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The entire Indymedia editorial board wrote in [Letters, September 2] to protest my mention [Letters, August 26] of their role in the attacks against my group and others [But Can He Hack Prison, August 19], claiming, as they do to their own users, that IMC provides an “open” newswire and asserting that they protect their readers from the threat of a balanced dialogue by quarantining content rather than through outright deletion. Both parts of this claim are risible.
While I disagree with their mission, I respect that they have a mission to protect. Their policy recognizes a need to remove content which challenges their mission and principles. But the way this has translated to practice in the ordeals our people have had with them is that they regard the publishing of ideological hit lists and violent threats, simultaneously with the removal of any protest from the people violated, to be compatible with their principles and their mission. Words like “open” and “justice” and “respect and support” for “a diversity of opinion” are clearly at odds with this.
As to their second claim that comments are “hidden” rather than deleted, this is a lie. I’ve enclosed as proof a file of page saves and screen shots of one discussion about gentrification which took place on their site. The first item is the initial post in the discussion, the second item to look at is a comment directed to my user name, though no comments from me appear in the thread.
I did comment though, and these comments do not appear in their archive of “hidden” posts. Rather, the direct link which I saved to my comments refers back to a yellow box which reads, “Unknown ID Error: Database failed to return a unique record for this query, or you are not authorized to access that record.”
By stepping through content IDs between the initial post and the post which responds to my deleted comments, I turned up six yellow boxes. It was an alarming discovery for me, not because I take CIMC’s claims to be “open” as genuine, but because only two of the deleted items are mine.
In the discussion I offer as an example, you can see that rude and racist comments from the right have not similarly been scrubbed from the page. CIMC thus authorizes its users to read all manner of incitement and hatred from both left and right, but does not similarly authorize its readers to read informed and thoughtful arguments which are critical of notions of “social justice.”
A second respondent’s thoughts [Letters, September 2] struck me with their density. Of course social justice activists become targets of federal investigations when they make federal crime a component of their activities. Has he read the article I was responding to? If he is able to recite the left-wing passion play of unprovoked federal assaults against revolutionary “speech” even amidst a discussion centered on the criminal transgressions of the left, how is he able to pretend at the same time that he maintains a detachment from its activist authors?
Perhaps it’s in our nature as Republicans that we put our resources and energies into think tanks and lobbyists rather than million-dollar pitchfork parades complete with effigies. It’s possible that our role as gutless advocates of the status quo, rather than “anarchy” or “revolution,” means that while social justice activists planned to trigger the evacuation of the New York subway system during last year’s RNC, we hardly saw the point in even mustering a dozen people to march against the DNC when a perfectly serviceable election was just around the corner, let alone aim for chaos and arrests. I can’t imagine how a sober reviewer could conclude that the deficiency is ours in this respect.
Finally, a reader wrote in [Letters, September 16] to object that I “feign intelligence” by using too many big words. To this I suggest that if my letter forced him to crack a dictionary, it can only be a good thing.