Sedition and anti-government movements inside the USA

While the media and politicians mostly appear to be fixated on the threat to the USA posed by Muslim and other foreign terrorists, seditious anti-government movements continue to operate largely under the radar inside the USA. These movements, often with their roots in Christian extremism (including “end of days” sects), and featuring elements of white supremacist and anti-Jewish animus, plus the usual dose of New World Order conspiracy theorizing, have periodically bubbled to the surface, usually when a group tried some blatantly illegal action and collided with law enforcement.
Although the normal tendency is to assign these groups to the bin marked “Sovereign Citizens”, in reality the various groups have no coherent or common ideology or objectives, although they are bound together by certain beliefs, such as the illegitimacy of the Federal government and its organizations. Beyond that, the mosaic of groups is fragmented and splintered and many of the groups appear to heartily despise each other. Like pseudo-revolutionary groups the world over, they spend a lot of energy engaging in ideological purity tests, and complaining that other groups are insufficiently “pure” or authentic.
The recent standoffs at the Bundy Ranch in Nevada and the Malheur Wildlife Refuge in Oregon are merely part of a continuing pattern of behavior by many of the groups, who, while not sharing much in the way of an ideology, do share a deep dislike of all forms of government oversight.
None of these groups have anything approaching a proper financial support system. Many of their members run websites which pump out recycled articles culled from conspiracy echo chambers, interspersed with not-very-well-disguised pleas to “Send Money”. The groups are almost entirely controlled by men, and one of the more amusing and ironic features of many of the groups is the number of men who, it appears, are on some form of government support (military pensions, disability benefits, Social Security), while spending a lot of time online and in person railing against the evils of government.
Another interesting feature of these groups, in reality, is their continual reliance on a small number of members who are, to be blunt, scamsters and grifters. Many of these individuals are selling do-it-yourself kits that claim, if properly used, to permit the user to avoid just about every modern obligation to an industrialized society, such as vehicle licensing, property and income taxes, and the need to obey reasonable requests from law enforcement. At some point, many of the grifters collide with law enforcement.
When you look into the backgrounds of many of the most vocal leaders of the groups, there is a commonality of experience. Many of them have suffered a bad experience with the governmental or legal system, often involving family breakups (messy divorces, child support issues) or tax and property issues leading to foreclosure, which led them to conclude that they were screwed over, and now they believe that the right solution is to blow that system up (sometimes literally).
Some of the members and leaders have many skeletons in their closets, to the extent that some of them even change their names to try and avoid their past.
Another dimension to several of the groups, including the Bundy family, is the exploitation of long-standing resentments in many of the Western States concerning the high percentage of land in those states owned by the Federal government. The original movement, known as the Sagebrush Rebellion, has been re-cast with a new collection of players, some of whom are decidedly uninterested in resolution of disputes by peaceful means.
This is not a rag-tag collection of “dress-up” uber-patriots, merely exercising their Constitutional rights. Some of these people are seriously dangerous. They have killed law enforcement officers on a whim, and have engaged in stand-offs with local and Federal law enforcement. Those standoffs and collisions are still happening, and law enforcement is bearing the brunt of the collisions, with a number of LEOs shot in the line of duty by people whose philosophy regards them as unavoidable collateral damage of the New American Revolution.
If these groups were comprised of individuals with darker skin hues whose first language was not English, I would expect that they would almost constantly be in the news as a clear and present danger to the USA, and a number of their members would already be in jail or dead. However, because they present themselves as upstanding, God Fearing Real Americans, they have succeeded in building a base of support among people who don’t know any better, and some people who damn well should know better. In addition, they take advantage of the US legal system’s high tolerance level for defendants trying bullshit moves. Members of these groups have a long history of filing bogus vexatious and meaningless legal documents in local, state and federal courts. The laws passed in the last 15 years across the USA to make it a felony to file false liens were passed because filing bogus liens against lawyers, police and judges became a favorite tactic of group members when prosecuted.
There is even a term for it – paper terrorism. Individuals and groups, when prosecuted for criminal acts, attempt to counter with a flurry of pseudo-legal gibberish, voluminous filings advancing legal ideas that have no basis in settled law, and stalling tactics, all specifically designed to gum up the court system.
Here is an excellent example of the sort of tactics that a Canadian defendant attempted to foist upon a court, explained in detail and with humour by the presiding judge.

Right now, the defendants in the Malheur Wildlife Refuge trial are filing an average of one frivolous motion a day each in a continuing attempt to have their charges dismissed. In the UK, where I grew up, they would already have been declared vexatious litigants and forbidden to file any more motions without advance approval.
This document is a useful overview of several threads of these groups. It is a good introduction to the origins of several of the ideological and religious value systems that support many of the groups.
Be careful. These are not play-actors. Some of these people are seriously motivated and potentially dangerous.


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