Censorship or "Censorship": Chuck O's Toy Campaign

From Paul Kneisel <tallpaul@nyct.net>
Date Thu, 23 Mar 2000 21:41:33 -0500

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I'm confused about Chuck O's notions of censorship, how he determines
censors, and how he selects the victims of censorship.

Recently there was a small campaign against Yahoo for provided free
organizing services to fascists contrary to the Terms Of Service contract
they provided.

Chuck O referred to this as a "censorship campaign" against the fascists
and opposed it. The objections extended the notion of "free speech" to a
right of fascist groups to free services from private corporations in
violation of the corporation's contract. It essentially said nothing of the
6,000,000 Jews censored by the Nazi government nor the KKK's
censorship-lynchings. Nor did it bother "defending" any of today's groups
the fascists would eliminate. It sought to create for fascists "rights"
that neither the American Civil Liberties Union nor non-fascist
libertarians would grant.

For Chuck O the whole campaign was a matter of "boutique anti-fascism."

At the same time he condemned the campaign in a virulent almost-McCarthyite
manner. "I guess now Paul can run back to his authoritarian Trot friends
and brag about how he duped a bunch of anarchists into supporting his
censorship campaign," he wrote. "I suspect that few anarchists supported
Paul's campaign. If so, I hope they read up soon about the history of
authoritarian leftist violence against anarchists. ... I've suspected for a
long time that those that fight the hardest against hate groups have
authoritarian tendencies that they are in denial about."

I am bewildered, as were supporters of the anti-fascist action, at how
Chuck O sees in a simple protest Trotskyism, "authoritarianism,"
"violence," and the like. Perhaps he will explain himself. Then again,
given his propensity to see things nobody else sees, perhaps he will not.
He takes a simple ultra-non-violent e-mail campaign and runs it through his
mind; "violence against anarchists" and "dupe[s]
pop out of his word processor. One suspects that paranoia and not reality
is operating here.

Any explanation should be all the more interesting given his new attack on
the Mattel Corporation.

"I think we need to conduct a little netwar against Mattel, which has been
using a court injunction against the hackers who decoded CyberPatrol," he
wrote. "I'm going to talk to the librarians about initiating a consumer
boycott against Mattel products. We need to make Mattel's name synonymous with
book burning."

Boutique anarchism? Boutique anti-capitalism?

Why did Chuck O engage in a rightwing red-baiting of people who sought to
make fascism synonymous with crimes against humanity and then turn to an
anti-Mattel campaign. And doesn't is attempt at linking Mattel to
bookburning rather trivialize the Nazi's far hotter stance on this issue?
Moreover, doesn't this trivialize -- with a vengeance! -- the real victims
of fascism past and the potential victims of fascism future. After all, I
can handle a Mattel Superman doll better than another real Hitler.

Where's the censorship, Chuck O? And where's your principles for
determining what is "boutique" activism and what is real; what is an
authoritarian campaign and what is anarchist; what is an important group
worthy of sustained attack and what is trivial?

Why did you oppose a campaign against fascists only to urge one against a
toy company?

  --  tallpaul (Paul Kneisel)
      Editor: The Internet Anti-Fascist

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