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The far right patriot movement in the United States

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The far right patriot movement in the United States
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Watkins, Janna Stieg
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English
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ix, 142 leaves : illustrations ; 28 cm

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Right-wing extremists -- United States ( lcsh )
Government, Resistance to -- United States ( lcsh )
Radicalism -- United States ( lcsh )
Government, Resistance to ( fast )
Radicalism ( fast )
Right-wing extremists ( fast )
United States ( fast )
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bibliography ( marcgt )
theses ( marcgt )
non-fiction ( marcgt )

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Includes bibliographical references (leaves 135-142).
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Department of Political Science
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by Janna Stieg Watkins.

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Full Text
THE FAR RIGHT PATRIOT MOVEMENT IN THE UNITED STATES
by
Janna Stieg Watkins
B.A., University ofNorthem Colorado, 1990
A thesis submitted to the
University of Colorado at Denver
in partial fulfillment
of the requirements for the degree of
Master of Arts
Political Science
2004


This thesis for the Master of Arts
degree by
Janna Stieg Watkins
has been approved
by
S I a I OH
Date
Thaddeus Tec:


Stieg Watkins, Janna (M.A., Political Science)
The Far Right Patriot Movement in the United States
Thesis directed by Assistant Professor Tony Robinson
ABSTRACT
The far right Patriot Movement emerged in its modem form in the 1970s. Its members all share a basic
distrust of the federal government, and many blame Jews, people of color, and/or gays and lesbians for
perceived societal ills. The movement grew after the standoffs between federal law enforcement and
civilians at Ruby Ridge and Waco, and after the Brady Bill increased gun control. This thesis looks at
the history leading up to the Patriot Movement, and identifies primary actors. It also discusses the
three primary reasons people are drawn to the movement: cultural isolation, economic duress, and
paranoid personality types. Many conservative Americans experienced cultural isolation during the
1960s and 1970s when prevalent attitudes changed about race, gender roles, sexuality, and other issues.
Now, in the early 21st Century, these same people continue to feel deep distress at societal changes
such as the occurrence of gay marriage. Economic duress has led many members of the Patriot
Movement to scapegoat other people for their problems. Family farms are gradually becoming extinct,
environmental concerns have limited industries such as mining and logging, and factory jobs are being
sent overseas. Americans who have been personally affected blame the government, liberals,
corporate officials, and immigrants. In more paranoid people the blame extends to people of color and
Jews. People with the Paranoid Style as described by Richard Hofstadter are drawn to the Patriot
Movement. Some of the movements more colorful theories have to do with the government
controlling the weather, black helicopters spying on the population, and computer chip implants.
Despite the conspiracy theories, many people in the movement are intelligent, and are eloquent public
speakers. It will remain important to monitor the movement to prevent it from achieving its dangerous
goals.
Ill


ACKNOWLEDGEMENT
I wish to extend my gratitude to my advisor, Tony Robinson, for his encouragement, support, and
patience. Thanks also to my husband, mother, and father, without whom this would not have been
possible.


CONTENTS
CHAPTER
1. INTRODUCTION..........................................................1
A Theory of the Far Right.............................................4
Mainstream Right Benefits Far Right...............................5
Cultural Factors..................................................5
Economic Duress...................................................6
Psychological Make-Up.............................................6
Overview of Paper.................................................6
2. HISTORY OF THE PATRIOT MOVEMENT.......................................8
Early Bigotry.........................................................8
Early History of Anti-Semitism....................................8
Backlash Against Catholics.......................................12
Christian Identity...............................................13
KuKluxKlan.......................................................14
Re-Emergence of Anti-Semitism....................................17
The Beginnings of the Patriot Movement...............................19
The John Birch Society...........................................20
George Lincoln Rockwell..........................................22
The Minutemen....................................................24
Mainstream Politics..................................................25
Conclusion...........................................................27
Psychological Factors............................................27
v


Economic Factors
.28
Cultural Factors...................................................28
3. THE RIGHT IN RURAL AMERICA.............................................30
Wise Use...............................................................33
Posse Comitatus........................................................35
The Farm Crisis........................................................36
Public Reaction....................................................39
Other Signs of Economic Crisis in Rural America........................42
Common-Law Courts......................................................44
Conclusion.............................................................47
Cultural Factors...................................................47
Economic Factors...................................................47
Psychological Factors..............................................48
4. CHRISTIAN IDENTITY.....................................................49
Two Seed Theory........................................................50
A-Millennialism........................................................52
Pre-Millennialism......................................................53
Post-Millennialism.....................................................53
The Mark of the Beast..................................................54
Prominent Leaders......................................................55
Wesley Swift.......................................................56
Richard Butler and William Potter Gale.............................56
James Wickstrom....................................................57
Pete Peters........................................................59
Conclusion.............................................................61
vi


Cultural Factors......................................................61
Psychological Factors................................................62
5. MILITIAS.................................................................63
The Covenant, Sword, and the Arm of the Lord.............................65
Silent Brotherhood.......................................................66
Ruby Ridge...............................................................67
Rocky Mountain Rendezvous................................................68
Waco.....................................................................69
Militia Growth...........................................................71
Leaderless Resistance....................................................72
The Turner Diaries.......................................................73
Border Vigilantes........................................................74
Militia Intelligence.....................................................76
Constitutional Justification.............................................77
Questionable Credentials.................................................78
Conclusion...............................................................80
Psychological Factors................................................80
Cultural Factors.....................................................81
Economic Factors.....................................................81
6. WHITE SUPREMACISTS.......................................................82
Groups and Leaders.......................................................85
Racist Skinheads.....................................................86
Aryan Nations........................................................88
The Ku Klux Klan Today...............................................89
High-Tech Racism.........................................................91
Vll


Northwest Territorial Imperative......................................92
Mainstream Authors Legitimize Far Right...............................93
Alien Nation......................................................93
The Bell Curve....................................................94
Conclusion............................................................96
Economic Factors..................................................96
Psychological Factors.............................................97
Cultural Factors..................................................98
7. PREPAREDNESS EXPOS...................................................100
1997 Expo..........................................................100
Chris Temple.....................................................101
The Spotlight....................................................103
Gun Control......................................................105
Colonel Bo Gritz.................................................106
Christian Patriot Association....................................110
Governmental Mischief in the Atmosphere..........................112
1998 Expo..........................................................112
JackMcLamb...........................................................113
Randy Weaver.........................................................113
Conclusion...........................................................117
Psychological Factors............................................118
8. CONCLUSION...........................................................120
Reaction to the September 11th 2001 Attacks..........................120
Crossover with Mainstream Politics...................................123
Summary..............................................................125
Vlll


Economic Factors
126
Cultural Factors................................................127
Psychological Factors...........................................129
Conclusion.........................................................131
BIBLIOGRAPHY...................................................................135
IX


CHAPTER 1
INTRODUCTION
On Wednesday, October 7* 1998, a motorcyclist fell off his cycle while driving on a remote road near
Laramie, Wyoming. Uninjured, he looked around and noticed what he thought was a scarecrow tied to
a nearby fence. But something didn't seem quite right. When he approached the figure, he saw that it
was an unconscious man, with horrifying injuries.
The victim was Matthew Shepard, an openly gay man who lived in Laramie. His assailants had met
him the night before at a gay bar, and lured him into their car. They beat him so badly that even if he
had survived, he would have had permanent brain damage from the butt of their pistol. They tied him
to a fence and left him to die. Shepard spent more than 12 hours tied to the fence before the
motorcyclist found him. Several days later, Shepard died in a Fort Collins, Colorado hospital.1
Was this an isolated incident? Was it just one more example of a terrible, yet random crime? The
assailants almost certainly acted by themselves; it was not the plan of any organized hate group. But
the crime is indicative of an intolerant political climate that feeds, and is fed by, organized bigots.
Racists, anti-gay ideologues, and others are building power through a loose network known by
observers as the Patriot Movement. People in the movement believe that they are the only true
1 Smith, E.N. (October 10, 1998). Four Arrested in Attack on Gay. Boulder Daily Camera, 2.
1


patriots in the U.S., feeling that the government and the mainstream public have strayed from
principles laid out by our founding fathers. The movement includes militias, white supremacist
groups, tax protestors, Christian Identity adherents, and survivalists.
The media and others have labeled such organizations hate groups. This label is somewhat
misleading. Hatred and violence towards Jews, people of color, and others may play a part in many
Patriots lives, but hate in itself is not their motivation. Their ideology is more complex.
Although it may at first seem to be such a fringe movement as to be relatively unimportant, the
movements members are indeed dangerous. They are a threat to a free, democratic society in that they
feel justified in breaking the law or using violence, they influence "lone wolf' types like the people
who killed Matthew Shepard, and they create the political space for slightly less extreme groups to
flourish, by making their version of bigotry seem reasonable in comparison.
The Patriot Movement is a loose conglomeration of diverse groups, unified by populist themes and a
strong distrust of the federal government. I choose to use the term Patriot Movement5^ because other
observers of the movement (including the Anti-Defamation League, Political Research Associates,
Southern Poverty Law Center, and others) use the term, as well as people in the movement themselves.
One could debate which groups belong under that heading and which do not. For the purposes of this
paper, I will focus on militias, rural groups like the Posse Comitatus, white supremacist groups like the
Aryan Nations, and Christian Identity organizations.
As Chip Berlet and Matthew Lyons pointed out in their book Right-Wing Populism in America, many
far right activists do not fit with the conventional definition of being conservative or resistant to
change, because they are actively pushing for some kind of social change. Berlet and Lyons suggest
2


sociologist Sara Diamonds definition: To be right-wing means to support the state in its capacity as
enforcer of order and to oppose the state as distributor of wealth and power downward and more
equitably in society.2 This is a good description of many people and organizations that are commonly
described as rightist (including much of the Patriot Movement), but since people are complex
creatures, some in this paper will not fit within this definition.
Many in the Patriot Movement are paranoid-sounding conspiracy theorists, sure that the U.S.
government is controlling the weather, that many U.S. citizens have been implanted with micro chips,
that the United Nations has concrete plans for a take-over of this country, and that the moon landing
was faked. In light of this, it is sometimes difficult to remember that the proponents of these ideas are
frequently intelligent, committed people with a constituency that listens to them. For this reason, and
because they commit violent acts, we must take them seriously.
Attacks by people in the Patriot Movement are not unusual today, and in the 1990s they were frequent.
For example, Paul de Armond of the Public Good Project compiled the following list of incidents
listed in Associated Press news stories on one day in April 1996:
A pipe bomb exploded outside an office of The Spokesman-Review newspaper
in Spokane, Wash. Ten minutes later, gunmen robbed a nearby bank and set off
a bomb as they left. No one was injured. The methods and a letter left behind
bore similarities to past crimes blamed on white supremacists.
A shed packed with explosives, ammunition, and guns exploded 60 miles east of
Portland Ore., breaking windows in nearby homes. Shredded bomb-making
literature rained down like confetti. A federal firearms charge was filed against
the sheds owner, a self-described survivalist.
Saboteurs derailed an Amtrak train near Phoenix in October, killing one person
and injuring 78. No arrests have been made, but a note at the scene, signed by
Sons of the Gestapo, railed against federal heavy-handedness at Waco and
Ruby Ridge.
In December, a fertilizer bomb fizzled outside an Internal Revenue Service
office in Reno, NV. Two tax protestors were charged in the bombing attempt.
2 Berlet, Chip & Lyons, Matthew N. (2000). Right Wing Populism in America: Too Close for Comfort.
New York: Gilford Press, p. 6.
3


Two men accused in January of netting more than $250,000 from a string of
midwestem bank robberies may have used the loot to finance a white
supremacist militia, officials said. In court papers, one defendant listed his
occupation as revolutionary and called himself Commander Pedro of the
Aryan Republic Army.
The standoff that began March 25 between the FBI and Montana Freemen. The
Freemen are anti-federal government activists who set up their own government,
wrote millions of dollars in bogus checks and threatened to kill anyone who
interfered.
Right-wing extremists were suspected of stealing explosives in five states.
A tax-protestor was charged with plotting to blow up an IRS center in Austin,
Texas.
A white supremacist in Ohio tricked a medical lab into mailing him vials of
bubonic plague bacteria.
And, of course, the bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah federal building in
Oklahoma City.3
A Theory of the Far Right
In the past two centuries, economic, political, and cultural conditions in this country have fostered the
anti-federal government movement. Economic hardships such as those suffered by rural Americans
faced with corporate consolidation of the farm industry have contributed to anti-government sentiment
in the U.S. Political leadership in recent decades has either been tolerant of bigotry (the right), or has
ignored and even insulted rural Americans (the left). The Civil Rights Movement and subsequent
efforts have successfully changed the culture of the U.S., causing some white, heterosexual, and
conservative people to feel very threatened. The right, center, and the left all share responsibility for
creating the conditions that have allowed the movement to flourish.
Many people in the Patriot Movement are frustrated for a reason. The movement is built on people
who are struggling economically, often due to causes beyond their control. There is often a real threat
to their culture, values, and lifestyle. By saying this, I do not mean to excuse violent acts committed by
people in the Patriot Movement, but I wish to acknowledge circumstances leading up to those acts.
3 de Armond, Paul. (April 19, 1996). Christian Patriots at War with the State. Northwest Citizen.
Retrieved February 2,2000 from http://nwcitizen.com/publicgood/reports/beliefr.
4


These circumstances, in the absence of positive, progressive political leadership, have led to the
flourishing of more pathological forms of thought and behavior.
Mainstream Right Benefits Far Right
More mainstream conservative leaders have helped to legitimize the Patriot Movement. Pat Robertson
publicly made statements linking homosexuality with Nazism, and feminism with the murder of
children.4 Patrick Buchanan once called Congress Israeli-occupied territory.5 These statements, made
by public figures with perceived credibility, help the fringe far right to grow.
Cultural Factors
In this paper, I will show that there are three main reasons why people in the 1970s through the 1990s
turned to the far right for answers. The first is cultural isolation. As U.S. culture changed in the 1960s,
many Americans felt that society was passing them by, and that the morals they grew up with were
becoming obsolete. Robert H. Book represents this point of view in his book, Slouching Towards
Gomorrah. Posse Comitatus member James Wickstrom also illustrates this frustration:
I came back from [Vietnam] in 1966, and after watching the greatest nation on earth
attacked from within over the war, I came home stunned. The most powerful military
force on earth was not allowed to engage the enemy on the battlefield. And a new
social enemy was taking over college campuses and making cowards of our children.
But what really affected me was the way our young children were being molded by a
new agenda of de-education and indoctrination in this country's primary schools.6
4 Quotes from the Religious Right. (n.d.). Retrieved April 28,2004 from
http://www.geocities.com/CapitolHiIl/7027/quotes.html.
5 Pat Buchanan's Skeleton Closet (n.d.). Retrieved April 28,2004 from
http://wwwjealchange.org/buchanan.htm.
6 Wickstrom, James. (n.d.). Interview with James P. Wickstrom. Retrieved April 28,2004 from
http://www.jameswickstrom.com/interview_with_wickstrom.html.
5


Economic Duress
The second reason people become part of the far right is economic duress. When people are faced with
hardships, they are frequently tempted to use other people as scapegoats for their problems. We have
seen this during the farm crisis that began in the 1980s and continues today, and with the trend towards
globalization and the loss of blue-collar jobs to overseas locations. For many people directly affected
by these circumstances, it is easy to blame people of a different race, or Jewish international bankers
for the changes. The main book I will use to illustrate this point is Harvest of Rage by Joel Dyer. This
book, like Steinbecks Grapes of Wrath, shows the dislocation between the powerful and powerless
and how the resulting rage can, depending upon circumstances, lead toward either fascist movements
or efforts to create a more just society.
Psychological Make-Up
The third reason people are drawn to the far right is that, for some, the movements paranoid message
resonates with their psychological makeup. Some people are simply more likely than others to look
for conspiracies. Some other personality types make them more resistant to cultural change. To
document this component of the movement I will use Richard Hofstadters essay on The Paranoid
Style in American Politics and Michael Rogins book Ronald Reagan, the Movie. For many people, of
course, a combination of the three concepts listed above were factors in leading them to the Patriot
Movement.
Overview of paper
This paper is about the explosion of Patriot activity that occurred in the 1990s. I will place those
developments in context with events leading up to that decade, and I will include some current
information, now that the movement has subsided somewhat. I will begin with an overview of the
history of bigotry in this country, and will then include chapters on the following facets of the
6


movement: anti-federal government sentiment in rural America, the Christian Identity philosophy,
militias and other armed movements, and Preparedness Expos as an organizing strategy. My chapter on
Preparedness Expos will be a departure in style from the rest of the paper; it is a personal account of
my experiences at these conferences. The rest of the paper will be a scholarly review.
The crime against Matthew Shepard was atrocious. But possibly even more shocking was the reaction
of some other people. While Shepard lay dying in the hospital, a Fort Collins Fraternity and Sorority
co-sponsored a homecoming float with a scarecrow sporting signs that read, Im gay and up my
ass. Fred Phelps, a minister from Topeka Kansas who is famous for picketing outside of AIDS
victims funerals, traveled to Wyoming with his followers to bring his God hates fags message to
Shepards funeral.
While some chose to be disrespectful, others gathered around the country to support Shepards family
and to call for tougher punishments for hate crimes. People who believe in tolerance and justice are
still in the majority. But we need to understand this movement to make sure that we can protect our
country from the nightmarish, bigoted theocracy that many Patriots are working so hard to put in place.
7


CHAPTER2
HISTORY OF THE PATRIOT MOVEMENT
Early Bigotry
There are people in the Patriot Movement who are not motivated by anti-Semitism, but it is a
significant factor in the movement, and it is important to look at its roots.
Early History of Anti-Semitism
Animosity towards Jews first came from some Christians who blamed them for Jesus crucifixion. In
Rome, for a time after Jesus death, Christianity was considered a sect of Judaism, and was a legal, or
licensed religion. Eventually, Jewish authorities convinced Roman authorities that Christianity was not
a part of Judaism, but was an apostate sect. Christians were then viewed as followers of an illegal
religion, and began to be persecuted. This further contributed to the anti-Jewish sentiment felt by some
Christians. Even today, certain segments of mainstream Christians (in addition to the far right) continue
to resent Jews for Jesus death. These feelings were once again brought to the forefront of society after
the release of Mel Gibsons The Passion in 2004. The movie graphically depicts the violence
committed against Jesus during the last hours of his life. On the day of the release of the film, the
minister of a Denver Pentecostal church put up the words Jews Killed the Lord Jesus on his freeway-
facing church sign. Anti-Semitism in our society helps the more virulent, organized anti-Semites by
making their message seem mainstream.
8


Many people in the Patriot Movement base their ideas on leaders and writings as old as the late
eighteenth century, in the European reaction to the Bavarian Illuminati and the Masons. In the late
1700s, a French cleric named Abbd Barruel revived fears that had begun in the 1300s about the Order
of Templars, a group founded during the crusades for the purpose of protecting religious pilgrims. As
they capitalized on the importance of their status, they became wealthy landholders across Europe and
eventually were perceived to be a threat to rulers and others with wealth. The leaders of the Templars
were burned at the stake in 1314.7 Barruel claimed that the Templars actually hadnt been destroyed,
but they had become European Bankers, (a euphemism now used to mean Jews), and had begun to
secretly plot the overthrow of European rulers. In the 1300s, Barruel said the Templars were also
working to take over the Order of Freemasons, another secret organization. Barruel later brought
Illuminism into the mix, claiming that Illuminati were infiltrating the Freemasons.8
Adam Weishaupt, a law professor at the University of Ingolstadt, founded Illuminism in 1776. Richard
Hoflstadter, author of The Paranoid Style in American Politics, describes it as another version of
Enlightenment rationalism, spiced with an anticlerical animus.9 Reportedly, such prominent people as
Goethe were members of the movement, as were numerous Masonic Lodges.
In 1797, Scottish scientist John Robison published a book entitled Proofs of a Conspiracy Against All
the Religions and Governments of Europe, carried on in the Secret Meetings of Free Masons,
Illuminati, and Reading Societies. Robison, himself a former Mason, wrote that Illuminism was formed
7 Dyer, Joel. (1997). Harvest of Rage: Why Oklahoma City is Just the Beginning. Boulder: Westview
Press, p. 101.
8 Dyer, Joel. (1997). Harvest of Rage: Why Oklahoma City is Just the Beginning. Boulder: Westview
Press, p. 101.
9 Hofstadter, Richard. (1966). The Paranoid Style in American Politics. Toronto: Random House, Inc.
9


for the express purpose of rooting out all the religious establishments, and overturning all the existing
governments of Europe.10 The book was originally published in Edinburgh, but was later reprinted in
New York. This is how America first learned of Illuminism, and this book is still promoted and used by
many on the far right.11
Drawing on these historic roots, modem day anti-Semites believe the New World Order conspiracy is
a secret alliance between Freemasons and Jews. In his book, The New World Order, Pat Robertson
provides a bridge between the far right and mainstream America. In the book he blames Illuminism for
communism, saying that Illuminist societies commissioned the Communist Manifesto in the 1800s. He
says, The precise connecting link between the German Illuminati and the beginning of world
communism was furnished by a German radical named Moses Hess. In Up from Conservatism,
Michael Lind believes that Robertson is presenting arguments that are very similar to those of anti-
Semites. Lind points out that Robertson uses German or European where his anti-Semitic sources
have Jewish.12
In the late 18* century, an anti-Masonic movement developed in Europe, blaming the Freemasons and
the Illuminati for nearly everything that has gone wrong for aristocrats, landowners, reactionary
Christian hierarchies, and other inhabitants of the far right since the French Revolution.13 In 1806 J.B.
10 Hofstadter, Richard. (1966). The Paranoid Style in American Politics. Toronto: Random House, Inc.
P-11-
11 de Armond, Paul. (April 19,1996). Christian Patriots at War with the State. Northwest Citizen.
Retrieved February 2,2000 from http://nwcitizen.com/publicgood/reports/belief/.
12 Lind, Michael. (1996). Up from Conservatism. New York: The Free Press, p. 101.
13 de Armond, Paul. (April 19,1996). Christian Patriots at War with the State. Northwest Citizen.
Retrieved February 2,2000 from http://nwcitizen.com/publicgood/reports/beliefr.
10


Simonini, a retired French army officer living in Italy, wrote a letter to Abb6 Barruel, calling attention
to the Judaic sect, which was the most formidable power, if one considers its great wealth and the
protection it enjoys in almost all European countries. Barruel warned, ...unless the conspiracy was
stopped, it would grow until it ruled the world.14 Simonini told Barruel that he had eavesdropped on a
gathering of Jews, and had learned that they had founded the Freemasons and the Illuminati, and had
infiltrated the Christian faith. Soon, he said, they hoped to have a Jew named as Pope.15
Another significant anti-Semitic document The Protocols of the Elders of Zion also emerged during
this era. This book remains one of the most widely cited documents in anti-Semitic writings. It was
purportedly written by Jewish leaders who outline the details of a Jewish conspiracy for world
domination. The Protocols have been shown to be a forgery, but many on the right stubbornly continue
to believe in its authenticity.16 This persistence is a good example of people with the paranoid
personality style, as described by Richard Hofstadter. To people with this mentality, it doesnt matter
that the book has been de-bunked. They may even see the documentation of forgery as further proof of
the conspiracy, evidence of a cover-up.
14 Abanes, Richard. (1996). Rebellion, Racism, & Religion: American Militias. Downers Grove:
InterVarsity Press, p. 133.
15 Ridgeway, James. (1995). Blood in the Face. New York: Thunders Mouth Press, p. 47.
16 de Armond, Paul. (April 19, 1996). Christian Patriots at War with the State. Northwest Citizen.
Retrieved February 2,2000 from http://nwcitizen.com/publicgood/reports/beliefr.
11


Backlash Against Catholics
English colonists who first came to the North American continent were influenced by the Protestant
Reformation in Europe, and brought an anti-Catholic tradition to this country. Many scapegoated the
Papists instead of the Jews, and the conspiracy theories focused on the Pope of Rome instead of the
Elders of Zion. After the American Revolution, a few states included provisions in their constitutions
that Catholics may not hold state offices. There were many incidents of violence against Catholics,
especially nuns and priests.17
In the mid 1800s, anti-Catholic Protestants attempted to show that they were then in the end times as
prophesied in the Book of Revelation in the Christian Bible. Revelation 13:18 says:
Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the
number of a man; and his number is six hundred threescore and six.18
The Protestants tried hard to associate the Pope with the number 666. Some used the Latin
name of the Pope Vicar General of God upon Earth or Vicarius Generalis Dei in
Terris to reach the number. Another found that by reading the printed words Pius the
Ninth upside down, one could find 666.19
The Reverend Lyman Beecher wrote,
Three-fourths of the foreign emigrants whose accumulating tide is rolling in upon us,
are, through the medium of their religion and priesthood, entirely accessible to the
17 Coates, James. (1995). Armed and Dangerous: The Rise of the Survivalist Right. New York: Hill and
Wang. p.23.
18 Coates, James. (1995). Armed and Dangerous: The Rise of the Survivalist Right. New York: Hill and
Wang. p.23.
19 Coates, James. (1995). Armed and Dangerous: The Rise of the Survivalist Right. New York: Hill and
Wang. p.24.
12


control of the potentates of Europe, as if they were an army of soldiers, enlisted and
officered, and spreading through the land.20
In the 1800s Catholics were portrayed in popular culture as lazy and treacherous. During the
depression years of 1837 to 1843 Catholics were scapegoated, and Catholic immigrants were the
targets of numerous violent attacks.21
As African Americans and other minorities began to enjoy increased rights and opportunities, this anti-
Catholic sentiment diminished somewhat, although it did not disappear. It was notably present during
the presidency of John F. Kennedy, and some anti-Catholicism still exists, but in the early 1900s,
people of color became the primary targets, along with Jews.
Christian Identity
Christian Identity is a twisted theology that began in the 1800s, and continues to influence almost every
aspect of the Patriot Movement today. The origins of Christian Identity can be traced to John Wilson, a
Scotsman who published the book Our Israelitish Origins in 1840, and Edward Hines, an Englishman
who wrote Identification of the British Nation with Lost Israel in 1871.22 British Israelism (as it was
known then) followers believed that the true Ten Lost Tribes of Israel migrated and eventually settled
in Northern Europe. Christian Identity adherents believe that white Northern Europeans are Gods
chosen people, and that Jews are impostors.
20 Rogin, Michael. (1987). Ronald Reagan, the Movie and Other Episodes in Political Demonology.
Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Free Press, p. 57.
21 Berlet, Chip & Lyons, Matthew N. (2000). Right Wing Populism in America: Too Close for Comfort.
New York: Gilford Press, p. 7.
22 Dees, Morris. (1996). Gathering Storm: Americas Militia Threat. New York: HarperCollins. p. 38.
13


The theory suggests that there are two races on earth, one godly (white Christians descended from
Northern Europe) and one satanic (Jews).23 People of color are mud people and are not considered
fully human. Since Christian Identity is such a significant factor in todays far right movement, I will
give Christian Identity more thorough attention in Chapter 4.
KuKluxKlan
Michael Rogin makes the point that black slavery in the United States could not have existed if there
wasnt pre-existing racism, but slavery intensified that racism. He says, racialist thinking
simultaneously justified black enslavement and forged bonds across class lines among whites.24
With the abolition of slavery and the end of the Civil War, white Protestants of all economic classes
began to feel more threatened by freed slaves than by Jews. The Ku Klux Klan exemplified the
extremes of this feeling.
The Klan was the most notorious group in the U.S. to organize an underground movement with a
bigoted agenda. In 1866 few young white men formed the Klan in Tennessee in response to the end of
the Civil War. They were experiencing both cultural isolation, as the emancipated slaves began their
new lives as free people, and economic duress, as the South lost land and power following the war. The
Klan grew, and within a few months Nathan Bedford Forrest, a former slave trader and Confederate
23 de Armond, Paul. (April 19,1996). Christian Patriots at War with the State. Northwest Citizen.
Retrieved February 2,2000 from http://nwcitizen.com/publicgood/reports/beliefr.
24 Rogin, Michael. (1987). Ronald Reagan, the Movie and Other Episodes in Political Demonology.
Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Free Press, p. 51.
14


general, became head of the Klan. By 1868 Forrest claimed that there were 550,000 Klan members
across the South.25
As the Klan continued to grow in the late 1800s, Forrest lost control of the organization. He issued an
order for the Klan to disband, which was ignored. Soon Congress made night riding a crime, and for
a period of time suspended habeas corpus. In 1871, President Grant ordered troops back from the
western struggles with Indians to help put down Klan violence in South Carolina.26 After a military
investigation led to mass arrests, the Klan finally dissolved almost entirely.
Although the idea of the Klan remained in many peoples minds, the Klan remained disorganized and
small until 1915, when the film Birth of a Nation was released. Birth of a Nation was the first full-
length motion picture produced in Hollywood and still receives accolades as a feat of filmmaking.
Based on the best-selling novel, The Clansman by Thomas Dixon Jr., the film depicts sex-crazed black
men stalking virginal white women. The shots of the trembling, blond white women and the panting,
predatory black(white actors in blackface) men enraged many viewers. At showings in both
Greensboro and Knoxville the audiences filled the movie screens with bullet holes.27 It is interesting
Hollywood movies, now a significant cultural tradition, grew out of this racist film.
25 Ridgeway, James. (1995). Blood in the Face. New York: Thunders Mouth Press, p. 52.
26 Ridgeway, James. (1995). Blood in the Face. New York: Thunders Mouth Press, p. 52.
27 Coates, James. (1995). Armed and Dangerous: The Rise of the Survivalist Right. New York: Hill and
Wang. p.32.
15


After viewing Birth of a Nation, President Woodrow Wilson publicly endorsed the film, and arranged
for screenings in Congress and the Supreme Court28 Wilson, a colleague of Dixons, said of the film,
It is like writing history with lightning, and my only regret is that it is all so terribly true. Dixon used
the quote in publicity for the film, until the president prohibited its use after political pressures.29
Like the far right today, the Klan helped to create the political space for relatively mainstream
politicians like Wilson to make right-wing decisions. Wilson submitted an unsuccessful piece of
legislation that would have further restricted the rights of African Americans, he used his office to
segregate the federal government, and he vetoed a motion on racial equality in the League of Nations.30
The existence of the Klan helped to make it possible for a U.S. president to take those stances.
Likewise, Wilsons attitudes on race helped create political space for the Klan to flourish.
Birth of a Nation reveals the paranoid personality traits of its director, D.W. Griffith, and that of author
Thomas Dixon Jr. The material in the movie is not merely racist; it perpetuates the irrational fear of
black men raping white women. Griffith stated that one purpose of the movie was to create a feeling
of abhorrence in white people, especially white women, against colored men. This fear was
widespread in the early 20th century, when black men accused of sexual misconduct with white women
were killed by mobs. Novelist Thomas Nelson Page, a contemporary of Griffiths, was apparently
28 Christie, John. (May 14,2003). Two MHS Students Say Wilson was Racist. Retrieved April 28,2004
from http://www.middletownpress.com/site/
news.cfin?newsid=8005828&BRD=1645&PAG=461&dept_id=10856&rfi=6.
29 Rogin, Michael. (1987). Ronald Reagan, the Movie and Other Episodes in Political Demonology.
Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Free Press, p. 192.
30 Christie, John. (May 14,2003). Two MHS Students Say Wilson was Racist. Retrieved April 28,2004
from http://wwwjniddIetownpress.com/site/
news.cfin?newsid=8005828&BRD=1645&PAG=461&dept_id=10856&rfi=6.
16


attempting to rationalize lynchings when he decried the ravishing and tearing to pieces of white
women and children crimes purportedly being committed by black men.31
It is possible that D.W. Griffith, like many in todays Patriot movement, was propelled rightward partly
because of socio-economic factors. His father, who was wounded in the Civil War, later died from his
injuries. After his death, D.W. Griffiths family lost their family farm, like so many Patriots who were
to come decades later.32
The passion aroused from Birth of a Nation greatly contributed to the resurgence of the Klan.
Many people have documented the violence and power of the early Klan so I will not delve into detail
about the crimes they committed. Later in this paper I will discuss how their actions, both past and
present, continue to shape the culture of todays society.
Re-Emergence of Anti-Semitism
The early 1900s also saw the re-emergence of anti-Semitism. At this time, Nesta Webster, a British
fascist, revived John Robisons book Proofs of a Conspiracy... At about the same time Henry Ford,
automobile tycoon, helped to increase anti-Semitic sentiment by distributing thousands of copies of the
Protocols of the Elders of Zion.
During the 1920s Henry Ford used money made selling cars to advertise the Protocols. In Fords
newspaper, the Dearborn Independent, a series of articles titled The International Jew: The Worlds
31 Rogin, Michael. (1987). Ronald Reagan, the Movie and Other Episodes in Political Demonology.
Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Free Press, p. 219.
32 Rogin, Michael. (1987). Ronald Reagan, the Movie and Other Episodes in Political Demonology.
Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Free Press, p. 214.
17


Foremost Problem, was distributed not only in Michigan but by every Ford dealer in America where it
was compulsory reading. The articles were repackaged as a book with the same title. Half a million
copies were circulated in the U.S., and the book was translated into sixteen languages.33
When confronted with a massive libel suit in 1927, Ford finally issued a public apology, acknowledged
that the Protocols were a forgery, and retracted the accusations in The International Jew.34 However,
the damage was already done. These statements came too late to change the minds of thousands of
people who had been influenced by his earlier efforts. The far right continues to quote anti-Semitic
segments of The International Jew as a credible source.35
In 1933, when Hitler became chancellor of Germany, a former U.S. scriptwriter formed the Silver
Shirts, as a counterpart in this country to Hitlers Brown Shirts. William Pelley, who believed that
reincarnated demon souls lived in Jews, said the goal of the Silver Legion was to bring the work of
Christ militant into the open. He proclaimed Jesus Christ an honorary Silver Shirt, and reported that
Christ had accepted the appointment.36
33 Coates, James. (1995). Armed and Dangerous: The Rise of the Survivalist Right. New York: Hill and
Wang. p.21.
34 Coates, James. (1995). Armed and Dangerous: The Rise of the Survivalist Right. New York: Hill and
Wang. p. 21.
35 Wickstrom, James. (2004). Yahwehs Truth. Retrieved April 28,2004 from
http://www.jameswickstrom.com.
36 Ridgeway, James. (1995). Blood in the Face. New York: Thunders Mouth Press, p. 63.
18


The Silver Shirts openly supported Hitler, and grew to an estimated 15,000-25,000. As World War II
progressed, the group declined rather quickly, shrinking to 5,000 in 1938. In 1942 Pelley was charged
with violating the Espionage Act and was sentenced to 15 years, turning him into a political martyr to
others on the far right.37
The Beginnings of the Patriot Movement
In his book, Slouching Towards Gomorrah, Robert H. Bork discusses the cultural shift that occurred in
the U.S. beginning in the 1950s with Elvis Presley, Jack Kerouac, and James Dean. He says .. .far
from being isolated curiosities, these were harbingers of a new culture that would shortly burst upon us
and sweep us into a different country.38 He laments the explicit sex and violence that are now common
in American entertainment; the rising rate of births to unwed mothers; increasing homicide rates; and
feminist, gay rights, and other activists. Bork blames modem liberalism for this cultural and social
degradation, as well as for the lack of community that he sees in our society today.39
Bork is not alone in these thoughts. Many Americans who had been content to ignore people who were
different from them were suddenly forced to pay attention to the civil rights movement and other
counter-cultural upheavals in the 1960s. Some saw the cultural changes in the 1950s through the 1970s
as a threat to capitalism and our veiy way of life.
37 Ridgeway, James. (1995). Blood in the Face. New York: Thunders Mouth Press, p. 64.
38 Bork, Robert H. (1997). Slouching Towards Gomorrah: Modern Liberalism and American Decline.
New York: Regan Books, p.l.
39 Bork, Robert H. (1997). Slouching Towards Gomorrah: Modern Liberalism and American Decline.
New York: Regan Books, p.5.
19


The John Birch Society
The 1950s saw the rise (and fall) of Senator Joseph McCarthy. His extreme ideas about how to
protect the United States against communism created a culture of paranoia in this country. Many
who shared his passion for hunting out suspected communists soon became members of the John Birch
Society.
In 1958, a Massachusetts candy manufacturer named Robert Welch founded The John Birch Society to
save our inheritance from an international communist plot. The group promoted the idea of less
government and more individual responsibility.40 The Birch Society was set up in chapters, and worked
to establish influence in organized political parties. They published their own books and pamphlets,
they created centers in bookstores for their literature, and they operated a lecture series.41
The John Birch Society opposed the following organizations among others: (U.S. membership in) the
United Nations, the International Labor Organization, the International Trade Organization, the World
Health Organization, UNICEF, the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, and NATO. It opposed
so-called defense spending, foreign aid, and diplomatic relations with communist countries. It
opposed social security, the graduated income tax, government wage and price controls, forced
integration, the Federal Reserve, and water fluoridation.42
40 Ridgeway, James. (1995). Blood in the Face. New York: Thunders Mouth Press.
41 Ridgeway, James. (1995). Blood in the Face. New York: Thunders Mouth Press.
42 Ridgeway, James. (1995). Blood in the Face. New York: Thunders Mouth Press.
20


In his book The Politician, Welch called President Eisenhower a mere stooge for communism.43
Despite that, in 1966, membership in the John Birch Society reached 80,000 in 5,000 different
chapters. At that time, their primaiy focus was on opposing the civil rights movement. The Birch
Society publicly claimed that members of the KKK were not welcome, but according to James
Ridgeway, author of jBlood in the Face, they frequently intermingled.44
In a speech in 1965, retired Major General Edwin A. Walker, a longstanding member of the Birch
Society, said There will be a KKK in the USA longer than there will be an LBJ. In another speech,
Walker linked anti-communism with racism when he warned that the communist conspiracy was aimed
at you, the white race, and was poised for action just ninety miles from Florida.45
According to Ridgeway, the Birch Society was not actively revolutionary. Welch never advocated
overthrowing the government or not paying taxes. Interestingly, Welch dismissed the anti-Semitic idea
that Jewish bankers were orchestrating a communist grab for power and blamed Communists for anti-
Semitism. Anti-Semitism has been the most powerful weapon the Communists have had at different
times. In my opinion -1 think you could prove it anti-Semitism was created by the Communists for
them to be able to use both sides. 46
But Welch was not an ally of the Jews. In an article he wrote for the Birch Society bulletin in 1965, he
said There came a period of some forty years when an abnormal percentage of the visible leadership
43 Lind, Michael. (1996). Up from Conservatism. New York: The Free Press, p. 110.
44 Ridgeway, James. (1995). Blood in the Face. New York: Thunders Mouth Press.
45 Ridgeway, James. (1995). Blood in the Face. New York: Thunders Mouth Press, p.77.
46 Ridgeway, James. (1995). Blood in the Face. New York: Thunders Mouth Press, p.77.
21


of the Communist conspiracy was of Jewish ancestry.. .and these traitors to their race as well as to all
mankind worked and schemed and plotted to have themselves hated, not as Communists, but as
Jews.47
In a 1961 address, President John F. Kennedy discussed groups like the Birch Society, saying, In the
most critical periods of our nations history, there have always been those on the fringes of our society
who have sought to escape their own responsibility by finding a simple solution, an appealing slogan,
or a convenient scapegoat.48 No one fits that description better than George Lincoln Rockwell.
George Lincoln Rockwell
George Lincoln Rockwell helped to energize the far right movement in the 1950s and 1960s. He
brought passion and flamboyance to the movement, which attracted a great deal of public attention and
some public support.
Rockwell served in both World War II and in Korea, which helped to firm up his anti-communist
beliefs. Upon his return, he worked with various far right organizations, including the American
Federation of Conservative Organizations (AFCO), the United White Party, and the National
Committee to Free America from Jewish Domination. Rockwell became most well known when he
became head of the American Nazi Party. One of Rockwells main goals was to inflame his opponents,
which he did by publicly and loudly proclaiming his ideas. Rockwell toured the South in a bus sporting
47 Ridgeway, James. (1995). Blood in the Face. New York: Thunders Mouth Press, p.78.
48 Ridgeway, James. (1995). Blood in the Face. New York: Thunders Mouth Press.
22


the words We hate Jew Communism,49 Rockwell wanted Jews sterilized and blacks deported to
Africa. He also called for the hanging of traitors such as former Presidents Harry Truman and
Dwight Eisenhower.50
Rockwell was shot and killed in 1967 by a disgruntled lieutenant in the American Nazi Party. John
Patler allegedly disagreed with Rockwells ranking of white people based on the fairness of their skin,
and he killed Rockwell in the parking lot of a laundromat. After Rockwells funeral, the Pentagon
refused to allow his body at the national cemetery in Culpepper because mourners refused to remove
armbands with swastikas before entering. His body was returned to party headquarters and was
disposed of after a secret Nazi funeral.51
In the monthly publication of the small organization Liberty and Property {Right), Rockwell wrote
And dangerous we ARE. To Jew traitors we are deadly and we openly inform them we will stuff them
into gas chambers in 1972 when we are elected to powef(emphasis his).52 Although the American Nazi
movement never grew beyond 2000 members, the organization and Rockwell continues to inspire many
on the right. The Church of True Israel includes a bibliography of Rockwell on their website, as well
as writings of this authentic American hero.53 The American Nazi Party still exists, now under the
49 Ridgeway, James. (1995). Blood in the Face. New York: Thunders Mouth Press, p.86.
50 American Hitler Shot Dead. (August 25,1967). Retrieved April 2,2004 from
http://news.bbc.co.uk/onthisday/hi/dates/stories/august/25/newsid_3031000/3031928.stm.
51 American Hitler Shot Dead. (August 25,1967). Retrieved April 2,2004 from
http://news.bbc.co.uk/onthisday/hi/dates/stories/august/25/newsid_3031000/3031928.stm.
52 Ridgeway, James. (1995). Blood in the Face. New York: Thunders Mouth Press, p.82.
53 Church of True Israel. (n.d.) Who is George Lincoln Rockwell? Retrieved April 28,2004 from
http://www.churchoftrueisrael.com/rocwell/rocwho.html.
23


leadership of Rocky Suhayda. Their website says about Rockwell, A mans life is his noblest work.
And if his work is carried on by those who survive him, he is not truly dead. Through us, Rockwell
lives!54
The Minutemen
The Minutemen, founded by Robert DePugh in the late 1960s, was an underground military
organization. They pioneered the model that modem militias use: secret, well armed squads loosely tied
together with no centralized authority. DePugh bragged in an interview about the organizations
sophistication, saying that the secret membership lists were bottled in a nitroglycerine mixture that
would explode upon opening.
For a time, they received free ammunition from the National Rifle Association, and at-cost surplus
weapons from the governmental Office of Civilian Marksmanship. Many Minutemen built up huge
arsenals. At one point the organization claimed to have a membership of 80,000.
The Minutemens newsletter, On Target, published a threatening letter addressed to twenty members of
Congress who voted to eliminate the House Un-American Activities Committee. The letter read:
See the old man at the comer where you buy your papers: He may have a silencer-
equipped pistol under his coat. That extra fountain pen in the pocket of the insurance
salesman that calls on you might be a cyanide gas gun.. .Traitors beware! Even now
the cross-hairs are on the back of your necks.55
54 Schaerffenberg, A.V. (n.d.). Who was George Lincoln Rockwell? Retrieved April 28,2004 from
http://americannaziparty.com/rockwell/index.shtml.
55 Ridgeway, James. (1995). Blood in the Face. New York: Thunders Mouth Press, p.81.
24


The Minutemen werent all just talk. Several members attempted to assassinate Arkansas Senator
William Fulbright, a powerful Democrat and chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
Other Minutemen planned to poison the United Nations ventilation system, but failed.
Mainstream Politics
When Senator Barry Goldwater ran for office in 1964, the U.S. right wing began to gain power in
mainstream politics. Goldwaters oft quoted "extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice and...
moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue" from his acceptance speech gave the impression to
many that he would tolerate groups such as the John Birch Society and the Klan.56 George Wallaces
overt racism gave a further boost to the far right. The presence of these candidates signaled to the
public that racism would, at least to a certain extent, be tolerated in mainstream politics.
The cultural changes that occurred in the 1960s set the stage for the Patriot Movement. Conservative
Americans were horrified by the increased sexual promiscuity and the rise of drug use among young
people. Women began to have the freedom to speak their minds and work outside of the home. Divorce
became more common. Legal decisions, such as Roe v. Wade, and efforts to further separate the
institutions of Church and State further gave conservatives the feeling that society was disintegrating.
To conservative Christians especially, the legalization of abortion and the elimination of prayer in
public schools were sure signs of moral decay.
56 Barnes, Bart (May 30,1998). Barry Goldwater, GOP Hero, Dies. Retrieved April 27,2004 from
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/politics/daily/may98/goldwater30.htm.
25


The Civil Rights Movement, and later, the Gay Rights Movement forced white and straight people who
had previously ignored these populations to pay attention to their message. Many felt extremely
threatened, and this led to a backlash.
Although the above events took place in the 1960s and 1970s, the Patriot Movement didnt draw
significant numbers until economic factors made more and more people desperate. In an unfortunate
example of Ted Robert Gurrs concept of Relative Deprivation, many people who had formerly
experienced middle class success watched their dreams dying.57 The Farm Crisis, diminishing rural
industries such as mining and logging, and corporate downsizing had profound effects on thousands of
lives. Successes experienced by the environmental movement resulted in restrictions that affected
many people in the pocketbook. Some felt that Affirmative Action policies gave an unfair advantage to
people of color in the workplace. Frustrated farmers, ranchers, laborers and others, many of whom
already associated the left with the breakdown of society due to the factors listed above, looked for
answers and found them in the far right. The rights explanations exploited the paranoia that some
people were already prone to, and encouraged scapegoating of people of color and Jews.
With the 1980s and the election of President Ronald Reagan, and the rising prominence of leaders such
as Pat Robertson and Patrick Buchanan, the New Right became a formidable political force, swinging
the center of mainstream politics to the right.58 In the 1980s and 1990s, as Patriot activity increased,
some confrontations between Patriot members and government entities ended with a violent reaction by
government and law enforcement agencies, provoking anger and greatly fueling the movement. The
incidents at Ruby Ridge and Waco, and the deaths of Gordon Kahl and Robert Matthews at the hands
57 Gurr, Ted Robert. (1970). Why Men Rebel. Princeton: Princeton University.
58 Ridgeway, James. (1995). Blood in the Face. New York: Thunders Mouth Press.
26


of law enforcement officers, galvanized members of the far right. These events are also important, in
that they helped legitimize Patriot claims to mainstream America. I will discuss these cases in the
appropriate sections of this paper.
Conclusion
Psychological Factors
Patriots today base many of their convictions on conspiracy theories; such as the idea that at any
moment, the government will conduct door-to-door searches to collect all privately owned guns. The
majority of these theories appear to mainstream Americans to be paranoid to the point of being
ridiculous, but many people in the Patriot Movement are intelligent, sane individuals. Richard Abanes,
author of Rebellion, Racism, & Religion: American Militias, theorizes that a person begins slipping
into the world of conspiracy theories with a series of small injustices and frustrations. When these
frustrations and failures continue, the individual becomes embittered. Rather than resolving their
grievances either by taking a critical look at themselves, or by accepting the complexities of life that
have led to hardship, Abanes says, conspiracy-prone individuals blame their troubles on the
company, the government or the system. They soon begin to associate with other people with the
same point of view, which reinforces the paranoia, and isolates people from others with differing
opinions.59 Militia of Montana Member Bob Fletcher says Im the same as everybody else in this
country. I got into this [Patriot Movement] because I got screwed, big time, by my government.60
59 Abanes, Richard. (1996). Rebellion, Racism, & Religion: American Militias. Downers Grove:
InterVarsity Press, p. 99.
60 Abanes, Richard. (1996). Rebellion, Racism, & Religion: American Militias. Downers Grove:
InterVarsity Press, p. 99.
27


Economic Factors
As shown in this chapter, racism and anti-Semitism are not new concepts in the United States. But
when the Patriot Movement surged, it was because those factors were present in combination with
economic problems. Many people became active in the movement when they experienced personal
economic problems during the Farm Crisis, or after being downsized from a corporation. Economic
problems can lead to a level of desperation where one is susceptible to scapegoating.. As Chip Berlet
and Matthew Lyons put it, Gunning down children in a Jewish community center in Los Angeles
makes sense if you think Jews run the world and are thus responsible for all that is wrong in the country
as a whole and your life in particular. They are referring to the 1999 actions of Buford ONeal
Furrow, a former member of the Aryan Nations. When people scapegoat others, they dehumanize and
demonize their targets. The scapegoaters Teel a sense of righteousness and increased unity.61
Cultural Factors
In his book Culture of Fear, Barry Glassner documents a cultural phenomenon that has taken place
since the mid 20th century; that of the media leading American citizens to become disproportionately
fearful of possible misfortunes that in actuality affect only a small number of people, while valid
concerns go undiscussed. He gives as an example our societys paranoia of black men, and a relative
lack of attention to dangers that African-American men face. The news media feature crimes committed
by black men, but do not give as much coverage to crimes in which black men are victims. Glassner
says, Many more black men are casualties of crime than are perpetrators, but their victimization does
not attract the media spotlight the way their crimes do. Glassner points out that in addition to being
61 Berlet, Chip & Lyons, Matthew N. (2000). Right Wing Populism in America: Too Close for Comfort.
New York: Gilford Press, p.8.
28


threatened by crime, black men are statistically much more likely to be infected with the AIDS virus or
to contract prostrate cancer, have higher suicide rates, and earn much less on the job than white men.
Yet the media seldom report on these real threats. 62
These actions by the media have had profound effects on race relations in the U.S. White women
believe they must be fearful of black men on the street, yet a black man is about eighteen times more
likely to be murdered than a white woman. The racist part of the Patriot Movement thrives on the
existence of racism in mainstream society. For many, it is easy to make the jump from racist fears and
thoughts to actions. White supremacist groups and Christian Identity churches are able to find new
recruits from this pool of young people who already fearful or disdainful of people of color.
Chip Berlet of Political Research Associates, says of the Patriot Movement, These people are not
lunatics and they are not stupid. What they are is so stressed out for so long that the only explanation
that makes sense to them anymore is to look for the simple solution that a scapegoat provides.63 The
scapegoats that Patriots have chosen are racial and religious minorities, and the government itself.
62 Glassner, Barry. (1999). The Culture of Fear: Why Americans are Afraid of the Wrong Things. New
York: Basic Books, p.109.
63 Abanes, Richard. (1996). Rebellion, Racism, & Religion: American Militias. Downers Grove:
InterVarsity Press, p. 99.
29


CHAPTER 3
THE RIGHT IN RURAL AMERICA
Much of the struggle to push this country to the far right is taking place in rural America. Throughout
the history of this country, economic challenges on farms, ranches, and in small towns have created
frustration that has pushed many ordinary people towards political extremes. In the past few decades,
the far right movement has flourished in part because mainstream Republicans have tolerated racism
and other forms of bigotry, and the majority of Democrats have either ignored, or have been insensitive
to the voice of rural America. Occasional inappropriate interference in local affairs by the federal
government has fueled the anti-Washington D.C. sentiment in rural areas. In addition, the cultural gap
between urban and rural areas exacerbated the feeling of cultural isolation when our country went
through dramatic changes in the 1960s and 1970s. Drug experimentation and free love were
shocking to many people in all parts of the country, and rural people tended to associate these negative
changes with cities.
It is important to note that right-wing extremists can also be found in cities, and one could easily write
a paper similar to this one focusing on urban fascism. This paper looks often to rural America, partly
because of the time frame I have chosen. The farm crisis of the 1970s and 1980s and other economic
factors that disproportionately affected rural America helped to create the Patriot Movement.
Some of the characteristics that make rural areas attractive are the very ones that have made rural
America susceptible to extremism during this era. Many people living in rural areas have a deep sense
of fairness, and highly value family and tradition. When corporate agribusiness threatens their families
30


and tradition with unfair practices, and when no recourse is available, the resulting despair can lead to
extremism.
Ever since Europeans began to relocate to this continent in the 17th century, there has been a division
between people on the westernmost edges of the frontier and people living in eastern urban areas.
Early rural food producers in the United States lived difficult lives on the frontier, and rightly felt that
urban easterners could not fully understand the reality of their lives. Many have resented urban
influence on both the culture and the economy of rural America.
Producerism is a doctrine that idealizes societys producers (farmers, industrial workers, etc.) and pits
them against unproductive elites.64 Rural Producer Radicalism, as described by historian Catherine
McNicol Stock, has at times swung either to the left or the right sometimes pointing to corporate
capitalism as the enemy, sometimes targeting the federal government. In the years following slavery,
Rural Producer Radicals often included black former slaves, who then owned small farms. In the
1930s a coalition of black and white farmers joined together in the Southern Tenant Farmers Union, to
mobilize to increase federal relief. But this wasnt necessarily a trend towards racial harmony. Other
whites threatened the STFU members, beat them, or put them in jail.65
From the 1700s, all the way through the mid 1900s, a culture of vigilantism has permeated rural
America, especially in the West and South. This idea has been romanticized in films such as The
Magnificent Seven, where the vigilantes are often portrayed as fair-minded and courageous individuals,
without whom a community would have little safety.
64 Berlet, Chip & Lyons, Matthew N. (2000). Right Wing Populism in America: Too Close for Comfort.
New York: Gilford Press, p.6.
65 McNicol Stock, Catherine. (1997). Rural Radicals. New York: Penguin Books, p. 83.
31


Often vigilantism occurs when individuals or a community feel that they cannot rely upon law
enforcement to deal with the perceived problem. One can speak of vigilante justice versus injustice -
sometimes the actions of the vigilantes may seem to be justified. Certainly the far right feels that it
cannot rely on the government, as evidenced in the recent Border Vigilante phenomenon. Border
Vigilantes believe the INS and Border Patrol are failing in their efforts to secure the border from
immigrants entering the country illegally. But the practice of condemning a person to physical harm or
death without a trial is in direct opposition to this countrys concept of rule by law. Though celebrated
in film, the reality is that vigilantes have not only targeted suspected criminals, but also those whose
racial heritage was different from theirs, poor people or others who were perceived to be a threat to the
economic system, or those who appeared to the vigilantes to be un-American.66
McNicol Stock points out that urban people have committed their share of the atrocities in U.S.
history, and it is inaccurate to blame the majority on rural Americans. But rural areas are isolated both
from the economic prosperity of urban areas and from centers of political power. This, combined with
their history and the culture of gun ownership, have contributed to the culture of vigilantism that
continues today.
In recent decades, increased federal regulation of industries based in rural areas has caused tremendous
resentment. Richard Abanes, author of American Militias, illustrates the problem. In 1995 the
Occupational Safety and Health Administration ordered loggers to use steel-toed, chain-saw resistant
boots for work. Montana loggers opposed this seemingly innocuous regulation.
66 McNicol Stock, Catherine. (1997). Rural Radicals. New York: Penguin Books, p. 89.
32


Montana Senator Max Baucas said:
Steel-toed boots may sound good to someone in Washington, D.C., but in Montana
they can make the job more dangerous. On a cold day, they make your feet go numb
and that makes it easier to slip on a steep hill, and that is no joke when you are
holding a live chain saw... [Njobody at a desk in Washington, D.C. should be telling
people in the Flathead what kind of shoes to wear. You can expect people rightfully
to be mad about that.67
The environmental movement has further increased the cultural divide between rural and urban people,
and between people living in the mountain west and the east coast. Logging, ranching, and farming are
vital parts of both the culture and the economy in the rural west, and in the late 1970s environmental
restrictions began to have a significant impact on these industries. Dean Compton, co-founder of the
National Alliance of Christian Militia in California, complains that due to concerns about the spotted
owl, three lumber mills in his area were closed within one year. Because of these same environmental
restrictions, he is not allowed to dig up Manzanita bushes on his own property.68 As John P. Andrist of
the Okanogan County Citizens Coalition in Washington puts it, the environmentalist philosophy
misses the importance of these peoples lives....the prevailing attitude is, I have an idea of what is
good for the planet and I have some science to back it up. And Im sorry, but you dont fit into
that,69
Wise Use
The Wise Use movement is a passionate conglomeration of anti-environmentalist loggers, ranchers,
and others in the West, Southwest, and Northwest. Ron Arnold, a founder and spokesperson for the
67 Abanes, Richard. (1996). Rebellion, Racism, & Religion: American Militias. Downers Grove:
InterVarsity Press, p.14.
68 Abanes, Richard. (1996). Rebellion, Racism, & Religion: American Militias. Downers Grove:
InterVarsity Press, p.14.
69 Abanes, Richard. (1996). Rebellion, Racism, & Religion: American Militias. Downers Grove:
InterVarsity Press, p.15.
33


movement, says, "Our goal is to destroy, to eradicate the environmental movement. We want to be able
to exploit the environment for private gain, absolutely. And we want people to understand that this is a
noble goal."70 The term Wise Use was co-opted from the first chief of the Forest Service, Gifford
Pinchot. Wise Use groups are known for using threats and intimidation to achieve their goals. They,
along with some in the environmentalist movement, have contributed to the polarization of
environmental issues, resolution extremely difficult. As Ken Toole of the Montana Human Rights
Network says, people are becoming more inclined to reject our traditional methods of resolving
political differences...i.e., civil discourse and compromise.71
According to William Kevin Burke of Political Research Associates, many Wise Use groups are
funded by mining, chemical, and timber companies. He says, In return, they claim, loudly, that the
well-documented hole in the ozone layer doesnt exist, that carcinogenic chemicals in the air and water
dont harm anyone, and that trees wont grow properly unless forests are clear-cut, with government
subsidies. Burke says that some Wise Use groups have formed alliances with others on the right. For
example, the Oregon Citizens Alliance, which successfully sponsored an anti-gay measure in
Oregons legislature, later sponsored an initiative that would undermine Oregons land use planning
laws.72
Ranchers, farmers, and other conservative Americans also make up the membership of another right
wing group, the Posse Comitatus.
70 Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility. (n.d.). Wise Use or Abuse? Retrieved April 6,.
2004 from http://www.peer.org/wise_use/.
71 Abanes, Richard. (1996). Rebellion, Racism, & Religion: American Militias. Downers Grove:
InterVarsity Press, p. 15
72 Burke, William Kevin. (June 1993) The Wise Use Movement: Right Wing Anti Environmentalism.
Retrieved April 6,2004 from http:// 34


Posse Comitatus
In the 1970s and 1980s, the Posse Comitatus was one of the largest Survival Right groups. Because its
doctrine requires its members to remain secret, it is difficult to estimate the size of the organization,
either then or now. The ADL believes that much of the Posse died away after the 1980s, with only a
small number remaining.73 Most members of the Posse are small-town Republicans, many of them
farmers or ranchers. Many prominent racists (William Gale, James Wickstrom, August Kreis) have
been a part of the Posse, but not all Posses are racist.74 Some Posses sprang up after the initial
organizations and didnt follow the racist model set by the founders. All the Posses follow the tradition
of Rural Producer Radicalism suspicious of the federal government and eastern urbanites, longing for
local control and the ability to do their work unencumbered by taxes or regulations.
Observers disagree about the beginnings of the Posse. Some say it was formed by William Gale, who
had been a follower of Wesley Swift, (founder of the Church of Jesus Christ Christian in California).
Gale had also been an aide to General Douglas MacArthur during World War n.75 Others contend that
Henry Lamont Beach was its founder. Beach, a former leader in the Silver Shirts, formed a group
called the Sheriffs Posse Comitatus.76 All seem to agree that the organization started in 1969 in
Portland, Oregon.
73 Anti-Defamation League. (n.d.). Posse Comitatus. Retrieved April 27,2004 from
http://www.adl.org/hate_symbols/groups_possecomitatus.asp?&MSHiC=1252&L=T0&W
74 Ridgeway, James. (1995). Blood in the Face. New York: Thunders Mouth Press.
75 Ridgeway, James. (1995). Blood in the Face. New York: Thunders Mouth Press, p. 37.
76 Coates, James. (1995). Armed and Dangerous: The Rise of the Survivalist Right. New York: Hill and
Wang, p.104.
35


Posse Comitatus means power of the county. The Posse believes that the local sheriff is the supreme
governmental figure, and that the county is the highest territory, and should not be restrained by state
or federal officials. They believe that the U.S. Constitution prohibits the collection of federal income
tax, they generally feel the Federal Reserve is part of an international conspiracy, and they are
isolationist with respect to foreign policy.77 Posse members often promote dietary restrictions for
health, and do-it-yourself lawyering. They are typically organized into groups of seven men and their
families, without national coordination. This model of de-centralized organization is one that many far
right groups are adopting.
Since most Posse members live in rural areas of the U.S., the farm crisis in the 1980s impacted many
members and their families significantly. The governments actions during this time gave the Posse
further ammunition for their arguments. Gordon Kahl, described below, was a Posse member who
became a martyr to the movement during the farm crisis.
The Farm Crisis
In the 1970s, the government urged a change in farm policy. Secretary of Agriculture Earl Butz urged
farmers to plant as much as they could, hoping to expand our agricultural exports.78 High inflation
gave many farmers millionaire status, but only on paper. By 1980 North Dakota had the second-
highest number of millionaires per capita in the U.S. Farmers were encouraged to use their wealth as
equity for loans to pay for modernizationGet big or get out said Butz.79 Numerous fanners took
his advice. Then in the late 1970s and early 1980s, the world fell into a recession. Federal Reserve
77 Ridgeway, James. (1995). Blood in the Face. New York: Thunders Mouth Press.
78 Dees, Morris. (1996). Gathering Storm: Americas Militia Threat. New York: HarperCollins. p. 8.
79 Dees, Morris. (1996). Gathering Storm: Americas Militia Threat. New York: HarperCollins. p. 8.
36


Chairman Paul Volcker drastically raised interest rates in 1979 to decrease inflation. Crop prices and
the value of land plummeted. Land that was once valued at $2,100/acre fell to less than $700 an acre.
The problems were compounded by the Carter Administrations embargo on agricultural exports to the
Soviet Union.80
Bankers began to grow nervous. A congressional report estimated that almost half of the nations 2.2
million farmers would be driven off of their land by the year 2000. It looked as though much of the
land would fall into the hands of agricultural-industrial combines. Fanners received notice from banks
that their repayment schedules had been accelerated. Some had ninety days, some only thirty days, to
repay their entire debt. Reminiscent of the 1930s, those farmers who were unable to do this were
forced to quit, and to sell their land, equipment, and home.
Between 700,000 and 1 million small- to medium-sized family farms were forced out of business
between 1980 and 1997. The farm crisis stopped making headlines in the 1990s, but the losses have
continued. In Oklahoma the 1996 drought caused the loss of approximately 10,000 family farms, one-
sixth of all the farms in the state.81
The farm crisis financially and emotionally devastated farmers in the U.S. The tragedy didnt just
affect individual families, it impacted entire communities and a way of life. Suicide became the
number one cause of death on farms in the 1980s and 1990s.82
80 McNicol Stock, Catherine. (1997). Rural Radicals. New York: Penguin Books, p.87.
81 Dyer, Joel. (1997). Harvest of Rage: Why Oklahoma City is Just the Beginning. Boulder: Westview
Press, p.15
82 Dyer, Joel. (1997). Harvest of Rage: Why Oklahoma City is Just the Beginning. Boulder: Westview
Press, p.3.
37


In his book Harvest of Rage, Joel Dyer remembers Katherine Copeland, a farm wife who killed herself
as they faced foreclosure on their farm in 1986. She walked out onto a burning trash heap and
committed suicide by crawling on top of the garbage. Dyer underscores the meaning of this event:
Katherine Copeland hurt so much she wanted to kill someone. But unlike the
Oklahoma City terrorists, she chose herself as the victim... Its hard to imagine that
slowly incinerating yourself could be preferable to losing a farm.. .For these rural
people, the loss of their land and their way of life creates an incomprehensible
despair, more severe even than the death of a loved one.. .If you can understand the
pain that can cause someone to bum to death in an effort to avoid facing foreclosure,
you can understand the power and awesome potential for violence that exists in
much of todays antigovemment movement. 83 84
Gordon Kahl was one of those who turned the violence outward. Kahl, a decorated World War II
veteran, was a fanner and member of the Posse Comitatus in North Dakota. In 1967 he wrote a letter
to the IRS informing them that he would no longer pay tithes to the Synagogues of Satan.. .,84 The
IRS didnt force the issue until decades later when Kahl, angered by the farm crisis, appeared on
television and announced that he had stopped paying his taxes.
After a 1983 meeting of Kahl and other tax protestors, U.S. Marshals stopped the two cars carrying
Kahl, his family, and some friends. Kahls party refused to leave their vehicles when ordered, and a
shootout took place. At the end, two U.S. Marshals lay dead, and Kahls son Yorie was injured with a
gunshot wound in his abdomen.
83 Dyer, Joel. (1997). Harvest of Rage: Why Oklahoma City is Bust the Beginning. Boulder: Westview
Press, p. 3.
84 Dees, Morris. (1996). Gathering Storm: Americas Militia Threat. New York: HarperCollins. p. 51.
38


Gordon Kahl fled, and successfully evaded law enforcement until the police received a tip that Kahl
was staying at a private home in Arkansas. When the police came to arrest him, Kahl killed a sheriff
before he himself was killed, as law enforcement burned the building down. Gordon Kahl became a
martyr to the Posse Comitatus, and to others on the far right.
Public Reaction
Outside of a few Farm Aid benefit concerts, Democrats and others on the left all but ignored the
plight of the farmers. As tensions escalated in rural America, liberals could have stood with angry
farmers, denouncing the governments false promises and pointing out the damage that banks and
corporations were doing to family farms. Progressives could have called for the Federal Reserve to
have more accountability to the general public, and they could have demanded that anti-trust statutes
be enforced. But the left offered no meaningful leadership in response to the crisis the Democratic
Party focused its attention instead on the New Democrat (suburban, affluent centrists) and most
other progressives ignored the farm crisis completely.
Michael Lind, author of Up from Conservatism, contends that the New Deal Democratic Party that
previously had drawn the working-class vote ceased to exist between 1972 and 1986. He says that is
when the Democratic Party became an alliance of affluent whites and minorities based on identity
politics rather than bread-and-butter issues, and the liberals unintentionally turned the country over to
the center and far right.85 The party further distanced themselves from working-class and rural white
people in 1982, when they named seven official caucuses: women, African-Americans, Latinos,
Asians, homosexuals, liberals, and business/professionals. Working-class white people, rural men
especially, would then turn to Republicans like Ronald Reagan.
85 Lind, Michael. (1996). Up from Conservatism. New York: The Free Press, p. 21.
39


In the 1980s and early 1990s, during the farm crisis and beyond, the New Democrats worked to
distance themselves from the more liberal parts of the party. Instead of bringing forth creative
alternatives to liberal policies, they began to echo the moderate side of the Republican Patty. As
traditionally conservative ideas such as cutting welfare were voiced by Democrats, the center swung to
the right.
A 1986 poll commissioned by the Anti-Defamation League revealed that 75 percent of Iowa and
Nebraska residents believed the farm crisis was caused by the Reagan administration and international
bankers, and 13 percent said the blame rested with religious groups like the Jews.86 If Democratic
leadership had stepped in to tap the energies of the majority who were potentially receptive to
progressive message, the rural political landscape could have been altered at that moment.
But in the absence of a progressive Democratic vision, right wing organizations were there to provide
an explanation. They understood the tragedy that was taking place in rural America, and they were able
to take advantage of a growing paranoid psychology. The Christian theology of many Patriot groups
was compelling to numerous people in rural places. With the exception of a few people who have only
secular motivation for their beliefs, most people in the Patriot Movement identify as some type of
Christian. Much of the movement is unified by the belief that the Bible justifies their opposition to the
U.S. government.
Studies show that over 80 percent of people in rural parts of the United States are affiliated in some
way with a church. It is understandable that in a time of crisis, rural people would listen to
86 Corcoran, James. (1995). Bitter Harvest: The Birth of Paramilitary Terrorism in the Heartland. New
York: Penguin Books.
40


organizations with a Christian explanation for the events, as Dyer says, regardless of how loosely
the term (Christian) is being applied.87
In a 1982 Aryan Nations newsletter, Richard Butler wrote:
Today, the lawful citizens are being dispossessed from farms, homes, businesses and
employment while their country is being invaded by alien hordes on a scale
unprecedented in all the worlds history...The farmer is being backed into a wall,
and hes beginning to believe there has to be an answer for all this. The answer is
revolution. The farmers were the first victims of the Revolution in 1776, as they are
the first victims of this revolution. Hes been dispossessed of his land. Hes been
used and abused...Hes going to get a lot more angry, and eventually hell see that
the only way to turn things around is to fight to win his country back for white
Christians.88
James Ellison, leader of the Covenant, Sword, and the Arm of the Lord organization (see chapter 5),
targeted farmers as potential Christian Survivalists. 89 Liberty Lobby, the anti-Semitic publisher of
The Spotlight (see chapter 7), also reached out to farmers. In most of the issues sent to its 100,000
subscribers in the 1970s and 1980s, stories about the farm crisis were published alongside the
newspapers other right wing articles.90
Even the Ku Klux Klan seized the farm crisis as an opportunity to recruit. In the Klans newsletter The
White Patriot, Tom Robb wrote An Open Letter to the American Farmer that contended that Jews
werent killed by Nazis in World War II, instead it was they who killed Russian farmers:
87 Dyer, Joel. (1997). Harvest of Rage: Why Oklahoma City is Just the Beginning. Boulder: Westview
Press, p. 79.
88 Corcoran, James. (1995). Bitter Harvest: The Birth of Paramilitary Terrorism in the Heartland. New
York: Penguin Books, p.35.
89 Corcoran, James. (1995). Bitter Harvest: The Birth of Paramilitary Terrorism in the Heartland. New
York: Penguin Books, p.34.
90 Corcoran, James. (1995). Bitter Harvest: The Birth of Paramilitary Terrorism in the Heartland. New
York: Penguin Books, p.34.
41


You have seen the pictures, but you were told by the same network of conspirators
that is now attempting to drive you off your land that they were Jews killed by
Hitlers SS. But they werent Jews.. .they were farmers. The Jew plan is to steal
your land. And this is exactly what they are doing time and time again.91
Most mainstream people didnt read Robbs letter, and wouldnt have been swayed by it if they had.
But groups like the Posse Comitatus had been in their communities for years, and were also offering
explanations for the crisis.
Agricultural consolidation is one of the main reasons individuals have been and are still losing their
farms. Joel Dyer points out that .. .for decades only five to eight multinational companies have, for all
intents and purposes, been the sole purchasers and transporters of not only the American grain supply
but that of the entire world... Some of the companies have been owned by the same families for
centuries... And some of the families are Jewish. Dyers point is that there is usually a smidgen of
truth buried inside these fictional theories.92
Other Signs of Economic Crisis in Rural America
Farming isnt the only rural industry that is deteriorating. Environmental restrictions, increased
government regulation and the trend toward globalization have made it more profitable for mining, oil,
and timber corporations to do business outside of the U.S. Large companies such as Wal-Mart are
shoving family-owned businesses in small towns out. Joel Dyer says that our leaders in Washington
are aware of the decline of rural America, but they remain silent because Our nations politicos realize
91 Dees, Morris. (1996). Gathering Storm: Americas Militia Threat. New York: HarperCollins. p. 36.
92 Dyer, Joel. (1997). Harvest of Rage: Why Oklahoma City is Just the Beginning. Boulder: Westview
Press, p. 109.
42


that the collapse of rural America is an inevitable result of a global economy, and as such, it would be
a waste of time and money to bail it out.93
Only 20 percent of this countrys population lives in rural areas, and urban and suburban Americans
dont particularly understand farmers and ranchers. Joel Dyer cites four different studies that indicate
there are fundamental differences in personality types between rural and urban Americans. Some rural
personality types are more likely to be drawn to the Patriot Movement than others. In a 1989 study
conducted by James T. Homer and Leveme A. Barrett of the University of Nebraska, 500 farm couples
were given the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator test to determine personality trends. They found that the
average farm man was the introverted, sensing, thinking, judging type, and the average farm woman
was the introverted, sensing, feeling, and judging type. Generally, Dyer says, ...of the known
sixteen personality types, fann people scored as the most conservative and hardworking.94 The
Homer/Barrett study concludes:
These types are strongly devoted to the family and its traditions and accept the
obligation and responsibility to maintain the family farm at all costs. Because of
their strong devotion to the farm family and its tradition, any threat to the family
heritage, such as foreclosure, can cause an unusual amount of anxiety. When
threats to the family heritage and hard work that ends in failure are combined, the
farm couple may begin to believe there is little hope.. .This strain is much more
severe for these two [personality] types because of their very make up. 95
93 Dyer, Joel. (1997). Harvest of Rage: Why Oklahoma City is Just the Beginning. Boulder: Westview
Press, p. 17.
94 Dyer, Joel. (1997). Harvest of Rage: Why Oklahoma City is Just the Beginning. Boulder: Westview
Press, p. 36.
95 Dyer, Joel. (1997). Harvest of Rage: Why Oklahoma City is Just the Beginning. Boulder: Westview
Press, p. 36.
43


This stress has resulted in an increase in domestic violence and abuse. In Iowa, rural child abuse
increased by more than 43 percent from 1982 to 1986. In 1985 Iowa had 1,620 cases of rural spousal
abuse, but that number rose to 4,500 by 1987.96
Stress-related illnesses such as heart attacks and cancer are also high in rural communities. Surviving
families often treat natural deaths resulting from these conditions as murders, blaming bankers, judges,
and others for the deaths. Many people in the anti-federal government movement have convicted
perceived perpetrators for these crimes in common-law courts, and have sentenced them in absentia to
death by hanging.
Common-Law Courts
A growing number of people in the anti-federal government movement hold common-law courts to
determine justice in cases such as these. Believing that the Constitution has established common-law
courts as the highest in the land, common-law juries meet frequently, listening to evidence and passing
sentences on defendants not in attendance. Most often, the penalty is death by hanging, but to date,
most sentences have not yet been carried out. Observers such as Joel Dyer believe that some of the
hate crimes that have been committed in recent decades may have been attempts to carry out the
sentences from trials in such courts.
Common-law courts energize the far right movement. They legitimize peoples rage, and ease
consciences of individuals who feel that the sentences can now be carried out, since there has been a
fair trial. Joel Dyer speculates that incidents as horrific as the Oklahoma City bombing may have
96 Dyer, Joel. (1997). Harvest of Rage: Why Oklahoma City is Just the Beginning. Boulder: Westview
Press, p. 19.
44


resulted from the decisions of common-law juries, in that case evaluating the governments actions
against the Branch Davidians in Waco, Texas.97
Present day common-law courts have grown out of the Posse Comitatus system, which used to hold
sporadic courts to try public officials on various issues. Today, courts are much more frequent and
somewhat more sophisticated. Websites offer common-law how-to kits, teaching people how to cost
the government millions of dollars by simply filing paperwork, effectively jamming the system. The
nuisance this creates is significant. The Montana Freemen put this strategy to use, filing billions of
dollars worth of liens and bank drafts.
Many Christian Patriots hold the belief that the original Constitution, which legitimates common-law
courts, is a divinely inspired document. Some tell stories of God making visits to George Washington,
other speak of the Founding Fathers in hushed tones usually reserved for Church. They believe that
only the original Constitution and the Bill of Rights as signed by the Founders are the actual law of the
land. All later amendments, laws, and regulations are thought to be unconstitutional in that they alter
the original. Because of this, these Constitutionalists believe there are two types of citizens:
Sovereign Citizens (white, Christian, property-owning males) and second class 14th Amendment
Citizens (non-whites and people who have given up their sovereign status.)98 This concept provides
a patriotic rationalization for bigotry that they may already be feeling.
97 Dyer, Joel. (1997). Harvest of Rage: Why Oklahoma City is Just the Beginning. Boulder: Westview
Press, p. 190.
98 de Armond, Paul. (April 19, 1996). Christian Patriots at War with the State. Northwest Citizen.
Retrieved February 2,2000 from http://nwcitizen.com/publicgood/reports/behefr.
45


14th Amendment Citizens are those who agree to receive the benefits given by the federal
government in the Bill of Rights. They are then bound by federal legislation. Patriots feel that almost
all people in the U.S. have unknowingly given up their sovereign status by making contracts with the
federal government through drivers licenses, marriage licenses, and the like. Like Thoreau, they feel
that to be truly free one must not follow a government that does things that are against their
consciences. For many Patriots, their first step in breaking these contracts is to physically destroy the
documents that represent them.
Patriots also believe that 14th Amendment Citizens are the result of the admiralty (militaiy rule) that
occurred in the South after the Civil War. After the War, the recently conquered Confederacy had
sufficient votes to block many of the new amendments to the Constitution: abolishing slavery,
extending full rights to all people bom in the U.S. and granting equal protection of laws. The
Unionists solution was to impose military occupation in enough Confederate states long enough to
ratify the new amendments." Immediately after ratification, the military governments were replaced
with civilian ones.99 100 Regardless of the importance of the 14th Amendment, it is easy to imagine how
Southerners must have been frustrated with this suspension of democracy. Many Patriots today refuse
to recognize an American flag trimmed with gold fringe, because the fringe signifies admiralty law.
99 After election results were disputed in the 1876 presidential race between Rutherford B. Hayes and
Samuel J. Tilden, the Democrats and Republicans made a deal known as the Compromise of 1876.
Rutherford was named as winner, and in exchange, the white South was given freedom to set the
parameters of Black freedom. As a consequence, Southern Blacks experienced increased oppression.
Marable, Manning. (2001). Two on the Election. Retrieved April 27,2004 from
http://www.zmag.org/ZSustainers/ZDaily/2001-01/08marable.htm.
100 de Armond, Paul. Christian Patriots at War with the State. 2 Feb. 2000. Retrieved from
.
46


Conclusion
I do not wish for this information to be misconstrued to mean that rural Americans are
disproportionately responsible for bigotry or paranoia or any other negative behavior. They are not. In
this paper I have given particular focus to rural communities, largely because the Farm Crisis, which
was significant in the rise of the Patriot Movement, affected rural people more than urbanites.
Cultural Factors
People in rural areas who are part of the Patriot Movement are the best examples of those who have
experienced both cultural isolation and economic duress. Rural areas have always been culturally
different from urban parts of the country, but urban culture has changed dramatically and rapidly in
past decades. Sexually explicit movies, recreational drug use, hip hop culture, and even nouveaux
cuisine have contributed to the feeling of cultural isolation experienced by many rural people. In
contrast to our rapidly changing cities, people can feel as though theyve stepped thirty years back in
time upon entering many small towns.
Economic Factors
Cultural factors are unimportant, though, when compared with the economic problems that have hit
rural communities in recent decades. The decline of mining, logging, and ranching industries due to
increased environmental restrictions has led not only to job and business loss, but resentment of both
environmentalists and the federal government. Rural towns watch their populations drop as their young
people are forced to move to urban areas for work. And the ongoing loss of family forms to corporate
agri-business threatens to irreversibly extinguish the entire culture. These problems have caused both
anger and desperation, which has led to extremism.
47


Psychological Factors
As described in this chapter, a study showed that rural people given the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator
test tend to have more conservative personality types. People with these personality types are more
likely to place a high value on family and tradition, and when faced with the loss of the family farm,
for example, will experience a higher level of anxiety than people with other personality lypes. For
some, scapegoating the government or Jews was easier and more appealing than feeling like one has
personally failed their family, their neighbors, and their ancestors.
The culture in much of rural America remains conducive to todays far right movement. A significant
number of people living in rural areas in the U.S. are white, politically conservative, and are at least
somewhat distrustful of the federal government. Add real economic reasons for anger, combined with
the lack of progressive leadership, and the situation becomes volatile.
48


CHAPTER 4
CHRISTIAN IDENTITY
The Christian Israel Identity message is not one of white supremacy but of
humility.
- Christian Identity Minister Peter J. Peters, 1995101
Christian Identity is the single most important factor in the current far right movement. As a
philosophy, it provides a rationalization and religious justification for bigotry, and its churches serve as
networking and organizing institutions. Christian Identity adherents are not ashamed of their bigotry,
rather they believe that it is Gods will that white Christian people dominate society.
It is the perfect conversion tool: to racist-leaning white people who may have tried to suppress their
bigotry, Christian Identity says that those feelings are righteous and just. Identity encourages those
who are in economic hard times to blame people of color and Jews for their plight. Most mainstream
people in the U.S. have not heard about Identity churches, partly because the media is understandably
reluctant to designate space to covering them. As James Coates says in his book Armed and
Dangerous, Simply quoting Identity sermons can be construed as an exercise in tastelessness.102
101 Peters, Peter J. (1995). America: Pray or Perish. Scriptures for America Newsletter, Volume 1.
102 Coates, James. (1995). Armed and Dangerous: The Rise of the Survivalist Right. New York: Hill
and Wang. p. 79.
49


Christian Identity, also called British Israelism, Israel Identity, and Kingdom Message, was started in
mid-nineteenth century Great Britain. The movement in the U.S. today should not be confused with
other fundamentalist Christian theologies in that racism and anti-Semitism are part of its core teachings.
Many mainstream fundamentalists also believe that Jews are the true nation of Israel an idea that is
contrary to Identity teachings.
Generally, Identity believers share the belief that white northern Europeans are actually the true Ten
Lost Tribes of Israel discussed in the Bible, and that Jews are literally the children of Satan. Believers
think that Jews are imposters, falsely claiming to be Israelites, and are involved in a global conspiracy
to destroy the white race. Most Identity adherents believe that people of color are Pre-Adamic mud
people, therefore they do not have souls and are not fully human. They feel that racial equality is
against Gods Law.
Some strains of Identity dont simply teach followers to view people of color and Jews with contempt.
Some Identity leaders teach adherents to act on these emotions, with violence if necessaiy. Phineas
Priests are those Christian Identity adherents who will use violence against those who are not
committed to the superiority of the white race.103
Two Seed Theory
U.S. theologians, stating that the white Adamic peoples descended from the union of Adam and Eve,
first promoted the Two Seed theory. They say another race began with the union of Eve and Satan,
in the guise of the serpent. Their son was Cain, and his descendants became the Jews. The
103 Crawford, Robert, Gardner, S.L., Mozzochi, Jonathan, & Taylor, R.L. (1994). The Northwest
Imperative: Documenting a Decade of Hate. Portland: Coalition for Human Dignity, & Seattle: The
Northwest Coalition Against Malicious Harassment, p 3.4.
50


descendants of Adam became Aryans or Anglo-Saxons. The Pre-Adamic (non-white) races were not
human at all, but descendants of the beasts of the fields described in Genesis, without souls. The
three races could interbreed, but non-Anglo blood would end the Aryan race. Paul de Armond, an
observer of the movement, says In the eyes of white supremacists, race-mixing became a Satanic plot
to exterminate Gods chosen people, the white race.104
Most Christian Identity followers, like many mainstream fundamentalist Christians, believe that we are
now in the End Times as predicted in the Bible. They expect Christ to return to Earth to lead his
people in a final battle against evil. The survivors will live with Christ in a one thousand year period of
peace and harmony on earth. Some Identity followers do not use social security numbers or drivers
licenses, believing that they contain the Mark of the Beast described in these prophesies.105
Identity believers anticipation of Armageddon is one of the reasons why there have been violent acts
committed by people in this movement. For example, Robert Mathews, head of the militia group the
Binders Schweigen or Silent Brotherhood (see chapter 5), was a devout follower of Christian
Identity. The Bruders Schweigen killed Jewish talk show host Alan Berg, and participated in numerous
other violent crimes. Mathews believed that by killing non-believers he was helping to fulfill ancient
prophesies.
In order to understand these beliefs, one must first be familiar with the different components that many
104 de Armond, Paul. (April 19, 1996). Christian Patriots at War with the State. Northwest Citizen.
Retrieved February 2,2000 from http://nwcitizen.com/publicgood/reports/beliefr.
105 Center for Democratic Renewal. (1992). When Hate Groups Come to Town. Montgomery: CDR.
51


fundamentalist Christians and Identity Christians believe will be a part of the End Times. The
Tribulation is a seven-year period of suffering, war, and natural disaster before Christs return and the
end of the world. Some Christians believe that during this time we will see a world dictatorship headed
by the antichrist with global turmoil, culminating in the battle of Armageddon. Dispensationalism is
the belief that there is a divine ordering of events in a predetermined manner and it is unaffected by
human decisions. The Rapture is an event in which all believers are transported directly and
immediately to Heaven to live with Christ until the Second Coming. Some believe that the Rapture will
happen before the Tribulations, some say during, and some say it wont happen until after the
Tribulations are over.106
There are three distinct beliefs that are associated with the End Times: a-millennial, pre-millennial, and
post-millennial. The prefixes a-, pre-, and post- refer to the timing of the Second Coming of
Christ.
A-Millennialism
A-Millennialists believe there will be no millennium, and no reign of peace and harmony. They believe
that human existence continues normally right up until the time of the Second Coming when Christ
returns to judge the Earth. A-Millennialists believe the Second Coming is an event ordered by God and
is unaffected by human actions. They do not believe in the Rapture, and many believe that the
Tribulations are the on-going struggles of humankind as God makes judgments.
106 Crawford, Robert, Gardner, S.L., Mozzochi, Jonathan, & Taylor, R.L. (1994). The Northwest
Imperative: Documenting a Decade of Hate. Portland: Coalition for Human Dignity, & Seattle: The
Northwest Coalition Against Malicious Harassment, p. 3.5.
52


Pre-Millennialism
Pre-Millennialists (or pre-trib Christians) believe that the Tribulations are a specific period of time,
many believing that they will last for seven years. Most fundamentalists and evangelical Christians in
the U.S. are pre-millennialist, and many believe in the Rapture. They believe that these events are
ordered by God and are unaffected by human actions, and that after the Tribulations, Christ will return
to establish his Kingdom on Earth, followed after one thousand years by the Eternal Kingdom. As Joel
Dyer says in his book Harvest of Rage: Consequently, theyre not likely to become convinced that
now is the time for a holy war. The fact that theyre still earthbound is proof to them that the
[Tabulation has not yet started.107
Post-Miilennialism
For Post-Millennialists (or post-trib Christians), Christ doesnt return to Earth until the end of the
millennium, bringing about the end of history and the beginning of his kingdom. People who believe
this also believe that human actions and decisions are vital in bringing about the millennium. They
dont believe in dispensationalism, because they think that humans play a key role. They also dont
believe in the Rapture, since it will be necessary for the chosen people to remain on Earth.
Many Christian Identity believers share the pre-millennial philosophy, but most do not believe in the
Rapture, some referring to it as a Jewish Hoax.108 Many believe that the end times will be signaled
107 Dyer, Joel. (1997). Harvest of Rage: Why Oklahoma City is Just the Beginning. Boulder: Westview
Press, p. 88
108 Crawford, Robert, Gardner, S.L., Mozzochi, Jonathan, & Taylor, R.L. (1994). The Northwest
Imperative: Documenting a Decade of Hate. Portland: Coalition for Human Dignity, & Seattle: The
Northwest Coalition Against Malicious Harassment, p 3.5.
53


by an apocalypse of financial instabilities, changes in the weather, natural disasters, and political
changes in the state of Israel. They believe that Armageddon will take the form of a race war, resulting
in the extermination of Jews, people of color, gays and lesbians, liberals, and anyone else who does not
fit into the Identity idea of a pious person.
Post-Millennialist Identity Christians are very dangerous, because they have the belief that it is up to
them to bring about the kingdom of God. They will work to destabilize society, in order to (in their
minds) prepare the way for Christ. Dyer says: For [some] believers, the stress of poverty, the loss of a
farm, or any other devastating circumstance can be interpreted as a sign that the tribulation has started,
and, consequently, that now is the time for an all-out holy war.109 As we move closer in time to the
anticipated Armageddon, I believe that we will see increasing amounts of domestic terrorist activity by
people who are trying to do their part to fulfill this prophesy. Dyer states:
For [Christian dominionists and Identity believers with a post-tribulation theology],
there is no theological roadblock to declaring war on the government and establishing
a theocracy. In fact, once they become convinced that the time has arrived, they
believe its a sin not to fight.. .And in their view, this is not some intellectual,
political, or spiritual war designed to intimidate enemies. Its a real war of
guns, assassinations, bombs, and death.110
The Mark of the Beast
The last book of the Bible, Revelation, also contains warnings about the antichrist. In chapter thirteen,
verses sixteen-eighteen, it reads:
109 Dyer, Joel. (1997). Harvest of Rage: Why Oklahoma City is Just the Beginning. Boulder: Westview
Press, p. 89.
110Dyer, Joel. (1997). Harvest of Rage: Why Oklahoma City is Just the Beginning. Boulder: Westview
Press, p. 89
54


He [the Antichrist] also forced everyone, small and great, rich and poor, free and
slave, to receive a mark on his right hand or on his forehead, so that no one could buy
or sell unless he had the mark, which is the name of the beast or the number of his
name. This calls for wisdom. If anyone has insight let him calculate the number of
the beast, for it is mans number. His number is 666.
Some believe that the number 666 might be found in the U.S. currency design. Right-wing
Christian Texe Marrs justifies this conclusion:
[T]he U.S. Bureau of Engraving & printing (sic) awarded Crane & Co. a $66 million
contract to supply this [special] paper to the U.S. mint...[T]o accommodate orders
from the U.S. government for the new paper, Crane & Co. has built a 66,000 square
foot addition to its mill and is spending $6 million to upgrade its equipment.. .Pardon
me, but does anyone out there recall what the Bible has to say about that very
peculiar number 6?m
Others believe that this number will be imprinted upon microchips that will soon be implanted in all
U.S. citizens. They believe that this chip will replace all currency, and could be used as a tracking
device.
Prominent Leaders
As stated before, Christian Identity in the U.S. grew out of British Israelism, a 19th century movement
in the United Kingdom. British Israelism found its way to the U.S. through the efforts of immigrating
leaders in the early 1900s. Reuben H. Sawyer was one of these leaders. Sawyer, a clergyman and Klan
leader in Portland, established the Anglo-Israel Research Society, promoted an Identity bookstore, and
helped to run a speakers bureau to spread British Israelism.
Identity also found a home in the Midwest. In the late 1920s and early 1930s, the Anglo-Saxon
Federation based in Detroit, Michigan was very active. The Federation was founded by William 111
111 Abanes, Richard. (1996). Rebellion, Racism, & Religion: American Militias. Downers Grove:
InterVarsity Press, p. 92
55


Cameron, the author of the pamphlet The International Jew: The Worlds Foremost Problem. Millions
of copies of this anti-Semitic document were distributed by Henry Ford in the early part of this century.
Wesley Swift
Wesley Swift, an early Christian Identity minister, was the first to introduce Identity teachings to others
in the far right. Originally an ordained Methodist minister, Swift began his Identity career as a
chauffeur for Gerald L.K. Smith, a leader in the Christian Defense League, an offshoot of the Klan.
Swift worked to incorporate Identity concepts into Smiths message.112
After his work with G.L.K. Smith, Wesley Swift moved to Los Angeles to start the Anglo-Saxon
Christian Congregation. He incorporated his Church of Jesus Christ Christian in Los Angeles in 1948,
and died in 1970.113
Richard Butler and William Potter Gale
Richard Butler is one of the best-known Identity leaders. William Potter Gale, a stockbroker and
former Army officer who served briefly on General MacArthurs staff in the Philippines recruited him
to Swifts church in the 1950s. Both men became leaders in the church, and when Swift died in 1970,
Gale and Butler argued over who would retain control of the Congregation.
112 Coates, James. (1995). Armed and Dangerous: The Rise of the Survivalist Right. New York: Hill
and Wang. p. 94.
113 de Armond, Paul. (April 19, 1996). Christian Patriots at War with the State. Northwest Citizen.
Retrieved February 2,2000 from http://nwcitizen.com/publicgood/reports/beliefr.
56


Richard Butler eventually assumed control of the church and moved it to Idaho where he re-named it
Aryan Nations Church of Jesus Christ Christian.114 Until a 2001 lawsuit filed by the Southern Poverty
Law Center succeeded in destroying their Idaho base, the Aryan Nations was the churchs political arm.
Each April, the Aryan Nations celebrated Hitlers birthday with a gathering for neo-Nazi skinheads.
Each July, they conducted the Aryan World Congress. Butler urges whites to move to the Northwest to
be a part of a territorial imperative, to make it a white homeland.115
William Potter Gale went on to become noted leader in the Posse Comitatus, and was indicted in
Nevada along with seven others for threatening IRS agents.116 Paul de Armond of Northwest Citizen
says that Gale is the central figure and inspiration for Americas present white supremacist movement.
He played a central role in the formation of Identity, the Posse Comitatus, Aryan Nations, the
Committee of the States, and in unorganized militias. De Armond says that he is not often recognized
for the central role he played because he left few written words behind him. He relied mostly on
preaching, teaching, radio broadcasts, and taped sermons.117
James Wickstrom
Christian Identity minister James Wickstrom is affiliated with the Posse Comitatus, and previously
served as their National Director for Counterinsurgency. Wickstrom pioneered many of the strategies
114 de Armond, Paul. (April 19, 1996). Christian Patriots at War with the State. Northwest Citizen.
Retrieved February 2,2000 from http://nwcitizen.com/publicgood/reports/beliefr.
115 Morlin, Bill. (March 2000). Sowing Distrust. The Idaho Spokesman-Review. Retrieved October 13,
2003 from http://www.virtuallgnw.com/library/war/distrust.htm.
116 Coates, James. (1995). Armed and Dangerous: The Rise of the Survivalist Right. New Y ork: Hill
and Wang. p. 97
117 de Armond, Paul. (April 19,1996). Christian Patriots at War with the State. Northwest Citizen.
Retrieved February 2,2000 from http://nwcitizen.com/publicgood/reports/beliefr.
57


used commonly today by people in the Patriot Movement. He is an advocate of home schooling
(Today, faith is not permitted in school and the three Rs taught seem to be rape, rob and riot).118
In the late 1970s, he started a nationwide paramilitary militia which he claims still exists, and has
been involved with openly hostile dissent against the New World Order since 1969.119
In addition to his work to destabilize the government, Wickstrom has tried to change things from within
the system. He ran for the U.S. Senate on the Constitutional Party ticket in Wisconsin in 1980,
receiving about 30,000 votes. In 1982, he launched an unsuccessful bid for the Governors seat on the
same ticket.
Wickstrom says that he has been receiving information about chemical agents being released into the
masses of the U.S., including Anthrax, Ebola, and the Black Plague. He says:
...Moslem women have been carrying some of the above mentioned bacterias [sic]
into this country for the last three years in their body cavities. Some of these women
were recently captured (February 6-7, 1997) by the F.B.I. in Ames, Iowa, and some
of them still had these deadly vials in their body cavities. These women were also in
possession of detailed maps of the United States depicting the latititude and longitude
designations of Americas power-grid with the primary target being the step-up
transformers which take months to repair under normal conditions.
For protection, he suggests using Colloidal Silver Electrical Unites and Electronic Zappers to induce
certain frequencies of energy into the body, which he says will kill most viruses. 120
118 Who is James P. Wickstrom? (n.d.) Media ByPass Magazine. Retrieved March 3,1999 from
http://www.logoplex.com\whojim.html.
119 Who is James P. Wickstrom? (n.d.) Media ByPass Magazine. Retrieved March 3, 1999 from
http://www.logoplex.com\whojim.html.
120 Wickstrom, James. (July 1997). Intelligence Update. Retrieved October 13, 1999 from
http://www.logoplex.com/intlupdt.html.
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Although some of Wickstroms theories are bizarre, he should not be dismissed as a crazy-but-harmless
ideologue. He has a strong reputation in the Patriot Movement, and hundreds of people hear his
message on the Internet; public access cable channels; short-wave radio programs; and on video and
audio tapes.121 Currently residing in Bay City, Michigan, his weekly sermons attract about 25 people,
but on Christmas and Easter as many as 200 come to hear him speak.122
Pete Peters
Minister Pete Peters utilizes similar methods to get his message to his followers. Based in LaPorte,
Colorado, Peters organization Scriptures for America sells audiotapes and pamphlets outlining
principles of Christian Identity. The organization also sponsors a weekly short-wave radio program.
Peters church in LaPorte may only hold 40 or so people, but his radio and tape ministry reaches
hundreds across the country.
Peters stature in the Identity movement has increased steadily. The Center for Democratic Renewal
called Peters one of the rising stars within the Christian Identity movement.123 Many people think
hes especially important because, now in his 50s, Peters represents a generational bridge between the
younger Identity generation and the aging previous leadership.
121 Who is James P. Wickstrom? (n.d.) Media ByPass Magazine. Retrieved March 3,1999 from
http://www.logoplex.com\whojim.html.
122 Low, Marsha. (April 12,2004). Anti-Semitic Preacher Gets Attention, Fear. Detroit Free Press.
Retrieved April 28,2004 from http://www.freep.com/news/religion/wickl2_20040412.htm.
123 ODriscoll, Patrick. (January 24,1993). Controversial Preacher at Risk of Losing Pulpit. The
Denver Post, 6C.
59


In 2004, Peters spearheaded an effort to re-label his church as belonging to The Restoration
Movement rather than Identity. In this sense, he says, restoration refers to restoring this country to
being a Christian nation. In a lengthy treatise on the Scriptures for America website, he describes how
the media and leftist hate groups like the Anti-Defamation League and the Southern Poverty Law
Center have taken the word identity and transformed it into an evil icon in the minds of the
populace. He even encourages followers to seek legal action if the label is applied to them.124
Peters frequently criticizes mainstream Christian churches, calling them cowardly and goody two
shoes. He complains that most pastors choose to preach only the peaceful parts of the Bible. In his
tract Strength of a Hero, Peters tells graphic stories of heroes in the Bible who disembowel their
enemies. Today, he says, the modem churches have removed these heroes and warriors from the
people by proclaiming a new religion called Jwrfeo-Christianity with its Judeo-Christim. ethic. Today,
the so-called Christian ministers, who claim to preach the whole council of God, leave out of their
sermon repertoire the blood and guts stories of such Bible heroes because they dont fit in with what
has been pawned off on the people as Christianity (emphasis his).125 He goes on to say :
Jwrfeo-Christianity is an effeminate religion whereas true Bible Christianity is
masculine. Americas decline and weakening can be attributed to the switch from a
strong (logical, masculine) Bible based Christianity to a (weak, emotional, illogical,
feminine) non-Biblical JwJeo-Christianity. As a result of the switch, the people have
come to prefer security over independence, tranquility over animating contest, and
peace over freedom. Communism (or the New World Order as it is called today)
offers from cradle to grave security and the absolute peace that comes from them
having all the guns and you having none. I know of some men who have peace,
security, and tranquility. They are locked down in a 5'xlO' prison cell twenty three
124 Peters, Peter J. (2004). Be Wise as Serpents Reject the Identity Label. Retrieved April 13,2004
from http://www.scripturesforamerica.org/html/be_wise.html.
125 Peters, Peter J. (n.d.). Strength of a Hero. Retrieved October, 1998 from
http://www.logoplex.com/resources/sfa/files/hero.html.
60


hours a day and its hell just as communism is hell because communism is prison and
enslavement on a national scale.126
Others in the Identity Movement share Peters scorn for mainstream Christianity. Ray Barker of the
Christian Israel Covenant Church makes this point graphically:
Judeo-Christianity is a lie from the pit of Babylonian Hell...Judeo-Christianity is an
oxymoron. You cant link two absolute opposites together with a hyphen and create
a new entity.. .Judaism is the pinnacle of filth, occultism and everything thats evil.
You are either a Christian following Christ or a Jew following the Satanic religion of
Judaism.127
Conclusion
Cultural Factors
Cultural and psychological factors have been more important in the rise of Christian Identity than
economic factors. The racism that is a widespread part of our culture has made it possible for Identity
churches to thrive. People who join Christian Identity churches are likely to have had at least some
racist thoughts in the past Identity allows them to not only express these thoughts of white superiority
without guilt, but it allows them to believe they have biblical justification for these ideas.
Numerous people are attracted to Christian Identity through the compelling arguments of Identity
ministers. Many of the leaders of Identity are extremely bright and charismatic; Pastor Pete Peters is a
good example of this. In person, he his charming, intelligent, and makes good arguments for his ugly
claims. It would be difficult for your average, mainline churchgoer to out-argue him on biblical content.
126 Peters, Peter J. (n.d.). Strength of a Hero. Retrieved October, 1998 from
http://www.logoplex.com/resources/sfa/files/hero.html.
127 Crawford, Robert, Gardner, S.L., Mozzochi, Jonathan, & Taylor, R.L. (1994). The Northwest
Imperative: Documenting a Decade of Hate. Portland: Coalition for Human Dignity, & Seattle: The
Northwest Coalition Against Malicious Harassment, p 3.6.
61


Psychological Factors
There is an element of the Paranoid Style as described by Hofetadter in Christian Identity. To be an
adherent, one must be willing to accept the theory that Jews have been posing as the children of Israel
for centuries. People who dismiss conspiracy theories are unlikely to join an Identity Church.
Identity has unified the far right as nothing has done before. Rural Klan and Posse groups now have
something in common with urban skinheads and neo-Nazis. Men in flannel shirts will now sit down
with others in combat boots. Identity has helped to minimize perceived differences between the groups,
slowing down infighting and making the movement more cohesive, therefore more dangerous. It will
remain important to closely monitor the Identity movement.
62


CHAPTER 5
MILITIAS
We must cleanse our land. We must do it with a sword. And we must do it with
violence. Youre damn right Im teaching violence. God said youre going to do it
that way, and its about time somebody is telling you to get violent, whitey.
William Gale, retired U.S. Army colonel and author of a
handbook on guerrilla warfare tactics for the Posse
Comitatus128
The concept of a citizens armed militia has been part of U.S. culture since the American Revolution,
but in the 1980s and 1990s, a new breed of militia evolved out of other parts of the Patriot Movement.
These modem militias are extremely distrustful of the federal government, and the philosophy of many
of them is based on racism and anti-Semitism.
Many people in the modem militia movement fit Richard Hofstadters description of people with a
paranoid style. His book, The Paranoid Style in American Politics, describes a segment of the U.S.
population that is exceptionally angry, suspicious, and susceptible to conspiracy theories. Hofstadter
clarifies that he is not using the term paranoid in a clinical sense; In fact, the idea of the paranoid
style would have little contemporary relevance or historical value if it were applied only to people with
profoundly disturbed minds. It is the use of paranoid modes of expression by more or less normal
people that makes the phenomenon significant.129
128 Corcoran, James. (1995). Bitter Harvest: The Birth of Paramilitary Terrorism in the Heartland.
New York: Penguin Books, p.xii.
129 Hofstadter, Richard. (1966). The Paranoid Style in American Politics. Toronto: Random House,
Inc. p. 4.
63


Hofstadter notes that in U.S. history, movements using the characteristic paranoid style of argument
are not constant and seem to arise out of social conflicts that bring fundamental fears and hatreds
into die forefront. This is the case with militias in the late 20th century.
The modem militia movement began in the 1980s and escalated when the actions of the federal
government during the 1990s pushed many members of the Patriot Movement towards the extreme.
Even mainstream people were horrified when the government took innocent lives during the raids at
Randy Weavers home at Ruby Ridge and the Branch Davidian buildings near Waco, Texas. For
Patriots, this reinforced their belief that the government is poised at any time to use military force on
its own citizens. Some even believe that these two events were practice runs to prepare the military
for the upcoming police state. Patriot fears of government tyranny were further fueled when Congress
passed the Brady Bill and the Anti-Crime law.
Some Idaho lawmakers may betray Idaho and cling to Washington, D.C., hence the
need to shoot them. Go up and look legislators in the face because someday you
may have to blow it off.
-Samuel Sherwood, Idaho militia leader130
The militia movement peaked in 1996, with 856 groups reported by file Southern Poverty Law
Centers Intelligence Project.131 The movement has declined since then due to disorganization,
infighting, some arrests, and the failure of conspiracy theories to come to pass (the UN has not yet
invaded the United States, for example).
130 Corcoran, James. (1995). Bitter Harvest: The Birth of Paramilitary Terrorism in the Heartland.
New York: Penguin Books. p.xiL
131 Potok, Mark. (February 2003). The Year in Hate [2002]. Retrieved April 20,2004 from
http://www.splcenter.org/intel/intelreport/article.jsp?aid=24.
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Nevertheless, todays militia members are angry at what they perceive as unjust federal interference in
their lives, and they are fearful of losing freedoms and their way of life. These are high stakes, and that
makes militias dangerous.
One of the main activities of militia organizations is military training. While some simply conduct
target practice, others have much more extensive programs. The Covenant, Sword, and Arm of the
Lord, now defunct, was notable because of its size.
The Covenant Sword, and the Arm of the Lord
In 1976 a former minister named James Ellison created a residence and training facility known as the
Covenant, the Sword, and the Arm of the Lord (CSA) in Arkansas. At one point, the compound
housed between 100 and 200 people. CSA began a military training center to prepare their members
for the final battles of Armageddon called the End Time Overcomer Survival Training School.
Trainees would pay $500 to practice their target skills by shooting cardboard cutouts of prominent
Jews, others wearing Stars of David, or African Americans. Located on 220 acres in Arkansas just
south of the Missouri border, the compound had its own water supply, electrical system, and even a
few weapons factories.132
Many people from the Patriot Movement trained at CSA, including members of the Silent Brotherhood
described below. CSA members have been convicted of numerous violent crimes. Member Richard
Wayne Snell was charged in the 1983 murder of a black Arkansas state trooper. Founder Jim Ellison
and member William Thomas were charged with the burning of the Beth Shalom synagogue in
Bloomington, Indiana in 1983. In 1985 a raid at the CSA compound uncovered (arguably) enough
132 Coates, James. (1995). Armed and Dangerous: The Rise of the Survivalist Right. New York: Hill
and Wang. p. 138
65


cyanide to poison the water supply of an entire city.133 After the raid, six CSA leaders were sentenced
to prison time, breaking up the organization.
When CSA was in existence, it allegedly received a substantial gift of money from members of the
Silent Brotherhood militia who had stolen millions in an armored car heist in the Pacific Northwest.
The bulk of the money has never been recovered.
Silent Brotherhood
The Bruders Schweigen or Silent Brotherhood was a militia that operated in the 1980s, led by the
charismatic Christian Identity adherent Robert Mathews. The underground group took some of their
strategy from William Pierces book The Turner Diaries, organizing themselves into a cell that took
on larger and larger crimes in support of their anti-Jew, white supremacist agenda. Dubbed the
Order by the press, the group accomplished several high-profile crimes in the 1980s, including the
robbery of an armed car and the murder of Jewish talk show host Alan Berg. Several members of the
Bruders Schweigen were eventually incarcerated, and Mathews was killed in a shootout on South
Whidbey Island, Washington in 1984. The crimes committed by this militia ceased, but Mathews
martyrdom and prison organizing carried out by the remaining members keep the memory of the Silent
Brotherhood alive.
Eight years after Mathews death, an event in Idaho galvanized the far right and propelled the militia
movement into a new era.
133 Coates, James. (1995). Armed and Dangerous: The Rise of the Survivalist Right. New York: Hill
and Wang. p. 54
66


Ruby Ridge
In August 1992, federal marshals and the FBI attempted to arrest white separatist Randy Weaver for
failing to appear for court date on a minor firearms charge. Law enforcement personnel surrounded
Weavers family cabin on Ruby Ridge, a remote location in mountainous Idaho. The Weavers dog,
Striker, detected the lawmen and began to bark. In an attempt to quiet the dog, a marshal shot and
killed him. Randy Weavers fourteen-year-old son Sammy witnessed the event and fired his gun in the
direction of the unknown people who had killed his dog, hitting one of the marshals. As Sammy ran
back to the cabin, the marshals shot him in the back. He died almost immediately, and a standoff
between the law enforcement personnel and Randy Weaver began.
The following day, Randy Weaver and family friend Kevin Harris left the home to go to a nearby shed
where they had placed Sammys body. As they trotted back to the home, Randys wife Vicky held the
door open for them, holding her ten-month old daughter. An FBI sharp shooter shot Vicky in the head.
She bled to death on the floor of their cabin a few minutes later, still holding her baby girl. The
surviving group Weaver, Harris, and Weavers three remaining children huddled in the cabin with
Vickys body for nine days before finally surrendering.
People from all across the political spectrum were outraged at the governments actions, but none more
so than the far Right. In response to this tragedy, Identity Minister Pete Peters called a meeting at the
YMCA camp in Estes Park, Colorado to confront the injustice and tyranny manifested in the killing
of Vicki Weaver and her son Samuel.134
134 Kilzer, Lou and Kevin Flynn. (May 14, 1997). Militia Movement had Roots in Estes. Rocky
Mountain News, 4.
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Rockv Mountain Rendezvous
The Rocky Mountain Rendezvous was a key moment in the history of the Patriot Movement,
strengthening militias in this country. Attending the conference hosted by Pete Peters organization,
Scriptures for America, were almost all of the major players in the far right. Louis Beam (former KKK
leader), Richard Butler (founder of the Aryan Nations), John Trochmann (head of the Militia of
Montana), and others were present. More mainstream people, such as representatives of
fundamentalist Baptist and Mennonite churches, also attended. The rendezvous brought 150 to 175
people together many of whom normally would not have sat down at the same table135. They came
together because the incident at Ruby Ridge was egregious, and because they all felt they had a
common enemy. At the meeting, Louis Beam underscored this point:
The two murders of the Weaver family have shown us all that our religious, our
political, our ideological differences mean nothing to those who wish to make us all
slaves. We are viewed by the government as the same the enemies of the state.
When they come for you, the federals will not ask if you are a Constitutionalist, a
Baptist, church of Christ, Identity Covenant Believer, Klansman, Nazi,
homeschooler, Freeman New Testament believer, [or] fundamentalist...Those who
wear badges, black boots, and carry automatic weapons and kick in doors already
know all they need to know about you. You are enemies of the state.136
For three days in October 1992, participants discussed the Weaver tragedy and formed coalitions137.
Notably missing at the meeting was the flagrant racist and anti-Semitic rhetoric normally used. These
Patriots had apparently learned that they could be more successful by toning down their language.
135 Abanes, Richard. (1996). Rebellion, Racism, & Religion: American Militias. Downers Grove:
InterVarsity Press, p. 22
136 Dyer, Joel. (1997). Harvest of Rage: Why Oklahoma City is Just the Beginning. Boulder: Westview
Press, p. 83
137 Abanes, Richard. (1996). Rebellion, Racism, & Religion: American Militias. Downers Grove:
InterVarsity Press, p. 22
68


White America became Christian America. Jews were referred to as International Bankers.
Observers of the Patriot Movement credit this gathering with creating the violent anti-federal
government movement we see today. Morris Dees of the Southern Poverty Law Center said that at the
Rendezvous Plans were laid for a citizens militia movement like none this country has ever
known.138
Waco
Only months after the Rocky Mountain Rendezvous, the 1993 raid of the Branch Davidians by the
Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (BATF) began. A 51-day standoff ensued at the Davidians
compound near Waco, Texas, and ended in a fire on April 19th, 1993 that killed the 80 adults and
children inside.139
The standoff began on February 28* when BATF agents attempted to execute arrest and search
warrants against leader David Koresh and the Branch Davidian compound. After a gunfight on that
day, four BATF agents lay dead, and sixteen more were wounded. An undetermined number of
Davidians were killed or injured. The FBI then joined the BATF, assuming responsibilities as lead
agency, and began to conduct telephone negotiations with David Koresh and other Davidians
throughout the standoff. The FBI used tactics such as broadcasting Tibetan chants and Christmas
music, and shining bright lights on the compound throughout the night to disrupt sleep. Janet Reno,
who was sworn in as Attorney General on March 12th of that year, approved a plan in early April to
increase the pressure on the Davidians by using tear gas. In the early hours of the morning of April
138 Dyer, Joel. (1997). Harvest of Rage: Why Oklahoma City is Just the Beginning. Boulder: Westview
Press, p. 83
139 Abanes, Richard. (1996). Rebellion, Racism, & Religion: American Militias. Downers Grove:
InterVarsity Press, p. 22
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19th, the Davidians were warned of the imminent tear-gas assault, and were ordered to leave. At 6:00
a.m. the Davidians began shooting, and the FBI responded with the tear gas. At noon, several
simultaneous fires broke out, eventually devastating the building and incinerating those inside.
People from across the political spectrum were horrified to witness the fire, which was broadcast live
by the media, and militia members and others in the Patriot Movement were particularly enraged at the
poor handling of the crisis by the government. Timothy McVeigh, later convicted of the Oklahoma
City Bombing, was one of the members of the Patriot Movement who traveled to Waco to witness the
standoff firsthand and support the Davidians.
Patriots blame the FBI and BATF for starting the fires, believing that Waco was a massacre of a
community of people who were simply exercising their rights to religious freedom and possession of
weapons. The FBI and BATF stated that the Davidians had started the fires in a mass suicide. It
wasnt until August 1999, six years later, that the FBI admitted to using flammable tear gas canisters,
contradicting their previous assertion that they had done nothing that could have contributed to the
spread of the fire.140 This revelation greatly energized the Patriot Movement, despite the fact that the
government was exonerated by a Senate-led investigation in 2000.141 The Patriot Movement blames
Janet Reno, in particular, calling her the Butcher of Waco. Many people agreed with survivor Clive
Doyle who said Waco is a wake-up call for people in the sense that they saw their government at
140 Walsh, Edward & Leiby, Richard. (August 27, 1999). Reno Vows to Find Truth About Waco. The
Denver Post, 1A.
141 Public Broadcasting Service, Frontline. (October 1995). Chronology of the Siege. Retrieved April 4,
2004 from http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/waco.
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work against citizens, perhaps for the first time.142 It is not a coincidence that Timothy McVeigh
chose April 19th to bomb the Murrah Federal Building in 1995.
Militia Growth
Militia recruiting got a further boost in 1994 with the passage of the Brady Law (which mandated a
five-day waiting period for handgun purchases, and required buyers to submit to a background check)
and the Crime Bill (which outlawed many types of semi-automatic weapons). Many people in the
Patriot Movement believed that we were nearing the time when all public ownership of weapons is
outlawed, and door-to-door searches would enforce this ban.
In 1994 four members of a Virginia militia were arrested, charged with planning to raid a National
Guard armory. Federal officials found a computer disk with the following text:
We will destroy targets such as telephone relay centers, bridges, fuel storage tanks,
communications towers, radio stations, airports, et cetera...Human targets will be
engaged when it is beneficial to the cause to eliminate particular individuals who
oppose us like troops, police, political figures, snitches, et cetera.143
In November 1995, militia leaders claimed to have well-armed groups in all 50 states. That year,
observers made estimates of militia membership ranging between 10,000 and 100,000 members. One
source, James L. Brown of the BATF, said that membership could possibly number in the millions.144
142 Corcoran, James. (1995). Bitter Harvest: The Birth of Paramilitary Terrorism in the Heartland.
New York: Penguin Books. p.xi.
143 Abanes, Richard. (1996). Rebellion, Racism, & Religion: American Militias. Downers Grove:
InterVarsity Press, p. 26
144 Abanes, Richard. (1996). Rebellion, Racism, & Religion: American Militias. Downers Grove:
InterVarsity Press, p. 23
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Currently, in the early years of the 21st century, militias are still present in at least 20 states.145 It is
impossible to accurately estimate the number of militia members, since some artificially inflate their
numbers to enhance their reputation, while others operate completely in secret.
Militias today have two faces one public and one underground. In public, militia members downplay
their capacity for violence. Militia of Montana leader John Trochmann describes militias as a giant
neighborhood watch group. During Senate hearings on militias in 1995, the militia leaders who
testified said that their members were law abiding and against violence.146 Some militias do appear to
focus their energies on benign tasks, such as public service projects. But others have people working
out of the public view to prepare for violence.
Leaderless Resistance
Militia members can operate outside of the law to a certain extent because they employ a strategy that
is difficult to counter. At the Estes Park conference, Louis Beam presented an essay on Leaderless
Resistance a revolutionary model based on small groups of roughly four to eight people who work
independently against the government. The cells are autonomous, linked by ideology, not by leaders.
The advantage of this model is that the downfall of one or even several cells would not result in the
movement being compromised. Timothy McVeigh, convicted bomber of the Murrah Federal Building
in Oklahoma, was allegedly an advocate of leaderless resistance.147 The Washington Post reported that
McVeigh and the Nichols brothers thought of themselves as a cell.
145 Potok, Mark. (February 2004). The Year in Hate [2003], Retrieved April 20,2004 from
http://www.splcenter.org/intel/intelreport/article.jsp?aid=374.
146 Abanes, Richard. (1996). Rebellion, Racism, & Religion: American Militias. Downers Grove:
InterVarsity Press, p. 24
147 Kilzer, Lou and Kevin Flynn. (May 14,1997). Militia Movement had Roots in Estes. Rocky
Mountain News, 4.
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In Beams essay, he described how Organs of information distribution such as newspapers, leaflets,
computers, etc. which are widely available to all, keep each person informed of events, allowing for a
planned response that will take many variations. No one need issue an order to anyone.148 The
handbook of the Wisconsin Free Militia calls such cells the arms of the Free Militia.149
The Turner Diaries
Like Bob Mathews and the members of the Silent Brotherhood, Timothy McVeigh was heavily
influenced by William Pierces book The Turner Diaries. Under the pen name Andrew Macdonald,
Pierce wrote the novel from the point of view of the fictional character Earl Turner who takes part in a
revolution in the United States. The heroes of the book are white heterosexual men and women.
The targets of the revolution are Jews, people of color, gays and lesbians, and white people who have
betrayed their race. The book is filled with graphic depictions of violence. For example, after
revolutionaries in the fictional book assassinate a sheriff, the narrator describes the fate of a
conservative and a Jewish spokesperson who decry the murder.
[They] described the Organization as a gang of racist bigots and called on all
right-thinking Chicagoans to cooperate with the political police in apprehending
the racists who had killed the sheriff.
Well, early this morning the responsible conservative lost both his legs and
suffered severe internal injuries when a bomb wired to the ignition of his car
exploded. The Jewish spokesman was even less fortunate. Someone walked up to
him while he was waiting for an elevator in the lobby of his office building, pulled
a hatchet from under his coat, cleaved the good Jews head from crown to shoulder
blades, then disappeared in the rush-hour crowd. The Organization immediately
claimed responsibility for both acts.150
148 Ridgeway, James. (1995). Blood in the Face. New York: Thunders Mouth Press, p. 16.
149 Ridgeway, James. (1995). Blood in the Face. New York: Thunders Mouth Press, p. 16.
150 Macdonald, Andrew. (1978). The Turner Diaries. New York: Barricade Books, p. 17.
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To an average reader, the book is shocking. Yet, to many militia members and others in the Patriot
Movement, it is inspiring. The revolutionaries in the fictional book organize themselves into cells
using the leaderless resistance model. In the early chapters of the book, the main characters detonate
a bomb in the FBIs headquarters in Washington D.C. The similarities to McVeighs crime in
Oklahoma City are striking: both the fictional bomb and the real one are made of ammonium nitrate
fertilizer, both sets of perpetrators use trucks to deliver the bomb. McVeigh was said to have kept
several copies of The Turner Diaries with him, so, he could give them out as gifts.
Border Vigilantes
Since the 1990s, the main area of militia growth has been organizations patrolling the U.S. side of our
border with Mexico. In an attempt to deter illegal immigration, a change in the mid 1990s in border
patrol policies now forces people who are seeking to enter the country illegally to travel through the
rural deserts of New Mexico and Arizona, rather than previous routes through urban areas of Texas
and California. Understandably, ranchers in the Southwest are not pleased with the new influx of
people traveling on their land. They have found livestock slaughtered for food, fences cut, and trash
and human waste littering their land.
Claiming that the U.S. Border Patrols work is not sufficient, groups of armed residents of Arizona and
New Mexico have formed unofficial border patrols, to prevent would-be immigrants from sneaking
into the United States. These border vigilantes have cast themselves in the same roles as the heroes in
western movies such as The Open Range they believe they are fighting for such lofty principles as
honor and justice. But these renegade groups have not been appointed by the U.S. people to enforce
the law, and they are accountable to no one. And progressive activists claim that they guilty of
murder.
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Numerous would-be immigrants have been killed along the border under questionable circumstances.
In an article written in November, 2003, Ernesto Cienfuegos of the newspaper La Voz deAztlan
describes a shooting that left four Mexican immigrants dead and five wounded. He says that the
incident was executed with militaiy precision. The assailants drove alongside the vehicles carrying
the immigrants and opened fire. The surviving immigrants fled into the desert and were later found
unharmed. Arizona police blamed Mexican coyotes (people who smuggle immigrants across the
border). Cienfuegos notes that coyotes were also blamed for murders of twelve other immigrants in
separate incidents in 2002 and 2003.151
Law enforcement officials are often tolerant, and even supportive, of the vigilante groups. Border
Patrol spokesperson Ryan Scudder said, Citizens arrest is an American right. As long as they dont
break the law, its not our role to critique what they do. But laws are apparently being broken.
In an article written for the Southern Poverty Law Centers Intelligence Report, Bob Moser found that
the Mexican government has documented more than 40 possibly illegal citizens arrests in Cochise
County, Arizona, since 1999. In 14 of these incidents, migrants said they were detained at gunpoint,
and in five cases, immigrants said they were shot or roughed up before the Border Patrol arrived.152
151 Cienfuegos, Ernesto. (November 5,2003). Arizona Vigilantes: Highway Shootings Staged to
Embarrass Visiting Mexican President. Retrieved February 2004 from
http://aztlan.net/highwaymurder.htm.
152 Moser, Bob. (2003). Open Season. Retrieved April 4, 2004 from
http://www.splcenter.org/intel/intelreport/article.jsp?aid=19.
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Arizona Congressman Raul Grijalva believes that race is a factor in the lack of prosecutions of
vigilantes. Prosecutions? There havent even been investigations , he says.153 A local county sheriff,
Larry Dever of Cochise County Arizona, has given talks at meetings of one of the most prominent
vigilante groups the American Border Patrol, and retired U.S. Border Patrol officers sit on the same
organizations board of directors. Representative Tom Tancredo of Colorado has also lent support, by
providing a link from his website to that of the American Border Patrol. The link has recently been
removed.154
Border vigilantes claim to be enforcing U.S. law, but they operate outside of the law. Activists believe
that many immigrants have received the death penalty at the hands of the vigilantes only for their
crime of wanting a better life.155
Militia Intelligence
Most militias have some kind of intelligence network that attempts to uncover the hidden truths
that the mainstream media is concealing. Some militia members brag that their intelligence is superior
to that of the FBI. However, oftentimes they will discover a small portion of the truth, and come to
conclusions without looking at further evidence. In his book Rebellion, Racism, and Religion:
American Militias, Richard Abanes quotes an exchange between Militia of Montanas John
Trochmann and California Senator Diane Feinstein to illustrate this point. Trochmann testified in 1995
153 Moser, Bob. (2003). Open Season. Retrieved April 4,2004 from
http://www.splcenter.org/intel/intelreport/article.jsp?aid=19.
154 Vanderpool, Tim. (April 1,2003). Border Vigilantes. Retrieved February 2,2004 from
http://www.findarticles.com/cf_dls/ml295/4_67/99818484.
155 Cienfuegos, Ernesto. (November 5,2003). Arizona Vigilantes: Highway Shootings Staged to
Embarrass Visiting Mexican President. Retrieved February 2004 from
http://aztlan.net/highwaymurder.htm.
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before a Congressional subcommittee on militias, and confronted gun-control advocate Senator
Feinstein about her possession of a concealed weapons permit:
Mr. Trochmann: When someone comes to destroy my family.. .If that were ever to
happen, I would defend [my family] to the last drop of blood. ..Iam told that you
have a concealed weapons permit, so I guess you probably feel the same way we do.
Senator Feinstein: I do not have a concealed weapon permit.
Mr. Trochmann: Well, you recently had one.
Senator Feinstein: No. I had one in the 1970s and I have not had one since then, after
a terrorist incident that took place involving myself. That was the only time I had a
concealed weapon permit, so I am happy to set that one straight.
Mr. Trochmann: Well, I apologize. I will have to go back to my California
informers.
Senator Feinstein: I think you will.156
This is a mistake made frequently by militia members. Trochmann had obtained some of the truth,
without having enough information to make a sound judgment.
Constitutional Justification
The legality of citizen militias is debatable. Militia members and other Patriots passionately defend the
existence of militias by pointing to the second amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which states A
well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and
bear arms, shall not be infringed. They also justify militias through the United States Code. Title 10 of
the U.S. Code, Section 311 reads:
The militia of the United States consists of all able-bodied males at least 17 years of
age and.. .under 45 years of age who are.. .citizens of the United States and of female
citizens of the United States who are commissioned officers of the National
Guard.157
156 Abanes, Richard. (1996). Rebellion, Racism, & Religion: American Militias. Downers Grove:
InterVarsity Press, p. 111
157 Search the U.S. Code. (n.d.) U.S. House of Representatives. Retrieved April 4,2004 from
http://www.uscode.house.gov/usc.htm.
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They interpret these provisions to mean that citizen militias are not only legal, but also mandated by
these documents.
Mainstream constitutional scholars generally agree that the militia the Constitution refers to is made up
of all men capable of bearing arms rather than a subset such as the National Guard. This does not
conflict with Patriots interpretation of who is a potential member. However, critics of citizen militias
point out that the Constitution limits the power of organizing and leading the militia to state
governments. In Federalist No. 28, Alexander Hamilton suggests that states will be responsible for
the appointment of the officer, and the authority of training the militia according to the discipline
prescribed by Congress.158 As even the pro-gun magazine Soldier of Fortune points out, that means
that citizen-organized private militias are likely un-constitutional.159
Questionable Credentials
Many militias, especially the larger ones, attempt to educate the public about the truths that they
believe have been suppressed by the mainstream media. John Trochmann travels the country
conducting lectures about how the United Nations is planning an invasion of the United States. He
brings stacks of papers and photographs to document his claims, and at first glance, it seems
impressive. But a closer look reveals that the photos are uninteresting pictures of UN vehicles and
equipment that might have been taken anywhere, and the papers are un-cited photocopies of obscure
documents, often with no author or date listed. A listener must trust Trochmann and rely on his
interpretation completely to reach any conclusions of a conspiracy.
158 Abanes, Richard. (1996). Rebellion, Racism, & Religion: American Militias. Downers Grove:
InterVarsity Press, p. 68.
159 Ross, Wayne Anthony. (April 1995). Join a Miltia Break the Law? Soldier of Fortune, 52.
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Many Patriots are undaunted by the lack of hard evidence supporting conspiracy theories. In fact, the
nature of conspiracies provides justification for the absence of evidence. If its a cover-up, of course
there is no evidence. If entities provide evidence to the contrary of a conspiracy, it only shows that
they are part of the plot to keep it a secret.
Such is the case with the theory that ordinary citizens are being placed under mind control by the
government. Many Patriots, including the Militia of Montana, believe that individuals who have
committed random shootings have actually been implanted with microchips and made to commit their
crimes by the government, in an attempt to push the public towards greater gun control restrictions.
About the New York subway shooting in 1993, the Militia of Montana gives as proof:
[TJhe individual stated in a dazed stupor, 7 must have done something wrong. He
was obviously a CIA pre-programmed asset. This was a pre-planned agenda to
continue their efforts to DISARM THE UNORGANIZED MILITIAS OF THE
SEVERAL STATES, (emphasis theirs)160
The Wolverine Brigade of the Southern Michigan Regional Militia warns that the Federal Emergency
Management Agency (FEMA) is already planning to imprison U.S. citizens in concentration camps,
once the U.S. government is in control of the NWO. In a publication, they state:
There are four massive crematoriums in the USA now complete with gas chambers
and guillotines.. .more than 130 concentration camps already set up from Florida to
Alaska...more than two million of us are already on computer lists for detention
and liquidation.161
According to Richard Abanes, author of Rebellion, Racism, & Religion: American Militias, there may
be a small amount of truth in this rumor; there are detention centers in the U.S. He states that they are
160 Abanes, Richard. (1996). Rebellion, Racism, & Religion: American Militias. Downers Grove:
InterVarsity Press, p. 128.
161 Abanes, Richard. (1996). Rebellion, Racism, & Religion: American Militias. Downers Grove:
InterVarsity Press, p. 84.
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related to federal contingency plans for rounding up people in times of civil unrest.162 If this is true,
it is easy to see how this would make the conspiracy-minded Patriots nervous.
Conclusion
Psychological Factors
Many people who are members of militias are attracted to them because they generally have a paranoid
personality type. Those who believe the conspiracy theories most fervently are likely to take up arms
against their perceived enemy. If the government were indeed tracking us with microchips, controlling
the weather, and facilitating an impending UN takeover, taking up arms would be a rational thing to
do. Chris Simcox, head of the newly formed Civil Homeland Defense border patrol organization in
Arizona, appears to display characteristics of the paranoid style of thinking. According to the Anti-
Defamation League, he believes Mexico is utilizing Chinese troops and weapomy, to assist in its
invasion of the United States.163
Richard Hofstadter states that movements employing the paranoid style seem to wax and wane
depending upon social conflicts that involve deep-seated values. The situation worsens when these
movements feel that they have a lack of real political power. Both these criteria are met with the
militia movement. Social conflicts, both real and imagined, have left many militia members feeling
that their core beliefs and values are threatened. And the lack of representation of these viewpoints in
mainstream politics leads them to believe that they need to work outside of the system, preparing for a
potential violent conflict in the future.
162 Abanes, Richard. (1996). Rebellion, Racism, & Religion: American Militias. Downers Grove:
InterVarsity Press, p. 84.
163 Anti-Defamation League. (May 6,2003). ADL says Armed Anti-Immigration Groups in Arizona
Share Ties to White Supremacists. Retrieved April 10,2004, from
http://www.adl.org/PresRele/Militi_71/4255_72.htm.
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Cultural Factors
Cultural isolation is also a large factor in the growth of militias. Militia members are extremely angry
about efforts towards gun control that have taken place since the 1970s. They see gun control as a very
serious threat to their freedom, and feel that the widespread acceptance of gun control efforts is
evidence of the downward spiral of society.
The influx of both legal and illegal immigrants from Latin America is another cultural phenomenon
that has compelled some people to literally pick up arms and create militias. Race is a factor in their
intolerance of the newcomers, and the culture of vigilantism that still exists in western states has made
the behavior of the border vigilantes somewhat acceptable in those areas.
Economic Factors
Economic problems have also contributed. Many militia members are either blue-collar workers,
vulnerable to downsizing or they live in rural locations of the country, where economies struggle
most (see chapter 3). In addition to seeing industries such as logging, mining, and ranching wane, rural
counties are experiencing a brain drain as many of their young people leave to find work in cities.
But militias have received their most significant boost through political events that took place in the
1980s and 1990s. The importance of the standoffs at Ruby Ridge and Waco as galvanizing moments
cannot be overestimated. Many people saw those events as proof positive that the government is out of
control, and that it is up to the citizens of this country to protect our liberty. Even though it has been
more than a decade since those two events, angry members of the Patriot Movement are still farming
the flames.
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CHAPTER 6
WHITE SUPREMACISTS
This is revolution. Like Johnny Appleseed, weve sowed the seeds. I told the FBI in
the presence of my lawyer one time, I said Its too late. Weve done the work and
you cant reverse it. And out there these seeds we know will grow into apple trees
and theyll hear fruit.
- Bob Miles, Klan leader164
Racism has been a part of U.S. culture ever since this countrys earliest beginnings. Howard Zinn and
other scholars have documented the atrocities committed against Native Americans and other people of
color.165 European Colonists came to North America with the idea that culture is linked to skin color,
and saw Native Americans as being uncivilized and not trustworthy. They admired them for qualities
such as physical grace and their perceived nobility, but assumed that the European culture was
superior. The Colonists possessions guns, navigational instruments, seemed to justify this attitude.
Stephen Greenblatt says Such was the confidence of this culture that it expected perfect strangers.. .to
abandon their own beliefs, preferably immediately, and embrace those of Europe as luminously and
self-evidently true. A failure to do so provoked impatience, contempt, and even murderous rage.166
There were some positive interactions between the cultures, but these were overshadowed by violence.
Early Americans needed to justify the slaughter of the Indians to appease their consciences. Michael
Rogin said that to do so, people believed that the early, savage peoples could not coexist with
164 Ridgeway, James. (1995). Blood in the Face. New York: Thunders Mouth Press, p. 42
165 Zinn, Howard. (1980). Peoples History of the United States. New York: Harper & Row.
166 Greenblatt, Stephen. (1991). Marvelous Possessions: The Wonder of the New World Chicago:
University of Chicago Press, p.9
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advanced societies; civilization would inevitably displace savagery. People of that time convinced
themselves of the paternalistic idea that Indian society was childlike, while European society was
mature.167
Rogin cites Hannah Arendt, who has suggested that this meeting between advanced and primitive
cultures has been an important factor in the origins of totalitarianism. The atrocities committed by
Europeans defended as the results of savage atrocities, the extermination of tribes, the perceived
impossibility of cultural coexistence and whites growing confidence in their ability to conquer all
lead toward the mindset in which the racist right operates today.
Since the founding, much of European-American culture has continued in this racist tradition. The
massacre of American Indians, the enslavement of people from Africa, the persecution of Latinos, and
the mass incarceration of Japanese Americans are only some examples of the horrendous acts in our
history. Even as we have always had racism, we have always had people who believe in the equality
of all. There have always been dissenters, even in the worst periods of our history. And our country
has come a long way towards understanding and respecting other cultures. But despite our progress, it
is not surprising that racism has thrived throughout the years.
For example, a survey conducted in 1990 by the National Opinion Research Center reported that 78
percent of non-black respondents said African-Americans are more likely than white people to prefer
to live off welfare and less likely to prefer to be self-supporting. Another study, commissioned in
1993 by the National Science Foundation, found that 51 percent of the white respondents who
identified themselves as conservatives said they think African-Americans are aggressive and violent.
167 Rogin, Michael. (1987). Ronald Reagan, the Movie and Other Episodes in Political Demonology.
Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Free Press, p. 137.
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Forty-five percent of people identifying as liberal agreed. These studies show that deeply held racist
beliefs are common in the mainstream population of the U.S., even among people on the left.168
The violent far right wing of the racist movement could not exist without a culture that accepts racism.
And conversely, more mainstream racist beliefs are legitimized and made to look moderate in
comparison by their extremist cousins. The very existence of varying degrees of militancy in racist
groups creates the political space where both ends of the spectrum can thrive.
In 2003 Southern Poverty Law Center identified 437 white supremacist groups in the U.S., not
including Christian Identity churches or militias. Some white people, males in particular, feel
threatened by gains made by movements advocating equality for other races, both genders, and all
sexual orientations. The white supremacist movement says that the white race is under attack, and that
white men are the new victims.169
White supremacists today think that the charity and goodness of the white race have saved non-whites
from famine and plague. Many think that the white race faces the threat of genocide, orchestrated by
Jews and carried out by Jews, blacks, and other non-whites. Images of white women stolen by black
men are common racist texts.170 Race-mixing is seen as the ultimate abomination. Author Thomas
Dixon, best known for The Clansman, wrote in The Leopards Spots:
One drop of Negro blood makes a Negro. It kinks the hair, flattens the nose,
168 Ross, Loretta. (1995). White Supremacy in the 1990s. Retrieved April 8,2004 from
http://www.publiceye.org/eyes/whitsup.html.
169 Ferber, Abby. (December 1997). Contemporary White Supremacists Freedom Watch Newsletter,
Colorado Springs, CO: Citizens Project.
170 Ferber, Abby. (December 1997). Contemporary White Supremacists Freedom Watch Newsletter,
Colorado Springs, CO: Citizens Project.
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thickens the lip, puts out the light of intellect, and lights the fire of brutal passions.
The beginning ofNegro equality as a vital fact is the beginning of the end of this
nations life. There is enough negro blood here to make mulatto the whole
Republic.171
Although Dixon wrote this passage decades ago, the sentiment resonates with many racists today.
Numerous websites contain propaganda condemning interracial marriage.
Groups and Leaders
In recent years, the white supremacist movement has had some setbacks, such as the July 2002 death
of William Pierce. Pierce was the founder and leader of the National Alliance, and the author of The
Turner Diaries. His death has lead to political splits within the National Alliance.172 After being
ousted by Pierces successor, Erich Gliebe, the Alliances former deputy membership coordinator Billy
Roper created his own white supremacist organization, an umbrella group called White Revolution.173
Also setting the movement back was a 2001 lawsuit filed against the Aryan Nations, one of the largest
and best-known racist organizations. The suit, filed by the Southern Poverty Law Center, bankrupted
the organization, forcing the loss of their North Idaho compound, which will now be turned into a
benign piece of property.174 The lawsuit also prohibited the group from using the name Aryan
171 Rogin, Michael. (1987). Ronald Reagan, the Movie and Other Episodes in Political Demonology.
Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Free Press, p. 226.
172 Southern Poverty Law Center. (March 2003). Hate Group Numbers Rise, but Neo-Nazis in
Disarray. Retrieved February 2,2004 from
http://www.splcenter.org/center/splreport/article.jsp?aid=19.
173 Anti-Defamation League. (May 13,2003). National Alliance: Update. Retrieved January 10,2004
from http://www.adl.org/leam/Ext_US/N_Alliance_upl .asp.
174 Morlin, Bill. (May 24,2001). Aryan Buildings Bite the Dust. The Idaho Spokesman-Review, 1.
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Nations although it appears they are ignoring this provision. Several websites using the name still
exist. Fragmented leadership further destabilizes the Aryan Nations.
Despite the disarray in the movement, racists continue with their work distributing literature,
producing radio shows, committing violent acts, and even hosting white-themed folk festivals. The
recent rise of White Power music, which has attracted younger recruits, including Skinheads, is
notable.
Racist Skinheads
Skinheads have received significant media attention in the U.S., especially after one broke the nose of
talk show host Geraldo Rivera in 1988.175 The first Skinheads were multi-racial, emerging in England
in the 1960s. Skinheads today listen to the musical styles Ska, Punk, or Oi, and are most often
involved in some kind of politics, on either the right or the left. Many are racist, but an anti-racist
skinhead movement exists as well.176
According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, the number of Skinhead groups more than doubled
from 2002 to 2003 (most recent figures available). In 2002 18 chapters (of 11 organizations) were
known, and in 2003 that jumped to 39 chapters of 22 groups.177
175 Crawford, Robert, S.L. Gardner, Jonathan Mozzochi, and R.L. Taylor. The Northwest Imperative:
Documenting a Decade of Hate. Coalition for Human Dignity, Portland, Oregon, and the Northwest
Coalition Against Malicious Harassment, Seattle Washington, p. 1.6
176 Crawford, Robert, S.L. Gardner, Jonathan Mozzochi, and R.L. Taylor. The Northwest Imperative:
Documenting a Decade of Hate. Coalition for Human Dignity, Portland, Oregon, and the Northwest
Coalition Against Malicious Harassment, Seattle Washington, p.1.7
177 Potok, Mark. (February 2004). The Year in Hate [2003], Retrieved April 20,2004 from
http://www.splcenter.org/intel/intelreport/article.jsp?aid=374.
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Floyd Cochran, former recruiter in the Aryan Nations, says that young people are vulnerable to
becoming part of the racist movement. He says, Most racists come from dysfunctional families where
the need to belong is not met. Instinctively, the young person looks outside the family for fulfillment of
that need. The organized racists are there to fulfill it Cochran says the rise of White Power music is
significant. Music has always been a unifying force for young people, and youth who are attracted to
music expressing feelings of alienation between themselves and society are susceptible to the racist
170
message.
Tom Metzger, television repairman, former Klansman, and leader of the White Aryan Resistance
(WAR), has given a boost of energy to the racist struggle by inspiring young people to join the
skinhead movement. Metzger helped to make racism relevant for a new generation. A character based
on Tom Metzger was featured in the Hollywood Movie American History X.
Metzger says spending time on side issues such as homosexuals and abortion takes away from the
revolution. He says If homos [sic] collect in their own little bars and things like that, thats fine,
and anyone whos going to risk going to jail for a hundred years for bombing a homo bar just doesnt
have their heads screwed on straight.178 179 Metzger continues, If all abortion clinics were just aborting
white kids, I would be 100% behind these (bombing) attacks. However, many abortion clinics are
aborting non-whites and you dont want to slow that down whatsoever. 180
178 Cochran, Floyd. (n.d.). How Hate Groups Recruit Young People. Retrieved April 10,2004 from
http://www.evnetwork.net/howyoung.html.
179 Freeman, Chris. (1998). The Activist Update: Unmasking the Right. Atlanta: Center for Democratic
Renewal, p.l.
180 Freeman, Chris. (1998). The Activist Update: Unmasking the Right. Atlanta: Center for Democratic
Renewal, p.l.
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Racist Skinhead organizations play a role as a training ground for young bigots, with many recruits
moving into more professional white supremacists groups when they reach their mid twenties.
There has been some friction between Skinheads and rural racists the cultural gap between young
urbanites who shave their heads and wear military boots and rural Americans is notable. For those
people in rural areas who are feeling culturally isolated, Skinheads seem very foreign. However,
growing numbers of rural people have put aside their suspicion of Skinheads fashion and music,
seeing them as the future, more urban and more current.181
An organization that saw the potential in young racist youth was the Aryan Nations. For years, the
Aryan Nations hosted youth conferences attracting skinheads in April to coincide with Hitlers
birthday.
The Aryan Nations
Founded as a Christian Identity organization, the Aryan Nations also shares characteristics with Neo-
Nazi organizations. Richard Butler, the head of the organization for three decades, openly reveres
Adolph Hitler. The Aryan Nations compound was the former gathering place for many on the far
right, and many of its members have been convicted of hate crimes. Until the lawsuit mentioned above
stripped the organization of its property in Idaho, the organization was one of the powerhouses of the
far right. Now, leadership is contested and membership is diminishing. Richard Butler, now in his
eighties, has attempted to pass the leadership to Ray Redfeaim, a former Klansman with a violent
criminal record and a history of mental illness. After infighting, three factions of the Aryan Nations
181 Crawford, Robert, S.L. Gardner, Jonathan Mozzochi, and R.L. Taylor. The Northwest Imperative:
Documenting a Decade of Hate. Coalition for Human Dignity, Portland, Oregon, and the Northwest
Coalition Against Malicious Harassment, Seattle Washington, p.1.5
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now exist. One led by Butler in Idaho, one lead by Redfeaim in Ohio, and one led by August Kreis in
Pennsylvania.182
The Ku Klux Klan Today
The strength of Klan groups in the U.S. has fluctuated greatly in their more than 100 years of
existence. Sometimes seen as a formidable force, as in the 1960s, and sometimes receding into the
background, they never fade completely from view. Their strength in the 1960s was a reaction to the
civil rights movement, a good illustration of the point that when people experience cultural isolation,
they can react in extreme ways.
Since then, Klan organizations have gradually diminished due to counteractions of law enforcement
and civil rights groups, and due to internal struggles. The Southern Poverty Law Center estimates that
there are a total of about 5,500 to 6,000 Klan members today, in 158 remaining Klan organizations.183
In 2003, the Klan experienced a slight resurgence. The Southern Poverty Law Center reported a
large number of Klan rallies, cross-burnings, and other events.184 New chapters in Alabama and
North Carolina were created, and were successful in recruiting members. 2003 also saw new vitality in
Klans based in Ohio, Georgia, and Indiana.
182 Anti-Defamation League. (July 17,2002). Breakup of Aryan Nations Leads to Formation of
Successor Groups. Retrieved April 22,2004 from
http://www.adl.org/leam/ext_us/Aryan_nations_break_up.asp.
183 Southern Poverty Law Center. (February 2004). Active U.S. Hate Groups in 2003. Retrieved April
20,2004, from http://www.splcenter.org/intel/map/hate.jsp?T=12&m=2.
184 Potok, Mark. (February 2004). The Year in Hate [2003]. Retrieved April 20,2004 from
http://www.splcenter.org/intel/intelreport/article.jsp?aid=374.
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In 1987 the Southern Poverty Law Center won a major legal victory over the United Klans of America,
one of the most notorious Klan organizations. Based in Alabama, some of its members were indicted
in the Birmingham church bombing that killed four black girls in the 1960s. The 1987 lawsuit, which
effectively dismantled the organization, came after other members were found guilty of the 1981
lynching of a black teenager, Michael Donald. The lawsuit effectively dismantled the United Klans.185
David Dukes Knights of the Ku Klux Klan experienced major splits in the mid 1990s after the
imprisonment of Dukes successor Don Black. Black served a three-year sentence for conspiring to
overthrow the government of the Caribbean Island Dominica. Black went on to found Stormfront, a
website discussed later in this chapter.
David Duke is this countrys best-known racist. After a career where he was described as the most
effective spokesman for disaffected whites since Alabama Gov. George Wallace,186 he is currently in
a group home, after serving a prison sentence for mail and tax fraud.187 In the 1970s he founded the
White Youth Alliance, a group affiliated with the neo-Nazi National Socialist White Peoples Party,
and a Klan organization in Louisiana where he served as Imperial Wizard. In the 1980s he founded the
National Association for the Advancement of White People (NAAWP). In 1989 he served as a
representative in the Louisiana State Legislature, and later made unsuccessful bids for the governorship
of that state, as well as running for seats in Congress and President of the United States in the 1990s.
185 Anti-Defamation League. (n.d.). The Ku Klux Klan: Burning Crosses in Cyberspace. Retrieved
April 6,2004 from http://www.adl.org/poisoning_web/kkk.asp.
186 Lee, Martin A. (2003). Insatiable. Retrieved April 22,2004 from
http://www.splcenter.org/intel/intelreport/article.jsp?aid=25.
187 Burdeau, Cain. (February 12,2004). Former Klan leader David Duke says he probably will not run
for Congress. Retrieved March 10,2004 from
http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/politics/20040212-0106-duke-congress.html.
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As Duke became involved with mainstream politics, he learned to camouflage his racist and anti-
Semitic views. He claimed that he was not against other races, that he was simply proud of his own
race. He also created a more professional image for himselfj blending in with other politicians. I dont
call myself a white supremacist, Im a civil rights activist concerned about European-American rights
said Duke.188 Many white supremacists groups took his cue and also began to tone down their
message, in an effort to appear professional and reasonable, an effort that had the effect of boosting
membership.
Other racists, like Don Black from Dukes Klan, apparently saw no need to tone down their message.
Black went on to found Stormfront, one of the largest racist sites on the web.
High-Tech Racism
Since the early 1990s, hundreds of racist websites have been created, with thousands of people viewing
the pages. Don Black claims that his site Stormfront has had between 1000 and 2500 hits per day.189
Stormfront has dozens of racist articles, a page for Aryan women, a page with racist t-shirts, patches
and jewelry for sale, and even a kids page. Other racist sites are less elaborate, but with the same
virulent message. Many sites contain extremely offensive racist cartoons. An unintended effect of
these sites is the ability for people who oppose these organizations to monitor the movements
activities.
188 Anti-Defamation League. (n.d.) David Duke. Retrieved February 2, 2004 from
http://www.adl.org/leam/ext_us/duke.asp?xpicked=2&item=4.
189 Koppel, Ted. (January 13,1998). ABC News Nightline. Washington, D.C.:ABCNEWS.
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