Know Your Enemy
Know Your Enemy
Jul 19, 2021
The Afterlife of January 6th
Play • 1 hr 36 min

It's been over seven months since pro-Trump protestors breached the Capitol on January 6, 2021. The meaning of the event remains contested. Was it a genuine coup attempt by an extra-parliamentary faction of the Trump movement? Or was it a  disorganized and pathetic act of desperation by Fox News-poisoned rubes? Were the protestors inside the Capitol more like tourists or like terrorists? Was the siege an expression of dangerous anti-democratic forces? Or should we be more worried  about the security state's  overreaction to January 6th than about the event itself?  

Looking back with the benefit of hindsight, we try to contextualize the events of January 6th in terms of a longer trajectory of right-wing mobilization in 2020. Conservatives have variously downplayed, ignored, and defended the insurrectionists. Trump and others have begun to treat Ashli Babbitt — killed by a police officer during the riot — as a martyr for the cause. Meanwhile, Tucker Carlson  insists the siege was an inside job, planned and executed by the FBI — an implausible theory gaining popularity among conservatives hoping to absolve themselves of culpability.  Still other factions of the right (e.g. our old friends at the Claremont Institute) dream about a version of 1/6 that would actually have succeeded.


Further Reading: 

Video: Day of Rage: An In-Depth Look at How a Mob Stormed the Capitol, New York Times, June 30, 2021. 

Paige Williams, "Kyle Rittenhouse, American Vigilante" The New Yorker. June 28, 2021.

Ben Burgis & Daniel Bessner, "Trump Is a Threat to Democracy. But That Doesn’t Mean He’s Winning." Jacobin. Jan 15, 2021. 

Micah Loewinger, The Road to Insurrection, WNYC, July 2, 2021. 

Michael Anton & Curtis Yarvin, "The Stakes: The American Monarchy?," The American Mind. May 31, 2021.

Joshua Hochschild "Once Upon a Presidency," The American Mind. Feb 19, 2021.

Andrew Egger, "The New January 6 Scapegoats," The Dispatch, Jun 18, 2021.

John Ganz "Feb 6 1934/Jan 6 2021," Unpopular Front. Jul 15, 2021.

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