Datacide Issues

Poisoned Fruit in the Walled Garden – The Alt Right: A Growing Problem, But Not a New One

Rotten to the Grassroots

Twenty-sixteen was probably the worst year for online hate speech to date: a year when a loose network of neo-fascist trolls known as the Alt Right finally managed to overwhelm many online discussion platforms in the West, after years of trying.

Posing as members of an outraged, but otherwise ordinary public, these trolls flooded Facebook, Twitter, and many major news websites with hateful posts.

It seemed clear that they were striving to mould a new popular consensus of contempt for minorities everywhere… and by extension, a consensus of contempt for any social  justice movement that stood in their way.  And, to a degree, they succeeded in altering the public’s perceptions about everything from the new Star Wars movie, to the Brexit, to Hilary Clinton’s state of health, not to mention the election campaign of President Trump.

Maybe it would be more correct to call theirs an ‘unpopular consensus’ though, because no matter what the Alt Right would like us to believe, its extremist hate is still in a minority across the Western world. However, it is easy to forget this fact when its virtual foot soldiers are seizing an ever-increasing range of territory online.

How big of a range exactly? One study undertaken by the Anti-Defamation League found that 2.6 million anti-Semitic tweets had been posted to Twitter by just 1,600 individuals in 2016. Together, these anti-Semitic tweets were seen around 10 billion times.

The study’s authors noted that, ‘Waves of anti-Semitic tweets tend to emerge from closely connected online “communities.”  These aggressors are disproportionately likely to self-identify as Donald Trump supporters, conservatives, or part of the “alt-right.”‘

According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, an NGO that monitors American hate groups, the Alt Right is a group bound together by, ‘a loose set of far-right ideals centered on “white identity” and the preservation of “Western civilization.” Alt-Right adherents stridently reject egalitarianism and universalism.’ [Read more →]

Siege Mentality – Mason, Manson, Moynihan: On the Fringes of the American Nazi Movement

“Nihilists and buffoons are allergic to the slightest hint of significance”
Terry Eagleton, ‘On Evil’

Michael Moynihan (of Non, Blood Axis, Coup de Grace and Sleep Chamber, and a regular collaborator with other pro-Fascist musicians in the neo-folk, martial industrial and noise milieus) has miraculously acquired a reputation as something of a Fascist intellectual, as he is also a writer, editor and publisher of a range of books, magazines and journals. Moynihan was a member of the Abraxas Foundation, which co-founder Boyd Rice hoped would attract “a new demographic of people who are into the occult, Fascism, and Social Darwinism”. Along with Didrik Søderlind he authored the commercially successful Lords of Chaos – The Bloody Rise of the Satanic Metal Underground, which glamorised the Norwegian Black Metal scene while analysing it within the framework of his own occult Fascist concerns. He is also an associate of Adam Parfrey, whose Feral Press has established itself as a major source of Fascist esoterica. Moynihan’s journal, Tyr, promotes a range of Fascist thinkers as well as corresponding pagan and occult notions, publishing pseudo-scientific articles and clunky political, cultural and music reviews aimed largely at promoting the works of his co-thinkers in the Fascist and pagan underground. Having read a fair amount of his work I think it’s safe to say that Moynihan’s reputation as an intellectual is more an index of the intellectual poverty of the radical right rather than proof of any substantial talent on his part. [Read more →]

Angry White People – Coming Face-to-Face with the British Far Right by Hsiao-Hung Pai (Book Review)

Hsiao-Hung Pai: Angry White People
Coming Face-to-Face with the British Far Right
With a Foreword by Benjamin Zephaniah
Zed Books, London 2016
ISBN 978-1-783606-92-4

Angry White People: Coming Face-to-Face with the British Far Right by Hsiao-Hung Pai (Zed Press, 2016) is not quite the overview of contemporary UK fascism that its subtitle suggests. The familiar far-right brands of the British National Party, National Front, and their various offshoots barely figure. Instead, the main focus is on the phenomenon of the English Defence League, which seemed to have exploded out of nowhere in 2009 and over the next few years mobilised anti-Muslim street protests across England. The group still exists today, though it has lost much of its early momentum and some of its founding activists along the way.
Pai’s avowed aim is to try to understand ‘what personal and social circumstances are leading these men and women’ to join a movement ‘based on prejudices and myths’, bringing to the subject the ‘outsider’ perspective of a 1990s migrant from Taiwan who is not distracted by social niceties from asking direct and awkward questions. This includes displays of chutzpah or just plain cheek such as knocking on the door of a house flying an England flag and asking its inhabitant to explain himself and walking into the pub reputed to be the EDL’s favoured drinking hole and requesting to speak to its leader, ‘Tommy Robinson’ – real name Stephen Lennon. As a result she does secure what seem to be some fairly unguarded and revealing conversations with a number of EDL supporters, including a couple with Robinson himself.
The EDL’s carefully curated image of being a non-racist organisation simply opposed to ‘Islamic extremism’ is belied by racist remarks about Muslims in general, informed by an incoherent and paranoid world view that fears some kind of impending Muslim domination of the UK. Robinson tells her: ‘Wherever Islam is, there is a military operation to implement sharia law. This country will be exactly the same. Five per cent of the population is Muslim. When it becomes 20 per cent, that’s when there will be a war’.
Robinson struggles to explain why he feels English and not British, or to reconcile his politics with his part-Irish background. In addition to complaining about Muslims, he complains about immigration more generally and even about Welsh workers getting building work in his home town, while at the same time acknowledging that ‘Everyone in this town is an immigrant’, his family included. Meanwhile, a rank-and-file activist complains about ‘pakis’ while obsessing about his desires for ‘oriental’ women. So far, so stupid, but if the far right could be defeated by exposing their irrationality and logical inconsistency, they would have been vanquished long ago. [Read more →]

Demented Idioms – Schizo-Culture: The Event (1975) & The Book (1978)

“The problem is not really defining a political position […] but
to imagine and to bring about new schemas of politicization.”

– Michel Foucault

Back in the late 1980s, a series of pocket books appeared introducing English speakers to several writers who would become lumped together as post-modernist or post structuralist philosophers. At the time, though, the names of Baudrillard, Lyotard, Virilio and Deleuze & Guattari were a lot less well known and these pocket books (dubbed the Foreign Agent Series) had the aura of underground publications. More aptly, perhaps, they seemed extra-academic; they didn’t seem to be coming from an institution and least of all from a British institution. The origins of these books, however, lay in a series of Journals and Conferences organized and edited under the name of Semiotext(e) and which came out of a specific department of Columbia University (an institutional vacuole?) One such Conference and accompanying Journal was the Schizo Culture gathering of November 1975, which brought (mainly untranslated) French theorists into collision and collaboration with elements of the SoHo Art Scene and with anti-psychiatry and prison activists like Howie Harp (Insane Liberation Front) and Judy Clark (Midnight Special). Ever mobile and shape- shifting and apposite to Semiotext(e)’s birth in a critique of linguistics1
we would find that William Burroughs (he of the ‘word virus’) was present, as was his fleetingly one-time Project Sigma collaborant, Ronald Laing. [Read more →]

Datacide at the Radical Bookfair, London June 24

Datacide is participating at the London Radical Bookfair June 24 with a stall!

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