Recently, there has been a conflict among socialists over the use of the word “faggot” which emerged after Maoist Rebel News made a Facebook status as the following, where he defends his casual use of the word:
“Getting real sick and tired of internet kids complaining about shit. Remember the porn purge from two weeks ago? Time for another. Let’s get something straight, you don’t tell me what I can say. I use the word faggot. I use it a lot on friends and to describe things I don’t like. If you don’t like this, unfriend me now. No one, absolutely no one tells me what words I can and can’t use. I just had kid tell me I can’t use it. When I dismissed her argument that I can’t use it because I don’t care what she thinks, she went and cried sexism rising the shield of feminism to protect herself. It’s disgusting to use the plight of women as a shield against criticism. I am not anyone’s leader and I am not in anyone’s party. I don’t care if you don’t like what I say, there is no democratic centralism because this is not an organization. I do not conform to anyone’s party line. Don’t whine to me because I use the word faggot and retard or that I support the DPRK. Unfriend me and don’t watch my channel if you don’t like it.”
He then proceeded to make the following video where he accuses a fellow communist of “feminism shielding” and defends his use of the word “faggot”.
Immediately after, he denounced prominent Marxist-Leninist site owner , the Espresso Stalinist, for making the same criticism of his use of the word “faggot”. He used a similar aggressive and emotional attack but due to the fact he has blocked my Facebook account at the time of writing this criticism, I cannot accurately quote what was said.
image from the espresso stalinist
whom Jason termed a ‘coffee shop
revolutionary’ and ‘control nazi’
I have been in many private Skype calls with Jason and other communists over the last year, so this situation was particularly frustrating.
Rather than write him off then and there, I wanted to at least try and talk it out personally. The key to proper Marxist solidarity is treating criticism professionally but appropriately.
Here is the conversation we had, unedited, except for removing personal information; his profile picture appears generic as he blocked me shortly before writing this. As the image will indicate, he did indeed consent to making this conversation public.
Click on the image below and use your browser’s zoom utility to read.
As one can see, when I tried to approach him as a comrade, I was told to “fuck off”. But before that, I was informed that I was a “nazi”. Who knew?
Where Jason first went wrong was when he decided to incorporate homophobic and ableist language into his vocabulary.
Let me make this clear. It is never okay to casually throw around words like “faggot”, “retard”, or “nigger”. We are socialists and communists. We are supposed to be standing up for the oppressed peoples of the world and fighting to liberate them, not express our own privilege in a way that offends those very same peoples.
Besides the homophobia, ableism, and subtle acceptance of racism, Jason also has expressed a bit of patronizing sexism. In private confrontations with a female communist, he often dismissed her, as he does in the video, as a “child”, “kid”, and accused her of using feminism as a shield; despite the fact she is indeed a divorced survivor of domestic abuse. The complete nature of this episode cannot be known for certain, but such language is no doubt patronizing to an adult.
As for how Marx and Engels used this language, so what? Does the fact that we have had racist and homophobic revolutionaries before us justify perpetuating heternormative and ableist socio-dialogue? Marxism is constantly reevaluating, reassessing, and purifying itself along the dialectical method and there is definitely a consensus that racism and homophobia are unacceptable. My point being, if you are afraid to say it publicly, do not say it privately. We must be prepared to make our conversations public as they should reflect a character that is not hypocritical and backstabbing to the revolutionary movements against oppression.
With that said, we all make mistakes. Each and everyone of us has used such language before, either by slip or intentionally. The key is to recognize what we have done is wrong, correct that, and move forward.
Jason’s biggest blunder, one that will surely hurt him in the near future, was that he chose to dig his heels in like a bourgeois individualist under fire. On the first day of Maoism 101 you should learn the importance of criticism, and self-criticism. This is done purely in a political matter, as a form of reaffirming our dedication to revolutionary principles, and should be received appropriately.
What we saw from Jason was the equivalent of a childish meltdown(ragequit); where he accused anyone and everyone who had criticized him of “censorship” and trying to “police” his private conversations. If not mildly offensive this is at the very least completely false. No one is advocating to march into his house and arrest him for using homophobic language. We are rightfully criticizing him for being such an apparently strong Maoist yet continuing to perpetuate these oppressive dispositions.
He claims to represent no one, but stands in front of flags representing the DPRK, PRC, and USSR. He claims to conform to no one, but proudly calls himself the Maoist Rebel. Maoism, like any strain of revolutionary socialism, is not a weekend bowling league. Sometimes you need to swallow your pride and admit your mistakes to make yourself a stronger and more dedicated individual.
I am not interested in people so enveloped with self-importance that they refuse to even apologize for the most offensive of actions.
“To let things slide for the sake of peace and friendship when a person has clearly gone wrong, and refrain from principled argument because he is an old acquaintance, a fellow townsman, a schoolmate, a close friend, a loved one, an old colleague or old subordinate. Or to touch on the matter lightly instead of going into it thoroughly, so as to keep on good terms. The result is that both the organization and the individual are harmed. This is one type of liberalism.” Mao Tse-Tung, Combat Liberalism
For the most part, I really liked Jason. He was a pretty down-to-earth fellow who gave a face to solid Marxism on the internet. As he cited in his recent video, he made many tough decisions. One of them was his harsh stance against pornography, which I agreed with. I defended him from criticism then, as his position was rightful. I defended him even more before that and always thought of him as a comrade.
Yet, when this all came about, it was impossible for me to defend his actions and rhetoric any longer.
As for the whole “I can say what I want” self-worship, it’s true. He has the freedom of speech. But his freedom of speech does not override our freedom to criticism and association; and as long as he calls himself a Maoist, he can expect to be criticized accordingly.
No one is above the principles of our movement. Jason needed to be reminded of this.