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People Are Fighting Jeremy Corbyn With Owen Smith Memes

The Labour leadership candidate's supporters are fighting memes with memes.

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You know the sort of thing – a load of badly formatted text, some facts lacking citations, and a big shareable picture. It's probably all over your Facebook.

Corbyn's opponents within Labour, however, have always been terrible at fighting back with memes.

Nobody's sure if that's because they think it's beneath them, or just that they just don't quite understand how the internet works.

Either way, Labour centrists have been terrible at campaigning online and embracing meme culture.

Now that there's a new leadership contest under way, Corbyn's supporters are creating more memes than ever, but few people are fighting for Owen Smith on social media.

Then some people noticed this...

i think genuinely, the answer to tackling hateful memes is to reverse a bit and recreate milifandom, when everything was flower crowns

(The Milifandom was, of course, the name given to the group of teen girl fans of Corbyn's predecessor as Labour leader, Ed Miliband. You can read all about them here.)

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And that is how Owen Smith memes were born.

Let's be honest, a few weeks ago none of us expected Owen Smith to be turned into a meme. Especially not Owen Smith.

But that's where we are now – this is what has started appearing on Facebook:

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This nod to the Milifandom isn't surprising as its figurehead, Abby Tomlinson, has joined the Owen Smith memes bandwagon.

Owen Smith's Dank Memes

She told BuzzFeed News: "I'm obviously sceptical about using the popularity or sharing of anything on the internet as a representation for wider opinion. But specifically where it applies to what often is a left-wing bubble of Labour party members on the internet, I think it's a good, fun way of generating a positive outlook on a candidate. And while memes won't have a completely transformative effect, I think they can still make a difference somewhat in changing the tone of the debate."

One of the creators of the page, Jade Azim, who worked on Andy Burnham's leadership campaign last year, also has faith in the power of memes.

Owen Smith's Dank Memes

"I worked on campaigns last summer and saw the huge insurgency manifested as Twitter memes," said Azim. "They can easily be dismissed in a general election, but this time we were picking up 'I saw this on Facebook' on the phones.

"But these things have to be organic: The memes last year were coming from @JeremyCorbyn4PM and other natural fans. So you have to get this growing naturally, hence using the popular trend of 'dank memes'."

Azim says humour is "best for making things go viral". Like this other example of Owen Smith being photoshopped into a cartoon of another Tumblr-centric frog meme, Pepe.

Owen Smith's Dank Memes

"I thought it could add some lighthearted banter to an otherwise tense campaign, just as Milifandom had," Azim said. "I wanted to laugh to stop the crying."

The Facebook page attracted nearly 500 likes in its first half hour, which may give some reassurance to Smith supporters.

Owen Smith's Soft Left Memes for Socialist Teens

The @JeremyCorbyn4PM Twitter account, however, has 121,000 followers, so there is a long way to go for the pro-Smith Labour memefacturers.

Marie Le Conte is a politics and media reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.

Contact Marie Le Conte at marie.leconte@buzzfeed.com.

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