Race Traitor and Hard Crackers

Back issues of Race Traitor, a journal that ran irregularly for sixteen issues between 1993 and 2005, were recently uploaded online. Edited by the great John Garvey and Noel Ignatiev. You can download them below. Merry Christmas:

Some really good stuff in here. I’ve blogged Loren Goldner’s excellent essay “Race and Enlightenment” already, but there is plenty more to dig into.

Anyone who likes Race Traitor should also check out the new journal Hard Crackers: Chronicles of Everyday Life. Lots of the same people are involved over there. Plus, their site just got a makeover; it’s way more navigable and user-friendly than before. Follow them on Twitter, too.

Doxxing and security culture

No, I have never doxxed anyone. And I never would. Having been doxxed before by neo-Nazis as a “commie Jew,” the very idea is abhorrent to me. (This was mostly my fault, incidentally: I used to troll Stormfront message boards with drive-by comments like “lol, Slavs are white?” and then watch them tear each other to shreds. Forgot to block my IP address, stupid me.)

I hate even having to address this, but since it’s become an issue I might as well tackle the rumor in public so that everyone knows:

Several years ago, in early 2015, I was involved in an argument with some people online. Yes, shocking, I know. But looking back at it now, I realize I was often a jerk and didn’t conduct myself as well as I could have. Many of my views have changed since then, anyway, and at any rate I regret saying hurtful things. For whatever reason, though, this group I had been arguing with began to refer to me shorthand by my initials, “RW.” Unfortunately this led to a huge misunderstanding.

Around the same time a virulently anticommunist and antisemitic page called RedWatch popped up on Facebook. It’s affiliated with the far right British National Party. We later mass-reported it, and got it taken down, so you won’t find it on FB anymore. Regardless, it soon started publicizing the private details of communists — even outing a couple of my close friends. Getting word out as quick as they could, to warn people about the threat, some people wrote “RW is doxxing leftists.”

Of course, RW stood for “RedWatch” in this context. But I guess someone misinterpreted it as “Ross Wolfe,” since people had been referring to me that way. This probably sounds farfetched, but it’s what happened, and anyone interested can see a screenshot where the accusation was raised and then amended when it the person learned I was not reporting anyone or breaching security. Don’t worry, the names have been removed and are all color-coded so you can see who is talking to who without their identities being revealed. Irrelevant comments have also been cut out.

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Five hundred glass negatives by Lucia Moholy

Mary Jo Bang
Paris Review
09.17.2017

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In 1915, twenty-one-year-old Lucia Schulz wrote in her journal that she could imagine herself using photography as “a passive artist,” recording everything from the best perspective, putting the film through the chemical processes she’d learned, and adding to the image her sense of “how the objects act on me.”

On her twenty-seventh birthday, at the Registry Office in Charlottenburg, a borough of Berlin, she married the Hungarian Constructivist painter Lászlo Moholy-Nagy and became, in the blink of a bureaucratic instant, Lucia Moholy. A few years later, when Moholy-Nagy was recruited to teach as a master at the Bauhaus school, Lucia went with him — she, her camera, her technical skills, and her knowledge of the darkroom.

The Bauhaus, a school established in 1919 by the architect Walter Gropius, would eventually become an influential international design movement. The clean sculptural lines of its buildings, the bent steel and leather Bauer chairs, Marianne Brandt’s elegant globe-and-square tea sets would come to represent a break with the preindustrial past. The look itself would become a signifier of urban modernity and of modern life. When Lucia arrived at the Bauhaus, she became, at Gropius’ invitation, the de facto Bauhaus photographer, albeit unpaid. The glass negatives would remain hers, however, presumably to do with as she wished. Continue reading

Looking back: A self-critique

It’s never easy to look yourself in the mirror and own up to your mistakes. For a long time, I balked at the very idea. Part of it felt too reminiscent of Stalinist/Maoist self-criticism, in its ritualized form of самокритика or autocritique. Whenever a person demands that someone else “self-crit” online, the image that most readily comes to mind is that of medieval flagellants — lashing their own backs while begging forgiveness for their sins. Quite often it feels forced and insincere, as if the people who yield to the demand are just going through the motions in order to be quickly absolved and be done with the matter as soon as possible.

But another reason I refrained from public self-criticism is that my views change rather gradually, to the point where I only notice that I’ve changed my mind well after the fact. Sometimes I think a certain degree of stubbornness can be a virtue, insofar as it means you stick to your guns and don’t just bend in the direction of a shifting wind. Other times, however, it is clearly a vice, especially when you are in the wrong. Even then, when I recognize that I no longer hold my former position on a given issue, I am reluctant to announce that this is the case. Not because I’m unwilling to admit I was wrong, but because I’d prefer to demonstrate this through my actions moving forward instead of dwelling on the past.

Unfortunately, though — or maybe fortunately, for those who like to keep score — the internet has a long memory. I’ve certainly said plenty of stupid shit in my time, things I either regret or simply don’t agree with anymore. There were things I shouldn’t have said, situations I should have handled differently, arguments I should’ve considered more carefully before posting or tweeting or whatnot. You can probably find evidence of them if you look hard enough. Really it shouldn’t even be that hard, as I have not made much of an effort to scrub Twitter or other social media of dumb controversies I’ve been involved in (unless someone specifically asked me to take something down).

Perhaps it would help to be a little more concrete. Just to give one example of something I’ve changed my mind on, or have rather come to a better understanding of, take trans struggles. When debates over gender fluidity first came up several years ago, I knew virtually nothing about the issues trans people have had to deal with. I’m still far from an expert, obviously, but to get a sense of how ignorant I was at the time, I only learned what the prefix “cis-” meant around 2013. Before then, I had no idea what any of it meant. Or really what a whole host of related terms signified. By late 2014 or early 2015 I’d rethought my views.

Much of the discourse on this topic, to be fair, was pretty new back then. And it’s still evolving, though it seems to have stabilized a bit. Regardless, I could’ve done more to learn about it before shooting my mouth off or weighing in on the matter. For example, when Facebook introduced its exhaustive list of fifty-six new gender options four or five years ago, I poked fun at it on social media, since I figured the more customizable taxonomy was introduced so Zuckerberg would have more data about the users of his website to sell to ad agencies. Looking back, I don’t think what I said was too egregious or intentionally hurtful, but probably came off as insensitive all the same.  Continue reading