The New Yorker, “The Anarchists Combatting the Far Right on YouTube”

Last year, a few members of the Metropolitan Anarchist Coordinating Council, a New York City-based group, began delving into the deeper recesses of YouTube. They quickly discovered videos by self-proclaimed Fascists, would-be race warriors, and ethno-state evangelists that lurked among old World Series broadcasts, bike-repair tutorials, and footage of cute animals. Many of these jarring videos came from groups such as the Traditionalist Worker Party, the Rise Above Movement, and American Renaissance, an online publication. Their sentiments were mainly nativist, their tone mostly grim, and their pronouncements almost uniformly apocalyptic. They presented white Americans as besieged by sinister forces. They predicted, and sometimes appeared to look forward to, racial strife and violence.

The members of the coördinating council became familiar with the videos while keeping track of the far right. Last spring, the council formed a working group to organize counter-demonstrations during far-right rallies. They decided a few months later that the same group should also counter far-right recruitment attempts on the Internet. The result is free software called No Platform for Fascism that will assist anyone who wants to register a complaint about these videos with YouTube. The plug-in can be downloaded for use, installing an icon of red and black flags on the user’s browser toolbar. Clicking on that icon brings up a list of far-right videos identified as being in violation of YouTube’s community guidelines, which do not allow for the promotion of violence or incitement of hatred based upon attributes like race, ethnicity, or religion. Users are then able to send to YouTube pre-filled electronic complaint forms that describe how the plug-in creators believe each video has run afoul of the company’s policies.

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