You can read Up In Arms: A Guide to Oregon’s Patriot Movement online. You can also place an order for a paper copy here, handy for sharing with neighbors, friends, reporters for your local newspaper, or to donate to your local library.
Share a link to this resource with your community by forwarding this email, or sharing it on Facebook and other social media.
Thank you to all the local human dignity group leaders, volunteer researchers, and inspiring activists for building community, sharing your stories, and helping inform and resource other rural people desperate to figure out next steps.
Jess, Cara, Grace and the entire ROP Team
Rural Organizing Project, Political Research Associates Release Toolkit to Aid Oregon Communities Facing Militia Movements
October 3, 2016
Contact: Cara Shufelt, firstname.lastname@example.org, 503-438-8638
Scappoose, OR-- Up in Arms: A Guide to Oregon’s Patriot Movement is a groundbreaking resource with essential information and tools for Oregon’s small towns and rural communities under siege from militias and other patriot movements. The toolkit and research report is being released by the Rural Organizing Project in partnership with Political Research Associates.
In early 2016, patriot movement paramilitaries stormed onto the national stage when they seized the headquarters of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon, and occupied it for 41 days. Oregon remains a hotbed of Patriot movement activity. Across the state, heavily armed paramilitaries and self-anointed “judges and courts” vie for public support, while a handful of county sheriffs and other elected officials actually collude with these more radical groups and organizers.
“As Oregonians, we have a responsibility to support those who are resisting these movements and struggling for real democratic control of their communities,” says Jessica Campbell, Rural Organizing Project Co-Director. “Rural Oregonians want healthy and vibrant communities where everyone can live their lives fully with safety and dignity, and that isn't possible when those who have the most guns get to intimidate their political opponents into silence.”
The “Up in Arms” toolkit was developed through extensive research on right-wing movements, as well as local knowledge by rural community activists and economists. The toolkit exposes, explains, and offers alternatives to this movement.
Up in Arms’ illustrates how a statewide array of paramilitaries who are eager to join armed encampments to confront the federal government has been fostered by the militia and patriot movement. The report also clearly spells out how the movement recruits county sheriffs and other law enforcement officers under its influence, while simultaneously creating fake courts and self-proclaimed judges to dispense its own notions of justice.
“The Oregon Patriot movement engages in the same political culture of violence as the national movement, including armed occupations, protests, camps, and marches—as well as threats against elected officials, community activists, and critics,” says Spencer Sunshine, a sociologist and associate fellow at Political Research Associates who wrote a study of the movement included in the kit.
Also revealed are the many elected officials and candidates with ties to this homebrew of armed, anti-democratic politics. It documents the threats of assault and murder that Patriot movement adherents and supporters have made toward critics, Native American leaders, law enforcement, and even the Governor of Oregon.
Up In Arms details how the Patriot movement takes advantage of the collapse of the rural Oregon economy and deteriorating communities. University of Oregon Professors Dan HoSang and Steve Beda describe how vital county services such as 911 response and public libraries have disappeared from rural areas as the jobs rooted in natural resource extraction have evaporated. The failure of the federal and state governments to invest in rural America has allowed the Patriot movement to provide its own alternative policing and emergency responses as a means to gain traction and power in these forgotten communities.
“Providing alternatives for communities who are being targeted for Patriot movement recruitment is crucial,” continues ROP Co-director Jessica Campbell. “We cannot abandon folks in these communities to an environment of threats and intimidation. Now is the time for engagement and action, before the politics of exclusion take root.”
Campbell offers a number of strategies for community members to break out of a sense of isolation, form a group, and speak out with a democratic and inclusive vision of what the community should look like. Examples from five different Oregon counties and towns over the last year are given to show how progressives can successfully counter Patriot movement messaging and intimidation, and help build inclusive communities where everyone can live their lives with safety and dignity.
Up In Arms: A Guide to Oregon’s Patriot Movement is available for free online as a PDF.
About the Rural Organizing Project: The Rural Organizing Project (ROP) is a statewide organization of locally-based groups that strive to create and build communities accountable to a standard of human dignity: the belief in the equal worth of all people, the need for equal access to justice and the right to self-determination. Starting in 1992, ROP’s challenges to the anti-democratic right have earned ROP a national reputation for being an effective grassroots organization that takes on the hard issues.
About Political Research Associates: Massachusetts-based Political Research Associates is a social justice think tank devoted to supporting movements that are building a more just and inclusive democratic society. We expose movements, institutions, and ideologies that undermine human rights.
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