Angela Nagle Kill All Normies: the alt-right and online activism
This debate is part of Battle of Ideas Manchester.
Provocation lecture with respondents
In her new book, ‘Kill All Normies’ Angela Nagle untangles the new culture wars raging on the internet: on the one side the “alt right”, which ranges from white separatist movements, to geeky subcultures like 4chan, to more mainstream manifestations such as the Trump-supporting gay libertarian Milo Yiannopolous. On the other side, so-called ‘social justice warriors’, whose progressive, identity politics fuelled campaigns are often seen as little more than virtue signalling and also associated with closing down debate by claiming offence, using the therapeutic language of trigger warnings and safe spaces. Now, after the disturbing violence and racism in Charlottesville, which claimed the life of a protestor, it seems such battles are no longer confined to social media and internet culture, while alt-right style tactics, if not politics, has become internationalised. There are increasing concerns about ever more violent online hate speech, trolling of opponents and toxic discourse in UK politics across the political spectrum.
What is the significance of the broader alt-right phenomenon? Is this loose term – used to describe a disparate group of ‘anti-PC’ internet crusaders – helpful in understanding contemporary politics? How should progressives deal with the online culture wars: ignore, block, or join in?