A worker puts flowers on a decoration with Communist logo in Beijing.
A worker installs flowers on a flag-shaped decoration with a Communist Party's logo in Beijing.

Doctored ‘communism’ banner spins the truth

AAP FactCheck August 26, 2022

New Zealand Green Party MPs stood in front of a 'Love Communism' banner.


False. The post has been digitally altered. The banner of the original image read: "Love Community! Hate Fascism!"

An image posted to Facebook depicts New Zealand Green Party MPs standing in front of a banner declaring a love for communism.

But the photo has been manipulated. Rather than reading “Love Communism! Hate Fascism!” the original image actually reads “Love Community! Hate Fascism!”

The photo was taken on August 23 at a counter-protest in Wellington and appeared on the Counterspin Media Facebook page on the same day.

Counterspin bills itself as “the cure” for the “disease” of mainstream media. It is regularly linked with the right-wing and earlier this month was temporarily suspended from Instagram for “repeatedly violating” Meta’s policies.

Counterspin posted the original image alongside the doctored image on Facebook with a disclaimer which reads: “This image below is satire. Spot which one is the original from today”.

The original image (below) and the doctored image (above)
 The original image (below) and the doctored image (above). 

Not only did a number of Counterspin followers fail to read the small print but other websites posted the doctored image without any disclaimer, such as here and here.

“I can think of a couple of countries they can move to if they love communism so much,” read one comment. “Don’t even hide it anymore,” read another.

Around 1500 anti-government protesters rallied outside Parliament House in Wellington on August 23 and staged mock trials against vaccine mandates and other alleged “crimes against humanity.”

Green Party MPs joined a counter-protest. The original, unaltered image shows the MPs in front of the banner. The unaltered banner can be seen in several images from the counter-protest online posted by Green MPs and other groups.

Green Party MP Chlöe Swarbrick, one of the MPs in the photo, confirmed to AAP FactCheck the image was altered.

“The photo has definitely been doctored – the original banner said ‘Love Community, Hate Fascism,'” she said in an email.

“Love Community, Hate Fascism” is the slogan of the group that organised the counter-protests.

It is not clear who doctored the image which first appeared on the Counterspin Facebook page.

Counterspin Media was one of the groups involved in the February occupation at Parliament House that ended with police action.

The Verdict

An image of NZ Green MPs at a counter-protest standing in front of a banner which read “Love Communism! Hate Fascism!” has been digitally altered. The actual banner read: “Love Community! Hate Fascism!”

False – The claim is inaccurate.

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