Agenda 21: A nonbinding United Nations resolution (now replaced by the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development) that advocates that environmental sustainability be taken into account in any new development. The Hard Right claims it is a global conspiracy to use the ruse of environmentalism to seize rural land and drive people into cities before the United Nations invades.
Antisemitism: Anti-Jewish ideas often based on conspiracy theories about global control, especially of banks and media.
Bundy Ranch: In 2014, federal agents tried to seize the cattle of Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy for his public refusal to pay grazing fees to the Bureau of Land Management for his use of federal land. Armed Patriot movement members drove the agents away. No arrests initially occurred, and this apparent success spurred a revival in the Patriot movement. In February 2016, Cliven Bundy and others were arrested on charges for this incident.
Committee of Safety: A Patriot movement political formation that mimics forms of local government. Ammon Bundy, who set up a Committee of Safety in Harney County in 2015 before the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge occupation, claimed that the entity had the power to expel federal agencies from the county.
Constitutional sheriff: The idea that county sheriffs will abide by a Hard Right interpretation of the Constitution. This includes the view that county sheriffs have the authority to interpret what laws and regulations are constitutional, and that they will refuse to enforce those which are seen not to be. Popularized by the Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association.
Coordination: A process, referred to in several federal acts, which allows local governments to give suggestions to federal agencies regarding land use issues. Hard Right activists claims that it allows local governments to veto or direct the federal agencies; this claim is rejected by the federal authorities.
County Supremacy: A 1990s movement that claimed that counties had control over federal lands. Its legal claims were shot down by the courts. Its ideas continue today as the Hard Right reading of “coordination.”
Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association (CSPOA): A national group of county sheriffs and other law enforcement who follow Patriot movement beliefs about the Constitution. Founded in 2010, it is led by Richard Mack, who claims that county sheriffs can decide which laws are Constitutional.
Dual power: A tactic of setting up alternate social and governmental institutions with the goal of replacing the current system. The Patriot movement has many elements of dual power, including courts, judges, militias, Committees of Safety, emergency preparedness teams, and community watches.
Entryism: The tactic of a smaller group entering into a larger political movement or organization with the goal of taking it over, influencing it, or attempting to capture part of its membership.
Fourteenth Amendment: Guarantees citizenship for all born on U.S. soil. Originally passed to ensure citizenship for freed slaves, it is now a topic of debate in the context of the children of undocumented immigrants.
Ferguson, Missouri: This suburb of St. Louis was the site of long-running protests from the Black community after the police killing of unarmed teenager Michael Brown in August 2014. A main catalyst for the takeoff of the Black Lives Matter movement.
Hard Right: A type of right-wing politics that is against a democratic vision of society, in which different groups are mobilized to have a voice and participate in the political system. The Hard Right may either be elitists or build mass movements; some call for authoritarian rule, while others stop short of trying to destroy democratic institutions.
Harney County: Southeastern Oregon county that was the site of the armed takeover of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in January and February 2016.
Islamophobia: Anti-Muslim ideas that include conspiracy theories about how Muslims are secret jihadists and are attempting to implement Sharia law in the West. Often uses traditional antisemitic narratives, mixed in with xenophobic anti-immigrant impulses.
Josephine County: Southwestern Oregon county that has a strong strain of right-wing politic and many Patriot movement-style groups. Site of the Sugar Pine Mine armed encampments in 2015.
Justus Township: A compound in Montana that the “Freeman” (early Sovereign Citizens) declared to be independent. Site of an 81-day standoff in 1996, which eventually ended peacefully, unlike previous standoffs at Waco and Ruby Ridge.
Land transfer: The movement to transfer public lands, especially in the West, out of the hands of the federal government, which controls 47 percent of the land in 11 western states. Transfer advocates want federal land to be transferred to state and/or county hands.
Malheur occupation: From February 2 to January 11, 2016, armed Patriot movement activists led by Ammon Bundy occupied the headquarters of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge. They demanded freedom for two local ranchers serving arson sentences, and the transfer of the refuge out of federal hands.
Militia movement: A Hard Right movement, popular from 1994 to 2001, to form locally based paramilitary units. The militias had anti-federal government views, defended gun rights, and held conspiracy theories about a coming UN invasion and black helicopters. Became known as the Patriot movement by 1995.
Molon labe: “Come and Take It.” Anti-gun control rhetoric, popular in the Patriot movement, which signals a willingness to engage in armed resistance.
Nineteenth Amendment: Guarantees women the right to vote.
Nullification: Idea that lower-level governments can reject federal laws, originally designed as a “states rights” doctrine to keep slavery intact. The idea that county sheriffs can decide what laws to enforce is a form of nullification.
Oath Keepers: An organization of current and former law enforcement, military, and first responders, although others can join as associate members. They pledge not to enforce a series of actions by the federal government that are unconstitutional—although these are, in truth, a series of long standing right-wing conspiracy theories.
Oklahoma City bombing: On April 19, 1995, two militia movement members bombed the Alfred P. Murrah building in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, killing 168.
Organic Constitution: The preamble, the body of the Constitution, and Bill of Rights. Those who argue that only this is the legitimate Constitution wish to, among other things, strip most African-Americans of citizenship, abolish the federal income tax, and repeal the right to vote for women.
Posse Comitatus: Latin for “Power of the County.” A racist and antisemitic political group which started in the early 1970s. They created the idea that the county sheriff was highest legal authority, promoted the formation of militias, and gave birth to the Sovereign Citizen movement.
Prepper: People who stockpile goods in preparation for a collapse, whether natural or economic. Often, but not always, tied to Hard Right political movements.
Producerism: The idea that the members of society (such as factory workers or farmers) who produce physical, tangible goods are the most important group. They are often seen as being under attack by unproductive elites from above. There are both progressive and reactionary versions of the producerist narrative.
“Protect the Protectors”: July 2015 campaign by the Oath Keepers to post armed guards outside of military recruiting stations, following an attack on one by a possible Islamist.
Redemption theory: A financial scam justified by Sovereign Citizen beliefs. It claims that the federal government deposits money in a special bank account when citizens are born, and this money can be withdrawn by using financial instruments—which have no actual value.
Right-wing populism: Name for a style of politics outlined by Chip Berlet and Matthew Lyons in Right-Wing Populism in America. It is based on producerism, demonization and scapegoating, conspiracy thinking, as well as apocalyptic narratives and millennial visions.
Ruby Ridge: In 1992, the remote Idaho cabin of White separatist Randy Weaver and his family were surrounded by federal authorities who attempted to execute an arrest warrant. Two Weaver family members and one federal agent died in the siege, which was one of the inspirations for the militia movement.S
Sagebrush Rebellion: In 1976, the federal government finally declared that it would not redistribute the majority of its remaining landholdings, which were mostly in the western states. A number of legislators responded by unsuccessfully trying transfer the land to the states. A predecessor of the Wise Use and County Supremacy movements.
SB 941: Oregon law passed in 2015 which requires, among other things, background checks for gun sales between individuals. Many Oregon county sheriffs openly opposed the bill and some publicly refused to enforce it.
Sixteenth Amendment: Allows a federal income tax based on income. Opposition to this amendment has been a long-standing Hard Right cause.
Sovereign Citizens: A political movement that utilizes a series of legal filings and arguments that are not accepted by the courts. Its origins are in the 1970s racist and antisemitic group Posse Comitatus, which sought to rewrite legal history to favor White, Christian men. Sovereign Citizens believe that most laws don’t apply to them, and will try to make these arguments in court. They are often involved in a number of financial scams. Strangely, today the Sovereign Citizen movement has a multi-racial following.
Sugar Pine Mine: Gold mine in Josephine County, Oregon. In April 2015 Oath Keepers and other Patriot movement activists establish armed encampments when the mine owners were asked by the Bureau of Land Management to file paperwork for unauthorized changes to their claim.
Tenth Amendment: Guarantees that rights not reserved by the federal government go to the states. When it is invoked by the Patriot movement, it is usually to argue that the states should be exercising powers that the federal government currently holds.
Three Percenters: A decentralized paramilitary; anyone can consider themselves a member, although groups exist as well. They pledge not to allow any new gun restrictions. The name refers to the disputed number of colonialists who took up arms in the American Revolution.
Waco: In 1993, following a botched raid, the federal government surrounded the compound of the Branch Davidian sect in Waco, Texas, and laid siege to it. In the end, during an assault the buildings caught on fire; when it was over, 84 people had died. One of the catalysts for the militia movement.
White Hope Mine: A mine outside of Lincoln, Montana. In August 2015, Patriot movement activists established armed encampments after miners came into conflict with the Forest Service.
Wise Use: Anti-environmentalist movement in the late 1980s through mid-1990s. Originally funded by natural resource extraction industries.