The Soviet Roots of Today’s Corporate Censorship
Frank Ellis, American Renaissance, September 13, 2017
“[We wish to] . . . set out a principled and politically correct statute . . . explaining the essence and justification of terror, its necessity and scope.”
Vladimir Lenin to Dmitrii Kurskii, People’s Commissar of Justice, May 17, 1922
“If you took everyone in the BNP [ British National Party] and everyone who votes for them and shot them in the back of the head there would be a brighter future for us all . . .”
Jeremy Hardy, Jeremy Hardy Speaks to the Nation, BBC Radio 4, September 9, 2004
In 1992, I wrote my first article about the phenomenon of political correctness that was then emerging in Britain, identifying and explaining the Soviet legacy. I was later told that PC was just the latest American fad and that I was dramatically overstating the dangers. A quarter of a century later, there can be no doubt that the emergence of PC — this then strange-sounding term that started to hit the headlines in the late 1980s — and the movements associated with it, such as feminism, anti-racism and multiculturalism, has inflicted untold damage on Western societies. The final aim is clear enough: It is to undermine white societies to such an extent that any expression of white national, racial, and cultural identity becomes impossible. Whites will still exist but they will never be permitted to act in their own interests, since that right will be solely conferred on non-whites.
Deplatforming efforts against American Renaissance and other racial dissident sites are another incremental attack on whites, but also an indication that the challenge mounted by these dissidents is gaining support. Dismissed in its early days by the totalitarian Left (and many of their gullible Republican allies) as being of little consequence, white advocacy is now feared and its enemies want to silence it because it has become an effective and therefore dangerous movement.
We do not have to go far into the past to find precedent for this kind of silencing. Communism, far more than Fascism and National Socialism, sought to create a state in which access to all information was controlled by the censorship apparatus, and all ideologically hostile information and ideas were excluded. In any political system, power and some form of censorship are inseparable, yet the more determined the power-seekers are to create a society by revolution and violence, the harsher they must treat those who oppose their plans.
Lenin understood that his regime was highly vulnerable, and would possibly not survive if newspapers hostile to the Bolsheviks were not shut down. So the papers were shut down and that which Lenin assured Russians — and also gullible Western fellow-travelers — would be merely a temporary measure, mutated into the most destructive pre-internet regime of censorship ever known. It was finally abolished in August 1990. So pervasive, in fact, was the Soviet censorship apparatus — embracing all forms of artistic, scientific and intellectual endeavor — that it must, in my opinion, be considered one of the main causes, if not the main cause, that finally brought the system to its knees.
Censorship was, of course, not invented by Lenin and his party, but they took it to undreamt-of levels, beyond anything known in Tsarist Russia. All mass media — press, periodicals, radio, cinema and television — were subjected to censorship, and all presented the same ideological worldview. Intellectuals and writers who dissented or would not conform were exiled, or arrested and shot. Isaac Babel, the master of the short story, was shot, and Nikolai Kliuev, who railed against collectivization, was also shot. Evgenii Zamiatin was forced into exile. Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn was arrested, internally exiled, and then when he became too famous to kill, was put on a plane to the West. This is just a small sample; many other cultural figures suffered similar fates.
When enough victims have been terrorized into silence or executed, the terror apparatus can pursue a policy of selective terror, concentrating on the remaining incorrigibles. What then emerges is a system of self-censorship. This is highly effective since those writers or intellectuals who step out of line can lose access to a whole range of valuable privileges: better housing, extra food, better schools for their children, and if they are especially trusted by the regime, foreign travel. In this system, writers censored other writers, ensuring their political masters were not embarrassed. This was the same psychological method used by the NKVD (Soviet secret police) to maintain order in the forced-labor camps. Professional criminals would be used to keep the political prisoners in line.
One of the great achievements of Western liberal-democratic societies was to grasp that those wielding power had to be accountable; that free speech was an essential element of a free society and that censorship too easily becomes the tool of the tyrant. Today, however, those who wish to impose multiculturalism on Western nations are pursuing an ideological program every bit as revolutionary as that which Lenin started to impose on Russia in 1917. The more resistance there is to a given ideological agenda — multiculturalism, for example — the more pervasive the censorship, the more repressive the measures used against dissenters. This is why in 2017, one hundred years after Lenin initiated his totalitarian experiment in Russia, dissident sites such as AmRen.com are being deplatformed.
The assault on whites follows two routes. The first is the relentless promotion at all levels of education of the message that whites are uniquely evil and that their racial, psychological, cultural and physical dispossession is inevitable and justified — even desirable. The second is to permit the uncontrolled influx of millions of non-whites into the United States and Western Europe so as, eventually, to render whites a minority. Once that minority status has been reached, constitutions and freedoms which we in England, for example, have long taken for granted will be jettisoned. An obvious target, already under attack, is free speech. I anticipate that at some stage, any criticism of the state cult of multiculturalism however apparently innocuous will be liable to criminal sanction. I take it as a given that when whites become a minority in the USA, the Bill of Rights will be torn to pieces.
There are some innovations, but the core methods deployed by advocates of multiculturalism to silence and censor dissenters are overwhelmingly derived from Lenin. The key elements are censorship (of literature, film, science and politics); film and entertainment as propaganda (role models, blacks as geniuses, women as warriors, white men as evil); supervision of the way in which language is used; exploitation of envy; severe public punishment of dissenters (loss of jobs, doxxing, public vilification); the identification of one class or race as an enemy of the people (whites and white privilege); the use of legal and administrative sanctions to punish and to deter other would-be dissenters; re-writing history (attacking symbols, flags and monuments, naming streets after Third World losers); promoting multiculturalism as global liberation of the oppressed; and the promotion of the absurd and grotesque as normal.
Western states have yet to execute dissenters, but they readily apply the other methods of oppression used in the Soviet Union. Self-censorship is an obvious method of control. Corporate employees might not accept the multicultural worldview, but they keep quiet since to speak out could mean losing their jobs. It is in Western universities, however, where one encounters the greatest subservience and self-censorship. This self-censorship utterly distorts student admissions, the curriculum, teaching, promotions, and research. “What sort of an education,” asks Solzhenitsyn in First Circle, “can you get from a professor who is scared stiff of losing his job?” Less obvious perhaps is that self-censorship exacts a psychological cost on the individual who is expected to extol the glories of diversity while not believing in it.
In the totalitarian environment of a Western university, the reasonable view that mass immigration is not necessarily a good thing must give way to the assertion that mass immigration is entirely beneficial and anyone who disagrees is a right-wing extremist. Multicultural zealots should be free to promote the absurd and the grotesque. However, when they exploit the closed world of the university to impose the absurd and grotesque — the idea that diversity is strength for example — they are using extreme psychological violence to compel acceptance. This is the terror of the absurd.
This technique was pioneered and taken to extremes by the Chinese communists and was used to break a person’s will — was he still a person? — and to rid him of unwholesome and incorrect thoughts. Contemporary America and Western Europe — above all the universities — resemble a Chinese communist educational-correctional facility: The propaganda is relentless; there is nowhere to hide.
This, in effect, is the world of PC in which we are instructed that truth, race, and sex are social constructs; that white skin is a privilege; that men and women are equal in all respects, but that white men are uniquely evil; that diversity and multiculturalism are blessings; and that homosexuality is a sexual orientation when it is, in fact, an erotic orientation. Historian Anne Applebaum writes that she is surprised people in the old East Germany could bring themselves to sing the nonsense lines of Das Lied der Partei (The Song of the Party) without laughing. Laughter would have been dissent, and a hideous group pressure and self-censorship kept the laughter at bay. A celebrity who tells the world that diversity is a blessing is demonstrating the same psychological conformity. The Soviet state’s use of naked force and physical terror has, in the PC world of the West, given way to the use of psychological and moral terror to bludgeon populations to accept what they instinctively and reasonably reject. Both approaches are totalitarian.
In 2017, internet companies are using their near-monopoly power to shut out people they designate “white supremacists” and “right-wing extremists” in exactly the same way the Soviet regime used economic measures to destroy internal enemies. The war against Russia’s incipient middle class started as soon as Lenin and his party seized power in 1917. If you were bourgeois, you were subjected to public humiliation, dispossessed, higher taxes, and were forced to do menial labor. Consumed by a hatred of class enemies, Lenin proposed that they be made to carry a yellow ticket (used to identify prostitutes in Tsarist Russia) so that they could be identified in public and suffer another layer of humiliation. Such methods were later adopted by the Nazis to humiliate Jews. If you held a government post, you were replaced by some poorly qualified person from a socially correct background (an early version of affirmative action), unless your expertise made you — for the time being — indispensable. In the 1920s, discrimination struck the universities, and people from the despised classes were denied admission, and professors suspected of being hostile to the party were forced out.
Methods pioneered by Lenin to target class enemies were applied to Jews by the Nazis. Jews were forced out of the professions as part of a Nazi program to Aryanise those professions. Their businesses were plundered and the Nazis did their best to ensure that small Jewish businesses were boycotted. Jewish shops and businesses were vandalized by well organised mobs and Germans would encounter signs such as Kauft nicht bei Juden (“Don’t buy from Jews”).
Again, taking their cue from the Bolsheviks and Lenin, who referred to class enemies as “bedbugs,” “parasites,” “contagion,” “plague,” and “scum,” the Nazis used the same language to isolate Jews. In both totalitarian states, state-controlled media poured out a relentless barrage of hatred against class enemies and Jews, which prepared the way for genocide first in Ukraine — the Holodomor — and then later in the German-occupied territories in the East. The victims of these state-sponsored hate crimes — and for once the term hate crime is accurate — had no forum in which to reply, and had to suffer in silence as they were dehumanized and demonized by Soviet and Nazi propagandists.
What will it be like for white Americans when they, too, are silenced and denied any right to resist the tsunami of anti-white hatred? If one takes the view that the internet is now an essential service like access to clean water, food, and electricity, but can be denied to people considered by internet companies to be politically dubious, what is to prevent banks, grocery stores, water companies, and power companies from refusing to serve people they do not like — or rather people they have been instructed not to like?
I ask whether, in 2017, the now institutional nature of affirmative action may have emboldened the internet companies to deplatform certain groups. It seems to me that denying whites access to essential services is ideologically consistent with the deeply established policy of denying suitably qualified whites access to the best universities. The next step is that all federal employees will be required to sign a declaration of support for multiculturalism. Refuse to sign and you are not hired; if you are employed at the time this requirement is introduced and you refuse to sign, you will never be promoted. How many people would refuse to sign?
In the communist German state, people degraded themselves by singing rubbish; in the Soviet Union, poems celebrated Stalin as a “great scholar;” in North Korea, the hereditary leader is told that he is a universal genius; in the USA, whites willingly submit to public humiliation so as to be purged of their white “racism.” If they say anything that in any way could be construed as “offensive” to blacks, they are sent to “sensitivity training.”
In the early 1920s in the Soviet Union, it was common for people who came from the middle classes to pretend to be members of the working class as a way of ingratiating themselves with the new regime. In times of extreme food shortages, this deception made sense, but what is the state of mind that compels a white woman, Rachel Dolezal — or as she now calls herself, Nkechi Amare Diallo — to pretend to be black? People who gamed the system in the Soviet bloc did so to survive. What is Miss Dolezal’s excuse for her charade?
One can also note, incidentally, that the organisations apparently so resolute in defending free speech, such as Article 19 and Amnesty International, are silent in the face of the censorship being enacted by internet companies. Cambridge University Press (CUP) publishes an online journal, The Chinese Quarterly. It contains a lot of material that the Chinese Communist government does not like (among other things, material dealing with Hong Kong, Maoist Red Terror, and Tiananmen Square). CUP capitulated to a demand from the Chinese government either to block access to the website or remove material from it. Following global pressure, CUP has once again made access to this material possible (obviously important for Chinese scholars in China and Taiwan). This is all well and good, but I wonder whether, if the material had dealt with low mean black IQ in South Africa and Zuma had complained, CUP would have made the material available once again. Why have we not seen any global pressure directed at internet companies for deplatformed racially dissident sites? The Chinese Quarterly is an essential research tool for sinologists, making it possible for scholars to circumvent Chinese state censorship. Likewise, sites such as AmRen.com are a vital tool for scholars and citizens wanting to bypass politically correct censorship.
I suggest that well before the protests in Charlottesville, internet companies were toying with the idea of denying services to groups they did not like. This move would have been considered at the highest level. These companies would have to reckon with criticism that they were shutting down dissent and behaving like Soviet censors. On the other hand, if there was sufficient outrage (real or manufactured) in response to some event, the time would be propitious for companies to pose as defenders of decency and multiculturalism in the face of right-wing evil.
Charlottesville was the perfect opportunity. Internet companies must hope that questions of censorship, free speech, and pursuit of truth will not be raised, and that their behaviour will inspire others. These companies surely intend to instil a sense of shock and helplessness, especially if their moves are generally applauded. Once again, the grotesque and vicious are welcomed as the decent thing, whereas resistance to the organized hatred of whites is mocked as extremism.
Whites must brace themselves for even harsher measures. Whites who approve of this denial of service are deluding themselves (think Martin Niemöller). Internet companies should pull back from totalitarian measures and eject Lenin from the boardroom. They are playing a dangerous game: They are attacking one of the foundations of the American republic and the West. If the measures taken against dissident voices come to be accepted as the norm, the institution of free speech will be severely weakened, if not destroyed. The First Amendment will be meaningless. Whites will then have to find other ways to articulate their grievances, and they will not be bound by Robert’s Rules of Order.