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UA scholar: Right wing groups seek to build a white nation.

Capitol Breach Jan. 6 Lawsuit
Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP
Members of the Oath Keepers on the East Front of the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, in Washington. The District of Columbia has filed a civil lawsuit seeking harsh financial penalties against far-right groups Proud Boys and Oath Keepers over their role in the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol by supporters of former President Donald Trump. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

A University of Alabama scholar says, despite charges of seditious conspiracy, right wing groups like the Proud Boys and the Oath Keepers seek to create a “white nation” in the U.S.

Matthew Valasik is a professor of criminology and criminal justice with the University of Alabama. The Associated Press published his thoughts as the U.S. House Committee investigating the attack on the Capitol building held its first public hearing. The Proud Boys and Oath Keepers figured prominently on the first night of public presentation of the committee’s findings. This evidence and testimony were presented live on Alabama Public Radio. Valasik co-wrote his commentary with Shannon Reid of the University of North Carolina.

“They (Proud Boys, Oath Keepers, etc.) are alleged to have worked together "to oppose by force the authority of the Government of the United States," wrote Valasik. “Those charges can be difficult to prove in court. But regardless of the outcome of any prosecution that alleges these groups worked to overthrow the government, our research has shown that the more committed members of these and other extreme right-wing groups believe that the U.S. government, as currently constituted, is illegitimate and should be overthrown and replaced with one that is based on white supremacy. But prosecuting far-right groups has tended to be much more difficult. In 1988, Louis Beam, a figurehead in the white power movement, and 13 white supremacists from groups such as the Aryan Brotherhood and the Ku Klux Klan were acquitted of conspiring to kill a federal judge and an FBI agent and plotting to overthrow the federal government to establish an all-white nation in the Pacific Northwest. But it is clear from the charges stemming from the Jan. 6 insurrection – involving hundreds of alleged participants – that police and prosecutors are taking seriously the threat of violent action by Proud Boys, Oath Keepers and other far-right groups against individuals, organizations and local and national governments.”

Pat Duggins is news director for Alabama Public Radio.
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