NOTE: Faculty, if you are interviewed and quoted by news media, or if your work has been cited, and you have an online link to the article or video, please let us know. Contact us at  

‘We have seen the politicization of fear,’ CSUSB professor says  
Courthouse News
Sept. 18, 2020

Brian Levin, professor of criminal justice at California State University and director of the Center for the Study of Hate & Extremism, was interviewed for an article about U.S. Attorney General William Barr wanting federal prosecutors to file sedition charges against protestors. Levin, along with other legal experts, says the government is fighting the wrong battle.

Instead of pressing prosecutors to use arcane and inflammatory charges against leftist protesters demanding justice in the movement for black lives, the government should be fighting the major domestic danger facing the United States: rising white supremacy.

“The biggest threat that our center has been highlighting for years is that white supremacist extremists represent the most prominent threat to the United States,” Levin said. “Federal intelligence agencies admit that white supremacy is the largest problem we face, but we have people like Chad Wolf and Bill Barr making public statements saying the total opposite.”

He said encouragement to use a charge like sedition – which carries a 20-year federal prison sentence – is part of hyping a made-up threat, rather than actually protecting Americans from violence.

“What we have seen is the politicization of fear and the only explanation I can think of is that this is another part of a pattern of exaggeration and the use of fiery imagery to create a sociopolitical construction of a threat that is far more elevated than the reality,” Levin said.

Levin agreed that the intent was probably related to “grandstanding” ahead of the election.

“There are myriad statutes to punish people who commit violence,” Levin said. “Rioting, arson, reckless endangerment, felony murder statutes. So it seems to me that this is a bit of grandstanding. They’re swinging a baseball bat that they are probably, if they are wise, not going to use much except as a messaging tactic.”

“But I don’t think we can dismiss it,” he added, “because I do think it does indeed have a chilling effect.”

Read the complete article at “Portland defense attorneys doubtful of sedition charges against protesters.”

This news clip and others may be viewed at “In the Headlines.”