01/25/2005

Extremist Leads New Arkansas Anti-Immigration Group

Jan. 25, 2005 -- A man who reportedly has been a member of a leading white supremacist group and is associated with other extremists heads a major new anti-immigration group in Arkansas, the Southern Poverty Law Center has learned.

Joe McCutchen, who announced the formation of Protect Arkansas Now on Friday from the steps of the Capitol in Little Rock, was a member of the racist Council of Conservative Citizens (CCC) in 2001, according to the CCC's newspaper. He gave a speech on a panel of that year's CCC conference where he was joined by two well-known white supremacist immigrant-bashers.

[McCutchen in a later interview denied ever having been a member of the CCC. His lawyer, in a June 29 letter to the Southern Poverty Law Center, said McCutchen had "never enrolled knowingly as a member of the CCC" and, in any event, "has now distanced himself from the CCC."]

A year earlier, he had written to the neo-eugenicist American Renaissance hate sheet to ask readers to join the Michigan Immigration PAC, which he helped establish in 1999.

It was not clear if McCutchen is still a member of the CCC, which has described blacks as "a retrograde species of humanity," compared singer Michael Jackson to an ape, and promoted neo-Nazi and Holocaust denial materials.

McCutchen has also written anti-Semitic material of his own. In June 2003, he wrote a letter to the Southwest Times Record of Ft. Smith, Ark., that alleged that "the central government, banking, media (radio/TV) and entertainment are controlled by Jews." Jews also "own the world monetary system," McCutchen declared.

"Arkansans should be appalled," said Mark Potok, director of the Center's Intelligence Project. "The naming of Joe McCutchen to head Protect Arkansas Now shows once again how thoroughly those associated with racists have penetrated the anti-immigration movement and its key organizations."

At the Capitol, McCutchen's post as chairman of Protect Arkansas Now (PAN) was announced by State Sen. Jim Holt (R-Springdale). Holt explained that the new group would lobby to pass a law Holt plans to file this week that would require anyone registering to vote to prove citizenship and anyone applying for state services to prove that they are legal U.S. residents. The bill is closely patterned on Proposition 200, an Arizona initiative that was passed last Election Day.

Ironically, the main group promoting Proposition 200 was Protect Arizona Now, which was widely criticized shortly before last year's vote when its leaders selected Virginia Abernethy as chairman of its national advisory board.

Abernethy was accused of being a white supremacist but told reporters she was merely a white "separatist" who preferred to be "with my own kind." (See the Intelligence Report's Fall 2004 exposé of Abernethy's extensive CCC ties.) Abernethy is a key national leader of the CCC and moderated the CCC panel where McCutchen spoke.

In their announcement, Holt and McCutchen said that their cause was not racist. "People associated with this proposed legislation are not bigots, xenophobes, racists or anti-Semites," McCutchen told the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.

In the May-June 2001 issue its Citizens Informer tabloid, the CCC ran an item that identified McCutchen as a CCC member and ran a photo of an anti-immigrant billboard that McCutchen arranged for in Van Buren, Ark. The same issue included photos of McCutchen with Abernethy and Wayne Lutton, a longtime immigrant-bashing editor for The Social Contract Press, an anti-immigrant hate group. Another speaker at the conference was Jared Taylor, editor of American Renaissance.

When Proposition 200 passed in Arizona over the opposition of most business and political leaders, it sparked rejoicing in the anti-immigration movement despite ongoing legal challenges to its constitutionality. Abernethy and others are creating a national organization, Protect America Now, to help spawn similar efforts in other states. Protect Arkansas Now is the first of these state efforts.