As the January 6th Committee hearings proceed I am not going to be caring much about this underlying discourse of government protecting "democracy" that forms the foundations of the narrative.
Rather, it is critical for us all to look at the ways that the campaign to seize power was structured, as well as the ways in which right wing group activity is being mapped within the narrative.
On the level of the actual campaign to seize power, the thing that is the most striking to me, and I have mentioned this in other venues, is just how deep this went. We are not talking about some bumbling attempt to take and hold power by fringe and marginal agents.
Rather, what we are starting to get more and more insight into is just how many well educated career bureaucrats were involved in this, and the ways that they used existing influence networks to form the core of the plan.
This is the level in which we see White House staffers walking away from their posts in the lead up to January 6th, only to have the vacuum filled by people like Flynn, Powell, and Guiliani. As a result, there was evidence presented of the sheer number and length of discussion that happened in the preceding days around invoking the Insurrection Act, and how this was all part of the wider plan in actuality, not just in QAnon fantasies about The Storm.
Within the footage shown yesterday, and the testimony that came in the second half of the hearing last night, there was a clear attempt to draw a number of lines between different elements. One of these lines was a rhetorical line that they drew between Trump and the extreme right, especially following the "Stand back and stand by" quote from the debates.
This was then used to pull the narrative back into the Trump campaign itself, where they showed how the indention for January 6th, when it was called for, was to have this exact type of thing happen. As we go forward they have foreshadowed the release of information that could demonstrate that the administration tried to call off police protection and set the stage, tactically, for a successful occupation of the Capitol.
They then moved to draw a clear line on the ground between random participants, their online statements indicating their intentions, and the actual activities of Proud Boys during the riot. There were significant amounts of video shown, where individual Proud Boys were identified in the crowd. In that video they were trying to demonstrate how the activities of the Proud Boys were coordinated, planned, and intended to lead the crowd through specific access points into the building.
Outside of how fascinating it was to see video of Proud Boys planning activities, in full view of a documentary film crew, the degree to which they were the focus of the narrative was informative in a couple of ways.
Firstly, this clearly shows that the Proud Boys are in a lot of trouble legally. Not only did a bunch of them get indicted for conspiracy to commit sedition, but there is proof that this type of planning did occur, in the open, with no opsec.
This should be a lesson to all of us, especially those of us that are security averse...Opsec Is Important!
But, beyond that, the second take away from this is a realignment of the relationship between the state and non-state political groups and movements. in the past there was a sense that the state maintained the upper hand over street actions. That sense has been clearly shaken by both the uprising and January 6th.
A lot of the tone of this element of the hearing yesterday was centered around the "threat of extremism", with that extremism not being connected to any specific politics. It is a similar narrative move that Democrats used following January 6th, where the term extremism was used to demonize both rioters during the uprising and fascists on January 6th.
This is a notable shift, where the state is treating non-state political action as an actual threat.
As we go forward I am going to be paying a lot of attention to the ways that they frame the activities of the Proud Boys, the ways that they then use that to typify "extremism" in general, and how that is then used to demonize any activities outside of the realm of "normality". A core element of this narrative is a continuation of what we have seen under Biden, this frantic attempt to describe Trumpism as an anomaly to an otherwise peaceful political normality.
By allowing the description of "extremism" to remain politically neutral there is a clear sense in which the narrative conditions are being set for things like additional counterterrorism powers. What is specifically ironic about that is that it was this exact security apparatus that Trump tried to weaponize to hold onto power.
As these hearings move forward this is an element I am going to placing specific attention toward, the ways in which the political neutrality of the concept of extremism is able to set the stage for the expansion of state power.
I think it is easy to take the simple analysis, that this is about the right wing, and that all focus is in that direction. But, I encourage all of us to really analyze the way that language is being used here as these hearings go forward.
For all of the uncertainty about what is to come in these hearings, one thing is for sure, we are in for one hell of a ride. There is clearly a sense in which we are about to get deluged with unseen footage, footage of depositions, and the words of participants in these events were definitely used for dramatic effect very effectively.
Though these hearings contain a lot of politics that we all find reprehensible, thinking through the ways that these tactics can be used against us is critical.
For now these are all very provisional thoughts, somewhere between a hot take and something I have spent weeks thinking about. We have only been through a single hearing, and there was already a deluge of information presented, and that was functionally the opening statement.
These hearings have a long historical tail, both leading into them and out of them, and we need to be prepared for the ways that this will realign American politics going forward.
Thank you for this thread!
I have to say, I was glad that 'Auntie Fa' called off any counter-protests that would have only served the narrative of the GQP. They went ahead and accused anyway but, that's them. Baseless except for their willfully ignorant base.
Well, yeah, and just the conditions for engagement were not to our favor that day. It is often hard in anti-fascist work to separate the burning revulsion we feel toward the right wing from tactical advantage in effectively impacting and breaking apart their networks. In this situation, with all of the various entities involved and their overall approach to that day, this would have likely ended very badly for us.
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