Do Glenn Greenwald And His Fans Really Care More Than You?

In his zeal to embody everything execrable in contemporary leftish discourse, Glenn Greenwald has newly metamorphosed into The Rich White Guy Playing A Self-Serving Race Card.

Greenwald and his roving crew of asskissers and disciplinarians are very concerned about the way the surveillance apparatus disproportionately focuses on U. S. Muslims. But what really concerns them, more than anything it seems, is whether your concern is equal to theirs, as scientifically measured by your regard for Greenwald and Maz Hussain’s recent article in The Intercept.

The thinking appears to be as follows:

1. Being unsurprised by the article is the same as being unconcerned with its topic.

2. If you are unsurprised — that is, unconcerned — it can only mean one thing:

a story has to be about white people in order to be really exciting and important [to you].

It’s absolutely unthinkable that your reluctance to applaud truly owes to the article imparting almost nothing that any well-read person doesn’t already know, apart from the names and backgrounds of five high-status targets of surveillance. Or that by placing its five subjects largely outside the context of what we already know about surveillance of Muslims, and by omitting any mention of other surveilled categories at all, the effect is actually minimizing. Or that its delayed publication follows even more-extreme-than-usual hype from Greenwald about fireworks and such, and thereby invites disappointment.

Since your objections are rooted in racism, Greenwald and his crew feel no obligation at all to meet them head on. There is no onus to demonstrate exactly why you should join them in extolling one more needlessly prolix article about shit we mostly know, which, in keeping with Leak Keeper custom, emphasizes victims of high social status, and which is unique for the genre mainly in how much space it devotes to government officials touting the rigor of their warrant process. Instead, they’ll just find a hundred and one reasons to call you racist, callous and selfish. As we know, there is no such thing as a reasonable, substantive objection to anything Greenwald does. So Greenwald and his acolytes need never be reasonable and substantive in reply.

But wait! We know that Snowden provided all the documents a year ago. If Greenwald really really cares about abuses against Muslims, why has it taken this long to write about it in such detail and to release the documents on which the article is based?  Why aren’t the terribly concerned  advocates of Muslim people calling Greenwald to account for this, instead of cherry-picking Muslim avatars of their awe-inpiring concern, pursuant to smearing their insufficiently impressed comrades? Surely, the Greenwald RT, coveted though it is, can’t compete with keeping journalists genuinely responsible and public-spirited.

I mean, without further information, what can the Impressively Concerned Friends of Muslims and Glenn Greenwald conclude from this, but that Greenwald and his colleagues have been irresponsible in waiting on this:

For years, the government has succeeded in having such challenges dismissed on the ground that the various plaintiffs lack standing to sue because they could not prove that they were personally targeted.

Thanks to Snowden’s disclosures, those seeking to obtain such a ruling now have specific cases of surveillance against American citizens to examine.

What are we to make of this suprisingly candid passage:

Richard Clarke, a former counterterrorism official in the Clinton and Bush administrations, served on the recent White House intelligence review panel convened to address concerns raised by the Snowden revelations. If he had seen the NSA spreadsheet, Clarke says, he would have asked more questions about the process, and reviewed individual FISA warrants.

“Knowing that, I would specifically ask the Justice Department: How many American citizens are there active FISAs on now?” he says. “And without naming names, tell me what categories they fall into—how many are counterterrorism, counterintelligence, espionage cases? We’d want to go through [some applications], and frankly, we didn’t. It’s not something that five part-time guys can do—rummage through thousands of FISA warrants.”

Am I missing something, or is it exceedingly clear that, at the very least, the spreadsheet should have been released as soon as it was obtained? Shouldn’t this provoke long overdue scrutiny of Greenwald’s proclaimed inversion of the journalistic pyramid, in which the most important details are disclosed last?

Perhaps all the people on the spreadsheet were made aware of its contents a year ago. Perhaps there is an equally satisfactory answer for not furnishing Richard Clarke with the spreadsheet before the review panel convened. If so, Greenwald and Hussain should have addressed these important details in the article. With these questions still open, the lack of curiosity among people like this, this and this — so keen to discipline Greenwald’s detractors — seems very much at odds with their superior politics.


I think it’s largely self-evident to any well-informed person that the Intercept article imparted nothing new. Greenwald and co even seem to concede this, by insisting not on the article’s novelty, but rather that the lack of same should be no impediment to applause or handwringing. Still, for those painstaking point missers among us, the case against surprise is as follows:

1. While the article is supported by an NSA document, the story is mostly about the FBI, the agency tracking the five men. Surveillance of Muslims by the FBI has been widely covered, such as in this Nation article from October of last year. The Greenwald/Hussain article even links to, and quotes, this 2011 Wired article on the topic. That the NSA and the FBI share data is widely known. The FBI also collects signals intelligence of its own via its Data Intercept Technology Unit.

2. In 2011, AP began publishing a lengthy series on collusion between the CIA and the NYPD in surveilling Muslim groups, a project that began in 2001 and ended only last year, and involved warrantless spying on, and infiltration of, mosques, political groups, student groups, and unaffiliated Muslim social life over the entire Northeast. While there is little or no mention of the NSA in this series, the surveillance is actually more dramatic and disturbing than that covered by The Intercept, by virtue of its scale, its independence from any judicial oversight, and the de facto federalizing of a municipal police force.

3. Since we know that American Muslims have been targets of assassination, we can infer that they are first targets of NSA surveillance, since we know that the NSA provides the signals intelligence to the CIA that makes these murders possible. Unsurprisingly, drone targets Anwar al-Aulaqi and Samir Kahn, both U.S. citizens, are on the spreadsheet that is the basis for The Intercept article.


Greenwald’s Fireworks Finale Postponed

What a Fucking Asshole

In Conclusion

Take Your Drip and Stick It

A Harbinger of Journalism Saved

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Rancid Discussion Thread: Chomsky’s Provisional Fascism

In the last thread, commenter pnuwb introduced Chomsky’s essay, published yesterday, in which he wrote about wars of aggression. As pnuwb pointed out, the piece is “a decent anti-war article”  that ends with the conclusion that “carbon emissions are a greater crime than war or aggression.”

Pnuwb claims that this conclusion “allows [Chomsky] to imply that the existence of the fascist state’s army is tragically necessary to stop the capitalists from polluting.” I felt at the time that this was something of a leap, until commenter Pwnership Society Treasurer cited an article in which a quote by Chomsky adds weight to pnuwb’s inference:

Suppose it was discovered tomorrow that the greenhouse effects has been way understimated, and that the catastrophic effects are actually going to set in 10 years from now, and not 100 years from now or something.

Well, given the state of the popular movements we have today, we’d probably have a fascist takeover-with everybody agreeing to it, because that would be the only method for survival that anyone could think of. I’d even agree to it, because there’s just no other alternatives right now.”

There is no limit, apparently, to how many ways Chomsky, an alleged anarchist, can tout a provisional alliance with state authority. Again and again, he wrings his hands over the collusion between the state and the corporate sector, on his way to recommending the corporate-controlled state as our best hope of reigning the corporate sector in. This finds its most extreme expression in a willingness to make common cause with fascism.

I am curious what people make of this, first in regard to the logic that leads Chomsky to conclusions of this kind. I am also interested in what people who reject this logic would offer as rebuttal, and people who don’t reject it would offer in support.

I am also curious what Chomsky means by ‘given the state of popular movements today.’ I had initially thought he meant that there is no popular leverage against fascism at the moment, but now I think he means there is no movement activity that would be as effective as fascism against looming environmental catastrophe.

Finally, what about the implication that carbon emissions are a greater crime than wars of aggression? Considering the relationship of oil to U.S. foreign policy, is it sensible to even make a distinction?

Anything peripherally on topic or more is welcome.


Chomsky’s Insistent Whitewashing of State Repression

Passing Noam on My Way Out: Part 1

Passing Noam on My Way Out Part 2: Chomsky vs. Aaron Swartz

Passing Noam on My Way Out: Intermission

Posted in Uncategorized | 109 Comments

Chomsky’s Insistent Whitewashing of Domestic Repression

While doing some research, I came across this extraordinary video from May 2012, in which Chomsky vindicates beyond all doubt, my contention that among his many services to power is the rosy view he offers of state repression in the U.S.

In the video, Chomsky answers the perennial question,  “What Can We Do?” not with concrete suggestions for political engagement, but with a starry-eyed assessment of how hard it’s become for the state to persecute dissenters. “I think there’s a lot of excessive concern in activist groups about state repression”, he announces at one point in this sunny tribute to American political freedom.

At the time of this interview, Anwar al-Aulaqi, his son and Samir Khan had been dead close to a year; Chelsea Manning was in year two of pre-trial imprisonment; the Guantanamo Bay detention camp was in its 11th year of holding Islamic anti-imperialists without charges; CIA torture whistleblower, John Kirakou had recently been arrested for disclosing classified information to journalists; and six months had passed since a wave of violent police assaults closed down Occupy encampments all over the country. As ever, close to one million African Americans were living in cages.

Chomsky ignores all of this, cheerfully announcing that the “opportunities” for political engagement are “almost boundless” and admonishing gloomy comrades for their “paranoia about concentration camps.”

“The state may try to repress you,” he says,  “but they can’t do a lot.”

Diehard Chomskyites, the dimwitted antecedents of Glennbot derangement, will of course write off this pernicious nonsense as anomalous. However, this cheery little speech is very consistent with a pattern of whitewashing that I have previously discussed here and here. The diehards will probably write those discussions off too, but a rich, basement-dwelling, Leftier-Than-Thou Purity Cultist can dream, can’t he?

Commenter rsmatesic has helpfully provided a transcript:

Q: In your essay, “The Responsibility of Intellectuals”, you posed the question, What can we do?

NC: Well the fact of the matter is we can do just about anything. I mean, with all, you know, people like us, let’s say–we wouldn’t be here otherwise–are pretty privileged. And we have the kind of privilege that few people have ever had in history or have now. And if you have privilege you have opportunities. And the opportunities are almost boundless.

I mean thanks to the struggles of the past–it hasn’t always been like this–but thanks to the struggles in the past there’s a tremendous amount of freedom.

I mean the state may try to repress you, but they can’t do a lot. Now, they can pass the NDAA, let’s say, but they can’t really implement it against the will of the population.

I mean, look, there’s a lot of, I think there’s a lot of excessive concern in activist groups about state repression. Oh, it’s not that it’s not there–you know, sure they’d like to do it–but first of all it’s always been there and it’s just kind of inherent in states and [other/similar] power systems. And it’s much weaker than it used to be.

So take, say, there’s paranoia about concentration camps. You know, they’re gonna lock us up, NDAA says they can detain us indefinitely. Concentration camps have been there since the 50s. Back in the 1950s the liberal Democrats, Humphrey and Lehman, introduced legislation to set up internment camps in case people got out of control. I don’t know, I never followed to see what happened but I know the legislation was passed. But they can’t do anything about it.

I mean take, say, the surveillance systems. Okay, they shouldn’t have systems, we shouldn’t tolerate systems where everything you say gets sent to a central computer, massive supercomputer in Utah, and they do this and that. But, even if they have that data, what are they going to do with it? I mean, you know, nothing, effective, if the experiences with the FBI from resistance days [sic]. They can’t do anything with it. And if they try they’ll arouse popular reaction. So power really is in the hands of the governed if they’re willing to use it.

And so what can we do given that we’re people with privilege? We have an enormous number of things we can do. I mean, there may be efforts to shut you up or something. But you’re not gonna be sent to a, you know, have your brains blown out. It’s not like El Salvador.


Rancid Discussion Thread: Chomsky’s Provisional Fascism

Passing Noam on My Way Out: Part 1

Passing Noam on My Way Out Part 2: Chomsky vs. Aaron Swartz

Passing Noam on My Way Out: Intermission

Posted in Uncategorized | 106 Comments

Greenwald’s Fireworks Finale Postponed

After a good tarnishing by the non-disclosure of Country X, Greenwald’s billionaire-backed, Pulitzer prize-winning, hagiography-inspiring, “fearless, adversarial” brand is taking another hit.

In May, Greenwald promised his biggest story yet, while at the same time coming clean about being an entertainer as opposed to a journalist:

I like to think of it as a fireworks show: You want to save your best for last. There’s a story that from the beginning I thought would be our biggest, and I’m saving that. The last one is the one where the sky is all covered in spectacular multicolored hues. This will be the finale…

Elsewhere he suggested that this story would impart the names of people targeted by the NSA for surveillance.

Yesterday, with his customary flair for drama,  he promised to publish this story at midnight, and also announced that he and his co-author Maz Hussain would be available today to discuss the story via a Reddit AMA.

But alas, less than three hours before the gray sky of our elite-mediated dissent was to be set ablaze, he tweeted this:

After 3 months working on our story, USG [the United States government] today suddenly began making new last-minute claims which we intend to investigate before publishing

The obvious question is, why not go forward with the story and publish a follow-up? A more transparent sort of transparency advocate might have used the scheduled AMA to answer that question and others, but, unsurprisingly, that was canceled too.

Enter Cryptome — lately reinventing itself as Greenwald’s (pseudo)-nemesis and no slouch itself in the drama department  — to tweet that all Snowden documents would be released on July 27.  Cryptome clarified that it would not be publishing the documents, but would aid and abet their publication. They disclosed their reason:

July is when war begins unless headed off by Snowden full release of crippling intel. After war begins not a chance of release.

A year ago I might have found this all terribly interesting, but I can’t help feeling this is just more silly theatre, or brinksmanship between competing elites whose interests have little in common with my own. Has there ever been a major whistleblowing event with this kind of mainstream traction that wasn’t about elites sparring with other elites? This is not to say that one elite faction’s and my interests can’t coincide, but don’t expect me to get too worked up about it. The war business is worrying, certainly, but the basis for that remains to be seen. Whatever the case, it seems hard to believe that a full document dump could impede anything the imperialist establishment is bent on doing.

As for Greenwald, it’s fashionable to see each of his many concessions to power as something horribly and and disappointingly new, at least for those who don’t laughably argue for the secret savvy that only knowing knowers and Greenwald comprehend. But the fact is, the US and British government have been in the loop from day one, a fact that Greenwald and Snowden have made no secret of. Snowden counts them among ‘the stakeholders’, even insisting that he is still working for the intelligence establishment.

Extract Greenwald’s chest-beating from the whole affair and what you have is a mediocre journalist effectively writing the same story over and over again while tirelessly lecturing on the proper harm-minimizing, elite-blessed and highly profitable way to blow whistles. He and his fellow Leak Keepers have, at most, rather harmlessly inconvenienced one of seventeen Federal agencies in a gigantic surveillance apparatus, while helpfully stealing the spotlight from other crimes.  Set against his clownish self-mythologizing and self-aggrandizement, this latest capitulation in advance of his “finale” should make him a laughingstock. That it hasn’t attests to how desperate people are for a spectacle of dissent and the illusory freedom it implies.


What a Fucking Asshole

In Conclusion

What We Learned from the Snowden Affair

Dr. Rosen and The Snowden Effect

Oligarchs Approve the NSA Debate. I Guess We’re #Winning

Take Your Drip and Stick It

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Notes on David Graeber and Conspiracism

Someone saw a flaw in David Graeber’s reasoning, and rather than argue the point, he weirdly attempted to smear me.

I have never once said Graeber belongs to the CIA. However, in this post here, I invited readers to discuss what might have provoked him to join with Sarah Kendzior and career militarist Joshua Foust in their extraordinary smear campaign against radicals. Graeber’s role in this campaign consisted of lending it legitimacy by way of his status as an anarchist intellectual, while robotically smearing Kenzior’s detractors as rape enablers and apologists. A number of people found Graeber’s conduct extremely odd, including myself, and among the disquieted were a few who suggested, though they did not state outright, that Graeber might be a state-sponsored fake.  I was not among them, and surely Graeber knows this. I say this for no reason but to show his bad faith. I respect these commenters a great deal.

I place myself somewhere between conspiracists and knee-jerk anti-conspiracists. While conspiracies and Psy Ops are matters of record, I consider the propaganda system largely self-regulating. People rise to places of influence because of their service to power, which they largely provide without much thought. So, for instance, when an opportunity arises to smear radicals, they will do so without even being asked, both because they think it’s the right thing to do and in pavlovian expectation of reward.

Others will aid and abet this, variously motivated by similar values and allegiances, an expectation of increased social capital, or their own personal scores to settle. In my view, Graeber’s vigorous commitment to Kendzior’s campaign is most easily explained by a long-standing grudge against Jacobin, status-seeking, and a taste for bullying, as the menacing robo-tweeting of Katha Pollitt and others suggests.

This isn’t to say there are not operatives in our midst giving the system a nudge here and there and, in times of crisis, considerably more. It’s a testimony to the extent of our indoctrination that despite this country’s history and a year of revelations about mass surveillance, people still roll their eyes at any suggestion of organized state deception, manipulation and malfeasance. Certainly Graeber is well aware of the extensive state interference with Occupy, as well as COINTELPRO and the like. So presumably he is intimating only the looniness of implicating such a perfect specimen of radicalism as himself in efforts to infiltrate and shape things. A radical scholar can’t possibly think the idea of planted journalists and intellectuals is ridiculous on its face.

For self-preservation alone, it is sensible to be open to any possibilities where power is concerned. However, in public dialogue, there is rarely profit in focusing on conspiracism, if one wants to accomplish something other than furnish Graeber and his ilk with opportunities to discredit critics. The more I examine and write about iconic lefts, the more toxic I think they are as a thing, regardless of what their intentions are or where they originate. As with everyone else in public life, their status and credibility are conferred by people above them and is commensurate with their service to power.

By way of their celebrity, iconic lefts invite people to suspend critical thought in much the way religious figures do. Consistently I find they wield this power to counsel conformity, and to enforce discipline against people who won’t toe the line. Considering that this is their social function, do we need to know how direct their ties are to power before we reject them? Isn’t everything wrong with them right on the surface? Surely in this case, it doesn’t matter why Graeber assisted a defamation campaign that disgustingly ran under cover of women’s safety concerns, and ended with radicals sneering at a maliciously defamed rape survivor. What matters is that he did it.


“But man”, with radicals like this…


(h/t @YouSeemFine, who capped it before the asshole deleted it.)


David Graeber’s favorite “radical” yesterday, June 16:

Some background on Kenzior’s recommendations:

1. @azelin is Aaron Zelin, a fellow at The Washington Institute, a think tank founded by an AIPAC researcher. Columbia Professor Rashid Khalidi called The Washington Institute “the fiercest of the enemies of the Arabs and the Muslims.”

2. @Intelwire is J. M. Berger, a self-styled terrorism expert. Recently mined and analyzed data from anarchist Twitter accounts for his recent study on “Violent Extremism in Online Social Networks” and looked for intersections between anarchists and white nationalists. Money quote:

It is relatively easy to identify tens of thousands of social media users who have an interest in violent ideologies, but very difficult to figure out which users are worth watching.”

3. @DaveedGR is Daveed Gartenstein-Ross, a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, a neocon foreign policy think tank.


Katha Pollitt, David Graeber Fight, Make Up, Put Libeled Marxists Behind Them

Useful Discussion of Thought-Stopping Dogmas


Walter Glass Posits Permissible Conspiracism

Posted in Uncategorized | 57 Comments

Katha Pollitt, David Graeber Fight, Make Up, Put Libeled Marxists Behind Them


h/t Anthony Galluzzo (werthersorros)

Color me manarchist — Stereotyped Gay Scapegoats for White Dudes Division — but I am having such trouble keeping up with the rules of our lofty left discourse. Here I am, still puzzling out how a bizarre Twitter orgy of misogyny and red-baiting fortifies women’s safety, when I come upon this June 10 tweet from venerable liberal feminist Katha Pollitt:

@davidgraeber, did you actually see these rape threats supposedly sent to @sarahkendzior by writers for Salon and Jacobin?


She continues:

was to @davidgraeber, who (in a now deleted tweet) seemed to accept @joshfoust’s claim that these threats came from Jacobin & Salon writers.

Pollitt’s addressee, Graeber, feels life keenly, and pursues his varied commitments — from women’s safety to vehement hatred for Jacobin magazine — with unwavering zeal. So Pollitt’s standing as a widely-respected feminist did not immunize her from the tweet barrage Graeber now unleashes on anyone, male or female, too blind to see that rape threats against one of Graeber’s associates is a mandate to let him think for them. Here’s less than half of what he tweeted at a mostly unresponsive Pollitt:

“seemed to”? No I didn’t Give me a break. This is a classic way of spreading a smear with plausible deniability.

you owe everyone an apology now – I never even saw foust’s claims & frequently said I’d never heard of the guy

and if you’re saying I went back since your tweet & deleted one of mine, this is an absolute, utter falsehood

ok I’m trying to come up with a scenario where you’re not just lying here but can’t do it. Yr claims make no sense.

if I’d deleted this purported tweet before your intervention, why did you pretend I was still making the claim?

if the imaginary tweet still existed, why didn’t you respond to that?

very hard to escape the impression you just made the whole thing up entirely

well I know nothing about [Foust], but her attack vs SK & me seems decidedly calculated

I’m still waiting for your apology for this.

“Oh, David, me me me, I, I, I. . .”,  a less enlightened person might sneer, failing to understand that the truly empathic and enlightened feminist ally feels Kendzior’s oppression as if it were his own. Of course it naturally follows that the iron-clad protection from scrutiny Graeber repeatedly insists those rape threats impart to Kendzior, also places a shield around Graeber too. To asperse the men closing ranks around Kendzior and her libels, is to asperse Kendzior herself, and we know what that means:

you’re a rape threat enabler because you think the appropriate response to such a threat is to attack the victim.

After failing to rouse Pollitt to an apology with indignation, innuendo, and his obviously superior grasp of rape culture, Graeber, feminist ally par excellence, slides on the brass knuckles:

I want to be able to once again have respect for someone who was once my favourite political columnist ever.

letting go would mean coming to terms with not being able to respect her. I don’t want to do that yet.

am after all offering her an opportunity to redeem herself in the eyes of many – which is an act of generosity

Hear that Katha? Apologize, or else Dave here, who, by the way, is playing a crucial role in a smear campaign, might have to withdraw his protection support. Time’s running out on his “generosity”.

Meanwhile, caps-lock enthusiast Kendzior is busily providing incentives:

Katha Pollitt of The Nation joins the growing list of leftist writers using my RAPE THREATS for their own reasons. Please stop. Please.

Two days pass but at last Graeber’s entreaties yield the desired fruit. Pollitt retweets Foust’s mea culpa and tweets this:

@davidgraeber, Perhaps I misunderstood your support for Sarah Kendzior to include @joshfoust’s now retracted charge. If so, I apologize.

Graeber, replying:

@KathaPollitt @JoshFoust thanks! accepted!

Just like that. No explanation required. No matter that Kendzior’s smears differ from Foust’s only in to whom they attribute the threats. For Pollitt, clearly, it’s one thing to attribute them to fellow writers, but attributing them to ‘brocialists’ and a uniquely rape-prone Left, no evidence needed. The smears Foust didn’t retract, such as the claim that Kenzior was being ‘disciplined’ with mockery, are left unexamined.

It’s also clearly immaterial that Sarah Kendzior never once repudiated Foust, even though he is her friend and colleague of 11 years, and she had interacted with his timeline between June 9 and June 11. No matter that Graeber felt no obligation to repudiate Foust himself. What’s it to to him? He doesn’t know the guy. Had any of the libeled women recently complained of rape threats? No? Well then.

Pollitt closes the deal:

Right! Let’s just put this behind us. We are better than this. @davidgraeber@JoshFoust

Yes. We’re better than this. Let’s not argue over red-baiting and three maliciously defamed women as if any of those people matter.  It’s not like they’re rich liberals.

UPDATE: Graeber Calls Me  a Conspiracist

I have moved this update to a separate post.


Notes on David Graeber and Conspiracism

Useful Discussion of Thought-Stopping Dogmas

Posted in Uncategorized | 19 Comments


Ok not gonna throw in on the Jacobin/Sarah Kendzior thing, other than to recommend this and this by Freddie DeBoer, who is always at his best when the topic is Twitter mobs. Even if you don’t agree with him, I think his pieces are a good jumping off point because they are well-reasoned and contain links to all the other opinion-havers, including, of course, Kendzior.   I think there are layers to this particular  dustup that Freddie doesn’t explore but that’s cool because I think it’s probably best not to dwell on this shit too long.

Update: There is a very good account in this witty infographic as well

I’m posting this because this blog is, among other things, a mausoleum for  ‘The Left’ — and therefore an appropriate place to entomb tweets in which David Graeber and Joshua Foust close ranks in bad faith around Kendzior, someone each man — curiously, when taken together — considers a like-minded colleague and friend. (more text below tweets)

If people are going to discuss this, I would like them to stay focused on what they think is going on in this odd trio, particularly with Graeber. I am interested in understanding how Foust, Kendzior and Graeber all intersect. Foust and Kendzior are colleagues at, a news site about Central Asia. I know very little about the site or their work for it, and unfortunately the Wikipedia entry for it was deleted last night. I don’t know how Graeber and Kendzior fit together at all.

I do find it odd that Graeber referred to Kendzior yesterday as a radical, since I don’t think she even sees herself that way. Indeed, for someone very certain of Kendzior’s brilliance, Graeber’s recent remarks do not suggest a high degree of familiarity with anything she does or with whom she does it. Kendzior has worked with Foust since at least 2003, yet in a tweet to me yesterday, Graeber claimed to not know who Foust is. Graeber also claimed that Kendzior has “no position on Ukraine“, when, in fact, she has written and tweeted about it quite a bit.

So what’s going on here?

I  am emphatically NOT interested in haggling over the merits of Kendzior’s complaints against Jacobin. I find Twitter beatdowns uniformly disgusting, mostly for reasons entirely separate from whatever points of view are being contested. I therefore won’t indulge anyone attempting to reproduce anything remotely similar here. I do want to express solidarity with Amber A’Lee Frost, Megan Erickson and Elizabeth Stoker since, even if one thinks it is ever useful or warranted to rake people of very modest influence over the coals for several days on Twitter, I don’t think any non-asshole would consider it reasonable in this case.  This beatdown is so larded up with bad faith and sexism — for all the talk of male violence, it is demonstrably a smear campaign against three women —  that I cannot retain respect for any person uncritically aligning with it, and that includes David Graeber.  I say this without endorsing or repudiating Frost’s piece, nor to invite a discussion of same.


Katha Pollitt, David Graeber Fight, Make Up, Put Libeled Marxists Behind Them

Notes on David Graeber and Conspiracism

Discussion of Thought-Stopping Dogmas

Posted in Uncategorized | 112 Comments