The Hatewatch blog is managed by the staff of the Intelligence Project of the Southern Poverty Law Center, an Alabama-based civil rights organization.

After Call to Arms, Nativist Extremist Leader Calls it Quits

By Sonia Scherr on March 26, 2010 - 10:25 am, Posted in Anti-Immigrant, Nativist Extremist

A major nativist group known for its armed border patrols is disbanding.

In a Monday E-mail to supporters, Minuteman Civil Defense Corps President Carmen Mercer said the MCDC will no longer exist as an organization, though she encouraged supporters to continue its work independently. “I predict Americans, on their own, will lock, load and do what the feckless cowards in Washington refuse to do — and frankly I hope Americans do take up arms to defend this great nation,” she wrote in the “urgent alert.”

MCDC is an offshoot of the Minuteman Project, a month-long civilian border patrol that was covered extensively by journalists five years ago. (Then-President George W. Bush called the Minutemen “vigilantes” in March 2005.)  In 2009, MCDC had at least 74 chapters in nearly 30 states, making it the biggest of the Minuteman spin-off groups. But MCDC and the larger Minuteman movement have been plagued by infighting, allegations of financial impropriety and civil litigation. In addition, the leader of Minuteman American Defense (MAD) was charged with the May 2009 murder of a 9-year-old Latina girl and her father during a home invasion in Arivaca, Ariz., setting off furious accusations and counter-accusations over who had supported MAD’s Shawna Forde over the years.

The announcement of MCDC’s dissolution also followed an E-mail Mercer sent a week earlier, in which she urged supporters to bring their long arms to the border and to “forcefully engage” the “criminals” who try to cross without documentation. Mercer wrote on Monday that she received hundreds of responses to that E-mail, including some that sounded over-enthusiastic. “It was obvious that many had decided to return to the border who had tired of the sometimes futile watch and observe methods. It showed me that people are not willing to be silenced anymore; it also showed me that people will be less likely to follow the rules of engagement in a desperate attempt to stop the criminals who violate our borders every day. That is not what we want and we cannot take the responsibility for this.”

But Mercer contradicted herself when she told the Arizona Daily Star that “people are ready to come locked and loaded, and that’s not what we are all about.” In fact, the Tombstone, Ariz., restaurateur had repeatedly told supporters in the week-earlier E-mail to return to the border “locked and loaded.”  Mercer, a defendant in the Arizona attorney general’s recent lawsuit alleging a property tax scam, would not speak to Hatewatch. “I do not think anything I say would make it truthfully on[to] your blog,” she wrote in an E-mail. “I have followed the attacks of your organization against our organization. I think you would be wasting my time.”

In fact, attacks often came from former supporters within the anti-immigration movement, who heavily criticized MCDC founder and former leader Chris Simcox for failing to complete a promised “Israeli-style” border fence and for allegedly selling out his organization to a shadowy network of professional right-wing fundraisers. In 2007, Simcox fired 18 state, regional and national MCDC leaders because they had raised questions about his financial accountability. Two years later, Simcox quit himself to run unsuccessfully for Congress, leaving Mercer to run MCDC. Since then, other MCDC officials have resigned, including Vice President Al Garza, who said last summer that he was quitting to launch the Patriots Coalition because “the organization [MCDC] is now on a path that I cannot endorse.” This week, the Patriots Coalition announced that it would waive its application fee for Minutemen who joined the group.

Besides liability concerns, Mercer wrote that most of the organization’s leaders had left and would not support the more aggressive tactics outlined in the earlier E-mail. In addition, she said MCDC was having trouble raising money after separating from the Declaration Alliance, a right-wing advocacy group that handled some aspects of MCDC’s operations. The most recent tax forms show that MCDC received just under $209,000 in revenue during 2008, down from nearly $790,000 in 2007.

“I really think the demise of MCDC has very much more to do with the evaporation of the donations,” wrote Border Guardians founder Laine Lawless to a Minuteman E-mail group. “When all the money is gone, the higher-ups leave.”

Although the first Minuteman patrol garnered national headlines, MCDC’s break-up has received little media attention outside Arizona. Jim Campbell, who filed a lawsuit (later dropped) against MCDC after donating $100,000 for the border fence, also blames financial mismanagement for the fall of the organization whose mission he still supports. “In the past two years, the movement has gone so downhill,” the Air Force veteran told Hatewatch. “It almost doesn’t make a story anymore. For all intents and purposes, MCDC has been defunct.”

  • beholder

    Jack the American empire is in decline and your views with it. Only socialism will save this country. Individualism is the old way and you are part of it, bereft of ideas like a ruptured tire flapping on the highway of life.

  • jack

    Wrong again beholder.
    Socialists/communists can’t take care of themselves and are a drag on the productive.
    American individualists can take care of themselves and support a productive society.

  • beholder

    Dr. Beverly provides an interesting perspective on American “individualism”.

    Whereas the Republican Party in some states considers “rugged individualism” to be a core value of the party, virtually anywhere in the world the term “individualist” mean selfish and essentially contrary to good citizenship values.

    Just as in the rest of the world the term “socialist” is viewed in positive light, as one not red-garbed and dripping with venom, but one ready to work together with others for a better and stronger society.

  • Beverly Kurtin, Ph.D.

    Picture this: You are born in the United States, raised here, and then be told that you should go back to were you came from. You mean New York? No way! My parents were first-generation Americans, my children are third-generation and my grandchildren are, of course forth-generation. How many more years will it be before our family is considered American. I do not hyphenate my citizenship as in Mexican-American or Greek-American and I would love for it to stop. It is beyond time that we used those artificial names just to say “I’m an American.”
    But I have a target on my back that says “Kill Me.” It was placed there by illegitimate followers of the Koran. The big problem with Islam is that unlike the Jewish Tenach or Christian Bible is that it can be twisted to mean ANYTHING their leaders wish it to mean. Ergo, they can change the meaning of anything their “holy prophet” said and did.
    The kill me target is because some sick leader thinks that the Koran says to find and kill all Jews.
    No, I’m not paranoid; I don’t go around looking over my shoulder and I don’t hate Muslims. But you’ll never find me in a Mosque where known nuts hang out.
    When the end of the cold war finally ended I took a breath of relief only to watch what happened on 9/11. Now I am convinced that there will never be a sustainable peace any time in the near future. We are a race that has not changed very much from the monkeys from which we evolved. As they are vicious little buggers, so are we. How can a tiny, totally dependent human child grow quickly into a little monster with a “me, me, me” attitude that inn too many people take that attitude into adulthood, and it is from that we get our sociopaths who have no feelings for others. Put in another way, they are souless. Going further, they are evil to the core. I have a kind of radar that does into effect when in the presence, even long-distance presence, of people who strike me as being for themselves and themselves ONLY. One such event happened the very first glance I had of Sara Palin. The hairs on the back of my head went sticking straight out. “That woman is dangerous” was the first and remaining thought that stuck into my mind. What is wrong with others that THEY don’t see through her?
    Perhaps the people who do not see through the facade she’s put up? That woman has one thought and one thought only: Me,me, me, me, me. Look at me. Respect me. Give me your love, your attention but most of all your money.
    She is an individual who will do anything to get her hands on money and power.
    People overlook the fact that both she and her husband have been members of a movement that was aimed at leaving the Union.
    To say that she is avaricious is to say that the air we have is composed mostly of nitrogen. Her nastiness drips through so heavily that I cannot bear to listen to anything she says. Most recently she said, “Do you know who likes Obamacare? Fidel Castro and Barak Obama. Does that remind you of anything?” Obviously attempting to make Obama sound like a Communist or Socialist, neither of which he is.
    Look out Tea Partiers, you just may get her and then watch this country sink below the horizon into a cult of Palin.

  • beholder

    Wow. Wow.

    That’s really something from Arthur Frommer — he’s like, Mr Tolerance and everything. Here’s a world traveler who knows that Arizona is becoming a nativist freak show. An economy worse off than California, sand-ridden, hot, depending on three military bases to prop up the sagging mc mansions. No, sir. I will stay away from Arizona. You can keep all that sand.

  • skinnyminny


    Yes – Mercer is in the blog (paper) that I referred you to.

    I was just making a further point that these people are blaming the wrong people, or at least, using the immigrants as a scapegoat.

  • Snorlax

    Here’s a link to Arthur Frommer’s 8-19-09 blog where he considers advising travelers to stay out of Arizona.

    “I will not personally travel in a state where civilians carry loaded weapons onto the sidewalks and as a means of political protest. I not only believe such practices are a threat to the future of our democracy, but I am firmly convinced that they would also endanger my own personal safety there. And therefore I will cancel any plans to vacation or otherwise visit in Arizona until I learn more. And I will begin thinking about whether tourists should safeguard themselves by avoiding stays in Arizona.”


    Read more:

  • Snorlax

    Don’t worry, Flare, they’re not beating up Chinese…yet.

    Wait ’till they get done beating up Arabs and Mexicans.

    I recommend you stick to big cities. They’re safer that way.

    And for God’s sake, stay out of Suffolk County, NY.

  • beholder

    I was once asked by the TSA, what kind of car I drive, where I work, and who my relatives were. I have simply never seen anything more extreme.

    FLARE they ask innocuous questions, not because they are interested in the answer. They are trying to read your body language and response to ordinary questions like this, to see if you are nervous or trying to hide something when they throw a zinger at you.

    This is supposed to be part of a non-racial profiling agenda but I have no doubt that sinophobia is so rampant in America that they would single an innocent guy like you out for scrutiny, simply because they have nothing better to do. Where I live they have these Gestapo guys bellowing at the cars coming to pick people up, on a serious power trip. Yeah I know security and all that, but these guys get into it.

    It makes those TSA agents feel like they’re baaaaad.

  • beholder

    Minny I was referring to Mercer.

  • skinnyminny

    FLARE, you’re not imagining this happening here! It’s a reality! I remember when people wearing t-shirts with fbush to the airport, they were either detained, or forced to change into a different shirt. Yet, we now have people going to townhall meetings with guns and making threats against are now sitting president.

    Then there’s Sarah Palin who loves to use her kids in her speeches, for example, “my son is fighting for your freedoms…” yet, if anyone makes a joke or comment about her kids that she doesn’t like, she makes a big deal out of it, or threatens to bring suit – yet, people do not realize, if she’s president or veep one day, they’d probably end up getting arrested for making any comment about her or her family!

    At the same time, we have white supremacists holding rallies and marches in predominantly black neighborhoods, under the pretext, this is the “first amendment” right. However, if a black person write a rap song that contains lyrics that someone doesn’t like, they are arrested under those somewhat similar ‘first amendment’ rights.

    Sad part about all of this, some of these elected officials, we taxpayers have been paying for their diapers upon election and continue to pay for them until they are wearing ‘depends.’

  • Sam Molloy

    Hopefully this concept will die with this organization and we can get on with streamlining citizenship instead of criminalization.

  • skinnyminny

    Beholder, your comment couldn’t be further from the truth! There are a lot of pix and articles about her in Arizona – the Phoenix New Times blogs written by Stephen Lemon. You’d be amazed at what’s happening in Arizona, to the point, Frommer, the world’s famous travel advisor publicly announced he would not travel nor recommend anyone to go to Arizona.

    Sadly, these people never go away. Sometimes they ‘retreat,’ only to come back running for political office, or with a new name, different area code and different group with the same agenda.

    Another sad part of these groups, they laugh all the way to the bank, and use patsies to go out and commit crimes for them. Believe me it’s all about the money! They make promises to people that can’t legally keep. And when their followers break the law – they make even more money.

    I read up on the case of Signal International, that hired Indian Guest Workers, and other cases. Most of the guest workers expressed why they don’t like MOST Americans. Example, one Indian National said that when he complained about his living conditions, he was told, “you lived in slums in India…” Sad part about this, some of these workers aren’t allowed to choose where they live – if they live in housing provided by the company – some workers are paying over $1000 a month, while forced to share housing with up to 24 others. When you do the math, these workers are lucky if they can claim $50 a week from wages. These workers were promised the American dream!

    And you’d better believe, that if immigrants such as these, is harmed by these border groups, that’s worse than Americans stepping on that country’s flag! It is uncalled for. Therefore, these border groups should be locked up, because as far as I’m concerned, they are a danger to others.


    I am quite curious about the racist situation in America right now. I am constantly seeing American news articles criticising China. I don’t think this is anything new, especially since the Soviet threat is no longer there, but it concerns me as I am Chinese American. I was born and raised in America, but moved away because I did not like the right wing nature of America. I thought things would be better in Europe, but I am finding there also is a right wing movement here, and that Europe is not what it once was in the 80’s. I am finding it increasingly hard to live here, and think about going back to America all the time, but seeing the way they write about the Chinese really concerns me. It also saddens me to see what is being done to Muslims, and Hispanics. This makes me think the white majority can direct this kind of hostility towards any racial group. I definitely had a lot of good times, and met a lot of great people in America, and that’s why I miss it, but one thing I don’t miss is the hate and hostility. I have found the hateful people in America are much more extreme than elsewhere, such as Europe. It isn’t just a race thing as Americans seem to have hostility towards gays, jews, liberals, and even poor people. I would very much like to go back to America, if not to live, but just to visit for a few months, but the authoritarian government has not made this easy. I am frequently treated like a criminal when I enter the U.S., luggage searched, and 20 questions asked. I was once asked by the TSA, what kind of car I drive, where I work, and who my relatives were. I have simply never seen anything more extreme. I know it’s not just me because I have heard stories from others. I know a German guy who flew through the U.S. in transit, and he said he faces the same problem. He has to pretend to pair up with other solo passengers to make it look like he is not traveling alone so that he will not be harassed by the dept of “homeland security”, keeping in mind he is not even trying to enter the U.S., just in transit, connecting to another country. I have found that it’s easier to travel into other countries than the U.S. When I flew into Denmark, they looked at my passport and that was it. No questions asked. Same thing in France. When I flew to China, I was expecting the American treatment, but to my surprise, they did not ask me any questions, or search my luggage. I am not a Chinese citizen as they do not allow dual citizenship, and all emigrants are no longer considered Chinese. I am lucky enough to be able to lave the country, but I think there are still lots of blacks and Hispanics who cannot, and are regularly harassed by white supremacists, and the police.

  • beholder

    Violent extremists like this need to be locked up.