Who are the constitutional militia movement?

Activists in what has come to be called the constitutional militia movement (CMM) will self-identify as militia. Most don't think in terms of being a “movement". It is usually outsiders who do that. However, the movement is clearly distinct from the militia. It is also distinct, in the minds of activists, from other groups or movements who have different aims, agendas, and methods, but who may be mistaken for them, especially by antagonists with agendas of their own to combine many different people together and attribute the attributes of the worst of that combination to all of them.

In this article, the following defining attributes will be used to distinguish CMM activists from others, as those who support:

  • Establishment or restoration of a militia system for their nation or part thereof;

  • Enforcement of a strict construction of the constitution of the nation or political subdivision thereof, according to their understanding of it;

  • If nonviolent means are not available, defense of the rights of themselves and others, without discrimination, against abuses by officials who exceed their authority.

For purposes of identification of elements of the CMM, reference to any of these, by some labeling or description, is sufficient, as long as it appears that they may also satisfy the other two. It is to be expected that many discussants will focus on just one or two, and not label them in a consistent way. "Support" need not be strong or highly active. The key test is how likely a person would be to at least speak out in defense of any of those points if challenged to do so. A member need not, for example, take up arms, because some may not be fit for that, but are able to play a supporting role.

These criteria serve to identify those elements that tend to self-associate and collaborate. They distinguish CMM from, for example, survivalists, who are only concerned about protecting themselves, their families, and perhaps a few friends. Or from racists, who might try to protect one subset of humanity, but not others. Or from "loose cannons" who are prone to to foolish and violent things that would violate the law rather than help enforce it.

However, this formulation does allow for elements violating statutes they consider unconstitutional, such as anti-gun statutes, which, if unconstitutional, are not laws. One doesn't have to agree with their originalist interpretation of the Constitution to recognize that they hold that position and that it provides a bond that unites them.

Others may have a different approach to this, and comments are welcome.