Leanne Wood calls for end to left-wing disunity on Twitter after furore over podcast’s Taliban tweet
Leanne Wood has called for an end to left-wing disunity on Twitter, saying that it gives the enemies of the Welsh independence movement and others the impression that they are “weak, unfocused and split”.
The former Plaid Cymru leader was replying to criticism of her refusal to condemn podcast Desolation Wales after they posted a message and image comparing Welsh Labour to the Taliban.
In a Facebook post Leanne Wood took aim at so-called ‘cancel culture’, saying that it was weakening left-wing movements.
“The readiness to condemn people and then subsequently bully them on social media when a joke or statement they make is misunderstood is becoming more common,” she said.
“It has to stop because it is damaging to activism and movements. Too many good people have become afraid to make statements on social media and so are being silenced.
“I see many women, people of colour and people from working-class backgrounds being silenced in this way and walking away from activism. That is absolutely not good.”
The Desolation Radio posts had been condemned as racist by some on social media. Leanne Wood however defended the podcast against the charge, saying that the subsequent condemnation of them had been “horrible”.
“Yes, our movements have to work hard and be constantly vigilant to be free of racism, transphobia, homophobia, classism, misogyny and so on,” she said. “Is the best way to achieve that calling people racist when they are not?
“The furore on Twitter from some about a joke that has been argued to be poor taste from podcasters who make a good and sound contribution to Welsh progressive politics and the independence movement has been pretty horrible to witness. The same for the response to my refusal to condemn them (or “cancel” them).
“Was the original joke racist? No. There are plenty of memes comparing Johnson or Trump to the North Korean leader. Are those memes racist? Likewise, no.”
She also called on the left to work through their disagreements without resorting to arguing on Twitter.
“For unity to work without one ‘side’ having all their own way, there have to be spaces to discuss, debate and work through disagreements. That space should never be on Twitter,” she said.
“If the movement’s enemies see people in a movement openly and vigorously disagreeing, losing trust and denouncing each other, they know that the movement they oppose is weak, unfocused and split. That means they know they have won.”