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“Peas in an Oregon Pod: Right-Wing Paramilitaries & the GOP”

“The Republican Party of Multnomah County, Oregon (which includes Portland) disregarded public outcry when it passed a resolution last week to allow private, paramilitary groups to provide security functions at GOP events. Chairman James Buchal said they would work with two groups—the Oath Keepers and Three Percenters—that are part of the Patriot movement. This heavily armed Hard Right political movement is famous for the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995, and armed confrontations in Nevada in 2014 and in southeast Oregon in 2016. Giving semi-official sanction to an armed and unaccountable paramilitary opens the door to legally tolerated extra-parliamentary violence, and helps link radical right-wing elements directly to the mainstream.”

Read the full article at Political Research Associates

“Die extreme Rechte der USA nach Trumps Wahlsieg”

“Im Fahrwasser Donald Trumps erlebt die radikale Rechte in den USA derzeit eine gesellschaftliche Relevanz wie zuletzt in den neunziger Jahren des vergangenen Jahrhunderts. Der neuerliche Aufschwung begann 2015 zeitgleich mit Trumps Präsidentschaftskandidatur und seinem Versprechen, eine Grenzmauer zwischen den USA und Mexiko zu errichten. Die wichtigste Rolle spielt in diesem Zusammenhang das Erstarken der „Alt Right“-Bewegung, eines internetversierten Zusammenschlusses weißer Nationalist_innen, Antisemit_innen und Anti-Feminist_innen, der die amerikanische Rechte auf eine neue soziale Basis gestellt hat.

„Alt Right“ steht über den hochrangigen Berater Steve Bannon mit der Trump Administration in enger Verbindung. „Alt Right“ hat es als aufstrebendes Bündnis aus Faschisten_innen und anderen weißen Nationalist_innen geschafft, sich im Internet als einflussreiche Präsenz zu etablieren und versucht nun, sich auch außerhalb dessen zu organisieren. Dabei zeigt „Alt Right“, obwohl ursprünglich in einer explizit faschistisch und nationalistisch geprägten Szene zu verorten, keine Nazirhetorik. Innerhalb der Sozialen Medien haben sie es geschafft, ihre Botschaften erfolgreich zu verbreiten. Die Bewegung versteht sich dabei darauf, Anhänger_innen verschiedenster ideologischer Anschauungen zu vereinen. Darunter auch bekennende Neonazis wie Andrew Anglin von der nationalistischen Website „Daily Stormer“. Die wichtigste intellektuelle Figur ist Richard Spencer, ein Faschist, der große ideologische Schnittmengen mit der europäischen “Identitären Bewegung” (IB) aufweist. Folgerichtig lud dieser 2013, anlässlich der von ihm jährlich organisierten „National Policy Institute Conference“, den ultrarechten französischen Theoretiker und Vordenker der „Neuen Rechten“ Alain de Benoist ein.”

Read the rest at Antifaschistisches Infoblatt

Audio of talk: “Anti/Fascism in the USA”

An 40 minute audio recording of my talk “Anti/Fascism in the USA,” recorded in Montreal in April 2017, is now online. I cover how Trump’s presidential campaign energized white nationalists; the question of “Is Trump a fascist?”; the Trump administration’s appointees and their connections to white nationalist and right-wing populist politics; the rise in hate crimes; a detailed overview of the different fascist and white nationalist factions, including the Alt Right; and the re-emergence of the militant antifascist movement.

Listen to it on Submedia.

“The Growing Alliance Between Neo-Nazis, Right Wing Paramilitaries and Trumpist Republicans”

Two things set Independent Trumpism apart from usual right-wing politics. First, the group’s rallies are in support of the president, but are organized outside of the Republican Party structure. Second, mainstream Republicans are appearing alongside open White supremacists, especially at events billed as “Free Speech” marches.

Independent Trumpists will hit the streets tomorrow (June 10) for a national March Against Sharia, organized by the large anti-Islam group ACT America. Saturday’s events are expected to draw thousands of people in 28 cities, in 20 states. Here is a six-month chronology of major Independent Trumpist moments that led to this one:

January 20, 2017: Alt-Right Violence at the University of Washington in Seattle
A University of Washington talk by Milo Yiannopoulos—the notorious Twitter troll, ardent Trump supporter and former Breitbart editor credited with mainstreaming the alt-right—draws a large protest. A married couple, Marc and Elizabeth Hokoana, come to the event armed with pepper spray and a handgun to antagonize opponents. After protester Joshua Dukes confronts Marc about using the pepper spray, Elizabeth allegedly fires a single round into his stomach.”


Read the rest at Colorlines

“Expect More Murders: Why the Radical Right Kills”

“The recent murders in Portland, Oregon, of two men whose throats were slashed when they tried to stop Islamophobic and racist harassment on a light rail train were not just random acts of violence. It is true that the alleged killer, Jeremy Christian, appears to be a troubled person. And it’s true that the murders were outcroppings of the deeper violence of Islamophobia and white supremacy that pervades US society. But they were more than that. They were part of an ongoing spate of murders and shootings that are being directly inspired by the “scripted violence” of the right. When right-wing leaders and media demonize marginalized groups and broadcast calls about a supposed looming “white genocide,” some of the rank-and-file will take these words literally — and try to solve the problem with murder.

The Portland double-murder is only the latest in a series of politically motivated racist killings. In February 2017, Srinivas Kuchibhotla, an Indian man working in the US, was shot to death in a Kansas bar. His alleged murderer shouted “Go back to your country!” In March, a Black man, Timothy Caughman, was stabbed to death by a white man who had traveled to New York to allegedly kill all the Black men he could find. In Baltimore in May, a white man who was part of a Facebook group called “Alt Reich: Nation” allegedly stabbed a Black man, Richard Collins III, to death at a bus stop near the University of Maryland. And these incidents don’t include the numerous other non-fatal shootings and attacks that have occurred.”

Read the rest of the article at Truthout

“Oregon Congressman Pushes Bill Exempting Ranchers From Terrorism Law’s Reach”

“As the far right becomes more vocal around the country, the Trump administration is not the only arm of government serving its interests. Some members of Congress are closer to fringe right-wing groups than they might care to admit. In February, Oregon Representative Greg Walden introduced a new, vaguely titled bill, “Resource Management Practices Protection Act of 2017” (H.R.983). This bill might look benign at first glance, but in fact, it is a codification of structural racism, a political gift to right-wing paramilitaries, and a double standard in favor of the radical right.

The bill would exempt fires set in the course of agricultural work from a federal arson charge that can trigger enhanced sentences under a draconian terrorism act. It is the delivery of a promise that Walden first made on the floor of Congress just three days after the start of the armed occupation of Oregon’s Malheur National Wildlife Refuge headquarters in January 2016. With this bill, Walden is trying to make a “carve-out” for a group that is largely white and right wing from unfair mandatory minimums that affect many people, especially people of color and Muslims. The bill entrenches the notion that certain groups of people can be sentenced under a wide-ranging “terrorism” act that subjects them to brutal heightened sentences — while exempting others, who are white and firmly installed on the far right end of the political spectrum.”

Read the rest at Truthout

“Up in Arms: A Guide to Oregon’s Patriot Movement”

screen-shot-2016-10-03-at-12-13-36-pmI started working on this report two months before  the Malheur occupation – which threw quite a wrench in the thing. But now it’s finally finished. A joint project from Political Research Associates and the Rural Organizing Project, Up in Arms: A Guide to Oregon’s Patriot Movement explains the Patriot movement’s national structure and goals; shows its decades-old history in Oregon; looks in-depth at six Oregon counties where Patriot movement organizing is strongest today; explains why the rural Oregon economy is in bad shape; and offers concrete suggestions—including numerous examples from the last year—of how Oregonians have counter-organized against this movement.

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Spencer Sunshine, with Jessica Campbell & Rural Organizing Project, Political Research Associates, Daniel HoSang, Steven Besa, and Chip Berlet, Up in Arms: A Guide to Oregon’s Patriot Movement (Somerville, MA: Political Research Associates & Rural Organizing Project, October 2016), 188 pages.

Available in PDF and HTML (free), and softcover ($15+postage).

“Is Your Local Candidate in Bed with the Patriot Movement?”

Left: Richard Mack (Oath Keepers, CSPOA), RIght: murderer Jared Miller. Mack, one of the leaders of the Patriot movement, also worked for years with the racist Randy Weaver, an affiliate of the Aryan Nations.
Left: Richard Mack (Oath Keepers, CSPOA), Right: murderer Jared Miller. Mack, one of the leaders of the Patriot movement, also spent years working with racist Randy Weaver, who was affiliated with Aryan Nations.

Is Your Local Candidate in Bed with the Patriot Movement?
Ask Them Twenty Questions and Find Out!
Spencer Sunshine

My Political Research Associates and Rural Organizing Project article “Gunning for Office: Oregon’s Patriot Movement and the May 2016 Primary” details fourteen current candidates for office in Oregon who have links to, or support the goals of, the Patriot movement. But there are many more candidates who are obscuring their real views.

Some people have asked how they can figure out if a candidate is aligned with this movement. Below are some specific questions regarding commonly held views in the Patriot movement that can be used to quiz candidates. No candidate should give answers that are in line with these views; if they give answers to more than a few, then the candidate has politics that are compatible with the Patriot movement.

Feel free to use these questions as worded or tailor them to your local situation.

1. Does Article 1, Section 8, Clause 17 of the Constitution prohibit the federal government from owning any land except for ports, forts, and 10 square miles of Washington, DC?

2. Is the Second Amendment absolute—does it prohibit all gun control laws and restrictions?

3. Is the county sheriff is the highest law enforcement authority, and do they have the ability to decide which laws are Constitutional? For example, if a county sheriff thinks that a gun control law or an executive order is unconstitutional, do they have the power to refuse to enforce it?

4. Should publicly owned land under federal control be transferred to state or county governments? Should these governments have the ability to ignore restrictions against logging, ranching, or mining that federal agencies have passed?

that word5. Can county governments (or other local land-use committees or sheriffs’ offices) force the Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, or other federal agencies to comply with county land-use (or other) policies through the “coordination” process?

6. Should federal agencies like the FBI require a county sheriff’s permission before executing warrants or making arrests in their county?

7. Does the 1872 Mining Act prohibit federal agencies from regulating unpatented mining claims?

8. What is your opinion of militia groups, as well as the Oath Keepers, Three Percenters, the Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association, Citizens for Constitutional Freedom, or a local Committee of Safety? (In Oregon, other groups include the Heirs of Patrick Henry or Central Oregon Patriots.) Are you a member of any of these groups? On social media, are you in any of these Facebook groups or do you Like or Follow these groups? Have you ever had meetings with these groups, or spoken at a meeting that one or more of these groups have sponsored?

9. Does a Committee of Safety have the right to overturn federal or local laws, or otherwise make legally binding decisions?

10. Do citizens have the right to form their own grand juries, outside of the current legal system as we know it, and put public officials or federal employees on trial for violating the Constitution?

11. Should we be concerned about the Agenda 21 plan to use environmentalism as an excuse for the federal government to seize rural citizens’ property, in order to drive them off the land and into the cities?

12. Is the United States a Republic—but not a Democracy?

13. Was Robert “Lavoy” Finicum led into a trap where he was assassinated, as part of a plan that had been designed in advance by the government?

14. Was it illegal for Ammon Bundy and the other occupiers at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge to be there? Did they break any laws, other than trespassing?

15. Is the Federal Reserve a corporation that is privately owned by banking families?

16. Were the FBI agents in Harney County really French mercenaries?

17. Is the BLM a private, foreign-owned, off-shore corporation?

18. Are citizens’ militias necessary to keep in check a tyrannical government, which is building secret internment camps?

19. Is the federal government behind recent violent disruptions and false flag attacks, which are a prelude to civil war?

20. Are the 14th and 16th Amendments legitimate, or  should only the “Organic Constitution” be followed?

“Will the History Books Record How Neo-Nazis Made Eyes at the Bundy Militia?”

… As the Malheur occupation fades into history, there are many insights on the US social and political landscape to be distilled both from this episode and from the national conversations it has sparked. One underreported aspect of the affair is what it revealed about the nature of the partial but significant overlaps between neo-Nazis and anti-federal-government activists like the Bundys.

The occupiers had been demanding the abolition of the federal government as we know it, using a set of rationales that were originally derived from racist movements. Some of the occupiers were known to spout anti-Semitic or Islamophobic conspiracy theories, while another denied that slavery existed. And so it should not have surprised anyone that neo-Nazis and other organized racists have applauded the occupation.

read the full article at Truthout

“Dispatch from Oregon: Armed White Occupiers Are Enjoying Warm Food, Wi-Fi—and No Violence From Feds”

Just as they have been since January 2, an armed, mostly White, mostly male group of radical right-wing paramilitaries are still occupying the headquarters of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge. So far, local and federal authorities in nearby Burns, Oregon, have taken almost no action. At press time, the buildings are not surrounded by law enforcement. They have electricity, heat and Internet access. Members of the press, supporters and FedEx workers can drive right up to the occupied territory.

A nearby restaurant called The Narrows is still open, too. One can walk in and see a number people—mostly a mixture of media and armed occupiers—enjoying the warm food, Wi-Fi and bar. The atmosphere recalls the cantina scene from the first “Star Wars.”

Read the full article at Colorlines

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