The rhetoric is anti-State. “They picture me as a threat to the nation,” Robert Miles told Metropolitan Detroit magazine (June 1987), referring to the FBI. “But let me tell you the kind of threat I am: I publish a newsletter. I don’t harm or threaten anyone. Granted, I don’t like the government—I’m an anarchist, in fact. But these Ollie Norths see sedition in the five cows I have out in my pasture.”
On April 24, Miles and nine other white supremacists were indicted by a Fort Smith, Arkansas federal grand jury for sedition, a rarely-used charge not employed since World War II. Miles and the others are charged with conspiring between mid-1983 and early 1985 to overthrow the U.S. government and establish an Aryan Nation.
The prosecutions underscore what has been a resurgence of violence by the racial right in this country. During the last three years, Ku Klux Klansmen and neo-Nazis have committed more violence than they had during the preceding 20 years. The government holds Miles, the nation’s top white supremacist, responsible.
Some have described Miles, ex-grand dragon of the Michigan United Klans of America (UKA), as a “Klanarchist.” Miles calls sedition “the charge of tyrants.” He describes FBI agents as “unwashed dogs” and refers to Washington as “Le Cesspool Grande.”
Since late 1985, Miles has positioned himself as a secessionist. He has emerged as the leading proponent nationwide promoting the idea of a Rocky Mountain Republic encompassing the states of Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Washington and Wyoming.
Miles calls his plan the “10 Percent Solution,” referring to the percentage of Americans living in the region. The scheme has not attracted any coverage from the Detroit news media. In the Northwest, however, Miles and his plan have received extensive coverage, and opposition from residents less than thrilled about an invasion of white supremacists.
Meanwhile, Miles regularly attacks the State and organized religion in his newsletter, From the Mountain, while promoting secession. “Just as today, see the combination of the churches and the State combine to destroy man’s freedom,” Miles wrote (March/April 1987). “It matters not that one is called a king, while the other is called a leader of organized religion. Whether on TV, shaking down the peasants, or robbing them blind by the organs of the State, the end result is identical.”
Miles’ rhetoric is anti-State. But the reality is something quite different. An analysis of Miles’ speeches and writings reveal not so much a contempt for government per se as contempt for this government.
Miles is not your typical racist. He has even made repeated overtures to the Left, and attempted to forge an anti-State united front. “Your nature is such that you love government,” Miles wrote in an essay (November/December 1985) which scolds his right-wing followers for ignoring the Left.
“You want to be the honest citizen who is the model of deportment in his community,” Miles wrote. “You want to be a friend of the policeman. You want to obey all laws. That is your nature. You are not like the left. The Left supporter knows that government is his foe. He hates it. He despises the police. He has contempt for the Constitution. He adores disorder and chaos…The Left is a natural revolutionary.”
The Nazis had their left-wing too; and Hitler rose to power with elements of a leftist program merged into his National Socialist Workers Party. Today, this process can be seen in the European “Third Way Movement” which has brought together elements of the statist ultra-right and ultra-left who chant “Hitler and Mao united in struggle.”
Had Miles been living in Germany 60 years ago, he may very well have been a Gregor Strasser. As it is today, Miles is merely using an old formula to sell a new audience not as familiar with World War II as he is.