Monday, June 5, 2017

Recommended Reading

After my encounter with the very chatty definitely-not-a-nazi, I spent the following day reading articles from the Complete Anti-Fascist Reading List to try and push that dude's bullshit echoes out of my head. I didn't even get through the first section on the alt-right, and all of the ones I read were important, but this one in particular is essential reading [content warning for extreme racism and antisemitism, genocidal beliefs and rhetoric, and racial and antisemitic slurs]:

My Journey Inside of the Alt Right

This is an article by an investigative journalist who interviewed a variety of people who might be considered part of the so-called "alt right," from radical white nationalist secessionists to Richard "Punch Me in the Face" Spencer himself. And I'm okay with this because the author spends plenty of time talking about how horrible they all are.

It's rather long but plenty entertaining. It goes into the origins of the "alt right" and how people are led to this ideology. One of the best things it does is expose how certain aspects of the "alt right" that are easy to dismiss and that they pretend are harmless, namely the trolling and meme-ing and being offensive to get a rise out of people.

In September, Anglin told readers to print up fliers depicting Hitler in the form of the chubby yellow anime character Pikachu and hand them out to young boys at “Pokemon Go” “gyms,” real-world locations where people gather to play a Pokemon-based game. (There is no evidence this happened.) As puerile as the stunt sounds, Anglin had a theory behind it: If you could make people laugh, you got them to accept something that was previously too distasteful to consider. It is the Mein Kampf chapter on propaganda updated for culture-jamming millennials.

It also calls GamerGate a "turning point" for the "alt right" by demonstrating that anonymous online assholes en mass could be powerful, create influence, and get mainstream publications and even policy makers to give them legitimacy. This pisses me off to my deepest core. Thanks, you gutless gaming websites and companies, for giving us Trump and a sharp rise in fascism and deadly hate crimes. Good fucking job.

Anyway, the point is that all that "trolling" that people still (fucking still) like to say is harmless and should be ignored actually does have an insidious effect, and even more horrifyingly, nazis are aware of this and are using it to target children.

The piece also goes into the way in which ideas, terms, and "memes" are drawn up from the depths of 8chan and reddit and given legitimacy through "alt right" channels until they reach mainstream awareness and influence common thought. It's every bit as unnerving and insidious as the issue of fake news. Real fake news, not the outlets Lord Dampnut doesn't like.

It's so important that people understand how these people operate. And we need organized efforts to counter it. One thing I've seen lately is a sharp increase in fake antifa sites and social accounts and people who are clearly impersonating antifa to try and make them look bad. And the average person who knows nothing about antifa could easily be fooled. It's a huge problem, and these "alt right" and worse trolls know it. They know this works and can have massive influence on the country - to the point of determining the presidential election outcome.

I'm wondering how we can get public service announcements out there. Like, we need to gather funds for commercials about how to spot this kind of shit. We can't keep letting the "alt right" have all the influence over the common people.

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