What do North Carolinians need to know about our state’s participation in the January 6 insurrection?

(Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

[Editor’s note: Since the 2020 election, the Durham-based nonprofit Blueprint NC has been tracking violent threats to the polls in our state. Now, as a continuation of that effort, the group is publishing a new report by veteran writer and activist Mab Segrest entitled “The Constitution is not at war with itself: A struggle for multiracial democracy in North Carolina in the year after the January 6 uprising.”

Especially with a select committee in the U.S. House of Representatives preparing to examine the details of the failed insurrection, the report is a “must read” for those seeking to fully grasp the precarious state of our democracy.

As a kind of primer for the hearings that commence tomorrow and sneak preview of her report, Segrest has prepared the following “field guide” for NC Policy Watch readers.]

A field guide for North Carolinians to watching the Select Committee’s hearings

With the U.S. House Select Committee investigating the January 6 insurrection set to take its case about the attack on the U.S. Capitol to the public this Thursday in prime time, it would be good for North Carolinians tuning in to understand how actors from our state were involved in the planning and execution before, during and after this historic attack.

Who participated on the streets and steps of the Capitol and inside, and how? How did politicians-turned-elected officials such as our own Mark Meadows (Trump’s Chief of Staff) attempt to prevent the peaceful transfer of power and keep Trump in place despite his electoral defeat in what court filings have described as “a criminal conspiracy to defraud the United States”?  What presence do those forces have in North Carolina now?

“The Constitution is not at war with itself: A struggle for multiracial democracy in North Carolina in the year after the January 6 uprising” examines these questions, along with several other, including:

  • How did NC’s former Rep Mark Meadows get himself into the position of being a key indicted player in this historic event? What did he do? (His former top aide Cassidy Hutchingson promises to be a star witness.)
  • How did members from NC of far-right groups the Oath Keepers and Proud Boys participate on and before January 6? What roles did they play? Who are they anyway?
  • Who from NC has been indicted so far?
  • What assessment can we make about the active presence of Oath Keepers and Proud Boys in North Carolina and where might they be concentrated? (Both groups have with key players nationally who are now indicted for seditious conspiracy.)
  • How do experts assess the numbers of “committed insurgents” nationally and how might those play out in North Carolina?
  • What does the hacked list of Oath Keeper members show about where they might be concentrated across our state?
  • How about the rhetoric about “civil war” – how seriously should we take that, or is it only talk? What does it have to do with the Lost Cause of the US Civil War and the racism embodied in the Confederacy?
  • How has the partisan and racial gerrymandering of the legislature and US House in 2010 (in Operation REDMAP) created extreme and unbalanced candidates such as NC’s recently defeated Madison Cawthorn or Georgia’s Marjorie Taylor Green?
  • How do Cawthorn and Meadows show the results of the densely packed largely white 11th Congressional District from which both were elected after the 2010 gerrymandered redistricting?
  • What does Cawthorn’s turn in defeat towards #DARK MAGA announced two days after his primary defeat portend for other elections and officials such as Lt. Governor Mark Robinson?
  • How have progressives in NC countered these events and forces and how should we?

Click here to explore the report.

For even more background, check out the first BluePrintNC Report from 2021 from The Anti-Racist Research Collaborative:  “Go There Ready for War: Militia Organizing in NC After the January 6 Insurrection.”  And see the follow-up on how privatized trainings for military and police (think Blackwater) might be training insurrectionists among us in combat skills and unconventional warfare. Watch The Laura Flanders Show report from Hoke and Richmond counties on “Community Safety in a Time of Insurrection.”

Mab Segrest is an activist, writer and teacher who lives in Durham.