Who Are The Trolls?

02 March 2014
There's a video doing the rounds of immigration minister Scott Morrison referring to our ludicrous border protection policy, Operation Sovereign Borders, as "operation sovereign murders" before hastily correcting himself. It's telling - why would he have described it thus if he had not already done so, likely jokingly, in private conversation?


 Anyway, the Australian Greens posted the video on their Facebook page; I added my two cents worth and went on my way. Until I found myself flooded with notifications. My unspectacular comment couldn't be getting that many likes from Greens supporters, I thought, and it wasn't. The notifications were replies from Greens opponents. Trolls. People who signed up to the Facebook page of a party they professed to hate and posted about how awful the Greens were, a bunch of inner city lefties who needed to get out into the real world, why didn't we want the boats stopped, we were responsible for 1200 deaths at sea, why didn't we invite asylum seekers to live at our houses...you get the drift. We've already come across opinions like these, it's no surprise that they're out there, but what I noticed in this thread was it was the same handful of people who were posting these things over and over again. One guy left scores of comments over an eight hour period; there were others not far behind. Why would they do that? What did they hope to achieve? Who are these people?

I had a look at their Facebook profiles to find out, and the pattern was obvious. They were all white (of course). All but one of them were male. None mentioned any education beyond high school, which made sense considering the semi-literate nature of their comments. Most claimed to be self-employed (unemployed possibly? One described himself as "Self Employed at CEO of my life"). For an urbanised nation like Australia, an incredibly high proportion lived in regional areas. And to judge from their photos, which featured a bunch of kids but very few apparent partners, a lot of them seemed to be single dads.

In other words, these people are about as disenfranchised and powerless as a white skin allows you to get in Australia. They're angry, and justifiably so. The pity is they're angry at all the wrong people. Malcolm X once said "If you're not careful, the newspapers will have you hating the people who are being oppressed, and loving the people who are doing the oppressing.”. These people are above all the victims of economic rationalism; it has destroyed the foundations of the blue collar Aussie male's world; secure employment, home ownership, family security, a comfortably modest future to look forward to. Yet they have been brainwashed, through a steady stream of News Ltd tabloids and talk back radio, into blaming asylum seekers, feminists, greenies, do-gooders, and people who don't smack their kids for their plight. And they turn up on election day and vote into power the party which is the biggest proponent of the policies which have left them so disempowered, so unlikely to find secure employment, their future so bleak. (Not that I'm excusing Labor in all this; it was Paul Keating who was the initial champion of the Friedman economics in Australia, selling public assets, removing tariffs and destroying industry).

They've been played like pianos, these people; deluded into thinking that a man who hacks murdered kid's phones is a benign influence on our nation, and that when he says a man who is the epitome of the inner Sydney elite is a nice Aussie family bloke like them, he's telling the truth. They've been fooled into believing that business is on their side against the evils of government and the unions, and that if there is a clash between what's best for them, ordinary Australians, and what's best for big business, Abbott will side with his pal the true Aussie bloke. I feel sorry for them, even though they hate me; I really do. They know not what they hate, the party and groups which offer alternative commentaries on the system which has so betrayed them. They think, with a Liberal government and a voice in the comments of Andrew Bolt's blog, they have some power, when they don't; they're completely disposable to the people they've put in power. That's why there will never be a revolution in Australia. The elites tell the battlers "we're on your side", and they so desperately want to believe it, they ignore the truth and focus their enormous, justifiable rage on all the wrong targets.

Update: it's now 30 hours since the thread started. All the lefties have long since abandoned it. But the same Lib trolls are still there, trading insults back and forth, an endless right wing echo chamber. Maybe they are in the end just nuts.


  1. it's not just privatization and economic rationalism. they are part of the problem. however what they represent is the real problem or the real issue which is change. education and lack of it compounds the problem but for many the issue is one of change fatigue. The world they grew up with is no longer there. they grew up in a world of certainty: job for life; your next door neighbour looked like you; everyone spoke english, was christian more or less. everyone was white more or less. That world has disappeared and that makes them frightened and vulnerable to Hanson initially and the LNP, who have donned hanson's clothes, more recently. the challenge is to find ways and means to engage with these people.to dismiss them as "bogans' is self-defeating. wish there was a simple answer but whilever Abbott et al prey upon people's fears it is going to be very difficult.


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