Daniel Baker’s calls for armed defense against possible far-right attacks led to a much harsher sentence than that facing most insurrectionists.
By Natasha Lennard, October 16, 2021
On Tuesday, a Florida judge sentenced Daniel Baker, an anti-fascist activist, to 44 months in federal prison for social media posts that called for armed defense against possible far-right attacks on the state’s Capitol in the wake of the January 6 riots. Baker, a 34-year-old yoga teacher and emergency medical technician trainee, had no previous criminal convictions and has already been held for 10 months of harsh pretrial detention, including seven months in solitary confinement. He never brought a weapon near a government building; he amassed no armed anti-fascist forces; he made no threats on a single individual.
Baker will, nonetheless, face considerably more prison time than most January 6 defendants, including those who crossed state lines, small arsenals in tow, with the aim of overturning a presidential election.
It goes without saying that a United States federal court is no place to appeal to ethical grounds for militant anti-fascist resistance. Yet Baker, while prone to hyperbolic and sometimes paranoid rhetoric, was certainly not alone in fearing that there could be January 6-style events in statehouses nationwide ahead of Joe Biden’s inauguration and that local police could hardly be trusted as a bulwark. The Federal Bureau of Investigations warned of the potential for armed protests at state capitols. Florida is home to over 60 far-right, white supremacist, and neo-Nazi groups recognized by the Southern Poverty Law Center, and there are well-reported links between Florida police departments and far-right militiae.