The vocal leader of the Arizona #RedforEd teacher protest has had his political motives questioned by local politicians, and has now made an effort to distance himself from socialist groups on social media.
The Washington Free Beacon revealed weeks ago that Noah Karvelis, the Arizona music teacher who spearheaded a protest that presents itself as bipartisan, had spent the previous years working with partisan election groups working to recruit Democrat candidates and canvasing for liberal campaigns. His work with the recruitment group, Run for Something, led to him being hired as campaign manager for a local Democrat's campaign.
Karvelis has more recently been accused by a Republican state legislator of "politicizing Arizona education" with the aim of "a national socialist revolution."
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Karvelis said his partisan views had nothing to do with the protest, which he maintains is not political. To back up his claim, however, he appears to have removed evidence from his Twitter profile that was used to align him with socialsts.
One account unfollowed by Karvelis was the official account for the Party for Socialism and Liberation, which describes itself as "a revolutionary Marxist organization in the United States."
Its website features posters celebrating former dictators such as Cuba's Fidel Castro and Venezuela's Hugo Chavez, and promoting terrorism aimed at Israel. It also presents a "10-point program" for liberation, which includes steps such as "Save the planet—End capitalism," "Seize the banks—Jail Wall Street criminals," and "Defend our Unions."
Karvelis also unfollowed the Brophy Democratic Socialists, a socialist group at a local Phoenix school that regularly engages with the #RedforEd protest.
Karvelis says that his decision to unfollow the socialist accounts was part of an attempt to "balance" the views on his timeline, not to cover up any association with socialists.
"I unfollowed those accounts to balance the political views present in my Twitter feed," Karvelis explained in an email. "As I have become more involved politically, I have made a more direct effort to ensure that I am not in an echo chamber of political viewpoints."
He said he has started following accounts such as Gov. Ducey's "to increase the representation of conservative and Republican views present in my feed."
Karvelis also said he deleted an old tweet that suggested a friend of his "take control of the means of production" at his place of work and "overthrow the system" on his boss. The tweet included this GIF of murderous Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin.
He said he deleted the tweet "because it was a joke with an old high school friend that included a GIF that I think was in poor taste."
Karvelis made the adjustments to his Twitter account after a fellow lead organizer of the movement was called out for his social media activity, which included various attacks on Republicans.