Five Years After the May Day Coup

27 Feb 2016

The Dirge

It’s been five years since the May Day collective unilaterally seized the domain indymedia.org.uk on May 1, 2011, an action everyone but May Day itself rejected as a power grab and a betrayal of the Indymedia movement in the UK. At this point, there’s not much left to say about Indymedia UK under the May Day group, because there’s not much left to Indymedia UK. We knew it was going to be a disaster, and it has been. The “promoted newswire” is as slow as cold treacle, having a remarkably good week if it has more than a single new item in it, and often going three or four weeks utterly static. Technical problems are proliferating, with the site often inaccessible or blank. The center column, the main visual component of the page, was updated only twice in the entire year 2015 and is, as I write this, still awaiting its first 2016 entry. Activity on the open wire is largely the work of a single commendable person doxxing up EDL/PEGIDA members. The database behind the site seems to disappear regularly, leaving the user facing an empty site, or an empty open newswire. Other than that, the site is now deep into its predicted death-spiral: lack of activity leads to lack of audience, which leads to even less activity, leading to even less audience, spiralling down until the site is… where it is today, where you need James Cameron’s deep dive equipment to see how far it’s sunk.

The May Day group remains remarkably insular, no longer pre-announcing its meetings to allow for the public to attend. Any criticism of the coup’s editorial policy is met, not with come to our next meeting to discuss it, but fuck off and form your own site.

The most interesting development over the last year is this: if I am reading this post on Indymedia UK correctly, the one-man charm offensive Roy Bard is, on top of everything else, a paid police informant. Because he is part of the May Day junta, the rest of the junta has of course automatically, absolutely, and unconditionally forgiven him, and if you think an Indymedia site run by a grass might be a problem, then fuck off and form your own site.

Isn’t it a funny thing about like Bard those who yell “infiltrators” and “grass” the loudest?

Update: The Indymedia site is currently down with the vapours again, and it’s been nearly a month since it was possible to post. Have they decided it’s just no longer worth fixing?

Second Update: The site is back up again, and in the thread I linked to above there’s a comment I think worth reading in its entirety; I’m posting it here as I suspect it will be removed or hidden quickly.

Well that was easy wasn’t it ?

A massive betrayal of the Indy readership over several years brushed away with a wave of the hand and a refusal to offer an apology or an explanation of why this man gets a pass on what he has done.

This was not some cop who infiltrated the organisation for a couple of years. this was in your words “a trusted member” active in the collective for more than eleven years. Why is he still trusted – he sold us all out for money to the cops, why are you so confident he will not do it again? His current postings on Twitter indicate he is still active in a number of campaigns – have you warned those people ?

At the very least the Indymedia community deserves a statement on what is now known by you and what has been done to ensure our information is no longer being passed to the police.

Confused of Tunbridge Wells

In the meantime, things are back to “normal” on Indymedia UK – anti-Semitic posts and all. Similarly, the truly foul anti-Semitic shitbucket “deliberation.info” that Roy Bard co-founded with the Holocaust deniers Atzmon, Eisen, and Clark-Lowes, and then repudiated for being too thick with too obvious an anti-Semitism, well, Bard is back to retweeting links to it, demonstrating again that he just hasn’t learned a damn thing. One day he’ll work it out about what he’s done, I believe, and why it earned him such comprehensive condemnation from every direction and source but the corner swastika-shop, but he’s now spent a decade doing everything he can to postpone that moment of insight for as long as possible.

Gilad Atzmon and the Springtime for Hitler crew

The canary in the Indymedia UK coal mine was Roy Bard’s slavish devotion to someone widely recognised even in 2008 as a crude and vocal anti-Semite, Gilad Atzmon. Bard, for deeply personal reasons he always pretended were merely political, refused to allow criticism of Atzmon to appear on Indymedia UK, even as Atzmon opened his mouth a little too wide a little too often and his reputation began to curdle over like a jug of last year’s milk.

Atzmon has been rejected by the left, and he has responded by increasing his ties — visibly and unapologetically — to the far right. Late last year, for example, he testified at a hate speech trial in rural western Canada, saying that he had inspected the site in question and found no signs whatsoever of anti-Semitism on it… although the site had massive stacks of anti-Semitic rants, Holocaust denial, the full text of Protocols of the Elders of Zion, and even the full text of Mein Kampf. None of that was actually anti-Semitic, Atzmon argued, and tried to run his usual arglebargle of an argument (“criticising Jewishness isn’t really anti-Semitism, if you put the right mask on it”). It’s the kind of handwaving mummery that works among the true believers but falls flat on its face with a very loud thud under coherent cross-examination. The jury of twelve laughed off Atzmon’s “expertise” and voted unanimously to convict.

Atzmon then appeared in an internet-radio roundtable discussion of the trial, hosted by a racist Swedish black-helicopters site called “Red Ice,” appearing chummily with a true racist rogue’s gallery — the just-convicted Mein Kampf/Protocols guy, plus the host of a radio show on Stormfront, plus another Holocaust denier who says he has “come out of the Adolf Hitler closet” and has a slew of Youtube videos praising Hitler, plus another guy who argues that the Jews run the international economy. (Not going to link it; I’ve given you enough to find it.)

Elbow deep in the swastika crowd, Atzmon was of course right at home, happy as a happy clam, at the table of Jew-haters. We knew the time was coming he would openly step up to that table; now it’s here.

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Why Indymedia UK Died

4 Jul 2013

It’s been a few years since I posted here, and an update is in order.

On the death of Indymedia UK

The first thing to note is that Indymedia UK is now effectively dead. In mid-June of 2010, a year before the Mayday coup, indymedia.org.uk had an Alexa rank of 159 823. Its one-month rank today, almost exactly three years later, is 477 077. That’s quite an astonishing plummet, and one carrying a clear message. The vast majority of activists have no use for Mayday’s authoritarian approach, so ably embodied in the charmless Roy Bard (ftp), and have fled the site in droves.

As I noted elsewhere, the internet treats censorship like damage, and routes around it. Mayday’s highly censorial, let-us-tell-you-what-to-think say-amen-or-you’re-hidden editorial practices and its general tinpot-tyrant attitude toward its own audience caused the activist community that once used it heavily to route around it instead.

The numbers show it: Mayday has all but killed Indymedia UK. This is what most people – Mayday excluded – expected to happen, and it did.

Atzmon the Pariah

By now it’s also clear: the Atzmon wars are over, and Atzmon lost.

It’s been cheering to see how completely Atzmon’s anti-semitism was repudiated in the wake of his racist little book. I won’t catalogue the whole list of major figures who have told Atzmon to take a hike, except to note that it carries most of the most well-known names in the Palestinian movement in the UK. Atzmon tried desperately to paint those who were opposed to him as “crypto-zionists” or “anti-zionist zionists” (!?!)  but by now only an intentionally willing fool could believe that wheeze.

Publishing his book turns out to have been a Pyrrhic victory for him. By unifying all his anti-semitic nonsense in one place, he made it clear just where he stood on the topic of Jewish identity – he’s against it, because he thinks being Jewish is mostly a bad thing. By concentrating his thoughts on the fundamentally evil nature of Jewish identity and Jewish ideology, he removed all of that carefully cultivated ambiguity that he used to weave and dodge behind for the better part of a decade. He put his anti-semitism unambiguously up front. And it stank.

And that, in turn, finally moved the pro-Palestinian movement in the UK from quietly hoping he’d go away to loudly telling him to goosestep away. It took more time than it should have. That almost a decade passed between the time Atzmon first embraced the Holocaust denial movement and his finally being swept from the scene is a testament to both his ability to muddy the waters and the willful gullibility of his followers – including Roy “Please Lie To Me Gilad” Bard.

The Tyranny of the Minority

One of the lessons of the failure of Indymedia UK is what it tells us about the nature of consensus-minus-one as a decision making process. After Notts 2008 it became clear that many IMCistas were shocked to discover that a very tiny bloc could force the entire network to tolerate posts they considered racist. Any successor to the Indymedia movement is very unlikely to accept similar structure, so clear a lesson did Bard’s abuse of it give the rest of the movement.

It’s what I think may be in the future refered to as the Two Arsehole Rule: “consensus minus one means it only takes two arseholes to destroy your movement from the inside.”

Many independent observers tried over the years to alert Indymedia UK to the dire path it had taken on its failure to actively combat left-wing “Atzmonite” anti-semitism on the site. They were, with Roy Bard’s characteristic paranoia, interpreted as attacks from a coordinated trolling campaign intent on destroying Indymedia UK. The irony here is thick – as thick, one could say, as Roy Bard, who actually did destroy Indymedia UK, more or less.

Is Roy Bard an anti-semite? Is Indymedia UK an anti-semitic site?

Finally, this question. At this point it’s generally recognized that no single individual did more damage to the Indymedia movement in the UK than Roy Bard. He was at the center of the Atzmon crisis, driving a wedge straight through Indymedia in order to keep the antisemite Atzmon’s Jew-hating posts up over deep and principled objections of other IMCistas. He was also at the center of the Mayday coup, the reprehensible decision to unilaterally powergrab and seize shared Indymedia resources, including the domain, by locking out those he declared to be his enemies. And he has presided over the increasingly empty husk of Indymedia UK as it has spiralled down the page ranks like a WWI fighter plane with a wing shot off.

What’s more notable is that, since my last update a few years ago, Bard has essentially thrown aside any pretense of not being an antisemite himself. His participation in the deeply, floridly antisemitic site “deliberation.info,” which he co-founded with Gilad Atzmon in January 2012 and which quickly became a cesspit of raw Jew-hating, makes it clear that he has no fundamental ethical problem hanging out with the “Jews run the world and faked their own Holocaust” set and cheering them on. He’s embraced the “Khazar” fantasy – a favorite of white power activists like David Duke – that Ashkenazi Jews aren’t really genetically related to Sephardic Jews and cannot trace their lineage to ancient Israel. Every genetic study shows that Bard is wrong on this, but given a choice between firmly established scientific fact and an Atzmon-approved fairy story that lets him bash the Jews, no one will be surprised that he chooses the latter.

More information on the development of Bard’s anti-Semitism is here, in a series of very damning comments about the deliberation.info hate site. Bard has – naturally – hidden the comments, because they make him look just as bad as he turns out to be. The good stuff is near the bottom.

So: yes, by now the record is quite clear. Roy Bard is an anti-semite. He attacks anti-semitism on the right, but when it appears on the left he can’t lift a finger against it. Just can’t do it. Will do everything in his power to avoid even seeing it. What’s worse, he actively tries to silence any criticism of anti-semitism when it’s on the left. Every time, year after year after year, given a choice between promoting and defending Atzmonian anti-semites and Holocaust deniers, on one hand, or repudiating them on the other hand, he’s applauded the anti-semites and condemned those who said such people should be no-platformed. And he has effectively destroyed Indymedia UK, driven among other things by his desire not to have his own antisemitism silenced.

It is no longer possible to give him the benefit of the doubt, because there is no longer any doubt. Does Roy Bard have a serious problem with the Jews? Hell yes. And as long as he remains ensconced at post-coup Indymedia UK, everyone who remains willingly associated with him at Mayday carries the stain of Bard’s anti-semitism.

What happens to the Indymedia site now? This damage is irreversible – any IMCista who objected to Bard has long since abandoned the ship. Like Bard’s Jew-hating party “deliberation.info”, Indymedia UK – now past saving – will drift to the bottom, even further into obscurity.

And so thick its its self-delusion, it won’t even know why.

Indymedia deserved better.


And now, the world

26 Oct 2011

I thought it would be worth a quick update in the wake of the release of Atzmon’s book, which looks like it’s just a slightly re-edited rehash of the stuff he put on his site. It was very encouraging to see the degree to which Atzmon’s book was met with almost universal opposition among Zionists and anti-Zionists alike. This fact, of course, blows apart Atzmon’s central defense, that he’s really being attacked only by Zionists — an excuse that was transparently false half a decade ago and has become only more so recently.

That there are a few dead enders, hanging on to the fringe of the fringe, is simply the nature of hate literature.

The other incident that’s worth mentioning is Mayday’s eviction from the global Indymedia network. Mayday, very simple, did a raw power grab, unilaterally claiming shared resources for itself and then trying to hide all traces of public dissent. So if Indymedia UK seems even dumber than ever, more overrun with idiots and conspiracy theories that a five-year-old could find the flaws of, even happier to promote anti-Semitism ever more raw, that is because the nuts finally succeeded in taking over the nuthouse.


Clusterfork: A Question for ‘Mayday’

3 May 2011

As the Indymedia UK ‘fork’ turns into a ‘clusterfork’, and as users looking for information on the fork visit this site, I thought it might be a good time to ask a hypothetical question of certain key members of the ‘Mayday’ collective, who have seized control – errantly and unsupportably, in my view – of the Indymedia UK site.

The ‘Mayday’ editor most responsible for the Atzmon mess has written quite favorably about Israel Shamir, with whom he spent time in Nablus nearly a decade ago but who is now been named in international headlines as a Holocaust denier. Regarding this Shamir quote about the Holocaust denier David Irving:

Thus we should say: David Irving was sentenced for denial of Jewish superiority. His doom seals the reign of (albeit limited) freedom that began with the fall of Bastille. European history went full circle: from rejecting the rule of Church and embracing free thought, to the new Jewish mind-control on a world scale.

My question for ‘Mayday’: Are Shamir’s sentiments — ‘Jewish mind-control on a world scale’, open support for Holocaust denial — merely ‘controversial’ and ‘ill-considered’ or some other mild word expressing minor objections but at root not in any way signifying anti-Semitism? Do they reflect ‘a passion for justice’ or do they represent simple and coarse racism?

More importantly are they the kind of sentiment we can now expect to be expressed more frequently on the site, now that the editor who champions Shamir and Atzmon has completed his purge, and those who might oppose such things have been locked out?