Omadeon's Meta-Blog

19/01/2012

David Ames Curtis: Takis Fotopoulos has simply made up an invidious scenario in his head and stated it as fact, without any support

David Ames Curtis, a close collaborator of Cornelius Castoriadis during the last 13 years of Castoriadis’s life, has been a professional translator of Castoriadisʼ works who is meticulously concerned about accuracy and clarity in the translations of Castoriadis, as well as about their availability to the general public. He is a person of high integrity, as I discovered by carefully examining a lot of evidence. Curtis’s dedication to furthering the “Autonomy Project” (as elucidated by, among others, Cornelius Castoriadis) as well as, more specifically, his desire and willingness to work wth others to provide the general public with free and reliable access to information about Castoriadisʼs writings and ideas so that members of the public may form their own judgments and formulate their own responses, can be easily verified by anyone bothering to read (very simple) evidence.

David Ames Curtis

David Ames Curtis

English: Cornelius Castoriadis

Takis Fotopoulos

Takis Fotopoulos

So, I recently contacted Mr. Curtis, to find out the truth about certain… strange allegations, hurled against him by Takis Fotopoulos. Those allegations were expressed as parts of a… ghastly e-mail I had received from Takis Fotopoulos recently (together with insults, slanderous abuse, implicit legal threats and a ridiculous threat of… incessantly harassing me, personally, till I “sue him” so that my… “real identity is revealed). An English translation of all this, together with other relevant facts (in English) was the topic of a previous post in my “Meta-blogging blog” (click here… for the beer).

Well, David Ames Curtis replied immediately, and then in more detail (after my English translations were verified).

I now feel satisfied that everything has been elucidated,  but I remain open to further rational, fact-based arguments.

The following e-mail messages, from Mr. Curtis express verifiable conclusions, that I also reached (but with important additional details that could only be provided by him), so I am reproducing them  here, by permission.

(Please note: If anyone wishes to contact me in private, my preferred e-mail is omadeon AT gmail.com).

_____________________________________________________________________________________________________

..   

(1) Most recent e-mail

From: David Ames Curtis (curtis@msh-paris.fr
Sent: Wednesday, 18 January 2012 10:15:58 pm
 Το: George Omadeon (…)
.
Dear George:
Thanks for sending me the link to the English language translation of Takis Fotopoulos’s not only denigrating but, more importantly, highly inaccurate statements about me:
https://metaomadeon.wordpress.com/2012/01/18/the-dark-side-of-takis-fotopoulos/
Omadeon. “Takis Fotopoulos’ threats, insults and slander against David Ames Curtis and me (English Translation).”

Shortly after you first alerted me, more briefly, to this exchange between the two of you, Takis contacted me in a threatening (though ultimately silly and empty)* manner via e-mail.  I gave Takis a chance–not once but twice–to either confirm or deny that the first, brief translation you offered of the part of the exchange that concerned me was accurate and, if accurate, to apologize for his unfortunate and erroneous assertions, so unpleasantly phrased.  He has not done so.  Since Takis dyspeptically attacks so many people so often, there is a definite honor for me in his assertion that your mere evocation of me brought you to the “ultimate scumbag-level” (emphasis added).  I shall wear this honor like a badge.

Therefore, please feel free, as an addendum to the above webpage or elsewhere, to include my original response to you, taking care to distinguish between my communication and any interpretations or commentary or emphases you might also wish to communicate on your own responsibility.  The present e-missive, properly identified and dated like my January 13 one below, can be included as an introduction to the earlier one.  I would have no objection to your translating these two e-missives into Modern Greek, a language I unfortunately neither read nor speak, so long as you provide me with the relevant link after posting, so I could eventually check with Greek-speaking friends about the accuracy and faithfulness of the resulting translation.

Had Takis simply apologized for his intemperate words, I would of course have just left the matter there.  Obsessing legalistically about “slander” and “libel” at every turn–instead of concentrating on real issues of substantive agreement and disagreement, presented in a calm and rational manner, with the added possibility of further rational, factual discussion and debate–serves no useful purpose, especially for those among us interested in contributing to the conditions under which people themselves might directly participate in creating the conditions under which the project of autonomy might be furthered.  This is a project that includes crucially, as Cornelius Castoriadis elucidated it, self-responsibility, a capacity for self-limitation, and what the ancient Greeks called logon didonai: giving an account of and a reason for one’s words and actions.

Sincerely,

David Ames Curtis
*A useful purpose to be served by the publication of some of Takis’s threatening communications is that people threatened by him in the future may thereby learn how empty and ridiculous his threats are.  Takis isn’t really going to go out and sue anyone, force them to go speak to the “appropriate authorities,” etc.  It is just a lot of wind that can have an effect only if one takes it seriously.  It shouldn’t be taken seriously at all.  May those attacked by him thus feel empowered.

________________________________________________________

(2) Earlier e-mail

From: David Ames Curtis (curtis@msh-paris.fr)) 
Sent: Friday, 13 January 2012 10:20:18 am
To: George Omadeon (…)

.

Dear George:

Thanks for this.

If your translation is accurate, it really is sad to see that Takis Fotopoulos would resort to such childish epithets as you cite below.  Serious discussions among adults are not conducted on that level.  It degrades the person who employs such epithets, the person insulted not being hurt in the least.  It also has an adverse effect on the public space for discussion and reflection.

Of course, you are right about the substance of the matter: Takis has simply made up an invidious scenario in his head and stated it as fact without any support.

The reality is that there was a “publication committee” of a publicly constituted, allegedly democratic organization (the “Association Cornelius Castoriadis”) that authorized me to translate certain posthumous writings of Castoriadis.  This publication committee mysteriously resigned en masse and never has been replaced.  The Council of the ACC now doubles as this publication committee, and it holds enough votes through proxies (while refusing to allow rank-and-file members free and equal access to the same membership list) to elect and reelect itself forever.  (The result? At the latest, biennial “General Assembly” meeting last month, only three non-Council members of the ACC even bothered to attend and I was one of those three!) All this in the name of the radical direct-democratic thinker Cornelius Castoriadis…

And, while I did work out in good faith an agreement with the Secretary of this organization:

http://www.kaloskaisophos.org.pagesperso-orange.fr/rt/rtdac/8-pointagreement.html

that agreement was never signed or honored either by the ACC or by the heirs.  How could Takis invent the idea that “shortly after the death of Castoriadis” I would have “turned against Castoriadis’s relatives” when I was still trying to negotiate in good faith with them six years after his death and I still state today, as I have repeatedly said before, that I am willing to resume negotiations at any moment?  As I have also repeatedly stated, I continue to love Cornelius’s widow Zoe, and I feel so sorry for her for the situation she has put herself in.

If Takis wants to take ownership’s side in a labor dispute, which seems to fit with the critique I made of him in my partially censored piece:

  • EN1999v David Ames Curtis. “On the Bookchin/Biehl Resignations and the Creation of the New Liberatory Project.” Democracy & Nature: The International Journal of Inclusive Democracy, 5:1 (March 1999): 163-74.

that’s up to him.  It does not reflect well on his  purported interest in fostering an “inclusive democracy.”  As someone said to me again just a few days ago, Fotopoulos’s new journal incarnation, Inclusive Democracy, should instead be called “exclusive democracy.”

As for the ACC, they have now published a series of excruciatingly embarrassing English-language translations that serve neither Castoriadis nor the project of autonomy.  See, e.g.:

http://www.kaloskaisophos.org.pagesperso-orange.fr/rt/rtdac/rtdactf/rtrdac-ha-dac-astounding-ignorance-and-incompetence-helen-arnold.html

Fortunately, an “anonymous translator” has made a huge number of English-language translations available as a public service:

  • ASA (= http://www.notbored.org/ASA.pdfA Society Adrift: More Interviews and Discussions on The Rising Tide of Insignificancy, Including Revolutionary Perspectives Today. Translated from the French and edited anonymously as a public service. Electronic publication date: October 2010.
  • PSRTI (= http://www.notbored.org/PSRTI.pdfPostscript on Insignificancy, including More Interviews and Discussions on the Rising Tide of Insignificancy, followed by Five Dialogues, Four Portraits and Two Book Reviews. Translated from the French and edited anonymously as a public service. Electronic publication date: March 2011.

that allow English-speaking readers free public access to reliable Castoriadis translations.

Yours in the Struggle,

David

________________

(3) My own initial message to Mr. Curtis was the following (part of a comment in our blog, sent to him):

From evidence I found SO FAR, the following statement by Takis Fotopoulos is a distortion of history; slandering David Ames Curtis:

…You [Omadeon] have reached the ultimate scumbag-level of invoking Curtis, the well-known flatterer (licker) of Castoriadis (while Castoriadis was still alive), the guy [Curtis] who shortly after the death of Castoriadis, turned against Castoriadis’ relatives, because they did not grant their consent to Curtis’ demand for a copyright-monopoly on the works of Castoriadis
[…]
– Takis Fotopoulos

On the contrary, what I found (so far, unless I am missing out evidence elsewhere) …is that Curtis wanted more reliable (and partly free) public access, to the works of Castoriadis.
Source: http://www.kaloskaisophos.org.pagesperso-orange.fr/rt/rtdac/rtdactf/rtdac-asarpt-statement1.html

In any case (and lacking any other evidence) Mr. Fotopoulos’ allegation should be regarded as slander, against Mr. Curtis, who will be notified about it, shortly. The burden of proof (needless to say) is primarily in the accuser; NOT in the accused.

____________________________________________

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3 Comments »

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