Vigilante mobs suppressing peaceful protestors isn't new in America. What's new is how politicians are using social media to fan the flames to hold on to power. There really are two forms of Law & Order. Black and White.
Using vigilante mobs to hold onto power
We analyzed over 400 incidents of vigilante mobs, often with tacit support from the police, to suppress peaceful protests and intimidate voters. This StoryMap explains the use of violence as political tool, recent events in Kenosha, the role of Facebook and what people can do to reduce the violence.
”Vigilante mobs tend to flare up in reaction to a perceived increase in the power held by Black people, he said. In the Jim Crow South, the trigger was abolition; today it is the movement for Black lives. “Such violence is a way of keeping Black people in ‘their place’." said Noël Cazenave, Univ. of Connecticut. - The Intercept
The Russian playbook on how to use violence to intimidate your opponents
George Orwell satirized how Russian dictator, Stalin used private militias to stay in power in "Animal Farm". Stalin used secret police to kill his opponents and intimidate the public. Orwell's story is set on a farm where the animals have taken over with two rival politicians Napoleon and Snowball. Napoleon raises his own private militia of dogs to intimidate the other animals and grab power.
"Napoleon raises them specifically to be his own little private army: he takes them from their parents as puppies, says that he'll 'make himself responsible for their education', and then raises them in isolation. The dogs are brutal and vicious.
They're first unleashed after Snowball has wowed everyone with his flashy speech. Napoleon lets out a whistle, and "there was a terrible baying sound outside, and nine enormous dogs, wearing brass-studded collars came bounding into the barn. From this point on, the dogs are the pigs' bodyguards—they intimidate and threaten the other animals to make sure that the pigs get their way in exchange for treats and cushy beds up at the farmhouse." - Shmoop
Voter intimidation through vigilantism
The parallels to what's happening today are eerie:
"Members of the Bikers for Trump organization gathered outside the location of the Democratic National Convention (DNC) in Milwaukee, Wednesday on Wednesday as a show of support for President Donald Trump." - Newsweek
"The phrase the president tweeted, 'When the looting starts, the shooting starts,' was used by a Miami police chief widely condemned by civil rights groups." - NY Times
"The consequences of a U.S. president encouraging extralegal violence. Donald Trump Is America’s First Vigilante President." - The Bulwark
Far right vigilante incidents at political rallies surges in 2020
DemLabs created this map with data from by Alexander Reid Ross, an Adjunct Professor at Portland State University and author of Against the Fascist Creep. The map can be freely shared with this link and the StoryMap with this link.
Take Away: Don't let vigilante mobs be used to intimidate voters and stop peaceful protests.
Boycott firms who profit from promoting violence and subverting democracy.