What is QAnon?


February/March 2021

On January 6, 2021, the United States Capitol Building was stormed by a gang of Americans who had come to take matters into their own hands. Hot off the heels of the new year, one of their primary focuses was to overturn the unjustly declared election of Joseph R. Biden as the 46th president. Yet there was much more than that singular motivation. A man boasting a patriotized “Q” on his sweatshirt, another dressed in horns and furs, a woman wearing a brightly colored flag as a cape. They weren’t there solely to ransack congresspeople’s offices. They were there because Q had sent them.

At Trump rallies and pro-Trump demonstrations, signs proclaiming allegiance to QAnon, short for Q-Anonymous, were frequently present. The Capitol raid was not the first violent plot QAnon has been blamed for – a woman was arrested in April of 2020 for plotting to assassinate Joe Biden, and a Staten Island man murdered a Gambino family associate out of devotion to the organization. This begs the question: where did it all start? BBC, as well as The New York Times, The Atlantic, and Wired, in conjunction with those who are more familiar with Internet forums, have been able to pinpoint QAnon back to a 4chan board. In the fall of 2017, a user under the initial “Q” began posting content concerning amoral government practices. Q made predictions about developments such as seizures of state and high-profile arrests, and wrote in cryptic code. Q’s prophecies, it seems, were never fulfilled. These messages were given the name “Q-drops” by followers, and have added up to thousands of posts by Q.

Every once in a while, if you’re not a supporter of QAnon, you hear about something a member did, something they said, without too much insight into their actual beliefs. You know that they’re angry, that they would lay down their lives for Donald Trump. But why? QAnon, as preached by its leading contributors, pronounces that the country has fallen under the control of a “deep state,” particularly one that is run by cannibalistic and pedophilic politicians. QAnon members assert that a secret “cabal” operates a child sex trafficking ring throughout the United States – and the world. This faction is headed by notable figures such as the Obamas, the Clintons, billionaire and investor George
Soros, and the Rothschild family. If this theory sounds familiar, it is maybe because you remember the 2016 attack on D.C.’s Comet Ping Pong pizzeria, carried out by Edgar Maddison Welch. Although Pizzagate predates the formation of QAnon, supporters of the latter are believers in the former. QAnon extends well beyond this level of conspiracy, however. Deeper into the organization one will find claims of “adrenochrome” harvesting – adrenochrome being an alleged youth serum extracted from the blood of children. The Anti-Defamation League describes that “The belief that a global ‘cabal’ is involved in rituals of child sacrifice has its roots in the antisemitic
trope of blood libel, the theory that Jews murder Christian children for ritualistic purposes.” This accusation is hundreds upon hundreds of years old and intertwines with an intense distrust of non-Christians and non- conservatives.

At the center of all of this is the eponymous “Q.” The one who started it all, and whose identity still has yet to be confirmed. Why are there so many believers, if Q’s predictions have failed time and time again? One key piece
to understanding QAnon is that Q provided merit to their name. Q claims to be a high- ranking government official who has witnessed the aforementioned horrors. The initial is attributed to Q-level security clearance in the
United States government’s department of energy. Q clearance indicates that its possessor has the authorization to access top-secret, incredibly classified information, among other specifics. With insider knowledge, the mysterious figure has spread panic among fringe-line conservatives. It is largely speculated, by non–QAnon supporters, that Q
is a group of individuals, rather than one individual. There is no solid evidence to confirm that Q is a one-person show, or that Q is even a government official.

Where does QAnon stand now, with Donald Trump out of Washington D.C.? QAnon supporters preach that Donald Trump is a hero sent by God to defeat the cabal and save the United States from ruin. This is what QAnon supporters are referring to when they mention the Storm,” a war between good and evil in which the malicious deep state is crushed and punished for their crimes against humanity. Trump is the messiah of QAnon’s axis. With his office now occupied by Joe Biden, one might assume that QAnon is crumbling. This is
far from reality. Washington Post reporter Craig Timberg told Davie Davies of NPR, “Researchers have been saying to me for weeks that . . . the QAnon believers whose beliefs survive the inauguration of President Biden are likely to be more committed. They’re likely to be more fervent and more conspiratorial.” QAnon is very much a force to be reckoned with, especially when considering that politicians such as Georgia Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene are outspoken defendants of the group. QAnon has continued to promote one of their most well-known slogans, WWG1WGA: where we go one, we go all.