Resurgent Right-Wing Militias

The extreme right is armed, dangerous, and coming to a town near you

| January-February 2010

  • Conspiracy of Hate

  • Conspiracy of Hate

This article is part of a package on right-wing violence and militias. For a counterpoint from the libertarian magazine Reason, read The Paranoid Center . And to read an interview with Mark Potok of the Southern Poverty Law Center, visit

In Pensacola, Florida, retired FBI agent Ted Gunderson tells a gathering of antigovernment “Patriots” that the federal government has set up 1,000 internment camps around the country and is storing 30,000 guillotines and 500,000 caskets in Atlanta. He says it’s all for the day when the United States declares martial law and moves in to round up or kill citizen dissenters.

Outside Atlanta, a so-called grand jury issues an “indictment” of Barack Obama for fraud and treason because he wasn’t born in the United States and is illegally occupying the office of president. Other sham “grand juries” around the country follow suit.

In Lexington, Massachusetts, where the opening shots of the Revolutionary War were fired in 1775, members of Oath Keepers, a newly formed group of law enforcement officers, military personnel, and veterans convene on April 19 to reaffirm a pledge to defend the U.S. Constitution. The date of the gathering is highly significant: It’s not only the anniversary of that “shot heard round the world,” it also marks the 1993 conflagration at the Branch Davidian compound in Waco, Texas, and the lethal bombing two years later of the Oklahoma City federal building—all seminal events in the lore of the extreme right. “We’re in perilous times . . . perhaps far more perilous than in 1775,” says the man administering the oath.

Almost 10 years after the militia movement seemed to disappear from American life, there are unmistakable signs of a revival. From Idaho to New Jersey and from Michigan to Florida, men and women in khaki and camouflage are back in the woods, gathering to practice the paramilitary skills they believe will be needed to fend off the socialistic troops of the storied New World Order.

Paper terrorism—the use of property liens, bogus legal documents, and “citizens’ grand juries” to attack enemies and, sometimes, reap illegal fortunes—is proliferating. As a result, the government has set up special efforts to rein in so-called “tax defiers” and to track threats against judges. At the same time, Patriot fears about the government are being amplified by a loud new group of ostensibly mainstream media personalities and politicians, from Fox News commentator Glenn Beck to Michele Bachmann, a member of Congress from Minnesota.

Bob Bennett
2/20/2010 4:36:36 PM

The U.S. is stepping toward a French style revolution; yet political leaders,both left and right, believe themselves so superior to the other side, that not only are they unwilling to speak to the oppossing side, but also shut out the middle. Both have adopted policies which are just variations of Reactionaries in the French Chamber of Deputies, which was basically "God favors us; the proof is that we are rich and powerful." When was the last time you heard either someone on the left or the right talk about how to benefit the poor or disabled (except at times to benefit some agency or group, and have the benefits trickle down)? Many obstacles have been implemented to prevent average people from being heard. If one approaches someone in government while angry -or grows angry due to the run around they get, they are dismissed as disgruntled. So resentement has grown over the years. Gang members have told me they joined gangs due to the abuses of the plea bargain system, which replaced the justice system. Public defenders are nothing more than government paid back stabbers. Submit to their power and get off easy, object and spend months in jails on misdemeandor charges, without ever being allowed to speak. This abuse, just one of many, has highten fears in the middle of the country for decades, but neither left or right has been willing to address it, except to call for greater governmental power.

Mykel Board
1/25/2010 1:58:37 PM

This article almost caused me to cancel my subscription to U.R. The "evidence" presented is so flimsy, even a US jury would vote to acquit. Guilty by bumper sticker???? Some evidence! This is the worse kind of Nazi-baiting, reminiscent of the red-baiting of the McCarthy period. Fortunately, U.R. was brave enough to include the great PARANOID CENTER article right after. What a piece of brilliance that is! The malitias have good points, many of them the same as leftists make. It's where Ron Paul and Dennis Kucinich overlap. Let's not toss out these ideas on the flimsiest of excuses.

12/22/2009 1:00:03 AM

My, My. How Times change. Now The Southern Poverty Law Center is in the rewriting of history business. For the record, the Court Testimony at the trial of Randy Weaver illicited that a Federal Agent tried to get Weaver to spy on his fellow members. Weaver refused. Weaver sued the government and won a multimillion dollar judgement. The judge handling the trial said that he had never seen a worse violation of civil rights by the federal government in all his years on the bench. With reference to the Waco Siege, again according to the record, 20 children and 26 British Nationals were killed in an attempt to issue a search warrant on the premises. Up to this point no crimes were committed. And, this was (according to the stories elicited) the first time in the history of law enforcement that the military tank was used to enforce a civil action, and in doing so, 20 children died while the government "tried to save them." We are now in a position with our Health Care Bill where the government wants to force us to purchase health insurance otherwise we will be fined or imprisoned for not doing so. Gee that certainly sounds like the "Land of the Free and Home of the Brave" to me! Perhaps if the Federal government would abide by the US Constitution and conform to established law there would be no need for militias.

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