The first time I heard of militias in this country was the time of the failed Cuban invasion under President Kennedy (1961) that was carried out by “militias” of Cuban refugees. These were armed private citizens of Cuban descent whose intent was to overthrow the Cuban government, the Castro regime.
American militias existed, too, back then and they have multiplied since. So, what are the intentions of U.S.-based militias that rail on and on about the tyranny and dictatorship of the U.S. government?
Our government has allowed American militias open access to social media. There they, with the assistance of the Russian intelligence agencies and backing from the NRA, present themselves as patriotic organizations. The free access they were allowed has caused so much damage to this country already that the major social networks have taken independent measures to curtail their access.
On Ian. 6, 2021, we got a taste of their intentions. Members of various militias not only participated but led the attack on the U.S. Congress. ludging from the attackers’ chants, videos and interviews the riot was an attempted coup to overthrow the results of a presidential election and install an autocrat in place of the democratically elected president.
We know of Donald Trump's autocratic inclinations from the friends he kept while in office. He rejected all the traditional democratic allies of America in favor of our enemies, real and virtual autocrats like Putin of Russia, Erdogan of Turkey, Duterte of the Philippines, and Jung-un of North Korea.
Coups play a role in the history of the South American “banana republics;” they should not be a part of America’s history.
The purpose of American militias is the violent overthrow of governments. A Michigan militia planned to kidnap and kill the governor of Michigan. The intent of the mob that invaded Congress on Ian. 6 was to hang the vice-president and otherwise kill congressional leaders.
I taught Russian and Soviet history at Bucknell for 20 years (1971-1991). I began the course on Soviet history with lectures on the Russian “Revolution” of 1918. In October of that year, a mob attacked the Winter Palace, destroying all they didn’t steal. The man who incited the attack with his speeches, Vladimir Lenin, was not among them.
The Russian parliament quickly formed a Provisional Government, which collapsed. Only then did Lenin take control of the government. It was actually not a revolution, but a successful step-by-step mob-initiated coup. Sound familiar?
The militias’ intention is still to overturn the results of a democratic presidential election and install an autocrat in blatant violation of the US Constitution. So, militias cannot claim the protection of the 2nd Amendment of the self-same Constitution whose legitimacy they deny and seek to overturn. Neither can they rationally claim that the 1st Amendment protects their deceitful calls to ignore the results of a democratic election and forcefully install an autocrat.
The parallels between the militant takeover of Congress on Ian. 6 and the initial stages of the Russian Revolution are unsettling. But that, combined with the proliferation of armed private organizations calling themselves “militias,” that have already executed an unsuccessful coup on the U.S. government, has me frightened more than most American seem to be.
We need to recognize these self-proclaimed “militias” for what they are: Armed organizations living outside the Constitution in hopes of one day violently overturning it. We have eliminated Russian interference on their behalf. Their domestic source of succor, the NRA, seems to have eliminated itself from their support. Now is an opportune moment to rein them in.
(Sunbury Daily Item, May 22, 2021)