On Tuesday, August 1st, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) issued a press release announcing that they have become a “select contributing member of YouTube’s Trusted Flagger program, created in 2012 to enable organizations to notify the platform of content that violates their community guidelines.” It goes on to say:
“The fight against terrorist use of online resources and cyberhate has become one of the most daunting challenges in modern history,” said Jonathan A. Greenblatt, ADL CEO. “Google has been a leader in this area from the beginning. The reality is extremists and terrorists continue to migrate to and exploit various other social media platforms. We hope that those platforms can learn from and emulate what YouTube is doing to proactively identify and remove extremist content.”
What criteria does the ADL use to define “extremism”? Their Center On Extremism (COE) provides this overview of their efforts but does not discuss the process that they use to distinguish “extremism” or “hate” from protected speech:
ADL’s Center on Extremism is the agency’s research and investigative arm, and a clearinghouse of valuable, up-to-the minute information about extremism of all types—from white supremacists to Islamic extremists.
This announcement is especially concerning considering their recent profile on the Alt-Lite and Alt-Right that lumped in several popular mainstream conservatives with actual neo-nazis and white supremacists. As a response, many prominent conservative personalities took to Twitter and YouTube to criticize the ADL’s hypocrisy and point out how they broadly apply terms like “extremist”, “racist”, “bigot”, etc. to people who simply advocate for conservative political positions. So far, much of the focus has been on the people and organizations that the ADL has labeled as extremists. I want to instead highlight a few violent far left organizations that they have not reported on.
We recently reported on the far left militia group, Redneck Revolt. They are a self described “above ground militant formation” founded in June of 2016 that claims to have 30+ vetted branches nationwide. Since their inception, Redneck Revolt has been very busy recruiting at gun shows and community events, advocating for class war, contributing to the far left anarchist website It’s Going Down, and conducting armed anti-Trump demonstrations. But what’s most alarming are the resources they provide on their website. They promote several PDFs that endorse “armed struggle” and even offer a 36 page “Mini-Manual Of The Urban Guerrilla” (bottom right of resource page) which pictures left-wing militants using RPGs and outlines tactics for guerrilla warfare including sections on “sabotage”, “kidnapping”, “executions”, “armed propaganda”, and “terrorism”.
Has Redneck Revolt been labeled an extremist organization by the ADL? Has a lengthy profile on their members been circulated through legacy media? Should they worry their YouTube content will be removed as part of YouTube’s Trusted Flagger program? Well, according to the ADL, the answer is no.
Red Guards Austin
Red Guards Austin is an autonomous Marxist-Leninist-Maoist collective based in Austin, TX. Their website contains multiple reports on their confrontational and often armed demonstrations:
They also openly advocate for violent revolution against capitalism:
“we must seriously take up the task not only of self-defense on the personal and community level, but we must also struggle to unite all genuine antifascists behind the necessity of revolution. Revolution means the long fight for communism and nothing less.”
I’ll ask the same questions. Has this organization been labeled an extremist hate group by the ADL? Has a lengthy profile on their members been circulated through legacy media? Should they worry their YouTube content will be removed as part of YouTube’s Trusted Flagger program? The answer again is a resounding no.
It is unclear what criteria the ADL uses to define “extremism” but considering that they include the numbers “12”, “13”, and “14”, as well as “Pepe the frog memes” in their Online Hate Symbols Database the bar appears to be incredibly low. So why are the violent far left organizations outlined in this article not mentioned by the ADL? Perhaps we should ask them. Please share this article via Twitter, Facebook, etc. and tag the ADL. Maybe they can offer some clarification.
If you have any tips on far left activities please submit them here.