Adam Kokesh

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Adam Kokesh
Kokesh in 2013
Personal details
Adam Charles Kokesh

(1982-02-01) February 1, 1982 (age 37)
San Francisco, California, U.S.
Political partyLibertarian (2013–present)
Other political
Republican (before 2013)
ResidenceAsh Fork, Arizona, U.S.
Independent journalist
WebsiteOfficial website
Military career
Allegiance United States
Service/branch United States Marine Corps
Years of service1999–2007
RankUSMC-E5.svg Sergeant
Unit3rd Civil Affairs Group[1]
Battles/warsIraq War

Adam Charles Kokesh (born February 1, 1982) is an American libertarian and anti-war political activist who has announced plans to run for President in 2020 on the platform of an "orderly dissolution of the federal government."[1][2][3]

Early life[edit]

Kokesh was born on February 1, 1982, in San Francisco, California.[4] He attended Stevenson School, an elite boarding school in Pebble Beach, for his first year of high school before attending the Native American Preparatory School in San Miguel County, New Mexico[5] and received a bachelor's degree in psychology from Claremont McKenna College. Kokesh learned Arabic during his tenure in Iraq.[6]



In February 2007, he became an active participant in the Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW). On March 19, 2007, to mark the 4th anniversary of the 2003 invasion of Iraq, Kokesh and 12 other IVAW members participated in an occupation-like mock patrol of Washington, D.C.[7] Kokesh first came to national attention after he was interviewed on CNN and his photograph appeared in various newspapers, including the front page of the Los Angeles Times at a protest during Alberto Gonzales's testimony to Congress regarding the dismissal of U.S. attorneys. Kokesh, wearing his Marine Corps Boonie hat, held up a sign counting the number of times Gonzalez said "I don't remember" or "I don't recall" (Kokesh claimed Gonzalez used such phrases 74 times).[8]

Kokesh arrest at Senate Hart office building, April 26, 2007
Kokesh speaking at an anti-war protest in September 2007.

In April 2007, Kokesh and a number of other activists were arrested for protesting the Iraq war in the Senate Hart Office Building. Kokesh had performed a ceremony for lost service members using an American flag.[9]

In June 2007, Kokesh, along with IVAW members Liam Madden and Nate Lewis, was arrested for crossing onto Fort Benning during an anti-war protest. A spokesperson for the IVAW said the three had accidentally stepped onto the base while talking to a guard. The trespass charges were dismissed.[10]

Kokesh enrolled in graduate studies in political management at George Washington University.[11] In October 2007, Kokesh, along with six other students, created controversy by putting up mock political posters across the university campus to mock what they called the Islamophobic racist "Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week" being observed at the campus. The event was organized by a conservative student organization, and invited speaker David Horowitz on the George Washington University campus.[12][13]


On July 12, 2008, Kokesh spoke at the Revolution March, which took place on the west lawn of the Capitol in Washington, D.C.[14]

On September 2, 2008, Kokesh spoke at Ron Paul's Rally for the Republic in St. Paul, Minnesota.[15]

On September 4, 2008, Kokesh interrupted Senator John McCain's acceptance speech of the GOP nomination for president at the Republican National Convention in St. Paul, Minnesota. Holding a sign reading "McCain Votes Against Vets" on one side and "You can't win an occupation" on the other,[16] Kokesh yelled, "Ask him why he votes against vets!" Kokesh was detained by local police and released soon after.[17]


On October 15, 2009 Kokesh filed with the FEC to run for the U.S. House of Representatives from New Mexico's 3rd congressional district as a Republican.[18] He eventually lost the nomination to businessman Tom Mullins, who went on to lose the November general election to incumbent Democrat Ben Ray Luján.


On May 28 Kokesh and other activists participated in a flash mob-silent dance at the Thomas Jefferson Memorial in Washington, D.C. in protest of a recent ruling against dancing in the monument. Kokesh, along with four others including Medea Benjamin of Code Pink, was arrested by the U.S. Park Police for demonstrating without a permit. Kokesh was told he was under arrest after dancing a jig. He refused officers orders and was subsequently body-slammed onto the marble floor and put in a choke hold, then cuffed. The aggressive nature of the arrests raised concerns about the actions of some of the officers and prompted an internal investigation by the Park Police.[19][20] A much larger protest on June 4 organized by Kokesh and Code Pink involved about 200 protesters and 75 dancers. About 10 minutes after the dancing began, police began clearing the monument.[21] No arrests were made. When asked by a journalist if he had a permit to protest, Kokesh reportedly produced a copy of the Constitution and said, "Actually I got a permit. It's the same one I swore an oath to when I enlisted in the Marine Corps. And it says something about 'freedom of assembly.'"[22]


On February 20, 2012, after a "Veterans for Ron Paul" rally organized by Kokesh, 500 marchers, including veterans, active-duty service, and their families, marched towards the White House.[23] There they engaged in ceremonial flag-folding in memory of deceased soldiers and periods of silence for soldiers who died in battle and for those who committed suicide after returning.[24]


In May, Kokesh announced an "Open Carry March on Washington" where thousands of marchers bearing arms would cross from Virginia into Washington, D.C. on Independence Day to protest strict gun laws. He described the event as a nonviolent demonstration to be coordinated with DC law enforcement and that marchers should respond "with Satyagraha"[25] and peacefully turn back if met with force, and should be prepared to "submit to arrest without resisting."[26]

On May 18, Kokesh, along with other protesters, was arrested in Philadelphia by U.S. National Park Service Rangers[27] at the fifth iteration of a marijuana legalization rally known as Smoke Down Prohibition.[28] Kokesh and Philadelphia marijuana advocate N.A. Poe[who?] appeared before United States magistrate judge Thomas J. Rueter[29] on Monday May 20 and were charged with assaulting a federal officer and resisting arrest. The day before his May 24 release, Kokesh penned a press release calling for a "Final American Revolution" to take place on July 4 in place of the previously planned armed march on Washington D.C. This was to be "A new American revolution" where "the American Revolutionary Army will march on each state capital to demand that the governors of these 50 states immediately initiate the process of an orderly dissolution of the federal government through secession and reclamation of federally held property."[3]

On July 4, Kokesh posted a YouTube video of himself allegedly loading a shotgun in Freedom Plaza in the District of Columbia in open defiance of DC law. In the 23-second video shot early that morning and titled "Open Carry March on DC a Success," as the Capitol looms in the distance, Kokesh loads the shotgun while addressing the camera. Police indicated they believed he may have used a green screen and on his return to the plaza on July 8 he insisted data from government surveillance cameras in Freedom Plaza would show he was there. "I was here, and I loaded a shotgun on Independence Day, but I didn't kill anybody. I didn't drone any children. I didn't steal any children's future. I didn't sell this country into debt. I didn't do any of the crimes that the man two blocks over at the White House is responsible for," he told the reporter. "I was ready to stand by my word, and I was ready to commit the civil disobedience that I had committed to," he said. "Now that we have a year, now that we're doing something that's much more open-sourced, we're going to be marching again next Independence Day."[30]

On the evening of July 9, a U.S. Park Police SWAT team raided Kokesh's house in Herndon, Virginia, executing a search warrant for the shotgun and raw footage from the July 4 video. With helicopters providing air support, the police officers knocked then kicked in the door and lobbed a flash grenade in the foyer, filling the house with smoke. Police clad in body armor stormed in and handcuffed Kokesh and his housemates, who alleged mistreatment during the raid and the ensuing five-hour search, which allegedly turned up the shotgun and Psilocybin mushrooms. Kokesh was charged with possession of Schedule I or II drugs and possession of a gun with Schedule I or II drugs, both felonies. Kokesh refused to leave his cell to be arraigned and fingerprinted, but was arraigned by a judge in his cell the next day. A statement posted on Kokesh's website read, "We will continue to spread the message of liberty, self-ownership and the non-aggression principle regardless of the government’s relentless attacks on our operation."[31][32][33] In a jailhouse interview on July 18 Kokesh denied any connection to the drugs found in the raid, implying they were planted. He claimed that the Park Police have a vendetta against him, and, when asked if he knew that what he did in the July 4 video was illegal, he responded, "It's called civil disobedience."[34]

In a jailhouse interview with Fox 5 DC, Kokesh announced his plans to run for President of the United States in 2020 on a platform of an orderly dissolution of the U.S. Federal Government.[35]

On July 26, Kokesh posted bail in Virginia and was immediately rearrested by U.S. Park Police for breaking a D.C. law forbidding bearing arms which carries a penalty of up to five years in jail, in connection with his Freedom Plaza video. Magistrate Judge Lori Parker ordered Kokesh to remain in the D.C. jail over the weekend because, she said, he had violated the rules of his release in another case. Specifically, she noted that in June 2013, Kokesh was charged with possession of marijuana after he was arrested on the south side of the White House allegedly smoking a marijuana cigarette. On July 29 D.C. Superior Court Judge Frederick Sullivan, calling Kokesh "a very dangerous man," ordered him to remain in D.C. jail until trial.[36][37]

On November 6, Kokesh was released from jail after waiving his right to a trial and pleading guilty to the July 4 weapons charges and a marijuana possession charge from the June 8 White House protest.[38][39]

On January 17, 2014, Kokesh was sentenced to two years of probation. At his sentencing he apologized for his actions but defended his right to protest. He told the judge he was not a violent person, but just wanted to make a statement. "The only time I was violent was when I was a Marine."[40]

On June 12, Kokesh, after entering an Alford plea in Circuit Court to two felonies related to his possession of hallucinogenic mushrooms while possessing a gun, was convicted of drug and gun charges. Although he did not contest the charges, he called the raid that led to his arrest "political persecution."[41] Kokesh received a suspended sentence.[42]


Kokesh embarked on the "For the Love of FREEDOM!" tour in August 2016. The tour, featuring over 60 stops and including all of the 48 contiguous states, served as an exploratory tour for his 2020 Presidential run. Free copies of his book, FREEDOM!, were given away to all in attendance at each event.[43]


In April 2017, Kokesh had organized a demonstration in front of the White House as a protest against the Syrian bombing campaign, but before it could start Kokesh was arrested on an outstanding warrant for failing to appear in court on charges related to him disrupting a TSA security line in Maryland in 2015.[44]

2020 presidential campaign[edit]

On January 16, 2018, Kokesh announced his candidacy for President. He was pulled over by Texas Department of Public Safety Troopers twice that day and arrested the second time on marijuana and controlled substance charges.[45] He was bailed out on January 25.[46]


While in jail after his 2013 arrest stemming from his Freedom Plaza civil disobedience, Kokesh began work on his book, FREEDOM![47]



Kokesh views government as the greatest cause of violence in the world today and believes that governmental coercion is just as undesirable as coercion performed by a private citizen. He believes that government should be abolished in order to reduce violence and build a society based on respect.[48] He has announced plans to run for President of the United States in 2020 on the platform of an orderly dissolution of the federal government.[49]


Kokesh is an advocate for self-ownership, the idea that each person owns himself. He believes that any act of violence or threat of violence between individuals represents a violation of someone's freedom.[48]


Kokesh believes that taxation is theft.[50]

Foreign policy[edit]

Kokesh supports a non-interventionist foreign policy.[51]


Kokesh is personally anti-abortion but is pro-choice and believes that government should have nothing to do with it. He also believes, while he doesn't care for titles, that life begins at conception.[52]

Adam vs. The Man[edit]

Adam vs. The Man was a talk show which was available in a variety of formats, such as AM radio, web-access, podcast and Facebook-linked YouTube channel. Initially airing in 2011 as an evening two-hour broadcast on KIVA AM 1550 talk radio in Albuquerque, New Mexico, Adam vs. The Man then shifted to a half-hour video news format on RT before fully moving to the internet as an hour-long video podcast. On April 7, 2014, AVTM 4.0 was launched from Los Angeles, CA, and could be viewed live daily from noon to 2 PM, Pacific Time.

RT America[edit]

Adam vs. The Man was licensed by Russia Today's US affiliate in April 2011. The move was criticized by Accuracy in Media's columnist Cliff Kincaid who referenced his own column entry from 2008 discussing RT's coverage of the Russia–Georgian War in which he condemned RT for "preferring to use foreigners, especially Americans, to make Russian propaganda points"[53][54] before stating that "the American Marine Veteran, Adam Kokesh, seems to fit the bill, having emerged as an anti-war activist who ran as a Republican for Congress and supported Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) for president".[55] Slate writer David Weigel quoted Kokesh describing RT's model, saying: "Truth is the best propaganda. I love it! I really love the concept of that. It's funny: People say we're hiding shit as a network. No, no—we put the fact that this is propaganda right out front. We're putting out the truth that no one else wants to say. I mean, if you want to put it in the worst possible abstract, it's the Russian government, which is a competing protection racket against the other governments of the world, going against the United States and calling them on their bullshit."[56]

After only a few months on RT, Adam vs. The Man was canceled in August by that network to avoid potential legal problems stemming from an FEC complaint filed against RT by the group America’s Survival, Inc. over the matter of Kokesh endorsing Ron Paul for President (thereby allegedly running afoul of the Foreign Agents Registration Act).[57]

Film appearances[edit]

Kokesh appears in the role of "A Soldier" in the 2016 film The Prey,[58] and as himself in the documentaries The Road to Fallujah (2008), For Liberty: How the Ron Paul Revolution Watered the Withered Tree of Liberty (2009), Owned & Operated (2012), Derrick J's Victimless Crime Spree (2012), ShadowRing (2015), and Gray State: The Rise (2015).

On January 19, 2013, Kokesh appeared as a future version of himself at an anti-war-debt rally scene in the 2014 sci-fi thriller, Alongside Night. Kokesh wrote the speech he delivered, a tribute to the character of Dr. Martin Vreeland (played by Kevin Sorbo), in the background during an action sequence. Most of the speech plays during the movie's end credits and the unedited full speech is on YouTube.[59]

Electoral history[edit]

New Mexico U.S. House District 3 Republican primary, 2010[60]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Thomas E. Mullins 23,301 71.32
Republican Adam C. Kokesh 9,372 28.68
Total votes 32,673 100


  1. ^ a b "Iraq War Stories: Adam Kokesh". Albuquerque Journal. September 5, 2010.
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  3. ^ a b Johnson, Timothy (May 29, 2013). "Adam Kokesh Calls Off Armed March On D.C. In Favor Of 50 State March For "Orderly Dissolution Of The Federal Government"". Media Matters. Retrieved October 27, 2013.
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  13. ^ Roper, Eric (May 13, 2013). "Seven GW students admit to hanging controversial posters". Retrieved May 23, 2013.
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  16. ^ Indianapolis Star, McCain's speech interrupted by protestors September 4, 2008
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  19. ^ Segraves, Mark (May 30, 2011). "Park Police to probe arrests of dancing protesters". WJLA News 7. Retrieved September 1, 2013.
  20. ^ Sarah Kaufman, Dancing in Jefferson Memorial? Our Founding Father would approve, Washington Post, May 2011.
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  27. ^ National Park Service Archives
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  44. ^ Bensen, Jackie (April 11, 2017). "Gun Rights Activist Adam Kokesh Arrested as Fugitive of Justice". WRC-TV.
  45. ^ "Hours after declaring candidacy, presidential hopeful arrested in Wise County". January 19, 2018.
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  47. ^ Trainor, Dennis; Jr. (July 4, 2014). "Adam Kokesh's Independence Day Call To Arms Revisited". The Acronym Journal. Archived from the original on November 27, 2016. Retrieved November 27, 2016.
  48. ^ a b Kokesh, Adam (2016). FREEDOM!. The FREEDOM! Fund. pp. 1–2.
  49. ^ "FREEDOM! 2020". Retrieved December 27, 2016.
  50. ^ Kokesh, Adam (2016). FREEDOM!. The FREEDOM! Fund. p. 40.
  51. ^ "Adam Kokesh: Progression to a Freer Society Is Inevitable - The Daily Bell".
  52. ^ "Who here is pro abortion? — Steemit".
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  54. ^ Cliff Kincaid, Russian TV Sounds Like Soviet TV, Accuracy in Media, August 19, 2008.
  55. ^ Cliff Kincaid, KGB TV to Air Show Hosted by Anti-war Marine Vet, Accuracy in Media, April 5, 2011.
  56. ^ David Weigel, Pravda Will Set You Free; Russia's answer to Fox News and MSNBC., Slate, June 27, 2011.
  57. ^ Jack Blood (August 24, 2011). "Adam Kokesh's RT show 'Adam vs the Man" canceled due to FEC complaint". Retrieved September 12, 2013.
  58. ^ "Rent The Prey (2018) Online". Blockbuster Online. Retrieved February 1, 2018.
  59. ^ "Three New Alongside Night Videos «  J. Neil Schulman".
  60. ^ "Canvass of Returns of Primary Election Held on June 1, 2010 – State of New Mexico" (pdf). State of New Mexico. Retrieved September 14, 2017.

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