by Owen Hsieh, 3rd March 2019
In another blow to a free and open discussion, sharing of articles or the discussion of the World Socialist Website has now been banned from the r/theTrotskyists and r/Trotskyism subreddits.
This is only the latest anti democratic move, coming after a previous ban of the WSWS in 2014 from the r/Socialism subreddit.
The reason given was the WSWS arts editor David Walsh’s position on the sex scandal around Woody Allen, and that of the case against the filmmaker Roman Polanski.
The forum admin implementing the ban said “the articles amounted to “apologising for rape”, and that “the WSWS should refrain from defending pedophiles and convicted rapists in the future.”
Read further here.
In a recent post on r/Trotskyism reddit, one administrator wrote:
“Following recent drama on /r/TheTrotskyists and /r/Trotskyism the moderators of both subreddits have resolved to restrict the sharing of articles from WSWS.
For those unfamiliar, WSWS is published by today’s ICFI which is primarily led by the SEP. In recent years they’ve grown infamous for their repeated defence of rape perpetrators1 and their reactionary denunciation of the #MeToo campaign — which aims to illustrate the widespread prevalence of sexual harassment — as an “anti-democratic, authoritarian movement, and one, moreover, that deliberately seeks to divert attention from social inequality, attacks on the working class, the threat of war and the other great social and political issues of the day.”
Many more problems with the WSWS’ politics may be highlighted but these are certainly the most significant and disturbing. In light of this information WSWS articles were blacklisted from the /r/Socialism subreddit 4 years ago; a blacklist that should’ve been imitated in /r/TheTrotskyists and /r/Trotskyism before now.
Henceforth, WSWS content is not permitted on either subreddit. Simultaneously we encourage users not to post anti-WSWS articles either to prevent threads from escalating into full-blown subreddit-wide spam wars like were saw recently. I hope that comrades will appreciate and not violate this announcement.”
The post can be found here.
This latest development is particularly insidious, the most popular socialist publication online, one that is based explicitly on the writings of Trotsky and the history the fourth international, the WSWS, is now banned from the dominant Trotskyism forums on one of the worlds largest and most popular online forums.
Reddit is described as the “front page of the internet”, which is not an empty claim. Reddit is a news aggregation, content rating and discussion website. Functioning though a forum similar to a bulletin board system, users are able to share articles and other material on the website where it is then either voted up or down, and users are able to respond back and forth underneath in a ‘conversation tree’ of replies.
Reddit was co-founded by computer programmer and ‘Hacktivist’ Aaron Swartz, the website has since gone on to great success with a lively active community, according to internet website ranking service Alexa, Reddit is the 17th most popular website in the world, ranked 6th in the US alone.
The ban on sharing the articles from the WSWS is no small thing, with the proviso that there will no discussion or mention of it at all – “Simultaneously we encourage users not to post anti-WSWS articles either“, if these insidious forces have their way, this alongside the Google blacklist against left wing websites and the attacks on net neutrality, will mean that the content from the WSWS will begin to effectively disappear from the internet for a generation of new readers.
At the most basic level, the anti democratic measure of banning or blacklisting a website from sharing its material goes against the democratic, egalitarian principles of the internet, against its very raison d’être, furthering the free flow of information to benefit humanity.
And in its most extreme form, these ‘socialists’ are lining up with corporate and state forces to deepen and implement the blacklist against the World Socialist Website and other left wing blogs.
While some are engaging in a concerted, energetic campaign to defend online freedom, these shadowy figures are engaging in the most crass acts of censorship.
From this a political balance sheet will be drawn, these reactionary figures and forces will be exposed for the frauds they are, ‘socialist in name only’.
Shame on all those who are responsible for implementing these anti democratic moves to restrict the free exchange of ideas and an honest discussion.