On Anniversary of January 6, Antidemocratic Extremism is Mainstream

WASHINGTON –  On the second anniversary of the insurrection at the United States Capitol, Human Rights First reprised its call to bring those responsible for the attack to justice.

“The failed insurrection at our Capitol continues to represent extremism’s existential threat to human rights,” said Michael Breen, President and CEO of Human Rights First. “Across the country, the antidemocratic far-right extremist movement jeopardizes our communities, our system of government, and our way of life.  To safeguard our democracy, it must be addressed,” continued Breen.

Last year, Human Rights First launched the Extremism and Human Rights Program, the first of its kind at an international human rights organization, led by Senior Director Erin E. Wilson.  The program focuses on protecting local democratic institutions, addressing extremism impacting the military community and law enforcement, undermining mainstream networks, and supporting targeted communities.

“The antidemocratic far-right extremist movement consists of overlapping actors and entities that often coordinate with one another,” said Wilson. “The merger of the election-denier movement — like those who inspired and carried out the attack on the Capitol — and the anti-immigrant nativist movement is no accident. It is a dangerous and strategic effort to undermine our democracy and to mainstream extremism.”

On December 12, 2022, Human Rights First published “’Digital Soldiers:’ QAnon Extremists Exploit U.S. Military, Threaten Democracy,” a report that details how QAnon feigns an alliance with the military to promote authoritarianism and threaten democracy.

Since the insurrection, experts from Human Right First testified before Congress and briefed members of the Executive Branch on the threat.


  • On June 9, 2022, Senior Researcher on Antisemitism Elizabeth Yates, Ph.D. testified before the United States Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs on how the bigoted, antisemitic, and xenophobic narratives of the antidemocratic far-right extremist movement in the U.S. are motivating white supremacist terrorism in the United States.


  • Director of Veterans for American Ideals Chris Purdy testified on March 31, 2022 before the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs on the targeting of veterans for radicalization by extremist organizations.

The organization uses its expertise in research, policy, law, technology, and national security to uncover key actors, expose extremist tactics both online and offline, and uphold human rights.  Human Rights First’s Innovation Lab developed and released Artificial Intelligence (AI) tools to monitor extremism. HRF’s Veterans for American Ideals project and veteran coalition pushes against disinformation and provides opportunities for civic engagement.



  • Erin E. Wilson

Published on January 6, 2023


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