How Online Trolls Pushing for Regime Change in Syria Helped Popularize Trump’s Attack on ‘Alt-Left’

How Democrats Used 'Alt-Left' To Demonize Progressive Critics

Counter demonstrators (dubbed the ‘Alt-Left’) photographing white supremacist at the entrance to Emancipation Park in Charlottesville, Va., Aug. 12, 2017. (AP/Steve Helber)

President Donald Trump has attempted to establish a false equivalence between neo-Nazis and the anti-fascist, anti-racist leftists who were most recently seen resisting neo-Nazis in Charlottesville, Virginia.

To do so, Trump has branded the anti-fascists as the “alt-left,” repurposing a term that was first popularized not by any Republicans or extreme right-wingers, but by liberals who loathe the left.

Several liberal websites have pointed the finger at prominent centrist Democrats for mainstreaming the “alt-left” smear to blame leftists for helping to elect President Donald Trump. But back in July and August 2016, well before prominent neoliberals like Neera Tanden and Joy Reid were leveling the term against Bernie Sanders supporters, “alt-left” was the slur du jour of a collection of online trolls that had banded together to advance regime change in Syria.

Members of this motley crew of interventionists used the term in systematic fashion to demonize the traditional anti-war left and anyone with left-wing credentials who challenged U.S. State Department dogma on countries targeted for destabilization and overthrow, particularly Syria.

Louis Allday, a PhD researcher at SOAS London, has detailed how interventionists trolls attempted to ruthlessly enforce the narrative on the Syrian war through online abuse and McCarthyite tactics of denigration. One of the key smears they rolled out in the summer of 2016, as the Syrian war reached its climax, has now been weaponized by Trump to delegitimize leftists.

In a stormy press conference August 16, Trump blamed what he called the “alt-left” for provoking the violence that rocked Charlottesville during the “Unite The Right” right-wing march on the city on August 12. The rally ended with a white supremacist terror attack in which a neo-Nazi plowed his car into a crowd of anti-racist activists, killing demonstrator Heather Heyer and injuring 19 more.

To be sure, there is no “alt-left”; it does not exist and no one on the left has laid claim to it. “Alt-right” is a brand conceived by white nationalist activist Richard Spencer to market racial supremacism in the world of digital media.

“Alt-left,” on the other hand, is an insult that was popularized in mid-2016 partly by a coterie of pro-war— or rather anti-anti-war — figures who have fanatically clamored for regime change in Syria, Libya, Venezuela and beyond. All along, they have attempted to flaunt their own left-wing creds.

These anti-anti-imperialist trolls have for years lobbied for regime change in Syria, just as they did in Libya before that, and have maligned socialists, communists and anarchists who oppose U.S. and NATO military intervention as “alt-left” in a deceitful attempt to conflate them with their mortal enemy on the alt-right. When members of this angry band of trolls can’t confront their targets directly, they have smeared them through a series of anonymous blogs and social media accounts, often with false allegations and personal attacks.

The following is an introduction to the collection of toxic Syria regime change trolls who helped popularize the term “alt-left.”

Michael Weiss: Weiss is an influential neoconservative pundit and CNN analyst and one of the most vociferous Western supporters of the Islamist extremist-dominated Syrian opposition. AlterNet’s Max Blumenthal has published a lengthy investigation of Michael Weiss’ long record as a neocon operative, which include hosting an anti-Muslim rally that attracted support from far-right Islamophobia industry leader Pamela Geller.

Charles Davis: A former right-wing libertarian turned anti-anti-imperialist who frequently writes articles and delivers grainy video rants condemning the anti-war left. He now works for ATTN, an online media startup that boasts arch-racist and Islamophobic HBO host Bill Maher as one of its top investors…..

Read the full article at Alternet. 

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This BBSNews article was syndicated from MintPress News, and written by Alternet. Read the original article here.