Monday, May 10, 2010

Former Michigan Militia Co-Founder Ray Southwell To Run Against Alaska House Speaker Mike Chenault Under The Alaskan Independence Party Banner

On May 10th, 2010, the Fairbanks News-Miner reports that Nikiski militia activist Ray Southwell will seek the House District 34 seat currently held by Republican House Speaker Mike Chenault, but as a member of the Alaskan Independence Party (AIP). The Alaska Division of Elections has now updated their list with his name. Southwell is identified by another source as a co-founder of the Michigan Militia, along with Norm Olson. Both live on Alaska's Kenai Peninsula and are members of the Alaska Citizens Militia.

Update May 20th: Read lengthy profile on Southwell published May 19th in the Redoubt Reporter.

Southwell, a 59-year-old registered nurse from Nikiski, says he was a longtime registered Republican who grew disillusioned. He says Republicans and Democrats are both bought and paid for, and that he doesn't think the state legislature is doing its job. He says this would be his first run for office and that he wants to help lead a movement to stand up to the federal government.

But Ray Southwell isn't just launching a "nuisance" candidacy to push militia issues. The Redoubt Reporter interview reveals him as a serious candidate well-versed on more pertinent issues. Southwell favors an all-Alaska natural gas pipeline route with a liquefied natural gas plant in Valdez. He believes a portion of the Alaska Permanent Fund could be invested to develop an in-state gas line infrastructure, rather than investing it wherever fund managers think the biggest dollar signs may be found. Southwell also has concerns about the state’s too-lax relationship with resource extraction companies, such as the Pebble Mine Partnership, and is concerned that legislation like SB 309, which encourages expanded oil and gas exploration and development, doesn’t do enough to enforce safety.

Southwell addresses a few specific pieces of legislation, such as being in support of HB 50, which would limit overtime for nurses. He also voices concern over the possible sale of CPH to a private entity, which would remove local control over health care management in the area.

But just because he's running under the AIP banner doesn't mean he favors Alaska's secession from the U.S. He said he doesn’t support secession from the U.S., but said he thinks Alaska will be standing on its own soon enough, by the state’s choosing or not. “I would prefer staying in the union as a state with equal footing to those original 13 states,” he said. “I personally don’t support secession … but what I do recognize today is that with the economic disintegration going on, Alaska is going to be thrown into independence. Just like when the Soviet Union disintegrated, all of a sudden there were all these independent states that were thrown into their independence.”

The Alaskan Independence Party, in a news release, called Southwell a well-known leader in the "modern citizen militia movement," but did not reveal the specific identity of the movement.

Ray Southwell has come under the scrutiny of the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) in the past. On September 16th, 2009, David Holthouse, who is the son of former Anchorage School Board member Rita Holthouse, posted an article entitled "Olson, Michigan Militia Leader in ’90s, Back in Action in Alaska" on their Hatewatch blog. While the primary subject of the post was Norm Olson, Ray Southwell was mentioned as well. The SPLC also references an article entitled "‘Evil this way comes’ — Militia founders warn of need to grow local militia effort", published in the Redoubt Reporter (where a current photo of Southwell is available) on September 16th, 2009. While Norm Olson has made an SPLC hit list of patriots, Ray Southwell is not on that list.

The core message that Southwell is trying to get across is that while Alaskans should be afraid, they should not fear the formation of a militia. Both he and Norm Olson expect some sort of catastrophe in the near future — economic collapse, food shortages around the world, skyrocketing prices. They believe government's response will increase threats to Americans’ liberty, freedoms and way of life. A collapse could well result in the declaration of martial law and a further trampling of individuals’ rights. In a national economic crisis, chaos may ensue, beyond what the already-spread-too-thin Alaska State Troopers or National Guard, stationed overseas, could contain. Already, Nikiski is rife with small-time criminality such as break-ins. so Southwell and Olson expect it to get worse as shortages come along. And that's where a trained, armed, well-regulated collective of local private citizens — an unorganized militia (the Armed Forces being an organized militia) — could come into service to provide order.

Also take note of the discussion involving Norm Olson, Ray Southwell, and others in the comments section of the Hatewatch post. Both Olson and Southwell engage in remarkably civil dialogue despite being abused by a couple of trolls, and thus effectively dispel any negative biases and stereotypes about militias. Norm Olson also specifies that he does not tolerate gratuitous violence or racial discrimination within the Alaska Citizens Militia. In fact, one of Olson's key militia members is a Black man.

But while I'm glad that a militia activist is stepping up to the plate and using an election campaign to promote positive militia awareness, I just wish Ray Southwell was running against someone other that Mike Chenault. Chenault is one of the few genuinely "good guys" in the state legislature, who tries to reflect the public interest. Twice Chenault has attempted to restore the death penalty in Alaska for the most egregious offenders; most Alaskans would agree that if anyone deserved the death penalty, it was Joshua Wade. Chenault is not afraid to ditch the party line when the public interest demands it; in 2009, he was one of several Republicans to break ranks and join with Democrats in rejecting Palin's nominee for Attorney General, Wayne Anthony Ross. While I like what Ross stands for, his accession would have been too divisive for the time and would undoubtedly have triggered a blizzard of contrived "ethics complaints".

1 comment:

  1. "stand up to the 'federal government corp.'"(ZOG)..............