Two years since I protested a campaign by a group of Antifa activists to suppress the London art gallery LD50 to support the right of individuals to openly discuss ideas free from violence and intimidation, I’ve been called a racist, a fascist, a superfascist, a Nazi, a Neo-Nazi, and a self-confessed neo-Nazi. I’ve been threatened on a number of occasions, physically assaulted twice, accused of threatening to murder people, accused of assault myself, accused of having spent years touring Europe promoting fascism, accused of writing an anonymous open letter denouncing myself, accused of doxxing people to far-right websites, accused of employing sock accounts on social media to hound my critics, and so on. No evidence has been produced supporting any of these allegations, and I have never done any of these things, but a litany of lies and fantastical interpretations endlessly repeated by the original activists and their allies have succeeded in associating malice with my name.
Also, I’ve been blacklisted by most of the contemporary art world, which is amusing, since I have no interest in being there.
I regret nothing. The only thing I’m guilty of writing five or six angry tweets to truly vicious individuals orchestrating hate campaigns against completely blameless people: the artist Deanna Havas, persecuted for three years for the crime of being funny and supporting Trump, and Nina Edge, fired as a lecturer from Liverpool John Moores University following a shameful campaign by sociopathic pseudo-critics Gabrielle de la Puente and Zarina Muhammad. Those tweets were deleted after seconds, but saved by one of the demented stalkers I’ve picked up on the way, in order to be taken out of context, and used against me later. Unwise, but I’m only human, and I will defend scapegoats from mobs.
That is really what this is about. In February 2017, I felt that something needed to be done to protest the activity of a group of anonymous, self-appointed cops whose brutal tactics, casual endorsement of political violence and total disregard for truth, presented a disturbing symptom of collapsing social norms, and an advancing climate of repression. Subsequent events have only strengthened my conviction that these people specifically, and these kinds of people generally, represent a definite and growing threat to everyone who wants to think and speak in peace.
The politics of violence and intimidation continue to enjoy significant support, from billionaire collector Alex Sainsbury’s Antifa recruitment center the May Day Rooms, to State-funded magazine Art Monthly, whose halfwit critics Larne Abse Gogarty and Morgan Quaintance blandly recycled the assertions of Shutdown LD50 activists, to the art magazine Frieze, which in March convened a panel on free speech starring Hannah Black, a mixed-race British artist who made her name demanding the destruction of a painting at the Whitney Biennale on the basis that the Jewish artist Dana Schutz had no racial right to represent her subject, and Suhail Malik, co-director of the MFA in Fine Art in Goldsmiths’, who programmed a compulsory attendance lecture two years earlier for Shutdown LD50 activists after they no platformed Daniel Keller, in which the activists informed the art students that they had composed a list of artists who were associated with fascism, which they were slowly working through, and at the right moment, would reveal. Without a single voice of opposition, the Frieze panel found that freedom of expression was fascist and reactionary. “The motion was carried unanimously by a large majority.”
Taken individually, none of these people merit much attention, not even being named, given their symptomatic status, and the presence of the “serious people behind the ridiculous ones” (Pasolini). Some are simply cynical and stupid. Others are sadistic and deranged. Nonetheless, their pattern of behavior is consistent, likely to continue, and they should be held accountable, or, if they repent, forgiven.
In the meantime, taken collectively, and as a general type, they constitute a serious annoyance, which could yet become a major problem if they are not decisively confronted.
“Who am I? If this once I were to rely on a proverb, then perhaps everything would amount to knowing whom I ‘haunt.’”
My name means God will judge me, and only God can judge me, and I take it seriously. For my sins, I’m sympathetic to Alyosha in The Brothers Karamazov: “We are all responsible for everyone else, but I am more responsible then all the others.” I’ve never been interested in discussing myself, ideas and other people have always interested me more, which is why my own projects have often been either collaborative, heteronymous, or interviews: as Pessoa puts it: “Whenever I feel a personality rise up inside, I quickly realize that this new being, though similar, is distinct from me.” For all these reasons, I don’t care what anybody says about me, and find it interesting to be confronted with several dozen people more interested in who I am than I am in myself.
I read we must burn DC Miller. Why? Because, in their minds, or at least their tweets, and status updates, DC Miller is a menacing and violent individual, guilty of a multitude of political and moral crimes and contagious, insofar as everyone he comes into contact with is contaminated by association, and thus must also be destroyed. It’s impossible to think that they truly believe their own claims, given no evidence supports them, and plenty contradicts them. If I was racist, why did I teach art theory in Ramallah, or spend a month in Haiti giving lectures on Surrealism? If I brutally assaulted someone, a serious criminal offense, why am I not in jail? If LD50 was a fascist recruitment center, where are all the fascists?
They don’t believe it, but they say it. Why? Because they need to generate belief in the authority of the person who is speaking, that is, their own online persona, and they repeat my name, or Nina Power’s name, and perhaps tomorrow your name, because they can’t, because it doesn’t matter who is speaking, only what they say. And they don’t have anything to say. DC Miller must be guilty, because they’re guilty, of being unconvincing and insubstantial to themselves. Therefore actions are invented and a phantasm is fabricated to justify a hatred, which is their own. What they see in my name is their own fear, and guilty conscience, and everything they say about me refers in truth to them.
The role of social media in the catalepsis of the flea circus cannot be over-emphasized. When you gaze into Facebook, Facebook also gazes into you, forming you into an identity, which is really a commodity, pattern-matching how it calculates you seek to look to others, and how it wishes you to act to drive engagement. Everyone who lies about themselves is paranoid that someone will find out, and Antifascist activist identity performed on corporate social media, or the global art world, represents a kind of hyperlie inside a paranoiac structure of reality hyperlinked as Antifascism.
And Facebook doesn’t want to let you leave. The object of the algorithm is to keep you clicking for eternity. The more time spent online, the heavier the mask becomes, and the more the relationship between reality and fantasy, and the other, and the self, decays into hypocrisy, which is why the activists attach to me the things they’ve done, or want to do, themselves, e.g. a man who calls for violence accuses me of violence, or a shameless self-promoter assumes that these must be my motives too, and criticizes me for things I never said.
Antifascism in this sense represents an aggravated impostor syndrome, which follows from the hollow subjectivities reinforced by social media. When the story you’ve been telling about yourself breaks down, you no longer have a self to make sense of. For these people, accurately itemized cryptozoologically by Fisher, “DC Miller” is a mechanism of displacement to avoid looking in the mirror, and deflect anybody else from looking either, knowing they will find nothing there.
I am their mirror, but they never will be mine. For them, I name the terror of their freedom, but for me, they are just symptoms of the internet, cynically manipulating Antifascist discourse to camouflage their sadism and malice. What’s important to appreciate in this is that the political dimension is nothing but a vehicle for will to power and resentment, aligned to extant ideological conformism. None of these people care about anyone but themselves. This conflict isn’t between fascism and antifascism, but between a group of individuals who want to have the right to tell people what books they are allowed to read, what thoughts they’re allowed to think, who they can be friends with, and who they have to hate today, and people, like myself, who don’t accept that anybody has this right, and is committed to defying those who claim it, come what may. They slander and attack us because they know we’re right, and they don’t want you to hear it, because they are afraid you will agree.
All this is a matter of understanding and analysis, but in the last instance also a decision, which anybody reading is capable of making for themselves. Everyone is perfectly autonomous. Where do you see yourself? Do you believe in principles of conduct more fundamental than ideology, or not? Do you believe in courage, and compassion and the possibility of understanding, or do you believe in hollow speech, and empty accusations and intimidation? Do you recognize the absurdity and chaos in the world, and in human beings, and in yourself, but try to do better for yourself and the people who you love, or do you surrender to it, to your greed, and lose yourself to misery and fear?
The choice is yours.