`Patriot Movement' Fights Licenses, Taxes, Zip Codes - Government `Tyranny' Expert Estimates That 5 Million Are Believers, Holding That Their Rights Are Being Trampled

By Keith Stone 1994, Los Angeles Daily News | St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO), December 27, 1994 | Go to article overview

`Patriot Movement' Fights Licenses, Taxes, Zip Codes - Government `Tyranny' Expert Estimates That 5 Million Are Believers, Holding That Their Rights Are Being Trampled


Keith Stone 1994, Los Angeles Daily News, St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)


THE PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE sounded familiar, until 155 people at a political lecture in suburban Tarzana, Calif., ended it with the battle cry for what some call the Patriot Movement.

". . . And with liberty and justice - for all who fight for it!" they shouted in unison, opening another weekly meeting of The Granada Forum.

For the next four hours, they listened intently and watched a slide show to learn how the United States is at war with its citizens and is slowly ceding its sovereignty to an international dictatorship.

In Los Angeles County and throughout the nation, the Patriot Movement is flourishing, as citizens upset with life in the United States meet regularly in living rooms, church halls and even a sheriff's station.

No one knows how many people are involved in the movement, but a political scientist who tracks such groups estimates their number at 5 million people, linked by suspicion of the federal government and an abiding belief that their God-given rights are being trampled by unconstitutional laws.

Some Patriot Movement adherents are willing to go to prison in defense of their beliefs - and many have already for refusing to pay federal income taxes and for refusing to apply for drivers licenses and vehicle registrations.

Law enforcement authorities and anti-discrimination organizations say they are wary of the Patriot Movement because some elements push racism.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms also is watching closely the growth nationally of patriot-organized militias. Drilling with rifles in the woods is not necessarily illegal, although the bureau is concerned that some militias might turn to vigilantism.

For patriots, it is exactly that kind of government attention that they say is pushing them to organize. "The tyranny that our forefathers fought against to give us this great nation we have today was basically over control and taxation they felt was undue," said Paul Vee, who works for the Kirkland Foundation, a patriot organization in Palmdale, Calif. "What we are fighting now is the same."

As diverse in its philosophy as any political party, the Patriot Movement unifies along several themes:

Members mistrust federal government and believe that it is invading their privacy and saddling them with unconstitutional laws, including those that impose income taxes.

They believe that the 14th Amendment, adopted after the Civil War to grant citizenship to slaves, actually has produced a new class of federal citizens beholden to Congress.

They staunchly support the Second Amendment rights to bear arms and form armed citizen militias as a last defense against what they see as government's tyranny.

In many respects, the movement is gaining new currency for the same reason that Republicans won a landslide victory in November: They both push platforms of wide-scale change, a return to simple values and less government.

The major difference is that the new patriots believe Republicans are part of the problem, and many refuse to register to vote because they don't want to be regulated, particularly by government. …

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