a.nihil

internet

On-powerlessness

The people on the streets and on public transport appear more as people than blurs, there's a distinct sense of belonging without adherence to a particular cause or reason. I do not have the urge to debate over global topics, which I am removed from anyway because of powerlessness I embody. When I look around this powerlessness is more visible but the cacophony of the media narratives makes us believe that we are more important than we are. – A break from the news

Most of our everyday life we are propelled through with a feeling of power. We are told that our actions have consequences and they hold us in the middle of things: pay your taxes, wear your masks, vote for change, buy local.. for most part we do believe in them and do our best to participate. Societies that do not operate on these levels of consciousness wither into a painful existence while we soldier on, believing that we have the power to change anything and everything in our lives.

But, can we really? While the news amuses us with how much wealth Jeff Bezos has hoarded this year or with some political brouhaha from across the world, we assume in part the bodies of the people we read and think about. The politics of the country we live in is far from us and the globalized American dream has us wondering what step we take in the future can make us the capitalists we love and hate at the same time. The plebeian existence we inhabit is hidden behind the millions of customizations we are granted in the internet age, a power trip that was hitherto unknown to previous generations.

The music we listen to, the books we read and the restaurants we go to are all hidden in the black boxes we possess each moment, hidden from the everyday audience. Behind the scenes they are the access to central servers that pile up money with the very information we hold secret with the people next to us. In these moments we feel powerful that we have access to all the information and products in the world but what we cannot control is the faces and the powers behind the screen. Power now has become abstracted, it is no longer the politician who controls what we want and how we want them but a Silicon Valley billionaire who in his nonchalance is putting a hyper-libertarian world view into action without your permission (you clicked on “I agree” of course).

In a pre-internet era there was a singular flow of information and a chain of command that was local. There was not a constant monitoring of oneself (unless someone lived in East Germany under the aegis of the Stasi) and the villains of ones life could be found in the nearest Capital city. Now that is not the case. If one wants to decry job losses and protest against Uber, where does one go to? And if Uber were to be shut down, what about the market forces that Uber has helped unleash? Sitting on contracted work with no benefits in an economy that promises more “freedom and flexibility” for both consumers and producers alike, what's the political upheaval one is really aiming for?

I am not saying that societal problems did not have a global relation in the earlier generations but with the advent of the internet, our problems have been collectivized into an effective global package. Google is just identifiable as the crucifix around the world. To google is to exist in the 21st century, this is a reality that no-one of us is going to escape anytime soon. The buzzwords of disruption and digitization, are warning signs that the security of being middle-class, is being slowly taken away by a class of extremely rich people who we have learnt to revere. How does one fight for their rights against someone situated in another country altogether?

What has been really disrupted is our lives: one part of it is being drained into the dossiers of mega-corporations and the other we are trying to figure out how to make our presence in the economies we live in. We do not talk about these things because we are all engaged in the same game of capital worship. If we were as honest to each other as we are to layers and layers of internet surveillance, we would see how powerless we are in the global scheme of things. A part of the rebellion against the current iteration of how things are organized would come from this shared powerlessness.

This powerlessness should make us question why power should be concentrated and if that power should be concentrated between a few companies and investors on the planet. Governments do not have the gall [1] or the creativity to fight the new operators of power. If the lowest common denominator in a democracy, the voter, finds their place of helplessness then it is easier for the government to see their relative position. This helplessness will be a bargaining position for the world of the future. As the power becomes powerless, it starts to fight back.

The first step in the process is to come out of the induced stupor of artificial self-worth that our current state of living provides. Communicating our fragility in the market ecosystem instead of trading ego boosts on Instagram would pave the way for a greater social conversation about current state of our power. This can be translated into political will and speak – it is irrelevant if someone is Indian or Tunisian in the current iteration of the market. It's US, China or a handful of developed countries everyone is dependent on and this dependence is only getting stronger by the day. When the political apparatus of countries start to wake up to this stark divide – (hoping that most countries have the interests of its common people at heart) – change can be expected. The hegemonic nature of countries are always in flux, to steer it away from the current establishment requires unity of the powerless and resolve.

[1] As we speak, the Indian government has banned a fresh lot of 118 Chinese apps citing surveillance as a reason. None of the American or other internet companies that operate on the same revenue models find no mention for the same practices. If the government was really so concerned about the well-being of its citizens, it would shut down the internet. This is a sign of the helplessness once the Indian government wakes up from its Doublethink.

#capitalism #democracy #power #internet

Part one

This is a reddit comment by u/enteirush that I found interesting. Reddit, like any other media and social media platform has its share of discourse maintenance by foreign actors that vary from country to country. China, the US, Russia, Turkey and to an extent every other country tries to curate and maintain a public image as they wish. To see a whole collective of people under respective brand names – Chinese, Maltans, Sudanese.., 1 billion people that fit into a simple category because of a country name.

The conversations are about us and we form identities we want to inhabit, our professions, our street and our countries. The doctors are our heroes and so are the bus drivers. These are labels given to individuals who share a profession, a collective will. We identify with and imagine people while living indoors, hooked to screens, this is heroin awash into every waking minute. Heroin, that's transmitted through screens connected with invisible tubes and wires, the internet. Our societies are now built in our minds, where there is no resistance to what we are confronted with. These are the manipulations we allow.

我在这个问题下稍微写一点最近在YouTube和Reddit上带节奏的经验心得。我不是键政侠,也不打LOL没有直接和老美巨魔过,但是跟老美交流还是有点经验

I'm here to share some of my experiences baiting people on YouTube and Reddit. I'm not a keyboard warrior, I don't play LoL and I haven't overtly trolled Americans before, but I still have some experience conversing with them.

要点一:不要明确站中国,用户名也不能一眼看过去是中国人

这不是懦弱或者不自信,而是一个基本操作问题。设想一个印度人要(正当地)批评中国房价过高人民住不起房,网上大多数人第一反应估计是“先把你10亿低种姓贫民百姓的住房解决了再腆着脸来说吧”。然后对方无论说什么我们都不会认真辩论。同理我们要是想在美帝的版块里带节奏(注意是带节奏而不是巨魔),第一不要表明自己的中国人身份。

Requirement #1: Don't explicitly show you're on China's side / Your username shouldn't make it obvious you're Chinese

This doesn't make you seem cowardly or insecure, rather, it's a simple manipulation tactic. [blah blah some rant about Indians being poor] Likewise, we need to hide our identities when baiting (remember: baiting, not trolling [?]) Americans.

要点二:话语范围要和美国人一致

他说美国抗疫比瑞典好,你说中国10天建医院;他说美国测试不如韩国,你说中国医护装备好——这都属于话语不一致。想让对方接受你的观点就要在对方的话语体系里骂美国,按照美国人的方式来骂他们。如果一个印度人来批评中国开口就是中国没有种姓制度不利于形成稳定的社会结构,你肯定觉得他脑子有问题。同样我们不应该过多地考虑我们想让他们接受什么,而是他们能接受哪些话题上的辩论,然后尽力把话题往有利于我们的方向上引。

Requirement #2: Your style of discourse must align with those of Americans

If they say the America's coronavirus strategy is better than Sweden's and you say China built a hospital in 10 days... if they say America's testing is worse than South Korea's and you say Chinese doctors are well-equipped... there's no real discussion taking place. If you want the other side to accept your attacks on America, you need to imitate the way Americans argue amongst themselves. [blah blah cut some other rant about the Indian caste system] Similarly, we shouldn't overthink what views we want to implant in their heads. Rather, we should base our arguments around views that they are willing to consider, and then bait them further in our direction.

比如我最近在Reddit上比较成功的论调之一就是揭示了“美国政客根本不关心人命,只在乎选举”“社会各界上层人士为了他们的利益而撒谎让平民买单”,得到了不少积极回应。这些是他们可以认同的东西。政治上,你怎么喷都是可以的,喷川统,喷科莫,怎么合适怎么来。

Some topics that I've used to success on Reddit:

“The US government doesn't care about lives, only elections”

“The elites lie to the middle class to protect their profits”

I got a lot of replies saying these things because they identify with these viewpoints. Anything goes when it comes to politics – attack Trump, attack Cuomo, just use whatever works.

要点三:在互相辩论的氛围内假装站美国的台

而且这样站台一定要有不合理性——其实找到这种不合理性很容易,但你如果直接在一个问题上指责美国某一点,对方会潜意识地反驳你;如果你支持这一点,对方会找出合适的逻辑来反驳你的立场而达到你带节奏的目的。假如一个印度人跑来跟你说,我觉得你们中国高考招生制度不行,各省招生不公平,我们多数人估计也是先辩护再说;但如果他说我觉得我们(注意第一条)高考招生制度很好,北京的教育资源就应该向北京户口倾斜,那就轮到你来说高教资源分配不公了。

Requirement #3: Pretend to be on America's side in your discussions

Importantly, you need to be somewhat illogical – it's actually really easy to do this. If you directly accuse the US of something, people will rebuke you; instead, if you pretend to support the opposite view, people will use mental gymnastics to argue in favor of your actual position. [Wow, this CCP lemming just discovered the power of reverse psychology! ...and cut some other contrived example of an “Indian” criticizing China's school admissions system]

比如在一个“加州州长下令医院做回溯尸检,检查截止到去年12月的死亡中是否有新冠肺炎死亡病例”的帖子下,有一条回复是“为什么只检查到12月?”我直接回复:“因为再往前就可能会暴露美国才是新冠发源地,这对我们在国际上的声誉影响太大了。一定要坚持中国是第一个报道病例的国家。”对此我得到的回应是“抱歉,查清事实比要面子更重要。”

For example, under a post titled “Gov. Newsom Orders All California Counties To Review Autopsies Dating Back To December”, someone asked, “why stop at December?”

My response: “Obviously they don't want to push it too far back as to suggest the virus started in the United States. I'm not being sarcastic here but if we ended up being the first country having Corona virus we would look really bad in the international community. Keeping China the first country to have reported the virus is necessary.”

Note: Found the comment chain here and pasted it word-for-word

我也不是什么大V,没有一呼百应的能力,但是如果能帮一些看到这个回答的人在美国网站带节奏的话就很好了。

I'm not a big V [something like the blue tick on Twitter] and I can't summon an army of followers, but I'll be happy if can spread the word with this post and help others troll American websites.

—————————————

This block of text explains the US political system and how to sow divisions between the left and right.

I won't translate everything but I'll highlight a few snippets.

居然有人看,感觉我不多写一点对不起观众啊……我就补一点美国政治基础,和我针对美国不同人群的对线策略。

美国的联邦制保证了每个州都是独立主权,其主权和联邦政府高度对立。很多民主党州的民选官员都以和联邦政府对立作为拉选票的卖点。比如明尼苏达的总检察长Keith Ellison说起自己对联邦政府提起了多少诉讼,和多少州的总检察长联合起诉联邦政府的时候,语气满是自豪。这和密苏里总检察长起诉武汉一样,都是他们拉拢选票的政治手段,不需要做过多的解读。然而这种分裂的现状我们完全可以利用。

首先要明确我们带节奏的目的是什么。要想扭转中国在国际上的舆论劣势可以说是不可能做到的,毕竟这么多年的洗脑和宣传,我们的舆论势力根本不在一个层面上。我个人认为最好的做法是继续分化美国人,把他们的注意力从中国身上拿开,让他们重点关注美国的负面信息、对美国政治愤怒就行。川统的甩锅是转移矛盾,我们如果没有实力和他们正面硬甩,那就尽量把他们的注意力转移回美国内务,增加他们对美国国内事务的愤怒和失望情绪。

... the West has brainwashed and spread propaganda for so long that we can't change our perception on the world stage. Instead, we should incite division within America to distract them from China, and make them hate their government...

对于民主党选民,有好几种矛盾可以激化。一是民主党内部腐败和无能问题,挑拨拜登和桑德斯的支持者:对拜登支持者就嘲讽拜登不会说话,没有魅力,对付川普必死;对桑德斯支持者就嘲讽他不是真民主党人,无法团结民主党对抗川普,失败活该。二是挑拨联邦和民主党州之间的矛盾,不断重复联邦根本不在乎蓝州疫情,克扣蓝州医疗物资,放任蓝州人民死亡,以至于蓝州需要大量私下行动自保(比如伊利诺伊州长绕过联邦偷偷从中国进口大量物资,因为怕被联邦截胡;加州州长掏加州的钱帮其他蓝州购买物资,因为联邦给的缺斤少两),把仇恨转移回联邦政府上。三是挑拨红蓝州之间的矛盾,这个涉及到政治正确,对程度的把握有点难。注意的是蓝州选民已经很痛恨川普了,没有必要引导他们针对川普;最好是引导他们痛恨整个联邦政府,从政府结构上摧毁他们的信心。

Ways to sow further divisions in the Democratic Party: Say that the Democratic establishment is corrupt and useless, and then inflame Biden and Sanders supporters: Say Biden has trouble speaking and has no charisma, and that's he'll lose against Trump. Say Sanders isn't a real Democrat and he can't form a coalition to beat Trump, and that he deserves what's coming.

Next, exaggerate the conflict between the federal and state governments. Constantly mention that the federal government doesn't care about blue states, that they're confiscating medical supplies and leaving people out to die. [paraphrases some recent news headlines] Direct their hatred towards the federal government.

Third, inflame the divisions between red and blue states... remember that blue states already hate Trump so there's no reason to bait them into targeting him. Instead, you should make them hate the entire federal government and destroy their trust in the system.

对于共和党选民,一是尽量放大共和党人和川普之间的矛盾。比如放大Rand Paul和川普不对付的报道,放大Romney和川普的矛盾。最近佐治亚州长跟着川普说要重开经济结果反被川普泼冷水,也可以拿来做文章。二是从基督教角度去攻击,往哪个方向都可以,反正目的是激化政府和教会的矛盾。你可以搬出牧师不遵守居家令组织礼拜被罚款的新闻来骂政府干预教会,也可以搬出牧师举行礼拜结果染病挂掉的新闻来嘲讽牧师。总之就是把注意力转移到他们自己的矛盾来,不要关注中国就行。

For the Republican Party: Emphasize conflicts between the GOP and Trump himself. Emphasize news reports about Rand Paul and Romney disagreeing with Trump. Highlight how Trump turned his back on the governor of Georgia when he announced the state would reopen. Attack them using a Christian perspective, inflame the divisions between church and state. [gives example of pastors ignoring stay-at-home orders]

对于中间选民,把川普自我矛盾、川普和政府内科学家的矛盾摆出来就行。这个不展开说了,国内的文章写了很多

最后如果有人有其他想法欢迎在评论里补充~过两天我如果有闲心再补写一下对美国选举政治的解析

For moderates/swing voters: Post about Trump's self-contradictions and disagreements between him and his own cabinet. You can use examples from our own [Chinese] news sources about this. Post your thoughts in the comments below~

——————————————

更新一个最近刚得到一些积极回复的帖子。我把全部的回复都附带翻译截出来了,并没有刻意筛选。

这主贴是个新闻:芝加哥一个护士几周前告诉她朋友说她吓得要命。现在她和她孩子都死于新冠肺炎,她丈夫勉强活了下来。

截图的回帖串是回复一个主回帖:母亲是护士,我非常担心她。我尽量不来这里看帖子,不然我后半天都会心惊胆战。我的截图就是回复这个主回帖的整串帖子。

有人直接来给中国网站打广告我倒是从来没想到过( • ̀ω•́ )✧

Posted a screenshot of this thread which he considers a successful bait operation

#propaganda #internet #media