Dazed Digital takes a closer look at the anonymous group of political bloggers and masters of Internet propaganda.
The Deterritorial Support Group are an anonymous group of political bloggers, formed to produce propaganda for the “lulz” – an appropriation of a term used on the internet to express amusement specifically at funny web content. There is, however, nothing disarming about DSG’s work. Prior to last month’s March for the Alternative rally in London organised by the Trade Union Committee against public sector cuts, the DSG produced parodies of the TUC’s official posters (changing the tag line to ‘Fuck shit up for the Alternative”), which had the desired effect of going viral.
Elsewhere they have also been involved in perpetuating rumours that Lady Gaga and the Slovenian philosopher Slavoj Žižek were due to perform together this year at Birkbeck University, as well as fraudulently advertising their work as part of an exhibition discussing “mythologies of liberation” at the Whitechapel Gallery. Dazed got in touch to find out more...
Dazed Digital: What is the DSG?
Deterritorial Support Group: DSG is an ultra-leftist propaganda machine formed at the end of 2010. Our aims are full communism with “lulz” as a transitional demand. Essentially, we aim to push capital into a position of “zugzwang”, whereby it is forced to play it's hand in full knowledge that regardless of which move is chosen, the outcome will be its systemic failure.
DD: You've attempted to spread some quite amusing rumours, such as Slavoj Zizek appearing with Lady Gaga, and so on. What do you hope to achieve by doing so?
Deterritorial Support Group: We didn't spread any such rumour - we hijacked an existing meme with enormous potential. Internet memes originally functioned as a subject of the Internet hate machine - operating in a totally amoral fashion, where achieving “lulz” was the only aim. Within the past few years, memes have started to take on a totally different function, and what would have been perceived as a slightly pathetic bunch of bastards in the past are today global players in undermining international relations - namely in the complex interaction of Wikileaks with Anonymous, 4chan and other online hooligans.
There's no coherent analysis to be had of this at the moment. However “lulz” also demonstrate their potential as part of a policy of radical refusal to the demands of capital. When asked by liberals "Do you condone or condemn the violence of the Black Bloc?" We can only reply in unison "This cat is pushing a watermelon out of a lake. Your premise is invalid". They fucking hate that. So we saw the original Zizek/Gaga meme in that vein, and added to it for the “lulz”.
DD: The posters that you made spoofing the TUC's official images for the 'March for the Alternative' rally became an online phenomenon very quickly. Would you concede, however, that by dividing voices of dissent, your tactics might be counter-productive?
Deterritorial Support Group: We reject that a criticism of the TUC is a personal attack on its members. Imagine having politics so paranoid and parasitic that you had to conflate your bureaucratic structure with an entire economic class just to defend it? Voices of dissent exist within unions, no matter how many witch-hunts they conduct against heretical members. And when creating their images for the march, the TUC chose use imagery that was non-confrontational, apolitical and middle-of-the-road. The result was painful — two hands, palms outstretched in cynical, politically neutral colours, looking like a mugging victim desperately trying to defend their face.
This reflects how the TUC perceive their role, i.e. as the management of labour within a social partnership between state, labour and capital. It doesn't strike us as doing justice to the power that working-class people have — the power to withdraw our labour, to respond to this government’s attack on our class by making the country ungovernable. The question of whether an image can divide or unite 'voices of dissent' is an interesting one. For our images to divide such voices, it would be necessary that those voices were a coherent whole in the first place, and that the TUC's 'all together' branding effectively encompassed them – something we hope we just discredited.
Perhaps by broadening the scope of the original identity, we should seek remuneration from the TUC for our labour. We subscribe to an idea of Gerard Paris-Clavel's – that images can only become political once they are inserted into real struggles; it is not the responsibility of the image to authoritatively encompass, but to travel with us, reflect our positions and form visual environments in which we can organise towards communism. The IMF and the Bank of England have both warned that the west is potentially building towards a second global economic crisis.
DD: Are the aims of democracy even compatible with capitalism?
Deterritorial Support Group: Hey, at least we're in a position to satisfactorily divide the two concepts, unlike before the fall of the USSR, amirite?
DD: How much does popular will matter when faced with the real political-economic power of the IMF, pace Ireland, Greece, Portugal?
Deterritorial Support Group: Bourgeois democracy is obviously compatible with capitalism, but genuine control of our lives and relations will take something more than the current negotiations of capital with state. It will require a movement and a process of building from our present conditions, a process of communisation, and that is why we are communists. As Karl Marx said, "Communism is for us not a state of affairs which is to be established, an ideal to which reality will have to adjust itself. We call communism the real movement which abolishes the present state of things."
Originally posted: July 2011 at Daze Digital