… 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
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
For a town of fewer than 3,000 residents, Burns, Oregon, sees a lot of business. Travelers heading from Boise to Bend on I-20 stop by here, as do visitors to the nearby wildlife refuge and from other parts of Harney County. Some blocks look like a quaint old Oregon town, the rest is “Anywhere, USA.” The residents seem nice but also direct and unafraid to speak their minds.
When armed right-wing paramilitaries took over the headquarters of the nearby Malheur National Wildlife Refuge on January 2, this is the town they thrust into the national headlines. The armed group’s apparent leaders—Ammon Bundy, 40, and Robert “LaVoy” Finicum, 54—succeeded in drawing media coverage and pushing their talking points. But their occupation is starting to divide the community, turning neighbors against each other.
Read the full article at Yes! magazine.
I’m here in Burns.
Last night, Bundy Militia supporter and Sovereign Citizen online broadcaster, Pete Santilli was kicked of out a community meeting for multiple interruptions. The crowd cheered that he was being kicked out, and jeered him as he left.
I dish the inside dirt, and our analysis, on the Malheur occupation in an interview with It’s Going Down.
Read the interview here.
I think this passage from Daniel Levitas’s The Terrorist Next Door (about Posse Comitatus) is deeply insightful about the mindset of the Patriot movement. Projection much?!
Convinced [after Ruby Ridge and Waco] the government was at war with its own citizens by simultaneously trying to kill and disarm them, a broad spectrum of right-wing activists coalesced around the notion that it was time for paramilitary rebellion. Rather than declare themselves outlaw revolutionaries like Bob Matthews and the Order, militia organizers defined themselves according to the language of patriotic constitutional vigilantism that had been popularized by [Posse Comitatus founder] Bill Gale. Theirs was a lawful movement, grounded in centuries of divinely inspired jurisprudence; a defensive movement to protect American values and ideas; and a deliberative movement composed of men arranged in hierarchies governed by order and legitimacy.
In reality, the militias were nothing of the sort. Most were patently illegal or tutored their followers in a litany of crime. Rhetoric about “defending” America was nothing more than a smoke screen for offensive action against agents of the supposed New World Order and other perceived enemies of the Republic. And as for their obsession with order and discipline, the militias were just an anarchic as the Posse had ever been. The only difference was that the militia movement was much larger and involved many more would-be guerrilla warriors, some of whom were eager for violence.
from Daniel Levitas, The Terrorist Next Door: The Militia Movement and the Radical Right (New York: Thomas Dunne Books/St. Martin’s Griffin, 2002), pages 301-2.