Last Friday, in a private message David Graeber, requested that I withdraw the following tweet:
“ckilpatrick @DougWilliams85 @DougHenwood are correct that s kendzior+”SJW” contingent should be repudiated by @davidgraeber and left.”
The context relevant to this has been slightly altered in the days since I posted it. Specifically, this involves Jacobin editor Connor Kilpatrick having 1) forwarded tweets making certain claims relating to Graeber’s eviction from his subsidized Penn South apartment, in particular that it was “left vacant” when he was away renting it on air bnb and 2) his having circulated a photograph of Graeber in a joint appearance with right-libertarian billionaire Peter Thiel.
Charge 1) I know to be false. I visited the apartment in question on several occasions and know for a fact that Graeber had, as he says, routinely made it available rent free to political allies. It has virtually never been “vacant”. Charge 2) is drawn from the time honored tactic of guilt by association and is simply ridiculous: by the same debased logic Noam Chomsky can be smeared due to his having appeared with Alan Dershowitz, Jeremy Scahill equated with Erik Prince, Arun Gupta taken as an acolyte of Sarah Palin, or Naomi Klein a supporter of Alan Greenspan.
This is by no means the first time which Kilpatrick and others from the Jacobin circle have engaged in bad faith argumentation of this sort. Based on this record, their charges against Kendzior have substantially less credibility than had they emanated from a source with unquestioned integrity.
For that reason, it is reasonable to do as Graeber requests and withdraw the tweet. If Kilpatrick himself retracts and apologizes for the two postings in question along with others in which he has made equally baseless and defamatory accusations I will reconsider my retraction of it, but not otherwise.
I’m posting this to publicly inform Graeber that I am doing so publicly.
I have written some additional thoughts on these matters including criticisms of the parties involved. I am making these available privately for those interested and who are committed to engaging in a productive and rational discourse on the topics involved, something which those mentioned above have shown themselves to be mostly incapable of. Please email me at my Bard College address or post a comment below if you would like to receive a copy.