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The Sovereign Citizen Movement: The Shifting Ideological Winds

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Technical Report

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Naval Postgraduate School Monterey United States

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The FBI has identified the Sovereign Citizen Movement SCM as a significant threat to the domestic security of the United States. The movements adherents are capable of significant acts of violence and creating civil unrest. They also embrace harassing tactics such as filing lawsuits, false liens, and restraining orders as a method to harass government and financial institutions. This is known as paper terrorism. The modern SCM has its roots in the Posse Comitatus movement and in racialist philosophies such as the Christian Identity Movement. It was primarily a movement embraced by right-wing Caucasians. Over time, the SCM has morphed from a primarily racialist platform to a more inclusive anti-government platform. The current SCM model is decentralized and largely leaderless, and its narrative is often driven by circumstances. Using social identity theory as a framework, what conclusions can be drawn regarding this change, and how can the government prepare for the emerging ideation of SCM If not handled appropriately, government reactions to economic and social crisis could validate the SCM narrative. Government entities must embrace training, transparency, and ethical decision making in an effort to nullify the SCM narrative.

Subject Categories:

  • Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics

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