HomeArticleIn A Corporatist System Of Government, Corporate Censorship Is State Censorship

In A Corporatist System Of Government, Corporate Censorship Is State Censorship

Last year, representatives of Facebook, Twitter, and Google were instructed on the US Senate floor that it is their responsibility to “quell information rebellions” and adopt a “mission statement” expressing their commitment to “prevent the fomenting of discord.”

“Civil wars don’t start with gunshots, they start with words,” the representatives were told. “America’s war with itself has already begun. We all must act now on the social media battlefield to quell information rebellions that can quickly lead to violent confrontations and easily transform us into the Divided States of America.”

Yes, this really happened.

Today Twitter has silenced three important anti-war voices on its platform: it has suspended Daniel McAdams, the executive director of the Ron Paul Institute, suspended Scott Horton of the Scott Horton Show, and completely removed the account of prominent Antiwar.com writer Peter Van Buren.

I’m about to talk about the censorship of Alex Jones and Infowars now, so let me get the “blah blah I don’t like Alex Jones” thing out of the way so that my social media notifications aren’t inundated with people saying “Caitlin didn’t say the ‘blah blah I don’t like Alex Jones’ thing!” I shouldn’t have to, because this isn’t actually about Alex Jones, but here it is:

I don’t like Alex Jones. He’s made millions saying the things disgruntled right-wingers want to hear instead of telling the truth; he throws in disinfo with his info, which is the same as lying all the time. He’s made countless false predictions and his sudden sycophantic support for a US president has helped lull the populist right into complacency when they should be holding Trump to his non-interventionist campaign pledges, making him even more worthless than he was prior to 2016.

But this isn’t about defending Alex Jones. He just happens to be the thinnest edge of the wedge.

As of this writing, Infowars has been censored from Facebook, Youtube (which is part of Google), Apple, Spotify, and now even Pinterest, all within hours of each other. This happens to have occurred at the same time Infowars was circulating a petition with tens of thousands of signatures calling on President Trump to pardon WikiLeaks editor-in-chief Julian Assange, who poses a much greater threat to establishment narratives than Alex Jones ever has. Assange’s mother also reports that this mass removal of Infowars’ audience occurred less than 48 hours after she was approached to do an interview by an Infowars producer.

In a corporatist system of government, wherein there is no meaningful separation between corporate power and state power, corporate censorship is state censorship. Because legalized bribery in the form of corporate lobbying and campaign donations has given wealthy Americans the ability to control the US government’s policy and behavior while ordinary Americans have no effective influence whatsoever, the US unquestionably has a corporatist system of government. Large, influential corporations are inseparable from the state, so their use of censorship is inseparable from state censorship.

This is especially true of the vast megacorporations of Silicon Valley, whose extensive ties to US intelligence agencies are well-documented. Once you’re assisting with the construction of the US military’s drone program, receiving grants from the CIA and NSA for mass surveillance, or having your site’s content regulated by NATO’s propaganda arm, you don’t get to pretend you’re a private, independent corporation that is separate from government power. It is possible in the current system to have a normal business worth a few million dollars, but if you want to get to billions of dollars in wealth control in a system where money translates directly to political power, you need to work with existing power structures like the CIA and the Pentagon, or else they’ll work with your competitors instead of you.

And yet every time I point to the dangers of a few Silicon Valley plutocrats controlling all new media political discourse with an iron fist, Democratic Party loyalists all turn into a bunch of hardline free market Ayn Rands. “It’s not censorship!” they exclaim. “It’s a private company and can do whatever it wants with its property!”

They do this because they know their mainstream, plutocrat-friendly “centrist” views will never be censored. Everyone else is on the chopping block, however. Leftist sites have already had their views slashed by a manipulation of Google’s algorithms, and it won’t be long before movements like BDS and Antifa and skeptics of the establishment Syria and Russia narratives can be made to face mass de-platforming on the same exact pretext as Infowars.

This is a setup. Hit the soft target so your oligarch-friendly censorship doesn’t look like what it is, then once you’ve manufactured consent, go on to shut down the rest of dissenting media bit by bit.

Don’t believe that’s the plan? Let’s ask sitting US Senator Chris Murphy:

“Infowars is the tip of a giant iceberg of hate and lies that uses sites like Facebook and YouTube to tear our nation apart,” Murphy tweeted in response to the news. “These companies must do more than take down one website. The survival of our democracy depends on it.”

That sure sounds an awful lot like the warnings issued to the Silicon Valley representatives on the Senate floor at the beginning of this article, no? This is headed somewhere dark.

We’re going to have to find a way to keep the oligarchs from having their cake and eating it too. Either (A) corporations are indeed private organizations separate from the government, in which case the people need to get money out of politics and government agencies out of Silicon Valley so they can start acting like it, and insist that their owners can’t be dragged out on to the Senate floor and instructed on what they can and can’t do with their business, or (B) these new media platforms get treated like the government agencies they function as, and the people get all the First Amendment protection that comes with it. Right now the social engineers are double-dipping in a way that will eventually give the alliance of corporate plutocrats and secretive government agencies the ability to fully control the public’s access to ideas and information.

If they accomplish that, it’s game over for humanity. Any hope of the public empowering itself over the will of a few sociopathic, ecocidal, omnicidal oligarchs will have been successfully quashed. We are playing for all the chips right now. We have to fight this. We have no choice.

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Latest comments

  • You point about corporate censorship being state censorship is excellent. Bravo.

    The state/private distinction has some validity but that useful distinction has less and less utility when one encounters these massive information utilities with dependent on government money. “We act purely as private entities, dear users!!”

    There’s another anomaly of the electronic world that I find odd. Fifty years ago, if I placed a letter in an envelope and mailed it, no government official argued that employees at each post office through which that letter passes could open the letter, make a record of the contents, and then reseal the letter and send it on down the line.

    Now, if I write an email and send it I’m considered not to have any right of privacy regarding its contents as I have no “expectation of privacy” when an unencrypted message passes from node to node in its journey to the recipient and copies of all emails are maintained and backed up at each node if the operator so decides. Because some techie has the theoretical ability to single out one message out of thousands or trillions — or if NSA can get a second-by-second dump of all traffic through all nodes and maintain a searchable database of such unencrypted messages — it’s considered that I no longer look at my email communications as I did 50 years ago. No, magically it is assumed that I now am aware of the technical availability of my comms and thus I JUST DON’T CARE ANY LONGER about who reads what I write.

    Now the exclusionary rule in Fourth Amendment cases is a judge-made rule so there is no reason whatsoever that a similar rule can’t be fashioned to provide protection of my privacy. This wouldn’t be creating new law but applying attitudes and protections that applied to traditional physical mail to what is merely the same thing regardless of the technical marvels that make it happen.

    However, in our twisted new world the chances of the organs of government naturally choosing what I might call the “liberty option” in its daily activities is nonexistent. Good luck waiting for the obvious decision that reinforces, maintains, or establishes the integrity and sovereignty of the individual. No. We get the occasional crumb that falls off the table. The trickle of bullshit has now become an avalanche.

  • TLDR. At least I was reading until you started yammering about Alex Jones. Alex Jones is an ENTERTAINER> full stop. The MSM lies like it is going out of style all the time. AJ merely points out MSM articles that most people are too busy pulling their dicks and twiddling their clitoris’ to trashy music videos, reality shows and other drivel to even give two shits about. You do know that both sides of the guvmint aisle are controlled by the people whom own government, right? THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA CORPORATION is wholly owned by the catholic church. The catholic church IS THE BANK. Just learn some Latin and you will quickly realize that you have been LIED TO your entire life, yet still expect the liars to fix the problems they have caused. PONTIFEX MAXIMUS is the title of the :”pope” and just so you are sure, that office is number 5 down the list. PONTIFEX means “bridge” and MAXIMUS means greatest. Now envision yourself, in ancient Rome, your wife and children in tow, a cart full of your worldly possessions. You are traveling, as we all have an inviolable right to do so. But what is this in front of you? Oh, a river. No bridge anywhere you know of. How do you get across, when you have no boat? Oh look, buddy right there has a boat, he will gladly “transfer” you to the other side – for a hefty fee. So, simplest terms, what are you doing when you get into his boat? You are being transferred from one BANK of the river to the other BANK. YOU ARE THE PRODUCT BEING STOWED IN THE VESSEL. Enter the chief coiner of the realm – the pope. He doesn’t get into some stinking boat, he WALKS ACROSS THE WATER because he owns all the boats. The Great Bridge. ALL POLITICIANS PROMISE ONE THING AND DO ANOTHER> dispute this if you must, but you cannot refute the truth. To say Donald Trump is not doing what he promised as a politician is the same as saying water is wet; just plain stupid, pointless and rhetorical. Why is he doing things other than he promised you say? Because he is doing the bidding of the bank, he “presides” over bankruptcy proceedings, nothing more. The agenda goes forward, regardless of whom is sitting in the big chair. He is not “the leader of the free world” there is nothing free in this world. He not “the most powerful person on the planet” he is a sock puppet like they all are. He is not “the commander in chief”, the military regularly does things without consent or even the knowledge of their “president”. No, we live under military rule, plain and simple. Cicero, a Roman barrister during the time of Gaius of the Julii (Caes) is quoted as saying “silent legis inter arma”, which the gate-keepers will translate for you as “laws are silent during times of war”, but that is not what it actually means. It means” the quiet prison of military rule”. What are the “laws” passed by the CORPUS called? “legislation” – when you are bourne, which means to “be brought forth”, your irresponsible parents, like my own, take their private property and throw it into the sea. It is then marked, bonded and made into stock and your idiot parents are then merely “allowed” to raise you to maturity. This is done under the fiction of British Maritime Admiralty Law, a corruption of the civilus romanus, Roman civil law, of which Britain is the primary inheritor. You are returned to your parents via maritime salvage laws and they claim 50% of the swamped vessel, rescued at sea. Because it is a”high-order” salvage, meaning risky, they claim another 30%, often more, by claiming “higher risk”. What risk are they taking, plying this fiction? Well, they are acting contrary to the law, that’s the risk. Because you see, FRAUD is contrary to the actual law. Your “birth certificate” is merely a negotiable instrument, monetized and listing you as a ship berthed in their harbour. Your moron parents did this so you can have “legal rights”. Where does this word legal come from? Legislation? Why are we using the word “legal” in place of the word “law”. Will we call apples oranges now? Let’s call green blue, in addition to the appellation green. What was the Roman military called? LEGIO. So if you want “privileges” you expect “one’s own rule by force” and of course, if you want their military to defend your privileges, you need to fucking pay them and the price gets higher every day. SO – while I appreciate your opinion and will never deny you such, you need to do some REAL research before you start popping off about things you know little to nothing about. I could go on and on and on, but no one is paying me to educate you or anyone else. I do it because I live here too, unlike most people however, I do not expect anyone else to fight my battles for me.

      • I have been trying to learn to break the habit of carrying my cell phone.
        Slowly learning. People (at work in particular) think I am weird and tin-foil hat wearing.
        Starve the beast – I don’t care about facebook, don’t need it.
        Stopped watching TV – will not be distracted by sports and gossip.
        Will not (no longer) look at NY Times (never mind CNN).
        How can anyone critisize Infowars while reading NY Times – like your lies shaken not stirred?
        For those who are not cognizant:
        They track your phone all the time.
        You sell phone is always “on”, it has a reduced power (sleep) mode.
        They control microphone and camera.
        They upload your data – photos and whatever – particularly encrypted.
        I don’t break the law much either, but will not be a slave to the machine.

        • I imagine that the spying picks up some of what I say and that if and when a human being analyzes the collected data, that human being will discover that there is wisdom and truth in the things I say.

          Honestly, spying doesn’t bother me so much because I have no shame. Rather, the lack of tolerance demonstrated by the creation of laws and punishments to enforce them bothers me tremendously. The “Justice System” is an elaborate rationale for creating suffering, and psychopaths (in power) use it to get their way. We need to be more tolerant and tell legislators to screw off when they make up crap like “Anti-Money Laundering.” Nearly all of it only needs to be laundered because you A-holes created so many damn laws.

  • Hi Caitlin!

    Consider naming the people who use their political power to mislead. For example, the linked wsws article mentions Dianne Feinstein, Chuck Grassley, Mazie Hirono, and Sheldon Whitehouse.

    Consider also that a little bit of research into what these “political leaders” are covering up – the real reasons that people in this country (and all over the world, really) are grumbling – turns up phrases like “typically spurred by social inequalities and political discontent” (from https://dailyreckoning.com/social-unrest-is-here-to-stay-heres-how-to-protect-yourself/).

    Personally, I’m interested in pointing out that the likelihood of war-like conditions seems very low to me. Mostly, this is because the folks on whom states generally rely to create war are well-connected to the rest of the people, thanks to the Internet and cell-phones. The trend I see, which a rogue journalist such as yourself might LOVE to follow, cover, and publish widely, is the incessant growth of conscience in those people (cops and soldiers), and their resulting failure (laziness, sloppiness, outright refusal) to implement the oppression that political power holders demand from them.

    Lastly, I think more people need to express this idea to those who hold power: If you want to limit civil unrest, start repealing laws and letting people be free. While this expression isn’t explicit at voluntaryist.com, it is intimate to the underlying theme. Growing interest in voluntaryism might be another trend you’d enjoy covering.

  • This has to be part of the deep state’s an-Assange agenda. Alex Jones has been selling lies and fear-mongering for many year but suddenly he needs to be shut down today?? It is strange indeed. I would have thought that the best way to poison a petition to save Julian Assange would be to let Alex Jones run it. So what are they playing at. It will be interesting to see will they now try to defund Alex Jones / Prison Planet inc. like they did with Wikileaks. If that doesn’t happen then maybe this is a stunt designed to help Jones look more like the genuine anti-establishment article that he is most certainly not.

    • What the heck is “fear mongering”? I read hundreds and hundreds of sites and opinions day in and day out. Nothing I’ve ever read caused me to feel fear.

      Anger or concern is more like it. Mostly I just expand my understanding of the world and filter or incorporate freely as it suits me.

      If anyone is trying to monger fear it is neocons demonizing Russiarussiarussia, Nikki Nuisance railing against Assad, and Trump and Pompeo trying to paint Iran as a threat to all human life. Those are actual efforts to create hostility and suspicion. Merely reading disparate opinions here and there isn’t in the same league. If I disagree with Jones or he’s just not the flavor of commentator that I like I disagree or change the channel.

      Enough with the “fear mongering” nonsense.

  • Even a stopped clock is right twice a day.

    Just because Alex Jones champions somebody like Julian Assange doesn’t mean he is not a vicious, unprincipled hate-monger. His insane theory about Sandy Hook has led to harassment of the parents of innocent victims of the tragedy. He made their life HELL. The Supreme Court once ruled that Free Speech doesn’t include shouting “Fire!” in a crowded theater.
    Good for you, Apple, Google and YouTube!

    • Some guys deciding that some other guys’ speech is not up to snuff is not a workable arrangement. I hereby declare your comment “offensive” and “hateful” and you’re banned from the web. Sorry. I am doing this arbitrarily and I’m certainly not going to reveal the standards I applied when I banned you. You can engage in expensive litigation to correct my arbitrary action so I know you’re satisfied that you have that option. Great approach, right?

      The lives of the parents of the victims of Sandy Hook are a hell because they lost their children. What can morons do to them to make it worse? The parents are adults and can deal with unpleasant people. Life does not guarantee that we will not encounter fools and devils.

      Were their lives made a living hell because of what Jones said and others took up and discussed, or because of direct, sustained contact with the parents? People who would make direct contact with the parents under those circumstances are mentally ill and there’s no rational cause and effect relationship between what Jones might have said and what motivated those fools. It’s unfortunate that the internet made particular information available to unbalanced individuals but such individuals will be set off by anything. I have seen what Jones said about Sandy Hook but never for an instant thought that that was a reason to contact the parents for ANY reason.

  • “Democratic Party loyalists all turn into a bunch of hardline free market Ayn Rands. ‘It’s not censorship!’ they exclaim. ‘It’s a private company and can do whatever it wants with its property!’”

    You can add me (a libertarian) to the list. I’m unhappy that Alex Jones has been kicked off youTube, etc., but last I heard, his own website, where he can post anything he likes, is still up and running. If nobody would host him, THEN I think that cries of “censorship!” would be justified.

    And let’s not ignore the Streisand Effect. OK, that’s a slight misuse of the term, I suppose, but I’m not sure there’s a better one. Alex Jones is getting a huge amount of sympathetic publicity as a result of these actions, and I’m guessing his following will multiply, not diminish, as a result.

    • Jones got banned from the Interstates. Now he has to drive only on state and local roads. I’m sure he won’t mind.

  • IT was only during the Obama administration that YOU saw TBTF materialize, but that phrase was in use years before the financial crisis by people who DID see it coming and who wrote profusely and intelligently about exactly why, and they were spot on. And Ron Paul, whose site was closed down, was one of them. It is that cogent fact that gives the Trump “Fake News” label its force, because NONE of the MSM were writing about the plutocracy’s financial chicanery being engaged in to siphon the wealth of middle class America into their own pockets. And the publication who’s absence on the subject that was the most glaring was the New York Times who regularly printed columns by that idiot Ben Stein, and neoliberal apologist Krugman, among others, who all pretended everything was just hunky-dory even as their readers were, unbeknownst to them, going further and further out on the risk limb, via HELOCs they could ill-afford, such that once the bough broke … into bankruptcy, and right out of their homes, they’d fall.

  • The truth is . . . we really don’t know if what Alex Jones is saying is true or not. Just like we don’t know whether what the government is telling us is not a line of bs.
    re: government and corporations, the power dynamics of that duplicity were settled during the Obama administration when the phrase “Too big to fail” materialized. If a company is too big to fail, then it is free to demand and act as it pleases, and they do.
    Alex Jones is a little shrill for me, but he has very good interviewers and commenters, Paul Joseph Watson, Owen Shrower, and I do tune in occasionally to see what their spin is on whatever is coming down.
    But I don’t tune in to Facebook et al. Twitter is the hollywoodization info content. These sites are just awful and they need to come down because they are boring and they encourage controversy to draw clicks. Note that Sarah Jeong’s hateful tweets have not been removed. I hope Alex Jones, Ron Paul, Anti War, the Horton Show find a new venue, or better still, form one.
    Let’s hop

    • He’s spot on with 911 truth, don’t forget. That’s important. Even a blind pig finds an acorn once in a while. That’s what’s so important about free speech and press freedom.

  • It is certain the Rwandan genocide was a result of talk radio planting bigoted conspiracy theory propaganda speech, day in, day out. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Radio_T%C3%A9l%C3%A9vision_Libre_des_Mille_Collines)

    We now have a raft of people testing the bounds of free speech. Alex Jones is one of many, knowingly abusing his 1st amendment right so intensely he is purposefully asking to be silenced, egging us on. He predictably knows he can then cry “Censorship!” and “Deep State Conspiracy!” in his self-fulfilling prophecy.

    Who is undermining the right of free speech, those who cry “FIRE” or “BOMB” in a crowded theater, or those who silence them?

    Whether we are talking religious scriptures or the US Constitution, as we mature we continually learn that nothing written can always be black and white, and we will, sooner or later, find exception to any written law, however noble, however much we regard it divine and set in stone. We inevitably find ourselves faced with choosing between the lesser or greater law: the law to save life or the law of free speech (or right to bear arms, etc).

    • Here’s my obligatory “I don’t like Alex Jones,” now let’s move to the substance. Mr. Shellabarger, when exactly did Alex Jones or anyone affiliated with his show advocate violence, because that is what is meant by cry “fire” or “bomb” in a crowded theatre? Tell us the words he used that are exempt from the first amendment.

      • Bravo.

  • Thank you for being a guiding light in the darkness. What I have most feared is now happening. Although I can’t stomach Alex Jones, I am subscribing to his site: https://www.infowars.com/watch-alex-jones-show/#subscribe_to_the_banned_show

  • “In a corporatist system of government, wherein there is no meaningful separation between corporate power and state power, corporate censorship is state censorship.”
    Caitlin is right on the core of the issue in one sentence.

    If there is no left/right united front to stop the demented US elites then they will most likely succeed in the suppression of independent voices they don’t like on the Internet.

    One slim hope I have is that hackers will expose the plans and actions of the demented elites.

  • I didn’t realize that it is not just censorship going forward, but it is retroactive as well.

    Michael Tracey tweeted, “Alex Jones interviewed politicians, activists, journalists and all kinds of public figures over the years. Now those archives are simply gone. Too bad for researchers and historians. It was more important that we be protected from his bad speech.”

    I once watched Jones interview Bill Ayers – it was fascinating because Jones hated Ayers and all he stood for, but Ayers engaged in respectful dialogue despite the non-stop insults, and thus he disarmed Jones Now that illuminating exchange between different perspectives is lost. It’s like wiping out small town libraries.

    • No Way-Back Machine?

  • Yes, Harry, I fear you’re correct. As JFK noted, “Those that seek to prevent peaceful revolution serve to make violent revolution inevitable.” I also worry that might be what they want as they believe they can crush us. Let’s hope we the people can shoot better than the elites.

  • As posted earlier on FB to an appropriate item:

    ” It is/was perfectly predictable that the corporate powers that are the internet/government/media would at some point clamp down on expressions they find objectionable and it is the nature of the internet that they can quickly figure out what they do not want and close it down under whatever BS pretext they want to use. And when they want to they can likewise locate you, your bank account, whatever, and bring in NOTN(ICE) and round you up to concentration assembly to do whatever it is they wish to you.”

    This is the nasty ying/yang of the net and its organizational system: yes it provides for quick, speed of light, communications/connectivity, and to do so it provides an algorithmic Big Brother far beyond Orwell’s worst nightmare. You gotta Pay To Play. And then you get played. All of us.

  • FDR – The liberty of a democracy is not safe if its people tolerate the growth of private power to a point where it becomes stronger than the democratic state itself. That in its essence is fascism: ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or any controlling private power.

    • That is why they assassinated him in Warm Springs.

      • Yawn. FDR was visibly in failing health at the end of his life. But, oh sure, it was vitally important for private interests to hasten his end by six months. Those powerful private interests that had been able to stall the New Deal in its tracks.

        • They were slowly poisoning him with arsenic months before. After Truman replaced Wallace and FDR died, there was a very convenient political revolution more dramatic than the JFK Assassination. There are no coincidences in politics. Hitler escaped and the Cold War began against Germany’s WWII enemy Russia. The Wall Street traitors escaped trial. Everything changed. The US ended up losing.

  • “Fascism is corporatism:” Benito Mussolini, 1924. By that, he meant crony capitalism or gangster capitalism, which we have here today. Not competitive free market capitalism. We know where that leads. We can’t pretend we don’t. We saw this before.

  • I predict this will mark the beginning of the end for YouTube, Facebook etc.

    Infowars can move to another platform and there will be amass exodus of corporate critics.

    • https://www.real.video/

      is one such option…

      Well said, Katy!

      • I haven’t watched Alex Jones in a while but after this story I certainly tuned into him tonight.

  • Dear Russia and China, are you listening? This is a vast marketing opportunity for you to replace global market share of Apple, Twitter, and Facebook. Just imitate their products, refuse to censor, and they are dead, because people like me will jump ship and come running. Once again, Western hubris is killing the goose that laid the golden egg.

    • Way to go!

    • Try VK.com the Russian version of facebark. Can’t say I’ve tried it myself.

    • Western hubris? More like a few fabulously rich swine who think it’s their God-given right to stick it to whomever they want.

      But an excellent point about Russia and China.

  • I don’t really see vast numbers of the public rising up. They may not have much, but they will do all that they can to keep it. Between bought and sold politicians, rigged and hacked voting machine, voter suppression and more, the oligarchs have their way with the regular people.
    That means that, most likely, it will take the violent revolution for which the U.S. Declaration of Independence provides justification.

    • Yes, Harry, I fear you’re correct. As JFK noted, “Those that seek to prevent peaceful revolution serve to make violent revolution inevitable.” I also worry that might be what they want as they believe they can crush us. Let’s hope we the people can shoot better than the elites.

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