Popular movements, focusing on anti-police community self-defense, may be the best way to effectively circumvent the influence that alt-right fake news sites are continuing to have on society now and in the long-run. In contrast to single-issue protest campaigns, a broad movement towards community self-defense would avoid key pitfalls in the struggle for the support of the masses, namely by taking important rhetorical ammunition out from the hands of the alt-right. Many of the alt-right’s core figures (Richard Spencer, Alex Jones, Milo Yuannopolous, Matthew Heimbach, etc.) might have been deplatformed from major private websites like FB, YouTube, etc. in the last couple years, but their fake news sources are still operating.
Before they were using records of counter-protesters to fuel their “anti-antifa” campaign with marginal success, influencing the gullible and misguided. Now, they’re trying to use recorded information from the recent BLM anti-police and community self-defense movements but they’re having less success, arguably because of the movement’s intersectional mass appeal. If the uprising becomes too focused on a single issue — such as antiracism, however, the alt-right could benefit from leftists centering their cause to single-issue campaigns.
Antifascism, for instance, has the problem of appealing only to those with a very specific political identity. The alt-right depends on this politicizing of the issues because their audience doesn’t really care about facts and having the left address them alone, toe-to-toe, and on their terms, ultimately gives them the advantage. Intersectional and multi-issue campaigns have the virtue of uniting the masses against a common problem and performatively demonstrating the contradictions of the alt-right’s ideology and mode of reasoning.
Mass movements inform the people that they’ve been fooled by these alt-right fake news outlets because they inform the people about the general contradictions of society. Taking issue with the conditions produced by the current system, particularly without limiting them to their extent under the reign of Trump, has the benefit of not making it a fight about the current alt-right alone. As a strategy, this gives them a platform by assuming some kind of equality in terms of political legitimacy.
Even cancel-culture (while being perfectly okay morally, because it’s important to call-out and challenge alt-right narratives built on lies), is nonetheless a stop-gap measure like most single-issue campaigns, compared to those broadly intersectional multi-issue campaigns that unify the masses. The latter also refines the threat assessment of the masses in the direction of the state which has the most politically oppressive authority acting on the largest number of people.
It’s important to understand the alt-right’s cultural reproduction strategy depends on singling out a particular political or social identity and then subjecting them to their own self-projections, which most logical forms of reason would determine to be counter-intuitive if not outright bigoted. The alt-right claims anti-fascists are fascists because they are fascists. They claim BLM is racist because they are racist. They bash cancel culture, despite being founded and gaining prominence by calling-out the left. They claim leftists are sensitive snowflakes who need a safe space, yet they often become outraged and complain when they’re called out — even calling and depending on police to create a safe space when anti-fascists assemble to counter-protest their marches and rallies. In other words the alt-right’s disinformation/misinformation campaigns depend on singling out an identity, value, or belief and forcing rivaling political tendencies to meet them on their ground and respond.
Their strategic model is exemplified in another way by the cultural pipelines utilized by the alt-right. Rather than informing libertarians of the errors in their reasoning and logic as leftists have often tried, the alt-right tends to play into and cultivate their prejudices by facilitating and validating them. If alt-right news sources aren’t manufacturing outright lies, they have a knack for cherry-picking and presenting certain facts and data in ways that navigate around the truth. This strategy has influenced libertarians to think like the alt-right, attracting many in the alt-right into their movement — assuming they haven’t come to explicitly self-identify as alt-right. This strategy is applied towards the general public too, so much so that we even see liberals (albeit politicians like Joe Biden instead of average working class folks) mirror calls for prosecuting anarchists who have the freedom of belief under the first amendment.
BLM started having a greater impact in the spring when its direction became focused on the cause of community self-defense and abolishing the police, which has the broad, intersectional, and multi-issue appeal of being anti-state, anti-racist, anti-sexist, anti-police militarization, anti-police brutality, anti-mass incarceration, etc. position. It has the virtue of targeting and undermining the particular leading cause of black murders in the US and it succeeded in bringing about mass protests.
This doesn’t mean BLM shouldn’t focus on all the other dimensions and instances of racism as a general structure of oppression, or that anti-racism and anti-fascism aren’t about calling-out and challenging bigotted narratives, but those strategies alone, 1) aren’t necessarily convincing for those who are negligent or dismissive of the facts because they attempt to stand on even ground with those figures who don’t actually use facts, and 2) forget that broad mass unified movements drown out the alt-right’s bullshit with constructive projects and targeted goals. This means we don’t have to give them the time of day, which undermines a platform they might have used. And it also raises subjects that cause the masses to question and critically analyze the narratives and political agendas set out by the alt-right and thereby raise their consciousness. Call-outs, antifascist counter-protesters, etc. are all well and good but it’s a stop-gap measure that keeps the left and right effectively locked into this subcultural pissing contest because the alt-right can always play victim and rally people around their victimization when such mass movements aren’t in play. We stop the alt-right by taking on broadly intersectional multi-issue campaigns that pull the people away from their manipulative and hateful distractions.
It’s when BLM focused the cause on defunding the police that it had the most effect because it had a broad appeal that involved the masses in targeting the leading cause of black murders in the US, ie police forces. Similarly, the cause of community-self defense is having the effect of uniting masses against rogue street fascists and the political machinery of the state which fascists want to further appropriate.
For example, contrary to what the alt-right may want people to believe, political identity is the least stable identity they’re attempting to oppress and yet leftists currently seem to be the primary targets. This is because leftists stand in the way of their domination and oppression of those on the more general basis of race, class gender, sexual identity, etc. They peddle false caricatures of their political agenda, ideology, and personal character. The more leftists directly target them, the more we subject ourselves to their self-victimization strategy.
The alt-right — now more than before — needs direct antifascist opposition as fodder to produce and distribute their propaganda. The cause of community policing can serve the same purpose of protecting the left from the alt-right while producing the social infrastructure to protect the masses from the state. Don’t get me wrong, if the alt-right starts building the momentum that resulted in the kind of national protests that went on between 2017-2018 (anti-antifa, anti-sharia law, unite the right, etc.) then anti-fascists would have reason to focus direct action there, once again, but in the current situation, more broad community self-defense measures would have a greater impact against the movement by disempowering the prized goal of the alt-right: state machinery.