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A Cause By Any Other Name

by Gregory Allan
February 28, A.D. 1998

Tustin, Michigan. Sunday, February 15, A.D. 1998, marked another milestone for the Michigan Militia Corps Wolverines. The often maligned and misunderstood patriot group has seen its share of turmoil since its formation in 1994.

Established by Norm Olson, of Emmet county, Michigan, and a handful of other courageous men, the group grew to numbers estimated in the thousands in only one short year. Enduring slander from the media, and harassment from law enforcement, the Wolverines have survived only through the commitment shared by its members: strong belief in freedom, and limited government.

Thrust into the national limelight after the bombing of the Murray building in Oklahoma City, unsubstantiated links to Michigan were quickly manufactured, and leaked to the press. It seems that the District of Criminals were eager to seize any opportunity to discredit an organization dedicated to protecting American families from tyranny. Although allegations were made that the "militia" was involved, no evidence was ever found to implicate a single Wolverine member with the incident.

The massive effort to swing public opinion against them caused membership to fall during the first few months after the bombing. But the spin-masters ultimately underestimated the intelligence of the American people. It soon became clear from the evidence available, that the government was lying about what happened in Oklahoma City. Membership again began to rise, and government agencies rushed to infiltrate the group.

By this time local chapters, called "brigades," had been established in almost sixty of Michigan's eighty-three counties. In June of 1995, the leaders from more than forty of these brigades met in Winn, Michigan, to decide the direction the group would take. The air was thick with tension, and hours passed before the room came to order. Finally, rules of procedure were agreed upon, and they got down to work.

Olson, who had been their principle leader until that day, turned the fate of the Wolverines over to the will of the assembly. New leadership was decided on. Olson was out. A new man, Lynn VanHuizen, was selected as an interim leader, and given the honorary title of "State Commander." A basic organization plan was settled on for the exchange of information between the scattered brigades, and another meeting was scheduled for one month later, in the hope that the now organized men could decide some of the tougher issues before them.

At the following meeting, the assembly elected VanHuizen "State Commander" for one year. It was decided that similar meetings would be held at least once each year thereafter. The brigades were organized into nine "Divisions." A man would be elected in the coming weeks, to oversee each Division. The ties that bound the various brigades together were more fragile than any member wanted to admit, yet the brigade leaders were all unwilling to surrender too much control.

The association created in these meetings was strictly limited to the exchange of information. Brigades remained autonomous. Intelligence would be collected by the brigades and sent to their respective "Division Commanders," where it would be forwarded to VanHuizen. He would send important information back out to each Division, which would forward it out to the brigades. Everyone knew that the use of the title "Commander" was honorary. VanHuizen seemed like a well mannered man, who wouldn't let the title go to his head.

The years since that meeting have produced mixed results. In spite of the media bias against them, the Wolverines have gained an uncertain degree of respectability within some establishment circles. At the same time, the group's own membership has suffered from political infighting and unrest. Many of the reasons for their problems are easily explained.

Although yearly meetings have been held, there have been no elections, and no serious discussion of issues important to the organization. On the contrary, some of the leadership seem to have purposely discouraged any progress, while fortifying their own positions. Whether this is due to simple human nature, or the more sinister specter of infiltration by government agents, is a matter of speculation.

Foremost among the Wolverines' problems is an identity crisis within the membership. The Wolverines is a defensive organization; an association of people from varied walks of life, who recognize a common problem and are determined to resolve it. The only thing that many of them have in common is their goal, and that is too often forgotten. The men of the Wolverines must not rely on the laws or statutes of man to justify their association. Life is God's precious gift. When a man's life, family, or property are threatened, it is his duty to protect them. If he perceives a trend of events which may cause a future threat, it is his duty to prepare. If he can better prepare and protect by joining with other men for a common purpose, then his duty is clear.

Also forgotten, or never realized, is the true nature of their association. By claiming statutes as their authority to organize, the Wolverines rely on those statutes as a substitute for any real organization of their own. They give an oath to protect and defend a parchment which describes a system of law which has not existed in America for more than one hundred thirty years, and expect that oath to replace the need for any oath between themselves.

In its first year, the Wolverines was run as a sort of oligarchy; by a few men. Since the summer of 1995 it has been run as a democracy. This is especially ironic, since the oath given by all members is to protect a document which created a constitutional republic. While western media have sought to convince the world that the democracy is the only good and sacred form of governance, many are beginning to realize what Fredric Bastiat wrote over one hundred years ago, that democracies are the "rule of the mob."

A republic, unlike a democracy, is based upon concrete ideals, and unchanging principles. A people who consent to a republican form of government agree on certain rules which they expect will remain unchanged, despite the desires of the mob, which may change daily. They exchange a small amount of autonomy for a degree of certainty. There is no certainty in a democracy.

The Michigan Militia Corps Wolverines is not a government. Just as the militia for the Thirteen American Colonies was not subject to the established English authority of the times, the Wolverines is not subject to the established government of the United States. And like that militia, it is only at odds with the established government to the degree that government is at odds with the rights and freedoms of all Americans.

The Wolverines is a private, unincorporated, voluntary association. As with any such association, it must have a set structure, with a set of operating procedures, if it is to survive.

A few weeks ago, under the guise of establishing such a structure, and in a brazen attempt to seize total control of the Wolverines, a small band of Wolverine leaders including VanHuizen, and his staff officer Tom Wayne, issued a "revised manual" to all Wolverine brigades. Ignoring the established channels of authority, VanHuizen declared that brigades would have two weeks to agree to comply with their decree, or be banished from the kingdom. Many members voiced objections to this high-handed maneuver, but their objections fell on deaf ears.

In desperation, the call went out for an emergency meeting of brigade leaders. When these leaders met in Tustin on the afternoon of February fifteenth, they were amazed and relieved to find that more than half of the Wolverines' brigades were represented. They had a quorum!

Much as the meeting of 1995 had been, it was hours before they could get down to business. But in the end, they unanimously agreed on two things. First, they agreed that the current leadership had overstepped its bounds, and they voted to remove them from office. VanHuizen, and his staff, were stripped of all authority. Second, they agreed that the time had come to get serious about their organizational problems. It was decided that another meeting would be held in thirty days, for that purpose. In the interim, they elected a new man, Bruce Soloway, to take VanHuizen's place.

During the following week, notices of the upcoming meeting went out from the new Wolverine Headquarters. Not a word was heard from VanHuizen or Wayne. It seemed that they had finally found a new grip on reason. After all, the will of the membership had spoken. There would be no "revised manual," at least not in its present form. And unless VanHuizen could come up with some very good reasons with which to convince the next assembly that his actions had been something short of treasonous, he had issued his last decree. Everyone agreed that there was not much chance of his reelection.

Then, on February twenty-fifth, the unimaginable happened. VanHuizen issued a statement, dated February twenty-second, and purporting to be from the "Commander" of the "Michigan Militia Corps Wolverines-Headquarters." The statement said that any brigades which did not comply with his edict as of February twenty-fourth, "would be" considered disbanded from the Wolverines. It was comical, but reading further it soon became tragic.

With a move which equates with the ridiculous notion of the militias of the Thirteen American Colonies begging King George for protection, VanHuizen had gone to Michigan's state capitol, and registered the name "Michigan Militia Corps Wolverines" for himself! Declaring that anyone who was not willing to grovel at his feet would not be allowed to use the Wolverines' name, or logo, his statement gave notice that violators would be fined one hundred dollars per day. He graciously offered to buy back the thousands of outstanding Wolverine patches for one dollar apiece; an amount less than their replacement cost. The statement was followed by various notices from Wayne, threatening legal action against brigades and divisions.

As of the date of this report, the Wolverine membership is stunned. Their good name, for which they have worked for years to establish, has been stolen by a megalomaniac, and made the subject of a tragicomedy. The meeting is still scheduled for the fifteenth of March, but by VanHuizen's definition few, if any, of the nearly fifty brigades expected to be represented are still Wolverines. One can either wonder whether VanHuizen will have the courage to show his face, or presume that at one hundred dollars per head, he expects to retire from the proceeds of the cover-charge he hopes to collect at the door.

Although this is a frustrating turn of events, it is important to keep things in perspective. By all accounts available to this reporter, VanHuizen remains the commander of somewhere between six and twelve men. Tom Wayne commands at least one less man than that. They also presumably command John Engler's army, and the Michigan courts (those same bodies whose criminal actions prompted the formation of the Wolverines in the beginning), with regard to the enforcement of VanHuizen's exclusive use of a name and logo which do not rightfully belong to him. If there was ever any doubt as to where these men's loyalties are placed, doubt no further.

How will this story turn out in the end? Will the Wolverines lose their name? Maybe. Maybe not. Only God knows. The important thing is that they do not lose sight of their goals. Whether they are called the Wolverines, or the Pigeons, is not so important. Their families are important. Preserving the hard work they have put into their organization is important. Tyrants come in all shapes and sizes, and sometimes, from unexpected sources. The Wolverines was established to resist tyranny. The VanHuizens and Waynes of the world are petty tyrants, scarcely worthy of notice. Any Wolverine who would submit to the tactics of men such as these, will also not likely fare well in the dark times to come. But for those who are righteous of judgment, and courageous of heart, a cause by any other name is still as sweet.


Copyright A.D. 1998. All rights reserved. Permission to reprint is granted freely, provided text is reproduced in full, and without changes.

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(Isaiah 33:22) For the Lord is our judge, the Lord is our lawgiver, the Lord is our king; he will save us.

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