Revolutionary Groups in the USA

This question may be unanswerable by its very nature, but I’ll throw it out there anyway.

Are there, or have there recently been, any known revolutionary groups in the USA. But that I mean, groups explicitly dedicated to overthrowing the government. This could mean overthrow of a particular administration, or simply overthrow of the system of government itself.


Yes. Hell yes, in fact. McVeigh was associated with a few of them, and was acting in a way he thought would further their aims when he blew up the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City. (Not that he was acting under orders, really. He just sympathized with them and read from their materials, The Turner Diaries especially.)

There are a number of racist, anti-semitic, nativist (anti-foreigner, anti-immigration) groups who would love to destroy the country as it now exists. They experienced a big upswing in the 1990s for some unknown reason and we got Ruby Ridge, Waco, the Unabomber (sympathetic to, but not quite the same as, the survivalist-revolutionary groups), and the Oklahoma City bombing.

Going back to the 1960s and 1970s, you have the Weathermen and, arguably, the SLA (arguable because they were never more than a bunch of killers, robbers, and kidnappers who never had a very coherent political message). Going out into the extreme loony, Manson’s Family had some race war rhetoric based on Manson’s philosophy of “Helter Skelter” (yes, from the Beatles song).

You can go both ways with some of the groups: How serious are they? How sane are they? It can get somewhat interesting when you examine the psychologies of some of the members and founders. We’re lucky none of them are very motivated or competent.

The OP was asking about groups who are interested in the “overthrow of a particular administration, or simply overthrow of the system of government itself.” He said nothing about wanting to “destroy the country as it now exists.”

Well, heck, the Democrats want to take the White House, the Republicans want to take Congress and both sides want their guys on the Supreme Court, and those are just the two major parties. The small fry want the same thing.

Well if you are talking about the overthrowing of a demmocratically elected government, that is based on the Constitution you need look no farther than the Bush administration.

If you don’t feel the oncoming chastising of a moderator; just wait a minute…it’ll get here. :stuck_out_tongue:

Look at the history of the Anarchist movement in the U.S. It’s long and complicated, and not every anarchist wanted violence, but there was a strain that did for well over a century.

August 23 is the 60th anniversary of the execution of Sacco and Vanzetti, and the reason for the hysteria around their trial was that they were accused of being the sort of anarchists who wanted the violent overthrow of the government.

It’s safe to safe that many Marxist groups also wanted to overthrow the government, violently or otherwise, although violence was never really mainstream for the Communist Party.

Depending on how you want to define it, numerous southerners before the Civil War wanted to overthrow the government and replace it by one which was pro-slavery. Secession was at one end of a continuum.

I’d be surprised if there was a single year after the government got truly established when no group wanted to violently overthrow it or the system of government. That goes with the territory of government. Once you get beyond these major groups, there are thousands of minor groups and individuals who thought that way and continue to think that way to the present.


denquixote, I remind you that political comments of this nature are not permitted in General Questions. Since you are a relatively new to the boards, I would recommend that you read the Stickies about this forum, one of which is on this issue. If you wish to make critical comments on the administration, there are plenty of threads about this in the Pit. Do not do this again.

General Questions Moderator

I don’t see the rule that you are referring to in the stickies. I did not make a value judgment on the Bush administration, I merely answered the OP’s question. I will be glad to provide evidence of my assertion if requested. I was a little surprised to see this question in General Questions since it is certain to provoke answers based on personal opinions but since it is here how can I not answer it?

You didn’t look very hard.

Heh. (Politics in GQ)

Well, yes. I did. I read that comment, then I read Cecil’s column, then I read a portion of the brouhaha that ensued. I do not view my comment as political, but factual. Cecil’s comment - “damn fool war” - while it may now appear factual, at the time was obviously a value judgment. Even in the light of past events however, I could see where his comment could be provocative.

As I said before I will gladly provide the factual basis for my assertion if requested.

Consider it so requested.


The sticky that Q.E.D. pointed out does contain the phrase “why we get mad at what may seem to one person as a quick political aside,” but admittedly is not explicit that such comments are prohibited. I will discuss with the other moderators posting more explicit instructions on this matter so it can’t be misunderstood.

However, it is a long-standing practice that political comments of the kind you posted are not permitted in General Questions. They are likely to trigger rather heated debates by those who may not share your viewpoint. Your answer is not a strictly factual one, but rather a matter of opinion. Do not continue this discussion here, or attempt to justify your viewpoint further. You are perfectly free to start a discussion on the administration, but you should do so in Great Debates or the Pit.

General Questions Moderator


Consider it not. No further discussion on that subject here. Start a GD thread if you like.

General Questions Moderator

Well the U.S. of A. is a republic which bases its government on the principal of checks and balances, that is Congress makes laws, the judiciary interprets them and the executive branch enforces them. That is the way it has always been that is until George Bush became president. Now the executive branch interprets laws by using signing statements on legislation that the president signs. He no longer vetoes laws that he disagrees with, he merely rewrites them with signing statements explaining which parts of the law he is willing to abide by and further what the Congress actually means by enacting the law in question.

This is a direct violation of one of the most basic tenets of our republic.

Another: The Constitution states that “This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding.” In other words the U.S. considers treaties signed as binding law. The Bush administration has repeatedly broken its agreements under the Geneva convention and its agreements with the United Nations.

No nation may use force against another except in self defense or when it is authorized to do do by the U.N. Bush ignored this agreement and is, according to Khofi Annan and others breaking international law by preemptively striking Iraq. He repeatedly asserts, either personally or through his spokesmen that the U.S. does not torture yet we have Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib as evidence to dispute this (along with some of Bush’s own statements.) We have the incident in Yemen where a U.S. plane fired on and killed six foreign nationals, in violation of the U.N. charter and the Geneva convention. We have U.S. operatives removing citizens of other countries from the streets of those countries and jetting them to other countries to be tortured and/or killed. We have the executive branch using Guantanamo in Cuba in violation of treaties with Cuba to torture prisoners, (suspending habeas corpus) against whom no evidence has ever been presented while at the same time decrying the Cuban record on human rights violations.

We have the Bush administration suspending habeas corpus in violation of the U.S. Constitution, suspending the right to self-incrimination, suspending the right to counsel, suspending the fourth amendment right to be free of unreasonable searches and seizures.

If these facts do not indicate an intent to alter the currently constituted form of government in the United States of America I will provide more.

There’s no difference.

“Overthrowing the administration” will occur on Jan 20, 2009, if not before, regardless of who the new president is. “Overthrowing the system of government” will happen when the US Constitution is replaced, as it will be some day. Neither of these equates to “destroying the country.”

Unless the OP meant violently, but he didn’t include that phrase in his question.

To clarify, I meant specifically illegally overthrowing, (which I take to be part of the meaning of “overthrow” in a context such as this,) so regularly scheduled elections aren’t what I meant.


No, it won’t. Your attempt to be cute nothwithstanding, that is not what the word “overthrow” is understood to mean.

The first definition from your link is “To throw over; overturn.” No violence is implied.

I now see the OP has included the term “illegally” but still not “violently.”

Seriously, I don’t see how this topic can continue in GQ. How can we factually answer what constitutes “revolutionary?” It is one of those hot-button phrases that mean different things to different people, depending on their political perspective.

It seems to me that this thread should either be moved to GD or be closed.