“Antifascist” Troll Farmers Exposed
Shane Burley, Spencer Sunshine, and Alexander Reid Ross are fraudulent, “antifascist” writers of innuendo and lies. If only that’s all they did. In addition to their completely unhinged political ramblings about antisemitism throughout the left, they spend most of their time actively trying to disrupt and destroy left groups that they deem impure. They are troll farmers, coordinating vicious, abusive, and damaging attacks on left groups and individuals — a terrible, McCarthyite mentality rife on the left, which this group embodies, which must end, for the sake of humanity’s future.
There is a troll farm largely based in Portland, consisting of a number of players. Their main battleground of disinformation and abusive behavior is Twitter, but they’re active on other platforms, including the anarcho-puritan riot porn site, It’s Going Down. Some of the “antifascist” troll farmers have names and even verified accounts — Shane Burley, Spencer Sunshine, Alexander Reid Ross, among others. Their collaborators in their cancellation campaigning, which they prefer to call “deplatforming,” include an assistant professor of Spanish at a major US university, who is one of the most abusive and unhinged of the many abusive and unhinged trolls with which Spencer, Shane and Alexander intimately associate themselves, whose actions are coordinated. This group of so-called antifascists are one of the most destructive influences on the modern US left, specifically, and more broadly, the tendency that many people in society have to believe anything some moron says on Twitter helps their abusive behavior dominate entire social and political scenes, and destroy them, leading to many shattered progressive groups of all kinds, depression, and suicides. Read the full story here.
Background to the “antifascist” troll farm’s warped ideology
Shane Burley, Spencer Sunshine, and Alexander Reid Ross are folks with a job to do. Their job is one of spreading disinformation and sow discontent through coordinated, abusive online practices, meant to cancel events, and cause distrust among people and organizations, in order to undermine any group that dares associate with someone on the “antifascist” troll farm’s blacklist. Their blacklist grows fast all the time, and consists of every prominent leftwing Jewish intellectual you’ve ever heard of, and more. They have a completely fringe and very bizarre concept of what is antisemitic, so that it includes just about anything anyone does or says, if it relates to Israel, which is a settler-colonial state that practices a form of apartheid which Desmond Tutu famously noted was worse than apartheid had been in his native South Africa.
Why would people who sell themselves as anarchists and antifascists be spending all their time trying to find antisemitism on the left, while one might think there could be bigger battles to fight, what with the US invading the rest of the world and killing millions of people every few years, and with the US’s biggest client state in terms of military aid being an apartheid state that is daily slaughtering the indigenous inhabitants of the country, the Palestinians, and keeping them in half-starved ghettos the rest of the time?
For most of us, this would seem like a very good question. But not to these extremely dogmatic authoritarians masquerading as anarchists. For them, the concept of discourse is anathema. For then, there should be no discourse — not with those they deem as impure, for being people who ask the wrong questions or use the wrong terms to describe something or other. Then the “antifascist” trolls must pounce. Then whatever the person being attacked has done in the rest of their lives is irrelevant, because they made one or more transgressions, according to Spencer, Shane, and/or Alexander. Then the cancellation campaign (“deplatforming” campaign) begins, and never ends.
How does such extreme sectarian ridiculousness emerge from the left, one might ask. It’s a very good question, and who knows what the answer is. Did this group of clowns emerge from the left? Or are they being used by someone? I’d love to know, but I don’t. What I do know is they are a coordinated group of trolls conducting a psy ops campaign against many different targets, using the same group of people and sock puppet accounts in various coordinated activities online, as described in the diagram above.
I know a lot more, too.
There have long been sectarian, divisive tendencies within the left, around the world. Often they are introduced or fomented by outside forces, such as intelligence agencies. There’s nothing “copjacketing” about saying that — this is one of the trolls’ favorite words. What they are doing by using this word is gaslighting anyone who knows that the left is heavily infiltrated. Which is a statement of the obvious to anyone who is involved with the left. They know it, too, but they gaslight habitually, every day, it’s part of their cancellation campaign strategies.
The specific tendency that these “antifascist” trolls come from, however, has a history. It begins in Germany, home of the Nazis, and the Nazi holocaust, where many of my relatives were killed, along with the relatives of most of the Jewish intellectuals and artists that this collection of goyim attacks constantly — such as Norman Finkelstein, Noam Chomsky, and so on.
It does not begin with the Nazi holocaust, however, so much as with German reunification.
With German reunification, a group of communists in Hamburg began a process of splintering and splintering again, as elements of the West German left tried to figure out what to do about the prospect, and then the reality, of German reunification. A group that had initially been very understandably concerned with the potential rise of the far right in a reunified Germany eventually splintered and morphed into a tendency that became known as the Anti-Deutsche, or the Anti-Germans.
The Anti-Deutsche has always been a relatively small fraction of what is more or less still known as the autonomous scene in Germany, which is itself a small fraction of German society, easily found in squatted social centers, if you’re looking for them. With the German autonomous scene there is the majority, who are sometimes differentiated from the Anti-Deutsche by calling them Anti-Imps, or Anti-Imperialists. The Anti-Imperialists are, as you might expect, united in an opposition to militarism, with a particular focus on German and NATO militarism, which of course includes US militarism in a big way.
Germany has a very tragic and complex history, as most people are aware, so any opposition to NATO or US militarism can easily be seen by some as anti-US, and therefore somehow fascist, since the Nazis were also anti-US. This is, of course, extremely simplistic thinking, but in any case, this is how some people think, or more likely, feel, since these are thoughts largely driven by guilt more than rationality. Sensible people who are against fascism can see that militarism is bad, whether you’re the Luftwaffe bombing England or Russia, the US Air Force bombing Vietnam or Iraq.
But the Anti-Deutsche view the Anti-Imperialists as enemies, as much as they see fascists as enemies. Over time, whether the Anti-Deutsche had any interest in fighting fascism seemed dubious, since they seemed to be spending most of their time trying to cancel my concerts, and disrupt events of other intellectuals and cultural workers who were critical of Israeli apartheid.
For the Anti-Deutsche, Germany is the root of all evil. Given what happened in the 1940’s, this is not a really hard argument to make. But then it gets really weird after that. If Germany is the root of all evil, Jews, therefore, can do no wrong. Therefore Israel can do no wrong, because it calls itself the Jewish State (they never bothered asking the Jews what we think of the Jewish state, of course). Therefore the Israeli military can also do no wrong. Therefore the US military can do no wrong, because it supports Israel. Therefore bombing Iraq was a good idea, because in their very warped imagination, it somehow made Israel safer to do that.
This is how they look at reality. And this is how their US equivalents look at reality.
When I was first having gigs disrupted by the Anti-Deutsche — by this tiny little cabal of extremely dogmatic blond German teenagers — I thought this phenomenon couldn’t possibly exist outside of Germany or Israel. But I was wrong. It’s been imported. I didn’t even notice, for years, because I had a lot of other things to focus on than a few wingnuts. But then I interviewed the wrong person, and voila, I became some kind of fascist all of a sudden. This is the black-and-white sectarian thinking of the deranged, but unfortunately, a few deranged people working together can make a big mess, if they’re cunningly deranged, anyway. (And if they have help.)
Background to the current cancellation campaign Shane Burley, Spencer Sunshine, Alexander Reid Ross and company are waging against me and others
The day after the Capitol siege, on January 7th, 2021, I interviewed Matthew Heimbach, privately, at length, to see what an ex-fascist might have to say about why all these people have just laid siege to the Capitol, with five people dead. Heimbach was a prominent far right leader, according to the mass media and many of my friends, some of whom thought he hadn’t really changed. I think they’re wrong, but I also think I should have contextualized the interview better. I temporarily took it down. Soon it will be published in a contextualized form in an academic journal, with lots of footnotes to provide further context, and an introductory essay from me, as well as other commentary from other intellectuals on the broader subject at hand.
As I was deliberating what to do with this interview, the “antifascist” troll farmers of Portland had already mobilized their campaign against me. At the time I didn’t realize it was a coordinated cancellation campaign (which it was, and is, beyond any possible doubt, by the trolls’ own repeated admissions, publicly on Twitter). But a few people I actually knew and respected also wanted me to do something about the interview, so it was for them — for the Fifth Estate collective, with whom I was hosting a weekly livestream show, that I acted at the time.
This “success” got the trolls all worked up, and they’ve been smelling blood ever since. And of course they’ve been doing research. Research which led them to discover that I had not only failed to denounce jazz saxophone player and author, Gilad Atzmon, but I had done a gig with him, interviewed him twice, and been interviewed by him as well. Then they discovered I was also interviewed on a rightwinger’s YouTube channel. Then they discovered that almost a decade ago, some folks threatened to boycott one of my shows because of insensitive comments I had made on Facebook. I agreed the comments were insensitive, apologized, and then re-recorded the song I wrote about Chelsea Manning so it reflected the name and gender she lives by now (which was different when I wrote and recorded the song), and the folks who were upset publicly announced they were cool with me, became financial supporters, and all came to my show in Dublin that they were originally threatening to boycott. But none of this is mentioned by the trolls, who found the original blog post about boycotting my gig, but never mention anything that happened afterwards.
This is standard procedure for them, and there is no reasoning with them. They are inherently dishonest people, who have no intentions of finding any kind of truth. They are cancel campaigners, with no desire to do anything other than cancel people. They are anarcho-puritans, anarcho-McCarthyites, anarcho-authoritarians.
The background, essentially, doesn’t really matter. You don’t really need to know — with me, with Norman, with Noam, with Medea, with any of us. We’re all true upstanding honest-to-goodness progressives, fighting the good fight, unlike the “antifascist” troll farmers and the sock puppet accounts who like their posts.
But to the extent that the background matters, for those who want to slog through a whole lot of verbiage, here you go.
The Anti-Deutsche and Me — I wrote this piece after the Anti-Deutsche succeeded in getting another of my gigs in Germany cancelled.
Chelsea and Me — I wrote this after the folks talking about the boycott decided to un-boycott and become supporters instead.
Confessions of an Ecumenical Leftist — one of the pieces I wrote during the first year of the organized cancellation campaign against me led by the Portland troll farmers.
My Anonymous Critic Speaks — an anonymously-written diatribe appeared in the anarcho-puritan riot porn site, It’s Going Down. This was my equally detailed and lengthy response, which IGD never published, and which Shane, Spencer, Alexander and the other deceitful cancellation campaigners never mention.
Free Speech, Expensive Speech, Censorship, Social Media Algorithms, and Anarcho-Puritanism — a more recent piece on related subjects.
And My Friends Respond to the Attacks — long-time anarchist and old friend, Peter Werbe, responds to the slander.
Shane Burley’s Anarcho-Puritan Cancellation Campaigning, Explained — my response to Shane Burley’s attack piece on me published on the website of the Anarchist Federation on April 24th, 2022
Reactions to a Cancellation Campaign — my responses to some of the advice and other feedback that I always get after I respond to attacks from Shane and co.
Street Roots Joins the Cancel Culture? (Or, How I Became “Controversial”) — my response to a cancel culture hit piece in Street Roots sponsored by the editor, K. Rambo, that appeared there in March, 2022.
10 Ways the Left is Vulnerable to Cancellation Campaigning and How We Might Overcome This Tendency — a bit of an overview of the general problem we face here, published in September, 2022.
Trolls, Mastodons, Wikipedians, and the Condition of Our Communications — more thoughts on what the troll farmers and cancellation campaigners are up to, and how “social media” helps them so much, from November, 2022.
The Trolls’ Toll — some observations about the emotional damage done by smear campaigns.
The anarcho-puritan deceivers love to say that I’m obsessed with them, and with their cancel culture activities. I’m not. Evidence of this is the fact that at least 9 out of 10 essays and 99 out of 100 songs I’ve written since I’ve been under attack by this extremely sectarian political tendency (which first began in 2002) are about other subjects.
200 Megabytes of more shit
If you want to read a massive trove of archived Twitter conversations as well as articles in various publications giving more background on these unhinged wingnuts that call themselves antifascists, prove to me you’re not a troll, and I’ll send you a link.
In the meantime, here are more resources:
Genocide Denier? Not Me, Pal. Try the White House Instead — an excellent article Vijay Prashad wrote in response to Alexander Reid Ross’s attacks on him.
Antifascism Survey — I made a survey to help people differentiate between versions of antifascist thinking
Red Goat Collective — I’m a member of this collective, which published its first statement of purpose in May, 2022 in Counterpunch and elsewhere. We’re all about taking on cancellation culture.
Fucking Cancelled — brilliant podcast from Canada on the subject at hand.