It’s Not our Imagination: Right Wing Cults at all time High

I had almost convinced myself that the level of right wing hatred and ignorance that I’d noticed recently on the web was due to the increasing number of Focus on Muslimspeople using social media outlets that used to be fairly exclusive little clubs when I started using them.  Just to give you an idea, when I got on Facebook, you had to have an email address with an .edu ending or you were basically SOL. I was also on the internet when most of the folks you bumped into were in the high tech business or were some how connected to universities. I still consider the day the internet went to pot as the same day AOL let loose their population of subscribers.  Now, I get some pretty cool graphics and content but that certainly comes with the added expense of added contact with idiots and tons of businesses looking for suckers with ads.

However, I’ve just recently found out that there are actually a larger number of radical right wing groups being formed and it’s just not my inability to avoid contact with them on line.  Libertarian Cults and “Patriot” style militia groups have come along with the Teabutts.   I hesitate to call them patriots because most of what I read from them sounds more like crap you read right around the Civil War days coming from the Confederates. 

While the more mainstream anti-government Tea Party movement faded from view as the GOP co-opted it in the past few years, the action has moved to the fringes, where the number of radical right-wing Patriot groups reached an all time high in 2012, according to a new report from the Southern Poverty Law Center. What’s more, it’s the fourth year in a row that the record has been broken.

Conspiracy-minded Patriot groups first entered the public consciousness in the 1990s with the rise of the militia movement, and then the Oklahoma City bombing. Now, the SPLC is warning government officials that they see eerie similarities between the current era and that leading up to the bombing.

“As in the period before the Oklahoma City bombing, we now are seeing ominous threats from those who believe that the government is poised to take their guns,” the group’s president, Richard Cohen, wrote in a letter sent Tuesday to Attorney General Eric Holder and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano.

The number of Patriot groups peaked after the bombing in 1996 at 858, before falling off steeply and remaining low under George W. Bush. However, since the election of Barack Obama, the number of groups tracked by the SPLC has skyrocketed and continued to climb.

Last year, the SPLC found 1,360 Patriot groups in the country — up more than 500 over the ’96 peak — including 321 militia groups.

The report does indicate which factors seem to be contributing to this rise.  militiagraph

“Now, in the wake of the mass murder of 26 children and adults at a Connecticut school and the Obama-led gun control efforts that followed, it seems likely that that growth will pick up speed once again,” the center noted.

The report also cites the election of Obama, efforts to grant more than 11 million undocumented immigrants a path to citizenship, and a troubled economy as contributing factors in the growth of the far-right groups.

“We are seeing a real and rising threat of domestic terrorism as the number of far-right anti-government groups continues to grow at an astounding pace,” said Mark Potok, Southern Poverty Law Center senior fellow and author of the report. “It is critically important that the country take this threat seriously. The potential for deadly violence is real, and clearly rising.”

The SPLC also has identified other interesting trends in the groups that they follow.

August Kreis, a longtime neo-Nazi who in January stepped down as leader of an Aryan Nations faction after being convicted of fraud related to his veteran’s benefits, told the Intelligence Report that it was all about income inequality.

“The worse the economy gets, the more the groups are going to grow,” he said. “White people are arming themselves — and black people, too. I believe eventually it’s going to come down to civil war. It’s going to be an economic war, the rich versus the poor. We’re being divided along economic lines.”

At the most macro level, the growth of right-wing radicalization — a phenomenon that is plainly evident in Europe as well as the United States — is related directly to political and, especially, economic globalization. As the nation-state has diminished in importance since the end of the Cold War, Western economies have opened up, not only to capital from abroad but also to labor. In concrete terms, that has meant major immigration flows, many of which have drastically altered the demographics of formerly fairly homogenous populations. In Europe and the U.S. both, white-dominated countries have become less so. At the same time, globalization has caused major economic dislocations in the West as certain industries and kinds of production move to less developed countries.

The sorry U.S. economy also may offer the best single explanation for the huge expansion in the so-called “sovereign citizens” movement, a subset of the larger Patriot movement. Although the size of the sovereign movement is hard to gauge — sovereigns tend to operate as individuals rather than in organized groups — law enforcement officials around the country have reported encounters. The SPLC, for its part, has estimated that some 300,000 Americans are involved.

I hate to be in the position of agreeing with a NAZI but I do think income inequality and the ability of many southern and republican politicians  to scapegoat minorities problems they created has contributed to this problem.  Rather than looking at the policies of the government and the role of the rich in usurping legislative agendas, right wing populists groups frequently turn their outrage on others. It would be nice they focus on the root cause of their issues like corporations having bought their representatives.  We’ve see many left wing populist groups with similar economic justice issues recently but they don’t appear to be heading towards the same types of violent agendas that many leftist groups took in the 1960s. This does not appear to be true of right wing populists. They tend to like paramilitary organizations because of their love of guns.

Anyway, I’m going to be interested to see if the conversation on this study find its way to congress. Last time we had this conversation, congress scapegoated the nation’s Muslim population.  The Sandy Hook massacre might make this less possible.  However, I do think you should go look at the list of groups.  They’re in nearly every state.


24 Comments on “It’s Not our Imagination: Right Wing Cults at all time High”

  1. dakinikat says:

    Speaking of right wing nuts …

    Rubio, NRSC heads join Rand Paul’s filibuster — and could get political boost

    Read more:
    Follow us: @thehill on Twitter | TheHill on Facebook

  2. bostonboomer says:

    Sadly, the FBI will continue run their stupid sting operations targeting muslim youths who haven’t done anything and who hadn’t thought of doing anything until the FBI talked them into it. Meanwhile the real right wing crazies go about their business of stockpiling weapons to fight the Federal government.

  3. RalphB says:

    alicublog: MAN BOOB.

    John Hawkins breaks it down: Men enjoyed recreational fistfights and gunplay for centuries but, around the time Raiders of the Lost Ark came out, for some unspecified reason they stopped and, no longer being able to relate to action movies, became emasculated.

    A few generations before that, women started getting educations and jobs, which was either a retroactive secondary cause of this emasculation or just made it worse. In any case you’ll all be sorry.

    Conclusion: Civilization is for pussies.

    As totally insane as this steaming mound is, some idiots are obviously quite upset as the long list of anti-women legislation shows. This post is quite good on the rightwingers’ relationship issues and it led to this lovely piece by Mr TBogg which still has me chuckling.

    The Emasculating Lesbo Bitches At The Bar Don’t Want My Man Gravy

    Gotta grab an occasional grin before war breaks out cause I think the Nazi has a point.

  4. Pilgrim says:

    Well, well, well, I see ol’ Chris Matthews is beside himself with glee that Jeb Bush is talking of being willing to run in ’16, practically hugging himself with delight at the prospect of another Bush, talking rapidly and incoherently, shooting spittle all over his face.

    I am not surprised. He quite liked Geo. W.

    • dakinikat says:

      That dude totally has the record for number of man crushes in one lift time, I swear.

    • janey says:

      First question someone should ask Jeb. Where are you going to have your war? Daddy had Gulf War I, Georgie had Gulf War II, and so where and what are we going to call your war?? Have you picked out a name yet?? Have you decided on the excuse yet? Who are you going to blame it on??When does it start?

  5. ecocatwoman says:

    Thanks for making my day, kat. Factoring out Calif & Texas due to size, Florida wins the hate group race with 59. And they are concentrated in the target market for elections: the I-4 Corridor, which is where I live.

    I agree that income inequality is one of, if not the, main driver in this. However I don’t think the militarization of young men should be ignored. They’ve been sent off to endless wars in foreign (and strange to them) countries & trained to kill. Whether it’s PTSD or military culture, a large percentage of these men aren’t assimilating back into “peaceful” society. And they are comfortable with – or at least uncomfortable without – weapons. Personally, I”d prefer if it was guillotines being pulled out instead of guns.

    • ecocatwoman says:

      Oh, and here’s a direct link to The Hate Map:

    • dakinikat says:

      Republicans really hate hearing that a lot of the problem comes from ex military people. It’s a shame we don’t do a better job of providing our vets mental health and job support …

      • bostonboomer says:

        That’s probably because most Republicans are chicken hawks. They love wars as long as the peons are used as cannon fodder and their kind can stay home and watch the wars on TV.

    • RalphB says:

      While I’m quite sure that some of those people are veterans, I would be very surprised if a large majority of them were actually combat veterans. Most of the people who are in the military are in support positions and they tend to become “wanna-be” warriors. These so-called patriot groups may hold an appeal for them that would seem silly to people with nothing to prove.

      Our society also lionizes the military in destructive fashion for the ~98% of people who will never serve. I believe that’s one reason there are so many gun nuts and faux tactical people on the right and in the police forces as well. Our society is becoming militarized not by the military but by some odd Hollywood vision of it. We are becoming a nation of playground warriors which could spill into the streets if we are not careful.

  6. Fredster says:

    Did I maybe have a comment go to spam because of the daily K*s link?

    What I had said was agreed on the income inequality thing and also said to not forget our “friends” in the Northwest. But here’s another link:

  7. Check it out, in Banjoland, Ga. lawmakers debate easing gun carrying rules for mentally ill | AccessNorthGa

    Georgia lawmakers will debate rules Thursday that could allow more mentally ill people to carry firearms, though hasty changes may blunt some of the impact.

    The issue arose as House Republicans make a last-minute push on legislation permitting school districts to arm their employees and allowing those licensed to carry a gun to take their weapons into bars, churches and college campuses. That bill and a host of others must be approved by at least one chamber in the General Assembly by Thursday or risk failing for the year.

    A lesser-noticed provision in the firearms bill would change rules on whether people who have recently suffered from mental illness or substance abuse can get a permit to carry a gun.


    The new bill would apply similar restrictions only to people who are involuntarily hospitalized, not those who voluntarily request help.

    “… This bill strengthens and clarifies the mental health inquiry process for those seeking a Georgia Firearms License because it is targeted at the dangerous, not a person who recognizes they have an issue and voluntarily submits to treatment,” Rick Jasperse (R-Jasper) said in a statement. “Simply being hospitalized doesn’t make a person a criminal or a threat.”


    • RalphB says:

      Oh holy shit. Those people are too nuts to be in power!

    • hyperjoy says:

      Oh, that’s interesting. If it passes, then I would like to see if gun violence increases, and if so, if those who voluntarily sought mental health treatment are the ones responsible for it. I have a feeling the answer would be no.