Yesterday, the liberal YouTube commentator ContraPoints (a.k.a. Natalie Wynn) put out a video aimed at addressing the criticisms of leftists who refuse to support Joe Biden for President, and in so doing standing up for leftist principles. I was alerted to the video by one of my YouTube subscribers, and when I watched it I found that the video managed to push the bile to the tip of my throat to such a degree that I feel the need to write a response. Why? Because it lays bare just the kind of vile and odious character that has been dubbed queen of BreadTube, and this becomes evident immediately as the video starts.
She opens the video making it clear that she intends to vote for Joe Biden on November 3rd, but also confessed that during the primaries she was a supporter of Bernie Sanders, but wasn’t vocal about it on her social media platforms, which by the way entails over a million YouTube subscribers and roughly 335,000 Twitter followers at the time of writing. Let that sink in. She admitted that she would have preferred that Bernie Sanders win during the primary, as most of us on the left do, and also that she did nothing about it, and if you want to understand why I am so upset by this fact, let me explain a few things. ContraPoints is the BreadTube equivalent of a rockstar in terms of following, with probably one of the biggest fanbases in that whole community, dwarfing the subscriber base of many progressive political commentators and beating out the likes of Kyle Kulinski. She had massive reach, and could have used it to rally her supporters to support Bernie Sanders at the time in which such an endorsement would actually matter, and yet she did nothing! And now she expects us, people who really did support Sanders publicly and were spurned by the Democratic Party, to vote for Joe Biden, and I am to believe that now is the time she chooses to make a public political endorsement?
Now that she has gone and told us this, we should all be outraged, and I imagine that I am not the only leftist who is enraged by this. Had she used her social media clout responsibly, the manifold good-for-nothing simps that worship her as a goddess could have been making themselves useful in supporting and campaigning for Bernie Sanders, and it’s possible that this might have increased his chances of winning the primaries. I know that Twitter is more or less an echo chamber, and on this I agree with her, which is why she should have done this with her YouTube channel, which would have far more reach. That she failed to do this and yet now supports Joe Biden is indelible proof that she was never committed to achieving any kind of left-wing goals whatsoever, but then again I could have told you that she was a fake leftist, but whenever I tried to most people in the online left didn’t listen.
So instead of using her massive reach to help the left in their hour of need, what was she doing with her time? Getting into internecine fights with non-binary Twitter accounts, because apparently the trivial soap opera drama of trans Twitter is the most important thing in the world for ContraPoints. This obsession with her obscure non-binary critics is made self-evident by the fact that she chooses to represent left-wing opposition to voting Democrat as a single non-binary trans anarchist on Twitter, with the video itself being a discourse between herself and an imaginary enby anarcho-communist catgirl named Tabby, who you may remember as being one of her breakout characters, a representation of the more radical part of her fanbase.
Very few of the arguments you will find in Contra’s video are particularly original, just that she happens to be scolding you much more politely in her passive-aggressiveness than the likes of Vaush or Xanderhal, who just straight up insult you and encourage dogpiles on you for committing the high treason of voting with your conscience. Right away she admits that Joe Biden is the wrong candidate for the times we’re living in, but she says we should vote for him anyway because dethroning Trump is apparently more important than using your platform to support a candidate that you yourself admit that you would have preferred to win the primary.
The first excuse she gives is more or less an elaboration of the standard liberal canard that they are not casting a vote for Joe Biden, but rather against Donald Trump, who we are supposed to believe is a unique threat to our democracy, perhaps even a fascist (which, by the way, they have said about literally every Republican nominee for President for the past five decades). For Contra, “voting is more of a utilitarian calculation, based on the likely consequences of each candidate winning”. Such logic might be suitable for a liberal capitalist, but it is intolerable to Marxists, and indeed Marx himself strongly criticised the utilitarianism of the English philosopher Jeremy Bentham on the grounds that:
Applying this to man, he that would criticise all human acts, movements, relations, etc., by the principle of utility, must first deal with human nature in general, and then with human nature as modified in each historical epoch. Bentham makes short work of it. With the driest naiveté he takes the modern shopkeeper, especially the English shopkeeper, as the normal man. Whatever is useful to this queer normal man, and to his world, is absolutely useful. This yard-measure, then, he applies to past, present, and future. The Christian religion, e.g., is “useful,” “because it forbids in the name of religion the same faults that the penal code condemns in the name of the law.” Artistic criticism is “harmful,” because it disturbs worthy people in their enjoyment of Martin Tupper, etc. With such rubbish has the brave fellow, with his motto, “nuila dies sine line!,” piled up mountains of books. Had I the courage of my friend, Heinrich Heine, I should call Mr. Jeremy a genius in the way of bourgeois stupidity.
In order to support such utilitarian nonsense, she attempts to refute the fact that there is no meaningful difference between the Democratic and Republican parties by listing the things that supposedly a Democrat would not do. Let’s review her points:
- Filing the Supreme Court with anti-abortion fanatics
- Withdrawing from the Paris Agreement
- Appointing climate change deniers to head climate research
- Attempting to remove medical non-discrimination protections for trans people
- Constantly maligning the integrity of elections with no evidence
- Declaring the press the enemy of the people
- Calling white nationalists “very fine people” and telling them to “stand by”
- Aspiring to be an autocratic dictator and disdaining democracy itself
- Trivialising a deadly pandemic in the name of delusional macho posturing
For the first point, putting aside that I don’t think opposition to abortion on the grounds of valuing human makes one a fanatic (the hypocrisy of pro-life conservatives notwithstanding), what makes her think the Democrats wouldn’t pack the court with pro-abortion fanatics? The only reason Obama didn’t do it last time was because the Democrats were gullible enough to believe the Republicans when they pretended to care about the voters having the right to decide who gets to appoint a judge. The second point is a non-issue, considering the Paris Agreement is more of a gesture than an actual effective policy against climate change. In contrast, the third point is a legitimate concern, but it ultimately falls on deaf ears considering we know for a fact that Biden wants to appoint a handful of Republicans to positions in his cabinet, which incidentally undermines the whole logic of voting Democrat to kick the Republicans out of power. The fourth point is also a legitimate concern, and indeed this is perhaps the linchpin of the case for voting Democrat if you happen to be transgender. The problem is that while it’s true that the Democrats would not have attempted to remove medical non-discrimination protections for trans people, beyond a few platitudinous pronouncements in response to Trump, there is no evidence to suggest that the Democrats care about trans people anymore than Contra does. In fact, Biden was against LGBT rights for decades, and even voted for the Defence of Marriage Act when it was socially acceptable to do so, but because he adapted his stance to the current stance of his party, suddenly we are to believe that he is now radically pro-LGBT!
And what kind of gall is this that she pretends to care about trans people? To her trans people are merely cobblestones for her path to success, stardom, and fabulous wealth. She built her career on the backs of left-wing trans people who zealously supported her when she was primarily making videos countering right-wing YouTube. As a matter of fact, they adored her character Tabby as a mirror reflection of their own frustrations with society, their inner (and sometimes very much outer) desire to bash the fash and smash the capitalist system which perpetuates bigotry against them in order to preserve itself. Only after she became a megastar did it become apparent to them that Contra didn’t care about them at all, that she is such a narcissist that she would rather use her massive platform to get into fights on trans Twitter than to actually speak out on issues that actually affect everyday trans people, and that the Tabby character was basically her cruelly mocking her left-wing non-binary fans for wanting to bring down the system in which she finds herself doing so well.
When Contra says that Democrats wouldn’t “constantly malign the integrity of elections with no evidence”, she appears to have forgotten or simply ignored the fact that Democrats have been doing this for almost the entirety of Trump’s presidency. The whole point of the Russiagate conspiracy theory was to malign the integrity of the 2016 presidential election, without any shred of evidence as we would later learn, solely on the basis that it didn’t end with Hillary Clinton being crowned Empress of the free world. The sixth point also betrays her utter obsequiousness to the establishment press, and also that there is no equivalent to this on the left. In Britain, the Corbynites constantly maligned the press, treating them as the enemy of the people and accusing them of brainwashing the country into giving the Tories a handsome majority in parliament last year, and the sole reason they blame the press is because they cannot accept the possibility of most of the British public rejecting them at the ballot box.
In the seventh point she peddles the myth that Trump is a white nationalist or a supporter of white nationalism based on a few misinterpreted quotes. In first quote, he actually said “there were very fine people on both sides, & I’m not talking about the Neo-nazis and white supremacists because they should be condemned totally”, and even USA Today admits that he was not supporting white nationalists. In the second quote, he also told the Proud Boys (who by the way are not a white nationalist group, just a band of far-right thugs) to stand down, and repeatedly condemned them, and even said he would condemn white nationalists when asked, as he has done repeatedly for the past four years. Meanwhile, Joe Biden can earn the support of Richard Spencer, an actual white nationalist, and for some reason isn’t asked to constantly condemn this endorsement after only one statement.
For the second to last point, it’s worth remembering that the Democrats are also disdainful of democracy. We know that under Obama the IRS deliberately targeted conservative groups for intense scrutiny, and if the Democrats really weren’t disdainful of democracy, they wouldn’t have wasted three years’ worth of political capital trying to oust the democratically elected President of the USA on spurious charges. On the final point, Trump didn’t downplay the pandemic out of some sense of machismo. He tells you himself in the Bob Woodward tapes that the reason he downplayed the coronavirus was because he didn’t want to cause panic, and I have reason to suspect that a Democratic government might have done the same thing for the same reason, and that liberals like Contra would not be complaining if that was the case.
Towards the end of the video she argues that it’s better to have Democrats in power because they’re more likely to listen to the voice of the unheard following a riot, citing the fact that it was only after the riots of 1963 that John F. Kennedy considered civil rights legislation. This argument requires that you ignore the fact that his immediate successor, Lyndon Johnson, sent the National Guard to quell the King assassination riots in 1968, and that decades later Barrack Obama deployed the National Guard into Ferguson, Missouri to quell the riots over the murder of Michael Brown.
Now as I go through the video it’s quite clear that Contra intended to use Tabby to strawman her left-wing critics, but she is so bad at it that she accidentally owns herself because she can’t actually refute them honestly. If you’re a leftist and you aren’t a depraved Contra stan, you find yourself agreeing with Tabby the whole way through (and I suppose she realised this later on in the video and stopped having Tabby make arguments entirely so as to correct the glitch in the matrix, if you catch my drift). Even the “you’re just a rich Karen” strawman is 100% accurate considering her Patreon income is roughly $25,422 dollars per month. Do the math and she makes around $305,064 per year, substantially more than even most middle class people make. Once you look at this it’s quite clear why she is so intent on hamstringing the left, her class interests demand it (and she isn’t shy about her bourgeois class character either). This is also the reason why when she tried to refute the argument that both parties are the same that she didn’t mention their record on class politics or foreign policy, and that’s because she knows that she can’t, and she has no objection regarding those issues either way. She doesn’t care that the Democrats are class enemies of the workers, or that both parties have been toppling the elected governments of countries that oppose US economic interests.
In response of one of the strawmans she presents, she bemoans the fact that leftists think that when liberals tell them to vote Democrat they think they’re telling the left to think of political participation only as going to the polls every four years to vote for a milquetoast liberal and then going back to sleep until the next election. There’s a reason we think this is the case, and the reason is that this is precisely what liberals like Contra do. The only political thing they do is going to vote for the liberals in order to keep the icky, gross Republicans from returning to power, and then if the Democrats win, they go back to having brunch as if nothing’s happening. For this reason I am entirely skeptical of Contra’s claims that she has been protesting, and in fact it’s about as convincing as when Biden says he marched for civil rights. Her only recourse is to repeat the Chomskyite canard that “you vote Biden on November 3rd and then go back to activism”, which I can guarantee you Contra won’t be doing, or perhaps she will lazily call her entire YouTube career “activism”.
She cannot even refute the fact that American democracy is rigged in favour of two pro-corporate parties, and admits that this is correct. On this point all she can do is dismiss the notion that boycotting the election will do anything to fix it, and to that I say we are not refusing to vote Democrat under the assumption that it will fix the issues. Far from it. People like me are calling to withhold their vote so as to leverage it. We are making plain that as long as the Democrats refuse to concede to leftist demands, they should not expect our support, which is what Bernie Sanders and the other progressive Democrats should have done with Joe Biden in the first place. Instead, they immediately capitulated as soon as it was clear that Joe Biden was going to win the primaries, and because they will vote Democrat no matter what, Joe Biden sees no reason to give them what they want. But of course, she is not concerned with any of this. In fact, she thinks that we just hate voting because it doesn’t make us feel cool, or edgy, or that we’re disappointing our parents.
To her credit, she is correct when she says that a lot of online politics is just people posturing about how edgy and cynical they are, because from my experience this is very much true. The online left is filled with people who just adopt ultra-radical positions just because normal people are turned off by it, and there’s also a lot of people who just take on radically authoritarian positions just to own the libs. The problem with this point, however, is that it’s basically projection. I have no reason to believe she is any different. Her entire career at this point is based on pissing off the low-follower non-binary accounts that live rent-free in her head, and I imagine this video was made just to annoy the left, and if that’s true she has definitely succeeded. As if such projection wasn’t bad enough, she compares those of us on the left who rightly oppose voting for Joe Biden to edgy centrists who throw shade on both sides and do nothing, which I can only imagine is the first example she could think of, because if we’re brutally honest, she has more in common with them than anyone on the left.
In an attempt to appeal to the anarchists, she argues that voting for Joe Biden is a good idea because if it’s true that the election will end in violence, then “you’re going to want more people on your side when people start smashing”. The problem with this argument is that in the event of a decisive Biden victory, I don’t think Trump really can refuse to leave office. In fact, after January 20th presidential powers would be transferred to the newly-elected President, which means they would have the power to send the Secret Service to remove Trump. Yes, I agree that there will be chaos and violence in the aftermath of the election no matter who is elected, but I doubt that it will lead to the suspension of democracy. Honestly, she would be making a much better case if she were arguing that if we can secure a decisive Biden victory (meaning he wins significantly in both in the popular vote and the Electoral College), then the Republicans cannot deny the legitimacy of the elections.
When having to address the fact that capitalism is at the root of the problems with US democracy, Contra remarks:
Capitalism is an epochal world economic order. When you’re talking about ending capitalism, you’re talking about a tectonic shift in global politics that is so much bigger than all of us that I don’t really understand what course of action you’re recommending. Like, before capitalism there was feudalism, and feudalism ended over hundreds of years of complex shifts in population and production, not because people decided it was time to end feudalism. So won’t capitalism end when another system overtakes it?
What she leaves out is that after these shifts, people really did rise up and put an end to feudalism, and when that happened it involved a guillotine. It seems here that she’s trying to appropriate Marxist analysis while leaving out one of the key aspects of Marxist ontology: that at some point a revolution had to happen between the end of the old economic order and the beginning of the new one. At the end of feudalism there was the French Revolution, the American Revolution, the English Civil War and what have you. Feudalism did not quietly fade out as capitalism overtook it. It had to be abolished through revolution, and so according to the Marxist framework capitalism must be abolished in a similar fashion as well.
To her credit, she is correct when she points out that the vast majority of the public is not communists, but ironically the best response to that comes from Noam Chomsky. As an activist, she should be educating the public about the true nature of capitalism so that they might support the overthrow of capitalism, but of course she is not an activist in any real sense. She also conveniently ignores that the actual policies of the Sanders campaign and the progressive Democrats (which amount to social democracy) are widely supported by the majority of Americans, even in states where Joe Biden won the primaries, and even most Republican voters are willing to support universal healthcare. It’s almost as if you can win public support by offering policies that the vast majority of people want, and that Biden isn’t doing this is one of the reasons we hate him.
She is again right to point out that many online leftists have a vastly inflated sense of how popular they are amongst the masses in part because they hang out on Twitter, where their finely curated Twitter feeds help to insulate them from the outside world, and she is also correct when she points out that only 22% of adults use Twitter and 80% of tweets come from power users (highly active users who post often), many of whom are educated and well-off Democrats. There’s just one problem: she is a wealthy power user on Twitter, so this entire point is mere projection. She also says that this outsized influence is the reason cancel culture is such a big issue, and frankly this is just rich coming from the same woman who made a feature-length video decrying that she got cancelled by trans Twitter. Hell, it’s only because of her getting cancelled that so many in the mainstream left are now pretending that they always understood how bad cancel culture is, even though only a year beforehand they were dismissing cancel culture as a non-issue that only rich people complained about, and indeed some leftists still do this today.
She implies that she thinks leftists should focus on converting liberals to the left, bemoaning that leftists supposedly don’t want to talk to people outside their echo chamber because it means that “instead of owning the libs, you’re communicating with them”. We already tried this strategy of pandering to liberals, and we’ve been doing this for years now, and what has come of it? It has led to the transformation of the left into a more radical wing of bourgeois liberalism. It brought us intersectional identity politics, it brought us the ascendancy of feminism from the margins to the mainstream (and appealing to the feminists has led to leftists disregarding the value of human life in the name of “sexual liberation”), it paved the way for the selling out of our principles just to keep Republicans out of power, it saw us turn our backs on the right to self-defence, it has led to our imprisonment in a politics of performative radicalism that seeks to provoke state repression as a cheap means of drawing liberal support, but most importantly, it has led to the abandonment of class politics. BreadTube is the bastard child of precisely this strategy. The careers of charlatans such as Contra, Vaush, PhilosophyTube, Shaun, Xanderhal and many others could not have been possible had we not allowed liberals to domesticate the left, so it’s no surprise that Contra is advocating that we build alliances with Facebook liberal wine moms instead of the working class, because she is aware that the majority of the working class rejects her brand of faux-left liberal politics.
And now we get to the last major argument, that we should vote Biden because revolution is impossible in the West. The main area where she is correct is that the left is ill-prepared for a violent revolution in contrast to the far-right, which is stockpiling weapons in preparation for a fascist coup and has connections within the US military (and even ex-servicemen amongst their ranks), and that for a socialist revolution to succeed it needs the support of the military. Throughout the history of attempted socialist revolutions, all the successful attempts, from the Bolshevik Revolution to the Chinese Revolution to the Chavistas, had the backing of the military. Although I don’t think Venezuela can be called socialist, the primary reason the Maduro government has survived attempts to usurp it is because he has the Venezuelan military on his side. If you don’t have the military on your side and try to implement socialism, your attempt at socialism will be overthrown, hence leftists should seek to earn the support of the military rather than constantly alienating them as they are doing now. For her, most of the left suffers from what she calls “revolutionary ideation”, which is to say that they aren’t actually going to wage a revolution or even prepare for one, but they want a revolution nonetheless.
While all this is true (at least for the Western left), the problem with her argument is twofold. First, whether or not a revolution of any kind is possible in your country doesn’t mean you should just roll over and support the establishment. If anything, all the time leftists have wasted propping up a bourgeois liberal party could have instead been spent propping up an actual workers party and preparing for this revolution. Secondly, she implies that it’s better to vote for Biden because Trump has been whipping up the public and the police against the George Floyd rioters (but to be fair, he doesn’t have to try very hard) and in general making the job of a revolutionary leftist much more difficult, but she admits that Joe Biden and Kamala Harris have a tough-on-crime record, and that Joe Biden advocated for more police officers on the streets (which he got with the 1994 Crime Bill). If you’re trying to appeal to the anarchists and revolutionary leftists by saying the Democrats would make their job easier, and you define this as reducing the number of officers on the street and defunding the police, Biden has already made clear that he opposes defunding the police.
Essentially, Contra is admitting that the Democrats wouldn’t make overthrowing capitalism or even street protest any easier for them, and if we accept that, then there is absolutely no reason for a radical leftist to even consider voting for the Democrats. Yes, the Democratic Party platform entails police reform, such as the banning of chokeholds, but there is no reason to believe that a Biden administration would be able to get those reforms done, because he is so keen on getting Republicans to support him that he will likely abandon much of his proposed policies because Republicans insist they are radical, and the few proposed policies that actually do get passed will likely have been watered down to such an extent that it was pointless to even pass them.
In conclusion, ContraPoints is not only wrong, but the whole video is just another extension of her narcissistic personality. She even admits that this wasn’t even supposed to be a full video (albeit shorter and much more watchable than a normal Contra video nowadays), but rather a four-minute PSA on why you should vote, and the reason we have this video is that “I couldn’t stop thinking about catgirls calling me a neoliberal hack, so I started having imaginary arguments with the imaginary catgirls and then I realized fuck it, that’s a video”. Her own obsession with the low-follower Twitter accounts who live rent-free in her head is the only reason this video was even made, and it shows how poor her arguments are that she can’t even debunk the strawman version of the anti-Biden arguments, and that’s not to mention Biden’s long track record of serving the interests of the ruling class, not to mention the manifest corruption of the Biden family. Even her stronger points and arguments have glaring flaws that can easily be pointed out.
At this point the only reason I can think of for why people defend Contra is because she tells them what they want to hear, and perhaps because they think she’s hot. I sincerely hope people on the left aren’t under the delusion that she is some great hope for the left. If anything, she has demonstrated that she is such a narcissistic cretin that she will refuse to use her massive platform to help Bernie Sanders when the opportunity arose, and only now when Joe Biden is about to win the election does she think it’s important to use her channel to talk about politics. The truth is that Contra’s enterprise, indeed that of BreadTube itself, was always fraudulent. The earliest of BreadTubers (HBomberguy, Dan Olson, Innuendo Studios etc.) were all in the business of defending liberal orthodoxy against the rising tide of populism, and some of them even supported Hillary Clinton, including ContraPoints. I was warning people that BreadTube isn’t really leftist, and that ContraPoints was another liberal fraud trying to portray herself as leftist, and in not only supporting Joe Biden but refusing to support Bernie Sanders even though she wanted him to win, she has completely vindicated me.
As I said in my previous video, the left should not vote for Joe Biden. We have nothing to gain from a Biden administration, and his record tells us that he will be a faithful steward of neoliberalism. The people who tell us to support Joe Biden are doing so not because they care about democracy, but because they have contempt for class politics, or perhaps because they are cowards. The victory of a Biden administration will simply cement the reassertion of the neoliberal status quo, and afterward the left will continue pandering to the liberals because they will think that they have been vindicated. The opportunism of the bourgeois liberals must be defeated. We must refuse to support the craven Democratic Party establishment in their attempts to win power while continuing to neglect the working class. If we support him, then we are signalling to the Democrats that we are their lackeys, who will support them no matter what.
BreadTube wants us to be the faithful servants of the liberal side of the bourgeoisie, but we must be steadfast in rejecting their attempts to corral us into the arms of elite liberals. Despite Contra’s threats to eat through an abestos-filled bathroom tile should Trump win, I wholeheartedly encourage leftists to withhold their vote from the Democratic Party this election, as I did in my recent video polemic against left supporters of Joe Biden, and if you’re one of those online Twitter accounts who really hates Contra, perhaps the thought of her doing that alone should make encouraging voter abstention worth it.
NOTE (22/10/2020): I would like to issue a correction. I have been informed that ContraPoints posted a tweet on March 10th 2020 in which she officially endorsed Bernie Sanders for President. However, I would like to point out that Contra herself has said that Twitter doesn’t matter, which throws into question the value of a Twitter endorsement, especially since she only endorses him on Twitter, whereas Biden gets a whole video. Also I still find it dubious that she picked the week after Super Tuesday, when it looked clear that it wouldn’t matter, as opposed to before Super Tuesday when it actually would, and on a platform which she admits in her video has little impact on the real world.