One Year Later: A Review Of Neo-Nazi, White Supremacist, And Antigovernment Extremist Reactions Online To The January 6 Capitol Events

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January 6, 2022

Introduction

The January 6 insurrection at the Capitol was a watershed moment for white supremacists in the U.S., marking the movement's greatest success while at the same time sounding a death knell for some of the organizations that participated, many of which subsequently became riddled with division, inter alia due to arrests of members. The events of that day fundamentally changed the direction of white supremacism in the U.S., and have had ramifications for neo-Nazis and other racially motivated violent extremists around the world. Both inspirational and cautionary, they have mobilized and energized the extremist fringe the world over.

In the immediate aftermath of the attack and throughout the 12 months that followed, neo-Nazis, white supremacists, and antigovernment extremists on social media responded to the events in a variety of ways, highlighting both the divisions that they caused and the new radicalizing touchpoints that they created. While the broader "Patriot" movement focused primarily on celebrating the attack and advocating for those participants who were arrested and have been incarcerated, hardened accelerationist neo-Nazis have criticized it as a "movementarian" moment which will only increase hostility towards their agenda without achieving any significant change.

Others, particularly within the "QAnon" movement, have called the insurrection a "false flag," claiming that federal agents, antifascists, and even China or Russia were behind it. There have been conspiracy theories aplenty, with many claiming that no Trump supporters were involved at all and that the arrests of alleged participants are a politically motivated attack on them, and this approach is used to justify their actions and excuse their continued violent rhetoric against the state and against those they see as their ideological enemies.

Simultaneously, many of the same extremist factions have commemorated the insurrectionists who died during the attack, with Ashli Babbitt in particular being made into a modern martyr for the white supremacist movement. In the months after her death, Babbitt's face became an emblem for the burgeoning "White Lives Matter" movement, and her status as a white mother has been mobilized as a radicalizing force, tapping into the deeply ingrained white supremacist and neo-Nazi narratives around white precarity, feminine purity, and anti-white state violence.

In the lead-up to the riot, during January 6, and in the immediate aftermath, the MEMRI DTTM team monitored the online and real-world activity of neo-Nazi, white supremacist, and antigovernment extremists, publishing a series of reports that were shared with government officials.[1]

With the first anniversary of the insurrection, this rhetoric has only ramped up, and the wider movement is once again placing January 6 at the center of its social media activity. Activists, many of whom were purged from mainstream social media sites following the riot, have used alternative platforms such as Telegram, MeWe, Gab, Parler, and Gettr to advance their narratives surrounding the anniversary, with many continuing to call for further violence during the 2022 midterm elections and the 2024 presidential race. Others have escalated their advocacy for the "political prisoners" being held for their involvement in the riot, leveraging it to fundraise and mobilize support for those awaiting trial and those already convicted.

The MEMRI DTTM one-year review outlines a year of social media activity surrounding the January 6 insurrection by neo-Nazis, antigovernment extremists, and white supremacists, collected by the MEMRI Domestic Terrorism Threat Monitor (DTTM) team. After January 6, 2022, the DTTM team will be producing a series of reports on the first anniversary of the attack, highlighting the ways in which white supremacists and neo-Nazis around the world have commemorated and celebrated the anniversary, with a particular focus on fundraising, protests, vigils, and other mass-action events.

Below is a selection of posts from the report, the full version of which can be requested with proper credentials.

THE FOLLOWING IS A REDACTED EXCERPT. GOVERNMENT AND MEDIA CAN REQUEST A COPY OF OUR FULL REPORT BY WRITING TO [email protected] WITH THE REPORT TITLE IN THE SUBJECT LINE.

On January 6, 2021, a U.S.-based neo-Nazi accelerationist posted a message in reaction to Trump protestors storming the Capitol building that reads: "BURN DOWN THE FUCKING CAPITOL BUILDING AND HANG SOME KIKE LAW MAKERS. KILL KILL KILL KILL KILL KILL KILL KILL KILL KILL KILL KILL KILL KILL KILL KILL."

An American neo-Nazi posted a video on Telegram on January 6, 2021 welcoming the political unrest in the capital. He wrote: "If the conservatives finally get off the leash and burn citys [sic] down. The police will be overwhelmed quickly. This could be our chance if it keeps up this way."

A neo-Nazi, terrorism-promoting Telegram channel forwarded, on January 6, 2021, a post featuring a graphic of a bloodied policeman's head on a spike, with the text: "Any officers who may have been 'good guys who just need to put food on the table' left long long ago. The pigs that are left are system whores who have no problem dropping their knee down on your ribs and throat so long as it means the system can enact its force on the people for another day."

An Australian neo-Nazi activist posted, on January 7, 2021 on his Telegram channel, a video showing the moment rioter Ashli Babbitt was shot to death in the Capitol and called for "patriots in the US" to return with firearms and kill law enforcement personnel. He wrote: "Another angle of the White woman that was murdered today by ZOG [Zionist occupied government] mercenaries. Patriots in the US need to come back with rifles so they can neutralise the scum in blue."

On January 7, 2021, a neo-Nazi Telegram channel shared an image of members of Congress and policemen barricaded inside the chamber, with the caption: "You deserve to live in fear."

A neo-Nazi Telegram channel shared, on January 8, 2021, an image of the Capitol surrounded by protesters with a quote attributed to Benito Mussolini: "We do not argue with those who disagree with us. We destroy them."

On January 7, 2021, in a discussion on a future "Capitol takeover" in a neo-Nazi Telegram chat group, a user called for executions, writing: "The next Capitol takeover should be with a well coordinated militia. And the politicians and journos should be executed ans [and] hanged in open for the world to watch."

A neo-Nazi Telegram channel shared on January 8, 2021 a short video titled "If not now, then when," comprising WW2 Nazi footage and other violent war footage, including from video games. The clip ends with an image showing the Capitol surrounded by rioters, with a sonnenrad in the background, with the text: "White Revolution, the only solution". This image has been shared multiple times in the last few days in neo-Nazi circles.

An American neo-Nazi posted on his Telegram channel on February 4, 2021 an article from the Anti-Defamation League that outlines a plan to combat domestic extremism. He claimed that such a plan will only lead to more violence: "Keep this shit up and J6 [January 6] will have only been the beginning… That's not a threat, just a prediction."

An American neo-Nazi posted on his Telegram channel on February 11, 2021 a post about the January 6 riot: "Trump supporters should own up to J6 [January 6] and be proud of it: 'Yeah we stormed the Capitol. So what? It's not like we started bombing stuff... yet.'"

An accelerationist Telegram channel posted on April 6, 2021 an image of the Capitol building behind a barbed wire fence with the text "Democracy Is Dead" and a swastika. The channel's message is a quote from the 1965 book War of the Flea: The Classic Study of Guerrilla Warfare by Robert Tabar: "We have defined guerrilla war as the extension of politics by means of armed conflict. It follows that the extension cannot logically come until all acceptable peaceful solutions-appeals, legislative and judicial action, and the resources of the ballot box-have been proved worthless... Where the cause appears just, the situation is intolerable, and oppression past all appeal, the way to action is clear."

 

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