As Google faces a boycott by major advertisers over extremist YouTube content, the larger question is why people are turning to white nationalist, libertarian narratives to explain world events
The UK government and major advertisers are putting pressure on Google, Facebook and Twitter to remove extremist and anti-Semitic content. Global brands are pulling their ads from Google-owned YouTube after reports highlighted how they were being placed next to far right and hate-based videos. Parliament summoned Google executives this month to explain why they have refused to act against hate speech on YouTube.
The surprise is that it's taken so long for this issue to hit the headlines. Go on YouTube and you can find a vast body of videos made by libertarians, Christians, nationalists and barely-closet neo-Nazis that go under various names and are often very slickly produced. They are not uniform in content and ideology; nor are they all anti-Semitic. But there is a consistency to the alternative facts and narratives that they share in common. With names such as Truth Media Revolution, Exposed Truth and SGT Report, they portray a dark world controlled by shadowy forces.
It is hardly a surprise given the deception, lies and endless wars we have lived through since 2001 that many people are looking for an alternative explanation for events
Watched by millions of people, they tap into widespread disillusionment with corrupted politics and extreme inequality, the disconnect between most people's reality and the discredited narratives fed by politicians and corporate media. It is hardly a surprise, given the deception, lies and endless wars we have lived through since 2001, that many people are now looking for an alternative explanation for events. As recent elections and referendums have shown, far-right themes – in which refugees, Muslims and the European Union feature as bogeymen – have gone mainstream.
But the issue of hate content is but the tip of a larger historic phenomenon.
Establishment media and governments, which traditionally have controlled popular consciousness via newspapers, TV, schools and political parties, have now been overtaken by the emergence of alternative narratives online to explain events.
These videos are mostly made by, and predominantly feature, white male Anglo-Saxon Americans, with a smattering of British and Irish.
The producers of these videos are not usually explicitly affiliated to a political party, leader or group: these 20th century labels do not capture the hybrid nature of this belief system. But their ideological consistencies are clear, and there are certain trope-like themes that recur again and again. Many of the views are popular on the radical right, a few on the radical left. They don’t agree on everything, and have the sect-like habit of calling out the sellouts and covert agents of the establishment in their midst. Here are 18 of the fundamental tenets of this worldview.
1. Globalism/New World Order
They believe: That there is a system of global domination engineered by bankers, largely Jewish, with the aim of bringing about a corporate-collectivist tyranny.
2. World government
They believe: Globalists - a group of elite politicians, experts, and corporate owners - are trying to bring about the end of sovereign government and the creation of a global tyranny. To do this they are using organisations such as the Council on Foreign Relations, Soros Foundation, Bilderberg Group, and international institutions such as the United Nations and the European Union.
3. The end of the US dollar
They believe: The dollar will be destroyed and replaced with a global currency controlled by bankers. It will be outside the control of any sovereign or democratic nation state.
4. Small government
They believe: White nationalists and libertarians favour a limited form of government and strongly oppose socialism, communism and collectivism, which they see as coming into existence through bodies such as the EU and UN. They believe that this threatens the freedom of the individual in business, lifestyle, education, food, healthcare etc
They believe: The creation of Israel and the Jewish domination of western nations and institutions is the biggest threat to humanity. This process began at least a century ago with the creation of the Federal Reserve Bank, the Council on Foreign Relations, support for the Bolshevik revolution in Russia and the creation of Israel in 1948.
They believe: Russia under President Putin is admired for his alleged opposition to globalism and the New World Order. Donald Trump's overtures to Russia are, it is argued, adamantly opposed by globalists and the US "deep state". Pre-revolutionary tsarist Russia - before Rothschild-assisted communists seized power - is lauded for Tsar Nicholas II’s resistance to the overtures of the banking cartels.
7. US militarism
They believe: The US involvement in major wars has been brought about through a series of “false flag” or fabricated attacks with the sinking of the Maine in Cuba in 1898 (the Spanish-American War); the sending of the Lusitania into the firing zone of German U-boats in 1915 (World War I); the failure to prevent the attack on Pearl Harbour in 1941 (World War II); the Gulf of Tonkin incident in 1964 (the Vietnam War); and the alleged manipulation and direction of the 9/11 attacks on New York and Washington (the "War on Terror"). They believe that false flags are an established tactic used by the Nazis, Japan, Soviet Russia, Israel and the US.
8. September 11
They believe: As described above, the 9/11 attacks were an orchestrated event instigated by Israel and neo-conservatives in the George W Bush administration to bring about a police state and institute surveillance and tyranny. Al-Qaeda and Islamic State are simply proxies of the CIA and Mossad.
They believe: Big pharma and the New World Order have used mass vaccination programmes to control populations. The goal is to reduce the human species by billions.
10. Regime change
They believe: The overthrow of Arab governments, including Iraq and Libya, and attacks on Lebanon and Syria, have been instigated at the behest of Israel to remove all its strategic rivals in the Middle East. This process also happened in eastern Europe through the earlier “colour revolutions” - for example in Ukraine and Georgia - to reduce Russian influence and bring new states into the NWO orbit. Even the Black Lives Matter movement is part of the regime change strategy.
11. Mass migration
They believe: Immigration, especially that of Muslims, is being used to undermine western culture and society, reduce attachment to Christian values and sow chaos through terrorism and crime. This is part of the New World Order (NWO) game plan to destroy Christianity and bring about a new one-world religion.
12. Climate change hoax
They believe: According to alt-right website Breitbart news: "Climate change is the biggest scam in the history of the world – a $1.5 trillion-a-year conspiracy against the taxpayer, every cent, penny and centime of which ends in the pockets of the wrong kind of people..."
13. Elite paedophiles
They believe: Establishment groups use membership and involvement in Satanic paedophile rings to ensure loyalty, secrecy and group-think. They use “MK Ultra” mind control and brainwashing as well as sexual abuse, again as part of the NWO project.
14. Political system
They believe: Democracy has been corrupted and manipulated by elite groups so that both left- and right-wing political parties are part of the elite system. The ultimate aim is to control the population to the benefit of bankers and to reduce the majority to slavery.
15. Mainstream media
They believe: The media is controlled by the elite to distract and confuse the population and to keep the hidden reality of the world situation out of the public consciousness. The “truth” of events such as 9/11 is covered up, mainstream politicians are promoted and speakers of the truth are demonised, denied air time or assassinated.
16. The Rothschilds
They believe: This venerable family of Jewish bankers is most commonly cited by believers as the prime movers behind global wars and control of global markets since they financed Britain’s war against Napoleon. Carefully groomed politicians are promoted to advance the globalist agenda.
17. Federal Reserve
They believe: The establishment of the Federal Reserve Bank by a group of influential bankers in 1913 is seen by believers as the turning point in US history. It was then that the Founding Fathers' goal of a nation of free (white) men was overturned, leading to wars, the expansion of big government and the gradual destruction of the dollar.
They believe: That the world society of Freemasons is a leading organisation involved in many of the above conspiracies to manipulate world events and popular consciousness and bring about tyranny.
Some of these founding principles contain elements of continuity from early 20th century anti-Semitic themes popular in Europe, including the world Jewish banking conspiracy, and the Nazi-inspired Jewish-Bolshevik conspiracy. Many now believe that with the demise of communism - which, according to the Nazis and modern white nationalists, formed part of Jewish bankers’ world plan - a new form of global tyranny was declared by George HW Bush in 1992: the New World Order, a form of global government gradually being imposed through institutions such as the EU and the UN. Despite the clear similarities with traditional far-right views, some of these themes are also widely shared in anti-establishment populist discourse.
Some of these founding principles contain elements of continuity from early 20th century anti-Semitic themes popular in Europe
We can contrast the worldview of these sites and groups with traditional left, liberal and right-wing concepts of reality. Indeed, the outbreak of populist anti-establishment ideas is part of a breakdown of the traditional order, with social media enabling and reflecting that loss of trust in institutions and mainstream beliefs.
While the left traditionally believes class struggle, capitalism and imperialism are the driving forces of modern world history, liberals believe in the advance of democracy, human rights and international cooperation against authoritarian nationalism and dictatorship.
The traditional right believes in national interest, private enterprise and law and order. In contrast, the far-right nationalist, Christian and libertarian groups see events manipulated and controlled by a small all-powerful group of families. This is politics and events as puppetry and illusion.
There is a wonderful circularity to this worldview, since it confirms the idea that participation in mainstream politics, or social movements, is futile, simply a show to distract the masses from how real decisions are made, by secretive, all powerful organisations run by the elite families. NGOs and activist groups are also largely controlled by the very same elite groups, believers allege, especially George Soros's Open Society Foundation, founded by the famous investment billionaire.
Is Trump their man?
However the believers in a world conspiracy of "globalist" bankers and Illuminati are now in a strange position. In January, Donald Trump, a man after their own heart and an enemy of the liberal establishment, became the president of the United States. While he and his closest advisors don’t necessarily sign up to the full alt-conspiracy programme, they share enough of it to give hope to many in this community. Within his circle are well-known white nationalists such as Steve Bannon and Kellyanne Conway. Could this be the moment the libertarian and nationalist far right has been waiting for?
Perhaps not. So far, there has been guarded approval from leading US nationalist commentatorsfor measures such as the Muslim travel ban and the cancellation of the TPP investment pact, but far less enthusiasm for Trump’s love affair with Benjamin Netanyahu and Israel, and his rampant militarism. Already others on the far right are claiming that Trump’s entire campaign and presidency is a Jewish-run operation. In one video, in Nazi fashion, a list of names of Jewish funders and organisers of the Trump campaign is rolled out on screen to confirm the fact that Trump, like all recent presidents, is a puppet of the global elite.With the defeat of Geert Wilders in the Dutch election earlier this month, France could be the far right'slast chance to get a real white nationalist, Marine Le Pen, into power.
Dutch, French and German far-right leaders at a summit in Germany in January 2017 (Reuters)
Of course, this could also be the point when any semblance of coherence in the white nationalist fantasy world falls apart under the weight of its own contradictions. The reason is straightforward: unless actual Nazis take power, then any far-right leader will immediately be forced to ally with the corporate-imperial power structure, since its disorganised, lower-middle class, suburban base will be no match for the real ruling class. Like Trump’s core supporters, they will be left raging into their computer screens as this reality sinks in.
It is the very identity-based, national supremacist, religious and race-based politics of these movements that sees its supporters duped by the likes of Trump, Geert Wilders and Le Pen. Such leaders are undoubtedly inconvenient to the smooth running of the system, but as history shows, they can also be made to serve the divide and rule tactics of the imperial-financial elites (which, however sinister they may be, do not amount to an all-encompassing conspiracy).
The only force capable of defeating this transnational corporate power is the multi-racial non-monied majority (white, black, Muslim, Jewish, Christian) and the activist resistance struggling against it every day.
- Joe Gill has lived and worked as a journalist in Oman, London, Venezuela and the US, for newspapers including Financial Times, Morning Star and Caracas Daily Journal. His Masters was in Politics of the World Economy at the London School of Economics.
The views expressed in this piece belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Eye.
Image: Thousands pass One World Trade during an afternoon rally in lower Manhattan to protest President Donald Trump's new immigration policies on 29 January 2017 in New York City. (AFP)