Internal Conflict in Bunkerchan

Getchanleftypolbunkerchan.png
A poster celebrating the camaraderie between the three Bunkerchan divisions.

Date 2 March, 2020 – 1 May, 2021
Location Bunkerchan (predominantly /leftypol/ and /GET/)
Result Member Chans Victory
  • Pyongyang steps down on 7 March 2020
  • /troon/ deleted on 2 and 8 March 2020
  • Coup attempt and establishment of the Junta on 20 December 2020
  • /leftypol/ established as an independent chan on 21 December 2020
  • GETchan independence formally restored on 26 December 2020
  • Insurgent groups have demands met and disband on 1 January 2021
  • Space_ hands over Bunkerchan to d011ars in January 2021
  • Occupied Bunkerchan sees massive decline in users as they migrate to /leftypol/
  • Occupied Bunkerchan later redirected to /leftypol/, staff in exile dissolves
Belligerents

Spaceist Junta
Space Bunkerchanflag.png Occupied Bunkerchan

Member Chans
Bunkerchanflag.svg Bunkerchan staff in exile
Leftypolflag.svg /leftypol/
Getchanflag.svg GETchan

Insurgents (until 2021)
GETchan Liberation Front Flag.png GLF
Rfpflag.png RFP

Commanders and leaders

Space Bunkerchanflag.png Space_ (Until January 2021)
Space Bunkerchanflag.png D011ars
Space Bunkerchanflag.png Pyongyang
Space Bunkerchanflag.png Bkeys

Bunkerchanflag.svg Comatoast
Leftypolflag.svg Comrade Rat
Getchanflag.svg Comrade King
Getchanflag.svg Zeke Roa

No central leadership

Strength
  • Complete control over the Bunkerchan domain
  • Minor scattered support from throughout the userbase
  • Control over all Bunkerchan and /leftypol/ social media accounts
  • The remainder of the staff (Half of Bunkerchan's, all of /leftypol/'s and GETchan's)
  • The majority of the /leftypol/ and Bunkerchan userbases
  • Control over the original GETchan domain and all its social media accounts
  • The majority of the /GET/ and /ref/ userbases
Casualties and losses
  • Pyongyang demoted from admin position (later reversed)
  • /troon/ deleted twice
  • Loss of favourability among the userbase
  • Loss of the majority of userbase to the member chan faction
  • Bunkerchan shuts down
  • Several posts and bans deleted and removed by Pyongyang
  • All staff privileges revoked
  • Bunkerchan Manifesto and GETchan-Bunkerchan merger scrapped
  • Bunkerchan staff in exile merges with the /leftypol/ staff
  • Several posts deleted and bans placed on users (later reversed)
  • Formally demobilised and joined the member chan faction

The Internal conflict on Bunkerchan was a multi-sided conflict between the three Bunkerchan member chans (Bunkerchan (represented by a staff in exile), /leftypol/, and GETchan), a small group of staff (including the site's owner, Space_) who seized the Bunkerchan domain initially known as the Pyongyang–Bkeys Clique and later known as the Spaceist Junta following their coup attempt, and insurgent forces of the GETchan Liberation Front and the Revolutionary Front of Ponyville. From September to January, following an agreement between the insurgents and the GETchan staff, the insurgents and member chan factions were largely working together. As the liberation of GETchan was completed on 26th December 2020, the insurgents formally demobilized on January 1st 2021 and joined the member chan faction. The conflict ended in the victory of the member chan faction after the redirection of Bunkerchan to /leftypol/'s new site.

Background

Following the merger between GETchan and Bunkerchan in November of 2018 and the shutdown of 8chan forcing the migration of /leftypol/ in August of 2019, all three of the big communist chans had been consolidated into one. As per the GETchan-Bunkerchan merger agreement, it was decided that the fraternal chans would have equal power within the final merged chan, a recreated USSC. It was stressed that GETchan was not merging into Bunkerchan and becoming simply a semi-autonomous board, but that the two chans would merge together to make a single chan where both staffs would have equal power and access to the code while being allowed to run their respective divisions as they wished.

Tampering Discovery and First /troon/

On 2 March, it was reported in the GETchan staff chat that bans were being removed by an unknown staff member by the name of Pyongyang. Upon further digging, it was discovered that Pyongyang had been removing bans, denying appeals, and deleting posts (most notably the post 44444) on /GET/ for months. The issue was then reported in the main Bunkerchan staff chat and evidence of him tampering with /leftypol/ was also provided, after which Pyongyang was declared a "rogue admin" and there began to be calls for either him to join the rest of the staff in the chat or for Space_ to demote him from an admin to a mod. In response, Space_ announced that he had given Pyongyang an "informal warning". Mere hours later, Pyongyang created /troon/, a board with the intended purpose of criticising identity politics from a right-wing perspective.

The board was swiftly deleted by the direct Bunkerchan staff as unilateral board creation was banned by the Bunkerchan Manifesto and the board had not gone through the correct channels to be created. The next day, Space_ declared that Pyongyang was to be allowed his /troon/ board, against the wishes of the rest of the staff and in complete violation of the merger agreement and Manifesto. When confronted about the fact that Pyongyang subscribes to Nazbol ideology, Space_'s response was simply that so-called "national Bolshevism" is "still a left-wing ideology". That same day, the staff of GETchan voted unanimously to return to their site (GETchan.net) if the board was created in violation of the merger agreement. Following this, Space_ began to avoid the topic for several days, dodging it when it was brought up. In the days following the first /troon/ incident, GETchan's staff readied itself for the prospect of a potential migration back to GETchan.net.

Second /troon/ and Pyongyang's Fall

As the 7th of March rolled by, it was discovered that /troon/ had been remade. The board was then defaced with anti-Pyongyang rhetoric, including the following inscription on the centre of the page:

"Pyongyang is an illegitimate admin, /troon/ is an illegitimate board.

Right-wing idpol is just as bad as left-wing idpol.

Death to the Pyongyang–Bkeys Clique, freedom to the people!"

After Space_ discovered the page, he demanded that the page stop being defaced and ordered that Pyongyang be allowed to keep the board. When reminded of GETchan's vote to leave the site if the board was created, his response was simply "Bon voyage!" Soon after, Space_ threatened on Twitter to delete the site if the staff refused to "kiss and make up." As GETchan's staff prepared for the migration, the /leftypol/ and direct Bunkerchan staff released a joint statement condemning the decision. The thread for the statement was quickly filled with users denouncing the Clique, calling for Pyongyang's resignation, and calling for Space_ to hand over the site to someone else. Space_ took this opportunity to argue with the users and stand firmly against the popular opinion of the board.

Rather than Space_ folding to the demands of the userbase, Pyongyang himself chose to step down due to pressure from the users. His statement on the matter was perceived by many to be more of a tantrum than anything else. Space_ followed the statement by thanking Pyongyang for his time as an admin before proceeding to go to Twitter to brag about how the situation had "resolved itself" because he "did nothing". Following news of Pyongyang's stepping down, the GETchan migration was put on hold and the staff there released their own statement. On the following day, Pyongyang was demoted and his account is currently pending deletion. He then proceeded to delete his Twitter account, "Commisar Cletus". The second incarnation of /troon/, spammed by users opposed to the Clique, was also deleted by the direct Bunkerchan staff a second time.

Insurgency

Despite Pyongyang's stepping down and /troon/'s deletion, the conflict itself only raised concerns about the ability of Space_ to oppose the rest of the staff and the vast majority of the userbase for the sake of a single friend of his. He was accused of nepotism, running Bunkerchan like a dictator, and being unfit to administrate. Many continued to call for him to turn over the site to another administrator and his standing in the eyes of the general userbase has decreased. While the GETchan migration had been put on hold for the time being, Space_'s disregard for the merger agreement led the staff noting in their statement that the the inherent issue with Bunkerchan's system had not yet been resolved.

Following Pyongyang's demotion, the GETchan staff requested the access to the code of Bunkerchan that they had been promised prior to the merger, to which Space_ responded that no access would be given without scans of their driver's licenses. The GETchan staff has called this "nothing more than an attempt to make a requirement so extreme that we couldn't possibly take it, therefore keeping the GETchan staff from having too much power on the site."

Following events on GETchan that led to the resignation of the co-founder and administrator of the chan, Comrade King, users sympathetic to his administration began to band together, forming the GETchan Liberation Front mere weeks after his departure. Witnessing what they described as "bureaucratic mismanagement", "despotic overstepping of boundaries", and "humiliation at the hands of tyrants", they began to prepare what they would come to call the "Liberation of GETchan". The issue of Space_'s widening control over the chan and his increased breaking of specific aspects of the merger agreement, especially increasing after Comrade King's resignation, were a large part of the concern of the GLF.

Planning their strike for the anniversary of the transfer of /leftytrash/ to /GET/, preparations were taken in the week leading up to the 17th of August. At the lead of the YouTube channel, which had already broken off relations with the board a week prior, the Wiki, the Twitter account, and the domain for GETchan itself were transferred to the GLF, cementing them as the inheritors of GETchan's legacy. Preparations were completed on the 16th, ahead of schedule, with the chan being declared liberated on the 17th.

Remnants of the Revolutionary Front of Ponyville also took this opportunity to voice their support for the movement, seeing the struggle as "one and the same". A list of demands was posted to the staff of GETchan, now largely seen to be controlled solely by Zeke Roa, as the Revolutionary Administration of the Moderators, which was supposed to act as a counterbalance to his power, had been largely dismantled. The demands were accepted on the 3rd of September and talks began shortly after, after which negotiations were held to decide the future of the chan. Since September, the insurgents and the boards have been largely on the same side.

Coup and Establishment of the Junta

With talks between the GLF and the staff underway, tensions broke once again between the boards and Space_. Space_ announced his intention to start selling user data to Google in order to pay for server costs, which the vast majority of the staff vehemently opposed, having already offered to help with the server costs. Space_ denied this assistance and chose to move forward with the plan, in conjunction with attempting to hand over the /dead/ board to a random Twitter user and the aforementioned refusal to give server access to anyone else without providing IDs, served as a breaking point. In response, /leftypol/ threatened to move to their backup site, to which Space_ removed the entire staff (including not only /leftypol/, but Bunkerchan and GETchan staff as well), save for the loyalist members of his clique.

This coup resulted in a large rift in the userbase, as the staff was no longer able to coordinate a proper move to the backup chan. Overnight, the Pyongyang-Bkeys Clique had become the Spaceist Junta with complete power over the entire chan. Following the Junta taking power, Space nominally gave control over to one of his most loyal supporters, d011ars, though it is suspected by many that Space_ continues to hold large power behind the scenes. The /leftypol/ staff has continued to try and coordinate the move despite all this. And in the chaos, GETchan left Occupied Bunkerchan and restored itself as an independent chan with the support of the insurgents, who formally demobilized on January 1st 2021. On January 9th 2021, there was a major escalation in this conflict when every post on Occupied Bunkerchan was wiped by a defecting moderator. The site was restored to a month old backup, which led to much criticism of the competence of the Spaceist Junta with regard to site management.

End of the Conflict

It was later announced by d011ars that Space_ no longer wishes to run a website, and that due to his insistence on having the domain name "die with him", Bunkerchan would be transferred to a new domain name owned by d011ars. The transfer to the new domain name was poorly carried out, with many technical difficulties. After this, Occupied Bunkerchan gradually experienced massive decline and stagnation of its userbase numbers. Meanwhile /leftypol/ had its userbase grow in size as users migrated there from Occupied Bunkerchan. Despite this, d011ars initially rejected the idea of reunifying the board. However, in April 2021, it was revealed by d011ars that he had a plan to revive Occupied Bunkerchan through means which were initially unknown, leading to much speculation. Shortly after this, d011ars came forward with an offer to redirect Occupied Bunkerchan to /leftypol/ if his demands including the addition of himself to the /leftypol/ moderation team were accepted.

His plan was revealed to be the release of an article published by Foreign Policy about Occupied Bunkerchan, which he planned to use as leverage for this offer. Negotiations were later opened. As negotiations proceeded, another Occupied Bunkerchan moderator who was previously added as a /leftypol/ mod was given control of the Occupied Bunkerchan domain by d011ars to ensure that it remained in neutral hands. Following the domain transfer, the /leftypol/ side repeatedly insisted that d011ars should concede and step down as a moderator. However d011ars refused this every time, insisting that he should be a moderator in the reunified site, leading to a breakdown in negotiations. Due to this, the moderator who was given control of Occupied Bunkerchan was contacted by /leftypol/ team, and this moderator proceeded to redirect Occupied Bunkerchan to /leftypol/ on 1 May 2021. This finally brought an end to the conflict as well as the chan itself, in a victory for the member chans faction.

Aftermath

This was the end of the Junta's occupation of Bunkerchan, the coup attempt having failed in the end. With the end of the chan itself and the Bunkerchan staff in exile having found a new home on /leftypol/'s new site, Bunkerchan as a whole has effectively ceased to exist. The two other former member chans, GETchan and /leftypol/, continue to live on as independent chans on their own respective domains and maintain good relations. Meanwhile, the legacy of Space_ was forever tarnished following these events, being seen as his third failure at running an online community after /leftpol/ on 8chan and his own Spacechan. The Foreign Policy article ended up being published the day Bunkerchan was shut down, which did not much other than direct some trolls to the site. The acts of the GLF and RFP are still fondly remembered by the users of GETchan, being seen as a symbol of GETchan's resistance in its darkest times, and have been compared to the group of users who established the chan back in 2011. Despite the prolonged nature of the conflict, GETchan and /leftypol/ have ultimately emerged on the other side and now look forward towards the future.

Statements

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