It would appear that the IS Network Steering Committee is already looking to dissociate itself publicly from Richard Seymour, the group’s most visible supporter and recognizable member. After a tumultuous feud erupted on Facebook a couple days ago over the ideological implications of “race play,” the organization’s chief governing body is now taking steps to publicize and officially rebuke Seymour (along with Magpie Corvid, who actually holds a position on the Steering Committee) for expressing views deemed unacceptable by its leadership. These seem to represent a move to discredit or anathematize Seymour, in order to save face with the Network’s core supporters. Once again, the irony here is that Seymour has made an entire career out of “no platform”-ing and otherwise excommunicating various groups and individuals. (Mark Fisher once dubbed him, quite fittingly, “excommunicator-in-chief”).
Here’s the message the IS Network Steering Committee just e-mailed out:
Statement by the IS Network Steering Committee on the recent controversy
Some of you may have seen, on Facebook and elsewhere, that there has been a serious disagreement breaking out in some parts of the Network recently. Three members, including a steering committee member, engaged in a long argument with a number of people, including a number of black RS21 and IS Network members regarding “race play,” and many felt, including an overwhelming majority of steering committee members, that their opinions on the subject were deeply problematic with regards to racial and gender politics, and further than their tone and method of handling criticism was not in keeping with the spirit of allowing people to challenge their own oppression.
Furthermore, you may have seen circulating among RS21 and IS Network members a discussion between some IS Network members, including two steering committee members, about plans to leave the Network and join RS21. While this is a pity, and a failure on our part in some respects (given that we have a responsibility to all our members), we hope that any such a move can be done in as amicable and fraternal way as possible. Charlotte B., one of those steering committee members, has resigned already, so we felt the need to inform members as we don’t want to hide such disagreements.
To be clear, Charlotte was not involved in any of the arguments about race-play referred to above, but this was the context in which these divisions came to light. We remain committed to full transparency, and the right of minorities in the Network to express disagreements. We hope that other participants in that discussion will remain in the Network, and we welcome a recent platform document which hopefully will allow these discussions and debates to be conducted openly and in a serious and comradely manner.
IS Network Steering Committee
(Magpie C. dissented from
the above message and did
not support its circulation)