The traditional left establishment has been losing the rating game with the alt-right. To alt-right doyen Cassandra Fairbanks, those who identify with, organise for left causes are “hipster fucks” with no moral high-ground. She has famously hijacked the agenda to free Julian Assange and attributed the vacuum of left-wing solidarity with the captive publisher to an unholy alliance with the “deep state” entity. Evidently, though, this is a biased, flawed narrative. It derives from Machiavellian Weltpolitik strategies, methods of imposing power that seek to preserve one’s own interests, ones in which click-bait and half baked conspiracies are the reason d’état of the means to the ends of being the loudest – most damaging – voice in the Assange solidarity power nexus.
A more considered, refreshing response is needed, informed by critical thinking, but delivered as a fiery polemic. Broadly, the #Unity4J movement hierarchy functions by facilitating a forum that uses lateral, decentralised software, one which makes a congress of views possible. But this is the democratic sheen to a vanguard which represses an authentic range of varied, local perspectives. Characteristically, behind the façade of intense public discourse, #Unity4J draws on narrow power of a few self-elected pundits, augments their views on policy, maligns conflicting perspectives, blocks authentic diversity and equality and, characteristically for a cult, claims a monopoly on the “right” interpretation of the issues. Through its process of policing opinion, #Unity4J becomes a catalyst for a broader process of suppression precisely of the kind Wikileaks mission is to disrupt. If they were the Wikileaks warriors they feign, they’d be doing more to stimulate engagement between critics and decision makers, the former offering lively dissent. The outcome of such lateral, decentralised deliberation regrettably suppressed in #unity4J would be a protest powered by people empowered to stand up for their beliefs, hitherto repressed public interest issues stubbed out because the doyens care for transparency only when it suits them.
Thus while the #unity4J “leadership” not of the high state and are geographically disparate, they nonetheless constitute a self-appointed 1%, that is, an establishment, an elite, a form of governance that is neither new, or radical, and on a different axis to democracy. The theoretical approach best placed to explain the role of this alt-right vanguard freeriding off Assange solidarity is not my favourite, which Wikileaks enshrines, “Agonistic Pluralism.” It is pure “democratic” centralism, which explains why the “MUST READ/ESSENTIAL READING” is a Maoist sort of literature review. #Unity4J may well spend a lot of time trying to be an agent of conflict and antagonism against the high state. It is not. In so doing, it gives itself an aura of legitimacy while suppressing the multiplicity in political narratives for citizens who undertake “low” grassroots politics, often dispossessed of the real facts, and not interested in power.