San Diego’s Right-Wing Extremist Roots, from KKK to QAnon

by on January 15, 2021 · 4 comments

in Civil Rights, Election, Ocean Beach, San Diego

Editordude: Here’s a brief recounting of San Diego’s racist and extremist roots, which some have been looking at with the death of QAnon-supporter Ashli Babbitt. It’s not very complete, but it is a contribution. The OB Rag does not support the politicization of Babbitt’s death and we only show this photo to give our OB readers an idea of how some are. The memorial is in Washington DC, not San Diego.

Hosted by Steve Chiotakis / KCRW / Jan. 14, 2021

The death of military veteran Ashli Babbitt at the U.S. Capitol on January 6 is shining a light on far-right extremism in San Diego County. Family and friends say the Ocean Beach resident was fervent in her beliefs on social media, amplifying QAnon conspiracy theories and anti-immigrant sentiment.

“Our region’s history of reactionary fascism goes back several decades,”   says Joel Day, a research fellow at the USC Center for Public Diplomacy who specializes in combating violent extremism and homeland security. “It started with the KKK movement. There was a Grand Wizard in Santee, which is still nicknamed ‘Klantee.’ We saw, during the early 2000s, the rise of the militia movement with the Minutemen at our border. Now it’s spiraled into what I would say is three different silos of right-wing extremism.”

Those three different silos, according to Day, include political seditionists, right-wing paramilitary groups, and hate and supremacy groups.

He says extremist groups try to latch on to events playing out in the right-wing mainstream world, like reopen protests, anti-masking protests, or Trump rallies. They pinpoint localized grievances like “reverse discrimination,” “stolen election,” or pandemic responses. Then they try to tie that to historical victim narratives that the white power movement has used.

“That’s when it becomes problematic, because if you link someone’s individual experience to this historical victimization narrative, they start saying that violence is the only solution.”

He says elected officials should treat the threat of domestic extremism with the same level of vigilance as foreign terrorism.

“If somebody raises a Nazi flag or a confederate flag, we need to treat it the same way that it is treated within law enforcement for raising the ISIS flag or pledging allegiance to Osama bin Laden.”

He continues, “That requires a culture change. It requires all of us to be vigilant and lead with knowledge, but also compassion, because we don’t want more of our neighbors spiraling into conspiracy theories.”

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Tom Cairns January 16, 2021 at 4:46 pm

San Diego’s right wing past goes back to the late 1950s and early 1960s. The John Birch Society, which for years had a storefront on El Cajon Blvd., bookstores in Pacific Beach and Chula Vista, and the original Minutemen under Troy Houghton in El Cajon, were active in anti-communist propaganda and actions. During the anti-Vietnam War period, the Minutemen had active sympathizers in the SDPD and FBI, giving them a level of protection for their actions against the people they hated. For a period, one of their gathering places was a gun shop on University Avenue in City Heights, called The Hanging Tree. In the early 1970s, the Minutemen evolved into the Secret Army Organization, but it was mostly the same people from El Cajon, Santee and Lakeside. At the same time a Nazi Party developed, but was short lived, with its leader from Lemon Grove. George Lincoln Rockwell, the founder of the American Nazi Party, obtained his first copy of Hitler’s Mein Kampf from a San Diego bookstore while stationed in Coronado in the early 1950s.


micporte January 17, 2021 at 6:09 am

Sadly, the charming community of Fallbrook, in north county, is also a headquarters of the nazi party, it is sad, and alarming, to visit my aunt our there and see swastiks in the windows of her neighbors. She says it is “just to scare people”… who wants to scare people? answer: the nazis, but let us remember, they lost, they will lose again, let hitler go to hell where he belongs


Gordon R McLachlan January 23, 2021 at 2:13 am

ocean beach surf and skate shop sells custom made apparel for their business which heavily leans into Nazi iconography.

personally, i’ve noted the newport area bars that allow their patrons to openly wear nazi imagery, and I don’t support them with my business. However, if we wish to prove that ashli babbit is “not who we are” maybe more community direct action is necessary?


Frank Gormlie January 3, 2022 at 8:10 am

One of our faithful readers posted a Fox5 news story about whats-her-name, killed a year ago at the Capitol insurrection. We took it down as it’s our policy not to republish her name or anything about her.


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