A few weeks ago I got banned from 'Bunz Trading Zone', after expressing a "problematic" political opinion.
I objected to white liberals ganging up on a Mexican who was seeking a hair stylist to do cornrows. It seemed hypocritical for white folks to launch a vitriolic attack on a person from a community which is so widely detested that the United States government is willing to shut itself down in order to fund a wall to keep them out of 2/3 of the continent. I didn't say "Mexicans should be allowed to culturally appropriate black hairstyles." I said "Are we whites sure about this?" I was warned about my tone by the head moderator and informed that cornrows are a "cultural appropriation product" only eligible for visible people of colour to trade or seek, which I accepted, after all- liberals will be liberals. I did not break the rules again.
A few hours later after dozens of people liked my original comment, I was summarily banned from the Trading Zone. As though to salt the wound, they also banned me from the 'Bunz Employment+Entrepreneurial Zone', a separate Facebook group where I'd been quite engaged. I had been successful in seeking short-term gig work there, to help keep my head above water after very publicly losing my Journalism job for standing up for the rights of another minority community.
The following weekend, fascists and white nationalists rallied in Toronto. None of those white liberals who were performing wokeness in the Bunz comment section were present in opposition. None of the Bunz admin team, who banned me were present in opposition. I was present along with a number of other truly revolutionary people, who, I believe are wholly disinterested in the divisive politics of policed liberal identities, or performative Facebook activism.
Unfortunately, and despite any contributions I have made to social justice in Toronto, I now face starvation and poverty due in great part to the choices of the Bunz moderators. And it's part of a pattern: some of you may remember that two years ago, a vindictive Bunz moderator tried unsuccessfully to destroy my reputation in Toronto's activist community. She did this because I disagreed with a group of predominantly white Facebook slacktivists who were bullying and insulting some politically disinclined people. Those 'normies' dared to suggest that a picture of a penis-shaped soap-on-a-rope gag gift probably didn't need a "content warning". Yeah, for real.
When we allow corporations and the bounded rationality of their employees to act as arbiters of what is "correct" in social-justice spaces, we wind up with a situation where vindictive employees of a corporation can wield their power in the most corrupt ways possible. In this case that meant declaring that a committed long-term social justice activist should be excommunicated, to just be unemployed and starve, because their politics weren't "pure". In wielding its power against a community advocate for an explicitly political purpose,
Bunz is proving that it isn't a trustworthy custodian of the space it takes up in the city's landscape for alternative economics. Cutting off people doing some social justice heavy lifting from viable and functioning support networks isn't mutual aid. It's punitive, it's abuse. I'm holding out hope that they'll see their mistake-- that the "harm" I am supposed to have done to the community by voicing a "controversial" opinion, which came from a position further left than the politics of the corporation or its representatives, is nominal in comparison to the harm which is visited on me and my life through an inability to seek work in a progressive employment community.
Revoking my right to seek employment because of a comment I made elsewhere on social media is petty, punitive and coming from a corporation-- constitutes structural violence. Make no mistake, I'll be escalating this in the coming weeks.
If you support any of the work I've done in past, or support my right to access employment opportunities in a community dedicated to progressive job-seekers, please contact moderator Briony Smith for comment (she keeps untagging herself, but you can e-mail at [email protected]) or contact Bunz directly and ask them to rescind the ban, by sending an e-mail to [email protected] T
he tragedy is that many people will be scared to engage with this post for fear that they themselves will become targets. If you don't see how messed up that is, you'd best prepare for your 'woke' corporatist overlords.