The Oath Keepers, a militia made up of mostly retired military and law enforcement employees, have long sought to pose as a militant vanguard among Trump supporters, particularly older men. The group and its eyepatch-sporting leader Stewart Rhodes often acted as a paper tiger in recent years; blustering and ominous threats against antifascists and liberal protesters failed to materialize in concrete organizing steps. Since Donald Trump’s decisive loss in the 2020 presidential election, the Oath Keepers escalated their rhetoric: encouraging violent attacks on anti-racist and liberal protesters as well as members of the news media.
right wing militia
Let us not be naive. If President Trump recently called on his adoring followers to “liberate” states like Michigan, Virginia, Maryland*, and Minnesota, which all happen to have Democrat governors, this is not about freeing people from the supposed tyranny of lockdown and social distancing measures. What the gun-toting, Trump 2020 and Confederate-flag waving Trump storm-troopers have been organized and likely paid to do, is to make sure the United States goes back to work as soon as possible. Naturally, this is despite the fact that the COVID-19 pandemic is still raging in all 50 states, at various levels, with no end in sight.
Militia groups and other armed non-state actors pose a serious threat to the safety and security of American voters. Throughout the summer and leading up to the general election, these groups have become more assertive, with activities ranging from intervening in protests to organizing kidnapping plots targeting elected officials (CNN, 13 October 2020). Both the Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Bureau of Investigation have specifically identified extreme far right-wing and racist movements as a primary risk factor heading into November, describing the election as a potential “flashpoint” for reactionary violence
On Thursday, with five days remaining before the US election, the FBI conducted two additional raids in Michigan and arrested Justen Watkins and Alfred Gorman, leaders of a neo-Nazi group called The Base. Watkins was arrested when agents raided a farm in the town of Bad Axe, in the Michigan “thumb,” which members of The Base used as a training grounds and “hate camp.” Gorman was arrested in the Detroit suburb of Taylor. The two neo-Nazis, aged 25 and 35 respectively, are charged with threatening to murder a left-wing blogger in late 2019, though the timing of the raids indicates the FBI believed The Base’s training camp was related to preparations for election violence.
Waukegan, IL - An Illinois judge on Friday ordered a 17-year-old accused of killing two demonstrators in Kenosha, Wisconsin, to be extradited across the border to stand trial on homicide charges. The ruling came several hours after a hearing at the Lake County Courthouse in Waukegan, where defense lawyers sought to persuade Judge Paul Novak to block their Kyle Rittenhouse’s transfer to Wisconsin. At the hearing began, Rittenhouse’s lawyer said he’d had a change of heart since notifying the court that he planned to call witnesses, including Rittenhouse’s mother.
A leaked September 29 Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) intelligence report prepared by the Dallas, Texas, field office warns that leading up to the November election, “boogaloo adherents” and “militia violent extremists” are increasing “violent and criminal activity” in the Dallas area. The assessment was made the same day President Donald Trump, in the first presidential debate with his Democratic opponent, Joe Biden, refused to condemn white supremacists and militia groups, instead instructing the fascistic street gang the Proud Boys to “stand back and stand by.”
In the lead up to the 2020 presidential election, potential civil unrest and worse has been predicted by multiple governmental agencies and assorted federal outfits, including the New Jersey Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness. Last week the organization published a “supplemental threat assessment” on the upcoming electoral contest subtitled “The Convergence of COVID-19, Nationwide Civil Unrest, and the Upcoming Presidential Election.” Using COVID-19 as a backdrop, the 13-page report identifies the pandemic as the “driving factor” behind “public health fears, economic instability, political dissent, and cultural turmoil,” that will persist until 2021.
Federal law enforcement officials were directed to make public comments sympathetic to Kyle Rittenhouse, the teenager charged with fatally shooting two protesters in Kenosha, Wisconsin, according to internal Department of Homeland Security talking points obtained by NBC News. In preparing Homeland Security officials for questions about Rittenhouse from the media, the document suggests that they note that he "took his rifle to the scene of the rioting to help defend small business owners."
Countless red flags have sprung up in recent months indicating a creeping authoritarianism coming into full form. Vigilante forms of far right “justice” have become commonplace, as in the high-profile case of 17-year-old Kyle Rittenhouse in Kenosha, Wisconsin, and the numerous cases of far right violence and intimidation directed at Black Lives Matter activists since nationwide protests erupted in the wake of the police murder of George Floyd in May. The president dog-whistles to his white supremacist base regularly, and may not even accept the election results this November if he loses.
Black trade unionists across the U.S. are calling on the labor movement to defend Black Lives Matter protesters and to fight racism in their own ranks. The attacks by police and increasingly violent armed racist militias evoke the memory of many such violent incidents against Black people in earlier periods, from slavery to segregation to the civil rights era. For Labor Day 2020, Truthout reached out to Christopher Silvera, secretary-treasurer of Teamsters Local 808 in Long Island City, NY; Elise Bryant, executive director of Labor Heritage Foundation and president of the Communication Workers of America’s Coalition...
On September 9, the news came out that a whistleblower within the Department of Homeland Security had filed a complaint about the department’s Trump-appointed leadership instructing him to downplay the threat represented by white supremacists and play up the dangers posed by anarchists and anti-fascists. Yet it has largely escaped notice how Joe Biden and other Democrats have embraced Donald Trump’s talking points about anarchists and anti-fascists.
The tinder that could soon ignite widespread violent conflagrations throughout the United States lies ominously stacked around us. Millions of disenfranchised white Americans, who see no way out of their economic and social misery, struggling with an emotional void, are seething with rage against a corrupt ruling class and bankrupt liberal elite that presides over political stagnation and grotesque, mounting social inequality. Millions more alienated young men and women, also locked out of the economy and with no realistic prospect for advancement or integration
White supremacists present the gravest terror threat to the United States, according to a draft report from the Department of Homeland Security. Two later draft versions of the same document — all of which were reviewed by POLITICO — describe the threat from white supremacists in slightly different language. But all three drafts describe the threat from white supremacists as the deadliest domestic terror threat facing the U.S., listed above the immediate danger from foreign terrorist groups. “Foreign terrorist organizations will continue to call for Homeland attacks but probably will remain constrained in their ability to direct such plots over the next year,” all three documents say.
In the week since a fascistic gunman killed two protesters in Kenosha, Wisconsin and seriously wounded a third, the Trump administration and its allies within the media and political establishment have defended the killings and the murderer. The actions of Kyle Rittenhouse, a 17-year-old Trump supporter who had previously attended Trump rallies, are the direct outcome of the incitement by this administration itself. It occurred during the week of the Republican National Convention, as speaker after speaker railed against the “radical left” and demanded the restoration of “law and order” in response to the protests over the police shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha last Sunday.
Law enforcement and other authorities used force while intervening in nearly 400 Black Lives Matter protests since police killed George Floyd in May, according to new data that paints the clearest portrait yet of the historic unrest that’s swept across the U.S. this summer. Figures from the U.S. Crisis Monitor offer a bleak forecast of escalating political violence heading into a contentious election. While most of the protests have been nonviolent, police or other authorities intervened in about 725 Black Lives Matter protests in the U.S. between May 24 and Aug. 22, sometimes using force — including tear gas, rubber bullets, or beating demonstrators with batons, data shows.