March 1, 2021
Facebook has recently waged a war on the accounts of progressive organizations and progressive individuals. Subsequently, a litany of progressive organizations has released statements and taken actions condemning Facebook’s censorship of anti-racist and working-class groups.
Zheila Ommani is an Iranian anti-imperialist activist and Ph.D. candidate in southern California. She hails from a long line of anti-imperialist activists, including her mother, Ellie. For over a decade, Zheila has used her Facebook account to promote her positions and establish a professional network. On January 27, 2021, Facebook permanently disabled her account.
Facebook’s attacks on Zheila are a product of her progressive views. Zheila consistently employed Facebook to not only criticize the Trump Administration’s war mongering but also President Biden’s positions towards Iran and other oppressed nations. Her concerns were vindicated when the Biden Administration bombed Iranian installations in Syria, as thousands of Texans froze and starved.
The deactivation of Zheila’s account comes amidst an abundance of similar actions against the Socialist Unity Party, the Peoples Power Assembly, other progressive organizations, and the publication Struggle for Socialism. Facebook appears to be determined to sustain these attacks even in the face of public outcry. Facebook’s actions violate free speech, free expression, and free assembly.
Furthermore, Facebook demonstrates a double standard regarding left-leaning organizers versus reactionary organizers. While Facebook allows racists and fascists to spread hateful bile, it silences anti-war activists, such as Zheila.
Because Facebook’s actions are baseless, unethical, and illegal, the undersigned attorneys, activists, and organizations demand the immediate reinstatement of Zheila’s account and an end to its attacks on anti-racist and anti-war organizers.
If Facebook is unwilling to do this, legitimate reasons for the deactivation of Zheila’s account must be provided.
Alec Summerfield, Community Attorney, Harriet Tubman Solidarity Center Baltimore
Baltimore Peoples Power Assembly