s widely known that this is one of the main problems that the police and the state in general face when they manage a mass emergency. Usually, people self-organize to satisfy their needs, proceed to expropriation of goods, etc, etc. The whole approach by J is about how the state would better manage such situations (that’s why the specific niche is called “crowd management”). Sorry fellows, I cannot find anything “worthwhile and humane” in this shit…

    Finally, contrary to what Fallback says, the work of Reicher, Stott and J is not only about “ontology”. If it was only about that there would be no great problem. The issue is that they have designed specific guidelines that have descriptions of police tactics reaching details such as the removal of masks, banners, etc (“These conditions might include the removal of clothing that obscures individual identity, abandoning placards, bottles and other objects that could be used as weapons.” Knowledge-based policing).

    Regarding what Steven says about the supposed insignificance of the issue with references to the “general strike in Oakland” and other ongoing struggles, I would like to point out that police repression is never an unimportant issue and this is clearly shown by the post “Crowds, protest and police” in the blog of the Madison Police Chief David Couper which was discovered by Blasto that specifically references the work of J (http://improvingpolice.wordpress.com/2011/10/31/crowds-protest-and-police/) in the context of the Occupy movement (and Oakland in particular).

    For me it’s totally outrageous to ask “even if what he did was all that bad, what would that mean”! It seems that for some people the fact that J used his connections and experience from his participation in the social struggles to help police is insignificant… I have no words to express my anger about this… I have no words to express my terrible anger that persons like “Steven” express their worries about collaborating and trusting Samotnaf who had the stomach to take the initiative on this important issue and have no problem with cop collaborators and consultants such as J. Shame on us…
    #73
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    Rank
    Nov 6 2011 10:39
    Quote:

    fallback wrote But I’d implore those who aren’t in the prosecution to actually look at what is being alleged and what is said in response, and read the main thread. Even if you think J has fucked up (or worse), then please at least look at what he’s actually done and not the chimerical, ever-shifting trumped up charges of the prosectution. At the very worst (I don’t accept this in the slightest, but just for argument’s sake), he’s done work that could subsequently be used by the police to justify more ‘hands-off’ tactics.

    Fallback, you obviously haven’t followed your own advice and read the thread, otherwise you wouldn’t have shot yourself in the foot with the above passage, highlighted in bold. As for those concerned about J’s professional role, it’s a bit of a stretch for those defending his activities to say that his critics are ‘moving the goalposts’ with ‘chimerical, ever-shifting trumped up charges’ when it’s been a matter of furnishing interested readers with additional information (as it emerges) to confirm the facts of J’s complicity – that’s hardly shifting the goalposts.

    As for Steven’s little intervention about being worried about collaborating with Samotnaf… school playground stuff… it won’t do.
    #74
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    lines
    Nov 6 2011 20:16

    This post concerns the article in the most recent Aufheben, written by Aufheben, entitled:
    “Intakes: Communities, commodities and class in the August 2011 riots – Aufheben”

    It begins with a section from this article, parts of which will be referred to later. To make it clear, it would seem that, on reflection, there is a connection between the ideology of Aufheben, and the recent ‘scandal’. This connection is no surprise to some, some of us have criticised the theory, conclusions and style, and the haughty attitude of Aufheben from the beginning of their endeavours.

    Aufheben: “‘Cops, slaves to the commodity’
    What were the cops doing in all this? There was some outrage in the bourgeois press that they apparently ‘stood by’ and let the ‘rioters’ do what they wanted. Clearly they didn’t always ‘stand by’, since they were ‘proactive’ in Hackney and certain other places, and they protected some places but not others. Yet some of those on the side of the ‘rioters’ have also seen something sinister in the sight of cops standing back from burning cop-cars and from certain attacks on property. In the otherwise really good YouTube film ‘Rebellion in Tottenham’,68 the fact that the cops apparently allowed people to trash and burn two of their vehicles is interpreted by some speakers as a deliberate ploy; the cars were left there so that people would attack them so that the cops would then be able to legitimately escalate their riot tactics. The cops deliberately escalated the riot, apparently.

    Where have we heard this kind of explanation before? Almost every time there is a kick-off, it seems. According to one of the Militant stewards at the time, the great poll tax riot of 1990 was set up by police ‘agent provocateurs’; apparently, the cops, working at the behest of the government, ‘wanted’ the riot in order to ‘discredit’ the anti-poll tax movement.69 Similarly, when the Tory headquarters at Millbank got trashed at the student demo last year, there was a claim that the lack of cops outside was evidence of a conspiracy to make the student movement look bad. On the student demo two weeks later, the police van abandoned in Whitehall was supposedly left there ‘deliberately’ so that people would trash it, to discredit the protest and to give the cops an excuse to attack the crowd (which they were kind of doing anyway with an indiscriminate ‘kettle’ of all and sundry).

    These kinds of explanations are typically premised upon an understanding of ‘politics’,
    within which the cops and the crowd are competing to win over an audience in the ‘middle ground’ who only support ‘rioters’ when they are victims. These kinds of explanations are politically disempowering, for the ‘victims’ are inevitably outwitted by the Machiavellian planning and superior anticipation of the super-intelligent cops.
    If such conspiracy theories are true, there is no point taking action for the real action takes place behind the scenes. However, explanations such as this are rarely true and in general are complete bollocks. The supposed clever strategies of the cops at the poll
    tax and the student demonstrations appear to have backfired somewhat, for it was the cops who were the losers and victims, the ones treated for post-traumatic stress disorder and made to look like incompetent fools, while the movements each took encouragement from the events. In the case of Tottenham, there is a simpler and much more plausible explanation for what happened that night than cop conspiracy. One of
    the main concerns for the cops when the cars were burning and they stood back was most likely to be Article 2 of the European Convention on Human Rights, the ‘right to life’.

    In other words, they stood back because they believed that someone could have died if they got stuck in; and if it was a toss up between a car and a life the choice was obvious to them. They didn’t want to risk either another Blakelock70 (corporate manslaughter) or killing a rioter, with all that would have implied for an escalation – against them. Acting Assistant Chief Constable Tim Godwin of the Metropolitan Police stated to a Home Affairs Committee after Tottenham:
    ‘I think we would be having a different conversation if we had a young person on life support at the moment as a result of a brain bleed or some other injury. I take great pride in the fact that we filled up prison places as opposed to hospital beds’.’
    So from their perspective it was a good result – because nobody got killed. In general, the cops simply are not sophisticated or organized enough to plot in the way that some people imagine. They just react from one set of circumstances to another; and, in many cases (poll tax, Millbank) ‘cock-up’ is simply a far more plausible explanation for what the cops are up to than conspiracy. During the ‘riots’ in London in August, it took the Metropolitan Police two days to assemble 1,900 officers trained in public order (riot police) after the incident in Tottenham. On the first night (Saturday) they had 480 available for duty and on the Sunday evening 1,27573 for the whole of Greater London.

    As senior officers explained, the ‘thin blue line’ was spread very thin and these logistical problems were compounded by the rapid and diffuse spread of disturbances in the capital as well as the intelligent manoeuvring of the looting crowds. By the time the Met had procured enough riot units to potentially control the situation, the horse had already bolted. These concrete factors are far more realistic explanations for the apparent ‘lack of action’ by the Met, than conspiracies based around ‘police angry about cuts’ and sinister stories of them ‘allowing it happen’ for hidden political reasons.

    What is more interesting were the tactics employed by the various constabularies. Thirty years before in 1981 the police had (similarly) been caught hopping by the scale and ferocity of the initial ‘riots’ in Brixton, London (April) and Toxteth, Liverpool (July). Although at the time partially tooled up with large unwieldy riot shields, their initial tactics essentially involved static phalanxes of police officers plodding (sic) on
    foot slowly forward in an attempt to retake neighbourhoods under the control of rioters. As a result, their casualties in the face of missiles and petrol bombs were massive. The escalation and modification of policing tactics, particularly in Manchester over 7th-9th July 1981, were a direct result of the injuries sustained by police and their perception of ‘defeat’ during their deployment to the neighbouring city of Liverpool in the preceding Toxteth disorders. These new tactics included the use of mobile police units, ‘snatch squads’ to target ‘ring leaders’ and most controversially the use of semi-armoured police vehicles as high speed battering rams to break up crowds.

    This aggressive policing style, previously unseen in mainland Britain (though developed and long-used by the security forces in Northern Ireland), was a significant factor in the suppression of further disorders in Moss Side and Greater Manchester over the following week. Their ‘successful’ use in further disturbances in Toxteth later in that month led to a death and serious injuries to several ‘rioters’.

    In August 2011, a similar pattern emerged, however this time the police were already ‘tooled up’ to a much greater degree. Failures to effectively disperse crowds in Tottenham and other areas of London on Saturday and Sunday night led to the deployment of armoured vehicles in several locations in London during the third night of rioting (Monday 8th).

    These ‘Jankels’ were used to scatter crowds and drive them out of contested areas. Assistant Commissioner Steve Kavanagh of the Met. stated: ‘The use of armoured vehicles driving at speed towards these looting individuals is a new tactic never used before. It’s quite shocking for the people of London to see that’s what we have to do.’ Despite Kavanagh’s lack of historical knowledge of policing, it appears that many in the Met saw these ‘old tactics’ from Northern Ireland and July 1981 as the way forward.”
    ETC

    From: http://libcom.org/files/Communities,%20commodities%20and%20class%20-%20Aufheben.pdf

    The whole of the article is fascinating. Not for the insights it gives (the police are not that clever) but for the gathering of information and the relation this information has to the perspectives of those involved in the production of Aufheben and those who have formulated the Elaborated Social Identity Model (Stott, Reicher and a member of Aufheben), which seems to be being taken up, or is being encouraged to be taken up by Stott and his team, by police forces around the world. (See, for example, http://improvingpolice.wordpress.com/)

    I always mistook the reason for Aufheben’s writing style as symptomatic of their attempts at journalism. It has now become evident that the style is also generated by the tenets of academic discourse and research – with the occasional tossing in of the word ‘bollocks’ in order to display ‘proletarian intelligentsia’ credentials.

    Why the fascination with statistics and graphs and a writing style that resembles journalistic analysis? Well, it is part of the passion of one of the members of Aufheben, and it is his job, of course. It will probably be wondered by a few here if the Aufheben writer has worked, in his capacity as an advising social psychologist, with any of the police officers mentioned in the article?

    I am uncertain as to what the argument of the article actually is, beyond informing us that the police are not clever enough to be conspiratorial all the time. But even this platitude becomes strangely interesting in light of the social psychologist’s work. Would it be better if the police were more conspiratorial? But not in order to escalate tensions, rather, in order to dissipate them? If they followed the advice of Stott and the team then they would certainly be able to ‘infiltrate’ and control crowds in a more subtle way – and this has been proven, apparently, in the controlling of football crowds.

    The Aufheben article quite openly argues the case that the police are not too clever, and, more importantly, that they suffer losses and damage in their mismanagement of situations. This is described in situations from the 1981 in the UK through to the riots last August. See the text above.

    It is very useful to know that the police aren’t so clever, and that things they do may not be conspiratorial – but this is ‘common knowledge’ for many of us, a platitude. It is invariably in the mismanagement of situations, or the mismanagement of the economy, that human beings rebel against the status quo. We have seen this countless times. We saw it in World War One; we are now seeing it in Greece and, in a minor way, in Oakland. How far these rebellions go, of course, is another matter. Some would argue, for example, Paul Mattick, or the nihilist communists, that it is only in economic catastrophe, or, in other words, catastrophic mismanagement of the economy, that communism is possible.

    What is really weird is that the article argues that when the cops mismanage things then the crowd makes gains against them….

    From the section of the article above, Aufheben:

    “The supposed clever strategies of the cops at the poll tax and the student demonstrations appear to have backfired somewhat, for it was the cops who were the losers and victims, the ones treated for post-traumatic stress disorder and made to look like incompetent fools, while the movements each took encouragement from the events.”

    “Thirty years before in 1981 the police had (similarly) been caught hopping by the scale and ferocity of the initial ‘riots’ in Brixton, London (April) and Toxteth, Liverpool (July). Although at the time partially tooled up with large unwieldy riot shields, their initial tactics essentially involved static phalanxes of police officers plodding (sic) on
    foot slowly forward in an attempt to retake neighbourhoods under the control of rioters. As a result, their casualties in the face of missiles and petrol bombs were massive.”

    …YET, the work of Stott and the team, through their ESIM framework, and through their direct workshopping/training/whatever with the police, are actively trying to encourage the police to manage crowds more intelligently (more humanely too, of course) and the basis of their advice is their research. Which, quite clearly, it could be argued, this Aufheben article is a product of or, even, a part of.

    This leads us onto more interesting terrain, the closing of ranks around the Aufheben member.

    As the writer Steven said, we have more pressing matters on our hands than agonising over this issue, like the austerity measures and the stuff in Oakland – these matters take up all my time, don’t you know, even if I am not in the same country in which they are happening… because they are the class struggle. I don’t even have time to go to work or talk to my wife because of my commitments to battling the austerity measures. Already the class have wondered where I am as I have spent so much time on the Aufheben scandal.

    Of course, Steven and others are only repeating part of the argument Aufheben used in their initial response to TPTG which they used, it could be argued, to deflect attention from this ‘minor’ affair. As a friend said, “I don’t know what is more depressing – the defence of [the Aufheben member] or Steven et al believing they are playing an important role in current events.” He also pointed out that that the original text came from activists in Greece…

    Is someone going to get hold of the secret Aufheben response (only sent to trusted comrades) and publish it?

    Is the real issue here (for Aufheben and Libcom) the fact that J has been exposed to the cops as a ‘communist’?

    But why would that be a problem since he doesn’t agree with anything written by Stott and Reicher, and he has only had his name put on things he doesn’t agree with, and he has had to speak to cops as part of his day job?

    The real problem for the rest of us (not Aufheben or the Libcom administrators) is that this affair reveals more about the ideological bases, or the modus operandi of Aufheben than it does about one person’s infidelities. This is why some people here have used the word ‘shame’. ‘Shame on us’ as one poster put it. This is the really important aspect – and it is the reason that this affair will not be resolved, only passed over and forgotten. The milieu which visits Libcom and elsewhere is weak. There are no lines in the sand.

    It is the theoretical/ideological core of Aufheben and, by extension, the libertarian/communist/anarchist/marxist left/milieu which is the problem – it is this core of errors, at the heart of communist politics, which should be rooted out and laid bare.

    Put very simply, on one side you have people who say that the consciousness of people must be changed before communism can happen, and that communism is a progression developing on from capitalism – which means, in essence, that people’s ideas have to change while the structure of production (minus private owners) remains the same.

    On the other side you have people who say that people’s ideas only change when they are forced to change by new circumstances… and from this perspective we are left with the possibility of communism only coming about through and after the catastrophic mismanagement of capitalism (when the fall of current ideology will create the space for new ideas – new consciousnesses).

    The Aufheben member is quite clearly, for some of us, part of a LEFT (in Aufheben) and ESTABLISHMENT (in academia) process that works for the continued sensible management of capitalism.

    As has been said long ago, this perspective, like that of all other reformist attitudes and initiatives forms the basis of all future modifications of capitalism and its sociological/ideological dominance.

    Just like the environmentalists, for example, the true, though largely unrecognised, objective for the extended leftwing milieu that surrounds Aufheben is the saving of capitalism. One hundred years of history have not been enough to make this fact clear.

    The baseline for communists is that we don’t cooperate with capitalism as communists. Even if this means going home and doing nothing. Instead of promoting the self-management of production we should be putting forward the much more problematic slogan, “Destroy all Workplaces.”

    There will be no solution to this affair in Libcom, and possibly none in the wider libertarian community. (But I would like to be surprised here.) The Aufheben/Libcom strategy clearly seems to be the managerial and PR one of toughing it out. After the steam has gone from this then we will all be able to move on. If anyone brings it up again they will be told, “But we have gone over this all before, there is no point bringing it up again, we need to move on.”

    Destroy all Workplaces.

    (PS – please feel free to begin the abuse at your leisure smile )

    (PPS – an interesting analysis: http://madlib.anarchyplanet.org/ )

    PPPS:
    If Aufheben didn’t write the article then why did they write this at the beginning of it:

    “Aufheben’s detailed analysis of the August 2011 UK riots.

    The following article was written in the immediate wake of the August ‘riots’ of 2011 in Britain and is an attempt to provide an empirical base to an analysis of the unrest. Commentators across the political spectrum have spewed out speculative explanations for the disturbances. What unites most of them is their lack of evidence and fixation on anecdotal or exceptional incidents within the ‘disorders’. Within the limited time available, we have attempted to gather as much quantitative and qualitative evidence as possible to underpin this examination. This evidence comes from various sources, including mainstream media statistics (events, arrestees, locales), relevant academic studies, social media, video and audio footage, some interviews with ‘looters and rioters’ and our own experiences as participants.
    The first part of this article presents a brief ‘history’ of the August events. This is followed by an analytical comparison with the ‘riots’ of July 1981 that considers their spatial and temporal characteristics. The final part employs quantitative and qualitative evidence to examine aspects of the August events such as ‘looting’, the composition of the crowds and policing tactics.”

    Even if this wasn’t written by an actual member of Aufheben (maybe it was written by a recent ex-member, for example) the article is in their style and fits perfectly the perpsectives of Aufheben.

    Who did write it then?
    #75
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    Steven.’s picture
    Steven.
    Nov 6 2011 14:20

    Regarding the post above, one thing which just slightly damages your argument is that Aufheben didn’t write that article on the riots! It is one of their “intakes” pieces, which means it is written by other people. But at least your post is a good example of people just trying to stick the boot into Aufheben with no basis whatsoever.
    #76
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    Picket’s picture
    Picket
    Nov 6 2011 14:25

    It’s brilliant that this Inquisition spends so much time and effort on their bizarre little escapade yet fails so spectacularly.
    #77
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    jura’s picture
    jura
    Nov 6 2011 14:33

    Graphs, statistics and a journalistic style are clearly bourgeois. If only Marx had known.
    #78
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    Steven.’s picture
    Steven.
    Nov 6 2011 15:24
    radprole wrote:

    As far as I have seen no evidence at all has been presented for the claim that he did not co-author the two articles in policing journals. We are expected to accept unconditionally the claim of Aufheben that he did not co-author them and that he disagrees with them when he has not even removed the “knowledge-based policing” one from the list of the “Selected Publications” from his University profile.

    well, the guy himself says that he didn’t co-author them. You may not believe him, but that is still evidence. It is also clear from his political perspective (not to mention his own words) that he does not agree with that perspective. Furthermore, some people including us in the libcom group have seen the original e-mails which prove that he didn’t co-author them, but agreed to have his name on them for the kudos of an author credit. Again, you may not believe us but that is also evidence. And I certainly would have no reason to lie on behalf of someone I have never met, have no idea what he even looks like and have never spoken to him online or in person in any way.

    He acknowledges that allowing himself to be credited as an author was an error on his part in terms of his image in the milieu, but him not being credited wouldn’t have made any difference to the articles in any way.
    Quote:

    As far as the charges that J trains cops are concerned, sorry again fellows, there are no refutations to be found. How on earth can the Police CBRN Consultancy (http://jdarchive.files.wordpress.com/2011/10/police-cbrn-consultancy.pdf) be refuted? The specific consultancy was given by J alone and its content includes the following advice: “Successful policing of potentially disorderly crowds involves Communication of police aims, facilitating the crowd’s legitimate aims in order to empower self-policing in the majority, a graded response to potential disorder”.

    as is clear, and as Aufheben acknowledge, he has recently given presentations to the emergency services (which obviously includes police) about dealing with mass emergencies, which he has to do as part of his job. The police being involved in dealing with mass emergencies is not something which has held back class struggle in this country. This does leave him open to having his revolutionary purity attacked by individuals with grudges, however plenty of workers as I said including social workers, nurses, paramedics, firefighters, etc need to work with police, especially in emergency situations and to me that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be allowed in the communist scene (whatever that would mean anyway!)
    Quote:

    How can you refute the fact that J was the organizer of a Continued Professional Development course in the University of Sussex entitled “The psychology of crowd management” whose description contains the following: “This CPD course is aimed at all professionals who work with, or plan around, crowd events, including the emergency services, event organizers, stewarding organizations, stadium managers, health and safety officers, emergency/resilience planners and business continuity managers. Crowding and public safety, emergencies, terrorist attacks, natural disasters, and the potential for crowd conflict and disorder are some of the most pressing contemporary hazards. Those who work with crowds depend upon knowledge of crowd behaviour in order to manage these risks “(http://jdarchive.files.wordpress.com/2011/10/cpd_sussex.pdf). Why these references have disappeared from his university site?

    he didn’t organise it, he does do it as part of his job though. But again are you saying that no one should research how to deal safely with crowds in emergency situations? Clearly that would be ridiculous. Are you saying that someone who does shouldn’t be allowed to be a communist? Or what?
    Quote:

    Further, the conference that was mentioned before by Blasto and held in 2001 had a specific policing content (we’re talking about the 6th international conference of Investigative Policing with participants from worldwide police forces) and there J did not talk about “mass emergencies” but about “intergroup dynamics at an anti-road protest”, i.e. about the dynamics between police and protesters in the “anti-road protest”.

    this is the only thing that has anything to do with protest struggle – and this was 10 years ago. He stopped doing research work related to protests, in part at least (or maybe entirely, I’m not sure) due to political concerns he had with this work.
    Quote:

    For me it’s totally outrageous to ask “even if what he did was all that bad, what would that mean”!

    yes, how totally unacceptable to ask what his detractors actually want? Because then some of you might actually have to come up with a practical proposal rather than just have a go at someone on the Internet.
    What you think should happen to J because of this? Should he not be allowed to write for Aufheben anymore? And instead do his own blog which Aufheben readers would still read, because we like them? Or do you want to beat him up, or to stop being a communist and be a Liberal Democrat, or what?
    Quote:

    I have no words to express my terrible anger that persons like “Steven” express their worries about collaborating and trusting Samotnaf who had the stomach to take the initiative on this important issue and have no problem with cop collaborators and consultants such as J. Shame on us…

    Maybe you should switch to decaf.

    If you could point to any communists who have been exposed to victimisation or repression, or any proletarian struggles which have been set back due to J’s work then please do and I will take it into consideration.

    Samotnaf deliberately broke our site guidelines and publicly named a communist, his political affiliation and his employer on a site which he knows that employers, police and journalists read. This is out of order.
    #79
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  3. And the rest of it:

    no1
    Nov 6 2011 15:49
    Rank wrote:

    Quote:

    fallback wrote But I’d implore those who aren’t in the prosecution to actually look at what is being alleged and what is said in response, and read the main thread. Even if you think J has fucked up (or worse), then please at least look at what he’s actually done and not the chimerical, ever-shifting trumped up charges of the prosectution. At the very worst (I don’t accept this in the slightest, but just for argument’s sake), he’s done work that could subsequently be used by the police to justify more ‘hands-off’ tactics.

    Fallback, you obviously haven’t followed your own advice and read the thread, otherwise you wouldn’t have shot yourself in the foot with the above passage, highlighted in bold.

    Your comment is pretty confusing as Fallback states that he doesn’t accept in the slightest that J’s work has an impact on the policing of protest. What’s confusing me even more is the implication of your comment: is your position that you hope the police use more violence to repress protest?
    radprole wrote:

    As far as the charges that J trains cops are concerned, sorry again fellows, there are no refutations to be found. How on earth can the Police CBRN Consultancy (http://jdarchive.files.wordpress.com/2011/10/police-cbrn-consultancy.pdf) be refuted? The specific consultancy was given by J alone and its content includes the following advice: “Successful policing of potentially disorderly crowds involves Communication of police aims, facilitating the crowd’s legitimate aims in order to empower self-policing in the majority, a graded response to potential disorder”.

    What is there to refute? The Aufheben statement talked from the beginning about mass emergencies. Is your position that any contact with police whatsoever is unacceptable, and that it is wrong to play a role in designing the response to mass emergencies because police are involved in that response?
    radprole wrote:

    Regarding the issue of “emergencies” I have to note that according to my reading J calls for emergency situations to be treated cautiously by the police (similarly to the graded policing of protests) because of the existing danger of turning a public safety situation into one of public disorder (see http://jdarchive.files.wordpress.com/2011/10/police-cbrn-consultancy.pdf). It’s widely known that this is one of the main problems that the police and the state in general face when they manage a mass emergency. Usually, people self-organize to satisfy their needs, proceed to expropriation of goods, etc, etc. The whole approach by J is about how the state would better manage such situations (that’s why the specific niche is called “crowd management”). Sorry fellows, I cannot find anything “worthwhile and humane” in this shit…

    What are you actually taking issues with? Do you think mass emergencies – like the Hillsborough disaster, Katrina, sarin on the Tokyo underground, Bhopal – have revolutionary potential if only the police reveal their violent and repressive nature by contributing to death, injury and trauma? This could be the implication of your comments.
    Also, it may be that your cognitive abilities are clouded by this witchhunt, but the document you link to attributes disorder to police treating crowds as though they are the problem and liable to ‘mass panic’. It advises that instead the police should avoid making things worse by trying to limit themselves to effective communication. What’s worthwhile and humane about is that this may stop the police from causing more people getting killed, injured and traumatised. Do you want more Hillsboroughs?
    #80
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    rata
    Nov 6 2011 17:24
    Steven. wrote:

    well, the guy himself says that he didn’t co-author them. You may not believe him, but that is still evidence. It is also clear from his political perspective (not to mention his own words) that he does not agree with that perspective. Furthermore, some people including us in the libcom group have seen the original e-mails which prove that he didn’t co-author them, but agreed to have his name on them for the kudos of an author credit. Again, you may not believe us but that is also evidence. And I certainly would have no reason to lie on behalf of someone I have never met, have no idea what he even looks like and have never spoken to him online or in person in any way.

    I will not go into details here, as I am also waiting for the longer response from Aufheben (Joseph, please do ask them about my email too), but I needed to respond to this. I am not really sure Steven what do you consider “evidence”, and in which categories are you talking, but quoted segment above is no evidence of anything. Nothing is evident there – the idea that we need to believe somebody, and that that is an evidence, and if we don’t believe him, it is still an evidence, is just… strange. Do you really thing this kind of “evidence” would work anywhere, except here? Even bourgeoisie courts would just laugh you off. It is not evidence if it is not evident, and if it has to be based on believing somebody something, without proof. Maybe you would have no reason to lie, maybe you would, but we can not know that without some proof. It is really shocking for me to see this kind of lack of basic logic with the libcom collective members. It seams like all of you have suddenly got stupid or something. Or you think that all of the people on the boards are idiots.

    Anyhow, as I said, I still don’t have a clear position on this issue, as I am awaiting Aufheben’s longer reply for “trusted individuals”, but I can tell you that this kind of defense is not something that is helping their cause.
    #81
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    Steven.’s picture
    Steven.
    Nov 6 2011 17:43

    Rata, individual testimony and witness statement counts as evidence even in bourgeois courts. So people here who know me, Joseph K or fall back will know that we are trustworthy and that if we say we have seen these e-mails then they exist. Indeed, why would I put my integrity on the line for someone I’ve never met? I know Samotnaf much better than I do J.

    I’m sure they would be fine with sending you the detailed reply as well.

    But what I really don’t get is why people think he would have written something which clearly goes against what he believes. It’s just bizarre. If they actually think that he is just pretending to be a communist for some reason in order to write good content for a good publication for some sort of nefarious ends. It doesn’t make any sense.
    #82
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    Joseph Kay’s picture
    Joseph Kay
    Nov 6 2011 19:20

    bootsy/rata: they’ve checked the spam folder and say nothing was in there (except a subscription request – so it’s obviously blocking some legit emails). If you send your email to libcom we can forward it: http://libcom.org/contact Alternatively if you don’t wasn’t us seeing it DM me and I’ll try and get an alternative/private email.
    #83
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    lines
    Nov 6 2011 20:24

    This is from the page on Libcom that links to the PDF of the article “Intakes: Communities, commodities and class in the August 2011 riots – Aufheben”

    It clearly states that the article is by Aufheben, in the first line no less. Am I missing something? (See my edit at the end of my post above). Was it written by a recent ex-member or something? Strange.

    “Aufheben’s detailed analysis of the August 2011 UK riots.

    The following article was written in the immediate wake of the August ‘riots’ of 2011 in Britain and is an attempt to provide an empirical base to an analysis of the unrest. Commentators across the political spectrum have spewed out speculative explanations for the disturbances. What unites most of them is their lack of evidence and fixation on anecdotal or exceptional incidents within the ‘disorders’. Within the limited time available, we have attempted to gather as much quantitative and qualitative evidence as possible to underpin this examination. This evidence comes from various sources, including mainstream media statistics (events, arrestees, locales), relevant academic studies, social media, video and audio footage, some interviews with ‘looters and rioters’ and our own experiences as participants.
    The first part of this article presents a brief ‘history’ of the August events. This is followed by an analytical comparison with the ‘riots’ of July 1981 that considers their spatial and temporal characteristics. The final part employs quantitative and qualitative evidence to examine aspects of the August events such as ‘looting’, the composition of the crowds and policing tactics.”
    #84
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    radprole
    Nov 6 2011 21:15
    Steven wrote:

    Furthermore, some people including us in the libcom group have seen the original e-mails which prove that he didn’t co-author them, but agreed to have his name on them for the kudos of an author credit.

    As I mentioned before the Jane’s Police Review publication is not a scientific one, so there are no kudos there. Further, if you read “Chaos Theory” it’s completely clear that the research on protest crowd control is completely linked with the research on mass emergencies, with the latter presented as a development of their common work. From my little knowledge of scientific work, it’s clear that each author writes a specific part of the article and assumes responsibility for the whole. If he disagrees with the article he can always make a public retraction. Of course I totally doubt that he will do so, since he has chosen to keep the specific entry in his “selected publications” list (i.e. the most important ones).
    Steven wrote:

    as is clear, and as Aufheben acknowledge, he has recently given presentations to the emergency services (which obviously includes police) about dealing with mass emergencies, which he has to do as part of his job. The police being involved in dealing with mass emergencies is not something which has held back class struggle in this country.

    The content of the specific Police CBRN consultancy which he alone offered is not restricted to “dealing with mass emergencies”. In particular, it is divided into three main themes (check the link: http://jdarchive.files.wordpress.com/2011/10/police-cbrn-consultancy.pdf):

    1. “Psychology of crowd behaviour and public disorder” (where you can find the advice quoted before)

    “Knowledge based policing means understanding the identity of each crowd.
    – Certain police practices can contribute to disorder through:
    o Empowering a crowd (turning an aggregate into a unity)
    o Legitimizing anti-police elements
    – Successful policing of potentially disorderly crowds involves
    o Communication of police aims
    o Facilitating the crowd’s legitimate aims in order to empower self-policing in the majority
    o A graded response to potential disorder”
    2. “Psychology of mass emergencies and disasters”
    3. “Specificity of managing crowd behaviour in CBRN incidents”

    Therefore what you say is inaccurate and misleading. How do you expect us then to trust you with regard to your reassurances that “he hasn’t co-authored the two articles”?
    Steven wrote:

    he didn’t organise it, he does do it as part of his job though. But again are you saying that no one should research how to deal safely with crowds in emergency situations? Clearly that would be ridiculous. Are you saying that someone who does shouldn’t be allowed to be a communist? Or what?

    What you say about the CPD course is also false. I did not refer to the CPD course organized by Stott in Liverpool, but to the CPD course organized by J in the University of Sussex. Moreover, it is not
    Quote:

    research how to deal safely with crowds in emergency situations

    According to the description of the CPD course its content is the following:

    “As distinct from existing practitioner-led courses, this course presents the latest scientific research and thinking in crowd psychology. It is intended to ground crowd management professionals in core concepts and principles transferable across a variety of domains, as well as presenting rationales for practice in specific areas.

    Topics covered will include: types of crowds; models of crowding and crowd behaviour; mass emergency behaviour: ‘mass panic’?; crowd protests, conflict and ‘public (dis)order’. There will also be opportunity for discussion around specialist issues such as communication; CBRN; facilitating crowd resilience; public responses to pandemics; and crowd self-policing.” (emphases are mine).
    Steven wrote:

    this is the only thing that has anything to do with protest struggle – and this was 10 years ago.

    According to the previous information, what you claim is totally inaccurate.
    Steven wrote:

    What you think should happen to J because of this? Should he not be allowed to write for Aufheben anymore?

    Clearly, the obvious thing to do would be to be kicked out of Aufheben and of the libertarian communist milieu and to ensure that he will not have access to interviews with protest participants that would be later used for police consultancies. It’s f…g elementary…
    Steven wrote:

    If you could point to any communists who have been exposed to victimisation or repression, or any proletarian struggles which have been set back due to J’s work then please do and I will take it into consideration

    As far as I have read their model has been implemented with success in at least one case: the policing of anti-war demonstrations in Sweden. Therefore, it was used to successfully repress the more radical tendencies of the movement there (see Chaos Theory) and it may have serious implications for loads of people in the future.
    no1 wrote:

    Do you think mass emergencies – like the Hillsborough disaster, Katrina, sarin on the Tokyo underground, Bhopal – have revolutionary potential if only the police reveal their violent and repressive nature by contributing to death, injury and trauma?

    The issue is not about appearances (“the police revealing their violent and repressive nature”) but about concrete implications. The guidelines provided by J aim at the avoidance of situations where “mass emergencies” turn into “public disorder”. That’s why he has written articles in “Business Continuity” journals, i.e. how the capitalist normality would be restored.
    no1 wrote:

    Also, it may be that your cognitive abilities are clouded by this witchhunt, but the document you link to attributes disorder to police treating crowds as though they are the problem and liable to ‘mass panic’.

    I am not the most intelligent guy in the world but I think I know how to read. See for example, Specificity of managing crowd behaviour in CBRN incidents in the Police CBRN consultancy:

    “Managing scarcity: After effects of CBRN incident, unlike other kinds of disaster/ emergency, could create disunity in the public around access to scarce resources”

    Does it ring a bell about Katrina? Of course I don’t disagree that the approach proposed by J tries to limit police violence according to a graded model and towards “self-policing” and “democratization of crowd management”. This does not make it less dangerous for the revolutionary development of social struggles. On the contrary, it might prove much more dangerous!
    Steven wrote:

    If they actually think that he is just pretending to be a communist for some reason in order to write good content for a good publication for some sort of nefarious ends. It doesn’t make any sense.

    It’s obvious that this guy used his connections from the communist milieu and the social movements in order to perform the research for his Ph.D. What’s most serious is that he didn’t stop there. He pursued a career as a consultant of the police and other emergency services based on the collective experience he has managed to smuggle. It’s obvious that he did it for money and climbing up the university ladder. It’s not strange at all… The answer to the question why he is still involved in the “communist milieu” is very simple: no one bothered to question and criticize his practice till now…
    #85
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    Fall Back’s picture
    Fall Back
    Nov 6 2011 20:50
    Quote:

    . ‘Intakes’ articles in Aufheben are ‘guest’ articles and so do not go through the normal editorial process (of editing, criticism etc.) but nevertheless are considered useful contributions. For these reasons, we do not necessarily have to agree with everything written in an ‘Intakes’ article (although such articles usually share basic assumptions with us).

    #86
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    Wellclose Square
    Nov 6 2011 20:54
    proletarian. wrote:

    Wellclose Square wrote:

    I’m done here.

    I can’t help but chuckle despite agreeing with your general attitude to this situation. How many have said “I’m off” then returned to post further comments so soon. Apart from that, ‘going’ doesn’t really solve anything. In any case I can’t see what actually can be done to rectify the situation. I would argue he should be ‘disassociated from revolutionary circles’ – you know what I mean. But I’m not sure there is the organisation or structure to do this. And there certainly doesn’t appear to be the will. I don’t really want to bring this up (but I will) because it looks like I’m antagonizing people but the ICC and their calls for a Jury of Honour or whatever were ruthlessly taken the piss out of but wasn’t there some ‘method in the madness’? There needs to be some kind of way of dealing with these and similar incidents. And I think it’s worth looking at how previous workers struggled with difficult questions like this. (I obviously think the guy has crossed a class line)

    Allow yourself another chuckle.

    Further to lines’ interesting analysis of the Aufheben Intakes article on policing and the riots, he/she adds a link (PPS) which I followed up – here’s an extract:
    Quote:

    But all of this pales beside the most important point, which is indicated in this particular case. These people do harm because they function as the synapses in the brain of the state. They are the conduits of official thought. They carry its values even as they attack it. It is through them that the state thinks. It is via them that the state’s ideas are distributed and considered at a higher level. The academic ‘revolutionaries’ such as those participating in Aufheben only think of the subjective thoughts they are generating in favour of revolution… they do not consider how these thoughts are officially constructed. They do not see what their official function is. They do harm because, during a social breakdown, in moments of social stress, it is through these people who are also conduits that the state will attempt to restore order and ‘negotiate’ with the forces of destruction. This has literally happened in this case, because the academic has attempted to think mediated crowd control methods. But we see it perpetually in Libcom where sensible arguments are being made in favour of the education system, prisons, psychiatric institutions, factories and so on. Because of their education, because they are employed as social managers, these people are habituated into thinking sensible, reasonable solutions at those very junctures where institutions should be attacked and madness of destruction should be taking hold. They do harm because they can only think recomposition not decomposition. Where they should be thinking ‘overthrow’ they are actually thinking ‘reordering’. Their good thoughts of reform have come much too soon. Their thoughts have not passed through the social body but have only circulated amongst people like themselves within the institutions that they are employed.
    In the end, they do harm because instead of thinking extremely, they think sensibly but have no capacity to reflect that that very form of reasonableness, is a mode of power, the mode of power by which the same order is homeostatically restored in moments of crisis. We can all think these sensible thoughts but it is not our role to do so. It is not for us to say, ‘of course communist society will need a police force (but a humane one)’, even if we are conditioned to suspect it. The form of everyone’s thoughts is socially conditioned and reproduces the same relations from which it is generated but the thought of social managers is also mediated and confirmed by social institutions.

    The question can no longer be seen to revolve solely around JD’s professional relationship with the police; we can play Aufhebengate tennis till the cows come home, with no resolution. No, what the whole back-and-forth game has revealed, perhaps unexpectedly, is the depth and extent of the Libcom/Aufheben milieu’s complicity with institutional power. Whether this is down to the class composition of the milieu, or being ‘professional revolutionaries’, others may be better placed to work out.
    #87
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    bootsy
    Nov 6 2011 21:06

    Thank you JK but assuming I have the correct email address (aufheben99 [at] yahoo.co.uk) I will resend it myself.
    #88
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    Samotnaf
    Nov 7 2011 07:27

    I have been lured back to the rocks of libcom by Steven’s sweet siren song, namely:
    Quote:

    I would be worried about collaborating with Samotnaf, as he has shown that he is happy to reveal the real names and political affiliations of individuals he has disagreements with. In my case this would put me in danger of losing my job (and therefore home etc, not to mention giving it to the security services), so this makes me feel now like he cannot be trusted, which is unfortunate as previously I did not.

    and this catchy little melody:
    Quote:

    Samotnaf deliberately broke our site guidelines and publicly named a communist, his political affiliation and his employer on a site which he knows that employers, police and journalists read. This is out of order.

    What do I care if he gets sacked as a cop consultant as a result? I’d regard it as a good result. But fat chance – he outed himself in an article in 2003 that links his University work and department to Aufheben and his ethnographic work. See Annual Review of Critical Psychology Volume 3, pages 88 to 114. If they gave a toss about his participation in Aufheben, they’ve had 8 years to give him the sack. On the contrary, they need the kind of innovative angles on things that he, fairly uniquely as far as I can see, provides.

    Steven talks about me revealing “the real names and political affiliations of individuals he has disagreements with”. “Disagreement”? Habitual diplomatic language can be carried a little too far: understatement is often worse than exaggeration. Besides, if I found you doing the same thing as Dr.Who, I wouldn’t hesitate to publicise your name if I knew it (as it is, I know only your first name, but it’s not like it’s so unique publicity would identify it). I hope, though, that all this defence of Dr.Who doesn’t imply that the whole of libcom admin is involved in the same kind of blatantly sell-out kind of ideological work that Dr.Who’s been involved in, that they so identify with him that they fear being outed in the same way (though in fact, since he’s been known to his employers for years and has constantly publicised his name, the outing is purely for the “revolutionary/activist” milieu, an outing that Aufheben and their friends did their best to stifle). If the history of the last 100 years has taught us anything, and in fact libcom’s eclecticism is premised on that minimal recognition, those who call themselves “communist” can be as far from the “communist” project as fascists. To reduce my disgust for Dr.Who to a “disagreement” is typical of the way all this is minimalised. “So you’ve got a disagreement with our nice communist comrade Lenin/Trotsky/Stalin/take your pick – no need to get worked up about it”.

    As for the ridiculous idea that it was merely “stupid” to want (or allow or whatever ) his name to be put on those articles, which he personally didn’t write: if I say I want my name to be added to an article that it is in practical terms worse than a racist article for the EDL because that way it gets my article numbers up and I can get more money or maintain my credibility with the University’s authorities – is that somehow better, more excusable, than actually writing it? It’s not merely stupid – it’s fucked. I said in the “Strange Case..” article that this thread is based on, “even if it had no material influence whatsoever, if I were to publish “all blacks, homosexuals and anti-capitalists should be sent to the gas chamber”, forced to do it as part of my wage labour for The University Of Goebellstadt, it’s not something that should endear me to “communists”. I could equally change the wording to this: “even if it had no material influence whatsoever, if I were to agree to my name being put on an article saying “all blacks, homosexuals and anti-capitalists should be sent to the gas chamber”, forced to do it to get my numbers up and to maintain my salary at The University Of Goebellstadt,” it’s not something that should make “communists” merely dismiss me as “stupid”. This is not hyperbole – “Chaos Theory” and the possible development of training, and ideological discourse, for the cops it implies, is far more use for the modern state than some archaic fascist crap.

    There are far too many things coming from libcom admin that seriously imply a chronic inability to think (or feel) independently of a collective line coming from Aufheben and Joseph Kay, which includes a constant evasion of all the points raised and a dismissive attitude towards any significance to all this, that responding further on this thread is a pointless dialogue with people whose heads are so deeply buried in the sand, that their ears have become utterly clogged, deaf even to the reason of far cooler heads than mine. Talking to a brick wall is more instructive.
    #89
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    Rachel
    Nov 7 2011 10:08

    Nevertheless, despite all that’s been said, all the time that’s been put into finding these articles etc, there are still plenty of people around in London and the UK who also would prefer to be next to Aufheben people on a demo than next to Samotnaf. Go figure!
    #90
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    Blasto
    Nov 7 2011 11:54

    I too had pretty much bowed out, but I think this is worth posting up simply as it helps clarify who is been honest here and who isn’t. Steven’s ‘why would he lie” line is probably equally relevant to a ‘leading academic’ going on public record.

    Regarding the Chaos Theory article, this is from co-author Dr Clifford Stott:
    Quote:

    Following the death of a member of the public during the G20 protests in 2009 the Guardian Newspaper began a campaign to bring into question the tactics of the Metropolitan Police during the demonstration. The subsequent political crisis cascaded outward to bring into question the nature of public order policing across the U.K. Within this context I was asked to write a piece on the policing of crowds by Jane’s Police Review. I wrote the article along with [J] and Steve Reicher. We made the argument that a central failure was a reliance on the use of force that flowed directly from the dominance of outdated psychological theory; theory that has become institutionalised in the police. The article was influential in that it stimulated a question asked of Commander Bob Broadhurst during his appearance before the Parliamentary Home Affairs Select Committee. But more importantly it led to my involvement in the HMIC inquiry and the subsequent adoption of some of our core recommendations as the policy basis for the future of public order policing in England and Wales.

    And here is Clifford Stott again:
    Quote:

    I suppose in a sense what I’ve been working on with [J]… is basically a scientific model, a theoretical model, of what makes collective behaviour in crowd events possible from a psychological point of view, so the psychology of crowd behaviour. And from that theoretical model, from that science, we’ve been been able to start asking very important – difficult but practically important questions about the way we manage crowds out in society, particularly at these critical times we get violence in political demonstrations, in football crowds and various other events like that.

    #91
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    Joseph Kay’s picture
    Joseph Kay
    Nov 7 2011 12:40

    Based on a theoretical ontology of the crowd (‘ESIM’), Clifford Stott has lobbied the police to make them less prone to violent? Er, that’s what people have been saying all along.
    Samotnaf wrote:

    a collective line coming from Aufheben and Joseph Kay, which includes a constant evasion of all the points raised

    The problem with telling bare-faced lies like this is, should anyone bother to read the 350+ post clusterfuck they’ll see that you’re lying, and I and others have in fact made repeated, detailed responses totalling thousands of words (e.g. see 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 for some of the more substantive examples). And of course I’m not the only person arguing against you, but the fiction the people disagreeing with you are “dupes” or an some other unthinking, uncritical automatons is easier to sustain if you pretend it’s just me.

    Anyway, there’s already a long thread on this so we don’t need to go over everything again from the top here. Thread locked.

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