Know Your Enemy: The Afterlife of January 6

Know Your Enemy: The Afterlife of January 6

Was the January 6 breaching of the Capitol a genuine coup attempt by an extra-parliamentary faction of the Trump movement? Or was it a disorganized and pathetic act of desperation?

Cheers as more of the crowd gains access to the U.S. Capitol on January 06, 2021 in Washington, DC ( Shay Horse/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Know Your Enemy is a podcast about the American right co-hosted by Matthew Sitman and Sam Adler-Bell. Read more about it here. You can subscribe to, rate, and review the show on Apple Podcasts and Stitcher, and receive bonus content by supporting the podcast on Patreon.

It’s been over seven months since pro-Trump protesters breached the U.S. Capitol. 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 Newspoisoned rubes? Were the protesters 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 6 than about the event itself?

Looking back with the benefit of hindsight, Matt and Sam try to contextualize the events of January 6 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 (like our old friends at the Claremont Institute) dream about a version of January 6 that would actually have succeeded.

 

Sources and further reading:

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

Paige Williams, Kyle Rittenhouse, American Vigilante, The New Yorker

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

Micah Loewinger, The Road to Insurrection, WNYC

Michael Anton & Curtis Yarvin, The Stakes: The American Monarchy?, The American Mind

Joshua Hochschild, Once Upon a Presidency, The American Mind

Andrew Egger, The New January 6 Scapegoats, The Dispatch

John Ganz, Feb 6 1934/Jan 6 2021, Unpopular Front

 

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