The Hatewatch blog is managed by the staff of the Intelligence Project of the Southern Poverty Law Center, an Alabama-based civil rights organization.
Last week, we released our annual hate group count in the latest edition of the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Intelligence Report. The key finding was that the number of hate groups operating in the United States continued to rise in 2008 and has grown by 54% since 2000 — an increase fueled last year by immigration fears, a failing economy and the successful campaign of Barack Obama.
The SPLC identified 926 hate groups active in 2008, up more than 4% from the 888 groups in 2007 and far above the 602 groups documented in 2000. A list and interactive, state-by-state map of these groups can be viewed here.
As in recent years, hate groups were animated by fears of Latino immigration. This rise in hate groups has coincided with a 40% growth in hate crimes against Latinos between 2003 and 2007, according to FBI statistics. But two additional factors were introduced to the volatile hate movement in 2008: the faltering economy and the Obama campaign.
Several white supremacists have been arrested while allegedly plotting to kill Obama, and following the election he received more threats than any previous president-elect. Scores of racially charged incidents — beatings, effigy burnings, racist graffiti, threats and intimidation — were reported across the country after the election. Extremists are also exploiting the economic crisis, spreading propaganda that blames minorities and immigrants for the subprime mortgage meltdown. Tough economic times historically provide fertile ground for extremist movements.
A well-funded new organization whose stated purpose is to launch a “right-wing youth movement” will make a splashy debut tonight at the Conservative Political Action Conference, or CPAC, in Washington, D.C. CPAC is billed as “the largest annual gathering of conservative students, activists and policymakers.”
According to CPAC materials, the group, Youth for Western Civilization, is one of the official co-sponsors, or major donors, of this year’s conference. The group has a booth in the CPAC exhibition hall, and its “Inaugural Reception” is scheduled to begin at 8:30 p.m. EST in the Palladium Ballroom at the Omni Shoreham Hotel.
In the past, CPAC organizers have shielded the reputation of their mainstream conservative enterprise by forbidding racist organizations like the Council of Conservative Citizens from participating. They may want to take a closer look at Youth for Western Civilization (YWC).
One of the group’s founders, Marcus Epstein, is a frequent contributor to the white nationalist hate website VDARE.com. (Editor’s Note: In Sept. 2009, Hatewatch was informed that Epstein now claims he was not a founder of the group, even though he had said so earlier.)
“Diversity can be good in moderation — if what is being brought in is desirable,” Epstein wrote in one VDARE.com essay. “Most Americans don’t mind a little ethnic food, some Asian math whizzes, or a few Mariachi dancers — as long as these trends do not overwhelm the dominant culture.”
Epstein is also the head of the Robert A. Taft Club, a Washington, D.C., group whose events regularly feature prominent academic racists like Jared Taylor, the editor of the overtly white supremacist journal American Renaissance.
Another Youth for Western Civilization founder, Kevin DeAnna, has posted several times in recent years to the Spartan Spectator, the website of the Michigan State University chapter of Young Americans for Freedom, or MSU-YAF.
In 2007, the Southern Poverty Law Center identified MSU-YAF as a hate group after it organized a “Catch an Illegal Alien Day” game, sponsored a “Koran desecration contest,” jokingly threatened to distribute small-pox infected blankets to Native American students, posted “Gays spread AIDS” fliers, called Latino students and faculty members “savages,” and invited Nick Griffin, the chairman of the neofascist British National Party, to speak on the MSU campus.
“The point is that all Christians, and white Christians in particular, don’t owe any deference to the self-defined racial separatist customs of other people,” DeAnna posted to Spartan Spectator in July 2007.
DICKINSON, Texas — Twenty miles north of Galveston, at the busy intersection of two once-rural state highways that are now crowded with mini-malls and drugstores, stands the oldest church in the United States belonging to the Society of St. Pius X (SSPX). A peaceful Catholic church with priests in residence, Queen of Angels shows no sign of the international controversy that erupted in January, when Pope Benedict XVI lifted the excommunication of four SSPX bishops.
Most of that controversy has centered on one of the reinstated bishops, Richard Williamson, who is infamous for his Holocaust denial and anti-Semitism. In January, just a few days before the pontiff invited Williamson back into the church, he appeared on a Swedish TV program insisting the Nazis had no gas chambers. “I believe that the historical evidence is strongly against — is hugely against — 6 million Jews having been deliberately gassed in gas chambers as a deliberate policy of Adolf Hitler,” Williamson said. “I believe there were no gas chambers.
The Vatican said the pope had been unaware of Williamson’s views, which provoked a firestorm of criticism, some of it from ranking Catholic officials. By the end of January, the pope had decided Williamson would not be allowed to perform priestly functions unless he recanted his views. In early February, Williamson was also suspended from his post as head of the SSPX seminary in La Reja, Argentina, and SSPX Superior General Bernard Fellay issued an order forbidding Williamson to make “any public statements on political or historical issues.” Later in the month, Argentina expelled the bishop and he returned to his native England.
That wasn’t all. Fellay also told the world that Williamson’s beliefs “do not in any way reflect the position of our Society.” But the facts do not support him. The truth is that Williamson’s thinking reflects much of basic SSPX doctrine.
As the international furor over Williamson grew, SSPX officials rushed to scrub their websites of offending material. In February, for instance, a 1997 article by two SSPX priests that called for locking Jews into ghettos because “Jews are known to kill Christians” disappeared. But the makeover was far from complete.
Still on sspx.org at press time was a 1959 letter from a close friend of SSPX’s founder. “Money, the media, and international politics are for a large part in the hands of Jews,” Bishop Gerald Sigaud wrote. “Those who have revealed the atomic secrets of the USA were … all Jews. The founders of communism were Jews.” And as of early February, the Canadian SSPX website still hosted an archive of Williamson’s anti-Semitic letters, one of which complains that “Jews have come closer and closer to fulfilling their … drive toward world domination.” ( continue to full post… )
Defending his recent piece outlining why he believes the Republican party
should change its course on immigration, Richard Nadler takes down fellow
conservatives whose claimed superior commitment to law, he argues, masks
their policy preference for mass deportation.
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The Central Coast chapter of the Minuteman Civil Defense Corps held a well-attended, one-day conference whose speakers included MCDC founder Chris Simcox and Ted Hilton, author of the “California Taxpayer Protection” initiative, legislation that would create a separate birth certificate for children born to undocumented immigrants.
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Anti-immigration organizations are seeking to capitalize on widespread anxiety over unemployment in ad campaigns funded by groups like Numbers USA, whose director, Roy Beck, says “The government is importing people to keep you out of a job.”
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A federal civil jury rejected claims that Roger Barnett violated the civil rights of immigrants he detained at gunpoint, but ordered him to pay $77,804 in damages after finding him liable for assault and infliction of emotional distress.
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A black man and a white man — kissing! Each other! In the newspaper!
A Salt Lake City anti-gay organization bet $15,000 on a racism/homophobia/shock value trifecta when it placed full-page ads that prominently depict an interracial gay couple smooching in recent Sunday editions of the city’s two daily newspapers.
The ads attacked the Common Ground Initiative, a proposed legislation package now in committee in the Utah legislature, that would offer inheritance and medical decision-making rights to same-sex couples, and make it illegal for landlords and employers to evict or fire individuals based solely on their sexual orientation. The Common Ground Initiative does not address the issue of same-sex marriage.
America Forever, a.k.a. America Forever Foundation, paid for the ads, which implore readers to “Stand Up & Stop the Homosexual Movement” and declare “Shame on Utah Gays,” who are described as being “Anti-Species.”
The bulk of the ads, beyond the kissing photo and screaming headlines, consist of bigoted screeds presented as legal analysis. One example: “By holding hands and kissing in a public place [such as] an apartment complex playground, in a family neighborhood, at a party, or to present oneself as a homosexual person in the workplace, is stating and displaying that he or she practices sodomy, and if backed by law, will force the acceptance of homosexuality.”
There’s more: “If a hooker displays her conduct, a druggie displays his conduct and a homosexual displays his conduct, it is our right to not have them in our businesses, living in our basements, or barbequing in our yards. A woman, for example, who may have a good day job but at night dresses up as a hooker, will lose her job if she goes into work and begins to display herself as a Hooker. It is the employers [sic] right to decide who he employs.”
It’s that time again in Tampa, Fla.
For several years running, some of the most extremist and confrontational street preachers in America have come together in Tampa every February to shout through bullhorns that Muslims, gays and loose women, among many, many others, are damned to burn in hell.
Why February in Tampa? A few reasons. One is the spring semester revving up at the University of South Florida. Another is Gasparilla, the annual pirate-themed extravaganza celebrating Tampa Bay’s pirate legacy, which draws thousands of costumed revelers. The fact that Super Bowl XLIII was played in Tampa on Feb. 1 only heightened this year’s fervor for notorious traveling street preachers like Micah Armstrong, who tells college students that drinking beer, smoking pot, masturbating, and reading a Harry Potter book are just a few of the transgressions that will irretrievably doom them to the lake of fire.
Gays and lesbians? Hellbound, says Armstrong. Moderate Protestants? Hellbound. Women who wear pants or have jobs? You guessed it — hellbound.
“Women have two places: In front of the sink and behind the vacuum,” Armstrong proclaims.
The University of South Florida campus newspaper, The Oracle, warns incoming students about Armstrong and likeminded road-tripping proselytizers who in the past have blocked sidewalks and confronted students by “spitting on their shoes and calling them names like ‘slut,’ ‘whore,’ ‘fag’ and ‘homo’ while preaching.” Two years ago, according to the campus paper, a member of USF’s rugby team broke preacher Micah Armstrong’s sign and allegedly briefly throttled him after the preacher called the athlete’s girlfriend a “loose sorority slut.” ( continue to full post… )
A Louisiana grand jury today indicted a reputed Ku Klux Klan leader for second-degree murder in the killing of a woman at a Klan initiation ceremony gone awry. Raymond Charles “Chuck” Foster, 44, was charged in the Nov. 9 shooting death of Cynthia Lynch, 43, at a remote campsite near the village of Sun.
Foster, of Bogalusa, is alleged to be the imperial wizard of the Sons of Dixie Knights of the Ku Klux Klan. Seven others were arrested with him in November and booked on obstruction of justice charges. The St. Tammany Parish grand jury, however, indicted only Shane Foster, 20, and Franky Lee Stafford, 21, on those charges. Shane Foster is Chuck Foster’s son. Another defendant, Danielle Jones, 24, was charged with accessory after the fact.
The jury returned a no true bill against the remaining four, including Andrew Yates, 20, who is mildly mentally retarded and was collecting Social Security disability checks at the time of his arrest, according to his lawyer. “I really don’t think he knows what the Klan is,” said the attorney, Ernest Barrow III, of Covington. After Lynch was killed, Chuck Foster stole Yates’ boat and his cell phone “so he couldn’t call police,” Barrow said. “I think he [Yates] was in the wrong place at the wrong time.”
Also arrested in November but not indicted were husband and wife Timothy and Alicia Watkins. “She was there with her husband,” said Nancy Yeager, the attorney for Alicia Watkins, 23. “Her part was very passive.” Alicia Watkins did not see the shooting, and Chuck Foster threatened her and others if they called for help, Yeager said. Some of Foster’s Klan materials indicate that Alicia Watkins held the title of imperial kaithropp or kalthropp. Yeager said she didn’t know about that. “I think they were involved with the Klan. I don’t really know what her role was in that.”