There's a certain pathology that permeates the petty-bourgeois white settlers of the United States, one that seeks to reconcile the dissonance of claiming to hold a birthright over land that was given to you through theft and genocide. For those among them who've embraced the nationalistic calling of America's far-right militias, this pathology is expressed in constant paranoia and rage; the fear of losing what colonialism has given them comes out through a determination to wage war for the preservation of this colonial order, to do whatever is necessary to stop America from being overthrown by colonialism's victims.
Such was the mentality behind the Capitol Hill rioters. They had been absorbing conspiracies about whites being "replaced" through immigration, fearmongering about the recent black protest movement being part of a Soros conspiracy, and narratives about how their American way of life could only be preserved through fighting to overturn an election they believed had been stolen from Trump. According to this paranoid belief system, there was no alternative to violence.
Despite attempts to sentimentalize this crowd, "economic anxiety" wasn't the motivator behind what they did. These weren't poor and working class people who were acting out of a desire to gain decent living conditions. These were business owners, CEOs, state legislators, law-enforcement and military personnel, and real-estate brokers. Their motivation was to fortify American capitalism, which they believed could only properly function if it was led by an openly white nationalist government.
It didn't matter that capitalist exploitation and white supremacy will continue in the U.S. for as long as the country exists, no matter who's president. A materialist analysis isn't what animates the far-right terrorist movement that gained a propaganda victory through the Capitol Hill attack, and that will continue intensifying its acts of violence in the near future. What animates this movement is a combination of racial chauvinism (as well as Christian chauvinism in many cases) and obsession with a supposed plot against the in-group. These things--an aristocratic attitude and conspiratorial paranoia--are two of the psychological factors behind fascism that Umberto Eco identified. And they best apply to these well-to-do militia members who regularly show off their high-priced weapons, armor, and vehicles when they appear in public.
The same dynamics of white supremacy and conspiratorial paranoia apply to the members of this movement who aren't petty-bourgeois. Since this ultra-nationalist ideology is designed to snuff out any kind of class consciousness, the movement's working-class strains forsake proletarian solidarity in favor of a warlike desire to stamp out their national enemies. In their cases, this desire is also motivated by what Eco described as "individual or social frustration"; one of the most typical features of historical fascism was the "appeal to a frustrated middle class, a class suffering from an economic crisis or feelings of political humiliation, and frightened by the pressure of lower social groups. In our time, when the old 'proletarians' are becoming petty bourgeois (and the lumpen are largely excluded from the political scene), the fascism of tomorrow will find its audience in this new majority."
It's this alliance between the petty capitalists (who are evidently eager to join an armed fascist movement despite their lack of economic hardship) and the most reactionary sections of the white working class that will make up the paramilitary, vigilante wing of near-future America's counterrevolutionary junta. These armed far-right groups, in collaboration with the police, the military, and the intelligence agencies, are preparing to try to bloodily defend capital from whatever class and anti-colonial uprisings appear in the coming decades.
The more these ultra-nationalist strains catch on to the reality that the United States is experiencing a social breakdown, and that our economic and environmental crises are going to get vastly worse, the more they come to this conclusion of a mass-extermination campaign being necessary post-collapse. They're so eager to enact ethnic cleansing and mass killings of their political enemies that many of them are consciously trying to speed up society's collapse. In 2019 Rinaldo Nazzaro, a leader of the accelerationist hate group The Base, said over a recorded call that "We want things to accelerate, we want things to get worse in the United States. And from that point, by virtue of the chaos that ensues, that would naturally present some opportunities for us. Law and order starts breaking down, power vacuums start emerging for those who are organized and ready, to take advantage of those."
A year ago, when the pandemic was first exploding throughout the country, these Nazi accelerationist circles expressed eagerness to exploit this chaotic new paradigm. "I hope it's almost time boys," read one post from a Nazi account on the platform Telegram. "Read for virus and parasite control," read a caption on a post from another Nazi on the platform, put next to a photo of themselves in a hazmat suit and holding a rifle. "ACCELERATION REMINDER," another post began, telling members of the movement to try to evade the authorities should the National Guard be deployed during the coming months of the crisis.
In this last year, these groups have succeeded in their goal of exploiting societal instability to incite violence many times. Kyle Rittenhouse has killed two protesters at a Black Lives Matter demonstration, QAnon fanatics have stormed the Capitol, and last summer some of the far-right accelerationists even carried out two ambush-style terrorist attacks against government officials. These kinds of attacks largely fall into the category of stochastic terrorism, where demagogues egg on individuals to commit lone-wolf acts of violence. And this type of terrorism in many cases serves to weaken the capitalist state, since it often results in law-enforcement members being killed. But over time, it will morph into something less random and more focused on the colonial power structure's long-term goal: to put down an attempt at proletarian and anti-colonial revolution.
The deep ties that these paramilitary groups have with the armed forces, police departments, and the intelligence community show the inevitability of this evolution towards a coherent counterrevolutionary mass-killing campaign. As leaked documents showed last year, the Albuquerque Police Department has been linked to firms that work with Nazi groups and the CIA, showing how systemic and ultimately benign these ties are. AbolishAPD reported about the APD's subscription payments to the firm Snaptrends for digital-surveillance purposes:
This subscription gave APD the capacity to set up "undercover accounts'' to bypass Facebook and Twitter privacy rules. APD ran all the data and intelligence it gathered through the Snaptrends user interface, as required by the subscription. In turn, Snaptrends filtered this data through a cyber security firm called Cloudflare, which provides cybersecurity for APD, and previously did for the neo-Nazi website The Daily Stormer and the white supremacist message board 8chan. The Huffington Post reported that Cloudflare's clients included seven groups identified as terrorist organizations by the U.S. Department of State. APD ended its subscription with Snaptrends after both Twitter and Facebook suspended its data agreement with the company. APD then turned to Geofeedia, a company that started with seed funding from the CIA's venture capital fund In-Q-Tel.
This incestuous mass of collaborators within intelligence, law enforcement, the armed forces, and paramilitaries are using these kinds of surveillance tactics as a means for gaining a preemptive upper hand in the coming conflict. For now the reactionary militia movement mostly commits its atrocities via stochastic terrorism, but the more our revolutionary conditions ripen, the more it will transition from random vigilantes to coordinated bands of armed terror. The CIA has utilized death squads around the world numerous times, and it will be able to bring these counterrevolutionary terror strategies home.
What will our conditions look like when U.S. imperialism turns inwards in this way? Like unemployment, slums, and defective infrastructure becoming so prevalent that the U.S. military will need to occupy the country's urban areas to retain social order within them. Like mass migrations, food and water shortages, and permanent floods from sea-level rise creating a destabilized situation where far-right militias try to fill the power vacuum. Like most of the country living under regular blackouts, lack of access to resources, martial law, and growing violence while the rich remain safe in their high-tech enclaves and the petty capitalists guard their increasingly precious land holdings. All justified by what Eco described as fascism's ideology of contempt for those who lose out under the current social system:
Elitism is a typical aspect of any reactionary ideology, insofar as it is fundamentally aristocratic, and aristocratic and militaristic elitism cruelly implies contempt for the weak. Ur-Fascism can only advocate a popular elitism. Every citizen belongs to the best people of the world, the members of the party are the best among the citizens, every citizen can (or ought to) become a member of the party. But there cannot be patricians without plebeians. In fact, the Leader, knowing that his power was not delegated to him democratically but was conquered by force, also knows that his force is based upon the weakness of the masses; they are so weak as to need and deserve a ruler. Since the group is hierarchically organized (according to a military model), every subordinate leader despises his own underlings, and each of them despises his inferiors. This reinforces the sense of mass elitism.
The variable in this story is the revolutionary socialists who hold the potential to organize in their communities, build networks of mutual support and community defense for the marginalized groups, and find ways to bring down this tyrannical system.