John Halle is a former Green Alderman from New Haven, Connecticut. The full piece, excerpted below, appears in Dissident Voice.
Counterpoised to these brute force tactics, a more traditional and effective means of information management is to prevent positions judged unacceptable from finding their way into print in the first place. In its internet variant, this takes the form of editorial decisions with respect to the content of front page postings at the major left websites. Central among these was the topic of the open letter; namely, the maintenance of “critical support” with respect to the Obama campaign and subsequent administration. Those who viewed the Obama phenomenon with grave suspicion both for its stated policies and for its likely effect in undermining opposition movements, almost never found their positions represented on the front pages of any but the most marginal internet outlets, and, for that matter, in left print publications.
It is true that the far left spectrum of the internet represented by Counterpunch allowed challenges to this conventional wisdom. But even here, leftists such as Norman Solomon, David Michael Green and others could be found making the case for “critical support” and in some cases expressing unbridled enthusiasm at the prospect of the nation’s first African American president. In the months after the election, as predictions of even Obama’s most unenthusiastic supporters collided with the hard right reality of the Obama administration, pieces stating the obvious fact of the matter — that virtually the entirety of the mainstream left and much of the so called “radical left” — got it wrong remained hard to place. Again, speaking from my own experience, what I regard as one of my better pieces “Who Got it Right” was consigned to the far fringes of the web, having been rejected for publication from the all of the major left sites I sent it to.
It is obvious that no single rejection by itself, or, for that matter, a boxful of them, constitutes censorship. As stated earlier, articles can, and should, be rejected based the quality of the expression, factual accuracy, logical consistency and relevance among other factors. Proving censorship requires demonstrating that a piece meeting normal standards for publication was rejected purely on the grounds of its content having been considered as outside the bounds of acceptable discourse, which meant in this specific case challenging what had become a widespread left conventional wisdom with respect to the Democratic Party and the Obama campaign.