The first question people usually have is why. What did I do? Anyone who followed me on that landfill of a website already knows what I did: the same thing I did every day, insulted people, questioned their character & motivations, criticised their ideologies, threatened them with karmic retribution for their selfishness & greed. This was all done publicly, under my real name, as such things should, & in tandem with a community of like-minded individuals who both supported me & ensured I didn't stray from the correct path.
That my account would eventually be removed was inevitable, as inevitable as the destruction of any virus that insists on creating symptoms in its host. Eventually, the immune response will occur, or the host will die. I had hopes, but never any real faith, that my fellow infections lurking beneath the surface of Twitter's landscape of smooth, white fascism would kill it someday. I hoped for that, but knew: Twitter would remove me long before I could remove it.
The only thing that kills something like Twitter - an invaluable tool, utilised by millions for free, allowing communication of a sort & at a scale never before witnessed - is the same thing that always kills such enterprises: the ineptitude & evil of those who own & operate it. The bourgeoisie are the beating heart of every such enterprise within late capitalism, & they bring the same predictable shortcomings with them wherever they steal control.
They are rarely destroyed by their own users, who will generally bend over backwards to maintain access to what has become an intrinsic resource in their daily lives. They are, in fact, addicted. As am I, & have been for a long time, with full awareness of what that means. & how it would inevitably end.
The idea that Twitter might perish while I was still on there, or might exist forever, overlooks the tension at the heart of my use of it. This tension extends to every facet of my existence, & it's what drives me to fight with perfectly normal idiots & psychopaths, to call out the insane beliefs of the near-terminally stupid, to hurl invective at massive accounts that won't even notice my tirade. It's there, though. There are literally thousands of such tweets, from me alone, scattered throughout Twitter.
I still haven't said why I do this. Mostly it's because I can't imagine not doing it, but also & more importantly because it's the right thing to do. It's what such platforms are for. After a certain point, it's what other people are for; a conduit, through which ideas are passed to others, through whom other ideas will arise in response. The "marketplace of ideas," as marketeers with rivers of shit instead of brains call it. The culture war, the zeitgeist, the Dialectic; politics.
Without doing this, there's no point to Twitter, potentially no point to anything, which is why I've never understood the Moderate. I could say some shit like "moderates prefer material comforts & facile successes to more meaningful forms of self-realisation," but I don't really know what that means in practical terms. Might as well just say "because they're stupid cowards" for all the useful information that contains. True, but unhelpful.
Very well for me to point fingers, but that's the unusual position I find myself in. I am not a troll. I don't make fake accounts to badger people & confuse them, I don't stalk people here & there, I don't try to get into their accounts or call on my followers to bury their mentions in abuse. I just tell them what's up, using my real name & real(ish) face, & my own words. I did this, for thousands of hours, despite being constantly afraid it would get me banned. That I would lose dozens of friends, one of my primary time-filling activities, my access to the world & its politics. I'd lose all this, because some neckbeard with a media degree would click a button, because he didn't like the way I called some guy "white."
Despite this entirely-valid fear, I persisted anyway. As I did on Facebook, where my account was also permanently deleted, & on Ask.fm, where most of my answers were deleted. That is why, for all the fear, I'm not a coward: because I went ahead anyway.
Facebook was already dying when I was ejected, as Twitter is now. The problems these sites have won't be solved, only accelerated, because capitalists only have a small set of fixed responses when faced with economic adversity. All of them are immoral, & only very few work. One that works is bailouts, either in the form of stolen taxes, or venture capital. Uber famously supports its entirely-failed business model via venture capital, betting on a weakened regulatory environment & anti-worker technology to save them before the money runs dry completely. Twitter is doing something similar, not because it makes sense, but because capitalists only know how to do a small handful of things.
I apologise for this long-winded exposition, when some of you are no doubt only here to get the facts. Well, you have them now: I was permanently suspended because of being reported for numerous things, all of which were either not real misdeeds, or were outright fabrications. This is also how I stayed on the site so long despite my behaviour: I didn't really do anything wrong. I didn't make threats, or rely on bigotry to convey my feelings, or doxx anyone, or make fake accounts to circumvent being blocked. In order for me to be banned - particularly on a site full of white supremacists - something would need to go Wrong.
"As I’ve said before, there’s a great virtue in well-crafted nastiness, and there are few better measures of a good writer than how well they rise to the challenge of magnificently crushing somebody else. But when it comes to the question of online abuse, the left is forced to fight on strangely uneven territory. No wonder, then, that it’s the favoured terrain for anti-socialists. In Britain and in America, whenever a positive, hopeful, emancipatory left-wing movement makes electoral successes, it’s immediately dogged by claims that its supporters are behaving intemperately online. And it’s usually true. You will find supporters of any movement saying deeply unpleasant things on the internet. The goal of the accusation is always to present online abuse as a peculiarly left-wing phenomenon, or to make innuendoes towards some kind of complicity between the socialist left and the Nazi alt-right in their shared fondness for being mean online."
This is a quote from Sam Kriss, whose ignominious removal from Twitter & most of his employment & all of his public reputation massively overshadowed my own, which occurred on the same day. He's also my favourite writer, & our dual fates create an interesting binary from which to examine the current state of things.
It's a basic truism of the world I've always lived in that things are getting worse, & bad people are winning. Very few people seem to doubt this, with only a large swathe of the useless middle classes opting to ignore the entire question. Who the bad people are, how & why they're winning, is neither here nor there: we agree, generally, that things are bad & getting worse. The situations Sam Kriss & myself find ourselves in are a good moment to take stock of this.
It's difficult to argue that my suspension was unjust, from the perspective of those that enforce it. They are fascists, & I am decidedly opposed to that, & thus to them, & they to me. It is simply better for Twitter to ban me than not, from an ideological perspective. From every other perspective, not so much, but specifically in terms of Twitter as an entity, I am its enemy. I don't believe in the private ownership of such utilities, I don't believe in profit or wealth accumulation, & I don't believe anyone currently involved in the project is in a position to judge my actions. In fact, everyone employed by Twitter Incorporated could be fed into a meat grinder tomorrow & on sum, the universe would see a small improvement.
It's difficult to argue there's injustice to what happened to Sam Kriss also, this time from the ideological requirements of leftists, who were responsible primarily for his removal. He wasn't suspended by Twitter for his online conduct, he was ostracised by his comrades for his IRL behaviour. You can google the details for yourself; suffice to say, he's a real piece of shit to at least one of the women in his life. In my considerable experience, it's rarely just one.
So here we have two somewhat similar men, in the exact same situation, for entirely opposite reasons. Sam Kriss' success insulated him from the wrath of Twitter itself, his Verified Tick ensuring not only that he was difficult to ban, but that even swearing in his mentions could result in a fully-automated account suspension. However, that privilege only seems to have fueled his shitty behaviour, until his own supporters threw him under the bus (with a good number of these supporters expressing relief to outright glee).
My lovely supporters, on the other hand, were modestly devastated to learn of my fate. Though I lack Sam Kriss' notoriety & protective legitimacy, I also lacked his scrutiny, his constant visibility. I can get away with mistakes he cannot, but more importantly, my relative obscurity means I don't need to make those mistakes. Even if I did though, very few would care, & I certainly don't have a career to be derailed.
However, here we are, two white cishet male writers & staunch keyboard warriors for leftism, gone on the same day. One lost to our enemies, one cannibalised by our comrades, his corpse nourishing our bottomless need for ideological purity. Zero tolerance for abuse, regardless of how it empowers the fascists, who are still crowing over the destruction one of their most hated adversaries.
(I, too, had a small group of my former interlocutors unblock me to have a gloat in my mentions. A much more modest, but still deeply upsetting experience.)
I fell to Twitter's pro-fascist ideology because no one cared enough about me to prevent it, & Kriss fell to his own comrades' because enough people did care enough to prevent him. The obvious conclusion to draw from this has not escaped the hordes of right-wing trolls: you're damned if you do, damned if you don't.
I assume this isn't true. As I mentioned earlier, Kriss & I are a pair of white dudes. He's rich as fuck, also. Are we really what left movements need? Kriss' style of literary journalism alienated a lot of people throughout the political spectrum for its elitism & sneering disregard for its targets. Perhaps something more accessible, & richer in the perspectives of those outside the annals of White Straight Guys, will replace his contributions. Despite his being my personal favourite writer, to argue that he's a necessary aspect of leftist success seems absurd. The same is even more absurd of me: not only do I share many of Kriss' superfluous identity categories, I'm publicly insignificant & not as gifted a writer OR scholar. & I don't even have a Twitter account!
The loss of either of us, or both, isn't going to scuttle the political left. If nothing else, we're all permanently scuttled anyway, as far as I know. I hear history of the civil rights movement in the US, of unions fighting cops in the streets, of Paris in May of '68...but I've never seen anything like those. In my lifetime, all I ever see is the slow, incompetent stumbling of late capitalism, the pathetic whinge of the white middle class as they're tended to carefully by the truly wealthy, a buffer between themselves & the enemy: us.
If there is hope for leftism, it won't come from folks like Sam Kriss or myself. If you scratch the surface of us, there's a predictable darkness lurking. Kriss' was found & dragged into the public eye, & in his position I've no doubt I would've made some kind of similar mistake. Zero tolerance, that's the rule, & nobody's perfect. Certainly not rich white guys.
I do wonder if maybe the left is just going to clean house endlessly until the oceans swallow us all, but that's not really my problem. I came online, & without being paid or even asked by anyone, fought what I thought was the good fight. I presume Sam Kriss was also; if you want wealth & influence, in his position, militant leftism is about the worst possible way you could do it. I assume, whatever his numerous other flaws, Kriss is a believer in the workers' revolution, in whatever form.
So, we both made the ultimate sacrifice, that which has been demanded of us by the various minorities & oppressed groups of the left: to just fuck off & shut up. Personally, I have no regrets: I didn't indulge in the kind of dramatic self-sabotage that so often fells men like Kriss. I didn't secretly abuse women, or harbour a second life as a closet racist, or donate to Trump's election. I just attac the people who are being bad, & try to protec those who were being bullied by them. What else can anyone do?
Maybe this account makes it sound like I resent the leftists who "betrayed" Sam Kriss, who failed to even notice when I was struck down. As I hope I conveyed though, Kriss deserved his fate, & I didn't deserve any kind of popular movement to reinstate me. We are both, in short, no great loss. Whether our fates represent some failure of leftist praxis, I don't have to decide, thank God. That wasn't my problem to solve before, & it definitely isn't now. So if this does indicate some severe flaw in leftist online politics - as our critics on the right have been claiming, exhaustively, both before & since Kriss' implosion - I don't care. I did my best, & my reward is what was promised: obscurity, silence, & the quiet satisfaction of an almost-unwitnessed job done as well as I could. & Kriss? Meh. I love his writing, & I believe in his political acumen, but like I said...the left will survive the loss of Sam Kriss, no matter how shrill the excitement of those he fought, who are now ultimately validated by his fate. & make no mistake, they are energised by what happened to him, which is supposedly a price worth paying. I agree, ultimately, & have for a long time. Zero tolerance.
I asked myself many, many years ago, when I found myself getting up to my eyeballs in politics online every goddamn day: what are you hoping to get from this? What do you think the outcome will be? Are you hoping to get loads of pussy? Paid gigs writing stuff? The respect of your peers? Straight-up power? I couldn't see a plausible way to get any of those things via what I was doing, & honestly the notion scared me.
I behaved the way I did, & do, because it's just...how I roll. It's going to be very difficult for me to adjust to a world without Twitter, most of my social sphere is now lost, years of writing & photographs & experiences swept away. Similar to what happened when I was banned from Facebook years ago, so I was prepared, & had plenty of foreknowledge that this would be worse. & it is; I've lost so much. Did I mention that only a couple of days previous, my HDD crashed randomly, taking most of my personal documents, all my pictures & music, with it?
My entire past has been effectively erased by "circumstance" in the last week or so, & now here I am, writing a too-long piece on a blog no one will read, mostly because I don't know else to do. I'm basically 16 again, back on LiveJournal, throwing my thoughts into the uncaring void. Sam Kriss is in the same boat, his accounts gone, columns discontinued, nothing remaining but his blog. Just a couple of pasty ghosts.
I hope he can view this with the same level of rueful circumspection I'm scraping together, but either way let this stand as a warning to anyone who considers taking the high road: there's no pats on the head or happy endings. You either get large enough to see yourself become another object lesson, or eventually get quietly buried under an ever-expanding list of enemies. You don't do it for the props, you do it because it's right, & no other reason.
We're fighting an enemy with more power, resources, & history than us, & far fewer scruples, diversity, & intellectual rigor. If, or when, the time comes for you to make sacrifices in service to a better world, just make them stoically. It's hard to call people "comrade" on the expectation they could turn on you at any moment, but if that's too much for you, become an MRA. Go to your shitty job & ignore the whole thing. Switch your vote to the fash & learn to love the taste of boots. You can degrade all the women you want, ignore most of the world's problems, be as selfish as you like, & all they ask in return is obedient silence in the face of their ongoing atrocities. Easy.
Or, you can fight, & lose everything in return for nothing, or if you're lucky, a permanently-marred reputation. I think it's worth it, but if you don't...consider yourself warned. This is what happens.