This is a must read. I pulled some interesting parts out but the report from the Southern Poverty Law Center is quite inflammatory.
Morris Dees, the founder of the SPLC was once a hero of mine. He brought down the Klan with a very innovative strategy of filing civil law suits against them and bankrupting their organization. Dees won a $ 7 million judgment from the Klan for the family of a lynching victim in Alabama and brought down Tom Metzger’s White Aryan Resistance the same way.
What could be more heroic than that?
But now his firm is coming after patriots. Their characterizations of the movement are inaccurate and provocative. This report comes dangerously close to comparing patriots to domestic terrorist, Timothy McVeigh.
I know no one in the patriot movement who carry the beliefs that are found in this report. And to drop blame on talk radio and television commentators and Rep. Michele Bachmann is typical and unacceptable.
The video below defines the Oath Keepers organization.
Rage on the Right from the Southern Poverty Law Center
“We are in the midst of one of the most significant right-wing populist rebellions in United States history,” Chip Berlet, a veteran analyst of the American radical right, wrote earlier this year. “We see around us a series of overlapping social and political movements populated by people [who are] angry, resentful, and full of anxiety. They are raging against the machinery of the federal bureaucracy and liberal government programs and policies including health care, reform of immigration and labor laws, abortion, and gay marriage.”
As the [right wing] movement has exploded, so has the reach of its ideas, aided and abetted by commentators and politicians in the ostensible mainstream. While in the 1990s, the movement got good reviews from a few lawmakers and talk-radio hosts, some of its central ideas today are being plugged by people with far larger audiences like FOX News’ Glenn Beck and U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn). Beck, for instance, re-popularized a key Patriot conspiracy theory — the charge that FEMA is secretly running concentration camps — before finally “debunking” it.
Last year also experienced levels of cross-pollination between different sectors of the radical right not seen in years. Nativist activists increasingly adopted the ideas of the Patriots; racist rants against Obama and others coursed through the Patriot movement; and conspiracy theories involving the government appeared in all kinds of right-wing venues. A good example is the upcoming Second Amendment March in Washington, D.C. The website promoting the march is topped by a picture of a colonial militiaman, and key supporters include Larry Pratt, a long-time militia enthusiast with connections to white supremacists, and Richard Mack, a conspiracy-mongering former sheriff associated with the Patriot group Oath Keepers
What may be most noteworthy about the march, however, is its date — April 19. That is the date of the first shots fired at Lexington in the Revolutionary War. And it is also the anniversary of the fiery end of the government siege in Waco and the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing.