Louis Proyect: The Unrepentant Marxist

January 5, 2019

Busted for violating Facebook Community Standards a second time.

Filed under: Islamophobia,social media — louisproyect @ 11:29 pm

Around 10am on December 31st, I received a notice from Facebook that I had violated their Community Standards and would lose my posting privileges for 3 days. Their algorithms identified something I wrote as hate speech directed toward Muslims, which is quite strange since I have written maybe 400 articles since 2011 attacking Islamophobia. Then again, based on Facebook’s computerized moderation, Jonathan Swift would have been banned permanently for writing “A Modest Proposal”. I was told that the next time I violate their standards, the sentence would be 7 days and the next violation after that would result in a life sentence. Banned from Facebook for life. What a let-down that would be. Only yesterday, I had a “friend” explain to me in 41 words how Fidel Castro was not a genuine socialist like him. Maybe I can purge my friends list at some point based on whether they have posted a cat video or not. Anybody who hasn’t gets the boot.

So how did I end up writing an Islamophobic comment? As you might have heard, I get friend requests every day from people I have nothing in common with: Christians, men and women with nothing in their timeline except selfies and birthday greetings, people into “spirituality”, etc. Of course, my troubles stemmed from getting a friend request from a leftist in India who somehow had not figured out that I had written hundreds of articles calling Bashar al-Assad a blood-soaked dictator. Thirty seconds of reviewing his timeline had smoke coming out of my ears. Photos of triumphant Baathist soldiers, accusations of the rebels being ISIS, links to Mint Press articles, “false flag” conspiracy crap, and vicious attacks on the Kashmir Muslims. I probably should have just deleted his friend request and moved on but since I have such a short fuse, I posted about 5 or 6 over the top Islamophobic comments written as way of holding up a mirror to this jerk.

Evidently, Facebook’s software is not capable of detecting irony. Instead of being threatened with job loss like George Ciccariello-Maher or James Livingston for their own outrageous posts on social media, I was called on the carpet by an electronic monitor.

This was not the first time this happened. On October 22nd, I lost posting privileges for 24 hours because the electronic monitor had detected that almost a year earlier I had written an article on my blog that featured a picture of Adolf Hitler. A real human being would have figured out that the picture was not put there by a neo-Nazi but someone trying to explain how he came to power and what had to be done to prevent the rise of another Hitler. A real human being might have also figured out that I was trolling an Islamophobe on December 31 but there’s a good chance that the people in Facebook’s Community Standards enforcement division that is probably as big as a large town in the USA probably would have been just as clueless as the software and Mark Zuckerberg himself.

The fact is that no software could ever track down the real hate speech on Facebook, which is incubated in places like 21st Century Wire, Grayzone, Consortium News, Global Research, Off-Guardian, et al. Lately I’ve gotten wind of an Eva Bartlett article that is making the rounds on social media. With RT.com likely being the original source, probably hundreds of thousands of people have been exposed to an article titled “Organ theft, staged attacks: UN panel details White Helmets’ criminal activities, media yawns”. You see the words “UN Panel” and you might assume that this panel was convened by some official body of the UN. Nope. It was a panel organized by the Russian Mission to the UN and Bartlett. Using their clout, the Russians had the whole thing recorded and part of Bartlett’s typical lobbying for the Assad dictatorship. Like Blumenthal, Beeley and other scoundrels, you cannot help but believe that they are making money doing this work.

This junk starts on RT.com or Sputnik and then gets spread across the Internet by conscious and unconscious tools of the Kremlin. There is little doubt that when a lowlife like Max Blumenthal attended the RT bash in Moscow, he made connections there that were far more beneficial to his career than piddling jobs with Alternet. It gave him the leverage he needed to speak for the left on Tucker Carlson’s show.

All this Russiagate crap is besides the point. There is Russian interference in American politics but not through Facebook ads. Instead, it is tailored to the “anti-imperialist” left that has come to dominate American politics. Across the board, you see people like Oliver Stone, Stephen F. Cohen, Max Blumenthal sharing the talking points of Ann Coulter, David Duke, and Lyndon LaRouche’s cult. White helmets, sarin gas, the USA supporting ISIS in Syria, “false flags” in Ukraine, and all the other bowel movements the drainage pipes cannot process. It is Facebook and Twitter that is facilitating this Red-Brown alliance whether they understand it or not.

Like Pandora’s Box, social media cannot be closed. Its ills are part of the political terrain today, just like the positive contributions being made by the left. For every jerk like the guy who sent me a friend request, there are others who understand that the White Helmets are nothing but first responders trying to rescue people from the buildings that Putin and Assad bomb.

In my view, there will come a time when print publications and leaflets will begin to be the primary means of communication on the left for the simple reason that the state can easily crack down on us just like is done in Iran and China. But nothing can get in the way of a leaflet being handed out in a working-class neighborhood calling for a general strike, except maybe a cop’s revolver. That day will come, I’m sure. Be prepared, as they say in the Boy Scouts.



  1. 🙂 You are free to do what I did; which was deleting Facebook and Twitter.

    The algorithms have gone crazy!

    Comment by Renard Moreau — January 5, 2019 @ 11:58 pm

  2. You got off easy. I was given a 30 suspension with no warning for trying to post a link to a website with Hitler’s speeches.

    Comment by Les Evenchick — January 6, 2019 @ 1:28 am

  3. So Louis, will we see your name in the Integrity Initiative documents? Seems like you would fit right in.

    Comment by Doug Colwell — January 6, 2019 @ 4:49 am

  4. Doug, just because I am opposed to using sarin gas on poor people opposing an oligarchy, it does not mean I am mentioned in those documents. If you had an IQ higher than 40, you’d try to defend your shitty politics rather than waste time baiting me. Never get into a pissing contest with a skunk.

    Comment by louisproyect — January 6, 2019 @ 1:42 pm

  5. Ok, I will try to never get into such a contest. Thing is, I’ve never been able to be certain which oligarchy was responsible. I realize that you are certain, but I don’t know why. When I balance the evidence your argument looks lame.

    Comment by Doug Colwell — January 7, 2019 @ 2:35 am

  6. I use Face Butt to post a sort of weekly column of personal observations that I share only with family, none of whom write letters any more. Since it’s basically forbidden to use FB for any purpose other than gushing about puppies, cats, and babies (in that order), with a leavening of grinning selfies taken wherever, this is harder than it seems–especially because I have a Trump-loving nephew who talks to God in the drive-thru line at Burger King and is easily stimulated to eloquence on behalf of his delusions. Even given the wimpiness of my weekly posting, I’ve had to unfriend a cousin who loves Putin and was given to attacks on my character based on the superior manliness of his hero.

    I can’t imagine using FB for any serious purpose. It’s possible to write a little photo essay with actual words as well pictures, but I ‘m the only person I know who actually does this–can’t do that on dumbed-down Instagram or Twitter.

    I quite enjoy this aspect of FB and will miss it when it’s no longer available, or when the censorship becomes so extensive that even musings about country walks and native bees are subject to brutal redaction. We’re all stuck with families, and the hypocrisy of FB dovetails nicely with the saccharine brutality of family life as we know it.

    Comment by Farans Kalosar — January 7, 2019 @ 12:59 pm

  7. I would add that the Russians have another well documented avenue of approach into American politics and that is through the anti-LGBT, anti-women’s rights Christian Right. Christian Right leaders have been going to Russia since Yeltsin. The World Congress of Families is very close to the Russian Orthodox Church and the Russian oligarchy, which means sharing the bed with the FSB, as another strange bedfellow.

    Comment by JAMES_SCAMINACI_III_PHD — January 8, 2019 @ 7:37 am

  8. “Instead, it is tailored to the “anti-imperialist” left that has come to dominate American politics.”

    Woe betide that turn. Who needs anti-imperialism, especially “anti-imperialism”.

    Dumping Quaddafi turned out great.

    And who needs reporters on the ground when you’ve got Catskills blogger!

    Comment by Rojo — January 8, 2019 @ 11:22 pm

  9. Dumping Quaddafi turned out great.

    If given a choice between life under Assad and something like Libya today, 90 percent would choose the latter. Someone like you obviously doesn’t care that a half-million civilians died in Syria but total casualties in Libya were 25,000. Only a douchebag like you thinks that Syrians have to worry about becoming like Libya.

    Comment by louisproyect — January 8, 2019 @ 11:38 pm

  10. So we should’ve gone in heavier in Syria?

    Let’s clear the air — there’s zero proof that Bartlett, Beeley, Blumenthal, Hersh, Cohen, Stone (the list keeps growing) is connected to Russia.

    By definition you’re smearing people. More grotesquely, the smears are based on A) their anti-imperalism and B) their divergence from the dominant corporate media line.

    And, oh yeah, your throw in Ann Coulter for good measure. “Oh, Ann Coulter, I so hate her, and so does my housekeeper”.

    Whatever, the left is passing you by.

    Mighty effective leftin’ you did over the years, thanks for neoliberalism.

    Comment by georgespiggott — January 8, 2019 @ 11:51 pm

  11. Let’s clear the air — there’s zero proof that Bartlett, Beeley, Blumenthal, Hersh, Cohen, Stone (the list keeps growing) is connected to Russia.

    You are right. They write the shit they write out of ideological affinity.

    Comment by louisproyect — January 9, 2019 @ 12:49 am

  12. Louis, could you give a source for that 90 percent? I must have missed those polls. Did they include the folks on the slave blocks?

    Comment by Doug Colwell — January 9, 2019 @ 4:37 am

  13. I lost posting privileges for 24 hours because the electronic monitor had detected that almost a year earlier I had written an article on my blog that featured a picture of Adolf Hitler.

    Really? Facebook censored you because of something you wrote outside of Facebook?

    Comment by Lüko Willms — January 9, 2019 @ 10:04 am

  14. Doug, I have a better idea. Why don’t you explain to me why living in Libya is so much worse than Syria for the average citizen? 500,000 killed in Syria versus 25,000 killed in Libya. Is this supposed to better because Muslims believe they will live in paradise after dying? In terms of slavery, it existed under Qaddafi as well. The reason it was not as much of a scandal in the media is Gaddafi kept the press out.

    Comment by louisproyect — January 9, 2019 @ 12:52 pm

  15. George Spigot. How appropriate.

    Comment by Farans Kalosar — January 9, 2019 @ 11:08 pm

  16. “I have a better idea”. Your “better idea” is what rational people call a dodge.

    Comment by Doug Colwell — January 10, 2019 @ 6:51 am

  17. A dodge? Seriously? I’ve already fucking told you that a half-million people have died in Syria and on top of that 13 million people out of a total population of 22 million have been driven from their homes, with more than 6 million internally and the rest beyond its borders. And you have the fucking balls to tell me that Libyans are worse off than Syrians?

    Comment by louisproyect — January 10, 2019 @ 6:48 pm

  18. Louis I’m sorry, but I don’t remember saying Libyans are worse off than Syrians. Could you point to where I said that?
    In all honesty I don’t know who are worse off. I’ve never been to either country. I’ve met a few Syrians and was in lived in close proximity to a young Libyan man long ago. And I don’t know how much to trust any sources of information from either country. You seem certain of your information. Can you explain why I should trust your sources? I’m asking seriously, not trolling. And if you don’t have the time I understand.

    Comment by Doug Colwell — January 11, 2019 @ 1:12 am

  19. I guess Louis is making the case the we should’ve gone in hotter-and-heavier in Libya. Hard to tell. I don’t think he’s quite sure how Neocon he is.

    He’ll do that “where there’s an X, put an O” thing. I think that’s Trotsky. I don’t know, I’m a slob.

    But if one does the X and O thing when it comes to American Imperialism, you’ll be right nearly every time. At least you’ll be more right than Louis is. He’s completely wrong every time.

    Comment by Rojo — January 11, 2019 @ 9:40 am

  20. I guess Louis is making the case the we should’ve gone in hotter-and-heavier in Libya. Hard to tell.

    Hard to tell? All you need to do is click Libya in the categories to the right of this page and you will see everything I ever wrote. You will search in vain for any support for NATO intervention or for American intervention in Syria. I am opposed to “humanitarian intervention” as should also be obvious from my opposition to the NATO war in the Balkans. In fact, I have done more to oppose US intervention as an activist, first in Indochina and then in Central America than you have. What are your credentials as an anti-imperialist? Trolling my blog anonymously, you piece of shit?

    Your problem is that you can’t tell the difference between writing an article demonstrating Gaddafi’s alliance with Berlusconi, for example, and supporting NATO intervention in Libya. The Global Research left, including you, puts an equal sign between telling the truth about Gaddafi’s filthy dictatorship and supporting NATO.

    Comment by louisproyect — January 11, 2019 @ 3:39 pm

  21. Louis I’m sorry, but I don’t remember saying Libyans are worse off than Syrians.

    That’s because I was replying to Rojo, not you.

    Comment by louisproyect — January 11, 2019 @ 3:56 pm

  22. People who publish on RT and Sputnik get paid. That–not to mention all-expenses-paid travel to conferences and the like–is a connection with Russia, just as publishing in The Washington Times is a connection with ultraright Republicanism–as indeed is appearing on the Fucker Snarlson sigheilfest, which cannot with justice be termed a “forum.” No deeper conspiracy need be inferred eg in Blumenthal’s case, though in other cases, conspiracies–for example, by the Russian government to poison their perceived enemies-do undeniably exist.

    Anyone who denies this is either a fool or a knave. (Of the two, for my money, Colwell is the former and the faux Internet keyboard tough guy “Rojo” [red as a snow monkey’s ass if you ask me] is obviously the latter …But why start a pissing contest with pissants … )

    The simple fact is that Blumenthal and his ilk have zero class outlook and very little capacity for higher-order historical and economic thought and analysis, and can only approach politics as some Manichean struggle of eternal good and evil. “Imperialism” is evil–whatever opposes it therefore is good. Beyond that point, thought is irrelevant–there can only be casuistry in the interests of the pre-ordained “moral” position.

    Those who push this position or some variation thereon might be–perhaps are to some extent in many cases–at least mildly corrupt (John Wight or Mike Whitney anyone?) but that is irrelevant to the analysis of their political position.

    For such people, nothing has changed objectively since 1968–whoever denies this is from the Devil.

    It goes without saying that such an approach has nothing to do with Marxism, whatever red flags the assholes in question choose to drape themselves in.

    Vladimir Putin is a murdering imperialist thug whose government is a mafia state that is corrupt from top to bottom. His followers are indisputably fascist–both in Russia itself and in this country, although one suspects that lead fascist A. Dugin regards his American acolytes with secret contempt as expendable tools … . It’s quite common for fascists to look down on other fascists.

    One cannot decently assert that Putin and BRICs–Bolsonaro, anyone? Modi, anyone?–are forces of political progress because they “oppose American imperialism.” This outlook is radically infantile, profoundly dangerous, and reflects the tragic decomposition of the American left into fragmentary reflexes based on Stalinism, which naturally lends itself post mortem to red-brownism–and despite its fetish for the “scientific,” to moralistic simplism in all its forms.

    Does this mean that the piece of shit Putin is the Devil and all who oppose him saints? No, we should see this arsling for what it is, but we can’t just put a minus where Mr. Hanky puts a plus and vice versa–we have to think historically.

    As far as analysis of the conspiracist false-flag horseshit is concerned, the place to go for facts is Bellingcat–but that’s far too hard for these folks. Consider the World Trade Center!!!! Consider the Kennedy assassination!!! You see?

    Comment by Farans Kalosar — January 11, 2019 @ 4:21 pm

  23. Farans you are a brilliant comic, I must admit! Bellingcat! Even I, with my “under IQ of under 40” can get the joke. We must side with NATO to support the masses. Sublime.

    Comment by Doug Colwell — January 12, 2019 @ 4:15 am

  24. Hang on to that rubber chicken, Colwell–you’d be lost without it.

    Comment by Farans Kalosar — January 12, 2019 @ 12:51 pm

  25. First time visiting your blog, and very interesting story with Facebook, too.

    Funny thing that explicitly left-leaning persons like yourself consider the system to be right-leaning and rigged against you, but people who are explicitly right-leaning consider exactly the opposite.

    Frequently enough, however, the “system” (the media, academia, etc.) is far more dogmatic on the anti-nazi policy and more on-the-fence with the anti-communist policy.

    So, things to consider…

    The mainstream is mercenary, not patriarchal or right-leaning. Things will move according to where profit is made and where people can get off with more benefits and less work or responsibilities. This is simply human mediocrity.

    Comment by D. A. R. G. — February 1, 2019 @ 7:42 am

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