Story time: how I got banned from /r/socialism.
If you disagree with the US propaganda that "China is committing cultural genocide of Muslim Uyghurs", 2, then you will be permabanned from /r/socialism (specifically, by mods /u/107A, and /u/agnosticnixie)
A lot of MLs/MLMs have been concerned over the state of /r/socialism in the last few months; we've been seeing an upward tick in defenses of western parliamentary / bourgeois democracy as being "superior" to the Cuban, USSR, Chinese, or NK models, shallow demonization of Actually-Existing-Socialist (AES) attempts (usually taking the low-effort form of "but state capitalism") and especially posts that bash the US's enemies (IE VZ/Syria/Cuba/China/Iran/Russia/Bolivia/Puerto Rico). Its not hard to see why: if you look over the mod list, there is only one mod of /r/socialism that is a Marxist-Leninist, and /r/soc otherwise has zero non-libertarian / "authoritarian" socialist mods, such as Maoists/MLMs/MTWs etc.
/u/bayarea415, the only Marxist-Leninist mod left (and the only one who doesn't hold western biases about China), does wonderful work compiling megathreads refuting western Sinophobic propaganda, and does more than any other mod towards educating those new to socialism, and creating that necessary bridge for those to cross from social democracy, liberalism, and reactionism towards anti-imperialist / revolutionary politics.
A few of the top mods of /r/soc (nearly the entire team are Anarchists, and I don't mean to demonize all anarchists, just the ones that uncritically echo US propaganda) repeatedly remove bayarea415 from the mod-team, then re-institute them at the bottom of the modlist, after a community backlash. This happened a few months ago, then again 2 weeks ago, and almost again a few days ago. This is despite bayarea415 having most of the top posts in the last year of /r/socialism, and doing the most work in creating 101s, megathreads, and removing socdem posts.
Here's a post from /u/agnosticnixie a few days ago, one of the top mods of /r/socialism, wanting to use the same justification banning me, to remove bayarea415 from the mod team. Here's yet another instance of nixie harrassing bayarea. Nixie is also anti-Evo Morales / Bolivian Socialism (and anti-Sankara), and considers anyone who doesn't demonize China, as a "Dengist", repeating the myth that Deng turned China capitalist.
The current mods are extremely hostile towards China, and are happy to join along with Pence, Pompeo, Gamers, Murican football fans, elitist liberals, and sinophobic redditors in claiming that "China is genociding Muslims" (See my megathread, which is what caused my ban, for why this is false). This is an extremely popular opinion amongst westerners, happy to eat up unsourced articles from the guardian or independent, or NED/State department funded western academics.
There is no short version to this story, but a good starting place is this article. Uyghur culture is thriving in XinJiang, there are over 10k mosques, enshrined religous freedom for Islam, the vast majority of Muslims in XinJiang think positively of China, the extremist elements make up only a tiny minority, and the US is pushing extremism and separatism, because a destabilized XinJiang would cause a lot of damage to the new silk road initiative, and disrupt Chinas trade west of its borders. The British, French, and US imperialist policy of pushing religious and ethnic factionalism, extremism, and then pitting them against each other (and especially against its larger enemies), is a long-perfected artform in the Middle East and Asia.
Unsurprisingly, a majority of Muslim countries support China's policies in XinJiang, and don't believe the western lies told about it. 2, 3. Supporters include Algeria, Angola, Bahrain, Belarus, Bolivia, Burkina Faso, Burma, Burundi, Cambodia, Cameroon, Comoros, Congo, Cuba, DR Congo, Egypt, Eritrea, Gabon, Kuwait, Laos, Nigeria, North Korea, Oman, Pakistan, Philippines, Qatar, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Tajikistan, Togo, Turkmenistan, UAE, Venezuela, Zimbabwe.
Never let people tell you that US propaganda isn't effective: in 2006, only 30% of the US population hated China. In 2019, its 60%. This sinophobia and anti-communism is so pervasive in the west, that it permeates every political trend not based on anti-imperialism. Its a repeat of cold war / red scare anti-communism, but now that the anti-communist left can no longer take aim at the USSR, they've focused on China as the primary target.
A lot of us have spent a good amount of time (see my megathreads for example ) disproving what appears to be the 6 main points of anti-China propaganda, where western anti-communists (whether they be ultralefts, liberals, socdems, anarchists, or reactionaries) all agree: "China isn't democratic / is a state capitalist dictatorship", "China is repressing Hong Kong", "China spies on its people", "China represses Muslims", "China massacred protesters at Tianenmen", "Mao killed / starved millions of people".
We also have to write about why, in recent decades, the US is starting a new cold war against China: the US empire is in decline (China's life expectancy surpassed the US in 2015, people's real wage in China has gone up 4x in the past 25 years, while the US's remains below 1973 levels, the global south is choosing China's belt and road initiative over the west's imperialist trading and funding networks, why China's one-party state is outperforming western multi-party democracies in terms of performance and public satisfaction (96% approval rating as of 2016), why the US space program is dead (except for lord elon of course) while China is launching a mars rover in 2020, etc. China is an emergent superpower, rapidly eclipsing the US, and the US has only two cards left to play: its military supremacy, and its media monopoly. The rash of anti-China sentiment is no accident; the six capitalist entities that own all media push these stories because its in their class interests to do so; because the US dollar will lose its supremacy, the rest of the world will prefer dealing with China over the US or EU, if they can only convince the world of China's "immorality" and western "moral superiority". Lots of fun reboots of cold war and orientalist attitudes going on here.
In short, its much easier for the west to make up bullshit and point fingers at its enemies, rather than own up to its decaying status as a world superpower, its massive social problems and alienation. And secondly, we have to disprove the CIA propaganda that "China is imperialist", as if what drove Maoists to liberate peasants and the poor of the world then and now, was narrow nationalism / racial supremacy, and that there is fundamentally no difference between the foreign policies of capitalist empires like the US, and socialist formations like China, Cuba, etc.
This is western chauvinists imputing the values of its own colonial powers onto those it colonized for hundreds of years (projection in psychology I think). Ultralefts also like to make it seem that all trade is inequitable, therefore, China is "imperializing" any country or people it trades with (total nonsense).
About 2 weeks ago, I made a comment in an anti-china sub-thread in /r/socialism, refuting the "China is genociding Uyghurs" propoganda here, with one of my megathreads. I post these pretty frequently, as the number of thin takes on China are pouring into /r/socialism with increasing frequency.
I was then permabanned and muted for "islamophobia / racism / colonial apologia / posting articles by conspiracy theorists" by mod /u/107A. To 107A, any opposition to the US propaganda that "China is genociding Muslims", means that you must therefore hate Muslims, since you don't agree with Mike Pence that China is genociding them. Put simply, all opinions contrary to US propaganda about Uyghur repression, is considered a "conspiracy theory", and a permabannable offense to the mods of /r/socialism.
It turns out that out of the 8 or so links posted in that megathread, they arbitrarily chose one to ban me over, with no discussion.
The Marxists in /r/socialism are held to a higher standard than the libertarians: its we who have to provide sources, links, and megathreads, while the libertarians can carelessly call the CPC genociders, racists, or "Han supremacists", with absolutely no critical analysis.
MLs are being targeted for listing facts, and one link, whether it be from a controversial voice or not, should not be the reason for bans. Anti-communists meanwhile are given free reign to shit on an entire non-Western country without any critical analysis. MLs list links, and get banned for one; other users can say the most vile things about a country, and be protected by Nixie and her gang.
If one wrong link can get you completely banned because it goes against the "China BAD" narrative, then /r/socialism is going end up like the reddit mains pretty quickly. With such a clear ideological bias against AES, /r/soc is actively in the process of ridding itself of its MLs/MLMs authoritarian communists.
The longer story
At least a year ago, a lot of us mods set up a discord for leftmods of various subreddits, not as a chat server really, but to help foster communication, to resolve beefs, and to help each other coordinate campaigns. We have members from /r/communism, /r/socialistRA, /r/shitliberalssay, /r/capitalism_in_decay, /r/communism101, /r/socialism_101, /r/paganproles, /r/moretankiechapo, /r/fullcommunism, etc. Although we routinely invite mods from /r/socialism, only a few would join or respond.
I've modded some huge subs, so I know that a lot of bans can be mistakes, and that its good to reach out in modmail to see if something occurred. I'm also very against burning bridges and demonizing an entire mod team for the mistakes of a single mod, and like to get consensus in the modmail. Many of us have debated and overturned many a ban over disagreements, and this is why a process for unbanning involving a democratic consensus is so important.
My messages to them went unanswered: [here are a few of them.]( )
I then reached out to those on that discord that were mods of /r/socialism, and /u/bayarea415 unbanned me, and I really appreciate that they put themselves out there for me. bayareas position as a mod is very tenuous there these days, (nixie has threatened to ban them several times in the last week alone), and I knew they were opposing some of the other moderators there by doing so.
An hour later, I was permabanned again (I was already so I have no idea why this was necessary).
Then I finally received this message detailing the reason for the ban:
A recent post of yours contained a link that was authored by F. William Engdahl, a conspiracy theorist who’s associated with Lyndon LaRouche and his anti-Semitic cult. This is the article in question. You have posted this multiple times, after being warned not to do so. This led a number of mods to question whether or you posted this out of ignorance of its fascist connections, or knowingly, without regard for where it came from.
Because this is the second time this has happened, the mods are currently discussing whether you should be permanently or temporarily banned. If you would like to provide an explanation, we’ll take it into consideration.
Thanks and sorry for the confusion.
So now I'm also accused of being not just Islamophobic, but also having an anti-semitic source. A two-fer of racism, yay.
So it turns out the "given" reason for my ban, was that my 6th source down on the Uyghur post, was by William Engdahl, who is a former member / linked to this LaRouche person, who apparently is anti-semitic.
I let them know that I had doubts about the veracity of that anti-semitic claim for that author, my response is here. He's an anti-imperialist and anti-zionist, publishing throughout the 80s and 90s, so most anti-imperialist authors were labeled as "conspiracy theorists" for talking about the US wars for oil, or "anti-semites", for being anti-zionist. I can get into them elsewhere, as I had to do a bunch of research on this bullshit, but overall the claims are pretty dubious, even the author himself explicitly says he's not anti-semitic.
More importantly, the mods know my stances and tendency; they know I'm neither islamophobic, nor anti-semitic. This is just the justification to purge yet another authoritarian socialist from /r/soc who says positive things about China they don't like.
They then proceeded to "link me" to this author, then to various other "cancelled" authors. This is called, "Trial by association."
BTW, lets get into the mod who banned me, /u/107A, who thinks that China has state-sanctioned Islamophobic genocide.
Here they are banning another person from /r/socialism for "police apologia" of the Hong Kong police, and the "conspiracy theory" that the CIA pays protesters. Yet another ban issued for…. actually something that's pretty true, the NED is covertly funding the protests, many of the protest leaders are meeting with Marco Rubio and Tom Cotton, meeting with US officials like Judie Eadie. A good starter on Hong Kong is this video by anti-conquista on the Hong Kong protest movement, and who's funding it.
It should go without saying that not every protest is revolutionary: many are highly reactionary in nature (color revolutions, protests outside abortion clinics, fascist rallies. The capitalist-funded HK protests are no different: the goal is trying to make sure China's harsher financial regulations won't apply to HK capitalists, even if that means that murderers who kill their pregnant girlfriends get to walk free.
107A's post history is mostly full of anti-china garbage, their source for "China committing cultural genocide of Uyghurs", is Adrian Zenz, an anti-China researcher who's been publishing about ["Chinese repression" in Tibet]() for years, and is the source of the 1.5 million Uyghurs in detention camps, basing his estimate on "satellite images." Check out some of the papers he's written. Interesting how using a NYTimes hack like Zenz isn't a bannable offense.
Zenz, like much of his NED/state-department funded ilk, help build the intellectual basis of support for the US's imperialist/orientalist policies. If China is committing genocide, and not simply dealing with a minority of extremists, then anything the US does against China has a moral justification.
107A is happy to post pro-HK articles from the Guardian. Using that British rag as a source, the majority of its articles being pro-empire lies, doesn't seem to bother them.
Its a lot easier to accuse someone of anti-semitism than to engage critically with an anti-zionist, and its easier to call someone an islamophobe than it is to dissect China's policies towards deradicalization of extremists in Xinjiang.
Apologies for taking yall on this ride, its a waste of pretty much everyones time, and mostly pointless bullshit. Anti-China "socialists" are a dime a dozen, its just most of them don't usually get to be top mods of socialist subreddits.
I'm gonna keep doing my work for the goals of socialism regardless, recording audiobooks and articles, making megathreads, and working on the reddit left alternative lemmy.