The Class Composition of the Capitol Rioters (First Cut)

By Lambert Strether of Corrente

The extensive commentary I have read on the Capitol Seizure of January 6 has not, to my knowledge, focused on two aspects of the event: The first is the class composition of the rioters[1]. The second is the actual cost of the event. The first is important even as an academic matter: Was the Seizure a “bourgeois riot,” as in Florida 2000? If not, what was it? The second is important as a check on the agency of the rioters; did they require a hidden, massive source of funding? Or could they have been, in the main, self-financed? Let us examine each topic in turn.

The Class Composition of the Rioters

Most discussion of the rioters has proceeded via generalization from anecdote, with this or that colorful and “terrifying” character taken in synecdoche for the whole. I decided to take a different approach, and aggregate as much hard data about the rioters as I could: Matters such as their home states, their ages, and their occupations (these not being ascriptive identities). To that end I read and tabulated as much data from news stories about the rioters as I could[2]. Our Federal system makes it hard to track how many rioters have been arrested and charged, and the ultimate numbers will keep rising for some time. As of this writing, around 125 rioters have been charged; the total is expected to be in the hundreds. (Estimates of rioters inside the capital by the rioters themselves range from 700 to thousands.) So, with 107 rioters tabulated (see the complete table in Appendix I) I think I have a reasonably good representation of the rioters arrested as of this writing. Whether arrested rioters are a good proxy for all the rioters is a question I don’t know how to answer (since the act of being in the Capitol was itself a crime; it wasn’t necessary to commit a more overt act to be a criminal.)

As far as ascriptive identities go, we can generalize that most of the rioters were white; and most were male. It follows that they were not demographically representative of the working class as a whole, which is multi-racial and mixed gender. It’s difficult to aggregate more precise data about them, because that depends on the quality of the reporting; hence, although we have tabulated 107 rioters, we have home state data for 50/107 (46%), age for 52/107 (49%), and occupation 49/107 (45%). So now let’s look at the data we have.

Table 1: States

Count State
8 NY
8 TX
6 GA
6 FL
6 CA
5 VA
5 TN
4 PA
4 AL
3 NJ
3 MD
3 AZ
2 WI
2 UT
2 OH
2 NC
2 KY
2 IL
2 DE
1 AK
1 AR
1 WV
1 WA
1 OR
1 NM
1 NH
1 MO
1 MN
1 MA
1 LA
1 IN
1 ID
1 IA
1 HI
1 DC
1 CO

The conclusion we can draw from Table 1 is that the Capitol Seizure was a national event. The Big States are all well-represented. (In other words, people didn’t go to the Trump rally on January 6 because it was only an hour’s drive away. New York and California outweigh Virginia and Pennsylvania, for example.)

Table 2: Ages

Range Age Count
20 2
23 2
25 2
26 3
28 1
29 1
20-29 11
30 1
31 1
32 1
34 2
35 4
36 2
38 2
39 2
30-39 15
40 2
41 1
42 2
43 2
46 2
47 2
48 2
40-49 13
50 2
52 1
54 2
55 1
57 1
58 1
59 1
50-59 9
60 1
61 1
65 1
69 1
60-69 4
70 1
70+ 1

The conclusion we can draw from Table 2 is that Capitol Seizure rioters were “pretty evenly” distributed (I don’t speak statistician; perhaps we have one in house?) Not all youngsters; not all retirees; not all “prime of life.”

Table 3: Occupations

Occupation Count
Owner 10
Cop 5
Real estate broker 3
Supplier? 2
Firefighter, paramedic 2
Cccupational therapist 2
CEO 2
Activist 2
Union VP 1
Unemployed (disability) 1
Tattoo arist 1
Programmer 1
Peace Corps (2018-2020) 1
Musician 1
Legislator 1
Lawyer 1
Laborer (MTA) 1
Jailer 1
Investment banker 1
Executive (HR) 1
Direct Marketer 1
Criminal (petty) 1
County Commissioner 1
Contractor (USN) 1
Construction 1
Car salesman 1
Bartender (unemployed) 1
Army Captain 1
Arborist, Chimney cleaner 1

The conclusion we can draw from Table 3… Well, I gotta say, the top three occupations being “owner,” “cop,” and “real estate broker” screams “petite bourgeoisie” to me. Granted, the owners are mostly owners of small firms, like florists or fishing charter operators, but firms they are. (The cops are not the Capitol hill cops, but cops who came from elsewhere.) It’s also extremely suggestive that there are no credentialed members of the PMC present at all; only one lawyer, no accountants, no psychiatrists; the closest we come is an occupational therapist. There are also no labor aristocrats, save one union VP. The working class rioters are flexible in their arrangements; no Amazon workers, but a contractor, a programmer, an arborist/chimney sweeper, etc. This flexibility shades over into the lumpenproletariat: “Supplier” is my polite coinage for dealer.

Blue-skying fiercely, here: If we wanted to construct a narrative that the Capitol Seizure — and the reaction to it — was a civil war between the classical petite bourgeoisie, being squeezed both by the corporate behemoths and Covid, and the arriviste PMC, newly come to class consciousness in the Trumpian cauldron, that wouldn’t be so hard to do, would it? “Two houses both alike in dignity….” Based on the very partial data we have. With the bourgeoisie doing what it can, as usual, and the working class doing what it must, also as usual.

The Cost of Staging the Event

I tried to work through the cost of staging the entire event — the earlier rally, not just the riot — in the following figure (which is very crude, being based entirely on national averages). Nevertheless, I think I’m in the ballpark. The central assumptions are a crowd of 10,000, 80% of whom came by chartered bus (there are numerous anecdotes of buses being organized by local entrepreners).

Figure 1: Costs for Seizure

Notes to Figure 1

[1] Budget Your Trip
[2] Gogo Charters
[3] Budget Your Trip
[4] Greyhound = 55
[5] Business Insider
[6] Drink Tea Travel
[7] Crowd size: 10,000 (guesstimate)
[8] Assumes two-night stay

The bottom line is that $4,000,000 is not very much money. No billionaire required. And the unit cost for somebody taking the bus is $90 + $182 + $75 = $347. $350 is not very much either, especially for a committed “patriot.”

Conclusion

There’s much, much more that I’d like to write about the Capitol Seizure (perhaps with even better data). I would enjoy finding out why so many rioters thought taking videos and selfies of themselves in the Capitol and putting them up on Parler or Facebook was a good idea. I would enjoy going back through the links in my table and aggregate what rioters actually said (as opposed to whatever was projected onto them by PMC influencers). Especially I’d enjoy looking at the tactics that the rioters employed; after all, if their goal was to “send them a message” the operation was a brilliant success. And I would also like to look at the PMC reaction, with its strong flavor of extra-legal punishment.

I hope this was helpful. Again, comments from statisticians would be especially helpful.

NOTES

[1] For reasons I would like to go into later, I prefer to call the event what it evidently is: A riot, rather than an insurrection, let alone a coup. This quote from the New Yorker will have to suffice for now:

No one seemed quite sure how to proceed. ‘While we’re here, we might as well set up a government,’ somebody suggested.

I don’t know whether the story that a worker screamed “Take power, you coward!” at Lenin in 1917 is apocryphal, or not. Regardless, Lenin did so. The rioters were hardly Bolsheviks, nor, more to the point, Confederates.

[2] I worked from list of rioter names compiled from the following sources: USA Today, Lawfare, and the oddly named Conan Daily. George Washington University also has a list of rioter names and indictments, but it requires too much clicking and scrolling. Also, the FBI Criminal Complaints and Statements of Fact generally don’t have the data that I want, like occupation.

Appendix I

Table 4: Data (as of 2021-01-19)

All names are in the public domain.

# Name Occupation State Age Transport Selfie/Stream Q Party/Group
1 Daniel Page Adams TX Car
2 Christopher Alberts MD 35
3 Michael Jerrett Amos FL 38
4 John Anderson FL
5 Ashli Babbitt Owner (pool supply) CA 35 Y
6 Thomas Baranyi Peace Corps (2018-2020) NJ 28
7 Richard Barnett AR 60
8 Robert Bauer
9 Damon Beckley KY
10 Joshua Black AL Y
11 Melody Marie Black MN
12 David Blair MD
13 Matthew Bledsoe Owner (Mover) TN 36 Y
14 Dominic Box Car salesman GA Y Y
15 Rosanne Boyland GA 34 Y
16 Lt. Col. Larry Rendall Brock Jr
17 Terry Brown Cop (retired) PA 69
18 William McCall Calhoun, Jr. Lawyer GA Y
19 Samuel Camargo FL Y
20 Jake Chansley (Q Shaman; Jake Angeli) AZ
21 Albert Ciarpelli NY 65 Car
22 Lonnie Leroy Coffman AL 70 Car
23 Tara Coleman PA 40 Y
24 Josiah Benjamin Colt CEO ID
25 Matthew Council FL
26 Jenny Cudd Owner (florist) TX
27 Michael Thomas Curzio
28 Paul Davis Executive (HR) TX Y
29 Kristopher Dreww Owner (beauty shop) CA Y
30 Hunter Ehmke CA 20
31 Lisa Eisenhart TN 57
32 >Derrick Evans Legislator WV 35 Y Republican
33 Brandon Fellows Arborist, Chimney cleaner NY 26 Y
34 Cindy Fitchett VA 59
35 David Fitzgerald Tattoo arist
36 Vincent James Foxx
37 Jacob Fracker Cop, National Guard VA 29
38 Nick Fuentes Proud Boys
39 Thomas Gallagher NH 61
40 Christopher Stanton Georgia Investment banker GA
41 Tim Gionet Y extremist
42 Daniel Goodwyn Programmer CA Car Y
43 Vaughan Gordon LA 54 Y
44 Kevin Greeson Union VP AL 55 Car
45 Couy Griffin County Commissioner NM
46 Jack Jesse Griffith TN 25 Y
47 Jennifer Gugger Cop PA
48 Leonard Guthrie NJ 48 Car
49 Timothy Louis Hale-Cusanelli Contractor (USN) NJ
50 Peter Harding NY 47 Car Y
51 Edward Hemenway VA
52 Emily Hernandez MO 20
53 Jacob G. Hiles Owner (sport fishing charter) UT Y
54 Doug Jensen IA 41 Y
55 Adam Johnson FL 36
56 Chad Barrett Jones KY 42
57 Klete Keller Real estate broker CO 38
58 Kash Lee Kelly Activist IN 32 Y
59 Joshua Knowles Supplier? AZ
60 Edward Jacob Lang NY 25
61 William Arthur Leary Owner (Manufactured Housing) NY
62 Mark Leffingwell WA
63 Kevin D. Loftus WI 52
64 Joshua R. Lollar Unemployed (disability) TX 39 Car Y
65 Kevin J. Lyons IL 40 Car Y
66 Kristina Malimon OR Y Republican
67 Yevgeniya Malimon 54
68 Roxanne Mathai Jailer TX 46 Y
69 Cleveland Grover Meredith Jr. GA Car
70 David Charles Mish WI 42 Y
71 Grant Moore GA Car
72 Aaron Mostofsky NY
73 Eric Gavelek Munchel Bartender (unemployed) TN Car
74 Marsha Murphy AZ 50
75 Nicholas R. Ochs HI 34 Y Proud Boys
76 Nick Ochs [PP light on sourcing] Proud Boys
77 Robert Keith Packer VA
78 William Pepe Laborer (MTA) NY 31
79 Michelle Peterson CA Y
80 Dominic Pezzola Owner (flooring) NY 43 Y Proud Boys
81 Tam Dinh Pham Cop TX 48
82 Benjamin Philips Owner (toys), programmer 50 Car
83 Christine Priola Cccupational therapist OH Y
84 Joshua Pruitt DC 39
85 Emily Rainey Army Captain NC 30 Bus
86 Blake A. Reed Real estate broker TN 35 Y
87 Stewart Rhodes Proud Boys
88 Thomas Robertson Cop VA 47
89 Nicholas Rodean Direct Marketer MD 26
90 Eliel Rosa TX
91 Brad Rukstales CEO IL
92 Jenna Ryan Real estate broker TX Y
93 Robert Sanford Firefighter (retired) PA
94 Jon Ryan Schaffer Musician FL
95 Kevin Seefried Construction DE
96 Hunter Seefried DE 23
97 Troy Smocks Criminal (petty) TX 58 Air
98 Jurell Snyder Owner (digital forensics firm), ex-cop CA
99 Michael St. Pierre Owner (Grocery) MA Car
100 Peter Stager AK
101 Justin Stoll OH Y
102 John Sullivan Activist UT 26 Y
103 Douglas Sweet VA
104 Henry “Enrique” Tarrio Proud Boys
105 Jay Robert Thaxton NC 46
106 William Watson Supplier? AL 23
107 Andrew Williams Firefighter, paramedic

Notes on Table 4

Q: Was the rioter reported to be a QAnon fan?

Transport: Car, air, or bus? I am guessing that bus was not mentioned because it was unremarkable.

Selfie/Stream: Almost certainly under-reported, given the volume on Parler and Facebook.

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About Lambert Strether

Readers, I have had a correspondent characterize my views as realistic cynical. Let me briefly explain them. I believe in universal programs that provide concrete material benefits, especially to the working class. Medicare for All is the prime example, but tuition-free college and a Post Office Bank also fall under this heading. So do a Jobs Guarantee and a Debt Jubilee. Clearly, neither liberal Democrats nor conservative Republicans can deliver on such programs, because the two are different flavors of neoliberalism (“Because markets”). I don’t much care about the “ism” that delivers the benefits, although whichever one does have to put common humanity first, as opposed to markets. Could be a second FDR saving capitalism, democratic socialism leashing and collaring it, or communism razing it. I don’t much care, as long as the benefits are delivered. To me, the key issue — and this is why Medicare for All is always first with me — is the tens of thousands of excess “deaths from despair,” as described by the Case-Deaton study, and other recent studies. That enormous body count makes Medicare for All, at the very least, a moral and strategic imperative. And that level of suffering and organic damage makes the concerns of identity politics — even the worthy fight to help the refugees Bush, Obama, and Clinton’s wars created — bright shiny objects by comparison. Hence my frustration with the news flow — currently in my view the swirling intersection of two, separate Shock Doctrine campaigns, one by the Administration, and the other by out-of-power liberals and their allies in the State and in the press — a news flow that constantly forces me to focus on matters that I regard as of secondary importance to the excess deaths. What kind of political economy is it that halts or even reverses the increases in life expectancy that civilized societies have achieved? I am also very hopeful that the continuing destruction of both party establishments will open the space for voices supporting programs similar to those I have listed; let’s call such voices “the left.” Volatility creates opportunity, especially if the Democrat establishment, which puts markets first and opposes all such programs, isn’t allowed to get back into the saddle. Eyes on the prize! I love the tactical level, and secretly love even the horse race, since I’ve been blogging about it daily for fourteen years, but everything I write has this perspective at the back of it.

106 comments

  1. darin trueblood

    >>>I prefer to call the event what it evidently is: A riot

    I myself opine that Capitol Seizure is actually perfect, what with the (in this case) poetic overloading of the word seizure and all.

  2. Randy

    >I would enjoy finding out why so many rioters thought taking videos and selfies of themselves in the Capitol and putting them up on Parler or Facebook was a good idea.

    Some combination of total, deluded confidence there would be no consequences for their actions (whether because they sincerely thought they were doing what Trump wanted, or white privilege, or whatever) and simple stupidity.

    1. Acacia

      At first blush it certainly looks like delusion or stupidity w.r.t. the obvious consequences, but I can’t escape the sense that we’re getting a glimpse here of some deeper truth about what happens to political action when it becomes completely mediatized. I like Lambert’s choice of the word “riot” to describe what happened, with its clear connotation of disorganized, unfocused anger, and personally find the hyperbole of words like “insurrection” or “coup” to be laughable.

      Recall Boorstin’s analysis of the “pseudo-event”, whose condition of possibility is a vast media apparatus which needs to produce “news”. Needless to say, the Internet and social media have democratized the function that used to belong to a more centralized television. Thus, I wonder if what we’re seeing here is something more akin to a mass-scale pseudo-event, insofar as the primary goal of this riot seems to have been to produce images of the rioters themselves (i.e., “news” on the social media timeline) engaged in a cosplay of “a revolutionary event”.

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        Is it fair to wonder if some of the Zip Tie Guys In Black also thought so, and hoped to use the pseudo-event as cover under which to actually kidnap and/or kill Pence and Congressfolk?

      2. a different chris

        >I like Lambert’s choice of the word “riot” to describe what happened, with its clear connotation of disorganized, unfocused anger, and personally find the hyperbole of words like “insurrection” or “coup” to be laughable.

        Laughable, huh. OK, thanks for the open mind.

        Riot’s are generally local events. But this whole post was about how far they came. Again, who files all the way from California to just wave a poster that won’t change anything?

        1. Yves Smith

          Huh? The fact that a riot takes place in a location does not at all mean the rioters have to be local. Look at the riots during the 1968 Democratic Party convention for one of many many examples.

          1. BlakeFelix

            Or the Brooks Brothers Riot for a riot where people traveled and arguably successfully tilted the election with IIRC few or no consequences…

        2. bluedogg

          All things go in steps this was a shot across the bow of the corrupt politicians and their handlers the 1%, the next one will be a step further they say the 1% is running scared, and they should be for the natives are restless and I supose the next step is the war path.!!!

  3. David in Santa Cruz

    Great project.

    I suspect that you’re going to find that Trumpism is Poujadisme a l’Americain. The Poujadiste movement in 1950’s France was made up of small shop-keepers and petty entrepreneurs who were upset over having to open their books to the taxman. They were anti-elite and anti-intellectual but not at all working-class.

    There is a significant tranche of the precariat who are small proprietors, including realtors and various independent contractors and consultants. Half of the Lyft drivers I engage in conversation seem to see themselves as “entrepreneurs” in class solidarity with Elon Musk. These folks have been living on the edge of financial ruin while drinking libertarian Koolade. The pandemic shut-down has sent many of them off the deep end.

    1. LifelongLib

      The small business owners I know (in businesses like home renovation etc) are from working class backgrounds and spend much of their time doing the same work as their employees (if indeed they’re not working alone). Probably their incomes are limited more by how much they can work than how much they own. Granted they don’t depend on wages paid by someone else but they do need customers with money to spare, who vanish when times get bad. So I’d say they’re in much the same boat as the “working class”.

      1. Andrew Watts

        Your anecdotal experience doesn’t refute the status of these individuals. The petty bourgeoisie does include semi-independent workers/peasants.

        Using vague and/or abstract terminology like “working class” or “precariat” obscures the reality, and thus the understanding, of what is unfolding in the United States. Outside of the US post-war era of the 1950s when have the proles lived anything other then a precarious existence?

        There are other reasons why it’s important to understand class dynamics. The lumpen-proletariat can never be trusted or organized in any circumstance. One good way of identifying a confidential informant or an agent-provocateur is through their status as a lumpen. It’s why the far-right in the US is too disorganized right now for anything more than a riot or mass-shooter event.

        1. Bob Kavanagh

          So happy to see this mentioned. ‘Outside of the US post-war era of the 1950s when have the proles lived anything other than a precarious existence.’ I have always thought that the post-war era was an aberration not the norm.

      1. Geof

        The Populist movement of the 1890s. I haven’t gotten to Thomas Frank yet, but I’m reading Lawrence Goodywn’s Democratic Promise: The Populist Moment in America:

        offhand “class analysis,” when applied to the agrarian revolt in America, will merely succeed in rendering the Populist experience invisible. While classes in agricultural societies contain various shadings of “property-consciousness” on the part of rich landowners, smallholders, and landless laborers (“gentry,” “farmers,” and “tenants,” in American terminology), these distinctions create more problems than they solve when applied to the agrarian revolt. . . .

        The condtition of being “landed” or “landless” does not, à priori, predetermine one’s potential for “progressive” political action: circumstances surrounding the ownership or non-ownership of land are centrally relevant, too. The Populist experience in any case puts this, proposition to a direct and precise test, for the agrarian movement was created by landed: and landless people. The platform of the movement argued in behalf of the landless because that platform was seen as being progressive for small landowners, too. Indeed, from beginning to end, the chief Populist theoreticians — “landowners” all — stood in economic terms with the propertyless rural and urban people of America.

        The landowners of populism laboured in eternal debt to “furnishers” – merchants who each year extended credit at extreme rates (an initial mark-up of a third or more, plus interest rates that could exceed 100%) to buy essential farm goods, and were payed with next year’s crop. But income from the crop was never enough to clear the debt. The landowners were always in debt, unable to go anywhere else for credit. Ultimately, of course, they lost their land. Land ownership, for them, ended up being a technicality, a way station on the path to poverty.

        I don’t know anything about the Capitol rioters, but compare with Matt Stoller’s profile of Ashli Babbitt:

        She married, and bought a small business with her husband, a pool supply company called Fowlers Pool Service and Supply. There she ran into commercial problems common to small businesses these days. The pool business isn’t a good one, dominated as it is by monopoly pool supply distributor Pool Corp. (The FTC settled with Pool Corp in 2011 over a predatory practice called ‘exclusive dealing.’ This settlement clearly failed, as Pool Corp was bragging to investors earlier this year that one of its competitive advantages was “exclusive products.”)

        Fowlers Pool Service and Supply predictably ran into trouble. So Babbitt took out what was known as a “merchant cash advance” from a company called EBF Partners, which she calculated charged her an interest rate of 169%. She quickly defaulted, and was embroiled in a lawsuit. Her lawyers argued that her lender had cheated her with too high of an interest rate. She lost, as “courts have held that such arrangements don’t amount to loans and are not bound by usury laws.” According to her brother, her politics weren’t particularly unusual, she was frustrated with homelessness in San Diego, and how hard it was to run a business. And then she got more into politics through social media, and then into QAnon.

        So here’s the profile of a rioter, a working class person who went overseas eight times in military service, including two combat zones, who then tried her hand at a small business where financial predators and monopolists lurked.

        Keep in mind that the destitute at the bottom almost never revolt. It’s those above them, who have hope, who do. From the book:

        Democratic movements are initiated by people who have individually managed to attain a high level of personal political self-respect. They are not resigned; they are not intimidated. To put it another way, they are not culturally organized to conform to established hierarchical forms.

        Not that I’m suggesting the Capitol riot was an expression of democracy (unless you prefer Dylan Riley’s characterization in The Civic Foundations of Fascism in Europe of fascism as “authoritarian democracy” – though Riley makes clear that Trump is not a fascist). I add that, unlike the PMC, the rioters have not been thoroughly integrated into “established hierarchical norms.” That, I believe, along with class formation, is the primary function of higher education.

    2. Robert Hahl

      I like Joe Bageant’s definition of such “entrepreneurs” (following Michael Zweig): A self-employed electrical contractor is not a small business person or an entrepreneur. He is a skilled worker whom construction companies refuse to hire because they do not want to pay Social Security or worker’s comp or health insurance for employees. Instead, they contract with him and he assumes the cost of those programs, and takes orders from a manager and shuffles through the farce that he is one of America’s ever-growing crop of dynamic self-employed entrepreneurs. “Deer Hunting with Jesus” (2007). Bageant’s sequel (Rainbow Pie) is also very good, an antidote to Hillbilly-Elegy-type propaganda.

    3. DJG

      David: Yep. Poujadism is more and more in my thoughts, although Poujadism isn’t distinctly French. It just so happens that the French recently had an identifiable episode of it.

      I’d say that the Brazilian coup of 1964, in which the middle classes were only too happy to get rid of that commie Goulart, were a form of Poujadism. Which, like most Poujadism, backfired.

      Wikipedia summarizes other characteristics of Poujade and his movement this way:
      The movement’s “common man” populism led to antiparliamentarism (Poujade called the National Assembly “the biggest brothel in Paris” and the deputies a “pile of rubbish” and “pederasts”), a strong anti-intellectualism (Poujade denounced the graduates from the École Polytechnique as the main culprits for the woes of 1950s France and boasted that he had no book learning), xenophobia, and antisemitism especially aimed against Prime Minister Pierre Mendès-France (claiming “Mendès is French only as the word added to his name”), who was perceived as responsible for the loss of Indochina.[4] Poujadism also supported the cause of French Algeria.[5]

      Sound familiar? Someone posted a photo of events in D.C., and what struck me right away is that there was a person waving as South Vietnamese flag–our U.S. version of the events in Algeria.

      Note the use of pederasts. QAnon = dejà vu. It also shows that class anxieties end up in forms of puritanism, something we now see among U.S. liberals and U.S. rightwingers.

    4. gwb

      People who have been sucked into the multi-level marketing (MLM) world also see themselves as “business owners”. Most (95%+) aren’t making anything, after buying large quantities of useless products to try and sell in saturated markets. Having briefly been in the MLM world (Primerica), I noticed the virulently conservative, small-business mentality to be widespread.

  4. Dean

    Very informative. To write these people in a media narrative as terrorists or crazy trump supporters muddies the waters and conceals the fact there are real grievances that have lingered for a long time. In other words, Trump tapped in to something -and while he exploited it for his own gain and ended up perverting it- the grievances still remain.

    A few worrisome trends emerge:
    -This whole event devolves in to a domestic counter-terrorism police action and all that entails. Will the domestic national security apparatus finally get to come out of the shadows?
    -There is no soul searching to understand why thousands of people were motivated enough to spend their time and money and risk jail time. They are labeled terrorists; thrown in jail; and problem solved.
    -The other side that had to suffer through Trump’s and his supporters stunts and garbage for the past four years is now exacting their revenge, further dividing us when there are more serious issues that face us.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > A few worrisome trends emerge

      I don’t think 70 million Americans identity with the QAnon shaman. I do think that what amounts to extra-judicial punishment, where rioters are identified through video, hunted down, and fired or otherwise punished, is going to backfire, and pretty quickly. That people can identify with. (Long-term, it presents the unpleasant prospect that we’re becoming a nation of informers, like East Germany, except with a privatized Stasi.) So far, we haven’t encountered a crisis that hasn’t brought out all our worst tendencies. Neoliberalism is anti-fragile, I suppose.

      1. vlade

        This is going to be an interesting one, as it seems that in many cases the people who dobbed selfie-taking rioters in were family and (I guess former) friends.

        There’s a twist to that, because it also appears that (not surprisingly) for many QAnon people it became a cult, taking over their lives. Which many of the above informers said was the reason behind them informing, hoping that the consequences will de-cult them. I’m not sure that ever worked on a substantial part of any cultists TBH.

      2. a different chris

        > is going to backfire, and pretty quickly.

        Have you lived in this country? ROTFLMAO — people love to see other people get “their comeuppance” completely oblivious to the fact that they are going to be next in line.

        It’s how we got here. The Idiocracy. In fact, the rest of your comment is dead on, so I’m not sure how you are reconciling “it presents the unpleasant prospect that we’re becoming a nation of informers” with the backfire part?

  5. Wukchumni

    There’s another penalty to be paid by what i’d guess was a quite pro-gun crowd, in that those arrested will all be felons now, incapable of exercising their 2nd Amendment rights. That’s gonna leave a mark~

    1. California Bob

      They’ll still acquire/posess firearms, just not legally registered ones (some probably have some of those already).

    2. Rod

      C’mon man, this IS america :

      in that those arrested will all be felons now, incapable of exercising their 2nd Amendment rights.

      Need a Conviction (that sticks) to do that, and i have faith they are coming, but:

      https://www.nytimes.com/2018/01/08/us/bundy-ranch-standoff-case-charges-dismissed.html
      and
      https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/us-appeals-court-denies-bid-to-resurrect-bundy-standoff-case/2020/08/06/4c5cb1ca-d820-11ea-a788-2ce86ce81129

      but i agree That’s gonna leave a mark~

      So many Legal Unknown Uknowns about to be discovered…

      1. John Anthony La Pietra

        Meanwhile, Rick Snyder is being charged with two misdemeanors in the Flint water case . . . maximum penalty one year in jail and/or a $1,000 fine per charge.

        Not everyone is overjoyed by that. See, for instance, this transcript of last Thursday’s press conference with state Attorney General Dana Nessel, Solicitor General Fades Hammoud, and special assistant Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy.

    3. Lambert Strether Post author

      > those arrested will all be felons now

      I’m not sure about that. There are various charges (none, interestingly, pertaining to riot or insurrection). If I understand the charges, the great bulk have to do with trespassing (being on the grounds) or curfew violations (being in the area, even outside your hotel, after curfew). I don’t know if the curfew violations are felonies or misdemeanors. I would imagine violence and property destruction are felonies, but not all were charged with

      It would also be interesting to know the count on those who were assigned public defenders. That would be a strong proxy for class. There was very little reporting on that, so I’d have to aggregate from case documents.

      1. Fred1

        The best proxy would be the number who applied for appointed counsel but we’re denied. This would not be explicitly revealed by the filings in the Pacer system, but could be inferred from the filed number of orders appointing counsel compared to the filed number of notices of appearance by retained counsel.

  6. fresno dan

    Thank you for all your efforts. Nice to have someone trying to examine accurate factual data, accrued as objectively as possible, AS WELL AS STARTING WITH THE PREMISE THAT FACTS MATTER MOST, in a world where most major media prefer to peddle their own profit seeking agenda. It is SAD to say, facts before ideology is becoming a rare thing…
    As I have a real live Trumpist friend, I think I have finally figured out his deep seated motivation. He thinks the country is going to hell in a handbasket (hmmmm…I kinda think the same thing) He makes the good point that the dems are incompetent and corrupt, and that many/most of their policies are bad/evil. He is very informed – albeit his information source is FOX, but I would assert that Fox, percentage wise, is as factually accurate as CNN (e.g., give 1 to Fox for Russiagate and 1 to CNN for the election, etc).
    My friend is an accountant at a fairly major firm, and is comfortable, but is not what I will characterize as wealthy (putting his three kids through college is a strain). But on the other hand, he really has no cause to believe that the country or the dems imperil his livelihood or standard of living, or that something by rights is being stolen from him. It isn’t like the repubs are better than the dems. Its like he worships Trump because Trump complains so much – that Trump doesn’t do anything about what is wrong is excused, because merely stating that things are all f*cked up and that this is ALL caused by dems is enough…
    He used to be the most equanimous individual I had ever met – I wonder if aging, i.e., merely getting older, has affected his brain physically. He used to be able to dispassionately analyze politics of both the right and left, dem and repub. Now the dems eat babies.
    In a way, I feel about him like relatives must feel when a spouse or sibling starts showing signs of Alzheimer’s. He remains my friend because he is not worth losing over Biden.

    1. Abi

      I was very curious about this whole ideology during the pandemic, so I used that time to infiltrate some qanon/alt right forums. What I can say from my observation is that a lot of people were truly bored and they found something exciting. All the algorithms didn’t helps as it made it so easy to find this stuff. (I spent soooooo much time hitting the not interested button to save my home feed). It’s so crazy because in a few short months how did you suddenly believe things you didn’t believe before? My guess is deep down inside maybe they did. Or are people really that impressionable?

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      > merely stating that things are all f*cked up and that this is ALL caused by dems is enough…

      The Republican version of “fighting for.”

      > affected his brain physically

      I’m a materialist/animist, so I believe that everything affects the brain. That said, it would be interesting to find out the lasting effects of propaganda; which mental arteries a heavy diet of Bernays Sauce* clogs.

      NOTE * I am not sure which reader to hat tip for that joke.

      UPDATE Adding, I had the same thing happen to a friend after 2016 over Obama. It took about a year to wear off. Somehow, our current “strains” seem more virulent.

    3. schmoe

      These two quotes go together. Probably all of us have seen this, including people on the right and also liberals who are ready to go to war with Putin over the latest (likely to later be debunked) NYT article. Too much time in their respective bubbles:

      “He is very informed – albeit his information source is FOX,”

      “He used to be the most equanimous individual I had ever met – I wonder if aging, i.e., merely getting older, has affected his brain physically. He used to be able to dispassionately analyze politics of both the right and left, dem and repub. Now the dems eat babies.”

  7. scott s.

    Not sure I’m getting the emphasis on so-called QAnon. I mean, Q hasn’t posted anything in a long time, and certainly nothing suggesting a need or call for violence. That followers of Q would be receptive to the President’s call to rally on 6 Jan seems rather unremarkable. Since your data says nothing about the make up of those who entered the capitol relative to the entire population of rally attenders, I don’t get the point.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      Because in the opinion pieces published on the riot QAnon is a constant concern and the source of much pearl-clutching. If I had thought it was salient from the data I had, I would have pulled it out into a separate table. But the negative result is useful too, eh?

  8. allan

    “$4,000,000 is not very much money. No billionaire required.”

    Maybe not required, but …

    Trump allies behind rally that ignited Capitol riot [AP]

    Veterans of President Donald Trump’s failed reelection campaign had key roles in orchestrating the Washington rally that spawned a deadly assault on the U.S. Capitol, according to an Associated Press review of records, undercutting the grassroots image pushed by groups involved in the event. …

    Since the siege, several of them have scrambled to distance themselves from the rally. …

    AP’s review found at least three of the Trump campaign aides named on the permit rushed to obscure their connections to the demonstration. They deactivated or locked down their social media profiles, removed tweets that referenced the rally and blocked a reporter who asked questions. …

    Kimberly Fletcher, the Moms for America president, said she wasn’t aware the Trump campaign had a role in the rally at the Ellipse until around New Year’s Day. While she didn’t work directly with the campaign, Fletcher did notice a shift in who was involved in the rally and who would be speaking.

    “When I got there and I saw the size of the stage and everything, I’m like, ‘Wow, we couldn’t possibly have afforded that,’” she said. “It was a big stage. It was a very professional stage. I don’t know who was in the background or who put it together or anything.” …

    Just folks.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      That’s the rally, which is distinct from the riot. I think the organization of the riot, such as it was, was parallel to the Republican apparatus; apparently some of the usual grifters were sponsoring conferences along with the really, etc. The people who were calling for Pence to be strung up probably didn’t care much about that aspect….

  9. bojackhorsemeat

    Only relevant statistic to add would be to do this all per capita and weight by distance travelled… But the high level numbers here don’t make it look worthwhile – sample size is small and the data is all over the place. Maybe the significance then is indeed that they were from all over, and still could only muster a crowd this size. Sad!

    Also, not sure on the bus numbers… Maybe 80% arrived by bus, but they flew to the area? So few people from so many places doesn’t mesh with buses. And, if people weren’t on them for days it was certainly under 80% in terms of “main” travel. The buses just did the local logistics.

  10. Halcyon

    This is important work and evidently took some time and effort: I appreciate it and will be sure to refer to it when people (some of whom unfortunately are on the left) talk or romanticize about the disaffected, but tragically misled, working class rioters with whom we should find common cause.

  11. LibrarianGuy

    It appears that you have a mistake (typo?) in the chart #2, age demographics.

    4 individuals ages 60-69 arrested are listed; yet the column lists “13” in that group. That’s a lot of “elders” to be rioting!! (I am in that group myself– missed some BLM protests last summer due to health concerns.)

    Otherwise very interesting data for a first take.

  12. skk

    That is great stuff. Hats off to you ! I’m also glad you labeled it a riot.
    Will you also debunk the 5 people got killed stuff ? My count is 3 – a shooting, a beating, a crushing. The other 2 were a stroke and a heart attack.
    Accuracy bloody matters. Otherwise we get this crap like 1400 is the new 2000. Really? Pass the sick bag Alice as Private Eye, the Brit satirical mag, used to say ( or perhaps still does ).

    1. WJ

      Does anybody have any especially informative or detailed links concerning the death of the police officer who was reportedly bludgeoned with a fire extinguisher? Has the perpetrator been identified and arrested? Is there video evidence of this murder? Witnesses? Do we know how many people were involved?

      1. Pat

        You weren’t wrong. Here is a report that lists the names of the three dead from medical emergencies along with Babbitt. The other death not listed here was the police officer who died from his injuries after going back to the station.

        Names of people who died during the riots

        More injuries may have become known later but this was from the next day.

  13. Daryl

    > Tam Dinh Pham

    This fellow is from TX. (A Houston PD officer with 18 years of service at that, although not anymore as he has resigned).

  14. Carolinian

    Perhaps this demographic analysis would apply equally well to the Republican party in general–small business people, police/military, etc

    A new poll says that a majority of Republicans still support Trump which may give pause to those GOP senators considering a guilty impeachment vote in a trial that quite likely will never happen.

  15. KLG

    I have spent much of the past 10 days pointing out to fellow members of my particular PMC tribe (many of them serious and devout followers of Jesus of Nazareth who nevertheless have suppurating TDS) that as much as Donald Trump is and can be unfailingly a loathsome human being, the rioters at the Capitol have real grievances. And that not too many so-called deplorables (Thanks, Hillary!) have the time and wherewithal to travel to DC and raise that kind of hell. Most of them are way too busy trying to keep it together with the Man and his Wolf at the door. This is the plain fact the willfully ignorant Democratic wing of the one raptor who roosts in Washington fails to understand. The other wing senses it but offers false solutions that will fail. But they do offer solutions…How does President Cotton sound for 2024? Thought it might be President Hawley, but probably not, now. Maybe.

    1. Pat

      Hawley becoming persona non grata for Democrats, so much so that that the odious Joe Manchin feels safe calling for his removal via the fourteenth amendment could increase his chances. Especially if the Democrats write off the concerns of those struggling or watching their lives become ever more precarious to make their donors happy (and even richer).

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      > Thought it might be President Hawley, but probably not, now. Maybe.

      The liberal Democrats are applying the same principle to Republicans that Brecher argued (correctly, in my view) should have been applied to Confederates during Reconstruction: The old guys like Davis and Lee are washed up, so hang the young, ruthless, and effective ones like Nathan Bedford Forrest.

      That said, I don’t think the attacks on Hawley are — hold on to your hats, here, folks — being made in good faith. Hawley’s thesis was not election fraud, but the unconstitutionality of voting changes made in Pennsylvania. Of all the complaints I read (and I admit I didn’t read nearly all) that was the only one that seemed like a prima facie case, to me.

      The goal is to take Hawley out, per Brecher, as a possible Presidential candidate. Of course, Hawley did himself in with his clenched fist to the rally — assuming the reporting is good — which is the sort of error a young politician would make (along with thinking like a lawyer instead of a candidate). There’s no margin for error, now.

  16. Tom Stone

    Thank you for this.
    Unfortunately it won’t help me in talking to my liberal friends who seem to be convinced that this was an attempted Coup by a bunch of Nazi’s rather than a riot by what seems to be a pretty average bunch of Americans.
    They are almost to a person overjoyed at the overt corporate censorship, which leaves me baffled.

  17. VietnamVet

    Excellent. The only counter to PR (propaganda) is facts.

    From my limited viewpoint there were Trumpeters and on the edges Activists of all stripes (attracted by the adrenaline rush). The petite bourgeoisie are angry on the brink of losing everything. Their President egged them on. March on the Capitol. They couldn’t have imagined that they are now future felons because the managerial class is out to crush them.

    What caught my attention where The Punisher logos on militia participants.
    https://www.forbes.com/sites/lisettevoytko/2020/06/11/the-creator-of-the-punisher-wants-to-reclaim-the-iconic-skull-from-police-and-fringe-admirers/?sh=75a058e7b434
    The religious super hero cult is nothing new. I first saw this a decade ago in the documentary “Restrepo” that filmed my old Vietnam battalion’s tour in Afghanistan in the Korengal Valley. The name of my company changed from “Charlie” to “Chosen” and The Punisher logo was pasted on the ready room wall. This is natural in occupation troops fighting a religious war on the other side of the world with volunteers.

    “The FBI is now vetting Guard troops in DC amid fears of insider attack.” Likely, the Defense Department way over deployed 25,000 troops to have enough diversity to counter anyone from acting out.

    The tragedy is that the top 10% do not know what they are doing. They are addicts hording wealth. Foreigners in their own land. The writing is on the wall. The USA has a failed government which will never function as long as it is led by neo-liberals and neo-conservatives. The pandemic and its depression will likely not be controlled since the vaccines are unlikely to create herd immunity. The only back up is free medical care and a functional national public health system that are opposed by Joe Biden. Without life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness — a purpose in life — jobs and families; an insurrection is guaranteed.

  18. Phil in KC

    My first take is that a lot of these folks are a part of the destabilized middle class. Striking how few occupations or job titles there are in Table 4. Not everyone can take off work and drive or fly to DC and pay for two or three nights lodgings without putting a serious dent in their savings (if any). Of the job titles given, many suggest some financial and social stability, e.g. police, county commissioner, programmer, Army captain, grocery store owner. Those without jobs or occupations listed in table 4 may simply be the vast uncounted army of those who have lost employment because of Covid-19.

    The Covid-19 factor is important because many of those protesting were also virulent anti-maskers/anti-vaccination/pandemic-hoax believers, or so I am told by an acquaintance who was there. I have read some commentary that dismisses the economic motivations of the rioters, but I think that is wrong. The pandemic has exacerbated the economic and cultural grievances of tens of millions.

    The fact that so many took selfies or were unconcerned about security cameras, videographers, or folks with cell phone says a lot of things. First, they were caught up in the moment. My acquaintance who was there said the feeling in the crowd was jubilant, electric, and unlike anything he’s ever experienced. So there’s that, and then there might be some delusional thinking along the lines that Trump would have their back and pardon them , or that they might in fact succeed in overturning not just the Biden certification but in overthrowing the government or at least cowing the authorities into acquiescence. After all, many of the BLM protesters in Portland, for example, were let go and not prosecuted. Finally, some of them were just dumb, but many of them are delusional.

  19. verifyfirst

    I do not see any factory workers/Speedway or Walmart workers/truck drivers in your list–the lower working classes, who would have had to take off work to travel to the rally–that is the real cost of entry for them–lost wages, maybe lost job–the gas money and a hotel (or sleeping in their truck) they could have managed…..

    I think what happened is a two-part answer:

    1). The rally marched down the street to the Capitol to express their rage (how many who traveled to the rally also intended-in advance–to assault and then try to enter the Capitol?) Rage at what? Rage at perceived loss of status/power/privilege. I don’t think you can under estimate the white (non PMC) rage at this from the Obama years, and Biden in their view is a continuation/re-instatement of Obama. See this report the Trump education commission just put out:

    “Today, far from a regime of equal natural rights for equal citizens, enforced by the equal application of law, we have moved toward a system of explicit group privilege that, in the name of ‘social justice,’ demands equal results and explicitly sorts citizens into ‘protected classes’ based on race and other demographic categories,” the report states.

    https://www.cnn.com/2021/01/18/politics/1776-commission-report-donald-trump/index.html

    2). they got way further into the building than they (or anyone else) ever dreamed they would. Once they got in the building, they had no plan, and no means, for actually attempting to establish a new government, or anything remotely like it.

  20. Michael

    Given, that the participants did little to cover their faces and identities, it appears that they did not think they were doing anything illegal, which makes one puzzle about their label as “terrorists”. Perhaps, “clowns”?

  21. Duck1

    There are many a hair to split regarding this event, obviously the realpolitik of the democratic reaction and republican counter reaction is spreading out and will ultimately dominate whatever the “real” events were. The Trump address set the stage for the rush on the Capitol, apparently it was in progress while he was wrapping up. The political consequence of the penetration was destroying the effort to disrupt the electoral vote process via the republican objections, led by Cruz and Hawley who were necessary on the Senate side to lead to debate. Aspersions of insurrection are now cast in their way, since apparently whatever the election outcome is has to be accepted unless you are treasonist. Regard the aspect of the capital city now prior to the inauguration.

    1. a different chris

      >whatever the election outcome is has to be accepted unless you are treasonist.

      Uh, past a certain point of reasonable objection to the process, yeah it does. I’m pretty sure that that fact that I don’t like my local Representative and didn’t vote for him doesn’t make him not my Representative.

    2. juliania

      “… The Trump address set the stage for the rush on the Capitol, apparently it was in progress while he was wrapping up. …”

      I’ve not seen that in other reports. If indeed Trump was still speaking, this would explain some lack of coordination between the two events.

      Thank you, Lambert, for compiling these details.

  22. Stephen V.

    Excellent Lambert. We looked for our fellow Arkansan aka Bigo, Mr. Feet-on-the-desk. Richard Barnett is listed as being from AK instead of AR. Common error. We assume his run for Governor has been suspended.

  23. polecat

    Arborist, Chimney cleaner .. Hummm’

    I do both, in my capacity as part of general polecat domicile maintenance .. I suppose if were ,um, a participant in that particular seige engine, I’d probably be hedging my bets with well-oiled shears .. or something… My intuition tells me that the demographics would, if for not the constraint geographic distance.. likely be representative of greater LowerMokestan generally .. in spirit, if not in the flesh.

      1. chuck roast

        Lambert, you ain’t gettin’ out enough. I hitch-hiked up and down Rt. 1 much of the summer for the last 10 years. No PMCees ever stopped for me (read Massachusetts drivers). All the Mainiacs had three jobs, not two. Of course there are four seasons. I fully expect that after eight years of Biden/Harris all of these stiffs will have four jobs.
        Cheers!

  24. MichaelSF

    the Trump rally on June 6

    Should that be January 6 or was there something happening on June 6 that was being referenced?

  25. Andrew Watts

    The people who breached the Capitol did so while Congress was in session carrying out it’s purely ceremonial yet constitutionally mandated duties. This act alone would probably enable any competent prosecutor to make insurrection charges pass muster. The complete lack of clarity in their intentions or actions beyond their social media accounts doesn’t matter legally in that specific regard.

    Finally, there’s another important aspect that only the twitter musings of Richard Haas, a few anonymous State Department employees, and foreign media and their government(s) have begun to digest. What effect will this event, alongside the other many calamities of 2020, have on the United States? I answered at least part of that question back in 2014 in response to a speech President Obama gave at West Point. In this speech he insisted that the people who thought America was in decline were misreading history or engaging in partisan politics. He was probably right about the latter assertion but still completely wrong about the former.

    Andrew Watts June 3, 2014 at 11:22 am
    The final stages of decline feature the alienation of the internal proletariat to the values, goals, and institutions of the power elite. When this occurs the stage is set for the fatal collapse of imperial power as it was in the last days of the British empire. This prescient example was articulated by Toynbee in his book the Study of History.

    The optimistic view is that it will be decades before America’s soft power recovers from these critical blows. However, I’m no optimist and find no reason to be optimistic. The internal implications are just as dire in my opinion, but that’s assuming I’m right. The proletarization of the petty bourgeoisie, both of the left and right, signals the emergence of a revolutionary force in American politics. While this force could prove capable of sweeping away the ailing and decrepit institutions of our now dominant minority, they lack either the intelligence or creativity to inspire and create new ones to replace it. The outcome of CHAZ/CHOP or the events on Capitol Hill seemingly reinforces this idea.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > This act alone would probably enable any competent prosecutor to make insurrection charges pass muster.

      First, that is not what any of them have been charged with (though I suppose the charges can always be adjusted later).

      Second, the topic of this post is not the case that a competent prosecutor would make, but rather what really happened. See the quote on note [1].

      > CHAZ/CHOP

      Good comparison!

      Consciously or not, the rioters struck a hard blow at America’s imperial pretensions.

      1. Andrew Watts

        True. but I wouldn’t expect any prosecutor to make those charges yet either, The single and only charge for Trump’s second impeachment is incitement to insurrection. If he’s found guilty in the Senate then that would open the door to increasing the charges for the people who were arrested.

        It might be more of a political question than a legal one until the impeachment trial is over.

        1. John

          Impeachment is political at its core. Johnson, Nixon, and Clinton were committed acts that allowed an aroused opposition the opportunity to strike a blow. I would argue that only Nixon actually deserved removal and I believe his resignation vindicates that belief.

          As a political act, impeaching Trump is more than justified. His words wrote the melody, supporters in and out of office the orchestration, and, if I understand correctly, the algorithms of social media drove the message home by giving people what there ‘clicks’ said they wanted. Is it tragedy or irony that the social media side was in pursuit of profit?

          Suppose that Trump is convicted in the trial of his impeachment? Does the verdict in a political trial provide justification for charging others in court.

  26. Rod

    I agree that it is informative to do this Analysis, and believe, if you’re tracking, that your census pool will be double or more by the end of the week.

    https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2021-01-17/amateur-social-media-sleuths-track-violent-capitol-rioters

    And, like Carolinian, I see your demographics categories’ broadening as more info is profiled, and I anticipate Veteran Status to be a commonality of some significance.

    I was also struck curious by a Generational indication in ages of those arrested:
    13ea60-69 13ea40-49 15ea30-39 and wondered if Viet Nam was ramified with that gen and their progeny?

  27. The Historian

    Amazing work! I wonder if someone who knows how to web crawl could have helped you here.

    One obvious thing I noted though: About a quarter of all small businesses are minority owned (according to the Chamber of Commerce) yet it appears they were not represented at this ‘event’. Minority businesses also face the same squeezing that all small businesses do, so why weren’t they there? Petite bourgeoisie anger may be part of it, but I wonder if that anger has been co-opted by extreme right wing groups and turned into something else.

    Note: I call what happened at the Capitol an ‘event’ because I am not sure if it was a riot or an insurrection. From what I can tell, via definitions, is that a riot is unplanned, where an insurrection always has some level of planning. Do you think that what happened at the Capitol was spontaneous? Maybe, but right now, I am not so sure. Hopefully more info will be released in the future where I can clarify that, at least for myself.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > Petite bourgeoisie anger may be part of it, but I wonder if that anger has been co-opted by extreme right wing groups and turned into something else.

      Well, there’s always White Supremacy. But the topic of this post is purely class. I distrust White Supremacy because it’s become the all-purpose PMC explanation for everything. I don’t doubt that White Supremacy is real as an ideology, I just don’t think it’s real in the way they say it is.

      1. The Historian

        I wasn’t thinking White Supremacy as much as as I was thinking that maybe the extreme right is playing on their belief in their loss of white privilege or am I splitting hairs?

      2. hemeantwell

        Good work, Lambert!

        Essentialist unifiers like “white supremacy” (WS) can be thought of in a psychological sense as fetishes. They seduce the supremacist with an immediate ego boost based on comparison with a demeaned other. But, as many have pointed out, they also perform the politically more important function of muddying class divisions and class-based exploitation. The white supremacist becomes allied with their white exploiter.

        When times get tough and people become discontented the possibility of venting anger at elites grows. Risky! I think if this were looked at more closely you could say that part of the attraction of WS is that it provides a way of avoiding becoming antagonistic towards those with real power, and instead affirming a bond with them. This is one reason why WS often becomes nostalgic for fantasied earlier times — around here, the League of the South hearkens back to Celtic communities — that seem to have no class distinctions. They’re like a clan, a big family, run by parental figures. The supremacist is ready to take oaths, willing to submit to some form of traditional authority like good sons and daughters. They take their frustrations to Washington instead of acting them out at home. It’s good to see some of them complaining about the Rockefellers, but what about the Waltons?

        1. Grayce

          “WS is that it provides a way of avoiding becoming antagonistic towards those with real power, and instead affirming a bond with them.”
          Like Stockholm Syndrome?

  28. marym

    This is very interesting. Thanks for doing the work.

    The people who “stormed” the Capitol – like most people across most demographics in the US – have legitimate economic fears and grievances driving them to anger and action, but this was an elite-driven event. Trump was laying the groundwork for distrusting the outcome of the election well before election day. Prominent elite politicians and media have been actively promoting this grievance for 2 months, and the issue of voter fraud for decades. The stated intention of the instigators and the participants was – at a minimum* – to disenfranchise voters in states where the outcome wasn’t the one they preferred and to further the project of minority rule.

    *accepting till we know more the argument that the calls for violence, weapons, gallows, etc. were mostly performative; and that a failed attempt to invalidate the certified results of an election isn’t equivalent to a failed coup

    1. Glen

      “but this was an elite-driven event.”

      Yes, I keep coming back to that. The elites must be held accountable. Too often we see our leadership just walk away not accountable.

      Very similar to how we can ignore attack warnings for 9/11, then lie about WMD, and invade the wrong country. I still see all the people that supported this on the news, held up now as VERY SERIOUS PEOPLE.

      Very similar to how all the people applying for home loans in the run up to the 2008 crash were told it was “the right thing to do” only to lose their homes and much else while watching the Wall St CEOs that did it, walk away rich. And still running their banks.

      I’m ultimately sure I cannot understand what motivated everyone on January 6th, but I can say with certainty that our “leaders” are complete POS.

      Sorry, I jumped to a conclusion here, but it seems like an easy one to make.

  29. skippy

    Suspension of disbelief then insert ignorance as a substitute for knowledge and presto all manner of things can happen, especially when the inserted ignorance keeps banging its head against the edifice of reality and it does not change.

  30. The Rev Kev

    Just came cross this account of one of the protestors that died that day of a heart attack. The sub-heading ‘How Kevin Greeson went from attending Obama inauguration to protesting Trump election loss during insurrection’ is a pretty accurate description here. People blame Fox news but reading this, he gravitated to them to confirm his evolving beliefs rather than them changing his beliefs-

    https://asiatimes.com/2021/01/the-radicalization-of-a-dead-capitol-hill-rioter/

    Just read this for the second time. It is well worth the read.

  31. Olivier

    In other words you just did a prosopography of the rioters. Well done! The minuscule sample is a pity, though. Might be worth updating in 3 months.

  32. farmboy

    LARPing, live action role playing describes Capitol riot. It’s from the video game world where action is attributed to a self defined character. The unreality of participants and their utter shock at gaining entry into the Capitol Building itself, belies most of their lack of preparation. Videos and selfies, that ubiquitous self aggrandizing promotion now is gonna bite those who did it. Those dressed in combat, assault gear had different ideas witnessed by the video of half dozen or so dressed in military gear winding their with purpose up the steps and through the crowd. Today all involved realize it wasn’t a video game. The FBI/DOJ stated in their joint press conference that even though some will be initially charged with misdemeanors, additional charges can be added later, likely in a Grand Jury.
    Mixing social action with social media certainly brings an unrealized intimacy. The analytical, intellectual act of reading and writing is worlds different than the emotion driven instantcy of social media. We have yet to understand the difference between getting info from a newspaper and a youTube video. McLuhan warned us

    1. hunkerdown

      The term predates video game culture. It grew out of tabletop gaming culture, and could easily be explained to an elder American as akin to Civil War reenactment but for genre fiction.

  33. nippersdad

    Here is something in support of your theory that there were two essentially different rallies at the Capitol; one that stayed near their hotels and one that actually mobbed the Capitol. There were, apparently, at least three people from Newnan, Ga, that attended the rallies.

    https://www.11alive.com/article/news/politics/school-board-member-asked-to-resign-after-dc-visit/85-4098db65-92bb-48db-b8bc-f35f9f31ba9c

    And:

    https://times-herald.com/news/2021/01/from-ruth-hill-to-capitol-hill

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      I’m too lazy to find the link that I posted, but agreed with its central argument that crowd size is very hard to determine from photos, especially in the absence of aerial photography, which is hard to do in DC, which is practically a no-fly zone.

      1. Bern

        I was there Jan 6. I have been to several events in DC in the years since I moved here. I feel the duty to witness.
        There were easily 20,000 at the space between the Ellipse and the WashMon. I can say this with some certainty because I wandered around the site while that part of the festivities was going on. I’ve been in stadia of various sizes and can apply knowledge of crowd capacities to other public spaces. The crowd at the west end of the Mall looked to be a pretty good fit for San Jose State’s stadium capacity in the 80’s, which was around 20,000 (it varied some depending on the event, and has since been expanded).
        I also spent time that day at the east end of the Mall, and further east at the Supreme Court. There were small crowds scattered about both sites, tho mostly at the Capitol. It was obvious to me that the Capitol was woefully under-defended, well before the mob showed up. As I went back toward the west, I found the mob heading my way so I backed off. I went back to the Capitol briefly to see it any additional preparation was underway. Seeing none, and having already viewed the maniacal intent of the front (at least) of the pack, I headed home and watched the rest of it on live text feeds and the like…

        In contrast to Lambert’s characterization of ‘nothing more than riot’, I’ll say this: I agree that the initial motive energy brought to mind soccer hooliganism – that moment that the mob identifies when it ‘goes off’. However, it was immediately and obviously the case that the (front of) the mob intended to try to force its way into the building and wreak further havoc. And having witnessed many times the genuinely-believed vitriolic nonsense of plenty of those folks, I was certain they would try to attack people inside the building if they got the chance. I left the Capitol area then because I am not interested in being collaterally damaged, and in any case I was not going to get close enough to see the unfolding of events.

        Based on reporting I’ve seen in the last 24 hours, the fact that no congressionals nor their staff got injured or killed (other than Sicknick) looks simply to be because the DCPD forced their way into the building to reinforce USCP before the most seriously motivated of the mob got thru the last line of defense.

        1. Bern

          Should have added that nowhere near 20,000 actually went to the Capitol. The original crowd at the WashMon splintered and scattered as soon as the prez quit word salading.

  34. Dennis

    Even the lawyer arrested may be petty bourgeoisie or at least on his way there. His Avvo profile says he is a sole practitioner doing mostly criminal defense. Sole practitioner attorneys can vacillate between the PMC and petty bourgeoisie. During good times they certainly relate more to other PMC lawyers than small business owners.

    However, when the pandemic hit the courtrooms were shut down. A lot of them had no income for 3 months, but still had to pay rent and expenses. And sole practitioners generally tend to represent the proletariat, as larger and medium size firms usually handle the legal work for the big bourgeoisie. With the proletariat’s wealth being greatly diminished since the Great Recession, but rent and other expenses still going up, and with more and more lawyers being forced to put up their own shingles which adds to the competition, many sole practitioners are feeling squeezed.

  35. Paul Lauter

    Here’s part of a longer piece on the event. Sorry for the length. PL

    I know something about such attacks. For, back in 1967, I too was part of an attack on a federal building, in that case the Pentagon. Some of us, part of a demonstration against the war being carried out by the United States government on Vietnam, left the main demo and charged through the lawns and parking lots outside the Pentagon. When we came upon a line of soldiers with rifles and bayonets, we dodged around then–until we ran into other lines of soldiers, who blocked our progress. We sat down, many of us through the night, as demonstrators often did during the Sixties. Our objective, ill-articulated and vague, was to get into that building. What we might do there, most of us had no idea about, for we had no plan.
    Others, however, did have plans, as was the case at the Capitol last Wednesday. I don’t know exactly what the plan at the Pentagon was, since I was not a part of any group trying to carry it out. It might have been to set fires in the building, just as the American military was setting fires all over Vietnam. I don’t know—even though I’ve written about the event in my book, “Our Sixties.” Does my participation in that event make me sympathetic to those who attacked our Capitol last week? In no way! And it is worth thinking about why.
    First of all, a significant number of last week’s crowd were, plain and simple, fascists: they wore shirts with anti-Semitic slogans, they carried Confederate flags, they promoted taking over the government by a violent mob organized for power, like the Nazi Brown Shirts of the 1920s and 1930s, and they swore fealty to a leader, a fűhrer, who egged on their viciousness. And what was their cause? The myth that Trump had actually won the presidential election and was being kept from victory by fraud. They sought to maintain this utter fiction, which had been dismissed by courts and voting officials of both parties all across America.
    In 1967, we did not need fictions to generate opposition to the American war on Vietnam. Every day newspapers published the names of American soldiers killed in action as well as the awful military claims about “body counts” of dead Vietnamese. Every day brought us photographs of terror: a naked girl burnt by napalm running down the middle of a road, a captive Vietnamese soldier shot in the head by a South Vietnamese officer in front of TV cameras, water buffalo shot from American copters, houses torched by American marines, and women and children butchered at places like My Lai. Nothing was made up; it was plain to see. Indeed, the military boasted of the effects of its firepower.
    Many of us there at the Pentagon had learned to confront the reality of racist cruelty in places like Mississippi.

  36. David B Harrison

    The MSM(PMCs)seem reticent to go into the rioters economic circumstances.I wonder why.My Clinton/Obamabot family member got upset when I pointed out the fact that this was not a bunch of working class morons(apparently if you are PMC you believe all working class people are morons).

  37. Pat

    Grifter class, upper middle class to lower wealthy as in barely cracking the 1%…not many of the true wealthy the top 0.5% and up.

    I cannot shake my feeling that something is rotten here. Oh, not the make up of the rioters, but the whole thing. I cannot get passed that if even half the show of force of human protection had been on the steps of the Capitol, what we would have had were some half assed pipe bombs and a probable handful of disorderly conduct arrests from those too stupid to go we don’t have a plan here. That we would have had a lot of shouting and protesting about it being THEIR Capitol and How every works for them. But the minimal police presence did not intimidate the angry and determined into thnking twice about their plan.

    Most left wing protests have seen large numbers of police protecting key places. I don’t know what would happen had there been a few gates manned by a couple of cops at those protests along with a number of loud ‘leaders’ determined to ‘occupy’ or cause trouble at City Hall. Could the same insurrections have happened? Would barricades and doors have been over run? I cannot say it wouldn’t. Just as I remember a few bombs being produced by anti-war groups (however it occurred.)

    Perhaps it is because I am deeply suspicious of our elected officials, perhaps it is because I have seen so many versions of shock doctrine like scenarios leading to things no American should want, but suddenly endorse. Maybe because I have never be able to find any evidence that doesn’t allow for the Bush administration and others Letting 9/11 happen on purpose (even if they got more than they bargained for with that strategy). I just cannot shake the sense that once again we are being played.

    I have not always tempered my rhetoric. Guillotines and stocks have appeared in my posts. No I don’t want anyone’s head. (Splattered with rotten fruit, smelly pies, or even paint is however not a step too far for me). Does that make me an insurrectionist. I’m pretty sure if it doesn’t now, it soon will.

    These were rioters, most probably never started the day thinking they were going to storm the Capitol. They didn’t take any hostages. No one declared themselves Speaker of the House and refused to let the elected officials come back. How much force was used to get them to leave? And despite their ‘privileged’ nature, many of them, like Babbit probably have seen their lives suffer blows and shocks. Perhaps they had the illusion that this was still the land of opportunity, perhaps they just worry that their kids won’t have as much as they do. Some of it is racism and provincialism, but a lot of it is fear. And the over reaction to this is not going to make that better. And could make it worse.

    I’d say ignore me, but sadly the few times I have had this sense of dread and disconnect from the standard position my gut has been right, not the rational position I was to embrace. .

    For whatever reason, I am quite sure it behooves us to take EVERYTHING suggested in the aftermath of this with a boulder of salt.

  38. CloverBee

    Colorado is up to 5
    https://gazette.com/news/local/littleton-man-becomes-fifth-person-from-colorado-arrested-for-storming-the-u-s-capitol/article_b5545abc-5aab-11eb-922c-3ff745c6a598.html?fbclid=IwAR0W8tK43WUTeB5IAuPf9AcSPErpB5z_al28yOngAMMp005hLZlXBtfvXQA

    1) Patrick Montgomery from Littleton, 48, a hunting guide at Pmonte Outdoors
    2) Klete Keller from Colorado Springs, 38, Real Estate Agent and former Olympic Gold medalist
    3) Robert Gieswein from Woodland Park, 24, “nursing aide certification from 2016 until it expired in January 2019”
    “assaulted and intimidated U.S. Capitol Police officers with a baseball bat and a temporary barrier, and sprayed an officer with something from a canister” https://www.greeleytribune.com/2021/01/18/colorado-us-capitol-riot-robert-gieswein/

    These two were rounded up outside the capital – “armed and are facing charges of carrying a prohibited weapon” – I can’t find employment information for them
    4) Harlan Boen from Frederick, 48
    5) Stanley Williams from Englewood, 34

    I’m not sure what class conclusions to draw about this in Colorado. The Real Estate Agent and some definitely working class, one probably disaffected. But additional information worth sharing.

  39. Robert Williams

    A distinction between wage-earning working class and entrepreneurial working class is indeed helpful, thank you for that! Nearly $4 millions to stage—can we follow the money?

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