The Alt-Right Is Using Crowdfunding to Take on Liberal Silicon Valley

The Alt-Right Is Using Crowdfunding to Take on Liberal Silicon Valley, by Sonya Mann.

Pax Dickinson wants to fund the revolution. Not a blood-in-the-streets revolution, but one where hardcore right-wingers can economically secede from the parts of society they vehemently dislike. “We need parallel everything. I do not want to ever have to spend a single dollar at a non-movement business,” Dickinson, the former CTO of Business Insider and general startup veteran, declared on Twitter.

Dickinson believes the money to build that parallel everything will come from crowdfunding. His new project, called CounterFund, is a lot like Patreon, a service that allows users to make monthly pledges to creators — only with an unorthodox super-PAC grafted on. The way it works is that influencers — Twitter personalities, podcasters, YouTubers, and so on — join the platform, and then members of their audience donate like they would on Patreon.

Eighty percent of the money goes directly to the influencers. Ten percent is devoted to running CounterFund, and then the remaining 10 percent is spent by the top influencers as they see fit. …

In conversations with Inc., Dickinson explained that he sees CounterFund as the linchpin of a parallel far-right economy. The alt-right movement shouldn’t fund or depend on platforms that are hostile to their goals, he believes. …

Dickinson is pitching CounterFund itself as a new kind of political party, one that cares for its community rather than pouring money into candidates’ campaigns. It’s hard to overstate the degree to which he’s willing to take this project beyond mainstream acceptability. Dickinson compared CounterFund to Hezbollah: “Hezbollah is a government within a government. They collect garbage, they operate hospitals, they’re an economy within an economy, and a government within a government.” …

The arrival of CounterFund comes as Americans increasingly seem to be agreeing with the thrust of the Supreme Court’s ruling on Citizens United vs. FEC: spending money is a form of political speech. People want to financially support companies that share their values and stick it to those that don’t. …

For a member of the alt-right, it makes no sense to tacitly support a perceived “SJW” (social justice warrior) company like Patreon, which garners a percentage of every pledge. …

Thus the current political climate is primed for ideologically oriented startups to take hold. “We’re sort of having a hollowing out of the middle, where everyone’s miserable,” according to Dickinson. “The left half wants full-blown communism because they’re miserable, and that’s their solution, and the right half maybe doesn’t know what they want, but they don’t want that.”