We are here to name and shame fascists. Want to help?
(From a Twitter thread in early March 2022)
We started this work because it needed doing. Because the insurgents of January 6th 2021 need to be held accountable; and beyond that, we need to fight their incursions into other areas of American public life. The name “detrumpify” derives from the term “denazification” for the postwar political cleanup of Germany. It is a process that may never end in either country.
Focusing on J6 first, we have always cooperated with and borrowed from other like-minded parties. But what has always distinguished detrumpify.org from other J6-related websites is that we made public the names of anyone credibly associated with the attempted coup, regardless of whether they were charged with any crime. Accountability means everyone, from the thousands of law-abiding Trump supporters who came to cheer a fight that the courts had declared finished, to the law enforcement agencies who decide which cases to prosecute. The public deserves the whole picture.
Once a framework was in place for addressing the attack on the Capitol, we started looking at members of J6 insurgent groups who hadn't necessarily been at the event. We added to the vast body of research that had already been put in the open, mostly by regional anti-fascist groups, and then undertook what no one else had (nor yet has): to index and republish it all on a comprehensive, nationwide basis. Because these groups organize and act on a national level; the same malefactors who had traveled across the country to descend on Charlottesville and Portland and to participate in the earlier “Stop the Steal” events in DC were seen again on January 6th.
We are occasionally still bewildered to be at the lead of this effort, and to have no institutional partners. We know that similar work has been done on a private (unpublished) basis, and our attempts to reach out to other, better-funded parties have gone largely unanswered. One federal organization showed some curiosity about what we were doing very early on, but they have long since moved on, and never showed serious interest in a national extremist database. Such an undertaking would no doubt be problematic under Justice Department policy, for understandable reasons. As private citizens, we may investigate whomever we wish, for no more reason than that we are distrustful of who they associate with. This is a freedom justifiably denied to an agency with the power of arrest.
But right-wing insurgents continue to disrupt our civic life, delay our travel plans, intimidate our public officials, and undermine our health and safety. More pressure needs to be brought to bear. For example, when our local insurgents come to our school board meetings to put our children at risk, we need to come with the photos in hand that show them personally inside the Capitol building or pepper-spraying police on the Capitol steps.
We are calling on the media and other private parties to share their information more publicly. Release the camera footage. Release the leaked data. If you as an individual have a tip that you sent the FBI and don't feel that it is being acted on in a timely manner, you are under no obligation to wait for them. If we find your information credible and not likely to harm an ongoing investigation, we will be happy to publish it for you. Federal law enforcement decided long ago not to prosecute most of the TEN THOUSAND people who crossed the Capitol barricades, choosing to focus their efforts on those who assaulted police and media or entered the building.
Thank you for all that you do. You are the multitudes in our editorial “we.” We have accomplished much together and will yet do so much more.
We rely heavily on open source data and software and would like to credit the following in addition to the sites listed on our resources page:
- SimpleMaps.com (https://simplemaps.com/data/us-cities) for geographical data
- LittleSis.org for individual, group, and relationship data (their data and ours is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License).
- w3schools for web templates and how-tos
- Piwigo photo gallery software