Cyber-Utopians and the Alt-Right
In January of this year I published an academic for Christian Fuchs’ tripleC: Communication, Capitalism & Critique. The article looks at how utopian and cyber-libertarian discourses of online politics and freedom have colonised segments of the political left. The reverence of Julian Assange and Edward Snowden among left political activists framed the struggle for digital freedom against the state as the defining battle of our age.
In this context Kim Dotcom rose to prominence both in New Zealand and in this global political battle. His heavy handed treatment by the New Zealand government at the behest of American commercial interests served as a rallying cry for those concerned about New Zealand’s geo-political alliance with the NSA and 5-Eyes. Dotcom soon transformed himself into a freedom fighter and allied with the political left in the formation of the Internet Party. Able to spend lavishly on a web savvy political campaign Dotcom’s alliance with the Mana Party was supposed to catapult a youth-led left voice into political significance.
The experiment proved a spectacular failure. Dotcom has since gone on to declare his allegiance to Donald Trump and the alt-right. This academic article takes a close look at the Internet Party experiment in order to consider how utopian tech discourses presage a paranoid right-wing politics. I also offer a formulation of trolling as an analogue to the alt-right.