The U.S. Army has opened an investigation into West Point graduate Second Lieutenant Spenser Rapone for appearing to openly advocate for communism on social media.
Pictures of Rapone in uniform at West Point promoting pro-communism messages spread wildly around the internet Monday, in effect forcing West Point to issue a statement in response. The statement noted the Army has launched an investigation into Rapone’s activities.
“The U.S. Military Academy strives to develop leaders who internalize the academy’s motto of Duty, Honor, Country, and who live the Army values,” West Point said in a statement released Tuesday. “Second Lieutenant Rapone’s actions in no way reflect the values of the U.S. Military Academy or the U.S. Army. As figures of public trust, members of the military must exhibit exemplary conduct, and are prohibited from engaging in certain expressions of political speech in uniform. Second Lieutenant Rapone’s chain of command is aware of his actions and is looking into the matter. The academy is prepared to assist the officer’s chain of command as required.”
In one picture, Rapone appears to have placed a paper sign in his hat saying: “Communism will win.” In the other photo, Rapone is wearing a Che Guevara t-shirt underneath his uniform. At a time when active-duty service members and veterans are being dragged into the recent controversy of the National Football League flag and anthem protests, the pictures immediately went viral.
Rapone seemed to post the second picture in an effort to verify that he did in fact own the Twitter account. His bio describes himself as a member of the Democratic Socialists of America.
His Twitter account is full of interesting opinions regarding his views on politics and West Point, the institution from which he graduated.
Rapone has complained that the military as such “reifies capitalism/imperialism with a brutally hierarchical rank structure” and said that his fellow service members “lust for war and conflict. They fetishize violence.”
In June 2016, Rapone said that because “Fascists dehumanize political opponents…Violence against the far right is resistance, not aggression.”
In a tweet from July 2016, Rapone stated: “With that speech, Trump confirms the worst suspicion: he is a fascist.”
In October 2016, Rapone said that the “The GOP exists as violence against black/brown people, Muslims, LGBTQ community, yet milquetoast liberals actively donate money to it?”
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