‘The Plan’: Analysing the QAnon conspiracy theory on 8kun

The QAnon conspiracy theory is part of a larger esoteric belief system known as the ‘Great Awakening’. The enclosed map reveals the depth and breadth of this pseudo-religious belief system.

Are more and more people shunning reality to cross over into unfounded and shadow worlds? On 20 February 2020, Tobias Rathjen uploaded a video message to warn Americans about secret societies that are sacrificing children to the Devil. He didn’t seem to be suffering from any mental ill-health or schizophrenic halucination. What’s striking, however, is his fervour; he seemed to be a believer; his countenance was serious. He was obviously alarmed by what he believed. Does existential anxiety – as we are seeing in our present moment – play any role in this denial of reality? It’s almost impossible to avoid this question if one looks closely at the a particular imageboard on the spiritual successor to 8chan (now dubbed ‘8Kun’), called Qpatriotresearch. In all of the thoughts and hopes posted by these particular 8kun imageboard users, there is an anticipation of something extraordinary, something that will change their ordinary reality forever — it’s almost as if they’re intoxicated by the possibility.

The ‘Deep State’: Taking a Deep Dive into the Qpatriotresearch Imageboard

After vanishing from the Internet following the El Paso shooting, 8chan managed to relaunch as 8kun. 8kun is slowly gathering importance. Since its relaunch on 15 October 2019, 8kun has amassed 48,824,866 posts (as of 18 April 2020); however, so-called ‘politically controversial’ posts still count for under 200,000, as imageboards cover a wide variety of interests (such as video games, movies, music, and comics). Noticeably, the Qpatriotresearch imageboard in particular seems to provide a unique mixture of reality and fantasy. Hard as it is to imagine, it’s a fact that many rational people have come to believe QAnon theories about a malevolent ‘deep state’ with a supernatural character. Widespread beliefs in this specific idea has intoxicated many, and QAnon has become a common theory among so-called ‘patriots’ and US anti-government extremists, even though it has no rationale or data other than a well-known and anticipated pseudo-reality.

Qpatriotresearch: A Deep Dive into an 8Kun Imageboard

In February, the Qpatriotresearch imageboard buzzing with anticipation for the next development of QAnon. Imageboard users were hopeful that President Trump would reveal the deep state in his ‘State of the Union’ address on 4 February 2020. In early February, slogans (such as ‘Trust the Plan’, ‘ThanQ Sir’, ‘WWG1WGA’ (Where We Go One We Go All), ‘Calm before the Storm’, and ‘The Storm is Nearly Here Patriots’) began to appear, revealing the hopes of 8kun users for Trump’s next term. When nothing happened following the ‘State of the Union’ address, some users seemed to become impatient: more slogans (such as ‘When will arrests begin?’, ‘Enough is enough’ and ‘We want people in jail’) appeared on 5 February. Some were still hopeful that ‘The Plan’ is working: ‘the best is yet to come’ as one user exclaimed on 7 February.

Decoding the ‘Plan’: QAnon and 8kun Users

What’s this all about? Can anyone other than QAnon believers and followers comprehend these ideas? To know QAnon, you must know ‘the Plan’. QAnon repeatedly states to ‘Trust the Plan’. Without knowing ‘the Plan’, it’s not possible to know QAnon. Within ‘the Plan’, QAnon is just one critical step specifically aimed at abolishing the existing political and economic system. The goal is to ‘free humanity’, as one 8kun user insisted: ‘Humanity will be free for all eternity; choose the right side: QAnon and President Trump’.

The idea suggests that the current system keeps humans enslaved and President Trump will save them. QAnon seems to propagate us-vs-them thinking: the current social, political, and economic system vs the so-called patriots led by President Trump. As one post proclaimed: ‘Liberal, Democrat, leftist, socialist, communist, globalist, atheist; all these are nice words for Satanists’. And there are other slogans: ‘Drain the Swamp’; ‘Go Q, Go Trump’; ‘Vote out the existing system’; ‘Q+Trump=Triumph’. In brief, President Trump is the saviour of humanity from the so-called “Satanic, globalist deep state”, which is comprised of literally everyone who is not with Trump or other Trump-like leaders around the world. You get the idea. Any rational person would think it ridiculous and outlandish.

Stranger than Fiction: 8Kun’s Great Awakening Map (showing QAnon within the imageboards wider belief system)

The Great Awakening Map shows the complete belief system that includes QAnon in the bottom left hand corner. This belief system is an assortment of new age beliefs, the occult, and conspiracy theories with a dash of UFOs and ancient aliens. Aleister Crowley’s ideas on the Age of Horus, theosophical beliefs, the Ascended Master teachings, Tibetan Buddhism, and Ancient Egyptian myths all explain this wider belief system. Things get more bizarre if you delve into the so-called ‘Plan’. According to ‘the Plan’, posted on 8kun, it all starts with mass arrests of those running the Deep State and the shutdown of the current system. Then, the key players of the current social, political and economic systems will be convicted for treason. Then the new system will be brought in; this new system is said to cancel debts and redistribute wealth. The ‘plan’ takes a bizarre turn with a UFO disclosure, a re-education of humanity about Atlantis and Lemuria, a massive UFO flyover, the arrival of the Galactic Federation of Light and ascended masters, new clean energy, and technology transfers from aliens to humans, consciousness training, and the reunion with Inner Earth. Whatever this second phase means in reality, it shows how QAnon has been linked to a wider esoteric belief system.

Conclusion

The central narrative of the ‘Great Awakening’ seems to be its supernatural plotline, which involves a pseudo-religion awaiting UFO disclosure and a consciousness upgrade on earth. QAnon is portrayed as the harbinger of the political warning shots that need to be fired by President Trump to abolish the current system and usher in the new era. No one knows how President Trump ended up becoming the protagonist of a Star Trek or Harry Potter style saga. However bizarre all this seems, don’t forget that thousands of believers of QAnon and the ‘Great Awakening’ are eagerly watching President Trump’s every move, awaiting his actions to bring this euphoric saga into reality. The grand narrative of the ‘Great Awakening’ and QAnon vilify liberal democracies, playing into the hands of the radical right. Think about where we will end up if this delusion sets in and overruns common sense. The grand casualty will be democracy itself in the face of public mistrust and paranoia regarding the much-hyped imaginary villain: the so-called ‘deep state’.

Dr Chamila Liyanage is a Policy and Practitioner Fellow at CARR and Researcher/Content Developer at Radical-R: Radicalisation Research. See her profile here.

© Chamila Liyanage. Views expressed on this website are individual contributors and do not necessarily reflect that of the Centre for Analysis of the Radical Right (CARR). We are pleased to share previously unpublished materials with the community under creative commons license 4.0 (Attribution-NoDerivatives).