Robert Rundo is the founder of the American Rise Above Movement, which combines physical training and activism similar to some European nationalist organizations. We talked with him about the Alt-Right, the current state of affairs in the U.S.A., about the charges and ongoing trial against R.A.M. members, his travels to Europe, and about other interesting topics.
Can you introduce the R.A.M. movement to our readers? Tell us about your beginnings, and about your main activities and principles…
Ram was formed in late 2016 when the alt-right was growing big in America. During this period, we noticed that most of the emphasis with the alt-right was leaning towards mainstream politics or was heavily centered around the online world. Both were effective to a degree, but I felt it lacked the on-the-street nationalist culture that worked well in Europe for nationalists and ultras. So, with some comrades from my area, we began by doing weekly boxing and athletic practices as a positive way to build a counter-culture. We started putting out propaganda pics of our practices, which began drawing guys online into the real world, and like that, RAM was born. RAM was one of the first “Active Club” type organizations in America doing things like banner drops, graffiti, stickers, etc. At the time, this was very different from the rest of the alt-right approach of the suit and tie look. We made some of our most significant impacts by making videos of our actions, mixing boxing, activism, and nationalism into one perfect blend. Today in America, this is now a typical aspect for nationalists.
Which thinkers, philosophers, and authors influenced you the most?
Well, to be honest, at the time of starting RAM, I was a little rebellious to many of the thinkers and philosophers of our movement, not because I didn’t agree with them or didn’t read their works. At the time, this was a topic of constant discussions and debate, becoming a quagmire in the alt-right. Many became stuck in trying to recreate the past or arguing over ideologies without ever giving thought to the future. I Believe before getting into ideologies and theories. First, we need to make a white person in America even recognize they are white. Make something that will get whites excited to participate in, which in my eyes was not talking about something in the past or going into complex subjects. So, I looked more to organizations that were laying the groundwork for a nationalist culture. Something that someone with little knowledge of events might find attractive. I took inspiration from organizations like Casa Pound and White Rex that seemed to have an excellent modern model to bring in the youth and counter the left’s culture. That being said, the works of Kurt Eggars, Corneliu Codreanu, Evola, and William Luther Pierce provided guiding principles.
How and under what circumstances did you first became racially conscious?
Well, I grew up in Queens, New York, in a very rough neighborhood being a white minority, so I was always made aware of my race. At 17, I got into a violent conflict with the El Salvadorian gang MS13. Ten months later, I found myself imprisoned for the conflict as the illegal immigrant gangbanger pressed charges on me. In prison, I took fitness and picked up, reading mostly history, restoring my identity that was lost until then.
In the past, some of R.A.M. members were imprisoned, and there is, in fact, an ongoing trial against you. Please tell us more about this…
It’s a pretty complicated answer but ill try my best to keep it short. The case against us stems from fistfights with Antifa at trump rallies and the unite the right event. It started in 2017 in Huntington Beach, where Antifa showed up to the event to shut it down. They brought weapons and began macing trump supporters myself, and others jumped and beat them back. This made national news as, at the time, every patriotic event was being attacked by Antifa and other left-wing factions without anyone putting up any real resistance to them. The event in Hungtington beach was not the first event where we fought back and chased them out into the streets. The next event was in Berkeley, California, a well known left-wing city.
Again Antifa showed up to shut down our event, this time outnumbering us 5 to 1. We showed up only nine guys but all training in some form of combat sports. Again Antifa began attacking, beating up the mostly older crowd until we jumped in. To this day, there has not been such a decisive victory in the American scene in terms of completely driving Antifa out and taking their flags and banners. After that, every major media outlet targeted us, causing a few of us to lose jobs, relationships, and so on. I won’t get into each lie they told, but you can be sure it was many. Because they could not use Antifa or doxing to break us, the media now cried for police intervention to put us down.
The F.B.I. took the call raiding our homes in the middle of the night and arresting us. Under “conspiracy to riot” and citing Antifa websites and left-wing journalists for their source of illegal information as it is not fact-based evidence. The charge has never been thoroughly tested in the U.S. and used in the last 60 years. The F.B.I. and Media claimed we were the most violent “white supremacist group” today, but not a single victim, weapon, or injury was reported. The case is ongoing and split into two separate cases: one for the unite the right in Virginia and one for Berkeley, California. As each case is being tried in different parts of the country, it leads to two separate rulings. In my case, the California Judge dismissed it after spending a year in federal prison for violation of the first amendment, “freedom of speech.” In the Virginia case, they were found guilty, leading to prison sentences. Because of the split ruling, it will be going to a higher court for the judges’ panel to rule. The ongoing case against us will likely end up making it to the supreme court, the highest court in America. If the case goes in favor, all of our charges would be dismissed, and that would mean we were wrongfully imprisoned if the case goes in the government’s favor….bad news for us.
While many European countries have strict laws against “hate speech”, the freedom of speech is protected by the constitution in the U.S.A. This means that Americans can talk about some topics that are practically forbidden to talk about publicly in Europe. But how does this work in everyday life? Does your constitution really guarantee you total freedom of speech?
I would say this is incorrect. As an American, I have spent months up broad in Europe and would say there is a major difference in terms of freedom. Freedom of speech is one of the biggest lies told in America. I would start with the fact that yes, the government cannot arrest you right away for something mean you said. But the American government is more of a federation comprised of globalist companies. So while the police cannot kick your door down right away, you will be subject to everything such as being fired from your job, bared from financial institutions, kicked out of college, and a long list of other ways that are meant to break one down to nothingness. But don’t get it wrong that you face no law enforcement as if you have the slightest run-in with law enforcement, they will use whatever mean thing you said in the past to put you into prison as long as possible. One example was the F.B.I. raiding someone’s home and charging him federally for a little bag of marijuana they found in his home. They claimed that his right-wing views made him a threat and were able to slap multiple years on him for a charge that would typically amount to little more than a ticket. Of course, you can take our case for RAM. They used the fact that we were an athletics club and said we were training for a race war and used our use of boxing as “training for combat.” The F.B.I. used anti-Antifa memes for most of their case against us as proof that we planned to attack “peaceful protestors.” America’s difference is that law enforcement doesn’t have to go after you Antifa social media accounts, and journalists get thousands of dollars to find nationalists and spin the narrative that the law enforcement will later use at face value.
You have traveled across Europe. Can you tell us which countries you visited, and share with us some of the fondest memories you have from those travels?
Yes, I have traveled to Europe on a few different occasions. I would easily say my fondest time was when 4 of us traveled to Germany to compete in K.D.N. we were the first and only American ever to take part in this event, which was a real honor after we went to Ukraine and Italy to visit nationalists from both countries and even competed again in Kyiv Ukraine. It was an unreal experience as all of us looked for inspiration from our European brothers.
What were some of the main differences between American and European nationalist movements that you noticed on your travels?
There are many differences, but just to keep it short, I would say this nationalist sentiment in America is brand new, really just starting in 2016 and started from an online world. In America, because the country is so big, we are more spread out in many cases, leaving us isolated from each other leading to poor organizing. But we are rapidly catching up the scene in America is completely different from the 2016 alt-right. Today many groups across America engage in the same activists that our European comrades do in terms of activism and looks.
You’ve also visited Slovenia while traveling across Europe. Tell us a bit about your stay in our country, what places did you visit and what were your impressions of our land?
I visited in 2014, so before RAM, coming with a girlfriend at the time. I visited Ljubljana and Lake Bled. I don’t have enough words for how much I loved it there, especially Lake Bled, as I loved nature. When visiting Slovenia, I truly felt like I was in Europe, as many other countries are selling out, looking more like a colony to America’s global empire. I hope to return in the near future.
Let’s talk a bit about the “Alt-Right” phenomenon, which appeared around 2015 and went into decline after the incidents at the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville in 2017. What can you tell us about the Alt-Right and how do you look on this movement today?
I mentioned some of this in the first question, but I’ll add more to it. For the Alt-Right, I think it had a good start and did its job of bringing the idea of white identity to the forefront. I will say that in my view, it was ego that leads to its fall as too many wherein it just for five minutes of fame and as a result put their supports directly in harm’s way, leading to arrests and embarrassing defeats. I think the Alt-Right focused too much on personality within the movement instead of building a counter-culture and laying down the groundwork to attract more people. I think many guys who participated in RAM saw this mistake, so we remained anonymous for our beginning. In all of our videos, we only used images and music without putting a face or voice on us. It was only because the media put out our names that we then embraced it and showed our faces in videos. Again the scene in America has changed a lot, more and more nationalists are working together and focusing more on bettering our ranks.
2020 was quite a turbulent year. First, there was the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, then the BLM riots after the death of George Floyd, and now the year is ending with the aftermath of the U.S. elections, which seems to have caused an even greater polarization of the U.S. society. How do you view all that, and how does it reflects on the everyday life of white Americans?
It has been a crazy year, indeed, and I think it will only get worse. I know it’s leading many to desperation and apathy, on the other hand, many are becoming disillusioned with mainstream media and politics, leading them to look to alternative solutions away from the “kosher” mainstream.
I think the biggest problem is the rapidly growing police state in America from online censorship to organizations such as the F.B.I. taking up K.G.B.’s role and aggressively enforcing what we call America’s “global homo” agenda.
How would you assess the presidency of Donald Trump as president, and what is your opinion about the results of the elections? Do you agree that the Democrats most likely stole the elections?
I’m very disillusioned with American politics. It was a trump appointee in the F.B.I. that lead the case against RAM; the B.L.M. riots are going on freely under Trump, so in my eyes, it makes no difference, but I will say for sure the Dems stole the elections.
Could you give us a brief overview of the current American dissident right and of the white nationalism in the U.S.A.?
The American dissident right has enormous potential; white American men are becoming completely alienated from the society they live in, something that has been in the works for the last 50 years. From every institution, music, movies, employment, education, and so on, whites are marginalized and are slowly waking up to the fact. So any large population that is completely disenfranchised from society is bound to bring change. The nationalist scene in America is much more advanced than in previous times, realizing this is a culture war for the hearts and minds. A new approach for the American right, but I think one that is working quite well. For organizations, they seem to be coming up everywhere, something that wasn’t happing in pre-2016, like Revolt Through Tradition, Patriot Front, R.M.E. crew, and so on.
Many American white nationalists have advocated for the creation of a white ethnostate in the northwestern part of the country. They believe that the U.S.A. as a whole cannot be saved and that the best solution would be the creation of an ethnostate for white Americans. What is your opinion about such views and what are your predictions for the future of the U.S.A.?
I don’t really like to get myself caught up with things that are out of my reach, but balkanization is something I see for America.
Within the nationalist circles, there are also different youth subcultures, usually concentrated around the nationalist rock (R.A.C.) or Metal (NSBM, etc.) music. What is your opinion about these subcultures?
I think it’s vital and useful. In America, the left made its gains during the hippie movement of the ’60s and ’70s using drug culture and music to influence the masses. It was from there; they were able to take education than the government. The right has always been more focused on politics, government, etc., that is why today we don’t own many institutions while waves of people are being manipulated towards left-wing ideology in all the consumption. The right is now coming to terms that they lost the culture war, and that is why we are in this mess, but as whites, we are a resilient and industrious people, so I see we are now making rapid changes that are resulting positively to our movement. Nationalists need to have a counter for everything the left puts out, a complete parallel society within a society.
Thank you for the interview. For the end tell us what would be your advice to young people who would like to become active within the nationalist and identitarian movements?
I’d say before you can change the world, you must change yourself do all you can to embody our ideals. Today more than ever, people are looking for direction, be an example that others will want to follow. It’s the actions one takes today that lead to the victories of tomorrow. At the same time, find balance enjoy what the movement has to offer the camaraderie, the fight, the excitement. Too many go towards despair, but all one has to do is look into our history and see countless times we encountered hardship but persevered, and we will do so again. For more info, check out our YouTube channel Media2rise and our apparel brand https://www.will2rise.com/.