Czech version here
The following is an edited partial transcript of a speech that was given by the Italian intellectual and political activist Guido Taietti in May at the Spring Conference in Tallinn, Estonia. He is active in CasaPound Italia. The video of his speech is linked below.
The process through which an individual becomes familiar with and develops his own political categories is called “political socialization,” and it is — or has been for a long while — a process that usually requires a lot of time, and above all involves a large amount of stimuli, sources, and inputs.
It is also clearly a very different process depending on one’s geographical, historical, or social situation, for example, but it is nevertheless a process that occurs for everyone. In societies with historically high levels and often conflictual forms of political participation, such as Italy for example, an individual achieves his political socialization as a result of the values of the family into which he is born, the school he attends, going to the stadium and being involved in sports clubs (which are notoriously politicized in Italy), as well as by hanging out in political party offices, the university he attends, and the books that he chooses to read — meaning he is partially self-socialized.
In other countries, such as the those of the former Yugoslavia, for some generations political socialization was influenced by the terrifying civil war there, which introduced completely new and almost incomprehensible political variables through circumstances beyond individual control.
This complexity — this possibility of meeting various individuals with different values – helps to build each individual’s complex political identity, and is always the result of partially contradictory processes. For example, a person born into a very conservative family can then study in a school with very progressive teachers, might also play sports through which he makes very conservative friends, and then may read many moderately democratic authors. From the interaction of all these sources, he forms his own idea of himself and his place in the world.
In this complexity, there is nevertheless also the guarantee of a certain degree of freedom: that of not living in a social system that expects all its members to embody the exact same values. This guarantee is now fading away.
Today, most of the process of “political socialization,” especially in the West, takes place online, and in particular through social networks. Political party offices are less and less easy to find, and radical parties in particular are ceasing to exist, little by little. (In the United States this has always been the case, but in continental Europe until the end of the Cold War, both still existed – usually in the form of revolutionary Communists, and in some cases post-fascist parties.) Nowadays young people spend an average of at least four hours a day on social media, and often much more. Social networks have become the means by which young people come to understand the world.
Most people now discuss politics almost exclusively on social networks, and from these they receive 99% of the information that they have concerning politics. It is important to note that social networks are not a neutral form of infrastructure, such as a road. Social networks today have their own political agenda and are political actors in their own right. We might especially say that the organs of Big Post-Industrial Capital — Facebook, Instagram, Google, etc. — tend to favor progressive and Left-wing values. In fact, the opposite is true. It is not Big Capital that is “Leftist,” but rather the Western post-materialist Left today that is the political mouthpiece of Big Capital’s wishes.
In less progressive European countries such as Italy, it is practically impossible to find someone over 30 who defines himself as “genderfluid,” while about 10% of those under 24 today define themselves in this way. Therefore, although society tends not to be particularly progressive — and we could make a similar argument in terms of other issues, such as immigration — younger people tend to become more progressive, growing more similar to their peers who live in New York than their own parents or older siblings with whom they share the same house every day.
What happened? How could this have occurred? The vast majority of the previous sources of socialization have disappeared, and they have all been replaced by social networks. Instagram is more important, in this respect, for a young person today than whatever influence his family might have, for example. We can speak theoretically of “absolute socialization” when very few actors — nowadays, perhaps only one — can entirely manage the process of political socialization for an individual or a community of individuals. This is exactly what is happening in the West.
When the whole socialization process is mediated by a single private actor, this does not only “reconstruct” your political identity, “target” you, and thus identify you as a conservative, progressive, fascist, fundamentalist, dissident, and so on, but at a deeper level it can literally modify and intervene in your political socialization in order to change your behavior over time – and even your identity.
These platforms can censor some information, symbols, authors, and political opinions and disseminate others, giving them influence that they would not actually have in actual society, thus contributing to build a false — yet tremendously effective — form of popularity.
Issues such as the fight against immigration that are deeply felt in society are completely censored on social media, and others that are quite marginal, such as gender identity issues, are amplified — but for the segments undergoing socialization, and in particular young people, given that they live on social media, this is the “true reality,” and they will be influenced by it.
In actuality, however, something even more effective and efficient can happen: If the average user spends three hours a day on Facebook, and has done so for ten years, the platform can then try to pigeonhole users through specific psychological paradigms (for example, the well-known “big five” paradigm). Once this is done, it can even work to change your political attitudes or behavior.
For example, anxious individuals tend to become more conformist when subjected to stress. Thus, showing them either worrying or reassuring news can lead to different political results in a specific period, or in relation to a certain theme. Think of the attitudes you saw in many of your friends or acquaintances during the Covid period. In some cases, people were clearly hysterical. But by contrast, take a dissident individual who perhaps has autistic traits: He needs to be shown “quiet” information in order to calm him down, or stressful information to “radicalize” him.
It is impossible to say how deep and how far along this process is. What we can say is that at present a possible defense, at least for the time being, is to become aware of this process and actively hinder it by looking at multiple sources, and indeed spreading them. This essentially allows one to “auto-socialize.” Read more books, discuss our ideas in person with others, listen to identitarian podcasts, and rebuild a living and vital subculture that can act as a barrier to the process of social integration and absolute socialization that is being implemented by dissolute progressivism.
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