By Ekaterina Cabylis – Aug 4, 2023
The alt-right sometimes uses sneaky methods to promote their ideas without directly showing their extremist views. For example, people like Jordan Peterson may talk about controversial topics in a way that sounds academic and respectable. They might use coded language to appeal to certain groups without openly expressing extreme beliefs. They focus on divisive issues like gender pronouns and political correctness to get attention and draw people in. Some of them might act like they are being attacked or silenced, so they seem like defenders of free speech. They may also talk to or associate with groups linked to the alt-right, even if they don’t openly support extremist ideas.
The alt-right uses economic issues as a way to advance their larger goals, such as promoting white nationalism, xenophobia, and authoritarianism. They do this by manipulating people’s economic concerns to gain support from those who feel marginalized or dissatisfied with mainstream politics and socio-economic changes. Here are some tactics they use:
• Populism: The alt-right presents themselves as champions of the working class against the so-called elites and establishment. They use populist rhetoric to appeal to people who feel ignored or overlooked by traditional political leaders.
• Blaming Others: They often blame immigrants and other minority groups for economic problems, claiming that they are taking jobs and resources from native-born citizens. This tactic plays on people’s fears and prejudices.
• Identity Politics: The alt-right promotes a divisive “us versus them” mentality, pitting different social and cultural groups against each other. By scapegoating certain communities, they distract from larger systemic issues and fuel hostility towards vulnerable groups.
• Misinformation: They spread false information and conspiracy theories about economic issues and other societal matters. This misinformation aims to create confusion and manipulate people’s perceptions of reality.
• Online Radicalization: The alt-right exploits social media and internet platforms to recruit and radicalize individuals who are frustrated with their economic situation. Online echo chambers reinforce extremist views and isolate followers from alternative perspectives.
• Co-opting Legitimate Concerns: They may co-opt legitimate economic grievances, such as income inequality and job insecurity, to attract followers. However, their proposed solutions often serve their extremist agenda rather than addressing the root causes.
• Authoritarian Messaging: The alt-right sometimes advocates for a strong, centralized authority to address economic problems. This message resonates with individuals seeking quick and drastic solutions to complex issues.
Both the far left and far right criticize neoliberal globalization and its powerful leaders. When fascists reject liberal individualism, it is in the name of a vision of national unity and ethnic purity rooted in a romanticized past; when communists and socialists do so, it is in the name of international solidarity and the redistribution of wealth.
The horseshoe theory, which suggests similarities between the far left and far right, isn’t backed by historical or factual accuracy. Yet, some commentators with centrist views continue to discuss it. This allows them to criticize the left while distancing themselves from the far right. In history, centrist liberals in various countries have often used this theory to discredit the left while disassociating themselves from any connection to the far right.
Centrists are those who claim to support civil rights but are hesitant or unwilling to take meaningful action to address systemic racial injustice. It allows those in the centre to discredit the left while disavowing their complicity with the far right.
Malcolm X viewed them as people who wanted to maintain the status quo and avoid making significant changes to the existing power structures. He believed that centrists were often more concerned with preserving their privileges and positions of comfort than with challenging racial oppression.
It’s essential to be cautious and critically think about what these people are saying, as not all controversial figures are necessarily part of the alt-right. We should look at their words, actions, and who they associate with to understand their beliefs better and avoid falling for their sneaky tactics.
Ekaterina Cabylis is a Canadian author, graphic designer, advocate for decolonial education, and collaborator with the Rise Up Initiative. With a profound commitment to critical thinking grounded in Marxism, Ekaterina supports decolonial sovereignty through creative endeavors. Ekaterina is also a self-published author and illustrator of "Community," children's literature addressing class struggle. They have contributed articles to MR Online and Orinoco Tribune, actively promoting social change and equity.
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