White Revolution and the Legacy of the Vietnam War

Bring the War Home (Harvard University Press, 2018).

Drawing on government documents obtained through Freedom of Information Act requests and multiple archives of White Power publications, Kathleen Belew has written a comprehensive history of White Power vigilantism, paramilitary training, and revolutionary violence in the United States. In her new book, Bring the War Home: The White Power Movement and Paramilitary America (Harvard University Press, 2018), Belew focuses on the pivotal time between the mid-1970s and the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing: the period that witnessed the rise and fall of the White Power terrorist organization the Order. Founded and led by Robert Mathews in 1983, and seeing itself as the vanguard of a White revolution, members of the Order committed a string of robberies and in June 1984 assassinated Jewish radio host Alan Berg. Belew makes the connections between the violence of the Order and the other factions—Klan, neonazi, Christian Identity, and paramilitary militias—that comprise a full-blown social movement.

Perhaps the most interesting argument in Bring the War Home is the idea that it was the American experience in Vietnam that radicalized White Power activists. It was that, Belew argues, that created the frame within which they moved from more-or-less “patriotic” vigilantism in defense of Jim Crow and its sensibilities—such as violent voter suppression in the South, or Klansmen patrolling the U.S.-Mexico border—to revolutionary efforts to disrupt or even overthrow the state to establish a new White dominated, or all-White territory. Woven through Belew’s narrative is the role of both crucial movement activists’ direct experiences in Vietnam, and the broader consciousness of the American war machine’s humiliating loss in that country. For White Power activists, losing a war to dark-skinned Vietnamese enemies echoed what they saw as the capitulation at home of federal and state governments to the Civil Rights Movement.

Belew traces the continuity between the Klan of the late ‘70s, the spread of paramilitary training camps run by Vietnam veterans, the Order, through the armed militias of the ‘90s leading up to the Oklahoma City bombing. Along the way, she points out how law enforcement has consistently underestimated the threat of White Power violence, often while misunderstanding its implacable opposition to the idea of a multi-racial state. This March, Belew talked to Steven Gardiner for The Public Eye:

PE: Early in the book you describe the moment in 1983 when what you call the White Power Movement declared war on the United States. In a closed-door meeting at the Aryan Nations World Congress, movement leaders seem to have decided that the time for racist vigilantism was over and all-out White revolution was called for. What factors made 1983 the breaking point?

Kathleen Belew: In a lot of ways, the White Power Movement mirrored what was happening in society at large. This is true of the movement’s revolutionary turn in 1983, which mirrored the feelings of people across the Right, particularly evangelicals, who were beginning to express frustration with what they saw as the moderation of the Reagan administration. Social issues like abortion were beginning to galvanize people. But the White Power Movement represented a much more extreme reaction to this moment. Its members saw the distance between Reagan’s campaign promises and his administration’s action as proof that electoral politics would never deliver the changes they wanted. White Power activists came to see a war on the federal government as the only option.

Typically, the phrase “bring the war home” is more associated with the Left, with the Black Power Movement and anti-war veterans. The link between Vietnam and the racist Right—though it seems intuitively powerful—is not one I have seen treated at length before. How did you come to see it this way?

The White power movement cohered around a common narrative of the Vietnam War, emphasizing gore, horror and an intense sense of betrayal by politicians, military leaders, and even civilians back home.

The White Power Movement cohered around a common narrative of the Vietnam War, one that emphasized gore and horror and, perhaps more than anything else, an intense sense of betrayal by the government, politicians, military leaders, and even civilians back home. This story created both an entry into the movement for a small but influential cohort of veterans and active-duty personnel and a performative identity for those who had not served. This is evident in the materials produced by the movement. They portray people in camouflage fatigues, marching in military formations, and armed with military-grade weapons. In one image taken by an undercover informant, a Klansman poses in a hood made out of camouflage material. This paramilitarism within the White Power Movement was far more than performative, though: it worked to escalate movement violence, pave the way to race war, and dramatically increase the civilian casualties that resulted from White Power actions.

KKK members and a white supremacist group the America First Committee, hold a rally in Marquette park, Chicago, Illinois, 28th June 1986. Photo: Mark Reinstein / Alamy.

In a remarkable speech to police chiefs in 1982, Ronald Reagan lamented the moral decline of America, suggesting that the growth of government and spending on the public good undermined individual responsibility. His speech was part of the New Right’s systematic attack on the idea of government as an agent of the public good. To what extent was the White Power Movement’s turn to fomenting revolution bound up with this more general attack on government?

Although anti-state ideas appeared in both mainstream conservatism and the White Power Movement in the 1980s, the people I write about were not conservative. They typically did not believe their goals could be achieved by simply maintaining existing order, or by turning the clock back to Jim Crow segregation or even slavery. They thought they would have to use more violent methods to achieve their ends. However, anti-state ideas sometimes connected White Power activists to the New Right, and even occasionally provided recruitment opportunities that appealed to that group.

Following the terrorist attacks of the Order and the Whidbey Island confrontation with founder Robert Mathews in 1984, federal law enforcement seemed to recognize that elements of the Far Right had turned from patriotic vigilantism to sedition, and reacted accordingly. Even so, in the early 1990s, there was another round of paramilitary training and organizing that culminated in the Oklahoma City bombing. Do you see a tendency on the part of federal law enforcement to minimize the threat posed by White Power terrorists?

The successful prosecutions of Order members in the mid-1980s were achieved under anti-racketeering laws, whereas a major federal seditious conspiracy trial failed to convict White Power activists in 1988. Further, the prosecution of the Order was piecemeal. Only a fraction of its members ever stood trial. Historically, although some federal agents have worked arduously to prosecute White Power activists, their efforts have often been stymied by a lack of understanding about the scope and nature of the movement. White Power activism is often depicted as the work of “lone wolf” terrorists, rather than as part of a wide-reaching social movement. But this movement reached across all regions of the country, included men, women, and children, and bridged urban and rural divides. My hope is that a more complete history of this movement will reveal these interconnections and enable more coherent opposition.

As you note, there seems to be a reluctance among both scholars and journalists to understand the political activity of the White Power Movement and the Hard Right more generally as constituting a social movement. Why is this and what are the consequences for our understanding?

The historical archive shows over and over again that the White Power Movement attempted to avoid being understood as such. Through strategies like leaderless resistance, which called for cell-style violence without direct command from movement leadership, the activists attempted to hide that they were a movement. The archive that disproves this idea is only recently available and Bring the War Home is the first to make use of it in full. Thousands of pages of government surveillance documents and previously unavailable movement publications make clear what these earlier accounts missed: that White Power was a social movement bound by networks.

Through strategies like leaderless resistance, which called for cell-style violence without direct command from movement leadership, the activists attempted to hide that they were a movement.

Following the Oklahoma City bombing, a combination of public revulsion and increased law enforcement crackdowns dampened the movement’s revolutionary activities. The center of gravity seemed to shift—away from trying to either carve out a White racial homeland or overthrow the United States government and toward pressuring the Republican Party, particularly on immigration. Do you see in today’s climate any indications of a new move toward revolutionary violence on the part of forces analogous to the ‘80s and ‘90s White Power Movement?

The historical record shows that in the absence of decisive prosecution, the White Power Movement has retreated, regrouped, and reemerged after moments of public backlash. While the Oklahoma City bombing did result in public attention and some new enforcement efforts, its investigation was limited only to the bombers and a few co-conspirators, with a more sweeping effort deliberately prohibited by investigative policy. The White Power Movement was not publicly confronted. Perhaps now, with a full archival history of the movement available and at another moment of intense public interest, we might hope for a different result.

What drew you to write about the White Power Movement and more particularly the revolutionary turn in the aftermath of the Vietnam War?

“I killed communists in Vietnam, why wouldn’t I kill them here?”

I was drawn to this topic through research on the Truth and Reconciliation Commission held in Greensboro, North Carolina, to explore the 1979 shooting of five Leftist protestors by Klan and neonazi gunmen. The commission sought to understand how the gunmen were acquitted in state and federal trials despite extensive video footage of their actions. Although it had no subpoena power, several perpetrators and other White Power activists chose to testify, and many of them repeated a similar story that went, basically, “I killed communists in Vietnam, why wouldn’t I kill them here?” I found this intriguing because it represented such an intense collapse of enemies, and of battlefield and home front. As I began to review the writings of key White Power activists, this idea came up over and over again and gave rise to the book.

Trumpism and the Unstable Ground of Whiteness

Click here for a PDF version of this article

This article appears in the Spring 2017 edition of The Public Eye magazine.

Trumpism is built on a split-screen image of life for the White middle and working classes: a contemporary view of economic suffering and “loss” to encroaching “others,” while in the background hovers a shimmering past of cultural and economic glory. In reality, of course, the lost economic prosperity has largely flowed upwards to the wealthiest segment of the U.S. population, and the situation of White Trump voters continues to be significantly better than that of African Americans and Latinxs of similar educational levels.

A dangerous aspect of this dual image is that Trumpism describes a real element of White American experience while linking it to racist and xenophobic “alternative facts.” The parts of the country that can variously be described as Trump country, “Red States,” or the older phrase “the heartland,” may be concentrated in the Rust Belt, the South, and the Plains, but can also be found scattered through “Blue” states like New York and California. I find “heartland” useful because it captures the self-understanding of the small cities, towns, rural, sub- and ex-urban areas that have long been the core of a White, largely Protestant, multi-generation U.S. experience and identity that was central to the Trump constituency. These heartland communities are currently experiencing a decline in economic opportunities, a marked increase in opiate addiction, and reduced life expectancy,12 as well as a rise in racist xenophobia most visible as Trumpism. The convergence of economic and demographic change is not unique to our current era, and has previously led to a surge in the power and respectability of the Far Right among Whites living outside of major cities.

A dangerous aspect of this dual image is that Trumpism describes a real element of White American experience while linking it to racist and xenophobic “alternative facts.”

Times of demographic and cultural threat to a core White American identity and experience have historically empowered the Far Right. Post-Civil War reconstruction was obviously one such time, and led to the birth of the Ku Klux Klan in the South. The Civil Rights movement was another such time, and also saw a resurgence of the KKK in the South. In addition, the surge in neonazi and other Far Right organizing in the 1980s could be seen as another such period, following the movements of the 1960s and ‘70s that challenged traditional White male power structures. These three examples, however, were periods in which the Far Right was mobilized in particular areas, not times when its ideology was normalized or widely dispersed throughout the wider U.S. The 1920s and early ‘30s, however, after the last major wave of immigration and economic transformation, were a time of significant right-wing mobilization that spread throughout the U.S. and was largely normalized in White, non-urban areas.3 Significantly, the major threat to White identity in the ‘20s and ‘30s came from Southern and Eastern European immigrants, who were considered neither White nor Black according to the racial classifications of the time. Over time, these European immigrant groups came to be understood as White,4 illustrating both the possibility of shift in racial categories and the power they hold at any given moment in time.

A member of Identity Evropa (a White supremacist college organization) sports a ‘Make America Great Again’ hat at an event last year. (Photo courtesy of thetab.com/)

Demographers have been anticipating for many years the moment the U.S. population ceases to be a majority of European descent, or “White” in the current U.S. understanding of race. The dramatic expansion of inequality in the U.S. taking place at the same time as the economic decline of the “heartland” means that this shift in numerical majority status is occurring in the context of status loss across multiple dimensions for Whites most accustomed to living in homogenous, White-majority contexts. The Obama administration added a symbolic threat of increasing Black power and visibility while continuing the neoliberal policies that have eroded the employment, education, and housing advantages given to Whites, especially men—sometimes called the “wages of Whiteness”—for non-elite Whites relative to both those above and those below.

By contrast, Whites in the large urban areas that consistently voted for Clinton in November have largely become accustomed to contexts that combine White supremacy with numerical minority status. For example, Whites are only 48.7 percent of the population in the Chicago metropolitan area but have a median household income of $71,927, which is more than double the median Black household income.5 Similarly, in the Philadelphia metro area, Whites account for 41.7 percent of the population, and their median household income is 78 percent higher than the median Black household.6 In these and other large cities, Whites experience racial and cultural diversity without significant loss of economic and political power, reducing or eliminating the identity and status threat of racial diversity.  The lived experience of diversity without relative status loss may provide a form of perverse protection against Trumpist xenophobia and racism, particularly in contrast to the experience of economic anxiety without comparative context; the “deaths of despair”7 among White working and middle classes in heartland communities result from existential loss, not direct and objective comparison.

The historical expansion of the category of “White” to include the descendants of devalued European groups updated and maintained the White-Black bifurcation at the core of U.S. racial hierarchies. There is some evidence that a similar process may be underway today with some Asian and Latinx groups, although in ways that currently point to an “off-White” status in which some Latinx and Asian populations look increasingly similar to Whites in income and education.8 An analysis of the expansion of Whiteness addresses the societal level, not the experiences, negotiations, and conflicts that occur as the process unfolds. It also does not consider how the process may affect non-elite Whites who consider themselves the White American norm even as their social ground is shifting culturally and economically. The wave of reformist and right-wing movements of 1920s and ‘30s, particularly Prohibition and the second wave of the KKK, were a White, middle class, Protestant backlash against the growing power and assimilation of Southern and Eastern European immigrants, raising questions about what might be learned from this period in relation to today’s dynamics.

Photo from 1926 of Klansmen on a ferris wheel in Cañon City, CO. (Photo via Flickr CC BY-SA 2.0)

The second wave of the KKK differed from the first, Reconstruction-era Klan, as well as the later Civil Rights-era Klan, in significant ways that are relevant to thinking about the contemporary Far Right. The Klan of the 1920s was a mainstream, national fraternal organization which openly espoused White supremacy and engaged in racist terrorism but whose primary activities involved a range of community projects of interest to its middle class membership, from social events (e.g. pageants and baseball teams) to support for Prohibition.9 They combined racism and xenophobia with a generalized conservative Protestant moralism concerned with opposition to birth control, the teaching of evolution, and drinking alcohol. Of particular relevance, this iteration of the Klan explicitly targeted Catholics and Jews as threatening racial “others,”10 drawing clear and uncompromising boundaries around who counted as a White American. It included a wide range of members who would not have endorsed the violence perpetrated by some within the national network, but who nonetheless embraced a platform of nativism, White Protestant supremacy, and both moral and economic conservatism.11 The KKK functioned in many ways as an ordinary fraternal order, with special social events and women’s and children’s auxiliaries. This effectively normalized the expression of White supremacy combined with conservative moralism as no different than any other social organization.12 There are strong analogies here to the ways conservative movements today, including the Tea Party and conservative Christianity, have normalized and spread a potent combination of racism, sexism, xenophobia, and homophobia with Breitbart News Network and other media outlets serving as bridges to the Alt Right and the Trump campaign.

The historical reality of Prohibition embodied the era’s deep conflicts over national identity, power, and social dominance.

Unlike the KKK, Prohibition is not usually considered in connection with racial boundary enforcement or Far Right movements. Popular history and imagery largely associate Prohibition with flappers, jazz, gangsters, the Women’s Christian Temperance Union, and the desire to “clean up” urban life in the early 20th Century. While those were all elements, the historical reality of Prohibition embodied the era’s deep conflicts over national identity, power, and social dominance.13 The movement for Prohibition was an assertion of traditional White, Protestant dominance over the “degenerate” ways—and growing prominence—of Catholic and Jewish immigrants, and to a lesser extent African Americans. Enforcement of the law reflected this not only in the differential targeting of working class immigrants and African Americans, but in the active role played by organized community vigilante groups, including the KKK. The repeal of Prohibition under President Franklin Delano Roosevelt was part of the realignment of national political processes associated with the New Deal,14 bringing the largely immigrant, urban, industrial working class into a political coalition that implemented progressive social welfare policies in part through the deliberate exclusion of African Americans.15 It took the uprisings of the Civil Rights movement before African Americans were incorporated into the New Deal.

The contemporary concentration of opiate use among native-born, non-urban Whites has discouraged punitive substance control policy, but in other ways the current moment has some sociopolitical analogies to 100 years ago. This is also a time of extreme inequality, a second Gilded Age, and a period of consolidation of changes in the structure of capitalism. The early 20th Century solidified an industrial economy while the current period has seen a shift to financialization; each of these transitions came with significant technological development and change. The early 20th Century was also the last time the U.S. had a high proportion of immigrants concentrated in major cities, with associated demographic and cultural shifts. Importantly, these economic and social changes led to both subjective and objective loss of status among middle class and small-landholder Whites outside of large cities,16 although there does not appear to have been the same depth of social and economic threat experienced in those communities today.

The right-wing resurgence did not begin with the populist nationalism that elected Trump, and is unlikely to end in four years regardless of who wins the 2018 and 2020 elections.

In both eras, the response among native born “heartland” Whites has been a mainstreaming and normalization of explicitly racist, xenophobic, and violent right-wing perspectives. The Far Right has gained more power today than in the past, with Trump’s ascendancy to the White House and the installation of Hard Right movement figures such as Steve Bannon and Mike Pence in the executive branch. The conflation of Muslims and “terrorism” fuses religion, ethnicity and politics at an even deeper level than earlier accusations of Jewish communism, with similar connotations of international “infiltration” and threat. The right-wing resurgence did not begin with the populist nationalism that elected Trump, and is unlikely to end in four years regardless of who wins the 2018 and 2020 elections. The second wave of the KKK went from 1915 until the late ‘20s, and Prohibition lasted from 1920 to ‘33.

One of the important lessons to be learned from the 1920s and ‘30s is to be wary of alternative social contracts that have genuinely progressive elements while maintaining authoritarian structures and White supremacy. The enforcement of Prohibition led to a significant expansion of policing and penal systems in the U.S., creating the core structures of the current federal law enforcement and prison systems.17 The first federal drug-control laws were passed in 1909 (the Opium Exclusion Act) and 1914 (the Harrison Act), but national enforcement accelerated significantly after the repeal of Prohibition when the fundamentally racist institutional enforcement infrastructure reoriented towards drug control.18 The New Deal instituted a set of economically progressive policies but did so through the consolidation of an alliance that brought together the European immigrant, industrial working class with non-urban, native-born Whites, including the southern power structure, while explicitly excluding African Americans.19 The coalitions that in 1933 simultaneously ended Prohibition and brought in the New Deal enacted some progressive change, but only at the expense of African Americans and other non-Whites, who remained marginalized while Catholics and even Jews were increasingly incorporated into Whiteness.

These historical examples suggest the potential for a political response, perhaps by the Democratic Party or a populist movement less racist than Trumpism, which offers some economic relief but re-inscribes White supremacy by bringing together U.S. born Whites and selected immigrant groups. The 2016 exit polls20 show the seeds of this in a right-wing direction, with 29 percent of both Latinxs and Asians voting for Trump. These data fit with the economic and social stratification among immigrants that would enable a re-inscription of the boundaries of both Whiteness and Blackness,21 and could be harnessed even more effectively perhaps by a conservative Democrat positioned as “anyone but Trump” in 2020. For example, Andrew Cuomo, the governor of New York, is a conservative Democrat with a strong neoliberal track record and marked hostility towards both unions and low-income communities in New York City who shows signs of national ambitions.  His highly touted new Excelsior scholarship program offers free tuition at NY public colleges for middle class families, but the actual design of the program does not cover the majority of students’ expenses yet requires a schedule that will make work and family responsibilities difficult to maintain.

If history is a guide, the hallmarks of a re-inscription of Whiteness would benefit the middle class in a significant way while leaving out the urban poor, particularly the non-White poor. Possibilities include a Medicare buy-in or other form of health insurance support that helps the middle class while being too expensive for the working poor; the expansion of a DACA-like program but with elements that enhance criminalization of the undocumented as a whole; or perhaps restrictions on immigration overall that don’t focus on terrorism but enhance the polarization between “valuable” and “criminal” immigrants.

It is vital to remember that the expansion of Whiteness intrinsically involves the simultaneous re-inscription, and perhaps expansion, of Blackness. It will be necessary to break the historical racist alliance between elite and non-elite Whites that lies at the core of the current situation, and to do it before new groups are inducted into the edges of the privileged circle.

Endnotes

1 Naomi Braine, “The Public Health Story Behind Trump’s Rise,” Political Research Associates, December 1, 2016, https://www.politicalresearch.org/2016/12/01/the-public-health-story-behind-trumps-rise/.

2 Sir Angus Deaton and Anne Case, “Mortality and morbidity in the 21st century.” Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Conference Drafts March 23-4 2017.

3 Rory McVeigh, “Structural Incentives for Conservative Mobilization: Power Devaluation and the Rise of the Ku Klux Klan, 1915-25.” Social Forces, June 1999, 77(4).

4 Karen Brodkin, How Jews Became White Folks and What That Says About Race in America. (New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 1999).

5 American Community Survey, 2015 http://www.census.gov/data.html

6 American Community Survey, 2015 http://www.census.gov/data.html

7 Sir Angus Deaton and Anne Case, “Mortality and morbidity in the 21st century.” Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Conference Drafts March 23-4 2017.

8 Eduardo Bonilla Silva, “We are all Americans!: the Latin Americanization of racial stratification in the USA,” Race & Society 5 (2002) 3–16.

9 Nancy MacLean, Behind the Mask of Chivalry: the Making of the Second Ku Klux Klan, (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1994); Rory McVeigh, “Structural Incentives for Conservative Mobilization: Power Devaluation and the Rise of the Ku Klux Klan, 1915-25.” Social Forces, June 1999, 77(4).

10 Nancy MacLean, Behind the Mask of Chivalry: the Making of the Second Ku Klux Klan, (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1994).

11 Nancy MacLean, Behind the Mask of Chivalry: the Making of the Second Ku Klux Klan, (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1994).

12 Nancy MacLean, Behind the Mask of Chivalry: the Making of the Second Ku Klux Klan, (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1994); Rory McVeigh, “Structural Incentives for Conservative Mobilization: Power Devaluation and the Rise of the Ku Klux Klan, 1915-25.” Social Forces, June 1999, 77(4).

13 Lisa McGirr, The War on Alcohol: Prohibition and the Rise of the American State, (New York: W. W. Norton and Company, 2015).

14 Lisa McGirr, The War on Alcohol: Prohibition and the Rise of the American State, (New York: W. W. Norton and Company, 2015).

15 Frances Fox Piven and Richard A. Cloward, Regulating the Poor: The Functions of Public Welfare, (Vintage Press, 2nd edition, 1993).

16 Rory McVeigh, “Structural Incentives for Conservative Mobilization: Power Devaluation and the Rise of the Ku Klux Klan, 1915-25.” Social Forces, June 1999, 77(4).

17 Lisa McGirr, The War on Alcohol: Prohibition and the Rise of the American State, (New York: W. W. Norton and Company, 2015).

18 Lisa McGirr, The War on Alcohol: Prohibition and the Rise of the American State, (New York: W. W. Norton and Company, 2015).

19 Frances Fox Piven and Richard A. Cloward, Regulating the Poor: The Functions of Public Welfare, (Vintage Press, 2nd edition, 1993).

20 “Election 2016: Exit Polls,” The New York Times, November 8, 2016, https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2016/11/08/us/politics/election-exit-polls.html.

21 Eduardo Bonilla Silva, “We are all Americans!: the Latin Americanization of racial stratification in the USA,” Race & Society 5 (2002) 3–16.

[Video] Resisting White Supremacy in Kentucky

An online video call discussion on anti-racist resistance with Kentuckians For The Commonwealth, Political Research Associates, and Rural Organizing Project.

Last week, PRA associate fellow Spencer Sunshine joined a discussion on anti-racist resistance in Kentucky alongside Kentuckians For The Commonwealth (KFTC) and Rural Organizing Project (ROP). KFTC convened this webinar after learning that White supremacist groups would be traveling to Kentucky in April for a series of events in Prestonsburg and Pikeville.

Runes, such as this one on the National Socialist Movement flag, have been gaining popularity over swastikas among neonazi groups as part of a recent effort to re-brand.

Sunshine kicked off the session identifying the White supremacist groups that are organizing and recruiting and describing what tactics they use. The groups discussed include the Nationalist Front (an umbrella group), Traditionalist Worker Party, National Socialist Movement (the largest neonazi group in the U.S.), League of the South (a neoconfederate group), and American Vanguard (a university-based student group). Sunshine describes how these groups, along with the White nationalist Alt Right, are mainstreaming old ideas through a new aesthetic.

Sunshine pointed out that there has been a huge spike in the number of White supremacist groups in the past year, according to the latest reports from the Southern Poverty Law Center.

“In general this is happening to communities all over. I think with Trump’s campaign White nationalists felt like their politics had finally come out into the mainstream and they could come out of the shadows. And I think that’s true to some extent. That their politics are at least to some parts of society being fairly normalized. Regardless, they are using this climate to engage in much more aggressive recruiting campaigns and have open public events.”

Sunshine was also joined by Jessica Campbell co-director of ROP, a network of over 50 autonomous all-volunteer group throughout rural Oregon who are doing organizing around democracy and human dignity. Campbell pointed out that in Oregon they are not seeing legislators and politicians coming out to rural areas, which makes those communities feel further disenfranchised and “is creating a real opportunity for Far Right organizing to really take advantage of having an uncontested rural base.”

Sunshine and Campbell were lead authors of Up in Arms: A Guide to Oregon’s Patriot Movement, a report co-published by PRA and ROP in 2016. PRA has since produced a report and several in depth articles on the White nationalist Alt Right movement as well, available on our Alt Right Portal Page.

Additional resources: