Tag Archives: hate groups

Report on Hate and Extremist Groups in America and Discussion

Having just read the reporting on Calitics from the just finished California Republican Party, I found the recently released report on Hate and Extremist Groups in America (and a huge number in California) even more chilling and profound. As chilling as the report is, especially if you are a minority or have left leaning politics, it should be required reading, in my opinion, in every college campus in the country as part of a social science requrirements. Knowing things move too slow for that to happen, I have included a couple of the highights (or lowlights) and information to obtain the full report and information for participation on Wednesday the 17th of March On that date the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) President Richard Cohen and SPLC’s Intelligence Project Director Mark Potok discuss the growing number of hate and militia groups in the United States.

SPLC has identified SIXTY (60) groups in CALIFORNIA. Only TEXAS has more groups identified at SIXTY THREE (60).

The Report

Rage on the Right

The Year in Hate and Extremism

By Mark Potok

The radical right caught fire last year, as broad-based populist anger at political, demographic and economic changes in America ignited an explosion of new extremist groups and activism across the nation.

Hate groups stayed at record levels – almost 1,000 – despite the total collapse of the second largest neo-Nazi group in America. Furious anti-immigrant vigilante groups soared by nearly 80%, adding some 136 new groups during 2009. And, most remarkably of all, so-called “Patriot” groups – militias and other organizations that see the federal government as part of a plot to impose “one-world government” on liberty-loving Americans – came roaring back after years out of the limelight.

The anger seething across the American political landscape – over racial changes in the population, soaring public debt and the terrible economy, the bailouts of bankers and other elites, and an array of initiatives by the relatively liberal Obama Administration that are seen as “socialist” or even “fascist” – goes beyond the radical right. The “tea parties” and similar groups that have sprung up in recent months cannot fairly be considered extremist groups, but they are shot through with rich veins of radical ideas, conspiracy theories and racism.

“We are in the midst of one of the most significant right-wing populist rebellions in United States history,” Chip Berlet, a veteran analyst of the American radical right, wrote earlier this year. “We see around us a series of overlapping social and political movements populated by people [who are] angry, resentful, and full of anxiety. They are raging against the machinery of the federal bureaucracy and liberal government programs and policies including health care, reform of immigration and labor laws, abortion, and gay marriage.”

More and links after the break.

Sixty-one percent of Americans believe the country is in decline, according to a recent NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll. Just a quarter think the government can be trusted. And the anti-tax tea party movement is viewed in much more positive terms than either the Democratic or Republican parties, the poll found.

The signs of growing radicalization are everywhere. Armed men have come to Obama speeches bearing signs suggesting that the “tree of liberty” needs to be “watered” with “the blood of tyrants.” The Conservative Political Action Conference held this February was co-sponsored by groups like the John Birch Society, which believes President Eisenhower was a Communist agent, and Oath Keepers, a Patriot outfit formed last year that suggests, in thinly veiled language, that the government has secret plans to declare martial law and intern patriotic Americans in concentration camps. Politicians pandering to the antigovernment right in 37 states have introduced “Tenth Amendment Resolutions,” based on the constitutional provision keeping all powers not explicitly given to the federal government with the states. And, at the “A Well Regulated Militia” website, a recent discussion of how to build “clandestine safe houses” to stay clear of the federal government included a conversation about how mass murderers like Timothy McVeigh and Olympics bomber Eric Rudolph were supposedly betrayed at such houses.

A link to the report follows and also provides information for additional information and HOW TO GET INVOLVED IN YOUR COMMUNITY to address hate and extremism starting in grammar school.


Hate and Extremist Groups in America

Event Date: Wednesday, March 17, 2010 @ 2:00 PM ET / 11:00 AM PT

SPLC President Richard Cohen and SPLC’s Intelligence Project Director Mark Potok discuss the growing number of hate and militia groups in the United States.

Link to register for the discussion is: http://register.webcastgroup.c…

Anti-Immigrant Terrorism Comes Out in the Open

One of the hardest things about being a California historian is watching the same tragedies repeating themselves, nearly every generation. Ever since the Anglo conquest in 1846, non-whites have faced the brunt of scapegoating during hard economic times. And in almost every case, this immigrant-bashing has turned violent.

California’s ugly history of racial terror spans all 150+ years of US ownership. It includes the attacks on Mexican miners (here legally under the terms of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo) in the Sierra goldfields in 1850, the state-sanctioned genocide of Native peoples in central and Northern California later in the 1850s, the forced disposession of Latinos’ land in the 1870s, the violent assaults on Chinese laborers and communities in the late 1870s and early 1880s, and the forcible deportation of 1 million Mexican residents of CA, including many US citizens in the early 1930s.

Now, in 2007, it is returning, with an ugly vengeance. Last Friday, day laborer Artemio Santiago Garcia was savagely beaten in Seaside, a majority-Latino city next to Monterey. Prosecutors are calling it a hate crime. We can call it the leading edge of outright terrorism, a predictable evolution in the already ugly immigration paranoia. And it’s spreading.

From today’s Monterey Herald (linked above):

Rather than cleaning houses or mowing lawns, what he got was a severe beating to the head and upper body that made him lose consciousness and could have ended tragically, he believes, had he not come to and found a pipe to scare his assailant….

  Santiago Garcia’s assailant entered an abandoned house, and they both began walking along a hallway, the man pointing out the rooms and telling him things he didn’t understand. When they reached the rear of the house, his assailant pulled out a flashlight and turned it on.

“I was then standing behind him, wondering what we would do, when he turned around and slammed me on the head,” he recalls. “I immediately fell and lost consciousness. Later I felt more blows, to my head and to my upper body. Then he dragged me outside the house.”…

“I ran away and then I hid under one of the houses. I was afraid that if he saw where I’d run to, he would come after me. I was hidden for a minute or two, then I walked into the street screaming and asking for help. I was bleeding through my nose and mouth.”

Santiago Garcia told the reporter that he wasn’t the first victim of such an attack – that last year an older man, also from Oaxaca, was also beaten – but that he did not feel safe in telling the police.

The article goes on to note that other Latinos – regardless of resident status – are feeling more vulnerable to this kind of hate:

A recent study by the Inter-American Development Bank found that Latino residents are feeling more discrimination than before. Pollsters attributed the results to failed immigration reform policies.

“All we want is a work permit,” worker Jose Perez said. “We don’t even want residency. All we want is to be able to work.”

If this isn’t chilling enough, the incomparable David Neiwert, a Seattle-based author who has studied racial hate and the far-right on the West Coast and the founder of Orcinus, has now come across a video apparently showing a group of white bigots shooting and killing a Mexican somewhere along the border. They may or may not be related to a San Diego offshoot of Jim Gilchrist’s notorious Minutemen organization – the San Diego group’s violent harassment of Latino day laborers was charted by Neiwert earlier in the week:

  Halloween or not, the San Diego Minutemen take year-round pleasure in scaring immigrants. On Saturday mornings, when they travel to the sleepy suburban gas stations where immigrant day laborers go to find work, they create scenes that would play well in a show called “Nativists Gone Wild.” They call immigrants “wetbacks” and “Julios.” They pull out Mace and threaten passing motorists who disagree with them. Calling those who hire day laborers “slavemasters,” they’ve been known to slap flashing amber police lights on their SUVs and chase the would-be employers down. When they’re not busy physically intimidating migrants, they take to the airwaves and the Internet to accuse them, without a shred of evidence, of running child prostitution rings and practicing “voodoo Santeria rituals.”

Unfortunately, it is not a great step to go from physically intimidating migrants, to beating them in an abandoned building along Monterey Bay, to shooting at them in hopes of killing them outright.

And how did this terror come about? Is it some ugly tangent to a more mainstream dialogue about immigration?

Sadly, that is far from the case. Ever since this current round of immigrant-bashing began around 2003, it has been driven by paranoia not about lost revenue or lost jobs, but about racial fears. Victor Davis Hanson’s 2003 book Mexifornia began the wave, stoking fears that California was somehow being “overrun” by Latinos who were going to undermine our civilization with their supposedly dirty, third world ways. From there these sentiments have taken off, with many immigrant bashers speaking of immigration as a kind of “invasion” or, in Michelle Malkin’s favored terminology, a “reconquista” to overturn the Anglo conquest of 1846-48.

An example comes from the comments on an article by Peter Schrag on the California Progress Report yesterday, where one “Steve” started off by citing poll numbers about border security but then threw in this telling item:

Also, it’s suggested that Californians don’t notice the ‘browning of our complexion’ anymore. Hmm. I wonder about that…. He [Schrag] then comes to the conclusion that Southerners and Midwesterners won’t mind handing their states over to the Latinos in the end, either.

While it is absolutely true that immigration reform is necessary and should be discussed sensibly, too much of the conversation is dominated by openly racist sentiments like this. And as we sit idly by while racism is spewed forth, it becomes easier for this hate to go mainstream, and for others to start acting on their violent xenophobia.

Why is it that the immigration debate stirs up this kind of terrorism? Precisely because of its origins in racist thought. Behind every moment of immigrant-bashing in California’s history is a belief that this state and its economic benefits are reserved for whites only. To adherents of this belief, the presence of people of color is to be tolerated at best and actively fought when they deem it necessary.

Some might argue that this violence against immigrants is the product of a fringe mentality, that the mainstream and “serious” anti-immigrant voices would never condone it. So why, then, are conservatives like Lou Dobbs and Debra J. Saunders campaigning to free two former Border Patrol officers who admitted to and were convicted of shooting a suspected drug smuggler?

Voices like these conflate smugglers and immigrants; they are all lumped in together as “lawbreakers” in their terminology. As long as they continue to cast immigration in terms of an “invasion,” condone the acts of the Minutemen, speak openly of racist fears, and call for the further intimidation of immigrants and Latinos by the Department of Homeland Security, they are not excused from their responsibilities either in the emerging anti-immigrant terrorism.

The Wicked Witch Is Gone! Barbara Coe Leaves the Minutemen!

This just in from The Liberal OC:

Barbara Coe just resigned from the Minuteman Project. She was on the board and recently voted to give Jim Gilchrist the boot because of “financial and accountability issues” according to the Orange County Register. Gilchrist took the group to court and filed a “it’s mine and you can’t have it” lawsuit.

You may remember Coe’s name from the Tan Nguyen scandal. The fake letterhead that Nguyen used to write the infamous “immigrants can’t vote” letter on used the name “California Coalition for Immigration Reform” and Coe is the founder of that organization-but was not involved in the Nguyen letter.

OK, so you still don’t remember Barbara Coe? Well, then follow me after the flip for a quick history lesson, as well as my personal thoughts on the Minutemen’s loss of the Wicked Witch of the West…

Ah, Barbara Coe! Yes, that Barbara Coe… Ya know, the one whose group is listed by the Southern Poverty Law Center as a hate group. Yes, the one who didn’t have a problem with Congressional Candidate Tan Nguyen sending out the now infamous “Immigrants Can’t Vote” Letter under her organization’s letterhead

AND SHE’S GONE! Well, she’s just out of the Minuteman organization. But still, it’s so exhilarating to see OC’s own Wicked Witch of the West cause havoc for her fellow Latino haters! I just hope that they all suffer in the chaos that they are creating for themselves, just as they’ve caused so much suffering for all the Latinos here in Orange County.

Gawd knows they deserve it. : )