The source of information being used here to present our argument is the work we have done recently to support the work of the Rural Organizing Project (ROP) in its work. ROP is one of the very few White organizations that is attempting to organize White people to create capacity for systematic change instead of just mobilizing White people to march through streets in reaction to capitalism's oppression. ROP's anti-racist work has attracted the attention of Oregon's growing militia movement, which is heavily influenced and shaped by white nationalist doctrine and ideologies. Recognizing the clear danger of this trend, ROP developed a toolkit on who the militias are, what their mission is, and what all that means. They have then gone to work organizing within their rural networks to galvanize local Whites around doing something about this. Their work has generated the ire of these militia groups who have threatened their staff and volunteers, attempted to physically intimidate them, and, even continually invaded their personal spaces in threatening ways by visiting their homes and committing acts of vandalism against them. ROP's response has been to go out on tour to discuss this growing phenomenon and because of the impending threats against them, I volunteered, along with a handful of trusted comrades, to travel with them on their militia speaking tours around rural Oregon, including areas within the Malheur region, providing physical protection to the ROP folks while they engaged in their work. Most recently, this consisted of me traveling to eight of the 11 rural destinations and providing that security presence. What I observed in each of those eight locations are a large number of local folks who desperately and passionately want to foster communities that don't promote values of white supremacy, violence, and fear. What I also observed, at each stop, are militia members, or more correctly, members of the Patriotic Movement, who attended these events and on several occasions, engaged in dialogue with local residents about ways to develop greater understanding. I'm not saying it was easy or that its going to be easy. There were some of these folks in each location who clearly had no interest in engaging. Some of them even made unsuccessful attempts to intimidate people in the parking lot at a Southern Oregon event before they were prevented from doing so. On a couple of occasions, there were probably so many people packing concealed weapons inside the events that had there been metal detectors, they would have overloaded. And in one community, a shot from a 22 rang out just a few feet in front of our paused vehicle. I'm not saying the shot was intentional or anything else about it, except that it happened. Plus, to be honest, my assessment is that at least some of the militia people who participated in the discussions may not have had sincere intentions beyond just engaging in public relations to bolster the image of their organizations.
Still, there's no denying that within events that were focused on exposing these groups, despite the fact the people identified in the presentations were present, not once did any of them attempt to disrupt the events. You could say that was because we were there, but regardless, the fact they didn't cause an issue has to go to their credit. Also, to the point of what people criticized earlier in the year, the participants we engaged in each town who are clearly not for militias roaming their communities made it clear in each case that they knew the militia people who lived side by side with them in these small towns. Many of them had been friends with these people for years. They just vehemently disagree with them on this critical question. They demonstrated their familiarity with these folks by standing by us as people entered each event, identifying for us the ones who were militia members. The ones who were known to carry firearms and/or cause disruptions. This reality blows out of the water the arrogant analysis made by so many after my first article that most of these militia folks are millionaire ranchers. For me, the tour confirmed what I already knew. Many of the folks in those militias are either under or unemployed. Many are afraid because they have no healthcare. They have no access to services in their consistently resource-less communities, and in the case of one young man who was identified as a militia member, he was there because he had no family and the militia folks took him in and gave him the support we all crave and need. When you look at things from this complete analysis and perspective, instead of the hole filled trolling directed at my article earlier this year, its not hard to understand why these clearly angry young white men, who arrived at one event in trucks with huge confederate flags flying from them, refused to even make eye contact with me. It probably explains why one man who was identified as a leading white supremacist in one community desperately wanted to acknowledge me at the door and shake my hand before he left after he had contributed in some of the discussions. The man approached me with a smile and wished me a good and safe night. Why? Because much of what is driving these folks right now is fear. Fear that they won't make it. And despite whatever rhetoric they operate from, no African is really responsible for their suffering. And deep down, they must know that just like deep down I know White people are not devils, although more than enough of you'll deserve Oscar consideration for your skill in impersonating satan.
What all this should tell us is capitalism continues to fail. It has always failed African and other brown folks. Now, on unprecedented levels, it is failing White people and the emergence of these militia groups is in large part the result of this reality. White activists who have sincere concerns about this should be following and exceeding the work of ROP in reaching these communities, establishing and maintaining organizations and/or networks, and working to organize White people against the system and for better systematic change instead of against those of us who capitalism has historically demonized and blamed for everything. And, before you respond to this, either in writing or mentally, remember that our analysis comes from engaging in the revolutionary work many of you only talk about. We engage African people in our communities and we make efforts to build the institutions that we need to foster our liberation. That's why we are building the School of African Roots (SOAR) in our organizing work here in the Pacific Northwest. That's why parents caught public transportation and/or walked in the rain yesterday to bring their children to us so they can receive what we are offering. The parents do this because they know their children need what we are offering and we do it because we know our people and society need it. The White people in rural Oregon brave the current conditions because they know they need it. The organizers in ROP and the comrades I worked with to do security do what we do because we know we need it. The only people seemingly confused are the multitudes of keyboard revolutionaries who apparently know absolutely everything, except how to get anything done.