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Growing Rebellion; Are We Setting The Stage For Civil War?

By James Donahue

A report by the Southern Poverty Law Center warns of clear signs in America of a resurgence of the 1990’s antigovernment militia movement “fueled by fears of a black man in the White House, the changing demographics of the country, and conspiracy theories increasingly spread by mainstream figures.”

Evidence of a strange coalition between radical militia groups, radical religious groups and the right wing Republicans was clearly seen in last weekend’s “9-12 Angry Men” march on Washington that brought an estimated 50,000 flag and sign-waving people to the Capital for a media-publicized march down Pennsylvania Avenue.

The signs made it clear that the group was not only opposed to the Obama Health Care plan but were angry about the federal bail-out of the banks, the validity of Obama’s American birth, the growing unemployment problem and the expanding size and scope of the federal government.

Indeed, some of the thinking Republicans like Mark McKinnon, a former advisor to Sen. John McCain, noted that while party leaders have been willing to “tap into legitimate fears about an overreaching federal government,” he worries that “right-wing nutballs” are giving the GOP a black eye.

“The freaks fill the void and define the party,” McKinnon said.

The Sept. 12 march was sponsored by the same coalition that helped organize the town-hall health care protests during the August Congressional recess and anti-tax rallies in the spring. The groups include the Tea Party Patriots, ResistNet and Freedomworks. Also the march was heavily publicized by Glenn Beck of Fox News who dubbed it the “9-12 Project.”

Reading the web pages and commentary by some of the members of these fringe groups should give us pause for concern. MSNBC commentator Rachel Maddow has noted that ResistNet, an organization funded by another obscure group called Grassfire, has compared President Obama to Hitler, claims he is a socialist and is posting death threats against the president. She noted the site recently advised its members to buy guns and prepare for a looming revolution.

It appears obvious that the election of a black man to serve as our president has sparked this sudden rebel movement. We see all of it as more of a rebirth of the old racial hatred that has been smoldering since President Lyndon Johnson signed the Civil Rights Bill into law in the 1960s. The stupidity groups like this sometimes astounds us.

Mark Potok, director of Southern Poverty Law Center’s Intelligence Project, said the militia movement is growing again and demands close attention. “As one law enforcement official told us, the only thing missing is a spark,” Potok said.

The Center’s web site states the following evidence, as published in The Second Wave: Return of the Militias:

--One law enforcement agency has uncovered 50 new militia training groups. One is composed of current and former police officers and soldiers.

--The convening of so-called citizen’ “courts” or “grand juries” has been occurring, some of which have issued indictments against President Obama for treason and fraud.

--Groups that subscribe to an ideology that believes whites have a higher citizenship status than other races are also on the rise. Some of these so-called “sovereign citizens” believe they do not have to pay taxes or obey most other laws.

--Legislators in about a dozen states have introduced states’ rights resolutions, some of them calling for secession from the union, reflects a growing antigovernment sentiment.      

While the election of a black president appears to have stirred much of the new militia movement, the Center report notes that another major factor has been “the rise in the proliferation of cable TV hosts who are willing to use their platforms to spread and legitimize antigovernment propaganda.”

One writer for The Daily Kos, identified as Forgiv, in an entry posted as “Clear And Present Danger,” warns that “disseminated by mainstream media figures like Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity, Rush Limbaugh, Lou Dobbs, Michael Savage and others, the antigovernment movement is growing all across the United States. Feeding this extremism are the same usual radical ideologies, radical religious beliefs, pent-up anger and frustration that can lead to violence – from ‘lone wolf’ hate crimes to acts of mass-casualty domestic terrorism.”

The writer warned that “we should be prepared for the possibility that these groups are becoming even more dangerous than those of the 1990s because their surge is spurred by the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression.” He said they also are “becoming more unified around a common cause in their fear of a black president.”

The article noted that in the 1990s the militia movement was “born of anger at the government, fear of gun confiscation and susceptibility to elaborate conspiracy theories . . . Today the face of our government is black, and erroneously thought to be Muslim. This new concoction of Nativist xenophobia, direct racism and hostile antigovernment ideology may prove more toxic than any homegrown threat the decent people of this nation have yet faced.”