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CSUSB professor discusses future of insurrectionist movement
Los Angeles Times
Jan. 8, 2021

Brian Levin, director of CSUSB’s Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism, was interviewed for an article about the dichotomy inside the insurrectionist movement that is newly emboldened after storming the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, but is also fractured, in part, because of its leaders’ loose grip on reality.

Despite competing realities, there is little argument about what happens next: more of the same. Both those on the radical right fringe espousing violence and those more mainstream plan on continuing the protests that have marked a year of upheaval in 2020.

But Levin said the difference between radicalism under a Trump presidency and with Biden in the White House may be in the loss of Trump’s ability to project his views. That will leave regional leaders to fill the gap — many of whom have moved their messaging to alternative social media platforms outside the mainstream. Levin said that both allow them an audience distilled down to true believers, but also limits recruiting.

“They already have their own ecosystem,” he said. “They aren’t going to be able to grow it more the way they did when they had unfettered access to Facebook and Twitter.”

Read the complete article at “Far-right extremists want to target more capitols, but are divided after D.C. riot.”


CSUSB professor quoted in article about woman fatally shot during Capitol riot
Associated Press via the Chicago Sun-Times
Jan. 8, 2021

Brian Levin, director of CSUSB’s Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism, was interviewed for an article about a woman who was fatally shot when a mob of President Donald Trump supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6.

A bystander’s video shows the woman, identified by Capitol Police as Ashli Babbitt, 35, was trying to climb through the broken window of a barricaded doorway inside the Capitol when the officer fired.

On social media, Babbitt often ranted against the president’s frequent targets — illegal immigration, government mandates to contain the coronavirus and, most of all, Trump’s critics.

Levin said Babbitt will be remembered as a martyr by people with a range of grievances spanning from disbelief in the seriousness of the pandemic to beliefs in QAnon conspiracy theories.

“When you have people in an alternate universe, they will take a catalytic event and spin it in a way that is most appealing to their emotions and fears, irrespective of what the facts may end up showing,” he said.

Read the complete article at “Woman fatally shot at Capitol echoed Trump on social media.”

Many extremist groups at Capitol riot have strong SoCal following, CSUSB professor says
KABC TV (Los Angeles)
Jan. 7, 2021

The day after the first insurrection at the U.S. Capitol in more than 200 years, we're learning more about some of the right-wing extremist groups involved in the riot.
"The individuals who stormed the Capitol were a mixed collection of folks who include militant Trump supporters, election deniers and Alt-Right Folks," said Brian Levin, director of the Center for Study of Hate and Extremism at Cal State University San Bernardino.

"We had Nazis. We had a confederate flag inside the Capitol," said Levin. "And we didn't even see that during the Civil War," he said.

Many of these groups have a strong following in Southern California, Levin said.
"For instance, at the big anti-Muslim rally we had in San Bernardino back in 2017, we had Oath Keepers and we saw Proud Boys," he said.
Levin said many of the groups exist in a ring around Los Angeles, in areas that are more rural.
"There are Q-Anon folks, and neo-confederates. And indeed, the California militia is up in the high desert."

Read the complete article and watch video report at “Extremist groups involved in Capitol riot have strong following in SoCal.”

Riot at Capitol likely organized underground different groups whose ideologies intertwine, CSUSB professor says
KCBS TV (Los Angeles)
Jan. 7, 2021

Chaos at the nation’s Capitol Wednesday left the country and the world stunned.  One day later, it’s been found that among the group of rioters who breached the doors and sent lawmakers scrambling to the floor were several well-known members of extremist groups — including Tom Gionet, also known as Baked Alaska.

“He’s a noted Nazi miscreant,” Brian Levin, the director of the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at Cal State San Bernardino. “It is a disgrace that someone like him was able to invade the sacred Capitol of the United States.”

Levin said the invasion was likely methodically organized underground by the different groups whose ideologies intertwine.

“What they all share in common is a great affinity, almost a cultish affinity, for the president, a love of conspiracy theories and the promotion of the notion that we should engage in a civil war,” Levin said.

The professor said he expects to see another dangerous uprising, but the questions remain of who will lead it and what future event will be the catalyst.

“We’re seeing these people and we know who they are, being so blatant in showing their faces at the Capitol, I think that says something,” Levin said. “They’re taking a victory lap right now, and I think the federal government should prosecute them to the full extent of the law.”

Read the complete article and watch video report at “‘A noted Nazi miscreant’: Extremist with SoCal ties identified in riot at Capitol.”

Domestic terrorism expert and CSUSB professor Brian Levin discussed Jan. 6 Capitol Hill riot
Jan. 7, 2021

Brian Levin, the director of the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at Cal State San Bernardino, was interviewed for a segment on the program “Take Two” during which he discussed the riot on Capitol Hill led by supporters of President Donald Trump.

Officials and media outlets have struggled with how to define what happened yesterday on Capitol Hill – is it a coup attempt, an insurrection, domestic terrorism? With Levin, Take Two breaks down how experts view the event, and possible solutions on how to prevent future instances.

The segment can be heard at “Congressman Mark Takano on yesterday's violence, identifying domestic terrorism and LA's eviction moratorium extended.” The interview begins at about the 10-minute mark of the program.

Mixed collection of individuals and groups represented at rally and riot at U.S Capitol, CSUSB professor says
Daily Caller
Jan. 7, 2020

Several different groups were represented at President Donald Trump’s rally and the protests and riots at the Capitol Building later in the day in Washington, D.C. on Jan. 6.

“It appears that it was mixed collection of individuals that included militant Trump supporters, election deniers, Liberate movement followers, Alt right, Nazis, neo-Confederates, conspiracists, Proud Boy supporters, Q Anon adherents, Second Amendment and insurrectionists, and groypers,” Brian Levin, director of the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at CSUSB, told the Daily Caller News Foundation.

“What I think is most notable for a Conservative audience is that the most militant Trump supporters have turned against more mainstream Conservatives including,  but not limited to, Vice President (Mike) Pence, Chief Justice (John) Roberts, lawmakers who did not raise objections and law enforcement,” Levin added. “This is a troubling sign of a new insurgency, somewhat similar to the rise of the violent hard left in early ’70s which also bombed the Capitol.”

Read the complete article at “Photos: The political symbols of the Capitol riot.”

‘The bully pulpit matters,’ CSUSB professor says
KNBC TV (Los Angeles)
Jan. 8, 2021

Brian Levin, director of the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at CSUSB, was interviewed for a segment on calls for social media platforms to ban President Donald Trump in the aftermath of the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol.

“When you have these pools of grievances, these reservoirs of grievances online, and certain echo chambers, this is what you get,” Levin said, referring to the president’s tweets that many say incited the riot. “The bully pulpit matters. Words matter … The president should have immediately taken to the airwaves to say knock it off, this is not what we approve of, because for many, he is the only person they will listen to.”

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