Alexander Reid Ross: Toward an Anti-Fascist Analysis of the Malheur Rebellion

Militiamen stand on a road at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge near Burns, Oregon, January 4, 2016. The leaders of a group of self-styled militiamen who took over a U.S. wildlife refuge headquarters over the weekend said on Monday they had acted to protest the federal government's role in governing wild lands. Ammon Bundy, a leader of the group, told reporters outside the occupied facility on Monday that his group had named itself "Citizens for Constitutional Freedom" and was trying to restore individual rights. Bundy and law enforcement officials declined to say how many people were occupying the refuge headquarters. REUTERS/Jim Urquhart - RTX2113D

Toward an Anti-Fascist Analysis of the Malheur Rebellion
Alexander Reid Ross, It’s Going Down, 1/9/2016

The Malheur Rebellion took overnight control of all screen time throughout social media and conversations about it quickly became pervasive. I felt compelled to go to the site and try to gain some perspective. I contacted Ben Jones, and we decided to go down together to get a sense of the people involved in the occupation to learn how to further organize against them. Although we were only in Burns for something like two days, taking only one trip to the Malheur Wildlife Refuge, we spoke to a number of people, both community members and militiamen, and got a better feeling for how to approach the ridiculous and horrific scene.

What surprised us most was the fact that we spent twenty minutes walking through the Malheur Wildlife Refuge where the Bundys are currently holed up with a number of patriot movement volunteers. We saw no police, no feds, and no security. Perhaps it was our scamoflage, but it was profoundly puzzling for the two of us to walk around in a right wing insurrection in broad daylight without any kind of alarms going off. However, according to recent reports, a new “security detail” has arrived “carrying rifles and sidearms and clad in military attire and bulletproof vests.” The Bundys were in a meeting, so we did not interview them, perhaps for the better. As Charlotte Roderique from the Burns Paiute tribe declared that morning, it was senseless “to dignify them” with that sort of attention.

Not that John Ritzheimer and Blaine Cooper deserve attention, either. However, we wanted a closer understanding what kind of people they were, who was in Burns, and how we can organize to stop them. What struck us as Ritzheimer went through his dogmatic rap about Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution was that his presentation of “liberating the land” for the use of the “local community,” the construction of the argument and even the precision of the rhetoric, seemed incredibly close to leftist discourse.

Besides that, their mission remains locked into the context of white supremacism, of “liberating land” for the ranchers and miners to carry on their business without regulations, restrictions, or accountability. For this purpose, they are met by their cohorts from Idaho, Montana, Arizona, and Alaska. One unique thing about this issue is that it is not Oregonians, but Threepers (Three Percenters) from other states.

The Threepers believe erroneously that only 3 percent of the original colonists participated in the 1776 Revolution. They see themselves as upholders of the revolution, rather than revolutionaries. There is an important truth to the rhetoric that cloaks the large distance between left and right.

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