#Gamergate is a Marxist movement.

Hopefully this will be a short post, since the point is easily made, but who knows where this will lead. I’ve discussed left-right politics before here, but I think it’s time to make a more salient point about Gamergate’s politics and the implications it has on game journalism, social media, and the industry at large.

A lot of ado about nothing has been made by anti-Gamergate individuals about how the movement is fundamentally right-wing. I’m going to set aside the blatant falsehood of these claims as already linked, and that words such as “conservative” and “reactionary” are as much dog whistles to the left as “states’ rights” and “welfare queen” are to the right (which is actually a key to anti-Gamergate’s rhetorical strategy against the movement, but I’ll leave that to you, the reader, to discover for yourself), to concentrate on why this myth perpetuates especially in a context this is a left-versus-left battle.

I will not concentrate too much on Marxism itself, which is well-enough elucidated here, but rather a sociological evolution of Marxism, social conflict theory. In a nutshell, it’s Marxism applied not as economic theory but as social theory; social power rests in the hands of the bourgeois, who oppress the proletariat, and so forth. This is in contrast to elite theory which deserves special mention (see also, Robert Michels’ iron law of oligarchy).

That Gamergate is a populist movement is obvious; even anti-Gamergate acknowledges this (as exemplified in this Tumblr post). But…who is affiliated, or at least sympathizes, with Gamergate? Well, gamers naturally, journalists “outside” the mainstream, popular YouTube critics, former triple-A devs, CEO’s of software companies that (in the big picture) dabble in game dev, and news outlets on “the fringe” of the mainstream.

Who is opposed to Gamergate? Gawker Media (KotakuJezebel), Vox Media (PolygonThe Verge), UBM (Gamasutra), Conde Nast (Ars TechnicaThe New Yorker), affiliated writers and editors, (former) triple-A devs with heavy clout in the industry, and industry association executives. That’s not to mention affiliation via sympathetic works by traditional mass media.

Who, in this particular case, is the bourgeois and who is the proletariat should be self-evident. This should be particularly evident in “mainstream” gaming journalism’s ongoing battle against YouTube critics and LP’ers, which really ought need no reference. I’ve said before and I’ll say again this is really about money, influence, and the power that stems from their acquisition, and social justice is a convenient excuse.

[PS, I’m keeping a running tally on any game journalist or developer opposed to Gamergate who wants to seriously answer that question, even though such behavior persists. So far, that’s zero. And as always, if anyone wants to weigh in feel free.]

This is why Gamergate is a fundamentally Marxist movement. On one hand there is an established bourgeois (game journalists) whose vested (financial) interest is in the maintenance of the status quo (oligopoly of gaming news), who uses their social power (the bully pulpit of industry access and media influence) to marginalize and silence an established proletariat (the consumer and new entries to games criticism via social media). And, in return, the proletariat seeks to overthrow the bourgeois and seize that social power for themselves (otherwise known as the democratization of information).

And, if that isn’t persuasive enough, take a page from the anti-Gamergate playbook and consider for yourselves the predominant color (white), socioeconomic background (middle- to upper-class), and level of education (graduate or higher) of most anti-Gamergate individuals. They’re not merely bourgeois in the social microcosm of gaming and geekdom.

Advertisements