Militias have been forming in Montana since February 1991. While the rhetoric of these groups focuses on gun control and other familiar militia causes, examination reveals that some of the leading figures in the Montana militia movement have also participated in the activities of racist and anti-Semitic groups.
Meetings have been held across the state, drawing as many as 800 at a March 10 meeting in Kalispell. Two other meetings there also drew over 150 participants. Similar gatherings held in Hamilton, Eureka, Big Timber and Great Falls drew over 200 participants each. Smaller numbers attended meetings in Sanders County, Billings and Troy. While the crowds at initial meetings have been large, they have tended to fall off somewhat at subsequent gatherings.
Montana militias often dwell on the state’s history as an independent outpost of freedom. A recent militia newsletter quoted, with approval, Gary Marbut, president of The Montana Shooting Sports Association (an anti-gun control group) in a call for rejection of all federal control over the state:
Montanans are fed up with the federal government dictating to Montana and the people of Montana and we are through with Congress’s increasing encroachment on the Bill of Rights. We have a thirst for freedom in Montana, and we simply will not subsist under the boot heel of federal tyranny. There may be some debate about what the Second Amendment means to the U.S. Supreme Court or the people of Peoria, but there is no question about what the Second Amendment means to the people of Montana. “The great purpose” as Patrick Henry said, “is that every man be armed.”
MILITIA OF MONTANA
The Militia of Montana (M.O.M.) is among the most visible and the most extreme of such groups in the country. M.O.M. is run in Noxon, Montana by the Trochmann brothers, John and David and David’s son Randy. all of whom have long been involved in the white supremacist movement. The Trochmanns have been members of the Aryan Nations, the Idaho based neo-Nazi organization that promotes anti-Semitism, white supremacy and the establishment of a white racist state. John Trochmann was a featured speaker at the Aryan Nations Congress in 1990. He has also been an active supporter of Randy Weaver, the white supremacist who was involved in a shoot-out with federal authorities. Some members of M.O.M. circulate neo-Nazi publications among themselves. One such book, Seed of the Woman, is a “novel” detailing the wild exploits of several young neo-Nazis in a contemporary America peopled by gross stereotypes. Its favorable depiction of Nazi-inspired slaughter and its promotion of Nazi doctrine make it a prescription for violence against Jews, blacks. homosexuals and others.
M.O.M.’s eight-page pamphlet. “The Militia,” discusses the history of militias and their origin in the United States, arguing that the Second Amendment was intended to allow the citizens to form “unorganized” militias in order to protect themselves from a potentially tyrannical government. It outlines the militia’s role as follows:
To balance the military power of the nation with the might of the militia will put at odds any scheme by government officials to use the force of the government against the people. Therefore, when the codes and statutes are unjust for the majority of the people, the people will rightly revolt and the government will have to acquiesce without a shot being fired, because the militia stands vigilant in carrying out the will of the people in defense of rights, liberty and freedom.
The purpose of government is in the protection of the rights of the people, when it does not accomplish this, the militia is the crusader who steps forward, and upon it rests the mantle of the rights of the people. (sic)
Displaying the group s attitude towards taking up arms, John Trochmann recently said: “We don’t want bloodshed. We want to use the ballot box and the jury box. We don’t want to go to the cartridge box. But we will if we have to.”
M.O.M.’s newsletter, Taking Aim, details the ways that the government is currently failing to protect the rights of the people. It cites gun control and the crime bill as evidence of this, but also suggests a variety of conspiracy theories about plans by world leaders to implement a world government. M.O.M. plays to paranoid fears by making wild claims about the supposed activity of foreign military troops in Montana and across the country. One report on the activity of out-of-state troops brought in to fight forest fires concludes: “One more note: Mysterious deaths have been taking place since these troops appeared. Coincidence? We do not know.” While the newsletter does not echo the racist ideology of the Trochmanns, it makes a homophobic slur in alluding to rumors regarding Attorney General Janet Reno’s sexual orientation.
M.O.M. advertises and distributes books, tapes and videos that provide further “information” on their conspiracy theories. Typical of the selection is a video advertised as “The Countdown to History (Biochip – Mark of the Beast) UN Police Force, One World Govt., Chip implants. All by the year 2000-Totally Documented.” Also offered are tapes and videos on organizing militias and on survival and combat techniques.
M. J. “Red” Beckman, an influential figure in the militia movement, has a record as an anti-Semite and an anti-tax activist. He recently lost a long struggle with the IRS when he was finally evicted from his land long after it had been sold to pay for taxes due the government. Beckman, like many militia proponents, is a conspiracy theorist. He has said that the Federal Reserve Bank, the International Monetary Fund and the so-called New World Order are conspiring to dominate the world. In his 1984 book, The Church Deceived, Beckman proclaimed that the Holocaust was a judgement upon the Jews for worshipping Satan. More recently. he appeared on KULR-TV, a Montana television station. and repeated his view that Jews are worshippers of Satan.