We Must Fight to Protect Dissident Voices on the Internet
Sixteen months ago, The Washington Post issued the equivalent of “wanted” posters targeting more than a dozen of the most effective left-wing sites on the internet—including Black Agenda Report, the only Black-managed operation singled out for suppression. Since then, the radical sites slimed as “Russian propaganda outlets and sympathizers” by Prop-or-Not, the Post’s shadowy “source,” report having lost on average nearly half their Google search-generated audiences. BAR editors have also noted a drastic drop in the number of our own articles that come up in routine Google searches, compared to pre-November 2016. BAR’s internet profile has been methodically shrunken.
There really is a vast conspiracy to strangle radical dissent in the United States, under the broad heading of suppressing “Fake News”—meaning reporting, analysis and advocacy that challenges the corporate narrative. The most active early conspirators emerged from Hillary Clinton’s campaign tent, packed with Wall Street and Silicon Valley operatives, lobbyists for all the profiteers of imperialist war, most of the corporate media, and the spies, assassins and information manipulators of the national security state. All were now Democrats—virtually the entire ruling class, brought together in terror of the unpredictable Donald Trump, a man known for his hatreds, but who failed to exhibit sufficient malice toward Russians or rhetorical loyalty to the free movement of global capital.
Amazingly, the Democrats attacked Trump from the right, reprising the McCarthy era of three generations ago. Trump was soft on the Kremlin, which is depicted as the home of Euro-Asiatic totalitarianism, no matter who is actually in charge. However, the new “Red Scare” requires the linking of Trump/Putin with domestic Reds—thus, the vilification of BAR and other left sites by Prop-or-Not, a toy in the hands of Amazon and Washington Post owner Jeff Bezos, the world’s richest man and business partner with the CIA.
Purging the Left
Trump—a fellow, although lesser, oligarch—represents no class or real ideological threat to Bezos or the rest of the U.S. ruling class. Like Pavlov’s dog, Trump has learned to avoid Russia-friendly gestures, lest he be subjected to political shocks. And his administration is more favorable to the upward flow of capital than any in post-war history. Anti-Trump corporate forces share the same racial-imperialist ideology as The Donald, and will never purge such views from the internet. However, the whole of the ruling class is united in the campaign to squeeze the left out of the web.
And they will succeed, unless we take counter-actions. In the long term, radicals must fight to nationalize the internet, to make it safe for dissident politics. Lefties of like mind should also create a common portal of access for the small constellation of anti-imperialist sites—a left internet neighborhood for radicals to roam around in. However, BAR’s immediate need is the same as it has always been, since our inaugural issue in October of 2006: sufficient contributions to keep the operation going, and growing.
We hope our readers like this new site we finished constructing a couple of months ago—because now we have to pay for it. It costs to look pretty.
Many of you have been more than generous to BAR over the years. We promise to work harder in 2018, to be worthy of your sacrifice.
In coming months, Google, Facebook and other social media can be expected to escalate their censorship of the left. As BAR managing editor Bruce Dixon has pointed out, the best way to circumvent Google is to sign up for Black Agenda Report’s free email list. That way, BAR and our readers can communicate directly, without hostile corporate intervention.
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Power to the People! And Happy New Year!
Glen Ford is the executive editor of Black Agenda Report.