On August 18th I gave a talk for Religions for Peace USA, on the great replacement conspiracy theory and its impact on society. Delving into the history of the conspiracy theory, the fears it represents, and the violence that it has caused, I explain what the implications are globally.
As media tries to understand and inform others about the potential consequences of self described “Queen of Canada” Romana Didulo’s followers attempting citizen arrests on her behalf, the conversations need to be nuanced. While scholars and experts in the field of conspiracy and extremism recognize the movement from online to offline engagement, the analysis must also be truthful and not spurring on fears. The analysis provided should come from experts in the field who understand social movements and extremism. To forward a rhetoric of comparisons to militias and violence simply raises fears in the general public.
Tomorrow, August 13th, followers of Romana Didulo will gather in a park in Peterborough, Ontario to conduct citizen arrests on the police in the city. The command to begin the “day of arrests” on behest of the Queen, was made to stop “the tyranny, espionage, and genocide.” These references are made in response to conspiratorial beliefs anchored in QAnon, anti-Vax, and a belief in the power of the self described Queen. While I do not believe there will be a strong attendance, I am very interested in the response by the police force, and hopefully will be there in attendance. Perhaps there will be more to come.
I hope you can join me online in August for a discussion of how the fear of “The Great Replacement” has provided motivation for many heinous attacks on racial and religious minorities and the role of religious communities should take in dispelling this myth perpetuated by white-supremacist groups.
Sponsored by Religions for Peace USA, the talk is free, but you’ll still need to register online to attend.
The Fear of “The Great Replacement”
and its Impact on Society
Thursday, August 18, 2022–2:00 to 3:00 P.M. EST
Learn more about the work of Religions for Peace USA and their faith and interfaith partners at www.rfpusa.org.
Ideas of traditional gender roles, a ruling cabal working to create a New World Order through feminists, LGBTQ2SA communities and feminists as the enigma of the end of “America, are not new. The battle to control women’s bodies through a rhetoric of nationalism and conspiracy theories is also not a new tactic, what is new is the use of SCOTUS to support these movements.
This week Abacus Polling released their findings on Canadian belief in conspiracy theories such as the Great Replacement and the Great Reset. Discussing these theories and the greater implications to society with Matt Galloway on CBC The Current, myself and other experts grappled with the idea of growing beliefs in conspiracy and how we as a global society need to understand and address these issues.
As the January 6th hearings are being broadcast Canadians too are watching. The role of conspiracy theories and extremism in the events of January 6th are similar to the events on our own nation’s capital and border crossings with the so called Freedom Convoys. Conspiracy theories and extremism on the internet are not bound by borders and as populism, anger, and fear rise we too in Canada can feel the impact of these movements. For decades those who were conspiracists, extremists, and on the margins of society were dismissed and mocked we are all now feeling the implications of our dismissals.
The Great Replacement is a racist conspiracy theory that has been propagated for decades through dystopian novels. The conspiracy has become the mechanism through which hate ideologies are spread, both subtly and openly on social media, gaming, and through memes with real world consequences.
The Great Replacement conspiracy theory has fuelled acts of violence and a rise in extremism and populism across North America, including the recent killing of 13 people at a supermarket in Buffalo, NY.
On June 15, I’ll be be presenting an historical overview of this conspiracy theory as part of The State of US webinar series, and sharing my latest research into its more recent manifestations, including through extremist groups in Texas.
Register here to attend The Great Replacement: Conspiracy, Fear, and Media.
On April 28th Dr. Mia Bloom and I spoke at Montclair State University for their series on the rise of theocracy in America. We were the final instalment of the series, and addressed the role of conspiracy theories in Christian socio-political movements in the country. Dr. Bloom spoke predominately about the QAnon conspiracy, while I addressed broader conspiracies, situating them historically in America and in the contemporary context. It was a great conversation, and one that will be continued at a round table presentation at the American Academy of Religion national conference in November.
On April 28th myself and Dr. Mia Bloom will be guests of Montclair University’s Religious Studies Department and will be presenting in the final instalment of the Angry Religion series. We will be addressing conspiracy theory and religion in North America, as well as taking questions from the live and virtual audiences. To register or please see the attached for more information.