A calculated effort to suppress social movements and the journalists and publishers that cover them.
AUGUST 25th, 2020
Facebook’s deplatforming of anarchist, antiracist, antifascist, and independent media on August 19th is a malicious threat to free speech and public dissent.
The removal of activists, authors, and journalist profiles, pages, and groups—which Facebook’s own public statement acknowledges have no direct role in violent activities—has nothing to do with stopping violence, as the company claims. It has everything to do with suppression of social movements and the journalists and publishers that cover them.
Facebook’s intentional equivocation of the well-documented violence of fascist and alt-right militias and groups with anarchist, antifascist, and antiracist organizing is disingenuous and demagogic.
While the categorical smearing of anarchists and antifascists as inherently violent is nothing new for the Trump administration, Facebook’s conflation of these views with extremist political violence is a blatant attempt to pander to the “both sides” framing that’s been espoused by Trump post-Charlottesville. It serves to legitimize Trump’s intentional conflation of dissent with violence to further justify undermining protesters’ fundamental right to speech and expression.
Facebook’s justification for removing these groups is that they are “tied to violence,” allegedly “celebrated violent acts,” “or have individual followers with patterns of violent behavior.” The conception of “violence” applied here is inherently so broad that if we do not act, it will inevitably be applied to countless other pages, groups, journalists, and radical publishers as a means to suppress dissenting political viewpoints and collective action.
It comes as no surprise that this decision serves the dual function of protecting Facebook’s own financial interests by validating Trump’s claims that antifascists and anarchists are “violent” and thereby justifying his further criminalizing dissent, and delegitimizing Black liberation struggles.
We call on everyone to condemn this action and stand with us in the fight against fascism in all its forms.
The Radical Publishers Alliance is a coalition of international left-wing publishers and media which aims to lift up voices that challenge our broken social and economic systems and to come together around radical ideas for a more just and equitable world.
Participating English-language publishers and media include AK Press (US), PM Press (US), Verso Books (US and UK), Haymarket Books (US), The New Press (US), Seven Stories Press (US), Beacon Press (US), The Feminist Press (US), O/R Books (US), Between the Lines (Canada), Black Rose Books (Canada), Pluto Press (UK), Autonomedia (US and UK), Common Notions (US), New Society Publishers (Canada), Fernwood Publishing (Canada), ARP Books (Canada), Myriad Editions (UK), Repeater Books (UK), The Evergreen Review/Foxrock Books (US) and Dissent Magazine (US).