Please Don’t Say ‘Alt-Left.’ It’s Not a Thing.

Amidst all the scrutiny of the self-professed “alt-right” neo-Nazis this week, a new term emerged to describe their opponents: the “alt-left.”

Stop. Don’t think it, don’t say it, don’t in any way legitimatize it. There is no alt-left faction, and it’s dangerous to suggest otherwise.

For starters, foes of white supremacists shouldn’t be labeled as some kind of fringe group. Foes of white supremacists should be decent people everywhere. You don’t need to be some ultra-leftie to be in opposition to modern-day Nazis.

Furthermore, the term helps to normalize the behavior of those who identify as “alt-right.” By painting the situation as a typical political dichotomy where people on the left and right never agree, it allows people to pretend that what’s going on is somehow business as usual, and that it’s a fight they don’t need to bother to be a part of. It’s the population’s continued inaction that has allowed white nationalists to thrive.

White nationalists started saying “alt-left” for these reasons, and Donald Trump famously borrowed it himself when arguing to reporters that anti-hate protesters were just as guilty as anyone walking around with torches and doing Nazi gestures. Give this term no more credence than you would “covfefe.”

Unlike white nationalists who embrace “alt-right,” there is no group in America that identifies as “alt-left.” Don’t give Nazis the power to label their enemies for their own benefit.

Unfortunately, even Democrats have adopted the term to blast people more progressive than them. The New Republic gives several examples of notable center-left political figures who have said “alt-left” themselves.

The intended effect is to suggest that people who are too far left are just as dangerous as people who are too far right. That’s not just irresponsible, it’s wrong. Far left ideology is not about racism, ethnocentrism or anything as deplorable as what white nationalists are spouting, but that fact gets obfuscated when an alt-right/alt-left parallel is drawn.

While you’re editing your vocabulary, be sure to keep “alt-right” off your lips, too.  Last year, many press outlets including Care2 decided to not use this euphemism to put a new face on what is essentially hate. White supremacists invented this label to slightly rebrand themselves without the negative connotations that their ideas normally carry. By saying “alt-right,” you might as well be helping them with their public relations campaign.

One major news publication that has yet to drop “alt-right” from its articles is the New York Times. Join nearly 40,000 other Care2 users in signing this petition asking the paper’s editorial board to adopt more accurate language to describe hate groups so that readers know who these people really are.

Photo Credit: Mark Dixon

97 comments

Marie W
Marie W21 days ago

Thanks for sharing

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Margie FOURIE
Margie FOURIE5 months ago

Thank you

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heather g
heather g6 months ago

All aggressive...

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Carl R
Carl R6 months ago

Thanks!!!!

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Rhoberta E
Rhoberta E6 months ago

o brian f
I DO have things to say on the TOPIC of the articles. The TROLL is you and your repetitive negativity.. You ARE a BOT. BTW, I DON'T tweet. I post my thoughts here and won't be bullied by you or a couple of others.

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Jeramie D
Jeramie D6 months ago

Thanks

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Brian F
Brian F6 months ago

Rhoberta You’re a troll with your boring tweets. People can't stand Hillary because she is a crook.

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Peggy B
Peggy B6 months ago

All this vulgar fighting is trivalising Heather Meyer's death. Have some respect.

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Rhoberta E
Rhoberta E6 months ago

brian the BOT is back !!! Be prepared for the next 6 / 10 posts on any page.

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Brian F
Brian F6 months ago

Sellout liar Obama suspended our habeas corpus so we can go to prison for saying anything critical about our government. Obama imprisoned Manning for 7 years for telling the truth about the Iraq war. If you’re a crook like Hillary who supported the Iraq war, nothing happens, but when you reveal the truth about the lies the USA used to justify the Iraq war, like Manning did, you go to prison for 7 years and are tortured.

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