Tweet thread from Kathleen Belew on armed FarRight RightWing groups in the US (13/01/2022)

Many of you have questions about the #OathKeepers in light of the #Sedition charges filed against group members today. Here's a quick overview: (Thread) (1)

Oath Keepers is a militia group that specializes in recruitment veterans, active-duty troops, and police. It joins many other white power and militant right groups in this strategy (Klan, Aryan Nations, skinhead, neo-Nazi, and several other groups have done this for decades) (2)

If you're new here you may not have heard me say this, but the aftermath of warfare is the most consistent predictor of vigilante violence in the US–and the most consistent predictor of membership surges in groups like this (3)

Let's get two things clear right up top: first, there is no clean dividing line between militias and white power groups. White power groups are a smaller circle within the larger circle of militia groups on a venn diagram but they share ideology, weapons, and people (4)

Second, militia groups are unregulated private armies that are extralegal in all fifty states. (5) (More on this here

Several of you want to know: what is Oath Keepers? Militia? White supremacist? White power? Let's look at action and ideological writing, which ALWAYS tell us more than how a group defines itself to journalists (6)

I'm working from the roundup post compiled over here, if you want the full run of events. I'll be highlighting the things that strike me. (7)

Oath Keepers holds an official line that they are not a white power, Klan, or neo-Nazi group. One important thing to look at will be how many Oath Keepers have members who have other memberships–rather, how many Oath Keepers are ALSO in white power groups (8)

In the white power and militant right groundswell, it's very common for people to hold multiple memberships and to circulate between groups (9).

I also notice several events that replicate the strategies of openly white power and Klan activism. Take for instance: in 2018, "the Oath Keepers website advertised a call to action for a “Border Operation,”" (10)

"...encouraging engagement in paramilitary activity to prevent the “invasion” of “illegals” into the country and to provide “security for border ranches and families,” presumably against immigrants." (11)

This kind of paramilitary border patrol dates back to Klan Border Patrols and Operation Hemline in the mid 1970s. (12)

Another example: group leader Stewart Rhodes posted on FB to encourage Oath Keepers attend BLM marches in summer 2020. He wrote: “I see some of you conflicted about how to handle what’s going on in the streets of this country, I too was conflicted but let me say this..." (13)

"...Maybe you better read that Oath again it said protect the constitution from all enemies foreign and or here’s the part you better read slowly … Domestic … Once these thugs turned to burning, killing and looting, they became domestic enemies.” (14)

This is racist language, plain and simple. (15)

The Oath Keepers also follow a conspiracy called New World Order with long and deep roots in the white power movement. (16)

So even a small scratch into this I can see that whatever this group says it believes, it is trafficking in white power strategies honed over decades, and using ideologies that AT MINIMUM span the divide between militia and white power activity (if they don't cross it) (17)

Also the Oath Keepers follow a "Declaration of Orders We Will Not Obey". This document outlines threats like the confiscation of weapons and the use of concentration camps that explicitly mirror white power ideology. (18)

I'll conclude with this: we have historically erred on the side of giving too much distinction between groups on the militant right, rather than seeing commonalities and cross-circulation. This makes a groundswell seem like a scatterplot. But it is a groundswell. (19)

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