The Internet As A Breeding Ground for Fascist Ideology

Recent events prove we must confront the rise of racism and fascism being facilitated online.


Before now, many have been content to ignore the rise of Fascism on the internet. Image by @9mmballpoint on twitter.

Michael Dugan, Reporter

The internet is a wonderful little thing, isn’t it? It has the capacity to bring people from all over the globe together into one, virtual melting pot.

The Internet allows people from all over the place to form communities and real friendships in the name of common interests. Even me, someone once described as a walking Prozac ad, can find a sense of belonging within internet communities.

So what is the problem? What could have happened to call into question the benefits of the internet? Well, 49 people are dead.

A man walked into a New Zealand mosque and killed 49 people, live streaming the massacre and spouting off internet memes while murdering innocent worshippers.

It is important to not reduce these actions down simply to the “the depravity of man.” Most humans do not act without cause; however, that cause can be based on lies instilled within said human.

People do not do bad things because they are inherently evil, people do bad things because they exist within a system that rewards them in some way for committing those actions.

That system is at the core of racist/fascist ideology. More importantly, a dissolution with that system.

Most young men who become radicalized towards fascism are alienated by the promises of capitalism. They are sold a lie that promises them the earth and moon but leaves them with almost nothing.

Fascism, as we are using it, is an extreme adoration of the traditional, a hatred of all that is progressive, often to the point of violence.

This is where the internet comes in to play.

The internet, as wonderful as it can be, is also a breeding ground for fascism and fascist ideology.

It allows the advocates of fascism to easily deliver their message and flourish.

Reactionary websites like 4chan and Reddit communities like The_Donald give these alienated men a sense of community, a camaraderie online they don’t have in their offline lives. This sense of community, however, is predicated on racism, misogyny, and various kinds of LGBTQ-phobia.

It doesn’t start out that way. These reactionary groups don’t throw a person headfirst into fascism.

It starts with offensive jokes. Online memes that frequently portray ethnic and sexual minorities in a negative or derogatory light.

What these jokes do is normalize reactionary ideas, it allows fascist propaganda to be kept under the guise of irony and humor.

It takes the prejudices many white people have and makes them rise to the surface and, because most of these people have never known a minority as a person, they internalize these memes as fact.

Many of these memes also become a way for fascists to indirectly communicate with each other. The okay symbol, the Pepe frog, and now the “subscribe to Pewdiepie” memes have become ways that fascists can signal to their like-minded compatriots.

Another part of the online apparatus that breeds racism is YouTube. YouTube allows fascist pundits like Lauren Southern and Stefan Molyneux to spread racist and fascist propaganda to thousands. These videos are bathed in re-branded Nazi propaganda like “Cultural Marxism” and “Demographic Replacement.”

The internet itself isn’t to blame. The internet is simply the vessel through which fascists are able to spread their propaganda.”

This leads to the thing these communities stress the most, identity. These communities put a special focus on the identity of the white man and, more importantly, how it is being attacked.

Feminism is attacking their identity as a man, that the goal of feminism is to emasculate them. They see traditional masculinity as a part of themselves that feminists are personally trying to take from them.

They see the existence of non-whites as a threat to them because, to them, diversity dilutes white culture and the white race itself. They are worried that non-whites will one day out-breed white people and make them minorities themselves.

These beliefs, as I said, come from a place of alienation with society.

What these online communities do is give them something to hate, a reason for their disillusionment.

The combination of memes and videos that are, at times, literal Nazi propaganda create a sort of Stochastic Terrorism, terrorism that has no hierarchy but is a byproduct of socialization within reactionary communities that radicalize these disillusioned people into committing lone-wolf attacks like the ones in Christchurch or the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting in October.

And when these attacks happen, the rest of the fascist community denies association and puts on a little show of empathy for the deceased. This empathy is fake. In reality, most of them still stand, at least Ideologically, with the attacker.

The internet itself isn’t to blame. The internet is simply the vessel through which fascists are able to spread their propaganda.

So, what can be done? The answer is, unfortunately, uncertain. We need to confront the fact that there is a rise of fascism within our society that is being facilitated on the internet. There are enough of these fascist radicals within our society that we can’t just brush this aside. There needs to be action to deradicalize these people now before more people are killed, before these attacks become more frequent.