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Re: <nettime> Neoliberalism & alt-rght trolls
Gabriella "Biella" Coleman on Thu, 18 May 2017 17:21:20 +0200 (CEST)


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Re: <nettime> Neoliberalism & alt-rght trolls


> Message: 2
> Date: Mon, 15 May 2017 15:33:01 +0200
> From: Florian Cramer <flrncrmr {AT} gmail.com>
>  

>
> Within the larger current network and discourse of the "Alt-Right",
> the cyber libertarian positions of Neo-Reaction ("NRx")/right-wing
> accelerationism and Peter Thiel mark these points of intersection.
> But also the support of Bitcoin (whose design is based on Hayek's
> economics) in larger, hacker culture-sympathetic parts of the
> "Alt-Right".

How about the Dark Enlightenment? Adherents like menicus moldbug and
others reject democracy, the Enlightenment, and anything related to
liberalism. While we know neoliberalism is inimical to democracy,
it's ideology is still premised on the idea that free markets,
unfettered individualism and all that goes with it, is democratic.
Not all accelerationists are into the Dark Enlightenment but worth
differentiating in relation to neoliberalism.

The strongest alignment does seem to lie with Bitcoin (and back when one
of the early Dread Pirate Roberts was running the Silk Road he adopted a
hyper libertarian language).  But where do you see the overlap between
Bitcoin and the far right?

> The populist mainstream of the "Alt-Right", however, is
> anti-neoliberal; not only because of its resentment against
> what it perceives as liberal identity politics, but also
> because it opposesam free trade capitalism and demands economic
> nationalism/isolationism.

Exactly. For those interested in the various factions of the
alt-right, Data and Society released a report on the topic. At a
whopping 100 pages, it takes a while to read but it's worth it. Offers
far more specificity as to the distinct blocks of supporters that are
now identified as the alt right:

https://datasociety.net/output/media-manipulation-and-disinfo-online/

Florian: I realize I never responded to your last post. Before
answering I decided to do more research on the alt-right with an
explicit eye toward how they organize themselves politically and most
especially: learn the history of /pol/, which helped get GG and the
alt-right off the ground, the precise ways Anglin from Storm Front
decided to set up shop there and change ironic racism (yes i realize
still racist) into earnest racism, and how the alt-right organizes
their meme campaigns, which is way more sophisticated than Anonymous'
use of memes.

I was wholly aided by one of my ex-students Matt Goerzen who has
dedicated the last year to researching the topic and so we are pairing
up to write a piece that compares and contrasts the rise/social
organization of Anonymous with the rise/social organization of the
alt-right There are some points of intersection but now that I am more
familiar with their history and tactics I am more convinced the more
differences (and historical contingencies leading to the rise of each)
are more salient than the similarities.

Just to take two examples: As you note, above, the alt-right demands
economic nationalism (in their own language they are anti-globalist).
Anonymous, once it broke free of the chans became a far fling
internationalist movement with nodes in India, Malaysia, the
Philippines, Canada, South Africa, Australia, Japan, nearly every
country in Latin America, Europe, even the Dominican Republic... Makes
sense given their philosophy is premised an a radical opensourceness,
repeating the mantra--anyone can be Anonymous--that allowed it to
spread far and wide.

The Alt-right has failed to expand internationally and currently is
configured largely as an American phenomena, so much so, that when
they tried to meddle in the election in France, they failed.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/05/04/technology/french-elections-alt-right-fake-news-le-pen-macron.html

Relatedly, while alt-right like Anonymous relies on of bottom up
organzing, it is accompanied by top down organizing with figures
like Anglin from the Strom Front, Weev, and Cernovich taking
the leaderships reigns and in some cases outright manipulating
the situation in rather crafty ways to achieve their own ends.
Anonymous has functioned more rhizomatically: with teams getting
together, doing their own thing and largely without trying to
influence or directing the larger network. Another important
point of comparison has to do with tactics. Anonymous did more
than hacking but that's why/how they largely became famous/landed
attention (and DDoSing too) and their legacy I think will lie there
(http://limn.it/the-public-interest-hack/).

The alt-right thus far has not relied on hacking but attention hacking
via the manipulation of memes and symbols (and they are quite good at
it). While Anonymous would rely on hoaxes on occasion, they were not
there try to shift the overton window, change general discourse on a
topic, and were far less sophisticated when it came to propaganda and
manipulating the media.

Anyway, lots more to explore and Matt and I hope to have something to
share by mid summer.

Biella

 

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