Even though Donald Trump has been out the power for almost a year, far-right groups in the United States are still strong. The January 6 storming of the U.S. Capitol was easily the year’s most important event, and its fallout has, in many ways, defined 2021. Still ongoing are lawsuits, arrests, and congressional hearings.
Even without Trump’s tweets to guide them, the far right failed to collapse, as many had hoped. Excepting a gruesome mass murder in Denver, Colorado, at the year’s end, the bulk of right-wing violence has been committed by the politically moderate Trumpists, as opposed to open white supremacists — its traditional perpetrators. The Proud Boys are continuing their campaign of violence. The Republican Party has not seen a split between the Trumpists and the moderates. In fact, the former have only increased their hold on the party. Right-wing conspiracy theories continue to evolve and gain popularity, particularly those related to COVID-19.
January 6th Capitol Assault
Republicans have been fired up by Trump’s incessant but completely fabricated claim that the election was stolen. On January 6, after Trump’s speech, his supporters marched to the Capitol building and broke in, hoping to stop the certification of Joe Biden’s presidential victory. Congress was forced out of office and fled. five people diedAs a result, the melee. Later, it was discovered that rally organizers had been in direct contactWith White House officials.
Two-thousand peopleParticipated in the event. more than 700They were all arrested. The crowd itself was a mix of far right factions. Dozens of Proud Boys were among the most visible — and aggressive. There were open white supremacists involved. But the most alarming aspect was that this violent action was carried out by more ideologically moderate elements. Some claimed that the crowd were disenfranchised blacks. In fact, the arrests included elected officials; police, members of the militia milieu (including Oath Keepers, Three Percenters, and others Sovereign Citizens; business owners CEOs;The guitaristA heavy metal band; federal agent; and Trump appointee. Ten percentServed in the military, either currently or previously.
The attack’s political fallout included social media platforms booting Trump — including Twitter, which had been his presidential bullhorn. ParlerTrumpists favored the social media platform, and it was taken offline. Trump was impeached twice more and Congress later created a commission for investigation.
Trump and his cronies tried to thwart the investigation. He has unsuccessfully attempted to withhold some presidential records and has continued to attempt to suppress others by asserting “executive privilege.” Those who have refused to testify include Steve Bannon, Trump’s one-time adviser. PardonedBy Trump in January, Bannon arrestedNovember: Criminal contempt.
To defend the January 6 arrestees, the right-wing media machine also went into high gear. Some claimed those arrested were “patriots” protesting a “stolen election,” while others blamed the violence on “antifa” disguised as Trumpists. This was promoted by Matt Gaetz (Florida Republican Rep. conspiracy theory(On the night before the Capitol assault. Fox’s Tucker Carlson even created a three-part series to argue the attack was a “false flag” which was a prelude to a new “war on terror” against Trump supporters.
Trumpists without Trump
Perhaps the best illustration of Trumpist control over the GOP is the expulsion of Rep. Liz Cheney, the de facto leader of the anti-Trumpists, from the Wyoming state party’s leadership. Their grip on power goes deeper.
Although he was in office before, Rep. Steve King (R.Iowa), rose to prominence under Trump as the farthest-right U.S. Congressmember. He openly used his position. white supremacist rhetoric. While, like Trump, King lost reelection, a group of Republican representatives have since replaced him, including Florida’s Gaetz, Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia, Louie Gohmert of Texas, Paul Gosar of Arizona and Lauren Boebert of Colorado. In April, several of them were involved in a brief attempt to form the “America First Caucus,” which was to champion “Anglo-Saxon political traditions.”
Greene was well-known for claiming that a Jewish space laser was responsible for California’s wild fires. Boebert gave speeches suggesting that Rep. Ilhan Omar (D–Minnesota), who is a Muslim, was responsible for California’s wildfires. terrorist. Gosar’s social media featured an anime video of him killing Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-New York), for which he was censured. Gohmert questioned the Forest Service about whether it could. change the orbitThe Earth or the moon. Gaetz, who was investigated for having sex on the moon or Earth, has also been under investigation. 17-year-old, stated that if Republicans win the mid-term elections, he would like to install Trump as House speaker. Technically, one can hold the position without being an House member.
Far Right Conspiracies Widen
Just as the Capitol attack was fueled by conspiracy theories, in particular QAnon, they continue to bubble up and occupy conservatives’ minds. While “Q” has been silent since December 2020 after his predictions failed, followers are still coming to events, and some QAnon supporters have boldly moved on promote antisemitism.
Others have taken aim at the movement for Black lives by creating a conspiracy panic around critical race theory and attacking it. Their racist narrative — which claims that teaching students about systemic racism and U.S. history is “anti-white” — has become a popular talking point for Republicans. It has led schools to ban anti-racist books.
Popular conspiracy theories against anti-vaxxer are still very popular. Some believe Bill Gates invented the vaccines to implant microchips into people. Others claim that COVID was a plot by Big Pharma. Others continue to deny the existence of COVID. Others say the disease is real and can be treated with drugs like Ivermectin. Meanwhile anti-maskers — which include both those who believe COVID is real and those who don’t — oppose mask mandates. For some, this is a slippery slope to a communist or Nazi dictatorship, while others object on grounds of personal freedom — other people be damned.
Anti-vaxxers have protested violently at times. Local government meetings, particularly school boards, have been disrupted and there has been an organized effort to elect anti-maskers. (The harassment was so intense, that in October Attorney General Merrick Garland declared that the FBI would investigate threats against school officials. Transit workers, flight attendants and server at restaurants were attacked for adhering to mask requirements. After a librarian from Omak, Washington was spit on, the library said it might closeTo ensure the safety of its employees.
Trials, Lawsuits, and Sentences
There were many high-profile court trials this year. Kyle Rittenhouse, a right wing teenager, was the most well-known. He took a rifle and went to a Kenosha, Wisconsin protest for Black Lives. There he shot two people. Rittenhouse was a popular figure for the far right and was acquitted in November following a trial many believed to have been overseen by an extremely biased judge.
However, other trials went in a different direction. Derek Chauvin — whose 2020 murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis reignited the movement for Black lives — was convicted of murderApril Three white vigilantes from Georgia also murdered Black joggers. Ahmaud ArberyIn November, they were convicted.
The far right has also been the target of several civil lawsuits. Conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, who claimed that the Sandy Hook school shootings didn’t happen, lost a defamation suit by victims’ family members, who had been mercilessly harassed. The most important case is however, Sines v. Kessler, was against the organizers of the fascist “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, in August 2017, which ended with the murder of anti-fascist protester Heather Heyer. The suit, which has been a hindrance to prominent fascists over the years, will undoubtedly bankrupt those people and groups found liable for a total cost of $1.5 million. $25 million.
Sentences were also issued against white nationalists with high profile records. The death sentence was upheldDylann Roof, who killed nine people at a historically Black church in 2015, was sentenced to a term of two years. The 2019 Poway, California synagogue attack perpetrator received a sentence life in prison. Proud Boy Allen Swinney is the final, whose violent actions include pulling out a gun at demonstrations. received a prison sentence of 10 years.
Proud Boys Endure
The Proud Boys are the most active and largest of all the groups that emerged from the far right ferment between 2015 and 2017. Neither arrests, scandals, leadership shakeups, nor lawsuits have deterred this violent street gang whose raison d’être is to brawl with their political enemies, especially antifa.
The Capitol attack was preceded in part by violent actions of the Proud Boys. They participated in the December 2020 Capitol Attack. invadingDuring a legislative meeting in Oregon, the Oregon State Capitol building was taken down. Their violent demonstrations in D.C. that month included vandalizing Black churches, plus four stabbings and a shooting. Enrique Tarrio, a leader of the Proud Boys was arrested for vandalism offenses and weapons offenses two days prior to the Capitol attack. He eventually received a five-month sentence). During the Capitol attack, the largest, most militant and organized group was this. The group faces charges dozensThree are tied to the group lawsuitsfor their role in the incident. Canada, February bannedThe group. Proud Boys also joined the anti-vaxxer group; made threats against school boards; and appeared at ralliesLos Angeles and New York City. largest violent rallyPortland, Oregon, August of the Year
Good Night to (Most of) the “Alt-Right”
While as a whole the alt-right is yesterday’s fad, there are other active remnants besides the Proud Boys. For example, the “incel” (“involuntary celibate”) movement is one of the movement’s living branches. An entire year passed almost without a far right mass killing in the United States for the first time in recent American history. Five people were killed in Denver’s December 27th shooting. The main suspect is an alleged white supremacist. He also espouses virulent misogynist views. (An incel-related man had also been arrested in August. murdered five(Britain.)
Most — but certainly not all — of those who attended the Charlottesville rally have taken major blows. Richard Spencer has been quiet in 2018 due to his anticipation of the outcome. Sines v. Kessler. His future looks dim now that he was found guilty at trial and severely fined. Livestreamer “Baked Alaska” was arrested for his role in the Capitol attack, while in February, Christopher Cantwell (known more widely as the “Crying Nazi”), was sentenced to 41 months for harassment.
Thomas Rousseau and Nick Fuentes are two other Charlottesville participants. The Patriot Front is the most active of the white supremacist groups that emerged from the alt-right. Rousseau is the leader. They are mainly focused on propaganda and vandalism but they held three marches 2021, one in DecemberThat drew more than 100 participants.
While Rousseau’s Patriot Front turned their back on Trump as too moderate, Fuentes did the opposite. His “Groyper” movement has become part of the Trump movement in a bid to gain mainstream support. They have been successful so far, with Representative Gosar keynoting the group’s February conference. Fuentes and his team were also present at the February conference. took part inThe attack on the Capitol
Alt-right also had a radical wing, which they refused to go to Charlottesville for because it was too mainstream. Instead of promoting neo Nazi terrorism, it promoted it. This faction, which was most prominent was the Atomwaffen Division was decimated this year by legal action. The Atomwaffen Division declared its dissolution in 2020. However, several members were sentenced in 2021. One of them was the former leader. John Cameron Denton. An additional member of the family was also identified as FBI informant. (However, Atomwaffen’s first leader, Brandon Russell, was releasedAfter completing his sentence, he was released in August. Two military veterans were sentenced to prison for their service in a similar group called The Base. nine years each. Despite these setbacks these terrorist groups keep their propaganda simmering on Telegram.
Lastly, important information about a number digital companies was made public. Two of the largest far-right social media platforms are Parler GabBoth were hacked. EpikThe main host for far-right websites was also compromised. Frances Haugen was also a whistleblower. leaked internal Facebook documentsThis video shows how the company knew that they would not take action against violent far-right groups and lied about what it did.
Still, despite anti-fascists’ best hopes, far right street forces have remained active, and the Trumpists ensconced, if not more powerful, within the GOP. With President Biden’s ratings dipping and no end in sight for COVID, prospects look pretty good for Trump and Trumpism, but the coming midterms will be a major temperature check for 2024.