There is a strong and growing response among autoworkers to the appeal by the Socialist Equality Party and the World Socialist Web Site Autoworker Newsletter to oppose the censorship of the WSWS by the tech giant Google. The company is manipulating its search results so as to block access to the WSWS as well as a number of socialist, anti-war and progressive websites.
As a result Google’s actions there has been a large drop in readership to oppositional websites. In the case of the WSWS the top 45 search terms that formerly led readers to the WSWS are now blocked by Google. Despite this, thousands still access the WSWS and are sharing and otherwise distributing material from the site.
Support for the campaign against Google censorship is broadening. Thousands have signed the online petition against Google censorship and many have submitted statements of support. This week an SEP campaign team at the University Illinois in Chicago collected scores of signatures in support of the campaign against Google censorship of the WSWS.
Among those registering support for the SEP campaign have been autoworkers. The WSWS Autoworker Newsletter has been in the lead of exposing the corrupt relationship between the United Auto Workers and the management of the Big Three automakers in the US.
On Saturday, a SEP campaign team distributed copies of the Autoworker Newsletter and material on the Google censorship campaign at the Fiat Chrysler Warren Truck Assembly plant north of Detroit. During the shift change, 15 workers stopped to sign the petition opposing Google censorship of the WSWS and hundreds took leaflets home.
Tanya, a young tier-two worker said, “I think it is wrong. You are trying to keep people informed with good information we need to know. You expose secrets that are kept from us. People appreciate it.”
Bill, a 23-year veteran at Fiat Chrysler stopped to sign the petition. He told the WSWS he had being following the recent indictments of high level Fiat Chrysler and UAW officials on corruption charges. “We understand that they are corrupt. I think the contract should be null and void. I think the attendance policy is ridiculous.”
He spoke about Google’s efforts at censorship. “Any kind of censorship is wrong. The Internet should be treated just like the newspapers.”
He said he followed the WSWS and was struck by its analysis of the recent events in Charlottesville, Virginia, where neo Nazis carried out a murderous attack on peaceful demonstrators.
“The real war is the lower class against the rich. Those Nazis who are fighting for skin color and race are in the wrong fight. They want to fight their neighbors, when the ones who are really controlling things are the rich. They are the real enemy.”
Margaret, a General Motors retiree from Ohio, spoke to the World Socialist Web Site by phone from her home. “I read the Autoworker Newsletter regularly,” she said.
“I see how they are trying to censor the Internet. They are trying to block out the truth. Even with Facebook, they are trying to block certain places. To me, it seems like they are trying to force people to listen to the mainstream, corporate media.”
She said the WSWS was informative and kept her abreast of developments “I haven’t liked Trump since he got into office.” Referring to the Nazi riot in Charlottesville she added, “He tried to say there is nothing wrong with that.”
She added, “There is too much crap going with the UAW. The UAW is in bed with management. They are trying to take away everything we fought so hard to get. I am glad that their corruption is being exposed.
“I have been trying to share your articles widely with my friends. There is so much unfair treatment of autoworkers.”
A number of workers at the giant Ford Rouge complex in Dearborn, Michigan responded immediately to the WSWS campaign against the Google censorship. “That should be illegal,” said a worker in his middle thirties. “I use Google all the time, and they can pretty much do whatever they want. I will definitely sign that petition."
A worker at the Fiat Chrysler Jeep complex in Toledo explained why he supported the campaign against Google censorship. “It is a great injustice that Google has chosen to deny the WSWS their freedom of speech and the rights of citizens of this country and to all people across the world. It is not only intolerable and unlawful, it violates everything this country was founded on and what many have died to protect and uphold.”
He continued, “The WSWS provides the working class an important outlet no matter what political party you align with. They were the main source of information during the auto contract talks (in 2015) with the Big Three.”