Archive for the ‘Alt-right’ Category

What’s Happened to Britain’s Alt-Right Meme Machine? – Motherboard

An internet army marches on its memes.

In 2016, Pepe became the war flag for the alt-right, galvanising support for The Donald. In France earlier this year, Pepe and the alt-right’s meme warriors leapt across the Atlantic to provide ground support for-right presidential candidate Marine Le Pen. But in the United Kingdom, no such pied piper has arrived, and just a few weeks out from the snap general election, it appears Britain’s right wing, along with the pockets of alt-right groups that still cling to this green and pleasant land, are wholly memeless.

To understand why this is the case, we must first understand what conditions need to be present for fertile meme production. According to Ben Nimmo, a UK-based analyst of online disinformation and online campaigns, those conditions are synonymous with the rise of the alt-right. Where you’ll find anti-establishmentarianism, you’ll find the memes.

“The image that the alt-right have of themselves is passionate rebels with special knowledge,” Nimmo told Motherboard. “That makes you an outsider, and if you look at the alt-right messaging, so much of it is about portraying themselves as passionate fighters against the establishment.”

Trump’s success in America was largely in part down to his anti-establishment aroma. He promised to drain the swamp, among other thingssentiments that proved hugely successful with meme production because they were short, quickfire slogans. But if we apply this framework to the current UK political context, you can see how it’d be difficult for anti-establishment meme makers to back Britain’s choice of the right, the Conservative Party and its leader Theresa Maythe very epitome of a Great British establishment.

Britain’s left doesn’t have this problem. Poster comrade of the new socialist revolution, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, is a meme sensation. One of the leading Corbyn meme Facebook pages, Cool Corbyn Memes, has some 20,000 fans, and is pumping out memes daily. Another Facebook group, June 8 Shitposting Social Club (June 8 being the day of the general election), is also churning out anti-Tory memes at a startling rate, many of them unequivocally savage. Depressed Vegetarians For Corbyn is another admired meme maker, and Corbyn memes have even attracted the attention on national press.

“If you think about Jeremy Corbyn, and if you think about the meme makers that back him, Corbyn himself has always been a very anti-establishment character. That fits much more into the mentality as seeing yourself as an anti-establishment crusader,” Nimmo said.

Finding a similar political meme source for Theresa May on Facebook proves difficult. There is but a smattering of small-scale meme factories, many largely abandoned since the Brexit referendum last year. That divisive, black and white issue laid the solid groundwork for meme deployments. But with Britain leaving the EU, and many far-right voters pacified, meme production slowed. One large Conservative meme house, Reem Memes With a Right Wing Theme, has around 30,000 fansbut the page’s popularity pales beside the sheer volume of pro-Corbyn memes online.

Des Freedman, professor of media and communications at London’s Goldsmiths University, agreed with Nimmo. Freedman told Motherboard in an email that Corbyn “has been able to rely on a growing network of supporters together with rising frustration at an unequal globalisation process to foster a series of memes around redistribution and defence of public services.”

But not convinced Britain’s Tory party is entirely memeless, I took my search to Reddit.

“Corbyn or May meme a new opportunity?” asks one Redditor on r/MemeEconomy right after the election was announced. The hugely popular Meme Economy subreddit is essentially the stock market for memes. Buy low, sell high. Surely, the subreddit thought, a British general election would be fertile grounds for a booming Corbyn/May meme market. But it hasn’t happened. “Its just the Bernie vs. Hillary meme, but with different politicians, correct?” asked one, presumably American, meme trader. “Too regional for the national or international market, but may do well in the local meme economy,” said another.

There are some, however, pushing to raise the prominence of British political memes on Reddit. Reddit user and self-proclaimed leftist ComradeSquidward1917, a moderator on new Reddit sub r/MinistryofMemes, told Motherboard that Corbyn “has the best memes because he’s an odd and unusual character for this election”.

“Corbyn also seems to be embracing the meme, much like Trump did with his respective memes. May is a boring candidate. You can make fun of her for being old or evil but that doesn’t provide as much material. She’s not a good meme like Corbyn,” they said.

Read more: It’s Not Just Pepe, The Russian Embassy Has Been Trolling on Twitter For Months

Meanwhile, whatever mildly popular May memes that are in existence over on Reddit (and the same goes for Facebook) are typically mocking the Tory leader, rather than acting as a rallying call for support ahead of June 8.

But there’s got to be some memetic support from the right, surely. Time to dive deeper into Britain’s right wing.

Anti-establishment politics, at least in any viable, electable form in the UK, was dominated by the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) up until last year’s EU referendum. The single-issue party grew popular with anti-EU campaigners, extreme Conservatives, and nationalists. The leader of UKIP, Nigel Farage, is now a good friend with Trump himself, which speaks volumes, but he’s all but abandoned British politics while his UKIP remains in tatters following the extinction of its raison-d’etre post-EU.

King Nigel I of UKIP, one of the most popular pro-Farage meme Facebook pages, is still in meme production, however. The page has around 20,000 fans, and is producing memes regularly, but it’s an exception to the rule. Many UKIP meme production houses are abandoned; while they had a rallying cause for Brexit, the general election provides no such opportunity for a waning UKIP.

“The far-right in the UK are disoriented and discombobulated,” Freedman told Motherboard. “They are very small in number and unable to take advantage of the opportunities afforded by the challenge to centrist politics.”

In terms of the upcoming general election, there just isn’t a focal point for anti-establishment rhetoric from the far-right. “The general election is just not hitting those buttons, apart from Corbyn,” Nimmo said. “In terms of Europe, it’s done. Article 50 has been declared.”

One defining trait of the British far-right sentiment still remains however; anti-Islam. If there’s one emotion that galvanises the far-right and the alt-right in Britain, it’s that of fearing Muslims and spreading fear about Muslims. Figureheads like Infowars’ Paul Joseph Watson, British export Milo Yiannopoulos and English Defence League co-founder Tommy Robinson have a following in the UK that is probably the closest to what can be defined as ‘alt-right’. Another British far-right institution, Britain First, is one of the most popular destinations for Britain’s nationalist anti-establishmentarianism, self-proclaimed counterjihadism, and outright racism.

“Memes, after all, don’t grow on trees”

In the wake of last month’s Westminster terror attack and this week’s Manchester attack, all of these groups have acted quickly to frame the incidents as the fault of a too-tolerant Britain and the incumbent government. The only problem? None of these people or groups are electorally viable in their current positions. Britain First’s Facebook page has been popular for years, spitting out memes typically attacking British politics and Muslims, but these memes are trapped in their own echo chambers of extremism and cannot break free to muster the support of a wider memetic movement. Britain’s multicultural electorate is largely not comfortable with accepting anti-Muslim rhetoric, therefore the memes only find limited traction.

David Miller, professor of Sociology at the University of Bath, told Motherboard that the alt-right in the UK is either “bought and paid for by the US lot” such as Breitbart, and thus not organic, or “a bunch of new kids on the counterjihad block”.

Unlike Trump in the US, and mainland Europe’s young, far-right voters, the UK just hasn’t got the right conditions in 2017 for a large-scale political meme deployment ahead of the general election next month.

“Memes, after all, don’t grow on trees but need some soil if they are to grow and flourish,” concluded Freedman.

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What’s Happened to Britain’s Alt-Right Meme Machine? – Motherboard

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May 25, 2017   Posted in: Alt-right  Comments Closed

Professor speaks out about confronting alt-right leader Richard Spencer at local gym – Alexandria Times

By Alexa Epitropoulos | aepitropoulos@alextimes.com

Alt-right leader Richard Spencers ousting from a gym in Old Town quickly became a national story this week, making headlines in the Washington Post, Newsweek, Buzzfeed and Jezebel.

As previously reported, theincident itself started when C. Christine Fair, an associate professor at Georgetown University, confronted Spencer on May 17 at Sport and Healths Old Town location at 209 Madison St. Fair, who has been a member of the gym for the past two years, said she decided to confront Spencer after having conversations with trainers at the gym.

I was pretty appalled. This dude was in our gym and as a female, I find his rhetoric pretty repugnant, Fair told the Alexandria Times. The people that run that gym are people of color, theyre women and theyre non-Christians. I was furious.

The rest of the confrontation is detailed on Fairs Tumblr page. Fair asked about Spencers identity, which he denied. Fair then brought up past white nationalist statements attributed to Spencer and loudly identified him as a neo-Nazi, which Spencer responded to by requesting help from a gym employee.

Fair said the altercation would have ended there if it werent for a fellow gym member intervening. She said the gym member asked why she was confronting Spencer and threatened to call the police.

At that point, gym manager Marty Thomas arrived on the scene. Fair, who said she and Thomas had previously sparred over her wearing a F*** Trump hat, said Thomas told her she was creating a hostile environment, to which she responded that he was creating a hostile workplace. At that point, Thomas asked Fair to exit to the lower level of the gym, where Fair told him she wouldnt let go of the issue. Fair and her husband then left the gym.

It wasnt until Friday that the issue blew up. The gym sent Spencer a letter that terminated his membership and asked to meet with Fair privately. Fair said the gym told her to not confront fellow members, a request she rebuffed.

It is not my belief that this guy is a Nazi from 9 to 5, Fair said. Im not going to pretend that what he does in his day job doesnt affect all of us.

Fair said her membership hasnt been terminated. Since Spencer received a letter informing him of histermination, he has responded with a post on his website, AltRight.com, and a video on his YouTube account titled

Christine Fairs Austic (sic) screeching. He also said he is appealing the gyms decision. In the video, he says he denied his identity because he was at a gym and didnt want to get into a political discussion.

Its not because Im a coward, its because I have no interest whatsoever in getting into political discussion with these kinds of people at the gym. I go to the gym to workout. I go to the gym to expend some energy, to stay in shape, all those kinds of things, Spencer said in the response.

Fair said, since Spencers postings and the barrage of media attention, shes been receiving nearly constant calls and emails from Spencers followers and fans. She said several of Spencers followers have also incited people to go to her home.

This reflects a national network who have devoted considerable resources to harassing people, Fair said.

The altercation between Spencer and Fair comes just a few months after Spencer moved the headquarters for his website, AltRight.com, to 1001 King St. in Old Town. Two months before Spencer moved in, city council released a statement indirectly condemning positions taken by those in the alt-right movement.

We proclaim that we remain committed to diversity and to fostering an atmosphere of inclusiveness that respects the dignity and worth of every person without regard to race, color, sex, religion, ancestry, status, marital status, age, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, or familial status, and we declare that we denounce racial bias, anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, anti-immigrant activity, and harmful bias and discrimination in all forms, a portion of the citys statement read.

The city did not have a statement regarding the Spencer incident. Mayor Allison Silberberg said, though she couldnt comment about the actions of the business itself, she stood behind the statement.

I think our statement on inclusiveness that Ive read at multiple events speaks for itself, Silberberg said.

Gym manager Marty Thomas and Sport & Health employees did not respond to requests for comment.

Fair, for her part, said she will continue to confront Spencer and those who espouse similar beliefs.

Ive made my choice to make the life of this Nazi as miserable as possible. Now, its time for people to make their choice, Fair said. Im not going to be worrying, ten years from now, that I didnt make the right choice. Im not going to lament. They can ask themselves how theyll feel in 10 years.

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Professor speaks out about confronting alt-right leader Richard Spencer at local gym – Alexandria Times

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May 25, 2017   Posted in: Alt-right  Comments Closed

Alt-right trolls are targeting Ariana Grande after terror attack – Mashable


Mashable
Alt-right trolls are targeting Ariana Grande after terror attack
Mashable
Grande's words were often used by the alt-right to accuse her of anti-Americanism. In 2015, the pop star was caught on camera while reacting to a new tray of doughnuts in a shop. She jokingly said "I hate America, I hate Americans" to a friend. Grande
Ariana Grande trolled by pro-Trump alt-right after concert bombing that left 22 deadRaw Story
The Alt-Right Has Targeted Ariana Grande Following The Manchester AttackRefinery29
Manchester bomb: Alt-right online trolls attack Ariana Grande following blast at concertEvening Standard
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all 30 news articles »

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Alt-right trolls are targeting Ariana Grande after terror attack – Mashable

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May 25, 2017   Posted in: Alt-right  Comments Closed

Donald Trump Receiving Criticism From Alt-right Leaders After Israel, Saudi Arabia Visits – Haaretz

Trump’s overtures to the Sunni Muslim world and worshipping at the Western Wall, in a gesture to Jews, irks white nationalists and the far-right in American politics

U.S. President Donald Trumps trip to the Middle East scored him points in the mainstream media, but profoundly peeved his earliest supporters, the so-called alt-right, who had arguably propelled him into the presidency.

That images of Trump sword-dancing with Saudis, in a gesture to the Sunni Muslim world, and worshipping at the Western Wall, in a gesture to Jews, should irk the far-right in American politics is no surprise.

Cucks be like, WTF, we love Trump now! tweeted Richard Spencer, alt-right leader and white nationalist on Tuesday, demonstrating his frustration at the satisfaction he suspects liberals will feel at the sight of Trump visiting the Wall (cuck derives from cuckold).

Spencer also retweeted a tweet from the Boatsinker, which captioned Trumps visit to the Western Wall as Wrong wall, retard referring to a core issue of the alt-rights support for Trump: his pledge to build a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border.

Ann Coulter, who had recently criticized Trump for not sticking to his hard-line immigration record, tweeted, Wailing Wall the usual photo op, but Trump should visit Israel’s BORDER wall. Force the press to report that it’s up and it works.

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Former KKK leader and Louisiana politician David Duke captioned the photo of Trump at the Western Wall, in real time on Monday: Rise of the good Goy.

Mike Cernovich, the so-called voice of the alt-right (who Donald Trump Jr. recently said deserves a Pulitzer), criticized Trumps trip, killing two birds with one tweet: Saudi funded ISIS takes credit for #Manchester. But we need to take out Assad and Iran, because Russia, Cernovich tweeted Tuesday, referring to Trumps strong rhetoric against Assad and Iran while in Israel.

Cernovich later ripped Trump for agreeing to sell $110-billion worth of weapons to the Saudis, tweeting, Saudi Arabia remains the world’s top exporter of terrorism. If you think an arms deal will make me stop saying truth, sorry for you.

#JaredsIdea

Actually, the alt-right and Trump have been on the outs for some time now. The slide was set off by the rising influence of Trumps Jewish son-in-law Jared Kushner and daughter Ivanka at the expense of Steve Bannon, the alt-rights perceived “guy in the White House.”

But it was Trumps Tomahawk missile airstrike on Syria in early April that prompted the first real onslaught of heavy criticism from alt-right leaders, accusing Kushner and Ivanka of pushing Trump to war.

Just before that U.S. airstrike on Syria, Trumps old friend Roger Stone, a conspiracy theory aficionado, remarked that the various accusations surrounding Trump all boil down to whether or not we want to go to war over Syria.” Meaning, that Trumps enemies want him out of office so they can start a war, and his supporters think he will protect them from a war-hungry establishment. Fast-forward to now: Stone tweeted that Trumps Saudi visit made him want to puke, adding #JaredsIdea.

Trip Brennan in Newsweek explains that alt-right leaders, from Mike Enoch (founder of the white nationalist website The Right Stuff and co-host of the Daily Shoah podcast) to Richard Spencer to Kevin MacDonald (former psychology professor and white nationalist), all root their political views in an anti-war stance, that is in turn based on the belief that Jews had coerced neoconservatives into recent wars.

I have been anti-war my whole political life. Its the thing that got me interested in politics, when the Iraq War was starting, the opposition to George W. Bushs war, Enoch told Newsweek.

Anti-war to pro-war transformation

The alt-right and non-establishment fell for Trump during the campaign when he attacked George W. Bushs foreign policy, calling the war in Iraq the worst decision ever, and accusing the former U.S. president of lying.

During the 2016 election, Cernovich tweeted this poll, Which candidate for President has sold weapons and arms to Saudi Arabia, where gays are executed? #AltRight. For which 94 percent of his Twitter followers responded Sick Hillary and only 4% responded Donald Trump.

All of which makes Trumps massive arms sale to Saudi Arabia and his address to the Muslim world so difficult for alt-right leaders to swallow.

Meanwhile, in the mainstream media, CBS Bob Schieffer praised Trumps speech in Riyadh, saying he sounded presidential, while other commentators wrote Trump sounded exactly like George W. Bush.

Elliot Abrams, one of the founders of neoconservatism who served under presidents Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush, and who was denied a job in the Trump White House by Bannon, praised Trumps speech: I think he comes out looking better not only as presidential, but as reaching out to Muslim leaders from around the world.

Its enough to make an alt-right leader cry.

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Donald Trump Receiving Criticism From Alt-right Leaders After Israel, Saudi Arabia Visits – Haaretz

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May 25, 2017   Posted in: Alt-right  Comments Closed

The Alt-Right Becomes New Pop Culture Scapegoat Of The Trump Era – The Liberty Conservative

When President Obama was in office, there was no shortage of portrayals in popular culture demonizingconservatives and libertarians. Patriots were regularly cast as hate-filled terror threats in television, video games, movies, and media outlets. In the age of President Trump, a new scapegoat du jour has emerged in the alt-right.

The plot to a currently unreleased video game, Far Cry 5 shows how the propaganda narratives are shifting in the age of Trump. The game is set in Montana, a well-known hot spot for patriots as well as the home of the alt rights most infamous provocateur Richard Spencer. The games villains appear to be an amalgamation of both groups.

The cover image for the game depicts a Last Supper scene featuring bearded individuals who are crude stereotypes of militiamen with weapons and ammunition strewn about the table. They surround a dapper messiah figure with a hipster beard, presumably the leader of the flock, who looks as if he was modeled directly from right-wing blogger Gavin McInnes.

This depiction of patriots as villains is no mere coincidence but rather apart of a larger plan to depict civic-minded Americans as the enemies, and condition ordinary individuals to get used to putting them at the barrel of the gun.

The Verge reports on this disturbing new trend in video games:

Resident Evil 7 sets its hero against a pseudo-zombified white family in the American bayou, while Outlast 2 draws horror from an American religious cult. Mafia 3 follows Lincoln Clay, a mixed-raced Vietnam vet, who takes revenge on the Italian mob in 1970s Louisiana after the assassination of his father figure, the leader of the black mob. And an episode of Hitman, called Freedom Fighters, has the titular killer assassinating targets on a Colorado compound that seemed to take at least some inspiration from the real-world incident in Harney County.

The game will be released officially next year, but the teasers have already began. A trailer was released this week to build excitement for its release showing individuals praying at a church on the villains compound and then panning to scenic Hope County, the fictional area in which the game is set. An official demo is expected to be unveiled tomorrow.

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The Alt-Right Becomes New Pop Culture Scapegoat Of The Trump Era – The Liberty Conservative

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FBI investigating possible hate crime at University of Maryland: What is the ‘Alt Reich: Nation’ Facebook group? – USA TODAY

USA Today Network USA TODAY Published 12:15 p.m. ET May 22, 2017 | Updated 3:16 p.m. ET May 22, 2017

The stabbing death of a Bowie State University student is being investigated to see if the murder was a hate crime. Josh King has the story (@abridgetoland). Buzz60

This undated file photo provided by the University of Maryland Police Department shows Sean Urbanski, who was charged with fatally stabbing a visiting student Saturday, May 20, 2017, on campus.(Photo: AP)

The FBI is investigating whether thefatal stabbing of a visiting black studentby aUniversity of Maryland student who was a member of an online “Alt-Reich” groupis a hate crime.

Sean Christopher Urbanski, 22, was charged Sunday with first- and second-degree murder and first-degree assault in the stabbing death of Richard Collins III, 23.

University of Maryland Police Chief David Mitchell said he asked the FBI to assist in the investigation after learning the suspect belonged to a Facebook group called “Alt-Reich: Nation,” where members post disparaging material about African Americans and others.

While theFacebook group has since been deleted, many news outletscaptured screen-grabs from Urbanski’s page showing that he was a member.

Mitchell said the Facebook group was filled with “despicable” content, Heavy reported.

When I looked at the information thats contained on that website, suffice it to say that its despicable, it shows extreme bias against women, Latinos, members of the Jewish faith and especially African Americans, Mitchell said,Heavy reported. Which brings up questions as to the motive in this case. Knowing that we will continue to look for digital evidence, among other items of evidentiary value.

Dave Fitz, public affairs specialist at the Baltimore FBI office, told USA TODAY thatthe investigation is just starting and they are still in the information collecting stage.

“We will look at some of the digital forensics and see if there is anything there,” he said. “We are still in evaluation mode, there hasn’t been a determination either way if we are going to recommend hate crime charges.”

On social media, many called on Facebook to remove other Alt-Reich Facebook groups and others questioned whether the Alt-Reich group was a nod to the alt-right movement.

Fitz said the FBI is looking into all connections, but it is too early to make those connections.

“Facebook needs to shut down #altReich hate groups. They mobilize and embolden racist idiots,” @natalieroth tweeted.

The calls on Facebook to better deal with hate groups, comes on the heels of a report published Monday abouthow Facebook moderates content.

Thereport from The Guardiancites “more than 100 internal training manuals, spreadsheets and flowcharts,” providing insight into how Facebook chooses which content you will see.

A key example is what comments are deemed “credible violence.” For example, Facebook’s policies would allow someone to write “let’s beat up fat kids” but not “someone shoot Trump.”

In a 2013 online post,Facebookreiterated that it has to make hard choices “and balance concerns about free expression and community respect.”

“We prohibit content deemed to be directly harmful, but allow content that is offensive or controversial,” Facebook said in a post.”We define harmful content as anything organizing real world violence, theft, or property destruction, or that directly inflicts emotional distress on a specific private individual (e.g. bullying).”

Collins, a Bowie State University student, was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army days before the attack. He was scheduled to graduate from Bowie State on Tuesday.

USA TODAY has reached out to the University of Maryland Police for comment.

Contributing: WUSA-TV, Washington, D.C.; and Brett Molina, USA TODAY.

Follow Mary Bowerman on Twitter: @MaryBowerman.

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May 23, 2017   Posted in: Alt-right  Comments Closed

Hiding in plain sight: how the ‘alt-right’ is weaponizing irony to spread fascism – The Guardian

Pepe, a symbol used by the alt right, in character as Donald Trump. Photograph: Twitter

Earlier this month, hundreds of alt-right protesters occupied the rotunda at Boston Common in the name of free speech. The protest included far-right grouplets old and new from the Oath Keepers to the Proud Boys. But there were no swastikas or shaved heads in sight.

Instead, the protest imagery was dominated by ostensibly comedic images, mostly cribbed from forums and social media. It looked a little like an animated version of a favorite alt-right message board, 4chan.

At least one attendee was dressed as the cartoon frog Pepe (a character co-opted by the movement against the wishes of its creator). Others carried the flag of Kekistan, the imaginary country created 4chan members. Kyle Chapman, the man who became the based stick man meme after attacking anti-fascists armed with a gas mask and a Captain America shield, also addressed the crowd. The same crowd later confronted a counter anti-fascist protest in the street.

Until recently, it would have been hard to imagine the combination of street violence meeting internet memes. But experts say that the alt-right have stormed mainstream consciousness by weaponizing irony, and by using humour and ambiguity as tactics to wrong-foot their opponents.

Last week, the Data & Society Institute released a report on the online disinformation and manipulation that is increasingly shaping US politics. The report focused on the way in which far-right actors spread white supremacist thought, Islamophobia, and misogyny through irony and knowledge of internet culture.

One the reports authors, Dr Alice Marwick, says that fascist tropes first merged with irony in the murkier corners of the internet before being adopted by the alt-right as a tool. For the new far-right movement, irony has a strategic function. It allows people to disclaim a real commitment to far-right ideas while still espousing them.

Marwick says that from the early 2000s, on message boards like 4chan, calculatedly offensive language and imagery have been used to provoke strong reactions in outsiders. Calling all users fags, or creating memes using gross racial stereotypes, serves a gate-keeping function, in that it keeps people out of these spaces, many of which are very easy to access.

Irony has a strategic function. It allows people to disclaim commitment to far-right ideas while still espousing them

Violating the standards of political correctness and the rules of polite interactions also functions as an act of rebellion in spaces drenched in adolescent masculinity.

This was played up by Milo Yiannopoulos in an infamous Breitbart explainer last year, in which he insisted that the alt-right movements circulation of antisemitic imagery was really nothing more than transgressive fun.

Are they actually bigots? Yiannopoulos asked rhetorically. No more than death metal devotees in the 1980s were actually satanists. For them, its simply a means to fluster their grandparents.

What Yiannopoulos left out, according to Marwick, is that these spaces increasingly became attractive to sincere white supremacists. They offered them venues for recruitment, and new methods for popularising their ideas.

In other words, troll culture became a way for fascism to hide in plain sight.

Marwick points to another guide to the alt-right, published last on Andrew Anglins prominent Nazi site, the Daily Stormer, which credited troll culture with bringing about non-ironic Nazism masquerading as ironic Nazism:

Irony allows people to strategically distance themselves from the very real commitment to white supremacist values that many of these forums have.

It also allows individuals to push boundaries in public, and to back away when they meet resistance. When Richard Spencer led a fascist salute to Donald Trump at his National Policy Insitute conference in the wake of Trumps win, he said it was done in a spirit of irony and exuberance.

A compounding difficulty for opponents of the alt-right is that online, its always been difficult to tell the difference between sincerity and satire.

Ryan Milner teaches Communication at the College of Charleston, and is the co-author of a new book called The Ambivalent Internet. The book ponders the implications of Poes law, an internet adage that points to the difficulties of online communication and of distinguishing extremist views from parodies.

Unless you have an obvious marker of another persons intent, you cant really gauge their intent. They could be messing around. They could be deadly serious. They could be a mix of both, Milner says.

But ironic, playful content can have effects in real life. Milner offers the example of Edgar Welch, who turned up at Comet Ping Pong Pizza in Washington DC with a gun after imbibing too deeply of the so-called Pizzagate conspiracy theory. The theory was ginned up by forum trolls and amplified by fringe rightwing media. It asserted, on the basis of some of John Podestas leaked emails, that the restaurant was the hub of an elite pedophile ring.

Fascism is more or less a social taboo. Humour is one of the ways that they can put forward their positions

Last December, Welch drove to Washington from North Carolina with three firearms. When he arrived, he texted a friend: Raiding a pedo ring, possible sacrificing the lives of a few for the lives of many. He fired shots inside the restaurant, but fortunately was arrested without harming anyone.

A lot of the people propagating the Pizzagate conspiracy were doing it winkingly. But in the moment that somebody walked into that shop with a gun, then that playful buzzing participation around that conspiracy turned into real consequences, Milner says.

More generally, every ironic repetition of far-right ideals contributes to a climate in which racism, misogyny, or Islamophobia is normalised.

Every time you see a viral video of somebody shouting down a person of Muslim descent in a supermarket line, what youre seeing are the effects of an environment where its increasingly normal, increasingly accepted and expected to speak in this register, whether or not that started out as a joke, Milner says.

Author Alexander Reid Ross agrees that irony has been deployed by the far right in chipping away at whatever prohibitions have existed around publicly adopting far-right politics. His book, Against the Fascist Creep, published late last year, explores the long history of fascists attempting to mainstream their ideas, or even sell them to the left.

Fascism is more or less a social taboo. Its unacceptable in modern society, Ross says. Humour or irony is one of the ways that they can put forward their affective positions without having to fall back on any affirmative ideological positions.

He adds: Theyre putting forward the anger, the sense of betrayal, the need for revenge, the resentment, the violence. Theyre putting forward the male fantasies, the desire for a national community and a sense of unity and a rejection of Muslims. Theyre doing all of that, but theyre not stating it.

The best response is to stubbornly take the alt-right at their word. Angela Nagles book about the alt-right, Kill All Normies, will be released next month. She says that for the alt-right, online irony is a mechanism for undermining the confidence of their critics.

The thing that people have to realize is that it isnt that complicated. We know what they believe in, and if you say that youre alt-right, presumably you believe in those things too.

Rather than getting lost in the weeds of a fast-moving internet culture, we should be bearing down hard on those core beliefs.

Journalists should be saying, I dont want to talk about Pepe memes and hand signs. Tell me what are the limits of what youre prepared to do. We should force them to talk about what they really stand for, Nagle says.

In future, the best step may be to meet irony with sincerity.

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Hiding in plain sight: how the ‘alt-right’ is weaponizing irony to spread fascism – The Guardian

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May 23, 2017   Posted in: Alt-right  Comments Closed

John Podesta: ‘Alt-Right’ Media Like Sean Hannity Colluding with Russia – Breitbart News

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During a conversation with the Washington Posts Karen Tumulty, he cited the participation and the support of the alt-right media, naming guys like Sean Hannity and disgusting Newt Gingrich for helping spread fake news to hurt Democrats. He specifically criticized Hannity and Gingrich for asking questions about DNC staffer Seth Richs murder and whether or not it had a connection with Wikileaks.

Podesta explained that it was one more example of how the Russians were very active in propagating and distributing fake news, working with these alt-right sites in conjunction with them. He also cited an echo system created by the Russians that raised the social media profile of articles that were damaging to Democrats.

He pointed out that legitimate sites like the Washington Post and the New York Times suffered, as other alt-right websites got more traction during the election.

Podesta blamed websites in the United States for publishing emails from Emmanuel Macron during the French presidential election to influence the outcome.

The first reports of them came from U.S. alt-right sites back into France, he said. This is a global phenomena.

He praised the French media for helping censor the information to stop it from damaging Macrons campaign.

I think unfortunately for us, but maybe fortunately for the world, I think the French press was more sensitive to it, he said, praising them for helping Macron win by a landslide after censoring their reporting on the hacked emails.

He suggested that the American media should have done the same things with his leaked emails.

I didnt feel like that really happened last fall the mainstream U.S. press was much more interested in the gossip, he said.

Podesta warned the media about Russias efforts to use the emails to hurt Democrats, pointedly directing them to be more responsible. He suggested that the media should have helped the Clinton campaign fuel the Russian angle, instead of reporting on his emails.

I think if you contextualize it if you say that The Russians are coming, and The Russians are here that can give people a sense of that they need to be more careful in the way they assess what theyre hearing and what theyre seeing and whats being peddled, he said.

He described the period of leaks as the Soviet days and griped that the low burn of email stories helped revive questions about Clintons own private emails.

We hadnt put it to bed completely, he admitted.

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John Podesta: ‘Alt-Right’ Media Like Sean Hannity Colluding with Russia – Breitbart News

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May 23, 2017   Posted in: Alt-right  Comments Closed

‘Alt-Right’ InfoWars Gets W.H. Press Credentials – Forward

InfoWars, the alt-right site thats been widely blasted for spreading fake news, has acquired credentials to attend White House press briefings.

There have been previous attempts from the organization to win press access to the White House, with InfoWars getting a weekly pass to briefings earlier in the month.

InfoWars is led by fabulist Alex Jones, who has claimed that the Sandy Hook school massacre was a hoax and that Michelle Obama is secretly a man who murdered comedian Joan Rivers.

Jerome Corsi, its Washington, D.C. corrspondent, was one of the popularizers of birtherism, the racist lie that former President Obama was born in Kenya, rather than the United States.

Trump and his associates have granted interviews and other forms of media access to InfoWars, which has been linked to the white supremacist alt-right movement.

Contact Daniel J. Solomon at solomon@forward.com or on Twitter @DanielJSolomon

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‘Alt-Right’ InfoWars Gets W.H. Press Credentials – Forward

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May 23, 2017   Posted in: Alt-right  Comments Closed

What’s Happened to Britain’s Alt-Right Meme Machine? – Motherboard

An internet army marches on its memes. In 2016, Pepe became the war flag for the alt-right, galvanising support for The Donald. In France earlier this year, Pepe and the alt-right’s meme warriors leapt across the Atlantic to provide ground support for-right presidential candidate Marine Le Pen. But in the United Kingdom, no such pied piper has arrived, and just a few weeks out from the snap general election, it appears Britain’s right wing, along with the pockets of alt-right groups that still cling to this green and pleasant land, are wholly memeless. To understand why this is the case, we must first understand what conditions need to be present for fertile meme production. According to Ben Nimmo, a UK-based analyst of online disinformation and online campaigns, those conditions are synonymous with the rise of the alt-right. Where you’ll find anti-establishmentarianism, you’ll find the memes. “The image that the alt-right have of themselves is passionate rebels with special knowledge,” Nimmo told Motherboard. “That makes you an outsider, and if you look at the alt-right messaging, so much of it is about portraying themselves as passionate fighters against the establishment.” Trump’s success in America was largely in part down to his anti-establishment aroma. He promised to drain the swamp, among other thingssentiments that proved hugely successful with meme production because they were short, quickfire slogans. But if we apply this framework to the current UK political context, you can see how it’d be difficult for anti-establishment meme makers to back Britain’s choice of the right, the Conservative Party and its leader Theresa Maythe very epitome of a Great British establishment. Britain’s left doesn’t have this problem. Poster comrade of the new socialist revolution, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, is a meme sensation. One of the leading Corbyn meme Facebook pages, Cool Corbyn Memes, has some 20,000 fans, and is pumping out memes daily. Another Facebook group, June 8 Shitposting Social Club (June 8 being the day of the general election), is also churning out anti-Tory memes at a startling rate, many of them unequivocally savage. Depressed Vegetarians For Corbyn is another admired meme maker, and Corbyn memes have even attracted the attention on national press. “If you think about Jeremy Corbyn, and if you think about the meme makers that back him, Corbyn himself has always been a very anti-establishment character. That fits much more into the mentality as seeing yourself as an anti-establishment crusader,” Nimmo said. Finding a similar political meme source for Theresa May on Facebook proves difficult. There is but a smattering of small-scale meme factories, many largely abandoned since the Brexit referendum last year. That divisive, black and white issue laid the solid groundwork for meme deployments. But with Britain leaving the EU, and many far-right voters pacified, meme production slowed. One large Conservative meme house, Reem Memes With a Right Wing Theme, has around 30,000 fansbut the page’s popularity pales beside the sheer volume of pro-Corbyn memes online. Des Freedman, professor of media and communications at London’s Goldsmiths University, agreed with Nimmo. Freedman told Motherboard in an email that Corbyn “has been able to rely on a growing network of supporters together with rising frustration at an unequal globalisation process to foster a series of memes around redistribution and defence of public services.” But not convinced Britain’s Tory party is entirely memeless, I took my search to Reddit. “Corbyn or May meme a new opportunity?” asks one Redditor on r/MemeEconomy right after the election was announced. The hugely popular Meme Economy subreddit is essentially the stock market for memes. Buy low, sell high. Surely, the subreddit thought, a British general election would be fertile grounds for a booming Corbyn/May meme market. But it hasn’t happened. “Its just the Bernie vs. Hillary meme, but with different politicians, correct?” asked one, presumably American, meme trader. “Too regional for the national or international market, but may do well in the local meme economy,” said another. There are some, however, pushing to raise the prominence of British political memes on Reddit. Reddit user and self-proclaimed leftist ComradeSquidward1917, a moderator on new Reddit sub r/MinistryofMemes, told Motherboard that Corbyn “has the best memes because he’s an odd and unusual character for this election”. “Corbyn also seems to be embracing the meme, much like Trump did with his respective memes. May is a boring candidate. You can make fun of her for being old or evil but that doesn’t provide as much material. She’s not a good meme like Corbyn,” they said. Read more: It’s Not Just Pepe, The Russian Embassy Has Been Trolling on Twitter For Months Meanwhile, whatever mildly popular May memes that are in existence over on Reddit (and the same goes for Facebook) are typically mocking the Tory leader, rather than acting as a rallying call for support ahead of June 8. But there’s got to be some memetic support from the right, surely. Time to dive deeper into Britain’s right wing. Anti-establishment politics, at least in any viable, electable form in the UK, was dominated by the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) up until last year’s EU referendum. The single-issue party grew popular with anti-EU campaigners, extreme Conservatives, and nationalists. The leader of UKIP, Nigel Farage, is now a good friend with Trump himself, which speaks volumes, but he’s all but abandoned British politics while his UKIP remains in tatters following the extinction of its raison-d’etre post-EU. King Nigel I of UKIP, one of the most popular pro-Farage meme Facebook pages, is still in meme production, however. The page has around 20,000 fans, and is producing memes regularly, but it’s an exception to the rule. Many UKIP meme production houses are abandoned; while they had a rallying cause for Brexit, the general election provides no such opportunity for a waning UKIP. “The far-right in the UK are disoriented and discombobulated,” Freedman told Motherboard. “They are very small in number and unable to take advantage of the opportunities afforded by the challenge to centrist politics.” In terms of the upcoming general election, there just isn’t a focal point for anti-establishment rhetoric from the far-right. “The general election is just not hitting those buttons, apart from Corbyn,” Nimmo said. “In terms of Europe, it’s done. Article 50 has been declared.” One defining trait of the British far-right sentiment still remains however; anti-Islam. If there’s one emotion that galvanises the far-right and the alt-right in Britain, it’s that of fearing Muslims and spreading fear about Muslims. Figureheads like Infowars’ Paul Joseph Watson, British export Milo Yiannopoulos and English Defence League co-founder Tommy Robinson have a following in the UK that is probably the closest to what can be defined as ‘alt-right’. Another British far-right institution, Britain First, is one of the most popular destinations for Britain’s nationalist anti-establishmentarianism, self-proclaimed counterjihadism, and outright racism. “Memes, after all, don’t grow on trees” In the wake of last month’s Westminster terror attack and this week’s Manchester attack, all of these groups have acted quickly to frame the incidents as the fault of a too-tolerant Britain and the incumbent government. The only problem? None of these people or groups are electorally viable in their current positions. Britain First’s Facebook page has been popular for years, spitting out memes typically attacking British politics and Muslims, but these memes are trapped in their own echo chambers of extremism and cannot break free to muster the support of a wider memetic movement. Britain’s multicultural electorate is largely not comfortable with accepting anti-Muslim rhetoric, therefore the memes only find limited traction. David Miller, professor of Sociology at the University of Bath, told Motherboard that the alt-right in the UK is either “bought and paid for by the US lot” such as Breitbart, and thus not organic, or “a bunch of new kids on the counterjihad block”. Unlike Trump in the US, and mainland Europe’s young, far-right voters, the UK just hasn’t got the right conditions in 2017 for a large-scale political meme deployment ahead of the general election next month. “Memes, after all, don’t grow on trees but need some soil if they are to grow and flourish,” concluded Freedman. Subscribe to Science Solved It, Motherboard’s new show about the greatest mysteries that were solved by science.

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May 25, 2017   Posted in: Alt-right  Comments Closed

Professor speaks out about confronting alt-right leader Richard Spencer at local gym – Alexandria Times

By Alexa Epitropoulos | aepitropoulos@alextimes.com Alt-right leader Richard Spencers ousting from a gym in Old Town quickly became a national story this week, making headlines in the Washington Post, Newsweek, Buzzfeed and Jezebel. As previously reported, theincident itself started when C. Christine Fair, an associate professor at Georgetown University, confronted Spencer on May 17 at Sport and Healths Old Town location at 209 Madison St. Fair, who has been a member of the gym for the past two years, said she decided to confront Spencer after having conversations with trainers at the gym. I was pretty appalled. This dude was in our gym and as a female, I find his rhetoric pretty repugnant, Fair told the Alexandria Times. The people that run that gym are people of color, theyre women and theyre non-Christians. I was furious. The rest of the confrontation is detailed on Fairs Tumblr page. Fair asked about Spencers identity, which he denied. Fair then brought up past white nationalist statements attributed to Spencer and loudly identified him as a neo-Nazi, which Spencer responded to by requesting help from a gym employee. Fair said the altercation would have ended there if it werent for a fellow gym member intervening. She said the gym member asked why she was confronting Spencer and threatened to call the police. At that point, gym manager Marty Thomas arrived on the scene. Fair, who said she and Thomas had previously sparred over her wearing a F*** Trump hat, said Thomas told her she was creating a hostile environment, to which she responded that he was creating a hostile workplace. At that point, Thomas asked Fair to exit to the lower level of the gym, where Fair told him she wouldnt let go of the issue. Fair and her husband then left the gym. It wasnt until Friday that the issue blew up. The gym sent Spencer a letter that terminated his membership and asked to meet with Fair privately. Fair said the gym told her to not confront fellow members, a request she rebuffed. It is not my belief that this guy is a Nazi from 9 to 5, Fair said. Im not going to pretend that what he does in his day job doesnt affect all of us. Fair said her membership hasnt been terminated. Since Spencer received a letter informing him of histermination, he has responded with a post on his website, AltRight.com, and a video on his YouTube account titled Christine Fairs Austic (sic) screeching. He also said he is appealing the gyms decision. In the video, he says he denied his identity because he was at a gym and didnt want to get into a political discussion. Its not because Im a coward, its because I have no interest whatsoever in getting into political discussion with these kinds of people at the gym. I go to the gym to workout. I go to the gym to expend some energy, to stay in shape, all those kinds of things, Spencer said in the response. Fair said, since Spencers postings and the barrage of media attention, shes been receiving nearly constant calls and emails from Spencers followers and fans. She said several of Spencers followers have also incited people to go to her home. This reflects a national network who have devoted considerable resources to harassing people, Fair said. The altercation between Spencer and Fair comes just a few months after Spencer moved the headquarters for his website, AltRight.com, to 1001 King St. in Old Town. Two months before Spencer moved in, city council released a statement indirectly condemning positions taken by those in the alt-right movement. We proclaim that we remain committed to diversity and to fostering an atmosphere of inclusiveness that respects the dignity and worth of every person without regard to race, color, sex, religion, ancestry, status, marital status, age, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, or familial status, and we declare that we denounce racial bias, anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, anti-immigrant activity, and harmful bias and discrimination in all forms, a portion of the citys statement read. The city did not have a statement regarding the Spencer incident. Mayor Allison Silberberg said, though she couldnt comment about the actions of the business itself, she stood behind the statement. I think our statement on inclusiveness that Ive read at multiple events speaks for itself, Silberberg said. Gym manager Marty Thomas and Sport & Health employees did not respond to requests for comment. Fair, for her part, said she will continue to confront Spencer and those who espouse similar beliefs. Ive made my choice to make the life of this Nazi as miserable as possible. Now, its time for people to make their choice, Fair said. Im not going to be worrying, ten years from now, that I didnt make the right choice. Im not going to lament. They can ask themselves how theyll feel in 10 years.

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May 25, 2017   Posted in: Alt-right  Comments Closed

Alt-right trolls are targeting Ariana Grande after terror attack – Mashable

Mashable Alt-right trolls are targeting Ariana Grande after terror attack Mashable Grande's words were often used by the alt-right to accuse her of anti-Americanism. In 2015, the pop star was caught on camera while reacting to a new tray of doughnuts in a shop. She jokingly said "I hate America, I hate Americans" to a friend. Grande … Ariana Grande trolled by pro-Trump alt-right after concert bombing that left 22 dead Raw Story The Alt-Right Has Targeted Ariana Grande Following The Manchester Attack Refinery29 Manchester bomb: Alt-right online trolls attack Ariana Grande following blast at concert Evening Standard International Business Times UK  – Metro  – Mic  – Facebook all 30 news articles »

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May 25, 2017   Posted in: Alt-right  Comments Closed

Donald Trump Receiving Criticism From Alt-right Leaders After Israel, Saudi Arabia Visits – Haaretz

Trump’s overtures to the Sunni Muslim world and worshipping at the Western Wall, in a gesture to Jews, irks white nationalists and the far-right in American politics U.S. President Donald Trumps trip to the Middle East scored him points in the mainstream media, but profoundly peeved his earliest supporters, the so-called alt-right, who had arguably propelled him into the presidency. That images of Trump sword-dancing with Saudis, in a gesture to the Sunni Muslim world, and worshipping at the Western Wall, in a gesture to Jews, should irk the far-right in American politics is no surprise. Cucks be like, WTF, we love Trump now! tweeted Richard Spencer, alt-right leader and white nationalist on Tuesday, demonstrating his frustration at the satisfaction he suspects liberals will feel at the sight of Trump visiting the Wall (cuck derives from cuckold). Spencer also retweeted a tweet from the Boatsinker, which captioned Trumps visit to the Western Wall as Wrong wall, retard referring to a core issue of the alt-rights support for Trump: his pledge to build a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border. Ann Coulter, who had recently criticized Trump for not sticking to his hard-line immigration record, tweeted, Wailing Wall the usual photo op, but Trump should visit Israel’s BORDER wall. Force the press to report that it’s up and it works. We’ve got more newsletters we think you’ll find interesting. Please try again later. This email address has already registered for this newsletter. Former KKK leader and Louisiana politician David Duke captioned the photo of Trump at the Western Wall, in real time on Monday: Rise of the good Goy. Mike Cernovich, the so-called voice of the alt-right (who Donald Trump Jr. recently said deserves a Pulitzer), criticized Trumps trip, killing two birds with one tweet: Saudi funded ISIS takes credit for #Manchester. But we need to take out Assad and Iran, because Russia, Cernovich tweeted Tuesday, referring to Trumps strong rhetoric against Assad and Iran while in Israel. Cernovich later ripped Trump for agreeing to sell $110-billion worth of weapons to the Saudis, tweeting, Saudi Arabia remains the world’s top exporter of terrorism. If you think an arms deal will make me stop saying truth, sorry for you. #JaredsIdea Actually, the alt-right and Trump have been on the outs for some time now. The slide was set off by the rising influence of Trumps Jewish son-in-law Jared Kushner and daughter Ivanka at the expense of Steve Bannon, the alt-rights perceived “guy in the White House.” But it was Trumps Tomahawk missile airstrike on Syria in early April that prompted the first real onslaught of heavy criticism from alt-right leaders, accusing Kushner and Ivanka of pushing Trump to war. Just before that U.S. airstrike on Syria, Trumps old friend Roger Stone, a conspiracy theory aficionado, remarked that the various accusations surrounding Trump all boil down to whether or not we want to go to war over Syria.” Meaning, that Trumps enemies want him out of office so they can start a war, and his supporters think he will protect them from a war-hungry establishment. Fast-forward to now: Stone tweeted that Trumps Saudi visit made him want to puke, adding #JaredsIdea. Trip Brennan in Newsweek explains that alt-right leaders, from Mike Enoch (founder of the white nationalist website The Right Stuff and co-host of the Daily Shoah podcast) to Richard Spencer to Kevin MacDonald (former psychology professor and white nationalist), all root their political views in an anti-war stance, that is in turn based on the belief that Jews had coerced neoconservatives into recent wars. I have been anti-war my whole political life. Its the thing that got me interested in politics, when the Iraq War was starting, the opposition to George W. Bushs war, Enoch told Newsweek. Anti-war to pro-war transformation The alt-right and non-establishment fell for Trump during the campaign when he attacked George W. Bushs foreign policy, calling the war in Iraq the worst decision ever, and accusing the former U.S. president of lying. During the 2016 election, Cernovich tweeted this poll, Which candidate for President has sold weapons and arms to Saudi Arabia, where gays are executed? #AltRight. For which 94 percent of his Twitter followers responded Sick Hillary and only 4% responded Donald Trump. All of which makes Trumps massive arms sale to Saudi Arabia and his address to the Muslim world so difficult for alt-right leaders to swallow. Meanwhile, in the mainstream media, CBS Bob Schieffer praised Trumps speech in Riyadh, saying he sounded presidential, while other commentators wrote Trump sounded exactly like George W. Bush. Elliot Abrams, one of the founders of neoconservatism who served under presidents Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush, and who was denied a job in the Trump White House by Bannon, praised Trumps speech: I think he comes out looking better not only as presidential, but as reaching out to Muslim leaders from around the world. Its enough to make an alt-right leader cry. Want to enjoy ‘Zen’ reading – with no ads and just the article? Subscribe today

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May 25, 2017   Posted in: Alt-right  Comments Closed

The Alt-Right Becomes New Pop Culture Scapegoat Of The Trump Era – The Liberty Conservative

When President Obama was in office, there was no shortage of portrayals in popular culture demonizingconservatives and libertarians. Patriots were regularly cast as hate-filled terror threats in television, video games, movies, and media outlets. In the age of President Trump, a new scapegoat du jour has emerged in the alt-right. The plot to a currently unreleased video game, Far Cry 5 shows how the propaganda narratives are shifting in the age of Trump. The game is set in Montana, a well-known hot spot for patriots as well as the home of the alt rights most infamous provocateur Richard Spencer. The games villains appear to be an amalgamation of both groups. The cover image for the game depicts a Last Supper scene featuring bearded individuals who are crude stereotypes of militiamen with weapons and ammunition strewn about the table. They surround a dapper messiah figure with a hipster beard, presumably the leader of the flock, who looks as if he was modeled directly from right-wing blogger Gavin McInnes. This depiction of patriots as villains is no mere coincidence but rather apart of a larger plan to depict civic-minded Americans as the enemies, and condition ordinary individuals to get used to putting them at the barrel of the gun. The Verge reports on this disturbing new trend in video games: Resident Evil 7 sets its hero against a pseudo-zombified white family in the American bayou, while Outlast 2 draws horror from an American religious cult. Mafia 3 follows Lincoln Clay, a mixed-raced Vietnam vet, who takes revenge on the Italian mob in 1970s Louisiana after the assassination of his father figure, the leader of the black mob. And an episode of Hitman, called Freedom Fighters, has the titular killer assassinating targets on a Colorado compound that seemed to take at least some inspiration from the real-world incident in Harney County. The game will be released officially next year, but the teasers have already began. A trailer was released this week to build excitement for its release showing individuals praying at a church on the villains compound and then panning to scenic Hope County, the fictional area in which the game is set. An official demo is expected to be unveiled tomorrow.

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May 25, 2017   Posted in: Alt-right  Comments Closed

FBI investigating possible hate crime at University of Maryland: What is the ‘Alt Reich: Nation’ Facebook group? – USA TODAY

USA Today Network USA TODAY Published 12:15 p.m. ET May 22, 2017 | Updated 3:16 p.m. ET May 22, 2017 The stabbing death of a Bowie State University student is being investigated to see if the murder was a hate crime. Josh King has the story (@abridgetoland). Buzz60 This undated file photo provided by the University of Maryland Police Department shows Sean Urbanski, who was charged with fatally stabbing a visiting student Saturday, May 20, 2017, on campus.(Photo: AP) The FBI is investigating whether thefatal stabbing of a visiting black studentby aUniversity of Maryland student who was a member of an online “Alt-Reich” groupis a hate crime. Sean Christopher Urbanski, 22, was charged Sunday with first- and second-degree murder and first-degree assault in the stabbing death of Richard Collins III, 23. University of Maryland Police Chief David Mitchell said he asked the FBI to assist in the investigation after learning the suspect belonged to a Facebook group called “Alt-Reich: Nation,” where members post disparaging material about African Americans and others. While theFacebook group has since been deleted, many news outletscaptured screen-grabs from Urbanski’s page showing that he was a member. Mitchell said the Facebook group was filled with “despicable” content, Heavy reported. When I looked at the information thats contained on that website, suffice it to say that its despicable, it shows extreme bias against women, Latinos, members of the Jewish faith and especially African Americans, Mitchell said,Heavy reported. Which brings up questions as to the motive in this case. Knowing that we will continue to look for digital evidence, among other items of evidentiary value. Dave Fitz, public affairs specialist at the Baltimore FBI office, told USA TODAY thatthe investigation is just starting and they are still in the information collecting stage. “We will look at some of the digital forensics and see if there is anything there,” he said. “We are still in evaluation mode, there hasn’t been a determination either way if we are going to recommend hate crime charges.” On social media, many called on Facebook to remove other Alt-Reich Facebook groups and others questioned whether the Alt-Reich group was a nod to the alt-right movement. Fitz said the FBI is looking into all connections, but it is too early to make those connections. “Facebook needs to shut down #altReich hate groups. They mobilize and embolden racist idiots,” @natalieroth tweeted. The calls on Facebook to better deal with hate groups, comes on the heels of a report published Monday abouthow Facebook moderates content. Thereport from The Guardiancites “more than 100 internal training manuals, spreadsheets and flowcharts,” providing insight into how Facebook chooses which content you will see. A key example is what comments are deemed “credible violence.” For example, Facebook’s policies would allow someone to write “let’s beat up fat kids” but not “someone shoot Trump.” In a 2013 online post,Facebookreiterated that it has to make hard choices “and balance concerns about free expression and community respect.” “We prohibit content deemed to be directly harmful, but allow content that is offensive or controversial,” Facebook said in a post.”We define harmful content as anything organizing real world violence, theft, or property destruction, or that directly inflicts emotional distress on a specific private individual (e.g. bullying).” Collins, a Bowie State University student, was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army days before the attack. He was scheduled to graduate from Bowie State on Tuesday. USA TODAY has reached out to the University of Maryland Police for comment. Contributing: WUSA-TV, Washington, D.C.; and Brett Molina, USA TODAY. Follow Mary Bowerman on Twitter: @MaryBowerman. Read or Share this story: https://usat.ly/2r9HGut

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May 23, 2017   Posted in: Alt-right  Comments Closed

Hiding in plain sight: how the ‘alt-right’ is weaponizing irony to spread fascism – The Guardian

Pepe, a symbol used by the alt right, in character as Donald Trump. Photograph: Twitter Earlier this month, hundreds of alt-right protesters occupied the rotunda at Boston Common in the name of free speech. The protest included far-right grouplets old and new from the Oath Keepers to the Proud Boys. But there were no swastikas or shaved heads in sight. Instead, the protest imagery was dominated by ostensibly comedic images, mostly cribbed from forums and social media. It looked a little like an animated version of a favorite alt-right message board, 4chan. At least one attendee was dressed as the cartoon frog Pepe (a character co-opted by the movement against the wishes of its creator). Others carried the flag of Kekistan, the imaginary country created 4chan members. Kyle Chapman, the man who became the based stick man meme after attacking anti-fascists armed with a gas mask and a Captain America shield, also addressed the crowd. The same crowd later confronted a counter anti-fascist protest in the street. Until recently, it would have been hard to imagine the combination of street violence meeting internet memes. But experts say that the alt-right have stormed mainstream consciousness by weaponizing irony, and by using humour and ambiguity as tactics to wrong-foot their opponents. Last week, the Data & Society Institute released a report on the online disinformation and manipulation that is increasingly shaping US politics. The report focused on the way in which far-right actors spread white supremacist thought, Islamophobia, and misogyny through irony and knowledge of internet culture. One the reports authors, Dr Alice Marwick, says that fascist tropes first merged with irony in the murkier corners of the internet before being adopted by the alt-right as a tool. For the new far-right movement, irony has a strategic function. It allows people to disclaim a real commitment to far-right ideas while still espousing them. Marwick says that from the early 2000s, on message boards like 4chan, calculatedly offensive language and imagery have been used to provoke strong reactions in outsiders. Calling all users fags, or creating memes using gross racial stereotypes, serves a gate-keeping function, in that it keeps people out of these spaces, many of which are very easy to access. Irony has a strategic function. It allows people to disclaim commitment to far-right ideas while still espousing them Violating the standards of political correctness and the rules of polite interactions also functions as an act of rebellion in spaces drenched in adolescent masculinity. This was played up by Milo Yiannopoulos in an infamous Breitbart explainer last year, in which he insisted that the alt-right movements circulation of antisemitic imagery was really nothing more than transgressive fun. Are they actually bigots? Yiannopoulos asked rhetorically. No more than death metal devotees in the 1980s were actually satanists. For them, its simply a means to fluster their grandparents. What Yiannopoulos left out, according to Marwick, is that these spaces increasingly became attractive to sincere white supremacists. They offered them venues for recruitment, and new methods for popularising their ideas. In other words, troll culture became a way for fascism to hide in plain sight. Marwick points to another guide to the alt-right, published last on Andrew Anglins prominent Nazi site, the Daily Stormer, which credited troll culture with bringing about non-ironic Nazism masquerading as ironic Nazism: Irony allows people to strategically distance themselves from the very real commitment to white supremacist values that many of these forums have. It also allows individuals to push boundaries in public, and to back away when they meet resistance. When Richard Spencer led a fascist salute to Donald Trump at his National Policy Insitute conference in the wake of Trumps win, he said it was done in a spirit of irony and exuberance. A compounding difficulty for opponents of the alt-right is that online, its always been difficult to tell the difference between sincerity and satire. Ryan Milner teaches Communication at the College of Charleston, and is the co-author of a new book called The Ambivalent Internet. The book ponders the implications of Poes law, an internet adage that points to the difficulties of online communication and of distinguishing extremist views from parodies. Unless you have an obvious marker of another persons intent, you cant really gauge their intent. They could be messing around. They could be deadly serious. They could be a mix of both, Milner says. But ironic, playful content can have effects in real life. Milner offers the example of Edgar Welch, who turned up at Comet Ping Pong Pizza in Washington DC with a gun after imbibing too deeply of the so-called Pizzagate conspiracy theory. The theory was ginned up by forum trolls and amplified by fringe rightwing media. It asserted, on the basis of some of John Podestas leaked emails, that the restaurant was the hub of an elite pedophile ring. Fascism is more or less a social taboo. Humour is one of the ways that they can put forward their positions Last December, Welch drove to Washington from North Carolina with three firearms. When he arrived, he texted a friend: Raiding a pedo ring, possible sacrificing the lives of a few for the lives of many. He fired shots inside the restaurant, but fortunately was arrested without harming anyone. A lot of the people propagating the Pizzagate conspiracy were doing it winkingly. But in the moment that somebody walked into that shop with a gun, then that playful buzzing participation around that conspiracy turned into real consequences, Milner says. More generally, every ironic repetition of far-right ideals contributes to a climate in which racism, misogyny, or Islamophobia is normalised. Every time you see a viral video of somebody shouting down a person of Muslim descent in a supermarket line, what youre seeing are the effects of an environment where its increasingly normal, increasingly accepted and expected to speak in this register, whether or not that started out as a joke, Milner says. Author Alexander Reid Ross agrees that irony has been deployed by the far right in chipping away at whatever prohibitions have existed around publicly adopting far-right politics. His book, Against the Fascist Creep, published late last year, explores the long history of fascists attempting to mainstream their ideas, or even sell them to the left. Fascism is more or less a social taboo. Its unacceptable in modern society, Ross says. Humour or irony is one of the ways that they can put forward their affective positions without having to fall back on any affirmative ideological positions. He adds: Theyre putting forward the anger, the sense of betrayal, the need for revenge, the resentment, the violence. Theyre putting forward the male fantasies, the desire for a national community and a sense of unity and a rejection of Muslims. Theyre doing all of that, but theyre not stating it. The best response is to stubbornly take the alt-right at their word. Angela Nagles book about the alt-right, Kill All Normies, will be released next month. She says that for the alt-right, online irony is a mechanism for undermining the confidence of their critics. The thing that people have to realize is that it isnt that complicated. We know what they believe in, and if you say that youre alt-right, presumably you believe in those things too. Rather than getting lost in the weeds of a fast-moving internet culture, we should be bearing down hard on those core beliefs. Journalists should be saying, I dont want to talk about Pepe memes and hand signs. Tell me what are the limits of what youre prepared to do. We should force them to talk about what they really stand for, Nagle says. In future, the best step may be to meet irony with sincerity.

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May 23, 2017   Posted in: Alt-right  Comments Closed

John Podesta: ‘Alt-Right’ Media Like Sean Hannity Colluding with Russia – Breitbart News

SIGN UP FOR OUR NEWSLETTER During a conversation with the Washington Posts Karen Tumulty, he cited the participation and the support of the alt-right media, naming guys like Sean Hannity and disgusting Newt Gingrich for helping spread fake news to hurt Democrats. He specifically criticized Hannity and Gingrich for asking questions about DNC staffer Seth Richs murder and whether or not it had a connection with Wikileaks. Podesta explained that it was one more example of how the Russians were very active in propagating and distributing fake news, working with these alt-right sites in conjunction with them. He also cited an echo system created by the Russians that raised the social media profile of articles that were damaging to Democrats. He pointed out that legitimate sites like the Washington Post and the New York Times suffered, as other alt-right websites got more traction during the election. Podesta blamed websites in the United States for publishing emails from Emmanuel Macron during the French presidential election to influence the outcome. The first reports of them came from U.S. alt-right sites back into France, he said. This is a global phenomena. He praised the French media for helping censor the information to stop it from damaging Macrons campaign. I think unfortunately for us, but maybe fortunately for the world, I think the French press was more sensitive to it, he said, praising them for helping Macron win by a landslide after censoring their reporting on the hacked emails. He suggested that the American media should have done the same things with his leaked emails. I didnt feel like that really happened last fall the mainstream U.S. press was much more interested in the gossip, he said. Podesta warned the media about Russias efforts to use the emails to hurt Democrats, pointedly directing them to be more responsible. He suggested that the media should have helped the Clinton campaign fuel the Russian angle, instead of reporting on his emails. I think if you contextualize it if you say that The Russians are coming, and The Russians are here that can give people a sense of that they need to be more careful in the way they assess what theyre hearing and what theyre seeing and whats being peddled, he said. He described the period of leaks as the Soviet days and griped that the low burn of email stories helped revive questions about Clintons own private emails. We hadnt put it to bed completely, he admitted.

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‘Alt-Right’ InfoWars Gets W.H. Press Credentials – Forward

InfoWars, the alt-right site thats been widely blasted for spreading fake news, has acquired credentials to attend White House press briefings. There have been previous attempts from the organization to win press access to the White House, with InfoWars getting a weekly pass to briefings earlier in the month. InfoWars is led by fabulist Alex Jones, who has claimed that the Sandy Hook school massacre was a hoax and that Michelle Obama is secretly a man who murdered comedian Joan Rivers. Jerome Corsi, its Washington, D.C. corrspondent, was one of the popularizers of birtherism, the racist lie that former President Obama was born in Kenya, rather than the United States. Trump and his associates have granted interviews and other forms of media access to InfoWars, which has been linked to the white supremacist alt-right movement. Contact Daniel J. Solomon at solomon@forward.com or on Twitter @DanielJSolomon

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