Liberals hate Coca Cola

Censorship for a good cause?

Civil society applauds when large corporations like Coca Cola announce a break in advertising for Facebook and Co. because the content allegedly does not suit them

Imagine if big players like Unilever, Coca-Cola and Co. had planned an advertising boycott against various newspapers 30 years ago because they were dissatisfied with their reporting. There would have been great indignation in the critical public about the attempted influence of large corporations on the freedom of the press.

In 1978, the dismissal of the deputy editor-in-chief of the Illustrierte Stern, Manfred Bissinger, caused a political scandal in the FRG that lasted for weeks. A lot of left-liberal supporters gathered behind the Social Democrats Bissinger, who was too critical for some Stern advertisers.

But when Coca-Cola, Unilever and Co. officially justify a boycott of advertising in social networks with their content today, they receive praise from parts of civil society. The corporations have described their boycott as support for the Stop Hate for Profit campaign initiated by the Anti Defamation League (ADL). This is one of the increasing attempts in recent years to restrict free speech with moral phrases.

A defense of hatred

The inflationary term "hatred" contributes to this and can lead to any criticism being disqualified and then even banned. It is undisputed that this includes many anti-Semitic and racist statements. But then one should also name them that way and fight precisely under these terms and not contribute to a depoliticization with the elastic rubber term "hate".

Hate is a deeply human trait that has a variety of causes. It is politically extremely counterproductive to try to level the most diverse motivations for hatred with this term. There are the survivors of the Nazi system who lost many of their relatives in this terror system. They hate the protagonists of the Nazi system and perhaps also Germany as a whole, which they have connected to this Nazi system for a reason.

To get to the present, there is the hatred of blacks in the USA when they see that people are still exposed to special police harassment, often resulting in death, because of their skin color. And then there is the woman who hates a man who has sexually assaulted her. These are all legitimate reactions that are portrayed and defended again and again in songs and literature.

Hatred becomes problematic when it is transformed into certain regressive and reactionary political patterns and can then become the driving force for anti-Semitism and racism, for example. But hatred can also be the reason to deal with social circumstances that made National Socialism possible, for example. Then an anti-fascist, in other cases also an anti-racist or anti-patriarchal engagement can develop from it.

Instead of taking general action against hatred, an emancipatory policy would consist of working out precisely these differences and differences and drawing the political consequences from them. The hatred of women who have been victims of sexual violence can become the basis for feminist work. The young black's hatred of police violence in the United States can lead to anti-racist activities.

In feminist or anti-racist groups, however, it is not just the hatred of the other side that is combated, but a system of oppression called racism and patriarchy. Ideally, it is then recognized that in the last instance the capitalist exploitation logic is also responsible for this. It is precisely this political mediation that is cut off when one concentrates on the ominous fight against hatred. However, it becomes extremely dangerous when calls are made to regulate social networks under the label "stop the hate".

Everything that falls under hatred

The dismissal of the Brazilian writer J.P. Cuenca by Deutsche Welle because of a coarse curse on the Brazilian President Bolsonaro only makes it clear once again that you open Pandora's box if you speak out for censorship under the label "Stop the hatred".

Articles by the publicist Hengameh Yagihoobifarah can be included as well as issues of the "definitive satirical magazine Titanic". After all, the repressive state organs of all countries usually do not want to differentiate between hatred and satire. Then there will be a dispute about what should and should not be banned from social networks as hatred.

But this is a fruitless dispute, which ends up in the hope that the state apparatuses have a green-liberal rather than a right-wing conservative orientation. From this logic, it is understandable when even the brief occupation of a cultural office post in Radebeul with a right-wing conservative is immediately assessed as a new right-wing march and the withdrawal of the controversial before a forced new election is celebrated as a small Stalingrad.

Moral added value for Google and Co.

It would be much more emancipatory to practice social criticism instead of flattering morality. One could then also focus on the exploitative history of corporations like Unilever and Coca Cola. This is to be distinguished from the resentment-laden Coca-Cola bashing, which, especially in Germany, was always associated with resentment against the USA, which was involved in the smashing of the Nazi terror system.

A socially critical analysis would also raise the question of whether the current advertising break at Google and Co. does not have to do with the shrinking marketing budgets of the corporations in view of the corona crisis. In a few months, the advertising will be switched up again and you will then have earned a moral added value. (Peter Nowak)

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