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 →]

Notes from Non-Existence – Brexit vs. the Proletariat

Your country’s dead man, but your continent is soiled
– Triple Negative, Schengen Wasteman

Jay Gould may or may not actually have said ‘I can hire half of the working class to kill the other half’, but the proprietors of the UK have tested the theory successfully with their EU referendum. Not that you would know it from reading the Guardian, the Financial Times or even, sad to say, Counterpunch and the rest of the Left-wing blogobubble, where a chorus of Influencers is celebrating the 18th Brumaire of Nigel Farage.

Let me make clear what I don’t mean by that. Of course the likes of John Pilger, Michael Hudson, Tariq Ali and too many others to list are right in principle to celebrate a slap in the face of the EU manageriat and its unctuous cheerleaders. Who other than actual Eurostipendiaries would deny that the EU is an anti-democratic managerial machine built to hammer home labour discipline (sorry, ‘Competitiveness’) and ease cross-border financial looting?

But the point here is not really about whether or not the satisfaction of symbolically slapping a robot outweighs the harm done by an anti-immigrant plebiscite. What cries out louder for correction right now is the myth that the ‘leave’ vote is a victory for THE working class over ‘metropolitan elites’ and incorrigibly Scottish Scots. This matters a lot, because the metropolitan, multinational working class is being told by all sides, and at the worst possible moment, that actually we don’t exist. Worse still, myths like this tend to become self-fulfilling. Which is not to say they come true, but they become truisms to the point that they start having real effects. Like that old chestnut, ‘immigrants are to blame for other workers’ immiseration’, which we’ve just witnessed in action. [Read more →]