Seymour Cheri - Committee of the States

Author : Seymour Cheri
Title : Committee of the States Inside The Radical Right
Year : 1991

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The scope and complexities of the forty-year-old Identity Movement are so great that no study prior to Committee of the States ever attempted to document all aspects of the Movement. Author Cheri Seymour wanted to go where no journalist had gone before. Her quest for truth led her to a ritual called the "Soldiers Ransom" inside the Aryan Nations compound, a midnight Ku Klux Klan cross burning, and a Skinhead rally in Napa Valley, California. She attended a three week Committee of the States trial in Las Vegas, Nevada, and became acquainted with members throughout the nation. The author accumulated an entire file cabinet of court transcripts and "discovery" material compiled by federal investigators during a two year investigation called Operation Clean-Sweep. The arrests and court trials became a story within a story as the federal government declared war on the radical right. Millions of dollars were spent to halt the evolvement of these groups, but the results and the methods used were dubious. Operation CleanSweep culminated in a Fort Smith, Arkansas courtroom where thirteen major leaders from several states were acquitted of sedition - and the Movement went underground. For three years Seymour sifted and condensed her manuscript until it could be reduced no further without excluding the indoctrination she experienced as she passed through the portals of the radical right. The Movement's complex theorem incorporated all the standard taboos: race, religion and politics. So why did military officers, farmers, senators, preachers and professors join such a movement ? What were they thinking, and what was the revolution all about ? Seymour grasped the bull by the horns and dared to document the inner world of the far-right with all its puzzling secrets. Here was a revolutionary culture existing parallel to and within mainstream America and it was receiving absolutely no in-depth exposure through any public media. Newspapers circulated repetitious background information on right-wing figures from agency to agency, bereft of interviews with the subjects themselves. In Committee of the States, the Movement's seventy-year-old founder, Colonel William Potter Gale, candidly tells his story before he dies. A World War II staff officer to General Douglas MacArthur, a former Hughes Aircraft executive and Hollywood stockbroker, he jumped on the 1950s' anti-communist bandwagon and formed a guerrilla army of his own, later incorporating the newsletter Identity and amalgamating the far-right into one racial, religious, anti-government movement. Committee of the Scates is, in effect, a composite or case book of revealing, and at times alarming, dialogue from a wide spectrum of right-wing activists who share an apocalyptic vision of a jihad, or holy war, which they believe is starting now, and which they are expediting through a complex and scattered network of underground activities. It is also a chronological investigation of the national movement itself : its doctrines, underground network, and history are the seeds of dissent today. Although Committee of the States is provocative in its veracity, guaranteed to jolt the reader into a new dimension of awareness, it was written to be informative and educational - to create understanding, not controversy. It is not written with any political slant, but the text is occasionally colored with the author's personal observations as she experienced the world of the radical right. Her investigative approach became an integral part of the book. ...

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