Welcome to Protestus

Welcome to the Protestus Blog. Protestus is a project launched by Elendil Technologies in 2014 with the express purpose of enhancing the public’s awareness of activism and social movements. On this blog you will find profiles of dozens of activist collectives, protest groups, and large scale social movements along with insightful analysis. It is our goal to describe each group in a fair manner so our readers will have a reliable source from which they can base their opinions. We accept recommendations on new groups and we are attentive to requests to change group descriptions. Please see our contact page for these requests. If you are looking for one specific group, use the search function and simply enter your keywords. Also, follow us on Twitter @Protestus1

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The #betauprising

After the Umpqua Community College mass-shooting in Oregon, the media began addressing the phenomenon known as the “Beta Uprising.” Many felt the shooting was part of this uprising therefore they tried to explain what it was and who would participate. The following a brief history and analysis of the “Beta Uprising.”

Origins and Evolution:

In 2008 a programmer on the image board www.4chan.org launched an experiment called ROBOT9000 or /r9k/. Traditionally, 4Chan’s core user base supplied content for the board, but up to that point much of content comprised reposts, or “copypasta.” R9K was a script inserted into the 4Chan board preventing users from reposting images. Therefore, each user would have to post original content. It was thought that /r9k/ would usher in a new user experience. It quickly evolved into a forum where users would share personally awkward moments. Users, dubbed “robots,” would also write short fictional stories and add images of “Pepe the Frog” showing their disdain for the world. As /r9k/ evolved, the users developed their own lexicon;

  • Robots: (/r/obots)- The core users of /r9k/
  • Normies: (normalfags)- People who are not part of the robot culture,
  • NEET- Not in Education Employment or Training- members with no future prospects
  • Tendie- A mid-20’s male who lives at home and likes chicken tenders
  • Chad- A normie male, often physically fit and in a relationship with a female
  • Ashley- An attractive normie female, ignores robots and seeks out “Chads”
  • Alphas- Normie males and females who think they are better than robots
  • REEEE- An expression of anger, like a scream

Further evolution of the /r9k/ board led to the recognition of a previously under-recognized social class known as “Beta Males.” Each story told by robots tended to pit them against some external, “Alpha” tormenter like a Chad who treated them badly, an Ashley who ignored them, or even their own mother who refused to get a hamburger for a Tendie who was busy on 4Chan. Robots saw themselves as a sub-class; unable to get jobs, yet moderately educated and technically savvy but also unable to have a relationship with a person of the opposite sex. Betas were in perpetual social war with Alphas. Their only refuge was places where other Betas met, which meant Internet forums like Reddit and 4Chan. Here, they would share their stories of real world rejection and engage in a perpetual downward spiral. The constant struggle against Alphas led to the fantasy of millions of robots (Beta Males) suddenly revolting against the Alpha order, and killing them, hence, the “Beta Uprising.”

Dozens of fictional accounts of mass shootings, stabbings, rapes, and other crimes filled the /r9k/ and other similar sites like Reddit. On occasion when a mass shooting occurred, robots would openly discuss if the shooter was “just like them” and was finally exacting revenge. The original ROBOT9000 board was shut down in 2011, but in 2014 a new ROBOT9000 board was created. The culture remained the same. By mid-2015 the board was renamed ROBOT9001.

Beta Males:

Online a person can be anyone they want, but in the real world (irw) robots cannot escape their reality. Sites like 4Chan, and the dozens of gaming sites on the Internet allow for fictional characters, often called avatars or avis, to be created and the user lives through their avatar. For most people, there is a bright line separating their virtual world from their real world. For the true Beta Male, the line is a harsh, painful separation from their online life. They may be highly intelligent and technically savvy, which gains them acceptance online, but in the real world they are socially backwards, unable to hold conversations, averse to conflict, and unable to talk to women. They isolate themselves through their behavior and lack of self-confidence. They often feel alone and unable to find common ground with those around them. Many Beta Males feel intellectually superior to their peers, but they cannot show it outwardly.

Beta Males and Violence:Beta flag 2

It seems contradictory that Beta Males are averse to conflict, yet would carry out an act of violence. At their core, Beta Males develop an anger toward a society that does not accept them. The anger grows as they link-up with other Betas online and trade stories of their unfortunate experiences. Betas eventually grow to hate “normies” and despise women. They are fixated on the sexual aspect of relationships and often lament how they cannot find a willing sexual partner. The hatred eventually boils over in some of the Betas and leads to the conclusion they need to kill their enemies and themselves.

Since most Beta Males have avoided confrontation to this point, they do not know how to handle it in a manner that does not include self-harm or harm to others. When you combine this with easy access to weapons, you find a volatile combination. Mental health experts have relayed their dismay at how cavalier many Betas are when discussing death. Many of them do not see death as a deterrent, rather an escape from their mundane lives. They see the killing of others to be retribution for denying them friendship, sex, and meaningful relationships.

Detection and Deterrence:

Not all Beta Males are going to lash out with violence. Many of them will grow into adulthood and pursue meaningful lives. In fact, Betas believe they are cut from the same cloth as Bill Gates or Mark Zuckerberg who got their revenge by showing the world their genius. The ones prone to a violent end display characteristic traits:

  • Withdrawn
  • No desire to work, go to school, or associate with people
  • Reliant on medication “to make it through the day”
  • Drink heavily
  • Hostile to women
  • History of suicidal ideation and/or attempts
  • May share detailed fantasies of murder
  • Stalking like behavior toward one women
  • Porn depicting violent or degrading sexual encounters
  • Detailed plans for killing
  • Suicide notes or poems left on-line or in real life

Deterrence is difficult topic. Some subjects may require mental health treatment. It has also been suggested that Beta Males simply need external, positive contact with people. Thus puts the onus on society to engage these subjects and try to show them are a functioning member of a diverse society.

Conclusion:  

It is unlikely a full-scale “Beta Uprising” will ever occur. Despite this, it would be folly to ignore the mounting evidence showing the dangers associated with real world withdrawal accompanied by deep immersion in the cybersphere, constant public rejection, and the use of medication to normalize behavior. Recognizing and intercepting the violent Betas is a task laid at the feet of mental health practitioners, education professionals, and when needed, law enforcement.

Social Justice Strikes Back; From Mizzou to Salt Lake SJ is on the move

For social justice advocates, the last week and a half has offered enough joyous squeal inducing content to last a lifetime. From Salt Lake to New York, Social Justice has been on the march smashing expectations, challenging institutions, and toppling regimes. The apparent victories serve only bolster the millennial activist core who continue to leverage social media as a brutal club with which they have, and will continue, to strike at every foe of their intended utopia. The question of course is, who is next?

For review, the Millennial Army enjoyed three major victories; Tarantino, Mormons, and Mizzou. First, Quentin Tarantino provided a much needed public boon to Black Lives Matter’s continued war on police. After marching alongside anti-police demonstrators at the Revcom sponsored “Rise Up October” rally in New York, Tarantino made headlines for his apparent support for “cop haters.” Police unions across the country rallied against Tarantino and called for boycotts against his upcoming film release. Instead of pulling a mea culpa, as would be the norm for loose-lipped Hollywood types, Tarantino doubled down on his criticism of police tactics. First on NBC where he declared himself a victim of police intimidation via the unions who want to shut him down. Then on November 6th, Tarantino furthered his stand on Bill Maher’s show where he explained cops should focus more on breaking the “blue wall” and outing bad cops. Regardless of his intent, Tarantino succeeded at keeping the anti-police rhetoric alive, which thrilled the throngs of social justice activists who see police brutality as their vector into destroying a system steeped in male patriarchy and white supremacy.

In stark contrast to the street level tactics seen at the Revcom rally, social justice soldiers used a subdued, and religious-centric approach to attack the Mormon church. The root of the latest surge of anti-Mormon sentiment came from the church’s “clarification memo” regarding the children of same-sex couples. In short, children in those families will not be allowed to be baptized until they are 18-years-old. Those opposed to the church used the policy to prove the church was homophobic and even went so far as to create the hashtag, #mormonhate. Despite the presence of popular provocateurs, like Gregory Lucero, the most surprising element in this fight was the number of church members who publicly decried the church. Social media exploded with accusations the policy was “not of God, but of man” and indicative of an old, white, male-led church. The amount of members who stood in opposition of the policy, and the silent hundreds who privately lost their faith, are evidence of social justice’s ability to transcend theological boundaries. Rumors are swirling of mass resignations from the church, similar to ones organized by “Ordain Women” earlier this year. Perhaps unwittingly, the LDS church just threw itself onto the social justice anvil, and only time will tell how they fair.

Finally, in what will be considered one of largest victories so far in the social justice war, Black Lives Matter, assembled under the umbrella of “Concerned Student 1950”,  and forced the ouster of President Tim Wolfe. The simmering tensions between the student body and the president came after a series of on and off-campus incidents involving racial slurs and at least one Swastika drawn with feces. A portion of the student body organized with the help of the long-time BLM leaders and leveraged social media, to highlight stories of injustice and racism, and call for his resignation. In solidarity, the Mizzou football team announced they would not play until Wolfe resigned. This coupled with the threats of a faculty walk-out, forced Wolfe to concede to the mob, and resign. Along with their calls to resign, the Concerned Student 1950 group demanded a series of concessions by the University. Some of them profoundly unrealistic, while other have nothing to do with academia. In the end, it does not matter, Black Lives Matter, and social justice army prevailed once again.

For the time being, the SJ army has their battle calendar full. They are targeting Cal-Poly, Ithicia, and of course Yale. In the background they will continue to press the LDS church, and of course they will always fall back to anti-police marches and calls for reform.

#Ferguson and the Crisis of Authority

This post was originally published in August, 2014. 

Three days ago the Missouri State Police stepped into the middle of a crisis in the name of peace. As they entered the Ferguson city limits, they all but excused the local police from their duties, and offered what some saw as a concession from the state. Friday night seemed to confirm Capt. Ron Johnson and Governor Jay Nixon’s theory that removing the militarized police from the scene would calm the protesters and usher in a new era of police/protester relations. Then Saturday arrived, and any notion of cooperation was left on the side of the road with empty teargas canisters and rubber bullets.

In hindsight, Nixon and Johnson did what they felt was right based on decades of education, leadership, and experience. Their decision was right in line with established methodology when dealing with civil unrest; provide leadership. In the case of Ferguson, Nixon and Johnson decided the local police were no longer able to provide leadership on the streets, therefore a third party, one that had heretofore not been involved to any measurable degree, could step in and fill the void. Had the Ferguson unrest occurred ten, maybe 15 years ago, they might have succeeded. Today however, civil unrest like the type seen in Ferguson cannot be treated this way. It is a movement bereft of leadership, yet led by thousands. It is the ultimate in organized chaos, and it shatters old hierarchical molds. Welcome to the future.

In his book, “The Revolt of the Public and the Crisis of Authority in the New Millennium” author Martin Gurri argues new social movements no longer need established hierarchies. In fact, modern movements are quickly eroding the authority of established political and special interest groups. They form and dissolve in an almost unpredictable manner and exist just so long as the desire to revolt continues. New movements, like the one in Ferguson, are not motivated by old enticements, rather they are ideologically motivated. This makes them impossible to prevent, and nearly impossible to slow or hinder. Due to their fluid nature, these movements do not require centralized leadership. This is both their primary strength and their ultimate weakness. They exist, as Gurri stated, in a crisis of authority. The crisis is not so much personal, as most within the group do not care for authoritative figureheads, it is deeply internal and inherent in their structure. Thus, once a movement begins to weaken, it will self-decimate rapidly and life will carry on as usual. That is the risk of leaderless resistances.

So, is Ferguson a leaderless resistance and does it suffer from a crisis of authority? To answer that we need to look at who has tried to steer the movement. We already touched on Capt. Johnson and Gov. Nixon. They failed, as seen in the Governor’s August 17th request for National Guard troops. Others include the Nation of Islam, The New Black Panther Party, Rev. Al Sharpton, the Moorish Temple and many others. Other than a few hours of relative calm, none of these groups can control the movement. During the build-up to the Saturday night teargas deployment, numerous protesters and observers were heard begging the crowd to obey the curfew. They were ignored and the mass moved on until there was gas. They were ignored because they represented and existential element, trying to break into dynamic and take control. They were honestly just as effective as riot officers.

Where do we go from here? In terms of law enforcement, strategies will need to be modified. As I stated earlier, these movements are impossible to predict, therefore impossible to stop. They can however be slowed, and occasionally derailed. The methods for this do not involve teargas, per se, rather an intellectual look at the dynamic and good old fashioned risk analysis. For protesters the leaderless movements mean more teargas, more hacktivism, and an unknown future. If the movement’s message resonates with the citizens and power brokers, then social change may occur. If however the movement is seen as nothing more than rampaging malcontents the message will die as the people turn their backs on your plight.

#Ferguson. (www.upi.com)

Bundy V. #Ferguson; Teargas and Smiles All Around!

This post was originally published in September, 2014. 

Bundy Ranch and Ferguson threw out all notions of what people thought they knew about activism be it left wing, right wing, or race-based. Both incidents were born of the exact same frustration and both suffered from outsiders “hijacking” the movements to serve their own ends. However, while they are similar in some ways, Ferguson and Bunkerville were treated completely different by the media, the public, and more importantly law enforcement. This has led many to question the reason one incurred such a violent response, while the other appeared to be a government in retreat. The answers are much simpler than most people are willing to accept, and they probably are not what most believe.

In order to adequately explain the difference between Ferguson and Bunkerville, it is necessary to briefly review both. In April 2014, a local rancher named Cliven Bundy issued a call for help from his cattle ranch near Bunkerville, Nevada. Bundy was facing the closing days of a decades old dispute with the US government, spearheaded by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). The BLM closed several thousand acres of public land, and were preparing to round up Bundy’s trespass cattle, which had roamed on the land for several years despite court orders to cease. Bundy’s call was answered by dozens of “patriots” and a number of citizen militia. The result was hundreds of armed men and women, ready to fight for what they saw as stunning government overreach. After nearly two weeks of escalating rhetoric, the incident ended with the BLM retreating, and the militia declaring victory.

In Ferguson, on August 9th, an officer confronted two African American men who were walking in the middle of the street. Accounts vary as to what happened next, but the consensus is, one of the men, Michael Brown, began to wrestle with the officer as the officer was in his vehicle. Brown fled from the officer, but then turned back to face him. At that point, the officer fired at Brown, killing him. Brown was found to be unarmed. The next night, a candle light vigil for Brown took a turn for the worst as members of the vigil began looting local businesses. By late on August 10th, many businesses were burned and other property destroyed. On-line hacktivists called for a full-scale attack on the City of Ferguson and the police department. The hacktivists took down web sites, and encouraged civil-disobedience on the ground. Dozens were arrested. Police deployed rubber bullets, audio-disruption devises, teargas and riot officers. The unrest ended nearly two weeks after it began. Over 150 people were arrested in the 16 days of rioting.

What is the cause of such a disparity? The answer lies in the inherent nature of social movements. Each movement needs three things; a clear message, a sympathetic public, and the ability to evolve. A clear message is a prerequisite for organization. When organized, activist movements are easier to control because the crowd follows a certain set of rules, established by the leadership. Examples of this include almost all immigration marches, anti-tax rallies, and anti-war protests. While both movements were in response to government oppression, only one had a clear message; Bunkerville.

At Bunkerville, Cliven Bundy and the militia set out to protect Bundy’s trespass cattle and secure the release of the confiscated cows. The message was clear, thus when two of the country’s largest militias arrived, the Oath Keepers and Arizona Praetorian Guard, they were able to quickly establish leadership and control the movement. It is important to note that when BLM Special Agent Dan Love broke the skirmish line and approached the throngs of armed militia, he was able to negotiate with one person. This presence of leadership allowed for the peaceful retreat of the BLM and probably saved the lives of dozens of people.

In Ferguson the message was ambiguous; “Justice for Mike Brown” or “stop police brutality” or “the police are racist” and so on. The lack of a single coherent message led to a lack of leadership and instead, an ochlocracy formed and remained for two weeks. People took to the streets being led by an ideology, fed by anonymous on-line provocateurs. Several people tried to take control of the mob including Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson, and the Nation of Islam. None of them succeeded because none of them had a clear message. On August 15th, five days after the shooting, Captain Ron Johnson from the Missouri Highway Patrol arrived on scene and attempted a similar move as BLM SA Love. Initially it looked as through Capt. Johnson’s presence and the use of the state police was enough to quell the anger, but this notion faded within 24 hours as the mob continued to riot. In the end, Ferguson calmed simply by virtue of running out of steam. As many movements have witnessed throughout history, anger and resentment only last for so long. Had one, tangible demand emerged early, Ferguson would have never seen the clouds of gas.

The police responded to Bunkerville and Ferguson in the same manner; heavily armed, teargas at the ready, and skirmish lines prepared. Bunkerville’s throngs were placated by their leadership, thus not a single round was fired. In Ferguson, no one was in charge so the crowd surged, challenged the skirmish lines, and incurred the wrath of a modern police force. Police agencies in the US are not accustomed to dealing with leaderless resistance. Their approach in Ferguson was not at all surprising when viewed through the lens of modern police training and common knowledge, both of which state, “look for the leader.” In the end, shouts of racism and intolerance by police in Ferguson hold little water because the movement itself invited the response by failing to organize early. Interestingly, Bunkerville and Ferguson attracted enough people to qualify as a sympathetic public, even if that public was highly niche. Unfortunately neither enjoyed national or global support similar to “Occupy.” Time will tell if Ferguson is able to adapt, but without a defined message this is not likely.

Much more can be said in regards to the Ferguson movement and its face-first collision with the police. The main point however will never change and that is, Ferguson lacked a message, therefore they lacked leadership, and we all saw the results.

Why #ISIS cares about #Ferguson

Standing on the rubble of a bombed-out apartment complex in Gaza seems an odd place to see a sign supporting rioters in Ferguson, Missouri.  Yet, there he stands, a man with a forlorn look, holding a homemade sign declaring Gaza’s support for the movement in Ferguson. The links between Gaza and Ferguson are not obvious to the general public, and require a deep dive into American left ideology. Indeed this is exactly why the links between Gaza and Ferguson should be treated seriously. Anti-establishment ideology is ubiquitous in American activism and research into the solidarity between Gaza and Ferguson opens a Pandora’s box of extremism which ultimately leads to a British Jihadi fighting for ISIS.

In August the terrorist group, the “Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine” issued a statement of solidarity with the protestors in Ferguson. The PFLP, amongst other things, stated “…the empire will fall from within.” The phrase is not merely an extremist platitude, it is a philosophy that many activists in the United States either ignorantly follow, or willingly promote. Regardless of where one stands in the activist continuum, they all acknowledge that no external force would ever bring down the United States. But what if a force was able to crumble the system from the inside? Is there a precedent for this? The answers to these questions explain the recent messages from ISIS to Ferguson.

If one looks at the Arab Spring or Euro-Maidan one sees a common theme emerge; when governments fail, extremists thrive. No one can reasonably argue that the Arab-Spring didn’t benefit al-Qaeda, the Muslim Brotherhood, or even ISIS to a certain degree. Syria is a failed state and is the global training ground for Jihadists from California to Chechnya. In each of these cases, the impetus for unrest came from within but was fueled by outsiders who leveraged the chaos to seize power. Power was found by those who could move swiftly into a deteriorating situation and establish order. Iraq, Syria, and Egypt all stand as a testament that a government can be crumbled from the inside and that extremism is quick to move in and take over.

Returning to Ferguson, is there a foreign influence and does it encourage anti-government sentiment? The answer is a resounding yes. For example there are at least a dozen pro-Palestinian groups on the ground in Ferguson operating, organizing, and encouraging the unrest. Each of the groups have direct links to Gaza and spread their ideology through drawing moral equivalencies between the “oppressive Israeli occupation” and a “racist, militarized police force” in the United States. They all understand that once a person accepts the premise they are being systematically targeted by an oppressive regime, any tactic becomes morally acceptable. Hence, rioting, looting, and even violence are not only suggested, they are encourages. The police in the United States are now seen as a militant arm of a Fascist regime, controlled by anomalous powers and fueled by institutionalized racism.

This is the exact vector four members of ISIS used to inject their support for Ferguson. Their messages, while seemingly short, are firebrands stoking distrust, anger, and extremism. They seem to have watched the influence of the anti-Israel groups and decided they too can capitalize on the dissent. Their messages are an acknowledgment that the plan has worked before, and could work again. The question now becomes will Ferguson act as a rally point for lone wolves or homegrown violent extremists sympathetic to ISIS, al-Qaeda, or PFLP? Time will tell. The “Food Stamp Bomb Plot” foiled last week does not appear to be connected to an international group, but was terror inspired nonetheless. Their amateur attempts may be a “one-off” or may be the beginning of a new wave of insider attacks aimed at undermining the government. Again, time will tell.

“Jade Helm is coming for you.”- An overview of the movement to stop #MartialLaw

                                        A valid threat or just bored Bundy alumni?

 

In May 2014 at a little ranch near Bunkerville, Nevada, a small army of patriots, militiamen, psychos, and gun-nuts gathered to fend off the encroaching US Government, manifested in the Bureau of Land Management. While much of the army comprised the respectable “who’s-who” of the US Militia movement, there were several right wing extremists, paranoid preppers, and all around wackos who always managed to jump in front of a camera or make a dumb comment on radio. Their paranoia was kept at bay by the rigid para-military discipline fostered in the legitimate militia groups. Unfortunately, as always happens in large scale movements like this, a small amount of paranoia always leaks through the cracks and causes havoc. In Bundy’s case, an unnamed, DOD insider, who was some sort of ex-Green Beret or SEaL, or Delta Force Commando told the Oath Keepers Eric Holder was going to wipe them out with a drone strike. The ensuing chaos tore a wide chasm between the Oath Keepers and dozens of other militia groups. What does this have to do with Op: Jade Helm 15?

Everything.

Activist groups love conspiracy theories. The left was certain Bush was going to declare himself a dictator in 2008. The current Black Lives Matter/ Ferguson movement is rife with conspiracies about police abuse, evidence tampering, and so on. The far right however seems to hold a special place in Tin-Hat City as is evident by their latest target; The Unites States Military. This summer dozens of military personnel will take part in a nationwide training exercise called Jade Helm 15. The exercise will include elements of public surveillance, urban scenarios, and quite possibly, hostile crowd control. The Pentagon, has been uncharacteristically open about JH15 and information on the exercise is ubiquitous on the Internet. Despite the openness of the government, and vast amounts of verified information on the net, hundreds of conspiracy pages have popped up all across the country.

The paranoia reached critical mass in April when the Texas State Guard was ordered to observe and report the movements of JH15 operators. The fear in Texas, as well as in dozens of other states, is JH15 is a precursor to POTUS declaring Martial Law, and confiscating guns. This is of course the best case scenario. The worst is “another” false flag operation leading to Martial Law and the confiscation of guns. Either way, the two biggest fears of the right are coming true, and all at the hands of the US Military.

Upstart militia groups and obscure militia main-stays jumped on board the paranoia train and began kicking out social media and “information” pages designed to educate the population on the dangers of JH15, and even resist it if needed. The biggest casualty in the furor over JH15, just like in the current BLM riots, is trust. The mainstream right has traditionally stood-by and defended the military at all costs.  The far right has always been “pro-military” but maintained a cautious distance. With JH15 coming, the far right has decided the military can no longer be trusted. This is a dangerous evolution as most of them have also cast aside support for the police, never supported Congress or the White House, and hate the FBI. If they can cause enough trouble, they would easily begin to pull the mainstream right down with them. This would not be good for the right who need to convince the nation they are ready to lead in 2016. Distractions like JH15 conspiracy theories only reinforce the notion that the right wing is crazy.

In terms of dangers to JH15 operators and contractors; time will tell. It is entirely reasonable to expect surveillance teams and live-streamers, trailing JH15 personnel. It is also possible, however unlikely, a one-off takes his chances at fighting the government by targeting JH15. In the end, once JH15 is over, the Internet will move-on to the newest conspiracy theory and the far right wing will continue to look distant and unrelatable.

“The South Will Rise Again!” so says The League of the South

Secessionist and nationalist movements are frequently lumped into the category of “hate groups” due to their hyper niche ideology focused on eliminating some form of tormenter. For some its the “Jews” while for others its African Americans, foreigners, gays, or any other segment of society which fails to meet their standards. Applying the label of hate group conjures up images of hooded white men chanting racial slurs while marching in lock-step around a burning cross. Any more, the designation leads to a quick dismissal by the larger activist community, and allows these groups to operate with impunity in the shadows. Thus is the case with the emerging League of the South.

Founded in 1994 by a group of Southern academia and attorneys, LOS claims ideological kinship with the League of United Southerners and the Italian national-populist movement, Lega Nord. According to their own website, LOS was formed as a secessionist movement brought about because of the corruption of the United States government. Their formation in the mid-nineties follows the marked increase of anti-government groups during the same time. Founders and early members of the group include the attorney who defended Martin Luther King’s assassin, and a weapons trafficker who was building his own armory with stolen US military assets.

LOS is careful to avoid the label of “revolutionary”, which would denote the violent overthrow of the US government. Rather, LOS claims to be a pure secessionist movement seeking legal separation from the United States. LOS leadership encourages their adherents go through a process they call “abjuration of the realm” which in short, is the complete removal of oneself from the power of the government. An extrapolation of this hints at traditional sovereign citizen actions like refusing to pay taxes, refusing to vote, and recusing oneself from the census. Indeed, LOS feels the current US government constitutes an unholy empire, occupying southern lands and that through abjuration the entire south can become a sovereign nation with its own commerce, customs, and rule of law all favoring a Christian Southern Lifestyle.

LOS recently garnered media attention due to a rallies in Montgomery, Alabama and Tallahassee, Florida. In Alabama, a small contingent of LOS members participated in an anti-gay marriage rally. According to LOS, gay marriage is not in-line with the teachings of Jesus Christ, therefore is not tolerable. In April, LOS combined with the Republic of Florida Militia to protest against the Students for Justice in Palestine, and their burning of a Confederate flag. To LOS, the Confederate Flag is a symbol of their culture and heritage whereas to the Students for Justice in Palestine, it represented hate and violence a la the Ku Klux Klan. While protesting against the Students for Justice is hardly indicative of a hate group, LOS’ description of the protestors as “trannies” left little doubt as to their ideology.

LOS membership numbers are unknown, but based on their social media page and publicly available photographs, they probably number anywhere from 30 to 50. There is no indication LOS has influence outside of the southern states, but within that region they are definitely on the move. They revamped their website recently, moving away from “Dixie Net” to a more professional URL. They also maintain a facebook page complete with a banner showing members holding signs reading, “Immigration hurts southern workers” another indicator of their bias against anyone but their own “kind.” Page admins bragged recently about new members with diverse skill sets volunteering their time to improve their image. There is also unconfirmed reports from late 2014 indicating the group was building and training a paramilitary force for protection.

Time will tell if LOS makes an aggressive move into the militia realm or will stay a club-like secessionist movement. In either case, if the last few months are an indicator of what’s to come, we may be seeing more of the League of the South.