Frequent readers of XYZ [and are there any other kind?] would know about the rather funny antics of Guardian Opinion writer Jason Wilson.
As we’ve pointed out in previous articles not only does Jason have the pleasure of writing for the same publication as Socialist Alternative founder Jeff Sparrow and self-proclaimed Anarcho-Communist Van Badham, but he has also made many strange and interesting friends since moving to his adopted home of Portland in the U.S Pacific Northwest.
Jason fancies himself a bit of an expert on radical right-wing politics, and as such has sought out experts in the field to help expand his knowledge. One of these experts is Alexander Reid Ross, a Portland State University lecturer whom Wilson not only has quoted repeatedly in various articles but has even helped to promote his books.
As XYZ has pointed out before Reid Ross is a bit of a dubious character. He writes for numerous Anarchist Journals on the subject of Anarchist theory, has published Anarchism related books with Anarchist publishers and openly supports the violent Anarchist terrorist group Antifa, as well as editing the journal of the Eco-terrorist group Earth First. His main works on the “far-right” all seem to relate to how to expunge “hidden fascism” from inside the Anarchist movement.
You know what? I think this fellow might be a bit of an Anarchist.
But he’s not the only Anarchist friend Jason has. Wilson in a single article not only quoted Alexander Reid Ross but also Shane Burley [ a Portland native and author of Ready to Fight: Developing a 21st Century Community Syndicalism published by the Institute for Anarchism studies] and Matthew Lyons a frequent contributor to Anarcho-Communist site LibCom as well as his own Anarchist blog who gave a talk in New York last year entitled “Trump, White Supremacy, Fascism? Building New Resistance Movements!”.
In none of his articles attacking “extremists” did Jason Wilson ever point out the even more extreme viewpoints of the people whose quotes he was using to attack them.
After all, despite their many follies the far right groups Jason and his friends so despise are arguing for a return to an America that arguably actually existed before the 1965 Hart-Celler Immigration and Nationality Act. The people he’s quoting to attack them openly state that they want to violently destroy absolutely everything about American society from concepts of the traditional family and gender to the banking system and the very idea of money.
Regardless of how distasteful you might find elements of the “far-right” when it comes to extreme ideas the two groups aren’t even remotely in the same ball-park.
But so what if Wilson uncritically quoted these people and helped to promote their books? Doesn’t mean he agrees with them right?
Sure he marched into Charlottesville alongside the Maoist Revolutionary Communist Party front group “Resist Fascism” but that doesn’t make him some kind of extremist does it?
Well according to Jason Wilson it does. Earlier this year when Mark Latham got a gig with Ezra Levant’s Rebel Media group, Jason argued that the former Labor leader should be chased out of public life for associating with extremists.
In order to prove this point he again quoted Alexander Reid Ross, a man who hangs around with prematurely exploding car bombers. Wilson also quoted Reid Ross in his article claiming that by twice appearing on the evil right-wing extremist podcast “The Convict Report” Latham had sacrificed all claims to credibility. Last week Mr. Wilson appeared for the second time on far-left wing radio station 3CR as a guest of Anarchist extremists and Antifa organisers Andy Fleming and Cam Smith.
I hope his credibility can recover.
Recently Jason has been helping out yet another comrade with a bit of publicity. While reporting on the Revolutionary Communist Party/Refuse Fascism rally on Nov 4th Jason extensively quotes the amusingly named Spencer Sunshine.
Just like seemingly everyone else Jason associates with, Spencer is a far-left extremist, another Anarchist to be precise. And just like all the other times, Jason mysteriously fails to mention this.
Sunshine has spoken at Anarchist book fairs, created content for Anarchist site Sub-media, has written for Anarcho-Communist site LibCom, Anarchist News, the Anarchist Studies journal and boasted on the Anarchist Agency site about being in the crowd of Anarchists at Charlottesville [maybe that’s where he met Jason?].
Sunshine also wrote a hilarious article for the far-left Revere site where he simultaneously claimed that Antifa isn’t violent, that Antifa violence is good and that when people fight back against Antifa its proof that they are violent and so should be attacked by Antifa in the first place.
Spencer even embarrassingly got caught impersonating a Trump fan at a rally and had to make a hasty and ever so slightly humiliating retreat.
I didn’t really need to check to know that Sunshine doesn’t have a book coming out soon; if he did then Jason would have helpfully provided a link in his article just as he has before for his other extremist mates.
The main issue with Jason promoting Anarchist extremists in what is still after all a major international news organ [at least until the money runs out] is that as an ideology, the black flag waving, semi-retarded cousin of Marxism can really only find modern relevance in beating up people they disagree with.
Anarchists across the Western world have started a multiplicity of projects in their quest to found autonomous communities. I’ve seen Anarchists start everything from prisoner outreach programs to food co-ops to bicycle repair, but the only ones that seem to last beyond a year or so are the squats and “anti-fascism”.
The sad truth for the modern heirs of Bakunin is that without evil right-wing dissidents to beat up on behalf of the establishment, they’d probably cease to exist.
The frequent [and correct] Marxist critique of modern Anarchists is that they are “Lifestylists” whose average commitment to the cause lasts about as long as the appeal of living in a communal squat. It’s one of the reasons why every dissident figure from Donald Trump to Milo MUST be labelled a “Fascist”. Without a “fash” to bash they don’t really have any reason for being.
Jason never seemed like such an extremist before his move to the United States. To judge by his articles at the ABC, The Conversation and New Matilda he was just a standard lefty Journalism academic at the University of Canberra spending his days formulating conspiracy theories about Rupert Murdoch.
He seemed happier then.
One hopes he can find his way back to the broad sunlit uplands of Australia and away from his current disreputable company.
They only seem to be depressing the poor chap.
Photo by jeffgunn