First they came for the communists,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a communist.
Then they came for the trade unionists,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a trade unionist.
Then they came for the Jews,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a Jew.
Then they came for me
and there was no one left to speak out for me.
Yesterday I received an email from Mark Coker, owner of Smashwords. Basically he told how he had been pressured by PayPal to remove any books that contained certain material. One of the 18 titles I distribute through Smashwords was classified in the category being targeted. I changed the category because it did not fit given the content and I had tried it there as a marketing exercise to gain new readership. The category and the content is not relevant. It is the censorship that is the issue. I understand Mr Coker’s position and I feel for him. PayPal control the money and that is the bottom line. They are controlled by the banks who process the credit card transactions. They feel they should charge very high fees for some categories as sadly there are more chargebacks in those categories. This is all about money. Or is it? Coming from the USA where religious extremism is what kicked the country off back in the day of the Mayflower and the Pilgrims, why should any of us be surprised?
Read these other posts and decide for yourself what this is really all about. I also think there is an argument that this is pushed by the big publishers, exerting pressure on their banks, to wipe out indie publishers. They don’t like the power being regained by the writer and the little guy, they have too much invested in their grip of the market. This is happening all over America. A report the other day studied how today, pharmacy graduates have no hope going into business for themselves thanks to the big four drug store chains ruling the market. What about any line of retail? Forget it. Supermarkets? No point. Books, same deal. It is all about massive firms with lots of money, invested by share holders who want huge dividends and who cares who suffers? They have enough money to be part of the 1%. Now it is spreading all over the world. First they want us to be aspirational and think we are middle class, then they con us into believing we can afford it by taking their credit, then they wipe us out while getting bailed out by our tax dollars. They don’t pay taxes as they have very smart people on their payroll figuring out how to minimize their tax obligation, or bring in laws to change things. We are here to work for them, serve them, make their lives easier. As F.Scott Fitzgerald once remarked to Ernest Hemingway, “the rich are different to the rest of us”. He was so right.
This time it is books in this particular category that are being targeted. Who is next? Pick a genre, perhaps me for having a blog where I call these people out on their actions. I don’t write for that category and I don’t read books in that category, in fact I find some of them very objectionable. But nobody who writes, reads or sells them has ever threatened my writing, my business, my income and thus my family. None of those writers, readers or sellers have ever put a gun to my head and forced me to do anything. Or threatened to take anything of mine away. As Pastor Niemoller is alleged to have said, “Then they came for me
and there was no one left to speak out for me.”