For Immediate Release: August 27, 2020
Leading Authors, Journalists, Scholars, Publishers, and Others Sign Solidarity Statement Opposing Facebook Ban of Anti-Fascist and Anarchist Groups
Thousands of Signatories including Noam Chomsky, Cory Doctorow, Natasha Lennard, Molly Crabapple, David Graeber, and Andy Hurley Reject Facebook’s False Equivalency and Alignment with the Trump Administration’s Attacks on the Left
WASHINGTON, DC – Leading authors, journalists, scholars, publishers, community organizations, educators, and activists have signed a statement published by Agency, an anarchist public relations project, on August 21. The statement has been signed by over 2000 people since and condemns Facebook’s decision to ban a large number of pages associated with anti-fascism and anarchism from its platform, charging that the decision reflects a false equivalence between anti-fascist organizing and white supremacist violence.
The statement is available on the Agency website here, including statements from some of the signatories.
The statement has been signed by a number of well-known journalists, including Abby Martin, Molly Crabapple, Natasha Lennard, Jason Wilson, and Christopher Mathias, the novelists Cory Doctorow, Rachel Kushner, and Alain Damasio, the linguist and author Noam Chomsky, best-selling anthropologist, author, and professor David Graeber, Twitter founding team member Evan Henshaw-Plath, Moxie Marlinspike, creator of Signal and encryption software for Facebook’s WhatsApp, former political prisoner and whistleblower Chelsea Manning, musician Andy Hurley, and the editors of Jacobin, Semiotext(e), and AK Press, alongside hundreds of other signatories. Since then, nearly two thousand more have added their endorsements to the petition, entitled, “Stand with Anarchist Publishers Banned by Facebook” at Change.org, including media producers and community organizations from five continents.
The solidarity statement reads, in part:
At a time when demonstrations have played an essential role in creating a nationwide dialogue about racism, violence, and oppression, we see Facebook’s ban on anarchist publishers in the context of the Trump administration’s ongoing efforts to clamp down on protest. Their decision to ban publishers who provide a venue for participants in protests shows that they are taking their cues about what should constitute acceptable speech from those at the top of the power structure.
Facebook’s decision is part of a pattern that will go much further if we don’t respond,” reads the support statement published in solidarity with the banned anarchist pages. “Readers deserve to be able to hear voices from within protest movements against police brutality and racism.
Facebook’s decision to remove the anarchist and anti-fascist pages was officially explained as a purge of users “tied to violence”, including militia groups. Yet use of Facebook by militia groups has continued unabated since the purge, with lethal consequences. Less than a week after the announcement from Facebook, a far-right militia calling themselves the Kenosha Guard used Facebook to summon vigilantes to Kenosha, Wisconsin. According to The Verge, on August 25, the Kenosha Guard Facebook group posted a message urging people to bring guns to Kenosha and come prepared to use them, that read: “Any patriots willing to take up arms and defend our city tonight from the evil thugs?” That night, one militia member shot three demonstrators, killing two of them.
While Facebook has since removed the Kenosha Guard militia’s page, countless far-right groups are still utilizing Facebook. “The tragedy in Kenosha shows that Facebook’s decision to ban anti-fascist groups has not diminished the ability of far-right militias to use the platform to organize, even as it has shut down media outlets that monitor them,” says Agency spokesperson, scott crow, an author and longtime anarchist organizer. “They still allow right groups to organize with violent intentions, and for police departments that regularly kill civilians to promote their daily activities, while having completely banned numerous publishers who are trying to bring critical attention to the violence being perpetrated by right-wing movements and state institutions.”
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Agency promotes contemporary anarchist perspectives and practices through commentary, media relations, and educational campaigns. Learn more at www.anarchistagency.com