The Hatewatch blog is managed by the staff of the Intelligence Project of the Southern Poverty Law Center, an Alabama-based civil rights organization.

Hate Groups and Nativist Extremists Crashing ‘Tea Parties’

By Larry Keller on April 14, 2009 - 3:49 pm, Posted in Anti-Immigrant, Hate Groups

All across the nation on April 15, protesters of various stripes will stage “tea parties” that are supposed to conjure up images of the American colonists’ iconic 1773 protest of British tax policy. Similarities between the events are few, however. While the colonists were objecting to an increase in the tax they had to pay on tea from England that they said amounted to taxation without representation, the modern-day protesters are taking issue with everything from the federal stimulus package to undocumented workers, as well as a federal income system they believe needs to be overhauled or eliminated.

Demonstrators won’t be doing anything so dramatic as dumping loads of tea in a harbor in Boston Harbor. In Livingston, Tex., for example, marchers are asked to bring a teabag to be dropped in a tub of water. Atlanta organizers are asking for canned food to be donated to a food bank.

There already were national tea party events in more than 40 cities on Feb. 27, and additional protests earlier this month. But April 15, the deadline for filing federal income tax returns, is the main event. One of the tea party organizers says that protests are scheduled in more than 2,000 cities. And April 15 may not be the end of them. A “cowboy tea party,” for example, is scheduled for July 4 in Cheyenne, Wyo.

Well-known conservatives are among those supporting the April 15 protests, including a number of Republican congressmen who are scheduled to speak at various venues. Newt Gingrich and his American Solutions are backing the tea parties, and the former House speaker is supposed to talk at a New York City rally. Rock-‘n-roller and hunting enthusiast Ted Nugent has announced he will join Fox News ideologue Glenn Beck and Texas Gov. Rick Perry outside the Alamo, where Nugent says he will “perform a fire-breathing, passionate rendition of the American National Anthem on my American-made guitar.”  He adds, “It is time to protest a federal government out of control. A corrupt, unaccountable, Constitution-defying gang of bureaucrats running amok, turning on their employers, we the people.”

Not surprisingly, “fair and balanced” Fox News is promoting the tax parties. Beck and other hosts have encouraged viewers to join them at tea parties they are attending and covering. Beck went so far as to urge viewers to “celebrate with Fox News” by either attending a tax protest or watching his network’s coverage. Fox has repeatedly framed the protests as responses to President Obama’s fiscal policies, even though organizers portray them as non-partisan.

Some people and organizations with more than a tax reform agenda are hoping to exploit the tax protesters’ anger and win them over to their causes. At the white supremacist website, Stormfront, for example, people have posted comments urging their fellow racists to attend tea parties and try to recruit new members to their cause.

“Don’t go there [Tea Parties] with flags and uniforms, and don’t try to preach the truth,” advised one Stormfront writer. “Go in civil, meet people with whom we might do things later, and try to get into the organising [sic] circles.” Another writer said in response that white supremacists shouldn’t “fail to push to envelope” but cautioned them to “dress inconspicuously.”

Meanwhile, the Council of Conservative Citizens (CCC) is urging its members to attend tea parties. The CCC is the successor to the White Citizens Councils that opposed desegregation in the South in the 1950s and 1960s. It is a white supremacist group that opposes non-white immigration and affirmative action, while supporting the display of the Confederate battle flag.

The nativist movement also has a presence at the tea parties. William Gheen, the founder of Americans for Legal Immigration PAC, or ALIPAC, E-mailed “allied leaders” urging them to join a coalition of his and other anti-immigration groups in attending tea parties. “The vast majority of attendees to these events are with us on immigration enforcement,” he wrote. Among the other groups that Gheen identified as being in the coalition are the San Diego Minutemen, the hate group Save Our State, and Voice of the People USA.

All this anti-tax fervor has, predictably, spawned merchandise such as “Party Like It’s 1773” T-shirts and “Where’s My Bailout?” coffee mugs. Yet one more way that it differs from the Boston Tea Party.

  • S.Slyfield

    I googled Kol Niedre to hear it today, the Day of Atonement which is comanded in the KING JAMES BIBLE and in all Parallel Bibles. After listening to the one from “Scent of A Woman”, Max Bruch, Bach,Beethoven and Neil Diamond:The Jazz Singer”, my web page involuntarily went to
    It accused the Jewish prayer book of forgiving beforehand some of the most heinous sins and it is a total LIE!! I am Episcopal but I study a lot of faiths and prayer books. It started out saying that “sins of incestuous lewdness” were pre-forgiven and then it got worse. Totally incited violence to Jews. Jesus was a jew. I’m still shaking mad. I hope that you have them on your list of dangerous weirdo groups. Thank you.

  • Hugh Smith

    Wow, I guess I’m a racist now. Didn’t know that protesting against excessive government spending and taxation was racist. I do not appreciate either party causing large deficits. The economy and the extreme spending by the Obama administration has brought this to the forefront.

    The main issue is that on this track our government will go bankrupt and there are only a few options when that happens. The most likely scenario is that the government will print more money causing hyper-inflation. For a future glimpse, one merely needs to look at Greece.

  • infojunkie

    Ruslan Amirkhanov: Where was I when the Iraq war started? I was at an interfaith service in a mosque in Arizona when the bombs started dropping. Later, I went to DC to protest peacefully. I attended a DFA rally near home. I supported an anti-war candidate in the primaries. Then Obama came and continued the horrible Bush policies.

    The Libertarians were out on the street with the Dems before, and we are now conspicious in our support of Cindy Sheehan, because most of her Dem supporters disappeared when Obama was elected. This is how you can tell an original Tea Partier from the interlopers. We–like Ron Paul whose campaign helped inspire the movement–are against wars of empire and wars against our own people, which cost billions (in addition to the violations of rights).

    Becky and JoeBuddha: as a Libertarian, my party was definitely protesting the bank bailouts that Bush started and Obama continued. We are consistent. The first Tea Party I went to had a gigantic tarp with words protesting TARP, which started under Bush. Regulation, though, is another story. You want to think lack of it was the problem…and ignore Barney Frank’s encouragement for Freddie and Fannie’s bad loans and Greenspan’s expansive monetary supply (contrary to his libertarian teachings), you just go ahead.

    Larry B. — Bravo, you hit many good points. Thanks.

    SabrinaR — I had no idea what the 9-12 Project principles were until now. I just looked them up. Um, not quite what the Tea Party started as. Ron Paul didn’t push his religion on others like that. Check out the socially-liberal, fiscally-conservative philosophy of the Campaign for Liberty in my state, please, folks:

    “For all their talk of ‘change,’ neither major political party as presently constituted challenges the status quo in any serious way. Neither treats the Constitution with anything but contempt. Neither offers any kind of change in monetary policy. Neither wants to make the reductions in government that our crushing debt burden demands. Neither talks about bringing American troops home not just from Iraq but from around the world. Our country is going bankrupt, and none of these sensible proposals are even on the table.” —

  • bandit a la mode

    I appreciate whatever part of this movement that is actually grassroots (not the hate groups and lobbyists that are infiltrating it) only because they are great at getting heard and great at civil disobedience – but as is usual with the lowest common denominator that movement is comprised of, they miss the point and the mark entirely. LOOK UP, you guys are mad at the wrong people.

    Instead of hoping to dismantle the government (which is comprised of THE PEOPLE, btw) try putting heat on the banks, the lobbyists, the big pharma, big oil etc. that is trying day and night to continue to rob the treasury. The deficit isn’t there because of food stamps and immigrants people.

  • Mike W

    why is it that when honest tax paying citizens get sick and tired of being taxed to death, of having to subsidise mortgages, car sales, and now health care for people to irresponsible to manage their own life through the government, through political leaders who wish to buy votes and stay in power by promises paid for by honest self reliant and responsible tax payers that some prominant groups who agree with that type of agenda come out and try to slander, demean and degrade effoorts by honest people to get their government to listen to them when they say ENOUGH. The government of the United States was meant to represent its people not rule over them like they are trying to do now.

  • Larry B.

    Was it massive spending on WWll or massive PRODUCTION that ended the Great Depression? Recessions are ended by production–not spending. Before the government can spend money, it first has to take that money from someone else, either from a current taxpayer or a future taxpayer.
    GW has never been liked by financial conservatives. Most republicans are disliked by financial conservatives but are seen as the lesser of the two evils.
    The Tea Parties are about financial accountability, individual liberty, limited government, and the free enterprise system.
    I have been a member of SPLC since 1993 and I have issues with them on some things. However I would like to thank them for bringing attention to the hate groups and nativist extremists attempting to crash the tea parties. These groups are not welcomed with the people I hang out with.

  • JoeBuddha

    Larry B, is it your professional opinion that the reasons for the recessions you cited are similar to what we’re facing here? Or that the remedies used are similar? What I’ve been reading from actual economists begs to differ. There’s even talk that it was the WPA’s getting actual wages into the hands of actual people, as well as massive spending on WWII, that ended the Great Depression.

    One other thing: I didn’t notice any actual demonstrations or real dissent on the Right when GW was running things. It was always the same old “love it or leave it” and “why do Liberals hate America” and “Elections Have Consequences” and so on and so on that we on the Left have endured for the last eight years. Forgive me if the so-called “Tea Parties” don’t hit me as so much sore loserisms. You had eight years and almost destroyed my country. Give us a couple of years at least to attempt to undo the damage.

  • Michael Ginsburg

    Amazing, disagree with a liberal and all this hate and name calling comes forth. Unfortunately, there were a few conservatives on this blog who prescribe to that recipe of “hate”. Whatever happened to some adult conversation without making it personal AND where the hell did all this “class envy” come from. Come to America and become a millionaire only to find people in this blog accusing you of getting rich off of the backs of the working poor. Shame on you.

    For those who deny some basic history: in Germany, class envy was rampant and was driven by the National Socialists, otherwise nicknamed “NAZI’S”, another name for a German SOCIALIST. Be careful with this class envy, history has been known to repeat itself.

    A racist is always the first person to see racism. Before you condemn anyone for their “passion” such as a tea party, go to one and find out. I did and saw and met a variety of regular people with a variety of reasons of why they were there. The one sign that made me think was, “God said to love thy neighbor but said nothing about paying for his mortgage”.

  • SabrinaR

    I attended the “TEA party” in San Antonio, TX – it was fantastic —- issues were raised regarding both parties (Dems and Repb) and I am very concerned as to the road this nation is now headed. There have been mistakes made by both parties, but I now feel that our Constitution is under attack and there are those who are trying to distroy it —- I refuse to sit back and just watch that happen. The TEA party represented the 9-12 Project – read the Mission Statement and the 9 Principles and 12 Values – I do believe I am now a 9/12 Concervative and will join with others who love this country and what she stands for . There will be other “TEA parties” coming soon!!!

  • Larry B.

    JoeBuddha–Most financial conservatives are unhappy the the Repubican party. Most of them run on a financial conservative platform, then get in office and spend like drunken sailors.
    Spending the country out of financial trouble doesn’t work. Japan tried it in the 90’s. FDR tried it in the 30’s and while other countries had a depression–the USA had a GREAT depression. Big Brother “doing something” many times is worse than doing nothing, especially when Big Brother plays favorites.

  • Steven Terrell

    James Mason, it isn’t conservatives that play the race card. “Progressives” play the race card. If you don’t support Obama, out comes the race card. If you don’t support illegal immigration out comes the race card. If you don’t support higher taxes out comes the race card. Etc, etc, etc! Only the so called “progressives” use the race card. Only idiots in the “progressive” media would use a statement that includes a homosexual sex act to describe the Tea Parties.

    Only the “progressives” would steal 2 elections in “progressively” controlled states by denying the military votes to be counted.

    You’ve beaten us and we’re on the run?? I think King George probably thought the same and was he ever wrong! Only someone who has forgotten what it is to be an American would make the statements you have. We aren’t running we’re bringing the fight to you. The difference is we’ll do it peacefully and without using the race-baiting game.

  • John Mason

    Reply to snaggle tooth: You’re on the run! We beat you and we’ll keep on beating you!

  • John Mason

    The Republicans are reaping what they sowed. They thought playing the race card constantly, playing on racially motivated fears and fears of external enemies, would keep them in power forever. Now they have to be identified with these racist nutjobs.

  • Snaggle-Tooth Jones

    Yet another occasion to laugh at the SPLC’s boring inanity. You guys are more predictable than the sunrise.

    Good luck dealing with the Giant when it finally and fully awakes, libby-lefties.

  • Jonathan

    Dear uncle sammy,

    “makes me laugh at the american patriot’s destruction of english as a language.”

    If you intended “american patriot’s” to be plural possessive, you should have put the apostrophe after the ‘s': american patriots’.

  • JoeBuddha

    Is that ON TOP of the debt the last administration accrued? Including the first TARP and the unilateral bailouts, not to mention the two wars and cutting taxes on folk who can pay, and converting a budget surplus to record debts. If we somehow manage to navigate to a prosperous country again, maybe she’ll be able to cover the debt with no problem. If we do nothing, however, she may have her OWN horror stories about the Great Depression of 2009…

  • Larry B.

    I have a 7 year old daughter. Due to the people in Washinton DC, she recently had an additional $68,000 of debt added to her aready hugh debt given to her by previous politicians. I don’t feel that is fair to her. If this isn’t “financial child abuse”— what is.
    Signed: Her daddy
    Larry B.

  • uncle sammy

    ha ha ha ‘financial child abuse’
    gotta love their use of words and phrases. makes me laugh at the american patriot’s destruction of english as a language. XD

  • preussens

    im not sure how opposing endless hordes of spanish speaking poor mexicans equates to hating latinos… if white french speaking poor quebecers were swarming across by the millions, at the same time millions of americans have lost their jobs and need work, I WOULD NOT WANT THEM EITHER! i would want to build a fence and militarize the damn border.

    how is this in any way evil, racist, bigoted, sociopathic, hateful, bizarre, extremist, nativist, supremacist, intolerant, etc. etc. etc.???? SPLC seems to simply throw around these words at anything and everything that doesnt align with their agenda, to the point that they have zero credibility with most people.

    it really makes no sense even from their perspective, if SPLC was actually somewhat fair with how the phrase/word things, they would still get their point across, and would reach a larger amount of people instead of completely alienating half the country by going into attack rants

  • Larry B.

    I have attended a Tea Party and I will attend more. One thing that I have noticed is that the Libertarians are a large percentage of the Tea Parties. (Libertarians are finiancially conservative and socially liberal) However the bias left wing media smears the Tea Parties by focusing on the right wing radical nut cases.
    People need to realize that the USA is suppose to be a country of equal OPPORTUNITY not equal outcome. Just because one person (or group) has more natural talent or works harder, Big Brother doesn’t have the right to come in and spread the wealth around. Stealing is not moral even if it legal for the government to do so. Government can NOT create wealth. Before the government can give, it first has to TAKE for someone else. (either from a current taxpayer or a future taxpayer). What Uncle Sam is doing is FINIANCIAL CHILD ABUSE.
    Libertarians want to “live and let live”. Big Brother needs to get the h__ out of our private social lives and to get the h__ out of our wallets and our kids wallets/purses. I wish the radical left wing nut cases would stop smearing the Tea Parties.

  • Jonathan

    It’s good to see patriotic Americans protesting against relentless government lust for wealth and power.

  • Sartana

    Ah, didn’t you lefties notice the kind of scum infiltrating your own anti-war rallies, and the hate speech your comrades spouted? How many in your mobs were recruited by the American Communist Party, or any number anarchist groups that joined your uncivil anti-American protests?

    Campus liberals nationwide have been disrupting speeches by conservatives, destroying property and fighting with the police.

    You lefties have some nerve attacking tea parties that were peaceful and purposeful. If you want this idiotic stimulus package, then YOU pay for it. I’d rather keep my money and stimulate my own personal economic situation.

  • Becky

    Where was all these “teabaggers” outrage when the last administration went on a massive spending spree? Blaming the current President for the mistakes of the previous administrations(and all of congress) is incredibly ignorant. BOTH parties stuck as many “pork” projects into various bills over the years, adding to the out of control spending. And let’s not forget the wonderful idea of deregulation! Less regulation means…let big business do whatever they want, without any rules in place to make sure they are doing the right thing. It all come around in the end.

  • kate

    I saw a small band of protesters in my city yesterday. Anyone who doesn’t see or hear the link between the extreme right wing and racist hate groups isn’t listening or is willfully deaf and dumb.

    Any thinking person, including myself was laughing at these idiots and at the same time, feeling horrible that our country seems to be devolving into a sea of ignorance and hatred hand fed by the powerful.

    Rupert Murdoch and the rest of the media conglomerate, the bankers who still enjoy the privilege of immediate white house access, energy companies and many other major conglomerates and their heads seem to have finally mastered the art of Fascism Under Cover.

    The powerful and the elite find Obama’s policies extremely threatening and they are doing all they can to attempt to scare Obama and alienate him nationally. So far it isn’t working, but they’ve got plenty of time and money to keep working at it. Also, as long as education and opportunity are kept as low as possible among the masses, the fodder to run democracy to the ground is never ending.

  • Marisa

    The very fact that Glenn Beck had anything to do with these “tea party” protests showed how little credibility these protesters cared about having.

  • Steven Terrell

    Ya know what? If the SPLC, the corrupt Obama administration, and the Liberal MSM want to label me a right-wing extremist, I’ll wear it proudly! I’m in good company! Every one of our founding Fathers would wear the same label by your standards! I’m proud that my values are the same as those great men. I’ll never bow down to the socialist/facist Obama government or to a hate filled mouth piece of that government like SPLC!

  • Deapp

    Don’t forget, Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour is a well known supporter of the CCC Council of Conservative Citizens.

  • Chrisee

    One thing I do know is that poor (lower)white,black,latino,asians,nativeamericans are all in the same boat,even if they don’t believe it,so it is the same for the middle class,what do they say,wars are started by the rich and(or) powerful but,fought by the poor, with a few exceptions,and if you’re educated(degree) you can go in as an officer and still may be killed,the upper-middle class has their problems too,but the rich or extremely wealthy,not all but a few could really give a damn about anyone but their own families,class plays into this a whole lot,and one thing about this,you can bet the Real Players in this country,who have Real Power,Position and Money were laughing their a—– off at all of us yesterday,calling us all fools, do you really think that they wanted to be among those ranks,in the bull or pig pens,they are going to let us fight it out, along with these trashy right wing,radical,racist ,extremist,groups who love to play on the emotions of these so-called patriots who believe no one loves America more then they do and everyone else wants to destroy it,in the mean time they are laughing all the way to the bank,because they know that this is truly a New World Order now,these countries almost certainly now do depend and will depend on each other for almost everything and that is a fact that will not change ever in life,so they better get use to it and if you don’t oh well too bad,No longer will the rest of the world just eke out a living where you are just throwing away money on BS and most of us at least in America are certainly guilty of it,even if we don’t want to own up to it, all of a sudden we want to accuse,everyone else in the country,neighbors,friends,co-workers,other family members,or pure strangers,of being careless and reckless with money,but we have been the true savers,never doing anything out of the ordinary,not throwing away one dollar on anything,a real saint,all I can say is this,when they say,don’t drink the kool-aide,well don’t drink that tea either,you will find it very bitter,and you will definitely have to keep adding that sugar,Wake up Everybody

  • Mark

    They are called Patriots not supremists

  • Rick Page

    Just to hear Texas Governor Rick Perry come-out and support Texas Independence/succession, should tell you all you need to know about not only the extreme/racist right, but also how the GOP establishment coddle extremism. Code words sometimes are not enough for these people.

  • JoeBuddha

    It was quite interesting to see people taking to the streets to protest the government cutting their taxes…

  • Ruslan Amirkhanov

    A good question is WHERE THE HELL WERE YOU PEOPLE when Bush was planning to invade Iraq? You think that was just some spare change from the national budget? Super-rich individuals made out like bandits due to that war, and it was your money, but I didn’t see the conservatives in the street then. Only now do they get pissed off about taxes- perhaps if it weren’t for all the tax cuts for the nation’s extremely wealthy, the tax burden for the middle and working class wouldn’t be so high- did you ever consider that?

  • Charlie

    You are ignorant fools! Why would you protect illegal BEANERS?? You are fools! BEANERS need to stay in MEXICO and leave AMERICA alone! Beaners with Beaners in Mexico! Bye Beaners

  • Sheri

    Amazing. I guess if people get scared enough they begin to behave irrationally. Good analysis.

  • Melvin John

    Why does this website have a running list of all the people that have been killed by “white supremacists” without mentioning one word about all the people that have been murdered by blacks and hispanics?

  • Carter

    AT THIS TIME IN HISTORY, Republicans are allied with wealthier Americans (& big business) & Democrats are fronting for the “little guy” (while taking any money they can from big business). Push this back to the mid to late nineteenth century & you’d see a reversal.
    It’s whatever sells politically!
    BOTH parties are shams & the sooner Americans wake up & realize that political gamesmanship is about constructing a “character” of their party, the wiser they’d be in selecting a representative.
    We need to vote for the man or woman, NOT the party. Or we WILL be taken & manipulated every time.
    A classic example was BOTH Clinton & Bush pushed & voted for NAFTA which cost Americans nearly a million jobs, made the rich richer, & made the USA a limited manufacturing nation. The idea was sold to us wrapped up in whatever political clothing we wanted to see.
    One of the biggest turn-offs to the political process for many thinking young people & adults is that no matter the party; the results can be almost guaranteed IF enough money & pressure can be exerted toward the end result. The political party system & posturing/advertising is what blurs the issues.
    If the tax situation is ugly for the working poor; let’s see what the results are if our voices are heard: regardless of party affiliation.
    IF this president accomplishes something positive I will not vote democrat for the rest of my life; but I will look to see what is said & acted upon. IF this congress does something for the working poor, I will look to see WHO is voting for what bill. I will never be taken in by marketing, just as I don’t buy my cloths by fashion or my food by what is a new “wonderful diet”.
    However, if you expect people allied with pathological belief systems NOT to take advantage of ANY opportunity to recruit, then you don’t understand marketing, advertising, & evangelism. The fact that WN are at some event where people are dissatisfied will be de facto reality so long as we remember history.

  • daemonesslisa

    Considering the people that have promoted this crap, I need to ask a couple of questions:

    First, how could you ‘not see’ the kind of people that would show up?

    Second, do you honestly believe that these multi-millionaire “news” jerks really care about poor people?

  • s

    Dear Kevin C. Moore:

    Granted, you’re right…there are issues of civil liberties and freedom of speech granted to all who desire a civil protest. However, you’re wrong if you understand the Republican Party has NEVER been about the poor or the second class citizens, those without rights, etc. They are about the wealthy and powerful. These “tea bagging” parties have to do with the rich and the powerful who do not want to be taxed and their monies used in socially responsible ways. They want you one board to help support old ideologies that have failed.

    These people might throw you bread crumbs, but they are not giving you tax breaks…rather, they are getting you guys all riled up to support their cause, their tax breaks for dividends, etc. So they have more money…they don’t care what happens to the average citizen…they’re not about making things more “equal” for anyone…you will be stuck with the tab of more taxes, all you have to do is look back in history..The Reagan Bush era was a great example and so were the policies of President Bush. Didn’t you have enought already?! The GOP plan seeks to increase the tax burden on the middle class/poor, give tax breaks to the wealthy and you will still see an very large deficit…The reason we have such a large deficit now is that the Republicans spent billions on a war in Iraq and also allowed other countries to import their items into our nation free of tax/duties but allowed other nations to charge us taxes and duties…That did not help our deficit, it caused it to grow and you have to pay for that some how…

    Bush and the Republicans aren’t factually driven by informatin, they were and are ideolotically driven and that’s what’s gotten us into this problem…Don’t believe a thing they’re telling you, they just want your support for their own cause, not yours…End of story. But in the end, Freedom of Speech…but also, freedom to be an idiot and go along with serving someon else’s interests! Not your own.

  • Kevin C. Moore

    Despite the fact that some undesirables are attempting to exploit the feeble-minded, the tea party protests are a legitimate expression of outrage towards a government that takes from the poor, and the grandchildren of the poor, and gives to the rich.

    I doubt that the Freedom Movement will prove to be fertile recruitment ground for the hate-mongers.

    The Movement does include a few sober folks who recognize that the oppressive policies of the previous eight years continue unabated.

  • William Gheen

    I’m glad the SPLC has come out attacking the Tax Day Tea Party events because you liars don’t really comprehend the scale of what is going to happen on April 15 and what it means for the future of America. Save Our State is not a hate group, about half of their supporters are black and Hispanic. One good thing about ALIPAC, we don’t have to lie incessantly like the SPLC or draw false associations between mainstream political issues and groups and Nazis.

  • The Exaggerator

    Methinks it was time to “teabag the teabaggers”, as it were, for once and see how they feel about it….