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Patriot Free Fall: For the Fifth Consecutive Year, the Antigovernment Movement That Produced American Militias Undergoes a Major Decline

NCJ Number
Intelligence Report Issue: 106 Dated: Summer 2002 Pages: 30-31
Mark Potok
Date Published
3 pages
This article describes the decline of the anti-government "Patriot" movement that produced American militias.
The Patriot movement is less than 20 percent of the size it was in 1996 when it was at its peak. This movement is characterized by armed militias, wild conspiracy theories, a hatred of the Federal Government and government regulation, an overarching love for guns, and occasionally a strong component of racism. Due to arrests, defections, and disappointed expectations of a revolution that has never materialized, the movement is today nearly dead. In 2001 just 158 anti-government Patriot groups were found to be active, which is 19 percent less than in 2000, and is the fifth consecutive annual decline in numbers since 1996. However, the American radical right is not declining, with more harder-line groups existing presently than in the 1990's. Six hundred seventy six white supremacist groups and other hate groups were found to be active in 2001. It appears that these groups have a harder line and are more overtly racist. However, in response to September 11, many militia leaders offered the support of the Patriot movement to President Bush in defense against terrorism, and were shocked when they were rejected. It is also reported that the number of Patriot Web sites increased between 2000 to 2001, but there were fewer groups connected to the Web sites in 2001 than in 2000. Even with the decrease in Patriot movement membership, domestic terrorism continues by means of the hardheaded principals of the movement that remain.


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