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the Body Politic
Vol. 05, No. 06 - June/July 1995, Page 12
Copyright © 1995, 1998 by the Body Politic Inc.
Eyes Right

State Citizenship:
Patriot Ties To White Supremacists And Neo-Nazis

By Tom Burghardt, Bay Area Coalition for Our Reproductive Rights
See the contents of this issue for other militia-related articles, and especially Militia Diary for a history of the militia movement.

Most Americans, at one time or another, have a "beef" with the government. Everything from the Viet Nam War, to sales taxes, to motorcycle helmet laws can spark protests. However, the complaints and ideology driving Patriot and Citizen Militia members are obscure, at best, to many Americans.

In this article, Tom Burghardt of BACORR explains the concept of differing types of citizenship -- State and Sovereign. Mr. Burghardt uses events in his home state of California to explain who and what is a "State" as opposed to "Sovereign" Citizen."


Introduction

The origins of contemporary militias are the host of Posse Comitatus vigilante groups that sprung up in the Midwest during the 1970's-1980's.

The "State Citizenship" or "Sovereign Citizen" movement is but one arm of the broader Christian Patriot movement. In many respects, the Patriots constitute the largest -- and most dangerous -- branch of the contemporary North American far-right.

Though they claim not to be racists, Patriot ideology is unabashedly white supremacist and anti-Semitic. While not every follower is a racist, by and large, the core leadership is composed of veteran far-right activists, white supremacists and neo-Nazis.

Patriot beliefs center on a literal interpretation of both the Bible and what is referred to as the "organic Constitution" (the original Constitution and the Bill of Rights). Like other right-wing fundamentalists, evangelicals and Reconstructionists, Patriots believe that a vast conspiracy is directed against (white) Christian Americans.

Paranoid conspiracism takes many forms: the belief that U.N. troops are poised to invade the U.S.; closed AMTRAK stations have been transformed into concentration camps; supermarket bar codes are emblems of the Satanic "mark of the beast" that will usher in the New World Order; menacing "black helicopters" are everywhere; or that undocumented workers, African Americans and women "are stealing our jobs". All are danger signs that a mean-spirited white backlash has slipped over into racist scapegoating -- and violence. As absurd as such theories appear on the surface, these are the core values that lead to dictatorships, pogroms and genocide. In many respects, we are witnessing the birth of an armed fascist nucleus throughout North America. Is a mass movement of home-grown Brownshirts "only a demagogue away," as one researcher writing in the current issue of Covert Action Quarterly suggests?

For many followers of the movement, Jews are the controlling agents behind the "conspiracy" who operate through a number of front organizations such as the United Nations, the Trilateral Commission, the Council On Foreign Relations, the Federal Reserve Bank, etc. Christian Identity, the "religion" of white supremacists and neo-Nazis, has been able to expand its outreach and actively recruit from the social layer attracted to the Patriot movement.

"State" Citizens

Perniciously, Patriot organizations define two types of citizens, white "state citizens" whose inalienable rights are derived from God and the Constitution and "14th Amendment citizens", i.e. people of color, whose alienable rights were legislated into existence after the Civil War and the smashing of the Confederacy. The "state citizenship" component is probably the fastest growing segment of the Patriot movement.

Leading Patriot ideologues rail against democracy and describe the United States as a Republic. While technically correct, their purpose is to draw distinctions among groups of citizens in order to counterpoise their racist doctrine of "organic citizens" and "14th Amendment federal citizens."

Accordingly, democratic processes are referred to as "mob rule" and "mobocracy." This ideological line parrots that of leading Christian Reconstructionists such as Rousas John (R.J.) Rushdoony, the director of the California-based, Chalcedon Institute.

Rushdoony has written that "The heresy of democracy...has worked havoc in church and state, and it has worked towards reducing society to anarchy."

Paralleling racist Patriot "constitutionalism," Rushdoony and the Reconstructionists are working to establish a clerical-fascist "Christian Republic" throughout North America.

The underlying ideology of the Reconstructionist movement is based on racist exclusion and open discrimination against minorities. Rushdoony writes:

"Every social order institutes its own program of separation or segregation. A particular faith and morality is given privileged status and all else is separated for progressive elimination. The claim of equality and integration is thus a pretext to subvert an older order or existing form of social order."

"Christian" Patriots

Christian Patriots form the backbone of the armed militia movement. The origins of contemporary militias are the host of Posse Comitatus vigilante groups that sprung up in the Midwest during the 1970's-1980's. Estimates of the number of Patriots organized into active militia units range from a low of 10,000 to a high of more than 30,000 individuals; more than 5 million people, to some degree or another, consider themselves sympathizers, attend "Military Preparedness" shows or subscribe to Patriot newsletters and publications.

Christian Patriots have also entered the anti-abortion movement in a big way. One example of the influence of anti- abortion ideology on the Patriot movement, is the active participation of direct action anti-abortion leaders such as Rev. Matthew Trewhella, the founder of Missionaries to the Preborn (MTP) and Joseph Slovenec, a founding member of the Operation Rescue network. Rev. Trewhella was a signer of Paul J. Hill's "justifiable homicide" petition, endorsed by some 30 leaders of the anti-abortion movement.

Members of Trewhella's group are also active within the far-right United States Taxpayers Party (USTP), founded by ultra-conservative, Howard Phillips, and the Wisconsin-based "Free Militia." Last June, more than 20 MTP members participated in a weapons training exercise at a Wisconsin farm owned by MTP/Free Militia cadres.

Slovenec was the USTP candidate for Senate in Ohio during the 1994 elections. Aided by a far-flung network of right-wing activists, including Randall Terry, Slovenec received more than 263,000 votes.

Most Patriots are involved in tax protest and often use illegal or quasi-legal means to avoid being monitored by the IRS. The information contained in this report will center on two organizations, the California-based State Citizens Service Center and its Santa Clara County branch. These organizations have direct ties to white supremacists and neo-Nazis; they are also part of a core group involved in militia organizing in the Bay Area.

State Citizen Service Center (SCSC)

The State Citizen Service Center was founded by Richard J. McDonald. The SCSC operates 15 branches in California, including one in the Bay Area. McDonald's group has done more than any other Christian Patriot organization to take Patriot ideology--with its racism and anti-Semitism -- into cyberspace.

SCSC's primary focus is providing followers with pseudo-legal strategies to revoke "federal citizenship." The group offers a Citizenship Kit which "will walk you through the basic steps to restore common-law Citizenship."

The ideology underlying McDonald's electronic newsletter, The Patriot, is racist to the core:

"What kind of citizen are you? Are you a 14th Amendment federal citizen, or are you a Citizen of the several States, as described in the Constitution as it was originally intended by the Founding Fathers?"

SCSC's answer leaves little room for doubt:

"A free born White State Citizen in the several States, is an individual whose inalienable rights are recognized, secured and protected by the various State Constitution against State actions and against federal intrusion..."
"The 14th Amendment federal citizen, who is a second class citizen...who has congressionally granted privileges that are almost equal to the White Citizen. I say almost because these privileges are secured against a debt of submission to the morality legislated by Congress (including Income Tax)."

McDonald's SCSC is an amalgam of racist constitutionalism and xenophobic "America First" isolationism. Rigidly homophobic and anti-abortion, the SCSC, unlike more "mainstream" Christian Right organizations such as Pat Robertson's Christian Coalition, diverges from Christian Right anti-queer bigotry and anti-abortion stances, to betray the core values underlying Christian Patriot ideology -- white supremacy.

The following are quotes from McDonald's philosophy.

"Homosexuality and lesbianism are a violation of the common law and the Bible, upon which this Nation and all the State Constitutions were written. These were against the Law, so was indiscriminate abortion..."
"In the so-called 14th Amendment the word 'born' is used, signifying that the citizenship and protection of the so-called 14th Amendment do not operate until they are 'born' (i.e., left the womb)...So in this jurisdiction, those not born are not persons and have no protection. The privileges Congress has granted can be taken away at any time it is in the best interest of Congress to do so. These are commonly called 'civil rights.'"
"The Preamble to the Constitution of the United States of America (1787) utilized the word 'Posterity' signifying that the future Citizen (Capital C) has this solid protection from the date of conception..."
"So, for those of you who do not have primary State Citizenship of the Union first, and are not State Citizens first...abortions for any reason are legal..."

Simply put, the arguments offered by McDonald's State Citizen Service Centers are identical to the core beliefs of various Klan and neo-Nazi organizations: Abortion and sterilization is desirable to reduce "surplus populations," i.e. people of color. Editor's note: Last Fall the Ku Klux Klan picketed at the Awarewoman Center in Florida. These themes have circulated for years on the racist right.

An excerpt from Jan Keown's, Eugenics: The Upward Path, published in National Vanguard nearly fifteen years ago, illustrates the point:

"A meaningful eugenics program must be a prime national goal with the full support of determined leadership behind it. It must be part of a total revolution involving a whole people. Just such a revolution was coming to fruition in Germany in the fateful year of 1933, under the leadership of Adolph Hitler. Never before had a national government come to power fully committed to the biological ennoblement of the nation...Germany was well on the way to a revolutionary new age of racial dynamism, but an aroused world Jewry had other ideas. The rest is history."
"With the destruction of Germany the eugenics idea was 'discredited.' Anyone since that time daring to express concern about problems of racial equality has found himself under attack by the New Inquisition. A taboo on racial thought in the academic world is rigidly enforced, and the new orthodoxy of human equality reigns without challenge."

The path from The Bell Curve to "organic state citizenship" and "racial hygiene" is but a rest stop on the road to fascism.

State Citizen Service Center,
Santa Clara County Branch

Directed by Norm Baker, the Santa Clara branch of McDonald's State Citizen Service Center meets every other Wednesday in San Jose at Jans Bar & Grill, 2705 Union Ave, Corner of Union & Curtner. Meetings run approximately 1 to 2 hours. Venue owners, according to Baker, are supportive of SCSC's organizing efforts.

Baker's group has been monitored for several months by Bay Area-based anti-fascist activists. During this period, evidence has been gathered linking Baker to a broader Christian Patriot network of right-wing tax protesters, anti-Semites, racists, anti-abortion operatives and the burgeoning militia movement in California. Anecdotal evidence also links Baker's group to the militantly anti-abortion evangelical, the Home Church. Congregation members have also been linked to the theocratic, Sunnyvale-based

Coalition On Revival (COR). Mike Kiley, pastor of the Home Church is a long-time associate of Jay Grimstead, COR's president. During Operation Rescue National's 1993, "Cities of Refuge" campaign in San Jose, Home Church members joined Operation Rescue of California and the OR front-group, Christian Action Ministries.

The majority of meeting time is set aside for discussion of various aspects of "State citizenship" ideology. The "14th Amendment citizenship" is counterpoised to the "Sovereign Citizenship" of white Christian Americans. Baker takes great pains to deny he or others involved with his organization are racists. However, literature distributed at Baker's meeting indicates at the very least, tolerance, if not tacit support for those who espousing racist and anti-Semitic hate.

Among the materials purchased at SCSC meetings were the following publications:

Weisman is a top-flight leader of the Christian Identity movement and close associate of Rev. Pete Peters and the "Scriptures For America" Identity group based in La Porte, Colorado. Peters is one of the rising stars of the Christian Identity movement. His broadcasts are carried on a national network of dozens of shortwave and am radio stations. Peters' weekly television show, "Scriptures For America" is carried on the Christian Right, Keystone Inspirational Network.

The Pilot Connection: This Stockton- -based group is led by racist "constitutionalist," Milton Pilot Jr., a.k.a., Phillip Marsh. Primarily concerned with anti-IRS tax protest, Pilot's areas of interest link racist "constitutionalism" to the Militia movement.

Populist Party: Lt. Col. James "Bo" Gritz: Gritz, the 1992 Populist Party candidate for President, has a long history of involvement with the Christian Identity and Christian Patriot movements. His book, Called to Serve, was largely financed by Christian Identity leader, Rev. Pete Peters. Literature for a number of Gritz's current projects were discussed at Norm Baker's SCSC meetings. Specific references were made to Gritz's paramilitary SPIKE team ("Specially Prepared Individuals for Key Events") training seminars.

Gritz has had a long-standing series of relationships and collaboration with racists, anti-Semites and neo-Nazis including David Duke, Louis Beam, James "Red" Beckman, Willis Carto and Rev. Pete Peters.

The Spotlight: This is the flagship publication of Willis Carto's Liberty Lobby. Carto has been identified as the premier anti-Semite in the United States. His Noontide Press is the largest publisher of pro-Nazi materials in the U.S. Carto was the chief architect behind the organization of the racist Populist Party (David Duke ran for President on the Populist Party ticket in 1984) and the Institute for Historical Review (IHR), a California-based Holocaust revisionist outfit that denies that Hitler's genocidal Third Reich murdered millions of Jews and other racial minorities. British Holocaust Revisionist, David Irving, has written for and addressed venues organized by the IHR.

State Citizen Service Centers are frontline organizations linking the public facade of the Christian Patriot movement to shadowy paramilitary, fascist networks.
Operation Vampire Killer 2000: written by retired Arizona cop, Jack McLamb, OVK 2000, is a distillation of Patriot thinking concerning the "New World Order." McLamb, the director of the Arizona-based, Police Against The New World Order (PATNWO), publishes Aid and Abet, a newsletter directed towards recruiting police and active duty military personnel to the Patriot movement.

The New American: is the flagship publication of the right-wing, conspiratorial John Birch Society (JBS). Although the JBS has renounced racism and anti-Semitism, their conspiratorial governmental and banking theories, anti- abortion, homophobic and nativist rhetoric has been freely adopted by the white supremacist movement. They have, however, been somewhat critical of the Christian Patriot movement.

Perceptions: is a strange "New Age" journal that provides a platform for various conspiracy theories, right- wing advocacy of the "State Citizenship" movement, "New Age" medical quackery, reports on UFO's and other oddities. Norman Baker and Richard McDonald have published there.

MOM's Blue Book: At the March 22 meeting, Walt Didrion, a representative of an entity called "The Oakland Militia" made a presentation. Didrion discussed the growth of the militia movement in northern California. He also offered the Militia of Montana's (MOM) Blue Book for sale. The Blue Book is a 75 page paramilitary training manual which advocates the organization of militias into clandestine cells.

MOM, based in Noxon, Montana, was organized by the Trochmann family. John Trochmann, MOM's self-styled commander, has been associated with Richard Butler's Idaho-based Aryan Nations compound. Trochmann has spoken from the same platform as Louis Beam, a close associate of Aryan Nations and the principle architect of the "leaderless resistance" strategy for the white supremacist, Patriot and anti-abortion movements.

Beam's "Leaderless Resistance" strategy was first presented at the Christian Identity-initiated Meeting of Christian Men held in Estes Park, Colorado October 23, 24, 25, 1992 which distributed, Concerning The Killing of Vickie And Samuel Weaver By The United States Government. A copy of the Special Report, including Beam's text, is distributed by Rev. Peter's Scriptures For America organization.

State Citizen Service Centers are frontline organizations linking the public facade of the Christian Patriot movement to shadowy paramilitary, fascist networks. In this respect, they also represent a move by white supremacist and neo-Nazi groups to exploit white working class and petty bourgeois anger with "economic restructuring," corporate "downsizing," a precipitous decline in the standard of living and the perceived loss of (white) privilege.

Conclusions

The increasing popularity of the racist theory of the "Sovereign Citizen" whose "God-given" rights and privileges are threatened by second-class "14th Amendment citizens," has found a dangerous resonance in the passage of the nativist Proposition 187, the current move to abolish affirmative action and the rise of the Militia Movement.

While we can argue over the specifics of why demagogues such as Patrick Buchanan, Newt Gingrich, Pat Robertson and other "mainstream" politicos enjoy a resurgence of popularity among a frightened middle class, other forces to the right of the Republican Party and the Christian Coalition are assembling their shock troops.

As the rhetoric of racist exclusion, anti-Semitic hate and "property rights" (the anti-environmental, "Wise Use" movement) becomes "mainstreamed" by the bourgeois media, attacks on people of color, queers, women, environmentalists and the organized proletariat form the backdrop for a generalized assault on the economic, political, social and cultural rights of the working class by the corporate bourgeoisie.

Unlike their neo-Nazi bonehead allies, the Christian Patriot movement represents the cutting edge for racist attacks and fascist organizing throughout North America.


(An earlier version of this report was prepared by researchers and activists with the Bay Area Coalition for Our Reproductive Rights [BACORR] and presented to an organizing meeting of the Bay Area Coalition Opposing Fascism [BACOF], April 12, 1995). For information on anti-fascist organizing in the Bay Area contact:
Bay Area Coalition Opposing Fascism (BACOF)
1388 Haight Street # 19
San Francisco, California 94117
BACOF Anti-Racist Hotline:
(415) 789-8165

For a complete list of sources used in this report, contact:

Bay Area Coalition for Our Reproductive Rights
750 La Playa # 730
San Francisco, California 94121
Office: (415) 252-0750
Fax: (415) 431-6523
E-Mail: <tburghardt@igc.apc.org>
Visit BACORR's Web site at http://www.webcom.com/~pinknoiz/right/bacorr.html

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