Understanding the ‘alt-right’ as an assemblage

In a recent article on Jezebel, the Eidolon editor Donna Zuckerberg discussed the rise of the notorious hate movement now known as the “alt-right”. On the issue of tackling online abuse, she argued that “[t]he only way to understand the alt-right is to [stop] thinking of it as a single monolithic entity and realize that it is a fragile coalition of hateful ideologies, of deplorable men using the internet to perform white masculinity by playacting as Nazis to feed on our fear”.

The spectre of the alt-right has been the focus of many left-leaning and progressive interventions throughout the past year. It is both everywhere and nowhere at once, permeating all aspects of western culture while also establishing no firm or actual political identity. Zuckerberg writes that one of the problems of the movement is that it can appear formless and “hard to pin down”. At the same time, however, she insists that “its lack of a coherent and stable ideology is also a tremendous weakness, fomenting internal friction within the community, and may lead to it splintering completely”. What does it mean to embody a contradiction of such tremendous scale that it can be both a source of strength as well as the cause of one’s undoing? More importantly, how can we place this paradox in the context of the very real consequences of its normativisation, including racist attacks, policy-making and public discourse?

H.R. Giger – Die Atomkinder
H.R. Giger – Die Atomkinder

Continue reading “Understanding the ‘alt-right’ as an assemblage”

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The Memorial Gate-Crashed: On uses of the word ‘we’ and acts of political solidarity

On August 14th 2014, less than a month after the choking death of Eric Garner in police custody and just a few days following the shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown, there was a National Moment of Silence to commemorate the fatal victims of police shootings and police brutality across the United States.

Among the thousands that took part in the event, an organiser named Chanelle Batiste arranged for a vigil to take place in the majority black city of New Orleans at Lafayette Square, where she projected her voice to a crowd of over one hundred people gathered in memory of local names such as Robert Davis and Henry Glover. As she raised both hands in the air, she asked attendees to take part in performing the “Don’t Shoot” pose – a gesture that had become symbolic of Michael Brown’s plea for mercy just moments before he was fatally shot on suspicion of stealing cigarillos.[1]

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National Moment of Silence event in New Orleans – nefer | media

Continue reading “The Memorial Gate-Crashed: On uses of the word ‘we’ and acts of political solidarity”