Militia/Patriot Movement and Rural Organizing Tools

 

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 STATEMENT FROM THE RURAL ORGANIZING PROJECT ON THE OCCUPATION IN HARNEY COUNTY

January 7th, 2016

The Rural Organizing Project condemns the armed occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge as a publicity stunt by militia groups from outside of Oregon to further their own ideologically-driven agenda. The activities of the occupiers ignore and disrespect the local community’s calls to handle the situation peacefully.

This stunt distracts from the real and pressing economic crisis that the residents of Harney County and much of rural Oregon face. Jobs have disappeared and no new economic engine has replaced the old economies based on natural resources. Public services like schools, libraries, public safety, and public transportation have been defunded for years, leaving communities without basic services. Militia groups in many parts of rural Oregon are using this crisis as an opportunity to grow and recruit new members in the vacuum left from the destabilized infrastructure, positioning themselves as alternatives to public services.

Communities who have been suffering from this economic crisis are now being subjected to an increasing atmosphere of tension and potential violence. We need to focus on meaningful investment in rebuilding public infrastructure so that the residents of Harney County have the support they need on a day-to-day basis. In a county that is so underfunded that many areas do not have reliable access to basic public services, we need real solutions for the community, not distractions.

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Contacts:
Jessica Campbell, Organizing Director, Rural Organizing Project: 541-999-8144
Cara Shufelt, Director, Rural Organizing Project: 503-349-3918


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