Activist Shaun King tweets praise for Antifa terrorist, later deletes it
The United States is going through a unique polarization. Those on the right and the left wing are increasingly alienated from and hostile to one another.
One of the more frightening trends occurring is the normalization of the left’s extremist views. While extremist views on the right have been rooted out exposed in the public square, extremist views from the left need not hide at all, as their viewpoints seem to be more tolerated by mainstream voices.
The schism continues to deepen. As a result of the lunacy that continually hits us over the head every day, many have simply given up on listening to opinions from the opposite side of the aisle.
More grey than black or white
A clear and tiring example of this is civil rights activist Shaun King, who has not been listening for some time now. King himself gained prominence following the shooting of Michael Brown, in which a police officer shot an 18-year-old African American boy; he stayed in the public consciousness as a Black Lives Matter activist, keeping himself relevant until a number of controversies began to hound him.
Following the attack on an ICE detention centre in Tacoma, Washington by a 69-year-old self-proclaimed “Antifa” terrorist named Willem Van Spronson, King decided to praise the perpetrator’s actions, along with a number of other prominent left-wing activists.
A “letter” to comrades
In the tweet, King calls Van Spronsen’s manifesto a “beautiful, painful, devastating letter.”
The manifesto itself is heavily peppered in Marxist dialect, addressing his “comrades,” writing to apologize for missing “the rest of the revolution.”
“I am Antifa,” says Van Spronsen, aligning himself with a group that the New Jersey Office of Homeland Security has designated as “Anarcho-Extremists.”
“The semi-automatic weapon I used was a cheap, home built unregistered “ghost” ar15, [sic] had six magazines,” writes Van Spronsen. “I strongly encourage comrades and incoming comrades to arm themselves.” He continues, “we are now responsible for defending people from the predatory state. Ignore the law in arming yourself if you have the luxury. I did.”
Who are the real radicals?
Terrorism is the unlawful use of violence and intimidation in the pursuit of political aims. To simply call a spade a spade, Shaun King is championing the writings of a disillusioned terrorist.
What the exact solution is to the complex crisis cursing the United States’ southern border is obviously unclear. But is there any position more “extreme” than calling for the liquidation of the border?
Is there a position more “extreme” than calling for “No border, no wall, no U.S.A. at all“? To end the United States as it is currently known, and to accept an enormous flood of immigrants larger than what we already know, radically changing the country in ways not yet understood?
Somehow, these are not considered to be a radical viewpoint.
King later went on to delete the tweets praising terrorist actions, making them disappear as if nothing ever happened. King did not apologize, but more likely did not want to deal with the amount of blowback he was already beginning to receive.
This is apart of the problem, also. When someone does something that is very clearly stupid, like sympathize with a terrorist gunman, they are then called out for their stupidity.
No matter what these people say, they will indefinitely be labelled as either “Russian bots” or trolls from 4chan. At no point is self-reflection necessary, and in the end, King will surely walk away feel validified.
This is part of what’s known as the “backfire effect,” this effect takes place when, in the face of contradictory evidence, established beliefs do not change but actually get stronger.
This effect has been demonstrated in a number of psychological tests. Subjects are given data that either reinforces, or goes against their existing biases.
In the majority of cases, people will double down on their beliefs. Their confidence in their prior position is increased, regardless of any evidence they were faced with.
In a pessimistic sense, this would make most refutations useless. And now that we are this far down the line, that’s exactly how it all feels. Useless.
A town hall event in Portland, Oregon, hosted by the Melody Centre has been targeted by the antifa extremists. The event was organized by the WalkAway Campaign, which had activist Brandon Straka, documentarian Dinesh D’Souza, radio host Lars Larson, and prominent journalist Andy Ngo, speaking to the audience on a range of topical issues. Disclosure: Ngo is the Editor-at-large at The Post Millennial.
Over the past week, antifa had tried to harass the centre into deplatforming the speakers. Despite the group attempting to intimidate the business, audience, and speakers, they failed to shut down the event.
Even before the event had begun, a group of 20 antifa members gathered outside the centre, intimidating the speakers and audience. Soon after, they began to circle the event, taking photographs of the attendees.
During the event, Ngo saw the antifa activist who attacked him whilst at the gym earlier this year in May and decided to name him on Twitter. The assailant’s name is John Hacker.
As they were circling the event, the antifa members chanted slogans like “I f****d God, now he’s gay,” and “all cops are bastards.” Despite there being a heavy police presence, and threats of violence, Portland’s police force largely remained in the background in light clothing, rather than the heavy riot gear they have worn at previous antifa demonstrations.
Due to the event being ticketed, the antifa members did not manage to disrupt the event. Nevertheless, the group still attempted to make as much noise as possible by honking horns and creating a general racket. These noises, however, failed to penetrate the event, only irritating the surrounding neighbourhood.
Over the past few days, antifa and other hard-left organizations had attempted to cancel the event. Mayoral candidate Sarah Iannarone also called for the event to be shut down, posting on Twitter: “There should be no safe haven for people affiliated with domestic terrorists and nationalist extremists.” This tweet was later criticized for inciting violence.
On Twitter, Iannarone has mentioned her support of antifa, announcing her support of her nickname, the “Antifa mayor.” antifa has long been criticized for its violent tactics and willingness to label moderate public figures as fascists. Even the notorious socialist Noam Chomsky has labeled antifa as a “major gift to the right,” due to their extremist tactics.
The main effort to get this event cancelled came from a group called Popular Mobilization, which is another coordinated left-wing organization. Popular Mobilization has publicly directed its followers to harass the centre by sending private messages and requests. After this failed, they then decided to call and email the centre into compliance. The group was responsible for distributing the milkshakes that were used to assault people in an antifa riot in June.
Portland has had a troubling history of far-left violence and intimidation. Earlier this year, Ngo was beaten and attacked with “milkshakes” on the streets of the city. As well as this, during the far-right, Proud Boys rally, antifa attacked multiple people including non-related bystanders. Despite this, very few charges were laid by the Portland police.
Ngo has been a constant target of antifa violence and conspiracy theories. On Halloween night, antifa activists arrived at Ngo’s family home so to intimidate his family. As well as this, Ngo has often been accused by antifa and their allies of providing “kill lists” to Atomwaffen.
Yesterday, Stanford University data scientist, Becca Lewis, also promoted this unfounded conspiracy theory.
TPM asked Ngo about the demonstration. “The masked protesters mocked my injuries from the beating when I was outside. They passed out flyers with the false claim that I provide a terrorist group with ‘kill lists.’ Clearly the aim is to lie about me in the most egregious ways to incite more violence against me,” he said.
This morning, rookie Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (AOC) “sincerely apologized” to high-profile Jewish activist, Dov Hikind for blocking him on Twitter.
Hikind, a 35-year former New York State Assemblyman and the founder of Americans Against Antisemitism, filed the lawsuit against AOC after he tried to respond to tweets she had posted comparing immigrant detention centres to concentration camps, and her call to revive the term “Never Again.”
According to the New York Post, AOC said: “I have reconsidered my decision to block Dov Hikind from my Twitter account, Mr. Hikind has a First Amendment right to express his views and should not be blocked for them.”
She also said in the same statement to the Post that “in retrospect, it was wrong and improper and does not reflect the values I cherish. I sincerely apologize for blocking Mr. Hikind. Now and in the future, however, I reserve the right to block users who engage in actual harassment or exploit my personal/campaign account, @AOC, for commercial or other improper purposes.”
Mr. Hikind told The Post Millennial that he is “glad she (AOC) did the right thing, not only by unblocking me, but by recognizing that my First Amendment rights were violated, and apologizing for her wrongdoing in blocking me, to begin with, which in fact was totally unwarranted.”
This apology by AOC comes just a day before she was to testify in federal court regarding why she blocked Mr. Hikind on Twitter.
Comparing immigrant detention centres to concentration camps meets the threshold of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of Holocaust distortion, through the claim of “intentional efforts to excuse or minimize the impact of the Holocaust or its principal elements, including collaborators and allies of Nazi Germany.”
Hikind told The Post Millennial the significance of the settlement to the Jewish community: “It shows that we cannot be silenced when we’re critical of people in power and fighting for our rights, and of course for every citizen whose free speech is proven protected.”
AOC has previously said that she has “blocked less than 20 (accounts) and it’s for harassment, not for political views. While people have a right to say whatever they want, they do not have a right to force me to hear it.”
While less than 20 accounts may not seem like an issue to AOC, the impact it has on the First Amendment is detrimental.
Other accounts that AOC has blocked include Ryan Saavedra, Liz Wheeler, Harry Cherry, all of whom are journalists. Hikind commented on this by saying “she’d be better off doing the right thing in advance (unblocking) without the threat of legal action.”
The First Amendment safeguards both in-person and online (social media) compromises to free speech, which may include being blocked on Twitter by a politician.
Hikind won’t say that the block by AOC was due to his Jewish heritage or pro-Israel views entirely, but he said that “She saw that my posts were getting high engagement and it bothered her, so she blocked me. Clearly, she didn’t like a sharp critic getting views on her page, but that’s part of the free speech protected by the legal precedent used in this case.”
It should be known that both Hikind’s and AOC’s Twitter accounts are verified by Twitter. Both accounts have a large following in their perspective audiences, such as Hikind with the Jewish community and the pro-Israel community, as does AOC with many Democrats and the progressive community at large.
Hikind served as a New York State Assemblyman under the Democratic banner, however, he has been known for his conservative views. AOC, on the other hand, is also a Democrat serving in the House of Representatives, with well-known and documented democratic socialist views.
Both parties’ lawyers will still be going to court to close the case.
AOC’s representatives did not respond to The Post Millennial in time of publication.
For years, conservatives have claimed that Twitter censors their views; that Twitter has a “left-wing bias” and purposely blocks opinions on the right.
They are only partially correct, however.
Twitter does censor, suspend, and ban users and their tweets. Yes, this is prevalent on the right-wing.
However, Twitter is not a leftist haven either. In fact, Twitter has increased censorship leftist opinions, especially those that are on the more populist brand.
For example, a “Democratic Socialist” candidate for Congress, Joshua Collins, saw a one-week ban on Twitter after quarrelling with Republican congressional candidate Joey Saladino.
What this demonstrates is that Twitter does not have an explicit or implicit bias against the right-wing. Nor does it have a similar bias against the left-wing.
Twitter censors anyone that challenges the status quo from either side of the political spectrum.
The bias against the right
In a discussion on the Joe Rogan podcast, Tim Pool sat down with Jack Dorsey (Twitter CEO) and Vijaya Gadde (Twitter head for legal, policy, and trust and safety).
Pool described the platform as heavily favouring the “left” by enforcing rules such as misgendering. He said many Conservatives do not believe in this, and hence, there exists bias.
So Pool is right, but only partially.
Slavoj Zizek, the most prominent leftist philosopher alive today, is one of the fiercest critics of political correctness. He has, in fact, labelled it as one of the “most dangerous forms of authoritarianism.”
This form of radical liberalism, according to Zizek, has no real place on the actual left-wing. It is a form of liberal political discourse that is used by the establishment to divide people into competing identity camps.
Pool further claims that holding such an immense monopoly over online information, and enforcing its own biased set of vague rules, as Twitter does, are not conducive to free speech.
Gadde responded that Twitter “doesn’t look at the political spectrum of people when looking at their tweets.”
She may be right. However, when your platform already has an inherent bias, anyone who doesn’t wish to conform to this bias is at risk of being expunged.
And according to Pool, that is wrong.
The bias against the left
Leftists on the more populist side of the argument, such as Berniecrats and Marxists, have faced explicit censorship and bias on Twitter.
Joshua Collins, a socialist candidate running for the Democratic nomination for Congress (WA-10), personally faced the wrath of Twitter’s censorship.
Collins has more than 40,000 followers on Twitter. His fame has resulted in numerous fake accounts popping up using his name.
“I attempted to get verification because there were, at one time, five people pretending to be me, with my same display name and profile picture,” Collins told The Post Millennial.
According to him, he should thus be verified. But Twitter changed its rules fairly recently.
The Intercept mentions that “Twitter’s government relations team has been telling candidates seeking verification that they won’t be giving any new contenders a blue checkmark until after they win the state’s primary.”
Mckayla Wilkes, another socialist candidate for Congress, told The Post Millennial, “This leaves unverified candidates who are clearly public figures, like Cory Bush and Paula Jean Swearengin, and gives yet another advantage to incumbents.”
Rebecca Parson, a third socialist candidate for Congress, informed The Post Millennial that this decision by Twitter has, “made it harder to get found by media and to raise money through organic online traffic.” She says this is important for grassroots campaigns like hers.
Collins, Parson, and Wilkes mentioned that Twitter, “seems to make exceptions to their own policy, in opaque and arbitrary ways.”
In another instance, many Berniecrats were unable to check replies to a tweet by the Working Families Party. The WFP chose to endorse Warren over Bernie, and Twitter blocked Berniecrats from viewing replies to the tweet (and hence replying), but others were able to freely reply.
Parson also confirmed she couldn’t see the replies on the tweet.
In a more recent case, Joshua Collins was suspended from Twitter for proving that Joey Saladino, a YouTuber running for Congress as a Republican, drank his own piss in a video and used black people as a prop to propagate racist views.
Censorship affects populists, on the left and right
With the cases highlighted above, it is clear that Twitter’s arbitrary policies and lack of transparency is hindering discourse on its website.
As many on the right and left notice the challenges big-tech poses to discourse and politics in general, they are raising their voices.
It seems like it will only be a matter of time until these voices reach the doors of Congress.
A father on Twitter managed to get his son Kade thousands of birthday wishes, including some from the Toronto Maple Leafs’ roster, after his son held a birthday party that nobody turned up to.
To save Kade’s birthday, the father asked his “Twitter friends” to show Kade some love, requesting that they send him a happy birthday wish. Soon after posting, the tweet and accompanying image went viral. Within hours, thousands of people had wished Kade a happy birthday, alongside some famous Canadian personalities.
On Twitter, captain John Tavares said, “Happy 11th birthday Kade! All your friends on the team look forward to celebrating with you. I’m hearing it’s going to be quite the surprise.”
Fellow Maple Leaf, Mitchell Marner, also wished Kade a happy birthday, telling his 169 thousand followers “[I] wanted to wish my friend Kade a Happy 11th Birthday! Your friends from the Maple Leafs have a surprise gift coming your way!”
What was perhaps more exciting for young Kade was Doug Ford’s birthday wish. The premier of Ontario wished kade a happy birthday on behalf of the province.
At the end of the day, Kade’s father notified everyone on Twitter about the impact their wishes had made on the eleven-year-old.
“We can’t comprehend what has happened today. Kade and the rest of us are just amazed. To EVERYONE who sent Kade a message – thank you from the bottom of our hearts. He is an amazing son and he will never forget this day,” said Foster to 19 thousand supporters.