A German neo-Nazi group has been harnessing 21st century technology to stage terrifying flash-mob protests that echo the fascist torch rallies of the 1930s. In a demonstration on May 1st in Bauzen, Germany hundreds of black-clad figures with white masks suddenly converged in a street carrying torches and signs with extreme nationalist slogans. The group uses an outdated word - 'Volkstod' - on their signs, the newspaper noted, intentionally harking back to the days of the national socialism. It's a turn of phrase that neo-Nazis use to describe what they perceive as the degredation of the German race taking place under democratic government. A Neo-Nazi group in the state of Brandenburg called 'Spreelichter' first came up with the idea of organizing flash mob protests in 2009, according to Die Zeit.
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Media theorist Douglas Rushkoff explains why limiting access to social networks is not the answer to preventing riots, for CNN:
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In the past, people seemed to require a massive “cue” to form a mob. The New York blackouts of the summer of 1977 resulted in citywide looting, not just because alarm systems were down, but because a whole lot of hot, angry, frustrated people had an excuse to act en masse. Likewise, the verdict on the Rodney King trial served as a spark, synchronizing simultaneous explosions of mob behavior in a dozen North American cities.
Media can certainly accelerate or even reproduce this process. Radio gave Hitler a way to unify angry crowds as never before, and it both inspired and facilitated the chasing down and murder of about 800,000 Tutsis by gangs with machetes in Rwanda. Radio broadcasters announced where potential victims were hiding, coordinating the violence via media.