By Helen Buyniski
Source: Ghion Journal
Editor’s note: I’m pleased to introduce Ghion Journal readers to Helen Buyniski, who I’ve been reading with great interest for some time. Known in particular for her investigations into the ideological underpinnings of Wikipedia and its propagating of various kinds of misinformation, Helen conducts her research in depth and pens her words with bite. I hope you’ll give her inaugural piece your undue attention.
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The neoliberal establishment is wringing its hands in the wake of European Union parliamentary elections that proved a resounding victory for populist parties across the continent. (For readers unfamiliar with what Member of the European Parliament do, here’s a quick primer). Almost immediately, the establishment has been casting around for someone to blame, but appears utterly incapable of realizing it’s their own interference with public discourse that has doomed them. Instead, they’ve doubled down on the censorship they’ve already been engaging in, and seem determined to provoke a catastrophe that could allow them to make free speech a thing of the past.
The Non-Governmental Organization (NGO)-industrial complex was operating at maximum capacity in the weeks leading up to the election, shutting down hundreds of Facebook pages they deemed “fake” or “hate speech” in the hope of controlling the messages reaching voters (before they made the terrible mistake of voting for candidates who actually represent their interests).
Led by the organization Avaaz, which claims to be a “global citizens’ movement that monitors election freedom and disinformation,” this well-heeled fifth column whipped the press into paranoid frenzies with reports like “Fakewatch,” which breathlessly documented 500 “suspicious” pages and groups it claims are “spreading massive disinformation.”
Avaaz, founded by a U.S. State Department alumnus and a former pro-war congressman, has consistently provided humanitarian cover to U.S. imperialism, supporting no-fly zones in Syria and Libya and pushing for “people-power” regime change in Iran and Venezuela; while the group’s attacks on corporate malefactors like Monsanto are laudable, they are mere window-dressing for its primary aim of advancing a (kinder, gentler) neoliberal hegemony. The groups targeted in Avaaz’s Fakewatch report have little in common other than their alleged “link[s] to right wing and…