Some significant historical dates are expressed in numerical shorthand: 7/7, 9/11, 8888. (The last number represents Burma’s People Power Uprising, also known as the 8888 Uprising, which peaked on 8 August 1988.) But the riot at the US Capitol that took place on January 6, 2021, is widely known by a different abbreviation: J6. Where did this unusual contraction come from, and how did it spread?
The source is not an official one. The full name of the governmental entity looking into the insurrection is the Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol,; the URL is january6th.house.gov.
Nor did “J6” originate on Twitter, although the abbreviation has proved useful on that 280-character platform, where it pops up across the political spectrum.
One claim I’ve heard ad nauseam from MAGA is that Trump “has been robbed of due process” by these hearings. The J6 committee are not prosecutors conducting a trial. They are an investigative team tasked with uncovering the truth for the American people about January 6th.— Andrew Wortman ️ (@AmoneyResists) July 25, 2022
105 days until the midterms, and literally, anything can happen in that time - from J6 committee revelations to a big Trump announcement. The Breakdown welcomes Lincoln Project Sr. Advisor @stuartpstevens, to dig into what comes. Tomorrow at 7p ET. pic.twitter.com/0ih3lV4ANq— The Lincoln Project (@ProjectLincoln) July 25, 2022
CNN’s @wolfblitzer has a panel of three people who all agree with him - and who all hate Trump.— Richard Grenell (@RichardGrenell) July 25, 2022
Wolf has no dissenting voices to talk about the J6 Committee (where there are no dissenting voices either).
This is unAmerican.
(By the way, it’s spelled un-American. Thank you, Jonathon Owen.)
Nor did I find any evidence that any media outlet invented “J6.”
Instead, it appears that the “J6” abbreviation originated from within the insurrection.
Nine and a half months after the January 6 riot, after hundreds of people had been arrested and in many cases convicted for their roles in the attack, a right-wing, pro-Trump group called Look Ahead America organized rallies in Washington, DC, and nine states in support of the rioters. It was LAA’s third such rally; the first two, held in June and July 2021, were called “Rally Against Political Persecution.” Neither drew a significant crowd. The third, on September 18, was also a bust: fewer than 200 people showed up. What did succeed was the September rally’s new name: “Justice for J6.”
“Do wear your red, white, and blue and bring your American flag and signs to show your support of the J6 prisoners.” – From LAA’s instructions for rally-goers. According to an October 16, 2021, article in Rolling Stone, the event was also known as “Capitol Insurrection 2: Electric Boogaloo,” and it cost taxpayers $790.000 for the security around the event. (For more on this sense of boogaloo, see my December 2020 post.)
“J6” is a catchy but slightly confusing choice. There are, after all, three months whose names begin with J. And “J6” isn’t unique: consider the Samsung Galaxy J6 and J6+ phone models and the J6 fashion brand by New York designer James Garland. (I’m still searching for an explanation for Garland’s choice of “J6.”)
Nevertheless, the insurrection-flavored “J6” is already successful enough that I’m going to make an early prediction that it shows up in word-of-the-year lists. It will probably be on mine.