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anarchist_critic wrote

So-called anarchists are really into relying on bosses to use their authority for our benefit? What is the world coming to?

The way I see it, there's three basic options. One: use it as a venting opportunity, call them some names and have a flame war. If possible, pwn them in the eyes of the audience by making them look stupid. If you're on the chans or similar sites then communication works rather like "the dozens": the "winner" is whoever tears down or provokes the other person without showing loss of cool themselves. With our history of Situationism and culture jamming, we should be way better at this than the fash, and it's pretty disturbing that we aren't right now. But, this isn't an option if you're easily triggered by whatever topics they're spewing on.

Two: ignore or block them, on the assumption they're doing it to get a reaction. This is the best response if you're dealing with someone who you suspect is not a literal fascist and is spouting fascist shit to get a reaction. This is also the best way to not get upset and not let them derail discussions or disrupt what are meant to be left or anarchist communities. The danger is that they just go troll somewhere else or get increasingly isolated and radicalised hanging out in fascist-only spaces, secure in the knowledge that they're "censored" and "silenced" everywhere else. It's also not an option if you're in an anonymous free-for-all space or a space where the mods won't ban them (some fash have got very clever about staying just inside the rules while also using dog-whistles that we and they recognise).

Three: try to talk them out of fascism. Here, you can either use nonviolent communication or rational argument. It occasionally works (see https://www.npr.org/2017/08/20/544861933/how-one-man-convinced-200-ku-klux-klan-members-to-give-up-their-robes) but not very often. IMO anarchists need to get a lot better at both rational argument and NVC, but its easier to hone the former than the latter on fascists because their logic is really shit and their tone is really aggressive. You have to be a fucking saint to use NVC with fash trolls because they know just how to get people's threat-perceptions sky-high, but I've seen reports of success from people like Marshall Rosenberg (who's Jewish) and Vishwam Jamie Heckert (who's gay) when dealing with far-right abuse. Another approach is to try to talk to them about the underlying grievances which manifest in their fascist politics - particularly, to talk about class politics and globalisation and how workers are exploited everywhere. I've found the last of these the most effective, even though it's not my go-to strategy as an egoist. Your average internet fascist is either a downwardly mobile, working-class or lower-middle-class white person from the American or European rustbelt, or an extremely marginalised shut-in who's effectively been forced out of public spaces by the very high levels of stress and anxiety. They have justified grievances but they're taking them out on the wrong people. The internet is actually a good place to talk to these people without the risk of getting punched. But, this isn't going to work if they're political entrepreneurs who are using far-right ideas manipulatively, or if they're a troll in the classic sense, who's saying offensive things for "the lulz". And you have to be able to stay calm when they start name-calling.