Delve into danger
KEYNOTE // In the internet culture wars, the ascendant alt-right confronts a complacent left obsessed with identity politics. Has the worst of the internet become reality?
The heated culture wars of the 1990s are back – the modern battle ground is the internet. The rising alt-right, full of transgressive energy, includes everyone from obscure neo-reactionary and white separatist movements to geeky subcultures like 4chan to world-famous trolls and provocateurs. In contrast, lurking behind a wall of trigger warnings and no-platforming, the left looks like a reactive filter-bubble of retweets and struggle sessions. Will the casualty of these fierce and empty battles be democracy itself – and along with it any hope of engagement with the moral complexity of daily life?
Angela Nagle writes for The Baffler, The Atlantic and Jacobin Magazine. She is the author of Kill All Normies: Online Culture Wars From 4chan and Tumblr to Trump and the Alt Right, which was voted book of the year by Man Booker Prize-winning novelist George Saunders and praised by Slavoj Zizek, who said "Nobody is spared in Nagle’s razor-sharp critical probing.” Author Catherine Liu has described her as "one of the brightest lights in a new generation of left writers and thinkers who have declared their independence from intellectual conformity". Nagle has claimed her greatest influence is political thinker Christopher Lasch and was described by one critic as "an old leftist's idea of what a young leftist should be".