Internet trolls – especially in the political sphere – have a number of functions. They are a distraction. Trolls will engage activists in petty arguments, and, of course, the activist, taking this as a teaching opportunity, will happily go down the rabbit hole. It’s pointless. No argument will convince them of the merits of independence. They don’t even have a vote. Most likely the person on the other side is in an office in Wolverhampton following the instructions pinned to their blue cubical wall.
Over the past nine months, in an attempt break out of my own social media bubble, I have been monitoring about three hundred influential British nationalist and Scottish unionist accounts on Twitter with the help of a “lurker” account. It never tweets or retweets. This account simply follows, allowing me to see what is going on in the world of British nationalism in Scotland.
We can be as gentle, as meek, as fair, and as mild-mannered as we like. We do not have the luxury of mass media to get our point across. We can be civil and well spoken, reasonable, and well behaved. Their cameras and microphone booms will come nowhere near us. No one will hear how nice we are. All the while the airwaves and the news reports and column inches will be jammers with vile BritNat manipulation and half-truths, and we will “lose the argument.”
How simplistic can his analysis be? We could have told him all this years ago. Torrance’s reduction of the intersections within the independence movement to just two camps is derisible. We are talking about a national movement of hundreds of thousands of people – hundreds of the thousands of very different people – all working together towards a common objective.
It hasn’t been an easy week for independentista bloggers in Scotland, and it most certainly hasn’t been easy for our readers. I have been as much a part of that difficulty as anyone else and for that I am deeply sorry.
On Saturday night I was chatting online with Jordan Daly, the Huffington Post and Common Space contributor who wrote the piece on sending Wings packing, about the importance of keeping the independence movement together.
Contrary to the majority of the coverage coming from Hamburg black bloc is not a movement or a specific group or gang. It is an anarchistic tactic that has been in development since the squatter riots of the 1970s in West Berlin, allowing protesters of various leftist politics to participate in common action against the police and the state without fear of personal identification, reprisals, arrest, and harassment.