By now, you have probably already heard about the American conspiracy theory known as QAnon.
What exactly do QAnon followers believe? The answer is complicated. By this point, QAnon has snowballed into an all-encompassing super-conspiracy. Believers frequently disagree with each other on details, but there’s room for you in the movement whether you believe that the Earth is hollow or that it is flat.
QAnon centres around a supposed military intelligence officer, “Q”, who is exposing a corrupt cabal in the US government by posting cryptic messages on anonymous imageboards. The first “Q drop” — referring to Q’s arcane messages — appeared on 4chan’s neo-nazi /pol/ board on 28 October 2017. The drops later migrated to 8chan, a site infamous for its popularity among mass shooters and paedophiles.
Other foundational beliefs are: There is a deep state run by Satan-worshipping paedophilic Democrats, who drink the blood of children to satisfy their adrenochrome addiction. (In real life, adrenochrome is the product of the oxidation of adrenaline, and has no addictive properties.)
Donald Trump is actually on a secret mission to take down these depraved elites with the aid of the military and supporters inside various intelligence agencies. The Democrats are working together with the Communist Party of China to regain power. Soros is, of course, also involved.
It also heavily incorporates the Pizzagate conspiracy theory, which alleges that a popular Washington pizza restaurant was a centre of human trafficking as well as hub for satanic ritual abuse.
This fight against the deep state will culminate in an event believers refer to as “The Storm” — this means that thousands of politicians, celebrities, and deep state operatives being arrested, with some of their executions being broadcast live. Indeed, many followers believe that thousands of high profile people have already been arrested or executed, and replaced by clones as to not to disturb the public.
Once all the bad people are killed, Trump will usher in a Utopia, and release secret technology and cures for various diseases, which have been suppressed by the deep state.
Around this deranged core attach all manner of auxiliary conspiracy theories.
There’s the NESARA internet cult/scam, time travel, reptilians, and naturally, all sorts of unhinged beliefs about Covid-19, Bill Gates, and 5G.
If you expect QAnon supporters to be exclusively old, white, conservative men, you are mistaken. Looking through QAnon associated hashtags on Instagram, TikTok, and Twitter, you’ll find teenagers posting videos covering Pizzagate, women, and a lot of crystal-healing adjacent hippies, all united in their opposition against a supposed all powerful satanic cabal.
In the real world, it’s no different — a “Save the Children” protest in Hollywood also drew people of all ages, races, and genders. However, there are a lot of far-right nuts and antisemites within the core of the Q movement.
“Save the Children” seems to be QAnon’s way to reach a much broader audience than it would normally, and these soft QAnon rallies have been popping up frequently. 22 August saw them happen in around 200 cities in the US. There was one in London on the same day, with around 500 attendees, mostly young women, according to journalist Shayan Sardarizadeh. Further rallies were held in Manchester, Huddersfield, Nottingham, and Liverpool.
The disingenuousness of the Save the Children slogan is underscored by QAnon supporters’ conspicuous silence on ICE detention centres, where over 4500 complaints of sexual abuse of immigrant children have accumulated from October 2014 to July 2018. For some reason, they also don’t like to talk about allegations made against Trump, or his association with Jeffrey Epstein.
According to an internal Facebook investigation, the top 10 QAnon groups have around 1 million members, although it is unclear how large the membership overlap is between different groups. How this nonsense found such a large audience demands an explanation.
Of course, one reason for QAnon’s popularity is Facebook itself. For 3 years, Facebook’s algorithms pushed thinly veiled blood libel in people’s recommendations. But that, in and of itself, does not explain why people were receptive to the gospel of Q.
People are thoroughly dissatisfied with the political establishment. They feel powerless, and on some level they know that the ruling class — although they wouldn’t use the term — doesn’t care about them. The years pass, they keep voting, and things don’t seem to get any better. Inequality is growing, and has been growing for years.
This diagnosis is broadly true across the globe, and that’s why QAnon has managed to gain international popularity. Lacking a clear analysis, they see a conspiracy of malice as opposed to a “conspiracy” of class interests. QAnon offers an explanation for why people’s lives are not improving, no matter who is in office — it’s the cabal’s fault. In other words, QAnon is a socialism of fools.