Google has no issue selling anti-Semitic, Communist and Soviet merchandise, but don’t go looking for a rebel battle flag there.
The Google Shopping section of the site is wildly inconsistent about merchandise from some of history’s most-reviled nations. The Soviet Union, which walled off half of Europe under communist dictatorships for decades and was responsible for the deaths of at least 20 million, is just fine with Google.
However, the flag of the Confederacy, which lasted just four years and was destroyed at a cost of 620,000 lives is banned on the platform. Rebel flags are highly controversial and fraught with conflicting meaning. The ADL lists the Confederate flag under its list of “general hate symbols.” In 2015, Google and Amazon agreed to pull the Confederate flag from their markets.
So when you type “Confederate flags” in the Google search bar in the “shopping category,” the platform informs you that “no results were found.” A Google user cannot purchase a Confederate flag from the Civil War. Nazi flags are also banned from the platform, but one can still go find a Third Reich flag.
But a Google user can go onto the platform and purchase a Soviet Russia flag. USSR flags are listed multiple times on the search results.
From its murderous beginning with Lenin to its implosion with Gorbachev, the list of crimes committed in the name of Soviet communism is endless, but start with Dekulakization and the Holodomore -- a combination man-made famine and political purge that killed 7.5 million (at the very least) Russians and Ukranians. Joseph Stalin’s show trials broke and often executed anyone who lost the dictator’s favor.
But somehow Soviet propaganda and symbols can still be bought and sold on Google. If a buyer wishes for something more explicitly pro-Stalin, he can purchase the USSR flag with Stalin’s face superimposed over it. Or, for the more daring of comrades, the full-length Stalin body pillow can be found.
Che Guevara, the Argentine Marxist revolutionary who helped bring the oppressive Castro regime to power in Cuba, is also popular on the Google marketplace. Once Cuba was in communist hands, Guevara started a “corrective work camp” similar to the Soviet Gulags at the time. As a governor of Santa Clara, Guevara ordered and watched (he reportedly enjoyed them) the execution of several hundred Cubans via firing squad -- the usual types communists execute: military officers, businessmen, intellectuals, and homosexuals.
Featured in the search results for “Che Guevara flag” is a Cuban flag with the guerilla leader’s face on it. And Google offers dozens of variations of the ubiquitous “Chez shirts.”
The New Black Panther Party for Self Defense, listed as the “most extreme organized racist and anti-Semitic African-American group in the United States” by the ADL, has patches and stamps available via Google shopping.
For Google, some hate symbols are more hateful than others.