An independent California-based media site is fighting back against cancel culture and censorship on the left.
“We are trying to speak up for some values that we consider foundational leftist values that have been lost in the current identity politics culture,” said Mark White of Plebity. “A huge part of what we are concerned about is the loss of free speech.”
To that end, Plebity, a registered non-profit, administers a Free Speech Fund to assist people who have been “cancelled” for their political beliefs and those who are active in the fight against censorship.
“Most people don’t have a nest egg to help them out in a situation like that,” White said about providing financial aid to people who have lost their jobs.
As for supporting progressive free speech activists, doing so can help embolden them to challenge the current orthodoxy, he said.
“People are afraid. Fear is contagious,” he said. “But bravery can be contagious, too. We want to make it just a little easier for people to speak up.”
Since late 2019, Plebity has been publishing written content on a variety of topics, including leftist populism, animal rights, progressive media, and digital democracy.
“We’re really trying to go for long-form articles written by regular people who have opinions, but who are ready to research and back up their opinions,” White said.
Plebity also produces several recurring podcasts, which can be found on major podcast apps and YouTube.
The Identity Crisis podcast, which is co-hosted by White’s daughter Sasha, has a target audience of “gender critical teens and twenty-somethings.” And while it delves into some of the most controversial gender-related topics imaginable, White said the feedback has been largely positive.
“The response has been great,” he said. “It’s been absolutely fantastic.”
White co-founded Plebity with Sasha, who was fired from her job last year for Tweets she considered feminist, but which her employer deemed “anti-trans.”
“We experienced firsthand the real ferocity of mob cancel culture,” he said of the social media storm that engulfed his daughter. “It’s all about social ostracization, like a witch hunt, really.”
A lifelong leftist, White said he was bewildered when only conservative media outlets took up the cause of a young woman who was fired from her job for expressing traditional feminist beliefs.
“The cognitive dissonance was enormous,” he said. “The sites that were supporting us were basically sites that I would agree with on nothing at all.”
In addition to opposing cancel culture and censorship, White said Plebity also pushes back against identity politics because it provides the ruling class with an effective divide-and-conquer vehicle.
“Identitarianism has been completely adopted as a successful strategy by the Democratic Party, by the liberals, by the professional class, and by the capitalist elites,” he said. “And it’s been a fantastically successful strategy to shut down conversation about class, about inequality, about the 99 per cent.”