AFed Statement on Rev

Update (18/12/23)
We are uploading this statement to our website, to enable us to share it more easily. Note the actual publish date is 18/12/23
. It has already been sent to a few relevent people/groups who had requested to see it.

Since it was written, Transgender Action Block replied to inform us they did not want to discuss it further or provide more information. As far as we are aware they had not read this statement before reaching this decision.

In addition, with concensus agreement of AFed members Rev was readded to our internal comms, though has stepped back from other roles including social media.

Content Note: Discusses rape, abuse, apologism, harassment, racism, violence


What follows is a statement from the Anarchist Federation about our member Rev, and our organisation in general. We’d ask you to read all of it if you can, before contacting us or others about it, as sections out of context may misrepresent events. If you have any information that contradicts this statement, please get in touch with us. It details what we know as an organisation up to October 2023, most of which was from investigating things we had heard in 2018.

We are writing this in response to a statement tweeted by Transgender Action Bloc which states that:

* Rev is a known rapist
* Rev engages in abuse apologism, including apologism for specific abusers
* That this has been known for over a decade in some circles
* That Rev holds a terrible amount of power in AFed
* That this has not been confronted because of rape culture in the scene

The thread from TAB included a list of names/aliases used by Rev and activist groups, campaigns, and companies he is/was a part of, and ended KYLR (Kill Your Local Rapist).

Based on everything we have been told and been able to find out over a number of years, we do not believe that our member Rev is a rapist, that he is an abuser, or that he holds power that would prevent the rest of us from confronting him, or in fact that the group is structured in such a way that would allow anyone to be beyond reproach.

To avoid identifying individuals besides Rev, we will refer to those involved as PersonA, PersonB etc. If anyone involved reaches out to us to say they are willing for more details to be shared publicly, we will do so. 

In order to allow AFed members to freely discuss the allegations from TAB, we suspended Rev from our internal communications, officer roles, and social media accounts. He will be readded when agreed by our membership, unless we receive new information. We ask anyone with any information to contact us, because we cannot act without knowing what we should be acting on.

Main Statement

Rev joined AFed in 2017, and met some of us for the first time at the infamous London Anarchist Bookfair of that year. A few months later in March 2018, Rev told us that there had been a complaint against him in the IWW (IWW WISE, Industrial Workers of the World – Wales, Ireland, Scotland, England). In contrast to allegations on Twitter of avoiding accountability, Rev did not attempt to evade or downplay this complaint, but copied the email he had been sent informing him of this to our internal forums. The accusations specified at this time by the IWW were ‘past transphobic / racist behaviour that is still upsetting people and it is against IWW Safer Spaces Policy’. The IWW email did not specify who had made the complaint explicitly, but did state it was a ‘counter-complaint’ launched after Rev had dropped his existing complaint against PersonA, who Rev had accused of participating in a campaign of bullying. Rev told us he had dropped the complaint because, among other reasons, PersonA had left his branch of the IWW after moving to a different region, so he didn’t see any benefit to continuing. Rev also said he had heard there had been accusations he was a violent misogynist from people in the IWW close to PersonA (although these were not mentioned in the IWW email), and asked how we wanted to proceed.

The IWW were already handling the complaint, were in contact with those who had raised it, and Rev had been a member of their organisation for longer. So we initially thought we should wait for the outcome of their process rather than duplicate their efforts, especially as Rev wouldn’t be at any in person events for a while. We also thought that our intervention may be unwelcome if we contacted people who were already dealing with things via the IWW. However, their process seemed to be moving incredibly slowly, and neither we nor Rev could get updates, beyond the fact that one IWW group had passed on responsibility for handling it to another group or officer a couple of times.

it became clear that waiting for the IWW’s process to conclude before making any decisions ourselves was no longer tenable. So we began our own attempt to find out what was going on. Our existing accountability processes assumed the involvement of a survivor or complainant who was either in AFed, or had reached out to us about one of our members. Since this wasn’t the case, here, the way forward was initially unclear. 

We didn’t want to reach out to anyone via Rev (obviously), and the IWW was bound to uphold anonymity. We instead reached out to contacts we had in Rev’s region, and within the IWW, asking for any information anyone had regarding Rev, especially in relation to misogyny, transphobia, racism, or any kind of violence. Responses were vague. People had heard accusations, but didn’t know exactly what of, or recall where from. It turned out that many of those most keen to spread the idea that Rev was an abuser as widely as possible had very little specific knowledge of anything he was supposed to have done, and were not speaking on behalf of, or with the permission of, those they named as survivors.

Eventually some more specific information came back, and once he was made aware of the situations being alluded to, Rev was able to tell us his version of events. Whilst of course scepticism is necessary, nothing he told us contradicted anything else we were told by others, and it has remained both consistent and credible. We detail as much of the specific information we uncovered as we believe is necessary to answer the accusations raised in TAB’s tweets, along with the initial accusations raised via the IWW, while protecting the privacy and identity of those involved.

  • Accusation of transphobia: at no point did anyone say to us that they had witnessed Rev say or do anything transphobic, nor did anyone know of anything specifically transphobic that Rev had said or done. From our own experience, Rev has been supportive of trans AFed members, and of centering trans liberation as part of anarchist politics.
  • Accusation of racism: PersonB, who had first spoken to others about Rev and racism, said this referred to a Facebook thread a number of years prior. We couldn’t find it to view, but it was described as Rev saying it was acceptable for white people to use the N***** word. Rev clarified that this was followed by “in certain specific examples such as quotes or performances of plays.” Rev admitted to being overly agitational in said thread, and he would now approach discussions like this less confrontationally. We found no other examples of racism.
  • Accusation of engaging in abuse apologism, including for specific abusers: this is a new addition to the accusations against Rev, as far as we are aware. If anyone knows what, specifically, this refers to, we ask that they provide us with any information we would need to be aware of.
  • Accusation that Rev abused, assaulted, and raped PersonC whilst in a relationship with them: PersonC spoke with us directly in 2018, and told us that Rev did not abuse, assault or rape them. They had a difficult break-up, but they are now on good terms with Rev again. PersonC has reaffirmed this several times since. PersonC said the continued persistence of this rumour has affected them very negatively, and they did not want people to repeat these accusations regarding Rev and themself. Despite our best efforts to uphold PersonC’s wishes, which they have repeated to us on numerous occasions over the years, we have still had to confront this a number of times from people who – whether well-meaning or malicious – are in fact taking power away from and harming the person they claim to be defending.
  • Accusation that Rev threatened, sexually assaulted, and took money from PersonD whilst in a relationship with them: we were unable to establish direct contact with PersonD. For a long time we only had third-hand information. A couple of people within the IWW, who had told us that PersonD was a survivor of assault from Rev, claimed to have heard this through PersonA (who brought the counter-complaint against Rev to the IWW after he complained of them engaging in bullying). These people within the IWW believed that PersonA had heard it from PersonD. PersonA did not repeat this to us when we spoke to them, and would only say they were in contact with PersonD and that PersonD did not want to speak or in any way communicate about Rev.

Rev confirmed to us that he had been in a relationship with PersonD for two months a number of years prior. His version of events was that he had paid back the money claimed as taken, and then set up a standing order to do so a second time (after it was claimed it was never paid back initially). With regard to the more serious accusations, he gave more details on the circumstances of these events that we will not be sharing here. All we can say is that our facilitators were satisfied that what Rev told them fit, made sense, and crucially did not in any way contradict the information we were able to get from anyone else. We were given no first- or second-hand information that would suggest that Rev had committed sexual assault or abuse within his past relationship.

To clarify this, we are not denying the word of survivors, here. In spite of our best efforts, we do not have the word of anybody identifying themselves either first- or second-hand as a survivor of Rev. We realise many people will not be satisfied with this, and will point out that PersonD does not have to make their testimony to us in order to be a survivor. We agree. Neither does Rev have to make his testimony on Twitter in order to not be an abuser. We do not believe that either Rev or PersonD owes it to anyone to have details of their personal lives up on Twitter for public scrutiny.

You will have to trust us on the above, or not. We investigated as thoroughly as was possible, and found no evidence of anyone claiming that they personally, or anyone they had asked directly, was a survivor of sexual assault by Rev. We found ample evidence of people more distant from the situation spreading rumours, exaggerations and outright fabrications without the knowledge or permission of the people they named as survivors. We are sure many of them acted with good intentions but based on information which was third-, or fourth-, or fifth-hand, while others had a pre-existing grudge or dislike of Rev. We also heard of people with no connection to this situation physically attacking Rev and forcing him out of activist spaces and organisations. This “white-knighting” can be very damaging, not just to those named as abusers, but to the people those doing it claim to be acting on behalf of.

After we had gathered the above information the IWW concluded their process. We are not familiar with any of the specifics of the internal IWW process, so the best we can do is quote in full the email which was sent in March of 2019.  This email was sent to Rev from the then Union Secretary of the IWW.

“I must apologise for this taking so long and you being left in the dark about what was happening. There was a complaint and there were statements collected but the Complaints Officer decided that there was not enough evidence to substantiate the complaint and as the original complainant is no longer actively pursuing the complaint the complaints process should be closed.

It has been an unnecessarily long process to come to this conclusion and we will look at what has taken place and take steps to ensure that this does not happen again. My immediate view is that people have been given too long to respond to correspondence and I must take part of the blame there as I am responsible for keeping the overview. So please accept my personal apology.

So I am giving you formal notice that the complaint against you has been dismissed on the basis of lack of evidence, any local suspension has now been lifted and you are free to engage in union activities in any branch of your choosing.

Again my apologies for the time this has taken, if I can be of any further assistance then get in touch.”
Informally people within the IWW confirmed to AFed members that the complaint against Rev was closed without action taken against Rev. For privacy reasons, even with Rev’s consent, the IWW was unable to give us more information, but this would suggest that neither the IWW (who were in direct contact with the original complainants through a formal process), nor our facilitators (who put much time and effort into following up all the informal or rumoured accusations), could find a substantive case against Rev that gave us any concerns about working with him. We are aware a third group, which we won’t name as it was very local and only had a small number of members, also investigated Rev during this time, after hearing similar accusations. They didn’t find anything to suggest that Rev had perpetrated any of the above, and they (along with the person who raised the accusations with them) seemed satisfied he was safe to work with. However, dealing with this took up all the capacity of the group and it folded soon after.  AFed weren’t in direct contact with them at all during their investigation, and don’t have any more information on what it entailed.

Since this time, concerns about Rev have been raised to us again, but have turned out to be the same rumours re-circulating, with those raising them being even further from the original incidents and the people concerned than before. Despite reaching out to more people and groups over the years, everything we’ve been told has turned out to be retellings of the above, rather than new information. Some have discussed it in depth with us, while others did not wish to do so and cut off contact.

Rev does not claim to be a blameless individual, and we believe he has made every effort to learn from those mistakes he has actually made. However, the situations are complicated, far from one-sided and – most of all – private to those directly involved. Rev has extended offers, to meet and talk to those who initially raised the accusations, as have AFed members, but these have not been taken up. 

In the meantime Rev  has been assaulted and threatened, and his friends and those working on projects with him have been threatened with social exclusion or violence, and called “abuse enablers”, merely for refusing to break all ties with him and leave him isolated. We fully believe in protecting survivors, and the movement in general, from people who threaten or endanger them, but haven’t been shown that isolating Rev would be doing either. 

In October 2023, TAB released their statement (summarised back at the start), effectively marking the third time the accusations have been repeated to us. Since we haven’t heard anything back when requesting more information via a TAB member, we have decided to put down everything we could into this statement. If anyone has new information, not included here, that comes directly from somebody involved who wants action taken on it, we are very willing to listen and take this into account. We do not want to put ourselves, groups we organise with, or anyone who joins AFed in the future at unnecessary risk.

The Anarchist Federation as a group and as individuals do not claim to have all the answers when it comes to how to do deal with rape and abuse, and the rape culture which permeates every aspect of capitalist society – a society rooted in misogyny and white supremacy. We know all too well that anarchists and other radicals are far from immune to absorbing and replicating the dangerous and oppressive behaviours and philosophies of wider society, including rape culture. What we can fairly claim is that we have spent years (decades in some cases) attempting to fight against abuse in the activist scene, as well as in the wider world. This has not prevented abusive or bigoted people from joining us in the past, so we recognise that this fight is not just against external systems and people, but internal to our organisation, and internal to ourselves as individuals. On the request of survivors we have previously kicked people out of the anarchist federation, as well as, again at the request of survivors, taking other measures to protect people and challenge abuse. Each time we’ve attempted to take what we’ve learnt and improve how we do things.

We reject the notion that any one person could hold enough power in our organisation to be beyond reproach. We constantly attempt to improve the ways we organise in order to prevent hierarchies occurring. Even when informal hierarchies do exist, we have managed to break them in the past. For example in 2017 when a group of members, including all three surviving founding members of AFed, were confronted on their transphobia apologism, and they left the organisation. I hope we continue to do this in future.

If anyone is not satisfied that AFed is willing to challenge abusers, there is probably nothing we can say here to convince them. We are not in any way appointing ourselves as judges of truth and justice. We have never discouraged other groups from their own investigations, and have taken seriously any allegations raised. We have challenged abuse by following the lead of survivors in the past, and will continue to do so in the future. However, we will not isolate people from support networks, or publicise details of our members’ and their current or former partners’ personal lives as a result of vague social media callouts from unconnected people.