Second Class Citizens: The 5 Stages of Financial Blacklisting

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After years of censoring conservatives without admitting to political bias, PayPal appears to have formally abandoned political neutrality, entering into a partnership with the far-left Anti Defamation League (ADL) and law enforcement to track and suppress the activities of the alleged far right.

Breitbart News first sounded the alarm on the rise of financial blacklisting in 2018, an opinion which was then shared by liberal organizations like the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

Since then, progressive activists have launched well-funded campaigns aimed at payment processors, and credit card companies, aimed at cutting the political right off from payment and banking services — essentially an effort to reduce them to the status of second-class citizens.

Here were some key stages on the road to financial blacklisting.

1. Crowdfunding Sites Target Conservatives 

The first sign that conservatives were going to be financially blacklisted came in 2015, when GoFundMe — a major platform for raising small donations online — shut down a fundraiser on its platform for a Christian bakery in Washington State, which was facing a large fine due to its refusal to serve a gay wedding. Later examples of conservative crowdfunding campaigns being shut down include Kickstarter’s decision in 2018 to ban a fundraiser for Swedish academic Ann Heberlein over her book examining the correlation between mass immigration into Sweden and a steep rise in sexual assaults in that country between 2012 and 2017.

2. Patreon cracks down on independent creators

Patreon, a service that allows people to charge recurring subscription fees, was once the gold standard in an ecosystem of online creators that sold content directly to their fans without going through any third party. Its descent into political bias became widely apparent in 2017, when it banned independent journalist Lauren Southern in 2017 over her work documenting left-wing NGOs smuggling immigrants into Europe via the Mediterranean. In the following two years, reportedly under pressure from credit card companies, it would purge even more conservative and independent creators, including the British critic of progressivism Carl Benjamin. In response to Benjamin’s ban, top Patreon earners Jordan Peterson and Dave Rubin announced plans to boycott the platform.

3. Mastercard and Discover blacklist Islam critics Robert Spencer, David Horowitz 

The theory that Patreon was banning creators due to pressure from credit card companies attracted some more evidence in late 2018, when Visa and Mastercard cut off payments to David Horowitz’s Freedom Center. Horowitz later had the service restored, but Islam critic Robert Spencer reported that he too was blacklisted by Mastercard, blaming it on pressure from far-left activists. In 2020, Visa also blacklisted Gab, the free speech friendly social network that offers users an alternative to the far-left content moderation of mainstream platforms like Facebook and Twitter.

4. PayPal and Stripe cut off conservatives 

There aren’t a lot of payment processors around — if you don’t have access to Stripe or PayPal, processing payments via the web can be a costly and technically challenging process. Yet even before PayPal announced its partnership with the ADL this week, it and Stripe were blacklisting conservatives. Stripe banned Lauren Southern in 2018, and a Kickstarter alternative set up by former conservative journalist Chuck Johnson in the same year. PayPal cut off the free speech friendly video hosting platform Bitchute in 2018, the conservative street artist Sabo in 2019, Republican political candidate and activist Laura Loomer in the same year.

5. Debanking

The final stage in the left’s efforts to destroy the livelihoods of their political opponents is to cut them off from the banking system altogether. Earlier this year, Wells Fargo shut down the bank account of 2020 GOP senate candidate Lauren Witzke, and conservative activist and writer Pete D’Abrosca on the same day. Chase Bank shut down a slew of conservative and right-wing accounts in 2019, and undercover journalists at Project Veritas later obtained a tape of a Chase employee stating that the company can cut off banking services on the basis of “moral character.” The bank continues to deny closing people’s accounts due to political affiliations, with the CEO of the company, Jamie Dimon, directly addressing the allegations in 2019.

Allum Bokhari is the senior technology correspondent at Breitbart News. He is the author of #DELETED: Big Tech’s Battle to Erase the Trump Movement and Steal The Election.

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