Most of the media reporting concerning the events of Jan. 6 has naturally focused on the stunning and unprecedented visual spectacle of the perpetrators physically invading the Capitol, trashing the chambers of the House and Senate, and committing assorted acts of physical violence. The reports have also typically included a clip or two of Trump’s most incendiary statements to incite the crowd immediately prior to the attacks: “Fight like hell, or you’re not going to have a country anymore”; “You don’t concede when there’s theft involved”; “Our country has had enough. We will not take it anymore,” and more.
Receiving considerably less attention has been a brief, two-minute film the Trump campaign played for the crowd immediately before they began their destructive onslaught of the Capitol. And It may be that journalists accustomed to covering Trump’s rallies over the past year simply consigned it to yet another piece of agit-prop previously deployed during Trump’s political campaign.
But, in the context of Trump’s invocation to insurrection on Jan. 6, it was far more than that. As analyzed by Jason Stanley and Justin Hendrix for Just Security, the film was a carefully crafted bit of fascist, anti-Semitic propaganda, teeming with dog whistles and tropes calculated to inspire hatred, anger and violent action against Jews, Democrats, and other perceived “enemies” among Trump’s base.
In “decoding” this film, it’s necessary to see it in context of what Trump’s supporters believe. Stanley notes that the QAnon conspiracy theories, for example, share common characteristics with anti-Semitic tropes propounded by Nazi Germany. The white supremacist groups that organized the Jan. 6 rally and insurrection have also adopted “classic” fascist belief systems, including, most notably, theories of Jewish dominance in social and economic strata such as the press, the arts, and the financial industry. Historically, these core fascist assumptions were articulated vividly, for example, in Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf, and permeated subsequent Nazi propaganda. They were fundamental to Nazi ideology, in which, as Stanley notes, ”Liberal democracy is represented as a corruption, a mask for this takeover by a global elite.”Daily Kos The film Trump used to incite supporters on Jan. 6 was textbook fascist, anti-Semitic propaganda