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Extremism Headlines: Sovereign Citizen farmer, Far-Right Fraternal Order

Every week, we highlight stories on extremism and the radical right from the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Intelligence Project. Here are stories that caught our attention through March 15.

Sovereign Citizen farmer 

  • Sovereign Citizen Amos Miller’s Organic Farm has faced scrutiny after two food-borne illnesses were linked to its products. As part of a legal case against Miller's businesses, Pennsylvania's Agriculture Department discovered E. coli in raw eggnog and ground beef, along with other products testing positive for Listeria, Lancaster newspaper LNP reported on March 7. The court issued an injunction against Miller, who is Amish, to halt out-of-state retail in January. Miller is seeking permission from the court to sell his dairy products, particularly raw milk, beyond Pennsylvania’s borders. His legal team argues that existing policies only apply within the state. His case has drawn attention from far-right media, LNP reported.
  • This is the latest development in a long-running series of food safety cases brought against Miller by state and federal regulatory agencies. The U.S. government brought and won a suit against Miller and his companies in 2017 over the safety of their products. Miller appealed the decision, which courts denied in 2017.
  • Miller continued to file motions to appeal using a combination of alleged bankruptcies and attempted arbitration with sovereign citizen group Prairie Star National. The U.S. government does not recognize sovereign citizen arbitration. By the end of 2023, Miller paid all fines and fees levied against him and signed a third consent decree, agreeing to follow the government’s food safety provisions as laid out in the decree, according to Food Safety News.  

Pike County board proposes militia 

  • Several members of Illinois’ Pike County Board proposed the possibility of establishing a county militia, the My Journal Courier reported on March 9. This idea was prompted by Senate Bill 3589, introduced by Sen. Edward Markey, which aims to prohibit unauthorized paramilitary activity. Board member Joey Cobb expressed concerns that the bill could limit Second Amendment rights, the report states. Cobb and his fellow board member Mark Mountain “said they would participate in a militia if one were to be formed legally” and “mentioned undocumented immigrants as something the militia would defend against, with Cobb saying he asked if Pike County could be made a ‘non-sanctuary county’ so the government could not house migrants there,” My Journal Courier saidHowever, State’s Attorney Walker Filbert stated that forming a county militia is not possible as the county is a political subdivision of the state of Illinois. Despite this, the issue will be further discussed at the county’s agriculture committee meeting.
  • Hatewatch has previously reported on how anti-immigrant rhetoric is creeping into mainstream political discourse.

Claremont Institute's ties to far-right fraternal order

  • The Claremont Institute, a conservative thinktank, has been linked to the Society for American Civic Renewal (SACR), a far-right fraternal order, The Guardian reported on March 11. The president of Claremont and another senior official are closely involved with SACR. Documents reveal SACR’s radical mission statement, speaking of recruiting a “brotherhood” for a "renewed American regime," according to the article. The documents were rooted in extreme Christian nationalism and religious autocracy, experts told The Guardian.
  • Claremont’s president, Ryan Williams, confirmed his involvement with SACR to The Guardian but stated that Claremont’s corporate collaboration with SACR ended after helping it establish as an incorporated 501(C)(10), or a government-recognized fraternal order.


  • On March 8, Hatewatch reported that activists at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) presented their movement as being embroiled in an irrevocable, existential conflict with their perceived political adversaries. The conference featured an array of speakers and prominent attendees from international far-right organizations. These included figures from El Salvador, Germany, Hungary, Argentina, Spain, Japan and the United Kingdom. During the event, one speaker called for the overthrow of democracy, while others portrayed former President Donald Trump as the sole politician capable of rescuing America from crisis. Vendors promoting conspiracy theories related to the January 6, 2021, insurrection and the attack on the U.S. Capitol. It appears the conference struggled to maintain relevance and attract attendees. The venue featured rows of empty seats, even during Trump’s speech.
  • Last year, Hatewatch reported the location of white nationalist Nick Fuentes' event near CPAC. The report beat even Fuentes' announcement of the event. Hatewatch also reported on convicted sex offender Daryl Brooks selling his book at a booth on the CPAC floor, amid featured speakers' calls to protect children.  

View last week's edition here: Extremism Headline: Anti-LGBTQ Lobbying, Far-right Outlet To Close

Photo illustration by SPLC

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