“A New Kind of American Radicalism”: The Campaign to Portray Ordinary America as Deviant and Dangerous

On September 29, 2020, on this blog, I wrote, “We should be terrified for our republic. We are seeing a color revolution unfolding before our very eyes. This time in the premier First World country. The strategy corporate elite fractions use in the Third World to install governments conducive to their interests is being deployed in America thanks to neoconservatives, progressives, and the Democratic Party.” I reflect on that successful color revolution in this essay, but, perhaps more importantly, I assess potential dangers facing Americans in its aftermath. For those who believe they won on November 3 aren’t satisfied with merely turning Trump out of office. The tens of millions who put Trump in office, and who showed up in even greater numbers to keep him in office, remain. And Trump, or somebody like him, could return. These are problems for elite ambition.

The Color Revolution

According to Revolver News, a color revolution “refers to a specific type of coordinated attack that the United States government has been known to deploy against foreign regimes, particularly in Eastern Europe deemed to be ‘authoritarian’ and hostile to American interests. Rather than using a direct military intervention to effect regime change as in Iraq, Color Revolutions attack a foreign regime by contesting its electoral legitimacy, organizing mass protests and acts of civil disobedience, and leveraging media contacts to ensure favorable coverage to their agenda in the Western press.”

Part of this strategy is using mass protests to lure the target government into deploying the state apparatus to suppress the protests, coercive action that is then exploited to validate claims that the target government is authoritarian and therefore illegitimate. Crucially, propagandists spin the use of force in a particular direction leveraging an assumed moral understanding. Trump’s use of the National Guard during the riots of 2020, including in Washington DC, marked his authoritarianism, for example, whereas the thousands of troops in Washington DC today are there to “defend democracy” from authoritarianism.

As analysts over at Revolver News have pointed out, the same people running many of the color revolutions overseas have been using the same playbook to overturn the 2016 election. The project to remove Trump from office didn’t begin several months ago. It began years ago when it became clear that the self-aggrandizing businessman from Queens would occupy the White House. We saw elements of this lengthy color revolution in the protests that appeared and reappeared at various points during his presidency. The Pussyhats in 2017, for example. The most notable example, of course, the resurgent Black Lives Matter, joined by Antifa, in 2020. The protests and riots were augmented by manufactured scandals. The deep state’s Russian collusion hoax. An impeachment over a phone call to the Ukrainian president.

In that September 29 blog, I told readers about the Transition Integrity Project (TIP), one of the entities carrying out the color revolution. TIP was one of many collectives determined to see Biden assume the Office of President, thereby putting the corporatist-globalist powers back in the driver’s seat. Publications such as The National Pulse and Revolver News have been eager to tell you about many others and I urge you to avail yourself of their work. However, establishment media, dedicated to the aims of the color revolution, was reluctant to cover any of this in the midst of the contest. At least not in a way that would alert the public to it. But it was only a matter of time before the legacy media would cover it. Elites are prone to brag about their achievements. They like to let people know how clever they are. They like to see credit given where credit is due.

Time Magazine couldn’t wait until the upcoming (this Thursday) impeachment trial was concluded (in the likely second acquittal of Trump). Arguably the premier news and opinion magazine in America published last week a lengthy article, “The Secret History of the Shadow Campaign the Saved the 2020 Election,” that admits the color revolution elites carried out against Trump. Incredibly, the author of the article, Molly Ball, confesses: “Trump was right. There was a conspiracy unfolding behind the scenes, one that both curtailed the protests and coordinated the resistance from CEOs.”

Note the use of the word “conspiracy” in the article. Ball just comes right out and says it, her position and status protecting her from being lumped with Alex Jones and the rest of the canceled conspiratorial wingnuts. Ball is on the right side (i.e. the left side), so it’s okay.

“Both surprises were the result of an informal alliance between left-wing activists and business titans,” Ball details the cabal. “The pact was formalized in a terse, little-noticed joint statement of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and AFL-CIO published on Election Day. Both sides would come to see it as a sort of implicit bargain–-inspired by the summer’s massive, sometimes destructive racial-justice protests–-in which the forces of labor came together with the forces of capital to keep the peace and oppose Trump’s assault on democracy.” The pact was little noticed because the establishment media avoided tossing it into the echo machine. Ball is now inviting the public to marvel at it.

Ball wants her readers to know the machinations were bigger than they could have imagined. “The handshake between business and labor,” she writes, “was just one component of a vast, cross-partisan campaign to protect the election–-an extraordinary shadow effort dedicated not to winning the vote but to ensuring it would be free and fair, credible and uncorrupted.”

That spin, a “vast” and “extraordinary shadow effort” mounted to “protect” democracy, marks the piece throughout—but though it attempts to wrap itself in virtue, to make the conspiracy out to be a noble one, the article tries too hard and gives away the game. Ball wanted so badly for Trump to be tossed out of office that the truth, namely that Biden didn’t win fair and square (this is why it’s such a big deal that Republicans say Biden won fair and square), pokes though the rhetoric. Ball’s skill as a propaganda isn’t sophisticated enough to hide her sympathies. Frankly, it kind of feels like she isn’t really trying to hide it at all.

Ball carefully documents the “vast” and “extraordinary shadow effort” that “touched every aspect of the election.” She tells her readers what I told readers of Freedom and Reason months ago: “They [those who orchestrated Biden’s victory] got states to change voting systems and laws and helped secure hundreds of millions in public and private funding. They fended off voter-suppression lawsuits, recruited armies of poll workers and got millions of people to vote by mail for the first time. They successfully pressured social media companies to take a harder line against disinformation and used data-driven strategies to fight viral smears. They executed national public-awareness campaigns that helped Americans understand how the vote count would unfold over days or weeks, preventing Trump’s conspiracy theories and false claims of victory from getting more traction. After Election Day, they monitored every pressure point to ensure that Trump could not overturn the result.”

Giddily, Ball invites Norm Eisen, a prominent lawyer and former Obama Administration official who recruited Republicans and Democrats to the board of the Voter Protection Program, to tell her readers just what the elite pulled off. “The untold story of the election,” Eisen says, “is the thousands of people of both parties who accomplished the triumph of American democracy at its very foundation.” (For more on Eisen, read this article from Revolver News.)

Like Ball, Eisen codes the conspiracy (again, Ball’s words, not mine) in the rhetoric of democratic integrity. However, the tactics Ball identifies and Eisen takes credit for each has an obvious dark side: Changing voting procedures via executive power is illegal in light of the United States Constitution which, in guaranteeing citizens of every state a republican form of government, locates the power to determine election processes in the fifty legislatures that comprise the nation. Voting by mail was a balloting harvesting scheme designed to bypass the layers of security that guarantee that the person casting the vote is actually the person that vote purports to represent. Social media censorship marginalized, punished, and silenced those who warned Americans about the conspiracy that Time now confirms. Ensuring that Trump could not overturn the result was in truth a concerted effort to thwart democratic challenges to certifications of elections where widespread evidence of illegalities, irregularities, and fraud called into question their legitimacy. In the end, a riot at the Capitol stopped the planned challenges to state certifications and Biden was installed as president.

Ball’s words betray her throughout the article. She tells us what the conspiracy was really about, writing that “Trump and his allies were running their own campaign to spoil the election.” Their own campaign. Of course, not to spoil the election, but to fight back against a massive campaign to remove Trump from office, a campaign that he and those around him could see—as any of us prepared to believe our own eyes could see. Or our own ears! Biden bragged about having “the most extensive and inclusive voter fraud organization in the history of politics.” That was no stutter. It was an admission. His mind slipping, he slipped and let known the backroom backslapping. In the end, Ball is telling us, the campaign that sought to remove Trump and install Biden as president was much better organized that Trump’s efforts to fight for his tens of millions of supporters.

The title of Ball’s article needs only one word changed to accurately reflect the evidence she presents: “The Secret History of the Shadow Campaign that Stole the 2020 Election.” I am unsure that the establishment felt it is safe yet to report on the color revolution that removed Trump from office, but Ball couldn’t help herself. And many of the coup leaders were eager to respond to her phone calls and emails. Soon enough, they will all be on the Sunday morning shows gloating. An anti-democratic elite is running the country against the interests of the American people. It had to crush Trump’s America First movement because Trump stood in the way of the managed decline of the American republic. The corporatists and globalists want the people to know they cannot resist transnationalization. They want you to know that you are serfs, not citizens.

The Deviant and Dangerous American

“Get in line” is the message elites are broadcasting. And the elite are now preparing the national security apparatus to focus on the 75 million patriots who voted America First in case they won’t. Academia is already stepping up to the plate to help the establishment translate conservative and rightwing politics into the language of domestic terrorism. Soon, the Confederal battle flag and Thin Blue Line won’t be the only flag that marks you as problematic. Representing the push are academics like Robert Pape, University of Chicago political scientist, and Keven Ruby, Senior research associate of the Chicago Project on Security and Threats. In “The Capitol Rioters Aren’t Like Other Extremists,” published in The Atlantic, they analyze nearly two hundred people arrested in connection with the January 6 Capitol riot and discover “a new kind of American radicalism.” The article, cloaked in scholarly authority, is a clinic in propaganda.

Pape and Ruby are the scholarly type who, from his prison cell under the Fascist rule of Mussolini, social theorist Antonio Gramsci characterized as organic intellectuals. They tell their audience that “a closer look at the people suspected of taking part in the Capitol riot suggests a different and potentially far more dangerous problem: a new kind of violent mass movement in which more ‘normal’ Trump supporters—middle-class and, in many cases, middle-aged people without obvious ties to the far right—joined with extremists in an attempt to overturn a presidential election.” A new kind of violent mass movement. Scary words. But one must suspect even the “normal” in these new times. The normal is the deviant in our postmodern world.

Many progressives have convinced themselves that installing Joe Biden as president is the equivalent of defeating Fascism in Europe. You hear in their rhetoric such absurd notions as the Democrats have won a civil war (ponder the irony of that). All this reconciliation talk is as if it were Trump and his supporters who caused the chaos over the last four years. Remember, the core idea of Antifa (which the president tells us is indeed only an idea) is that the mere appearance of conservatives in public is sufficient to justify defending the community from fascists.

The left is ludicrously expressing a desire to “denazify” America by canceling conservatives. In ominous tones, the frightened sheep are told that conservatives (i.e. fascists) have infiltrated the flock. “They are hidden among us disguised behind regular jobs,” Mystery writer Don Winslow warns us. They are our children’s teachers. They work at malls and in doctor’s offices. Their white hoods and white robes and brown shirts can be seen through the lens of antifascism and antiracism. Winslow calls on progressives to form a citizen army, a network of harassers and spies—woke scolds and busybodies—who should report to authorities what their neighbors, colleagues, teachers are up to, what they say on social media, in classrooms, in bars. American needs a new generation Stasi who will deliver up to the government comrades, family, and friends. A million Chicken Littles. See something, say something.

Putting to one side the 75 million Trump voters who have done nothing but maybe put up a yard sign and shared campaign literature (if they were brave enough to risk career and reputation), is it not possible that many, maybe even most of those who were in the Capitol that day (and who were not Antifa or BLM) were carrying their protest over the 2020 election inside the building—the people’s building—in order to be heard by their public servants? Could it be that they were not trying to “overturn a presidential election” by force but rather change through persuasion the minds of those who haven’t considered the facts? Is it not possible that they were there not to overturn the election (which had not actually yet occurred at that point), but to explain why they were not prepared to concede in the face of widespread illegalities, irregularities, and fraud in the 2020 election?

Have my readers watched videos of what transpired on January 6 at the Capitol? I have. They are plentiful. There are people on video acting violently or destructively. We now know that the violence, exaggerated or not, was planned in advance (Trump did not incite a riot). At the same time, the video shows, on some sides of the building, Capitol police inviting in people, even forming ranks to make entry orderly and safe. Pape and Ruby find that only one-tenth of Capitol arrestees could be classified as supporters of gangs, militias, or militia-like groups such as the Proud Boys, Oath Keepers, and Three Percenters. Ninety percent of arrestees had no apparent affiliation with any known militant organization. In other words, those were ordinary Americans milling about in the Capitol that day. Yet Pape and Ruby reach a bizarrely different conclusion: its ordinary Americans who represent the greatest threat to the republic.

That Americans wearing Trump gear and flying the US flag were arrested in the Capitol is hardly evidence of guilt of violent or destructive behavior. Nor do their arrests signal insurrectionist motives. They were where they weren’t supposed to be—this much is true. The charges, “entering a restricted building” and “disorderly conduct,” aren’t particularly egregious offenses. The concrete barricades, chainlink fences, and razor wire, and the thousands of soldiers that now make the Capitol look like the Green Zone in Iraq, had not yet been deployed. Perhaps those who entered the building didn’t know they were supposed to be in a building their taxes pay for, a building in which public servants pass laws that affect their families and communities. One might excuse such ignorance given what they were taught in their civics classes or hear from politicians everyday. They certainly couldn’t have missed the way authorities allowed leftwing protestors to get away with almost anything. They must have heard Kamala Harris tell Stephen Colbert that protests not only wouldn’t stop but shouldn’t stop.

But, again, it’s not those who entered the Capitol building that Pape and Ruby are after. The Atlantic piece runs with the worst assumptions about the totality of Trump supporters: “To understand the events of January 6 and devise solutions to prevent their recurrence, Americans need a fine-grained comprehension of who attacked the Capitol. Understanding the ideology and beliefs of those who commit political violence is important, but so is knowing what kind of people they are and what their lives are like.” What kind of people are they? What are their lives like?

Pape and Ruby are warning you not about insurrectionists, but about small businessmen and women and conservative working class people fed up with corporate governance and technocracy, who have suffered the most from the pandemic lockdowns, and who are moved to protest these affronts to their liberty and to democracy in their Capitol in the spirit of patriotic duty. (It is telling that in their research, the researchers found a majority of those arrested hailing from blue or blue-leaning counties.) For Pape and Ruby, society must find a “solution” to this problem—the solution of the politically interested ordinary American. We might call this the problem of the anti-idiot, idiot here used in its original meaning in the context of Ancient Greek politics.

To be sure, we mustn’t downplay the violence that occurred on January 6. I have condemned it on this blog. As I reported, a police officer died from his injuries, a veteran was shot to death, and a woman was trampled. These deaths are tragic. (So are the dozens of deaths caused by Black Lives Matters protests.) However, for the most part, and we must tell the truth about this, the scene that day is comparable to the way public employee union members, upset over Republican legislation undermining collective bargaining, took over the Wisconsin state capitol building in 2011 (see “The Relative Ethics of Occupying Capitol Buildings”). And not just for a few hours. For days. The vast majority of those who entered the Wisconsin capitol building were peaceful. They were angry. I know a lot of people who were there. Several days found me marching around the building. I was angry, too. I’m a union man. Those who entered the structure were good people who wanted to make their voices heard. Marching around and around the building didn’t seem to make the point, so some of them went inside. I didn’t. But I wasn’t particularly upset that others did.

Those were peaceful protestors who entered Michigan statehouse in Lansing in late April, 2020, too. Remember how the media made a calamity over the fact that some of them came armed? (Hardly surprising. It’s Michigan.) Those protestors were angry over Governor Gretchen Whitmer extending her stay-at-home mandate (while her husband went fishing) and they wanted to make their voices heard by the lawmakers who were debating the matter. It didn’t seem Whitmer was listening or cared about what she was doing to their livelihoods.

The way in which the Michigan protestors were depicted in media stories and by progressives in my social circles foreshadowed the way the Capitol trespassers would be depicted several months later. In light of the leftwing protests across the country but a month later, it illustrated perhaps better than anything could the double standard that plagues our nation. Indeed, the scene in Lansing was not unlike the scene in Sacramento of two dozen armed black radicals occupying the state Capitol of California on May 2, 1967, an action now revered by antiracist activists as spreading to the inadequacies of Martin Luther King Jr.’s tactics of nonviolent resistance (see Bad Comparisons and the Call for Racially Differentiated Law Enforcement).

If the double standard is still not clear, recall the more than 300 protesters arrested at the protests over Brett Kavanaugh confirmation hearings at the Capitol. The mob that descended on the US Senate building on Thursday, October 4, 2018 while lawmakers reviewed the FBI’s report on the allegations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh was angry. Why wasn’t that frightening? After US Capitol Police barricaded the front of the Capitol, protesters gathered in the Hart Senate Building atrium. More were arrested at the Dirksen Senate Office Building. What triggered such a calamity? According to CNN, “Christine Blasey Ford came forward with an allegation that Kavanaugh sexually and physically assaulted her while they were both at a party during their high school years more than three decades ago.” In high school. More than three decades ago. The protests didn’t end on that day. Two days later, as the mob pounded on its doors, US Capitol Police arrested 164 people at the Supreme Court.

By publishing the Pape and Ruby article, The Atlantic is creating the impression of middle-aged, middle class Americans, hundreds of thousands who peaceably assembled at the Capitol, millions who voted for Trump, joining forces with a handful of right-wing and left-wing extremists who were behaving in a violent and destructive fashion.

One finds a similar, more popular track in the pages of Salon. Lucian Truscott makes it explicit: Republicans are no longer a political party. They’re a mob. Truscott, a writer of fiction like Don Winslow, pursues the same angle as Winslow: “If the people you saw on your television in the violent mob outside the Capitol on Jan. 6 seemed familiar, that’s because they were. You have seen them before—at Donald Trump’s political rallies, standing in line behind you at the supermarket, driving the car in front of you at the drive-thru, in the pickup line at your kid’s school. If you don’t believe me, Google some videos taken that day. Look at their faces. They’re from every walk of life: middle, lower and upper class, construction workers, shop owners, stockbrokers, husbands, wives, students, off-duty cops and soldiers, accountants, actors, writers, teachers, online media stars, even one recently elected state representative.” He also notes their race. They are white.

This is a campaign of delegitimation. Legacy media like The Atlantic are the propaganda arm of the globalist establishment. They disseminate propaganda developed by organic intellectuals working at our leading universities and think tanks. Their design for the future is clear: stop the nationalist-populist movement that stands in the way of completing the project to effectively institute a one world legal and political system that entrenches the transnational corporate order, what some are describing as the global neo-feudalist order. The plans of the World Economic Forum, the Party of Davos, are not supposed; they are openly proclaimed on its website. This is the “Great Reset.” You will have nothing and you will be happy about it.

The campaign to punish and silence those who continue to pursue election fraud is, like the campaign to portray the tens of millions of Trump supporters as domestic terrorists, a frightening indicator of where we are in this phase of late capitalism. As CNN is reporting, “Voting technology company Smartmatic files $2.7 billion lawsuit against Fox News, Rudy Giuliani and Sidney Powell over ‘disinformation campaign’.” If this lawsuit is allowed to go forward, it means that private corporations will be able to engage in fraud without consequence by intimidating and bankrupting fact-finders and whistleblowers. This is particularly dangerous because elections are a public matter. We should never allow private power to dictate the terms and conduct of our democracy. The New York Times: “Lawsuits Take the Lead in Fight Against Disinformation.” USA Today: “Fake news victims are using lawsuits to shut down the lies. Can courts cure this plague?” Words have consequences, Lou Dobbs.

Fact-finding and whistleblowing are of the utmost importance to a healthy democracy. But those who tell the truth are ridiculed and maligned. Consider the case of Peter Navarro. Navarro holds a Ph.D. in economics from Harvard University and is a Professor Emeritus of Economics and Public Policy at the University of California-Irvine. Author of numerous books, including his China trilogy: The Coming China Wars (2006), Death By China (2011), and Crouching Tiger (2015), he served as Director of the Office of Trade and Manufacturing Policy at the White House during the Trump Administration. His analysis of the 2020 election should be the expert arguments and evidence Trump’s defense team brings to trial—that and Molly Ball’s Time piece (which should be given to every Senator on opening day). If that happens, America will have a chance to learn what tens of millions of people already know, that Trump’s claims surrounding the events of 2020 are not “unfounded.” Yet the Washington Post declares the Navarro reports to be “perhaps the most embarrassing produced by a White House staffer.” Translation: don’t bother looking at them.

Another angle of projecting disrepute upon conservatives is coming with the expected push for mandatory vaccination for children for COVID-19. Authorities and experts with close ties to the pharmaceutical giants are already telling us that herd immunity depends on inoculating children. Many conservatives, working from the principle of personal sovereignty, capable of understanding the risks involved in vaccination programs, and correctly grasping that the virus poses so little risk to children that vaccination is unnecessary, will refuse the vaccine. They may be forced to appeal to religious exemptions since the Nuremberg Code doesn’t appear to carry any force under corporate state rule. The technocrats will paint such refusal as yet another threat to the health and safety of the republic from a “new kind of violent radical,” i.e. the ordinary citizen, the backwards and stupid American who has no right to participate in her democracy. Elites will use the perception to destroy exemptions, and then the public will face a barrage of vaccinations. Just don’t virtue signal with vaccine passports on social media. Apparently there are scammers out there.

Obvious Lies and the Deep Truth

These are the tactics used to marginalize Americans living between the coasts, to politically delegitimize them by portraying their patriotism, religious faith, skepticism, and traditional beliefs as threats to the social order of things, an order defined by woke corporate elites and serving their political and material interests. The deplorables must be marginalized to prevent nationalistic and populist sentiment from derailing the transnationalization project, even if it means subverting the Constitution and upending American culture.

Even while she tells a powerful truth, a truth that supports Trump’s complaints, Molly Ball can’t help but repeat lies about January 6. “Trump addressed the crowd that afternoon, peddling the lie that lawmakers or Vice President Mike Pence could reject states’ electoral votes,” she writes. That is not what was asked of Pence. “[Trump] told them to go to the Capitol and ‘fight like hell.’” It’s as if she has never been to a football gate. The president told the thousands assembled to “peacefully and patriotically” go to the Capitol and make their voices heard. “Fight like hell” is a rallying cry. “Then [Trump] returned to the White House as they sacked the building. As lawmakers fled for their lives and his own supporters were shot and trampled, Trump praised the rioters as ‘very special.’” Trump did not praise the rioters (just as he did not praise white nationalists and white supremacists after Charlottesville). He praised the thousands of peaceful protestors who came to Washington DC to make their voices heard. That’s what democracy looks like.

Here’s what democracy doesn’t look like: the elite conspiracy Ball documents and details in her article. Color revolutions are not democratic. A color revolution is a strategy to thwart democracy. It is antidemocratic. Ball writes, “Democracy won in the end. The will of the people prevailed.” No, the will of the plutocracy prevailed. The people lost 2020. And they may well lose their country on account of it.

Ball concludes her piece with this: “it’s crazy, in retrospect, that this is what it took to put on an election in the United States of America.” Despite the many lies, in the end, Ball once more could not help but tell the deeper truth: Elites put on an election.

* * *

Remember in 2020 when Chuck Schumer, standing in front of the Supreme Court building, said that Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh, “won’t know what hit” them if they voted to uphold abortion restrictions? He said this, too: “I want to tell you, Gorsuch, I want to tell you, Kavanaugh, you have released the whirlwind, and you will pay the price.”

Schumer wasn’t exactly calling on people to “peacefully and patriotically” let the Supreme Court know how they feel. Phrases like “won’t know what hit them,” “unleashed the whirlwind,” and “pay the price” don’t sound like calls for peaceful protest.

So over-the-top were Schumer’s words, Chief Justice Roberts rebuked the senator. “Statements of this sort from the highest levels of government are not only inappropriate, they are dangerous.” Dangerous, huh? Roberts then said, “All members of the Court will continue to do their job, without fear or favor, from whatever quarter.”

Why didn’t Roberts livestream his tears? Probably because he didn’t cry about it. He also didn’t livestream any tears in 2017 when a mob pounded on the doors of the Supreme Court angry over Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearings. Perhaps Roberts is no drama queen.

Imagine if somebody who said the things Schumer about Gorsuch and Kavanaugh said became the Majority Leader in the United States Senate.

Published by

Andrew Austin

Andrew Austin is on the faculty of Democracy and Justice Studies and Sociology at the University of Wisconsin—Green Bay. He has published numerous articles, essays, and reviews in books, encyclopedia, journals, and newspapers.

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