US POLITICS

Radical Activists Organize With #ResistCapitalism

Their Twitter storm spurred lively conversation and also an onslaught of backlash

US POLITICS
Using digital media to criticize capitalism. Ironic or brilliant? — REUTERS
Jan 10, 2016 at 12:01 PM ET

A network of leftists organized a Twitter storm on Saturday that made the hashtag #ResistCapitalism trend worldwide. Posted in more than 136,400 tweets by Sunday morning, it aimed to criticize capitalism and got people talking about alternatives to the economic system. It also inspired a lot of people to say the campaign was ridiculous.

“We kickstarted this Twitter storm because we believe we, as leftists, and most especially as revolutionary leftists from marginalized groups, are being systematically silenced from all political dialogue,” said Taylor, a 24-year-old teacher in California who helped organize the Twitter campaign and asked that his last name not be published due to fear of professional repercussions. “One of our main lines in the weeks leading up to the Twitter storm was: we will be heard,” he told Vocativ.

The hashtag was meant to create public discussion beyond niche circles. While it has been used in Twitter storms before, the hashtag appeared to be focused more on community building this time around and used by a different group of activists. According to Taylor, several organizers of this weekend’s storm are also involved in the Black Lives Matter movement.

But many mocked those tweeting the hashtag, criticizing them for ironically using phones and computers—that they’ve purchased—to attack consumerism. “The backlash has been brutal,” said Taylor, adding that people have called him unfit to teach and said they’d “see to it” that he becomes jobless.

The hashtag caught the attention of several well-known activists including Alexis Isabel, a prominent Latina feminist blogger, and also former Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney, who “liked” several of Taylor’s posts. It also got attention from supporters of Donald Trump who appeared to come out en masse to troll the hashtag.

More broadly, the 2016 U.S. presidential election quickly became a focus for many hashtag users. Bernie Sanders’ campaign hashtag, #feelthebern, was among the top-related hashtags, Vocativ found.