Author:Vita Peacock (NA)
Paper short abstract:
This paper explores the theory of intentional depopulation shared by supporters of the 'Anonymous' movement in Britain. It argues that the theory is an analogical response to real crises of social and biological reproduction that have deepened in Britain since 2010.
Paper long abstract:
As a loose assembly of hackers, activists, and marginalized persons, Anonymous proclaims a populist message. Adherents maintain that 'anyone can be Anonymous', that it has no limiting ideology nor doctrine. In practice, those most committed to the movement in Britain share a theory of the world known as the 'Depopulation Agenda' or 'Agenda 21'. Drawing on a UN resolution passed in 1992 to address the threat of climate change, Agenda 21 in their conceptualisation is a project by the world's rich and powerful to depopulate the world by around six and a half billion people. The internet provides an important resource for this theory, as it enables the marshalling of various forms of documentary, visual, and audio-visual 'evidence' for the existence of mass existential threat.
Rather than deconstructing the flawed epistemological bases on which the theory rests, I offer that the fear of organized depopulation is an analogical response to real crises of social and biological reproduction that have deepened in Britain since 2010. Drawing on Orlando Patterson's concept of 'social death', the paper argues that Anonymous in Britain arises from experiences of invisibility that have been aggravated by precaritization and austerity policies. Social death is fundamentally a symbolic state, a position outside a hierarchy of value; yet it is also tacitly connected to biological death, as those outside a sphere of recognition might not benefit from life-giving institutional protections. Agenda 21 thus becomes a way for Anons to rationalize the social and biological risks that invisibility can produce.
Conspiracy theories and conspiracy practices: moving between rationalities