Most right-wing militia members are broke. They live hand to mouth, or receive government disability. It’s a wonder they continue to support right-wing ideologies under those circumstances, but for some reason, the GOP has managed to convince an awful lot of our poor people that they’ll be just fine if they just follow conservative ideology. Since the same is true of the Oregon militants, one has to wonder just how it is they afford to occupy a federal building.
Mark Pitcavage, who’s studied right-wing extremism for years, says that right-wing extremists generally tend to have very little money. That’s not that big a deal for the occupation itself; they don’t need to have a lot of money for that. But what about home? Many of these guys have families and homes to care for. Some of them have (or had) jobs.
One militia member has already lost his job for this. He had an $80,000 per year roofing job, but he’d already used up all his vacation time on other “patriotic” events, and he apparently took off without notice:
I didn’t get to give appropriate notice. The Constitution is more important.
It must be nice to be able to leave your job to fight for the wrong side of the Constitution. The Constitution never intended for this kind of insurrection, and neither did our founders. These guys are hoping for an armed confrontation with the federal government, despite their statements to the contrary. They might claim they want a peaceful solution to the problem, but if that’s what they wanted, they wouldn’t be doing it this way.
But we digress.
This group actually survives on small donations, so they don’t have to use their personal accounts to fund the insurrection. Those donations don’t come from other militia groups, particularly those that are part of either the Patriot movement or the Wise Use movement – the two movements from which these militants primarily hail.
Pitcavage says it’s not likely they’re getting donations from religious groups either, despite possible tacit support from the Church of Latter-Day Saints. In fact, in addition to the Oath Keepers and III%, the Church of Latter-Day Saints has released a public statement condemning this particular insurrection.
So where do they come from? Donations come from the public, with people like Ammon Bundy, Blaine Cooper and John Ritzheimer begging for them online.
So these guys fund their takeover with public donations, since they can’t get the support of groups more organized (and possibly smarter, which is saying something) than they are. As far as home, well, as the guy above said, “The Constitution is more important.”
However, what isn’t clear is just how long this attitude will last. As both The Oregonian and The Raw Story say, sooner or later (and probably sooner), some of these guys are going to feel pressure to return home and go back to taking care of their families. Some are looking for odd jobs in and around Burns so they can continue to make ends meet, while others have left to work, but plan to return at some point.
Regardless, most of these guys probably aren’t as prepared to occupy the building “for years” as Ammon Bundy would like. They were drawn to the allure of an armed rebellion, fancying themselves “patriots” and the true defenders of freedom and the Constitution. They hope their names go down in history along with the great “insurrectionists” of American history, when they’ll likely be remembered as complete idiots. Giving up their homes and their livelihoods to defend extreme right-wing ideology is nuts.
The fact that they’re surviving mostly on small donations from supporters might turn stomachs, though.