Finally, the difficult truth is being admitted:
This week, sexist and racist trolls have borrowed the tactics of the CIA and Scotland Yard and sent in agents provocateurs to spread disharmony among online activists. Using stock photos and the stolen information of real activists, users of sites such as 4chan started hashtags including #Endfathersday and #whitescantberaped that are deliberately designed to provoke sections of the social justice left into internal arguments.
Most of these trolls have posed as women of colour, whom they call “black bitches”. Other users have falsified racist tweets from prominent feminists and leftists, and created sock-puppet accounts to make sure the fake tweets are seen and condemned. Users including Shafiqah Hudson picked up on the scam, and identified at least 200 such accounts. Someone has gone to considerable effort to pull off a swindle intended to exploit the “weaknesses” of a movement that, despite a tendency to turn on itself, is growing in strength.
In the past five years, Twitter and other social media platforms have become key sites of cultural activism. From feminism to anti-racism and transgender rights, people have used microblogging sites to make their experiences visible, share stories of injustice, organise collectively and educate themselves. Hashtags such as #solidarityisforwhitewomen, created by Mikki Kendall, and #yesallwomen, created by user @gildedspine, have been enormously effective at making sure sexism and racism, including within the left, can no longer be ignored – at least, not if you spend as much time online as the authors of this piece do.
And so Laurie Penny outs herself as one such provocateur. Obviously: no one of her privileged position and background, let alone education, could ever actually have believed any of the things she’s been saying these past few years.
Her job is, I think, akin to that of the late Tony Benn. No one who inherited one great publishing fortune and married into another could possibly have believed what Benn spouted. The job of the Second Viscount Stansgate was, therefore, to make sure that if anything even mildly socially democratic looked like gaining public support to then move the discussion into some obviously insane socialist direction which then turned everyone off the milder action. So was the grand position of inherited wealth and fourth generation MPs assured.
I’m sure there are others out there too. And I take Ms. Penny to be one in her generation.
Glad she’s finally come out as they say. The pretense was looking threadbare, not to say ridiculous, already.