In 2011, the entire world came online for the first time, from the residents of Mogadishu to rural grandparents in Iowa. Armed with fast, cheap, and ubiquitous cell phones, suddenly the internet was at everyone's fingertips - and with it, the rise of social networking sites. The internet connected and amplified groups - gearheads, separatists, and white supremacists alike. YouTube shifted from being a place for cat videos and uploads of old anime music videos to a place slowly filling with asshats. An "apolitical" space was now explicitly political; the culture war between "The Left' and the social conservative right was about to take on a new dimension.
The Early Rise of The Alt-Reich
The alt-reich were one of the first to loudly colonize the nascent web; white supremacist Stefan Molyneux was running a podcast as early as 2005. Steve Bannon's Breitbart sprang up on the heels of far-right Matt Drudge's Drudge Report. As explicit white supremacists wrestled control of the Republican Party (by forming their own extremist caucus in the party - the Tea Party) from more quiet voices, the Alt-Reich were primed to ascend. A decade later, alt-reich dorks Tim Pool, Milo, Lauren Loomer, and others took to the internet as Megyn Kelly and her merry band of racist dorks fueled racist grandpas on Fox. By late 2013, the colonization of social media was complete.
GamerGate was the moment when explicit white supremacists ("the alt-right") joined forces officially with mainstream social conservatives; in Canada, the Conservative Party soon sported white supremacist candidates and hung out with white supremacist media personalities, while in the United States, white supremacists became the frontrunners and chief strategists of the Republican party. Suddenly white supremacist Richard Spencer was being passed off as "just a concerned conservative" by Steven Bannon's Breitbart and FOX media's Tucker Carlson.
The sudden mainstreaming of explicit white supremacy occured in time for the coronation of white supremacist and fascist, Donald Trump. In the months that followed, white supremacists took to the streets and attacked anti-racists; the Republican party pushed ahead with even more voter suppression, racism, and the construction of concentration camps. The union of Falwell's theocratic "moral majority" and ethnofascism were complete in 2016.
In defining BreadTube, it is important to recognize and classify the divergent groups often lumped together as The Left: we have Classical Leftists, Breadtube Leftists, Liberals/Woke Left, and the Dirtbag Left.
The Classical Leftists tend to be heavily anti-imperalist and anti-racist, drawing their ideological points of view from theory and writers like Emma Goldman. Many ignore LGBTQ concerns in their theory and practice of Classical Leftist views. Most identify as anarchists or anarcho-syndicalists, but also include other socialist groups like Trotsky adherents and even social democrats. Personalities of the Classical Left include Noam Chomsky and Bernie Sanders.
The "Woke Left" are social-justice inclined as a primary characteristic; often classified as Liberals, they tend to argue for reform within the existing structures of power to redress wrongs against people of colour and LGBTQ+ folk. While sometimes criticizing Capitalism, they rarely argue in favor of its abolition. Survival within the system, and fairer treatment within the system, then are the core conceits of the "Woke Left".
The Dirtbag Left eschews theory and solidarity for enthusiastically engaging in arguing for the abolition of Capital but not advocating for the redress of injustice against people of color or LGTBQ+ folk. The Dirtbag Left styles themselves after their primary ideological opponent - YouTube's Radical "Centrists" (actually, far-right dorks) in rhetoric and presentation. To them, Machismo is all that matters and the ultimate macho achievement would be the aboliton of capital, hence their attraction and classification as anti-capitalists. Mostly a recent and online phenomena, they include personalities like Red Scare Media, Vaush, and Destiny.
And lastly, BreadTube.
BreadTubers (Progressive Socialists) have three core pillars of belief: Anti-Capital, Anti-Racist, and Pro-LGBTQ. Centering their principles on a moral argument of equity, BreadTubers serve as the ideological voice of The New Left; BreadTubers like Bad Empanada chronicle current events through the lens of social justice, while BreadTubers like Innuendo Studios both entertain and educate viewers on the effects and tactics of the alt-right. BreadTube creators tend to be disparate and have only some overlap of audience in contrast to the "Woke Left" who tend to be more personality-driven and connected.
The Breadtube Schism
Much ink has been spilled recently and keyboards destroyed in service of the latest stupid Schism spawned by the "Woke Left", in which certain "Woke Left" creators have argued against LGBTQ people who demand better from ContraPoints.
This schism began after ContraPoints invited social conservative and noted truscum dork Buck Angel to voice a character in the latest video of ContraPoints' ongoing series. ContraPoints had previously courted controversy by: dunking on enby people, hanging out with alt-right figures shoe0nhead and ArmoredSkeptic, and joining a talk at a "free speech club" which repeatedly platforms transphobes like Megan Murphy and Ricardo Duschene, noted white supremacist.
In this latest schism - or as Khaled called it, a battle for the soul of BreadTube - a schism deepened along lines of personal friendship. #TeamContra (consisting of Lindsay Ellis, Oliver Thorne of PhilosophyTube) faced off against their old friends on #TeamDismayed (Shaun, hbomberguy, Dan of Folding Ideas) as the fandoms wrote essay after essay calling out Contra's latest dumb move - and re-affirming support for trans and non-binary folk.
Mo Black has an excellent essay breaking down this latest and stupid Contra-versy and the three main camps that have formed (The Unitarians, #CancelContra, and the Contra Stans) in response to it.
Or as one twitter user put it: "How many times do we have to forgive and make excuses for ContraPoints?"
I want to be clear: there is no "purity police" or "cancel culture". Contrapoints has an enormous following and we should all expect better behaviour. The existence of non-binary people and trans people is not an obstacle to the abolition of oppresion - rather, they are the oppressed people who fight alongside us for liberation from oppression.
If your praxis excludes LGBTQ liberation, justice for indigenous folk, and reparations, your praxis sucks, ya dirtbag.
Jumping into BreadTube
The easiest way to jump into BreadTube is to check out the BreadTube platform at https://BreadTube.tv/ or check out the BreadTube subreddit.
There are quite a few BreadTube and "Woke Left" channels; here are my favorites:
(Regretably, our list is English-centric, but for a great list of international BreadTubers, see this post: https://www.reddit.com/r/BreadTube/comments/c46j2m/master_list_of_nonenglish_speakers_breadtubers/)
Comedy / Edutainment
• The Serfs
• Some More News
• Innuendo Studios
• Three Arrows Down
• Angie Speaks
• Big Joel
• Thought Slime
I guess they count as BreadTube, but are often are the source of stupid controversies:
• Peter Coffin (yes, that Peter Coffin)
Happy bread baking!