Oath Keepers Call to Action: Stand and Defend Free Speech at Berkeley Patriots Rally, April 15, 2017

Oath Keepers Call to Action:  Stand and Defend Free Speech at Berkeley Patriots Rally, April 15, 2017

Oath Keepers Operation First Defenders

Calling on all Oath Keepers (and all Three Percenters, military veterans, patriot police officers, bikers, and all other brave American patriots):

Seeking capable volunteers for an overt security detail for the “Patriots Day Free Speech Rally” to be held on April 15, 2017, at 12PM PDT, in the Martin Luther King Jr. Park, 2151 M.L.K. Jr Way, Berkeley, CA 94704.  

Team Leader for the Oath Keepers on the ground April 15 will be John Karriman (Missouri police academy defensive tactics instructor and team leader on both of our Ferguson operations in 2014-2015).

Contact email for security volunteers:   berkeley@oathkeepers.org

It’s time, once again, to step up and stand in the breach to defend the rights of the American people to free speech and assembly, in the face of radical leftists who use violence and the threat of violence to shut down and silence free speech they don’t like (just like we did with roving security teams at the Inauguration in Washington DC, on January 20, 2017).

Confirmed Oath Keepers members will be given priority for this April 15 detail, but if you are from another group, or a qualified individual with the right training or experience, please contact us as well (but please understand there will be a vetting process).   If you are leadership from another patriot organization that would like to help with security by sending your own security detail to this event, please contact us and we will put you in touch with the event organizers and also establish the necessary lines of communication with our security team leadership.

Our local Alameda County Oath Keepers chapter has committed fully to this operation.  In addition, one of our local members, a young Marine Afghanistan veteran, is part of the event organizing team for the event sponsor, Liberty Revival Alliance.    This means we have the necessary competent local leadership that we need in place to conduct such an operation.  And with John Karriman agreeing to fly out to California to be the team leader on the ground for our security element, we also will have an extremely experienced and respected field team leader our members from around the nation know and trust.

John Karriman on Roof-top Duty as a Team Leader During 2014 Ferguson Riots.

I (Stewart Rhodes) will also be there in person, because I never ask you to do anything I am not willing to do myself.  But John Karriman will be the man in charge of the security detail.

We will post up more details on Monday, but I wanted our members and supporters to know about this call to action ASAP, so those who can help will have as much notice as possible (two weeks out, at the moment) so they can participate.


If you are able-bodied and have applicable training and experience (such as police and military veterans with riot control training, personal security detail/body-guard experience, police or infantry veteran, or other applicable training), and can keep a cool head, and be the “quiet professional” who is there to be a defender, not to engage in shouting matches, then you are the kind of man we want on this detail (much like during our Ferguson operations when we put a premium on well-trained, capable, serious professionals who could keep cool under pressure).

In particular, we call on our police veterans and retired police officers to participate in this security operation, since your training, experience, and capabilities are especially valuable in such circumstances.    We will place you in leadership positions and also ask you to serve as liaisons to the local and state LEOs who will be on scene.

I also want to put a special shout out to my brother infantry veterans, whether Army or Marine Corps.  Your service amply demonstrates that you were willing to risk all to fight foreign enemies, but now you are needed to defend liberty here at home with the same commitment and resolve.   And likewise for fire-fighters, EMTs, or other first responders.  Your skillsets will be much needed and appreciated.   But even if you are not prior service, if you have other training or experience that you think is applicable, please volunteer.

Those of you who want to simply attend and celebrate free speech are of course welcome to just show up (keeping in mind the potential violence, you should come prepared to defend yourselves even if not on the security detail).     But if you want to be on our formal security detail, please email us at berkeley@oathkeepers.org

If you cannot make it to the event, but want to help support this operation, and especially help with gas money, food, lodging, supplies and logistics for our Oath Keepers volunteers, please make a donation here:


We appreciate your support!



This event is being organized by Rich Black, of Liberty Revival Alliance, who was the organizer for the March 4 Trump rally in the same location which was attacked by violent leftists on March 4, 2017.


At that March 4 event, communist flag flying, American flag burning, radical leftists from groups such as Anti-fa (I prefer to call them “LEFTY-FA” because they act just like Brownshirts), and BAMN (By Any Means Necessary), attacKed the Trump supporters just for being there, and for being Trump supporters.   That was their stated intent – to shut it down, just as they shut down the Milo Yiannopoulos event sponsored by the Berkeley College Republicans on February 1, 2017.   And they are openly stating that they will do all they can to shut down this rally on April 15.

Unfortunately, at both the February 2 Milo event, and at the March 4 rally, the Berkeley PD utterly failed to take effective measures to protect people from violent assault, including being hit in the head with flag poles, being sprayed with pepper spray, and being assaulted by multiple assailants, resulting in severe beatings.    In sharp contrast to other departments, such as Salem, OR, where the local PD put themselves between the Trump supporters and the masked “Black Block” leftists and were very effective in keeping them apart, the Berkeley PD did not even attempt to do so on March 4.

Watch these two videos to see the contrast:

In the above video, the Oregon cops did it right.  Hats off to them!   In the below video, it is clear the Berkeley PD didn’t even try:

It is because of that failure, twice now, of the Berkeley PD to defend people from felonious assault, or even try to keep the two sides apart, that we feel honor bound to step in.  We certainly do hope that this time around the Berkeley PD will step up their game and actually try to keep people safe, but since hope is not an operational plan, we will be there to do it if they won’t.

Why are we going?    Because duty, honor, and our oaths demand it.    Because free thought, free speech, and the right to peaceably assemble are non-negotiable core human rights, fundamentally essential to a republican form of government (to self-government by the people), and expressly protected by the Bill of Rights in the Constitution we all swore to defend.   Because without free speech, there is no free America, and there is no free world.    There can be no such thing as a “no free speech zone” in the Founders Republic.  There can be no such thing as “no-go zones” where patriotic Americans cannot go, under threat of violence from America hating Marxist thugs (as always, we stand in defense of the free speech rights of all Americans, but it is the far left at the moment that has declared war on free speech and assembly).

Berkeley then – the Epicenter of the College “Free Speech Movement”

Berkeley Now: the Epicenter of the College “No Free Speech” (or “F – Free Speech!”) Movement. 

All of us who swore an oath to support and defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic, and were willing to risk our lives in the defense of our nation and our communities while in service, need to step up now to defend the peaceful rally participants who will be there on April 15 to take a stand for free speech.   And then we need to do the same at all future rallies where there are threats of violence intended to shut down free speech.  As always, we will stand up for the right to free speech and assembly for all Americans, regardless of their politics or views.

Remember, we Oath Keepers call ourselves “Guardians of the Republic” and our motto is “not on our watch!”   This is a matter of duty.   We have an obligation to be defenders of the lives, liberty, and property of the American people, as we have already done on many, many occasions, such as when we protected recruiting centers across the nation against terrorists after the Chattanooga, TN attack, when we protected shop owners and residents of Ferguson Missouri against violent arsonists who threatened to murder them (there were apartments above the shops with families living in them), when we stepped up and directly backed local police and their families as part of our Operation Backstop (aka Operation Back Our Blue), offering our help after the deadly terrorist attacks on police across the nation, and when we protected attendees at Trump’s Inauguration in DC on Jan 20 (and also protected some of the attendees of the “Deploraball” the night before), and when we provided both overt and covert security details at March 4 Trump rallies across the nation on March 4, and again at MAGA rallies across the nation on March 25.

May we live up to the expectations of the men and women who went before us, and who paid the ultimate sacrifice in service to this nation, and to whom we owe our own fullest measure of devotion in ensuring that their sacrifice as not in vain.   It is now our watch, and as we all know, freedom isn’t free.  It must be defended, even if it costs us all we have to give.  And clearly, now in America, free speech won’t defend itself, as it is under direct assault by people who hate their own nation, hate the Constitution, and hate free speech.   Let us be the “First Defenders” as we are foremost in the ranks in defense of the First Amendment.

For the Republic,

Stewart Rhodes





About Author

Stewart Rhodes

Stewart is the founder and National President of Oath Keepers. He served as a U.S. Army paratrooper until disabled in a rough terrain parachuting accident during a night jump. He is a former firearms instructor, former member of Rep. Ron Paul’s DC staff, and served as a volunteer firefighter in Montana. Stewart previously wrote the monthly Enemy at the Gates column for S.W.A.T. Magazine. Stewart graduated from Yale Law School in 2004, where his paper “Solving the Puzzle of Enemy Combatant Status” won Yale’s Miller prize for best paper on the Bill of Rights. He assisted teaching U.S. military history at Yale, was a Yale Research Scholar, and is writing a book on the dangers of applying the laws of war to the American people.


  1. Krissi 1 April, 2017, 23:02

    Thank you so much Oathkeepers! This brings tears to my eyes. I was at the March 4 Berkely rally and there was not one moment of peace. We were spit on, shouted down, punched, kicked, hair pulled, property stolen (my beautiful American flag was stolen and stomped on but the perps all got a face full of mace for it) projectiles and firecrackers thrown at us, fists and mace were flying all day. But we stood our ground and did not back down! I feel so honored that you would attend- I am a military mom which is why I went to Berkeley. After the Milo Riot I had had enough. I could no longer sit back and watch my fellow Americans get beat down for exercising their sovereign rights, could not sit idle while our flag and country was being desecrated by Commie thugs and dindu’s. I did not see my son off to Afghanistan and the other off to Iraq so they could return to a society that is being hurled into tyranny by the Leftovers. GOD BLESS YOU ALL- see you on April 15! If anyone needs transport from airports or anything I make myself available to you.

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  2. JM 2 April, 2017, 06:54

    Thank you, Stewart and all Oath Keepers! Support for our representatives who are attempting to hold Town Hall meetings with their constituents, but who are heckled and prevented from having a civil meeting is also needed. While I have no solution to this, other than people committed to attending civil discourse with their elected representatives attending and attempting to eject the uncivil people, I am sure you and your group can come up with some ideas! Kudos to you and thank you to you all!

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  3. Tucson Rick 2 April, 2017, 07:54

    I sure hate to see Oath Keepers divide and waste valuable resources over and over again. Not all of us vets are combat vets. Many of us served in combat zones but not in combat itself. Others may not have even served in combat areas. You combat guys sure appreciated having us support troops around when it came to getting you fed, transported (especially back home), your cigarettes and booze, your medical care, your billeting, and on and on. I served proudly in the USAF for over twenty years and retired as a First Sergeant (Master Sergeant E-7). During those years I served in classified location in Thailand, Japan, Germany, Iceland, Belgium, with numerous TDY deployments and stateside CONUS locations. I was trained in small arms (expert), crowd and riot control, and nuclear/biological/chemical attack response. BUT, I freely admit that I was never part of any combat in my entire career. Based on that lack of combat experience, too many veterans have divided us against each other and we non-combat vets get left out as valuable resources to many patriot organization, including OK. By the way, I am also a lifelong hunter/angler/camper. I go small game hunting all over southern Arizona, usually by myself and quietly observe individuals and group of illegal entrants and/or drug mules in our state. I say none of this bragging, just showing how myself, as well as many others, never are offered the opportunity to contribute. Best of luck to all of you at the April event. I hope Berkeley PD doesn’t end up arresting you guys, especially if you unknowingly violate and of Commiefornia’s strict anti-freedom laws.

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  4. Roger D 2 April, 2017, 08:50

    OK since Oct 20, 2009 here. Wow. Hats off to the Salem Police. And to OK’s of course. I’ll be praying for their safety at the rally.

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  5. Catreece 2 April, 2017, 12:28

    Thank you for putting forth your time, effort and personal safety in regards to upholding our basic human freedoms. I’m on the left myself and, well, let’s face it, extremists in any form basically wind up using the same arguments for the same end goals. I don’t care if they’re far left or far right, their excuses boil down to the same thing every time. It’s about feeling safe, or it’s about morality, or it’s about “the greater good,” it’s always the same litany spouted verbatim. The only thing that changes is the approved group to harass, and the ideology they use to rationalize and justify their abhorrent behavior.

    Don’t let them do it. No matter what flag they wave, what virtues they claim to uphold, what BS excuses they offer up — you can’t have a just society built upon a foundation of totalitarianism, violence and fear.

    And for them to do so in my name, simply because I fall under a number of their minority groups on their progressive stack? No. Hell no. All I ever wanted was to be allowed an equal opportunity, not equality of outcome. To be allowed to speak, and not at the expense of preventing others that same right. To be free of violence enacted upon me, not the “right” to enact violence upon others at my whim. This is wrong. This isn’t equality. This is tyranny and supremacy.

    Unfortunately, I’m nowhere remotely near the area and can’t help directly. But I hope that you are able to protect the freedoms you espouse. That the police, whose very purpose is to ensure these freedoms, are not doing so… well, it’s a great shame upon all of us. Hopefully you need never raise your voices. Hopefully you need never raise your arms. Hopefully we need not see conflict here, but if such must come to pass, then hopefully you are unharmed for such.

    So yeah, from a traditional liberal who actually values personal liberty, you have my support. It’s not much, I know, but you have it anyway. Extremists of any kind need to be kept in check, even those who supposedly claim to speak on my behalf. Because they really don’t.

    Freedom of speech absolutely must be upheld for everyone, not just those you happen to agree with. Especially for those you happen to disagree with. I probably disagree with you on a ton of stuff, but you have to be allowed the voice to speak it, no matter what I personally feel on the matter.

    So… yeah. Good luck out there. Hopefully you won’t need it, but the chances are you’ll need all the luck you can get.

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