MMP: Rise Above Movement

White supremacists carrying Confederate flags and Gadsen flags during the Unite the Right Rally in Charlottesville, Virginia

Rise Above Movement

The Rise Above Movement (RAM) is a white supremacist militant organization based in southern California.

Key Statistics

2016 First Recorded Activity
2017 First Attack
2020 Profile Last Updated

Profile Contents

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Overview

Narrative of the Organization's History

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Organization

Leadership, Name Changes, Size Estimates, Resources, Geographic Locations

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Strategy

Ideology, Aims, Political Activities, Targets, and Tactics

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Major Attacks

First Attacks, Largest Attacks, Notable Attacks

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Interactions

Foreign Designations and Listings, Community Relations, Relations with Other Groups, State Sponsors and External Influences

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Maps

Mapping relationships with other militant groups over time

Contact MMP

Send a message to the Mapping Militants team.

Download Full Profile as PDF

Last updated September 2020.

How to Cite

Mapping Militant Organizations. “Rise Above Movement.” Stanford University. Last modified September 2020. https://cisac.fsi.stanford.edu/mappingmilitants/profiles/rise-above-movement
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Organizational Overview

Formed: 2016

Disbanded: Group is active.

First Attack: 2017

Last Attack: 2017

Executive Summary

The Rise Above Movement (RAM) is a white supremacist militant organization based in southern California. The group was founded in 2016 as the DIY Division – a reference to the commonly used acronym for “do it yourself.” With ties to the U.S. skinhead movement, RAM operates essentially as a street-fighting club. Members train in mixed martial arts in order to physically assault their opponents at events such as political rallies, protests, and demonstrations. RAM members have been arrested by U.S. federal law enforcement for their use of violence at political rallies in the United States, though charges against some of these members have been dismissed. The group has sought to cultivate transnational links, most notably with the Azov Battalion in Ukraine. RAM considers itself a part of the alt-right and promotes white supremacism, anti-Semitism, and xenophobia.

Group Narrative

The Rise Above Movement (RAM) emerged in 2016 as a loose collection of neo-Nazis and white supremacists.[1] The group came together organically as like-minded men gradually encountered each other in various southern California fitness centers and gyms.[2] The men were drawn together by similar extreme-right political views, similar criminal backgrounds, and for at least some members, shared experience in military service.[3] Collectively, the men shared beliefs about the need to use physical force against perceived enemies of the U.S. right-wing extremist movement.[4]

In 2017, Robert Rundo organized the men into the DIY Division – a reference to the acronym for “do it yourself.” The group soon changed its name to the Rise Above Movement.[5] RAM adopted a white supremacist, neo-Nazi, anti-Semitic, and anti-immigrant ideological agenda. Members sought to bring back an America dominated by European culture and foster a new “conservative counter-culture” focused on white identity.[6] RAM is known to have initially recruited members of the Hammerskin Nation, the largest U.S. white supremacist skinhead group.[7] 

RAM first attracted public attention in March 2017 after group members physically attacked journalists and counter-protestors at a “Make America Great Again” rally for U.S. President Donald Trump in Huntington Beach, California. About a dozen RAM members attended the event, carrying an anti-Semitic sign and a banner emblazoned with the words “Defend America.”[8] The fighters punched, shoved, and physically assaulted counter-protesters and journalists.[9] This incident was the group’s first recorded use of violence.

Throughout 2017, RAM continued attending rallies of the U.S. far right and beating up counter-protesters, which became the group’s standard modus operandi (for example, . a far-right rally in Berkeley, California in April 2017 and a demonstration hosted by the anti-Muslim group ACT for America in San Bernardino, California). RAM founder Robert Rundo was arrested for assaulting a police officer in Berkeley, although prosecutors declined to bring charges.[10]

In August 2017, RAM perpetrated its first violent acts outside California when members attended the landmark “Unite the Right” rally of U.S. white supremacists and far-right extremists in Charlottesville, Virginia. Along with other attendees, members of RAM marched through the city and the campus of the University of Virginia chanting anti-Semitic slogans, including “Jews will not replace us.”[11] They assaulted counter-protesters, including a clergyman and college students, by punching, kicking, head butting, and bludgeoning them with a tiki torch.[12] According to an FBI affidavit, the RAM fighters were “among the most violent individuals present in Charlottesville.”[13] Their actions caught the attention of federal authorities and led to criminal charges in late 2018.

After the “Unite the Right” rally, an anonymous leader of the group told ProPublica that RAM planned to move away from attacks at rallies.[14] For the next two years, the group largely refrained from engaging in acts of violence in the United States. Instead, RAM diversified its activities specifically, by expanding its contacts with like-minded groups. In mid-2017, RAM may have begun holding monthly networking events with the Proud Boys – a white supremacist and misogynistic group active in the U.S. alt-right movement – in Laguna Beach, California. This report of joint meetings with the Proud Boys was published in an article by the Northern California Anti-Racist Action, a community group opposed to white supremacy, and has not been independently confirmed.[15] Additional photo evidence posted online by the Northern California Anti-Racist Action shows members of RAM and the Proud Boys attending each other’s events.[16]  In April 2018, a member of RAM attended a conference hosted by the U.S. white supremacist publication American Renaissance in Tennessee.[17]

RAM also cultivated ties with European groups. In April 2018, Rundo and other RAM members embarked on a tour of Europe to network with white supremacist organizations. Its declared intention was to “bridge the gap between the two nationalist scenes.”[18] In Germany, RAM attended the Schild und Schwert (Shield and Sword) Festival, a mecca for German white supremacists that is held every year on Adolf Hitler’s birthday, April 20.[19] In Ukraine, RAM was hosted by Olena Semenyaka, head of the National Corps, the political wing of the Azov Battalion, a unit of the Ukrainian National Guard with neo-Nazi and white supremacist affiliations.[20] Semenyaka later stated that Rundo and his compatriots “came to learn our ways” and “showed interest in learning how to create youth forces in the ways Azov has.”[21] During their visit, the RAM members joined the Azov Battalion for sparring at the Reconquista Club, an mixed martial arts (MMA) club affiliated with the group.[22] Rundo entered an MMA competition for white supremacists from across Europe, supposedly the first American to take part in the history of the event.[23] While in Kiev, Rundo also got a tattoo of the Viking warrior logo of White Rex, a clothing label founded by Russian MMA fighter and Azov Battalion associate Denis Nikitin.[24]

As 2018 drew to a close, RAM faced increasing pressure from law enforcement. In early October, the FBI arrested four members of the group and charged them in Virginia with violating a federal rioting law at the “Unite the Right” rally. Those arrested included Benjamin Daley, a leader of RAM.[25] In an interview with the Los Angeles Times, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Virginia Thomas Cullen stated that the investigation took over a year due to the massive amount of digital evidence, which required authorities to scrutinize photos and videos to build a case against RAM.[26] Though RAM solicited the public to contribute to a legal defense fund and share evidence to prove the defendants’ innocence, all four men ultimately pleaded guilty in May 2019.[27] In July 2019, Benjamin Daley was sentenced to 37 months in prison. Two other RAM members were sentenced to 27 months and 33 months in prison, while a fourth is set to be sentenced in October 2020.[28] The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit upheld the convictions of Daley and a second RAM fighter, Michael Miselis, in August 2020.[29]

Other attempts at prosecuting members of RAM have not been as successful. In a separate case, federal law enforcement arrested four other members of RAM in late October 2018, including group founder Robert Rundo.[30] Rundo had fled to Central America to evade arrest but was soon returned to the United States and taken into custody at Los Angeles Airport.[31] Citing RAM’s violence at political rallies in California and Virginia, authorities charged the men with incitement of riots.[32] In June 2019, a federal judge dismissed the charges against Rundo, Robert Boman, and Aaron Eason, ruling that the anti-riot statute the defendants were accused of violating was overly broad and raised First Amendment concerns.[33] Rundo and Boman were released from custody. A fourth RAM member charged with conspiracy to riot was expected to file a motion for his charges to be dismissed as well.[34]

The RAM prosecutions inspired sympathy for the group across the U.S. far right. The Free Expression Foundation (FEF) – a relatively low-profile group linked to the white supremacist movement – filed an amicus curiae brief arguing that the charges against RAM should be dismissed.[35] According to its website, FEF provides “moral, legal, and financial support” to “victims of the potent social forces that have chosen the un-American path of monitoring, intimidation, and destruction.”[36]  Many white supremacists took to the internet to express support for RAM. For example, the group received support from Robert Bowers, the perpetrator of a mass murder attack at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in October 2018. However, there is no evidence that suggests that Bowers had an affiliation with RAM.[37]

Following the sentencing of RAM leader Benjamin Daley and two of his peers for riot offenses in July 2019, the U.S. Department of Justice claimed that the group was “defunct.”[38] Evidence suggests that the group was not highly active in 2019, perhaps because of the legal cases against eight RAM members. A.C. Thompson, a reporter who extensively covered RAM and other U.S. white supremacist groups, noted that RAM was “absolutely on the verge of collapse.” After the wave of arrests in October 2018, its leaders were imprisoned, and potential recruits were wary of joining.[39] The dismissal of charges against RAM leader Rundo and two group members boosted the RAM’s fortunes. According to Thompson, the group has gotten “a second life.”[40] The release of Rundo and his compatriots prompted a slew of new RAM propaganda on social media. Additionally, the group launched a new line of branded clothing through the far-right label Our Fight Clothing Co.[41]

As of 2020, RAM remains active online. In May 2020, RAM debuted a channel on Telegram, an encrypted messaging app popular among extremist groups. RAM members shared anti-Semitic and anti-immigration material as well as links to a website affiliated with the group.[42] Within two days of its founding, the channel boasted over 250 followers.[43] In July 2020, RAM leader Robert Rundo released several videos on YouTube with tips for right-wing extremists on spreading propaganda and traveling abroad while on a U.S. government watchlist, such as the no fly list.[44]

RAM has exploited the May 2020 killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis, Minnesota police and the resulting explosion of activism by the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement in the United States. RAM made social media posts attacking white Americans who participated in the BLM protests as race traitors and celebrated a video showing white men attacking BLM protesters in Philadelphia.[45]


[1] Thompson, A.C. “Once Defiant, All Four White Supremacists Charged in Charlottesville Violence Plead Guilty.” ProPublica. May 6, 2019. https://www.propublica.org/article/all-four-white-supremacists-charged-i...

[2] Thompson, A.C., Ali Winston, and Darwin Bond Graham. “Racist, Violent, Unpunished: A White Hate Group’s Campaign of Menace.” ProPublica. October 19, 2017. https://www.propublica.org/article/white-hate-group-campaign-of-menace-r...

[3] Thompson, A.C., Ali Winston, and Darwin Bond Graham. “Racist, Violent, Unpunished: A White Hate Group’s Campaign of Menace.” ProPublica. October 19, 2017. https://www.propublica.org/article/white-hate-group-campaign-of-menace-r...

[4] Thompson, A.C., Ali Winston, and Darwin Bond Graham. “Racist, Violent, Unpunished: A White Hate Group’s Campaign of Menace.” ProPublica. October 19, 2017. https://www.propublica.org/article/white-hate-group-campaign-of-menace-r...

[5] Fearnow, Benjamin. “What Is the Rise Above Movement? FBI Arrests White Supremacists Tied to Violent Riots.” Newsweek. October 24, 2018. https://www.newsweek.com/rise-above-movement-white-ram-charlottesville-b....

[6] “Rise Above Movement (R.A.M.).” Anti-Defamation League. 2020. https://www.adl.org/resources
/backgrounders/rise-above-movement-ram

[7] “Thompson, A.C., Ali Winston, and Darwin Bond Graham. “Racist, Violent, Unpunished: A White Hate Group’s Campaign of Menace.” ProPublica. October 19, 2017. https://www.propublica.org/article/white-hate-group-campaign-of-menace-r...

[8] Thompson, A.C., Ali Winston, and Darwin Bond Graham. “Racist, Violent, Unpunished: A White Hate Group’s Campaign of Menace.” ProPublica. October 19, 2017. https://www.propublica.org/article/white-hate-group-campaign-of-menace-r...

[9] Thompson, A.C., Ali Winston, and Darwin Bond Graham. “Racist, Violent, Unpunished: A White Hate Group’s Campaign of Menace.” ProPublica. October 19, 2017. https://www.propublica.org/article/white-hate-group-campaign-of-menace-r...

[10] Thompson, A.C., Ali Winston, and Darwin Bond Graham. “Racist, Violent, Unpunished: A White Hate Group’s Campaign of Menace.” ProPublica. October 19, 2017. https://www.propublica.org/article/white-hate-group-campaign-of-menace-r....

[11] Thompson, A.C., Ali Winston, and Darwin Bond Graham. “Racist, Violent, Unpunished: A White Hate Group’s Campaign of Menace.” ProPublica. October 19, 2017. https://www.propublica.org/article/white-hate-group-campaign-of-menace-r...

[12] Cappuzzo, Dino P. “Affidavit in Support of Arrest Warrant and Criminal Complaint: United States of America v. Benjamin Drake Daley, Michael Paul Miselis, Thomas Walter Gillen, and Cole Evan White.” FBI. August 27, 2018. https://apps.washingtonpost.com/g/documents/local/federal-prosecutors-ac.... Bharath, Deepa. “Rise Above Movement: What extremism experts are saying about these white supremacists in Southern California.” The Orange County Register. October 4, 2018. https://www.ocregister.com/2018/10/04/rise-above-movement-what-extremism.... Thompson, A.C., Ali Winston, and Darwin Bond Graham. “Racist, Violent, Unpunished: A White Hate Group’s Campaign of Menace.” ProPublica. October 19, 2017. https://www.propublica.org/article/white-hate-group-campaign-of-menace-r....

[13] Cappuzzo, Dino P. “Affidavit in Support of Arrest Warrant and Criminal Complaint: United States of America v. Benjamin Drake Daley, Michael Paul Miselis, Thomas Walter Gillen, and Cole Evan White.” FBI. August 27, 2018. https://apps.washingtonpost.com/g/documents/local/federal-prosecutors-ac...
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[14] Thompson, A.C., Ali Winston, and Darwin Bond Graham. “Racist, Violent, Unpunished: A White Hate Group’s Campaign of Menace.” ProPublica. October 19, 2017. https://www.propublica.org/article/white-hate-group-campaign-of-menace-r...

[15] “DIY Division: The Violent neo-Nazi Group Central to the California Alt-Right and Alt-Light Protest Movements.” Northern California Anti-Racist Action. July 6, 2017. https://nocara.blackblogs.org/2017
/07/06/diy-division/

[16] “DIY Division: The Violent neo-Nazi Group Central to the California Alt-Right and Alt-Light Protest Movements.” Northern California Anti-Racist Action. July 6, 2017. https://nocara.blackblogs.org/2017
/07/06/diy-division/

[17] “Rise Above Movement (R.A.M.).” Anti-Defamation League. 2020. https://www.adl.org/resources
/backgrounders/rise-above-movement-ram

[18] “Rise Above Movement (R.A.M.).” Anti-Defamation League. 2020. https://www.adl.org/resources
/backgrounders/rise-above-movement-ram

[19] “Rise Above Movement (R.A.M.).” Anti-Defamation League. 2020. https://www.adl.org/resources
/backgrounders/rise-above-movement-ram

[20] Miller, Christopher. “Azov, Ukraine's Most Prominent Ultranationalist Group, Sets Its Sights on U.S., Europe.” RadioFreeEurope/RadioLiberty. November 14, 2018. https://www.rferl.org/a/azov-ukraine-s-most-prominent-ultranationalist-g...

[21] Miller, Christopher. “Azov, Ukraine's Most Prominent Ultranationalist Group, Sets Its Sights on U.S., Europe.” RadioFreeEurope/RadioLiberty. November 14, 2018. https://www.rferl.org/a/azov-ukraine-s-most-prominent-ultranationalist-g...

[22] Miller, Christopher. “Azov, Ukraine's Most Prominent Ultranationalist Group, Sets Its Sights on U.S., Europe.” RadioFreeEurope/RadioLiberty. November 14, 2018. https://www.rferl.org/a/azov-ukraine-s-most-prominent-ultranationalist-g...

[23] “Rise Above Movement (R.A.M.).” Anti-Defamation League. 2020. https://www.adl.org/resources
/backgrounders/rise-above-movement-ram

[24] Miller, Christopher. “Azov, Ukraine's Most Prominent Ultranationalist Group, Sets Its Sights on U.S., Europe.” RadioFreeEurope/RadioLiberty. November 14, 2018. https://www.rferl.org/a/azov-ukraine-s-most-prominent-ultranationalist-g...

[25] Nasa, Rahima. “Four Men Arrested Over Unrest During 2017 “Unite the Right” Rally.” ProPublica. October 2, 2018. https://www.propublica.org/article/four-men-arrested-over-unrest-during-...

[26] Jarvie, Jenny et al. “Trained in California, a white supremacist fight club is accused of bringing violence to Charlottesville.” Los Angeles Times. October 3, 2018. https://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-rise-above-hate-20181003-story...

[27] Thompson, A.C. “Once Defiant, All Four White Supremacists Charged in Charlottesville Violence Plead Guilty.” ProPublica. May 6, 2019. https://www.propublica.org/article/all-four-white-supremacists-charged-i...

[28] “Three Members of California-Based White Supremacist Group Sentenced on Riots Charges Related to August 2017 “Unite the Right” Rally in Charlottesville.” U.S. Department of Justice. July 19, 2019. https://www.justice.gov/usao-wdva/pr/three-members-california-based-whit.... “Victim Notification - Daley et al.” U.S. Department of Justice. August 4, 2020. https://www.justice.gov/usao-wdva/victim-notification-daley-et-al

[29] Lavoie, Denise. “During appeal of a Charlottesville rally case, court strikes down parts of federal anti-riot law.” The Associated Press. Published by The Virginian-Pilot. August 24, 2020. https://www.pilotonline.com/news/vp-nw-court-charlottesville-rally-anti-...

[30] Thompson, A.C. “4 Members of Violent White Supremacist Group Face Riot Charges, Federal Authorities Say.” ProPublica. October 24, 2018. https://www.propublica.org/article/rise-above-movement-white-supremacist...

[31] Goldman, Adam and Ali Winston. “F.B.I. Arrests White Nationalist Leader Who Fled the Country for Central America.” The New York Times. October 24, 2018. https://www.nytimes.com/2018/10/24/us/fbi-white-nationalist-robert-paul-...

[32] Goldman, Adam and Ali Winston. “F.B.I. Arrests White Nationalist Leader Who Fled the Country for Central America.” The New York Times. October 24, 2018. https://www.nytimes.com/2018/10/24/us/fbi-white-nationalist-robert-paul-...

[33] Thompson, A.C. “Federal Judge Dismisses Charges Against 3 White Supremacists.” ProPublica. June 4, 2019. https://www.propublica.org/article/federal-judge-dismisses-charges-again...

[34] Reilly, Ryan J. and Christopher Mathias. “White Supremacists Keep Beating the Federal Government In Court.” HuffPost. June 4, 2019. https://www.huffpost.com/entry/rise-above-movement-dismissed_n_5cf6d903e...

[35] Reilly, Ryan J. and Christopher Mathias. “White Supremacists Keep Beating the Federal Government In Court.” HuffPost. June 4, 2019. https://www.huffpost.com/entry/rise-above-movement-dismissed_n_5cf6d903e...

[36] Reilly, Ryan J. and Christopher Mathias. “White Supremacists Keep Beating the Federal Government In Court.” HuffPost. June 4, 2019. https://www.huffpost.com/entry/rise-above-movement-dismissed_n_5cf6d903e...

[37] Thompson, A.C. “Once Defiant, All Four White Supremacists Charged in Charlottesville Violence Plead Guilty.” ProPublica. May 6, 2019. https://www.propublica.org/article/all-four-white-supremacists-charged-i...

[38] “Three Members of California-Based White Supremacist Group Sentenced on Riots Charges Related to August 2017 “Unite the Right” Rally in Charlottesville.” U.S. Department of Justice. July 19, 2019. https://www.justice.gov/usao-wdva/pr/three-members-california-based-whit...

[39] Zidan, Karim. “RAM’s revival and the ongoing struggle against MMA's far-right fight clubs.” The Guardian. November 27, 2019. https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2019/nov/27/rams-revival-and-the-ongoi...

[40] Zidan, Karim. “RAM’s revival and the ongoing struggle against MMA's far-right fight clubs.” The Guardian. November 27, 2019. https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2019/nov/27/rams-revival-and-the-ongoi...

[41] Zidan, Karim. “RAM’s revival and the ongoing struggle against MMA's far-right fight clubs.” The Guardian. November 27, 2019. https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2019/nov/27/rams-revival-and-the-ongoi...

[42] “Extremist Content Online: White Supremacist Street Fighting Gang Creates Telegram Channel Promoting Anti-Immigrant & Anti-Semitic Content.” Counter Extremism Project. May 11, 2020. https://www.counterextremism.com/press/extremist-content-online-white-su...

[43] “Extremist Content Online: White Supremacist Street Fighting Gang Creates Telegram Channel Promoting Anti-Immigrant & Anti-Semitic Content.” Counter Extremism Project. May 11, 2020. https://www.counterextremism.com/press/extremist-content-online-white-su...

[44] “Extremist Content Online: Content From White Supremacist Group RAM Located On YouTube.” Counter Extremism Project. July 7, 2020. https://www.counterextremism.com/press/extremist-content-online-content-...

[45] Makuch, Ben. “White Supremacist Street Gangs Are Going to BLM Protests.” VICE News. June 17, 2020. https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/qj4ky5/white-supremacist-street-gangs...

Organizational Structure

Leadership, Name Changes, Size Estimates, Resources, Geographic Locations

    Leadership
  • Leadership
  • Name Changes
  • Size Estimates
  • Resources
  • Geographic Locations

Leadership

Unlike some other far-right extremist groups, RAM appears to possess a relatively centralized leadership structure. Operating out of southern California, the group lacks cells in other locations in the United States or abroad. RAM members travel together from their home base to attend political rallies and attack counter-protesters elsewhere. Evidence suggests that the group acts as a single unit under the direction of its founder, Robert Rundo. He is present at many of the group’s attacks and major initiatives, such as RAM’s spring 2018 networking trip to Europe, and manages the group’s day-to-day operations. Based on publicly available information, no other member appears to exert as much control over RAM as Rundo.

Robert Rundo (2017 to present): Based in San Clemente, California, Rundo founded RAM in 2017 as the DIY Division.[1] He continues to play a hands-on role as the group’s top leader and directs RAM’s mixed martial arts training program, manages the group’s social media, and produces propaganda videos.[2] Rundo was arrested by federal authorities in October 2018 for inciting riots. He was released in June 2019 when a federal judge dismissed the charges.[3]  Prior to his leadership of RAM, Rundo possessed a criminal record in New York for assault with a weapon and gang assault in the second degree.[4] In 2009, at the age of 19, he was a member of a neighborhood gang in Flushing, Queens and stabbed a Latino man.[5]

Benjamin Daley (2017 to present): Daley serves as a leader of RAM and is based in Redondo Beach, California. Before joining RAM, Daley ran a local tree-trimming business in the region and spent a week in jail on the charge of concealing a firearm.[6] Daley frequently appears in the group’s propaganda, such as recruitment videos.[7] Daley was charged with to conspiracy to riot for his actions at the August 2017 “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. He pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 37 months in prison in July 2019.[8] Some sources state that Daley co-founded of RAM.[9] Other sources do not identify him as a co-founder and it is possible that he is an early member of the group.


[1] Fearnow, Benjamin. “What Is the Rise Above Movement? FBI Arrests White Supremacists Tied to Violent Riots.” Newsweek. October 24, 2018. https://www.newsweek.com/rise-above-movement-white-ram-charlottesville-b.... “Rise Above Movement (R.A.M.).” Anti-Defamation League. 2020. https://www.adl.org/resources/backgrounders/rise-above-movement-ram

[2] “Rise Above Movement (R.A.M.).” Anti-Defamation League. 2020. https://www.adl.org/resources
/backgrounders/rise-above-movement-ram.

[3] Thompson, A.C. “Federal Judge Dismisses Charges Against 3 White Supremacists.” ProPublica. June 4, 2019. https://www.propublica.org/article/federal-judge-dismisses-charges-again...

[4] “Rise Above Movement (R.A.M.).” Anti-Defamation League. 2020. https://www.adl.org/resources
/backgrounders/rise-above-movement-ram

[5] Goldman, Adam and Ali Winston. “F.B.I. Arrests White Nationalist Leader Who Fled the Country for Central America.” The New York Times. October 24, 2018. https://www.nytimes.com/2018/10/24/us/fbi-white-nationalist-robert-paul-.... Thompson, A.C., Ali Winston, and Darwin Bond Graham. “Racist, Violent, Unpunished: A White Hate Group’s Campaign of Menace.” ProPublica. October 19, 2017. https://www.propublica.org/article/white-hate-group-campaign-of-menace-r...

[6] Thompson, A.C., Ali Winston, and Darwin Bond Graham. “Racist, Violent, Unpunished: A White Hate Group’s Campaign of Menace.” ProPublica. October 19, 2017. https://www.propublica.org/article/white-hate-group-campaign-of-menace-r...

[7] “Rise Above Movement (R.A.M.).” Anti-Defamation League. 2020. https://www.adl.org/resources
/backgrounders/rise-above-movement-ram.

[8] Helsel, Phil. “3 members of white supremacist group sentenced for violence at rallies.” NBC News. July 20, 2019. https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/3-members-white-supremacist-group-s...

[9] Tchekmedyian, Alene. Founder of California white power group, another member plead guilty in Charlottesville riot.” Los Angeles Times. May 3, 2019. https://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-white-supremacist-guilty-pl...

Name Changes

Robert Rundo launched the group as the DIY Division (DIY as in “do it yourself”), and its name changed to the Rise Above Movement not long after its founding.[1]


[1] Fearnow, Benjamin. “What Is the Rise Above Movement? FBI Arrests White Supremacists Tied to Violent Riots.” Newsweek. October 24, 2018. https://www.newsweek.com/rise-above-movement-white-ram-charlottesville-b...

Size Estimates

  • 2018: approximately 50 members (The Guardian)[1]
  • 2020: Fewer than 20 members (Anti-Defamation League)[2]
 

[1] Zidan, Karim. “RAM’s revival and the ongoing struggle against MMA's far-right fight clubs.” The Guardian. November 27, 2019. https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2019/nov/27/rams-revival-and-the-ongoi...

[2] “Rise Above Movement (R.A.M.).” Anti-Defamation League. 2020. https://www.adl.org/resources
/backgrounders/rise-above-movement-ram

Resources

In January 2018, RAM began operating an online business known as the Right Brand that sells clothing, stickers, and other merchandise. The brand’s website describes its aesthetic as nationalist and counterculture, and available products are modeled by RAM members. Apart from a few stickers that denigrate the anti-fascist movement (also known as “antifa”) and the left more broadly, the merchandise lacked overt connections to politics, much less links to white supremacy extremism.[1] Instagram banned the online store in August 2018 its connections to RAM were exposed, though the platform had previously allowed it to stay up after being flagged by Instagram users.[2]

RAM has also pursued crowdfunding via PayPal and Bitcoin to raise money for members’ legal defense following arrests by the FBI in late 2018.[3] After the June 2019 release of RAM leader Robert Rundo and other RAM members, the group launched a new branded clothing line in partnership with the far-right Our Fight Clothing Co., ostensibly to pay legal fees.[4]


[1] “Rise Above Movement (R.A.M.).” Anti-Defamation League. 2020. https://www.adl.org/resources
/backgrounders/rise-above-movement-ram

[2] Robins-Early, Nick. “Instagram Let A Violent White Supremacist Group Promote Their Clothing Brand.” HuffPost. August 14, 2018. https://www.huffpost.com/entry/instagram-white-supremacy-clothing_n_5b73...

[3] Thompson, A.C. “Once Defiant, All Four White Supremacists Charged in Charlottesville Violence Plead Guilty.” ProPublica. May 6, 2019. https://www.propublica.org/article/all-four-white-supremacists-charged-i...

[4] Zidan, Karim. “RAM’s revival and the ongoing struggle against MMA's far-right fight clubs.” The Guardian. November 27, 2019. https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2019/nov/27/rams-revival-and-the-ongoi...

Geographic Locations

Disclaimer: This is a partial list of where the militant organization has bases and where it operates. This does not include information on where the group conducts major attacks or has external influences.

RAM is based in southern California and concentrated in Orange County.[1] The group holds mixed martial arts training sessions in public parks in the region, including in Irvine and San Clemente.[2] Members have attacked protesters in Huntington Beach, San Bernardino, and Berkeley, California, as well as in Charlottesville, Virginia.[3]


[1] “Rise Above Movement (R.A.M.).” Anti-Defamation League. 2020. https://www.adl.org/resources
/backgrounders/rise-above-movement-ram

[2] Bharath, Deepa. “Rise Above Movement: What extremism experts are saying about these white supremacists in Southern California.” The Orange County Register. October 4, 2018. https://www.ocregister.com/2018/10/04/rise-above-movement-what-extremism...

[3] Thompson, A.C., Ali Winston, and Darwin Bond Graham. “Racist, Violent, Unpunished: A White Hate Group’s Campaign of Menace.” ProPublica. October 19, 2017. https://www.propublica.org/article/white-hate-group-campaign-of-menace-r...

Strategy

Ideology, Aims, Political Activities, Targets and Tactics

    Ideology and Goals
  • Ideology and Goals
  • Political Activities
  • Targets and Tactics

Ideology and Goals

RAM’s ideology can be considered white supremacist, neo-Nazi, anti-Semitic, and anti-immigrant. The group aims to bring back an America dominated by European culture and foster a new “conservative counter-culture” focused on white identity.[1] RAM describes itself as an alt-right militia fighting for the defense of Western civilization against Jews, Muslims, and immigrants of color, especially those from Central and South America.[2]  The group’s primary goal is to physically assault those it perceives as its enemies.[3] RAM’s logo comprises an evergreen tree and a sword with a cross shape on its pommel, a reference to the Crusades.[4]

The group denies that it is racist or fascist, insisting instead that it merely protects the white identity from the “degeneracy” of American culture.[5] RAM sees white Americans as victimized by liberal ways of life, which the group seeks to uproot and defeat.[6] However, the group’s claims that it is not racist or fascist ring hollow. There is a great deal of evidence that RAM is plugged into the U.S. neo-Nazi and white supremacy extremist movement. For example, the group promotes the “14 Words” slogan popular among many U.S. white supremacists.[7] Authored by U.S. neo-Nazi David Lane after he was imprisoned for the 1984 murder of Jewish radio host David Berg, the mantra reads, “We must secure the existence of our people and a future for white children.” RAM leader Robert Rundo has publicly praised Lane’s statement, calling members of RAM “fans” of it.[8] In a search of an RAM members home in 2018, police found a wall hanging with the number “88” – a reference to the phrase “Heil Hitler,” as H is the eighth letter of the alphabet.[9]

In contrast to other white supremacist militant groups such as Atomwaffen Division (now known as the National Socialist Order), RAM does not seek to overthrow the United States government but rather to restore the United States to an idealized past based on white identity. Members of the group have been photographed at rallies carrying a large banner with the words “Defend America.”[10] Members have also worn American flag bandannas to hide their identities.[11]


[1] “Rise Above Movement (R.A.M.).” Anti-Defamation League. 2020. https://www.adl.org/resources
/backgrounders/rise-above-movement-ram

[2] Thompson, A.C., Ali Winston, and Darwin Bond Graham. “Racist, Violent, Unpunished: A White Hate Group’s Campaign of Menace.” ProPublica. October 19, 2017. https://www.propublica.org/article/white-hate-group-campaign-of-menace-r...

[3] Thompson, A.C., Ali Winston, and Darwin Bond Graham. “Racist, Violent, Unpunished: A White Hate Group’s Campaign of Menace.” ProPublica. October 19, 2017. https://www.propublica.org/article/white-hate-group-campaign-of-menace-r...

[4] Thompson, A.C., Ali Winston, and Darwin Bond Graham. “Racist, Violent, Unpunished: A White Hate Group’s Campaign of Menace.” ProPublica. October 19, 2017. https://www.propublica.org/article/white-hate-group-campaign-of-menace-r...

[5] Thompson, A.C., Ali Winston, and Darwin Bond Graham. “Racist, Violent, Unpunished: A White Hate Group’s Campaign of Menace.” ProPublica. October 19, 2017. https://www.propublica.org/article/white-hate-group-campaign-of-menace-r...

[6] “Rise Above Movement (R.A.M.).” Anti-Defamation League. 2020. https://www.adl.org/resources
/backgrounders/rise-above-movement-ram

[7] Thompson, A.C., Ali Winston, and Darwin Bond Graham. “Racist, Violent, Unpunished: A White Hate Group’s Campaign of Menace.” ProPublica. October 19, 2017. https://www.propublica.org/article/white-hate-group-campaign-of-menace-r...

[8] Thompson, A.C., Ali Winston, and Darwin Bond Graham. “Racist, Violent, Unpunished: A White Hate Group’s Campaign of Menace.” ProPublica. October 19, 2017. https://www.propublica.org/article/white-hate-group-campaign-of-menace-r...

[9] Jarvie, Jenny et al. “Trained in California, a white supremacist fight club is accused of bringing violence to Charlottesville.” Los Angeles Times. October 3, 2018. https://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-rise-above-hate-20181003-story...

[10] “DIY Division: The Violent neo-Nazi Group Central to the California Alt-Right and Alt-Light Protest Movements.” Northern California Anti-Racist Action. July 6, 2017. https://nocara.blackblogs.org/2017
/07/06/diy-division/

[11] Thompson, A.C., Ali Winston, and Darwin Bond Graham. “Racist, Violent, Unpunished: A White Hate Group’s Campaign of Menace.” ProPublica. October 19, 2017. https://www.propublica.org/article/white-hate-group-campaign-of-menace-r...

Political Activities

While RAM does not directly engage in electoral politics, it takes part in politics via its participation in far-right rallies. Members of the group have demonstrated against Jews and Muslims and advocated white nationalism.[1] RAM’s fighters use physical violence to intimidate their political opponents. RAM regularly targets counter-protesters at the far-right rallies that the group attends. For example, RAM members attacked counter-protestors at a rally hosted by U.S. President Donald Trump in early 2017.[2] That same year, the group also targeted counter-protestors at an alt-right rally,[3] at a demonstration organized by an anti-Muslim political group,[4] and at the “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia in 2017.[5]


[1] “Rise Above Movement (R.A.M.).” Anti-Defamation League. 2020. https://www.adl.org/resources
/backgrounders/rise-above-movement-ram

[2] Thompson, A.C., Ali Winston, and Darwin Bond Graham. “Racist, Violent, Unpunished: A White Hate Group’s Campaign of Menace.” ProPublica. October 19, 2017. https://www.propublica.org/article/white-hate-group-campaign-of-menace-r...

[3] Cappuzzo, Dino P. “Affidavit in Support of Arrest Warrant and Criminal Complaint: United States of America v. Benjamin Drake Daley, Michael Paul Miselis, Thomas Walter Gillen, and Cole Evan White.” FBI. August 27, 2018. https://apps.washingtonpost.com/g/documents/local/federal-prosecutors-ac...
interstitial_manual_12. Thompson, A.C., Ali Winston, and Darwin Bond Graham. “Racist, Violent, Unpunished: A White Hate Group’s Campaign of Menace.” ProPublica. October 19, 2017. https://www.propublica.org/article/white-hate-group-campaign-of-menace-r....

[4] Castillo, Andrea. “Anti-sharia protesters rally at site of San Bernardino terrorist attack.” Los Angeles Times. June 10, 2017. https://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-anti-sharia-protest-2017061.... Sullivan, Emily. “4 White Supremacists Face Federal Charges in California Attacks.” NPR. October 25, 2018. https://www.npr.org/2018/10/25/660401404/four-white-supremacists-face-fe.... “Rise Above Movement (R.A.M.).” Anti-Defamation League. 2020. https://www.adl.org/resources/backgrounders/rise-above-movement-ram

[5] Cappuzzo, Dino P. “Affidavit in Support of Arrest Warrant and Criminal Complaint: United States of America v. Benjamin Drake Daley, Michael Paul Miselis, Thomas Walter Gillen, and Cole Evan White.” FBI. August 27, 2018. https://apps.washingtonpost.com/g/documents/local/federal-prosecutors-ac.... Thompson, A.C., Ali Winston, and Darwin Bond Graham. “Racist, Violent, Unpunished: A White Hate Group’s Campaign of Menace.” ProPublica. October 19, 2017. https://www.propublica.org/article/white-hate-group-campaign-of-menace-r.... Bharath, Deepa. “Rise Above Movement: What extremism experts are saying about these white supremacists in Southern California.” The Orange County Register. October 4, 2018. https://www.ocregister.com
/2018/10/04/rise-above-movement-what-extremism-experts-are-saying-about-these-white-supremacists-in-southern-california/

Targets and Tactics

RAM generally eschews weapons and executes its attacks with mixed martial arts (MMA) fighting techniques. The group describes itself on its website as “the premier MMA club of the Alt-Right.”[1] Members meet in public parks in southern California to train together in MMA.[2]

RAM attends political rallies with the intention of committing acts of violence, usually against counter-protesters opposed to the extreme right. Members wear skull masks or American flag bandanas to conceal their faces, put on goggles to protect against pepper spray, and wrap their hands and wrists with tape to prevent injury when punching.[3]

The group’s targets include Jews, immigrants, Muslims, anti-fascist (“antifa”) activists, people of color, and the LGBT community. Members of RAM have carried signs at far-right rallies bearing slogans, including “Da Goyim Know” (a reference to an anti-Semitic conspiracy theory about Jews’ supposed plans for taking over the world), “Rapefugees Not Welcome,” and “Defend America. Islamists Out.”[4] RAM has also used slogans such as “Kill a Commie for Mommy” and “GNLS,” an abbreviation for “Good Night Left Side,” which is a common anti-antifa mantra among members of the far right.[5] Antifa is typically considered to be on the far left of the U.S. political spectrum, hence the reference to “left side.”

Jews are an especially common target for RAM. In May 2017, members of the group gathered on a southern California beach for a book-burning event, where they burned books including Anne Frank’s Diary of a Young Girl, Schindler’s List by Thomas Keneally,[6] the 9/11 Commission Report, The Jewish Book of Why, Cultural Pluralism, and Trapped in Hitler’s Hell.[7] At a June 2017 anti-Muslim rally in San Bernardino, California, a RAM member brandished dollar bills in the face of a counter-protester and demanded to know if he was Jewish.[8]

Though RAM is perhaps most well-known for its mixed martial arts (MMA) training and its violence at political rallies, much of its activity occurs online, where the group disseminates hateful rhetoric and videos of training sessions. RAM utilizes YouTube and encrypted messaging apps (e.g., Telegram) to propagate extremist material and share tips for like-minded individuals.[9] RAM regularly shares images and videos online depicting its MMA training sessions.[10] RAM aims to recruit new members with slick videos showing footage from training interspersed with shots of the group’s acts of violence at political rallies.[11]

Other propaganda features anti-Semitic and racist themes, including attacks on Mark Zuckerberg and former U.S. President Barack Obama, celebrations of police shootings of Black Americans, and cartoons targeting Muslims, Jews, and Black Americans.[12] Other posts have disseminated conspiracy theories about Jewish control of banks, the news media, and the legal system.[13] RAM released an image of a member stepping on a rainbow Pride flag in June 2020, which was LGBTQ Pride Month in the United States.[14]


[1] Jarvie, Jenny et al. “Trained in California, a white supremacist fight club is accused of bringing violence to Charlottesville.” Los Angeles Times. October 3, 2018. https://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-rise-above-hate-20181003-story...

[2] Bharath, Deepa. “Rise Above Movement: What extremism experts are saying about these white supremacists in Southern California.” The Orange County Register. October 4, 2018. https://www.ocregister.com/2018/10/04/rise-above-movement-what-extremism...

[3] “Rise Above Movement (R.A.M.).” Anti-Defamation League. 2020. https://www.adl.org/resources
/backgrounders/rise-above-movement-ram

[4] “Rise Above Movement (R.A.M.).” Anti-Defamation League. 2020. https://www.adl.org/resources
/backgrounders/rise-above-movement-ram

[5] “Rise Above Movement (R.A.M.).” Anti-Defamation League. 2020. https://www.adl.org/resources
/backgrounders/rise-above-movement-ram

[6] Stephen Spielberg’s film Schindler’s List was based on Thomas Keneally’s historical fiction novel Schindler’s Ark. After the release of the film, Keneally’s book was re-issued under the title Schindler’s List. Photos indicate that it was this edition of Keneally’s book that RAM burned.

[7] “Rise Above Movement (R.A.M.).” Anti-Defamation League. 2020. https://www.adl.org/resources/backgrounders/rise-above-movement-ram. “DIY Division: The Violent neo-Nazi Group Central to the California Alt-Right and Alt-Light Protest Movements.” Northern California Anti-Racist Action. July 6, 2017. https://nocara.blackblogs.org/2017/07/06/diy-division/.

[8] Bharath, Deepa. “Rise Above Movement: What extremism experts are saying about these white supremacists in Southern California.” The Orange County Register. October 4, 2018. https://www.ocregister.com/2018/10/04/rise-above-movement-what-extremism...

[9] “Extremist Content Online: White Supremacist Street Fighting Gang Creates Telegram Channel Promoting Anti-Immigrant & Anti-Semitic Content.” Counter Extremism Project. May 11, 2020. https://www.counterextremism.com/press/extremist-content-online-white-su.... “Extremist Content Online: Content From White Supremacist Group RAM Located On YouTube.” Counter Extremism Project. July 7, 2020. https://www.counterextremism.com
/press/extremist-content-online-content-white-supremacist-group-ram-located-youtube

[10] McLaughlin, Elliott C. “The Rise Above Movement is less like the Klan and more like a fight club.” CNN. October 9, 2018. https://www.cnn.com/2018/10/09/us/ram-rise-above-movement-california-hat...

[11] McLaughlin, Elliott C. “The Rise Above Movement is less like the Klan and more like a fight club.” CNN. October 9, 2018. https://www.cnn.com/2018/10/09/us/ram-rise-above-movement-california-hat...

[12] Thompson, A.C., Ali Winston, and Darwin Bond Graham. “Racist, Violent, Unpunished: A White Hate Group’s Campaign of Menace.” ProPublica. October 19, 2017. https://www.propublica.org/article/white-hate-group-campaign-of-menace-r...

[13] Jarvie, Jenny et al. “Trained in California, a white supremacist fight club is accused of bringing violence to Charlottesville.” Los Angeles Times. October 3, 2018. https://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-rise-above-hate-20181003-story...

[14] Makuch, Ben. “White Supremacist Street Gangs Are Going to BLM Protests.” VICE News. June 17, 2020. https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/qj4ky5/white-supremacist-street-gangs...

cardinal red photo

Major Attacks

Disclaimer: These are some selected major attacks in the militant organization’s history. It is not a comprehensive listing but captures some of the most famous attacks or turning points during the campaign.

March 25, 2017: Several RAM members attacked counter-protesters and journalists with punches on the sidelines of a “Make America Great Again” rally hosted by U.S. President Donald Trump in Huntington Beach, California (none killed, unknown wounded).[1] This was RAM’s first public attack as an organization.

April 15, 2017: Members of RAM, including RAM founder Robert Rundo, assaulted a police officer, journalists, and counter-protesters with mixed martial arts techniques at an alt-right rally in Berkeley (none killed, unknown wounded).[2]

June 10, 2017: RAM participated in a demonstration organized by ACT for America, an anti-Muslim political group, in San Bernardino, California, where members assaulted counter-protesters (none killed, unknown wounded).[3]

August 12, 2017: RAM fighters attacked counter-protesters, including a clergyman, at the “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. Group members punched, kicked, head butted, and bludgeoned counter-protestors with a tiki torch (none killed, four wounded).[4]


[1] Thompson, A.C., Ali Winston, and Darwin Bond Graham. “Racist, Violent, Unpunished: A White Hate Group’s Campaign of Menace.” ProPublica. October 19, 2017. https://www.propublica.org/article/white-hate-group-campaign-of-menace-r...

[2] Cappuzzo, Dino P. “Affidavit in Support of Arrest Warrant and Criminal Complaint: United States of America v. Benjamin Drake Daley, Michael Paul Miselis, Thomas Walter Gillen, and Cole Evan White.” FBI. August 27, 2018. https://apps.washingtonpost.com/g/documents/local/federal-prosecutors-ac.... “DIY Division: The Violent neo-Nazi Group Central to the California Alt-Right and Alt-Light Protest Movements.” Northern California Anti-Racist Action. July 6, 2017. https://nocara.blackblogs.org/2017/07/06/diy-division/. Thompson, A.C., Ali Winston, and Darwin Bond Graham. “Racist, Violent, Unpunished: A White Hate Group’s Campaign of Menace.” ProPublica. October 19, 2017. https://www.propublica.org/article/white-hate-group-campaign-of-menace-r....

[3] Castillo, Andrea. “Anti-sharia protesters rally at site of San Bernardino terrorist attack.” Los Angeles Times. June 10, 2017. https://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-anti-sharia-protest-2017061.... Sullivan, Emily. “4 White Supremacists Face Federal Charges in California Attacks.” NPR. October 25, 2018. https://www.npr.org/2018/10/25/660401404/four-white-supremacists-face-fe.... “Rise Above Movement (R.A.M.).” Anti-Defamation League. 2020. https://www.adl.org/resources/backgrounders/rise-above-movement-ram

[4] Cappuzzo, Dino P. “Affidavit in Support of Arrest Warrant and Criminal Complaint: United States of America v. Benjamin Drake Daley, Michael Paul Miselis, Thomas Walter Gillen, and Cole Evan White.” FBI. August 27, 2018. https://apps.washingtonpost.com/g/documents/local/federal-prosecutors-ac.... Thompson, A.C., Ali Winston, and Darwin Bond Graham. “Racist, Violent, Unpunished: A White Hate Group’s Campaign of Menace.” ProPublica. October 19, 2017. https://www.propublica.org/article/white-hate-group-campaign-of-menace-r.... Bharath, Deepa. “Rise Above Movement: What extremism experts are saying about these white supremacists in Southern California.” The Orange County Register. October 4, 2018. https://www.ocregister.com
/2018/10/04/rise-above-movement-what-extremism-experts-are-saying-about-these-white-supremacists-in-southern-california/

Interactions

Foreign Designations and Listings, Community Relations, Relations with Other Groups, State Sponsors and External Influences

    Designated/Listed
  • Designated/Listed
  • Community Relations
  • Relationships with Other Groups
  • State Sponsors and External Influences

Designated/Listed

There are no designations or listings for this group.

Community Relations

Though RAM operates as a street-fighting club, the group also aims to cultivate a more positive image in order to attract public support. RAM members seek to portray their lifestyle as a model for others, especially youth, to follow. Literature aimed at new recruits bills RAM as a group “dedicated to the promotion of an active lifestyle and common values among young people for our future.”[1] Online propaganda describes a drug-free, Christian, healthy way of life that balances physical fitness with intellectual curiosity.[2] For example, a photo posted on the social networking site Gab in late 2018 depicted RAM members reading together on a staircase.[3]


[1] McLaughlin, Elliott C. “The Rise Above Movement is less like the Klan and more like a fight club.” CNN. October 9, 2018. https://www.cnn.com/2018/10/09/us/ram-rise-above-movement-california-hat...

[2] Bharath, Deepa. “Rise Above Movement: What extremism experts are saying about these white supremacists in Southern California.” The Orange County Register. October 4, 2018. https://www.ocregister.com/2018/10/04/rise-above-movement-what-extremism...

[3] Bharath, Deepa. “Rise Above Movement: What extremism experts are saying about these white supremacists in Southern California.” The Orange County Register. October 4, 2018. https://www.ocregister.com/2018/10/04/rise-above-movement-what-extremism...

Relationships with Other Groups

Though the scope of its activities is largely limited to violence at political rallies within the United States, RAM has sought to cultivate relationships with other militant organizations and far-right extremist groups in the United States and overseas.

Alliances

Hammerskin Nation

RAM appears to have close ties to the Hammerskin Nation (HSN), the largest organization for members of the skinhead movement in the United States. The New York Times has reported that RAM leader Robert Rundo had cultivated a relationship with HSN’s West Coast chapter prior to his arrest in October 2018.[1] HSN began in Dallas, Texas in the 1980s and is comprised of a loose confederation of chapters in various U.S. locations.[2] White-power music and music festivals play a key role in mobilizing members and consolidating ideology across the various chapters.[3] Like RAM, the Hammerskin Nation is organized as a white-power gang.

According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, members of RAM, then still known as the DIY Division, displayed clothing and tattoos affiliated with HSN during RAM’s first attack in March 2017.[4] HSN members have joined RAM in attacks, including the assault of counter-protestors at a June 2017 anti-Muslim march in San Bernardino, California.[5] Members of RAM signaled ties to HSN at an April 2017 rally of the so-called alt-right in Berkeley, California. Photographs of this event show RAM members marching and making the Hammerskin salute, which combines a Nazi salute and the HSN logo.[6]

There is also crossover in membership between the two organizations. RAM is known to have recruited fighters from the ranks of the HSN.[7] Several individuals reportedly maintain affiliations with both groups, including Skyler Segeberg and Spencer Currie.[8]

Segeberg and Curry reportedly form part of a HSN band called “Hate Your Neighbors” that has performed at HSN events.[9]

Proud Boys

RAM collaborates with the Proud Boys, a U.S. right-wing extremist group active in the alt-right movement. The Proud Boys was founded in 2016 by VICE Media co-founder Gavin McInnes. Group members describe themselves as “Western chauvinists” and are known for white supremacist, misogynistic, and anti-Muslim rhetoric.[10] Like RAM, the Proud Boys advocate for an American white identity and is active both online and in demonstrations around the country. The group co-organized the August 2017 “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, with the U.S.-based white supremacist group Identity Evropa.[11] In 2017, a Proud Boys leader, Kyle Chapman, established a paramilitary wing known as the Fraternal Order of the Alt-Knights (FOAK) with the goal of defending right-wing extremists at rallies.[12] In August 2017, Rewire estimated that the Proud Boys numbered about 6,000 members online, though the extent to which these members are consistently active in the group is unclear.[13] Despite the group’s cultivation of ties with groups that have neo-Nazi affiliations, such as RAM, the Proud Boys resist the neo-Nazi label and its connotations.[14]

Photo evidence posted online shows members of RAM and the Proud Boys attending each other’s events.[15] Both groups participated in the “Unite the Right” rally. According to material published by the Northern California Anti-Racist Action, RAM and the Proud Boys began holding monthly networking events in Laguna Beach, California in mid-2017.[16] This report has not been independently confirmed.

Azov Battalion

RAM has pursued ties with the Azov Battalion, a unit of the Ukrainian National Guard that promotes white supremacy extremism and neo-Nazi beliefs. With the aid of foreign fighters recruited from around the world, Azov has fought against pro-Russian separatists in the eastern half of Ukraine. During RAM’s networking tour of Europe in 2018, the head of the Azov Battalion’s political wing, known as the National Corps, hosted RAM members Robert Rundo, Benjamin Daley, and Michael Miselis in Ukraine.[17] During their visit, the men participated in weight training with the Azov Battalion at an outdoor gym in Kiev. RAM members also engaged in sparring with Azov Battalion members at the Reconquista Club, a mixed martial arts (MMA) club affiliated with Azov.[18] While in Kiev, RAM founder Rundo got a tattoo of the Viking warrior logo of White Rex, a clothing label founded by a Russian MMA fighter and Azov Battalion affiliate.[19] An October 2018 FBI criminal complaint notes RAM’s ties to the Azov Battalion. The document claims that militants of the Azov Battalion “have participated in training and radicalizing United States-based white supremacy organizations.”[20] National Corps leader Olena Semenyaka denied this claim but acknowledged the group’s ties to RAM, stating that Rundo and the other men traveled to Ukraine “to learn our ways” and “showed interest in learning how to create youth forces in the ways Azov has.” RAM has remained an ally of the Azov Battalion since the 2018 exchange. In a March 2020 video posted to YouTube, Rundo defended the Azov Battalion as the group came under greater scrutiny in the United States.[21]

Identity Evropa/American Identity Movement

RAM has allied itself with Identity Evropa (IE), also known as the American Identity Movement (AIM). Founded in 2016, IE is a U.S.-based white supremacist organization that aims to strengthen a shared sense of white racial identity and ostensibly preserve Western culture.[22] The group recruits on college campuses across the United States. It often utilizes flyers featuring images of European heritage, such as classical statues, and slogans such as “Keep Your Diversity We Want Identity.”[23] IE co-organized the August 2017 “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia with the U.S.-based right-wing extremist group the Proud Boys.[24] In 2019, IE changed its name to the American Identity Movement and focused more explicitly on American nationalism, including the use of patriotic colors and symbols.[25] As of February 2017, IE boasted about 200 members.[26]

In its attack on counter-protesters at an April 2017 far-right rally in Berkeley, California, RAM fought alongside members of IE, including IE’s founder, Nathan Damigo.[27] Members of the two organizations appeared together in photographs taken during and after the rally.[28]


[1] Goldman, Adam and Ali Winston. “F.B.I. Arrests White Nationalist Leader Who Fled the Country for Central America.” The New York Times. October 24, 2018. https://www.nytimes.com/2018/10/24/us/fbi-white-nationalist-robert-paul-...

[2] Perliger, Arie. “Challengers from the Sidelines: Understanding America’s Violent Far-Right.” Combating Terrorism Center at West Point. November 2012. https://ctc.usma.edu/challengers-from-the-sidelines-understanding-americ...

[3] Perliger, Arie. “Challengers from the Sidelines: Understanding America’s Violent Far-Right.” Combating Terrorism Center at West Point. November 2012. https://ctc.usma.edu/challengers-from-the-sidelines-understanding-americ...

[4] Morlin, Bill. “Neo-Nazi Skins Played Role in Pro-Trump Rally.” Southern Poverty Law Center. April 4, 2017. https://www.splcenter.org/hatewatch/2017/04/04/neo-nazi-skins-played-rol...

[5] Thompson, A.C., Ali Winston, and Darwin Bond Graham. “Racist, Violent, Unpunished: A White Hate Group’s Campaign of Menace.” ProPublica. October 19, 2017. https://www.propublica.org/article/white-hate-group-campaign-of-menace-r...

[6] “DIY Division: The Violent neo-Nazi Group Central to the California Alt-Right and Alt-Light Protest Movements.” Northern California Anti-Racist Action. July 6, 2017. https://nocara.blackblogs.org/2017
/07/06/diy-division/

[7] Thompson, A.C., Ali Winston, and Darwin Bond Graham. “Racist, Violent, Unpunished: A White Hate Group’s Campaign of Menace.” ProPublica. October 19, 2017. https://www.propublica.org/article/white-hate-group-campaign-of-menace-r...

[8] Tristan, Frank John. “OC Alt-Right Can’t Deny Associations With White Hate Groups & Neo-Nazis.” OC Weekly. November 16, 2017. https://www.ocweekly.com/ocs-alt-right-can-no-longer-deny-theyre-associa.... “DIY Division: The Violent neo-Nazi Group Central to the California Alt-Right and Alt-Light Protest Movements.” Northern California Anti-Racist Action. July 6, 2017. https://nocara.blackblogs.org/2017
/07/06/diy-division/.

[9] Tristan, Frank John. “OC Alt-Right Can’t Deny Associations With White Hate Groups & Neo-Nazis.” OC Weekly. November 16, 2017. https://www.ocweekly.com/ocs-alt-right-can-no-longer-deny-theyre-associa.... “DIY Division: The Violent neo-Nazi Group Central to the California Alt-Right and Alt-Light Protest Movements.” Northern California Anti-Racist Action. July 6, 2017. https://nocara.blackblogs.org/2017
/07/06/diy-division/

[10] “Proud Boys.” Southern Poverty Law Center. 2020. https://www.splcenter.org/fighting-hate/extremist-files/group/proud-boys

[11] “Proud Boys.” Southern Poverty Law Center. 2020. https://www.splcenter.org/fighting-hate/extremist-files/group/proud-boys

[12] “Proud Boys.” Southern Poverty Law Center. 2020. https://www.splcenter.org/fighting-hate/extremist-files/group/proud-boys

[13] Coutts, Sharona. “How Hate Goes ‘Mainstream’: Gavin McInnes and the Proud Boys.” Rewire News. August 28, 2017. https://rewire.news/article/2017/08/28/hate-goes-mainstream-gavin-mcinne...

[14] “Neo-Nazis Brag of Open Connections With Gavin’s ‘Proud Boys.’” It’s Going Down. May 18, 2017. https://itsgoingdown.org/neo-nazis-brag-open-connections-with-gavins-pro...

[15] “DIY Division: The Violent neo-Nazi Group Central to the California Alt-Right and Alt-Light Protest Movements.” Northern California Anti-Racist Action. July 6, 2017. https://nocara.blackblogs.org/2017
/07/06/diy-division/

[16] “DIY Division: The Violent neo-Nazi Group Central to the California Alt-Right and Alt-Light Protest Movements.” Northern California Anti-Racist Action. July 6, 2017. https://nocara.blackblogs.org/2017
/07/06/diy-division/

[17] Miller, Christopher. “Azov, Ukraine's Most Prominent Ultranationalist Group, Sets Its Sights on U.S., Europe.” RadioFreeEurope/RadioLiberty. November 14, 2018. https://www.rferl.org/a/azov-ukraine-s-most-prominent-ultranationalist-g...

[18] Miller, Christopher. “Azov, Ukraine's Most Prominent Ultranationalist Group, Sets Its Sights on U.S., Europe.” RadioFreeEurope/RadioLiberty. November 14, 2018. https://www.rferl.org/a/azov-ukraine-s-most-prominent-ultranationalist-g...

[19] Miller, Christopher. “Azov, Ukraine's Most Prominent Ultranationalist Group, Sets Its Sights on U.S., Europe.” RadioFreeEurope/RadioLiberty. November 14, 2018. https://www.rferl.org/a/azov-ukraine-s-most-prominent-ultranationalist-g...

[20] Bierworth, Scott. “Complaint for violation of Title 18, United States Code, Sections 2101, 371: United States of America v. Robert Paul Rundo, Robert Boman, Tyler Laube, and Aaron Eason.” FBI. October 20, 2018. https://int.nyt.com/data/documenthelper/421-robert-rundo-complaint/0f1e7...
/optimized/full.pdf

[21] “Extremist Content Online: White Supremacist Group Green Brigade ‘Disbands’ Itself, Part of Dubious Trend.” Counter Extremism Project. March 23, 2020. https://www.counterextremism.com/press/extremist-content-online-white-su...‘disbands’-itself-part-dubious

[22] “Identity Evropa/American Identity Movement.” Southern Poverty Law Center. 2020. https://www.splcenter.org/fighting-hate/extremist-files/group/identity-e...

[23] “Identity Evropa/American Identity Movement.” Southern Poverty Law Center. 2020. https://www.splcenter.org/fighting-hate/extremist-files/group/identity-e...

[24] “Identity Evropa/American Identity Movement.” Counter Extremism Project. 2020. https://www.counterextremism.com/supremacy/identity-evropaamerican-ident...

[25] “Identity Evropa/American Identity Movement.” Counter Extremism Project. 2020. https://www.counterextremism.com/supremacy/identity-evropaamerican-ident...

[26] “Identity Evropa/American Identity Movement.” Counter Extremism Project. 2020. https://www.counterextremism.com/supremacy/identity-evropaamerican-ident...

[27] Thompson, A.C., Ali Winston, and Darwin Bond Graham. “Racist, Violent, Unpunished: A White Hate Group’s Campaign of Menace.” ProPublica. October 19, 2017. https://www.propublica.org/article/white-hate-group-campaign-of-menace-r...

[28] “East Bay Identity Evropa Organizer Brodin Sutherland Exposed; Brother in Law Enforcement.” Northern California Anti-Racist Action.” June 17, 2019. https://nocara.blackblogs.org/category/rise-above-movement/

State Sponsors and External Influences

There are no publicly available external influences for this group.

Maps

The project develops a series of interactive diagrams that “map” relationships among groups and show how those relationships change over time. The user can change map settings to display different features (e.g., leadership changes), adjust the time scale, and trace individual groups.