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White Nationalist Groups Have Grown by 50% Since 2017
Written by <a href="index.php?option=com_comprofiler&task=userProfile&user=41018"><span class="small">Jason Wilson, Guardian UK</span></a>   
Wednesday, 20 February 2019 14:24

Wilson writes: "A new report from the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) says that hate groups in the US have continued to surge in the Trump era, and that the president himself has helped to mainstream hate by 'fueling fears of a white minority country.'"

Gavin McInnes, founder of the far-right group Proud Boys, in Berkeley, California on 27 April 2017. (photo: Marcio José Sánchez/AP)
Gavin McInnes, founder of the far-right group Proud Boys, in Berkeley, California on 27 April 2017. (photo: Marcio José Sánchez/AP)

White Nationalist Groups Have Grown by 50% Since 2017

By Jason Wilson, Guardian UK

20 February 19

Southern Poverty Law Center report shows an all-time high in hate groups since they began counting, beating the previous record in 2011

new report from the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) says that hate groups in the US have continued to surge in the Trump era, and that the president himself has helped to mainstream hate by “fueling fears of a white minority country”.

The Alabama-based SPLC – one of the most long-standing and widely-cited anti-hate organizations – counted 1,020 hate groups in the United States in 2018, up 7% from the previous year.

This represented an all-time high since the SPLC began counting hate groups, beating the previous record in 2011, when the far right’s angry reaction to the Obama presidency was peaking.

In a press conference, Heidi Beirich, the director of the SPLC’s Intelligence Project blamed in part the “words and imagery coming out of the Trump administration” which have been “heightening the fears” of demographic replacement.

The report points to a range of murders and violent attacks – like a mail-bombing spree that targeted Democrats and media organisations and a mass shooting at a Pittsburgh synagogue – as evidence that the conspiracy-fueled far right is increasingly willing to commit extreme acts.

Another similar recent report from the Anti-Defamation League suggested that extremist murders in the United States in 2018 were carried out almost exclusively by the far right.

But the SPLC also points to the increasingly strident expression of far right ideas in conservative media, and from Republican politicians, as evidence that hate is being mainstreamed.

One example is Donald Trump’s apparent adoption of the cause of white South African farmers in 2018. The report also discusses how Fox News hosts such as Tucker Carlson and Laura Ingraham have seized on the idea that white people will be demographically replaced in the United States by a wave of immigrants. Both of these themes are regularly pushed by white nationalists.

Though the report surveys a wide range of hate groups – from the antigovernment “patriot” movement to antisemitic black nationalist groups – it drew particular attention to two developments in 2018.

The first is the explosive growth in white nationalist groups. While longstanding white supremacist movements like the Klu Klux Klan have continued to dwindle, newer styles of internet-savvy white organizations have grown explosively. The 148 groups of this type identified by the SPLC represent a 50% increase on 2017.

White nationalist groups like Identity Evropa have been prominently involved in a wave of flyer distribution, which has escaped its former confines on college campuses and into the “public domain”. The level of flying and related actions, like banner drops, has been “unprecedented” according to the SPLC.

The second area of extensive growth has been in the catch-all category of “general hate”. That growth is largely as a result of the growth of the “western chauvinist” group, the Proud Boys, who the SPLC says now have 44 chapters in 31 states.

It describes the Proud Boys’ attendance at frequently violent street rallies as “the most relentless campaign of rightwing street violence in recent memory”.

The Proud Boys have recently cemented their links with people in high levels of the Republican party. Last week, Proud Boys chairman Enrique Tarrio was given pride of place at a Trump rally in Miami. The month before, Tarrio was a prominent visitor to Roger Stone in the wake of his arrest by the FBI. Stone himself has been frequently photographed with Proud Boys, and the Proud Boys often flourish a video of stone apparently being initiated in some way into the group.

The SPLC’s description of the group in these terms comes in the face of a lawsuit launched by founder Gavin McInnes against the organization earlier this month. McInnes’s suit is one of a number launched by rightwing figures who object to the SPLC’s classification or monitoring of their activities.

Asked about the lawsuits pending against the SPLC by McInnes and the Center for Immigration Studies, Beirich said: “We stand by our hate group listings”.

Repeatedly, Trump himself is singled out by the SPLC report, and his Twitter account in particular is nominated for pushing “noxious anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim views”.

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-20 # Cowboy 45 2019-02-20 18:21
Bullshit. That all depends what is considered a hate group. Covington Catholic, and any organization that supports free speech, is pro American, conservative, or anyone wearing a MAGA hat. There is more hate on this website than any hate group I am aware of.
+7 # rl2014 2019-02-20 21:51
I am an American of African descent now living abroad with my youngest son. My eldest graduated from UC, Berkeley Both of my sons suffered constant harassment, because we lived in an affluent predominantly White neighborhood. The police constantly harassed my elder son, asking him to prove where he lived. I started to do research on the white supremacist groups and the police and found that many White supremacists join the police force expressly because they believe that that is the last institution in the US that allows the to kill/lynch Black people without retribution (i.e. it is also interesting that many police forces began as slave-catching forces). After being sensitized to this history , I began to notice White supremacist symbols, tattoos and jewelry on some of the police officers. Shocked I went to my local police station and asked why the police officers had so much White supremacist imagery, jewelry, etc., and was told there was no law against it. After reading the statistics on Black boys and violent encounters with the police and unjust imprisonment, I decided to leave the country with my youngest son and am now living abroad. We are safe here and my son is not being conditioned by harassment into thinking that he is a criminal or worse subject to police violence, but it's a touch choice to leave my extended family and live as a stranger in a foreign land. It's a high price to pay for psychological and physical safety.
+5 # rl2014 2019-02-21 04:06
Cowboy, because this website and its users hate (i.e. actively desire that something or someone does not exist) racism, police brutality, "torturing and murdering" brown children at the border and other forms of cruelty and injustice does not qualify it as a hate group or as hateful. Hating evil is not the same as hating people because of their attributes. Get a grip.
-8 # Cowboy 45 2019-02-21 13:41
You people hate everyone who has a different opinion than you. You are no different than any other hate group. You will not find that kind of vitriol on conservative forums where we debate the issues rather than just calling people racist, fascists, KKK, Hitler and other progressive behavior because they can't win an argument.
-3 # Rodion Raskolnikov 2019-02-21 09:48
I think it is right that right wing groups have become more open in the Trump era. But I doubt if they have grown all that much. Maybe some. The publicity they are getting is mostly bad and I don't see anyone new joining these groups.

While I do believe that Trump is driving much of the public image of these alt-right groups, I also think this is a permanent fixture in American culture and their visibility is cyclical. Remember the 1990s following the Reagan-Bush presidencies also saw a huge outbreak in right wing groups. These culminated in Ruby Ridge, Waco, Oklahoma City, and Clinton's monumental Anti-Terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 (probably the most fascist legislation up to the Patriot Act). We have not seen anything near those episodes in the Trump era. Yet??

Flyer distribution and Proud Boy marches are just very tame. I more think that the really violent factions in the KKK, Arian nation, white supremacists, and many other militia groups are just going mainstream and becoming a sort of political party. They are moving their activism away from military training and into political campaign training. That is actually what anyone would want them to do.
0 # kyzipster 2019-02-21 13:28
It's a very difficult topic to debate and to even get a realistic understanding of. There's no doubt in my mind that Trump's willingness to cater to the worst of the far right continues to empower hate groups, they're feeling legitimate enough to show their faces more.

At the same time I think the left has done all they can to exaggerate. I don't believe in participating in normalizing their POV even further. My concern is based in a belief that progressives are giving away their power. It's like the left wants the environment to be much worse than it actually is. This is causing real fear in the population, I'd even say a sort of trauma with some people. People I know. A real belief that we're experiencing something like a new Jim Crow era.

I followed the white supremacist rallies a bit after Trump was elected. I believe one of the first rallies was held in my state, in the middle of Appalachia in a sparsely populated county. Mostly white and close to 100% Trump support. They descended on a little town from all over, there was a much larger counter demonstration that overcame the white supremacists. Peaceful, so it hardly made the news.

Next was Charlottesville and that nightmare. Afterward, many of the racists were Doxed. I read stories of people losing jobs, one guy was disowned by his family, etc.
0 # kyzipster 2019-02-21 13:30
The next demonstration was Boston. If memory serves, only 50 alt right people showed up, the media was predicting another Charlottesville but thousands came out to counter them. They fled in fear, escorted by police. I think there was no violence. This passed through the news cycle very quickly but the liberal media continues to evoke Charlottesville as representing the state of Trump's America, not Boston. In my view, it was a brief moment of empowerment for the far right, but it was only 600 people from all over the country. Progressives were able to counter their plans for additional demonstrations with ease.

After that was two demonstrations in Tennessee. It played out similar to Boston, one of their rallies was even canceled. That's the birth place of the KKK.

We can also look at the many hate crimes, murdering Jewish people. In my own town, two African Americans were gunned down in a supermarket by a racist. A long list of other crimes, many directed at Muslims. I'm not trying to play down the seriousness of this rise in white nationalism/sup remacy, the violence we're seeing is mostly individuals with links to groups, feeding themselves with racist propaganda on the internet.
0 # kyzipster 2019-02-21 13:32
I do think the left is exaggerating. I don't see a powerful organized force. I think what played out in Boston and Tennessee represents the country we live in. The KKK and neo-Nazis and the like will not be tolerated, and the growth in these organizations is very small in numbers, a tiny faction relative to the population of the country.

The biggest problem is Trump imo, and the right-wing that has normalized his irresponsible politics of hate and division. I hope he's shut down in 2020. I don't believe we're moving backwards on racism towards African Americans, sexism and homophobia. We are seeing continued growth in anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant sentiment and this is political, it's also dangerous. I believe these populations are at the most risk. The distinction is important imo. We should be showing solidarity protecting these groups instead of the obsession with identity politics we're seeing on the left. The most serious or immediate issues are getting drowned out in the noise of outrage and exaggeration. Obsessed on some Trump teens at a rally for a week while immigrants are in hiding, unable to work.