BreadTube or LeftTube is a loose and informal group of online content creators who create video content, including video essays and livestreams, from socialist, social democratic, communist, anarchist, and other left-wing perspectives.[1][2][3][4][5][6] BreadTube creators generally post videos on YouTube that are discussed on other online platforms, such as Reddit.[7]

The New York Times author Kevin Roose wrote that BreadTube creators employ a method he calls "algorithmic hijacking".[8] This method involves them choosing to focus on the same topics discussed by content creators with right-wing politics, as a means for enabling their videos to be recommended to the same audiences consuming right-wing or far-right videos,[8] thereby exposing a wider audience to their perspectives.[7]

Many BreadTube content creators are crowdfunded, and their channels often serve as introductions to left-wing politics for young viewers.[9]

BreadTube creators align with collectivist modes of governance, while opposing the alt-right and far-right.[6] Infighting is common within the BreadTube community, which has been attributed to "the community hosting a spectrum of beliefs, ranging from Social Democratic to Maoist".[6]


The term BreadTube derives from Peter Kropotkin's The Conquest of Bread,[10][11][12] a book explaining how to achieve anarcho-communism and how an anarcho-communist society would function.

The BreadTube phenomenon itself does not have a clear origin, although many BreadTube channels started in an effort to combat anti-social justice warrior and alt-right content that gained traction in the mid-2010s.[13][14] By 2018, these individual channels had formed an interconnected community.[14] Two prominent early BreadTubers were Lindsay Ellis, who left Channel Awesome in 2015 to start her own channel in response to the Gamergate controversy, and Natalie Wynn, who started her channel ContraPoints in 2016 in response to the online dominance of the alt-right at the time.[11] In an April 2021 interview, Wynn opined that "The alt-right, the manosphere, incels, even the so-called SJW Internet and LeftTube all have a genetic ancestor in New Atheism."[15]


BreadTube videos frequently have a high production value, incorporating theatrical elements and running for longer than typical YouTube videos.[1][2] Many are direct responses to right-wing talking points.[7] Whereas right-wing and cyberlibertarian creators' videos are usually antagonistic towards their political opponents, many BreadTubers seek to analyze and understand their opponents' arguments, often employing subversion, humor, and "seduction".[7][16] Many aim to appeal to broad audiences, reaching people who do not already hold left-wing viewpoints rather than "preaching to the choir".[7] Videos often do not end with a solid conclusion, instead encouraging viewers to come to their own conclusions from the referenced material.[7] As BreadTube channels often cite left-wing and socialist texts to inform their arguments, this can act as an introduction to left-wing thought for their viewers.[9]

Notable channels

BreadTube content is in English and most BreadTubers come from the United States or the United Kingdom.[17] The term is informal and often disputed, as there are no agreed-upon criteria for inclusion. According to The New Republic, in 2019, the five people most commonly mentioned as examples were Natalie Wynn (ContraPoints), Lindsay Ellis, Harry Brewis (Hbomberguy), Philosophy Tube, and Shaun, while Kat Blaque and Anita Sarkeesian are cited as significant influences;[5][11] Ian Danskin (aka Innuendo Studios),[2] Hasan Piker,[5][18] Vaush,[18] and Destiny[18][8] have also been described as part of BreadTube. However, several of these people, including Ellis,[19] Shaun,[20] and Wynn[21] have rejected the label.


According to The Conversation, as of 2021, BreadTube content creators "receive tens of millions of views a month and have been increasingly referenced in media and academia as a case study in deradicalisation."[13] According to The Independent, BreadTube "commentators have been trying, quite successfully, to intervene in the right-wing recruitment narrative – lifting viewers out of the rabbit-hole, or, at least, shifting them over to a new one."[18]

Black BreadTube content creator Kat Blaque has criticized the lack of black content creators within BreadTube and argues that black content creators are marginalized within BreadTube.[6] BreadTube content creator Kyle Kulinski argued that infighting within BreadTube has left the community "politically impotent and ineffectual."[6]

Beatrice Steele of The Oxford Student criticized BreadTube for being "too marginal to make a real-world difference, despite its rich personalities and popular video essays" due to not "having the intergenerational reach of channels like Fox News, or the Daily Wire's ability to rack up clicks on Facebook." Steele also argued that BreadTube "lacks the incendiary potential of cynicism."[22]

See also


  1. ^ a b Williams, Wil (June 1, 2021). "The video essays that spawned an entire YouTube genre". Polygon. Archived from the original on August 11, 2021. Retrieved August 11, 2021.
  2. ^ a b c Somos, Christy (October 25, 2019). "Dismantling the 'Alt-Right Playbook': YouTuber explains how online radicalization works". CTVNews. Archived from the original on February 15, 2020. Retrieved July 3, 2020.
  3. ^ Alexander, Julia (January 31, 2020). "Carlos Maza is back on YouTube and ready to fight". The Verge. Archived from the original on July 31, 2020. Retrieved July 3, 2020.
  4. ^ "Youtube: Auf der anderen Seite die linken Influencer". Die Zeit (in German). January 13, 2020. Archived from the original on July 3, 2020. Retrieved July 3, 2020.
  5. ^ a b c Citarella, Joshua (September 12, 2020). "Marxist memes for TikTok teens: can the internet radicalize teenagers for the left?". The Guardian. Archived from the original on September 12, 2020. Retrieved August 8, 2021.
  6. ^ a b c d e Cotter, Kelley (March 18, 2022). "Practical knowledge of algorithms: The case of BreadTube". New Media & Society: 146144482210818. doi:10.1177/14614448221081802. ISSN 1461-4448. S2CID 247560346.
  7. ^ a b c d e f Kuznetsov, Dmitry; Ismangil, Milan (January 13, 2020). "YouTube as Praxis? On BreadTube and the Digital Propagation of Socialist Thought". TripleC: Communication, Capitalism & Critique. 18 (1): 204–218. doi:10.31269/triplec.v18i1.1128. ISSN 1726-670X. Archived from the original on July 3, 2020. Retrieved July 3, 2020.
  8. ^ a b c Roose, Kevin (June 8, 2019). "The Making of a YouTube Radical (Published 2019)". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Archived from the original on May 22, 2021. Retrieved June 2, 2021.
  9. ^ a b Fuchs, Christian (2021). Social Media: A Critical Introduction (3rd ed.). SAGE Publications. pp. 199–200. ISBN 978-1-5297-5274-8.
  10. ^ Roose, Kevin (February 12, 2020). "A Thorn in YouTube's Side Digs In Even Deeper". The New York Times. Archived from the original on February 12, 2020. Retrieved July 3, 2020.
  11. ^ a b c Amin, Shaan (July 2, 2019). "Can the Left Win YouTube?". The New Republic. ISSN 0028-6583. Archived from the original on July 4, 2020. Retrieved July 3, 2020.
  12. ^ "Three: Mirror Image". The New York Times. April 30, 2020. ISSN 0362-4331. Archived from the original on July 3, 2020. Retrieved July 3, 2020.
  13. ^ a b Lee, Alexander Mitchell (March 8, 2021). "Meet BreadTube, the YouTube activists trying to beat the far-right at their own game". The Conversation. Archived from the original on June 30, 2021. Retrieved May 27, 2021.
  14. ^ a b Mniestri, Aikaterini; Gekker, Alex (October 5, 2020). "Temporal Frames for Platform Publics: The Platformization of Breadtube". AoIR Selected Papers of Internet Research. doi:10.5210/spir.v2020i0.11281. ISSN 2162-3317. S2CID 225166989. Archived from the original on November 19, 2021. Retrieved November 19, 2021.
  15. ^ Maughan, Philip (April 14, 2021). "The World According to ContraPoints". Highsnobiety. Archived from the original on April 29, 2022. Retrieved August 3, 2021.
  16. ^ Cross, Katherine (August 24, 2018). "The Oscar Wilde of YouTube fights the alt-right with decadence and seduction". The Verge. Archived from the original on February 11, 2023. Retrieved August 18, 2021.
  17. ^ Koenigsdorff, Simon (January 13, 2020). "Youtube: Auf der anderen Seite die linken Influencer". Teilchen (in German). Archived from the original on July 3, 2020. Retrieved September 20, 2021.
  18. ^ a b c d Ellingham, Miles (January 17, 2021). "The rise of BreadTube: The battle for the soul of the internet". The Independent. Archived from the original on January 17, 2021. Retrieved September 20, 2021.
  19. ^ Lindsay Ellis [@thelindsayellis] (November 10, 2020). "Someone tell this person that breadtube isn't a thing" (Tweet). Archived from the original on April 24, 2021 – via Twitter.
  20. ^ Shaun [@shaun_vids] (March 25, 2020). "do not send me messages about 'breadtube' drama. or 'breadtube' generally. its a fake group with arbitrary, subjective membership" (Tweet). Archived from the original on March 11, 2021 – via Twitter.
  21. ^ Natalie Wynn [@ContraPoints] (February 23, 2021). "I encourage my audience to drop the label 'BreadTube'" (Tweet). Archived from the original on April 24, 2021 – via Twitter.
  22. ^ Steele, Beatrice (October 26, 2021). "'BreadTube': irrelevant to power?". The Oxford Student. Archived from the original on September 29, 2022. Retrieved September 29, 2022.