Throughout the anti-racism protests that have rocked the United States since the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis on May 25, President Donald Trump and his obedient sycophants at Fox News have engaged in nonstop fear-mongering over the Antifa movement. But it isn't Antifa that is imperiling the United States from a national security standpoint in 2020 — it is far-right white nationalist and white supremacist groups and extremist militias. And on Thursday, October 8, the danger that white nationalists and militia groups pose was evident when the FBI announced that six men had been arrested in connection with an alleged terrorist plot to kidnap and possibly murder Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. Six men are facing federal charges, while seven of their allies are facing weapons charges at the state level in Michigan.
The men arrested include members of the Wolverine Watchmen, an anti-government militia group, as well as allies of the Boogaloo movement. As these groups see it, Democrats like Whitmer do not hold power legitimately: the alleged would-be kidnappers, according to the FBI, planned to take Whitmer to Wisconsin after kidnapping her, put her on "trial" and execute her for treason if found guilty. And there is no reason to believe that far-right white extremists will not engage in violence in the weeks ahead if they do not like the way the presidential election is going.
Here are five extremist groups or movements to be worried about in the months to come.
1. The Boogaloo Bois
According to NBC News, some of the Wolverine Watchmen arrested in connection with the alleged terrorist plot against Whitmer are also supporters of the Boogaloo movement — which has been calling for a civil war as well as a race war and seeks the violent overthrow of the U.S. government. Boogaloo members also openly advocate killing police officers. In Northern California, Boogaloo supporter Steven Carrillo was arrested in connection with an armed attack on a federal courthouse in Oakland on May 29. That attack left a security officer from the Federal Protective Service dead.
Trump's claim that Antifa is a terrorist movement is laughable. For all their militant rhetoric, Antifa do not engage in terrorist activities like the alleged plot against Whitmer or the drive-by attack in Oakland. But far-right white nationalist groups do.
The QAnon movement has been identified by the FBI as a possible source of domestic terrorism, and its sympathizers are making their way to the U.S. House of Representatives. In Georgia, QAnon supporter Marjorie Taylor Greene won a congressional primary on August 11, and given how deeply Republican her district is, it is entirely possible that she will win the general election in November and be sworn into the U.S. House of Representatives in January 2021 — which is incredibly disturbing when one considers what QAnon believes. According to the QAnon conspiracy theory, the U.S. government has been infiltrated by an international ring of pedophiles and Satanists, and Trump was put in power to combat the ring. According to QAnon, an anonymous figure named Q is giving them updates on Trump's battle.
As ludicrous as QAnon's beliefs are, supporters take them quite seriously. And if Trump loses to former Vice President Joe Biden in November and QAnon members feel a sense of desperation, that could make them even more dangerous and unhinged.
3. The Proud Boys
During Trump's debate with Biden on September 29, moderator Chris Wallace (one of the more reasonable conservatives at Fox News) gave Trump every chance to condemn white nationalism and white supremacy. Instead, Trump expressed his solidarity with the far-right Proud Boys — a group of self-described "western chauvinists" who openly advocate violence and have been carrying out violent attacks against members of Black Lives Matter at anti-racism demonstrations. After Trump's endorsement, members of the Proud Boys expressed their feelings of empowerment and declared that they were ready to carry out acts of violence on the president's behalf.
Proud Boys organizer Joe Biggs, following that debate, posted, "Trump basically said to go fuck them up! This makes me so happy." By "them," Biggs was referring to Antifa. And Biggs also posted, "President Trump told the proud boys to stand by because someone needs to deal with ANTIFA...well sir! we're ready!!"
4. The Three Percenters movement
The Three Percenters aren't one specific group, but rather, a movement of far-right militias. Three Percenters are well-armed and engage in military-like training, and they have made it clear that they are fully prepared for armed struggle. According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, "Percenterism is one of three core components within the anti-government militia movement, along with the Oath Keepers and traditional militia groups. The reference to '3 Percent' stems from the dubious historical claim that only 3% of American colonists fought against the British during the War of Independence.
5. The Wolverine Watchmen
The Wolverine Watchmen are among the many militia groups that believe that liberals and progressives and anti-Trump conservatives do not hold power legitimately and that it is their duty to wage armed struggle against their enemies. According to the FBI, the Wolverine Watchmen believed that Whitmer had violated the U.S. Constitution by promoting social distancing restrictions in Michigan in response to the coronavirus pandemic — and after kidnapping her and putting her on "trial" for treason, they would execute her if found guilty. But the group's activities, the FBI said, went way beyond their alleged plot to kidnap Whitmer: they also hoped to kidnap other officials in Michigan, overthrow the state government and ignite a civil war.