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Online ‘activism’? November 29, 2016

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
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Speaking as we were about the alt-right I don’t want for a moment to diminish the threat from resurgent nazism or the alt-right, but… reading this I have to paraphrase Stalin’s line – how many tank divisions does the alt-right have? I’m no fan of Stalin but as a means of determining actual as against purported power relationships it’s not the worst.

And look at what is happening. A bunch of people online complaining…

People in the myriad “alt-right” communities that have flourished online in recent years are also expressing their displeasure that Trump appears to have abandoned the most extreme of his policies – at least for now – such as building a wall and prosecuting Hillary Clinton.
They also objected to his visiting of the New York Times for an on-the-record meeting on Tuesday, at which Trump described the news organization as a “world jewel”.
On /pol/, the political discussion board of the anonymous message-board 4chan, one poster wrote: “Already reneging on his word before he even takes office?! People will remember that.”

And do what precisely?

If ever the vacuity of some projects was laid bare it is this. As telling, and in a way entertaining, are the following complaints.

Over on 4chan’s /pol/, fierce discussion was raging on the issue of how to deal with Richard
Another wrote: “The leaders of the Alt-Right no longer look like attractive, young, rebellious counter-culture intellectuals, but now they look like fat, dumb racists.”
Opinion on the board was split, with many saying that the entire debacle was a “false flag” operation cooked up to discredit their movement, and others – a small minority – calling for the board to rally in support of Spencer.

False flag operations? If they got offline and actually engaged then they’d at least have some better standard to judge these matters. But if the life of these is largely, though not exclusively, online where is the actual substance, genuine rooted social movements, however unpleasant? Again, not to diminish any of this but some of what we’re hearing sounds – frankly – unserious.

Underlining this is a piece I linked to already from Slate where a former Breitbart contributor and never-Trumper, Ben Shapiro, reflected on the alt-right:

I mentioned earlier this Anti-Defamation League study that said that I was the No. 1 target of anti-Semitism in the journalistic world this year. And that’s because one, I’m Jewish; two, I left Breitbart; three, I didn’t back Trump. I think they said there were, between January and September, something like 20,000 anti-Semitic tweets directed at journalists. And I was the personal recipient of 7,400 of them. So the top 10 was me by a landslide, and then a bunch of people coming in behind. They traced virtually all of these tweets, or a huge percentage of these tweets, to 1,600 accounts.
So it’s a very small but vocal group, and they’re making their presence felt using the echo chambers of Twitter and Facebook and online. And they’re waiting for the left to overplay its hand. And that’s what the left needs to not do.

But if one wants a sense of just how bad this stuff is, online though it may be, look at what Shapiro faced from a former colleague of his on Breitbart.

What was your relationship with Milo Yiannopoulos then, and what is it now?
I never had a relationship with Milo. We sort of would joke around with each other online. I thought that he was kind of—he’s a provocateur, so like all provocateurs, he did some stuff that was funny and some stuff I thought that was over-the-top. But I thought he was doing some stuff that was interesting, if over-the-top.
And then there was a breaking point where he said the Constitution and conservatism were done, and it was going to be replaced by this new rising alt-right movement that didn’t care about the Constitution—you’re cucks, you’re losers, all the rest of this stuff. And then it gradually got worse, to the point where, when my second kid was born in May, Milo—who pretends that he’s not alt-right—sent a tweet at me with a picture of a black kid. Because the way that this works is that if you are not alt-right, if you’re anti-Trump, then according to the alt-right you must be what they call a “cuck”—for those who don’t follow this sort of stuff—because you have two brain cells to rub together. Cuck, according to the alt-right, means that you’re a white person who wants to watch his wife have sex with a black man, right? Because you’re poisoning the racial stock of the United States, so you want your own racial stock “poisoned.” I always found the whole thing bewildering. I’m not interested in my wife having sex with a man of any race; I’m not sure why a black guy would be significantly worse, just overall! It seems pretty terrible all the way through.

Comments»

1. CL - November 29, 2016

Still Trump is putting reactionary crackpots in power in his cabinet.

The actual numbers of the alt right may not be great but Mike Davis says:

“Trump is less a loose canon and opportunist than usually portrayed. His campaign systematically pushed all the buttons associated with the white-nationalist alt-right whose godfather is Pat Buchanan and would-be Goebbels is Stephen Bannon….
Buchanan and Bannon have buckets of ideology and it’s called fascism…”

And yet there is hope:

“But Trumpism, however it evolves, cannot unify millennial economic distress with that of older white workers, while Sanders showed that heartland discontent can be brought under the umbrella of a “democratic socialism” that reignites New Deal hopes for a Economic Bill of Rights. With the Democratic establishment in temporary disarray, the real opportunity for transformational political change (“critical realignment” in a now-archaic vocabulary) belongs to Sanders and Warren. We must hurry.”
https://www.jacobinmag.com/2016/11/trump-election-clinton-sanders-whites-turnout/

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WorldbyStorm - November 29, 2016

Very fair point CL in your first line. I think it’s influence that is going to be most important. That said the pools of reaction most of those he promotes come from are much deeper and longer lasting than internet ephemera.

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CL - November 29, 2016

‘the pools of reaction most of those he promotes come from are much deeper and longer lasting than internet ephemera.’-WBS.
So true. A number of commentators have made the connection between Trump’s rise and Hofstadter’s essay.
http://harpers.org/archive/1964/11/the-paranoid-style-in-american-politics/

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2. EWI - November 29, 2016

So the takeaway from Shapiro is that while it was still happening to other people it was ‘interesting’? Do I have it right?

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WorldbyStorm - November 29, 2016

You’re not wrong EWI. And its telling how detached he was/is. But on the other hand no greater joy in heaven than one sinner who repenteth (though I fear the insight he gives into that world reveals more than he expected).

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3. Ed - November 29, 2016

I noticed, when Justin Trudeau made his rather surprising pro-Castro comments over the weekend, the New York Times really had to scrape the bottom of the barrel trying to prove that he had faced a massive popular backlash; in addition to the predictable outraged quotes from the likes of Ted Cruz, they assembled a few tweets, including one from a person with the handle ‘cuckwatch3000’. I’m guessing ‘cuckwatch3000’ would have been equally furious if Trudeau had said ‘black people are human too’ or ‘Jews don’t run the media’.

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