What is going on? (Capitol Violence edition)
January 9, 2021 7:39 PM   Subscribe

Can you point me to resources that help me understand the backstory and ongoing situation related to the raid on the US Capitol? I am up to speed on what did happen, but I feel like most articles describe the symptoms and not the cause or processes.

For example, I'd love an in-depth article tracing the primary Parler posts and right-wing radio shows (or whatever) through which this originated and was organized. I'd also be interested in:

- long form articles on things like militias,
- twitter accounts that monitor right wing extremism,
- analysis of how people like Trump are communicating with or connected to the grassroots organizers (is it really just dog-whistle posts on Twitter?),
- any info on the government agency side, especially why the police weren't prepared (aside from a general culture of white supremacy) and how the police or military may / may not be involved in future attempts
- anything that can be explained about why the Republicans are harboring this beyond "their base"

I feel like so much media commentary is describing the events, with an undertone of "whoa! who knew??" I want to read and listen to more people who did know, who are actively monitoring the threats, who even know why the other people who also already knew didn't do anything, and so on. For example, I went through all the episodes of the It Can Happen Here podcast in record time. Any histories you've read that gave you insight into all of this would be great too. Thanks!
posted by slidell to Law & Government (18 answers total) 37 users marked this as a favorite
Brandy Zadrozny is an NBC News reporter I follow who covers disinformation online. Here is one article she wrote this week that touches on what you’re asking about: Extremists made little secret of ambitions to 'occupy' Capitol in weeks before attack. If you go through her feed, there is a lot to dig into and others to follow.
posted by wsquared at 7:51 PM on January 9 [2 favorites]

Pro-Trump dark money groups organized the rally that led to deadly Capitol Hill riot (CNBC)

Inside the Capitol siege: How barricaded lawmakers and aides sounded urgent pleas for help as police lost control (WaPo)

The Journey of Ashli Babbitt (Bellingcat)

I've heard good things about Bring the War Home: The White Power Movement and Paramilitary America

No one has very comforting answers for why the Pentagon delayed help from Maryland's governor given that the first three members of the line of succession were under siege.

(obviously violent content in some of these links)
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 8:45 PM on January 9 [5 favorites]

This 2016 Fresh Air interview between Terry Gross and George Packer is well worth a listen:

The 'Dangerous, Volatile Game' Trump Plays With The White Working Class
posted by invisible ink at 8:53 PM on January 9 [2 favorites]

Very (200 ish) long twitter thread from Seth Abramson on the propaganda and language in the Jan 6th speech and coordinated rally.
posted by Crystalinne at 10:32 PM on January 9 [6 favorites]

Also from Bellingcat, and published the day before the assault on the Capitol: How the Insurgent and MAGA Right are Being Welded Together on the Streets of Washington D.C.
posted by ocherdraco at 5:11 AM on January 10 [3 favorites]

That Bellingcat piece linked just above is excellent.

Also: Historians Contextualizing the Capitol Insurrection: A Roundup

GQ, The Man Who Saw Yesterday’s Coup Attempt Coming Is Only Surprised It Wasn’t Much Worse

Sarah Kendzior, Talia Lavin, Jeff Sharlet have written well on the backdrop for all of this.

JJ MacNab's Twitter list for last Wednesday
posted by MonkeyToes at 6:28 AM on January 10 [5 favorites]

I'm not sure anyone's done a thorough dive into how we got here. For me, the best place to start is to go back to the 80s and research the arrival of Newt Gingrich and the language of division and hate-for-government he built his career on. You will definitely hear his words echoed in the words of today's rioters, as well as Trump himself. In many ways, the Gingrich era set the stage for the events of this week.
posted by Thorzdad at 6:32 AM on January 10 [5 favorites]

A very good analysis from The Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project (ACLED) in December: The Future of 'Stop the Steal': Post-Election Trajectories for Right-Wing Mobilization in the U.S.

"Pro-Trump and right-wing organizing has changed significantly since the election, and analysis of ACLED data indicates that it will likely continue to evolve going into the inauguration and initial stages of the Biden administration. Demonstrations have increasingly involved organized, armed militia groups. They have also involved armed, decentralized, and potentially violent individuals, especially those who may respond to ‘muster calls’ or travel from a distance to take action. And they have involved unarmed mass mobilization as well — all while sporadic attacks by sole perpetrators have become more common."
posted by MonkeyToes at 6:44 AM on January 10 [2 favorites]

And JJ MacNab herself, of course.

Guernica interview (11/20) with Talia Lavin, on her book, Culture Warlords: My Journey Into the Dark Web of White Supremacy

Nick Martin's Twitter

Robert Young Pelton has drawn my attention to the role of private military contractors.

Charlie Warzel is worth a follow.

Sarah Kendzior from January 2020: "Anyone who played down the very obvious threat of the Trump admin or pretended we had all the time in the world to stop it has blood on their hands, and there is more blood to come. That fatal appeasement will always be their legacy."

Gingrich, yes, but this is also Bircher Atlantis rising, bloody and terrible.
posted by MonkeyToes at 8:17 AM on January 10 [4 favorites]

How far back do you want to go? Historian Rick Perlstein kinda specializes in the history of conservatism, and he's written books about the Barry Goldwater era through the early years of Ronald Reagan.

Mark Hertsgaard's On Bended Knee: The Press and the Reagan Presidency focuses on the Reagan White House's propaganda efforts, many of which foreshadow those of the current administration.
posted by box at 8:47 AM on January 10 [2 favorites]

While it was widely panned as promoting the conservative agenda when it was released, Errol Morris' American Dharma is a great starting point. It's a profile of former Trump strategist Steve Bannon. He's somebody the left loves to hate (for good reason, if you ask me), but wether you hate him or not, you have to understand him and his ideas in order to grok what's going on here.

I watched American Dharma for the first time last Sunday. After I was finished, I told my girlfriend, "We're fucked. There's going to be revolution." It wasn't just what Bannon says in the film (although that's a part of it), but what he says combined with what we were seeing in the news. Wednesday's events matched perfectly with what Bannon talks about in American Dharma. And I'm very worried that this isn't the end of something; it's only the beginning. Bannon knew this was coming, and that's very clear in the movie.
posted by jdroth at 8:48 AM on January 10 [2 favorites]

This piece offers a good summary and useful links to the patterns political scientists spotted and were warning about for some time.

Reading it reinforced my belief that we need to wake up in Canada too.
posted by rpfields at 11:32 AM on January 10 [1 favorite]

Context, history, understanding, and what to do next, courtesy of historian Jared Yates Sexton: The Capitol Putsch 2021

Here's what I like about him: he's straight forward, doesn't pull punches, notes what's going on from both sides of the aisle and always, always gives next steps and suggestions. It's not a DoomTube video at all. Worth your time (as are his Sunday night Bourbon Talks).
posted by Mysticalchick at 2:10 PM on January 10 [1 favorite]

Heather Cox Richardson is a Boston College history professor, publishes a mostly-daily commentary. She cites sources and provides context. She does videos on facebook. Recent piece about her with classic NYTimes snotty sexism.
posted by theora55 at 4:23 PM on January 10 [3 favorites]

The Atlantic has published a number of good, in-depth articles diving into the insurrection, the right, and motivations of the people who were involved. Here are a few to get you started:

Worst Revolution Ever
The Inaction of Capitol Police Was by Design
Mass Delusion in America: What I heard from insurrectionists on their march to the Capitol
A Christian Insurrection: Many of those who mobbed the Capitol on Wednesday claimed to be enacting God’s will

And much more in the archives (example about right-wing militias from Sept. 2020, excellent in-depth piece on Qanon)
posted by acridrabbit at 5:21 PM on January 10 [2 favorites]

My partner has been reading a lot about this, and recommends this article about months of red flags.
posted by lgyre at 11:06 PM on January 10 [1 favorite]

This is a really interesting twitter thread about what happened on the ground in the leadup to the breach of the capitol from LiteraryMouse, a YA writer (and activist? I don't really know much about her but the first-hand experience and videos are very interesting!) who hung around on the outskirts of the crowd.
posted by mskyle at 8:14 AM on January 11 [1 favorite]

LiteraryMouse is spot on with "stochastic coup." Thanks for the link, mskyle.
posted by MonkeyToes at 4:01 PM on January 11

« Older Can you get old text messages from a discarded...   |   More talk, less background noise Newer »

You are not logged in, either login or create an account to post comments