Fred Kaplan: Is America in the Early Stages of Armed Insurgency?

Members of far-right militias and white pride organizations rally near Stone Mountain Park in Stone Mountain, Georgia, on Aug. 15. Logan Cyrus/Getty Images

One of the world’s leading counterinsurgency experts is alarmed by what he sees.

Slate – September 8, 2020

David Kilcullen is one of the world’s leading authorities on insurgencies. For decades he has studied them. As an infantry soldier in the Australian army and an adviser to the U.S. Army, he’s fought against them. His latest scholarly work has focused on their role in urban conflicts.

So when Kilcullen says that America is in a state of “incipient insurgency,” it’s worth sitting up, taking notice, and trembling just a little.

The official definition of an insurgency is the “organized use of subversion and violence to seize, nullify, or challenge political control” of an area. An “incipient insurgency” might be happening when “inchoate actions by a range of groups”—followed by organizing, training, acquisition of resources (including arms), and the buildup of public support—lead to “increasingly frequent” incidents of violence, reflecting “improved organization and forethought.”

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