Propaganda and the Nihilism of the Alt-Right

Radical Philosophy Review 24 (1):21-46 (2021)
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Abstract

The alt-right is an online subculture marked by its devotion to the execution of a racist, misogynistic, and xenophobic politics through trolling, pranking, meme-making, and mass murder. It is this devotion to far-right politics through the discordant conjunction of humor and suicidal violence this article seeks to explain by situating the movement for the first time within its constitutive online relationships. This article adds to the existing literature by viewing the online relationships of the alt-right through the genealogy of propaganda. Through situating the alt-right alongside the genealogy of propaganda, the article offers new insights into the social isolation, increasingly extreme social and political positions, nihilism, and violence that have emerged within the alt-right. The article concludes by applying the lessons of the alt-right for online organizing across the political spectrum and argues that a class-based politics of the left is an important part of countering the rise of the alt-right.

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Cory Wimberly
University of Texas Rio Grande Valley

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