“This is a military invasion by the cartels and a political coup by the domestic Marxist controlled left, which sees open borders and mass-illegal invasion as their ticket to permanent illegitimate political power. This is a matter of national security and also a matter of national survival. This invasion/coup must be stopped, and with the ongoing failure of the RINO dominated Republicans to finance a wall, stopping it will now require full scale military action, which we strongly encourage President Trump to take under his authority as Commander In Chief.”Stewart Rhodes, “Oath Keepers Call to Action: Border Operation,” on the Oath Keepers website, Dec. 4, 2018 (as quoted by Southern Poverty Law Center)
Relevance to New England Landscape:
- Oath Keepers formed in 2009 and are a paramilitary organization. They launched the organization with a rally in Lexington, Massachusetts, on Apr. 19, 2009, in reaction to Barack Obama’s election.
- Their membership is a majority previous or current law enforcement and military.
- Armed Oath Keepers patrolled the streets of Ferguson, MO during that uprising in 2014 and 2015. Oath Keepers have a long history of armed standoffs with the federal and state government:
- 2014 – Bundy Ranch standoff
- 2015 – Rowan County, Kentucky, armed security to prevent the arrest of Kim Davis, a county clerk who refused to grant same sex marriage licenses.
- 2017 – multiple locations, provided security for “March Against Sharia,” a project of Back the Blue/ACT for America
- Oath Keepers actively participated in the January 6, 2021 riot in Washington, DC. Leaked membership lists show the members in many New England legislatures and elected offices and police departments. Recordings document violent conspiracies they intended to act out that day.
- The presence of Oath Keepers in elected office and positions of power throughout New England shows the infrastructure of white supremacist militancy before Trump.
Resources & Links:
- “Hundreds of Massachusetts residents joined the extremist Oath Keepers. Today, many are distancing themselves.” Danny McDonald, Boston Globe, October 10, 2022
- “Oath Keepers founder accused of ‘armed rebellion’ on January 6 at trial,” The Guardian, October 3, 2022
- “Two Mass. politicians named in Oath Keepers’ membership lists,” Philip Martin, WGBH, September 9, 2022
- “Maine, New Hampshire officials found on far-right group’s leaked membership rolls,” Michael Shepherd, Bangor Daily News, September 8, 2022
- “What we know about the nearly 300 NH residents who appear in Oath Keepers database,” Todd Bookman, NHPR, March 3, 2022
- “Oath Keepers,” Southern Poverty Law Center
New England Known Members/Affiliates:
- John Beidler, CT
- Ron Beaty of Barnstable, MA (former candidate)
- Committeeman David A. Sanders, Wilbraham, MA
- Richard Selfridge, MA
- Former Officer Scott Hartzler, Falmouth, MA
- Former Officer John Ouellette, Braintree, MA
- Former Officer Joseph R. LaFlower, Warren, MA
- Former Officer David Bonaparte, Raynham, MA
- Town Councilor Ben Hartwell, Gorham, ME
- County Commissioner Wayne Erkkinen, Piscataquis County, ME
- Senator Bob Giuda, Warren, NH
- Former Senator Bob Clegg, NH
- Deputy Craig Charest, County Sheriff’s Office, Rockingham County, NH
- Former Police Chief Officer Scott Young of Strafford, NH (currently Barrington Police Department, NH)
- MA: 550
- NH: 300
- ME: 215
- CT: 476
- RI: 123
- VT: [could not access at the time of writing]
New England Actions Since 2017:
- PROFILED EVENT: Boston Free Speech Rally
May 13, 2017