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Executive Summary: RISE ABOVE MOVEMENT’S NEW DIRECTION

Updated: Dec 12, 2021

Extremism Team

Week of Monday, November 15, 2021


Unite the Right Rally[1]


The Rise Above Movement (RAM) was a white supremacist group founded by Robert Rundo and Ben Daley in Southern California in 2017.[2] The group participated in protests and events such as the Unite the Right Rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.[3] RAM’s centralized organizational structure enabled law enforcement to target leadership, charging them with conspiracy to riot, leading to the group’s disbandment.[4] To reestablish the organization, the group has rebranded themselves as Will2Rise and Media2Rise (M2R), where they encourage the formation of fitness clubs called “active clubs,” sell merchandise, and spread white supremacist content through digital media.[5] Its Media2Rise platform will likely expand RAM’s network with other far-right and white supremacist domestic and international organizations. RAM’s rebranding, creation of active clubs, and use of semi-anonymous cryptocurrency donations will likely assist the group in evading law enforcement while recruiting and disseminating propaganda.


To avert law enforcement intervention, M2R encourages the creation of a decentralized network of independently operated cells and does not make direct calls for violence.[6] Precautions against openly violent rhetoric almost certainly allow RAM’s content creators, the organization’s only overarching leadership, to spread propaganda while reducing the risk of arrest. Individual cells may commit violent acts to further the group’s ideological goals, but the overall organization is very unlikely to be affected by arrests as cells operate independently. M2R's decentralized structure makes it unlikely that law enforcement will determine the organization's size definitively and the extent of its activities, likely posing a significant challenge to combating the group vis-à-vis online and in-person.


Active clubs allow M2R to integrate fitness with white nationalist advocacy, a strategy primarily influenced by far-right MMA fighting groups in Europe.[7] M2R is a zero-cost community space that appeals to white men by offering a brotherhood through physical fitness and group activities.[8] MR2 likely targets white men in their 20s and 30s who hold anti-left sympathies as it provides a space for an exclusively white community that they are unlikely to find elsewhere. The lack of membership fees and fitness promotion very likely provides prospective members incentive to join the group. Creating white nationalist groups based around MMA likely fosters a more violent group mentality and emboldens members to engage in violence at protests.


M2R utilizes cryptocurrency for donations and believes national currencies will eventually collapse due to globalization caused by liberal policy.[9] Cryptocurrency transaction ledgers are public domain, but the amount of viewable information varies between coins, and it is often challenging to associate a public key address with a real-world identity.[10] It is likely M2R also utilizes cryptocurrency for donations because it can easily transfer internationally, and the anonymity prevents opportunities for doxing. By analyzing the activity of M2R’s listed public wallet addresses, law enforcement can almost certainly gain insights into the organization’s capabilities and growth through open-source intelligence. Analyzing the redistribution of donations will likely signify if the organization is funding individual cells or reinvesting donations into their media outlets.


M2R founder Robert Rundo is believed to reside in Bosnia and Herzegovina currently.[11] Rundo will almost certainly seek to establish a substantial M2R presence in Europe as the group has already participated in far-right demonstrations in Poland, Serbia, and Bulgaria. The US federal rioting charges reinstated against Rundo are likely to encourage the expansion of M2R in the US from Eastern Europe.[12] The current political polarization among the US public likely provides M2R the opportunity to appeal to a new range of increasingly mainstream right-wing movements such as Qanon and the National Justice Party, while the shared nationalistic attitudes between some populist movements in Europe and M2R will likely draw support for the organization from populists within Europe.[13] M2R will likely be successful in recruiting new members if the current political climate in the US and Europe persists. Successful recruitment and international expansion of M2R will likely pose significant security threats in Europe and the US in the future.


CTG recommends law enforcement report all M2R digital outlets to platform providers and monitor M2R cryptocurrency donations and the expansion of active clubs. Although Cloudflare,[14] the Media2Rise.com domain host, and Telegram do not explicitly restrict racist content, both have previously removed service from some users who spread racist ideologies.[15] If platform service to M2R terminates, it would almost certainly be a temporary solution as M2R could transition their website to a new domain host provider and migrate their Telegram content to an alternative encrypted messaging platform. CTG still advises reporting these violations as forcing M2R to operate on less popular platforms would likely hinder their ability to disseminate content as widely.


The Counterterrorism Group (CTG) is a subdivision of the global consulting firm Paladin 7. CTG has a developed business acumen that proactively identifies and counteracts the threat of terrorism through intelligence and investigative products. Business development resources can now be accessed via the Counter Threat Center (CTC), emerging Fall 2021. The CTG produces W.A.T.C.H resources using daily threat intelligence, also designed to complement CTG specialty reports which utilize analytical and scenario-based planning. Innovation must accommodate political, financial, and cyber threats to maintain a level of business continuity, regardless of unplanned incidents that may take critical systems offline. To find out more about our products and services visit us at counterterrorismgroup.com.

[1] Charlottesville "Unite the Right" Rally by Anthony Crider licensed under Creative Commons

[2] Rise Above Movement, Counter Extremism Project, n.d., https://www.counterextremism.com/supremacy/rise-above-movement

[3] Ibid

[4] Three Members of California-Based White Supremacist Group Sentenced on Riots Charges Related to August 2017 “Unite the Right” Rally in Charlottesville, United States Department of Justice, July 2019, https://www.justice.gov/usao-wdva/pr/three-members-california-based-white-supremacist-group-sentenced-riots-charges-related

[5] ABOUT, will2rise, n.d., https://will2rise.com/elements/pages/about/

[6] “Active Clubs:” America’s White Supremacist Fight Club, Anti-Defamtion League, 2021, https://www.adl.org/blog/active-clubs-americas-white-supremacist-fight-club

[7]A White Supremacist Is Organizing Fight Clubs Across the US, Vice News, September 2021, https://www.vice.com/en/article/y3d8qj/robert-rundo-white-supremacist-organizing-fight-clubs-across-the-us

[8] THE IDEA BEHIND “ACTIVE CLUB” PART 1, Media2Rise, December 2020, https://media2rise.com/2020/12/07/active-club/

[9] FINAL SOLUTION TO THE ECONOMIC ISSUE, Media2Rise, June 2020, https://media2rise.com/2020/06/11/final-solution-to-the-economic-issue/

[10] Know Your Coins: Public vs. Private Cryptocurrencies, Nasdaq, September 2017, https://www.nasdaq.com/articles/know-your-coins-public-vs-private-cryptocurrencies-2017-09-22

[11] A White Supremacist Is Organizing Fight Clubs Across the US, Vice News, September 2021, https://www.vice.com/en/article/y3d8qj/robert-rundo-white-supremacist-organizing-fight-clubs-across-the-us

[12] Riot charges reinstated against leader of Huntington Beach white supremacist group, Los Angeles Times, March 2021, https://www.latimes.com/world-nation/story/2021-03-05/riot-charges-reinstated-against-california-white-supremacist

[13] Populism in Europe - Statistics & Facts, Statista, November 2021, https://www.statista.com/topics/3291/right-wing-populism-in-the-european-union/#dossierKeyfigures

[14] Is Internet Company Cloudflare Servicing Alt-Right & Pedophilic Sites?, Observer, 2020, https://observer.com/2020/02/cloudflare-service-hate-filled-sites-l1ght-claims/

[15] Telegram blocks ‘dozens’ of hardcore hate channels threatening violence, TechCrunch, 2021, https://techcrunch.com/2021/01/13/telegram-channels-banned-violent-threats-capitol/?guccounter=1&guce_referrer=aHR0cHM6Ly93d3cuZ29vZ2xlLmNvbS8&guce_referrer_sig=AQAAACKDlxibTbW-J1I2XumwgeFfetAq5EGNdVjDfdU7JLV3v1mvJpfdrcOPCQDcQdHRhxVA0uxZaDqpjhIj-Cj5P_lxTZYmg504fPYQQimPb3qrgkuhMYfCdwlvIC1b3m-V22w1enW5DOTZGuWOdGpzoogW87TuLiaaO8Q8g2kqWqtH

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