Now that the fog of war is settling over Washington, D.C., details are emerging from the attack on the Capitol that were not reported correctly in the immediate aftermath—as they rarely are. While news reports were denying that any counter-protesters were involved in the violence at the Capitol, an arrest has been made that shows at least one left-wing activist who actively participated in BLM was involved in leading and encouraging destructive behavior on January 6th.
John Sullivan was arrested and charged in federal court in the District of Columbia with civil disorder, being in a restricted area, and disorderly conduct.
Claiming to have been there only to document the event as a “journalist,” Sullivan told police he was just an observer. There is no record of John Sullivan working for any news outlet. Video taken from Sullivan’s phone shows much more than documenting events. Newsweek reported the story.
Prior to entering the Capitol building, Sullivan can be seen using a microphone to address the crowd outside and yelling “we about to burn this s**t down” before leading the crowd in a chant of “it’s time for a revolution,” FBI Special Agent Matthew Foulger said in an affidavit.
As the mob pushed through barricades towards the Capitol, Sullivan was heard shouting: “We accomplished this s**t. We did this together. F**k yeah! We are all a part of this history,” and “Let’s burn this s**t down.”
Sullivan also filmed himself assisting those who were climbing up walls to get to the plaza just outside the Capitol Building entrance, telling them “You guys are f*****g savage. Let’s go!”
Once inside, Sullivan recorded the moment that 35-year-old Ashli Babbitt was shot and killed by police during the attempt to overthrow the government.
Sullivan also films himself speaking to law enforcement officers inside the Capitol, telling one: “the people have spoken,” and “there are too many people, you gotta stand down, the people out there that tried to do that shit, they got hurt.”
According to self-described BLM and anti-fascist activists familiar with the 26-year-old Sullivan, he is best known for his propensity for inspiring chaos, engaging in counterproductive tactics that often trigger arrests, and consistently undermining BLM objectives. From Salt Lake City to Portland to Washington, DC, left-wing activists consider him persona non grata.
The slick but scammy content of Sullivan’s Insurgence USA website underscores the reputation he has earned in BLM circles as a grifter. The most extensive section of his site is dedicated to hawking expensive riot gear, including a $45.95 spear tip knife. Sullivan happens to be a former salesman who left his career during the summer of 2020 after winning a racial discrimination settlement.
Sullivan may be best described as an anarchist or nihilist, but those views all reside on the far-left. Categorizing him on the left is accurate. That doesn’t mean he’s a leader in any movement, but it does describe him accurately, based on his public beliefs and actions.
Strangely, Sullivan’s brother is a Trump supporter and activist who was at the rally as well and told The Gray Zone that John is an “agitator” who suffers from mental illness, drug abuse, and is obsessed with fame and social media.
“What he does is he creates hysteria, and he takes these phony videotapes of it, so that’s why he got kicked out of the movement [in Utah],” James Sullivan said. “They kicked him out because he would he would instigate violence to the point that people would get would get arrested. And then he would get views on Facebook or YouTube… He’s doing it for attention.”
While attempting to paint him as apolitical, the blog reported a friend describing John’s views.
“He’s just angry,” she reflected to me. “And he says it in a lot of his videos – ‘Fuck the system, burn it down.’ He doesn’t think it can be reformed. Like he kind of wants his civil war. He’s a bit of a provocateur and he wants to dismantle the system, and he believes in the value of civil disobedience. And because he is apolitical, I think he feels more a sense of allegiance to anyone who shares that the values of, I guess, chaos.”
Putting aside the fact that nothing Sullivan has done can be described as “civil disobedience,” anarchy is a political view. Anarchists who believe in tearing down institutions and systems are anti-capitalist and flock to the BLM and antifa causes. Attempting at this point to label John Sullivan as anything but left-wing misses the mark. It’s important to understand the political spectrum and where one’s ideology falls. While there is such a thing as right-wing anarchism, Sullivan was trying to join the left-wing anarchists and Marxists all summer long. That should be enough evidence to prove he has left-wing leanings, whether or not the groups wanted him there.
While the media rushes to identify all the troublemakers as Trump supporters, I think the better option is to wait for the charges to come down and then dig into who the culprits are. Right now, we can safely say that John Sullivan should be considered a left-wing provocateur who does not seem to be formally attached to any organization but supports BLM and has nothing to do with Donald Trump or MAGA.
My condolences to CNN and the fake news media.