Reddit, the fourth most-visited website in the United States, has banned the moderator of a popular left-wing forum, or subreddit, as well as a book on left-wing activism. The r/anarchism subreddit currently has over 70,000 subscribers, making it one of Reddit’s largest left-wing communities.
Moderator u/hamjam5, also the founder of Reddit’s individualist anarchism community, was banned by Reddit’s administration team for approving a post containing a link to the book An Anarchist Cookbook: Recipes For Disaster. Reddit administration stated that the book contained recipes for Molotov cocktails, although the book appears to contain no such recipes (full PDF).
An Anarchist Cookbook: Recipes For Disaster should not be confused with the 1970s The Anarchist Cookbook, a controversial non-political text subject to bans across the globe for oft erroneous musings on explosives, phone hacking/phreaking and illegal drugs. Nonetheless, suppression of An Anarchist Cookbook: Recipes For Disaster is reminiscent of the witch hunts surrounding the 1970s work.
An Anarchist Cookbook: Recipes For Disaster is currently available in the public library system.
An examination of the contents of An Anarchist Cookbook: Recipes For Disaster indicates that it is a broad survey on civil disobedience and direct action tactics. Although the book does contain topics on illegal actions, this must be expected in any thorough survey of activism, protest and civil disobedience. The bulk of topics covered in the book, however, are both legal and nonviolent. Included within are resources for survivors of domestic violence and chapters on legal aid.
The ban comes amidst an ongoing campaign by Internet trolls based out of 4chan’s /pol/ image board targeting anti-fascist and left-wing activists. Reddit has previously reprimanded the anarchist community, removing two related subreddits and banning the use of the phrase “bash the fash,” a popular anti-fascist slogan. Reddit’s hands-off moderation model and small staff is a dual-edged sword that makes it especially vulnerable to troll brigades, leaving Reddit administration unable to thoroughly investigate user reports of rule violations.
Meanwhile, multiple communities dedicated to promoting violence against left-wing activists remain on Reddit. This includes r/physical_removal, a forum similar to the Pinochet Helicopter Rides and Tours Facebook group that far-right terrorist Mitchell Adkins subscribed to before carrying out a knife attack at Transylvania University that left two wounded.
Raddit.me, a Reddit clone designed for security and to resist censorship, is slated to take over should Reddit close its left-wing communities.