- She is currently a very public leader of a Republican organization called Stand Up Republic (under the name that she claims she doesn’t use).
- She was a member of the “Ted Cruz Leadership Team”, a delegate at the 2016 Republican National Convention and a donor to the Republican party. She has lied and retaliated against anyone who has asked her about this past, claiming that asking her about this amounted to ‘doxing.’
- She has documented extremely destructive behavior in the IWW. She played a huge role in the destruction of the Job Branch at Grassroots Campaigns Inc (GCI) in Seattle, and in the decision of the Seattle GDC local to leave the organization. She has continued her destructive behavior on the national level.
- All of this is paralleled by her past activity in the IVAW, when she had documented ties to far-right activists, caused disruption that led many members to leave, immediately sought positions of power, and bullied and harassed her opponents. Even ten years later, many members reference her as a possible infiltrator.
- •Most importantly, we were aware that if this came from outside of Seattle, it could be felt by members in Seattle as an attack on their entire branch. This could have the effect of creating a sense of solidarity with Selena. We also knew that some members of the Seattle GDC were becoming aware of Selena’s right-wing ties, and were beginning to organize locally around this. We wanted to give them the priority to be able to deal with this. We thought it was their responsibility to inform the organization about this since they had previously sided with Selena when she claimed to be doxed (which we will return to below).
- •Several of us have been active in internal political debates in the IWW, which have sometimes been quite intense. We wanted to avoid a situation where other members that we have struggled with would try to dismiss this whole thing as ‘just politics’ (or worse). We think this is too important to dismiss in that way, and we hope that people who have politically disagreed with us will be principled enough to agree with that. We wanted to do everything we could to avoid even the possibility of this being viewed through the lens of the political conflict in the IWW. We will also note that this information is not something we have discussed within any caucus or larger group of members.
- •We also did everything we could to avoid having this information come out piecemeal or in small chunks. We quickly identified a pattern where anyone who asked Selena about her right-wing ties, or said anything indicating any knowledge, became a target for attack. This was later reinforced by the accounts of IVAW members of her history of targeting members in that organization. We knew that piecemeal revelations would be easy to dismiss or obscure, and even worse, would put people at risk for retaliation.
- •Finally, we want to acknowledge the absolute seriousness of this kind of accusation. We are all militants of long standing, who are well aware of the problems that were caused in the 1960s by frivolous accusations that individuals were infiltrators or provocateurs. We take our responsibilities as militants very seriously, and cannot walk away from the overwhelming evidence we have found. It is our duty to share this. We believe that we are handling this in the most principled and responsible way possible, and hope that this document can serve as an example for militants in the future, inside or outside the IWW, who may face similarly destructive people. In order to facilitate this, we will “show our work” of how we pieced all of this together, rather than obscuring it.
Piecing the puzzle together
Selena’s role in destroying the Job Branch at GCI
Attempt to spread rumors about a prominent IWOC member during the prison strike
False claims of doxing during IWW election, and retaliation against critics
- Anyone is free in the IWW to use any name they want. There is no requirement to use a legal name. This includes the name in our records.
- Selena’s name was used at multiple points in the IWW prior to this. Her name was used openly at Convention. It is in a variety of IWW emails dating all the way back to April of 2018. Many, many people knew her name. There was no reason to assume it was Travis who shared her information (which it wasn’t).
- Selena uses her name openly in her right-wing organizing. This is not just in the past, as with the 2016 Republican National Convention, but also with her current organizing with Stand Up Republic. This is very publicly posted on their website and Twitter.
- Even setting everything else aside — asking a comrade about their conservative past in a private conversation is not ‘doxing’. This is a basic responsibility for militants to exercise relational security. Anyone with former links to the organized right-wing (which organizing for Ted Cruz certainly counts for) who genuinely changes their politics and joins a radical organization is responsible at a bare minimum for engaging honestly with people who ask them privately about that past.
The Seattle GDC
That it appears FW GST Travis was not made fully aware of the initial charges filed against FW [Y]
That on the part of FW GST Travis, we find no verifiable evidence of negligence regarding his conduct as an IWW officer
That there is no evidence FW GST Travis obstructed the complaints process or pigeon-holed the complaint filed with the Conflict Resolution Committee in the Matter of Gender (CRC)
Seeking official positions
“Why can one person be on so many important committees? There are thousands of members.”
– A member of the former Seattle GDC
- •Complaint Reform Committee: This committee is supposed to do a root and branch review of our internal complaint process — which almost everyone acknowledges is some combination of broken, harmful, or useless — and propose a thorough overhaul.
- •Restructuring Committee: This committee is supposed to propose a thorough overhaul of the IWW’s structure, to make it bottom-up, democratic, responsive, and scalable.
- •Conflict Resolution Committee on Matters of Gender: This is supposed to be a tool to support members facing patriarchal oppression. As we show below, there are members who know nothing else about Selena, but just based on the behavior they see from her, they know that they will never bring any concerns to this committee as long as Selena is on it.
- •Gender Equity Committee: This committee supports gender equity within the organization, assisting non-cis-men with travel costs, and supporting members as needed.
- •She also ran for Central Secretary Treasurer of the GDC, which would have given her access to the GDC’s separate membership database. Fortunately, she was not elected to this position.
So, I don’t know if I’m judging Selena unfairly here. Does anyone have insight that may alleviate my deep reservations?
I have serious concerns about Selena being on both the Gender Equity Committee and the Conflict Resolutions Committee on Matters of Gender [CRC], but especially the CRC.
My experience with her in this context was brutal. She asked inappropriate questions for intimate details about my past trauma despite me telling her multiple times that those specific events were unrelated to what happened in my branch. She asked me several times to explain the conflict in my branch, and I did in great detail, but she continued to question and make assumptions without even acknowledging that I had answered. She talked over me while asking all these questions. She displayed the sensitivity of a sledgehammer.
In other conversations in Red Card Holders [an informal IWW Facebook group] about Sexual Assault and abuse, I have seen her (in my opinion) show more concern for abusers than survivors. Her concern trolling makes me extremely uncomfortable.
I, personally, will never bring anything before these committees while Selena sits on them because I don’t trust her at all (it’s important to note that my experiences with her are limited). I’m worried others will be hesitant to bring their problems to them as well.
In my opinion, Selena is unqualified for the CRC and people who need help will be hesitant to reach out and utilize the solidarity and support they’re offering.
The split between the Seattle GDC and the IWW
“Selena is definitely part of the reason Seattle GDC disaffiliated from the IWW/GDC.”
-A former Seattle GDC member
“If we were in a different city, with an IWW branch that we felt we could work with, this probably would not have happened. But we can’t trust the local IWW, and we no longer felt national ties. We are not antagonistic to the national GDC, we just feel that we may be on a different path. However, we are antagonistic to the Seattle IWW.”
Selena’s history in the IVAW
“You can go to any IVAW group and say ‘SC’ [e.g., Selena Coppa] as shorthand for a sellout and people will know what you’re talking about. If you tell any long-term member that they’re ‘more of a Blue Falcon than SC’ you’ll get punched in the face. [Blue Falcon is vet slang for someone who abandons their buddies under fire.] There’s nobody else in IVAW’s history who has that kind of reputation.
Back in 2008, we were doing Winter Soldier, it was a huge national effort. There were these Republican bloggers called the Gathering of Eagles who wanted to come and bring guns, which made our guys want to bring guns. She sided with the Republicans and fought hard to get the Republican bloggers in. It didn’t make sense. She was working to get our enemies there, always working to defend our enemies. This is part of what led to my suicide attempt back in 2008, we were doing this great thing and then she was trying to get our enemies there.
When a member named [Z] raised concerns about this, she claimed that she was ‘outed’, that somehow what he said had put her at risk by identifying her base or something. She brought a lot of pressure to drive him out. He left the organization, quit Facebook, and moved to Germany to get away from her.
She liked to play the victim a lot back then. She would agitate people and then take screenshots and share those with the leadership and try to get them kicked out. And of course, the other people weren’t screenshotting it at the time, so she would pick the parts of the conversation that made them look the worst. There’s at least 7 people she got kicked out this way, or pressured into leaving. [Z] and the others that she drove out weren’t officially kicked out, they left as a result of the tension she created. But then in a book that came out later, she frames it as her getting them expelled.8 If you can find the people she drove out, that she named in that book, you’re going to find seven people who hate that woman more than life itself. She also claimed in that book that I had faked my suicide attempt … I was blown away that she went around telling people that I had faked a suicide attempt.
She eliminates people one by one. She baits them and gets them to swear or something. It’s easy with veterans because we have PTSD. I still don’t associate with IVAW because of her. She’s either a horribly toxic person who doesn’t care about the causes she gets involved in or… it always seemed like she was intentionally disruptive, like she was intentionally trying to disrupt.
I couldn’t understand why our leadership (none of whom were combat veterans) weren’t seeing what she was doing. She wasn’t a combat vet and she was definitely trying to provoke our PTSD. When the Gathering of Eagles all decided they were gonna come armed, and the leadership didn’t take it seriously while she fought hard to get them there, that was when me and a lot of people left — because of her and the tension she created. Most people said, ‘I don’t want to be a part of a group that allows her,’ and saw it as a leadership failure. If her goal was to disrupt, it was effective.
If you confront her, you gotta do it public. She was good at the one on one fights. She’d single someone out from the herd, get them upset, get them agitated, trigger their PTSD so they would swear or something, and then screenshot them and use that to build tension against them until they left. She was able to drive out so many people because she would drive someone out and then keep going, so her opponents kept getting driven out. Nobody ever confronted her and got her kicked out.”
Some of those in the peace movement like to call me names because of these beliefs. They like to call me “jingoistic” or “nationalist”. A “reformist apologetic”. One prominent activist tells me that because I don’t believe in “class war” I need to get out of “their” movement.
Well, here’s a newsflash for anyone who may not have been paying attention at home. I don’t believe in socialism, and never will. What I feel about it is best summed up in the following quote:
“I am opposed to Socialism because of its inhumanity; because it saps the vitality of the human race which has no vitality to spare; because it lulls to indolence those who must struggle to survive; because the theories of good men who are enthralled by its delusions are made the excuse of the wicked who would rather plunder than work; because it stops enterprise, promotes laziness, exalts inefficiency, inspires hatred, checks production, assures waste and instills into the souls of the unfortunate and the weak hopes impossible of fruition whose inevitable blasting will add to the bitterness of their lot.” -Edward Adams
You’d better get used to that, folks. If you want to organize with me? Be aware. I will not support your hidden agendas. Your hidden agendas are poison to me. Have the courage of your own convictions, and keep to your own organization for it.
And if what I say here means that you won’t organize with me against the war? If what I say here means that you’re going to actually waste everyone’s time by organizing against me instead? By putting me on some hidden blacklist because I have a little too much patriotism for you to be comfortable with?
Then I’m sorry for you, but you need to recognize you’re just as much of a hypocrite as the people you claim to be organizing against.
- •In 2009, Selena was elected to the IVAW’s executive board, with cheering approval from John Lilyea, one of the prominent right-wing, anti-IVAW bloggers.
- •In 2010, Lilyea and some of his allies ran a FOIA on Selena and surmised that she used to be a ‘spook’ [e.g., some kind of spy].
- •In 2010, Selena was finally removed from the IVAW’s board for violating the organization’s code of conduct. Lilyea tried to defend her, while at the same time he claimed that he had spies in the IVAW.
Stand Up Republic
2016 RNC Participation press coverage:
- •Delegate Selena Coppa said the speech inspired her. “I think it took a lot of strength to stand before a crowd, knowing that the RNC and Trump whips would whip up some booing,” she said.
- •Selena Coppa, an alternate delegate for Washington State, is a staunch Republican, if an unusual one in the nascent Trump era. She’s an ardent believer in free markets and the Second Amendment, but also believes that the federal government should invest in infrastructure and jobs programs.
RNC Fundaiser [5/11/16]:
Ted Cruz Leadership Team [4/30/16]:
Republican Party Donation of $900:
- •Jonn Lilyea, a right-wing anti-IVAW blogger that Selena often engaged with, mentions having spies in IVAW
- •Conservatives did a FOIA on Selena and said that she hadn’t been in Iraq, only Germany, but there were no other details. They speculate that she used to be a spook [eg, spy].
- •An IVAW member accuses Selena of being a snitch/plant in the IVAW.
- •A former IVAW member accuses Selena of working with right-wing bloggers to take down IVAW
A while ago, almost a year ago, I wrote a post about how supporting the troops meant me too. How supporting the troops…archive.fo