I think lot of folks who are new to the left and don't have more than a passing familiarity with Ganergate and the rise of the Alt-reich are genuinely confused by why antifascists would come for the CTH/TrueAnon/Red Scare podcast scene.

This is why. ⬇️ https://twitter.com/gwensnyderPHL/status/1286673478381379585
Online antifascist research community has its own problems with misogyny, specifically a tendency to valorize a macho approach to coming for individual scary dudes while de-emphasizing the systems that enable their scary bullshit.
For a long time, women and trans folks have been sounding the alert that Gamergate (and the related rise of incel culture) a pretty foundational moment for the emergence of the alt-reich.
It's taken a while for that discussion to gain traction, in part because the macho emphasis on bringing down individual baddies makes it harder to talk structure, and in part because both Gamergate and incels were/are so specific and gendered in their chosen targets.
At this point, though, I would say most antifascists generally accept that the emergence of popular alt-reich fascism is largely the result of a Bannon-led effort to weaponize and explicitly white supremacize Gamergate culture (Milo played a key role in that effort, btw).
Bannon's other major political innovation was cleverly helping to create opportunities for Russian and other bots to be used in ways that capitalized on that Gamergate brigade strategy in order to exacerbate political division and seed/amplify misinformation.
I'm not a Russia puppetry conspiracist.

I think the Rachel Maddow approach to the subject woefully oversimplifies the issue of Russia and other bad actor bots, crafting spy thriller plots instead of naming what's really mostly sophisticated but not slick system algorithm gaming.
I do, however, think any analysis of the alt-reich, Terrorgram, or the dirtbag "left" that leaves out Russian social media gaming efforts misses a critical piece of the puzzle, for reasons I will get to in a second.
Gamergate had its roots in the brigade/raid culture of 4chan, and that misogynist hellscape very much shaped and shapes how Gamergate went down and how Nazi 8chan (and eventually Terrorgram) popped up in its wake.
The far right (namely Bannon) was able to manipulate Gamergate so effectively in large part because Gamergate owed its existence to 4chan /b/-style shitpost culture that was basically a shock content contest.
/b/ was basically an ongoing contest among trolls trying to prove that they were unshockable.

The contest rules were, post the most vile shit you can think of, and whoever gets upset loses.

Competitive ironydeadness, basically.
Gamergate 4chan's longstanding brigade culture and that /b/ competitive ironydeadness and weaponized them both specifically against women and trans folks.

It took specialized troll image board culture (think Kiwifarms) and leveraged it on a much larger scale.
Kiwifarms was basically a targeted harassment research institution, with its own complicated taxonomies of trolling strategies designed to destroy their targets, who they called "lolcows" (because they milked them for laughs).

They drove a number of targets to suicide.
Gamergate took those Kiwigate targeted harassment brigade strategies and deployed them at a dramatically larger scale, something Twitter's mass user base and lax enforcement made possible.
Bannon and Milo very successfully co-opted that scaled-up Gamergater culture by encouraging and selectively amplifying brigadings that specifically targeted trans, Jewish, and Black women.
The Leslie Jones/Ghostbusters brigading led by Milo was a pivotal moment for cementing the explicit white supremacization of Gamergate.

It lost Milo his Twitter account, but not before that mass brigade network had collectively embraced that racialized misogyny.
People in the United States, very much including casual leftists, generally have a pretty fuzzy understanding of political identity.

We often confuse political culture with political positionality.
The "libs"/"left" discourse among CTH fans is a great example of this.

They're part of a poltical identity that is built around Bernie Sanders, a liberal social democrat.
Bernie (as a candidate/elected official) has a positionality is left-leaning liberal on the econ axis and centrist liberal on the authoritarianism axis.

The US is authoritarian & economically right, so he's *relatively* left.

But broadly speaking, his positionality is liberal.
The political culture that grew around Bernie in the US *feels* left to people from here, and relative to the rest of US politics it is.

It's evolved a leftist cultural *identity,* even though its actual political positionality is left-leaning liberal.
There are a lot of different political axes, and not all of them map well onto a one-dimensional left/right spectrum.

For example, there are authoritarian economic leftists like Stalinists, and anti-authoritarian economic leftists like anarcho-syndicalists.
The farther left you go economically, the less mediation you want between workers & control of the means of production.

So, Bernie, who does believe in that kind of mediation in many ways, isn't actually nearly as far left economically as many new-convert lefties tend to think.
But again, the CTH type new left converts don't understand that, because they're wrapped up in an identity they think of as economically far left, even though their economic positionality is actually left-leaning liberal.
(And sorry, dirtbags, but fully-automated space Communism is not actually Communism or a positionality, it is just a failboy wet dream rooted in a fundamental misunderstanding of Marx, the nature of labor, and the production of value.)
What does all this have to do with Gamergate?

Well, when people are completely confused about how political positionality works, it's much easier for them to claim and assume identities that have nothing to do with their actual positionality.
So, if you're a post-Ghostbusters Gamergater adrift because MAGA is a little too cringe, swastikas are a little too spicy, and "ethics in gaming journalism" is starting to feel a little stale without Milo keeping things exciting...
It's not that hard to see how, without a solid understanding of the difference between political positionality and political culture, you could download an episode of Chapo hating on HRC and be like "oh wow, a new flavor of r-word dropping misogyny and ableism, I'm leftist now!"
It is extremely not a coincidence that CTH got its start as a Hillary hate project and took off just as Gamergate started to lose momentum.

CTH and dirtbaggery has always been about building a superficial "left" identity that has very little to do with actual positionality.
The message of the dirtbag left and CTH specifically is fundamentally a combination of NYT-style "white supremacist men are just hapless victims of the economy and we should center them" fascism denialism and Gamergate-style "uppity women need to be put in their place."
Their positionality isn't left.

Their positionality is a combination of warmed-over "poor, left behind white guys" faux economic populism that pretends like the failsons of the white cultural elite are victims of capitalist oppression of the working class.
It's a blithe co-option of worker leftist identity by beneficiaries of white supremacist, patriarchal capitalism.

They're not factory stock, they're lazy children of white New Yorker editors making millions selling the podcast equivalent of Kendall Jenner's Pepsi commercial.
Let's be clear: Gamergate was from the beginning a misogynist, racist far right online movement, a massive one.

The US left, including many antifascists, didn't notice/care at the time because it started out as more explicitly misogyny-forward than racism-forward in its focus.
Bannon was canny enough to see the racism and use his platform, money, and relationship with Milo to tease out the racism, gradually encouraging the brigades to swap out the dogwhistles for bullhorns.
It was very much an electoral ploy meant to channel young white male anger into Trump support, and it worked.

By the time the Gamergaters with the biggest racist bullhorns started to get deplatformed, they had already largely served their purpose with respect to the election.
While a lot of the racism-forward Gamergaters began to get banned and focus more on 4chan/8chan again than Twitter, the misogyny-forward brigaders increasingly found refuge in the dirtbag "left," and its various self-righteous cover stories for misogynist brigading.
They found a new political identity-- dirtbag "leftism"-- but they never changed their political positionality-- misogynistic, racist reactionary authoritarianism.
Class reductionists like the Jacobin crowd assured graduates of that failson brigade culture that they could keep their racism and misogyny as long as they dressed up their anger as class-based.
Meanwhile, uninformed and incurious podcasters, most especially CTH, spun this fantasy of a world where work just... didn't exist.

When feminists were like "um impossible, family-based labor and emotional labor," the dirtbags said "oh that doesn't count."
Basically they lifted the plot of WALL-E and were like "this is what justice looks like, and all women are withholding wine mommies who refuse to give it to you because they're mean liberals."

That is not socialism, y'all.

That is a reactionary temper tantrum.
If you don't believe it, look at Red Scare.

Those two women are the queen bees are in the dirtbag "left," with an overwhelmingly male reply guy cast fawning over them for being such edgy and transgressive cool girls.
They're essentially millennial pink knock-offs of Stephen Molyneux, Phyllis Schlaflys who drop the f-bomb.

Their entire schtick revolves around explaining how feminists made women barren and sad and mean, and now we're so bitter we won't let men have any money or fub as revenge.
You don't get to be a woman and be seen in the dirtbag left unless you're willing to be 1) pretty ornament saying the quiet parts of the misogyny premise out loud, and/or 2) willing to simultaneously decry "idpol" internally while playing identity poker with oppressed critics.
Amber, Aimee, Dasha, and Anna all have the same bit: looking pretty and filling in the gaps for the men on the most vile misogynist parts of the dirtbag "left" reactionary narrative so the boys can keep their hands clean.

They are walking patriarchal bargains.
Trans women and WOC are allowed in very much conditionally, and the condition is that they give the boys permission to be racist/misogynist/transphobic while aggressively and disingenuously deploying their identities to accuse the boys' critics of being racist and/or transphobic.
Both the dudes and the women in this little reactionary faux-left circle specifically and selectively target their women critics, a strategy that serves three purposes:
1) using the nuclear option destruction tactics of Gamergate to overwhelm, emotionally devastate, and ultimately silence and destroy those critics by using vile and libelous misogynist caricature to misrepresent them to hundreds of thousands and even millions of people as lolcows
2) to protect their grift by asserting their supremacy within the "left" with such overwhelming brute force that even ideological opponents will stay silent for fear of similar devastation and/or the humiliation of being perceived as being in league with the lolcows
And perhaps most importantly,

3) to feed the hunger of their post-Gamergate base for new women trolling targets to use to assert their supremacy over and punish for their perceived victimhood at the hands of women.
It's vile, it's toxic, and it is fundamentally an extension of the same densely misogynistic reactionary culture that birthed alt-reich culture and subsequent Terror Nazi culture.
If you're a woman who has experienced both alt-reich and dirtbag left harassment, you know that they are functionally nearly identical, right down to the Pepes and death threats.

I often have to scroll through profiles to figure out if a person trolling me is "left" or a Nazi.
Both the dirtbag left and the alt-reich are largely misogyny-forward in their reactionism, a tendency that has attracted incels and their attendant terroristically violent hate into the ranks of both.
You can't understand the rise of a terror-oriented, nihilistically "blackpilled" post-Unite the Right Nazi 8chan and Telegram terror culture without understanding how much of that terror culture grew directly out of long pre-existing existing incel terror culture.
Much of Terror Nazis culture and language-- "blackpilled" hopeless that change can result from anything but terroristic violence, the semi-ironic hagiography of "sainted" mass killers, "rape" as a rallying cry-- grew from the seeds brought to the alt-reich by incels.
Let's be extremely clear that after Bernie's defeat and the absence of any obvious replacement white male standardbearer, the dirtbag "left" understands itself to be in a moment extremely similar to the situation that the alt-reich found itself in 2017 after Unite the Right.
If you're familiar with incel culture, you can very clearly see its growing influence in these circles.

It's in Amber and Red Scare's narratives about mean, castrating feminists withholding sex, and in their reproductive biological determinism.
It's extremely there in increasing talk of "blackpill" accelerationism that darkly embraces another 4 years of Trump as a means not only to supposedly accelerate the fall of capitalism but to cruelly punish the women and BIPOC they blame for Bernie's loss in the primary.
There are plenty of us on the left (myself included) who supported Bernie, think the electoral is an inadequate means of accomplishing change, and believe dramatic action (uprising, general strike) is necessary and good.

That is not what I am naming here.
Blackpill (and the explicitly Nazi and antisemitic "clownpill," which is gaining traction in dirtbag circles-- a related meme is what caught a Aimee Terese her latest Twitter ban) is very much about embracing nihilism and focusing on inflicting pain on others.
It is very much explicitly rooted in incel terrorism.

It was originally a term used by incels to describe their loss of hope in pick up artists' promises that it was possible to dishonestly trick women into having sex.

It's about anger over a male entitlement denied.
Blackpill is a "fuck it, if I can't have it no one can" nihilistic embrace of violence by white men who imagine themselves to be victims despite all the privilege that remains at their disposal, because the women they believe run the world denied them sex they feel they are owed.
Blackpilled incels brigade, maim, libel, and kill women because they believe that women have wronged them by denying them sex and power by shallowly choosing to mate with more animalistic, less intelligent men.

(You'll be unsurprised to hear there's a racial component.)
Blackpilled Nazis brigade, maim, libel, and kill people because they believe that they live in a Jewish-controlled society that has wronged them in denying them sex and power (undermining the master race by encouraging white women to mate with "animalistic" Black men).
Post-Gamergate misogynist brigade culture-- both alt-reich and dirtbag "left" brigade cultures-- are extremely fertile ground for incel blackpill thinking, and this is never more true than in moments where external events (UtR, Bernie's loss) have created dispair and confusion.
Nazis, incels, and the dirtbag "left" podcast fanbase all mix freely within r/stupidpol and the online Red Scare and Cum Town fan communities.

The podcasts hosts themselves have a history of association with capital-N Nazis like Weev and Sam Hyde.
This is usually the point where someone chimes in to say "her der horseshoe theory," bc they think their podcast faves are far leftist and that I'm saying far left *positionality* horseshoes around to run shoulders with Nazism.

That's not the case.
It's not horseshoe theory, because these podcast hosts and their fans have NEVER been leftists in terms of their positionality.

They have always been positionally right reactionary heirs of Gamergate who fundamentally and grossly misrepresent the teachings of Marx.
Just look at the thousands of guys in my replies saying "that thread has too many words, I can't read that."

These are not serious readers or students of leftism.
99% of dirtbags have never read more than a wikipedia article about Marx.

Their understanding of Marx comes through a game of telephone, and the voice they listen to is deliberately distorting some parts and making up others wholecloth.

They follow a "Marx" that doesn't exist.
These post-Gamergate brigaders aren't that concerned about ideology, anyway.

All they want from ideology is a pretext for aggrievement and an excuse to harass women.

The imaginary Marx the podcast hosts invent for them about does all that just fine.
So no, it isn't horseshoe theory, because there are many political axes and these guys were never left beyond a watered down "i deserve the free stuff mommy won't let me have" gimme faux economic populism.

They'd be fine leaving other people out as long as they got theirs.
They are still not getting theirs, though.

There's no imaginary Bernie paradise on the horizon.

The incels are not getting laid.

There are still women on the internet.

They are furious.

Increasingly, they are blackpilled.
And because they have no understanding or contact with actual lived offline and authentic left organizing, culture, or tradition, they remain utterly convinced that they ARE the left, that the rest of us are imposter cops.
They think they OWN the left, even as they hold no actual leftist values and occupy a reactionary/authoritarian right and economically liberal positionality.

They feel entitled to eject us from the house of the left, to invite Nazis into that house.
They feel entitled to let that blackpill rage build up and burn the house of the left down.

They feel entitled to threaten to maim or kill anyone and especially any woman that offers resistance.
They and their podcast faves are politically incurious and blithely unaware of the digital landscape, so they'll happily absorb and regurgitate Putin bot network talking points about general election vote boycott and Assadist genocide denialism.
There are, of course, principled leftists struggling with Biden's candidacy and tankies who stan Assad, but that's not what I'm talking about.

I am talking about a Gamergate-style casual willingness to read bot disinfo as consensus uncritically.
If you spend enough time watching Terror Nazis on Telegram, it is impossible *not* to notice the existence of odd channels and users claiming to be from the United States and yet very clearly displaying language patterns that hint at Eastern Euro background.
It's impossible not to notice how they show up in discussions about Ukraine or push out content overwhelmingly focused on encouraging support for Assad (or discouraging support for the Nazis in Ukraine's anti-Russian Azov Battalion).
As I keep saying, these Putin ops are sophisticated, but not slick, and it isn't a coincidence they focus on Nazi terror community that just so happens to have the potential to use violence to deepen political rifts, sow chaos, and further destabilize the US.
Largely because of an (earned) paranoia about FBI infiltrators engaging in provocateurism to entrap Nazi terrorists, the terror Nazis (with two major likely exceptions) have become less and less susceptible to obvious Russian manipulation on Telegram.
The dirtbag "left" is younger than the alt-reich, has no terror history beyond its violent online threats to women, and has only just experienced its equivalent of a Unite the Right-style civic political organizing failure.

Unlike BLM, it thinks cops might be its friends.
As with the pre-UtR alt-reich, there's no real sense of high-stakes cost for a lack of paranoia about infiltration, so the dirtbags are extremely vulnerable and unconcerned about potential bad actor influence.
As reactionaries to liberalism, they (rightly) understand that liberal Russia conspiracies are overblown, but their reaction has been to wildly overcorrect in the opposite direction, rolling their eyes at the very idea of bots & throwing the doors wide open to bad actor ops.
So what we have with dirtbags is a group of deeply misinformed, violently misogynistic post-Gamergate brigaders with an increasingly overt incel presence, all of whom have suffered a crushing defeat of a political cause central to their identity.
It's a racist, violently misogynist, already ironydead and increasingly blackpilled group overwhelmingly comprised of alienated young white men with persecution complexes who are increasingly willing to openly endorse war crime, practice genocide denialism, and antisemitism.
In the wake of this crushing political defeat, these angry young white men are increasingly alienated not only from society but from any political practice tethered to offline community.

Without that offline component, their world is now socially untethered and anonymous.
Starting to sound familiar?

It should.

It has all the hallmarks of the moment that the alt-reich began to explosively transform from civic nationalism to outright accelerationism.
If the dirtbag "left" were truly positionally leftist, the situation would be different.

The problem is that, like the alt-reich, they have no actual uniting ideology beyond the sucking void of reactionary grievance.

They aren't leftists.

They just lifted the aesthetic.
Much like the alt-reich after the disaster that was Unite the Right, the dirtbag "left" is an angry, directionless, volatile, and confused white male collection of amoral grifters, violent opportunists, nihilistic trolls, "ironic" antisemites, and pseudo-intellectual con artists.
Their claims and pretenses of "leftism" makes actual leftists, including antifascists, uneasy in seeing and/or calling out the escalating danger they represent.

As with Gamergate, their misogyny-forwardness means sexism has blindered many to the threat they pose.
At this point, however, there is zero excuse for pretending that the grifter cast of the "dirtbag" pods aren't promoting a fash-inflected racist and misogynist pastiche of leftism that literally endangers our existence.
They mock police tear gas victims, lick cop boot, brag about committing literal war crimes, endorse fascist regimes.

They minimize the threat of Trump, joke about murdering Jews, spread antisemitic blood libel and brain disease narratives.
They launder far right QAnon and Pizzagate conspiracy into the left, copjacket labor organizers, demean mutual aid projects, and openly oppose not only intersectional feminism but feminism itself.

They associate with Nazis, post Hitler memes, and propose red-brown alliances.
They're trying to tear down and destroy the most prominent elected left-leaning elected woman in the country for the high crime of telling a GOP colleague not to call her a bitch.

They're associating with child rape legalization advocates, ffs.
They are showing every single marker of an accelerating dive into full-on endorsement fascism, and they are escalating their use of overtly violent rhetoric and threats against women while embracing the terror language of incels with open arms.
They are wide open to and stubbornly unwilling to acknowledge even the very existence of bad actor disinfo efforts on this, their primary platform, and they are spouting literally fascist pro-Assad disinfo as accepted "leftist" fact with increasing frequency.
Anyone who thinks bad actor ops weren't or aren't an ongoing part of encouraging and seeding "black pill" Nazi terrorism on 8chan and now Telegram is living in a fantasy world.

Of course actors looking to destabilize the US would eat up that opportunity.
But while old-school leftists and Nazis have developed a degree of fed-inspired suspicion over the years when it comes to ham-handed "have you thought about doing a terror" suggestions, the new-convert left is wildly confused about the look and smell of ops.
Those of us who are serious about the existence of a US left need to understand that the Trump administration could not thirst more for an opportunity to use a "leftist" act of terror as a pretext to round us up.

They were practically salivating after the Dayton shooting.
They are *already* defying federal court orders in Portland as they gas, shoot, and disappear protesters into unmarked vans against the express wishes of local government.

They are *already* pitching a rollout of this to other cities.
I would hesitate even to name the risk publicly, if I didn't think there was such a high probability of some disaffected dirtbag "leftist" continuing to escalate from violent online threats to physical offline violence against a perceived enemy, almost certainly a woman.
If we don't reclaim leftism and make it clear that we give reactionary racism, misogyny, and ableism no quarter, the dirtbag "left" is going to explode even more spectacularly in actual leftists' faces and very possibly be used a pretext to intensify this federal crackdown.
I have had to say far, far too many "I told you so's" in the last year and I would very, very much like for us to get our shit together and prevent me from having to say another one here.
The left should be so fucking embarrassed that we let this Gamergate faux-leftism ever take hold.

We compromised our values because we wanted Bernie, and now we're reaping the consequences.
These reactionaries have made so many women's lives miserable.

We need to clean up our fucking mess before more people get hurt, before they whip themselves up into such a misogynistically violent frenzy that this escalates into incel-style physical violence.
Anyone who considers themself a leftist and still keeps their head stuck in the sand ostrich-style on this is complicit at this point.

There's no excuse anymore.

Wake up and help us shut it down before someone gets killed.


The end.
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