Master List Of Left-Wing Youtube AND Podcast Channels submitted by
***NOTE: after a discussion with the mods I’ve taken out the original note here. Suffice to say the reason I put together this revised list was to add a number of channels I felt had been unfairly excluded. I’ve taken out a few controversial channels to comply with the mods request that i do so, as well as link to OP at his request. I thank the mods for allowing me to keep the rest of the channels I’ve added to the list.
Newly Added channels not on OP:
Tovarich Endymion, BrendanMccooney, Red Star Video, Claudia Brown, SJW101, azureScapegoat, Benji Adam Wiskettes, DemocraticSocialist01, Comrade Hakim, FinnishBolshevik, Bat’ko The Manarchist, ProSocialism, Flea Market Socialist, KnowingBetter, and a few others!
As a socialist I don't believe masterlists should constitute any kind of intellectual property that should be protected, especially in context of a masterlist that is being shared to spread awareness of leftist channels shared with the leftist community. I believe the channels I added deserve recognition. I don’t mind sharing editing with the community — let me know what you’d like to add and I’ll try my best to accommodate within the word limit here. I’ve had to take out a few of the film related channels to make room for more directly politically related podcasts.
I included the Podcast section in post and just removed the NEWS section of the original post, so that can be found in the OP (link in title). Also please note that to accommodate more podcasts and other more directly related leftist channels, I’ve had to remove some more film focused channels. Those can be found on the OP. Thanks comrades.
---------- please give these channels as much help as you can by subscribing and watching their content. We need these things to expand as much as possible if we don't want to entirely lose YouTube to the far-right.
: Explains political and social justice issues in funny and accessible way, utilising atmospheric lighting, lavish sets and costumes and memorable characters to illustrate her points.
Recommended video: Does The Left Hate Free Speech?
: Debunks and mocks the views of right-wing YouTube commentators. Combines silly sketch comedy with well-researched critiques. Also reviews media like TV and video games.
Recommended video: Soy Boys: A Measured Response
: Creates longform, extremely thorough and straightforward rebuttals of right-wing videos. His content is also very researched and relies on some very sly, dry humour. Has also begun making videos explaining left-wing positions on issues such as 'How Privatisation Fails: Railways'.
Recommended video: The Great Replacement Isn't Real ft. Lauren Southern
: Brought to my attention through the comments here. Has done some very interesting series of videos including 'Why Are You So Angry?', which analysed the mindset of the young men behind Gamergate.
Recommended videos: The Alt-Right Playbook: Introduction
: Creates deep dives from a socialist perspective into topical political and social issues. Also does regular livestreams on these subjects with his wife Ashleigh.
Recommended video: What Jordan B. Peterson Is Doing
: Analyses current affairs through a philosophical lens and creates explainers on well-known and important moral and political philosophers and philosophical concepts.
Recommended video: The Philosophy of Antifa
: A journalist and former geologist debunks climate change denial and other science myths ranging from that of right-wing YouTubers like Steven Crowder and Stefan Molyneux to major denier figures like Lord Christopher Monkton and Patrick Moore. Makes an enormous point of referencing scientific papers and consensus on these issues, but addresses these subjects in a very easy to understand way. Perhaps my favourite of all the YouTubers on this list.
Recomended video: Top 10 climate change myths Three Arrows
: Debunks inaccurate takes on history by the right wing. Uses a similar longform format to Shaun's videos, and is also very well-sourced with some of the mods of the Ask Historians subreddit acting as researchers.
Recommended video: Guns in the Third Reich - A Response to Ben Shapiro And Others
: Refutes poor understandings and misrepresentations of Marxism from YouTubers like Sargon of Akkad and PragerU while defending socially liberal ideas like intersectionality.
Recommended video: The Youtube Red Scare: Episode 1 - Does Sargon Understand the left?
Benji Adam Whiskettes:
Excellent marxist channel featuring videos on how Communism has improved womens rights, why the profit motive is not good, wealth gaps, and how capitalism has not created jobs. Noteworthy for video of Professor G.A. Cohen debunking the myth of incentive under capitalism Recommended video
: G.A. Cohen debunks the myth of incentive under Capitalism
Red Star Video:
Featuring marxist film reviews, analysis of the origin of the alt right, reaction videos on political charts, history of the second international, cuban socialism, and an overview of different tendencies, Red Star is an overall great marxist channel. Noteworthy for video “Why The RIght Is Wrong On Free Speech” Recommended Video:
Why The Right Is Wrong On “Free Speech” Claudia Brown:
Feminist and socialist channel featuring a variety of videos on a wide variety of subjects. Everything from Islam and Feminism to response videos, to women’s participation in the workplace, to examinations of the use of buzzwords. Noteworthy for unique perspectives on feminism and capitalism. Recommended Video:
Capitalism DOESNT enhance innovation SJW 101 The Political Gamer:
A channel that does effective leftist critique on a variety of issues, including on anti-feminism, the youtube right, the “skeptic” movement, Milo, Laci Green with wry wit and careful analysis. Recommended video:
Sargon, collectivism and the Skeptic Community Brendan Mccooney:
Hands down the most comprehensive channel on Marxian Economics. Covers topics like the law of value, overdeterminism, etc. in depth with well edited videos featuring videos, graphics. An absolute must for understanding economics, not too dry either. Recommended Video
: Law Of Value: Introduction DemocraticSocialist01:
With well edited, carefully argued videos on Hayek, Pinochet, Mao, Capitalisms Death Toll, Coach Red Pill, Brazil and Venezuela, this channel is excellent in debunking a lot of bad reactionary arguments while teaching quite a lot. Recommended Video:
Mao Did More Good Than Harm (Note: This video is mirrored, the video was taken down from his channel for some reason). BadMouseProductions
: Similarly primarily debunks bad understands of socialism from the right, but also does videos explaining socialist concepts and debunking bad right wing takes on other topics like climate change.
Recommended video: Argument ad Venezuelum
(debunks the idea that Venezuela is a socialist country) C0nc0rdance
: Only uploads infrequently, but does very educated videos explaining scientific concepts such as gender and the genetics of ethnicity from a left-wing perspective. Also does videos addressing social topics from this same political viewpoint.
Recommended video: The Science of Human Races, Part 1 CreationistCat
: The Mr. Plinkett of the YouTube Left. Using absurdist humour, bizarre editing and yet surprisingly great insight and research, the character of Creationist Cat (a magical housecat who was 'zapped through da internet' by God) mocks and exposes the bullshit of the right wing and online skeptic community.
Recommended video: MILO YIANNOPOULOS: EXPOSED! Comrade Hakim:
Noteworthy for a variety of videos discussing everything from the problem with worker co-ops, healthcare, how socialism gives a better quality of life, and one must watch video in particular on the subject of capitalism lifting people out of poverty. As an addendum to that video, I also recommend the Guardian Article “Aid In Reverse: How poor countries develop rich ones” Recommended Video
: Capitalism HASNT Lifted People Out Of Poverty Cuck Philosophy
: Explains topics in moral and political philosophy, does Marxist analyses of popular culture, but has perhaps best contributed to left-wing YouTube by doing long, in-depth deconstructions of the way figures like Jordan Peterson, Sam Harris and Steven Hicks misunderstand philosophy.
Recommended video: A Critique of Sam Harris' 'The Moral Landscape' EssenceOfThought
: Left-wing atheist channel that goes against what has become typically expected from the 'skeptic' community and actually critiques not only arguments from religious apologists, but also those who argue against non-binary gender, trans identities and other LGBT rights.
Recommended video: Jordan Peterson Lies About The Science On Same Gender Parenting For Harriet
: An intersectional black feminist channel which, aside from responding to current events pertaining to women's rights, takes a fairly uncompromising look at the perceived flaws in the movement to effectively analyse how it can be made better.
Recommended video: Candace Owens Is A Bad Actor Tovarisch Endymion:
An overall excellent marxist channel featuring videos on topics about Capitalism, how socialism HAS worked, replies to prager U and other reactionary channels, as well as a number of explainer videos. Noteworthy for video on an analysis of countries with deregulated market economies which feature atrocious wealth gaps. Recommended Video:
A Look at the Freest Markets In The World
Libertarian Socialist Rants
: An anarchist who debunks bad capitalist arguments and anti-social liberalism views. Also does videos explaining anarchist principles and refuting common critiques of this ideology.
Recommended video: Anarchist Commentaries Episode 6: Paul Joseph Watson and the Dunning-Kruger Effect
: The channel of well-known Marxist economist Prof. Richard D. Wolff. This channel is home to exclusive lectures where Professor Wolff explains current American and global economic problems and how Marxian economics can be both a prism to analyse how these problems effect people, and also be a solution to these systemic economic flaws. The channel Democracy At Work
(which actually currently sits at 60k subscribers) features other lectures on the same subjects regarding contemporary failures of capitalism, and is based on a book of Wolff's with the same name.
Recommended video: Crisis and Openings: Introduction to Marxism - Richard D Wolff
The Messianic Manic
: Another left-wing atheist channel. Does short but clever videos rebutting bad arguments from religious apologists and social conservatives.
Recommended video: Ben Shapiro Is Wrong About: Raising Children
: A promotional channel for the Marxist literary publishing imprint of the same name. Uses the books available from their line as a starting point for videos exploring concepts in political and social philosophy and interpreting current political events and figures through a Marxist lens.
Recommended video: The Intellectual Dark Web Is Afraid Of Marx
: Produces anarchist critiques of current political events and explorations of anarchist/socialist history.
Recommended video: Conspiracy Culture: A Leftist Analysis
: Debunks online right-wing heroes like Ben Shapiro, Jordan Peterson and Christina Hoff-Sommers.
Recommended video: Jordan Peterson Is A Fraud. Part 1: Bill C-16
: Known for doing Hbomberguy's music, but between original music videos does left-wing response videos to people like Paul Joseph Watson.
Recommended video: The Kunst Saga | How The Right Wing Views Modern Art
In Otter Words
: Hasn't uploaded in a year but hopefully will again soon since his output has been very underrated. Debunks bad right-wing criticisms of feminism and the trans rights movement. I'm shocked no bigger YouTubers have seized on his discovery that Ben Shapiro has been lying about the trans suicide rate.
Recommended video: Ben Shapiro and the Transgender Suicide Rate
: Very similar to the style of Potholer54, but addressing similar subjects to channels like those like Hbomb, Shaun and Contra. He debunks right-wingers like Dave Rubin, Steven Crowder and Roaming Millennial with very eloquent, long-form responses.
Recommended video: Steven Crowder Is A Fraud | Change My Mind
: Feminist social scientist famous for pummelling Sargon of Akkad when they debated. Does discussion livestreams addressing events and arguments of the anti-feminist 'Skeptic' community.
Recommended video: Reasonable Questions For Anti-SJWS
and Formal Debate: Sargon of Akkad vs Kristi Winters
Maria the Witch
: Covers feminist and LGBT topics. Similarly to Contra (whom she has recently done a video criticising) Maria often rebuts anti-SJW points against socially progressive ideals, having done videos addressing fat shaming, the placement of asexuality on the LGBT spectrum, and the commodification of female beauty.
Recommended video: Roaming Millennial: Hates Women. Hates Facts.
: Has done rebuttals to Dave Rubin and InfoWars as well as a video defending non-binary gender from the uneducated criticism of major YouTubers (see below).
Recommended video: YouTubers Don't Understand: Non-Binary People | Messy Elliott
: Creates very polished socialist critiques and explorations of economic topics
Recommended video: Why People Who Need Redistribution Hate It: The Free Market & You
: Self-proclaimed ‘angry trans woman’. Addresses political topics such as the Syria conflict, debating with white supremacists and the relationship of left-wing ideology with trans women in an entertaining way.
Recommended video: Syria: Many Of These Options Are Bad
Never Speak In Absolutes
: Creates videos that draw on a knowledge of philosophy to critique members of the Intellectual Dark Web like Jordan Peterson and Sam Harris, as well as addressing other big issues like peak oil. Occasionally livestreams with Douglas Lain of Zero Books.
Recommended video: What Jordan Peterson Gets Wrong About Marx, Postmodernism and The Left.
: The channel's description sums it up best, "Non-Compete is a leftist blog and video series dedicates to the principles of intersectionalist liberation, anarchism, communism, and puppet shows." Does videos similar to the style of Peter Coffin addressing specific leftist issues alongside a podcast with other leftists mentioned on this list like AngieSpeaks and RadicalReviewer.
Recommended video: The Red Pill is a CULT
: Creates ‘debunking’ videos similar to the Potholer54 format José uses, and addressing similar topics. He’s done videos responding to Matt Christiansen, Steven Crowder, Ben Shapiro and PragerU.
Recommended video: Ten Horrible Ben Shapiro Arguments Debunked
: Previously focused on reviewing leftist books and other media, but as of about a day ago has branched out into response videos to right-wing lunatics.
Recommended video: Stefan Molyneux Doesn't Understand Anarchism
: Creates very Hbomberguy-esque videos responding to shitty arguments and videos from the skeptic community and alt-right. Like Hbomb he talks to the camera and includes performative comedy bits.
Recommended video: South Africa & The Far Right | PART 1
(placed in limited state by YouTube because the alt-right reported it for the clips from other people he includes who themselves were not flagged)
: Debunking channel featuring videos exposing Gandhi, defending Christopher Columbus, and going after the likes of Winston Churchill. “Now you know better”
Recommended Video: Going After Gandhi: A Perverted Purity Sarcasmitron
: Another ‘debunker’ in the Potholer format. Has responded to Paul Joseph Watson, Ben Shapiro, No Bullshit and Stefan Molyneux in between video game and politics related shitposts.
Recommended video: The Truth About Paul Joseph Watson (For Real) Thom Avella
: Similar to hbomberguy's style but more vlog-based. Rebuts right-wing videos but also has a series called 'Buzzwords from the Right' where he specifically debunks misused terms and slurs used by that side like to chastise us.
Recommended video: What "Questions for SJWs" Taught Me About YouTube Antifeminism
: Anarchist who explains the tenents of his ideology and occasionally responds to right-wing dipshits.
Recommended video: We don't talk about She-Ra
(sorry to have two She-Ra related videos in a row, but this truly is my favourite thing this guy’s done) Xexizy
: Marxist who both promotes socialist ideology and critiques those who misrepresent and slander it such as PragerU, Ben Shapiro and Jordan Peterson.
Recommended video: Different Kinds of Marxism Explained Bat’ko The Manarchist:
Bat’ko is a leftist prominent on leftypol. He makes hilarious and clever songs about IDPOL and Stalin using classic Russian choir songs
Recommended Video: Best Of Leftypol Choir
) She covers movies/films, often utilizes a leftist frame, and sometimes dives into topics related to being trans. azureScapegoat:
Marxist who promotes socialist ideology; one of the most prominent features of this channel is an explainer series of videos on Cuba’s economic and political system. Noteworthy also for a video where he carefully clarifies the distinctions between socialism, communism, and modern communism.
Recommended video: How Democracy Works In Cuba
: Very new anti-capitalist channel. Critiques capitalist arguments ('Capitalist Philanthropy and Charity, why it doesn't work'), defends criticism of the left (Re: PragerUniversity on LEFTISTS and TOLERANCE) and promotes a Marxist praxis through everyday needs (see below).
Recommended video: Why Gamers Should be against Capitalism
Flea Market Socialist:
Creates long and short videos on how to survive capitalism, make propaganda fun, subvert the system, and gives us that pure pure crystalline ideology we so desperately desire; straight to the jugular. Recommended Video:
ProSocialism: Small Trotskyist channel with videos on the bolsheviks, Lenin, and the Russian Revolution.
Recommended Video: The Russian Revolution Of 1905 Aphreditto:
A leftist channel devoted to anarchist and anti-capitalist alternative education that pairs EDM with lectures and audiobooks by historical and contemporary thinkers.
[Recommended Video:]Murray Bookchin (1975) "The New Harmony" - Liquid Drum & Bass Mix Anarchopac:
: A philosophy channel that discusses Anarchism, Feminism, and Marxism.
Recommended Video: Ben Shapiro doesn’t understand intersectionality
- Media essayists and critics:
: Does video essays on film, TV and video games with a very political slant. Analysing the Christian propaganda of the God’s Not Dead series, the preachy style of 1950s propaganda shorts, and what he believed to be the shallow politics of Black Mirror (as well as other less political analyses of movies like The Room and Disney films). He has recently branched out into much more overtly political content, creating videos which refuted arguments in Cassie Jaye’s men’s rights film ‘The Red Pill’ and the videos of Prager University.
Recommended video: The Red Pill: The Strange Art of Men's Rights Activism (Part 1) donoteat01
: Brought to my attention through comments. A fascinating channel using the game Cities: Skylines to illustrate the socioeconomic impacts the urban planning of cities can have on people's lives, both through the development in cities in history and in their redevelopment today. If you're interested in class analysis this series will be perfect for you.
Recommended video: Cities: Skylines | Power, Politics, & Planning: Episode 3: Gentrification
: While not too overtly political, a leftist sense of justice and morality is pervasive in all Dan Olson’s work on this channel. He creates very lengthy analyses of movies and cultural events like last year’s weird YouTube kids video algorithm. Perhaps his most politically potent work though is the video I’ll link down below.
Recommended video: Triumph of the Will and the Cinematic Language of Propaganda
: Film critic specialising in art cinema, but always from a socially left-wing perspective. While this political aspect is clear in all his reviews, often he does do videos exploring politics a lot more overtly such as below.
Recommended video: From Caligari to Hitler: Imagining the Tyrant - Between the Lines Lindsay Ellis
: Like Olson and Kallgren, Ellis started back in the day on That Guy With The Glasses, but has since transcended that prison into a phenomenal film critic. She uses dry humour and widely recognisable pop culture (her favourite subjects being Disney and Transformers) to look at intersecting social and political trends. While she’s often spoken from a feminist perspective, her recent work has begun delving into Marxist analysis in a way she’s very accessibly explained to the wide audience who watch her.
Recommended video: Marxism! | The Whole Plate Episode 9 Jack Saint / LackingSaint
: Formerly did animations, now does video essays with political themes like in the link below. Also interesting is his parody of anti-SJW film reviews 'Rational Big Boy DEMOLISHES SJW Propaganda: 12 Angry Men'.
Recommended video: Sky High: Disney's Fascist Eugenics Movie Pop Culture Detective
: Despite the current cultural backlash to social justice, this guy has somehow gotten away with making video essay after video essay with millions of views criticising the portrayal of toxic masculinity in film and television, while celebrating the non-normative gender archetypes in media like Steven Universe.
Recommended video: The Adorkable Misogyny of The Big Bang Theory Renegade Cut
: Another long-form video essayist, but has a particular emphasis on analysing social justice in film. His work includes critical readings of the white privilege themes of ‘Get Out’, the perhaps accidental Ayn Randian/Objectivist themes of ‘The Incredibles’, and as seen below, the contentious approach to racism of ‘Three BillBoards Outside Ebbing, Missouri’.
Recommended video: How (Not) to Discuss Racism in Film - Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri | Renegade Cut
Step Back History
: A history channel exploring important events from a progressive perspective. Has done videos addressing topics the right tends to obscure or ignore the truth of like, the pre-Columbian Americans (see below), 20th century communism, the rise of ISIS, anarchism during the Spanish Civil War and many others.
Recommended video: The Truth About Native Americans before Europeans Arrived PODCASTS (Find On Podcast App) Chapo Trap House:
Leftist comedy podcast featuring interviews with a wide variety of writers and other prominent leftist figures. Along with film reviews, they also read and make fun of right wing and liberal media figures. They are very popular and do tours. Look up their clips on YouTube and obviously check this one out. The Michael Brooks Show:
Michael Brooks of the majority report’s show which features guests, analysis of politics and culture from a socialist perspective. Entertaining, funny, and overall wonderful podcast. Best Of The Left:
Aggregation of clips from a variety of mostly progressive and socialist radio and other leftist sources covering one important topic each episode. The Majority Report:
Mentioned in the youtube list, this is the actual podcast that the youtube clips come from. I listen every day. Simply excellent. This one I consider a must listen. The Other Washington:
Policy analysis from a progressive perspective. Noteworthy for analysis of minimum wage arguments. Antifada:
Jamie Peck of the Majority Reports podcast. Socialist with interviews and discussion of a variety of intriguing subject matter. Jacobin Radio:
Podcast of Jacobin Magazine -- analysis and discussion of issues from a socialist perspective Current Affairs:
Mentioned in the youtube list; the podcast features unique discussion of a variety of relevant policy and other topics from the magazine editors relevant to the socialist left News From Nowhere:
Corey Pein’s (Live, Work Work Work Die Author) unique podcast from a socialist perspective. The Breunigs:
Matt And Elizabeth Breunig of the Peoples Policy Project carefully and holistically analyze and discuss a diverse range of economic and policy issues. This Is Hell!:
Socialist analysis and interviews on a wide variety of topics relevant to the socialist left. Zero Books:
Mentioned in the youtube list; this is the podcast. Dissent Magazine:
Podcast of the Magazine Citations Needed:
Carefully policy and discussion of a variety of issues from a socialist perspective. Intercepted:
podcast of intercept magazine hosted by the brilliant and highly well regarded Jeremy Scahill, author of Blackwater and dirty wars. Pod Damn America:
the anti liberal pod save America. Features interviews with dsa members, organizers and other leftist activists and workers. Vegan Vanguard (Mexie)
Mexies youtube channel is charming, with well researched leftist subject matter and effective, well communicated presentation. Her podcast follows this trend. Dead Pundits Society:
severely underrated podcast featuring interviews with leftists as diverse and important as Adolph reed jr (the anti Tahnahisi Coates (materialist over idealist analysis), economics, unions, and a socialist foreign policy. Supreme Leap Forward, Mic Dicta
, (Socialist legal analysis) Revolutionary Left Radio:
Great pod from an ML on a variety of topics with lots of guests; did a great cross-over with The Antifada which would serve as a great introduction if you already listen to them Media Roots:
hosted by Abby Martin and her brother. This is Media Roots self described website description: "Media Roots is a citizen journalism project that reports the news from outside of party lines while providing a collaborative forum for conscious citizens, artists and activists to unite." The Guillotine:
hosted by Brett from Rev Left Radio and Dr. Bones, it is a self-described "podcast covering global current events from a revolutionary communist and anarchist perspective." Street Fight:
based out of Ohio, Street Fight Radio, or Street Fight is an American politics and humor radio show and podcast founded in June 2011 and hosted by Brett Payne and Bryan Quinby with anarchist leanings. Gritty and down to earth Congressional Dish:
podcast which is basically one woman going on a deep dive on recently passed bills, Senate hearings, that kind of thing. Lots of good episodes about US imperialism. Very detail focussed. Cumtown:
baconshark316: “not like really leftist but they're good friends with Chapo and guest on each other podcast before. Cumtown is comedy but their politics are pretty left. They just don't talk politics as much as Chapo.” very “dirtbag left” Ashes, Ashes:
David Torcivia and Daniel Forkner discuss systemic issues, cracks in civilization, collapse of the environment, and the end of the world." Criminal (In)justice:
as you can guess from the name, this podcast focuses on injustice in the criminal justice system... a lot of the critiques are quite leftist. Your Kickstarter Sucks:
a unique podcast with a humorous leftist analysis of a wide range of topics as diverse as gun violence apps, bus people, and cultural topics. I’ve heard it’s funny, still gotta get around to it Season of the Bitch:
Very well-informed feminist/Marxist show Economic Update.
: The podcast version of Richard Wolff's weekly show found on Democracy @ Work's YT channel The Dig:
Podcast from Jacobin Magazine Deconstructed:
Another pod from The Intercept Eyes Left:
Anti-war pod from two lefty army vets The Bernie Sanders Show:
Bernie will occasionally drop a half-hour commentary on big headlines Working Class History:
Exactly what it says on the box Even More News:
From the "Some More News" YT channel team Socialist Rifle Association:
A leftist podcast commenting on recent news, with focus on guns and gun laws, commenting on a variety of topics including new legislation, minorities and police. Also they regularly bash Musk, with is always fun. And they are official podcast of SRA, but that's obvious. The Magnificast:
A Christian, Marxist podcast Chuck Boonta Vista Socialist Club:
”It's the Australian rip off of Chapo Trap House” Neighbor Science:
Post-Scarcity Anarchism authors and profit sector business executives Pieter de Beer and Ryan Salisbury focused on political economy, ecology, and billionaires Radio War Nerd:
Excellent leftist foreign policy analysis Novara Media:
Aaron Bastani and Ash Sankar (of “I’m literally a communist”) have an excellent podcast AND YouTube channel featuring videos on subjects as diverse as islamophobia/Sam Harris, Homo-Nationalism and British Politics. Highly recommended Media democracy pod
: like the uk version of citations needed. very good analysis of the media by tom mills & dan hind, who have both written books on the subject for verso. also putting forward pretty concrete plans to democratise the media over here. Discourse Collective:
: leftist podcast analyzing culture and current events from a left perspective with various guests from the left activist and media sphere, as well as an ongoing reading series of of the works of important leftist authors (Prohoun, Kropotkin, Bakunin, etc).
The Black Podcast: Red Scare:
socialist feminist takes on current events and patriarchal norms, with film analysis as well Swampside chats
: the topics can be pretty niche ("here's this left-wing party that split in 1976," "here's this ultra-reactionary who wrote a manifesto") but it pulls off a combination of entertaining and intellectually serious that's p rare IME. Behind the News
: more current-events-driven and less entertaining, but is still probably one of the best Serious Interview shows out there. No Cartridge Audio
: leftist critiques of video games through a literary lens. They hosted the Texas-Christman Video Game Debate. Struggle Session
: reviews a lot of nerd/pop culture media, and often features very insightful views into the world of entertainment industry labor issues. One of their hosts, Leslie Lee, has been on Chapo. District Sentinel:
a podcast co-op (based in DC so you don’t have to be) on daily news, haikus, and analysis from the left. Trillbilly Workers Party
:Leftist podcast based in coal country, USA. Mostly a lot of local stuff about the small town they live in, but they have some good takes, and they need the exposure. BitchFace Podcast
:CRITIQUES OF POWER + WE GOT JOKES" Minion Dead Cult
: “They talk about news stories through the lens of insane right wing Facebook comments. It's a fun time.” Delete Your Account
- Analysis on current issues, e.g.healthcare, gaming industry unionization, evil landlords Scumbag
- Chapo's Felix and some guy that works in PR talk about internet weirdos (no longer active, but has a few good eps) The Dig
- another dead podcast - it's all a bit about Carl Diggler - a dril/journalist character played by Felix, and Virgil Texas as his millenial sidekick Left Out:
: podcast by Paul Sliker, Michael Palmieri, and Dante Dallavalle with in-depth conversations with leftist economists/organizers/thinkers. Left Anchor:
new podcast started in fall 2018 from Ryan Cooper & Alexi the Greek. Discussions between the hosts looking at historical leftist thinkers and applying to current events. SWOTI (Someone's Wrong on the Internet)
: Hosted by Briahna Gray Joy and Joe Kunhilee, two leftist millennial POC. Entertaining and upbeat show that ranges from pop-culture to current events to dunking on centrist libs.
This is an open thread to discuss items of interest. I may also use it to drop thoughts as they occur to me as well -- something of a replacement of my former "tab closure" posts, as ... well, it seems tabs are simply running away from me. Consider this an experiment that's been mulling for some time.
If you've got a question, observation, link, or anything else, feel free to post it, with a thought to the lair rules
-- like house rules, but larrier.
I strongly recommend eleitl
's subreddit, /collapsademic/
. "Low-volume, low-noise, moderated discussion of our coming collapse".
That's one of a set of "limits and collapse" subs I've created a multireddit for:
Facebook's secret sauce wasn't software, it was Harvard
That is, Facebook was once literally Harvard
. Something it very much isn't anymore, a point I noted after cries of "but the normal
people are coming" rang out on Mastodon. It's a point danah boyd has also made in her research.
There's a corollary: if your interest is in creating the next Facebook, or even merely disrupting the present one, then it strikes me one viable option would be to identify whatever your next Harvard is -- a cohort of intelligent, attractive, interesting people, who aren't much impressed by Facebook Which Is No Longer Harvard -- and kick some funding and technical support at them.
Your Next Harvard doesn't have to be
Harvard, mind, though that's probably a good (and symbolic) target to include. And I can pretty much guarantee that the folks at 1 Hacker Way will go into a blind panic.
Which might just be a sufficient disruption.
Veritasium: What YouTube's algorithm selects for
Derek Muller, among the higher-quality YouTube creators, has reflected from time to time on what makes for successful YouTube content. Much of that (as with other social channels) is strongly dependent on what the site's own algorithms incentivise for. This 12 minute video looks at recent changes, and what this suggests. Why YouTube Used to Prefer Quality
This ties in with a ... much larger .. reflection I've been engaged in on media generally. It also highlights one of many failings with The Information Diet
, which is that the information appearing online, at social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, or Reddit, or on the sites and content farms feeding those maws
, depends tremendously on what is being selected for and promoted
Muller also fails to consider a few elements:
- Intentional access to media makes a tremendous difference. I've griped about YouTube's recommendations quality in the past, and it seems to be improving ... modestly. (I also don't use the site whilst logged in, so my history is, I hope, reset fairly frequently.) Its search is actually pretty good, and if your interest is a specific topic or speaker, it will often reward interest.
- Tools which leverage reputation would help. I've long requested the ability to block an entire channel. A major problem with dreck content is that it carries very little reputational risk for the producer or poster. If users could respond by blocking a channel entirely (and this was followed through), some of the bottom-feeding behaviour might be reduced.
- Gresham's Law. I think this topic has officially crossed the line from interest to obsession with me. Absent some corrective selector, increased audience virtually always means lower quality content. See Reddit's default subs as a prime exemplar.
Tech Ontology -- Blocking factors
I'm trying to explore a few concepts before writing a post (or posts? or book?) on the idea of an ontology of technological mechanisms
. In particular a few bits: Identifying what technology is, specifically, and how it differes from both science and the liberal arts / humanities.
There's a very good passage from John Stuart Mill in his Essays on some unsettled Questions of Political Economy
- Science: causes.
- Technology: effects.
One of the strongest reasons for drawing the line of separation clearly and broadly between science and art is the following:—That the principle of classification in science most conveniently follows the classification of causes, while arts must necessarily be classified according to the classification of the effects, the production of which is their appropriate end. Now an effect, whether in physics or morals, commonly depends upon a concurrence of causes, and it frequently happens that several of these causes belong to different sciences. Thus in the construction of engines upon the principles of the science of mechanics, it is necessary to bear in mind the chemical properties of the material, such as its liability to oxydize; its electrical and magnetic properties, and so forth. From this it follows that although the necessary foundation of all art is science, that is, the knowledge of the properties or laws of the objects upon which, and with which, the art dons its work; it is not equally true that every art corresponds to one particular science. Each art presupposes, not one science, but science in general; or, at least, many distinct sciences. Comparing existing ontologies of technology.
The Encyclopedia Britannica
, the Bacons (Francis and Roger), the Library of Congress Classification System, the Random House Encyclopedia, and Joseph Needham's classifications come to mind. Comparison with mechanisms within biology.
Why biology? Because human technology is, as I see it, an extension of biological mechanisms, at least in large part. Nick Lane in particular has some very interesting work here. Are the mechanisms themselves technologies?
I think my answer here is no
, though I want to check myself on this. The fundamental mechanisms.
All the categories boil down to "do less" or "use more", I think. The Network Elements.
Numerous of the categories I've defined have
network-type effects. I'm asking myself if these cannot be simplified. Keeping the end in mind.
The ultimate goal of any classification scheme is to find an underlying and simplifying pattern
. The realisation as I started putting this together was that each of the mechanisms implied specific benefits, and disadvantages, for the associated mechanisms, as well as a set of common features. Disruption.
I'm looking for ways Clayton Christensen's
concept comes in to play. See also Jill Lepore's The Disruption Machine: What the gospel of innovation gets wrong
John Baez, Category & Network Theory Category theory
and Network Theory
are areas of research of University of California, Riverside, physics professor John Baez. I've been playing catch-up with his G+ profile
and Azimuth blog
. Baez has maths I don't have, but the ideas he's pursuing strike me as similar to where I'm going with my own.
See particularly his Oxford Network Theory collection
Can privacy be quantified?
This presupposes a few other questions, including defining what privacy is
Jill Lepore, again, has a University of Kansas lecture, "Unseen - the History of Privacy
" (April, 2017), which suggests a progression from mystery
, then privacy
- Mystery: That which cannot be known, we're asked to believe in the absence of evidence. Frequently religious.
- Secrecy: That which is known, but not to everyone. Often state.
- Privacy: Kept to ourselves. Generally personal.
Lepore also notes that "the case for privacy always comes too late" -- after
the horse is out of the barn. Debates over privacy always lag advances in technology.
There's a related set of etymologies: cabinet
, a chamber of secrets, secretary
, one entrusted
to secrets, and secret
itself: "set apart, withdrawn; hidden, concealed, private", from PIE root *krei-
"to sieve," thus "discriminate, distinguish".
It seems to me that privacy
is the abilty to set
, and defend
boundaries. (A source of rather constant friction with Google.) In which case some of the possiblities for measurement:
- The degree to which boundaries can be set.
- The scope of boundaries which can be defined.
- The extent to which those boundaries can be defended.
- The amount of information exposed.
- The number of parties with access to that information.
- Whether or not others are better informed of the state or tendencies than the subject of the information itself.
- Who benefits by the information -- the subject or others?
That's a partial and speculative list, but it gives some sense of where I'm looking.
Employment and Automation: Why is factory work different?
The focus on the automation debate is over the likely falling wages, and apparently job security, of labour. This frequently prompts the counterargument that factory work was an earlier age's version of automation, and ultimately paid well.
One though that occurs: What if manufacturing-based factory work was an exception?
And if so, an exception to what
, exactliy, and why?
A few points come to mind, with Arnold Toynbee's Lectures on the Industrial Revolution
and Robert Gordon's The Rise and Fall of American Growth
supplying much of the background here.
- Early factory work wasn't highly paid. Better than farm wages, yes, though that's not saying a whole lot.
- Gordon points to the period from ~1920 - 1970 as the peak period of productivity growth.
- Much of which was directly related to the amount of power -- kilowatts of electricity, or horsepower of mechanical energy -- supplied per worker.
- Still wages didn't increase until unionisation of the late 1930s.
Adam Smith writes of the five factors which provide for a premium on wages:
first, the agreeableness or disagreeableness of the employments themselves; secondly, the easiness and cheapness, or the difficulty and expense of learning them; thirdly, the constancy or inconstancy of employment in them; fourthly, the small or great trust which must be reposed in those who exercise them; and, fifthly, the probability or improbability of success in them.
Several of these apply to factory work:
- It's not entirely pleasant, and was often dangerous.
- Many jobs required a fair amount of skill. This was generally on-the-job training, but this still manifests as both time-cost, and scarce resource.
- Workers were in something of a position of trust: they oversaw expensive equipment, inputs, ouput, and process.
- Employment was typically, though not always regular. While a factory could operate year-round without concern for weather, it would often be subject to business variability.
That's four of the five factors.
The real key to me though is that the role
of human workers was as the brains
and control element
of a structured, automated, and powered process. Factory work is very much literally a force multiplier of raw human skill. A single man, plus machines, could have his output multiplied many times. And due to the considerations above, plus unionisation, eventually claimed a high wage.
The question is how these factors extend into the coming world of work. I have concerns. And I don't see any of the discussion of this point following the lines of analysis I've given here. Further development in a comment at The Other Place
And, back to unionisation: factories represent both a strength
and a weakness
On the one hand, a factory is a nexus of capital, access to financing, marketing and vendor relationships, transport, power or energy, and labour. On the other, a factory is much like a mine: you cannot simply pick it up an move it to another location.
Or at least this was far less true in the 19th and much of the 20th century. Over the past 50 years or so, mobility of capital, and the ability to finance and construct new factories largely at-will has
increased, with labour organisation falling largely in parallel.
The Brain and the Eighth Hand
I was reminded of a fantastical riff Yonatan Zunger posted to G+ a while back in which he created an entire wealth, class, and informational complexity theory around Star Wars vaporator droids
. This is fiction-on-fiction, mind, but a wonderful set of imagery:
When Owen asked C-3PO if he spoke the binary language of moisture vaporators, the proper answer for him to give (in binary) would have been "with neither too many hands nor too few," that being the idiom for speaking politely and properly. Moisture vaporators use their hands as communication ports, each finger transmitting or receiving a single channel, and touch hands to one another in order to speak; if you were to speak with more hands than the listener had available, they would miss part of what you were saying, and (especially if that were crucial metadata) they would not be able to understand you. Conversely, if you spoke with fewer hands than they listened with, your transmissions would be slow, stilted, taking far too much time. Speaking with the appropriate number of hands is a key aspect of their culture.
But as with many societies, etiquette conceals notions of class: the number of hands a moisture vaporator has is largely determined by wealth and their role. As a result, a common worker with only two or three hands will always seem slow-witted and foolish when trying to speak to a five-handed member of their bourgeoisie, and that burgher would in turn feel profoundly uncomfortable in "seven-handed society."
An eighth hand, by law and by custom, is permitted only to their Emperor, and in fact "the eighth hand" is both a symbol of and metaphor for Imperial power.
So, we get communications
, and complexity of thought
, in one package.
I'd run across an item at Nautilus
(fantastic online source, by the way, and they're actively soliciting support currently), "How Your Brain Decides Without You
The structure of the brain [Lisa Feldman Barrett] notes, is such that there are many more intrinsic connections between neurons than there are connections that bring sensory information from the world. From that incomplete picture, she says, the brain is “filling in the details, making sense out of ambiguous sensory input.” The brain, she says, is an “inference generating organ.” She describes an increasingly well-supported working hypothesis called predictive coding, according to which perceptions are driven by your own brain and corrected by input from the world. There would otherwise simple be too much sensory input to take in. “It’s not efficient,” she says. “The brain has to find other ways to work.” So it constantly predicts. When “the sensory information that comes in does not match your prediction,” she says, “you either change your prediction—or you change the sensory information that you receive.”
To which I obseved on the Inevitability of the Eighth Hand
, by the Emperor, that is, the decisionmaking centre of society:
Thus: the emperor must always have the eighth hand, and proper interpretation and framing of the Universe requires more processing power then sensing power, and/or the obligation to discard information which cannot be integrated into the receiving frame.
On which I'll note that the most startling element of this whole episode was that I was actually able to find it using G+ search -- otherwise almost wholly useless.
"Forward to the Past" -- the Digital Library as the problem, not the solution
Eric van der Velde writes on my newfound obsession, libraries, in "Forward to the Past"
. I've points of disagreement and agreement.
- The catalogue is in fact a search tool, and a good one. Librarians discount the value of categorised, classified, and standardised-authority-organised collections to their tremendous disservice. That said, yes, the catalogue, as it now stands, pointing the way to informational paradise but withholding the fruits, is a significant problem.
- Curation also has its place. Piles of crap, no matter how searchable, remain crap. Diderot's lament on information overload from 1755 is valid, and improved indexing and search can only delay, not prevent, being buried alive in dung. The Jevons Paradox likely means that the inevitable is being accelerated.
What particularly caught my attention, though, is this:
Why is there no scholarly app store, where students and faculty can build their own libraries?
Though I disagree with the market-based
approach, the premise of a self-controlled, self-contained facility for personal information management ... yeah, I'm kinda hankering that way myself
Subreddit styling: Geopolitics has a wonderful thread-collapse design
I'd first run across this some time back ... and then couldn't recall which subreddit it was. /Geopolitics
has a very slick CSS where the "collapse thread" control runs the full height of the left-hand margin, for each nesting level of a comment thread. If you've decided you've had enough of a particular digression, you can close any level of it with a single click, without having to hunt up-thread for the relevant comment. See this archived post for an example
I'm impressed and may well steal the concept. Good UI is very rare. This is a good UI.
Why? It puts the control directly in context, makes it easy, makes it obvious, and, should you close an item by accident, makes undoing the action trivially easy.
China and classifications of industrial sectors
In a YouTube video, Mark Anderson of INVNT/IP makes mention of a classification by China of the global economy into 417 sectors, and apparently is targeting those for economic espionage. On inquiring as to where that classification is made: the Communist Party of China's 12th Five Year Plan, 2011 - 2015.
Which I now feel I need to find an English translation of.
I did track down a U.S. government assessment of the plan, however. And in that, a further interesting note on what it considers to be a failure of the plan: though the performance targets
of the plan were generally hit (and fairly impressively so), the analysis argues that the structural foundations
of the economy weren't adequately addressed. This strikes me as an interesting possible response to various "things are going so amazingly awfully terrifically swell!!!" glurge posts which emerge from time to time. Interesting how vision clears when focused outward....
The Tech Ontology Purity Test: Filters
Another aspect of the tech ontology: I'm somewhat stuck on the point of various purification processes and mechanisms and how these fit within the notional framework I've conceived. Especially as this capability is a highly fundamental biological
process, one that is key to virtually any process. Actually, it gets us straight back to entropy and de-entropisation.
A process by which a conglomeration of two (or more) things can be reduced to two (or more) separate
collections, each with only one set of components to it, is what de-entroposiation is all about.
That might be a mechanical sorting (e.g., hand-picking), size-based filters (sieves, nets, filters), density differentials (wheat/chaff sorting, bouancy, air-jet separation, charged beam, gas diffusion, centrifuge), magnetic properties, distillation processes, chemical solutions, ion-diffussion / proton-pump mechanisms (cell-wall), etc. The upshot is: how do you distinguish
between what you want, and then, somehow, act differentially on the one vs. the other
Is this strictly a process knowlege, in which case it falls under "technology"? Is it a class of actions? Is it material properties? Systems management?
Asset price inflation and Adam Smith
A wonderful Smith quote:
As soon as the land of any country has all become private property, the landlords, like all other men, love to reap where they never sowed, and demand a rent even for its natural produce.
-- Adam Smith, Wealth of Nations
, Book I, Chapter VI
See previously, Asset Price Inflation of Maslovian and Productive Goods
Robert Behn and "Gresham's Law of Leadership Strategies"
From his book The performanceStat potential a leadership strategy for producing results
, Robert Behn distills what I see as a statement of Gresham's Law as a generalised constraint on complexity within systems:
He starts with the pithy observation:
Simple leadership strategies drive out the complex.
But then expands this more completely, showing the information-theoretical underpinnings of the fundamental Gresham's mechanism:
Simple, easily explained, easily comprehended, explicit-knowledge descriptions of a leadership strategy dive out subtle, complicated, tacit-knowlege appreciation for the potential of a complex leadership strategy to influence organizational behavior in ways that improve performance.
He continues to note that this comes in two forms:
- We humans prefer simple leadership strategies to complex ones.
- We also prefer simple explanations of complex leadership strategies to the subtle and complicated reality.
What I particularly like is the focus on several elements of psychology and cognition:
- Simple models.
- Easily explained. A simple, but difficult-to-explain concept, fares poorly.
- Easily comprehended. As above.
- The distinction between explicit and tacit knowledge. It is vastly more efficient to propagate explicit knowledge, that which can be acquired through reading, hearing, or seeing, than tacit knowledge, that which must be practiced, often under a skilled teacher.
- Overt rather than potential value. Something which only pays off in indirect ways is far less appealing to us.
This suggests a subsuming mechanisms for Gresham's Law which jibes with concepts from Darwinian evolution: that systems evolve complexity costs,
and that among the selective pressures which exist are those for a minimisation of complexity in light of such costs.
There's an article on a computational evolution experiment, "Meet the Animats
", which notes that there is a minimum
complexity bound to various maze-traversal "animat" bots, though, without a complexity cost
factor, the experiment found no constraint on the upward
bound of complexity.
A few minor edits -- mostly deletions -- makes Behn's formulation on page 42 (appropriate) much more general: "Simple, easily explained, easily comprehended, explicit-knowledge, descriptions ... drive out subtle, complicated, tacit-knowledge appreciation for the potential of a complex model."
Pilots vs. software users
From HN, ncallaway and kbuttler note that the airline industry's safety record is based on pushing beyond "pilot error" as an acceptable prime factor in accidents
, and that the software industry might well do similarly.
While I agree generally with that sentiment, there's a key difference. Airplane pilots are licensed, certified, trained, and regulated. There's a clear floor to who is allowed in the cockpit (barring extreme emergencies, e.g., incapacitation of a pilot).
By contrast, software is made available to pretty much the entire world. And it turns out that two thirds of all adults have "poor", "below poor", or no computer skills at all
. Which is to say, the qualifications floor is nonexistent. It's the tyranny of the minimum viable user
If you're designing a one-size-fits-all system, you've got to design for this. The results, I'd argue, are ... not particularly satisfactory.
I'm not saying "don't design for the user in mind", or "don't dismiss user error". But rather, than when your floor is zero, you're going to have a remarkably difficult challenge.
One last thing ...
Do you like what you're reading here? Would you like to see a broader discussion? Do you think there are ideas which should be shared more broadly?
The Lair isn't a numbers game, my real goal is quality
-- reaching, and hopefully interacting with, an intelligent online community. Something which I've found, in several decades of online interactions, difficult to achieve.
But there's something which works surprisingly well: word of mouth. Shares, by others, to appropriate venues, have generated the best interactions. I do some of that, but I could use your help as well.
So: if you see something that strikes you as particularly cogent (or, perhaps, insipid), please share it. To another subreddit. To Twitter or Facebook or G+. To the small-but-high-quality Metafilter. To your blogging circle, or a mailing list. If you work in technology, or policy, or economics, there as well.
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