QAnon: the dystopian sect that worships Trump and stormed the Capitol

Jack Angeli, known as Q-Shaman, the striking character dressed in animal skins that stars in the photographs of the riots inside the congress headquarters in Washington.

According to them, the world is ruled by a satanic and pedophile sect that takes drugs with the adrenaline they extract from murdered children. They say that Hillary Clinton is in charge of that world government in the shadows; that Angela Merkel is Hitler's evil granddaughter, that Kim Jon Un is a CIA agent, and that Donald Trump is the new and only messiah.

As much as the plot of any dystopian movie may seem, they are actually just the headlines in the narrative of QAnon, the growing far-right political-religious group that led the assault on the Capitol in the United States on January 6 and today, Against all odds, it is spreading like foam around the world.

It is from QAnon Jack Angeli, known as Q-Shaman, the striking character dressed in animal skins that stars in the photographs of the riots inside the congress headquarters in Washington, like many of those who accompanied him. And it is they themselves who last year viralized unfounded information about pedophilia that plunged the world into paranoia.

Although most of its fundamental beliefs seem taken from crazy urban legends, the group, born in the heat of social networks less than five years ago, is growing and branching out vigorously, with cells all over the world, including Latin America.

Where does QAnon come from?

Specifying, QAnon's beliefs are based on a conspiracy theory raised for the first time in 2017 on the 4cha and 8cha platforms, and later viralized on twitter by an anonymous person (Anon) who calls himself “Q”. This character, who no one has seen or knows, identifies himself as a high-ranking official in the energy sector in Washington, with sufficient rank to learn of classified issues that are aired behind the scenes of the United States government, which filters his acolytes as a contribution to spread the truth to the world.

For some, the Qanon are nothing more than the same old neo-Nazi groups with a new name and a much more colorful new identity.

For some they are neo-Nazi groups 

Although first and foremost they are white supremacists, some of their fundamental postulates, if they are looked at carelessly, would even seem leftist to an uninformed reader: they are anti-system, they oppose the big media, big pharmaceuticals, big technology, multinationals and they are against all kinds of government.

The difference is that the left looks at all these entities from the place of the exploited. QAnon, on the other hand, affirms that all of the aforementioned want to lead the world towards that word that the right uses as entelechy whenever it wants to scare: "communism."

Still, so far none of his prophecies have come to fruition. The first ones were very explicit with names and dates (the full list is on Wikipedia). The most recent ones are so cryptic that they only look like randomly typed characters. Its highest prediction, its apocalypse, is the day of the Great Awakening, when the secret world government - which they call the "Deep State" - will finally be defeated.

For those of QAnon, Donald Trump is the new and only messiah

That event has no date yet, but it does have a hero. For those of QAnon, if there is a single leader capable of commanding this crusade of biblical proportions, it is Donald Trump; therefore, of course, it is unheard of for him to leave the White House.

There is a lot of information about Qanon on the Internet. So much so that it is difficult to differentiate the real from the fanciful, the news from the parody, the facts from the speculative. This is because, in the first place, they have put together a robust propaganda operation themselves; and, secondly, because since his theories are so bizarre, everyone who writes about the movement, while maintaining the utmost striving for rigor, tends to fall into the temptation to fictionalize about what already looks like fiction.

Writer Travis View, writing for the Washington Post, has extensively documented QAnon's story and even hosts a dedicated podcast. In his investigations he records the first public appearances of the group's followers at massive Trump events in 2017 in Florida, Pennsylvania and Ohio. There the members wore the distinctive letter Q that identifies them on their clothes.

View also mentions the young politician and mogul Charlie Kirk; actress and comedian Roseanne Barr; and Curt Schilling, former Red Sox pitcher, as the best-known American public figures to support QAnon, apart from Trump himself, who, while never expressly endorsing them, has frequently retweeted them and called them simply as "people who love their country."

Sect 2.0.

QAnon is a digital native cult. Although they oppose social networks and the media in general, they were born on twitter and from there they have jumped to other virtual spaces, from where they organize, inform themselves and receive feedback.

They maintain web pages in different languages ​​and are on all platforms. In Venezuela it is easy to locate (and join) some of its cells in Latin America and Spain by searching for "QAnon" in the telegram group search engine.

The global boom of QAnon exploded after the episode known as pizzagate, original from 2016 but again viralized on social networks in 2020. It is a conspiracy theory packaged as a leak of classified information that speaks of the supposed pedophilia institutionalized by politicians of the Democratic Party and Hollywood personalities, who had a pizzeria in Washington as the venue for their meetings. Other themes such as the death of Lady Di and hidden meta messages in Justin Bieber videos are also in the cocktail, which touched all the networks.

Another QAnon theory that managed to go viral was the one that postulates that the vaccine against covid-19 inoculates nanochips with which the deep state definitely seeks to control humanity.

After the assault on the Capitol, the large platforms have announced their intention to eradicate the group from these spaces. Twitter, for example, announced on Tuesday that it has already deleted 7 accounts which it identified as promotional to QAnon and that it estimates that in total it will block about 150. Facebook had already done it last October, ahead of the presidential elections in the US.

There were public appearances by the group's supporters at massive Trump events

Amazon also removed from its catalog one of the movement's Bibles, the book "QAnon: An Invitation to The Great Awakening," written by twelve authors who refer to themselves as very close to Q , using the pseudonym "All for one and one for all" but for its acronym in English WWG1WGA (Where We Go One We Go All).

Says the post's synopsis: “Have you been convinced by claims from the legacy media that Q is a hoax or a 'conspiracy theory'? Instead, consider why the media would insist that you, a capable and thinking adult, should avoid Q at all costs. If it is a mere 'conspiracy theory', why so much attention? What ideas are so dangerous that you should never listen to them? Is there another side to the story?

In Latin America

QAnon's ideas have been influential in this region. The Costa Rican newspaper La Nación, for example, published an investigation in 2020 on the page “QAnon Costa Rica”, created on June 28 of last year with thousands of followers in the Central American country, the BBC reported.

There is also the group "Q Anon in Argentina", created a couple of weeks after the Costa Rican page, on July 14, 2020, also with several thousand followers.

And a quick search on facebook also reveals “QAnon groups” in Colombia, Mexico, Guatemala, Panama, Brazil and Uruguay, where they talk not only about politics, but also about vaccines, climate change and the severity of the coronavirus pandemic. .

Milthon Agüero, a Peruvian member of the "Qanon Latin America" ​​group, said last August that what is shared in such groups is not fake news or conspiracy theories, but rather "alternative information" to that of the "official media." , whom this 32-year-old publicist said he did not believe.

“I practice naturopathic nutrition and natural medicine and I have not trusted traditional, pharmacological medicine for years. So, looking for alternative information, I came across this group at the end of March, beginning of April ”, Agüero told BBC Mundo.

As white supremacists, QAnon's original prophecies do not refer to Latin America. However, his theories are sometimes handled as metatheories that can be adapted wherever they are planted, since they largely deal with universal themes.

Venezuela is not yet listed, at least in social networks, as a territory of interest for this group, which, although it grows and spreads, shows no interest in issues that do not directly touch white elites.

This year will be one of life and death for the movement, which, just as it is a digital native, is a native of the Trump administration. With Democrats in the White House and social media determined to eradicate them from your turf, what fate is left for the Great Awakening? Over here we will continue in tune with what is happening in the North, hopefully with a good umbrella.