i really hate expanding on twitter drama since i’m trying to get my head around some heavier stuff lately, but there are some issues from a recent episode that i think are worth expanding on.
so a few days ago, i made this tweet after i saw DeRay McKesson’s in my feed (i’ll get to the reason for my emphasis here later):
quite honestly, i was surprised at the backlash i received. i have not hidden my criticism of McKesson over the last year, that i myself have tweeted or retweeted coming from other comrades, and i’ve included commentary on his vague political positions in my own writing:
additionally, there was not a peep from his supporters against me when i posted this now deleted tweet in February:
many complaints revolved around my obsessiveness with him because i hate him, i hate black people, and that “people change their views, get over it”. i’m not going to rehash every predictable response and interaction i went into very generously — my media feed on my twitter account has some screencaps and readers can search back on my timeline from the 16th/17th for more gory details.
i would like to bring up however some of the more diffuse themes among the responders telling me to shut up. my questions and criticism were
- fascinating (in the supposed lengths myself and others went to in trying to discredit him)
- reaching (this was perhaps the most disappointing considering how obvious the problems are here with a tweet that was only a year old prior to his rising status)
- part of a larger agenda
- i needed therapy
- and prozac or other drugs
- i was too tired or fatigued to carry on
these apparently amused genius, avowed individualists of the best pedigree thought themselves very astute for observing us like lab rats. this identification and alignment with the bourgeoisie is in part due to their media’s repetition of strange theories and the strange people who have them. as @cuttlefish_btc put it in June, “never thought before to consider all of the bad-faith arguing
#onhere is an intentional assertion of power and display of contempt.” ego management — social networking can work quite well for these communication-killing purposes.
i don’t find it surprising considering the hum of these overt opinions in the background. unquestioning acceptance is and should stay the norm, and in fact the more one [learns to] accept the “official stories”, the more rational and superior they are to “conspiracists” who, even with their only means of expressing themselves being networked social media accounts that remain relatively narrow in reach by design, are “as dangerous as ISIS”. here is David Cameron on extremists and their conspiratorial worldviews, and i find it particularly interesting that he cites people who have been influenced by “preachers” in non-violent agitation to make the sum of 2 + 2 equaling 6.
the actual extremism Cameron expressed is creeping into more and more rhetoric on all fronts that replaces thought with mandated correct action. within that contains the impetus for driving a pseudo-politics of irrationality that doesn’t even recognize community let alone one’s responsibility to it — a new hue of self-infinitization has been unleashed in the online milieu, incubated since the Weimar republic, perfected in an aesthetically postwar america that has never fully denazified. Cameron’s sense destroying spiels are no different than this shallow debating of what “debate” is:
my following response is to his rebuttal that he does not belong to an official organization or institution:
@OhHeyJacob went as far to claim that my quoting him was as “anti-debate” as his initial tweet! quite amazing — those with dissenting views from the avatars backed by big, imperialist organizations and outlets have responsibility toward audiences and communities, but those who toe the line do not share in the same. within this realm of supposedly leveled discourse, our individual, snowflake-y subjectivity prevails even if it by default supports the status quo. after all, according to Jacob, who can really tell? i’m simply “saying that”, as if McKesson’s claim can be better judged than my own for doing the same (at a time when preserving social status is critical for him).
this Jacob felt slighted that i posted his tweet the way i did, but he obviously meant for it to be seen as quickly as possible once McKesson issued his fake apology that, for myself and others, did not signal that he had actually, meaningfully changed his views from two years ago. but unequivocally it had, according to his many supporters who repeated “case closed” “end of story” “that’s it, period” to the dissenting. is that enough to consider us as part of the limitless horde of extremists?
in the following video, the Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee (complete with its twitter handle on his name plaque!) describes how the fringe who wouldn’t otherwise have outlets that take their views seriously have the ability disseminate their own. he asks the panel how Russia Today selects their experts, and Liz Wahl takes the lead. she nasally drones on about how they choose any “conspiracist”, whether they be far left or far right, at random — even from the internet! — that supports their agenda.
it provides a place for these people, a place where these people can congregate and feed off of each others’ biases. it is almost like a community, that is almost like a cult, i would say — that is formed online, and they mobilize, and they feel like they’re part of some enlightened fight against the establishment […] they find a place where they’re heard, and they find a sense of belonging, they find an outlet, they find a — platform, where they can voice their deranged views.
cults are strange, they’re presented as fascinating aberrations from an otherwise perfectly functioning society as much as pornified “anti”-Nazi films are in the western imagination that separates benevolent american fascist imperialism as a wholly exceptional entity compared to that genocidal regime. Wahl denounces the far left and the far right which serves to group “radicals” from “either side” as threatening to the imaginary, respectable copacetic center, and it is obvious that these nativist themes resonate throughout the controlled progressive milieu. all at once her simply “saying so” dissolves the reality of the cultishness she is immediately surrounded by.
since i’m sure our esteemed social scientists are well above being influenced by anything going on in parliamentary quarters, it’s worth taking a look at the propaganda surrounding the ISIS brand. the headlines Edmonds covered in this latest podcast i linked focus on a few themes that are important:
- ISIS is the largest terrorist network on the globe; their expanse is limitless
- they have infinite resources and money
- they must be eradicated in any corner they may be found in
- you don’t know who could be in ISIS, it may be your presumed unsuspicious neighbor, etc
what happens when brands collide under imperialist hegemony? well it’s further secured to be sure. it’s just stunning to see the progressive sort so seamlessly blend with themes of eradication at this point, and i think this was evident in some of the responses i received. regardless of the possibility that many could have been from generated accounts, these memes, clips, and bytes of ideas create information cascades that even the casual (disgusted) observer can witness around any news story that goes “viral” — ie that is carefully leaked to correctly branded outlets that have some aesthetic credibility. they come from seemingly nowhere and are sold as “organic” occurrences.
professional activists, whether they are conscious of their roles or not in being put at the fore to represent movements both online and off, are integral to this process especially within the realm of twitter. in our advanced postmodern society where information as commodity moves at such high velocity, security itself disappears and this includes the security in trusting one’s own ability to critically think and form opinions. progressive participants and viewers who do not always have the ability to follow the entirety of dialog around figureheads and possible criticism thereof are drawn in by the language that appeals to their worldviews ostensibly in want of greater “justice”, whatever that is. NGOs and their various organs rely on people in the spotlight who can shape and help inform these cascades that further their causes, their reasons for existence in managing expectations of equality, policy expectations, and the like.
when trying to work out the mechanics of the dissolution of positions and principles in my head, i often find my mind swimming in circles. of course this is no accident. “it happens because it happens” — because of the structures put in place by those with the actual infinite resources who demonize the dissenting as if we are to be eradicated like gnats. vagueness in politics and curated mixing of keywords work on twitter because of the ability PR machines and their reps have to make overall imperialist support look incidental.
there is quite a bit of worthwhile criticism of McKesson out there, much of it that goes beyond simply what he can be credited with tweeting, which begins to appear symptomatic of his prior affiliations once seriously considered. examples of the careerism that is becoming more apparent within the BLM organization we are presented with online is linked toward the beginning of this post, in Tarzie’s excellent piece “Meet the New Police Reform Bosses”. these things are critical, and they quash the ridiculously individualized charges of racism against McKesson when it is understood that he is being boosted by Glenn Greenwald among others who obviously work to keep white petit bourgeois progressives and libertarians in his thrall.
i want to highlight my frustration with how easily swept aside the actual content of his tweet was from one year prior to his promotion as an activist who helped make Ferguson matter. in this NYT profile that is not the first, he and others read their tweets from over the past year, but someone such as myself, seeing this 2013 tweet in my feed, was digging, presumably desperate and easily accused of “jealousy” by the personality cultists. look: i do not envy anyone promoted to stardom in this way. i have no aspirations to play a role that is obviously warranted as being at “the top” — why should any movement for justice have such a thing opportunistically situated in the spectacle? i can even sympathize with those who have no other options and are propelled to such heights, but unchecked, inflated egoism is a drug i’d rather leave alone.
yes, i am obviously not alone in having had terrible opinions at one time or another. the internet allows for those interested to build horrifying profiles of nobodies completely out of context to permanently bury them with, and not only metaphorically. the problem with being bought and paid for at these higher levels is that the masters have you, and they can make you do terrible things in order to keep your status and at times your life. how is this phenomenon of worship and personality cult construction in an age where it is the norm principally guarded against?
Glen Ford has provided us with some insight on that recently. i am appreciative of his analyses in general, in how he helps me sharpen my focus, elucidating the lessons we should still be starkly aware of from leaders past and present. in this discussion, what hit me most is twofold: his reminding us of Malcolm X’s example in how he related his political growth, development, and understanding from the field, from within the struggle in its material context — a leader on the ground versus from an appointed position on high; secondly, this dovetails with Dr King’s call for direct action, the creation of crises which stem from the conscious realization of danger from the state that must be administered to urgently.
we’re not seeing this from the appointed heroes, and it’s more than just me asking what is next. the only crises online at least lately are the scrambling by supporters to shut up any critic they can using a checkmark system of oppressions that should prevent them from speaking at all, as if i or any other disparate critics could wield such power, all things being equal, against those with the empire’s mouthpiece making them wider known to more than just black working class audiences. the infantilization of someone who was born quite a few years before 2013 with ominous professional experience and dismissal of what establishment-approved brand- and ego-making means in the names of the imprisoned and executed are tenets of structural racism.
that being said, the pushback from supporters between now and earlier in the year combined with the constant browbeating from the political class means that dissent is widening in its scope, or else the ISIS branded threat would not be so useful. the internet is the prime front in this battle when activists on the ground who have just started their journeys, such as James Elvin Alston III who was recently executed at just 23, are mercilessly taken out before greater organization can begin. the state’s mercenaries are everywhere, and their reach must be eradicated, including in the minds of those dedicated to seeing another world. as i’ve said before, complete control of conscious activity is the ultimate property at stake here.
what do we have to look forward to with the ongoing clamp down of the internet? it gives me optimism all the time, even through the tiring informational battlefield reds, anarchists, and antifascists should be responsible for in participating if they can. can anyone link me in the comments as far as recent news in what Google and the various intel contractors have planned? much appreciated.