What is woke and how does the ultra-right use the term?
The term "woke" is used more and more often in today's social debate, and which values are attached to the word depends on who you ask. The term refers to being aware of and committed to social injustice and discrimination, particularly related to race, gender and social justice. The expression comes from English and has spread in Swedish culture. The term was originally coined by progressive black Americans and used in interethnic justice movements during the early to mid-20th century. The term began to gain more popularity in one of its contemporary meanings at the beginning of the Black Lives Matter movement in 2014
To be "woke" means to be aware or alert to social injustice and inequality between races. It can be about questioning and fighting racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia and other forms of discrimination. Woke conservatives are a group of individuals within the political landscape who combine conservative values with a heightened awareness of social and cultural issues.
The term woke is used to ridicule political opponents
The term has been used by some conservatives as an insult to progressive values. However, the term "woke" has also become the subject of debate and criticism. Some argue that it can be used as a way to dismiss or ridicule socially conscious movements and that it is sometimes used as a form of exaggeration or moralizing. It is also called canceling culture, i.e. canceling, blocking and stopping those who have the "wrong" opinion.
The term is also used to target companies that are thought to be running a woke agenda and that are threatened to be boycotted. Examples of companies that have been exposed are:
- Bud Light
- The North Face
The term "woke" is sometimes used as an insult due to the polarized discussion around social justice and political issues. Some critics believe that people who describe themselves as "woke" are overly sensitive or overly politically correct. They see it as a sign of excessive moralism or an attempt to silence dissent.
Critics also claim that the term "woke" is used to describe people who are naive or ignorant of the real challenges in society. It is sometimes considered a generalization of those who pursue social justice issues and can be used to belittle their views or dismiss their commitment as unrealistic or exaggerated.
What is the opposite of woke?
In certain contexts, the expression "anti-woke" is sometimes used to describe people or opinions that are against or critical of the woke culture. These people may have objections to certain aspects of the woke movement, such as identity politics or demands for "cancel culture". They may emphasize the importance of freedom of expression, individual responsibility and a more traditional view of societal norms and values.
Woke up in the US
The term woke has been used by some Republicans as a derogatory term during the midterm elections to signal the identity-based social justice issues that some Democrats and progressives are pushing. "Woke" has been used by former President Donald Trump, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and several of the Republicans backed by Trump ahead of the midterm elections such as Kari Lake and Mehmet Oz. DeSantis has said he wants to reject the woke ideology.
Days after Donald Trump said he doesn't like the word "woke" because "half the people can't define it," anti-woke warrior Ron DeSantis was asked to define what it meant. ” In his response, DeSantis insisted: “We know what woke is, it's a form of cultural Marxism.” Fighting the "woke" has so far been the cornerstone of DeSanti's 2024 presidential campaign — his response Saturday struck a similar chord. "It's about putting merit and performance behind identity politics, and it's basically a fight against the truth. And when it has infected institutions, it has corrupted the institutions.” Source
What is the agenda of the alt-right?
The opposite of woke is about having a view of the world that is hostile to science. It is not about "fake news" but about alternative media where you build a new identity and counter world to the established society with propaganda. They use real news that is heavily angled towards polarizing issues.
In Sweden, it is about the culture war and driving polarized issues that follow SD's agenda and the alt-right and their media often select micro-news around and which are often in line with Putin's propaganda message about a decadent West.
- Migration policy: A hard line on immigration and refugees advocating to protect borders and reduce the number of asylum seekers admitted into the country and deport criminals
- Swexit - that Sweden should leave the EU
- Climate denial
- Nationalism to preserve cultural traditions such as folk costumes and housewives and criticism of the multicultural society
- Homophobia through anti LBQT and campaigns against drag queens. Precisely in Russia, hatred and contempt against homosexuals works in the underdeveloped countryside and says that it is a perversion.
- Anti free trade, against globalization and liberal values. Some warn of "globalist psychopaths" waging a psychological war against the population which consists of indoctrinating people with a certain narrative that only promotes the interests of an elite.
- Anti gender theory and feminism often by ridiculing such as making simple claims such as men with penises calling themselves women and competing in women's sports or that everyone has the right to use the women's bathroom.
- Towards knowledge institutions. Among the organizations and networks studied here, it is common for established science to be seen as corrupt and as angled to favor a particular political ideology. Scientists are often described as bought, as liars or politically correct and cowardly.
- Against anti international organizations such as the EU, NATO, UN and WHO. Many on the alt-right flank for a no to NATO agenda.
- Against humanitarian organizations
- Against the Swedish Church which one experiences for a woke agenda and norm criticism. Putin himself is increasingly trying to quote the Sermon on the Mount and appear as a Jesus figure and with messages such as that it is an existential war and that the whole West is Satan.
- Against the armed forces and the police
- You create a sense of belonging and make attacks on "enemies" the perceived elite and the establishment. They go hard on public services and authorities that are considered biased and ask too tough questions of their own
- Population exchange, genocide and a weakening of men Conspiracy propaganda about the so-called population exchange (henceforth mostly only people exchange) is common among the groups studied here in the report from FOI. Only those people who are considered to have innate blood ties to the earth in a particular place have, according to these ideas, the right to exist in that particular place. There is a widespread idea that it is about a mass murder of the white population taking place (White Genocide).
- Anti-Semitic myths about a Jewish world conspiracy, for example George Soros and a psychopathic world elite and world government.
- New World Order and The Great Reset an initiative of the World Economic Forum (WEF).
- Pro-Russian propaganda here means that the perspective of the Russian state is uncritically and repeatedly adopted, copied and spread further.
- The threat to Western (white) civilization is described as a threat to the nuclear family and to heterosexuality, or to "the natural order". Different actors in the landscape express prejudice, hostility and hatred towards LGBTQI people to varying degrees.
Articles in Samnytt
Examples of articles about Ukraine in Samnytt
- Chairman of the Supreme Court of Ukraine arrested for corruption
- Retired Viggen pilot: Why send the Gripen to Ukraine
- Report: Continued widespread corruption in Ukraine
- Russia: "Radioactive cloud" on its way from Ukraine to the EU
- Ukraine admits murder of journalists: "Propagandists"
Examples of articles about LGBTQ in Samnytt
- The Armed Forces: Pride more important than ever
- The Church of Sweden celebrates Pride with LGBT theology and drag queens
- Youth gang attacked Pride leisure center in exclusion zone
- Drag queen reads fairy tales to children - tips on "erotic drawing book"
Examples of articles about the Police and the Military in Samnytt
- Details: The police break the law to stop Paludan - on orders from the government
- Policewoman had sex with a detainee and leaked secret information: "Wants to show humanity"
- Female correctional officer had a relationship with the inmate
- The armed forces advertise in Arabic
A relatively new trend is politicians who criticize government officials, and SD Björn Söder wrote in a tweet that it is "time to clean up Myndighetssverige". Examples of outgoing directors-general are Mikael Ribbenvik at the Swedish Migration Agency, director-general Peter Fredriksson at the Norwegian School Board, the Radiation Safety Authority's director-general Nina Cromnier, Carin Jämtin at SIDA and investigators such as Marika Åsbrink.
Other authorities that have been criticized are the Tax Agency, the Energy Agency and state companies such as LKAB (Göran Persson) and Vattenfall (Tomas Kåberger). Earlier, but talked about the risk of ministerial rule and it is a big risk that the state companies or authorities adopt the new political voices instead of acting independently.
What is the culture war?
The culture war is about an ongoing political and ideological conflict concerning different values, norms and cultural issues in society. It is a term used to describe the deep polarization and confrontation that exists between different groups and opinions in society. The perception of what it means to be "woke" can vary and it is a discussion that will continue in society.
The report "Rotten democracy Conspiracy propaganda, racism and violence"
FOI Total Defense Research Institute has written a report which highlights the organizations and networks that together constitute what the report refers to as anti-democratic extremist environments. These complex and varied environments are united by different ideological elements. The report focuses on organizations and networks that strive to abolish or undermine the liberal democratic state. Their strategies include the spread of conspiracy propaganda and disinformation to create political chaos in society, as well as the use of threats and violence. The report also examines the connection between the studied actors' rhetoric and the risk of acts of violence.
A central conclusion is that the composition and activities within the extremist milieu have changed in recent years. In Sweden, there have been several acts of violence related to the ideological landscape that the report deals with, such as school attacks and the murder in Almedalen in 2022. Some of the investigated groups strive to change society through violence, while others do not. Even those actors who themselves do not see violence as a means of social change can under certain circumstances inspire violence. Based on the report's analysis, the authors assess that an in-depth knowledge of the connection between ideology and acts of violence is necessary to be able to effectively counter the violence.
FOI is a Swedish government agency that conducts research and development in the field of security and defence. FOI's task is to support the Swedish defense and society in handling security-related issues.