Activism & Organizing

Deplatforming Parler Will Have Consequences For Which We Must Immediately Prepare

Summary

We simply cannot be content to merely no-platform racists without also increasing our own telecommunication competencies. Doing so may win us the battle on Twitter today, but it will surely cost us the war they’ll start tomorrow.

From It’s Going Down:

Instead of appealing to large tech companies to deal with the far-Right, autonomous anti-capitalist and anti-colonial movements must create new internet infrastructure to deal with the threat of being pushed off of social media platforms ourselves, argues the Tech Learning Collective.

For now, such systems are relegated to the most extreme fringe. However, the more frequent and visible deplatforming actions become, the more attractive these more resilient alternative technologies will be to those who are deplatformed, whether they are on the political Left or Right. That means we need to be ready to grapple with the very real likelihood that deplatforming fascists like Trump and the white supremacists who flocked to Parler will not only serve to oust them from online public squares in the short term (a very good thing indeed), but over the long term will also inadvertently cause the more committed among them to learn to use some of the very same censorship-resistant technologies that were built to protect dissidents, journalists, and marginalized groups from them in the first place.

A future in which most Left-leaning activists are (still) on Twitter while most right-wing Trump cultists are using next-generation P2P technologies puts the Left, and only the Left, at the mercy of the neoliberal centrist establishment while simultaneously being unable to curtail the deranged misinformation fueling the fascists. That’s not a position from which we can effectively organize against either.

The fact is, the further we are from center along any political axis, the more important it is for us to adopt more technologically resilient tools. This means committing to learning about and using decentralized social media, anonymity networks, and encrypted messengers seriously. To do so, we’ll have to change some of our habits and take the time to practice using some new tools. Thankfully, that task is worth the effort.

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