MasterCard's Masters: How Radical Activists Force Payment Processors to Bend the Knee

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Pressure has been mounting on MasterCard to ban transactions for those that people are calling “far right”.

Activist organization SumOfUs, a 501(c)(4) Non-Profit for Social Welfare, has been making demands of MasterCard, forcing the credit organization to hold a shareholder vote over whether or not they ought to monitor payments transferred via the creditor’s services.

They have been advocating for a proposal that, according to Buzzfeed writer Mark Di Stefano “aims to see MasterCard establish an internal ‘human rights committee’ that would stop designated white supremacist groups and anti-Islam activists, such as Tommy Robinson, from getting access to money sent from donors using the company’s card payment services.“

Of course, MasterCard has a history of caving to such pressures in the past; last August they banned Robert Spencer, curator behind Jihad Watch, with no explanation for their behavior. After this explanation from Di Stefano, one wonders if SumOfUs might have been putting pressure on the organization behind the scenes, but alas, this is merely conjecture and speculation.

What is not speculation, however, is who is in charge of SumOfUs, that being Executive Director Hannah Lownsbrough.

Hannah is known, when not being busy directing her acclaimed organization, for writing for publications including Huffington Post, The Guardian and Salon, providing them such timeless gems as “Silicon Valley CEO’s Have a Choice to Make: Oppose Trump’s Agenda, or Be Complicit In It”, and “How Banning Plastic Straws at McDonalds Could Help Save Our Oceans”.

Clearly, the political aims and intentions of Ms. Lownsbrough are rather laid bare while she champions these causes, despite failing to ever identify what exactly she and others within her organization mean when they demand for the deplatforming of the “far right”. Near as one can tell, she takes issues with White Supremacists (an understandable rub), but beyond that, the only other identifiable position she seems to be against is “anti-Islam”, given her stances against Tommy Robinson, as evidence in her article in The Guardian, claiming that Tommy Robinson being banned for public pressure wasn’t good enough for her particular moral sensibilities, even though it was pressure from her own campaign that brought about his banning.

Of course, Lownsbrough cites organization Hope Not Hate, a group recently exposed by Robinson for attempting to slander him in collaboration with the BBC, as “experts on Anti-fascism”.Lownsbrough also claims to be anti-corporate interests, and claims that SumOfUs is “People over Profit”.

One finds it curious then the strange donations made to SumOfUs in 2015 and 2016, where upon reviewing their tax history, one finds donations from three individuals totaling a sum of no less than $1.2 Million US dollars. Admittedly, these donations account for less than 15% of SumOfUs funding over the 2 year period, but one still finds it strange how one can claim to be anti-corporate, while accepting anonymous donations of half a million dollars, as though that kind of money isn’t more than triple the median gross annual salary of American citizens.

One also finds it curious how someone can claim that they, and their organization are “For people, not profit”, when they are claiming $140,000.00 USD per year in compensation from that organization, while also claiming to work a 40 hour work week, for an average salary of over $60 an hour.

Now, just to be clear, I have no problem with people being compensated for their work.

What I do take issue with is this sort of champagne socialist attitude, this Neo-Liberal speaking out of both sides of one’s mouth as they simultaneously decry corporate influence and people putting profits first, claiming to represent the people, while also pocketing a six figure salary for managing what is effectively a social media pressure firm.

I take issue with liars and frauds, and the deluded sort of hacks who think that campaigning to change the straws in McDonalds will manage to even dent the threat of plastic build-up, when the overwhelming and vast majority of plastic waste comes from industrial packaging. Moreover, due to initiatives already being taken, it is projected by 2025 that China and the rest of South East Asia will be responsible for over 50% of global plastic waste, with China making up just over half of that 50%.

America, in contrast, is projected to make up less than half of a percent of this pollution by then.

I take issue with charlatans declaring people to be “Far right” for doing nothing more than espousing that they don’t want their family members to be raped or assaulted by people who show no moral or ethical consideration for them within their own country, people who actively treat their fellow citizens as lesser for not sharing the same religion as their own, a fundamentally illiberal idea at its core.

Are we then to understand that any criticism of Islam at all would be met by these accusations that a person is “far right”, and that they are therefore deserving to be stricken from all available platforms and summarily silenced from the discussion on the internet, all because of a deceptive fool, who condemns those who disagree with her with slurs, before ever explaining what those slurs are to mean to the average person?

Words have meaning. Framing matters. Lazy outrage activists like this use terms like “Far Right” to conjure an image of the most perverse, most hateful stereotype of a conservative they can manage in the heads of those they speak with, to smear and to straw-man the positions of their opponent with. They do this to fear-monger, without ever showing how the expressed views of the people they criticize are, indeed, what they claim they are, and for some reason people are still falling for it.

That is not to deny the existence of actual members of the extreme right wing of politics, but if everyone that activists like Lownsbrough accused of being “Far right” was actually far right, I would hazard to guess something like 90% of the electorate would be Neo-Nazi adjacent.

Of course, once SumOfUs and their crowd of useful pawns get their way, the very people accused will no longer have a means to defend themselves to the public anymore, and so the reputation of individuals will continue to be tarnished by those who never actually challenge their beliefs or interrogate their positions, the very same people who claim that offering someone such as Robinson a platform is tantamount to being complicit in a hate crime.

Liars and frauds like Lownsbrough ought to be exposed for their manipulation of gullible and vulnerable masses of people whom she and others like her in the media have terrified with the spectre of a Neo-Nazi renaissance haunting the horizon whenever possible.

They ought to be ridiculed for their outlandish suggestions and failure to understand the very scope of the problem they seek to correct. Lastly, they ought to be disregarded for their utter incompetence, for failing to present an even remotely valuable argument to the conversations they then attempt to domineer by fear and by banishment of any opposition to their own contradictory ideas and practices.

People who act this way are not the pioneers and saviours they claim to be. No, they are self-righteous bullies, idiots and charlatans who know not what they speak of, but are manipulative enough to know how to scare others enough to get them to believe what they say is true.

It is long past time we stopped listening to hypocritical fear-mongers who put their pocketbooks before their principles.