There are plenty of problematic sites on social media, yet the worst ones seem to be the ones who pretend to be Intersectional. Facebook page Vellum and Vinyl is one of those exact sites. At 127K followers, they have been known for a while for mostly sharing Tumblr screenshots, though of decent social aspects that get passed among Leftbook from time to time. With those shares come Anarchists and Communists among Leftbook, nearly all of whom preach intersectionality.
But for the past week it has become beyond clear that the left is not welcome in their space, as Vellum and Vinyl has made their mission to attack “tankies”, or more commonly known as Marxists, Marxists-Leninists, Stalinists, Maoists, etc with some terrible neoliberal rhetoric. While all those particular philosophies, like all philosophies can be rightly questioned and criticized, the left takes personal offence when a liberal who begs people to buy their merchandise on Amazon, is the one doing so. Here is one of the more recent posts from Vellum and Vinyl in that regard from Jan 2. 2017
“Since apparently my saying “tankies GTFO” was the hottest take since…. hell, who even knows, and continues to be getting some serious attention from commies and tankies and leftists alike, it seems like a good idea to 1. give context, and 2. explain what I mean when I say “tankie.”
On Friday, a community member shared a post from Anarcha-transfeminism (a self-proclaimed tankie page, from what i can tell) about Joseph Stalin, and asked me my thoughts, as Anarcha-transfeminism had previously shared one of my posts about confederate statues.
I then shared a post saying, “tankies GTFO” and it predictably spiraled and blew up, because tankies are the children shitting in the sandbox of the left.
It quickly became clear that this was another instance of a bigoted group being offended at being called out for their bigotry, with a heaping dash of “apparently tankie has different meanings to different people” mixed in. As is and always has been my mode of operations with the page, I have been banning any and all commentors who make false assumptions and wild accusations, or are only here for shit-stirring and nothing else. Equally, I don’t “delete” comments. I only ban people, which automatically hides any comment made by that person. I do not have a middle option where I can ban someone without hiding their comments as well.
So, here’s exactly what I mean when I say someone is a “tankie” or “tankies GTFO.” I do NOT believe “all communists are tankies” or that “tankie and communist are synonyms.” I have never even slightly said I believe that, but straw men are far easier to destroy. I also believe that it’s possible to support civil rights leaders while also being critical of certain pieces of their ideology.
Question: What is a tankie? What do you mean when you say “tankies GTFO”?
In 1956, after much discussion, deliberation, and several attempts to head problems off at the pass (so to speak), Hungary declared its intent to break free of the Soviet-dominated Warsaw Pact. Hungarians of all stripes supported the move, but unfortunately the Soviet leaders in the Kremlin had other intentions. As Hungarians continued to move away from the Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact, Soviet troops began massing on Hungary’s borders. Then, on November 4th, 1956, Soviet troops stormed across the border. An urgent call went out on the radio for assistance of any kind from any nation, for Hungary was under attack. The legitimate leaders of Hungary were imploring the world for help, and the invasion ticked every box next to the “foreign invasion” category of warfare.
Alas, no help would be coming. Hungary had been decided by both East and West to be part of the “Eastern bloc”, and thus the western powers had no intention of getting involved. That, and they had the Suez crisis to deal with. And so Hungary’s attempt to break free of the Soviet bloc was brutally crushed, with thousands of civilians killed and many more wounded.
Tankies gained their name during this time. The term largely refers to British Communists who stood with the Soviet Union in this time of blatant, international aggression, but also refers to Hungarian Communists who ran into the streets to “greet the tanks”. Thus, tankie is not a term of endearment, but an insult. The Soviet invasion of Hungary was one of the bleakest post-WWII moments in Soviet history, a shameful chapter that caused permanent tensions and fractures within the Soviet bloc.
Tankie has today come to mean anybody who is uncritically supportive of the Soviet Union and/or Russia, but also refers to those who uncritically support governments such as Bashar al-Assad’s in Syria. To be a tankie is not equal to being a communist. You can be a communist and not be a tankie. You can be a leftist and still not be a tankie. To call oneself a tankie is to readily accept that you support atrocities across the globe without a shred of irony. And considering that modern Russia is a capitalistic oligarchy at best, or the fact that Assad’s Syria was on a major neoliberal bend pre-revolution (and today takes support from literal fascist parties like the SSNP), to call a self-professed tankie a communist is to diminish the name of communism.
Being a tankie does not equal anti-imperialism. To call oneself a tankie is to readily accept that you aren’t really into the whole communism/USSR thing for the social/economic aspects, but are more in it for the “Russian expansionism under a different name” aspect.
This is not to say that blank check support of the US and its allies is the proper route, either. Moreover, this is stating that it might be prudent to critically examine governments, no matter where they reside, before supporting them. When I said “tankies get out”, I was not referring to the majority of leftists. I was referring to a small yet vocal minority who support oppressive, violent governments around the world whilst condemning others for doing the same thing.
I hope that helps clear things up, and as always: TANKIES GTFO. ”
“[below is a picture of my “squad goals” aka anti-tank rounds]”
Even their fans are horrible liberals
To which is problematic enough until those on the left came to refute this, including many Jewish leftists. Some were met with anti Semitic remarks. Nearly all were met with bans. Silencing disenfranchised peoples when they tell you you’re wrong is not a good look, especially for a page that has no positive thoughts of their own beyond screenshots on another forum.
This isn’t the first time Vellum and Vinyl has been called out and it won’t be the last. Here are some former fan reviews:
One thing you can do to affect an egotistical bigot who seeks to monetize their likes is to unlike their page, mess with the algorithm that gives them views to pander their views and “goods” on Amazon to, and to expose them to others for who they truly are.