Google hearts Scientology?

Bloody hell.

As noted previously both by myself and numerous others, Blogger / Google is hugely reluctant to take any action against neo-Nazi blogs. At most, Blogger admin will slap a ‘Warning!’ sticker on the front and allow the fascist dingbats to continue on their way. But criticise Scientology? Well that’s apparently a very different story. Thus the following blog: —

http://hgrjt-heat-surge-msovi.blogspot.com/

— which apparently made some criticisms of the Church / Cult, has been pulled for violating TOS. As a result, “This blog is in violation of Blogger’s Terms of Service and is open to authors only”.

Weird scenes.

About @ndy

I live in Melbourne, Australia. I like anarchy. I don't like nazis. I enjoy eating pizza and drinking beer. I barrack for the greatest football team on Earth: Collingwood Magpies. The 2020 premiership's a cakewalk for the good old Collingwood.
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13 Responses to Google hearts Scientology?

  1. juancastro says:

    This is where a revolutionary ideology (either anarchism or socialism would do for something this blatant!) would explain that Google is an ‘evil’ corporation just like any other, and as such this isn’t surprising news at all.

    It’s not weird at all. It’s fucking capitalism.

  2. @ndy says:

    What’s ‘weird’ — by which I mean ‘noteworthy’ — is the fact that despite Blogger / Google being contacted by a number of different groups and individuals a number of times with regards ‘objectionable’ neo-Nazi blogs for which they provide hosting services, as far as I’m aware on only one occasion has the company acted to withdraw its services, and that was in relation to a Serbian neo-Nazi named Goran “Fuehrer” Davidovic.

    This apparently followed a campaign by Serbian internet users.

    Goran and his followers in the National Formation have been making a nuisance of themselves for several years now. For example:

    Neo-Nazi group threats journalist
    B92
    April 5, 2007

    NOVI SAD — Chairman of the Independent Journalist Association of Vojvodina Dinko Gruhonjić received death threats by a neo-Nazi group.

    Gruhonjić, who is also the head of the Vojvodina branch of the independent news agency BETA, received open death threats via a neo-Nazi Web site (Stormfront.org) this week, along with insults on personal, national and professional grounds.

    Gruhonjić immediately informed the police. The threats were reportedly provoked by Gruhonjić’s coverage of National Formation, a Novi Sad-based neo-Nazi group.

    Gruhonjić’s reported on the group’s activities, including a 2005 organized attack where neo-Nazis armed with crowbars, attacked participants marking the anniversary of Kristallnacht—a pogrom against Jews throughout Germany and parts of Austria in 1938—according to local and international press reports.

    In November 2006, a local court convicted 18 group’s members of inciting hatred and endangering public security. The group’s leader, Goran Davidović, was sentenced to one year in prison, according to local and international press reports. Davidović, who is currently appealing the decision, is not in custody.

    Davidović and other members of the group have threatened Gruhonjić in the past. Davidovic denounced the journalist as an enemy of the Serbian people and as a traitor in an autobiography published in December 2006. Gruhonjic has filed a civil defamation suit against Davidovic for the comments.

    Dinko Gruhonjić also appealed to a New York-based international journalist organization, Committee to Protect Journalist (CPJ).

    The CPJ immediately reacted, calling on authorities to thoroughly investigate the threats made against Gruhonjić and take immediate measures to protect the safety of him and his family.

    “Every effort should be made to bring those responsible to justice without delay,” CPJ Executive Director Joel Simon said.

    That Blogger/Google should choose to act in a similar manner with regards a blog that was apparently critical of Scientology is remarkable in the sense that the corporation appears to view the blogging activities of neo-Nazi Fuehrers with violent criminal records as being on a par with attacks upon a cult.

    In summary, it’s not just “fucking capitalism”, but corporate media, culture, religion, political activism, the law, and the application of these concepts to the world of blogging.

  3. juancastro says:

    Ok, obviously all those things are relevant, but I guess I don’t see a battle for companies to allow free speech as the fundamental issue to be fighting. Companies will inevitably follow the $$$, and to fight against that trend is to be either naive or … reformist.

    I find it a little strange that someone with as good a theoretical background as you obviously have spends their time focusing on these little side-issues, and only occasionally discusses real resistance, whether it be socialist, anarchist, union-based, whatever.

    For example, one question that has been burning me for a while: why do you continue to spend so much time discussing neo-nazis? Obviously that’s a horrible movement, but at the same time we know that we can’t eliminate such tendencies without eliminating capitalism, and so I see THAT as our #1 fight… Spending significant amounts of time attacking a tiny reactionary movement within the system just seems like you’re allowing yourself to be sidetracked. The hours you’ve spent writing blogs about the latest nazi trend results in very little development in revolutionary ideas, movements, or actions. Best-case scenario, your readers are more aware than before that the horrors of fascist ideologies are not finished yet.

    I think with your knowledge you have much more you could achieve.

    Solidarity.

  4. vents says:

    So Andy likes fucking with nazis. Fine by me.

  5. @ndy says:

    In the meantime, here’s some thinking music.

  6. @ndy says:

    I don’t see a battle for companies to allow free speech as the fundamental issue to be fighting.

    Neither do I. This may explain why I don’t engage in any such battle. (And I’m not sure how this relates to what I’ve written.)

    Companies will inevitably follow the $$$, and to fight against that trend is to be either naive or … reformist.

    If you wish to maintain that I’m naive or a reformist, simply say so.

    As a general rule, yes, companies — in this case, one of the world’s largest and most profitable corporations — seek to maximise their profit. This much is obvious. Equally obviously (to me at any rate) is the fact that this is less a ‘trend’ than an economic imperative created and sustained by the fundamental nature of the economic system. In noting the fact that Google appears to be somewhat inconsistent in its application of its obvious ability to control the contents of its services, in this case Blogger, I’m not suggesting — and haven’t suggested — that this is somehow my contribution to some kinda campaign to overcome this system. On the other hand, drawing attention to this fact may contribute to creating greater awareness of the issue on the part of consumers, something which may, in turn, influence the decisions of responsible parties at Google.

    I find it a little strange that someone with as good a theoretical background as you obviously have spends their time focusing on these little side-issues, and only occasionally discusses real resistance, whether it be socialist, anarchist, union-based, whatever.

    My blog contains numerous posts on a number of subjects. To be precise, as of this date, “There are currently 975 posts and 3,876 comments, contained within 26 categories”. Many concern the far right; others the far left. Last month (January 2008) I wrote about: an Australian (Jock Palfreeman) in Bulgaria accused of murder; bad TV; an Anti-German blog (along with a few observations on the concept of the nation); the murder of a Mapuche activist in Chile; the controversy surrounding a video accusing Australians of hypocrisy for objecting to Japanese whaling; Australia Day and its meaning(s); blogs and the Internets (including providing some stats regarding my own); racist organising in Australia; obituaries for the Australian activist and academic Peter McGregor; the nature of ‘national anarchism’ and its relationship to anarchism; some of the abuse I’ve received as a result of blogging; the exposure by hackers of white supremacist Internet radio jock Hal Turner as an FBI informant; a reference to my blog in a newspaper article; bad TV; music, anarchist blogs and anarchist publishing; opposition to the NPD in Germany; good TV; Ken Livingstone’s links to Trotskyism; hatred for the rich; the murder of SHARP skinhead Jan Kucera in Prague; anti-racist skinhead organising in Colombia and anti-fascist hardcore music in Moscow; the Creativity Movement; the appearance of an article on murdered anarchist Brad Will in Rolling Stone magazine; the exposure of a local white supremacist as being gay; the moral depravity of local members of the Stormfront forum; the deaths of local filmmaker Pip Starr and right-wing libertarian propagandist Paddy McGuinness; the ongoing battle between Anonymous and the Church of Scientology; the death of Indonesian dicktator Suharto; the role of Frank Ellis in popularising a racist critique of the Frankfurt School (and his being embroiled in a racial controversy at an English university); some further thoughts on a seemingly reinvigorated neo-Nazi movement in Europe, the “costs” of history (and in particular in relation to Ireland, masculinity and violence); the strange story of Bob Avakian; and more besides.

    I’ve also spent quite a good deal of time replying to commenters.

    More later.

  7. @ndy says:

    Later and more.

    I find it a little strange that someone with as good a theoretical background as you obviously have spends their time focusing on these little side-issues, and only occasionally discusses real resistance, whether it be socialist, anarchist, union-based, whatever.

    By good theoretical background I understand you mean to suggest I have a good grasp of theory — political theory or ‘political philosophy’ in particular. Assuming that’s the case, one might assume the opposite: that having a good grasp of theory implies spending time on particular issues.

    As for what constitutes ‘real’ as opposed to ‘insignificant’ or ‘inconsequential’ resistance, I think your suggestion that I only occasionally discuss ‘real’ resistance is probably mistaken. On the other hand, my blog is not intended and certainly doesn’t claim to focus exclusively or even predominantly on what I believe to be the most pressing questions in this regard. In any case, I think you’ll find a good deal of relevance to discussions of anarchism, socialism and the labour movement (‘unions’) if you look hard enough.

    A few examples:

    On anarchism, this entry (“Pathetic Australian anarchist statement on the New Reich”, January 16, 2008) contains the beginnings of an essay ‘On anarchism’ as well as some footage of a televised debate between Chomsky and Foucault on the nature of society and social change, one which touches on precisely these sorts of questions;

    The ‘Anarchist statement on the New Right’ (October 21, 2007) seeks to clarify the nature of ‘national anarchism’ and was produced in response to the emergence of a fascist groupuscule at the APEC summit in Sydney (the statement also appears in the January issue of Mutiny);

    Perhaps the most relevant discussion of anarchism in this context is the response I wrote to an article on ‘anarchism’ by Socialist Alternative’s chief ideologue, Mick Armstrong, entitled ‘Anarchy: Against Capital, Against the State’ (June 23, 2007).

    As is usual, no response was received from Mick, SAlt, or anyone other than a handful of the usual suspects.

    With regards the subject of racism in particular, a brief response to an article in Anarchy by Leona Benten is available here.

    In general, what I blog is pretty much what I want to blog, and doesn’t follow any particular pattern outside of my interests in politics — anarchism, the far right and far left trainspotting in particular — muzak, pop culture (film, TV) and weirdness.

    Why do you continue to spend so much time discussing neo-nazis?

    Um… because I hates the nasssty tricksssy nazisss?

    And for the lolz.

    Obviously that’s a horrible movement, but at the same time we know that we can’t eliminate such tendencies without eliminating capitalism, and so I see THAT as our #1 fight…

    Leaving aside my understanding of the nature of social struggles and their interrelationships…

    That’s cool. I’m not particularly attached to convincing you of anything. But my intention is not to eliminate such tendencies — something which is not possible in any case. Rather, myself and a small group of others, largely centred on the Australasian network Fightdemback!, maintain a watching brief on the antics of the far right in Aotearoa/New Zealand and Australia, and have done for the last few years. See FightDemBack! A Brief History (January 3rd, 2007).

    Spending significant amounts of time attacking a tiny reactionary movement within the system just seems like you’re allowing yourself to be sidetracked. The hours you’ve spent writing blogs about the latest nazi trend results in very little development in revolutionary ideas, movements, or actions. Best-case scenario, your readers are more aware than before that the horrors of fascist ideologies are not finished yet.

    The accusation that what I and others like me do — or at least, a significant proportion of what I have been doing, and inre to my blog — is effectively a waste of time or of very low priority is (obviously) a criticism I’ve encountered previously. It finds its most sustained expression in Jean Barrot’s (aka Gille Dauve’s) ‘Fascism/Anti-fascism’ (available here and elsewhere) — although its relevance is somewhat muted by time and place and what I think is the far more modest nature of the activities that I’ve been engaged in, both here and elsewhere. (You can read a review of Barrot’s essay in Aufheben.)

    With regards the utility of such endeavours… that’s difficult to say. For example, it may well be the case that blogging about the latest episode in the soap opera that is SFDU may lead to little, if any, “development in revolutionary ideas, movements, or actions”, but that’s not really my intention. (Nor do I think that the worthiness of all activities can or should be reduced to the question of whether or not it advances or retards this development.) On the other hand, I’m aware that a number of people were surprised at the emergence of the New Reich at APEC, and I think that the information which had previously been compiled on it helped others to understand exactly who they were and what they wanted. By the same token, the cancellation of a bikini march and rally to a mosque in Brunswick had something to do with the impact of the kinds of organising I’ve been involved in, as has the organisation of a public protest at and boycott of The Birmingham Hotel in Fitzroy; the dissolution of the White Pride Coalition of Australia, the Patriotic Youth League and Redwatch Down Under; the disruption of the Sydney Forum, the organising activities of Blood & Honour and the Hammerskins, the more respectable face of fascism in organisations such as the Australia First Party, et cetera. FDB! has also been responsible for generating a small amount of media regarding the activities of such groups, which — unless you adhere to the notion that they are best ignored — is a useful thing. The “best-case scenario” therefore, is not that “readers are more aware than before that the horrors of fascist ideologies are not finished yet”, but that real attempts at organising to relive such horrors are somewhat mitigated. Finally, it’s also the case that my blog has proven useful in terms of circulating accounts of anti-fascist activism in other parts of the world, especially in Europe, where the far right is in many ways a more serious threat than it is in Australasia, and where the consequences of fighting it can sometimes be death. See, for example:

    Jan Kučera – Další oběť neonacistů (Czech antifa murdered by neo-Nazi) and Jan Kucera – Another victim of neo-nazis (antifa.cz) (January 23 and 24, 2008);
    16 year-old antifa stabbed to death in Madrid (November 12, 2007);
    Statement from survivors of fascist assault in Siberia (July 22, 2007) and Who do they think they’re fooling? Angarsk, Ilya Borodaenko, and the IUEC (July 24, 2007).

    I think with your knowledge you have much more you could achieve.

    I for one certainly hope so. Which is to say: you and me both!

  8. juancastro says:

    I’m going to narrow in on one of your points, because I think that’s where I fundamentally split with a lot of anarchists. You say that don’t think that the worthiness of all activities can or should be reduced to the question of whether or not it advances or retards this development [of the revolution].

    Now I guess ‘my’ belief/analysis is that the world is so badly fucked, that only an international revolution can save it. I’m thinking you probably share this view, but if not, I would be very interested in discussing that (and I’ve already been wrong in a few of my assumptions xD).

    So, if a mass uprising is the only thing that can save this world, surely our duty is to work towards that event. What it comes down to is that not many people are revolutionary. So while there are plenty of people fighting against fascism, Hansonism, environmental destruction, and other worthy issues, I feel that someone who _does_ see that the whole system is to blame has some sort of obligation to focus a significant amount of their energies against that, and not be sidetracked by individual symptoms. For example, my Spanish cousin (an anarchist with no suffix) thinks that living in an okupación is a revolutionary act, as it is an attack on the institution of private property. I fundamentally disagree, because it is an action that is only possible for an elite few, and I think it’s weakness is showed by the fact that at this very moment these movements are being attacked by the system without invoking much sense of class-wide solidarity for that very reason.

    Having said all that, I’m currently applying to teach English in a community centre and have done similar stuff in the past… so obviously I don’t have a principled stance against extra-revolutionary activities! Maybe more just something for us all to keep in mind.

  9. @ndy says:

    I’ll respond more fully later, but one of the things that often springs to mind in discussions around ‘revolution’ is the following:

    Meaningful action, for revolutionaries, is whatever increases the confidence, the autonomy, the initiative, the participation, the solidarity, the equalitarian tendencies and the self-activity of the masses and whatever assists in their demystification. Sterile and harmful action is whatever reinforces the passivity of the masses, their apathy, their cynicism, their differentiation through hierarchy, their alienation, their reliance on others to do things for them and the degree to which they can therefore be manipulated by others – even by those allegedly acting on their behalf.

  10. juancastro says:

    “Meaningful action, for revolutionaries, is whatever increases the confidence, the autonomy, the initiative, the participation, the solidarity, the equalitarian tendencies and the self-activity of the masses and whatever assists in their demystification. Sterile and harmful action is whatever reinforces the passivity of the masses, their apathy, their cynicism, their differentiation through hierarchy, their alienation, their reliance on others to do things for them and the degree to which they can therefore be manipulated by others – even by those allegedly acting on their behalf.”

    I think that’s far too broad a definition of revolutionary action. For example, a hippy commune, or even a racist kibbutz would qualify under most of that criteria, yet they are not revolutionary at all.

    I prefer to be much more specific: awakening class-consciousness and it’s accompanying class solidarity is the fundamental aspect of revolutionary activity. Because let’s be honest, most Australians already support having confident, initiative-taking, engaged, masses of people involved in a society with “egalitarian tendencies”. But none of that is _necessarily_ revolutionary, in the sense of wanting to smash the state and have workers’ control over society. That is the key thing, IMO, and that comes from a concept of class, class warfare, and an anti-capitalist understanding of the world. Vague desires for equality and participation show great instincts, but that alone isn’t going to change the world.

  11. @ndy says:

    i)

    To begin with, I suppose that would depend upon what the members of the “hippy commune” in question did; in general, being a ‘hippy’ denotes passivity, but that wasn’t always the case. If the members of the commune acted in accord with the description of meaningful revolutionary activity given in the document, they would be — by definition — acting in a revolutionary manner. A racist kibbutz, on the other hand, would not qualify for consideration as its activities would be opposed to the maintenance of egalitarian relationships and be disruptive of human solidarity. In short, the propagation of racism is incompatible with this definition of meaningful revolutionary activity.

    As for awakening class consciousness, this too is a broad definition. Of what does (working) class consciousness consist if not the increasing confidence, autonomy, initiative, participation, solidarity, equality and self-activity of the masses (and a concomitant demystification of (class) society)? By my reading, what is being described is the emergence of the working class as a revolutionary class, a class of people capable of asserting their political independence and acting upon it in accordance with a collectively-expressed desire for freedom and economic and social equality.

    In any case, I’m not positing a document by a Marxist group of the 1960s as being the most perfect expression of revolutionary consciousness thus far; it’s simply what springs to mind as being a useful distinction: what promotes expressions of working class autonomy and what doesn’t. Further, as they themselves note in a further document (and which would appear to be of particular relevance given your own ideological commitments):

    Because we reject Lenin’s concept that the working class can only develop a trade union (or reformist) consciousness IT FOLLOWS that we reject the Leninist prescription that socialist consciousness has to be brought to the people from the outside, or injected into the movement by political specialists: the professional revolutionaries. It further follows that we cannot behave as if we held such beliefs.

    Mass consciousness, however, is never a theoretical consciousness, derived individually through the study of books. In modern industrial societies socialist consciousness springs from the real conditions of social life. These societies generate the conditions for an adequate consciousness. On the other hand, because they are class societies, they usually inhibit accession to that consciousness. Here lies both the dilemma and the challenge confronting modern revolutionaries.

    There is a role for conscious revolutionaries. Firstly through personal involvement, in one’s own life and where possible at one’s own place of work. (Here the main danger lies in ‘prolier than thou’ attitudes, which lead people either to believe that there is little they can do if they are not industrial workers, or to pretend to be what they are not, in the false belief that the only relevant areas of struggle are in relation to industry.) Secondly, by assisting others in struggle, by providing them with help or information they are denied. (Here the main danger lies in the offering of ‘interested help’, where recruitment of the militant to the ‘revolutionary’ organisation is as much an objective of the ‘help’ as is his victory in the struggle in which he is involved.) Finally, by pointing out and explaining the deep (but often hidden) relations between the socialist objective and what people are driven to do, through their own experiences and needs. (This is what we mean when we say revolutionaries should help make ‘explicit’ the ‘implicitly’ socialist content of many modern struggles.)

    Problematic, yes, but still an advance.

    ii)

    Because let’s be honest, most Australians already support having confident, initiative-taking, engaged, masses of people involved in a society with “egalitarian tendencies”.

    I disagree. To be precise: it’s not a question of being prepared to give rhetorical support for some notion of ‘equality’; rather, Solidarity identifies meaningful revolutionary activity as that which lends itself to the practical realization of such tendencies on as broad a scale as possible. Further, the statement specifically identifies part of this project as involving the tackling of mystifications such as, for example, and in this particular context, the idea that Australia is an ‘egalitarian society’. With regards ‘smashing the state’ and ‘workers’ control’, to the extent workers assume control of society, so the role of the state is diminished. And as Uncle Vlad said while modelling his anarchist hat (it didn’t fit): While the State exists there can be no freedom; when there is freedom there will be no State.

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