Why is Amazon selling shirts praising Chile’s murderous dictator? – ThinkProgress


Earlier this yr, as violent scuffles broke out in Portland between the proto-fascist Patriot Prayer group and counter-protesters, journalists noticed one thing new. Tusitala “Tiny” Toese, the burly sidekick of Patriot Prayer chief Joey Gibson, was carrying a T-shirt with a message that had nothing to do with Donald Trump, Portland, and even his Patriot Prayer group.

Slightly, the entrance of the shirt blared, “Pinochet did nothing incorrect!”

The message, for these unaware, references former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet. Pinochet rose to energy in 1973 on the again of a right-wing coup that successfully imploded Chilean democracy for the higher a part of 20 years, overseeing one of the vital repressive, blood-soaked regimes in Latin America over the previous half-century.

Due to Pinochet’s repression, 1000’s of Chileans — activists, students, employees, and opposition politicians — had been killed or stay lacking. Tens of 1000’s who opposed Pinochet’s dictatorship had been tortured, with strategies starting from electrocution to sexual abuse. A whole lot of 1000’s of Chileans fled or had been pressured into exile.

And maybe most memorably, dozens of Chileans had been focused for a selected type of execution: “dying flights,” wherein political prisoners had been bundled into sacks, taken up by a helicopter, and dumped into the ocean, lakes, or wherever Pinochet’s goons noticed match.

And there, on the again of Toese’s T-shirt, is a picture of a helicopter dumping our bodies, reading, “Bodily elimination since 1973.”

Little matter for the neo-fascist teams now populating the American proper, like Patriot Prayer or Proud Boys. To Toese, the tens of 1000’s of victims apparently had it coming. As he instructed HuffPost’s Christopher Mathias, “Aren’t all of them communists?”

However the place did Toese, and some of the other proto-fascists joining him, get such a shirt? Who was profiting off of promoting swag supporting a murderous Chilean dictatorship?

Turns on the market are a couple of choices.

The primary, and most outstanding, firm promoting pro-Pinochet materials is one in all America’s largest retailers: Amazon. Because the shirt’s description on Amazon reads, “Make communists afraid of rotary plane once more.” (Amazon additionally affords free transport and free returns on the shirt.)

However that’s not the one product out there on Amazon for fascists to point out their help of a person who crumbled Chile’s democracy and whose regime disappeared and tortured tens of 1000’s.

A number of the different shirts allude to the Pinochet regime’s “dying flights” — “Pinochet is my copilot,” reads one; “Legalize free helicopter rides,” reads one other. One merely has a stencil of Pinochet on the shirt-front, saying, “I eat Commies for breakfast.”

It’s unclear whether or not the shirts breach Amazon’s Phrases of Service. The corporate declined to answer ThinkProgress’ request for remark in regards to the merchandise, directing ThinkProgress to its “Offensive and Controversial Supplies” coverage. That web page describes Amazon’s coverage on prohibiting clothes that’s “associated to human tragedies,” in addition to the prohibition of clothes that “include[s] violent or offensive materials that has no historic significance. Amazon reserves the suitable to make a willpower on the historic worth of the merchandise.”

On condition that there isn’t a comparable clothes out there on Amazon praising sure different right-wing dictators well-liked amongst American fascists — say, Adolf Hitler or Slobodan Milosevic — there’s no less than the looks of a selective prohibition on comparable gadgets.

Fascist vogue

Sadly, Pinochet isn’t the lone right-wing dictator whose picture, and whose legacy, Amazon is at the moment taking advantage of. The unique fascist, Benito Mussolini, has seen one thing of a resurgence in American far-right circles over the previous few years, with Trump even retweeting a Mussolini quote two years in the past.

Enter Amazon. A fast seek for pro-Mussolini clothes on Amazon wields plenty of choices. Some merely characteristic Mussolini’s scowling face, with “DUCE” — Mussolini’s nickname — emblazoned beneath. Some have pictures of the fasces, Mussolini’s most well-liked image. And one even options a picture of a towering Mussolini, together with his Nationwide Fascist Occasion’s slogan in huge, block letters on the entrance: “Imagine, Obey, Struggle.” (Amazon additionally sells hagiographic clothes that includes more moderen dictators, from Azerbaijan’s Ilham Aliyev to Spain’s Francisco Franco and Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi.)

As it’s, Amazon isn’t the one firm promoting the pro-Pinochet shirts. The Proud Boys’ personal retailer — which now reroutes to one thing known as “1776 Store,” however which nonetheless hawks Proud Boys materials — just lately offered the shirt. The listed vendor is “RWDS,” brief for “Proper-Wing Dying Squad.”

And much-right provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos, who has labored intently again and again with white supremacists, additionally just lately began promoting the shirt.

As earlier than, Yiannopoulos makes use of Stripe to course of his funds. Stripe didn’t reply to ThinkProgress’ questions on Yiannopoulos utilizing their product to generate profits by promoting pro-Pinochet materials — though the corporate has made efforts elsewhere to refuse service to white supremacists.

All instructed, these pro-Pinochet shirts are the newest items of proof that proto-fascist teams like Proud Boys and Patriot Prayer are much less within the deserves of their supposed “free speech” arguments, and are, quite, broadcasting precisely what they’d love to do to their perceived political enemies. All of the whereas, corporations like Amazon are profiting off of the threats and serving to introduce a brand new cadre of American fascists to the techniques and terror they’d deliver to bear in america.


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