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This week we have witnessed a very serious attack on freedom, which may also be a sign of a very dark future. However, the GoFundMe scandal has gone somewhat unnoticed, or at least has not been given the importance it deserves.
Perhaps it is a consequence of the saturation of news on this subject, or the result of financial ignorance, or perhaps we have simply become used to living at the mercy of the arbitrary decisions of Big Tech. Certainly, the decision of the fundraising platform GoFundMe to refuse to distribute money to the Freedom Convoy sets a very serious precedent that we must denounce.
GoFundMe refused to distribute to the Freedom Convoy millions of dollars in donations received to pay for fuel, food and lodging for the truckers who have been protesting for weeks against the vaccine mandates and health restrictions imposed by the Trudeau government.
Claiming that the truckers had “violated the platform’s policies” — although on other occasions they have turned a blind eye to other organizations —, GoFundMe not only withheld the funds raised for the truckers, but at first intended to redirect the funds to other causes of their choice, enabling a cumbersome form to request the refund, which seems a disguised way to dissuade donors to keep their money.
Faced with outrage and pressure from users, GoFundMe rectified and decided to return donations automatically to each payer, but the mere fact that this was not the default decision speaks volumes about the brazenness and impunity with which these types of corporations are created.
The GoFundMe scandal is just one more step towards totalitarianism
Behind pages and pages of “terms of service” and an “accept” button — which almost all users press without further ado — hides an ideological tyranny that must be stopped. What GoFundMe has done makes it clear that these type of platforms think they own their customers, when in fact they should be at our service.
Facebook asks you “what is on your mind?,” but if you don’t think what they want they mistreat you with 24 hours, a week, 30 days or even permanent bans. Meanwhile, their users come back again and again displaying a Stockholm syndrome adapted to the virtual world. On Twitter, people have become accustomed to living with a sword of Damocles hanging over their accounts, as if it were a matter of course.
The ceding of personal sovereignty that we have allowed to these platforms is alarming, and with the GoFundMe movement it is clear that their next target is our money. It is no accident that the establishment has been preparing the ground for a cashless society for years.
By banning cash, or bringing us into the fold of a fully centralized digitized economy, they will have control over one of the last bastions of freedom we have left. If GoFundMe has nearly gotten away with it this time, the next thing will be another step in the direction of greater control.
Just as we now watch passively and with resignation as our own social network accounts are censored, it is not unreasonable to think that soon they will be able to decide what we can spend our digital money on, or reallocate our spending according to the interests of the government of the day. GoFundMe has been very serious, but more serious is the lack of impact of what is clearly a test of how far we are willing to give in.
If GoFundMe does not face serious legal repercussions for what it has attempted and, above all, if users do not punish this behavior by turning their backs on the site and migrating to other fundraising alternatives, it will be a very bad sign for the future.
This scandal being closely related to COVID passports should be a clear warning that vaccination certificates are a mere rehearsal of a much more ambitious totalitarian project by governments. You don’t have to be very clever to realize that health passports will end up becoming digital good citizen cards, by which governments will be able to control every aspect of our lives in the name of any excuse such as a health or climate emergency.
Just as we already see it as normal to have our Twitter or Facebook accounts blocked, or not be allowed to work or enter premises on the basis of meeting totally arbitrary health requirements, it would not be surprising if they soon limit how much money we can spend on which products and with which companies, based on some opaque calculation of our carbon footprint.
Of course, this will be done in the name of planetary health and climate justice. And the worst thing is that we will think this is normal.
It’s time to stand up to the impending tyranny being prepared by governments and tech corporations, and while we demand a change of course we should use decentralized systems that work with the anonymity, privacy and flexibility of cash. Any other path leads us straight to a dystopia that is very easy to enter, but from which it would be very difficult to exit.
Ignacio Manuel García Medina, Business Management teacher. Artist and lecturer specialized in Popular Culture for various platforms. Presenter of the program "Pop Libertario" for the Juan de Mariana Institute. Lives in the Canary Islands, Spain // Ignacio M. García Medina es profesor de Gestión de Empresas. Es miembro del Instituto Juan de Mariana y conferenciante especializado en Cultura Popular e ideas de la Libertad.
Social Networks: @ignaciomgm