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Re: <nettime> Phillips/Beyer/Coleman: "false assumption that
Felix Stalder on Fri, 21 Apr 2017 10:18:09 +0200 (CEST)


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Re: <nettime> Phillips/Beyer/Coleman: "false assumption that


I'm not sure I get where this thread is going, or better, where it is
coming from. There are, in my view, two different questions here.

A) has the far-right meme culture played a significant role in
Trump winning the election? The short answer is clearly no. We're
in the midsts of a deep systemic crisis and one candidate came to
represent change and managed to built a new coalition (tax-cutting
conservatives, carbon and finance oligarchs, and white and/or economic
nationalists) while the other stood for continuity and could not
hold her coalition together (unionised labour, white liberal middle
class and minorities). If that isn't enough, add the effects of
gerrymandering and voter suppression and if that is not enough, the
add the effect of the FBI intervention a few days before the election.

For much of the rest -- the Russians, fake news etc -- I agree with
Gleen Greenwald who called it the "liberal Benghazi", meaning self-serving
conspiracy theories to paper over a total lack of political strategy.
And the magic powers of Pepe the Frog, belong, in my view, to the same
category.

B) More interesting is the second question: Is there something inherently
alt-right in Anonymous?

On 2017-04-20 00:04, Florian Cramer wrote:
> These are classical questions concerning the historiography of
> fascism which also applied to the German Third Reich.

Hold your horses. The relationship between continuity and change belongs
to the standard questions of any historic analysis no matter what its
subject is.

But Anonymous is an interesting case, because it has always been a
very unusual entity, more of a many-headed hydra than of coherent
set of principles. As far as principles go, what seems to be always
present is an anti-systemic commitment to free speech, the joy of
offending, going all the way back to the trolling history of the
internet, which, of course, is much older than 4chan.

But it didn't end there. Since 2008, some people began to move beyond
the simple joys of sticking their finger into the face of anyone
who cares to notice (or has the bad luck not to be able to ignore
it). They developed different analyses of what it is that actually
restricts speech.

One set of groups began to point to specific powerful organisations --
say Scientology, private security contractors, sports teams covering
up rape -- which leads to a loosely left-wing politics. Biella has
covered this particularly streak / phase / set of heads of Anonymous
very well.

The same basic intuition can lead you down toward an analysis of
"PC-culture", which is also a warped kind of power analysis, but
one that leads you to towards the right. Combine this with the
anti-establishment shock/entertainment qualities of the Trump
campaign, then there is a clear pull here at work.

So, of course institutions change, and loose and flexible one like
Anonymous change particularly quickly. They change because of outside
pressures/opportunities, but they do so following their own logic. In
other words, change in unpredictable, but not random.

In the case of Anonymous, it seems to me, it's not so much that the
organisation changeѕ -- there has never been enough organisation
there -- but that different heads of the hydra grow and decline at
different rates and in different times.

The media exposure plays, of course, in important role here, and the
fact that liberal media in their newly found thirst for conspiracy
theories focus on the right-wing troll culture, certainly adds to the
fun of the right-wing trolls.

To clarify, by calling this conspiracy theories, I don't mean to
suggest that right-wong trolling and online harassment doesn't exist.
But that its importance is blown out of proportion and thus creating
non-existant causal relationships.







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