MegaAnon vs QAnon: Continuity and cross-pollination

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Thiago Vahia Malliagros
Thiago Vahia Malliagros is a brazilian historian focused on conspiracy theories and contemporary far right ideologies.

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In my previous article I used a comparison to the failed MegaAnon conspiracy theory to identify and illustrate why the QAnon theory flourished; however, the two conspiracies arose somewhat in tandom, with each influencing the other.

QAnon’s followers recognise the influence exerted by MegaAnon on their movement. In the book “QAnon, a welcome to the Great Awakening,” there is an explicit reference to both FBI Anon and MegaAnon as being precursors to QAnon. It was these alternate theories who first showed the alleged corruption of the Clintons and their involvement with human trafficking – themes which were enthusiastically co-opted by Q.

Nevertheless, continuity is not a straightforward copy and paste. Some elements of the MegaAnon theory were not adopted by Q. For example, the great evil for MegaAnon is the Zionists. According to her, that term is not a reference to the Jews in general, but to the high echelons of all religions:

Zionists are the elite of fucking RELIGION. The upper echelons of Christians/Catholics, Muslims AND Jews have been Zionist for the last 80+ years. ONE COMMON AGENDA. The MORE they can divide their masses of followers, the MORE control (((they – the zionist/religious elite))) have over you. Why? Because if we ever united our masses on our common HUMANITY alone, who’d be left to fund the BUSINESS ORGANIZATION, of their religion? They divide us against each other in every way they can to weaken our masses and the threat a united mass, would pose. Did you ever ask yourself how much the Vatican rakes in from it’s community after a terrorist attack like Manchester

MegaAnon Fri 26 May 2017

This is a tradition of the antisemitism present on 4Chan and in conspiracy theories, a reference to the Protocols of the Elder of Zions that has persisted to this day. Even if the MegaAnon theory claims that it is not just the Jews, it still wants to use the language of antisemitic narratives, even if purportedly divorced from religion. This was an adaptation made to try to render the claim acceptable to the mainstream – without it, MegaAnon would have risked losing followers.

QAnon does not adopt this tradition. Q inherited the New World Order theory and the cabal/(((they))), but never mentions Zionists or Jews. Although some followers of Q are antisemitic, it should be stressed that Q is a theory that allows for a huge number of interpretations, and at the moment the majority of bakers – the QAnon followers who scour Q’s pronouncements looking for clues as to their meaning – do not support this antisemitic vision. The antisemitic interpretation is possible, just as in any other conspiracy theory, but at the moment it is not prevalent.

This was a major legacy of Mega to Q: the ability to condense the narrative. What Mega claims is, effectively, a condensation of multiple conspiracy theories, expressions, and pieces of information derived from a multitude of places. The objective here is not to track all of them, but rather to point out that all of those narratives revolve around the fact that the NWO, represented by (((them))), is being destroyed thanks to one figure: Donald Trump. His election allows the unification of narratives around him.

Donald Trump standing at a microphone

Mega shows how the narrative works to make Trump a heroic figure for the conspiracy world. He became one when he defeated the candidate seen as belonging to the evil cabal and his discourse was perfect for the conspiracists. The president of the US appeared on Infowars, Alex Jones’ show – an important vehicle for conspiracy theories. He talked about the elites, accused Ted Cruz’s father of being involved in the murder of JFK, talked about land seizure in South Africa from white farmers, denied climate change, cast doubt about the effectiveness of vaccines, and endorsed Birtherism. It does not matter if Trump believed any of these, or if his government actually formulated policies to tackle the issues presented in these conspiracy theories. What matters is that he said he would.

Mega’s faith in Donald Trump is an example of what Jean Baudrillard called “hyperreality”: the image becomes a value in itself. Once it became accepted on faith that Trump is a genius, he was credited with having an incredible amount of power and reasoning, and his actions and decisions in government started to make sense. For believers in the conspiracy theory, he became a super-genius, dedicated to bringing the utopia back to the US.

All of this has carried over to QAnon, but with certain changes that have allowed Q to have a broader appeal, becoming more acceptable than other conspiracy theories. The most important influence on Q was the figure of Donald Trump: he was a mastermind who knew all, and everything was in accordance with him. The followers of Q saw signifcance in ever minutaie of Trump’s actions: a Trump typo could not be a mistake or a coincidence, it must be a code. Even the number of steps that Trump took during a speech became interpreted as a secret message to his community.

This hyperreality had no relation to any reality whatsoever. Everything Trump did would be perceived through the lens of another reality. The figure QAnon believers loved was not the real Trump, nor even the supposed “genius Trump” of the MegaAnon theory; what Q’s followers loved was an image that has lost all connection to reality, onto which they could project what they desired.

A call to action

Besides the relation to the figure of Trump, in which Q adopts an increasingly radical position, another demonstration of the continuity and increased radicalism between QAnon and MegaAnon is the way both urged their followers to action. As the enemy is literally the evil incarnate, there had to be something their followers could do. In both cases, there is a call to action: for the users to go out and research, to seek the truth, and try to show others what is really happening. Spreading awareness of all the supposed crimes that are happening takes the form of the so-called “Meme War,” as they claim memes are the way to push their narrative:

Remember, 75% of these idiots who show up to “protest” as the “resistance”, honestly think they’re just doing the right thing. We ALL know people who claim to resist who are our family/long time friends, way before we cared about politics. NOW IS THE TIME TO USE YOUR MEME MAGIC FOR GOOD. Create easy to digest memes geared towards the “normies”, that show FACTS. Make them clean, simple and concise. Convey messages like “the same people who hire/pay fake protestors to spark violence and destruction at peaceful advertised rallies, are the same people who don’t want you to find out about JFK, Vegas, UraniumOne, Fast and Furious, Hollywood, etc.”.

There’s already enough of a public ramp up/prep work done over the last 9 months that even normally oblivious people are questioning Vegas, Uranium, etc. ALL YOU HAVE TO DO IS FLOOD THEIR SOCIAL MEDIA NEWSFEEDS WITH JUST ENOUGH TO SPARK THEIR CURIOSITY. Everyone has something they personally relate to, all it takes is ONE thing that strikes a nerve for them to fire up a search engine and dig. That’s the “redpill”. The ultimate redpill is REALIZATION AND ACCEPTANCE that the REALITY of something you’ve been told or believe, REALISTICALLY ISN’T, how you’ve been told to believe it. Once someone has the ability to realize, believe and accept that ONE SINGLE FUNDAMENTAL THING THEY ONCE BELIEVED, ISN’T TRUE AS TAUGHT/TOLD, they have the capability of opening their mind and rationales…

MegaAnon Sat 21 Oct 2017

MSM Fake News Awards.
Are you prepared?
MEMES/POSTS.
Organized and coordinated?
POTUS may reTWEET one or more.
READY FOR LAUNCH?
SHOW the WORLD.
SHOW the WORLD the TRUTH.
OPEN THEIR EYES.
DON’T LET POTUS SUFFER FROM THE SOROS/LOSER BOTS THAT CONTINUALLY FLOOD.
MAKE THE FAKE NEWS AWARDS YOUR 1ST ORGANIZED TWEET STORM DAY.
MAKING AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!
Q

Post 532, Qanon, Jan 14, 2018

For MegaAnon, the objective of the Meme War is to make the “normies” (a jargon used in 4Chan to describe people who do not access the site and have not been exposed to “the truth”) wake up, research, and come to their side – only this would ensure their side victory. As such, the big day for MegaAnon is an official Trump announcement on TV revealing all of the crimes and evil of (((them))), that would be a broadcast of uncut, pure and uncensored “truth.”

This call for a Meme War is even more evident for QAnon than MegaAnon, in the form of Q’s promise of ten days of darkness, when all communications will be shut down while the deep state is being arrested or thrown into prison. Q claimed people could get hurt during this time not understanding what is happening, so participating in the wake-up call to warn others about the “plan to save the world” could save lives.

In conclusion, the process of continuity of Mega to QAnon can be defined as normalisation and radicalisation. The removal of terms like Zionism and reference to Jews, which may well be common on sites like 4Chan but would not be accepted in the mainstream, made QAnon more palatable. On the other hand, the increase in stakes, the growing emphasis on the Meme War, and the increased disconnection from reality increased user engagement, allowing for QAnon ideas to spread more easily. In other words, QAnon sanitised the less palatable aspects of previous conspiracies while radicalising the more acceptable ones, in order to achieve more widespread popularity.

This is why QAnon succeeded while MegaAnon failed. The final question to be asked is: did these theories clash? For a brief period, they coexisted in the same online space and even had some interactions, so what do those interactions reveal? This will be the subject of my concluding article in this series.

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