Stewart Rhodes’ sentencing rant 'unwittingly' exposed 'deepening rift' among right-wingers: extremism expert

Stewart Rhodes’ sentencing rant 'unwittingly' exposed 'deepening rift' among right-wingers: extremism expert
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According to extremism expert Juliette Kayyem, during Oath Keeper head Stewart Rhodes' rant before he was sentenced to 18 years in prison on sedition charges he threw fellow right-wing extremists under the bus.

As she notes, Rhodes' rage-filled diatribe and defense of his actions leading up to the Jan. 6th insurrection revealed a growing schism among extremist groups.

In her column for The Atlantic, she wrote, "Rhodes also unwittingly revealed deepening fissures in the far-right movement that, two years ago, resorted to violence to keep Donald Trump in the White House. The defendant used some of his time to distance himself from the Proud Boys, another extremist organization, with whom he had met in the days before the insurrection."

With his attack on the Proud Boys, she wrote, Rhodes was announcing to the world, "I’ve been misunderstood. The Proud Boys are the ones you want."

As Kayyem explained, the growing mistrust between far-right groups is a bonus for Americans.

Writing that "the rift appears to be deepening," she added, "On January 6, a variety of groups put aside their differences, but solidarity is difficult to sustain. As prosecutions continue and participants in the insurrection try to save themselves, divisions within the far right over ideology and strategy—as well as conflicts driven by pure ego—are reasserting themselves."

"Over time, mismanagement and general pettiness distract many extremist groups from their cause. Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State similarly devolved into catfights as they lost on battlefields," she elaborated. "Rhodes, who imagines himself an intellectual, appears to feel tarnished by alliances with mere racists. That he would defend himself in court by complaining about the Proud Boys signals to would-be followers that he’s self-absorbed, not that he’s sacrificing himself for noble cause. An effective way to combat right-wing extremism is to put its leaders’ selfishness on display."

She added hopefully, "In the meantime, let the infighting continue."

You can read more here.

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