The Autonomy and Inclusive Democracy Projects and “Agora’s” Defamatory Delirium (October, 2006)
ADDENDUM (November, 2006)
P.S. (December, 2006)
APPENDIX: A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE EXCHANGES WITH COMPLETE WEBOGRAPHY (July 2007)
The Autonomy and Inclusive Democracy Projects and “Agora’s” Defamatory Delirium
David Curtis, the editor of the Agora International Website ―a website which, in theory, is “committed to furthering the project of autonomy in all its facets” but which, in practice, is committed to promoting Cornelius Castoriadis’s development of the theoretical aspects of this project― has continued and expanded his attack against this journal (IJID) and its predecessor (D&N), which he began in the August Agora update announcement. This time the attack has been one of vitriolic delirium under the pompous title “Agora Receives A Threat” (sic!), designed to tempt as many peaceful bibliographical readers as possible into finding out more about some unspecified, (possibly “life-threatening”?) risk, which —if one has the patience to go through his long-winded, mostly meaningless, tirade— proves to be nothing more than the figment of a sick imagination!
It is now clear to us that this attack, which is based on events that happened almost 10 years ago (!), is not accidental but part of a campaign to defame the journal, its editor Takis Fotopoulos and the Inclusive Democracy (ID) project itself. This has become obvious from the fact that, while last month’s Update dedicated about 60% of the total space (around 200 words) of the news item announcing Bookchin’s death to attacking the journal, in this month’s Agora update Curtis has written a massive 7,000-word “addendum” to insult us —mostly on account of our improper use of English, presumably the only area in which Curtis feels competent enough (given his professional qualifications and the fact that English is his native language) to mount an attack! The effect is that, if last month’s announcement of Bookchin’s death gave the impression to all Agora readers that the main interrelationship between Bookchin’s work and that of Castoriadis was the two writers’ participation in the D&N Advisory Board and their views (real or supposed) on the journal, this month’s update clearly gives the impression that Agora’s real raison d’etre is not only the professed one ―i.e. to promote Castoriadis’s work― but also, apart from an occasional Curtis’s self-promotion, to initiate attacks against the journal that is perhaps closer to Castoriadis’s thought than any other in the world. No wonder that this constituted the main (real) reason for Bookchin’s resignation from the Advisory Board, as he realised that D&N could not be an organ for his project of Social Ecology as he had hoped ―see letter of resignation and the Editorial Board’s response.
In this context, it is worth mentioning that Bookchin developed in his work a strong, although mainly indirect, theoretical attack against Castoriadis’s theoretical work ―a summary of which can be found in his letter of resignation (see, e.g. his Philosophy of Social Ecology; also, his comments on John Clark).
Curtis, however, did not say a single word about the unbridgeable methodological gap between Castoriadis’s and Bookchin’s work in his announcement, attempting, instead, to cover up the fundamental differences between the two projects and using as an excuse a polite letter by Bookchin (presumably written after Castoriadis’s death) in which Bookchin simply acknowledged that “Castoriadis's views deserved further examination”.
There are two possible explanations for this. One explanation is that Curtis is not capable of understanding the fundamental philosophical differences between the two projects ―a fact which, as his sparse original writings show, could well be explained by his poor theoretical background which seems to be limited to Castoriadis’s work and anything directly relevant to it. This explanation could also be confirmed by the fact that Curtis, in his ‘censored’ article, dismisses the important theoretical differences between the two thinkers as just “minor terminological squabbles of a parochial nature” (sic!) An alternative explanation is that Curtis, the self-appointed depositary of Castoriadis’s work (to the dismay of Castoriadis’s family which is in conflict with him) sees the Inclusive Democracy project in competitive terms and, therefore, uses his website as a launching pad for a dirty attack against our journal and the ID project itself, as we shall see below. In seeing the project competitively he is simply following both Bookchin’s and Castoriadis’s example, as John Ely pointedly (although inaccurately, since he was viewing this synthesis in a narrow way) observed in an earlier version of his book review article published in D&N vol. 5 no. 1:
“The interesting attempt to synthesise Castoriadis and Bookchin into a theory of democracy sketched out by Takis Fotopoulos (“Towards a New Conception of Democracy”, D&N vol. 3 no. 2) led to Bookchin’s withdrawal from the project in the next issue (vol. 3 no 3); Castoriadis doesn’t need to ‘withdraw’ because he has simply pretended thinker Fotopoulos doesn’t exist.”
At this point we might add that, if we accept Curtis’s account of Castoriadis’s change of mind with respect to D&N just before his death (even though no member of the Editorial Board was given any indication to this effect by Castoriadis himself), then Castoriadis may also have decided to withdraw from D&N at the end. However, if this account is correct, then his justification for doing so (the “censoring” of a footnote on Chomsky and the Faurisson affair we shall see below) would fully justify accusations from several quarters that Castoriadis had become an abstract theoretician in the last part of his life who, in practice at least, had adopted most of the Establishment’s practices: from his perceiving the main threat to the world as being the expansionist military designs of the USSR to his adopting American propaganda in the first Gulf War about their alleged campaign against a totalitarian regime, ignoring, as he did, the real reasons behind the US-led destruction of Iraq, for which the Iraqi people are still paying a very heavy price.
From our point of view, we have much better things to do with our scarce time than to waste it by following Curtis’s delirious and vitriolic attacks against us, so we have no intention of following them. However, we do feel obliged to restore the truth which has been shattered by the malicious lies that Curtis has included in his latest attack, since we do not wish to become victims of his Goebbelian tactics ―namely that if dirt is repeatedly thrown at someone or something, at least part of it will stick. As regards his impudent challenge of “sue me or shut up”, this simply sums up all his confusion between bourgeois ethics and the revolutionary solidarity he supposedly champions. A libertarian journal like ours is not in the bourgeois business of suing other people and journals in the Left. We have never practiced such tactics, nor have we ever intended to do so, even if at times, when our own political or personal integrity has anonymously been attacked (as was the case with Wikipedia —see below) we have had to warn the administrators of such anonymous media about this possibility, in the absence of any other democratic procedure through which we could defend ourselves in the present society.
A blatant distortion of the facts
As was shown in the critique which accompanied his ―supposedly censored― article published in D&N, Curtis is a master of distortion. This was clearly indicated by the fact that he managed to produce a highly distorted picture of the ID project as a prefabricated “model” (sic!) which came about ‘via the "synthesis" of Castoriadis’s and Bookchin’s, ideas.
No wonder, therefore, that in his description of the facts following the publication of the news announcement of Bookchin’s death, he has been involved in a similar blatant distortion of the facts, in support of which he has now recruited his professional and native expertise in English. Our journal, on the other hand, is an international political journal, written by and directed towards an international public, whose common medium of communication is the English language. It is not a literary journal written by and directed towards Oxbridge and MIT intellectuals and, therefore, as long as the content of our articles is understood by our readers, the journal’s aims are fulfilled.
Let us consider the real facts, then. As soon as we became aware of the defamatory attack against D&N for its supposed ‘censorship’ of Curtis’s maiden piece published almost ten years ago, the Editorial Committee felt it necessary to send him an urgent message requesting him to publish a brief reversal of his description of the ‘facts’. The urgency of the matter arose due to the obvious fact that, had we waited for a month or so before the publication of the next update, significant damage would have been done to the journal’s reputation for the Agora website visitors to see. Aware of the possibility that Curtis might not even have bothered to reply to us, as many other present-day editors would have done, we added the following postscript to our message: “In case the above letter is not published as an addendum to the Agora announcement, the letter will be published in our Journal and a copy of it will be sent to all our subscribers”.
To every bona fide reader this meant an addendum to the late August announcement, which contained the defamation about the censorship going on in D&N. However, this was not what Curtis, the master of distortion, understood. For him, there was no formal deadline before we supposedly carried out our “threat”. Of course, a devious reader like Curtis may play with words and argue that our message did not contain the word ‘present’. But by the same token, one could ask why we did not request for our letter to be published in the next issue of Agora, or as soon as possible!
Furthermore, he now claims that he received our urgent message (classified by his system —through no fault of our own— as ‘spam’) on the 27th of August and, while he was in the process of drafting ‘a considered response’, he was notified about the posting of his announcement and our reply in the September 1 newsletter. As is obvious from the above, we waited for almost a week before we carried out our “threat”, in view of the urgency of the matter. Clearly, a brief message to us about his intention of adding an addendum to the late August update as soon as it were practically possible would have been adequate to close the matter there and then. The very fact that, as he now admits, he had only begun preparing a ‘considered’ response at the time simply means that he had never intended to add the addendum. This was ―rightly, as it proved— our own conclusion at the time, and we interpreted his silence for almost a week after we sent him the message as a ‘refusal’ to publish. Curtis did not, of course, miss the opportunity to accuse us again of telling a ‘lie’, and even had the nerve to demand an apology for this ‘lie’ on account of the fact that he had never sent us a ‘positive’ refusal to publish our letter. However, as everybody involved in publishing knows, an editor’s refusal to publish rarely takes the form of a formal ‘positive’ refusal and in almost all cases ―apart from those of theoretical journals— it takes the form of a non-answer.
In view of the above, no bona fide reader would perceive Curtis’s distorted presentation of our response as one involving “a vaguely-worded threat of self-publication accompanied by no deadline and... constant changes in what precisely [we are] demanding”. However, one ‘fact’ that he mentions in his long delirium is worth mentioning. He talks about our “insistence that a new webpage be created for [us] on the CC/AI Website itself” and that “D&N had long been wanting AI to create a special hyperlink just for them on the CC/AI Website, even though [Agora] do not have a links page for anyone and D&N/ID already have more web links on [Agora’s] English-language "About CC" bibliography page than probably any other website.”
First of all, we never made a request for a new webpage to be created within Curtis’s website. This is just his own interpretation of our correspondence which, along with many other things in the above account of “events”, is purely a figment of his devious imagination. Second, and even more important, we at D&N indeed asked the CC/AI website for a hyperlink to our own webpage because, as is well known, the links published in webpages are ―as a rule― based on reciprocity, and the fact that D&N already had more links in the CC bibliography than probably any other website is testimony to the ideological closeness of D&N to the project of autonomy, and not to Curtis’s benevolence!
It should be mentioned here, however, that D&N had, until recently, only two external links (a decision bound to be reconsidered in view of the vitriolic attacks initiated by Curtis against our journal), and one of them was to the CC/Agora website. At the same time, one could find no link at all to the Agora website in the websites of other projects, like the communalism/social ecology project, the Parecon project etc.
More facts dishonestly distorted
Curtis continues with his accumulation of distorted “facts” by writing:
“With each new Fotopoulos journal ―he has established at least three so far― Fotopoulos creates a new editorial board and advisory board, eventually dropping old members. It is now a journal calling itself "Inclusive Democracy" ―from which some members of the "Democracy and Nature" team have in time been excluded (I among them) or in which others no longer participate”.
This statement is another completely dishonest presentation of events.
First, it is not true that with each new Journal in which Fotopoulos was involved “he” created a new Editorial Board (EB) and Advisory Board (AB), eventually dropping old members. In fact, Society and Nature’s EB, after being expanded by the addition of one member in vol. 2 no. 1, remained the same throughout its life, until the break with the Greek editors who did not agree with the radical line adopted by the journal, which led to the creation of Democracy & Nature (see http://www.democracynature.org/dn/vol3/why_dn.htm ).
Meanwhile, the AB of the journal kept expanding.
As regards the move over to D&N, this did not mark any change in the EB (apart from the one already mentioned) and brought about only a minor change in the AB, with the exclusion from it (as was the prerogative of the new journal) of only two members, one because he was explicitly associated with the reformist part of the old Editorial Board and the other because, at the time, he was pursuing a personal and nasty defamatory campaign against Murray Bookchin —presumably those two were the “disillusioned ex-members (who) have on their own initiative corresponded with (Curtis)”.
The shift to a new (commercial) publisher, as from vol. 5, was accompanied by a change in the structure of the EB while its personnel remained the same, apart from the withdrawal of a Chomskyite member of it who was the most fervent supporter of the disinvitation of Curtis. And, by the way, Curtis was never a formal member of the AB ―as he now claims— something obvious from the fact that his name never appeared in the AB of the journal. He was simply ‘disinvited’, shortly after he was invited to join the AB, on account of his unacceptable behaviour towards another member of the AB (see below).
The only drastic change to the EB, therefore, took place with respect to the latest conversion of the journal from a printed to an electronic one. However, this was a perfectly justifiable change in view of the fact that not only had the method of publication changed but, more importantly, the character of the journal itself was altered and it has now mainly become ―though not exclusively― the international forum for the ID project. However, we can assure Curtis that, had the response to his defamatory attack been written by the old EB, as he now suggests, he would have deeply regretted it: out of the three members who were replaced by new members, one was a pure Chomskyite and the other one a Bookchinite —both of them particularly hostile to his position!
Curtis then goes on with yet another dishonest presentation of our argument, in a feeble effort to justify his “democratic” omission of our own reply to his distorted presentation of the ID project. His argument is that he “saw no point in mentioning a D&N text that had, despite repeated explicit requests on my part, resolutely refused to make any reference to my charge of censorship or to provide any hint of D&N's removal of me from its Advisory Board after I protested this treatment”. So, whenever Curtis sees ‘no point’ in presenting the other side of his argument, his “democracy” goes by the board, even if, as in the case of his reference to the Faurisson affair, the footnote on Chomsky that was omitted by him to conform with our request was completely irrelevant to the rest of his article! However, even his undemocratic behaviour in this matter bears no comparison to the purely authoritarian attempt by the French intellectual establishment, including Naquet, Castoriadis and their follower Curtis, to refuse, in practice, freedom of speech to the ‘negationist’ Faurisson, as we shall see below.
The alleged D&N “censorship”
Let us see in detail now what all this mythology created by Curtis to defame the journal is all about. Here are the facts:
In May 1997 Curtis submitted a paper which was highly critical of the ID project. Nevertheless, the Editorial Board never raised any objection to its publication ―even though Fotopoulos, in a well-substantiated paper, called its content a complete distortion of the ID project.
However, publication, due to production reasons (first, the bankruptcy of the US distributor and then the change of publisher) was unfortunately delayed for almost two years. Still, as soon as a new publisher (Carfax/Taylor & Francis) had taken over, the article was published in the very first issue of a new-look D&N, even though the result was that we well exceeded the publisher’s quota on pages.
The only objection raised by the EB at the time concerned a footnote in which Curtis, as he stressed, wanted to contrast Bookchin’s resignation ―allegedly due to his ideological differences with Castoriadis— with his own decision to accept an offer to join the AB, despite the fact that he also had fundamental ideological differences with Chomsky. The controversial footnote read:
"I have my own concerns about other Board members. Fotopoulos assured me that my joining the Board did not entail an endorsement of what I consider Noam Chomsky's irresponsible public depiction of Holocaust denier Robert Faurisson as 'a relatively apolitical liberal of some sort' who is merely presenting his 'findings' on the question of the existence of Nazi gas chambers"
For the reasons that shall become obvious below, the EB insisted that this paragraph was unacceptable and politely made a request to the author to remove it. For anyone submitting a paper to a theoretical journal this is a normal editorial procedure, usually ending up either with the author accepting the request, in which case the matter is closed there and then, or, in case the author has strong views on the matter, with his rejecting the request, withdrawing the paper and attempting to have it published elsewhere. Curtis, on the other hand, opportunistically chose to have his cake and eat it! In order to secure publication of his article, he first accepted the condition set by the EB not to include the controversial footnote (and, of course, not to make any reference in his article to the incident ―something that would have inevitably initiated an EB reply and the consequent unnecessary friction that would have distracted attention from the article itself) and then he started bombarding the EB with his usual long-winded diatribes in which he accused the editors of violating their own democratic principles etc. Needless to say that any other theoretical journal, facing a similar response from an author to whom it had offered publication of his/her article, would have reacted by withdrawing its offer to publish the article. But not D&N, which has never been accused of censorship by anybody else and which has, indeed, hosted all sorts of articles which have been critical of its own aims and policies. However, given the bad atmosphere that Curtis created with the EB and the fact that all this time he showed a complete lack of trust in its motives, as well as of any sense of co-operation, the EB was forced to withdraw its offer to him to join the AB.
These are the facts, as the EB saw them at the time. However, as any description of events that took place so long ago could well include a misrepresentation of the facts, we shall quote excerpts below from the actual exchanges that took place at the time, so that readers may make up their own minds about what actually happened.
Curtis’s claim that he never objected to the presence of Chomsky on the AB is one of his usual crude distortions of the facts. Using his well-known expertise in manipulating words in order to misrepresent actual facts, he stresses in his most recent libel that “I never used that word (“presence”) nor meant it nor even conceived it”. However, the following excerpt from a message he sent at the time of the EB’s invitation to him to join the AB shows clearly enough what he actually ‘meant’:
“In addition, I have a reservation in regard to one of your board members, Mr. Noam Chomsky. As you may know, I'm also the translator of Pierre Vidal‑Naquet, who has, quite rightly I believe, taken Chomsky to task on his uncritical and perhaps deceptive stand in relation to the Holocaust denier Robert Faurrison here in France. Had he ever been willing to admit his mistake (e.g., portraying Faurrison as a "apolitical liberal" merely doing some "research"), my respect for him and what he has stood for over the years might have somewhat been re-established. I also have found the way he has played the game of comparative genocides/massacres (Cambodia "vs." Timor) not very much to my taste. But I assume that a general endorsement of the aims of the review does not entail a specific endorsement of all the personalities on the Board”. (29/1/1997)
In fact, in his last draft of the controversial footnote, he was even more specific than in his earlier draft which he has included in his present description of events. In a statement clearly designed to embarrass —to say the least— a distinguished member of the AB and to create unnecessary friction between the EB and the AB, he expressed his “concerns” not just about “other Board members”, as in the earlier draft, but about one specific member, Noam Chomsky, on account of his “irresponsible” behaviour in the Faurisson affair:
“I have my own concerns about another International Advisory Board member, but it has not prevented me from participating in an ongoing way. The Editorial Board assured me that ‘a general endorsement of the aims of the review does not entail a specific endorsement of all the personalities on the Board' after I raised the question of what I (but not the EB) consider Noam Chomsky's irresponsible public depiction of Holocaust denier Robert Faurisson as ‘a relatively apolitical liberal of some sort’ who is merely presenting his `findings' on the question of the existence of the Nazi gas chambers." (6/5/1997),
And why all this fuss about a single footnote? Because David Curtis’s “presence” on the AB together with Chomsky et. al. might be misinterpreted by “people”, i.e. by the readers of D&N —the vast majority of whom would certainly never have heard his name before! This is how he put it in a communication with the EB:
“If I am not given a chance to explain myself, I am forced to keep silent about an appearance people would have a chance to misinterpret” (6/5/97)
No wonder that Curtis feels satisfied today that, thanks to his world-shaking revelations, the “people”, (who, in his paranoid, self-centered and frenzied world have, presumably, always thirsted to hear this blatant act of censorship against him!), have now been well-informed of the “facts”, as the Editors “can no longer keep a lid on a controversy they have always wanted to contain”.
But let us now see the real motives behind Curtis’s “disinvitation” to join the AB which, in fact, had nothing to do with malicious motives to “silence” him, as he himself alleges. Below is what a member of the EB wrote to him at the time, which clearly shows that, even until the very last moment, the EB was still trying to find a conciliatory solution to Curtis’s intransigence:
“We feel very sad that what was a point of different opinion on an issue (Faurisson affair) which was completely out of the context of the rest of your article (hence, its placement in a footnote) AND completely out of context of the workings of this Journal, became a point of paramount personal friction. As we have mentioned in the past, to us, the issue here is both a matter of etiquette and substance. Your joining the IAB does not entail an endorsement of the views or practices of the rest of the IAB members: in your case, Noam Chomsky whom this Journal considers a very valuable member of its IAB. This does not have to be stated publicly by you since not only it was repeatedly stated so in our exchanges to you, but also because, as you know, this is common practice in the advisory boards of all journals in the world. All of our IAB members have public records and reputations and many would disagree vehemently with some positions of at least one other IAB member. However, NONE of them have felt that their presence on the same advisory board with that other member will affect their reputation in such a way that they must PUBLICLY state their objection to a position of that board member, especially a position which was never articulated within the journal. Furthermore, if somebody does not wish the cohabitation with other members of the board s/he simply declines the offer to join it. Thus, If you feel that your presence on an advisory board along with Chomsky will so taint your reputation that it must be publicly “explained” then maybe you should re-evaluate your acceptance of our invitation. In any case , there is no rationale at all for fn no 1….
In this context, we think there are two options.
EITHER you omit completely fn 1 —no new amendments etc— (which is anyway completely irrelevant to the rest of the text) as well as the insinuation we mentioned above (that you were not aware of the resignations of Bookchin and Biehl implying that there was some kind of plot from our side)
OR, if you are not prepared to do so, since we do not wish to start a fight with you or any other IAB member, as we think it is inappropriate for the EB to be fighting publicly with existing (and newcomers!) members of the IAB (critiques of the theoretical positions of EB or IAB members, done within the thematic framework of dialogue that this journal uses are of course quite appropriate and very different from the points in your letter to which we object), we will have to reconsider our decision to publish your text. Furthermore, we will have to mutually re-evaluate your presence on the IAB.
A final word: it is not (and never was) our intention to destroy what has every potential to be a very fruitful working relationship. In fact, we want to believe that the whole issue was to a large extent a product of a spiral of mutual misunderstandings and that there is still room for the betterment of our working relationship. The entire point of the modifications that we requested were simply a request of a show of good faith from you towards the journal, its EB and its other IAB members. We think that this is a very reasonable and understandable request to make of a person who we consider close enough to us that we would want him on our IAB. It is to this end that we request the above ameliorations”. (6/6/97)
Theodoros Papadopoulos, University of Bath (on behalf of the Editorial Board of Democracy and Nature)
Further clarification of what really happened is given in a message sent to Curtis a little while later by Takis Fotopoulos :
“I will only repeat here that had you expressed your critique of Chomsky's views on freedom of speech etc IN CONTEXT, we would have published the relevant reference in your text without any objection. It was not because of our fear of alienating him that we asked you to exclude the reference but because your reference seemed to us an "out of the blue" attack on another member of the IAB” (19/6/97)
Finally, here are the reasons for Curtis’s ‘disinvitation’ which, as any bona fide reader can see, have clearly nothing to do with the alleged reasons which he produced himself:
“Both the EB and me personally attempted several times in the recent past, spending too much time in the process, to explain to you our motives and our interpretation of the facts. Your letter makes it clear that not only you never accepted our explanations, interpretations and judgements but that you still believe that we did not publish your statements just because they contain views which clash with our own views and interpretations —an obvious, according to you, inconsistency between what we profess and what we practice. As we repeatedly stated in our exchange, we see the relations between the members of the EB and those of the IAB as relations of friendship-despite the possible ideological differences —and most important of trust. It is obvious that you do not trust our motives and furthermore that you find "contradictions" between our general principles and our practice. We think that this climate is utterly non-conducive to the kind of relations that should exist between the EB and the IAB members respectively and we therefore feel that we have no other option but to withdraw our invitation to you to join the IAB. Of course, this does not preclude the possibility (in fact we welcome it) to continue the theoretical exchange with you in the D&N columns, provided of course that the exchange does not contain any personal insinuations against members of the EB or the IAB, or any attacks against the journal itself, but it restricts itself to the theoretical issues involved.” (TF, 1/7/97)
The case of Wikipedia’s or Curtis’s resort to dishonest and nasty lies
Next, Curtis turns to what he would have done better to ignore: the case of Wikipedia which, as we briefly described it (“Why we are withdrawing from Wikipedia”), involved a dirty attack by an anonymous user against the ID entries. This user proved to be an associate of David Curtis and a disgruntled ex-member of the journal with a vendetta against us, i.e. Alexandros Gezerlis/username Paul Cardan (a pseudonym that Castoriadis used at the time at which he was involved in the writing of radical articles while simultaneously being employed by OECD in a significant post), who was eventually banned by the Wikipedia administrators because of his crooked method of using various usernames to attack all the Inclusive Democracy entries.
Here is Curtis’s account of the events:
“As is expected and indeed encouraged, someone (not me) supplied additional materials…The ID Editors, however, went through the roof…. Suppressed —not once but, as I understand it, repeatedly and almost hourly— were all changes to entries over which they apparently believed they had some sort of continuing and exclusive proprietary interest. Thus was a link to the expanded version of my D&N piece on the Bookchin/Biehl resignations censored in its entirety, over and over again, nine years after the original, partial censorship occurred.”
However, as the link below clearly shows, this is yet another example of dishonest distortion and omission of crucial facts:
As will become obvious to any bona fide reader, the D&N entry in Wikipedia was repeatedly vandalised by Paul Cardan alias Alexandros Gezerlis in such a way as to distort the history of the journal, its nature and even the composition of the Editorial Board itself! The reason, therefore, that this vandalised entry was deleted and replaced by the original one, (which was a factual description of the history of the journal written by members of the EB who had participated in it since its creation in 1992), had nothing to do with Curtis’s article and Fotopoulos’s reply to it. The reference to his article was deleted simply because it was part of a whole new section by Cardan/Gezerlis (“Main Theoretical Influences”) blatantly distorting the history of the journal in order to diminish the ID project and Fotopoulos’s theoretical contribution to it. In this section, the journal was presented as expressing mainly the views of Bookchin and Castoriadis, whom Cardan/Gezerlis had promoted to the status of ‘main theoretical influences’ on the journal worthy of a separate subsection within the D&N entry! The proof of all this is that once this distorted part of our history had been removed, we did not raise any further objection to this link (despite the fact that, in its original form —as another indication of how Curtis and his associates understand democratic dialogue— it was a link only to Curtis’s article and not to Fotopoulos’s reply as well!)
And Curtis’s blatant distortion of events goes on:
“when they lost their fight within the Wikipedia review process these ID Editors made two determinations, neither with any real effect or even hold upon reality. The first was "to withdraw with immediate effect ALL the Inclusive Democracy entries from Wikipedia, including those that have been challenged only on account of trivial Wikipedia copyright violations as well as those like the entry on the founder (our italics, see below) of Inclusive Democracy, [[Takis Fotopoulos]], which has not been challenged by anyone during this whole process… Their second decision was "to demand the banning of any new entry on the following topics: Inclusive Democracy, Democracy & Nature, The International Journal of Inclusive Democracy, The International Network for Inclusive Democracy and Takis Fotopoulos. We reserve all our legal rights in case any future entries on these topics are created in Wikipedia without our explicit and written permission."
Here, Curtis shows all his expertise not only in distorting the truth but also in being economical with it. There is no word, for instance, on how the fight within the Wikipedia review process was lost. This is how the EB announcement published in Newsletter no 25 (2/1/2006) describes what actually happened:
The International Journal of Inclusive Democracy (IJID) have, over the last few days, witnessed a concerted attack against the journal by an alliance of sockpuppets (who have been created by a disgruntled ex-member of the journal with a vendetta against us) and some administrators who are either apolitical (not in the sense of party politics but in the sense of a fundamental lack of understanding of politics in the broader sense) or who do not hide their hostility towards the Inclusive Democracy political agenda. This ‘unholy’ alliance has attempted to delete all Inclusive Democracy entries in Wikipedia and in some cases it has already succeeded in doing this… we find appalling the fact that, through Wikipedia’s so-called assessment process, self-anointed administrators with no guarantee at all of any expertise in the fields they assess use their wide-ranging powers to decide which pieces of knowledge and information are appropriate enough to be included in Wikipedia. These powers include discounting the votes of registered users who are not long-established —even if their expertise is much more relevant to the topics assessed than that of the administrators, as the irrelevant comments of these administrators frequently show. These built-in fatal errors in assessment —only some of which have been mentioned— could go a long way in explaining the growing literature in the world press on the low standard of knowledge and information provided by Wikipedia.
All this led us to decide, first of all, to withdraw from Wikipedia —not of course in the ridiculous sense mentioned by Curtis, (i.e. of physically removing our entries which is practically impossible), which also betrays complete ignorance of how this medium works. In other words, the statement “we decided to withdraw with immediate effect ALL the Inclusive Democracy entries from Wikipedia” simply implied our unwillingness to contribute to the Wikipedia process any further, and a statement that we would no longer accept the validity of any of these entries. As we pointed out in the newsletter announcement of our withdrawal from Wikipedia, “when we created the WP Inclusive Democracy entries, we were functioning as bona fide users thinking that we were helping the development of a free and supposedly democratic encyclopaedia that could function as an alternative source of information to the established encyclopaedias. We were utterly disappointed when we discovered the irresponsible and completely unreliable way in which knowledge on important matters is supposedly created by this supposedly alternative encyclopaedia, which clearly will never reach the standards of the established encyclopaedias because of the fatal structural flaws mentioned”.
Second, we demanded that no new entries be created on the topics referring to the ID project and we further reserved all our legal rights in case any future entries on these topics were created in Wikipedia without our explicit and written permission. In fact, this is nothing new and it is well known that legal procedures have already been considered by several people and organizations affected by scurrilous Wikipedia entries compiled irresponsibly by anonymous users. Whether we shall ever resort to such legal procedures is another matter that has already been discussed above.
Finally, Curtis turns from dishonest distortions to nasty personal attacks, which seems to have been one of his main aims all along in compiling this latest piece of delirium. Thus, he unashamedly writes:
"I particularly like the idea that a supposedly social-historical project like "Inclusive Democracy" might have a "founder," in the person of Fotopoulos (whereas Marx spoke, regarding Communism, only of a "specter haunting Europe") —which in fact reinforces one of the key arguments in my text on the Bookchin/Biehl resignations…. Fotopoulos, the Moses-Solon-Surak of Inclusive Democracy, had severe difficulty with the concept and procedure of a Letter to the Editor. Imagine the faces on the members of the editorial board of the Encyclopedia Britannica, had he demanded that they "ban," or await his prior written approval regarding, an entry on himself or the social-historical project he claims to have "founded."
Any reader who visits the Wikipedia entries on ID will immediately see through Curtis’s Goebbelian methods. No entry refers to Fotopoulos as the “founder” of Inclusive democracy and if any anonymous visitor used this term in one of the dialogues relating to these entries, this was obviously not approved by us. The entry on “Takis Fotopoulos” states: “Takis Fotopoulos developed the political project of Inclusive Democracy in 1997”. Similarly the “Inclusive Democracy entry” states: “Inclusive Democracy is a political project developed by Takis Fotopoulos”. It is only the “Democracy & Nature” entry that (correctly) states: “Democracy & Nature was a theoretical journal founded in 1992 by Takis Fotopoulos”. Clearly, there is a world of difference between, on the one hand, developing a political project in its theoretical aspects out of historical experience and current trends in action (this is, after all, the only meaningful sense in which a project could be ‘developed’) and, on the other, founding a social-historical project. A journal can, indeed, be founded by a person. But, social-historical projects like communism, autonomy, Social Ecology or Inclusive Democracy cannot be founded by any single person, although they can be theoretically developed by specific persons, as was the case with Marx, Castoriadis (“the philosopher of autonomy”), Bookchin (“the philosopher of social ecology”) and Fotopoulos respectively, among others. Curtis, by confusing these simple facts, is either nasty, or utterly confused with respect to these crucial distinctions, or most probably both! The very fact that he compares a long-established encyclopedia like Britannica, whose entries are compiled by well-known academics after scrupulous examination, to the so-called Wikipedia “encyclopedia”, confirms his basic ignorance.
“Censorship”, or Curtis’s deviousness gone wild?
Curtis’s lies and distortions do not stop here. First, he lied in saying that we called him various names ("Stalinist" and "Zionist" among others), deliberately confusing the characterisation of his distortional methods as “Stalinist”, which was, indeed, what we said, with a characterisation of himself as a “Stalinist”, which was not what we said. Similarly, he had no qualms about deliberately confusing our claim that he sided with the Zionist establishment on the Faurisson affair (see below), with the characterisation of himself as “Zionist”.
But the mother of all distortions was his achievement —remarkable in its deviousness— of turning a conciliatory proposal by a member of the EB aiming to have this affair ended as soon as possible into “a desire for total mastery” (sic!). Let us see first what Teo Velissaris wrote to him:
“had you really wanted to have the matter closed, even at this very late stage, there is a way out: you should publish in the next issue of Agora our letter IN FULL AND WITHOUT ANY FURTHER COMMENTS BY YOU (you started it after all!!!) and then we will be prepared to write an addendum to our newsletter in which we published the Agora announcement to the effect that after the publication of our letter to Agora we consider the matter closed.”
And this is how this proposal was distorted by Curtis:
So long as the CC/AI Website —and/or our electronic update announcement, that's still not clear— turns over its pages to ID and ceases to express opinions on its own, ID will be satisfied. Put more colloquially: Do whatever we say right now and shut up.
The obvious question that would be raised by any bona fide reader, after going through all this, would surely be: how on earth could this nasty affair be ended in any way other than following a path like the one proposed by Velissaris? Let us recapitulate the sequence of events. First, Curtis began an unprovoked attack against us, dredging up an incident that took place almost ten years ago. Next, the EB of the journal demanded the right to reply, requesting the publication of its response in the Agora website underneath the Update hosting the attack against us (or, since this was already overdue, in the following issue of the Agora update), on the obvious mutual understanding that after the publication of our response in the Agora website, both sides should have refrained from any further comments, so that the matter could have ended there and then. Clearly, if Curtis was going to reply to our response, forcing us to counter-reply and so on, this sordid affair could have continued ad infinitum. But it now becomes evident that this was exactly Curtis’s aim, i.e. that he never, in fact, intended to have the matter closed quickly but instead has always aimed to launch a defamatory campaign against us and, thereby, create a conflict between Agora and this journal. Of course, as we mentioned above, we are not going to follow him, as we have much better things to do than to waste our scarce time with his deliria. As we have now indisputably shown the deviousness and pure dishonesty of his methods, we believe that there shall be no need to respond to any further distortions that he may fabricate in future.
The Faurisson affair and Zionism
As regards the Faurisson affair, it would be silly to take seriously Curtis’s allegation that Castoriadis had decided to leave D&N just on account of the supposed ‘censorship’ of a footnote in Curtis’s article. Castoriadis never showed any such intention to any member of the EB and, as far as we know, he never expressed similar feelings publicly to others. The only evidence that Curtis produces to the contrary is what Castoriadis supposedly told him on the matter, which he then conveyed to the colloquium in Crete and others. However, this does not change things at all, since all this “evidence” is secondary, i.e. based on Curtis’s word —not a very reliable source of information, to say the least!
Having said this, we do not deny the possibility that Castoriadis may indeed have thought of leaving D&N, not on account of the ridiculous ‘censorship’ incident we saw above, of course, but for reasons similar to those that led Bookchin to resign. It is clear from the general attitude of both towards the ID project (something that we cannot consider here in more detail) that both were repelled by the idea of their projects of autonomy and social ecology/libertarian municipalism/communalism respectively being used as part of a new synthesis. Furthermore, it seems that they were initially attracted by D&N only to the extent that the journal seemed to them a useful vehicle for the promotion of their own projects —O’Connor, at least, has been honest in admitting this in the past, see: “Dialogue on Socialism and Ecology: A debate by James O' Connor and Takis Fotopoulos”.
It is, therefore, not accidental that Bookchin decided to withdraw just after the final formulation of the theoretical aspects of the ID project in Democracy & Nature and in Towards An Inclusive Democracy, and that Castoriadis (assuming that his alleged decision to withdraw were true) was thinking along the same lines at exactly the same time —namely, at the very moment at which it was clear that S&N/D&N, after years of theoretical work and exploration, was moving from being a journal of theoretical exploration and discussion of various antisystemic projects to being a forum for Inclusive Democracy.
Coming now to the Faurisson affair itself and its relationship to Zionism, Curtis transcends himself in his effort to throw as much dirt as possible at us. This is his presentation of the “facts”:
“But why "suddenly," in a MB death notice, bring this up now, in 2006, ID Editors asked suspiciously? There should be some ulterior motive; it must be the most evil one possible; and my report of my conversation with CC thus has to be a lie. Here, having teetered at the precipice for nearly a decade, Fotopoulos et al finally went over the edge. It must be Zionism on my part! I must be lying in order to derail ID's principled stand against the "oppressor" Israel and for the "oppressed," Hezbollah (Arabic for "Party of God"). My "timing" establishes my evil intentions! In short, ID believes that the world revolves around them and their stands at all times and that there must be an explanation for all that happens in the world that coincides with their timetable and analyses… An editorial enterprise that began a decade and a half ago as "an international journal of political ecology" now endeavors to determine truth or falsity as a function of what it thinks it knows at any given moment, what the perceived stand of their interlocutor is with regard to its own interpretation of events in the Middle East, and what it views as potentially damaging to itself”.
And here is what we actually wrote regarding the Zionism allegation which he himself brought to the discussion in a recent exchange with a member of the AB of the journal :
Curtis: “I thought their theory was going to be that I was a Zionist CIA agent, as had been implied by some beforehand”.
EB: “As far as Zionism is concerned, he would have done better not to have mentioned it. It is really very difficult indeed to believe that his attack on Chomsky at the time and his slanderous attack against the journal and me personally (TF) at this particular moment are co-incidental. The common thread in both cases is Zionism. Chomsky was particularly attacked at the time by Zionists and pro-Zionists for his honest liberal stand in the Fourisson case —something that had the effect of undermining what Finkelstein has aptly called ‘the Holocaust Industry’. Similarly, Curtis’s slanderous attack against the journal relating to an event that took place ten years ago, happens at the very moment at which we are the targets of a concerted attack by pro-Zionists everywhere on account of the articles on Zionism recently published in the journal and the newsletter. Pure coincidence?”
However, the question of the relationship between the Faurisson affair and Zionism was not raised in the abstract, just because of the intrinsic relationship between the two issues. It was also concretely raised in our correspondence with Curtis, following the Agora defamatory announcement when we implicitly asked him what his stand was on the recent criminal Zionist ‘war’ against Lebanon and whether, by any chance, his stand was to keep equal distances between oppressor and oppressed. The fact that he never took a clear stand with respect to this question and the very way in which he formulated his dodging of the question above [“I must be lying in order to derail ID's principled stand against the "oppressor" Israel and for the "oppressed," Hezbollah (Arabic for "Party of God")], are highly indicative. For Curtis, the oppressed are not the people of Lebanon but just Hezbollah (the "Party of God", as he explains for our benefit). Is it unreasonable to assume that his position on this crucial matter is indeed one of equal distances and that, therefore, the timing of his attack was not, after all, accidental? He could easily prove the opposite by telling us exactly what his stand on the war in Lebanon was. And as far as our ‘paranoia’ is concerned, unfortunately he shows a complete lack of originality in accusing us of this, since this is exactly what the political dissidents of Stalinists have always been accused of! Fortunately Curtis cannot, for the moment at least, send us to get therapy.
Furthermore, the link between the Faurisson affair and Zionism was not only raised recently with Curtis. It was also raised with him —and in very concrete terms— when in 1997 he created all the fuss about his footnote. This is the relevant exchange between Fotopoulos and Curtis on the matter at the time:
Fotopoulos: “I think the deliberate confusion that Zionists try to create between anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism should not induce supporters of the democratic project to adopt authoritarian practices which aim to block the very discussion of such issues.(19/6/97)
Curtis: “one's position on Israel/Zionism is wholly unrelated to the fact that the Nazis exterminated millions of Jews, Gypsies, Soviet citizens, mentally and physically handicapped people, etc. Another logical blunder that creates a rather insidious impression” (20/6/97)
This exchange makes it clear that Curtis ignores (or pretends to ignore) the fact that the mass persecution of the Jews by the Nazis was systematically used by the Zionists to justify their need to have a ‘pure’ Jewish state in Palestine in the first place (something that the radical Jewish Left was always against) and furthermore to justify their own crimes against the Palestinian people. It was not, therefore, accidental that Zionists were the main protagonists in the persecution of Garaudy on the Left and Faurisson on the Right for their questioning of the Holocaust, and it is not surprising either that Noam Chomsky has also frequently been attacked by Zionists on the same issue (despite the fact that he also adopts the two-state “solution”). Finally, it is no wonder that British Zionists have repeatedly tried to use their power base inside the British elite to introduce a similar law in the UK to the one in France, forbidding any questioning of the Holocaust.
Having said this, it is clear that our position on the matter is that we have to transcend the artificial dilemma (usually created by Zionists) that one has to be either a Zionist or a negationist. We believe that the antisystemic Left position on the matter should be that one should be neither of the two, nor of course an anti-Semite. However, if someone, irrespective of his/her ideological persuasion, wishes to question the extent of the persecution of the Jews, or even the event itself, we do not have any moral or democratic "right" to forbid him/her from doing so, although of course we do have a duty, as far as we can, to present an alternative view which we believe is more consistent with what actually happened. This means that practices like the suspension of Faurisson from his teaching post, his condemnation by a criminal court for “falsification of History” and the attempt to lynch him by Zionist terrorists are utterly condemnable. However, as Chomsky points out in his own website, this is “the first time that a modern Western state openly affirmed the Stalinist-Nazi doctrine that the state will determine historical truth and punish deviation from it”. He then adds, presumably referring also to intellectuals like Naquet, Castoriadis et al, that “the European and other intellectuals have not expressed any opposition to these scandals; rather, they have sought to disguise their profound commitment to Stalinist-Nazi doctrine by following the same models, trying to divert attention with a flood of outrageous lies”. Clearly, then, it is not enough for them just to express, in the abstract, their opposition to the French legislation. Particularly so if, at the time when everybody wanted Faurisson's head, intellectuals were going out of their way to condemn him (and Chomsky, for not condemning him!) without qualifying their condemnation with a statement that they did not approve attacks against him, the suspension from his teaching post, the threat of imprisonment etc. Silence at such times implies indirectly taking a position in favour of silencing opposition. Therefore, unless Curtis can present a statement like the one mentioned above, the stand of these intellectuals on the matter remains highly hypocritical.
It would be even more hypocritical if Curtis created all the fuss about D&N’s ‘censorship’ (possibly with Castoriadis’ agreement) at the very moment at which, in practice, Castoriadis and co might have been supporting the silencing of Faurisson —assuming that they never explicitly condemned the attempts to silence him. Furthermore, it would be utterly ironic for them to have had the nerve to accuse us of ‘censorship’ (and for Curtis to protest when we characterised his methods as Stalinist) at the very moment they kept silent at Faurisson’s lynching —assuming this was the case— just because he differed with their own interpretation of History!
The “point” of the dirty attack against ID
The final section of Curtis’s delirium is the most revealing since, as he informs us, he finally decided, after spending some 6,000 words attacking us on every issue he could think of, that he should “get to the point”. Yet even then he did not miss the opportunity to add one more blatant distortion of events, which should also be addressed.
“I ceased paying much attention since he imperiously demanded (another instance of that censorship urge) that I suppress all URL references to reprints of D&N texts that are not the authorized versions appearing on his website —as if Agora International itself had to investigate and legally adjudicate any alleged copyright violations in all jurisdictions before creating a webographic or web-based bibliographic reprint link for public knowledge and use”
The blatant distortion is contained in the sentence “reprints of D&N texts that are not the authorized versions appearing on his website” (our emphasis). As is well-known, the official version of an article published in a journal is the one printed in the journal itself, and this is why authors are usually asked by publishers to sign copyright forms before publication. Since the introduction of electronic technology and websites, articles appearing in journals have sometimes been reproduced electronically in their own official websites (with either free or limited access, depending on the publisher). The fact that anybody can have access to an open website like that of D&N does not, however, mean that anyone —including the author him/herself— can copy-paste an article published there into his/her own personal website, amend it in any way s/he likes and present it as the article originally published in the journal! This is not only because of the copyright violation involved but also because of the dubious morality of such a practice. If an author wishes to reproduce an article s/he published in a journal in his/her own personal website, s/he is of course free to do so provided that s/he asks for the journal’s permission and, more importantly, that s/he reproduces the article, or excerpts from it, in exactly the same way as they appeared in their printed form. All this is self-evident to everyone apart from Curtis, who himself was involved (until we had raised the matter and he realized what the implications were) in the immoral as well as illegal practice of reproducing D&N articles not directly from the D&N webpage but from personal websites, which not only meant reproducing articles from the journal without asking for the journal’s permission, but also amending those articles. This is not “liberation from the capitalist yoke” as some pseudo-revolutionaries have presented it, in the same way that violating certain essential driving laws is not liberation either. This is pure intellectual piracy, but Curtis did not hesitate to present our objections to it as another case of censorship!
After all this, Curtis manages to get to “the point”. And the point is that “the project of autonomy belongs to no one, just as it was created by no one. Or, to put it in positive terms, it is a creation of the anonymous collective”. Given what was said above about the subtle distinction between a social-historical project and its theoretical development (a distinction which presumably cannot easily be realized by people with a poor theoretical background and a crude understanding of the various dimensions of a political project) there is no need to deal with this point again. Of course, Marx, Bookchin and Castoriadis, among others, will be laughing in their graves to learn from Curtis that the theory of historical materialism, the theory of dialectical naturalism or the theory behind the autonomy project respectively were creations of “an anonymous collective” and not of specific intellectuals who, having spent their lives trying to understand historical and social change, developed theoretical projects which could be used to articulate people’s struggles for freedom, equality, autonomy and democracy which have been taking place ever since power relations and structures were first established. What some people with a crude understanding of the concept of a political project seem to find difficult to understand, is that Theory and Practice are integral parts of the process of social change and that, although social-historical projects are indeed the creations of anonymous collectives, the development of their theoretical aspects has, throughout History, been the creation of specific people —something that does not, of course, mean that theoretical projects themselves do not become collective creations as well in the end. The generations of Marxist theorists that turned up since Marx are a case in point.
At this stage, Curtis finally comes to the real point of his whole dirty attack against the ID project:
The worldwide "rising tide of insignificancy" cannot be stemmed by creating a "synthesis" within a review or by arguing truth or falsehood in terms of point-like adherence to a conveniently self-serving paranoid schema for explaining the current unfolding of world events.
However, first, Curtis’s crude insinuation that the ID project is in fact a "synthesis" created within a review is a completely dishonest distortion of this project. As it has been pointed out to him by Fotopoulos in the D&N exchange, the ID project represents the synthesis of existing traditions and movements, namely, it expresses a synthesis of the classical democratic and socialist traditions, whilst it also encompasses the contemporary emancipatory movements: the radical green and feminist movements, as well as the indigenous and radical Third World movements. This is so because its main components cannot even be defined, if separated from these traditions and movements. Neither can political democracy be defined without reference to the democratic tradition, nor economic democracy be determined without reference to the socialist tradition, nor finally ecological democracy, as well as democracy in the social realm, can possibly be defined without reference to the social movements (green, feminist, student movements) which were developed in the second half of the last century.
Second, Curtis seems unable to understand the fact that although Practice and Theory constitute two interdependent processes, which are integral parts of a totality (the process of social change), this does not mean that we can mix the two processes at will. Thus, by just mixing up an element of the former (the worldwide "rising tide of insignificancy" as part of the present social reality), with an element of the latter (the development of theoretical syntheses), without showing first their mode of “articulation”, he derives the self-evident conclusion that Theory alone cannot change social reality, as if anyone, even the crudest supporter of ‘Theoretical Practice”, has ever said anything to the contrary! At the other end, it is only crude anarchists, usually of the Life-style anarchism variety, who support the view that there is no need for theory at all, rightly attracting Bookchin’s rage against this sort of “activism for activism’s sake”. However, Bookchin’s ‘theory-informed practice’, which is based on his Dialectical Naturalism, is very different from Castoriadis’s "thoughtful doing" (le faire pensant), which is based on a process of "self-transformation of society." Finally, for the ID project, Theory and Practice constitute interdependent parts of a totality (process of social change), which is an autonomous totality since History is always seen as a creation (see ch. 8 of Towards An Inclusive Democracy and the D&N article “Class Divisions Today—The Inclusive Democracy approach“).
However, given Castoriadis’s late academisation and abandonment of every political activity after the dissolution of the Socialisme or Barbarie group, it might be appropriate, as well as illuminating, to end this long response with what Fotopoulos wrote in his response to Curtis’s attempt to distort the ID project in his D&N article:
“The academisation of later Castoriadis is well known when, after twenty years of work as Director of National Accounts and Growth studies at the OECD, he abandoned not only all political work in the last twenty five years of his life or so, but he also shifted the emphasis of his theoretical work away from revolutionary political theory to abstract theorizing. Not surprisingly, the late Catoriadis is respected today in some academic circles who, however, (unlike Curtis) make no connection at all to the political revolutionary part of his early work and admire him for his insights in philosophy, psychology etc., but completely ignore his revolutionary political essays! It is this academically ‘respectable’ part of his work that united at his death the mass media, politicians etc from all over the political establishment in Europe and not their admiration for the early revolutionary Castoriadis. Furthermore, it was the late Castoriadis who, unlike the early Castoriadis, gave up any effort to visualize the institutions of a democratic society, even though democratic management and workers’ management are not identical. So, to come back to Curtis’ aphorisms about conformism, the question which is raised here is: what is better encouraging conformism, the abstract philosophizing of the late Castoriadis, or the concrete visualizing of the early Castoriadis? If the answer to this question points to the work of late Castoriadis (Curtis presumably agrees on that since he took care to include the early revolutionary politics essays in the Castoriadis’ Reader) the next question is whether his disciples would recognize the right to anybody else, apart from their master, to express any opinions on the matter! As far as Castoriadis himself is concerned, it is indicative that he justified the formulation of his proposals on the basis of ‘openness’: “A movement that would try to establish an autonomous society could not take place without a discussion and confrontation of proposals coming from various citizens. I am a citizen; I am formulating, therefore, my proposals”. This is exactly what I also tried to do attracting Curtis’ wrath, often disguised as bad taste irony!”
The Editorial Committee of the
International Journal of Inclusive Democracy
As we stated above, we have no intention of responding again in detail to Curtis’s vitriolic attacks against the ID project and T.F. personally which, as we fully expected, Curtis has resumed (with over 7,000 words in his last installment!) in the latest news bulletin of Agora International (6 xi 2006). Curtis has already fully ridiculed himself by not being able to reverse a single fact in our reply above, so he does not need our help with this any more. Furthermore, he has shown, once more, his complete inability to engage in any sort of theoretical dialogue (unless he parrots Castoriadis’s or somebody else’s thought), resorting again to his familiar attacks on our use of punctuation, quotation marks etc and of course to his racist comments about our Greeklish —clearly the only area which he is able to cover adequately, given his professional qualifications (by the way, the old invitation to Curtis to join the D&N IAB to which he refers had nothing to do with any expected theoretical output from him, of course, since we were well aware of the fact that his original theoretical output was —and still is— nil, but was simply offered with the intention of adding a Castoriadian voice —albeit by poor proxy— to the jounal’s output). Therefore, the only new elements in his latest hysterical attack are, first, the familiar trick of referring to new “facts” in the secure knowledge that after our commitment not to engage in any further dialogue with him we will not be dealing with them and, second, the fact that his attack has now become completely personalised, with the Editorial Committee to whom he is supposedly responding having now become “Fotopoulos and his shifting et al”.
However, Curtis has not only ridiculed himself but, in the process, has also degraded the Agora website which, far from serving its useful function as a helpful bibliographical resource on autonomy and the work of Castoriadis, has now turned into a venue for his personal vitriolic attacks. No wonder that the formal lack of any further excuses to continue this saga in a bibliographical reference site has forced him to resort to the ridiculous repetition, for the third consecutive issue, of Bookchin’s death (and that of Pierre Vidal-Naquet for good measure)! At the same time, in order to attract subscribers to his new tirade and continue his defamation of the ID sites, he has “discovered” that we are involved in suppressing the links to Agora International references —presumably further confirmation of our habit of censoring everything we do not like. Few readers will realise that all the “suppressed” links (three in total) refer to one person, Alexandros Gezerlis, whom we called “a disgruntled ex-member of D&N with a vendetta against us”, and whom Curtis calls “a rebellious former subordinate no longer under their authority”. Even fewer will have the faintest idea, after reading Curtis’s tirade, about the real reasons behind the “suppression” of these links. For the benefit of such readers, we shall refer them to the following link consisting of a press announcement, dated December 2005 and made by the Greek editorial committee publishing the magazine Periektiki Dimocratia (Inclusive Democracy), so that they may decide for themselves whether we were justified in refusing to continue promoting the work of somebody who did not hesitate to behave like a crook in order to do as much damage to the ID project as he possibly could:
Similarly, when we referred to the fact that our journal has always hosted dialogues, even with people hostile to the ID project, we of course meant dialogues with bona fide people and not the various Curtises of this world, who have repeatedly shown their bad faith and clear intention to defame us. It is, therefore, only indicative of the nerve of this man that he wonders whether we will publish his libelous deliria in our journal. Anyway, anybody interested in this sort of reading material can simply click on the link to what has become Curtis’s personal organ for his dirty personal campaigns:
Last, but not least, one more confirmation of the tactics used by this master of Goebbelian tactics is the “founder of the ID project” issue which, according to him, reveals (in reference to us) that “their whole set of crazy claims concerning the project of autonomy vs. the Inclusive Democracy project collapses now that their sham denial of their use of the term "founder" has been exposed”. And he finally states, confirming once more (if any further confirmation were needed!) that his real aim was to defame the work of Takis Fotopoulos: “The only conclusion to be drawn is that any attribution Fotopoulos and his shifting et al. have ever made or edited in any venue (our emphasis) requires independent verification before acceptance as valid”. And here are the facts. Curtis, in his first delirium against ID, used a quote from a hastily written press announcement stating our withdrawal from Wikipedia, in which Takis Fotopoulos was described as the “founder of ID” (as opposed to the complete, correct description, “founder of the theoretical project ID”), in order to draw the dishonest conclusion, which he repeated several times in the text, that the ID project has a “Founder” (his use of capital letters), attempting, in the process, to teach us that social-historical projects do not have founders. Any bona fide reader, after seeing the theoretical distinction we made above between political projects and their theoretical dimension and also the clear evidence we produced proving that in not one single Wikipedia entry, (which, by definition, always consists of carefully written statements, in contrast to press announcements), was the phrase “founder of ID” ever used, would have considered the matter closed long ago. But not David Ames Curtis. If this is not bad faith exceeding the limits of dishonesty, we wonder what is.
The Editorial Committee of
The International Journal of Inclusive Democracy
P.S. To any bona fide reader of these exchanges it is clear from the beginning that publication in the Newsletter of our original letter to Curtis (in which we demanded a right to reply, warning him that if he was not prepared to grant us this right we were going to publish it in our journal) WAS the publication to the journal we "threatened" him about. Every reader of this journal is well aware of the fact that the Newsletter has always been an integral part of the journal —and from the next issue of the journal this fact will be formalized as well, (see announcement in the cover page). Curtis, however, whose only original contribution to political literature has been the systematic distortion of every single word of the writings of other writers (he did not hesitate in his latest culmination of dishonesty —see December 2006 Update— even to distort the reason why we accused his new friend Gezerlis as behaving like a crook), pretends that he does not understand even this very simple fact, and in a new 5,500 word defamatory delirium against the journal (in response to the three paragraphs addendum above) he still "challenges" us to publish our original letter to him!
The Editorial Committee of
The International Journal of Inclusive Democracy
APPENDIX: A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE EXCHANGES WITH COMPLETE WEBOGRAPHY
As David Ames Curtis seems determined to continue his defamatory campaign against the journal ad infinitum, having been repeating the announcement of Murray Bookchin's death for almost a year since the actual event of his passing away, we have decided to provide a complete webography below of all exchanges on the matter —despite the fact that we consider them to be irrelevant to the original dialogue developed in D&N vol. 5 no. 1 between D.A. Curtis and T. Fotopoulos. As D.A. Curtis seems keen to accuse us of yet another attempt at 'censorship' because we did not provide a full list of website references, we offer all of them below, so that our readers may derive further amusement from his delirium.
The original article that Curtis claims was 'censored' by D&N (see above) was published here: On the Bookchin/Biehl Resignations and the Creation of a New Liberatory Project
Takis Fotopoulos's reply was published here: On a distorted view of the Inclusive Democracy project
Additional information and the 'missing material' was published by Curtis in Agora:
(Note 18a): < dnweb1.html>
Then, D.A. Curtis published an "announcement" of Bookchin's death in the August 2006 Cornelius Castoriadis/Agora International Website electronic update, using it, in fact, as an opportunity to attack D&N by accusing it of ‘censorship’, rather than to provide a kind of brief obituary. The Agora announcement was as follows:
We have received word of the death of Murray Bookchin on July 30, 2006. Bookchin (b. January 14, 1921), a former Trotskyist like Castoriadis, shared Castoriadis's advocacy of direct democracy and even preceded the latter in his concern with environmental issues. Castoriadis discussed Bookchin's municipally-based, ecologically-informed, anarchist views briefly in Crossroads in the Labyrinth. They both joined the Editorial Advisory Board of Society & Nature in the 1990s. When Bookchin and his partner Janet Biehl resigned from this journal in 1997 —considering it, among other things, too "Castoriadian"— Agora International's David Ames Curtis wrote a reply, "On the Bookchin/Biehl Resignations and the Creation of the New Liberatory Project," at Castoriadis's request and with his approval, the text appearing only a year and a half later in censored form in the successor journal, Democracy & Nature. It was on account of D&N's censorship effort that Castoriadis had determined to leave its Editorial Advisory Board as soon as the censored version appeared, a decision he was not able to carry out, however, due to his own intervening illness and death. Bookchin later wrote Curtis a conciliatory letter acknowledging that Castoriadis's views deserved further examination, but ill health and other priorities kept Bookchin from realizing his aim of writing such a text.
Following this announcement, the Editorial Committee requested the right to reply in the form of a letter sent to D.A. Curtis via email for publication, as an addendum to the defamatory comment and with the warning that, in case it were not uploaded to the Agora website as an addendum to the announcement, it would be published in our journal instead. Having received no reply from D.A. Curtis (who later admitted that he never intended to publish it in the same issue of the Agora update), we proceeded to publish both the announcement and the letter in the Journal’s Newsletter, which at that time was clearly part of the journal, even though it was not yet formally integrated into its main body (this integration eventually took place in January 2007).
The original Agora announcement, together with our letter to D.A. Curtis, was published here: Agora, Chomsky, Bookchin, and Democracy & Nature
To this, D.A. Curtis replied with a long, even more defamatory diatribe, under the pompous title “Addendum, Or the Cornelius Castoriadis/Agora International Website Receives a Threat” in the September issue of the Agora update.
We, in turn, replied to this in the October 2006 issue of the newsletter, demolishing all his arguments and attempting to extend the dialogue to the theoretical domain, beyond the simplistic gossip in which D.A. Curtis specializes, in order to reveal the aim of Curtis’s dirty attack against us: The Autonomy and Inclusive Democracy Projects and "Agora's" Defamatory Delirium
D.A. Curtis’s “reply” to this well-documented text was another of his usual empty diatribes, mainly criticizing the style and the grammar of our reply without managing to reverse even one of the facts we mentioned:
David Ames Curtis. A Second, Interim Response (October-November 2006)
As we had, by then, committed ourselves to discontinuing this ‘dialogue’ with Curtis, we only published an “ADDENDUM” dated November 2006 under the title, “The Autonomy and Inclusive Democracy Projects and "Agora's" Defamatory Delirium”, in order to reply to some new allegations that he had made, completely aware of the fact that we had no intention of replying in full to any more of his diatribes.
D.A. Curtis responded with an even longer diatribe in the December 2006 Agora Update, in which he “challenged” us to publish our original letter to him:
David Ames Curtis, , to Inclusive Democracy's Second Final Reply (December 2006)
This was another blatant distortion of the facts because, as we explained in a brief P.S. below the addendum entitled, “The Autonomy and Inclusive Democracy Projects and "Agora's" Defamatory Delirium”, we had already published the letter in the journal, i.e. in the Newsletter which, as mentioned above, has always been an integral part of the journal and, as of January this year, was formally integrated into the main body of the journal. In other words, our “threat” had been carried out as far back as September 2006 —a fact that D.A. Curtis pretended not to understand, so that he could later declare himself the "winner" of this debate "to the ID Editors' detriment and embarrassment for failure to keep their promise" (January 2007 Agora Update). He then proceeded to draw certain implications from this “fact”, namely that: "All claims, charges, allegations, criticisms, etc. made in the original protest Letter and in their subsequent contributions on this issue can be viewed as without substance or consequence" (sic!): "Inclusive Democracy Throws in the Towel on its Empty Threat"
As D.A. Curtis has shown every intention of continuing his dirty attack against the journal —a particularly easy task for him to fulfil, given that we declared at the end of last year that we saw no point in going any further with this “dialogue”— we will keep you informed of further “announcements” by him, not so much in order to avoid further accusations of ‘censorship’, but rather to “entertain” our readers with further expressions of his delirium (provided, of course, that they like this sort of “entertainment”).
The Editorial Committee of
The International Journal of Inclusive Democracy