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Far-Right Extremist Mobilization Surges During U.S. Unrest


Far-Right Extremist Mobilization Surges During U.S. Unrest

Thursday, August 27, 2020
1:00pm - 2:00pm


On Thursday, August 27 at 1:00 p.m. ET, independent research scholars Alejandro J. Beutel and Daryl Johnson provided a virtual lecture on their recent publication “Far-Right Extremist Mobilization Surges During U.S. Unrest.” A recording of the event can be found at this link. If you have any questions, please email the START events team at start-events@umd.edu.

The United States is experiencing significant turmoil right now, forced to confront three ongoing shocks: the public health crisis of the COVID-19 pandemic, the pandemic’s economic impact, and the fluid socio-political effects of the nationwide protests against systemic anti-Black racism. These shocks have clear geopolitical implications and are already manifesting in areas ranging from global public health to inspiring other movements for racial equity. But, also relevant to U.S. national security concerns, non-state extremist actors have inserted themselves into events associated with these shocks — namely the anti-lockdown and anti-racism protests — to exploit the socio-political discontent behind them and further their ideological agendas. 

To assess the potential impact of these non-state extremist actors on the U.S. socio-political environment, former START researcher Alejandro Beutel and co-author Daryl Johnson produced an article entitled, "Far-Right Extremist Mobilization Surges During U.S. Unrest," at the Center for Global Policy, a Washington, D.C. think-tank. This talk will discuss the insights from the article, including surveying recent U.S. far-right actor mobilization, findings from the article's open source dataset mapping far-left and far-right presence around the nationwide anti-racism protests, a forecast of future short-term extremist trends before, during and immediately after the 2020 U.S. national elections, and policy recommendations before concluding.

Alejandro J. Beutel is an independent research scholar who focuses on the study of non-violent and violent far-right extremist and Islamist movements. He is a former Senior Research Analyst at the Southern Poverty Law Center and a former Researcher with the National Consortium for Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START).

Daryl Johnson is one of the foremost experts on domestic extremist groups in the US. Beginning his career as a civilian in the US Army, Johnson has held a number of government positions, most recently as senior analyst at the Department of Homeland Security. He is also regularly cited, featured, or quoted in media covering domestic extremist groups in the US, including the New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, Newsweek, National Public Radio, MSNBC, CNN, and NBC Nightly News, among many others. He is the author of "Hateland: A Long, Hard Look at America's Extremist Heart" (Prometheus Books, 2019) and "Right-Wing Resurgence: How a Domestic Terrorism Threat Is Being Ignored" (Rowman & Littlefield, 2012).