My latest piece in Counterpunch, Anatomy of a Cancellation, resulted in me getting a lot of messages of solidarity (at least 95% of the messages I received that were related to the piece were of this nature). Many of the messages were from other people who have faced the same kinds of cancellation campaigns as I have. A message from one person was especially eloquent, and also especially typical in terms of the process described:
I was also canceled a few years back... When I made an apology, they would pretend it didn't exist. Harm would be overstated for dramatic effect. People would take the least charitable interpretation of things I said and run wild with that. They would also message my friends one at a time in an effort to make them abandon me. There would be much hand-wringing about what a danger I am to the community whilst remaining intentionally vague about what exactly I would do to them or why.
I hope you won't let this ugly incident destroy your energy and enthusiasm for the struggle. We need voices like yours to speak out against cancel culture so goddamn badly right now. After this wave of cancellation passes and the wokescolds (or anarcho-puritans as you call them) move on to ripping apart the next person, and the next, and the next, and the next, please continue to speak out.
This shit is killing us. Cancel culture has decimated organizing in every major city. It is making our movements laughably easy to destroy. I have watched more groups collapse than I can count. I have seen so many true believers in changing the world for the better lose hope and drop out of organizing and stay benched indefinitely because of cancel culture. I am a true believer as well. I'm not benched, but I could be doing a lot more.
Yup. Me, too.
In addition to many stories like that one, a friend sent a link to a Rand Corporation study, from which she got a graph that she shared, which all by itself is a very helpful thing. It describes exactly what has been happening to me, and exactly what has been happening to many other people I know, along with many others I don't know, but have heard about the details.