What happened to the Anarchist Writers website?

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Steven.'s picture
Steven.
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Jan 6 2021 00:54
What happened to the Anarchist Writers website?

The whole website appears to be down, in particular including the anarchist FAQ it hosted:
http://anarchism.pageabode.com/afaq/index.html

Fozzie's picture
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Jan 6 2021 09:42

Looks like this lot now redirect to archive.org

www.anarchistfaq.org

www.anarchismfaq.org

www.anarchyfaq.org

www.anarchistfaq.org.uk

Steven.'s picture
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Jan 6 2021 14:44
Fozzie wrote:
Looks like this lot now redirect to archive.org

www.anarchistfaq.org

www.anarchismfaq.org

www.anarchyfaq.org

www.anarchistfaq.org.uk

Yeah that is something at least, but unfortunately now if you Google "anarchist FAQ" the top result is an out of date old entry in the Anarchist Library, which is missing large numbers of updates which have been made more recently

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Jan 6 2021 14:46

Was Andrew Flood involved in running it? He should be easy enough to find. And Anarcho as well, I think.

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Steven.
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Jan 6 2021 15:12

Yeah both of them were involved

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Fozzie
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Jan 6 2021 17:23

The URLs being forwarded suggests that someone involved is aware of the issue? I guess it may be a temporary thing? But if not should it be here?

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Steven.
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Jan 6 2021 22:26
Fozzie wrote:
The URLs being forwarded suggests that someone involved is aware of the issue? I guess it may be a temporary thing? But if not should it be here?

we would love to have the anarchist FAQ here. The problem is, other than PDF/e-book versions, it's just too cumbersome and wouldn't fit in our CMS

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Jan 21 2021 10:16

Looks like the site is back: https://anarchism.pageabode.com/

Possibly it is a work in progress? Looks like they are moving over to hosted Wordpress.

There is a page indicated for the FAQ but no content. The urls above still forward to archive.org

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Feb 4 2021 14:45

Just realised the WSM's site is down too, it used the same web software as the anarchist writers blog so I presume that has something to do with it

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Feb 4 2021 15:34
sherbu-kteer wrote:
Just realised the WSM's site is down too, it used the same web software as the anarchist writers blog so I presume that has something to do with it

yeah are they still going? I see that they still have a Twitter account which posts occasionally, although they seem to just be retweeting the odd thing every few days. Last post about a week ago…

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Feb 5 2021 01:16

I'm pretty sure they still are, but they've reduced in size quite a bit. If anyone knows Andrew Flood personally it'd be best to contact him to see what's up, Both the anarchist writers blog and the WSM site had great stuff on it, and the wayback machine is a pain in the arse to navigate!

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Feb 5 2021 13:54

The anarchist FAQ may have its uses, but it should be read extremely critically as its author can be just as unconvincingly revisionist as the marxists they criticise. See debate on BF & distortions of Malatesta's views here;
https://libcom.org/forums/history/ren-berthiers-comments-black-flame-31052019?page=1

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Feb 5 2021 23:06

@RedMarriott : Can you be more specific regarding which sections of the FAQ suffer from this? Or is it everything, in your opinion? Also, which author/s are you referring to, specifically?

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Feb 6 2021 01:03

@epk; I haven't read the whole FAQ and don't know how many authors it has but some of it I've seen seems OK. But it should be clear from my comments in the link I gave above what I'm referring to; that Anarcho's claims about Malatesta were a blatant distorting historical revisionism and that his defence of Black Flame's revisionism was similarly misleading. I don't know if, or how much, this revisionism spills over into the FAQ as I haven't read it all.

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Feb 6 2021 16:46
Red Marriott wrote:
@epk; I haven't read the whole FAQ and don't know how many authors it has but some of it I've seen seems OK. But it should be clear from my comments in the link I gave above what I'm referring to; that Anarcho's claims about Malatesta were a blatant distorting historical revisionism and that his defence of Black Flame's revisionism was similarly misleading. I don't know if, or how much, this revisionism spills over into the FAQ as I haven't read it all.

Sorry, that is nonsense and a complete distortion of what I argued -- as for that thread, I gave up on it because of the distortions being made of my argument... I have better things to do.

Just to reiterate, I argued that Malatesta was critical of syndicalism (for numerous reasons, not least because it was not sufficient in itself and it ignored the need for anarchists to organise as anarchists) but he favoured anarchist involvement in the labour movement and syndicalist tactics. This is well-known -- Malatesta, for his part, stated at the 1907 Anarchist Congress that he had "never stopped... pushing comrades to the path that syndicalists, forgetting a glorious past, call new, but the first anarchists had already established and followed within the international."

I'm not sure why my noting this is "balant distortng historical revisionism"...

Also AFAQ quotes Malatesta extensively when discussing why many anarchists are not syndicalists. And, I should note, that I agree with Malatesta's position on syndicalism. Again, not sure how that is "balant distortng historical revisionism".

As for Black Flame, that also notes Malatesta's critique of syndicalism while also noting his support for anarchist involvement in the labour movement. Again, not sure how this is "revisionism"...

Still, this is not why I logged on...

Anarcho
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Feb 6 2021 16:51
Red Marriott wrote:
The anarchist FAQ may have its uses, but it should be read extremely critically as its author can be just as unconvincingly revisionist as the marxists they criticise. See debate on BF & distortions of Malatesta's views here;
https://libcom.org/forums/history/ren-berthiers-comments-black-flame-31052019?page=1

See my comments just posted... this sort of distortion is why I stopped coming here, that and all the left-communist nonsense.

However, the reason why I logged on was not to reply to this nonsense by "Red Marriott" but to note that Andrew is aware of the problem and looking into the technical issues but has not had the time to get to grips with it (due to his Covid reporting). As I was here looking for something, I thought I should explain the situation -- unfortunately I have no idea when the issues will be resolved.

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Feb 7 2021 09:37

Anyone can read the thread linked to above for evidence of what I said earlier. Anarcho claims that Malatesta was “a precursor of syndicalism” and that he “advocated syndicalist tactics”. Neither claims are true and selective quoting doesn’t make it so.

For example, Anarcho quotes from Malatesta’s comments on syndicalism at the 1907 Congress to support his false claims of Malatesta’s advocacy of syndicalist tactics. But that wasn’t at all how Malatesta’s remarks were taken by syndicalists at the Congress; unsurprisingly, as he criticised the basic conceptions of syndicalism and what he viewed as their misunderstanding of the nature of class struggle. As the syndicalist Monatte replied at the Congress;

Quote:
“In listening tonight to Malatesta bitterly criticising the new revolutionary concepts, I felt that I was listening to the arguments of a distant past.
... the revolutionary syndicalists present tonight have been reproached for having deliberately sacrificed anarchism and the revolution to syndicalism and the general strike. Well, I wish to declare, that our anarchism is as good as yours...”

Yet Anarcho tries to extract a quote from Malatesta’s “bitterly criticising” remarks as proof of his “advocacy of syndicalist tactics”. That‘s the opposite of how the syndicalists addressed by his remarks understood them. Further evidence of a distorting revisionism at work.

Yes, Malatesta advocated anarchist involvement in trade unions as having some usefulness – but that is not advocating syndicalist tactics as Anarcho tries to pretend in his writings. As we all know, TU activity is not necessarily syndicalist at all. As Malatesta said;

Quote:
“One must not confuse “syndicalism”, which is intended to be a doctrine and a method for solving the social problem, with the promotion, the existence and the activities of the workers’ Unions...” (Malatesta, His Life & Ideas)

Yet that is exactly what Anarcho’s revisionism does when he claims that, because Malatesta wasn’t against involvement in unions, he is then supposedly “advocating syndicalist tactics”.

Malatesta had an explicit critique of syndicalism and anarcho-syndicalism – even if revisionism tries to hide that and Anarcho minimises Malatesta’s later writings where he extended his critique;

Quote:
“It is not true, whatever the syndicalists may say, that the workers’ organisation of today will serve as the framework for the future society and will facilitate the transition from the bourgeois to the equalitarian regime.” ...
“Trade Unionism is in its nature reformist. All that can be hoped from it is that the reforms which it demands and pursues are such and obtained in ways which serve revolutionary education and preparation and leave the way free to ever greater demands.
Every fusion or confusion between the anarchist movement and the trade union movement ends either in rendering the latter unable to carry out its specific task or by weakening, distorting, or extinguishing the anarchist spirit.” (P. 120-123 – Malatesta, His Life & Ideas.) https://libcom.org/files/Malatesta%20-%20Life%20and%20Ideas.pdf

Those words don’t read like the thoughts of “a precursor of syndicalism” and “advocate of syndicalist tactics” at all.

Btw, Malatesta’s critique of syndicalism has some similarities to (and is perhaps influenced by) Bakunin’s critique of German social democracy; https://libcom.org/library/a-critique-of-the-german-social-democratic-program-bakunin

Ironic that Anarcho complains about the left-comms here when he’s just as guilty as them of revising history to tell his preferred idealised story. The ‘post-truth age’ has infected their camps as much as the rest of society.

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Feb 9 2021 10:41

When Anarcho & his co-writers point out the distortions and lies of marxists that's fine and necessary. But when he distorts anarchist history to support his own ideological agenda (of reducing all class struggle anarchism to a tool to elevate syndicalism as its supposed pinnacle, à la Black Flame?) that's worse as his distortions undermine the credibility of all else he says. Distortion of anarchist history by an 'anarchist' 'historian' is even worse than by a marxist.

The point here is not whether Malatesta's critique is true or not but that historical facts are treated as no more than pliable tools to be moulded at will to service petty sectarian ideological agendas. (Ironically in this case, as it’s a typically bolshevik trait.) Whether it’s left-comms, anarchists or conspiraloon anti-vaxers this amounts to perpetuating the same social trend – massively amplified by the internet - and reproducing this wider conservative trend within supposedly radical circles. If these distortions aren't challenged and are allowed to stand there is no basis for any rational discussion or anything (except ideological conformity) to be learnt; the historically and factually false basis of the discussion rules that out from the start.