A lot of people claim to be part of the Three Percent. A lot of people claim to know what the Three Percent stands for…but do they? There are quite a few myths out there about who we are and what we believe, and sadly, even some of the folks who claim to be in the Three Percent believe those myths. Truth is important; we’ll be dispelling one of the biggest myths today, and we’ll do it by going back to the source of the III% founder himself. Why is it important? Because of this: “there are apparently many people who have adopted the moniker of Three Percenter, for whatever reason, but who wouldn’t recognize these principles if they came up and bit them in the ass.”
Let’s get started.
The Three Percent is a National Organization: False.
All over social media, you can find groups claiming to be III%. They post the symbols, use the lingo (or try to), and talk about things like unity and their “national affiliation.” Some of these groups pattern themselves after the military, and wear self-assigned rank (usually an O-3 or above; no one wants to be the butterbar, apparently). They call themselves every variation of Three Percent you can think of, and many of them claim national legitimacy.
The following statement needs to be very clear:
There is no national Three Percent organization, and there was never intended to be one. In fact, the idea of a national Three Percent organization goes directly against what the III% was designed to be. The III% is a local concept, meaning that its entire purpose was to foster cooperation and small groups locally for the purpose of active resistance, defiance, and preparation. Your neighbors, your church, your family and friends. Mike Vanderboegh, the founder of the III%, wrote the following:
I deliberately formulated the Three Percent idea as a movement, an idea, a philosophy and a discipline BUT NOT AN ORGANIZATION. Attempts at large regional, state or national organizations, anything beyond local formations, are subject to infiltration, dysfunction, discredit and collapse. Anyone who tells you different is selling something.
There is a huge push, especially by groups on Facebook and other social media, to bring in as many people as possible. They want unity, they want a huge crowd of people. Some militia groups attach III% to their names, and call each other Colonel and Captain and Major and even General. They claim to be networking and ‘working intel,’ but all of this effort goes in direct opposition to what the entire point of the III% concept is–and ruins its potential and efficiency. The strength of the III% concept is its small-group, locally-focused resistance model.
By insisting on a pyramid, top-down, crowd leadership structure, folks claiming to be part of a III% national organization miss some very basic points that Mike outlined above. There’s a reason why the III% was designed NOT to be a national organization. Let’s take a closer look at why.
The bigger the group, the more vulnerable it is. There are many who may feel as though they need the comfort of a large group. Part of that comes from a need to share responsibility. People claim to want to fight, or resist, or claim to be ready to do “violent things,” but they want to make sure they have a crowd behind them. This is why you see so many people say things such as “How much longer are we going to stand for X?” What they’re actually saying is, “I want to go and do something but I don’t want to do it by myself, I want to follow someone else who is going to do it.” This is incredibly exploitable because all someone needs to do is hone in on that need. Those are the folks who can be manipulated, who can be talked into taking actions that are immoral—and also against the III% catechism and values. The sheer math of group dynamics means that the more people you have, the more chance you have of being compromised. It’s that simple.
This is one of the many reasons that the III% was set up as a local concept. Your group is not your four states’ worth of guys who get together every few weeks or months, put on some face paint, and run around in the woods with you. Your group is your family, your close friends who understand what’s going on and would show up at 3 am no questions asked if you needed it. A group of five people, who have known each other for years and know each other’s secrets and weaknesses and strengths, is a lot harder to infiltrate than a Facebook group of 250+ people who have never met but call each other “brother,” or even a real-life unit of 50 people who get together to shoot their rifles or go to rallies. Infiltration is happening all the time, all over the movement–and nowhere more obviously than in these huge groups who insist on needing a following.
If you are strong enough in your beliefs, you don’t need a crowd to stand for them with you. A III% member following the catechism, following the principles and values, will probably not be part of a large group because they understand that the III% was not ever designed to BE a large group, but a network of local groups and local resistance. As Mike wrote:
The Three Percent idea, being an idea, is internalized and finds expression in action when required without any top-down organization issuing orders.
If there’s anything in the patriot movement, it’s dysfunction. Groups run by ego-driven individuals who insist on total obedience from their “troops,” people running around calling themselves “General” and complaining that someone took action without “proper protocol,” people spreading gossip and rumors while calling it “intel.” The level of drama in many patriot groups right now calling themselves III% is staggering. They use words like “opsec” as a catch-all phrase, throw around terms like “deploy,” and try very hard to copy the military in many of their endeavors, completely missing the point that the III% was never intended to be an organization at all, let alone one structured after the military.
When a group chooses to deviate from a small group mentality, instead choosing to chase after numbers, they run the risk of their members eventually discrediting them and what they stand for. As has been written elsewhere, by bringing someone into your group and allowing them to be a part of your activities, you are saying that you identify with their belief system, and you are willing to let their actions help define your group culture. Unless every single member that you bring in shares your group culture and values, they will end up discrediting you. By default, this means you need to keep your groups small; this ensures that your group has a shared cultural value (much like John Mosby’s concept of tribalism) that will be enhanced and carried on by its members instead of morphed and changed or even discredited. If you say, “No, we aren’t defined by our members and they don’t all speak for us,” then why are they in your group? Just for the numbers? Would you allow a member of ISIS in your group? How about a neo-Nazi? Why not? Because they do not share your values.
In any large, top-down organization (which you seem determined to have out of whatever motive that can only be guessed at — failure to understand the nature of your enemy in a 4th Generation Warfare world; lack of imagination as to the probable negatives of such a move; misplaced enthusiasm at spreading an idea you apparently have failed to properly grasp; or, the simplest explanation, plain ego), personnel, my friend, is policy.
What does this mean to you? It means that your members are who YOU are, as a group. The loudmouth in your group who consistently says inflammatory things and derides others for not being ready to “rise up and fight” reflects on you and your group. The guy who insists on being a security risk because he’s “not doing anything illegal” reflects on you as a group. Whoever you take in must share your values. It’s not about being an echo chamber; you don’t all need to be Mormons or atheists or Presbyterians or Christians or home schoolers or whatever else. You do, however, need to be very clear on what your group goals are, and what you as a group believe or want to accomplish. Regardless of whatever else you believe, you MUST share the values and the catechism of the III% itself.
The natural end result of large groups with infiltration, dysfunction, ego and problems, who operate outside the established framework of what the III% was designed to be and to do, is a collapse. This is why groups fail, over and over. Someone will rise to prominence as head of a group, will call themselves by some self-appointed rank and issue “orders,” and eventually the problems happen. Members ‘go rogue’ and do things to embarrass the greater group, seek more power or publicity, turn on their fellow members or leadership. Leaders themselves let the power go to their head, and find themselves acting like they are kings and tyrants themselves. Their groups implode, or split, and the various members form more groups, where they incorporate the same top-down model, the same poor vetting practices, the same refusal to study and understand the original concept of the III% and what it stands for. What happens to these new groups? The same things, over and over.
The Three Percent is a Local Concept
After 1500 words or so explaining what the III% is not, it’s time to explain what it is. We’re all familiar with the story of the colonists and their stand against the British. But while many who claim the title of III% know that story, they forget—or simply don’t know—that it is only a part of what the III% purpose is. The person best equipped to explain what the III% means is the person who designed the concept, who founded the very movement we claim to be a part of. In short, “Any stupid ass can call himself a Three Percenter, the proof is in the practice of principle.” It’s that simple. It’s not enough to claim the title. You must also live the life–a life of training, of self-discipline and discernment. A life spent forging relationships and networks that are close, solid, and trustworthy.
We have our enemy’s promises that they will negate any possibility of our using the standard methods of politics against them. They have won the “majority vote” decision. Fine. But if we are to avoid conflict, we must convince them of how little this actually buys them in the way of power. We do that by building up the armed citizenry, one three-man buddy team, one six-man fire team and one squad at a time. Don’t advertise. Friends and neighbors will do nicely. And remember, you’re doing this in case the deterrence doesn’t work. This is as real as it gets, folks. Act like it.
The III% has values and principles. Those who claim to be part of the Three Percent either must follow those values and principles, or they are not a Three Percenter. Those who commit actions that go against the catechism are not Three Percenters. Those who seek violence while claiming to be part of the Three Percent are not part of us. Those who set aside the small group, locally-focused concept of the III% in favor of vast bands of people only marginally held together by false ranks and fantasy are not Three Percenters. As Mike wrote:
These four principles — moral strength, physical readiness, no first use of force and no targeting of innocents — are the hallmarks of the Three Percent ideal. Anyone who cannot accept them as a self-imposed discipline in the fight to restore the Founders’ Republic should find something else to do and cease calling themselves a “Three Percenter.”
Anyone can wear the patch or claim the name. What matters, as always, are their actions.