Digital Humour and Protest Against the Trump Presidency: A View from Indonesia


Internet memes and hashtags have become integral to contemporary politics, having grown from relatively peripheral amusements to often playing significant roles in the success or failure of a political movement, or at least in particular 'moments' of those movements. When a hashtag or meme goes viral, as has been the case, for example, with #MeToo; #BlackLivesMatter; #EqualMarriage, and #OccupyWallStreet, it marks significant in-roads for a campaign and sends out a challenge to opponents. However, to what extent do they actually significantly impact on ruling power relations? This paper will discuss the role of satirical memes and hashtags in anti-racist campaigns opposing Trump's policies in four areas: his policies on Muslim and Latin American immigration, and the controversy around the removal of statues and monuments celebrating leaders of the pro-Slavery confederate states from the US Civil War. It does this from an Indonesian point of view within a progressive social movements perspective, asking questions about the broader significance of the Trump presidency and forms of grass-roots progressive opposition to his presidency. In this context the paper argues that the international significance of Trump and his grass-roots opponents are not just that they are influencing the direction and policies of the (still) most powerful nation (economically and militarily) on earth, but also that they are expressions of social and political phenomena that are much more widespread – that of, amongst other things, the crisis of neo-liberal politics and the rise of a new 'populist' far right politics.

Author Information
Rifka Sibarani, Universitas Atma Jaya Yogyakarta (UAJY), Indonesia,
Yudi Perbawaningsih, Universitas Atma Jaya Yogyakarta (UAJY), Indonesia

Paper Information
Conference: MediAsia2018
Stream: Political Communication and Satire

This paper is part of the MediAsia2018 Conference Proceedings (View)
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Posted by James Alexander Gordon