“We need to fight conspiracism wherever we find it. I can’t emphasise this enough. There is a lot of work debunking this or that conspiracy theory, but nowhere near enough serious work analysing the ideology of conspiracism (the idea that all of world history is down to a few blokes twirling their well-waxed moustaches in a smoky room someplace) and examining the corners it originates in.
in a society where people are depoliticised and unsatisfied, conspiracism is an extremely attractive nuisance. People are looking for some alternative to what they rightly recognise as bullshit in the papers and on TV, something that matches their experience of feeling powerless at the hands of rich, powerful people who are feathering their own nests. Conspiracism seems to provide that.
I have spent a lot of time studying conspiracism first hand in various places, and I came to the conclusion some time ago that conspiracism is the default analytical mode of fascism. Every fascist and reactionary ideology or regime has had some form of conspiracism, from the backlash against the French Revolution to the fascists of the 1930s and 1940s. It is also interesting how few links you have to click in order to go from “9/11 was an inside job” or “chemtrails” or the like to the Protocols of the Elders of Zion and openly neo-Nazi material. Sometimes, you don’t even have to leave the site.
Conspiracism has a cult-like dynamic that sets up anyone who questions or doubts it as either one of the “sheeple” (a “sherson”, perhaps?) or, as one person once claimed about me “in the pay of the shadows”. Because of this, once someone takes the bait on one of the “gateway drugs” like 9/11 “truth” etc., they will many times tend to start believing more and more of it, until one gets to the openly racist “theories” that are never too far from the surface.
To me, this is an area where we have a lot of work to do. These “theories” are being pushed by fascists, and they are succesfful far too frequently for comfort. We need a clear understanding of the dangers of this ideology and of the importance of calling it out (including pointing out its origins) and debunking it and exposing its pernicious consequences, and a practise of combating it wherever we find it. We trivialise this problem at our own risk.” Elise Hendrick