On February 15 the name “Republic of Florida” flew across news feeds around the country. The white nationalist group’s Tallahassee-based leader, Jordan Jereb, had claimed that Nikolas Cruz had trained with members of the group from south Florida. Cruz had been arrested, and subsequently confessed to, the horrific murders of 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. Cruz faces 17 counts of premediated murder for the atrocity. A day later, Jereb recanted, telling reporters that it had been a “misunderstanding;” he had gotten “a bunch of conflicting information” and had been the victim of a “prank.” Law enforcement officials stated that they had found no known connection between Cruz and ROF.
During the day that Jereb claimed Cruz as one of his own, the white nationalist offered that “We’re not a big fan of Jews…I think there were a lot of Jews at the school that might have been messing with him (Cruz).” Jereb continued, “I’m not trying to glorify it, but he was pretty efficient in what he did…He probably used that [Republic of Florida] training to do what he did.” Jereb added that Cruz’s hatred of feminism also may have played a part.
While Cruz appears to have no connection to the Republic of Florida, he shares the white nationalist group’s penchant for racism and anti-Semitism. As reported by CNN, Cruz had posted vicious racist and anti-Semitic remarks on an Instagram chat group, including writing about “about killing Mexicans, keeping black people in chains and cutting their necks.” As CNN summarized, “Cruz said he hated black people simply because they were black; Cruz hated Jews because he believed they wanted to destroy the world,” echoing anti-Semitic conspiracy theories rampant among white nationalists.
Cruz’s relationship with organized racism, if any, will likely come out in the coming weeks. Most racist violence is not committed by organized white nationalists. However, the white nationalist movement’s exhortations promote violence. Their ultimate goal – a whites-only nation-state in the U.S. – makes violence integral to their cause.
This is clearly true for the Republic of Florida.
The Republic of Florida (ROF) is a white nationalist paramilitary group that advocates the creation of a white “ethnostate” in the United States. In the group’s own words,
“Republic Of Florida is a white civil rights organization fighting for white Identitarian politics, And the ultimate creation of a white ethnostate so we can be free from anti-white policies and have policies that reflect our values as white westerners. The ROF Militia is the armed forces of the Republic Of Florida.”
The term “Identitarian” refers to a political ideology consciously built around white identity; it is used by a number of white nationalists and national socialists active in the United States.
“Republic Of Florida,” the group states, “is an organization that has a militia, Just (sic) as the United States is a nation with an army.” The group continues that, “Those of us doing our most controversial activism on the streets are usually with the ROF Militia.” Explaining the short-term goals of such “activism,” the Republic of Florida, describes that,
“Our current short-term goals are to occupy urban areas to recruit suburban young whites, Then to “Withdrawal” into majority white urban areas to create communes, While maintaining a permanent small presence. Long term, Our towns will become our ethnostates. Were not going to ask permission from the estableshemnt (sic) to have our territorial imparrative (sic)”
In pursuit of its white nation-state, the Republic of Florida has repeatedly stressed the need to prepare for violence and be willing to be violent. These themes appear in multiple memes created by ROF and featuring Jordan Jereb.
The group flies many flags, including the “Death Squad Flag.”
Among the group’s “7 Short-Term Demands” are:
- An end to all laws that attempt to regulate mans (sic) natural right to bear arms.
- An end to policies that demographically replace Floridian Whites
- Armed ROF Militia physically protecting itself from marxist oppression/Antifa
One of ROF’s 10 codes of behavior is that, “If battle is to become necessary I pledge to fight to the best of my ability, And to train to become better. I will do my best to maintain a level of physical fitness- You cannot fight if you are tired and weak.”
The Republic of Florida also encourages individuals to form small cells of white nationalists, stating that, “If you have done your research and determined that there is not an active ROF cell in your community, There (sic) is nothing stopping you from simply forming your own Autonomous ROF cell locally. YOU DO NOT NEED ANYBODIES PERMISSION TO DO SO, THOUGH YOU WILL BE JUDGED BASED ON DEEDS AS IN WITH ALL OTHER THINGS IN LIFE. You do want to understand how the 4 Divisions system works and be careful not to name your company a name that has already been taken. There is no ‘Official’ system by which this is all organized, But we make it work.”
In concert with this open promotion of violence, the group claims that “The identities of the vast majority of us remain hidden.”