"Remember the lesson from my book: It just took a few shootings at Kent State to shut that down for good," - Ann Coutler.The Oathkeepers were a loose organization of Veterans, Police Officers, Active Duty Military and National Guardsmen which nominally declared they would never "just follow orders" and deprive Americans of their Constitutional Rights, with the motto "Not on Our Watch". Today they have little impact but you can still find right-wing blogs which tout the Oathkeeper Pledge, as conservative blowhard The Bloviating Zeppelin recently did in declaring himself an Oathkeeper.
Originally, following the election of President Obama, the Oathkeepers began coalescing around the time the Department of Homeland Security released their 2009 memo concerning the Rise of recruiting efforts amongst returning service members by violent Right Wing Extremist/Sovereign Citizen/Domestic Terrorist groups. The DHS Memorandum was spurred on by the murder of 3 Pittsburgh Police Officers by Right Wing Extremist Richard Poplawski and noted that the Republicon Recession and President Obama's election presented unique moment in American history.
Additionally, the Southern Poverty Law Center began to document the Re-Rise of the Patriot Militia Movements and the evolving nature of the internet allowed for more dynamic connectivity. Famously, amongst the Oathkeepers former Marine Charles Dyer's skull-masked youtube video set to the soundtrack of The Last of the Mohicans, and the ludicrous videos of Bob Basso pretending to be Thomas Paine dressed in standard 1776 garb became rallying points.
Much of the resulting Oathkeeper History became entangled with the Tea Party, Birtherism, Faux News, fear of the Michele Bachmann/Glenn Beck FEMA Concentration Camps and the Co-opting of the organization's energy by the 1% to direct anger at President Obama and the Democratic Party.
The salient point now is not their manipulation at the hands of the Republicon Party, FreedomWorks or the Koch Brothers but, in light of their 10 Point "NOT" Pledge, the fact The Oathkeepers are little more than another group who wittingly or unwittingly carries the water of the 1% and should more accurately be called the Oathbreakers Militia. This is Pledge #10:
We will NOT obey any orders which infringe on the right of the people to free speech, to peaceably assemble, and to petition their government for a redress of grievances.Want to guess what the reaction to OWS and #Occupy was from the Oathbreakers? Infiltration and Destruction.
I occasionally saw the odd Ron Paulian Banner at #OccupyChi, but the Oathbreakers attempt to pass along Alex Jones conspiracy memes at various #Occupy General Assemblies (GA) failed. Occupiers are too adroit (literally) and too well read to fall for that Pablum.
Of course, the failure of the Oathbreakers to successfully "Occupy the Occupation" may explain why when the NYPD, Oakland Police, Boston PD, and every paramilitary Police Force were ordered to beat, tear gas, pepper spray, shoot, destroy personal property, illegally detain and violate the Rights of Americans to Peaceably Assemble and petition the Government there was no outcry from the Oathbreakers. And as Right-Wing websites continued the call for more Police Violence and even as anti-American World Net Daily writer Phil Elmore requested,
"Call out the National Guard. Turn on the fire hoses. Send bulldozers. Bring flame-throwers, for pity's sake. Men and women who give a damn about their country, wearing Hazmat suits and respiratory gear, empowered by the lawful government of this nation, should be marching in ranks on every Obamaville this very moment, prepared to beat with truncheons and shoot with rubber bullets every last filthy hippie. The "occupiers" are criminals and terrorists."There was naught but silence from the Oathkeepers.
When Richmond Police bulldozers turned the potential into the actual, the Oathkeepers showed themselves to be nothing more than a thinly veiled Militia, exactly what everyone at the DHS knew them to be, A Reactionary Anti-American Band of Pseudo Terrorists, who had no intention of standing for the American people but had the the very real purpose of blaming the Democratic Party and President Obama for the evils committed by Wall Street, the Corporate Plutocrats and the 1%.
“First amendment rights are not absolute.” Los Angeles Chief Deputy City Atty William Carter said in a public statement. He thinks that the lesson these protesters need to take away from being arrested and jailed for two days is that they were wrong about their rights. According to a LA Times article, Many Occupy L.A. protesters arrested during demonstrations in recent months are being offered a unique chance to avoid court trials: pay $355 to a private company for a lesson in free speech. Carter said the city won't press charges against protesters who complete the educational program offered by American Justice Associates.
You see as long as the Wrong Americans are having their Rights Violated, the Oathkeepers are willing to look the other way.