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The Rise Above Movement (RAM), founded in 2017, is a white supremacist gang based in Southern California that calls itself the “premier MMA (mixed martial arts) club of the Alt-Right.”* RAM co-founder Robert Rundo said he and Ben Daley founded RAM because they did not see a place for themselves in the far-right movement at the time, condemning the alt-right movement for “playing dress-up.”* According to Rundo, they wanted a group that would reach beyond online forums. He looked to European groups such as Generation Identity that were doing banner drops, demonstrations, and physical training.* RAM members have engaged in violence at multiple rallies since 2017, including that year’s the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.*

RAM claims it wants to revive the “warrior spirit” of the white male.* MMA and athleticism are central focuses of RAM. According to Rundo, RAM began as an athletics club.* Members train in MMA and boxing. They then use these skills in violent confrontations.* In early 2018, RAM members traveled to Europe to participate in MMA tournaments organized by neo-Nazi groups in Germany and Ukraine.*

RAM members have been involved in physical assaults at protests in California and Charlottesville, Virginia. RAM sent members to the August 2017 “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, after which co-founder Daley and three other members were charged with conspiracy to riot. All four pled guilty in 2019.* The U.S. Department of Justice has noted that RAM, a “white supremacy extremist group,” has used the Internet “with the intent to organize, promote, encourage, participate in, or carry on riots.”*

After Daley pled guilty in 2019 to rioting charges, RAM was considered defunct, according to court documents.* In June 2019, a federal judge dropped charges against Rundo and two other and two other RAM members in a separate case involving violent rioting.* RAM began a new recruitment drive online in celebration of its legal victory.* The group has since found new life on various online platforms. A February 2019 post on Gab declared RAM is “coming back stronger than ever.”*

U.S. White Supremacy Groups

RAM was co-founded by Robert Rundo and Ben Daley.

California.*

https://media2rise.com/ 

YouTube (Media 2 Rise), Telegram, Gab, BitChute (Media 2 Rise), Twitter (suspended), Instagram (suspended), YouTube (suspended)

As of 2017, RAM claimed to have 50 members.* Its membership has since increased following a revitalization of the group in 2019.*

RAM’s logo consists of a medieval sword in a stone against the backdrop of an evergreen tree against a diamond.* The sword imagery evokes the Crusades and RAM has also carried Crusader flags during rallies.* RAM utilizes social media to spread its propaganda. The group has been banned from Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube, but maintains a presence on Gab and Telegram.* As of October 7, 2020, RAM had 965 followers on Gab.*

In April 2020, RAM propaganda began appearing on a new website, Media 2 Rise (M2R), which declared its goal to create documentaries and short films for a nationalist audience.* M2R also maintains a YouTube channel, which had 888 subscribers as of October 7, 2020. The channel primarily uploads a video series that follows Rundo as he travels Europe and offers advice on white supremacist organizing, propaganda, lifestyle, and evading authorities.* The M2R website also includes submissions from the Russian/Ukrainian neo-Nazi group Wotan Jugend, the fascist Revolt Through Tradition group, and RAM.*

RAM also partnered with the far-right clothing retailer Our Fight Clothing Co. to produce RAM-branded clothing. The company’s website shut down as of July 2019 and RAM began selling clothing through the Will2Rise website. Will2Rise claims all products are made in Eastern Europe so that only nationalists “of like mind touch” their products.* Will2Rise also purports proceeds go to support imprisoned RAM members, which RAM refers to as prisoners of war.* International allies of RAM have unveiled a campaign called “Free RAM,” which calls for the release of RAM’s so-called political prisoners who were allegedly only defending themselves against Antifa.*

  • March-August 2017: RAM members Ben Daley, Michael Paul Miselis, Thomas Walter Gillen, and Cole Evan White travel to two rallies in California and the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, and assault counter-protesters and two journalists.*
  • April 2017: Rob Rundo and other RAM members traveled to a rally in Berkeley, California. Video showed the men taping their hands beforehand in preparation for fighting and wearing skeleton masks. Video showed RAM member Robert Boman punch at least two people, while Rundo Rundo punched a police officer and another protester.*
  • March 25, 2017: During a political rally in Huntington Beach, California, Tyler Laube grabbed a journalist and punched him in the face three times. During the same rally, Rob Rundo punched one protester in the back of the head, and then assaulted a second protester.*
  • Robert Rundo, YouTube video, September 2020: “When you’re dealing with a certain type of characters, they’ll push their body right into your hand…and that’s when you strike. Second thing, I would say strike first. When you’re in a situation that you know danger is imminent, strike first. Strike first, strike hard, no mercy, Cobra Kai style. That’s really something that you need to do, your life is depending on it, your loved ones are depending on it, you don’t want to become a victim. You know, trust me. They’re not going to show you mercy.”*
  • Robert Rundo, YouTube video, July 2020: “When we showed up at a rally in San Bernardino, there were probably 15 of us, all clean shaven, white Americans. You know? Man, we were walking into the rally, and I swear on everything, there was a group of Antifa and one of these fuckers yelled at us, he goes, ‘Where are your minorities? Where are your minorities?’ Your skin is your uniform bro, trust me, when you have 10 white guys just walking together this is a statement right here. That is a statement.”*
  • Robert Rundo, YouTube video, July 2020: “Your skin is your uniform. They’ll hate you regardless.”*
  • Gab post, September 12, 2019: “Many dont see the point to these events, they say training is a waste of time or think it only as a tool of defense. Currently the movement in the US offers nothing more than a chance to hate the reds or tell you of our race is dying, but what else do we offer? Edgy memes? Is that really what this whole movement should be built on? Incorperating sports, competitions and events like this offer something more. To connect with one another and build a real world brotherhood, forming the communitys we so despertly want. A chance for one to test himself and to achieve. most important to get active and keep the flame alive. with that people will want to get involved and this movement will grow but we need to offer something real.”*
  • Gab post, September 8, 2019: “The movement in America will never succeed because of infighting and ego. Only through white unity we will win.”*
  • Gab post, July 18, 2019: “Tomorrow Ben Daley, Mike Miselis and Tom Gillen all go to sentencing. We all hope for the best tomorrow. These were some of the most solid men i ever met. This whole thing is stems from wall st backed media pushing a narrative and the fbi following suit. None of these guys came with weapons although those they faced had plenty, they stood their ground they stood for our people. Whatever happens tomorrow we must not forget these men.”*
  • Gab post, March 12, 2018: “Make our people strong again #nationalist #ultraright #bloodsports”*
  • Gab post, January 25, 2018: “A new year and a new direction for the alt right, time to leave behind online memes and countless hours shitposting and act like we really do want a world that exists beyond discords and edgy websites. train-organize-get active-repeat”*
  • Gab post, January 20, 2018: “We physically remove antifa ;)”*
  • Ben Daley, Facebook message, August 2017: “Its time to reimagine the nationalist look and playbook, we have become predictable that needs to change.”*
Robert Rundo

Co-founder

Ben Daley

Co-founder

Introduction

The Rise Above Movement (RAM), founded in 2017, is a white supremacist gang based in Southern California that calls itself the “premier MMA (mixed martial arts) club of the Alt-Right.”* RAM co-founder Robert Rundo said he and Ben Daley founded RAM because they did not see a place for themselves in the far-right movement at the time, condemning the alt-right movement for “playing dress-up.”* According to Rundo, they wanted a group that would reach beyond online forums. He looked to European groups such as Generation Identity that were doing banner drops, demonstrations, and physical training.* RAM members have engaged in violence at multiple rallies since 2017, including that year’s the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.*

RAM claims it wants to revive the “warrior spirit” of the white male.* MMA and athleticism are central focuses of RAM. According to Rundo, RAM began as an athletics club.* Members train in MMA and boxing. They then use these skills in violent confrontations.* In early 2018, RAM members traveled to Europe to participate in MMA tournaments organized by neo-Nazi groups in Germany and Ukraine.*

RAM members have been involved in physical assaults at protests in California and Charlottesville, Virginia. RAM sent members to the August 2017 “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, after which co-founder Daley and three other members were charged with conspiracy to riot. All four pled guilty in 2019.* The U.S. Department of Justice has noted that RAM, a “white supremacy extremist group,” has used the Internet “with the intent to organize, promote, encourage, participate in, or carry on riots.”*

After Daley pled guilty in 2019 to rioting charges, RAM was considered defunct, according to court documents.* In June 2019, a federal judge dropped charges against Rundo and two other and two other RAM members in a separate case involving violent rioting.* RAM began a new recruitment drive online in celebration of its legal victory.* The group has since found new life on various online platforms. A February 2019 post on Gab declared RAM is “coming back stronger than ever.”*

Leadership

RAM was co-founded by Robert Rundo and Ben Daley.

  • Robert Rundo

    Co-founder

  • Ben Daley

    Co-founder

Base of Operations

California.*

Website

https://media2rise.com/ 

Membership Size and Relevance

As of 2017, RAM claimed to have 50 members.* Its membership has since increased following a revitalization of the group in 2019.*

Recruitment and Propaganda

RAM’s logo consists of a medieval sword in a stone against the backdrop of an evergreen tree against a diamond.* The sword imagery evokes the Crusades and RAM has also carried Crusader flags during rallies.* RAM utilizes social media to spread its propaganda. The group has been banned from Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube, but maintains a presence on Gab and Telegram.* As of October 7, 2020, RAM had 965 followers on Gab.*

In April 2020, RAM propaganda began appearing on a new website, Media 2 Rise (M2R), which declared its goal to create documentaries and short films for a nationalist audience.* M2R also maintains a YouTube channel, which had 888 subscribers as of October 7, 2020. The channel primarily uploads a video series that follows Rundo as he travels Europe and offers advice on white supremacist organizing, propaganda, lifestyle, and evading authorities.* The M2R website also includes submissions from the Russian/Ukrainian neo-Nazi group Wotan Jugend, the fascist Revolt Through Tradition group, and RAM.*

RAM also partnered with the far-right clothing retailer Our Fight Clothing Co. to produce RAM-branded clothing. The company’s website shut down as of July 2019 and RAM began selling clothing through the Will2Rise website. Will2Rise claims all products are made in Eastern Europe so that only nationalists “of like mind touch” their products.* Will2Rise also purports proceeds go to support imprisoned RAM members, which RAM refers to as prisoners of war.* International allies of RAM have unveiled a campaign called “Free RAM,” which calls for the release of RAM’s so-called political prisoners who were allegedly only defending themselves against Antifa.*

Violent Activities

  • March-August 2017: RAM members Ben Daley, Michael Paul Miselis, Thomas Walter Gillen, and Cole Evan White travel to two rallies in California and the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, and assault counter-protesters and two journalists.*
  • April 2017: Rob Rundo and other RAM members traveled to a rally in Berkeley, California. Video showed the men taping their hands beforehand in preparation for fighting and wearing skeleton masks. Video showed RAM member Robert Boman punch at least two people, while Rundo Rundo punched a police officer and another protester.*
  • March 25, 2017: During a political rally in Huntington Beach, California, Tyler Laube grabbed a journalist and punched him in the face three times. During the same rally, Rob Rundo punched one protester in the back of the head, and then assaulted a second protester.*

Rhetoric

  • Robert Rundo, YouTube video, September 2020: “When you’re dealing with a certain type of characters, they’ll push their body right into your hand…and that’s when you strike. Second thing, I would say strike first. When you’re in a situation that you know danger is imminent, strike first. Strike first, strike hard, no mercy, Cobra Kai style. That’s really something that you need to do, your life is depending on it, your loved ones are depending on it, you don’t want to become a victim. You know, trust me. They’re not going to show you mercy.”*
  • Robert Rundo, YouTube video, July 2020: “When we showed up at a rally in San Bernardino, there were probably 15 of us, all clean shaven, white Americans. You know? Man, we were walking into the rally, and I swear on everything, there was a group of Antifa and one of these fuckers yelled at us, he goes, ‘Where are your minorities? Where are your minorities?’ Your skin is your uniform bro, trust me, when you have 10 white guys just walking together this is a statement right here. That is a statement.”*
  • Robert Rundo, YouTube video, July 2020: “Your skin is your uniform. They’ll hate you regardless.”*
  • Gab post, September 12, 2019: “Many dont see the point to these events, they say training is a waste of time or think it only as a tool of defense. Currently the movement in the US offers nothing more than a chance to hate the reds or tell you of our race is dying, but what else do we offer? Edgy memes? Is that really what this whole movement should be built on? Incorperating sports, competitions and events like this offer something more. To connect with one another and build a real world brotherhood, forming the communitys we so despertly want. A chance for one to test himself and to achieve. most important to get active and keep the flame alive. with that people will want to get involved and this movement will grow but we need to offer something real.”*
  • Gab post, September 8, 2019: “The movement in America will never succeed because of infighting and ego. Only through white unity we will win.”*
  • Gab post, July 18, 2019: “Tomorrow Ben Daley, Mike Miselis and Tom Gillen all go to sentencing. We all hope for the best tomorrow. These were some of the most solid men i ever met. This whole thing is stems from wall st backed media pushing a narrative and the fbi following suit. None of these guys came with weapons although those they faced had plenty, they stood their ground they stood for our people. Whatever happens tomorrow we must not forget these men.”*
  • Gab post, March 12, 2018: “Make our people strong again #nationalist #ultraright #bloodsports”*
  • Gab post, January 25, 2018: “A new year and a new direction for the alt right, time to leave behind online memes and countless hours shitposting and act like we really do want a world that exists beyond discords and edgy websites. train-organize-get active-repeat”*
  • Gab post, January 20, 2018: “We physically remove antifa ;)”*
  • Ben Daley, Facebook message, August 2017: “Its time to reimagine the nationalist look and playbook, we have become predictable that needs to change.”*