User:KevinR1990/Northwest Territorial Imperative

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The Northwest Territorial Imperative is a concept created by American white nationalists in the 1980s. Rather than focus on trying to take over America, they decided that they had to concentrate their efforts in one part of the country if they hoped to succeed. They chose the northwestern US — the states of Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and western Montana, sometimes including neighboring regions of the US and Canada.


Supporters of the Northwest Territorial Imperative chose the northwestern US on the grounds of this region of the country being more than 90% white, rich in natural resources, and sparsely populated enough that a small number of white nationalist activists could have an outsized voice in political and cultural life.[1] Racism also had a history in the region to rival the Jim Crow-era South; the state of Oregon in particular once tried to "solve" its "Negro question" by simply forbidding black people from living there at all, a law that wasn't repealed until 1926. (It was originally a broadly-worded anti-slavery measure, but it stuck for years after.)[2] Fundamentally, the NTI represented an admission of failure, an acknowledgement that segregation and white power racism were dead letters in most of the country by the '80s, and that by that point, they had no hope of remaking America in their image and their resources were better served focusing on trying to destroy it.[3]

History and supporters[edit]

The idea of herding white nationalists into the northwestern United States was first proposed by Richard Butler, leader of the Aryan Nations, who moved his group to the town of Hayden Lake in the Idaho Panhandle. Butler envisioned the northwest as America's last bastion of undiluted white power, far away from the multicultural cities and the heavily African-American South, and over the next several years the northwest became home to a number of right-wing radicals, most infamously Randy Weaver, who relocated to isolated Boundary County, Idaho with his family. Today, April Gaede (mother of the former white-power tween pop duo Prussian Blue) is a major proponent of the idea, referring to it as "Pioneer Little Europe".[4]

Harold Covington's "Butler Plan"[edit]

Today, one of the main proponents of the NTI is Harold Covington, a white nationalist in Washington state whose main contribution has been in writing the Northwest Front books, a series of four turgid novels outlining how such a movement could theoretically rise to power. His plan, the "Butler Plan"[5] (named for Richard Butler), has four phases:

  1. "Relocation of the better elements of the existing racially conscious White community to the Homeland." Translation: find a way to organize the famously faction-riven white nationalist movement enough to convince them to move en masse to the northwestern US. Covington recommends the creation of a private agency to bring white nationalists in from around the world and assist them in finding jobs and housing and with blending in, one that will remain in place and receive state funding after independence, using the Jewish Agency that handles immigration to Israel as a model (without a hint of irony given his own anti-Semitic views).
  2. "The formation of the Northwest Front as a fighting revolutionary Party." Translation: spread propaganda against non-whites and Jews while portraying themselves as ordinary folks and defenders of white people from the eeeeeevil forces of multiculturalism and political correctness, so as to win over sympathetic locals. Covington advises against forming militias or focusing on guns beyond the level of mainstream groups like the NRA, though this is more for political/propaganda purposes than anything; he fears that the image of supporters brandishing guns will make them look like violent thugs and terrorists.
  3. "The insertion of the Party into actual politics, and the creation of a bona fide political movement for Northwest independence." Translation: this is the part where Covington says to start organizing militias, focusing on guns, and acting like violent thugs and terrorists. The goal he lays out isn't to work within the system, but to tear it down through acts of terrorism, forcing the US government to withdraw from the region. He argues that this stage should come once the US starts to undergo the Soviet-style breakup along ethnic lines that he views as inevitable, without spelling out how that's bound to happen.
  4. "The seizure of state power through the creation of the Northwest American Republic in the power vacuum created by the collapse of the United States." Translation: building an entire nation from scratch. Covington speaks of how the NAR will need people with marketable skills both blue-collar and professional, not just "soldiers or political agitators", though he doesn't bother to actually lay out a plan for how the NAR will become a prosperous, self-sufficient bastion of white civilization in a post-apocalyptic North America that's crawling with untermenschen.

While he gets points for at least trying to describe how he'd go about pulling it off, Covington has historically alienated many of his fellow white nationalists through his self-aggrandizing air, tending to view himself as the only person in the movement with ideas worth a damn and disparaging fellow white nationalist leaders like William Luther Pierce.[3]

Outside of white nationalism[edit]

The region has also attracted attention from radical rightists who don't (explicitly) identify with the white nationalist program. Montana in particular was a major center of the militia movement in the '90s; the Militia of Montana, while small in number, was one of the most visible proponents of the cause, while the Montana Freemen got into a high-profile, 81-day standoff with the Feds in 1996 at their "Justus Township" compound near the town of Jordan, where they ran a pseudolegal sovereign citizen financial scam.[6] Ted Kaczynski also lived in a remote cabin in the Montana wilderness while carrying out his bombing campaign.

In more recent years, fundamentalist pastor Chuck Baldwin moved from Florida to Montana's Flathead Valley in 2010 and called on his fellow "Patriots" to follow him west[7], while in 2013 a group of right-wing activists tried to establish a community called The Citadel in northern Idaho. Survivalist blogger James Wesley Rawles has also identified the parts of the northwestern US between the Cascades and the Rockies (western Montana, Wyoming, Idaho, and eastern Washington and Oregon) as an "American Redoubt", a place that would weather the collapse of civilization better than anywhere else in America and form the nucleus of a reborn nation, and where "true American values", backed by small towns, churches, farmers, and the working class, reign supreme. Unlike the white nationalists, Rawles explicitly disqualified the parts of the northwest located west of the Cascades given the liberalism of those areas (particularly the cities of Seattle and Portland); indeed, he holds out hope that the eastern parts of Washington and Oregon will secede from their respective states and form two new stars on the flag.[8]

Not to be confused with[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. "The Butler Plan: The Homeland"
  2. Novak, Matt. "Oregon Was Founded As a Racist Utopia." Gizmodo, 21 January 2015 (recovered 16 October 2015).
  3. 3.0 3.1 Burghart, Devin and Leonard Zeskind. "The Northwest Imperative Redux." Institute for Research & Education on Human Rights, 27 November 2012 (recovered 20 November 2014).
  4. Lenz, Ryan. "A Gathering of Eagles: Extremists Look to Montana." Southern Poverty Law Center, winter 2011 (recovered 20 November 2014).
  5. "The Butler Plan: The Four Phases"
  6. Goldberg, Carey. "Last of Freemen Surrender to F.B.I. at Montana Site." The New York Times, 14 June 1996 (recovered 12 January 2015).
  7. In his own words. (Warning: deep well of crazy.)
  8. Rawles' call to move to the mountains.
  9. Cascadia Now — pretty flaky, but otherwise harmless
  10. "Cascadia: Into the 20th Century" — they give a brief, dismissive mention to the NTI about halfway in.