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United Patriots and Associates

United Patriots and Associates

LEADER: Ron Bass

USUAL AREA OF OPERATION: United States, mainly rural areas of the Midwest, and in the mountain regions of Idaho and Montana

OVERVIEW

The United Patriots is an extreme right-wing group that resists the involvement of the federal government in the lives of U.S. citizens. The group is part of a larger "Patriot" movement and is also called the United Patriots of America (UPA), or plainly Patriots.

HISTORY

The United Patriots are an extreme right-wing group found in the United States. This group encourages citizens to be prepared to take up arms to defend themselves against the federal government, which they say violates their constitutional rights.

The United Patriots are part of a larger Patriot movement that claims the United States is in an economic and social decline. The Patriot movement resists the federal government, claiming it is responsible for the country's problems of unemployment, crime, and loss of traditional religious values.

Patriot extremist groups are located primarily in the rural areas of the Midwest, and in the mountain regions of Idaho and Montana. A majority of members of the Patriot movement are middle- to lower-class Americans, with minimal education.

Militias have been formed by Patriot groups throughout the United States. These militias are the military wing of the Patriot cause. Patriots legitimize the militias as a way to better ensure that their constitutional rights are not violated by the U.S. government. They say that without militias the federal government will not listen to their concerns.

The movement began to develop in the 1970s and 1980s in response to declining economic opportunities in rural areas. In Michigan, a state with a large number of Patriots, the automobile industry has experienced numerous cutbacks since 1980, when there were 600,000 jobs. By 1995, jobs in the automobile industry had dropped to 300,000. Many more job cuts came in the agriculture industry. Farm prices crashed in the 1980s, as a response to global recession. Land values decreased drastically, by as much as 66%. Leading up to the recession, the U.S. government gave a very positive outlook on the upcoming prospects of farming. The government predicted high returns in the 1980s, and farmers began expanding their production accordingly. These miscalculations by the government have fueled the Patriot movement.

The Patriot militia movement was fueled by the 1993 standoff in Waco, Texas, between the FBI and a cult called the Branch Davidian (which advocated resistance to the federal government). The FBI stormed the compound of the Branch Davidian, and eighty members of the cult were killed.

Patriot violence was most severe in the 1995 bombing of the federal building in Oklahoma City. The main perpetrators of that attack were members of Patriot militias. Other acts of violence have targeted federal government employees and U.S. police marshals.

PHILOSOPHY AND TACTICS

Patriots accuse the federal government of such things as violating constitutional rights of citizens, implementing immigration policies that are too liberal, not giving enough independence to individual states, and restricting land- and water-use practices. Patriot members resist U.S. involvement in globalization, and are against international treaties such as the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

Patriots are nearly always aligned with pro-gun lobbies, including the National Rifle Association. Many Patriot militias look to neo-Nazi ways of teaching. Some Patriot militia members are former Ku Klux Klan members.

Patriots advocate the decentralization of government. They push for states to have more control of their own affairs, and for the federal government to be less involved. The Patriots want the federal laws to have less application at the state level. Most Patriots advocate the use of a state militia to ensure that their constitutional rights are being protected.

Patriot members also include anti-tax protestors, survivalists, and anti-environmentalists. Apocalyptic millenialists, including Christian zealots who believe the end times are near, have also been characteristic of those within the Patriot movement. These Apocalyptic millenialists believe society is facing the "mark of the beast" through supermarket bar codes, implantable computer chips, and designs for new currency. Patriot media often has racist undertones, with many Patriots having anti-Semitic or neo-Nazi beliefs.

The United Patriots speak out against immigrants, claiming they damage society by taking jobs and increasing the level of crime. They blame the U.S. government, claiming that they make it too easy for immigrants to come to the United States.

LEADERSHIP

RON BASS

Ron Bass is the founder and acting president of the United Patriots of America. He claims that the organization represents traditional mainstream America. Bass claims that the people represented by the United Patriots are the silent majority, whose opinions have not been heard by their government leaders. The goal, according to Bass, is to bring back representative government, and to educate people on how to do that.

The common thread among the Patriots is a growing hate for government involvement in what they claim is their personal business. For example, loggers feel violated by environmental laws. Ranchers are angry at what they label restrictive land-use and water-use policies. Those who find it hard to find gainful employment blame immigration and international trade agreements.

OTHER PERSPECTIVES

The Patriots have been described as a movement of undereducated middle-class Americans who have a nostalgic idea of what the United States used to be. They are said to be idealistic about a United States that does not need to work with the rest of the world, and that can survive on its own.

Many view the group as a violent organization that wants to create an alternative patriarchal society for white people. The national news media has discussed the "angry white male" segment of the anti-government community, associated with Patriot members. However, others point out that there are many non-racists involved with the United Patriots.

Some economists and social analysts explain that the Patriot movement is a result of the rich gaining more wealth, and the poor and middle class losing economic ground. An economist at New York University explains that nearly 40% of all assets in the United States (bonds, stocks, jewelry, etc.) is owned by 500,000 households. It is thought that as fewer people have access to such assets, the more they are going to join Patriot organizations.

SUMMARY

The Patriot movement developed in the 1970s and 1980s in rural areas around the United States that have faced economic recession and job losses. The Patriots claim the federal government is responsible for their problems. Armed militias have taken up the cause of the Patriots, and have carried out violent attacks against government officials. One of the most notorious was the attack on the federal building in Oklahoma City, resulting in the death of 168 people.

Patriot groups remain active in the United States. However, it is said that the Patriot movement reached its peak in 1996, following a crackdown on Patriot militias after the Oklahoma City bombing. A count in 2004 showed the number of Patriot groups had dropped to 152, from 171 in 2003. However, there are many other extremist groups that have formed in recent years, which might be comprised of former members of other Patriot groups.

KEY EVENTS

1970s–1980s:
Patriots movement developed following economic recessions.
1993:
Standoff between FBI and the Branch Davidian in Waco, Texas.
1995:
Patriot movement militia members carried out the bombing of the federal building in Oklahoma City, killing 168 people.

SOURCES

Books

Abanes, Richard. American Militias. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1996.

Cozic, Charles P., editor. The Militia Movement. Farmington Hills, MI: Greenhaven Press, 1997.

Periodicals

Ruiz, Albor. "No Room at Inn for This Flock." New York Daily News. February 24, 2004.

Web sites

Southern Poverty Law Center. "Anti-Semitism: 'Patriot' Publications Taking on Anti-Semitic Edge." 〈http://www.splcenter.org/intel/intelreport/article.jsp?aid=68〉 (accessed October 1, 2005).

Southern Poverty Law Center. "Hate Group Numbers Slightly Up in 2004." 〈http://www.splcenter.org/center/splcreport/article.jsp?aid=135〉 (accessed October 1, 2005).

SEE ALSO

Neo-Nazis

Ku Klux Klan

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