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The rise of militias: Patriot candidates are now getting elected in Oregon

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The rise of militias: Patriot candidates are now getting elected in Oregon


Like Trump, the Patriot Movement’s surge is due partly to fear and the perceived indifference of political leaders to places that didn’t recover from the 2008 crash


Joseph Rice’s manner is a long way from militia stereotypes. The Patriot Movement leader does not present as a crazed gun nut, nor as a blowhard white supremacist. He’s genial, folksy, and matter-of-fact in laying out his views. But talk to him for long enough, and time and again the Patriot Movement leader returns to what really drives him: land.

Rice is running for Josephine county commissioner in south-west Oregon, and believes that the federal government’s current role in land management is illegitimate and even tyrannical.

Related: Ammon Bundy is an 'originalist' just like Antonin Scalia, says defense

His campaign is well-advertised around the county and appears well-organised. His growing experience in organising Patriot groups and community watch organisations has polished his skills in retail politics. He’s clearly done a lot of work to make himself politically palatable to conservative rural voters.

He has positions on education (kids should finish high school), legalised marijuana (it presents an economic opportunity) and Donald Trump (“people are tired of career politicians, and they know the country’s in trouble”).

But county supremacy is what really drives him.

It’s this notion that is once again becoming central to local politics in the Pacific north-west. Throughout the region, people whose ideas about land management broadly align with Rice and the now infamous Bundy clan are aiming for elected office in cities, counties and even the state houses.

Taking notice of the trend, progressive watchdog group Political Research Associates even pointed to “a wave of Patriot-affiliated candidates in Oregon”.

Rice talks proudly of his connection with the Oath Keepers – a group which recruits from serving and retired law enforcement officers and military personnel. The group asserts that the oath taken by soldier and police “is to the constitution, not to the politicians”, such that serving personnel are obliged to disobey unconstitutional orders.

He’s also proud of his role in founding the Pacific Patriots network, which aims to coordinate members of various patriot groups in the Pacific north-west.

Both groups, and Rice himself, were prominent actors in the standoff at the Malheur national wildlife refuge last January. On Rice’s account, “we acted as a buffer between the federal government and the refuge”.

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When you exclude Portland, Euguene, and Salem from the voter base, most of Oregon is like this.  Josephine, Curry, and Douglas counties have become so overiden by special interest groups pushing there agendas that most of the people want them out.  These counties really depend on the logging industry and with more and more land closures its hard for the county goverments to function.  The sheriff department in josephine has been cut back that they have told people in rural areas, we dont know if we can help you if something happens.

Thats why the Jefferson state movement is picking back up.

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In Canada, the militia is just those trained to fill the vacancies left by the reg force during war. I was in the militia (communications) and decided I would never pick up a weapon except in defense of my country, not to bring 'regime change and democracy' to unoffending countries like Iraq and Libya. So it's really great to see skilled trained people take matters into their own hands and deny the feds the power to control sofa king much of Americans lives.


I always thought BC, Washington State, Oregon and maybe Alberta should make their own country of Cascadia. We'd rock.

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