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Caitlin Johnstone: The Billionaire Savior of Twitter #ElonMusk

"Caitlin Johnstone: The Billionaire Savior of Twitter
April 26, 2022

Elon Musk’s talk about free speech will only matter if and when Twitter stops censoring Russian media and people who question the official narrative about Ukraine.

Twitter has done an about-face and sold the company to the richest person in the world for $44 billion.

Rightists are having a merry old time making fun of the melodramatic reactions from high-profile liberals who fear Elon Musk’s purchase will lead to more free speech on the platform for people who don’t align with them politically. Many of the blue-checkmarked commentariat who live on Twitter and who can’t go five minutes without checking their notifications are making a big show of pretending they’re about to leave.

Many critics on the left are responding to the news by ringing alarm bells about a powerful oligarch controlling an influential social media platform, as though Twitter was anything besides oligarch-controlled before today and as though billionaires buying up media is some shocking new development.

Some anti-imperialists have expressed tentative hope that this new development may lead to some rollback of the jarring escalations in censorship we’ve been seeing on the platform in defense of U.S. empire narratives, due to the plutocrat’s comments on the importance of free speech.

From what I can see, though, the overwhelming majority of excitement on Twitter about Musk’s purchase is coming not from those who challenge power in any meaningful way but from those who want former U.S. President Donald Trump’s account restored and want to be able to say mean things to trans people. And I suspect that says a lot about what we’re looking at here.

This important distinction was summed up by journalist Michael Tracey, who tweeted, “The biggest test for Elon Musk will not be whether he rolls back the most obvious ‘woke’ content policies — that should be a given — but whether he continues to let Twitter be used as a vehicle for the US national security state to ‘counter’ official enemies like Russia and China.”

Speaking for myself I won’t be surprised if we do see some of the former, but I will be absolutely astonished if we see the latter.

You don’t get to be a billionaire, much less a billionaire with massively influential media ownership, unless you collaborate with existing power. Musk has certainly been collaborating with the oligarchic empire very nicely up until this point, and it’s a safe bet that his purchase would not be happening if the empire felt its narrative control machine was in any way threatened by it.

Believing Elon Musk is going to save Twitter is as naive as believing Joe Biden was going to save America. Arguing over which oligarchs should control the media is as silly and undignified as arguing over which oligarch-owned politicians should run the government.

Billionaires coming to the rescue only happens in movies and comic books. You’re as likely to be saved by Elon Musk as you are by Bruce Wayne or Tony Stark.

How many times are people going to fall for this “a billionaire is about to stick it to the man and save us all” schtick? It’s very sad that we’re at a point where speech is being throttled so severely that people are hoping an eccentric billionaire will swoop in and rescue them from oppression. Real life is like a dumber, more boring version of Gotham City, except Batman is working with the bad guys.

I’ll start paying attention to Musk’s talk about free speech if and when Twitter stops censoring Russian media and unbans people like Scott Ritter who were removed from the platform for questioning official empire narratives about what’s happening in Ukraine.

Until then I’m going to assume he’s at most only interested in protecting speech that doesn’t threaten the powerful, like Republican partisan bullshit and hate speech against marginalized groups.

The billionaires are not coming to save us. The idea that they might is a carefully constructed propaganda narrative that we’ve been sold for generations. The leaders of the capitalist class are not going to overturn the systems of oppression and exploitation which form the very foundation of capitalism. Superhero stories are designed to prevent us from realizing that only we the people have the power to rescue ourselves.

Caitlin Johnstone is a rogue journalist, poet, and utopia prepper who publishes regularly at Medium. Her work is entirely reader-supported, so if you enjoyed this piece please consider sharing it around, liking her on Facebook, following her antics on Twitter, checking out her podcast on either Youtube, soundcloud, Apple podcasts or Spotify, following her on Steemit, throwing some money into her tip jar onPatreon or Paypal, purchasing some of her sweet merchandise, buying her books Notes From The Edge Of The Narrative Matrix, Rogue Nation: Psychonautical Adventures With Caitlin Johnstone andWoke: A Field Guide for Utopia Preppers.

Caitlin Johnstone: The Billionaire Savior of Twitter – Consortium News"

The doctrinaire are always cynical

There is an alternative narrative, after all it’s a shorter step between Manifest Destiny capitalism and (a Schumachian), economy than it is between capitalism and socialism…must Musk be “corrected” or persuaded? The truth lies (ha!), in the notion of what makes an economy, what represents “health” and (more importantly for the rabid Neoliberal), “growth”, the growth of economy is in increased efficiency not greater surplus value, from what I’ve seen from Musk (although not definitive in any way), he is a man who is genuinely curious about the need for biodiversity (of all kinds), and the consequences of the drive for such. The doctrinaire are always cynical. Neoliberalism is now so prevalent within a majority of the resource empowered global population and the labour movement so removed from direct control over the means of production (admittedly although an unnecessarily atomised -ha! again-, class it is -at least for the majority of the time-, homogeneously ineffective), that there is little prospect of the working class in-itself becoming a working class for-itself in any pre-apocalypse scenario.

Nb. Acc. to Musk she “photo-bombed” him, he’d never met her before…

Now tell me I’m wrong check out the Greenwash


"Elon Musk’s purchase of Twitter is being greeted warily by the climate science community.

Why it matters: For scientists and activists, Twitter has long been a place for sharing research ideas and interacting with journalists and the public. It has also helped kindle and sustain the climate activist movement.

Musk’s views on free speech, and to a lesser extent climate science and solutions, may help determine if climate researchers and activists disband the communities they put so much time and effort into creating.

Yes, but: Twitter is also home to forces hostile to mainstream climate science findings, with climate deniers attacking researchers and harassing them.

Context: After years in which climate denial posts flourished and could be amplified through monetization, Twitter has moved to try to limit ads that go against the central finding that human activities are driving modern-day global warming.

A revised policy on this was announced just last week, but it’s unclear whether it will continue under Musk’s ownership.

What they’re saying: Jacquelyn Gill, a climate professor at the University of Maine and prominent voice in the climate Twitter community, told Axios in an interview that she found connections on the platform that she wouldn’t have another way, and fears that might be lost if changes are made.

“We started the ‘March for Science’ on Twitter,” she said. “You can’t say it’s not powerful.”

Between the lines: Gill and other scientists contacted for this story expressed the concern that Twitter will become a harsher place for certain voices in the climate community that already face a disproportionate amount of online vitriol, such as people of color and members of the LBGTQ community.*

If hate speech increases on the platform under Musk, it could narrow the range of voices that get amplified in the climate conversation, Gill and other scientists said.
“Hate speech is not protected speech. And making this a harder place to have conversations, if you are, you know, a white woman or a BIPOC person or a queer person or a trans person or all of those things, right?” Gill said. “Every box that you tick makes Twitter a more difficult and dangerous space.”

Genevieve Guenther, a climate writer and activist, told Axios in an interview that Twitter is a unique forum where different actors in the climate space interact and learn from one another.

“I think it’s absolutely essential for researchers, politicians, journalists and activists to all talk to each other in the climate space,” she said.

Zoom in: Peter Kalmus, a climate researcher who has more than 243,000 followers on Twitter, told Axios he uses the platform to get word out about scientific findings and events that the mainstream media might otherwise ignore.

Meanwhile, some prominent climate scientists are taking a clear anti-Musk stance.

“Absent a commitment from Musk and the board that there will be a strict firewall protecting the medium from his meddling and influence, the independence and objectivity of Twitter is now fundamentally threatened,” Penn State University climate scientist Michael Mann told Axios via email.
“The greatest threat to the very “freedom of speech” that Musk professes to be so concerned about is Musk himself,” he said." Twitter's impending sale sets off soul-searching in climate community

I’ll shut up!

*They should avoid them then.

All vaxxed up then, using your WiFi to communicate? Stick it up your a**e!

5G mast

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Caitlin is facing in several directions at once, per usual, yawn.

The dog whistle phrases in these weedy commentariat think-by-numbers pieces are “hate speech” and “climate deniers”, though perhaps not “antivaxxers” (for once).

Personally I think I’ll continue to stay away from Twitter, in much the same way as I would plug in my headphones to drown out some drunks bellowing at each other in the street outside.

I have more or less stopped laughing about poor dear Vijaya’s realisation that her pink slip will be coming along real soon.

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It’s always easier to criticise…I find myself asking (so very often); “maybe, but what are you doing about it? What is your positive contribution? How do you enable change? Will; “we told you so” be of any use to you as you watch your legs disappearing down the plug-hole?”

This though is disturbing, quote; "The world’s richest man has also shown himself to be against free speech when that speech is encouraging employees to organize. Tesla worker Richard Ortiz was fired for trying to organize with the United Auto Workers, a move that was deemed illegal by a labor board. Additionally, Musk has personally used Twitter to illegally promote anti-union messages, as ruled by a California judge.

In 2018, the SEC charged Musk with making “false and misleading” statements to investors, in this case to drive up Tesla stock. And, incredibly, Musk has already broken the law in his bid to conquer Twitter. The SEC requires anyone who acquires more than 5 percent of a company’s shares to disclose their holdings within 10 days. Musk signed his initial Twitter filing 21 days after his initial acquisition of a 9.2 percent stake, 11 days late.

So, what exactly indicates that Musk will do a good job in taking over the social media company? Well, apart from his denials of allegations of wrongdoing, not much. Bloomberg, not a publication to make radical points, simply stated yesterday that Musk, “is not up to the task of running a media company” and expressed concern that the deal was going through largely because of Musk’s “enthusiasm for the deal,” not much of a criterion.

And Musk has certainly been showcasing this trait on Twitter, with a series of proposals like an edit button, banning bots (something Twitter already seeks to do), and an open algorithm (a proposal that would help the bot-builders he wants to ban.) At the moment it remains unclear how he would make the company more profitable, and the acquisition deal does require Twitter, and therefore Musk, to pay interest to the tune of $1 billion a year.

But even beyond these red flags of mistreating workers, anti-labor organizing sentiments, breaking the law and running afoul of the SEC, there’s an even greater concern: democracy. Musk has exhibited conflicting political views, claiming to be a libertarian while taking billions in subsidies and backing politicians from both parties. What remains consistent is his pursuit of profit, and the world’s richest man owning an international public forum does not bode well for the health of democratic society. He has already used Twitter to allegedly illegally attack unions and drive up stock prices, but there is now the very real possibility that he could use it to influence anything from elections to social movements on a much larger scale." https://www.independent.co.uk/voices/elon-musk-twitter-free-speech-b2065880.html

I don’t like anti-unionism, there’s no need for it from an employer. If this does mean we need another Twitter type platform so be it, I just like to think (for such is the curse on the “liberal”), that not every powerful person is a totalitarian crackpot, .