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"Gas the kikes! Race war now!"
- – /pol/'s battlecry
"Gentlemen, I had a vision of the future. One day because we won this war, a man called Adolf Hitler will take power and he will make a lot of people angry about the Jewry. And also romani. And also the blacks. And the non-whites. Except for the Japanese, they're honorary Aryans, I guess. Also there will be a website called 4chan.org, and there will be a board called /pol/, and it will just be about what I have described. Its kind of a one-trick-pony, except the pony is retarded."
/pol/ is 4chan's "Politically Incorrect" board, nowadays mostly
populated by used for incarcerating people who identify as neo-nazis, alt-righters, ancaps, edgy contrarians, and other colorful characters who rant on Jews, black people, women, Marxists, Muslims, Christians, Atheists, and every variety of white depending on the time of day. This also entails dumb shit such as long passionate debates on whether Slavic or Southern European people count as white, or complaints about Jews causing everything from financial crises to World Wars to hurting your toe on a table leg (the phrase "Baton Roue" might come to mind).
If you ask /pol/, they'll claim to be the best and most enlightened board that can see through the lies of society, while everyone from the other boards will call their userbase arguably the most obnoxious and cancerous board on the whole site and nothing more than a far-right containment board to prevent them spreading their cancer elsewhere, which is the only reason it's considered relevant to /tg/ at all.
People who frequent /pol/ usually refer to themselves as /pol/lacks, but much more terms have been used to describe them by people outside of /pol/ such as /pol/io, /pol/luters, /pol/tards, /pol/yps, tad/pol/es, /pol/esmokers, and /pol/tergeists. The recently coined-term "alt-right" has quickly become for the right what the term SJW is for the left. On that note, some SJWs and /pol/acks aren't above having similar fundamental attitudes towards both their ideology and people who don't agree with it. Additionally, QAnon started there. No, seriously. No political opinion on this will be made here.
...What, the above wasn't enough?
Do you REALLY want to know more about this?
...alright, fuck it. Put on the helmets and bring the bleach, this is going to be real long and real boring.
4chan's userbase is naturally a product of the industrial society, i.e. it bred a lot of NEETs and frustrated people who are largely kept in line with entertainment and porn and economic welfare, and will gladly support any political party as long as their needs are met, inasmuch as they don't bother thinking about anything beyond their immediate well-being. Additionally, /b/ in particular had a history of racial supremacy expressed via memetic bigotry (i.e. using "nigger" as an insult, "faggot" as an endearing word, and "jewgolds" or "shekels" as the term for money) since around 2008, prior to the Anonymous v. Scientology clashes that brought them into more of a "spotlight". Most times it was considered little more than a joke by its userbase, just another way of ensuring that people who couldn't demonstrate thick enough skin to handle the typical level of discourse on /b/ would be driven off.
However, as time went on, people who took such things at face value began to show up more and more often - it's been said that "any community that gets its laughs by pretending to be idiots will eventually be flooded by actual idiots who mistakenly believe that they're in good company." Eventually, some of the aforementioned idiots began espousing positions that couldn't be dismissed as attempts at humor any longer, but were soon seen for the representation of their values that it really was.
...Then along came the economic housing bubble of 2009, and said NEETs found their bread and circuses were not enough in the face of concepts such as "darkening future" and "imminent poverty". And that opened Pandora's box, unleashing the suppressed anger (normally kept in check by porn, cheap entertainment and welfare) of the NEETizens of 4chan. Unsurprisingly, the first mention of the "alternative right" coincides around the bubble, with this "internal" discontent playing a part in their rise alongside the external 'friction' that social justice represented.
Nerds can get defensive about their opinions on shit like Kirk vs. Picard, taste in anime, Warhammer fluff, but in the end that's just talking about fiction. In contrast, politics is about stuff which actually matters to you in the Real World™, and discussions (especially online) are volatile things at the very best of times. Given that 4chan is the place where reasonable discussion goes to die, it was inevitable that even the calmest attempts quickly devolved into extremist arguments. Trolls and fanatics alike, in many points, became impossible to distinguish from one another - they either forgot whatever reasons for trolling they had or else overcommitted to them, when they weren't seeking a cover for something they now legitimately believed in and gained validation from.
While they gleefully embraced the Nazi accusations that both sides of a debate would make at each other - and invariably decided to supercharge the politically incorrect arguments with shitposting just to enrage their opponents further - they did all of it with only a marginal knowledge of what the issues they were arguing about even entailed at any given time, if they remotely cared at all. Thus many political arguments far too numerous to count here, from immigration to crime and race, began to take root in /b/ and quickly spread elsewhere; Moot, being the Eternal Planner that he is, created /n/ (what /pol/ started as) to corral the arguments.
As stated earlier, /pol/ is meant to contain the population of stormweenies (named for Stormfront, a website that can be considered a precursor to /pol/, and whose community still overlaps with them) on 4chan. Pretty much everyone, including both Moot and most of /pol/ itself, has acknowledged this; Global Rule #3 was once 'Keep /pol/ in /pol/'. The rule has since been changed to a more general version saying not to post flames, racism, off-topic replies, uncalled-for catch phrases and other things that are unhelpful to a board, but since that's what /pol/ shitposting essentially IS, the rule is still the same in spirit. Several boards have a sticky at the front page telling people to keep politics in /pol/ as well.
Though /pol/ isn't the only containment board on 4chan, the other containment boards such as /mlp/ and /soc/ are considered to have better userbases - those users (mostly) have less volatile baggage and the sense to leave it on those boards. When they venture onto another board, they stay on topic and only occasionally derail threads or start inflammatory ones (complete with /tg/ deriving entertainment from it), but overall aren't nearly as insufferable in comparison.
Most attempts to curb /pol/, on the other hand, result in them spreading to other boards, where they will try to de-rail the threads on those boards to whatever political event that is galvanizing them and spreading around conspiracy theories. Whenever they are told to fuck off and quit derailing threads, they will change the subject, gaslight, and say whatever it takes to counter any arguments to the point of self-contradiction - in short, anything but backing down or even just going on the defense. This hasn't stopped the board from being deleted twice throughout their history, mind, but the inevitable spread forced it to be brought back both times. Even to this day, you'll still get threads here and there that fall victim to politically-based derailing.
Whatever you do, don't get over-invested in any "discussion" involving them on the boards themselves - while it's not entirely impossible (only mostly) for someone to pull a Daryl Davis, we're the last people to trust with that kind of work, so we'll spare you the sermon.
Considering the varied spectrum of beliefs an average /pol/ user can actually hold (more on that in a moment), combined with the amount of mental gymnastics employed in the name of "not admitting defeat", trying to be amicable and empathetic will usually prove a waste of time. The exception to this is if you're actively trying to countertroll by being so patronizing that they blow a fuse in utter sanctimony. Even then, it's probably best not to engage at all and wait for the janitors to take out the trash, unless you've gone way too long without a migraine.
Methodology (such as it is)
While the full history of the SJW phenomenon and /pol/'s response to it is way too complicated to describe and usually less relevant to /tg/ than interactions with other boards, suffice to say that while SJWs are the product of modern civil rights movements who blindly adhere to the LETTER of a given progressive political creed's code of conduct without understanding the spirit of it, /pol/acks essentially aspire to become the uber-racist, sexist, hyper-reactionary card-carrying degenerates they think the other side believes them to be - since they are "already damned", many decide they may as well play the part.
For all its numerous faults, /pol/ practically worships the concept of the free exchange of ideas: A common point of contention with SJWs, perceived and otherwise, is freedom of debate and free speech at all costs, especially when it's offensive. Of course, even this only lasts up until the point where their own views are challenged - then they suddenly decide that maybe censorship isn't so bad after all, which explains quite a lot about the board's fascist sympathies.
Keep in mind that badly implemented and ham-fisted progressive policies tend to alienate the people not supported by them, just like any other government policy, and it's not uncommon for social justice narratives (or ANY kind, really, but specifically these) to be astroturfed and exploited by politicians and corporations alike, as well as those out for social currency. Thus, some people feel an instinct to rebel against a status quo that supposedly coddles and encourages "white guilt" and "political correctness gone mad".
However, any analysis going beyond the surface for more than five minutes would recognize progressive lip service to be just that - empty words designed to appease 'SJW' demands rather than actually meet them, even with the ostensibly liberal window dressing. Regardless, this should put into perspective why /pol/, by and large, seems so eager to put on a similar "victim complex" and join supposed 'SJWs' in the race to the bottom. Applying the "horseshoe theory" school of thought is perilous, as everyone likes to think their "side" is the most rational, and it only works for the most surface of political analysis unless you actually know your shit.
Granted, it seems slightly more merited considering that when they're not using it as a thoroughly cynical ploy to draw attention and stir shit, /pol/acks will use eerily similar rhetoric to signal their own virtues of traditional values, being "rational" thinkers, and otherwise acting in defense of "freedom" - the right to offend and be irreverent is elevated to a sacred cow (right up until it's turned against them, of course), which is about as self-defeating as it sounds. The words "refuge in audacity" should come to mind for the tropers in the audience, albeit in a far more disingenuous sense.
While 4chan at large is and always has been something of a self-sustaining shitshow even at its best, /pol/ is (ostensibly) despised even by the rest of the userbase because they take ALL of their views to the logical "conclusion" and render themselves little more than bizarre caricatures. Though many right-wingers or anti-SJWs can be found on /pol/, naturally even other people identifying with those labels will consider /pol/ too batshit for words.
Ideology (such as it is)
/pol/, in turn, should not be conflated with any and every view right-of-center - they didn't write the "playbook" on those, so much as provide a breeding ground for every and any reactionary idea under the sun to take root and fester (hence the existence of /leftypol/). Easy as it is to write off as a white supremacist haven, /pol/ was and is still a 4chan board, and as such encompasses a wide variety of political views within that sphere; it was in the post-Occupy Wall Street era that the overwhelmingly right-wing current that would come to dominate their spectrum of belief truly began to manifest proper.
Aside from Nazis, white supremacists and their sympathizers, there are those who seek out the "rightful" social positioning they couldn't get elsewhere - be they heavily anti-social, thoroughly outcast, highly resentful of "normie" spaces and behaviors, or some combination thereof. Alongside them are various grifters looking for fresh marks with such traits to manipulate into a following; it's not unheard of for certain ranks of /pol/ users to consist of former liberals and/or ex-SJWs, who often use the cognitive dissonance inherent to basic "us vs. them" politics to their advantage. There is also many a /pol/ack who still seeks and tries to evoke the devil-may-care "for the lulz" image of old in their professed attachment to their given ideologies for their own reasons - ranging from "simple" edginess, to schadenfreude-turned-banal-nihilism, to gravitating towards what promises them the most immediate benefit as always. The edgiest and craziest from these groups form the core of what we now call /pol/.
In terms of more "cohesive" beliefs, the average /pol/ user conducts their approach to politics with all the nuance and subtlety of any given sportsball fandom. The general rudderless behavior, the typical response to anyone who doesn't share their opinions, and the general prevalence of bullshit artists as figureheads are all hallmarks of a group that shares the same ideological real-estate as SJWs, but only cares to notice these traits when playing against the other "team". This often results in the inability and/or refusal to differentiate between anyone to the left of them, considering them to be SJWs all the way down when even the more far-left people can (usually) distinguish between liberals, centrists, and actual Nazis.
Scratch the surface of this socio-policital clusterfuck and it becomes clear most /pol/tergeists have no idea how anything actually works - even the basics of their own most common political beliefs are notoriously flimsy (if not OUTRIGHT blatant) myths and lies, often more so than the SJWs they denigrate. Example of such nonsensical claims include:
- Stalin being a Jew (he was Georgian and a major anti-Semite to boot; the Jewish influence, of course, was mainly from Trotsky, which makes it all the more ironic since Stalin hated Trotsky and ultimately had him murdered following his exile from the USSR);
- The first reports of Nazi death camps came from the Soviets (it came from Poland);
- Most welfare recipients are unemployed black people (evidencing a misunderstanding of "majority" and "disproportionate number", as most people on welfare are white and only use it for 3 years or less);
- And finally, the British Empire started declining by 1800 (their Golden Age was from 1816-1915, with Jews very well represented).
The coup de grace theory to rule over them all is "The Khazar Theory", which postulates that the real "good" Jews are actually all white people (Jacob's sons), while all the stereotypical Jews are Khazar nomads' descendants. Yes, this is your brain's sound when it shifts without the clutch.
This is indicative of one of the other biggest problems with /pol/: its denizens suffer from a board-wide Dunning-Kruger effect, believing themselves expert authorities on a multitude of subjects that individually take years of study at minimum. No amount of shitposting and overuse of bad memes is a substitute for wit and intelligence (no, seriously, stop laughing), especially not when the most casual Googling can debunk most of your narratives. Even Stormfront, which was run by an actual member of the Ku Klux Klan at one point (if it somehow still isn't), had slightly more principle; gods help you if you enter /pol/ from Israel.
Whenever a meme becomes popular on /pol/, they will begin forcing the meme on every other board, rapidly driving it so far into the ground that it will come out on the other side of the planet before the day is out. The memes they spam tend to be childish insults that will only impress people below 18. It says a lot about their board when getting merged with /mlp/ during an April Fools' joke improved it.
TL;DR: Even ignoring their disgusting traits AND putting aside "keep /pol/ in /pol/" talk, /tg/ remembers first and foremost that /pol/ is a containment board for a very good reason.
/pol/ using Warhammer 40,000 as propaganda
"Suffer not the xenos to live!"
- – Battle cry of the Deathwatch
One of the greatest headaches that /tg/ in particular has with /pol/ is the misuse of the grimdarkness and xenophobic policies of the Imperium of Man by /pol/'s Trump supporters, who apparently believe that he is quite possibly a modern day incarnation of The Emperor, and that the Western world should really become an IRL Imperium with zero tolerance against "Xenos" and "Cultural Marxists", with lots of conspiracy theories that Trump is fighting an endless battle against the "Ruinous Powers" of Liberalism supposedly led by George Soros. It's basically yet another "Jews secretly controlling the world" episode, in case you didn't notice a theme, on top of the usual boogeyman of "The All-Powerful Powerless Left" already invoked by many of the "cuckservatives" the alt-right railed against at their inception.
Initially, they "helped" him the only way they knew how: shitposting about anime girls, Pepe the Frog, and Momiji Inubashiri in MAGA hats. One of their most widespread propaganda involving 40k was the complete stereotyping of all Muslims as ultraviolent savages who reproduce by the thousands and have no other instinct than to kill, maim and pillage, Mexicans being cast an all-consuming swarm migrating to America to consume all of its resources, and that every single one of them should be subject to Exterminatus.
As if that wasn't insulting to all parties real and fictional, eventually they finally "invented" a shitty forced meme where they put Donald Trump's head on images of the great God-Emperor of Mankind. Not many people outside those groups find them funny, even in the rare case of the Photoshop job being decent, and the Trump buzz started to fade anyway as those not already sufficiently indoctrinated reality that he was largely more of the same (if "uber-rich American politician claiming to be the champion of the poor" sounds familiar to you, anyway) promptly ensued.
The new wave of French elections around the same time brought a more horrific wave of shitposting, with Marine le Pen being photoshopped into Sister of Battle pictures. However, Le Pen lost the French election by a 30% margin, much to the chagrin of various /pol/tards. This was possibly compounded by the fact that Le Pen's campaign partly ran off the idea of a 'Frexit', only for Le Pen to abandon the entire idea post-election.
Aside from proving for the umpteenth time that relying on any kind of political figurehead for overall validation is a universally bad idea, it marked an overall shift in the board's culture from the most wildly out-there displays of cobbled-together theory and reactionary ideology to what most of the normies out there know "nu/pol/" as now: those who fit the typical hardline MAGApede profile merged with and eventually became nigh-indistinguishable from the rest of the board and (as indicated above) may have paved the way for the rise of QAnons who have bought fully into the narrative of Emperor Trump saving the world from the grasp of a "satanic pedophilic elite". And while they ignore that their evil "call" may be coming from inside the house, other Anons - as in those Anons - are resurfacing, and have these saps on their radar.
While the old ideological makeup hasn't been completely phased out, most of this nu/pol/ lacks the "hardening" experiences that shaped the channers of old and any maturity they may have gained in the years since. The result? An ironic twist that would turn Tzeentch Nurglite-green with envy - /pol/ may steadily be turning into one of the most bitchmade, normie-infested boards on the entire site, as evidenced by the earlier defeat of Le Pen and the God-Emperor Trump meme now being put to the flames once and for all after losing the 2020 election to Joe Biden.
Given 40k had its start as a satire of dystopian fiction and a bitter, ironic reflection of right-wing 80s Britain (see also: Rogue Trader), other right-wingers latching onto 40k-memery as a vehicle for demagoguery, propaganda and appeals to emotion, and further conflating it with modern politics is perhaps a horrendous schadenfreudish circle finally come complete. Without the original context, they see nothing more than an unironic heroic fantasy that validates their beliefs - beliefs that constitute just what the series mocked.
To summarize, many in /tg/ find this specific inclusion of real-world politics in our 40k to be a sad, idiotic and pathetic phenomenon that should be punished by summary SAGE'ing, and as such expect non-sympathetic posters to react accordingly. Between the Trumplets and Stormfront, it also leads one to wonder just how thoroughly the board has been co-opted by outside influences and how long it's been going on for... but that is a story for another day, and well outside our scope in any case.
Connections with the Christchurch Mosque Attacks
This section concerns the attacks on the Christchurch Mosques in New Zealand, the consequences of which affected the entire board, and by extension /tg/.
Brenton Tarrant, the 28-year-old man who attacked two Mosques in Christchurch, NZ, apparently identified as a "/pol/ack" and made a
detailed barely literate manifesto mostly in the form of a "Q&A," containing absolutely zero original political thought and nary a trace of coherent ideology besides repetition of the basic White Nationalist complaints of a Western demographic upheaval (the "fourteen words," basically). It is all the more pathetic because he characterizes the poorly-formatted PDF as a magnum opus of three years' worth of political growth; one critical point of critical fuckstupid is his admiration for Communist China, known for its violation of free speech and other basic human rights against the Muslim Uyghurs and even its Han citizens (the dominant Chinese ethnic group).
Said manifesto referenced several questionably tasteful memes (prominently, "remove kebab"), and the fucking degenerate actually went so far as to shout out those memes in public and play video game soundtracks and songs that /pol/ has turned into memes, while actively shooting people and live-streaming it. Sick fuck. Naturally, this means more conversations about the impact of the Internet/social media and technology in general and its role in the lives of disaffected millennials (and doing it full justice is a tall order and a half); the level of disconnect displayed, even by the expected standards of radical politics, that would allow a person to take a life while joyfully shouting silly sayings from the Internet like he was at an anime convention is disgusting and hard to fathom.
His goal, apparently, was to cause more hysteria and retribution: in his manifesto, he specifically spoke of wanting to stir up shit regarding inter alia, laws regarding the rights of free speech and bearing arms which, in his mind, would lead to civil war and an ultimate victory for his ideology, such as it is. He imagined himself becoming a full martyr for the cause, or else incarcerated and (if the latter) perhaps later to be broken out of jail by a movement inspired by his "noble actions"...and yet few people online seem to consider his actions or their results desirable, even among those who would inevitably be even remotely 'sympathetic' to his cause. The only ones who would wholeheartedly support him were likely deadset on their ideology to begin with... and most of them declared him a "false flag" whose real goal was to make their ideology look bad (like they needed help).
This, along with his choice to attack extremely soft targets - including women, children, and mainstream, non-radical places of worship - is enough for people to argue that he was not a political actor in any material sense, but rather the perpetrator of an incident far more serious and tragic. Rather than a "proper 'domestic [i.e. white] terrorist'" (say, Timothy McVeigh), he comes across more as an aimless man on a demented rampage.
By virtue of being a white man in a European culture instead of, say, a member of a rival sect in an Islamic country, his attack on a mosque actually makes international headlines for more than five minutes; with his point well out the window, his pathetic attempts at justifying his attack only harmed his cause in the imagination of the general public and even amongst his peers. Needless to say, the consequences of his actions were quite serious: political groups of which he was a member or tangentially related to are being attacked by the government, despite their having no part in the violence, and the blood was not yet dry when the PM said that New Zealand's already highly restrictive gun laws "had to change". Most directly relevant to /tg/, their neighbor Australia banned access to 4chan, 8chan and even fucking LiveLeak for distributing video of the massacre, which indirectly fucks over that entire sector of the userbase(s), likely due to the fact that the shooter, Brenton, is an Australian.
As if that wasn’t enough, the level of irony to Tarrant’s actions defies reality: Tarrant was fixated on mass migration in his manifesto, but thanks to his attack, New Zealand (and possibly other western countries) will accept EVEN MORE migrants from the Middle East and Africa in an effort to show that they’re tolerant of said migrants despite Tarrant’s attack. Way to go.
Though /pol/, with its vulgar and juvenile approach to issues of demography and race, is a tempting target to assign blame for his actions, 4chan might not be the genesis of his personal dissatisfaction; if the manifesto is to be trusted (a dicey proposition), he had apparently become interested in racial questions while touring the world and seeing the demographic changes which are afflicting Europe first hand. The problem is that when shitposting manchildren drink their own Kool-Aid and take up their guns to murder innocent people, the average reasonable person can make a connection between the violence and the wretched hives of scum and villany said bad actors frequent, and so here we are.
This isn't entirely news to these folks, of course: "screw your optics, I'm going in" was how the last significant /pol/ terrorist put it, before attacking a defenseless synagogue which had no remote relation to any of /pol/'s 'concerns'. The inherent cowardice are only one of the ways in which the attacks are alike, but one of the most telling, not least because it begs the question of why the phrase "the last significant /pol/ terrorist" is even applicable.
Any reasonably well-adjusted person from anywhere on the political spectrum can see that the culture and posters of /pol/ are what give it its unfathomably bad name, which by extension affects already-considered-malignant *chan subculture such that one would be hard-pressed to assert otherwise. Inasmuch as /pol/acks even take their own putative ideas seriously, they don't tend to do themselves any favors - on- OR off-line. In addition, despite 4chan supposedly not being the birthing place for the ideals of Mr. Tarrant, the fact that it can now be tangibly tied to such people AND the resulting Australian lockdown on 4chan/8chan/etc. is certain to impact perception of the board and anyone seen as aligned with them - likely for the worse.
- SJWs, the (mostly) left-leaning "contrast" to /pol/'s alt-right twattery, subjected to constant, though often inaccurate, comparisons due to hypocrisy and similar zealotry. Apart from this, one of the key differences is that SJWs have much greater influence in the mainstream media.
- Racial Holy War, for what the rest of 4chan and the internet thinks would happen if a /pol/ack made an RPG.
- MYFAROG, for when a /pol/ack actually made an RPG.
- Nazi, what these guys wish they were.
- An appropriate response to the forced Trump meme.