West Point graduate and Army infantry officer Spenser Rapone has been drummed out of the military after receiving an “other than honorable discharge” from the military. He caused a stir with a posted photo of his West Point cap with the words “Communism will win” written inside. He also displayed a Che Guevara T-shirt underneath his uniform jacket. Rapone is clearly a dedicated socialist, but the action raises the issue of whether being a communist or socialist is disqualifying. His removal is widely tied to a letter sent by Sen. Marco Rubio (R., Fl.). Rapone is scheduled to be a featured speaker at the conference “Socialism 2018” in Chicago this year.
Rapone’s “Communism will win” message in his graduation cap set off a firestorm but that message was not on the outside of the cap. He was active on social media advocating for the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) and heralding Communist figures like Che Guevara. He was however clearly a good soldier given his assignment to the heralded 10th Mountain Division at Fort Drum, N.Y. He has also deployed to Afghanistan and received a combat infantryman badge (CIB).
The question is whether his political views — and his use of social media — warranted an other than honorable discharge given his service in a combat area.
Rapone uses the Twitter handle is “punkproletarian.” The cited reason appears to be his violation of uniform regulations though the teeshirt and graduation message were covered up.
A more serious problem may have been revealed on his website, where Rapone declared that he “could no longer stomach the immorality of U.S. imperialism.” It also notes that he resigned his commission.
He will now likely become a rallying figure for both communists and socialists in the United States.