Something that has pissed me off often both last year, and this year, is when news sites have been taking things out of context, and posting it as fact. This is stuff that has happened on the left, and on the right. News writers are so ready to vilify people using poor examples. One of the biggest targets of this has been Felix Arvid Ulf Kjelberg, A.K.A. PewDiePie.
Felix has been known to make Hitler jokes in his videos, and those clips have been used against him, trying to write the narrative that he is a Nazi. This is not true. Everybody has made fun of Hitler, because belittling someone so evil allows us to not be afraid of him, that he cannot hurt us from beyond the grave.
Unfortunately, if you have over 50 million subscribers, and are an internet celebrity, making those jokes apparently makes you a bad person. Never mind the millions you’ve given to charity. Never mind that you were able to help people worldwide. If you make a joke about Adolf Hitler, or his views, SHAME ON YOU!
At least, that’s what the media has been saying about PewDiePie.
It has gotten to the point where even in his video calling out the media for taking things out of context and using it against them, that the media in fact takes a joke from that video, out of context, and uses THAT against him. Imagine if someone were to take a quote from you out of context, and use it to label you as racist, homophobic, etc. Is that fair in any way?
The worst, I find, is with the Fiverr incident. Felix wanted to test what would happen if he were to ask outlandish requests from the people at Fiverr. One of which was a joke against Keemstar, who’s notoriously famous for calling his friend Alex the “N” word.
Because he is known for this racial slur, Felix wanted to take it a step further by making it look like Keem endorsed two guys to hold up a sign saying “DEATH TO ALL JEWS.” To even Felix’s surprise, the website did not filter the order out as a troll request, and so the video got made. Nearly costing those people their jobs after the video went up.
It was a prank against Keemstar for his past racism, but news articles don’t report that. They report that he was trying to spread hate against Jews.
Because of these edited articles slamming Felix, accusing him of being anti-semetic, and potentially a fascist, it causes people outside of his circle to believe the lies against him. To the point that J.K. Rowling believed and shared the fake news, even though in her Harry Potter books she created the Queen of Fake News: Rita Skeeter.
By changing the narrative of his videos to portray him as a Jew hating fascist, this has cost Felix his partnership with Maker Studios, as well as his second season of Scare PewDiePie. They’ve also slandered his name, causing potentially millions of people to think badly of him, over a lie. If I had never watched PewDiePie in my life, I would’ve believed these lies.
When people are saying that you can’t trust the media, and that there’s too much “Fake News,” this is one of the biggest contributors. Twisting, and manipulating what people said to cause a stir, and get yourself some clicks. But as the story of The Boy Who Cried Wolf goes, the more you lie, the less likely people will believe you when you speak the truth.
Ironically, these same news websites who slander Felix have never reported on YouTubers who’ve faced rape and paedophilia accusations. I’d think that would be more pressing compared to one guy making risque jokes. But I guess if they’re not the #1 most subscribed YouTuber, then those stories probably aren’t worth it.
Those on the left represent a threat to capitalist hegemony, whereas those on the right do not – in the above picture and on the political spectrum. You see the same disparity regarding the number of (and responses from) cops between the Occupy movement/Black Lives Matter and the Tea Party bullshit; one set of movements is challenging a dominant paradigm that the system is built around (white supremacist capitalism), while the other is pushing for further entrenchment into said paradigm. The Tea Party challenges nothing (“don’t tread on [the capitalist bosses]”); Occupy and BLM hint at a resurgence of leftist movements, and the establishment (yes, the capitalists and the state) doesn’t like that.
1. Debating fascists doesn’t work. What I see repeatedly from one post to the next is how eager they are to do interviews or sit down with reporters. They openly ridiculed journalists and boast that the press has grown their movement by “exposing” them.
The Alt-Right has grown, but they’re bleeding money fighting court battles and paying for venue security because of the atmosphere created by protesters. De-platforming works, and we can only accomplish that through continued mass movement pressure.
2. The Alt-Right is principally a middle class movement made up of fortunate fail-sons, small-time internet celebrities, white-collar professionals and fringe academics. It gets its financing from wealthy white supremacists in the business world.
They don’t have an economic program at all, let alone a pro-worker program. As a point, Hitler didn’t talk about class very much either. He left those appeals to the Strasser brothers, whose bizarre mix of blood and soil rhetoric with class politics only ever appealed to a small section of workers. The fascist mass base has historically always come from the middle and upper classes, and the Alt-Right is no different. The Nazis used hollow “anti-capitalist” rhetoric while trying to divide the working class on the basis of race and gender - thereby serving the interests of the 1%. And when they get into power, they abandon all trace of it because, as evident on the forums, they hold no real ideal besides general racism.
3. Nevertheless, the reason this should concern us is that the Alt-Right’s clumsiness on class is exactly how I hear a huge section of the Left talk about those same issues. Working people of all nationalities are suffering because of Corporate America’s policies - and we have to unite on our shared class basis if we want solutions. As the economy gets better for Wall Street and worse for workers, a lot of people will want radical change. If we stay in this cul-de-sac of neoliberal politics, they’re going to look elsewhere.
Capitalism is not a popular system. If you’re afraid to speak ill of it because you think it will make you look too radical, it’s time to get over that fear. We need to point towards solutions for the misery our class faces - no more vague crap or overly academic nonsense.
4. The Alt-Right aims to recruit former leftists in 2018. After most of the anti-war movement folded under Obama, the Alt-Right is trying to get some traction in this arena. By all indications, they’ve had some success recruiting among younger white veterans .
Most of all, they see a need to distinguish themselves from Trump as he inevitably betrays his more populist campaign rhetoric. From the tax bill to air strikes in Syria, the Alt-Right is increasingly critical of Trump. It’s all cynical of course. Their problem with the billionaire president is that he’s not racist enough for their tastes. But some of their rhetoric starts to sound a lot like what you’d hear on the Left.
5. Neoliberals in the Democratic Party can offer no solution to the misery experienced by working people, especially young people. All they can do is flounder around with the GOP’s corporate ghouls, creating constant political crises and eventually a power vacuum. The organized working class should step into that vacuum - not the Alt-Right - and we need to break from the bankrupt politics of neoliberalism if we want that movement to succeed. Otherwise the fascists will take advantage and fill he void themselves.
No, Bernie, most new wealth doesn’t flow to the top 1% because of corrupt politicians – it flows to the 1% because the 1% appropriates the wealth/surplus value created by workers via ownership claims and the inherent contradictions of the capitalist system. You got our hopes up there when you opened with “a rigged economy”.
A change in politicians will not fix this – only a radical change in the way we organize the economy will do that. And that means democratizing collectively-operated enterprises and institutions and changing the way wealth flows.
Conservatives claim they want to keep the wealth they earn as workers – that literally cannot happen under capitalism, as bosses can never pay a worker all of what they earn or else the boss’s position becomes obsolete (and indeed it already is). Liberals claim they want to fight inequality – that literally cannot happen under capitalism, as reforms can always be undone and the system is structured to produce massive inequality by default (all based on ownership that allows for wealth appropriation).
Actual socialism, socialism beyond “human-faced” capitalism, is a way out of these grotesque contradictions. We claim to love democracy, but it doesn’t occur to most of us to extend it to the economic realm; this flight of logic is perfect for elites to maintain power.
Socialism means autonomy over that which is personal and democracy over that which is social, all so that needs can be met and a wider breadth of freedom can be attained. If this vision inspires you, and you find yourself liking Bernie Sanders, I urge you to please (PLEASE) read more into socialism’s history and the intense following it has had throughout the world. I don’t need Bernie to be constantly quoting Marx to be satisfied with him as a mainstream candidate (though that’d be nice obviously), but pushing him further left in this regard is still very necessary.