#SaveYourInternet Dog Whistles to Far Right with Pepe: Desperation or Stupidity?

One of dozens of memes featuring “Pepe” urging calls to EU members of parliament against copyright directive. The image is recycled from a Southern Poverty Law Center listed group. 

For those of you not familiar with meme culture and Pepe the Frog you might want to start here.  The point of this article is not to debate whether every time some kid uses the Pepe meme it is racist.  Indeed as the linked article notes Pepe began life as a harmless comic character. However there is no doubt that Pepe has been adopted by many far right groups as a kind of anti-PC signifier. Or worse. The creator of Pepe recently killed off Pepe in his comic strip because he was distressed by its recent association with racism and antisemitism.

That is why it is absolutely stunning that opponents of the EU Copyright Directive Article 13 seem to be cultivating support from the far right by using Pepe memes.

There’s always a possibility that the ever insular copyleft doesn’t realize that not all “meme” culture is cute kittens and doesn’t understand the significance of Pepe.  Indeed Hanlon’s razor warns: never attribute to malice what can be adequately explained by incompetence and stupidity.

SaveYourInternet.eu website allows anyone to repeatedly robo call MEP.  MEPs of their choosing.  So they can target specific MEPs.  This is how they hack democracy. 

However anecdotal reports show that the MEPs that have been targeted with automated robo calls have largely been Eastern European MEPs with significant anti-immigrant or white nationalist movements.

Further we have previously documented the Copyleft and Pirate associations with the far right.

See here:

German Pirate Party MEP harassment of the Anne Frank foundation.

https://thetrichordist.com/2016/04/28/eu-pirate-party-mep-julia-reda-germany-doesnt-want-to-pay-for-diary-of-anne-frank/

And of course How do pirates tie their shoes?  In little nazis of course…

https://thetrichordist.com/2017/09/26/why-is-it-every-time-we-turn-over-a-pirate-rock-white-nationalists-nazis-and-bigots-scurry-out/

What is clear is that the “don’t break the internet” crowd has cried wolf one too many times.  And their attempts to raise a cybermob are falling short.  As of yesterday there were only 800 #DeleteArticle13 tweets on twitter.  And a cursory examination shows that about 80% of those tweets are from sock puppet accounts.

So is the appeal to far right trolls design or desperation?   SaveYourInternet.eu are you purposely targeting far right twitter users?

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Update. So it is not stupidity. It was plan all along. Looks like Pirate Party MEP has been reaching out to far right. See screen capture of tweet below:

 

About Dr. David C Lowery

Platinum selling singer songwriter for the bands Cracker and Camper Van Beethoven; platinum selling producer; founder of pitch-a-tent records; founder Sound of Music Studios; platinum selling music publisher; angel investor; digital skeptic; college lecturer and founder of the University of Georgia Terry College Artists' Rights Symposium.