Since its launch on August 14, the World Socialist Web Site’s petition against Google’s blacklisting of socialist, antiwar and progressive websites from search results has received more than 3,000 signatures, with over a thousand signing in the last ten days.
The Socialist Equality Party (SEP) and International Youth and Students for Social Equality (IYSSE) have intervened at workplaces, picket lines and campuses across the United States, informing workers and students about Google’s censorship of the WSWS.
Many workers and students have expressed outrage at the tech giant’s move to bury the WSWS in search results leading to a more than two-thirds drop in traffic to the WSWS from Google searches since April.
A Socialist Equality Party campaign team received a warm response this week at a picket of Spectrum workers. Roughly 1,800 Spectrum workers have been on strike for more than five months, over which time the WSWS has established itself as the only news source regularly covering the strike and working conditions facing telecommunication workers.
Many workers said they were hostile to Google’s attempt to suppress the WSWS, and a dozen workers signed the petition on the spot.
At the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC), 41 students signed the petition in less than an hour. One student said, “I think it’s going to be terrible if people don’t know what’s happening. In the media, they always try to cover up everything that’s really happening—like in Charlottesville. We have to know the truth in order to stand up against the things that are going on—like racism and white supremacists.”
“I hate Google,” another student added, “I’m not surprised they’re doing this. They’re trying to control everything.”
Students at Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan and San Diego State University in California also signed the petition at IYSSE tables on club day.
Many people that signed the petition online expressed support for the WSWS and a socialist response to censorship and the attack on democratic rights.
Sheila stated, “I urge everyone to share this widely. Building the counteroffensive against Google, the military and the intelligence agencies’ efforts to suppress the freedom of speech and thought is necessary for the defense of the truth to be heard! No to political censorship of the WSWS!”
“I believe in freedom, justice and equality,” said Derrick from Ontario, Canada. “Banning socialist viewpoints in the media are the actions and crimes committed by dictators of the past.
“Google’s actions are authoritarian and antidemocratic to the core. They see the Internet as their own personal property and want to control what is said and who says it.”
Sophie, from Edinburgh, UK, wrote, “The WSWS is the best source for information on American imperialism available online… Clearly Google, in collusion with the US government, fears the growing class-consciousness amongst the masses of America and Europe, along with the oppressed nations worldwide already living under the jackboot of US hegemony.”
The “WSWS is a significant source of information on the international workers’ movement and the struggle of oppressed people worldwide,” Paris from Greece wrote, “Down with the censorship!”
Adam from Baltimore, Maryland, wrote, “Google is now one of the bitterest enemies of working people. Workers must, as with the whole capitalist economy, take over Google and run it for their own interests, rather than the billionaires and millionaires that gorge themselves off of Google’s collection and sale of private information.”
Peter from Cleveland, Ohio, stated, “An algorithm cannot decide what news is accurate and what news is fake. That is a matter of judgment that needs to be left to the people. When companies like Google try to take that role of judgment into their own hands, they undermine democracy, and forfeit all right to popular support.”
Mona from India, said, “Stop Google’s attack on free speech, independent thought, and the basic right to uncensored information.”
“Free expression is the most fundamental of all rights,” wrote Stephen from Chicago, Illinois. “Without it, all others are threatened - what tyranny is all about!”
The support shown by thousands of workers and students across the US and internationally is an expression of the immense opposition to war, inequality and censorship. We urge all readers of the WSWS to become politically active in this campaign. Sign the petition and share it with friends, coworkers, and on social media.