The Organizational Capacity and Behavioral Characteristics of the Capitol Rioters (First Cut)

By Lambert Strether of Corrente

This post is a companion piece to The Class Composition of the Capitol Rioters (First Cut) from earlier this week. Unlike that post, which was data-driven, this post will be anecdote-driven (because that’s what we have). I will focus only what the rioters actually did. Hence, a very large number of topics are ruled out of scope, including liberal Democrat aghastitude (a.k.a “hot take”; I counted the number of hot take links I had collected: 47. What a bonanza!), Republican Party support (financial; electoral), tech (Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, AirBnB), QAnon (too few rioters mentioned it in the previous post), those who did not attend (even Proud Boys), participants by type (cops, the military, militias), and wellness (!). These are all worthy topics, but they are not topics I will consider today.

So, what the rioters actually did: I’m going to throw my anecdotes into two buckets. I’ll focus first on organizational capacity, the ability to mobilize, because with Robert O. Paxton I believe that a “mass-based party of committed nationalist militants” (where the militants are the KKK or the SA) is an essential characteristic of fascism, and it’s important to know how far we are down that slippery slope. Then I focus on behavioral characteristics of the rioters, simply because I don’t understand so much of what they did.

As a sidebar, I’d like to update Table 4 in the Class Composition post with more examples (and this time I might look at the charging documents). If, dear reades, you want to help out by sending me examples, you can do so lambert [UNDERSCORE] strether [DOT] corrente [AT] yahoo [DOT] com. Please put “Capitol” in the subject line. If the links could be to local sources I would be not likely to find, that would be great. No Facebook please. End sidebar.

Operational Capacity

First, I’ll look at the seizure itself. Then, I’ll focus on various tactical issues. First, here’s a helpful video from Business Insider. It’s pretty short, so it’s worth watching in full.

Quick thoughts on the video: Whatever the Capitol Seizure was, is was not the assault on the Winter Palace. Participants estimate that from “700” up to “2,000 to 3,000” rioters entered. The crowd was not dense, except when packed together. When the cops threw tear gas, nobody knew what to do. (Didn’t anybody watching YouTubes from Hong Kong or Portland?) The sight of the rioters parading past the police is quite something. Note the number of people holding up phones and taking selfies. My favorite quote (almost as good as “While we’re here, we might as well set up a government”) is “What’s the plan? I have no idea.”

A couple of rioters speak of others who instigated action:

As Trump supporters began to storm the Capitol Building, Winchell and Boyland found themselves in the thick of it. Winchell said the trouble began when a few demonstrators began pushing people.

“They basically created a panic, and the police, in turn, push back on them, so people started falling,” Winchell.

The crowd then clashed with police, trampling over one another, pinning Boyland to the ground.

“I put my arm underneath her and was pulling her out and then another guy fell on top of her, and another guy was just walking [on top of her],” Winchell said. “There were people stacked 2-3 deep…people just crushed.”


“That’s where people were trying to enter the door on the side of the Capitol,” he said. “There were a couple of agitators there pushing on the cops, going back and forth. That’s about the time somebody handed me a piece of a flagpole topper, which is a ball. That’s when I threw that half at the closed door.”

This reminds me of an anecdote I have heard about black bloc: When a crowd faces the cops, the black bloc gets behind the crowd and throws objects over it at the police, who then charge the crowd, creating mayhem. Entertaining, but not exactly Republic-toppling.

More on tactics and logistics. I’ll look at transport via bus, weaponry, walkie-talkies, and marching in formation. (These are the buckets that everything I could find fell into; readers again can use the address above to send in more.)

Tranport via bus. Three anecdotes; these are interesting because somebody who can organize and fund a bus trip to Washington, DC has organizational capacity by definition. First, Peter Harding:

Two busloads of people from the Buffalo area traveled to Washington, D.C., to support Trump and protest against Congressional leaders as they gathered Wednesday to certify President-elect Joe Biden’s election. Harding said he was not among them and traveled alone by car.

I’m not sure why a bus needs a chase car (unless whoever’s in the car is carrying or holding). Second, Joe Mullins:

Numerous Floridians headed to the so-called “Save America March,” including a group sponsored by Flagler County Commissioner Joe Mullins, who said in a mostly-plagiarized letter he signed and posted on his Facebook page–the letter was addressed to the Florida congressional delegation–that it included 160 “of my neighbors who want to show their support for this action.”

Flagler is one of the few electeds, if my initial sample is representative. Finally, Ben Philips:

The group left for Washington before dawn Wednesday, sleepy but cheery, from the Bass Pro Shop in Harrisburg and picked up additional passengers in York. Philips drove a separate van, trailing behind the bus. Once everyone arrived in Washington, he broke off to find a place to park and the group headed to hear Trump speak near the Washington Monument.

Philips also had a side business selling Trumparoo dolls; he died of a stroke at the Seizure.

Weaponry. From NBC:

[T]he authorities still turned up a wide array of weapons among the tiny slice of protesters who were arrested before and after the Capitol invasion.

The haul included an assault rifle, a crossbow and 11 Molotov cocktails — all found in the car of an Alabama man.

A crossbow was among the weapons found in Lonnie Coffman’s truck.U.S. Capitol Police

Others had brass knuckles and pocket knives, stun guns and “stinger whips.”

In all, police recovered a dozen guns and thousands of rounds of ammunition from seven people who were arrested before and after the Capitol riot, according to a review of court documents. One man, Lonnie Coffman of Alabama, was found with a massive arsenal that included five guns and hundreds of rounds of ammunition, federal prosecutors say.

Readers know my views on gun fetishism; but it’s worth noting that of the arrests for weaponry that were made, none were actually in the Capitol, very much unlike the 1954 shootings in the House by Puerto Rican nationalists. So in terms of what the rioters actually did, not so much. (Perhaps, by the standards of a truly committed open carry enthusiast, they were incredibly polite.)

Walkie-talkies. Interestingly:

Donalyn Atkinson and her brother, of Warren, took photos of people headed to the Capitol.

“I actually saw the two guys who breached the Capitol. They were right in front of me. He had on a fur vest with horns, no shirt. It was 40 degrees,” Atkinson said. “These guys had walkie-talkies. I heard them communicate. How did they know they needed walkie-talkies?”

These could possibly have been Proud Boys:

Nevertheless, whatever they were communicating, it was not, at least according to a rioter, “a plan.”

Marching in formation. From the Associated Press:

As President Donald Trump’s supporters massed outside the Capitol last week and sang the national anthem, a line of men wearing olive-drab helmets and body armor trudged purposefully up the marble stairs in a single-file line, each man holding the jacket collar of the one ahead.

The formation, known as “Ranger File,” is standard operating procedure for a combat team that is “stacking up” to breach a building — instantly recognizable to any U.S. soldier or Marine who served in Iraq and Afghanistan. It was a chilling sign that many at the vanguard of the mob that stormed the seat of American democracy either had military training or were trained by those who did.

Which sounds menacing, but what did they do when got to the top of the steps? Break ranks and start taking selfies?

In terms of organizational capacity, the Capitol Seizure rioters showed strong logistical capabilties in getting “the troops” to the field, but after that… Weapons, walkie-talkies, and marching do not a “party of committed nationalist militants” make. I would be the last to deny that movements can display adaptability, but this post is about what the rioters did, and not what they might do. Now let’s turn to the behavior of the rioters themselves.

Behavioral Characteristics

What stuns me is that the Capitol Seizure rioters all made themselves identifiable and discoverable. Not only did they not wear masks, they took selfies and videos of themselves and put them on Facebook! The Associated Press:

The Associated Press reviewed social media posts, voter registrations, court files and other public records for more than 120 people either facing criminal charges related to the Jan. 6 unrest or who, going maskless amid the pandemic, were later identified through photographs and videos taken during the melee.

Lots and lots of photographs:

More than 140,000 pieces of digital media have been obtained by the FBI. “And we are scouring every one for investigative and intelligence leads,” Steven D’Antuono, assistant director in charge of the FBI’s Washington Field Office, told reporters. “We continue to ask for more.”

Lots and lots of streaming:

One reason would be entrepreneurial (remember that the top occupation among the rioters was “owner,” as shown in Table 4 of the first-post). Hence, self-promotion:

She climbed the steps of the Capitol, then promoted her real estate business to camera: “Y’all know who to hire for your realtor. Jenna Ryan for your realtor.”

A second reason would be dates:

Indeed, in the days since the upheaval, Fellows said his profile on the dating app Bumble is “blowing up” after he posted pictures of himself at the Capitol.

Those are the only two people I can find who proffered non-political motivations. But what kind of sense does it make to break into a building, film yourself, and then post it on Facebook? I suppose, in a way, such openness is laudable and preferable to anonymous, black-masked anarchists, but I don’t get the motivation. Is it a strange new form of civil disobedience? Is it just what one does? Like posting selfies from the high school football game? Is it the quest for five minutes of fame? Is it telling the cops “come and get us”? (This last is not supported by quotes from those arrested; generally they’re not happy about it.


So, now that we’ve looked at the organizational capacity of the rioters (poor) and behavioral characteristics (inexplicable to me, which doesn’t mean inexplicable), what again was the Capitol Seizure? Given that the question-and-answer “What’s the plan? I have no idea” seems accurate, “riot” seems far more appropriate than “insurrection,” let alone “coup.” I’ll conclude with another anecdote, “Ocean Beach woman shot and killed during storming of U.S. Capitol was an Iraq War veteran“:

Journalist Will Carless, who covers extremism and emerging issues for USA Today, sent a series of tweets Jan. 6 noting that he happened to have sat next to Babbitt on the flight from San Diego to Baltimore. He tweeted that she was kind enough to help as he tried to make room for his items and take his middle seat.

“It’s a little sappy, but situations like this should remind us that there is more beyond politics,” Carless tweeted in a thread. “The person sitting next to you on a flight, even if they’re wearing a mask you disagree with, is still a person.”

Generally, I’m vehemently opposed to “sappy.” But it seems better than many alternatives I can imagine.

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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.


  1. Tom Stone

    Lambert, there’s a term for what you call gun fetishists.
    Mall Ninjas.
    If they have an AR it has all the newest and bestest doodads and accessories, ask them if they have taken classes at any of the better training academies and they look at you blankly.
    God forbid they actually shoot that AR, it might get scratched!
    And we are talking serious coin ( At least for me), by the time you add up the cost of the rifle and the doodads it can easily run $6K, sometimes quite a bit more

    1. TimH

      There are some good reasons for picking an AR of either calibre: Ammo is cheap, and, as you point out, it’s easy to pimp your ride. Good, cheap if want, higher powered rifles for range practice at distances beyond that .22LR.

      However, it’s not a great choice (still an ok choice) for creating venison.

      1. Tom Stone

        TimH, that was true a few years ago, no longer.
        Bullet technology has advanced a great deal,people are routinely taking hogs weighing 300 Lbs and up with properly constructed 77 grain bullets.

  2. Return of the Bride of Joe Biden

    Bizarre, puerile, American farce.

    I think post-modern fascism is likely an oxymoron.

  3. Wukchumni

    Humordor isn’t a place to be concealing your manhood, that is unless you’re in Congress and need to bring a hand cannon to work.

    The idea that so few in Tragic ComicCon were armed and dangerous leads me to think this all got out of hand with the usual suspects in the crowd egging on imbeciles to do their bidding.

    The right shot itself in the foot on a spectacular own goal.

    1. ambrit

      Not to rein in your parade there Wuk, but I’ll promote a different view.
      No matter who or what “created” the farrago of ‘civil’ discord we saw, the long term result looks to be heading into the same miasma that the 9/11 attacks did. I give Bin Laden credit for prompting America to degrade it’s core values in a vain search for “security.” He masterminded an attack that resulted in the wholesale destruction of American civil liberties, by the American government itself. The Capitol Riot looks to be set on the path to furthering that task. Patriot Act 2.0 will be a real step towards authoritarianism in America. It doesn’t matter much which political faction does the deed of passing more oppressive laws. The institutions themselves will carry on, irrespective of the “Flavour of the Month” in office.

      1. Wukchumni

        Its all going according to plan, the Bizarro World collapses of the USSR & USA.

        East Germans via an index card folio could only rat out a unfortunate few, while our individual reach is to infinity and beyond, with connections to others up the wazoo, utilizing computers used to doing boring methodical tasks, and they never forget anything, every niggling detail.

        The dastardly way to go about things if you were a government so inclined to count coup, would be to shut the internet down for cleaning leaving us in the lurch-not that I want to give them any ideas.

        1. Susan the other

          Calling Rob Reiner and Michael Moore. Two indelible images now rest in my soul. The first is all the US Congresspeople, in a planned and pious photo op, all taking a knee with heads bowed. The second is the impromptu live shot of all the US Congresspeople trying to crawl under their seats with their large rear ends sticking out.

  4. Gulag

    As you indicate, on a behavioral level many of these individuals seem to have almost instinctively been using this political gathering for entrepreneurial self-promotion (selfies, streaming, photographs) unknowingly mimicking the suggestions of David Mastkovitz, a law professor at Yale University, when he addressed the 2015 graduating class at Yale:

    “Your own talents, training and skills,—your self-same persons–today constitute your greatest assets, the overwhelmingly dominant source of your wealth and status…you have had to act as asset managers, whose portfolio contains yourselves.”

    These individuals seemed less of a group of militant nationalists and more of a group of dedicated small business people experimenting with different branding techniques.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > These individuals seemed less of a group of militant nationalists and more of a group of dedicated small business people experimenting with different branding techniques.

      There is a strong element of that, yes. You phrase it much better than I did.

    1. flora

      WaPo. Propernot. etc. I’m skeptical, especially after their hysteria after the 2016 election, and hysteria pushing the WMD stories earlier. ;)

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      Or complete fantasy. Did you see “organizational capacity” in the headline? (I’d also wonder if somebody from the FBI helped them out with a map of the gas pipes.)

      1. farmboy

        Are you suggesting some sort of hidden flag event, not a false flag, but something that was allowed to happen beyond bureaucratic bungling or slow walking? What did Buckminster Fuller say, if no other explanation can be patched together then it’s a conspiracy. Arrests and indictments are coming and it still seems all to surreal.

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          No. I’m suggesting some loons were fantasizing. But given the propensity of the FBI to egg on fantastists by supplying them with tools to turn their fantasies into (pre-arrest, pre-headline) reality, I’d want to rule that possibility out before taking it seriously.

  5. Wukchumni

    I think I saw a few Black people in all the videos and still shots of the DC Follies, but it was pretty much Caucasian Island-the melee.

    1. Robert Hahl

      Melee. Finally the appropriate word. This thing went from rally > protest march > melee. Whiteness was key because they usually assum cops will react with respect and forbearance to anything short of a violent felony. See Dave Chappelle’s bit about his high white friend Chip asking a cop for directions.

  6. Phil in KC

    A friend of mine who was at the riot noted the ranger file formation moving purposefully and quickly through the crowds. He noted that they did not interact with the crowd, and they had a workman-like attitude, instead of the more jubilant and boisterous attitudes among the multitudes. The file ascended the steps, as can be seen in the video clip. I wonder what they did next? One thing we might guess is that they DIDN”T take selfies and seem to have found ways to avoid the cameras–in short, once they entered the building, which I assume they did, there’s no trace of them, is there? At least not on video in the public domain. Spooky and concerning, to say the least.

    1. flora

      That’s interesting. No trace of them once they entered the building? A building with all sorts of the best security features, including cameras I’d guess? That is interesting.

    2. ChuckTurds

      Those guys who formed a stack were either all left handed, or they were LARPing. My guess is LARPing.

      1. Greg

        Handedness determines the stack pattern? Do you hold the collar with your dominant hand regardless of which side the guy in front is using, or do you all use the same hand?

        Interested to know, that’s a very nicely detailed note re: “the stack” in photos, and a good way to tell the LARPers from the pros as you say. I have zero personal experience, and it sounds like you might have some.

  7. General Jinjur

    Considering the outpouring of disappointment from Qannoners, couldn’t a number of the people, not necessarily Qanon-friendly, have been expecting Trump to cue them in on The Plan? And wouldn’t many of them, in expectation of this and anticipating a Trump victorious overruling of the electoral vote imagine that they’d be seen as heroes? If so, possibly not hiding their involvement would make sense to them.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > outpouring of disappointment from Qannoners

      QAnon is another thing I don’t recall hard numbers on. How many are there really? (The numbers could be out there; I just can’t bring myself to track them, along with everything else.)

      1. lyman alpha blob

        My guess is Q Anon has very few true believers. It’s likely a core group playing games and creating some weird online fantasy second life, hoping the pull in a few rubes so they can laugh at them. The 4chan types are fairly notorious for that type of thing, and those message boards are where this originated.

        I’ve seen it before on the interwebs, and it’s kind of creepy. But when I ran across this type of thing in the past, there was no social media to amplify it and blow it all out of proportion.

        1. diptherio

          My personal experience in rural MT is that QAnon is much more than just a few true believers. I would guess over half of my local Grange members are believers to one extent or another. The crazy thing is that’s a group composed of people who would otherwise be referred to as aging hippies.

          And speaking of QAnoners at the Capitol, the one guy from my state who I’ve read about being arrested was both a business owner and a QAnon adherent.

          1. Lambert Strether Post author

            > I would guess over half of my local Grange members are believers to one extent or another. The crazy thing is that’s a group composed of people who would otherwise be referred to as aging hippies.

            Thanks. That is exactly the kind of on-the-ground detail I’m looking for.

          2. lyman alpha blob

            Good to know. I do have quite a few Trump voters among friends and family, and I don’t personally know anybody who buys this Q Anon stuff. I had one very conservative friend ask me about it a couple years ago wondering if there was anything to it and I told her it was nonsense, but that was before it really took off. At that time, I expected it to peter out, but instead it’s been amplified by the Mighty Wurlitzer.

  8. drumlin woodchuckles

    Even though this item was just an aside, it caught my eye.

    “This reminds me of an anecdote I have heard about black bloc: When a crowd faces the cops, the black bloc gets behind the crowd and throws objects over it at the police, who then charge the crowd, creating mayhem. Entertaining, but not exactly Republic-toppling.”

    When will protest-loads and demonstration-loads of people learn that this is what Black Bloc often does? When will protest and demonstration organizers learn to have a large number of guardians ready and waiting for the Black Bloc to start throwing things? ( Ready and waiting with bludgeons and tire irons and so forth). And beat the Black Bloc into Emergency Room needed status? Do that enough times and even the Black Bloc will eventually learn to stop throwing things over the crowd at the police.

    And given that the police probably understand this just as well as the Black Bloc does, how many of the Black Bloccers might be secret false-flag policemen tasked with getting the throwing-stuff-over-the-crowd started? If the protest had enough guardians ready to beat the Black Bloccers into bad health and/or disability as soon as the first stuff was thrown, they would presumably beat down any secret policeman before it had a chance to draw and start shooting. Thereby hospitalizing two vultures with one stone.

    And if that is considered too harsh, at least a whole bunch of guardians with Bear Spray to hose down every Black Bloc ( and secret policeman) face with Bear Spray as soon as the first stuff is thrown.

    1. Cetra Ess

      “Black Bloc” is not an organization, it’s a fluid, dynamic mass of individuals usually without a plan which happens when anonymity becomes an important element of protest. It’s primarily a tactic, a method of protest, and originated in Germany when police would hunt and trace peaceful anti-nuclear protesters back to their work, homes and families so as to threaten and beat them, necessitating the anonymous bloc.

      The normal manifestation of bloc stands between any crowd and police, protecting said crowd from police. I think you and Lambert need to be invited to a protest involving bloc so you can witness it firsthand, but for most people attending such protests the bloc are precisely what keeps the police from charging a crowd, not the other way around, not inciting police to charge said crowd.

      This is actually something police would really like you to believe about the evil “Black Bloc”. Don’t believe it.

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        My approach to Black Bloc works just as well if it is a fluid dynamic mass of individuals without a plan. Whether it is pre-planned or it is impromptu, standing behind protesters and throwing stuff at police over their heads should elicit an immediate and savage beatdown response from Protest Guardians.

        Protesters should eventually become smart enough to realize that people will stand behind them and throw stuff over their heads at police in order to get police to go violent on the protesters. Protest organizers should eventually get smart enough to realize that the only way to stop that from happening is instantaneous savage long-term-injury-inflicting beatdowns on the stuff-throwers Ever Single Time, until all the stuff-throwers have been retired from the field . . . PERnanently.

        And the beatdown response has to be so instantaneous that the secret police who are throwing stuff are beaten down into no-shape-to-throw-stuff beFORE they get a chance to show badge and start shooting. The Protest Guardians have to be able to plausibly say that they had no idea there were secret police among the stuff-throwing provocateurs.

  9. ObjectiveFunction

    The Party looked to the conscript peasants. Most of them were in their first good pair of boots. When the boots wore out, they’d be ready to listen.

    America’s Timberlands are still a good long way from wearing out (well, perhaps not if they’re made in China lol). Until actual hunger bites and the actual precariat itself comes onto the streets, it’s all theater, play for overgrown overfed children of the PMC or the gentry: camo chic, antifa, pussy hats, MAGA ralliers, all of it.

    Still interesting to study though, since even starving mobs tend to end up being led by buffoonish characters. Even austere figures like Martin Luther, Cromwell and Gandhi turn out to be real oddballs on closer scrutiny. Or perhaps that’s just all of us under the microscope….

  10. a different chris

    >“riot” seems far more appropriate than “insurrection,” let along “coup.”

    It was a coup attempt. By idiots, but “not by idiots” is not part of the definition:

    “a sudden, violent, and illegal seizure of power from a government.”

    It was sudden, it was violent, it was illegal and they really thought they, cough idiots cough, were going to take over. Find me a bunch of “I just wanted to say my piece one more time before President Biden took over” signs being waved…

    1. Yves Smith

      It was not a coup. Please stop.

      They made clear they were mad at the reps and wanted them to understand who they were working for. That isn’t an attempt to overthrow the government but an effort to pressure it to bend to their demands. If you think this was a coup, by your logic, so was BLM when it burned down a police station.

      A coup would be a plan to violently overthrow the government AND replace it with a new one. “The government” is the US is the Executive Branch, not the legislature. That is why when we run coups, they are about getting rid of the President and his backers, or did you miss that?

      1. Skip Intro

        I believe, based on Trump’s speech, that some believed they could interrupt the proceedings and convince congress and/or Pence to somehow send the elector slates back to the states. This seems like an intended interruption of the transfer of power, though not entirely extra-legal, also not without the threat of violence. That it was completely unrealistic may not be relevant… it kinda worked in Bolivia. Lucky Trump didn’t have the OAS on his side. So there were probably some coup plotters thinking they were going to successfully ‘fix the stolen election’. I think attempted coup or insurrection is not unfair. Especially when we consider the behavior of the palace guard Capitol Police and whatever elements of the DoD ‘mysteriously’ bungled something they do regularly. Collusion of military elements is a classic element of your coup chess game. Calling it a riot, as using riot for the Brooks Brothers riot, which did, IMHO, result in a coup, really downplays the political significance of intent to disrupt the transfer of power.
        The trespassers acted like they had impunity because they believed, with evidence, that the cops were on their side.

        1. Noone from Nowheresville

          The Brooks Brother “riot” was an entirely different well-connected knew what they had to do animal. Which as it turned out wasn’t really that much. And they were simply one piece of the puzzle so to speak.

          So how does this very small “group” (and I use that group term loosely) of reality tv / 15 minutes of fame / pr stunt people in any way, shape or form of the imagination plan to stop (or even really protest with such a small grouping) the transfer of power when the elites including the military, the media, the government workers, etc. already consider it a done deal in all but final dotting of i(s) and crossing of t(s) during the last bit of public proceedings? Which normally the majority never watches let alone cares about.

          So whose plan is this, assuming there is a plan beyond opportunity of circumstances, purposeful or otherwise? And what’s the plan cuz it wasn’t a plan to stop the transfer of power. How many ordinary people who just wanted to say they were there were needed to complete the plan?

          More importantly, let’s say there was no “plan” for the sake of the thought experiment. Let’s say someone threw a bunch of seemingly random “stuff” at the wall to see what might stick at an event which they knew would be covered because of the current narratives developed over the last 5ish years as their yard stick for success.

          What, if anything, stuck? What can and will be used moving forward to further individual or group goals?

          1. Skip Intro

            It is hard to characterize what people thought, other than by listening to them and listening to the speeches. They seemed to believe they could ‘stop the steal’ and that they were ‘storming the capitol’ or taking the building. The mechanism they imagined was convincing Pence and the GOP congress members to reject the electors from certain states. That is a scheme to prevent Biden being elected by the EC. I don’t think riot is a good term for something like that, but dignifying it as a plan also seems a stretch. I don’t think a mob with a goal is a riot. But a mob is a good cover for more focused, if equally naive groups.

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      > “a sudden, violent, and illegal seizure of power from a government.”

      Your comment confuses seizing a building with seizing a government. Metonymy, it happens to the best of us.

      1. James P

        So it was an “insurrection” then, “a violent uprising against an authority or government”.

        1. Michael Fiorillo

          It was an “insurrection” for the minority who planned and organized the assault, the tip of the spear. It was a riot for the majority who were present. And it was a Simpsons episode, with real-world consequences, for the rest of us.

          1. Lambert Strether Post author

            > It was an “insurrection” for the minority who planned and organized the assault, the tip of the spear.

            Evidence of co-ordinated planning has yet to emerge. (“What’s the plan? I have no idea.”) Maybe there were “last mile” issues….

        2. Lambert Strether Post author

          I think an insurrection requires some basic organizational capacity, in particular a plan before the event, and no evidence of a plan has as yet emerged, let alone of the rioters carrying one out. This event looks a lot more like burning down a police station in Minneapolis than storming the Winter Palace. We don’t call the riots over the summer an insurrection, for that reason.

          Of course, an insurrection could be taken to require a 9/11-style response, unlike a riot.

  11. dcblogger

    my theory is that they really thought that they would win, they would hang Pence (they had a fully functional gallows, take hostages and/or kill key members of congress and declare Trump re-elected and the country would acquiesce. They thought that they were the fishwives, the march on the Winter Palace. They thought that they would win.

    We have a multi-billion dollar security apparatus which completely failed at the critical moment. Some quick thinking on the part of certain member of the Capitol Police and congressional staffers saved our country.

    1. Wukchumni

      Take a look at that gallows in Humordor, it was a clumsy effort in that the developers left about 3 inches on either ends of the crossbar. They should have measured twice and cut once, but then we’d be talking about a guillotine.

    2. flora

      That’s one theory. The DoJ walked back days ago a lot of the hot take rumors flying in the moment, rumors like hanging Pence.

      1. The Rev Kev

        I linked to a foto on those gallows the other day. The working part looking like three pieces of two-by-fours nailed together with no bracing to stop it collapsing. In short, it was a piece of ‘performative art’. The most dangerous part of it was the orange nylon rope which might give you nasty rash burn if used or a sprained ankle when the whole thing collapses.

        1. Acacia

          Oh okay, that one.

          So, sort of like when the gilets jaunes built a toy guillotine and chopped the head off a puppet of Macron.

          Quelle horreur, etc.

    3. marym

      I’m not sure that particular gallows was intended for use, but of course in the US hanging – performed or performative – has a particular place in the history of the issue of whose country this is. I would not discount it as a statement of the issue at hand for the mob at the Capitol.

      1. flora

        an aside:
        “Fascists are divided into two categories: the fascists and the anti-fascists.”
        -Ennio Flaiano

        The media narrative hyped the “danger” of T supporters massing at state capitol grounds to protest on inauguration day. They were a no-show. No T protests except for one or two guys in total.

        Antfa came ready to rumble in Seattle and Portland on inauguration day. It didn’t matter there were no T supporting crowds to fight. The narration was set.

        If I were foily I might think Antfa existed to discredit the left. ;)

        1. Susan the other

          Antifa has been almost as cryptic as Italy’s 5-Star Movement. Beppe Grillo (?) talked such near-nonsense I never understood their true position. They did align with the right wing, as I recall. But if there is a puppeteer operating behind the scenes in all this, it seems to be in favor of defusing violence. Not perpetuating it.

          1. Massinissa

            “Antifa has been almost as cryptic as Italy’s 5-Star Movement. Beppe Grillo (?) talked such near-nonsense I never understood their true position.”

            Honestly I think Italy’s 5-Star Movement was even more cryptic, partially because they didn’t even bother to pretend to have an ideology. They just shot out word salads and claimed said word salads were erudite contemplations that other people simply can’t understand. At least Antifa philosophy can be condensed into ‘FASCISTS AND/OR GOVERNMENT BAD!”. Being anarchists, they don’t really agree with how exactly to fight said fascists and/or the US government, beyond doing graffiti on Pelosi’s house or whatever.

    4. Lambert Strether Post author

      > they had a fully functional gallows

      I have seen pictures of that gallows. It was not functional. You’ve got to pull the soon-to-be body up, then let it dangle. The rope wasn’t arranged to do that.

    5. lyman alpha blob

      I doubt that was the case at all. I think there were a few hardcore people who used the crowd as cover to agitate, like happens in protest after protest after protest.

      Once some actions starts, there is a very strong urge among a portion of the crowd, which I can personally attest to, to remove oneself from the rather dated and pointless “What do we want? – (fill in the blank)!, when do we want it? Now!” part of the crowd and well, do something. Even if one doesn’t yet know what that something might be.

      Back when George W(ar criminal) was president, I participated in a protest march in Kennebunkport when Bush was on vacation at the family compound there. Lots of hippie types with signs walking around chanting and basically not accomplishing much, since Bush was holed up far away from the actual protest. When the crowd got near the long driveway that led to the Bush compound, there were metal barricades set up with some local cops behind them, similar to the ones used at the Capitol that were breached. The cops ensured that people went back down the road in the other direction and the vast majority of protesters just stuck to the planned protest route, which to me makes it not much of a protest. Then I saw some people jumping the barricades and that got the adrenaline rushing. The jumpers were summarily arrested – there were other law enforcement, presumably secret service, behind the barricades as well – before they got very far. Some of the jumpers did make it far enough so that they were out if view of those who stayed behind the barricades, but I did not see law enforcement get violent, the protesters definitely didn’t, and presumably they were released shortly after being arrested because I never heard otherwise in the news (although if something did happen, it wouldn’t have been the first time Maine papers suppressed news that painted the Bush clan in a bad light).

      I don’t believe there was any plan to jump the barricades ahead of time – if there were, I certainly didn’t hear it. But once I saw some people jumping the fence, I really wanted to follow, just in the hopes that we all might get far enough before being arrested so that Bush would at least know we were out there, know that real actual human beings were [family bogged] off at his actions , and to try to make his life at least a little uncomfortable.

      Unfortunately, I didn’t go over the barricade. I was with my fiancee at the time, we were getting married soon, and had plans later that weekend with her extended family. I tried to convince her to jump the fence with me, but she wasn’t biting, and this not brave enough soul was too chicken to do it without her, not wanting to screw up the whole impending marriage thing. But just thinking about it now has got the adrenaline rushing again – have I mentioned recently how much I despise that man and anyone who swaps candy with him?

      Going by my admittedly less than 100% accurate memory of a 15 year old event, there were probably a few hundred people at this protest, maybe a thousand. Maybe a few handfuls of those actually jumped the barricade. It wasn’t planned – it just happened when the opportunity presented itself.

      My guess is that’s what happened at the Capitol on the 6th with a larger crowd. [family blog] happens. But if the Capitol police, who are ultimately appointed and directed by the US Congress who works in the building, had been even remotely prepared, none of this would have happened. Very strange, in these days of ubiquitous surveillance and riot cops everywhere you look, that they weren’t.

      1. Wukchumni

        When I watching the Rodney King Riots, footage of looters going about having a clearance sale really intrigued me. Did the 30 something woman with a 24 pack of Pampers and a VHS player in her arms leaving the store, wake up that morning thinking she’d steal them?

        Once the crowd takes over, all bets are off in what it’ll do.

    6. Michael Fiorillo

      A few months ago Chris Smalls, who has been leading efforts to unionize Amazon workers, led a demonstration at Jeff Bezos’ DC manor house, with a guillotine as a prop: shall we invoke terrorism retroactively?

    7. WJ

      ” they would hang Pence (they had a fully functional gallows, take hostages and/or kill key members of congress and declare Trump re-elected and the country would acquiesce.”

      This is just not believable and doesn’t match up with any of the documentation Lambert has provided in this and his prior post.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > This is just not believable and doesn’t match up with any of the documentation Lambert has provided in this and his prior post.

        I saw the photo, but didn’t take the time to debunk it (see my comment above).

  12. Zack

    They were in the middle of crowds of people and had spent their political lives in Facebook echo chambers. “There are 4 million people out there coming to join us”, they were going to settle in and Trump would ride in on the wave of their Facebook friends who never appeared. They thought it was a coup, just too deluded to know better.

    1. Yves Smith

      Making Shit Up is a violation of our site Policies. Our John Siman went to the Trump speech/rally, and it was the antithesis of an angry throng, consistent with the fact that the ones that wanted to mix it up left well before the speech was over, suggesting they didn’t think it was going to lead to a wave rushing over, so they might as well get on with it.

      From Siman by e-mail (oh and he has pix too to prove he was there) Jan 6, 12:49 PM EST:

      3 hours of Michael Jackson, Elton John, the Village People, & Laura Branigan.
      Macho Man twice!
      people in crowd are very relaxed & friendly
      Trump = beyond boring
      was this an official fuck-you to Trump supporters??
      now there are rumors that Antifa people dressed as Trump protesters have stormed the Capitol??
      tear gas??
      rubber bullets??
      I do see lots of fire trucks heading towards the Capitol.
      Walking over to check it out.

      2:11 PM EST:

      Sort of like a very large high school pep rally.
      A few people have been tear-gassed & maced, but a couple of the Capitol cops accidentally maced each other & protestors helped them
      also a few rubber bullets
      overall, though, goofy
      everybody seems happy too, including the cops
      need to catch train home
      guy who got into Rotunda is emailing me film
      more later

      So it appears, in a strong parallel to BLM, most were peaceful but enough were not to seem/be threatening. And the ones who were most aggressive probably self-selected to be at the front of the throng. Siman would have been well back and not seen the action where the protestors were scuffling with the police and eventually overwhelmed them.

  13. witters

    Perhaps the general message – from the riot and (over)reactions – is that Americans are hysterical…

    1. David

      Most succinct comment of the past 4+ years yet. I understand the media’s hysteria – increases eyeballs, congress critter hysteria – cover for a new power grab (who do those commoners think they are), but what is the psychology behind our personal need to sensationalize everything? Are we really that starved for attention?

  14. marym

    Although most of them may not have been part of an organized movement, with plans, or tactics, or weapons, they seem to have thought they were part of a movement.

    They came to DC to pressure Pence and Congress to stop the lawful completion of the electoral process by disenfranchising people whose votes and participation they believe are illegitimate.

    Maybe most of the mob expected allies among Congresspersons, event organizers, military, cops, Q, and the president to manage the details of how to do that and what comes next – just pose for pictures or trash the place first; scale the wall or climb the steps; figure out whether to have a new election or just re-inaugurate Trump.

    Their videos and selfies would be their answer to Where were you when [people who think they alone constitute] The People took (or, as it turned out, tried but failed to take) the franchise back from [people they consider] The Other? A deeply shameful goal.

    1. hemeantwell

      In line with marym’s comment, in Thursday’s Times there was an article reporting on the Proud Boys’ disappointment with Trump’s behavior, “They Called Trump ‘Emperor.’ Now, He’s Weak.” Lambert often refers to Paxton, as I think we all should. He emphasizes how most of the fascist fighters had been in the military during WW1. They retained the habits of military organizational structure, which included the ability to work in small, squad-sized units. The very useful Business Insider film may not say enough about the functioning of squad-like “groupuscules” among the rioters, but the strong impression is that of an undifferentiated mass of people, cooperating from time to time in response to a shout of encouragement. There’s very little explicit organizational structure mediating between the Emperor and his followers. That is why the Proud Boys, who have more organizational identity that almost all of the rioters were so disappointed, particularly when Trump conceded. Without him, they were a mass.

      In a more psychological sense, most of these people seem to have been in the state of mind that Le Bon and Freud dwelt on. They had not established full internal “permission” to go for broke but were eager to have someone command them to. They were in a state of suspension, summoning up sustaining ideas about patriotism and the Constitution to keep them primed, but without a clearly defined warrant. Le Bon/Freud were wrong to try to turn this into a General Theory of the Crowd. They overlooked how crowds may be composed of people who have become familiar with crowd pressure tactics, e.g. food rioters in Russia in 1917. But as for the Capitol mob it seems like every other statement one sees is a rioter saying they are “there for my President” as though they are under his command and yearned to be told what to do. Trump was awol, watching them on TV.

  15. fresno dan

    aghastitude is that word cromulent?
    And one other thing. 5 people were killed at the…riot. One police officer killed by ?one? rioter, one rioter killed by one police officer, and apparently 3 rioters killed by ?natural causes? I am not sure, what I could find about the cause of death was that they died because of “medical reasons” (i.e., heart attacks?)
    It seems the greatest danger to human life at the riot was the rioters own health.
    Really, does anyone know the specific cause of death of the 3 other rioters?

    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      Well, “aghastitude” appears to be cromulent enough that an author is willing to be seen using it in digiprint.

      The Agony and Aghastitude: Thomas Frank on Our Rendezvous With Oblivion

      1. Psalamanazar

        When jejunity comes, can aghastitude be far behind?

        I’m in the UK. Would many Americans think it likely, if he who was yet President advised them to present themselves at the Capitol, that

        A) they would be allowed in, and/or that
        B) a display of authentic belief on the part of the citizenry as to the result of the election would cause Congress to come to (from their point of view) its senses rather than adjourn proceedings for an hour or two and press on regardless?

    2. WJ

      I am still looking for credible information concerning the murder of the police officer. Who killed him? How many? Are they arrested? Are there videos? Witnesses?

  16. VietnamVet

    The vast majority were Trumpeters, Americans, still thinking they are in the middle-class but are really in free-fall. The Pandemic/Depression is still not real to them, the face-mask-less. But they are very angry at the liberals and media for taking their country away from them.

    It is the fringe, WTO Protesters and the Forever War Veterans, who flanked and opened the lightly guarded back doors. Most MAGAs were wandering around looking at the sights like I did during Rehab. Nancy Pelosi wants them to be jailed as felons (but not Jamie Dimon).

    Basically Trump supporters are still clueless. They believe the propaganda that right wing radio told them over decades that immigrants, environmentalists and media readers are to blame not Wall Street plutocrats or global professional managers getting rich by stealing anything of value. Steve Bannon, out of work, hungry, homeless, and illness will change that. Next time, the National Guard will refuse to take their rest break in the Senate underground parking lot; or the time after that.

    If they want to keep their assets, the Elite might want to rethink not providing healthcare for all and a functional national public health system to control the Pandemic/Depression.

    1. skippy

      “They believe the propaganda that right wing radio told them”

      Basically what you get when some get their sociopolitical – economic – idpol knowledge from targeted social media and then have the rumor control Venturi effect manifest in reinforcing feed back loops – FB et al.

      The whole thing looked like the end scene to Blazing Saddles [how you missed that Lambert I will ponder forever], although the fat tailed risk of one or more going postal psychotic episode sorts is concern.

  17. Aumua

    I think it’s possible for this event to be treated with too much gravitas on one side and not enough on the other. My observations: it was not a coup or an insurrection. It was not a fascist attempt at a takeover, and most of these people are not fascists. It was at least to some degree spontaneous. I don’t think the people who were actively egging on the crowd (Trump included) really knew how far it could go, and the crowd itself definitely didn’t know. Like the dog chasing the car, they didn’t know what do once they actually caught it. The true instigators among them may have inadvertently overplayed their hand (Trump included). It got out of control, and the cops also didn’t know what do. I think they wanted to avoid a massacre of people who probably didn’t deserve death. A riot is probably the best term for what happened.

    On the other hand though, to me this represents feelers being put out. Preliminary probing of what might be possible by multiple loosely connected and in some cases mostly subconscious proto-fascist movements. Although it was not a far right takeover, it was a warning sign, just one of many. Societal pressures are reaching that point where conditions become very fertile for extremist flames to ignite. The gallows may not have been functional, but the murderous intent of some there was clear and they would have gladly carried it out if presented with the chance. The crowd may very well have gone along with it too, in the heat of the moment.

    1. skippy

      See link above Trumpism is too far right for the AET sorts … I would have never thought that possible.

  18. jsn

    While I agree that “Flagler”, from Mullins Florida makes a better story, I think it’s the other way around. The “elected” is Mullins.

  19. stefan

    This mob was a “wind-up toy” in the same way that Lee Harvey Oswald was a wind-up toy. They were indoctrinated, trained, facilitated, handled, encouraged and then let loose to see what they might do “on their own.”

    There is growing evidence that persons in government hoping to generate an event to justify the imposition of martial law were parties to the mob’s seizure of the Capitol building and disruption of the certification of electoral votes.

    Organized factions appear to have been blended in with disorganized factions.

  20. Wukchumni

    Jenna Ryan is the most intriguing to me of the mob, in that she was of wealth enough to afford a shared private jet to DC, and I don’t know anybody that does that, rarefied air.

    And now she’s trying to crowd source funds for her defense, ha

    Another aspect of our lives changing will be more thinking into what you’re doing by the old social media see me-dig me videos that turned out to be very incriminating, poor Jenna even during the rumble in the rotunda was still selling ready for her close up Mr. DeMille, ‘i’m the realtor you want’.

  21. Anthony K Wikrent

    I am surprised Lambert writes that he does not understand the Trumpists’ motivation. As relayed to me by a close family member who has fallen down the Qanon rabbit-hole, here is what they believe:

    There is a group of senior military officers, both active duty and retired (called The Patriots) who have been accumulating the evidence of malfeasance by politicians – both Democrats AND Republicans – and factions within the government, most especially intelligence agencies going back to the assassination of John F. Kennedy. (My relative claimed that The Patriots were hiding JFK Jr. to keep him safe, had faked his death in a plane crash, and expected that JFK Jr. would be brought out publicly around Sept or Oct 2020 to run as Trump’s vice-president – Pence being part of the evil pedophile rings).

    These crimes have been carried out, and covered up, by an ongoing faction of elites in government, business, and media, including rotten factions in intelligence and law enforcement and the Catholic Church. This is collectively and loosely what comprises the Deep State. Many of the members of the Deep State merely go along for financial reward and to advance their careers, but the hard core insiders are the pedophiles who worship Satan.

    The Patriots had been accumulating evidence of crimes committed by and for the Deep State, including murders, and all sorts of nefarious operations. The pedophile rings were the most notorious, and there was much discord among followers when Trump “failed” to adequately protect Jeffrey Epstein from being murdered. But the list of crimes also includes drug running, and selling national security secrets to China, and others. Also, being agents of communist Chinese influence, including the intent to destroy the American way of life (i.e. free enterprise capitalism) and replace it with socialism — which I have no doubt is one of the primary beliefs of the business owners involved in the seizure. Another major crime is the attacks of 9-11, which was used to accelerate the imposition of the total surveillance police state. Assange and Snowden are actually heros to many of these Trumpists, and there is considerable angst that they were not pardoned by Trump.

    Other crimes The Patriots had collected evidence included election fraud. For part of them, including my relative, this included Bush’s stealing of Florida, Ohio, and Pennsylvania in 2000 and 2004. Fyi, Cheney, Bush, and Rumsfeld are part of the evil Deep State.

    The expectation among followers was that The Patriots were preparing the public for the release of the evidence of the crimes and membership of the Deep State, which would culminate with the “Storm” of Trump leading the arrests of Deep State members. The 2020 elections were supposedly used by The Patriots as a trap to get the Deep State to fully expose itself by conducting voter operations. The only explanation of why this last bit of evidence was needed, given the evidence of six decades of crimes having been collected, is that it would conclusively prove to the American people that the Deep State existed and needed to be eliminated.

    Therefore, the charade of counting ballots and court fights was allowed to continue, with the expectation that it was all more evidence to be used to expose and reveal the Deep State, and attack and dismantle it. All this evidence as supposed to be released during the hearings on the acceptance and counting of the electoral votes on January 6, but it was fully expected that members of the Deep State, such as Pence, or congresspeople who are being blackmailed by the Deep State, such as McConnell, and all the Democrats, would try to prevent this. Hence, it was imperative for “freedom loving Americans” to demonstrate at the Capital that day, and be prepared to help seize it that day if the Deep State appeared to be succeeding in preventing the release of the accumulated evidence of election fraud.

    Once Biden’s election had been confirmed and accepted by the Congress, the Qanon followers then expected that Trump would flood DC with loyal troops who would arrest Biden, Pence, Bush, Obama, and all the other Deep State leaders when that were all conveniently gathered for the inauguration. Trump, of course, could not be personally exposed to the risk of violence if the Deep State resisted on January 20, and so was whisked out of town that morning.

    My personal thoughts on this is that at every step and iteration, my objections and counterfacts were either dismissed or explained away, sometimes if not immediately, then after a day or two. I think it is crucial to uncover who was Q and bring them to account. My personal feeling is that they are former intelligence or military officials highly trained in psychological profiling and warfare. Unlike the Qanon followers I explain above, I am unsure what their motivation is.

    I also want to stress that I believe all this conspiracy mongering was made possible by the constant and relentless demonizing of their opponents, for almost a century now, by the Republican Party, and the conservative and libertarian movements. It has been remarkable to me for decades now how much otherwise decent people honestly believe Democrats love terrorists more than America, or love criminals more than victims, or just generally believe Democrats hate America. This is the result of decades of the Republicans “feeding red meat to their base” and I think there is no effective solution without acknowledging this and holding Republicans to account.

    Historically, this begins with the opposition to Franklin Roosevelt and the New Deal, but it is also important to understand that this found support among those who pined for the Lost Cause of the Confederacy and white supremacy. There are only a handful of books that I know of that competently explore this aspect of how our civic culture had become so deranged. I wish I could link to some of my summaries of these books, but we’re not allowed to link to out own posts. More generally, the lines of polarization can be traced to the fight between two visions of the USA and philosophies of governance. As first Secretary of the Treasury, Alexander Hamilton implemented an activist government designed to promote the General Welfare and strong enough to withstand the oligarchs and monarchs of Europe as well as quell domestic insurgencies. For this, Hamilton is denounced by many on the left as an authoritarian and elitist; this failure or refusal to understand the American Revolution and the creation of the American republic as a project of the Enlightenment, cripples socialists and Marxist, and makes the left utterly ineffective at opposing the building of conservatism and libertarianism. The opposition to Hamilton was led by Thomas Jefferson, and was largely driven by the desire to protect the institution of slavery, which meant keeping the national government so weak that it could not threaten to end slavery. Yes, this is the true intellectual heritage of Grover Norquist’s and the conservative / libertarian desire to drown the government in the bathtub. So it is entirely appropriate that the conservative / libertarian mob would proudly parade the treasonous Confederate flag in the Capital. George Washington fully backed Hamilton, not Jefferson. And when Jefferson became President and dismantled what Hamilton had implemented, the British were able to invade and burn the capital within four years

    Finally, it must be recognized that the building of conservatism and libertarianism has been a deliberate project by a relatively small number of reactionary rich seeking to avoid the strictures on the accumulation and use of wealth imposed by civil republicanism and the Puritan (not protestant) ethic. What you own is not yours, but is given you by the Creator to go out in the world and do good by serving your fellow men and women. You are merely the steward of the wealth you have been given. One of the major ways in which the reactionary rich have driven these ideas out of our civic culture is by elevating the ideas of John Locke and the importance of protecting property rights. I fully expect that as this realization spreads, academic research will show that Locke was not as important in the ideology of the American Revolution and founding as other thinkers, such as John Milton and James Harrington. This is already mentioned by the few scholars who have done the in depth research, such as Bernard Bailyn and JGA Pocock. Another scholar mentioned that the Transcendentalists were thoroughly disgusted by Locke, but I forget the exact author or title right now.

    So, final responsibility for the events of January 6, in my view, rests at the feet of the rich squillionaires who have funded, for almost a century now, the rise and development of movement conservatism and libertarianism. Proving once again that point understood by classic civic republican theorists such as Machiavelli, that the rich are as much a threat to a republic as any standing army.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      Thank you, this is a useful overview. My difficulty is that I like facts on the ground (as provided e.g. by Diptherio) in great enough profusion to add up to numbers. I don’t want to sound foily, but most of the coverage of both the Capitol Seizure and QAnon is produced by exactly the same people who brought us RussiaGate. They are very adept at moral panics (which feed neatly into the media’s profit-driven lust for clicks). What I would also like to know, however, is how many dedicated Q followers there really are, on the ground. Yes, there are online follower counts, but followers can be bought. Yes, we see people with Q regalia at Trump rallies, but always in tight shots, which I distrust. (For example, has there ever been enough Q attendance at a Trump rally to require a wide-angle lens? For example, a hundred people carrying a banner? I don’t think so.)

      I don’t deny the QAnon phenomenon is real, but there is a lot of cray cray in America (start with mainstream macro and move on through multi-level marketing), and I’m not sure this one rabbit-hole inducer deserves the prominence it’s getting. To be honest, I’m also worried about getting sucked down the rabbit-hole myself, which is why I tend to approach the right wing media “ecosystem” with a waldo.

      Incidentally, the QAnon image of global elites as p3dophile criminals with a taste for blood seems at least directionally correct.

      1. Michaelmas

        Lambert S.: Incidentally, the QAnon image of global elites as p3dophile criminals with a taste for blood seems at least directionally correct

        Yes. Naturally, nobody with any sense wants to say it out loud for fear of seeming tin-foil-hat QAnon-adjacent. Even “directionally correct” is you tip-toeing around pointing it out too unambiguously, Lambert.

        The reality, though, is that while the QAnon mythology is a childishly, moronically implausible narrative in its details, it is metaphorically true.

        Our elites in the West — most especially in the former U.S. hegemon — are largely parasitic, murderous vermin.

        1. Harold

          It is folklore. It makes it possible to talk about deeply sensed but taboo to mention concerns and and dangers in a manner that is too true to be true. Metaphor, if you will.

      2. Anthony Wikrent

        I think there are two avenues of historical inquiry that must be explored, but which I feel are vigorously suppressed.

        The first is the relationship between organized crime and USA intelligence. I felt for a long time that part of the price paid for the mafia’s assistance in Italy and France in World War 2, was to acquiesce to the USA mob’s takeover of chunks of organized labor in the 1950s and 1960s. I finally found someone making the same conjecture in an article on Lucky Luciano last year. Not sure that is evidential corroboration, but I’ve found nothing yet to dissuade me.

        Better documented is the cooperation between organized crime and intelligence agencies in running drugs. There are a number of books, including on the Reagan – Contras cocaine operation.

        Heavily suppressed is the history of how organized crime went legitimate by taking control of Wall Street and finance in the 1960s through 1980s. This is the story of money laundering and how it takes over much of finance, including the rise of hot money centers like the Caymans. This is another rabbit hole, but if you want to venture a peak, take a look at the father of Apollo’s Leon Black. Dad ran United Fruit, which was a major drug smuggling operation through most of the 20th century. Also, look at the representation of British intelligence on the board of HSBC historically, and trace the histories of the fortunes made in the Chinese opium trade.

        Another of my conjectures is that the malign influence of organized crime taking over legitimate businesses is as much a factor in the collapse of honest business culture, as is the rise of Friedman’s shareholder value doctrine.

        Second is the general history of the British oligarchy and monarchy. Especially look at the history of the Hell Fire clubs, which is the historical foundation of the “directionally correct” evil that exists today.

        1. Gulag


          In addition to the role of organized crime in creating a corrupt business culture it seems important to also look closely at the historical process (perhaps the nature of capitalism itself) which has destroyed or minimized internal inhibitions and constraints. If moral constraints are more and more absent and the only thing keeping us in line are rules and regulations then you have the phenomena of everyone, at one time or another, trying to game the system–with the objective being to play the game as close to the rules as possible and if the rules need to be bent or ignored, to try and avoid being caught.

          Isn’t the type of amorality the new norm and don’t we all participate in it?

          1. drumlin woodchuckles

            Some participate in it less than others . . . when they have a choice.

            If one has a choice between buying something for “less” from Amazon, or something for “more” from NOmazon, and one chooses to pay “more” to get that something from Nomazon; one has declined to participate in the new norm of amorality to just the extent of that NOmazon purchase.

            We of little power do what little things we can.

    2. lyman alpha blob

      I think it is crucial to uncover who was Q and bring them to account. My personal feeling is that they are former intelligence or military officials highly trained in psychological profiling and warfare. Unlike the Qanon followers I explain above, I am unsure what their motivation is.

      If they were really intelligence officials trained in psychological profiling (whatever that is – not sure it’s much more effective than phrenology) you’d think they might come up with something a little less flat out stupid. From what I’ve seen written about it, the QAnon narrative is as you described – basically a gallimaufry of decades worth of conspiracy theories, some with a grain of truth to them (Epstein and pedo rings for example), tenuously linked together with no evidence provided.

      As to who Q is, my guess would be this guy –

      Just a guy looking to stir up crap on 4chan type websites and possibly make some dough off it. From the 2nd link –

      Watkins, an American entrepreneur and pig farmer who now lives in the Phillippines, has immense control over QAnon, as the community exists on his platform.

      If it isn’t him, he quite likely knows exactly who it is.

      1. Anthony K Wikrent

        Thank you for the links! I remember there had been some articles revealing, or purporting to reveal, who Q was, and I quite forgot them!

        Now, as for the motive of just making money…. Well, recall the argument of Cass Sustein, one of the leading Constitutional scholars as well as a Dem party elite, about using defamation law to suppress “disinformation.” The point is: who decides what is disinformation, and what isn’t? Would the existence of taped recording in Nixon’s Oval Office first been dismissed and batted aside as disinformation? And, what are the implications for disinformation and propaganda carried out by intelligence agencies? Recall the CIA’s Operation Mockingbird uncovered by the Church Committee. I would think the USA intelligence agencies would be very keen to kettle and contain any serious discussion by conservatives and the right of the dysfunction of capitalism. What better way than to create a liberal / socialist / pedophile bogeyman to preoccupy the conservative mind ?

        Cass Sunstein’s No Good, Horrible, Very Bad Idea For Using Defamation To Fight ‘Fake News

    3. Acacia

      Thanks much for this account.

      “The Patriots” sound more and more like the Great Pumpkin, rising into the sky on Halloween.

  22. The Historian

    I’ve read carefully everything that has been printed, and most definitely Lambert’s articles, and I’ve viewed all of the scenes of that event. Yes, for about 99% of the people they were there for a social event – the last gasp in the denial phase of the Kubler-Ross model of grief acceptance. Trump rallies are always big parties where like minded people get to come together and cheer on their favorite team, and I don’t think this was much different.

    However, there were some people there who were organized and were looking for violence. I think the pipe bombs at the DNC and RNC, the stashes of weapons, the military outfits and some of the tactics they used, including their search and photograph methods when they did get into the chambers points to that. But these people were a SMALL minority of those who broke into the Capitol – most of the people there just got caught up in the moment.

    I also think that the lack of police presence there was actually a good thing. Police bring their own problems with them and can often incite rather than calm a crowd. I think that small minority thought that they would have to battle the police and that would encourage the crowd to join in. When that didn’t materialize, the crowd went back to party mode. Crowds are fickle things – it takes a lot of organizing to get them to do what you want them to do – I don’t think that small minority understood that. And like someone else mentioned, that small minority seemed to fade away when things didn’t go as planned. Where did they go? They didn’t show up in later pictures. It looks like most of those arrested were just the party goers.

    But like Aumua, I do fear that that small minority might learn some things from this event and the next attempt might be worse. I’ve seen some of the postings on their boards, which I can’t get to anymore, like the Proud Boys site, where they’ve talk about their plans for coming violence – and that does frighten me. But it also frightens me even more that the powers that be might over-react to what happened and write new laws that threaten to stamp out all protest.

    1. tegnost

      I also think that the lack of police presence there was actually a good thing

      Overwhelming force is how police deal with more violent protests than this one in the us all the time.
      A stronger police presence, especially in light of the fact that mostly it was a party,would have stopped the crowd, the party would have continued, and ashley babbit wouldn’t have died and she’d be back in san diego right now getting on with her life (no worries there because she was a trumpy?).The kettling, the fusion centers… where were they? You’re overlooking the adrenalin rush that the crowd got by making it in. They should never have made it in. A moderately conspiracy minded person might conclude they were let in in order to facilitate the over reaction.
      The fixx-One thing leads to another
      I won’t post the lyrics but they have some relevance…

      1. The Historian

        I agree that overwhelming force is how police deal with most riots. But given that they didn’t have overwhelming force, a moderate police – local law enforcement only – presence probably would have incited the rioters more and the loss of life would have been greater. I do believe there was a small minority of people there that wanted that. I’m glad it didn’t happen.

        I saw that video of the shooting of that young woman and that was chilling – it looked to me more like an assassination rather than a defensive move. There needs to be a further investigation of that event. That can’t just be swept under the carpet.

        At this point, I really don’t know who knew what and who told who what – I’m not even sure that what was told about this event was any different than was told about other protests that happen at the Capitol. Protests are a common occurrence in DC – I’m not sure why anyone thought this one would be any different.

      2. lyman alpha blob

        Considering that Congress is responsible for its own Capitol police force, one does have to wonder how they were so unprepared. We’re regaled with the heroics one officer who checked inside as protesters were nearing the building, and held them off until the unprotected Senators could get to safety. Is that really what happened though?

        1. Michael Fiorillo

          Paul Jay suggested on his The Analysis podcast that it was McConnell who manipulated events as a way to jettison Trump, who would continue to torment the Republicans after leaving office. As has been pointed out frequently, McConnell and the interests he represents had extracted all that was to be had from Trump, resented having to take s#<× from him all this time, and needed to neutralize him, post presidency.

          We're witnessing a Restoration of sorts. Trump's election represented, among other things, a split in the ruling class: a look at the electoral map showed the geographical cleavage between blue Communications, Tech and Finance, and red resource extraction and ag (a form of resource extraction). Trump, acting out his Dark Angel of Chaos nature,, has temporarily healed that rift, as the incredible press release from the National Association of Manufacturors after the Capitol riot suggests.

          1. Lambert Strether Post author

            > Paul Jay suggested on his The Analysis podcast that it was McConnell who manipulated events as a way to jettison Trump

            I don’t know what “manipulated events” means operationally, but if it means that McConnell manipulated that Capitol police force, they don’t report to him, so it’s very unlikely. (A moment’s thought would show that neither party would permit the other to control the Capitol police force, and so they set it up so it’s not under partisan control.)

            1. Michael Fiorillo

              Yes, it’s a stretch to claim McConnell orchestrated events. If I remember correctly, Jay said that McConnell lured Trump into a trap. The back end of Jay’s take seems reasonable, though, since we know McConnell and Pence, had decided to sever ties with Trump. The riot, the prevailing narrative about it and Trump’s social media banishment made for a clean cut, helping the old guard navigate the coming months with far less noise and interference.

          2. flora

            an aside:

            We’re witnessing a Restoration of sorts. Trump’s election represented, among other things, a split in the ruling class:

            The split, at least on the GOP side, I imagine is between the Main Street/ regional/ national companies ideas about capitalism, and the Wall St./ global companies ideas about capitalism. The global cap needs conflict with the Main Street national capital needs. More NAFTA-type trade deals and more hollowing out of the smaller local/ regional/ national businesses and economies can’t heal the rift, imo. The national GOP can try blaming the hollowing out on the Dems again in order to win votes from Main Street et al. But that’s going to be a hard sell, imo. Still, it might work if the GOP leans Main Street/regional economics on some issues. Maybe that’s why the entire Wall St./global capital gang instantly pledged fealty to Biden. …or not. ;)

            1. flora

              When all levels of capital businesses, from Main Street to Wall Street to Davos, unite around the idea the GOP protects capital and the Dems are the biggest threat to capital the GOP can stays united.
              Now the Dems have made it very clear there’s nothing they will not do for the biggest capital and to heck with workers and the little guy. There’s no reason for the top capital elites – the monopolists and big tech and global banks, eg – to even pay lip service to smaller enterprises. The very top elites have come together. Throwing smaller enterprises under the bus of monopoly roll ups, PE buy and gut, and tech giants’ control of market access and rents extraction, for example, is now a bigger threat to small and medium size businesses than ever. How does the GOP stay united? How can they claim the Dems are the biggest threat to every capital enterprise including the medium and small enterprises? For that matter, how do the Dems stay united now that they’ve declared themselves the globalist uber GOP party? (pun intended)

      3. Dirk77

        Local news interviewed our city police chief about the riots the day after. He was puzzled by the Capitol police response and his thoughts echoed yours: if there is a possibility of trouble, you show overwhelming force to keep the protesters from becoming a mob and rioting.

    2. Wyoming

      As I mentioned a couple of days ago in a post I have direct experience working for the USG in fomenting revolutions/insurrections/coups as well as assisting foreign govts in suppressing just those sort of activities. I also have participated in a couple of dozen counter-terrorist operations from being on the ground where people died to sending others potentially to their deaths. The Historian and Aumua are much closer to the truth I think than the general gist of this main post and the bulk of the comments. I try like everyone to use what I have learned in life to guide my thoughts about what is going on and what might happen. The situation screams danger to me.

      Far too many people are thinking in binary and drawing conclusions from snapshots of the events on the 6th thinking the 6th is basically the entire story. This bears no resemblance to how these types of things work. We live in a complex situation and have a complex history. No explanation of a days events can be meaningful unless one takes into account the complexities which have led one to that day. What most of the folks at the Capitol were doing and what they thought is only a small part of the picture. Seeing what one old overweight yahoo buys in a gun store and all the stereo types which immediately spring to mind about his behavior tells you absolutely nothing about the potential danger which might be coming. A war cannot be started without martyrs and that is what most of the folks at the Capitol are for. The folks who want to bring down our current governmental system need a lot of those folks to get shot and have a giant upwelling of anger over a massacre. The events at Ruby Ridge and Waco resulted in OK City don’t forget. The Black Block exists because they are equally motivated by the wrongs done others and they are actually dangerous too.

      In that crowd, and among those who helped generate that crowd, there were very dangerous people who instigated what they could at the time. If events had turned in any of several directions they would have poured more gasoline on the fire. There were undoubtedly some of that minority who were armed and under the right circumstances would likely have started shooting if they thought it would promote the right kind of violence. If they had caught Pelosi or Pence that might have been what they were looking for and we would be in a different world already. So they slipped in and out and we are not sure who they were, but they are committed people and if the situation had been right they would have acted at the risk of their lives.

      Big troubles have been building in the US for some time and there are many people who are committed to a permanent change in how the country is run and who is in charge of it. They are quite willing to kill as we have seen in the past and we are progressing along a path that they will take advantage of when the opportunities present themselves. There is nothing certain in this situation – in either direction. There never is. But make no mistake we are in the crap and we cannot deal with it adequately by pretending it does not exist.

      America has huge problems – we talk about a few of them here on occasion. The percentage of citizens who are committed to complete change is not huge but they exist in sufficient numbers to move forward. Surrounding them are a range of people from those who are almost with them; to folks who will support them deeply; to those who will provide some support of a general nature or who won’t get in their way even though they are not truly on board with what they are doing. And then there is a range from those who don’t care either way all the way up to those who are quite willing to kill to keep the situation in steady state (after all we got here for a reason). Those statements apply to both political extremes. The passions are deep here and it is not clear how to reconcile them when most of us think our fellow citizens are our greatest danger, that they will resort to political violence and that they they will take away ‘our’ government. Not exactly unreasonable fears are they?

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > No explanation of a days events can be meaningful unless one takes into account the complexities which have led one to that day.

        Did you see the scope statement? Not to question your authority, but your comment is a classic example of the genre “If only the author had written the post I prefer!”

        I focused on what actually happened — as opposed to hypotheticals about what might have happened — because perceptions of the event itself are driving the coverage, the drive for a second War on Terror, and so forth. It matters that those present apparently couldn’t organize their way into a paper bag. Of course, fascism can display adaptability, so one might speculate “they’ll do better next time.” But in my view, any honest assessment of the day’s events must begin with what actually happened (or as close as we can come). For example, what happened is that some photogenic walked off with a Capitol podium. What did not happen is that some dude used that podium to proclaim a provisional government. Examples could be multiplied. I focused on the timeline of the world that we live in, not alternate timelines (a.k.a. fiction) that might have forked off from it.

    3. jhallc

      I still can’t get my head around the fact that a sitting president actually got in front of a group of protesters and urged (let alone incited) them to keep up the pressure. If you were in the crowd and saw your Commander in Chief (if you were (ex)military) urging you to show strength and continue your protest what would be your response? Forget about whether he legally incited them, the optics alone are unprecedented. Imagine Obama speaking before an Occupy protest saying time to take back our country from those “Fat Cat Bankers” lets go down to Wall Street and show them all who’s boss. ( Yeah I know never was gonna happen) Or Obama showing up in front of protests in Ferguson to fire up a BLM crowd about the injustice of what happened.

      I don’t think there was some nefarious “Deep State” plot behind this to drive us to towards a totalitarian state. It was largely one man, who was both enabled by some around him and an enabler himself, who allowed this to happen. How he got to this position in the first place is well another story….

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > Imagine Obama speaking before an Occupy protest saying time to take back our country from those “Fat Cat Bankers” lets go down to Wall Street and show them all who’s boss.

        ‘Tis a consummation devoutly to be wished.

        Also, the left got totally pwned on this. Taking the insurrection and coup talking points seriously for the sake of the argument, isn’t the left supposed to be doing that sort of thing?

        1. 1 Kings

          The imagine Obama telling Occupy to go after Fat Cats is comedy, or an attempt at such.
          The destruction of Occupy was by whom again? Um, Obama and The Fat Cats..
          Wait, I trademark that. Unless of course that is Obama’s 10 car garage Hampton band..

    4. philnc

      As much as I’ve invested in the notion that multiple half-assed conspiracies were in play on January 6, as a cop’s kid and former government lawyer, I can say that what you’re suggesting rings true.

      While I’ve seen lots of sociopathic cops, I don’t think my dad was one of them. Around the time I got into the govt gig, he told me the story of how he’d had to beat down someone with his nightstick. It was horrific, and visibly affected him.

      Then there’s my personal experience from a couple of decades ago, long after my govt service. Back then I worked briefly as a manager for a big box computer store, and part of that involved responsibility for loss prevention. I’d already been in charge of more than a few incidents when this one gang hit our store. AMEX flagged the card they presented before the sales guy got to the front with the couple of thousand dollars of goods they ordered. Of the two kids who’d come into the store, one had already left by the time I was called out of the office. The security guards were on alert and had locked down all but one exit. The remaining kid, a young girl maybe 18 or 19, must have sensed something was up. She bolted for the door.

      The guard there grabbed her by the arm and tripped the door mechanism so it wound up closing on the two of them (that’s not supposed to happen, the doors should have bounced back) so the guard’s only hold on her was with that one arm. The guard, a big woman about my age, had at least 50 pounds on the girl. I could see pain in both their faces as they struggled. The girl was especially frantic, trying to twist and turn out of the guard’s grip. There was desperation in her eyes. I knew deep down that if this continued any longer that girl at least was going to wind up badly hurt. The guard looked me in the eye just then and I said, “Let her go”. She did, with a mixed expression of relief and frustration on her face. “I could have held her,” she said. “Yeah, I know. You did good.”

      The girl got away with her accomplices. There hadn’t been time to put a lookout in the parking lot to get a license tag number for the cops. The gang did get busted some time later by the Secret Service (AMEX was really serious about counterfeiting back then, and never hesitated to call in the big guns).

      So yeah, I can believe that at least some of the cops at the Capitol may have backed down from beating or shooting the people pushing their way in for purely emotional reasons, maybe a little because many of those people looked and talked a lot like their own friends and neighbors.

  23. Frank

    I don’t think the rioters/insurrectionists were seriously attempting a coup. They pretty clearly weren’t/aren’t serious people, but the people instigating it and enabling it may have been hoping that it would turn out that way. People aren’t talking about why there were so few officers there. That wasn’t a mistake, that was intended. If a left wing group had been in their place they never would have gotten close to entering the Capitol building.

    1. flora

      I also think that there are groups that exist to discredit both the left groups and the right groups who want any change to the existing neoliberal order. (That’s Antfa’s real purpose, imo. Antfa exists to discredit any protest rally that dissents from the existing neoliberal order, imo.) The T supporters at the rally, imo, were mostly people opposed to the neoliberal capitalism order – not opposed to capitalism in general, opposed to the neoliberal economic variant of capitalism that, for example, ships jobs away offshore, leaving rust belts in place of once prosperous towns and cities. My 2 cents.

      1. flora

        T’s first campaign – 2016 – talked about bringing back jobs and stopping offshoring, stopping more NAFTA-type trade deals like TPP and TPIP. That was an economic message in direct opposition to the neoliberal message of more NAFTA-type trade deals, more globalization, etc.

      2. marym

        Re: rust belt
        The purpose of the protest was to support the discarding of electoral votes from 6 states, including Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin.

      3. Wyoming

        (That’s Antfa’s real purpose, imo. Antfa exists to discredit any protest rally that dissents from the existing neoliberal order, imo.)

        Antifa is not an organization my friend it is an ideology. The ideology exists in response to fascism (another ideology). Anti-fascism. Sort of by definition if you are against fascist government actions and organizations you are an adherent of antifa. There are no leaders of antifa and there is no Antifa organization in existence one can join.

        Your quote above indicates you think antifa adherents would support neoliberal govt. Is that a typo? As it is just the opposite. People who strongly believe in antifa ideology are convinced that neoliberal forms of govt are inherently fascist in function and they are in deep opposition to them.

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          > Sort of by definition if you are against fascist government actions and organizations you are an adherent of antifa. There are no leaders of antifa and there is no Antifa organization in existence one can join

          I think your definition of antifa is a little broad. It doesn’t make sense to characterize Winston Churchill, for example, as antifa.

          It’s a nice point, whether a cohort defined by a common protocol can be considered an organization (I would substitute “protocol” for ideology because of the tactics antifa practioners share). The same reactionary concept of “leaderless resistance” faces the same question. For antifa, I would say yes, guessing that antifa practitioners tend to have social relations outside their practice. (I’ve noticed complaints that “my friend was arrested,” for example.)

        2. flora

          Or, they are useful to someone(s). As Diana Johnstone wrote in 2017 after T’s election (and she writes from the left perspective):

          Antifa USA, by defining “resistance to fascism” as resistance to lost causes – the Confederacy, white supremacists and for that matter Donald Trump – is actually distracting from resistance to the ruling neoliberal establishment, which is also opposed to the Confederacy and white supremacists and has already largely managed to capture Trump by its implacable campaign of denigration.

          Donald Trump is an outsider who will not be let inside. The election of Donald Trump is above all a grave symptom of the decadence of the American political system, totally ruled by money, lobbies, the military-industrial complex and corporate media. Their lies are undermining the very basis of democracy. Antifa has gone on the offensive against the one weapon still in the hands of the people: the right to free speech and assembly.

  24. DJG

    I also find Lambert Strether’s other post about the class composition of the Capitol rioters insightful and productive.

    First, let’s consider that most people at the Capitol demonstration and vandalism are poujadistes (petits bourgeois with grievances, per Lambert Strether’s other post) who have little experience of attending demonstrations, the logistics of them, and the etiquette of demonstrating.

    Second, I have participated many demonstrations. I was in two or three large demos on Michigan Avenue against the Iraq War. I was at the May 2012 demo against NATO. I note this embedded cross link at Wikipedia for the May 2012 events: File:CPD Attacking Protesters & NLG Legal Observers – NATO Protest 20-May-

    Ahh, yes, I walked down Cermak Road and somehow managed to cross through the big metal fences before the police riot began.

    For several years, I marched in Chicago’s Pride Parade with Gay Liberation Network, one of the few genuinely leftist organizations in the parade. The last several years, I have marched with a theater group.

    Why present bona fides?

    –Even though the NATO protests ended in kettling of the demonstrators and a police riot, the results were not five dead people. Further, the crowd was much larger.
    –The number of people who march in the Chicago Pride Parade is more than the number of people at the Capitol riot (let’s say 5,000 to 7,000). Let alone the million or so spectators. Yet there aren’t five deaths each year among the marchers.

    What do leftists know?

    I will paraphrase something someone waggishly posted: How can you tell that the Capitol rioters weren’t leftists?

    Answer: There were no gay men handing out snacks. There were no drag queens distributing bottles of water.

    Leftist demonstrations are highly organized, partially as protection from the police (wariness still seen in the organization of pride parades).

    –Who issued the parade permit for the Capitol demo?
    –Who was the parade permit issued to? What sponsoring organizations?
    –Who proposed the route and approved the route?
    –Why were there no marshals from the sponsoring organizations? Every major lefty demo I have been to has a corps of marshals from the sponsors who keep the various contingents in proper order and keep people from wandering out of formation.

    I suspect that the riot came about partially because there was muito dinheiro sloshing around and self-reinforcing stupid talk among organizations, all of which led to nobody bothering to “manage” the parade.

    I’ve been to many demonstrations much bigger than the Capitol riot—and we succeeded in demonstrating without trampling a middle-aged white woman to death.

    There are also cultural issues related to whiteness that led to this display of deadly incompetence, but I’m not ready to post on that just yet. [All one has to do for now is look for Krystal and Saagar’s segment or Jimmy Dore’s segment that plays excerpts from the malign Hillary Clinton and the deteriorating Nancy Pelosi speculating that Putin was in charge of the riots, “pulling strings.” White people high on their own fumes.]

    1. Duck1

      No reference, sorry, but I have read that there was no permit for a march on the Capitol. The Trump address was about a mile away, and I have read that the penetration was beginning as he wrapped up the speech, ie the Capitol crowd might be a subset of the Trump crowd who left early and a crowd that didn’t attend the Trump rally.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      Thanks! (I think the millions the press is going on about funded Republican grifters and apparatchiks at the rally.) Not the same as the rioters themselves.)

      Adding, I should caveat that I’m much stronger on liberal Democrat party structures and institutions than I am on conservative Republican ones. I tend to think of Republicans as monolithic, but when you have a crowd calling for Mike Pence to be hanged, obviously that’s not true.

  25. Pat

    Regarding misinformation. Yes Fox, and Rush and Glenn Beck spread misinformation. Yes Donald Trump did. So did Hillary Clinton and The NY Times and MSNBC.
    I would no more consider the average members of the “resistance” to have a grasp of the facts than I do most of the MAGA crowd. The Far Right are not the only Americans who have been subject to psychological conditioning with misinformation. In fact I personally believe we are currently being managed and manipulated by what is and isn’t being reported regarding the events of January 6.

    I also spent time going through videos both on the 6, and on the 7. Yes there were lots of the feckless rioters going through the Capitol like Ugly American Tourists. And yes, there were the frightening ones of Babbitt and others breaking down doors. There were, however, many that were of people excited to be there to support the President none of which were inside the building. It was as Simian reported a party. Some even had time stamps that would make them during the riot.

    I have still seen no logical reason put forth as to why there was so little security at the Capitol. Even taking into consideration the usual difference between the treatment for Left And Right wing protest activities the security was anemic to almost non existent. I do not for a moment believe that 90% of the people who got to and into the building wouldn’t have limited their actions to lots of sign waving and yelling if even half the security presence at BLM protests had been there.

    My point being just as not everyone there burned down a police station during a BLM protest, or went on to loot various businesses, the actions of a few are being used to advance an agenda that few would want. The increased security measures they are floating do not protect Democracy, in fact they harm it. I would also say that the selective use of impeachment for Donald Trump has helped it either.

    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      Whoever engineered ” so little security” did it on purpose to make the Capitol invadable by rioters in case their was a riot. They wanted to create the “so little security” pre-condition needed for a riot to succeed.

      So who arranged the “so little security” and what were their “long-game” reasons? We may never know the “long-game” reasons. But maybe we can learn who arranged the “so little security” and find a way to destroy their lives for the rest of their lives for it.

  26. Cetra Ess

    I’ve attended many angry protests in my time. On several occasions I’ve noticed a pattern of the masses rallying, speechifying, then intending to go toward some specific objective destination, by some intended route, usually a straight line, then heading off in that direction, and yet somehow not getting there.

    In many of those instances I’ve noticed police putting up skimpy barricades at certain points, with very few bodies, lightly defended. It seems to attract certain types who dutifully sense an opportunity to overwhelm, rush the barricade, overwhelm it, and then the crowd pours in from behind. A few strategically placed “lightly defended barricades” thus turns the huge mass away from the objective which should have been a straight line from point A to B. Often this directs the mass into a cage of riot police who’ve been waiting.

    Now when I see the capitol with the light barricades and thin line of police, I can’t help but wonder….

  27. Scott1

    Timing was what made the riot outside and inside the US Capitol thought of as an insurrection. It was the day that the electoral votes were counted and certified. For real Biden was the US President.
    Later in the day the whole of the government did finish the work of certifying the electoral votes. This was after an attempt had been made to prevent that from taking place.
    I believe that there were Congresspersons who feared for their lives. AOC for one said she had an encounter that she perceived as possibly her last moments. Her body language indicated she was not exaggerating. We know that one of the policemen was beaten to death.
    Inciting a mob to kill is a skill Trump is seen to have possessed. He was the president at the time. Clearly he is no longer president. Had Joe Biden as Vice President said he was hesitant to certify the electoral votes because of reports of Russian interference in the election I wonder how much violence there would have been. I fully expect nothing would have really changed and that Trump would have still been seated same as he was regardless. What if Obama had sat at his Oval office desk and told the world he had evidence of Russian interference in the vote? Was there a calculation made that violence then would have gone beyond control?
    All in all this is all about the Oil War, the 100 Years Oil War waged against the world and the people of the world. Both Putin, Trump and the leadership of the GOP support the Oil interests regardless of what that means for the food chain. Under 20th Century Dictators there have been famines. What makes anyone think that the Oligarchs will not so believe in winning with oil and fossil fuels taken out of the ground, that they will not destroy the entire food chain? Millions starved to death because of both Stalin and Mao. What makes us think authoritarians of today will not starve billions?

    P.S. The smartest supporter of Trump is Victor Davis Hanson the historian and fellow in the stable of the Hoover Institution. I looked up what he had to say on You Tube. There he is talking about the unrealistic policies and goals of the Green New Deal and what good paying jobs are the jobs for those drilling for natural gas. It is this that is my evidence supporting my positions defining what the overarching war is. It is accompanied by the Privatization agenda. Hanson is angry about the lawlessness of immigrant dog and chicken fighters who are making his life miserable on his farm. Were the Biden Administration to make sure immigration did not mean people such as himself did not have to suffer from barbarians as neighbors the rebellion would have its back broken. This is what Biden had better be meaning when he says he will be everyone’s president.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > electoral votes were counted and certified

      The whole theory is ludicrous. If the rioters had managed to steak the box of ballots, what then? If Congress moves to another venue, what then?

      Let’s try to preserve some level of basic sanity by reserving “insurrection” and “coup” for serious projects. (For example, John Brown’s fixture at Harper’s Ferry could be fairly called an insurrection. The planning was awful, but at least there was planning. Brown also had significant support from a portion of the political class of that day. And Brown, his sons, and his fellow insurrectionists had skin in the game, after all. Some of them were killed, and Brown was hanged. No cosplay there!)

  28. Lambert Strether Post author

    On the last paragraph in support of sappiness:

    I didn’t have time to expand on this, but the spectacle of very online Young Liberals* using videos and images to hunt down putative rioters and inflict extrajudicial punishment on them, like getting them fired, is really distressing to me and portends a dystopian future.

    First, online efforts often target the wrong person (see, e.g., the hunt for the Marathon Bomber on Reddit, which went completely wrong). Second, getting people fired may hurt innocents, for example children supported by the fired. Third, the name for private vengeance is privilege, privi-lege, private law, also known as vigilantism or lynching. Fourth, the potential for blowback is obvious. Fifth, this is McCarthyism, which has a very bad name, not only for the reasons just given, but for its encouragement of informers and betrayers, a la The Lives of Others. Sixth, hunting people down is fun, a la The Most Dangerous Game, but it’s the sort of fun a predator enjoys. I think predators in our society are surplus to requirements as it is.

    Hence, it’s better for all concerned to be kind than vengeful… .

    * In preference to SJWs or, gawd forbid, “the left”; all these people will be working in Democrat NGOs in ten years, if they aren’t already.

  29. Lambert Strether Post author

    Also, lest anybody think I’m minimizing this event, I’m not. I think it’s reasonable for participants in the Seizure to consider the event a success. Not only did they, in fact, seize the Capitol, they will also emerge at home as local celebrities (as will a minority of those whose cases are taken to trial). Some will have their businesses improve, others may become influencers, others may just “walk proud,” etc.

    I don’t think I’m going to far when I point to the Capitol Seizure as a superspreader event, except for ideologies. (They were also terrible on tactics. How was it even possible for them not to know how to deal with tear gas.) Out there in the flyover biomass, there will be a lot of dedicated and motivated people studying this event, and learning from it. First time as farce, second time as tragedy….

    1. Wukchumni

      My brother in law in Az probably wishes he’d been in the rumble in the rotunda, so as to count coup with like minded far right types. Of course he could always BS them and claim he was there, but no pics or video to back it up. He would’ve flown first class to DC and stayed at a nice hotel, and my guess is he would’ve been carrying a Gadsden Flag.

      If lets say he’d have made it into the capitol, he wasn’t the type who would have done any damage, he’d have been one of the 800 or so that Big Gov is considering not charging for barging in. A celebrity in the right circle.

  30. Wukchumni

    About 85% of those in close quarters while storming the Capitol were maskless…

    Was spreading Covid all part of the plan, or just a co-play?

  31. drumlin woodchuckles

    Hopefully to eachother.

    And hopefully they all live another hundred years in incurable Long Tail Covid agony.

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