As originally published and in collaboration with Louise Neu
Horseshoe Theory In Action on Twitter
The horseshoe theory asserts that the far left and the far right, rather than being at opposite and opposing ends of a linear political continuum, in fact closely resemble one another, much like the ends of a horseshoe. The theory is attributed to French writer Jean-Pierre Faye.
What is Fake Opposition? It involves one power base either creating an opposing power base organization or movement, or infiltrating an existing opposing movement or organization. The obvious purpose of this tactic is to “control the opposition”; in other words, the controlling or infiltrating party will eventually rise to sow disinformation, dissent, confusion, and disruption. The purpose is to co-opt or take over that movement by discrediting other members, with the ultimate goal of weakening and destroying the opposing power base’s movement or organization.
This means that controlled actors on the far ends of each side of the horseshoe are actually closer to each other in their extreme ideologies — even if diametrically polar opposites — than they are to those of moderate ideologies either Right or Left of Center. This explains it best:
Controlled opposition helps to enact Russian active measures (RAM) which are Russian influence operations engaged by both the far right and the far left to influence our election. The radical far right co-opted the more moderate Conservatives and the far left Progressives (Sanders) and Independents via Jill Stein co-opted the more moderate Liberals to divide the Democrats . It’s coordinated by actors on both ends of the political spectrum (horseshoe) who are working together to conquer the Moderate Conservatives and Liberals.
An example of a “far right” actor working in this intentionally divisive fashion in social media, is the pro-Trump Twitter account @AmyMek, which was quoted in the New York Times, retweeted by Michael Flynn, and appears to not be a real person.
A perfect example of an “alt-lefter” turned “alt-righter” is Cassandra Fairbanks. Fairbanks once supported Anonymous, Jeremy Hammond, Black Lives Matter (a peaceful movement which was targetted for influence by RAM), and during the 2016 primaries, she was a vocal supporter of Bernie Sanders (while working for Russian propaganda organization Sputnik, no less). She loudly switched her support to Donald Trump, attended the Deploraball, pushed conspiracy theories about the death of Seth Rich, and is now working for pro-Trump “news” website, Big League Politics. The horseshoe is now a circle and the circle is complete.
November 4th, 2017
Coordination between the alt-left and the alt-right on social media can be found in the events surrounding November 4, 2017. “Antifa” and “MAGA” were promoting demonstrations in major cities using the hashtags #november4 and #nov4itbegins, depending on which “Team” you’re on. Antifa, the Democratic Socialists of America, and the Industrial Workers of the World on the far left pushed for action on November 4th, and the far-right press whipped their base into a fury, claiming ‘Antifa supersoldiers’ were planning mass violence.
Thirty seconds of Googling reveals that the #nov4itbegins started with a group called “Refuse Fascism”, which used to be called “The World Can’t Wait”, and before that they were known as the Revolutionary Communist Party, lead by a guy named “Chairman” Bob Avakian. Bob Avakian has been at it for years, and even his fellow communists think he’s really shady.
But, “Chairman” Bob serves a purpose, and that’s to give far-right outlets like The Federalist a tailor made Foreign-Sounding Bad Guy!
So it’s clear that “Both Sides” are spoiling for a fight, both the “Extreme Left” and “Extreme Right.” Bonus points if you can drag George Soros into it somehow!
So, basically, we have a couple of astroturf groups that want to have a fight on November 4th. Big deal, who cares, right?
Let’s let the (hopefully) now-Registered Russian Agents at Sputnik explain. November 4 just so happens to be Russian Unity Day. (Do you think combination of these factors is just a coincidence?)
Thankfully, people seem to have caught on. As Christopher Lehmann, a 56-year-old Trump supporter who made the trip from Belmar, New Jersey to counter the event said, “I thought there would be more of them. I thought there would be more of us too.”
Russian active measures only work if people buy into them. In the case of #November4 and #nov4itbegins, which were heavily pushed on social media, by “Both Sides,” that didn’t happen.