Social Media Censorship Is Vastly More Dangerous Than The Censored Material
US oligarchs: Russia hacked our election.
Public: Uh oh! What should we do about it?
US oligarchs: Greatly inflate the military budget, sanction US rivals, and censor dissenting opinions.
Public: Umm... aren't those things you've always wanted to do anyway?
US oligarchs: Hush.
I know objecting to internet censorship makes me a right-wing Nazi-kissing literal Hitler in the eyes of many in this bizarre funhouse mirror world of online political discourse, but I insist that censorship by powerful corporations is one of the greatest obstacles we face in our fight to survive and thrive as a species in a world that is increasingly imperiled and dominated.
It has become painfully obvious that political solutions to the problems we face are locked shut to us. Democracy does not exist in America in any meaningful way, and those of us who live outside of America are all subject to the whims of the power establishment which has loosely centralized itself there. Here in Australia we have paper ballots, exit polls and ranked-choice voting, which is a wet dream for many American election reform advocates, but it’s completely meaningless for us in a lot of ways because we’re functionally a US military/intelligence asset. All matters of interest to the US-centralized power establishment are completely uninfluenced by Australian voters; we only get to pretend to be a real country insofar as that doesn't interfere with the interests of the empire.
The idea that we can vote our problems away is only useful insofar as it gets the populace trying the doors and learning for themselves that those doors are locked. The rigged US Democratic primary was a perfect example of that; if millions of people hadn't tried to elect an unauthorized candidate, they never would have discovered that the machine was manipulating the field in a plethora of different ways to prevent them from accomplishing their goal. But beyond that the door of actual political democracy is bolted shut.
This is not yet the case with democratized information sharing. The operational word being yet.
I highlighted this way back in May when I wrote an article titled "How To Fight The Establishment Propaganda Machine And Win", which was promoted by Julian Assange and received a fair bit of attention. I'd noticed what a crucial role the mass media plays in manipulating the way ordinary people think and vote, and how the oligarchs would be unable to rule if public trust in their propaganda machine was shattered, so I pointed out the fact that our species has a radically unprecedented ability to share ideas and information and described some ways we can use that new ability to disrupt the machine.
But the machine had noticed this hole in its armor as well, and planned accordingly. Since I published that article the democratization of information has been greatly hindered by censorship from powerful Silicon Valley plutocrats, with Google algorithm changes slashing the viewership of leftist and anti-establishment websites like CounterPunch, World Socialist Website, Alternet and WikiLeaks, while Facebook and Twitter along with Google's YouTube grow increasingly brazen with the kinds of political speech they are willing to silence. Facebook has caused a drastic drop in the visibility of unauthorized articles, and I myself have been temporarily suspended for political speech by both Facebook and Twitter.
Just the other day I was supposed to have a live streamed interview on Youtube with progressive commentator Jamarl Thomas, but minutes prior he had his live streaming privileges revoked for reporting on a standard mainstream story about Russiagate. Thomas is someone I'd consider a relatively mellow voice on the progressive circuit, providing thoughtful commentary on the political landscape without extending nearly as far into the realm of conspiracy theory as many of us do, and they censored him of all people, for a story about something that happened on freaking MSNBC. He talks about his experience here in the first part of our conversation.
Hours after Medium announced it had suspended the accounts of right-wing pundits Mike Cernovich, Jack Posobiec and Laura Loomer, Mother Jones Senior Reporter Shane Bauer was on Twitter tagging Medium and telling them that they needed to censor antiwar leftists like myself as well for expressing skepticism of the establishment Syria narrative. The empire and its loyalists will never be content with merely silencing right-wing voices, which is why when Infowars starts receiving strikes from Youtube for merely expressing skepticism, we should all get worried.
I don't care for Infowars. I think the way echo chamber cultists try to paint it as a white supremacist Nazi outlet is cartoonishly ridiculous, but it isn't a good source of information and Alex Jones' analyses of what's going on in the world rarely seem to consist of much more than him making whatever noises sound most soothing to conservatives who are fed up with the status quo. But the things that he says are infinitely less dangerous than powerful media corporations censoring controversial political speech.
And when I say censorship, I mean censorship. America has a corporatist system of government, with no meaningful separation between government power and corporate power, so corporate media is government media, and corporate censorship is government censorship. When you've got Senate Judiciary Committee meetings featuring plutocrat-sponsored Senators meeting with plutocrat-owned social media officials talking about how to use internet censorship to "prevent the fomenting of discord" in America, you've got government censorship.
Oh, you didn't hear about that last one? Yeah, it's a thing. A few months ago the Senate Judiciary Committee spoke with top legal and security officials for in a very disturbing way about the need to silence dissenting voices. Democratic Senator Mazie Hirono of Hawaii demanded that the companies adopt a “mission statement” declaring their commitment “to prevent the fomenting of discord.” Former FBI agent and deep state lackey Clint Watts kicked it up even further, saying, “Civil wars don’t start with gunshots, they start with words. America’s war with itself has already begun. We all must act now on the social media battlefield to quell information rebellions that can quickly lead to violent confrontations and easily transform us into the Divided States of America.”
This happened on the Senate floor, right out in the open.
The media manipulators know all about manufacturing the consent of the governed. They know you can't just say "Hey we want to invade Iraq to destabilize the region and flood the area with terrorists so we can justify troop presence throughout the Middle East, thwart the agendas of Russia and former Soviet allies, and ensure the institution of the petrodollar in key OPEC nations," so they say "Everyone! Saddam has weapons of mass destruction and he's trying to do another 9/11!"
In the same way, they can't say that anyone who questions establishment narratives needs to be censored, but they can come up with reasons to censor soft targets with little mainstream support who the dominant American culture enjoys making fun of. People like Alex Jones. Once they've got the public trusting Big Brother to protect them from the Alex Joneses, Mike Cernoviches and RTs of the world using every excuse from "harassment" to "fake news" to "Russian propaganda", they'll secure more and more public consent to silence anyone who makes things difficult for the mass media machine.
Don't like it? Go to Gab, where you can talk about it as much as you like to eleven people with cartoon frog user pics.
No political speech should be censored. The new media is a tool that we need to use to dialogue with one another and share information, and if these vast social media corporations obstruct political speech that is not explicitly violent or pornographic they are disrupting humanity's attempts to communicate with itself. This is far, far more dangerous than anything Alex Jones has ever said, because it removes the only obstacle standing in the way of the omnicidal, ecocidal plutocracy which is threatening our very existence with the looming probability of extinction via nuclear holocaust or climate chaos. Individuals with access to unauthorized ideas and information are that obstacle, and the plutocrats are neutering us with censorship.
Refuse to consent to this. They wouldn't be working so hard with the Russian propaganda/fake news narrative and the "Nazis are taking over America" narrative to manufacture that consent if they didn't need it. Leave all nonviolent political speech alone and let us sort it out, Big Brother. Ordinary people are far more sane and intelligent than you are.
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Very excellent report Caitlin
I'm sorry to see that they've attempted blocking so many people.
I guess James Corbett and Luke Rudowski weren't crazy warning about this years ago when they said "ThemTube" will eventually take us down...
Guess it really is just a matter of time now before the curtain is pulled back and the actual horror taking place behind the scenes is revealed for all to gall at.
It's going to be a truly horrific time and a time of Great Reckoning and Judgment :3
Or something along those lines... Personally, I'm looking forward to a time when turning our backs to society for good and picking a side of history to be on becomes a matter of survival.
It's not that I don't like having one foot in one foot out, but there's a part of me that goes the complacency and in-cahootsness need a good kick in the seat of the pants.
I want a real decentralized crypto-powered peer-to-peer economy of digital and information revolution :3
While I deeply sympathize with your concerns, I cannot hope for existential threats to our people that might spur greater engagment. That way lies 9/11. That's what the PNAC said when they advocated for it, anyway.
Society isn't the problem. The problems society(s) are facing are but symptoms of the covert influence of powerful propagandists and censors.
I am horrified by the recent public statements of Trump that government in America should 'seize the guns first, and worry about due process later'. If that starts happening, there will be civil war, and my sons, and all our dreams, will be shattered on the Catherine Wheel of corporate power, grist for the feedmill of the defense industry, profit centers for the very powers we oppose censoring and silencing us.
There is no more permanent censor than death. We're on the verge of not only a civil war, but a global war, and nothing will more profit and empower the enemies of freedom and the weapon they use against our minds and reason, the enemedia.
Americans are too complacent. The imperial destruction of the most prosperous nations in the Middle East has been viewed with sanguine equanimity by most, approval by the mindless or venal, and opposed by but few. Fewer yet even consider it possible to happen here.
It may be the plan to bring it here, and divert geopolitical power to China, that has overtaken the West in economic power, and pioneered the most draconian surveillance and police state/social control mechanisms extant, leaving plutocrats literally drooling over the profit potential of exporting such tyranny here.
War will bring it here, and generate immense profits in the process.
Be careful what you wish for, my friend. Remember that 'may you live in interesting times' is a curse.
I'll settle for boring and uneventful, particularly for my sons, and even at the cost of not getting to spout my umbrage on Youtool.
Hell, I just talk to my neighbors anyway. Those are the folks I can actually count on when the chips are down, and are the difference between prosperity and poverty in a trying economy.
The only way to stop it is to vote with our feet and use Gab.ai, Steemit, DuckDuckGo, etc.
These are precious resources, yet vanishing few, and uncompetitive with propaganda mills. We need more and better means of communication: mesh networks, extranational cryptocurrency and ISP's (I'm thinking of Nexus in particular, with a core of satellites for both blockchain and internet access beyond state(s) control), and secure hardware and end to end encryption for our communications (including metadata) that isn't backdoored by manufacturers and publishers.
We also need to turn the tables of the surveillance state, so that our public 'servants' actions are published in publicly auditable blockchains where corruption can be exposed, not censored, and prompt action to excise it. Maybe if states weren't so eminently corruptible, they wouldn't be anathema to freedom and the felicity of our posterity.
Hopefully technology will ride in to enable us to defend our lives and property, but I am extremely alarmed at the sudden emergence of the prospect of American civil and global war. The deep state possesses power not because it's stupid or gentle, but the opposite: savage and cunning. I reckon they're aware of burgeoning means of escaping their enemedia influence, and can read the writing on the wall.
Forewarned is forearmed, and they yet have the greater armories.
Hi Caitlin, great to come upon your posts. So nice to hear a left leaning voice, there are far too few in the so-called 'conspiracy' world. I wonder why the left have taken so long to catch up with a narrative that Alex Jones has (skewedly) been shouting from the roof tops. I am from the UK and am enjoying having a platform like Steemit.
I thought it was bad when the school library banned Harry Potter books years ago. I never imagined I'd see censorship like this. It's downright scary.
Already getting "sidists" wanting to argue points not claimed within your article. Excellently written and I concur. Brilliant article Caitlin
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We are living in harsh times, where everything is starting to be ass backwards.
Especially people considering themselves awakened whilst digesting Alex Jones' propagandic spud, it's next level humor!
I'm not a fan of Jones or Jeff Rense anymore, yet both are where I started reading and questioning many years ago. Moved along after getting dissatisfied with both. Who knows maybe Jones is a 'supported and controlled' opposition, even if it isn't conscious or not deliberate on this part, since he provides a nice target to justify censorship, even if it shouldn't happen and is unjustifiable.
Yep, becoming truly bizarro world and what is even more bizarro about it is when you get off the computer after reading an article like this that spells it out and then interact with the public things for the most part are normal. Been like this for years where the vice is cranking down and door to the future is slowly closing... and most people people are ignorant and like Eat, Drink and be Merry. Yep, because 'tomorrow', a lot are going to die.
Congralutation very's nice @cainylinjohnstone
Great post. I've been researching this issue, leading me to write a fiery op-ed calling for the death of Facebook. https://steemit.com/facebook/@jakeofthefoliage/why-it-s-time-for-facebook-to-die
Another great article that sees through the fog and points the way. Donated via paypal today. Keep up the good work!
What is the corporate news media these days but a censorship operation?
People know nothing but Russian Nothingburgers, and Russian Nothingburgers morph into natural political graft. Which means, obviously, that Russians have polluted our political system.
Nevermind that Manafort was directing the Podesta Group in opposing the neonazi US sponsored coup in the Ukraine, what is important is that Drumpf's guy was on the same side as Putin.
We have had corporate censorship my entire life; I'm 45.
What is different now is that the corporate censorship is active instead of passive; nakedly attacking minority political opinions and fomenting dissent between voting demographics.
Also, they're no longer censoring by controlling the narrative. They are censoring by destroying the narrative. Reporting he said, she said. Giving credence to numskulls. Putting CIA Directors on the air masquerading as journalists.
It's insane, when you think about it.
We've moved from mass misinformation to disinformation, and we're getting a look at reality off it's moorings.
I heartily agree with your statements I have read, and this one as much as any. I'm confused to read you consider yourself on the left, as I understand that to be in favor of state power and approving of taxing folks to fund government initiatives that cause folks to naturally curtail their speech in order to not jeapordize their dole.
What I read here, and in all your posts, indicates instead that you oppose the corrupt state imposing it's will on free people--the very definition of conservatism. I'm not trying to generate strife or some rift, but trying to grasp the meaning of the terms 'left' and 'right' which seem to be without meaning as you and I haven't a farthing of disagreement on the topics you have published that I have read.
The late Phyllis Schlafly of the Eagle Forum, a bastion of arch-conservatism, once opined that I was an ultra-conservative. I but consider myself a 'classical liberal' meaning I oppose efforts to constrain the right of people to live and speak as they wish, as well as the theft of my labor by armed thugs.
Maybe there's a more meaningful suite of labels that would sensibly include we both in a group. It was remarkable to me that in '1984' Orwell related how words determine how we think. Our beliefs indeed inform our perceptions, and I suspect that the labels 'left' and 'right' might impose a needless schism between us, who seem fully in agreement as to the most substantive matters at hand.
Julian Assange ⌛ tweeted @ 09 Jul 2017 - 13:58 UTC
Caitlin Johnstone tweeted @ 12 Feb 2018 - 21:43 UTC
Julian Assange ⌛ tweeted @ 20 Feb 2018 - 18:02 UTC
Lee Camp [Redacted] tweeted @ 03 Mar 2018 - 07:19 UTC
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Great job Caitlin! I am amazed at the new lengths facebook or as I like to call them Fakebook will now go to. They logged me out to force me to see an old post they scrounged up from their dusty archives. It was full of truth and the layout of CAIR. See the post that burned their eyes in my link. As soon as I told the story, I was banned again on facebook from posting or interacting with my own groups who have asked me to join and are like minded. I have been banned numerous times just for posting truth and calling out corruption. https://steemit.com/facebook/@artistiquejewels/new-level-of-a-nasty-censor-gram-from-facebook-better-known-these-days-as-fakebook
Jamal, Caitlyn, nor anyone else, have spent time examining the contents of the DNC emails. Imagine if Daniel Ellsberg released the Pentagon Papers and nobody read the papers. Everybody sat around arguing “Who helped him get the papers!” “It’s a Communist plot!” “The Communists want to influence our elections!”
It’s incredibly heartbreaking that the American people have gotten to this point. REFERENCE: Being Julian Assange, by Suzi Dawson. The must-read of the decade.
You are right.