The highly evolved, politicised, social industry-based apparatus of personal destruction

This is a disturbing and insightful piece from Richard Seymour. Highly recommend you subscribe to his Patreon if you haven’t already. He closes with the warning that it’s only “matter of historical contingency, lets say of the vagaries of uneven and combined development, that we do not yet have such a highly evolved, politicised, social industry-based apparatus of personal destruction in the UK” yet:

This matters. Harassment and stalking is a commercial and political strategy of the rightist mediasphere, from Guido Fawkes to Modi’s online armies attacking “presstitutes”, “sickular” intellectuals and “anti-nationals”. As the journalist Swati Chaturvedi has documented, certainly operates a centralised, top-down troll army, as a complement to his wider offensive against journalistic expression and to control cultural output in India. As with the trolling ‘black ops’ used by Duterte, and the ‘office of hate’ allegedly working out of Bolsonaro’s cabinet to intimidate the Supreme Court and opposition politicians, they work to intimidate, smear and incite against rivals. They also impart message discipline to a wider online following.

Those engaged in nationalist cyberwar are very aware that they are not engaged in a battle of ideas. When Bolsonaro acolytes accuse teachers of disseminating gay propaganda, the intention is that they be hounded out of their jobs, or worse. When Modi’s trolls call someone an ‘anti-national’, it is every bit as much a death threat as when Trump links Ilhan Omar to Al Qaeda. “It’s not about destroying ideas,” Olavo de Carvalho, Jair Bolsonaro’s top public intellectual once said, “but destroying the careers and the power of people. You have to be direct, and without respect—that’s very important.” But the efficacy of such efforts depends on authentic users feeling engaged and excited by the messaging of paid trolls.

Those engaged in nationalist cyberwar are very aware that they are not engaged in a battle of ideas. When Bolsonaro acolytes accuse teachers of disseminating gay propaganda, the intention is that they be hounded out of their jobs, or worse. When Modi’s trolls call someone an ‘anti-national’, it is every bit as much a death threat as when Trump links Ilhan Omar to Al Qaeda. “It’s not about destroying ideas,” Olavo de Carvalho, Jair Bolsonaro’s top public intellectual once said, “but destroying the careers and the power of people. You have to be direct, and without respect—that’s very important.” But the efficacy of such efforts depends on authentic users feeling engaged and excited by the messaging of paid trolls.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.