A Primer for Conservative Activism

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The PM is to be hauled in front of a snap meeting all constituency chairmen and senior activists in June, who will decide whether to demand her resignation for failing to deliver Brexit. Mrs May was last night informed that the threshold for a petition to enforce the extraordinary meeting has been passed. The development is another bitter blow to the embattled Tory leader, who only just fended off a fresh bid last week by Brexiteer Tory MPs to remove her. The PM was also yesterday invited to address the meeting, in what is likely to end up as a gruelling public trial for her.

Mrs May has promised to make way for a successor, but only when she can overcome a Commons logjam and see the UK leave the EU.

I spoke to Schradie about the implications of all this and why she thinks the internet has become just another political weapon in the arsenals of the most powerful forces in our societies. I think most people still see the internet and social media as neutral tools that can be exploited by political actors on all sides. Is that wrong? So take something like the television. The idea of neutrality seems more true of the internet because the costs of distributing information are dramatically lower than with something like television or radio or other communication tools.

However, to make full use of the internet, you still need substantial resources and time and motivation. The people who can afford to do this, who can fund the right digital strategy, create a major imbalance in their favor. There have been a couple of important shifts. Back then, we still had this utopian view of the internet. A lot of social media platforms were either launched or became public around that time.

Facebook became available to the general public in that year, so that was a really important year for this very utopian view.

The internet was a big part of all of this. But then things started to crumble. There was Gamergate and this explosion of sexism and harassment.


There was Edward Snowden and the revelations about the extent of global mass surveillance. And then, of course, is when we really went over the cliff with Brexit and the election of Donald Trump. But I was researching digital activism in and it was already apparent to me, despite what a lot of people thought, that conservatives and authoritarian powers were seizing control of the digital space.

Why is that?


The Dangers of Politicized Conservative History - by Ronald Radosh

Is there something inherent to conservatism that makes it more effective in the digital sphere? Or is the gap simply about resource disparities?

The simple answer is that conservatives are more likely to have more resources and to take advantage of that. Conservatives tend to focus on simple, clear messages around freedom in particular.

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The left tends to focus on this general idea of fairness. Conservatives are generally monolithic in their attacks on, say, Obamacare. The left wants a diverse array of voices.

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The left tends to want to include a lot of different people and a lot of different issues, and the result is a more muddled message that is just harder to communicate. Conservatives seem to benefit from a kind of persecution mania. Do the left and right use the internet in fundamentally different ways? Do they communicate differently? Do they organize or cross-pollinate differently?

A Primer For Conservative Activism

Conservatives and liberals both have their versions of a filter bubble, but I found that these bubbles are qualitatively very different. The left is interested in organizing and getting a lot of people out in a very participatory way. I often saw more photos of events, more photos of groups of people getting together after, say, a union meeting, or raising their fists in solidarity.

A Primer for Conservative Activism A Primer for Conservative Activism
A Primer for Conservative Activism A Primer for Conservative Activism
A Primer for Conservative Activism A Primer for Conservative Activism
A Primer for Conservative Activism A Primer for Conservative Activism
A Primer for Conservative Activism A Primer for Conservative Activism

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