The Choco-Morocco Sovereign Citizens’ MilitiaJim Goad
Ever see one of those “reaction” videos where modern blacks listen to Led Zeppelin songs from 50 years ago . . . and like them?
There’s something both endearing and discomfiting about such spectacles. Led Zeppelin is a white thing. Blacks aren’t supposed to like them. If they were, I never would have made a habit of blasting “Immigrant Song” at red lights to drown out whatever thudding hip-hop ditty the car next to me was blaring at volumes loud enough to dislodge my tooth fillings. That’s right — I’ve used Led Zeppelin songs to frighten black people, so I’m unprepared about how to emotionally handle the specter of black people enjoying their music.
I feel the same sense of mildly pleased unease about the fact that the offscourings of a certain cuckoo black religious fringe group are now acting like far-Right, all-white, radical anti-government Christian Identity sovereign-citizen Posse Comitatus groups from the late 1960s.
The Posse Comitatus scene was the Led Zeppelin of far-Right radical political movements. It was by whites and for whites, and although it’s oddly refreshing to see it dawning on American blacks that the federal government is not the noble protector of blackness that it pretends to be, the whole thing stinks of . . . cultural appropriation?
But, dagnabbit and consarn it, the first thing I see when I start surfing around the news is a story about how a renegade group of black Moorish sovereign citizens is annoying their neighbors in rural Maryland by using a member’s property as an open-air machine-gun range. They justify the fact that their raucous all-black gun parties are disturbing the peace and endangering local sheep by claiming that they’re immune from federal law because they are not American citizens but rather subjects of an ancient Moroccan Empire that predates the United States and stretched not only from Morocco to Mecca, but all the way to Maryland and even the sunken continent of Atlantis.
It reminded me of the black couple in North Carolina who invaded and occupied a white NASCAR driver’s $16 million mansion last summer and claimed they had the right to do so because they are members of the Moorish nation and are thus not beholden to US law.
Over the July 4 weekend in 2021, a group called Rise of the Moors snagged national headlines when 11 of its members were arrested after an hours-long standoff with Massachusetts state troopers who inquired why they were wearing tactical body armor and carrying long guns when none of their guns, nor any of their automobiles, were legally registered.
A month before that, a “self-identified citizen of the Al Moroccan Empire” was arrested for squatting in a house in Newark, New Jersey and claiming that he had every right to do so because the house sat on Moroccan land.
Here in Georgia, a “Moorish” sovereign citizen who was born Timothy Jermaine Pate but who refashioned himself as Akenaten Ali was sentenced in 2020 to 25 years in the pokey for filing false tax returns and false multi-million dollar liens against government officials. In 2018, a black “Moorish” resident of Locust Grove, Georgia killed an officer and died in a firefight with local sheriffs who were attempting to serve him a warrant for failure to appear in court over a simple traffic violation. The gunman, one Tierre Guthrie, had claimed that as a member of the Moorish Empire, he was immune from so-called “American” laws.
In 2017, a “Moorish sovereign” with the unmistakably black name of Markeith D. Loyd shot and killed a female police officer in Florida when she attempted to apprehend him after he’d shot and killed his pregnant girlfriend.
In 2016, a black male named Gavin Eugene Long ambushed and killed three police officers in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Long was killed in the ensuing shootout. He was later alleged to be a member of Washitaw Nation, which in the 1990s became one of the first groups to crossbreed the goofy religious tenets of the Moorish Science Temple of America with the anti-government tactics of the formerly all-white sovereign citizen movement.
Hell, even Darrell Brooks, the Waukesha Christmas parade slaughterer, unsuccessfully tried to evade multiple murder charges by claiming sovereign citizenship. So did black actor Wesley Snipes, who claimed a “non-resident alien” status when unsuccessfully attempting to fend off tax-evasion charges. Former Subway spokesman Jared Fogle tried to overturn his child sex tourism and child pornography charges by claiming sovereign citizenship. But to my knowledge, neither Brooks nor Snipes nor Fogle also claimed to be Moors.
So who are these “Moors,” and why are they acting like such boors?
In 1913, a man who called himself Noble Drew Ali but was either born as Timothy Drew in North Carolina or Thomas Drew in Virginia founded something he called the Canaanite Temple in Newark, New Jersey. He reconfigured it as the Moorish Science Temple of America after relocating to Chicago. Ali peddled the same sort of intensely dumb black theological mumbo-jumbo mishmash of other premade philosophical and religious systems almost as if a DJ was remixing them, preaching that American blacks were the illustrious descendants of the Moroccan Empire, and by extension the ancient biblical Moabites. He seemed to care not that Moab was located in Jordan and was geographically further from Morocco than frickin’ Chicago is from Morocco. Ali published something he called the Circle Seven Koran, which mostly consisted of plagiarized passages from The Aquarian Gospel of Jesus the Christ and the Rosicrucian text Unto Thee I Grant. After lifting the first 45 chapters from other sources, Ali penned the final four chapters himself, including this passage:
The fallen sons and daughters of the Asiatic Nation of North America need to learn to love instead of hate; and to know of their higher self and lower self. This is the uniting of the Holy Koran of Mecca for teaching and instructing all Moorish Americans, etc. The key of civilization was and is in the hands of the Asiatic nations. The Moorish, who were the ancient Moabites, and the founders of the Holy City of Mecca.
If he’d ever bothered to look at a map, he would have realized that Morocco is not in Asia.
It doesn’t make any sense to me, either, but then again, I ain’t black. The whole “Moorish” trope still persists among black fringe groups, but perhaps Noble Drew Ali’s most lasting achievement was that W. D. Fard Muhammad, the enigmatic and possibly entirely non-black founder of the Nation of Islam, was apparently a bigwig at the Moorish Science Temple before Noble Drew Ali’s death. When Ali died shortly after his main competitor was murdered, W. D. Fard Muhammad would go on to found a much larger and even more idiotic black American metaphysical system.
Sometime in the 1990s, these neo-Moors began incorporating elements of sovereign-citizen doggerel, and a new, even more retarded belief system was born. Apart from the aforementioned Washitaw Nation, Georgia’s Nuwabian Nation of Moors — led by a black man named Dwight York, who’d eventually be convicted of multiple counts of child molestation — started receiving tips from white Christian Identity Montana Freemen about how to declare themselves “sovereign citizens,” a phrase which apparently no one told them is oxymoronic at its core. It was a defining “you got chocolate in my peanut butter” moment, and thus was born the Moorish sovereign citizen movement.
I’ve seen sovereign-citizen arguments in one form or another going all the way back to Lysander Spooner’s 1867 book No Treason, which argues that the US Constitution, as a legally binding contract, only applied to those who wrote it and those who were able to consent to it while it was written. Both the rural-white militia types and the Moorish black sovereign types argue that they are only subject to common law and not the “commercial” law that hijacked and undermined the US Constitution. Whereas the white militia types may cite the Civil War, or 1871’s District of Columbia Organic Act, or the US’ abdication of the gold standard as the moment that the federal government rendered itself moot, Moorish sovereign citizens argue that 1786’s Moroccan-American Treaty of Friendship unequivocally declares them to be sovereign citizens of Morocco who don’t need to obey any of your stinking American laws.
They even shun the use of the word “black,” alleging that it’s a slave identity foisted upon them by European colonists to mask their true identity as Moorish imperialists. And as Moors — even though they are likely descended from Bantu tribesmen south of the Sahara — this gives them the right to commit, with impunity, any deed which the illegitimate “American” government decrees to be a crime.
I’d like to live in world where I don’t have to answer to the US federal government or some geographically and philosophically impaired, rifle-toting African with a fake name and a cheap mail-order fez. Does anyone know where I file the paperwork to declare myself a sovereign entity who is not beholden to any of these clowns?
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At a science fiction convention before the turn of the century, I heard a joke to the effect that Vegans are persons so alienated that they take out citizenship in an extraterrestrial political entity.
Vega is a star in the constellation Lyra
Sam Bankman Fried is a Vegan.
I’m waiting with bated breath to see the outcome of this financial debacle instituted by Mr. (if indeed he’s a male, or even a human) Bankman-Fried. All I can say is that I hope this critter — who has forever tarnished the reputation of the entire investment industry — ends up as the ‘bank man’ who gets ‘fried’. Sorry, folks, couldn’t resist that one!
I want out
The Canadian Bill of Rights stipulates the right to the individual’s freedom of conscience, so as long as you swear on select works of Henry David Thereaux at your next hearing or trial, you can declare yourself a regional planetarist and live out your primitivist/survivalist ideology in the (preferably) non-Arctic wilderness.
Jim, as an integral part of 90s “high weirdness” culture (AMOK, Loompanics, Adam Parfrey, etc.) you must remember Peter Lamborn Wilson, aka “Hakim Bey.” PLW was a renegade Traditionalist (he had been a member of the Shah of Iran’s esoteric institute of Traditionalist Studies, headed by Seyyed Hossein Nasr; he spoke warmly of the Shah’s wife, “a lovely woman”) whom I met in NYC when he was lecturing at the Open Center and hosting a weekly broadcast, The Moorish Orthodox Radio Crusade on WBAI, the local “public” (i.e. communist) radio station.
As PLW he published a number of books with occasional mentions of perfectly orthodox Islamic pederasty (“the worship of beautiful boys”) to “shock” his readers, while as “Hakim Bey” he put out little tracts promoting both anarchism and boy love in a William Burroughs “Wild Boys” mode — plans to subvert the patriarchy, run away to live in a Airstream trailer in the New Jersey bogs, etc. One collection of these was TAZ: Temporary Autonomous Zone, which gathered a lot of buzz among Brooklyn trustfundafarians and hipsters; this later influenced both Occupy Wall St. and the recent CHAZ in Seattle. Basically, dirty hippies like the 60s, but with internet connections a la The Matrix, oh, and the boy love stuff.
Michael Muhammad Knight’s William S. Burroughs vs. the Qur’an narrates how he started to write a biography of Wilson, discovered his not so hidden secret, and then veers off into an attempt to trace all the connections between Burroughs, Islam, pedophilia, jazz, Wilson, anarchism, Traditionalism, etc.
Anyway, I mention this because Wilson not only discusses Noble Drew Ali in a number of places, but also the history of the MO temple, which attracted a number of jazz musicians in the 50s, who claimed membership as a kind of “password” of hipness, and even printed up membership cards. This all jibes with Wilson’s interest in “secret” and “esoteric” Islamic traditions, “alternative” politics and home-made American religions, so he claimed to be a member as well, hence the title of the radio show.
His co-host was a communist and later doxer named Bill something, who inherited the show when Wilson disappeared, supposedly to live in some upstate TAZ but more likely to evade arrest. He turned the show into pure hip communist bullshit, so I stopped listening, but not before a great night when a black nationalist called up to berate him for “appropriating” black culture via the MORC name, with Bill backpedaling mightily.
So I guess the “sovereign citizen” stuff is payback, appropriating a White political subculture. Wilson would (I suppose does) approve.
I vaguely remember Parfrey speaking ill of Lamborn, who, if memory serves, accused Parf and his cohorts of being “horny for death” or something like that.
There’s an essay (or “broadside” as he would say) in TAZ about what would be called “black pilling” today, which has a parade of devotees of miserablism and the Kali Yuga, led by “the reanimated corpse of Rene Guenon.”
This article says he started with the Moorish Orthodox first, in 1965 [!] and then delved into Islam and Traditionalism.
Imagine a world where you can monetize videos of yourself listening to music. Now I know such a thing exists [sigh]. But I’m losing track of all these fringe groups. It sounds like this one is different than the University of Cosmic Intelligence whose followers included the wacko gals who killed the good samaritan in Alabama. Both groups have had leaders accused of child molestation, and Krystal Pinkins claimed to be a “sovereign empress,” albeit reigning over a tent in the woods. All these sovereign claims… is it fair to say it’s cultural appropriation from the white groups who promulgated it? It seems that these groups have even gotten the attention of the SPCL. For a black group to wind up on the list it seem you have to be tied to murder of a cop. For a white group to be noticed they have to be accused to insulting someone’s intelligence or gender aspiration.
NSK of Laibach musicians’ semi-notoreity had similar claims to sovereignty. But their’s was futurist and Putin-imflected. Last time I looked into purchasing an NSK “passport”, the alt-sf-political-art network was beset with Nigerian scammers.
“I’d like to live in world where I don’t have to answer to the US federal government or some geographically and philosophically impaired, rifle-toting African with a fake name and a cheap mail-order fez.”
Not to sound pessimistic but with the projected population growth in sub-Saharan Africa, we’re fck’d!
That region went from a total population of 186 million in 1950 to 856 million in 2010 and is projected to grow to 2.7 billion by 2060. Something this website refers to as a “demographic dividend”. (Remind me again who controls the world bank…):
Africa cannot keep alive the approximately 1 billion humans that live there now. How will they fare when that number nearly triples? The survival instinct will push them to migrate the hell out of there and I’ll give you two guesses where they’ll go. (America and Europe)
The white human species will be consumed by this African diaspora until the entire Western World resembles Haiti. or, optimistically, a zombie apocalypse. This so called “demographic dividend” carries with it a fatal ethnic usury for the white species.
I’d be more expressly pessimistic but it’s the holiday season and we should spread good cheer.
Happy Holidays, everyone!!
PS Today is the 4th day of Kwanzaa which I believe is Ujamaa (Swahili for take a machete to your neighbors head and steal his shoes or words to that effect):
Try to convince me that Julius Nyerere’s mustache is not a clear cut case of cultural appropriation.
There are a surprising number of murders tied to arguments over loud music. It underlines how such situations are beyond annoying and really set people off. As Mr. Jim suggests, no need to bring a firearm when “Immigrant Song” will do (possibly the best of their output for the task).
To that I might add most anything from old SF distortos, Flipper. Husker Du’s blazing “Divide and Conquer” as well. Whatever their politics now, it has a prescient concern about globalism. And Motorhead “Ace of Spades”. Anyone have others?
Zeppelin’s Custard Pie. Power chord crunching monster of repetitive rhythmic doom driven by Bonham’s unparalleled ‘lower the boom’ drumbeat.
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