Aber im Ernst: Breitbart startet tatsächlich, derzeit als Facebook-Seite (https://www.facebook.com/breitbartnewsDE/: „zur Stunde werden wir heftig von linken Hetz-Aktivisten angegriffen und sogar von Systemmedien wie RP ONLINE diffamiert. Aus diesem Grund haben wir uns unter anwaltlicher Beratung dazu entschlossen heute um 16 Uhr hier eine Stellungnahme zu veröffentlichen“) und gleich mit gefälschter RP-Online-Meldung: „Das rechtspopulistische US-Nachrichtennetzwerk 'Breitbart' bereitet den Start in Deutschland vor. Dabei schreckt es aber auch nicht vor Falschmeldungen zurück. Die angebliche Facebook-Seite von 'Breitbart Deutschland' hat einen Artikel von RP ONLINE geteilt - aber Foto, Überschrift und Beschreibungstext vollkommen verfälscht.“ (Die Schizophrenie einer Meldung von RP-Online über eine Breitbart-Fälschung einer RP-Meldung über eine gefälschte Breitbart-URL ist mir bewusst. Moderne Zeiten halt, Fake-Ception.) Die FB-Seite war ebenfalls Fake und ist mittlerweile gelöscht, war eine Aktion von Hooligans gegen Satzbau.
Das Infame liegt darin, dass man den Unsinn immer wieder zurückweisen muss, obwohl die uralten Tiraden nur noch langweilen. Die Bombardierung Dresdens gegen Auschwitz aufzurechnen, wie es Rechtsradikale in den 1950er Jahren schon taten, ist wenig originell, war schon immer falsch, dient aber als Rezept, wenn man dumpfer Wut gegen die Kanzlerin, die Obrigkeit, die kulturelle Vielfalt unserer demokratischen Gesellschaft oder der Angst vor Fremden Ausdruck verleihen will. Wie es im Inneren des Verweigerungsvereins AfD zugeht, lässt sich an solchen Beispielen leicht zeigen, und ebenso, wie gefährlich die Tricks der Demagogen für die Demokratie sind: Als Verweigerung historischer Tatsachen, als Aufkündigung des demokratischen Werteverständnisses der Gesellschaft, als Kampfansage gegen Toleranz und Solidarität.
Mit dem Auftrumpfen hat es aber nicht das Bewenden. Kalkulierte Wahrheitswidrigkeit gehört zum Handwerkszeug der AfD-Propaganda wie Diskursverweigerung und Denunziation demokratischer Institutionen und ihrer Repräsentanten, sowie der Medien, die durch eine Gegenöffentlichkeit von Verlautbarungen in die hermetischen Echokammern der Anhänger ersetzt werden sollen, während die „Systempresse“ instrumentalisiert wird zur Generierung von Aufmerksamkeit durch Provokation, über die berichtet werden muss. (Übrigens: „System“ war das Schimpfwort der Nazis bei der Zerstörung der Demokratie der Weimarer Republik).
spOnline: Trump-Hochburg West Virginia – "Endlich setzt es mal richtig Arschtritte": „jetzt krempelt Trump eben Washington um. 'Genau so wollten wir das. Trump gibt uns Hoffnung', sagt Bürgermeister Serafino Noletti. 'Endlich setzt es mal richtig Arschtritte und nicht nur sanfte Klopfer', sagt Armeeveteran Richard Ojeda, der an der örtlichen Highschool Führungsseminare gibt: 'Wir müssen uns jetzt mal wieder um uns selbst kümmern.'“
Tagesschau.de: Trump-Wähler – "Er macht alles richtig!": „An fast jedem Haus, in fast jedem Vorgarten weht eine amerikanische Flagge. Daneben die 'Vote for Trump' oder 'Make America great again'-Schilder. Die haben einige einfach stehen lassen. Sie sollen zeigen: Hier ist man stolz auf dieses Land. Und auf Trump. 'Wir stehen voll und ganz hinter ihm', sagt Joe Donnelly. Er ist sehr zufrieden mit Trumps ersten Amtshandlungen, befürchtet aber, die würden oft absichtlich falsch verstanden oder falsch dargestellt: 'Es ist doch kein generelles Einreiseverbot für Muslime! Es geht nur um Länder, die schon Präsident Barack Obama als Terror-Quelle eingestuft hat.'“
Kellyanne Conway, a senior adviser to Donald Trump, has come in for criticism and ridicule after blaming two Iraqi refugees for a massacre that never happened.
Conway, the US president’s former campaign manager who has frequently faced the press to defend his controversial moves, cited the fictional “Bowling Green massacre” in an interview in which she backed the travel ban imposed on visitors from seven Muslim-majority countries.
Interviewed by Chris Matthews on MSNBC’s Hardball programme on Thursday evening, Conway compared the executive order issued by Trump in his first week in the White House to what she described as a six-month ban imposed by his predecessor Barack Obama.
This claim has been debunked by commentators who have pointed out that the 2011 action was a pause on the processing of refugees from Iraq after two Iraqi nationals were arrested over a failed attempt to send money and weapons to al-Qaida in Iraq.
Bannon's prominence in the first 10 days of the Administration--and the scenes of confusion and disorder that are his disruptive hallmark--has rattled the West Wing and perhaps even dismayed the President. According to senior Administration officials, Trump hauled in some half-dozen of his key advisers for a brisk dressing-down. Everything goes through chief of staff Reince Priebus, he directed. Nothing flows that hasn't been scheduled by his deputy Katie Walsh. "You're going to see probably a slower, more deliberative process," one official told TIME.
Still, Bannon possesses that dearest of Washington currencies: walk-in privileges for the Oval Office. And he is the one who has been most successful in focusing Trump on a winning message. While other advisers have tried to change Trump, Bannon has urged him to step on the gas.
Both of these images, the orderly office and the glorious crusade, have genuine appeal for the President. And they will likely continue to pull him in opposite directions. By marking Trump's first days so vividly, Bannon has put the accent on Trump the disrupter. In that sense, as one veteran Republican said, "It's already over, and Bannon won."
Bigger and more professional than social media operations of rivals including former Economy Minister Emmanuel Macron, her web machine stands alone notably due to the ruthlessness of its negative campaigns, and the fact that so many “global populists” are willing to amplify them online.
Its epicenter, known as l’Escale (“The Stopover”) to insiders, lies in a tony apartment building in western Paris, a short walk away from the Place de l’Etoile (POLITICO was offered a tour before being told one would not be possible). There, amid batteries of Apple computers, some 15 permanent web staffers work in a studious atmosphere to craft, package and broadcast Le Pen’s “official” campaign content, branded “MLP2017.” This group is tied to a wider circle of volunteers who relay the message and broadcast their own unofficial content.
But at the heart of the operation are the message-makers, people like Vardon. Described by his colleagues as the party’s “king of agitprop,” Vardon is a key member of the “Ideas and Images” unit in Le Pen’s presidential campaign. Operating in tandem with the web staff, this small group of senior National Front officials provides the fuel for the party’s social media engine, carrying out research, crafting memes and coordinating the party’s effort to discredit opponents.
According to Arendt, totalitarian leaders at the beginning of the 20th century based their propaganda on this assumption: "One could make people believe the most fantastic statements one day, and trust that if the next day they were given irrefutable proof of their falsehood, they would take refuge in cynicism; instead of deserting the leaders who had lied to them, they would protest that they had known all along that the statement was a lie and would admire the leaders for their superior tactical cleverness." - Hannah Arendt, "The Origins of Totalitarianism"
Trump has pushed this approach to new extremes; even though there are more fact-checkers than ever dedicated to exposing his blatant lies, the president's cunning tactic is to discredit these reports as coming from the established, "dishonest" media. Meanwhile, his movement's beliefs are backed by widely available alternative sources.
When she describes the rise of the dictator, which requires a mass not a mob, you could be reading a sociologist’s thesis about Trump supporters. “The term masses applies only where we deal with people who either because of sheer numbers, or indifference, or a combination of both, cannot be integrated into any organisation based on common interest, into political parties or municipal governments or professional organisations or trade unions. Potentially, they exist in every country and form the majority of those large numbers of neutral, politically indifferent people who never join a party and hardly ever go to the polls.”
In the past few days, two Medium posts that quickly seeped through the cloistered know-it-all sector of the internet have exemplified this weird form of politics. The first, “Trial Balloon for a Coup?,” is by Yonatan Zunger; the second, more forceful piece, comes from Jake Fuentes, and is titled “The Immigration Ban is a Headfake, and We’re Falling For It.” Both tread largely the same ground: They argue that the chaos and indeterminacy surrounding Trump’s ban on travel to the United States by anyone from seven Muslim-majority nations is actually a devious ploy. This is done through some very familiar techniques. Which positions are still unfilled at the State Department? Why did Trump’s statement on Holocaust Remembrance Day not make any mention of Jews? And why, of all people, was it Reince Priebus who defended that decision, when it’s not part of his usual job? And, like with the old Russia-watchers, these questions lead us to the idea that nothing is irrelevant, but that something monstrous is afoot.
Some of these conclusions are straightforwardly true. Zunger tells us that “the aims of crushing various groups—Muslims, Latinos, the black and trans communities, academics, the press—are very much primary aims of the regime”—but you don’t need a sophisticated analysis of bureaucratic sub-departments to know that; just basic reading comprehension. Others are a little more suspect. Trump and his cronies want people to protest, Zunger writes. “The goal is to create resistance fatigue.” They want judges to issue court orders demanding that people detained at airports are allowed to see a lawyer; it’s all part of their game, “testing the extent to which the DHS (and other executive agencies) can act and ignore orders from the other branches of government.” What looks like the beginnings of a breakdown in effective government, or an opportunity, is nothing of the sort. They planned everything, and everything fell into place.
The left is no stranger to this kind of defeatism, and it’s not hard to see why. Capitalism is omnivorous and polymorphously perverse; today’s revolutionary slogans are found on tomorrow’s Coke cans. Radical demands—the emancipation of women, the liberation of sexuality, the expression of cultural difference—have a tendency to end up being shallowly incorporated into an existing order, suckered up by a vast and shapeless amoeba that keeps squelching disastrously across the world as if nothing had happened. Right-wing politicians and right-ish editorial boards now honor Martin Luther King Jr., a small-c communist and big-h Hegelian, and try to claim him as one of their own: a preacher of hard work, personal responsibility and subservience to the all-conquering devil-god. If you look backward from the state of the world today at all the heroic resistance movements that have failed throughout history, it’s easy to think that this was all part of the plan.
Much of this is true, but its effects can be paralyzing. We’ve fucked up so much that it’s made us afraid of victory; faced with an enormous and implacable enemy, there are people who are now convinced that its power is infinite. Whenever it looks like the reactionaries have massively over-reached themselves it’s just part of a larger plan, one that we can’t see. If Steve Bannon’s pants fell down tomorrow and he tottered crying into a muddy pond, there would be someone ready to announce that actually, this made him even more omnipotent than he was before.
But the pathology that’s animating these viral conspiracy theories is different. It’s a determinism of a far more granular sort: It assumes, quite improbably, that the Trump team knew exactly what sort of thing would happen after their every move, that they were only testing out the details. As if Jared Kushner could see through time, as if Stephen Miller could read our thoughts. Its universe is one that’s programmable. To adopt their own hermeneutic stance: What’s really going on, underneath all the layered lies, and what little puncta might give it away? The most notable clue here is that neither Zunger nor Fuentes are political analysts or journalists or academics or even civil servants. Instead, both come from the tech industry.
Zunger is on the privacy team at Google; Fuentes was behind LevelMoney, an app since acquired by Capital One. They belong to a particular class, with a particular way of looking at the world. Silicon Valley doesn’t really approach politics as a sphere of competing social interests, a space in which people have the ability to make collective demands and collectively alter the conditions of their existences, but as a system—something with an input, an output and reams of complex programming in between. Whenever the tech world turns its attention to politics, there’s always the hint of this nerdish fascination for system: an inattention to what politics actually is or does, but a fetishization of efficiency, the latent notion that all these 18th-century structures really should just be replaced with something you can download on your phone.
The forms of physical force that served against neo-Nazis in the street in the 1980s are harder to deploy against the contemporary suit clad neo-Nazi holding a conference with professional security details, or a position in the White House. It will be an uphill battle to beat the alt-right in the dromological battlefield of social media resonance. For one, fascism lends itself to meme form, as fascist form itself purports to give a simple solution to a complex problem; memes aren’t inherently fascist, of course, but their reductive format is well-suited to fascist content. Leftists have reductive phrases and catchphrases, too, and no one would diminish the popularity of Birdie Sanders. But weaponizing meme form is, I believe, easier for a political project that itself takes the form of reduction and over-simplification.
The antifa task, I believe, is not to make better memes, but to expose the fascists behind the Pepe avatars, reveal their connections, and chase them away. Committed neo-Nazis deserve no more privacy than they deserve public platforms, or safety, even though antifa groups have been known to grant second chances. “We’ve had success with this tactic, and have gotten people to leave groups who did not want to be publicly shamed,” the NYC Antifa organizers told The Nation. “One guy’s boss was Jewish and he didn’t want it known he was working with Holocaust deniers. We took him off our website after he promised to leave the group he was in. We believe second chances are important—our goal is to get people to leave racist and fascist movements.”
1 Copy the Tea Party
2 Play Hardball in Congress
3 Look to Cities and States
4 Learn From History
5 Use Vivid Language
6 Revamp the Democratic Party
7 Reinvent Labor
8 Utilize the Courts
9 Organize a Moral Resistance
10 Don’t Give In to Despair