This podcast takes you inside the world of the ascendant Patriot Movement. Meet the militia members and far-right activists who are simultaneously preparing to fight the government and become part of it. Nearly a year after the Jan. 6 U.S. Capitol riot, this once-shadowy movement has never been more relevant.Extremely American on Boise State Public Radio is presented in partnership with Postindustrial Media LLC.
From Idaho to Ohio, Some Major Updates On Extremely American Characters
Extremely American host Heath Druzin and reporter James Dawson break down the results of the Idaho and Ohio primaries where several characters from the podcast faced voters, and the larger meaning for far-right movements in America.
Beyond Jan. 6: How Militias Are Trying To Remake America
This week’s bonus episode is a conversation with Extremely American creator and host Heath Druzin about militias and other far-right movements. It was originally a Twitter Spaces hosted by NPR and Boise State Public Radio.Don’t worry, it’s not a recap of the podcast but rather a look forward with Heath, investigative journalist Dina Temple-Raston and extremism researcher Cristina López G.It’s a wide-ranging discussion about where the movements are headed, their outlook with Donald Trump out of office, how online recruitment is changing the face of these groups, and the sometimes unintended effects of anti-extremism strategies, like de-platforming.
The Kenosha Kid
The Kyle Rittenhouse murder trial captured militias’ attention like no other criminal case in recent memory.For them, Rittenhouse embodied the way they see themselves: protectors, keeping their communities from anarchy at the end of a rifle. His acquittal was seen as vindication for them and a green light to continue self-styled armed security.That worries a lot of people. But what’s more worrisome is the celebration of the killings at the heart of the case. The country is starting to get more comfortable with political violence and the Rittenhouse case might be just the beginning.
Taking Militias To Court
Former federal prosecutor Mary McCord is trying to put militias out of business and she’s got their attention. She’s working on a national strategy to get prosecutors and law enforcement to enforce anti-militia laws she says are on the books in every state. And it’s already starting to work. She won a lawsuit against militias who came to the deadly White supremacist Unite The Right rally in 2017. And now she’s suing a New Mexico Civil Guard militia for their role in an Albuquerque protest that turned violent and ended with a protester shot.Bryce Provance, who led the militia, at the protest thinks the consequences could be dire.“Oh, I think it'll completely abolish any sort of militia.”
Jennifer Ellis has lost friends and received threats in her fight to get the Idaho GOP out of the grips of an increasingly far-right ideology. But she’s no liberal – she’s a conservative rancher who knows her way around firearms and has been a behind the scene player in GOP politics for years. Now she’s trying to pull her party back from its increasing coziness with militias, anti-vaxxers and other far-right groups.Her activism is part of a growing cohort of anti-extremism groups around the country that have increased as once-fringe views have started seeping into mainstream politics. Ellis and other anti-extremist activists have an uphill battle in ruby red Idaho, but they’re fighting and winning some battles. And no battle could be bigger than the upcoming election.
The 51st State
Way up in the Northern Rockies there’s a sort of mythical 51st state. It’s called the American Redoubt and it encompasses Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, and parts of Oregon and Washington. Adherents to its philosophy believe in a kind of theocratic limited government utopia, one with lots of guns.Alex Barron is the movement’s self-appointed “bard” and his rhetoric has all the violence of a Shakespearean tragedy.“What are you willing to kill for?” he asks a crowd of far-right activists wondering about where the line should be when responding to the government with force.Redoubters like Barron talk about their movement like evangelists and in a way they are – they are recruiting people to move there, live off the grid and run for office. And it’s working – they are reshaping their communities in Idaho and surrounding states, and as far as they’re concerned, those who disagree can leave.
I’ve come to the personal conclusion that understanding the political themes on the extreme ends - right and left - is as necessary as watching the weather: It’s easier to prepare for a tornado if you listen to the people who understand the conditions leading up to it.
The team behind Extremely American are steeped in this world and have researched the connections - as amorphous as they are - between a lot of the major players in the movement. They do the rest of us a massive service by performing this act of journalism and having their names attached, knowing that it might put a target on their backs.
Good for the most part
First off, fantastic job on your research and knowledge of the topics. Second, where has it gone? I need more and I need it now! There are just a few bits and pieces that didn’t set right with me. Although it may seem like it is given in an un-biased,fact based manner,I don’t think that is quite the case. There were a few points you made that simply took low blows at the people you asked to interview. I feel the first episode was the best in terms of showing the movement from the inside. Some of the other episodes felt like news stories on scandals. Despite that this was an incredible series leaving me wanting more!
A sprawling yet intimate look at white nationalist militias. Timely and unique