Extremely American Heath Druzin 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 Jan. 6 U.S. Capitol riot, this once-shadowy movement has never been more relevant.
Extremely American

Extremely American

From Boise State Public Radio News

Heath Druzin 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 Jan. 6 U.S. Capitol riot, this once-shadowy movement has never been more relevant.

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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."

The Resistance

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.

The Insurrection Wing

J.R. Majewski was in Washington D.C. the day of the Capitol insurrection, hoping to see millions of U.S. votes thrown out to overturn the presidential election of Joe Biden. Now he wants your vote, at least if you live in Ohio between Cleveland and Toledo.Majewski has also dabbled in the baseless QAnon conspiracy but redistricting means he may have a chance to unseat the longest-serving woman in Congress, Democrat Marcy Kaptur. The partisan redrawing of election maps also means there's more Majewskis out there. People who would have been fringe candidates in the past now have a chance to gain power at the polls.

The Anti-Government Government

When Idaho Gov. Brad Little left the state in April 2019, his second in command wasted no time asserting her authority as acting governor.Lieutenant Governor Janice McGeachin gathered members of a prominent militia outside the Idaho capitol and administered an oath similar to one taken by new U.S. troops.This was just the latest move for the far-right, militia-adjacent politician.She led a full-on rebellion against the state's pandemic measures and became a fixture at rallies of the paranoid conspiracy group The John Birch Society. She even sent a Facebook post of encouragement to a militiaman imprisoned for pointing a rifle at federal agents.McGeachin is leading a kind of anti-government government and now she and her allies are making a play to take over.

People's Fights

People's Rights started as a poorly-attended meeting in a drafty Idaho warehouse. But anti-government activist Ammon Bundy has grown his network to more than 30,000 people nationwide, ready to mobilize and fight the government on a moment's notice — a kind of militia on-demand.

Voila, Militia

The modern militia movement started, in part, in Lee Miracle's living room. In 1994, a bunch of guys incensed about the deadly government sieges at Ruby Ridge, Idaho and Waco, Texas gathered there. They talked about what they would do if the government came knocking on their door and agreed, they'd want backup. In this episode, Heath goes to Michigan, where Lee Miracle still runs his Southeast Michigan Volunteer Militia nearly 30 years later.