Monsieur le Pepe
January 24, 2017 8:16 AM   Subscribe

Inside the Private Chat Rooms Trump Supporters Are Using to Manipulate French Voters : Buzzfeed reports on a Discord channel called "The Great Liberation of France," the associated /r/the_Europe/ subreddit, as well as on 4chan and 8chan, and the tactics underway to move public opinion in advance of the upcoming French elections.

The tactics involved include comprehensive shit-posting how-to's, graphics repositories for meme assembly ("meme shells"), instructions on manufacturing fake social media accounts to stoke antisemitic, misogynist and nativist resentment and warnings against common missteps.

The chatroom’s admins have instructed users to make fake Facebook accounts that are “ideally young, cute girl, gay, Jew, basically anyone who isn’t supposed to be pro-[FN].” Users are then instructed to lock down these dummy accounts so no one can tell they’re fake. Once they have their fake Facebook profiles, they’re told to infiltrate the comment sections of large French Facebook pages and post pro-FN memes and jokes about François Fillon, France’s current frontrunner for the presidency.

And they’re doing something similar on Twitter, creating dozens of French-appearing sock puppet accounts. They then collect all of them on lists and organize campaigns to make things trend in French.
posted by snuffleupagus (114 comments total) 38 users marked this as a favorite
 
Good luck, France. I hope you've been paying attention to the UK and US don't fall for this.
posted by Artw at 8:22 AM on January 24, 2017 [56 favorites]


They call themselves "The French Resistance."

Dishonorable and shameful hardly begin to describe them.

Shared with my French friends. FWIW I've had a few very odd French FB friend requests since the US election, refused all of them but wondered what was going on.
posted by fraula at 8:22 AM on January 24, 2017 [33 favorites]


It would be a great public benefit if Twitter, FB and other massive "social platforms" utilized their analytic engines and smart folks to automate flags that would brand shit-stirring posts "known troll" - don't delete the account, just add a nice banner to the user profile pic. Of course, that assumes they agree on a threshold for shit-stirring.

A really simple tactic would to be flag a user for using a term more than 5 times. Again, don't delete accounts unless if they're flagged by other users as being aggressive or abusive, but so something to chill the hateful rhetoric online.

(And a fun idea for someone with scripting skill and the care to do so - create response bots with counter-facts when alt.right memes are posted.)
posted by filthy light thief at 8:26 AM on January 24, 2017 [14 favorites]


god-tier title
posted by R.F.Simpson at 8:26 AM on January 24, 2017 [5 favorites]


It's a fucking game to them. We've creating a generation of people who gamify everything. People they're never likely to meet are easy points.

More Nazi Punching is the only answer.
posted by DigDoug at 8:28 AM on January 24, 2017 [73 favorites]


I attempted to report "Fake News" on the Facebook Android app this morning, and was offered one of three options: message the poster, hide the post, or hide the poster. That's....not exactly solving the problem, Zuck.
posted by Existential Dread at 8:33 AM on January 24, 2017 [53 favorites]


Reddit is demonstrably a social toxin.
posted by ryanshepard at 8:35 AM on January 24, 2017 [9 favorites]


None of the social media platforms are blameless. Reddit is easy to hate on, but Twitter and Facebook are perhaps even more corrosive due to their veneer of respectability.
posted by tobascodagama at 8:37 AM on January 24, 2017 [53 favorites]


Good on Buzzfeed, but we need more. Every news organization worth its salt needs to have an "embedded" reporter covering online information war. These communities organize in obscure but public places, and we've seen over the past year how memes planned in these forums spread into the mainstream and have real-world consequences. Drag these forums into the light, and follow them wherever they go.
posted by skymt at 8:49 AM on January 24, 2017 [50 favorites]


It's a scary article, but I remain skeptical about how this will mesh with existing far-right french meme communities, even though National Front have begun to court them .

France is at a weird tipping point moment - all progressive movements are heading for collapse, and a rightwing movement will win this election - the question being which one. I'm cautiously optimistic that it won't be the national front - but everytime I speak with random people, I get very afraid of their appetite for fake news/conspiracy theories. There is a strong lack of digital information education, and who knows what this will lead to.
posted by motdiem2 at 8:53 AM on January 24, 2017 [7 favorites]


It's a fucking game to them. We've creating a generation of people who gamify everything. People they're never likely to meet are easy points.

Call it a generation of people who are very unhappy with the present and want to do these things. The article is more about methods, but it seems to posit that these are very angry young men who want to do this violence for some reason. If that motive is that it’s a game, then we really are in trouble.

Reddit is demonstrably a social toxin.
None of the social media platforms are blameless. Reddit is easy to hate on, but Twitter and Facebook are perhaps even more corrosive due to their veneer of respectability.

We might as well blame the Internet. Anyone can set up an image board, or a vBulletin forum, or a Discord channel, after all. What the different companies tolerate on their platforms is a huge issue, but it’s not like complaining about Stormfront hosting Nazi content will get them to take it down. The SPLC made a nice little video pointing the finger at Google for Dylann Roof’s indoctrination.
posted by Going To Maine at 8:54 AM on January 24, 2017 [3 favorites]


None of the social media platforms are blameless

No, but I think that while Facebook and Twitter allow rapid dissemination of far-right talking points and vile memes into the mainstream (not to mention stalking and harassment), Reddit really does deserve special blame for being a largely-mainstream breeding ground for hate that goes largely unchecked by its feckless admins and mods.
posted by uncleozzy at 8:54 AM on January 24, 2017 [22 favorites]


"More Nazi Punching is the only answer."

So that's it then? No trying to explain to people why nazism and fascism is wrong? No spreading of facts and explaining the situation? No actually trying to convert people to your cause? The only solution is to physically harm people? To punch them? To attack them?

Because that's what it seems like you're promoting. The side that you propose physically attacking is swaying people with words. How can one claim to be in the right when one proposes physical violence as a way of rebutting arguments?
posted by I-baLL at 8:57 AM on January 24, 2017 [10 favorites]


A Le Pen interview ran on npr last month and it was reported that Russia has been funding her too.
posted by brujita at 8:59 AM on January 24, 2017 [1 favorite]


"A Le Pen interview ran on npr last month and it was reported that Russia has been funding her too."

I've been trying to find an article yesterday (I should probably try looking for it again today) from either last year or, more likely, from 2015 that was basically leaked recordings of European far-right wing groups taking money from Russian embassies. Or something to that effect. I'll post a link on here once I'll find it.
posted by I-baLL at 9:01 AM on January 24, 2017 [2 favorites]


BuzzFeed has a second article about Discord this week: A Thriving Chat Startup Braces For The Alt-Right. Nazi groups using Discord to organize.

I love the Discord product and like the startup team. They just want to build a solid gamer product. But now they have a content moderation problem they don't want and are apparently unequipped to handle. We've seen this same story play out poorly on Twitter and on Reddit.
posted by Nelson at 9:04 AM on January 24, 2017 [18 favorites]


From the second screenshot:

"The Discord Channel is focused on social media and memetic actions in order to help Marine Le Pen's campaign. Racism and antisemitism are forbidden."

LOLOLOLOLOLOLOL
posted by otenba at 9:05 AM on January 24, 2017 [8 favorites]


"No seig heiling at the deplora-ball!"
posted by Artw at 9:07 AM on January 24, 2017 [5 favorites]


"More Nazi Punching is the only answer."

So that's it then? No trying to explain to people why nazism and fascism is wrong? No spreading of facts and explaining the situation? No actually trying to convert people to your cause? The only solution is to physically harm people? To punch them? To attack them?

It’s sort of funny (and depressing) to me that the entire debate has become crystalized around “punch nazis” vs. “don’t punch nazis”, with everything filtered through that lens. (“Punch nazis because you must ban things from the discourse”, “Punching a nazi makes you worse than a nazi,” “My grandfather used to punch a lot of nazis. He got medals for it in World War 2.”) And yet, we’ve had a Milo fan shoot a guy in the gut in Seattle. And we had that stabbing at a nazi rally in Sacramento last year. (Unhelpfully, that stabbing occurred at the end of January, which will cause further confusion.)

It’s this strange point where serious violence is occurring, but has been subsumed in the media by the nonsense debate over a high profile punching. Meanwhile, violent crime in the US continues to be at quite low levels. It’s as if there’s definitely some heat but it’s entirely impossible to notice because of all the fake light.
posted by Going To Maine at 9:18 AM on January 24, 2017 [29 favorites]


Ok, so what can be done to counter this? It seems like the plan of "Oh, well, we'll reveal them and just refute incorrect things when we see them!" doesn't seem to be working. It seems like a new active set of counter-tactics is needed here.

These people are getting organized, generating new techniques and refining them. It seems like there is a need for white-hats to do the same. Instead of just reporting that this is going on, should white-hats be using this as intelligence to get out ahead of these people and construct pre-made counter-campaigns to defuse what they put out?
posted by delicious-luncheon at 9:28 AM on January 24, 2017 [7 favorites]


Sorry, Nazis, but you can't have this one. Everybody knows there is only one French Pepe.
posted by Huffy Puffy at 9:28 AM on January 24, 2017 [4 favorites]


How do we fight this shit? How do you foster empathy among trolls? How do you organize against memes?

A few weeks ago, in Toronto, I saw a young latino man chastising his young asian male friend, literally shaking him for believing a story on CNN, or as he called it the Clinton News Network. Young minorities in Canada are stuck in this shit. The r/Toronto subreddit has become a toxic shithole in the past year, to the point of literal brigading in all the women's march threads this week.

I'm just at a total loss how to resist this shit when it's becoming more and more embedded in youth culture and the spheres they occupy everyday.
posted by yellowbinder at 9:29 AM on January 24, 2017 [20 favorites]


@I-baLL:
As Natasha Lennard recently wrote in The Nation: The history of anti-fascist action is not one of polite protest, nor failed appeals to reasoned debate with racists, but direct, aggressive confrontation.

Of course a punch is not always the most effective tactic to counter fascist organizing. But denouncing the punch, and debating these ideas has the following negative side effects:
  1. Engaging their genocidal arguments in order to rebut them lends them credence or respect. Suggests they are valid opinions to debate. @meakoopa writes: [T]his is why [you] can't allow "just hypothetical" questions [about] whether Jews or blacks, as Spencer posits, are innately inferior/destroyable. Nazi theorists like Carl Schmitt VERY QUICKLY diagnosed this weakness in liberal democracies[...] Fascism wriggles into democracies by insisting on right to be heard, achieves critical mass, then dissolves the organs that installed it.
  2. The denunciation of this anti-fascist violence creates a false equivalency. Suddenly, mass genocide, and smaller-scale murderous behavior is equated with the punch. The New York Times did an outstanding job of this nonsense, equating calling out racism with an racialized assault: A student walking near campus was threatened with being lit on fire because she wore a hijab. Other students were accused of being racist for supporting Mr. Trump.
Consider these ideas.

On preview, what Going to Maine said.
posted by moink at 9:29 AM on January 24, 2017 [36 favorites]


I'm taking "Nazi punching" in the comment above to mean direct action against this newly veneered kind of right wing agitation (I don't think we have the ability to physically punch Twitter trolls in the face).

Even so, I hesitate to knee-jerk condemn aggressive pushback (again, I'm not talking about physically punching people in the face). That punch already happened, and I noticed in some message board threads the conversation shifted to sort of laughing at Spencer for his decidedly quick switch to running away instead of responding in kind. I get the sense that injured masculinity is a harsher reality to some of these people than a face bruise, and Spencer's now a symbol of the physical weakness that all of this vocal/social aggression from the right is (secretly? clearly?) hoping to cover. Meme the hell out of Nazi punches. Emasculate the alt-right.

From the article, “DO NOT launch a meme shell in a foreign language without checking with a national operative.”

I'd like to volunteer to mistranslate for them, if someone knows any "national operative" infiltrators.
posted by late afternoon dreaming hotel at 9:32 AM on January 24, 2017 [4 favorites]


[If folks want to debate the merits of literal Nazi-punching, we have a whole thread about that over here.]
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 9:34 AM on January 24, 2017 [9 favorites]


pepe le pen
posted by entropicamericana at 9:41 AM on January 24, 2017 [9 favorites]


All politics are global.
posted by cjorgensen at 9:44 AM on January 24, 2017 [1 favorite]


I'm not going to argue about Nazi punching in this thread (especially since there's a whole other thread for it...and I see LobsterMitten has helpfully linked to it above. For the record, I'm against violence except in self-defense but whatever.) My big issue was with the statement that Nazi punching is the only answer (emphasis mine.)

"How do we fight this shit? How do you foster empathy among trolls? How do you organize against memes?"

I wasn't really talking about the trolls though. I was talking about the people whom the trolls are trying to sway. The "trolls" are a whole different story. Some of them are actual paid trolls who might not even hold the beliefs that they're spouting. Those people you probably can't easily reach. Others actually believe what they're saying.

The audience. "How do you organize against memes" is a weird question. You're not organizing against memes. That's like saying "how do we organize against propaganda posters?" You don't. You realize that your goal is to educate since that's what the other side is doing. So to fight it, you see what the other side is saying and then you make your own memes and pages and stuff explaining to the masses what your side is. There's waaay too much preaching to the choir on the "Left" (I use that term in quotes because I hate the whole left/right duology.) Spread info. Keep it short, keep it simple, but fight against oversimplification.

If there are 4 lights and the other side says that there are 5 lights, you say that there are 4 lights. You provide proof. And you don't post things as just responses. You actively reach out and engage the crowds. Keep it honest, keep it truthful, and do not oversimplify. Summarize but do not oversimplify since oversimplification is the enemy of truth.
posted by I-baLL at 9:45 AM on January 24, 2017 [5 favorites]


France is at a weird tipping point moment - all progressive movements are heading for collapse, and a rightwing movement will win this election - the question being which one

Both Le Pen and Fillon are pro-Putin.

Maybe Macron will scrape in. Then again, maybe pigs will fly.
posted by acb at 9:46 AM on January 24, 2017 [2 favorites]


guys don't worry i've seen polling indicating that le pen definitely won't win
posted by beerperson at 9:49 AM on January 24, 2017 [23 favorites]


Alina Polyakova: Putinism and the European Far Right.
Two aspects of the relationship between the Kremlin and far-right parties in Europe are unique and particularly dangerous to the future of the EU: (1) the breadth and depth of ideational overlap between Putinism as an ideology and far-right discourses, with Euroskepticism and anti-Westernism as the master frame; and (2) the growing popularity of far-right parties across Europe since 2008, which has propelled many such parties from the fringes and into the mainstream of national politics.
posted by Kabanos at 9:51 AM on January 24, 2017 [2 favorites]


guys don't worry i've seen polling indicating that le pen definitely won't win

Why, God Himself could not sink this ship!
posted by acb at 9:52 AM on January 24, 2017 [7 favorites]


guys don't worry i've seen polling indicating that le pen definitely won't win
posted by beerperson at 9:49 AM on January 24 [+] [!]


Too soon
posted by schadenfrau at 9:54 AM on January 24, 2017 [11 favorites]


I'll believe Putin won't get a clean sweep of the security council when I see it happen.
posted by Artw at 9:54 AM on January 24, 2017 [7 favorites]


From the European Council on Foreign Relations, a primer on Europe's "insurgent" parties (both on the right and the left) and a comparison of their positions and views:
The World According to Europe’s Insurgent Parties: Putin, Migration and People Power.
Despite their differences, [the parties] share a surprising range of beliefs on foreign policy. They are broadly sceptical about the EU; oppose intervention abroad, particularly in the Middle East; are unenthusiastic about the relationship with Washington; and positively inclined towards Putin’s Russia.
posted by Kabanos at 10:01 AM on January 24, 2017 [4 favorites]


By a stunning coincidence.
posted by Artw at 10:03 AM on January 24, 2017 [5 favorites]


I wish Putin would devote as much focus to fixing Russia as he has been to affecting foreign powers. Sadly, I think that he may be meddling in foreign affairs as opposed to fixing local problems because he's only good at the former and quite lackluster in the latter. There's a major economic crisis in Russia and so far all I've seen Putin do is put all of Russia's eggs into one basket labelled "oil".
posted by I-baLL at 10:06 AM on January 24, 2017 [7 favorites]


I love the Discord product and like the startup team. They just want to build a solid gamer product. But now they have a content moderation problem

The purpose of a system is what it does.

Communication platforms on the internet are a dime a dozen. If you aren't willing to deal with forum moderation, don't create one.

How do we fight this shit? How do you foster empathy among trolls? How do you organize against memes?

I think the answer is, we don't. Trolls are pretty much irredeemable. We need to fight fire with fire, and, more importantly, make it clear to bystanders that internet strangers are not necessarily the citizens they pretend to be.
posted by steady-state strawberry at 10:11 AM on January 24, 2017 [6 favorites]


It seems like the plan of "Oh, well, we'll reveal them and just refute incorrect things when we see them!" doesn't seem to be working.

I keep thinking that what's needed is re-framing rather than revealing. The alt-right stuff is fun and attractive because it feels like power -- like bravery, like throwing off shackles and taking back that which was unjustly taken from you. So long as this crap is couched in a narrative of strength and potency, nobody over there is going to care about corruption or Russian connections or rational economic self-interest, because it just feels too good to let go of.

The much more accurate story line, though -- the one I keep thinking deserves more airtime -- is that like all bullying, this alt-right crap is all about fear and weakness. It's not their tactics that need to be revealed; it's their cowardice.
posted by jon1270 at 10:12 AM on January 24, 2017 [18 favorites]


The tainted platform issue is a catch 22. I have a choice between following activists and organizations via systems that are tainted, or following no one on systems that are not.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 10:13 AM on January 24, 2017 [2 favorites]


guys don't worry i've seen polling indicating that le pen definitely won't win
posted by beerperson at 9:49 AM on January 24 [+] [!]

Too soon


Much, much too late.
posted by Quindar Beep at 10:21 AM on January 24, 2017


Excellent PDF link from Kabanos. I can add that since the report was compiled & published mid-2016, Danish People's Party have become increasingly favourable towards Russia and recently voiced that Crimea was a non-issue. They've also recently voiced a somewhat favourable stance towards Trump. Second-largest party in Denmark and effectively kingmakers since 2001.
posted by kariebookish at 10:22 AM on January 24, 2017


We need to fight fire with fire

Does this mean fight trolls with trolls because I'd be all over that?!
posted by atoxyl at 10:27 AM on January 24, 2017 [5 favorites]


The much more accurate story line, though -- the one I keep thinking deserves more airtime -- is that like all bullying, this alt-right crap is all about fear and weakness. It's not their tactics that need to be revealed; it's their cowardice.

QFT.
posted by Gelatin at 10:34 AM on January 24, 2017 [7 favorites]


No trying to explain to people why nazism and fascism is wrong?

I would be interested in hearing a first-hand account from anyone who has succesfully persuaded a Nazi to not be a Nazi through reasoned explanation.
posted by James Scott-Brown at 10:35 AM on January 24, 2017 [22 favorites]


Just prior to the election /r/The_Donald had a large number of posts from "yet another gay/black/trans/muslim Donald supporter." While I'm sure Trump does have at least one of each of those, it's interesting to see that creating fake diversity is part of an articulated strategy.

Incidentally, while Reddit has a lot of terrible users, it also has a lot of progressive users. The largest political subreddit is /r/politics with 3+ million subscribers and literally every single post on the front page there is anti-trump.
posted by justkevin at 10:36 AM on January 24, 2017 [8 favorites]


We need to fight fire with fire

Does this mean fight trolls with trolls because I'd be all over that?!

Welcome to the present! It isn’t great.
posted by Going To Maine at 10:39 AM on January 24, 2017 [4 favorites]


I would be interested in hearing a first-hand account from anyone who has succesfully persuaded a Nazi to not be a Nazi through reasoned explanation.

oh i bet they'd listen to Reason
posted by poffin boffin at 10:39 AM on January 24, 2017 [21 favorites]


I would be interested in hearing a first-hand account from anyone who has succesfully persuaded a Nazi to not be a Nazi through reasoned explanation.

This isn't a first-person account, but Matthew Stevenson, an Orthodox Jew, successfully convinced Derek Black to abandon white nationalism.
posted by justkevin at 10:42 AM on January 24, 2017 [10 favorites]


This is why I have "reasoned" and "explanation" written on my knuckles.

But you have to get pretty close to read it.
posted by atoxyl at 10:43 AM on January 24, 2017 [12 favorites]


Just prior to the election /r/The_Donald had a large number of posts from "yet another gay/black/trans/muslim Donald supporter." While I'm sure Trump does have at least one of each of those, it's interesting to see that creating fake diversity is part of an articulated strategy.

See also: #notyourshield (the gamergate version of this).

It comes from the (not completely inaccurate) realization that progressive-types in general are less likely to listen to a bunch of cishet white males arguing for things that make life better for cishet white males. But, it also speaks to the fact that these people think that the reason no one listens to them is because they are cishet white males, as opposed to the real reason which is that they say terrible things.
posted by sparklemotion at 10:43 AM on January 24, 2017 [26 favorites]


4chan needs to be wiped out
posted by Foci for Analysis at 11:15 AM on January 24, 2017 [3 favorites]


I would be interested in hearing a first-hand account from anyone who has succesfully persuaded a Nazi to not be a Nazi through reasoned explanation.

Arguably it happened here, but mainly I'd say that was exposure to the world outside the nazi bubble.
posted by Artw at 11:22 AM on January 24, 2017 [3 favorites]


This is why I have "reasoned" and "explanation" written on my knuckles.

you need to see a doctor who specializes in number of fingers
posted by beerperson at 11:28 AM on January 24, 2017 [25 favorites]


I would be interested in hearing a first-hand account from anyone who has succesfully persuaded a Nazi to not be a Nazi through reasoned explanation.

While not a first-hand account, and - I think this is crucial - not "reasoned explanation," a friend of African descent once told me of an encounter he had at a music festival years ago.

There was a young man there who was a member of one white nationalist gang or another who would glower at my friend whenever they were in the same space. And of course, they inevitably ended up encountering each other in the woods at night as one or both of them were walking between stages. But rather than ending one of the two ways we would all expect, my friend asked this guy what his deal was, the guy said he didn't like my friend because he was black; my friend calmly asked the skinhead to tell him why, and... a couple of hours later, the skinhead was telling my friend about how he had a lot of anger to deal with and the guys he'd fallen in with were a pretty fucked up bunch and maybe he needed to seriously consider what he was doing before he hurt someone or got hurt himself. They didn't exactly leave BFFs, but that guy had the experience of a dark-skinned man treating him with more respect and patience than any of his "buddies" probably ever had.

Now, from what I understand, he was likely a pretty recent recruit, and so still very confused and openly hurting, since that's exactly the kind of person these cults - and they are cults - latch on to as foot soldiers. And my friend is a singularly eloquent, patient and frankly courageous person. The good money was probably still on him either getting or delivering a beatdown. So I'm not saying this is going to work in all situations. While I honestly believe that each member of a hate organization is a lost and wounded soul at their core, many of them have built up such a wall of anger that the priority needs to remain shutting their shit right down at the first sign of trouble before they hurt or indoctrinate anyone... and I honestly still don't even know how to understand the people who do this simply for kicks, not out of any real ideology or a directed hate but just a sociopathic contempt for anything earnest and vibrant. The men who "just want to watch the world burn." They scare me even more than the fash, to be honest, because there isn't even anything they cling to that can be debunked or replaced. But, if we completely dismiss any possibility of reaching people or inspiring healing - the kind of healing we generally won't see right away, by the way, because the knee-jerk reaction will always precede it - then we really are right and truly fucked. If all we have left is street violence or nihilistic meme wars, we are outgunned.
posted by Mike Smith at 11:29 AM on January 24, 2017 [12 favorites]


all progressive movements are heading for collapse, and a rightwing movement will win this election

I asked why are leftist parties so bad at appealing to the people back in 2014 and reality has continued to frustrate me without answers.
posted by Apocryphon at 11:30 AM on January 24, 2017 [6 favorites]


The last section reads, “DO NOT launch a meme shell in a foreign language without checking with a national operative.”

Related: Donald Trump confuses French translators with mixed-up speeches.
posted by Kabanos at 11:35 AM on January 24, 2017 [1 favorite]


I wish Putin would devote as much focus to fixing Russia as he has been to affecting foreign powers. Sadly, I think that he may be meddling in foreign affairs as opposed to fixing local problems because he's only good at the former and quite lackluster in the latter. There's a major economic crisis in Russia and so far all I've seen Putin do is put all of Russia's eggs into one basket labelled "oil".

It's going to be interesting if Russia's petro-heavy economy tanks, and the government can't find a convenient foreign boogeyman to rally the citizenry against, because Putin spent too much time converting potential enemies into friends lololol
posted by Apocryphon at 11:37 AM on January 24, 2017 [4 favorites]


I asked why are leftist parties so bad at appealing to the people back in 2014 and reality has continued to frustrate me without answers.

There are millions of different reasons because millions of people all think completely differently and have different reasons for turning left or right. It's like trying to cure cancer. You're not looking for one reason, you have a million shitty things to slog through.
posted by Talez at 11:38 AM on January 24, 2017 [10 favorites]


Sure, but you'd think that in the midst of a global wave, there would be some holdouts that manage to counter the infestation. Well, I suppose the presidential election in Austria is one example. Ironically enough.
posted by Apocryphon at 11:42 AM on January 24, 2017 [3 favorites]


It's going to be interesting if Russia's petro-heavy economy tanks, and the government can't find a convenient foreign boogeyman to rally the citizenry agains

The Russian petro-heavy economy is already tanking. The response has been to manufacture boogeymen. Invading Ukraine wasn't just some whim and it certainly wasn't provoked.
posted by Nelson at 11:52 AM on January 24, 2017 [4 favorites]


I wonder how it will play out. Say the worst case scenario happens, Le Pen wins, pulls a DeGaulle by getting France out of NATO, other similar insurgent parties win across Europe. Russian economy hits a breaking out, Putin invades western Crimean and/or the Baltics to the apathy of those European- and American- states. Then what? Military action in those states probably wouldn't take so long as to induce a quagmire that would justify the ruling Russian regime staying in power until the war is over. And with semi-friendly states on its borders, there would be fewer foreign bogeymen to rally around the flag against. Maybe Russia would start ratcheting tensions with China, then.
posted by Apocryphon at 12:16 PM on January 24, 2017


if we completely dismiss any possibility of reaching people or inspiring healing - the kind of healing we generally won't see right away, by the way, because the knee-jerk reaction will always precede it - then we really are right and truly fucked. If all we have left is street violence or nihilistic meme wars, we are outgunned.

This month's Harper's has a collection of pieces titled "Trump: A Resister’s Guide." Part 8, "Lessons From The Last Fight," is Sarah Schulman's reflections on the work of ACT UP and The Lesbian Avengers:
One of ACT UP’s most important principles was simultaneity of action. ACT UP never worked by consensus, never demanded the full agreement of all its members for any individual action to go forward. If you wanted to get arrested doing needle exchange as a way of bringing attention to the necessity of clean-needle programs, you could do that. If someone else wanted to interrupt mass at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in order to protest the Catholic Church’s campaign to keep condoms out of public schools, she could do that. As long as the gestures were concrete, members didn’t try to stop one another from addressing the crisis however they felt was right.

The Lesbian Avengers were equally focused on doing. The group aimed to empower a constituency who had spent their lives being grossly disrespected by and excluded from social institutions — often including their own families. We needed guidelines that would help people emerge from a position in which the only power they had was the power to refuse and into a position of vision and agency. For example, one rule was “If you have an idea, you have to carry it out.” No one could passively sit back and say, “Someone should . . . ” Second was the principle “If you disagree with something, propose a better solution.” We understood that criticism alone was unhelpful. These organizational frameworks supported us in taking responsibility for ourselves and solving problems. Nothing increases panic in the middle of an emergency like theoretical discussion without application — it is both paralyzing and polarizing. When you act directly, the Avengers liked to say, the theory emerges.
The take-away relevant to the moment is probably that every strategy and tactic has its place: talking, healing, persuasion, meme wars, direct action—on an individual level, there will be a time and place for every effort.
posted by octobersurprise at 12:17 PM on January 24, 2017 [24 favorites]


The Le Pen family and Russia go back a heck of a lot further than a few years. It's a very deep connection and one that merits more investigation by the media. I've posted this before, here it is again:
Poutine et le Front National : révélations sur les réseaux russes des Le Pen. It goes into the history, which began when Ilya Glazunov met Jean-Marie Le Pen in 1968.

Yep. 1968.

I too am cautiously optimistic Marine won't make it, but things are rather bleak in any case. Still talking to all the French people I know. At least as an American they're listening to the horror stories (aka facts) I share about the Trump administration. The serious media are being lazy like the US media were before our election; this plus the fake news & conspiracy theories are what worry me most.
posted by fraula at 12:27 PM on January 24, 2017 [6 favorites]


from somethingawful:

Gringostar posted:
You're in a desert, walking along in the sand when all of a sudden you look down and see a nazi. It's walking toward you, you reach out and punch the nazi in his face.

The nazi lays on its back, its belly baking in the hot sun, beating its legs trying to commit genocide. But it can't. Not with you punching him.

Pac-Manioc Root posted:
Ah the old Voight-Mein Kampf test.

posted by Sebmojo at 12:41 PM on January 24, 2017 [29 favorites]


A Le Pen victory would definitely mean the end of Schengen, and would probably lead to a breakup of the eurozone. The resulting international banking crisis would make 2008 look like a world of flowers and puppies. I wish I knew how to protect my life from collapsing in that scenario.
posted by fuzz at 1:20 PM on January 24, 2017 [6 favorites]


Twenty year olds are getting increasingly radicalized. I know it seems old and tired at this point, but it looks like GamerGate was a successful Nazi operation.

Please whisper me if you want a link to a Twitch streamer who appears to be a Nazi. I'd like to get a second opinion (but i don't want to give them free SEO)
posted by Yowser at 1:54 PM on January 24, 2017 [3 favorites]


As for why the left can't attract more people, I'd say the Brexit article from a couple threads ago had the nut of it: these guys in London making all the decisions don't know what the hell theyre doing and it's not working. Apply it broadly to the West in general. The solution the Left offers is: Okay government isn't working, so let's just give it more power and then it's going to work great. It's analogous to the shady mechanic that starts off doing an oil change but then you wind up giving him more and more money and more and more things wind up being broken and your car is still broken.

The promise of the technocratic Third Way left of Clinton and Blair is that you can have all the advantages of global capitalism with all the advantages of European socialism, that is, people can make tons of money and there will be a safety net to catch those that fall through.

And it did work. Sort of, I mean. But if you're in a Western country you've seen all the factories close and nothing pop up to replace them because they're all in some country you've never heard of like Bangladesh. The Bangladeshis might be happy with the raised standard of living but if you're in Dying Town, Ohio you're sure as hell not. And the only answer the left offers is "oh you hate Bangladeshis? Racist!"

Aside from the fervent hopes of anime avatared Twitter posters, there's not an ideological counterweight in communism or any kind of coherent intellectual vision from the left at all. Trump offered making america great again. Hillary offered "I'll make it suck slightly less."
posted by Ghostride The Whip at 1:56 PM on January 24, 2017 [9 favorites]


Please whisper me if you want a link to a Twitch streamer who appears to be a Nazi. I'd like to get a second opinion (but i don't want to give them free SEO)

Just sign up for Elysium (the follow on to Nostalrius, a private vanilla-WoW server) and sit in their Discord. Constant alt-right cheddit vitriol.
posted by snuffleupagus at 1:57 PM on January 24, 2017 [3 favorites]


The UK economy has suffered from poor policy on the part of the right-wing Government. Technocratic Blairites would have got us out of this stupid policy of austerity, just as they saved us from global collapse in 2007 and their technocratic central bank creations have attempted to ameliorate the worst of it.

Without dumb policy from the Tories and Merkel we wouldn't be in this mess. It's not a failure of the technocratic left because the technocratic left isn't running things!
posted by alasdair at 2:16 PM on January 24, 2017 [1 favorite]


I asked why are leftist parties so bad at appealing to the people back in 2014 and reality has continued to frustrate me without answers.

I think the influence of "fake news" and "troll armies" is wildly exaggerated and roundly trounced by the reach and influence of conventional media (which, lest we forget, is also heavily slanted by all kinds of interests). I find the idea that Trump was elected because of Russian trolls on 4chan a little preposterous. Similarly, the notion that French Pepe (Pierre?) will sway the masses ... I think it's rather far-fetched. Perhaps it's because we're all infovores that we tend to think this is a big driver. Committed trolls are even more invested in that idea.

Certainly it has some effect. But it's important to remember that this shift has been underway since the late 90's, when the Front National in France became a major political force, the FPÖ rose up in Austria under Haider, Fidesz came to power in Hungary under Orban, and others (e.g. Golden Dawn in Greece, UKIP in the UK, LPF in the Netherlands, Danish People's Party in Denmark, True Finns in Finland).

So fundamentally I don't believe it's the trolls that are problem. Trolling works because it connects with what is already in people's minds. What worries me is that the trolls reflect what people actually think. That is the problem. For whatever reason, a lot of people feel they're being pushed from center stage, physically, economically, and culturally. And they're pushing back, helped along by generous helpings of xenophobia and racism.

The problem is I don't think you can "convince" these people that it doesn't matter if are no longer on top, since crime is down, happiness is up, health has improved, etc. etc. etc. They just want to be -- and are used to being -- on top.
posted by dmh at 2:17 PM on January 24, 2017 [3 favorites]


Something does not cease to be a problem simply because it isn't the first cause.

Trolling creates the material and interest that drives fake news and that erodes the effect of traditional media. Have you been paying attention?
posted by snuffleupagus at 2:25 PM on January 24, 2017 [5 favorites]


I find the idea that Trump was elected because of Russian trolls on 4chan a little preposterous.
Certainly it has some effect.

I believe the argument isn’t so much that this is the only cause, but that it was enough of a meaningful muddying of the waters as to have an impact. This Baffler article from 2012 makes the case that the Republicans have been drinking snake oil for some time.
posted by Going To Maine at 2:43 PM on January 24, 2017


Sunlight is the best disinfectant. We should take a page from their playbook and dox the hell out of the little shits. Let everyone in their lives know what they do, spread around every embarrassing detail to family & employers & friends, rip away all the power of their anonymity. They believe themselves powerful because they're invisible. Make them visible, show everyone how weak and pathetic they are, give them the shame they have earned.

There is no reasoning with Nazis and trolls. There is no peace and accommodation. This isn't a debate between viewpoints. They must be broken.

I'm all for a rational debate between parties of goodwill, happy to accept that there are many viewpoints, but all they want is ruin and I believe that's all they deserve.
posted by Lighthammer at 2:56 PM on January 24, 2017 [2 favorites]


Without dumb policy from the Tories and Merkel we wouldn't be in this mess. It's not a failure of the technocratic left because the technocratic left isn't running things!

I don't want this to become a huge derail from the OP, but- yada yada the bank bailouts structurally saved the economy and all that, but try telling that to the average citizen seeing billionaire CEOs waltz away with nary a fine. If the technocratic left really did do the right thing on a systemic level, they still have failed to comfort and clothe the citizen on a personal level, or at the very least, they have failed to explain why QE and bailouts and all that actually helped that citizen. Unlike the right, the technocratic "left" has been very very bad at taking credit. Both their milquetoast actions and manner have been dooming them to defeat.
posted by Apocryphon at 3:04 PM on January 24, 2017 [3 favorites]


Trolling creates the material and interest that drives fake news and that erodes the effect of traditional media. Have you been paying attention?

But what had a bigger effect on the election in the US, "meme magic" and PizzaGate conspiracies or traditional media coverage of Hillary's e-mails and the Comey announcement?
posted by tobascodagama at 3:05 PM on January 24, 2017 [2 favorites]


I would be interested in hearing a first-hand account from anyone who has succesfully persuaded a Nazi to not be a Nazi through reasoned explanation.

Not Nazis, but Black musician Daryl Davis owns at least thirteen KKK robes given to him by former klansmen who quit the klan after he befriended them and spoke with them about race. Including one of an Imperial Wizard (high-ranking KKK official). He has been credited with single-handedly dismantling the Maryland branch of the KKK. I strongly recommend this episode of Snap Judgment telling his story.

Personally, I'd be interested in hearing a first-hand account from anyone who has successfully persuaded a Nazi to not be a Nazi through punching. (Though maybe in the other thread.) Speech, argument, appeals to emotion, these things work. They are how the fascists are resurging, and exactly why American Trumpists are pursuing this tactic to influence the French election. Force cannot defeat speech. Only more, better speech can do that.
posted by biogeo at 3:06 PM on January 24, 2017 [12 favorites]


And how many of us do they get to kill while we're talking to them?
posted by happyroach at 3:09 PM on January 24, 2017 [4 favorites]


One annoying side effect of "meme activism" is that it gives one of Dawkins's worst fucking shitty useless pseudoscientific bullshit caca fucking batshit moony wankstain conjectures legitimacy.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 3:17 PM on January 24, 2017 [5 favorites]


But what had a bigger effect on the election in the US, "meme magic" and PizzaGate conspiracies or traditional media coverage of Hillary's e-mails and the Comey announcement?

You think the email scandal wasn't perpetuated in significant part by memes? I think you radically underestimate how much peoples' consumption of traditional media was guided by social media this time around.

Even by proxy, in terms of affecting what was picked up by more traditional channels, or talked about face to face.

Traditional media spent its time alternately chasing after fake-news uselessly, because the illusionists had already moved on to their next flourish, or going in circles over the same scandals driven by 'memetically' stoked ersatz outrage. It's not like the rest of the content of the Podesta emails and pizzagate itself were so far apart in legitimate newsworthiness.
posted by snuffleupagus at 3:17 PM on January 24, 2017 [3 favorites]


@dmh

De Certeau called this back in '84:
"Marginality is today no longer limited to minority groups, but is rather massive and pervasive; this cultural activity of the non-producers of culture, an activity that is unsigned, unreadable, and unsymbolized, remains the only one possible for all those who nevertheless buy and pay for the showy products through which a productivist economy articulates itself. Marginality is becoming universal."
posted by baltimoretim at 3:17 PM on January 24, 2017 [5 favorites]


The "using arguments" versus "punching Nazis" debate treats debating with Nazis as if it's the same as using facts and reason to persuade potential voters not to vote for them. The argument is for the benefit of third parties who are watching and listening, not the Nazis themselves. That is, unless you want to go and punch 50 million Trump voters.
posted by L.P. Hatecraft at 3:17 PM on January 24, 2017 [3 favorites]


Force cannot defeat speech. Only more, better speech can do that.

Not saying this is wrong, but it would seem to be unproven, at best. But whether it is or isn't true, I'll say it again: I don't know why people continue to want "force" or "persuasion" to be an either/or choice when history, life, suggests that each has a place in any effort to produce political change.
posted by octobersurprise at 3:18 PM on January 24, 2017 [3 favorites]


And instead of calling propaganda, rumor, and ratfucking "memes," it'd be better to just call it propaganda, rumor, and ratfucking.
posted by octobersurprise at 3:22 PM on January 24, 2017 [7 favorites]


And how many of us do they get to kill while we're talking to them?

Just take the Sheriff Clarke approach.

hit 'em if you think they might hit you
posted by rough ashlar at 3:29 PM on January 24, 2017


And instead of calling propaganda, rumor, and ratfucking "memes," it'd be better to just call it propaganda, rumor, and ratfucking.

I agree for two reasons. The first is that we have a vast wealth of discussion about the rhetoric and psychology of propaganda while memetics explained nothing, did nothing, and the key research journals are now dead. We can go back and study how this works all the way back to the invention of mass printing, and we have hints of how it was done earlier.

The second reason is that purveyors of propaganda and harassment can use "it's just a joke" as a deflection.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 3:33 PM on January 24, 2017 [3 favorites]


Not saying this is wrong, but it would seem to be unproven, at best.

I think the history of nonviolent resistance movements in the 20th century says otherwise. You can use force to intimidate someone into not acting on their beliefs, and sometimes that may be necessary. But at the end of the day, a frightened Nazi is still a Nazi, and will return to fascism as soon as they think they can get away with it. Whereas a klansman who gives his robe to a black friend out of shame and contrition, he's never going to burn another cross in his life.

I don't know why people continue to want "force" or "persuasion" to be an either/or choice when history, life, suggests that each has a place in any effort to produce political change.

Sure, but the point was about personal change, not political change.
posted by biogeo at 3:47 PM on January 24, 2017 [1 favorite]


Oh, and Daryl Davis, previously on Metafilter.
posted by biogeo at 3:49 PM on January 24, 2017


I am at a point of trolling back at least sometimes. I just trolled back on Kamala Harris' FB page. Told an anti-abortion guy off.
Actually, we need something of a troll-back effort.
FB has removed the 'It's Fake News' option. It can be impossible to report stuff to Page or Group Moderators.
posted by Katjusa Roquette at 3:57 PM on January 24, 2017 [2 favorites]


It's not a failure of the technocratic left because the technocratic left isn't running things!

Well, no, but it's the fault of the technocratic left (both in the US and UK, and perhaps elsewhere) that they haven't been able to put together a coherent vision of what they would do differently, in a way that resonates with people unsatisfied with the status quo. And that, if you are the party or group not currently in power, is sort of a prerequisite in a democracy for getting any — absent a wholesale collapse on the part of those in charge, but waiting around for that is not really a great strategy.

It's true that it's almost always easier to do this when you're out of power than when you're in, because it's essentially all bluffing right up until you suddenly end up running things. But everyone has that same disadvantage, as they move in and out of government; it's one of relative position, and to some extent is useful in that it counterweights what would be a very strong home-field advantage on the part of the party in power.

I honestly think that, at least in the US, the establishment Left (by which I really mean the Democratic party, however one wants to define them) never really pushed back effectively against "Build The Wall" as domestic policy, and "America First" as foreign policy, with some equally-pithy shorthand for their own positions. There are parts of the left which have done a good job in getting complex ideas out into the public in an easily-expressible fashion, e.g. "Fight for $15" and "Black Lives Matter", both of which encapsulate some fairly big ideas in bumper-sticker simplicity. So it's not like it's impossible or purely the province of the Right.

The Left should work on that, because creating memes (and I mean 'memes' as something more than a shorthand for 'image macro', but if you don't like the word 'meme' we can find a different one; I'd use 'propaganda' but that's its own can of worms) is, when applied to politics, basically the linguistic weaponization of applied ideology — it's taking some desired end state, or maybe just an incomplete vision of an end state, and some number of promised actions that are supposed to move forwards to that end state, and wrapping it all up in a succinct way that you can communicate using very little bandwidth (both literal bandwidth and cognitive) but which is easily translated back into the whole package of ideas. ("Build The Wall", for instance, unpacks into not just the literal proposal for building a border wall, but also why a wall needs to be built, with the implied threat to economy and culture that a lack of one might imply. It's bumper-sticker politics at its most pointed.)

It's not enough just to poke holes in the Right's own visions, if you're on the Left; they have to be brought down and then replaced with something that's more compelling and at least as easy to disseminate. And traditionally, the Left has been pretty good at that; I'm at something of a loss to explain why it seems like proto-fascists seem to have gotten the upper hand. Maybe it's just because some people (regulation-haters in the US, the Russians in Europe) have poured a lot of resources into basically figuring out how to manufacture and distribute digital propaganda. But if that's the case they're probably doomed, because in that case what they're trying to do is manufacture art, and manufactured art tends to be hollow, attractive only when nothing more emotionally resonant is available. On the other hand, maybe there are just a lot more people, particularly young people, on the Right than everyone previously believed existed, and so even when everyone is equally equipped for ideological combat there's still going to be (if democracy isn't a sham) some sort of rightward shift politically, which might take a generation to stabilize out.
posted by Kadin2048 at 4:00 PM on January 24, 2017 [4 favorites]


When it comes to nazis and their ilk I believe that wanting to change is the ideal result. And in the absence of desired change, being too terrified to act like a nazi is the next best thing. Everything else is just a quibble over specific instances.
posted by octobersurprise at 4:02 PM on January 24, 2017 [1 favorite]


One annoying side effect of "meme activism" is that it gives one of Dawkins's worst fucking shitty useless pseudoscientific bullshit caca fucking batshit moony wankstain conjectures legitimacy.

sir this is a Wendy's drivethrough
posted by Sebmojo at 4:15 PM on January 24, 2017 [10 favorites]


Incidentally, while Reddit has a lot of terrible users, it also has a lot of progressive users. The largest political subreddit is /r/politics with 3+ million subscribers and literally every single post on the front page there is anti-trump.

/r/france, the main hub of the French reddit, is quite left wing (though seemingly dominated by the male/young/tech crowd). There has been some concern, in the past year at least, about a visible influx of extreme right-wing supporters, nativists and Le Pen supporters, the kind who keeps posting links again and again about immigration, crime, Muslims, feminists, and jumps in every vaguely political thread shouting right-wing talking points. They can't be overtly racist (France has stringent hate speech laws) so it's dogwhistles all the way down. They've also been quite active about defending the Brexit, Trump and, lately, Putin. By the way, one of the Discord users cited in the Buzzfeed article is a very active user in /r/france, a former left-wing activist turned Le Pen supporter, so some people there are quite pissed off. He should be banned but I doubt that he will.

The Buzzfeed article basically confirms what was already known, i.e. that the French "fachosphere", even though it's made of groups that hate each other's guts (this is what happens when an antisemite "debates" with a white nationalist) is very, very well organized on the internet. Indeed the Front National was the first French political party to have its own website. They are very good at creating memetic talking points (in French "éléments de langage") - so much better than the lefties - and at manipulating social media (fake accounts, fake news sites, brigading etc.) to create an atmosphere favourable to the dissemination of their ideas.
posted by elgilito at 4:32 PM on January 24, 2017 [4 favorites]


Force is what stopped the actual Nazis from being Nazis, so....
posted by thefoxgod at 5:10 PM on January 24, 2017


The Left should work on that, because creating memes (and I mean 'memes' as something more than a shorthand for 'image macro', but if you don't like the word 'meme' we can find a different one; I'd use 'propaganda' but that's its own can of worms) is, when applied to politics, basically the linguistic weaponization of applied ideology — it's taking some desired end state, or maybe just an incomplete vision of an end state, and some number of promised actions that are supposed to move forwards to that end state, and wrapping it all up in a succinct way that you can communicate using very little bandwidth (both literal bandwidth and cognitive) but which is easily translated back into the whole package of ideas.

Oh, if only there was a word to describe how political messaging has been designed for that through history. Let's see here, Prokofiev, propanodol, poprocks, pepper, oh, how about propaganda?

'Meme' is to culture what 'left brain' is to neuroscience. It's a concept so vague and devoid of meaning, it can be liberally applied to just about everything in the place of honest semiotics.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 5:21 PM on January 24, 2017 [4 favorites]


'Meme' has been reduced to a term that references the viral spread of ideas, concepts and images on the Internet. It's really not that nefarious, and the term is hardly incompatible with discussion of 'propaganda.'
posted by snuffleupagus at 5:27 PM on January 24, 2017 [2 favorites]


'Meme' is to culture what 'left brain' is to neuroscience. It's a concept so vague and devoid of meaning, it can be liberally applied to just about everything in the place of honest semiotics.

I would give this a thousand favorites if I could.
posted by biogeo at 5:32 PM on January 24, 2017 [1 favorite]


"That is, unless you want to go and punch 50 million Trump voters."

Teabagger the Infinitely Prolonged.
posted by Pinback at 5:38 PM on January 24, 2017 [7 favorites]


Never, ever forget the traditional media's role in this election - Leslie Moonves on Donald Trump: "It May Not Be Good for America, but It's Damn Good for CBS"
posted by Apocryphon at 6:26 PM on January 24, 2017 [1 favorite]


Trolling creates the material and interest that drives fake news and that erodes the effect of traditional media. Have you been paying attention?

So how would you explain the rise of neo-con/far-right/fascist thought since nineteen-ought and beyond?
posted by dmh at 7:02 PM on January 24, 2017 [1 favorite]


Differently? Or did you think I was asserting that the Internet affected politics some 100 years before its widespread use? I'm more interested in what's happening now, and I think it's better to include even those details that didn't apply to, oh, the politics of WWI.
posted by snuffleupagus at 8:15 PM on January 24, 2017


Putin invades western Crimean and/or the Baltics to the apathy of those European- and American- states. Then what? Military action in those states probably wouldn't take so long as to induce a quagmire that would justify the ruling Russian regime staying in power until the war is over.

Pacifying Finland (whose reconquest is a long-term Putin/Dugin plan; the objective is to divide it between the Karelia and Murmansk oblasts) will take a good amout of time, especially if the Russians refrain from using tactical nuclear weapons to take down those legendary Finnish super-snipers. And after that, there's Poland. If they still need more conflict, they can manufacture propaganda about how Germany's gone Nazi again and needs a good hiding or something (which will be especially effective, ironically, if Germany resists the nationalist lure other European countries are falling like dominos for).
posted by acb at 3:24 AM on January 25, 2017


I'm more interested in what's happening now, and I think it's better to include even those details that didn't apply to, oh, the politics of WWI.

Yeah, the meme/troll subculture is fascinating in a train-wreck sense. But the way it's being portrayed, as this influential shadow-world deftly manipulated by foreign agents, is itself a bit of propaganda. The real problems remain inequality, intolerance and fear.
posted by dmh at 5:22 AM on January 25, 2017 [1 favorite]


The real problems remain inequality, intolerance and fear.

Tell me how you resist these abstractions except through their various manifestations.
posted by snuffleupagus at 5:31 AM on January 25, 2017 [3 favorites]


In other words, yes: shoot the messengers.
posted by snuffleupagus at 5:32 AM on January 25, 2017


The problem as I see it is that the "various manifestations" at this point have coalesced into 30%-50% of the population, across Europe and in the US. You can't just shoot them (if I understand you correctly).
posted by dmh at 6:34 AM on January 25, 2017 [1 favorite]


30%-50% of the population are not the agents provocateurs, if you prefer older terminology. I'm not in favor of ignoring online propaganda, if you prefer, and its mechanisms and merchants, simply because they're dumb, or not really new, or whatever the argument here was.

I don't see how resisting the sort of stuff talked about in TFA prevents larger Piketty-style discussions of inequality that makes people susceptible to the message, or whatever you're pointing to now.

This is feeling derail-y so I'm going to leave it there.
posted by snuffleupagus at 8:11 AM on January 25, 2017 [1 favorite]




Trump Supporters And Neo-Nazis Are Using Secret Chatrooms To Harass Shia LaBeouf.

These are the fearsome SA brownshirt death squads?
posted by acb at 8:44 AM on January 25, 2017 [1 favorite]


No, this is the clown squad. That webcam was a terrible idea. Who couldn't predict the enthusiasm would fade and the trolls would feast?
posted by snuffleupagus at 8:51 AM on January 25, 2017


Just witnessed this on the He Will Not Divide Us livestream. First time I've ever visited it.

He is literally exactly how I picture these fuckers: greasy haired male teenage virgin rat face weasel.
posted by derbs at 10:00 AM on January 25, 2017


If them and Shia LaBeouf are kept busy then its a double win.
posted by Artw at 11:01 AM on January 25, 2017 [2 favorites]


The He Will Not Divide Us project feels like it was basically mandated protest: we created this thing, now come use it for our dictated purpose FOR FOUR YEARS. No thanks, guy, I'd rather be David S. Pumpkins and do my own thing.

Hopefully, the French will do a better job of organizing a serious opposition to the end of Europe.
posted by Going To Maine at 1:52 PM on January 25, 2017


Oh joy, the Russian Tanks in Europe act.
posted by Artw at 1:58 PM on January 25, 2017


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