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.