Archive for the ‘Mark Potok’ Category

Rage on the Right | Southern Poverty Law Center

The radical right caught fire last year, as broad-based populist anger at political, demographic and economic changes in America ignited an explosion of new extremist groups and activism across the nation.

Hate groups stayed at record levels almost 1,000 despite the total collapse of the second largest neo-Nazi group in America. Furious anti-immigrant vigilante groups soared by nearly 80%, adding some 136 new groups during 2009. And, most remarkably of all, so-called “Patriot” groups militias and other organizations that see the federal government as part of a plot to impose one-world government on liberty-loving Americans came roaring back after years out of the limelight.

The anger seething across the American political landscape over racial changes in the population, soaring public debt and the terrible economy, the bailouts of bankers and other elites, and an array of initiatives by the relatively liberal Obama Administration that are seen as “socialist” or even “fascist” goes beyond the radical right. The “tea parties” and similar groups that have sprung up in recent months cannot fairly be considered extremist groups, but they are shot through with rich veins of radical ideas, conspiracy theories and racism.

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.”

Sixty-one percent of Americans believe the country is in decline, according to a recent NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll. Just a quarter think the government can be trusted. And the anti-tax tea party movement is viewed in much more positive terms than either the Democratic or Republican parties, the poll found.

The signs of growing radicalization are everywhere. Armed men have come to Obama speeches bearing signs suggesting that the “tree of liberty” needs to be “watered” with “the blood of tyrants.” The Conservative Political Action Conference held this February was co-sponsored by groups like the John Birch Society, which believes President Eisenhower was a Communist agent, and Oath Keepers, a Patriot outfit formed last year that suggests, in thinly veiled language, that the government has secret plans to declare martial law and intern patriotic Americans in concentration camps. Politicians pandering to the antigovernment right in 37 states have introduced “Tenth Amendment Resolutions,” based on the constitutional provision keeping all powers not explicitly given to the federal government with the states. And, at the “A Well Regulated Militia” website, a recent discussion of how to build “clandestine safe houses” to stay clear of the federal government included a conversation about how mass murderers like Timothy McVeigh and Olympics bomber Eric Rudolph were supposedly betrayed at such houses.

Doing the Numbers The number of hate groups in America has been going up for years, rising 54% between 2000 and 2008 and driven largely by an angry backlash against non-white immigration and, starting in the last year of that period, the economic meltdown and the climb to power of an African American president.

According to the latest annual count by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), these groups rose again slightly in 2009 from 926 in 2008 to 932 last year despite the demise of a key neo-Nazi group. The American National Socialist Workers Party, which had 35 chapters in 28 states, imploded shortly after the October 2008 arrest of founder Bill White for making threats against his enemies.

At the same time, the number of what the SPLC designates as “nativist extremist” groups organizations that go beyond mere advocacy of restrictive immigration policy to actually confront or harass suspected immigrants jumped from 173 groups in 2008 to 309 last year. Virtually all of these vigilante groups have appeared since the spring of 2005.

But the most dramatic story by far has been with the antigovernment Patriots.

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Rage on the Right | Southern Poverty Law Center

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Mark Potok – Bio, News, Photos – Washington Times

White House gun control leads to soaring ‘patriot’ group memberships

The more the White House cracks down on Second Amendment freedoms, the more Americans are banding together and joining limited government or even anti-government organizations known as “patriot” groups.

When a man shot and wounded security guard Leo Johnson at the Family Research Council (FRC) on Wednesday morning, the shooter left little doubt why.

The president of a conservative Christian-based family organization said Thursday that the blame for the shooting of a colleague was shared between the man with the gun and groups that practice “reckless use of terminology.”

Wade Michael Page played in white supremacist heavy metal bands and posted frequent comments on Internet forums for skinheads, repeatedly exhorting members to act more decisively to support their cause.

Before he strode into a Sikh temple with a 9mm handgun and multiple magazines of ammunition, Wade Michael Page played in white supremacist heavy metal bands with names such as Definite Hate and End Apathy.

To the modern Democratic National Committee, the mainstream media and other “progressive” outfits such as the American Civil Liberties Union and the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), the words “patriot” and “patriotism” have become synonymous with “right-wing extremism.”

From New Jersey to California, police, courthouse officials and real estate agents are being confronted with a baffling new problem: bogus legal documents filed by people claiming to follow an obscure religion called Moorish Science. Their motives range from financial gain to simply causing a nuisance.

Prior to November’s secular-socialism rollback, America’s ever-shrill “progressive” machine contorted in a desperate effort to paint the Tea Party movement as a horde of hateful, inbred racists. Judging by the results, it was an epic failure.

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Mark Potok – Bio, News, Photos – Washington Times

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Mark Potok | NewsBusters – NewsBusters | Exposing Liberal …

Rick Sanchez, who was fired from his Rick’s List program on CNN on Friday, certainly racked up a record of liberal bias, specifically bias against conservatives, during his tenure at the network. Sanchez also revealed a propensity for making on-air gaffes which made him a targets of comedians like Jon Stewart. It was the former anchor’s animosity toward Stewart which directly led to his firing.

Here’s the “best of Sanchez” list compiled from the Media Research Center’s archives, updated from a July 22, 2010 item on NewsBusters:

Targeting Fox News and Conservative Talk Radio

In late 2008, the CNN anchor gained the 3 pm Eastern time slot of CNN’s Newsroom, which would evolve into his Rick’s List program. He consistently targeted conservative media outlets from that time until his firing.

ED HENRY: “Fox, Bloomberg, and National Public Radio were vying for it- all made strong cases. In the end, Fox [was] unanimously moved up to the front row, but did not get the seat Helen Thomas was in. We voted unanimously to move the Associated Press over to where Helen Thomas was because what a lot of people were missing in this whole fight was that”- BROOKE BALDWIN: “And it is a fight”- HENRY: “Yeah”- BALDWIN: “Which is fascinating, for those of us who don’t understand the inner workings of the”- HENRY: “Sure, and then we can walk through the whole”- SANCHEZ: “Well, I understand the Associated Press. I even understand Bloomberg, but don’t have you to be a news organization to get that seat?” HENRY: “Oh! Are you saying Fox is not a news organization?” SANCHEZ: “Yeah. I’m just wondering.” -Exchange with CNN correspondents Ed Henry, a member of the board of the White House Correspondents Association, and Brooke Baldwin, August 2, 2010 [see video above]. Almost a year earlier, Sanchez hinted Fox News wasn’t a “real news organization.”

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FOCUS: Right-Wing Hate Groups Exploding in Size and Reach

Excerpt: “The radical right grew explosively in 2011, the third such dramatic expansion in as many years. The growth was fueled by superheated fears generated by economic dislocation, a proliferation of demonizing conspiracy theories, the changing racial makeup of America, and the prospect of four more years under a black president who many on the far right view as an enemy to their country.”

Hate groups of all kinds are climbing in numbers, but the swelling of the Patriot movement since late 2008 has been astounding. (photo: ameriblog)

By Mark Potok, Alternet

24 March 12

he radical right grew explosively in 2011, the third such dramatic expansion in as many years. The growth was fueled by superheated fears generated by economic dislocation, a proliferation of demonizing conspiracy theories, the changing racial makeup of America, and the prospect of four more years under a black president who many on the far right view as an enemy to their country.

The number of hate groups counted by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) last year reached a total of 1,018, up slightly from the year before but continuing a trend of significant growth that is now more than a decade old. The truly stunning growth came in the antigovernment “Patriot” movement – conspiracy-minded groups that see the federal government as their primary enemy.

The Patriot movement first emerged in 1994, a response to what was seen as violent government repression of dissident groups at Ruby Ridge, Idaho, in 1992 and near Waco, Texas, in 1993, along with anger at gun control and the Democratic Clinton Administration in general. It peaked in 1996, a year after the Oklahoma City bombing, with 858 groups, then began to fade. By the turn of the millennium, the Patriot movement was reduced to fewer than 150 relatively inactive groups.

But the movement came roaring back beginning in late 2008, just as the economy went south with the subprime collapse and, more importantly, as Barack Obama appeared on the political scene as the Democratic nominee and, ultimately, the president-elect. Even as most of the nation cheered the election of the first black president that November, an angry backlash developed that included several plots to murder Obama. Many Americans, infused with populist fury over bank and auto bailouts and a feeling that they had lost their country, joined Patriot groups.

The swelling of the Patriot movement since that time has been astounding. From 149 groups in 2008, the number of Patriot organizations skyrocketed to 512 in 2009, shot up again in 2010 to 824, and then, last year, jumped to 1,274. That works out to a staggering 755% growth in the three years ending last Dec. 31. Last year’s total was more than 400 groups higher than the prior all-time high, in 1996.

Meanwhile, the SPLC counted 1,018 hate groups operating in the United States last year, up from 1,002 in 2010. That was the latest in a string of annual increases going all the way back to 2000, when there were 602 hate groups. The long-running rise seemed for most of that time to be a product of hate groups’ very successful exploitation of the issue of non-white immigration. Obama’s election and the crashing economy have played a key role in the last three years.

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FOCUS: Right-Wing Hate Groups Exploding in Size and Reach

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The ‘Patriot’ Movement Explodes | Southern Poverty Law Center

The radical right grew explosively in 2011, the third such dramatic expansion in as many years. The growth was fueled by superheated fears generated by economic dislocation, a proliferation of demonizing conspiracy theories, the changing racial makeup of America, and the prospect of four more years under a black president who many on the far right view as an enemy to their country.

The number of hate groups counted by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) last year reached a total of 1,018, up slightly from the year before but continuing a trend of significant growth that is now more than a decade old. The truly stunning growth came in the antigovernment Patriot movement conspiracy-minded groups that see the federal government as their primary enemy.

The Patriot movement first emerged in 1994, a response to what was seen as violent government repression of dissident groups at Ruby Ridge, Idaho, in 1992 and near Waco, Texas, in 1993, along with anger at gun control and the Democratic Clinton Administration in general. It peaked in 1996, a year after the Oklahoma City bombing, with 858 groups, then began to fade. By the turn of the millennium, the Patriot movement was reduced to fewer than 150 relatively inactive groups.

But the movement came roaring back beginning in late 2008, just as the economy went south with the subprime collapse and, more importantly, as Barack Obama appeared on the political scene as the Democratic nominee and, ultimately, the president-elect. Even as most of the nation cheered the election of the first black president that November, an angry backlash developed that included several plots to murder Obama. Many Americans, infused with populist fury over bank and auto bailouts and a feeling that they had lost their country, joined Patriot groups.

The swelling of the Patriot movement since that time has been astounding. From 149 groups in 2008, the number of Patriot organizations skyrocketed to 512 in 2009, shot up again in 2010 to 824, and then, last year, jumped to 1,274. That works out to a staggering 755% growth in the three years ending last Dec. 31. Last years total was more than 400 groups higher than the prior all-time high, in 1996.

Meanwhile, the SPLC counted 1,018 hate groups operating in the United States last year, up from 1,002 in 2010. That was the latest in a string of annual increases going all the way back to 2000, when there were 602 hate groups. The long-running rise seemed for most of that time to be a product of hate groups very successful exploitation of the issue of non-white immigration. Obamas election and the crashing economy have played a key role in the last three years.

At the same time, a third strand of the radical right what the SPLC designates as nativist extremist groups, meaning organizations that go beyond normal political activism to harass individuals they suspect of being undocumented immigrants shrank radically. After five years of sustained growth, these vigilante groups plummeted last year to 184 from 319 in 2010, a one-year drop of 42%. The decrease appears to be a product of bad press, internecine quarrels, and the co-optation of the immigration issue by state legislatures around the country passing draconian nativist laws like Alabamas H.B. 56.

Its hard to know how all this will play out, given the unsettled nature of the presidential campaign and, in particular, the GOP primaries. The animus toward Obama and the government may be as much rooted in economic as racial anger.

In May 2011, a scholarly study published in Perspectives on Psychological Science found that white Americans believe that progress in race relations since the 1950s has come at their expense, with bias against whites more of a social problem in the last decade than bias against blacks. (This comes against the backdrop of the Census Bureaus prediction that non-Hispanic whites will lose their majority, falling to under 50% of the population, by 2050.) But a Pew Research Center study this January suggested that income inequality may be even more important. The survey found that some two-thirds of Americans believe that there are strong conflicts between rich and poor, about a 50% increase since a 2009 survey. That sensibility also was apparent in both the Tea Parties and the Occupy Wall Street movement.

And so it is with many extremist groups.

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The ‘Patriot’ Movement Explodes | Southern Poverty Law Center

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AN OPEN LETTER TO MARK POTOK, SPOKESMAN FOR THE SPLC (From Dr …

Dear Mr. Potok,

Because your organization has not responded to my previous attempts to interact and because the SPLC is coming under increasing public scrutiny, I am writing this open letter with the hope that you will respond. You should be familiar with my name, since I am on your list of 30 New Activists Heading Up the Radical Right and since I was profiled in the Spring 2012 Intelligence Report (more on that shortly).

My desire in writing to you is not to be contentious, nor is it to embarrass you. Rather, it is to pursue peace, to expose falsehood, to confront hateful misinformation, and to call on you and the SPLC to do what is right.

To be sure, I am hardly the only one questioning the credibility of the SPLC today. You have, no doubt, read the editorial in the Washington Post by columnist Dana Millbank, who stated, I disagree with the Family Research Councils views on gays and lesbians. But its absurd to put the group, as the law center does, in the same category as Aryan Nations, Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, Stormfront and the Westboro Baptist Church. And Millbank is just one of an increasing number of Americans from diverse backgrounds who are pointing out the absurdity of your recent hate group listings.

Do you realize, Mr. Potok, that by placing mainstream, conservative Christian ministries like the American Family Association and the FRC side by side with legitimate hate groups that you call your whole work into question? Do you realize that millions of Americans, hearing about the SPLC for the first time in the wake of the FRC shooting, will now question the veracity of all your listings, thereby empowering genuine, dangerous hate groups?

You placed my name, along with that of a number of other conservative Christian leaders, on your list of 30 New Activists Heading Up the Radical Right. This list included men like Malik Zulu Shabazz, leader of the New Black Panther Party. One of their recent radio shows featured this audio clip: We give them [i.e., whites] 24 hours in South Africa to get out of town by sundown. I say, if they dont get out of town, we kill the men, we kill the women, we kill the children, we kill the babies, we kill the blind, we kill the cripple, we kill the crazy, we kill the fa**ots, we kill the lesbians, I say god da**it we kill them all.

Contrast those words with my statement in May 2006, addressing the gay and lesbian community of Charlotte: We recognize that we have sometimes failed to reach out to you with grace and compassion, that we have often been insensitive to your struggles, that we have driven some of you away rather than drawn you in, that we have added to your sense of rejection. For these failings of ours, we ask you to forgive us. By Gods grace, we intend to be models of His love.

We understand, of course, that in your eyes, our biblical convictions constitute hate, and it is hurtful to us that you feel that way. The fact is that we really do love you more than you realize or understand and because we love you, we will continue to speak the truth, convinced that it is the truth that sets us free. Love does what is right, even when it is scorned and mocked and ridiculed.

Does this constitute hate in your book? Is this comparable to the language of the KKK? Neo-Nazis? New Black Panther Party? Yet it is in this spirit that we have carried out our work for the last 8 years, all to find a place on one of your lists.

The SPLC actually acknowledge in the 30 New Activists article that, Unlike many other voices on the religious right, Brown generally has avoided the kind of slashing rhetoric that often devolves into rank defamation. His work is heavily footnoted and avoids the blanket pronouncements that have gotten others in trouble. Yet I am listed side by side with Shabbaz, whom the SPLC cites as saying, Kill every god**mn Zionist in Israel! God**mn little babies, god**mn old ladies! Blow up Zionist supermarkets! Surely listing me (and other Christian leaders) alongside of him discredits the SPLC, not me (and the other Christian leaders).

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AN OPEN LETTER TO MARK POTOK, SPOKESMAN FOR THE SPLC (From Dr …

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Voices on Antisemitism Interview with Mark Potok

Voices on Antisemitism features a broad range of perspectives about antisemitism and hatred today. Subscribe to Voices on Antisemitism on iTunes or by RSS feed, listen to individual programs online, or use Voices on Antisemitism in your class. The opinions expressed in these interviews do not necessarily represent those of the Museum.

The series is made possible by generous support from the Elizabeth and Oliver Stanton Foundation.

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October 3, 2013

Turkish scholar Pinar Dost-Niyego faces some hurdles when teaching the Holocaust in Istanbulincluding Turkey’s own history of antisemitism and anti-minority laws. But Dost-Niyego sees change in her students as they begin to connect with the personal stories of Holocaust victims.

September 5, 2013

Diana Dumitru found an incredible example of how antisemitism can be dismantled: two territories in Eastern Europe, separated only by a river, shared a legacy of pogroms and violence against Jews. But after WWI, one territory continued a policy of state-sponsored antisemitism, while the other began a policy of integration and acceptance.

August 1, 2013

Shankar Vedantam has spent a lot of time thinking about the links between science and human behavior. His recent book, The Hidden Brain, challenges us to consider the unconscious biases we may carry, and the ways they steer our behavior.

July 8, 2013

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The Year in Hate & Extremism, 2010 | Southern Poverty Law Center

Editor’s note: Since the article below was published, authorities have changed their view of an incident in Dearborn, Mich., that is mentioned. Initially, it was believed that the Michigan suspect was planning an attack based on hatred of Muslims. In fact, it turns out that Roger Stockham is an American convert to Sunni Islam, and reportedly was angry at the mosque in question because it was Shi’ite.

For the second year in a row, the radical right in America expanded explosively in 2010, driven by resentment over the changing racial demographics of the country, frustration over the governments handling of the economy, and the mainstreaming of conspiracy theories and other demonizing propaganda aimed at various minorities. For many on the radical right, anger is focusing on President Obama, who is seen as embodying everything thats wrong with the country.

Hate groups topped 1,000 for the first time since the Southern Poverty Law Center began counting such groups in the 1980s. Anti-immigrant vigilante groups, despite having some of the political wind taken out of their sails by the adoption of hard-line anti-immigration laws around the country, continued to rise slowly. But by far the most dramatic growth came in the antigovernment Patriot movement conspiracy-minded organizations that see the federal government as their primary enemy which gained more than 300 new groups, a jump of over 60%.

Taken together, these three strands of the radical right the hatemongers, the nativists and the antigovernment zealots increased from 1,753 groups in 2009 to 2,145 in 2010, a 22% rise. That followed a 2008-2009 increase of 40%.

What may be most remarkable is that this growth of right-wing extremism came even as politicians around the country, blown by gusts from the Tea Parties and other conservative formations, tacked hard to the right, co-opting many of the issues important to extremists. Last April, for instance, Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer signed S.B. 1070, the harshest anti-immigrant law in memory, setting off a tsunami of proposals for similar laws across the country. Continuing growth of the radical right could be curtailed as a result of this shift, especially since Republicans, many of them highly conservative, recaptured the U.S. House last fall.

But despite those historic Republican gains, the early signs suggest that even as the more mainstream political right strengthens, the radical right has remained highly energized. In an 11-day period this January, a neo-Nazi was arrested headed for the Arizona border with a dozen homemade grenades; a terrorist bomb attack on a Martin Luther King Jr. Day parade in Spokane, Wash., was averted after police dismantled a sophisticated anti-personnel weapon; and a man who officials said had a long history of antigovernment activities was arrested outside a packed mosque in Dearborn, Mich., and charged with possessing explosives with unlawful intent. Thats in addition, the same month, to the shooting of U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords in Arizona, an attack that left six dead and may have had a political dimension.

Its also clear that other kinds of radical activity are on the rise. Since the murder last May 20 of two West Memphis, Ark., police officers by two members of the so-called sovereign citizens movement, police from around the country have contacted the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) to report what one detective in Kentucky described as a dramatic increase in sovereign activity. Sovereign citizens, who, like militias, are part of the larger Patriot movement, believe that the federal government has no right to tax or regulate them and, as a result, often come into conflict with police and tax authorities. Another sign of their increased activity came early this year, when the Treasury Department, in a report assessing what the IRS faces in 2011, said its biggest challenge will be the attacks and threats against IRS employees and facilities [that] have risen steadily in recent years.

Extremist ideas have not been limited to the radical right; already this year, state legislators have offered up a raft of proposals influenced by such ideas. In Arizona, the author of the S.B. 1070 law a man who just became Senate president on the basis of his harshly nativist rhetoric proposed a law this January that would allow his state to refuse to obey any federal law or regulation it cared to. In Virginia, a state legislator wants to pass a law aimed at creating an alternative currency in the event of the destruction of the Federal Reserve Systems currency a longstanding fear of right-wing extremists. And in Montana, a state senator is working to pass a statute called the Sheriffs First Act that would require federal law enforcement to ask local sheriffs permission to act in their counties or face jail. All three laws are almost certainly unconstitutional, legal experts say, and they all originate in ideas that first came from ideologues of the radical right.

There also are new attempts by nativist forces to roll back birthright citizenship, which makes all children born in the U.S. citizens. Such laws have been introduced this year in Congress, and a coalition of state legislators is promising to do the same in their states. And then theres Oklahoma, where 70% of voters last November approved a measure to forbid judges to consider Islamic law in the states courtrooms a completely groundless fear, but one pushed nonetheless by Islamophobes. Since then, lawmakers have promised to pass similar laws in Arizona, Florida, Louisiana, South Carolina, Tennessee and Utah.

After the Giffords assassination attempt, a kind of national dialogue began about the political vitriol that increasingly passes for mainstream political debate. But it didnt seem to get very far. Four days after the shooting, a campaign called the Civility Project a two-year effort led by an evangelical conservative tied to top Republicans said it was shutting down because of a lack of interest and furious opposition. The worst E-mails I received about the Civility Project were from conservatives with just unbelievable language about communists and some words I wouldnt use in this phone call, director Mark DeMoss told The New York Times. This political divide has become so sharp that everything is black and white, and too many conservatives can see no redeeming value in any opponent.

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The Year in Hate & Extremism, 2010 | Southern Poverty Law Center

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Alleged Sikh temple shooter former member of Skinhead band …

UPDATE (4:38 p.m. CST):

Label56, the record label that distributed albums by Wade Michael Page’s band End Apathy, released a statement Monday afternoon one day after Page killed six Sikhs in Wisconsin attempting to distance itself from the terrorist attack.

“We have worked hard over the years to promote a positive image and have posted many articles encouraging people to take a positive path in life,” the statement says. “[W]e have never sought attention by using shock value’/ symbols and ideology that are generally labeled as such. With that being said, all images and products related to End Apathy have been removed from our site.”

The Southern Poverty Law Center has listed Label56.com as a hate site since 2006 due to its active promotion and distribution of racist hate music. And while the label might have stopped selling End Apathy’s albums, it continues to offer such hate rock bands as Stormtroop 16, Children of the Reich, Total War and Bound for Glory.

UPDATE (12:23 p.m. CST):

Wade Michael Page was a member of two racist skinhead bands End Apathy and Definite Hate, a band whose album “Violent Victory” featured a gruesome drawing of a disembodied white arm punching a black man in the face. In the drawing, the fist is tattooed with the letters “HFFH,” the acronym for the phrase “Hammerskins Forever, Forever Hammerskins.”

The Hammerskins are a nationwide skinhead organization with regional factions and chapters that once dominated the racist skinhead movement in the United States.

Both of Page’s bands played with a revolving lineup of musicians, and their music was at one time featured on the Hammerskin Nation record label. In 2010, Page and his band mates including Brent Rackley, a member of a Confederate Hammerskins chapter in North Carolina played at a racist music festival called Independent Artist Uprise in Baltimore. Other bands featured at the show were Blue Eyed Devils and Max Resist, both influential mainstays on the hate music scene.

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Rage on the Right | Southern Poverty Law Center

The radical right caught fire last year, as broad-based populist anger at political, demographic and economic changes in America ignited an explosion of new extremist groups and activism across the nation. Hate groups stayed at record levels almost 1,000 despite the total collapse of the second largest neo-Nazi group in America. Furious anti-immigrant vigilante groups soared by nearly 80%, adding some 136 new groups during 2009. And, most remarkably of all, so-called “Patriot” groups militias and other organizations that see the federal government as part of a plot to impose one-world government on liberty-loving Americans came roaring back after years out of the limelight. The anger seething across the American political landscape over racial changes in the population, soaring public debt and the terrible economy, the bailouts of bankers and other elites, and an array of initiatives by the relatively liberal Obama Administration that are seen as “socialist” or even “fascist” goes beyond the radical right. The “tea parties” and similar groups that have sprung up in recent months cannot fairly be considered extremist groups, but they are shot through with rich veins of radical ideas, conspiracy theories and racism. 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.” Sixty-one percent of Americans believe the country is in decline, according to a recent NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll. Just a quarter think the government can be trusted. And the anti-tax tea party movement is viewed in much more positive terms than either the Democratic or Republican parties, the poll found. The signs of growing radicalization are everywhere. Armed men have come to Obama speeches bearing signs suggesting that the “tree of liberty” needs to be “watered” with “the blood of tyrants.” The Conservative Political Action Conference held this February was co-sponsored by groups like the John Birch Society, which believes President Eisenhower was a Communist agent, and Oath Keepers, a Patriot outfit formed last year that suggests, in thinly veiled language, that the government has secret plans to declare martial law and intern patriotic Americans in concentration camps. Politicians pandering to the antigovernment right in 37 states have introduced “Tenth Amendment Resolutions,” based on the constitutional provision keeping all powers not explicitly given to the federal government with the states. And, at the “A Well Regulated Militia” website, a recent discussion of how to build “clandestine safe houses” to stay clear of the federal government included a conversation about how mass murderers like Timothy McVeigh and Olympics bomber Eric Rudolph were supposedly betrayed at such houses. Doing the Numbers The number of hate groups in America has been going up for years, rising 54% between 2000 and 2008 and driven largely by an angry backlash against non-white immigration and, starting in the last year of that period, the economic meltdown and the climb to power of an African American president. According to the latest annual count by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), these groups rose again slightly in 2009 from 926 in 2008 to 932 last year despite the demise of a key neo-Nazi group. The American National Socialist Workers Party, which had 35 chapters in 28 states, imploded shortly after the October 2008 arrest of founder Bill White for making threats against his enemies. At the same time, the number of what the SPLC designates as “nativist extremist” groups organizations that go beyond mere advocacy of restrictive immigration policy to actually confront or harass suspected immigrants jumped from 173 groups in 2008 to 309 last year. Virtually all of these vigilante groups have appeared since the spring of 2005. But the most dramatic story by far has been with the antigovernment Patriots.

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December 7, 2013   Posted in: Mark Potok  Comments Closed

Mark Potok – Bio, News, Photos – Washington Times

White House gun control leads to soaring ‘patriot’ group memberships The more the White House cracks down on Second Amendment freedoms, the more Americans are banding together and joining limited government or even anti-government organizations known as “patriot” groups. When a man shot and wounded security guard Leo Johnson at the Family Research Council (FRC) on Wednesday morning, the shooter left little doubt why. The president of a conservative Christian-based family organization said Thursday that the blame for the shooting of a colleague was shared between the man with the gun and groups that practice “reckless use of terminology.” Wade Michael Page played in white supremacist heavy metal bands and posted frequent comments on Internet forums for skinheads, repeatedly exhorting members to act more decisively to support their cause. Before he strode into a Sikh temple with a 9mm handgun and multiple magazines of ammunition, Wade Michael Page played in white supremacist heavy metal bands with names such as Definite Hate and End Apathy. To the modern Democratic National Committee, the mainstream media and other “progressive” outfits such as the American Civil Liberties Union and the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), the words “patriot” and “patriotism” have become synonymous with “right-wing extremism.” From New Jersey to California, police, courthouse officials and real estate agents are being confronted with a baffling new problem: bogus legal documents filed by people claiming to follow an obscure religion called Moorish Science. Their motives range from financial gain to simply causing a nuisance. Prior to November’s secular-socialism rollback, America’s ever-shrill “progressive” machine contorted in a desperate effort to paint the Tea Party movement as a horde of hateful, inbred racists. Judging by the results, it was an epic failure.

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December 1, 2013   Posted in: Mark Potok  Comments Closed

Mark Potok | NewsBusters – NewsBusters | Exposing Liberal …

Rick Sanchez, who was fired from his Rick’s List program on CNN on Friday, certainly racked up a record of liberal bias, specifically bias against conservatives, during his tenure at the network. Sanchez also revealed a propensity for making on-air gaffes which made him a targets of comedians like Jon Stewart. It was the former anchor’s animosity toward Stewart which directly led to his firing. Here’s the “best of Sanchez” list compiled from the Media Research Center’s archives, updated from a July 22, 2010 item on NewsBusters: Targeting Fox News and Conservative Talk Radio In late 2008, the CNN anchor gained the 3 pm Eastern time slot of CNN’s Newsroom, which would evolve into his Rick’s List program. He consistently targeted conservative media outlets from that time until his firing. ED HENRY: “Fox, Bloomberg, and National Public Radio were vying for it- all made strong cases. In the end, Fox [was] unanimously moved up to the front row, but did not get the seat Helen Thomas was in. We voted unanimously to move the Associated Press over to where Helen Thomas was because what a lot of people were missing in this whole fight was that”- BROOKE BALDWIN: “And it is a fight”- HENRY: “Yeah”- BALDWIN: “Which is fascinating, for those of us who don’t understand the inner workings of the”- HENRY: “Sure, and then we can walk through the whole”- SANCHEZ: “Well, I understand the Associated Press. I even understand Bloomberg, but don’t have you to be a news organization to get that seat?” HENRY: “Oh! Are you saying Fox is not a news organization?” SANCHEZ: “Yeah. I’m just wondering.” -Exchange with CNN correspondents Ed Henry, a member of the board of the White House Correspondents Association, and Brooke Baldwin, August 2, 2010 [see video above]. Almost a year earlier, Sanchez hinted Fox News wasn’t a “real news organization.”

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November 28, 2013   Posted in: Mark Potok  Comments Closed

FOCUS: Right-Wing Hate Groups Exploding in Size and Reach

Excerpt: “The radical right grew explosively in 2011, the third such dramatic expansion in as many years. The growth was fueled by superheated fears generated by economic dislocation, a proliferation of demonizing conspiracy theories, the changing racial makeup of America, and the prospect of four more years under a black president who many on the far right view as an enemy to their country.” Hate groups of all kinds are climbing in numbers, but the swelling of the Patriot movement since late 2008 has been astounding. (photo: ameriblog) By Mark Potok, Alternet 24 March 12 he radical right grew explosively in 2011, the third such dramatic expansion in as many years. The growth was fueled by superheated fears generated by economic dislocation, a proliferation of demonizing conspiracy theories, the changing racial makeup of America, and the prospect of four more years under a black president who many on the far right view as an enemy to their country. The number of hate groups counted by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) last year reached a total of 1,018, up slightly from the year before but continuing a trend of significant growth that is now more than a decade old. The truly stunning growth came in the antigovernment “Patriot” movement – conspiracy-minded groups that see the federal government as their primary enemy. The Patriot movement first emerged in 1994, a response to what was seen as violent government repression of dissident groups at Ruby Ridge, Idaho, in 1992 and near Waco, Texas, in 1993, along with anger at gun control and the Democratic Clinton Administration in general. It peaked in 1996, a year after the Oklahoma City bombing, with 858 groups, then began to fade. By the turn of the millennium, the Patriot movement was reduced to fewer than 150 relatively inactive groups. But the movement came roaring back beginning in late 2008, just as the economy went south with the subprime collapse and, more importantly, as Barack Obama appeared on the political scene as the Democratic nominee and, ultimately, the president-elect. Even as most of the nation cheered the election of the first black president that November, an angry backlash developed that included several plots to murder Obama. Many Americans, infused with populist fury over bank and auto bailouts and a feeling that they had lost their country, joined Patriot groups. The swelling of the Patriot movement since that time has been astounding. From 149 groups in 2008, the number of Patriot organizations skyrocketed to 512 in 2009, shot up again in 2010 to 824, and then, last year, jumped to 1,274. That works out to a staggering 755% growth in the three years ending last Dec. 31. Last year’s total was more than 400 groups higher than the prior all-time high, in 1996. Meanwhile, the SPLC counted 1,018 hate groups operating in the United States last year, up from 1,002 in 2010. That was the latest in a string of annual increases going all the way back to 2000, when there were 602 hate groups. The long-running rise seemed for most of that time to be a product of hate groups’ very successful exploitation of the issue of non-white immigration. Obama’s election and the crashing economy have played a key role in the last three years.

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November 24, 2013   Posted in: Mark Potok  Comments Closed

The ‘Patriot’ Movement Explodes | Southern Poverty Law Center

The radical right grew explosively in 2011, the third such dramatic expansion in as many years. The growth was fueled by superheated fears generated by economic dislocation, a proliferation of demonizing conspiracy theories, the changing racial makeup of America, and the prospect of four more years under a black president who many on the far right view as an enemy to their country. The number of hate groups counted by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) last year reached a total of 1,018, up slightly from the year before but continuing a trend of significant growth that is now more than a decade old. The truly stunning growth came in the antigovernment Patriot movement conspiracy-minded groups that see the federal government as their primary enemy. The Patriot movement first emerged in 1994, a response to what was seen as violent government repression of dissident groups at Ruby Ridge, Idaho, in 1992 and near Waco, Texas, in 1993, along with anger at gun control and the Democratic Clinton Administration in general. It peaked in 1996, a year after the Oklahoma City bombing, with 858 groups, then began to fade. By the turn of the millennium, the Patriot movement was reduced to fewer than 150 relatively inactive groups. But the movement came roaring back beginning in late 2008, just as the economy went south with the subprime collapse and, more importantly, as Barack Obama appeared on the political scene as the Democratic nominee and, ultimately, the president-elect. Even as most of the nation cheered the election of the first black president that November, an angry backlash developed that included several plots to murder Obama. Many Americans, infused with populist fury over bank and auto bailouts and a feeling that they had lost their country, joined Patriot groups. The swelling of the Patriot movement since that time has been astounding. From 149 groups in 2008, the number of Patriot organizations skyrocketed to 512 in 2009, shot up again in 2010 to 824, and then, last year, jumped to 1,274. That works out to a staggering 755% growth in the three years ending last Dec. 31. Last years total was more than 400 groups higher than the prior all-time high, in 1996. Meanwhile, the SPLC counted 1,018 hate groups operating in the United States last year, up from 1,002 in 2010. That was the latest in a string of annual increases going all the way back to 2000, when there were 602 hate groups. The long-running rise seemed for most of that time to be a product of hate groups very successful exploitation of the issue of non-white immigration. Obamas election and the crashing economy have played a key role in the last three years. At the same time, a third strand of the radical right what the SPLC designates as nativist extremist groups, meaning organizations that go beyond normal political activism to harass individuals they suspect of being undocumented immigrants shrank radically. After five years of sustained growth, these vigilante groups plummeted last year to 184 from 319 in 2010, a one-year drop of 42%. The decrease appears to be a product of bad press, internecine quarrels, and the co-optation of the immigration issue by state legislatures around the country passing draconian nativist laws like Alabamas H.B. 56. Its hard to know how all this will play out, given the unsettled nature of the presidential campaign and, in particular, the GOP primaries. The animus toward Obama and the government may be as much rooted in economic as racial anger. In May 2011, a scholarly study published in Perspectives on Psychological Science found that white Americans believe that progress in race relations since the 1950s has come at their expense, with bias against whites more of a social problem in the last decade than bias against blacks. (This comes against the backdrop of the Census Bureaus prediction that non-Hispanic whites will lose their majority, falling to under 50% of the population, by 2050.) But a Pew Research Center study this January suggested that income inequality may be even more important. The survey found that some two-thirds of Americans believe that there are strong conflicts between rich and poor, about a 50% increase since a 2009 survey. That sensibility also was apparent in both the Tea Parties and the Occupy Wall Street movement. And so it is with many extremist groups.

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November 11, 2013   Posted in: Mark Potok  Comments Closed

AN OPEN LETTER TO MARK POTOK, SPOKESMAN FOR THE SPLC (From Dr …

Dear Mr. Potok, Because your organization has not responded to my previous attempts to interact and because the SPLC is coming under increasing public scrutiny, I am writing this open letter with the hope that you will respond. You should be familiar with my name, since I am on your list of 30 New Activists Heading Up the Radical Right and since I was profiled in the Spring 2012 Intelligence Report (more on that shortly). My desire in writing to you is not to be contentious, nor is it to embarrass you. Rather, it is to pursue peace, to expose falsehood, to confront hateful misinformation, and to call on you and the SPLC to do what is right. To be sure, I am hardly the only one questioning the credibility of the SPLC today. You have, no doubt, read the editorial in the Washington Post by columnist Dana Millbank, who stated, I disagree with the Family Research Councils views on gays and lesbians. But its absurd to put the group, as the law center does, in the same category as Aryan Nations, Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, Stormfront and the Westboro Baptist Church. And Millbank is just one of an increasing number of Americans from diverse backgrounds who are pointing out the absurdity of your recent hate group listings. Do you realize, Mr. Potok, that by placing mainstream, conservative Christian ministries like the American Family Association and the FRC side by side with legitimate hate groups that you call your whole work into question? Do you realize that millions of Americans, hearing about the SPLC for the first time in the wake of the FRC shooting, will now question the veracity of all your listings, thereby empowering genuine, dangerous hate groups? You placed my name, along with that of a number of other conservative Christian leaders, on your list of 30 New Activists Heading Up the Radical Right. This list included men like Malik Zulu Shabazz, leader of the New Black Panther Party. One of their recent radio shows featured this audio clip: We give them [i.e., whites] 24 hours in South Africa to get out of town by sundown. I say, if they dont get out of town, we kill the men, we kill the women, we kill the children, we kill the babies, we kill the blind, we kill the cripple, we kill the crazy, we kill the fa**ots, we kill the lesbians, I say god da**it we kill them all. Contrast those words with my statement in May 2006, addressing the gay and lesbian community of Charlotte: We recognize that we have sometimes failed to reach out to you with grace and compassion, that we have often been insensitive to your struggles, that we have driven some of you away rather than drawn you in, that we have added to your sense of rejection. For these failings of ours, we ask you to forgive us. By Gods grace, we intend to be models of His love. We understand, of course, that in your eyes, our biblical convictions constitute hate, and it is hurtful to us that you feel that way. The fact is that we really do love you more than you realize or understand and because we love you, we will continue to speak the truth, convinced that it is the truth that sets us free. Love does what is right, even when it is scorned and mocked and ridiculed. Does this constitute hate in your book? Is this comparable to the language of the KKK? Neo-Nazis? New Black Panther Party? Yet it is in this spirit that we have carried out our work for the last 8 years, all to find a place on one of your lists. The SPLC actually acknowledge in the 30 New Activists article that, Unlike many other voices on the religious right, Brown generally has avoided the kind of slashing rhetoric that often devolves into rank defamation. His work is heavily footnoted and avoids the blanket pronouncements that have gotten others in trouble. Yet I am listed side by side with Shabbaz, whom the SPLC cites as saying, Kill every god**mn Zionist in Israel! God**mn little babies, god**mn old ladies! Blow up Zionist supermarkets! Surely listing me (and other Christian leaders) alongside of him discredits the SPLC, not me (and the other Christian leaders).

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November 7, 2013   Posted in: Mark Potok  Comments Closed

Voices on Antisemitism Interview with Mark Potok

Voices on Antisemitism features a broad range of perspectives about antisemitism and hatred today. Subscribe to Voices on Antisemitism on iTunes or by RSS feed, listen to individual programs online, or use Voices on Antisemitism in your class. The opinions expressed in these interviews do not necessarily represent those of the Museum. The series is made possible by generous support from the Elizabeth and Oliver Stanton Foundation. Displaying: 1 10 / 125 October 3, 2013 Turkish scholar Pinar Dost-Niyego faces some hurdles when teaching the Holocaust in Istanbulincluding Turkey’s own history of antisemitism and anti-minority laws. But Dost-Niyego sees change in her students as they begin to connect with the personal stories of Holocaust victims. September 5, 2013 Diana Dumitru found an incredible example of how antisemitism can be dismantled: two territories in Eastern Europe, separated only by a river, shared a legacy of pogroms and violence against Jews. But after WWI, one territory continued a policy of state-sponsored antisemitism, while the other began a policy of integration and acceptance. August 1, 2013 Shankar Vedantam has spent a lot of time thinking about the links between science and human behavior. His recent book, The Hidden Brain, challenges us to consider the unconscious biases we may carry, and the ways they steer our behavior. July 8, 2013

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November 7, 2013   Posted in: Mark Potok  Comments Closed

The Year in Hate & Extremism, 2010 | Southern Poverty Law Center

Editor’s note: Since the article below was published, authorities have changed their view of an incident in Dearborn, Mich., that is mentioned. Initially, it was believed that the Michigan suspect was planning an attack based on hatred of Muslims. In fact, it turns out that Roger Stockham is an American convert to Sunni Islam, and reportedly was angry at the mosque in question because it was Shi’ite. For the second year in a row, the radical right in America expanded explosively in 2010, driven by resentment over the changing racial demographics of the country, frustration over the governments handling of the economy, and the mainstreaming of conspiracy theories and other demonizing propaganda aimed at various minorities. For many on the radical right, anger is focusing on President Obama, who is seen as embodying everything thats wrong with the country. Hate groups topped 1,000 for the first time since the Southern Poverty Law Center began counting such groups in the 1980s. Anti-immigrant vigilante groups, despite having some of the political wind taken out of their sails by the adoption of hard-line anti-immigration laws around the country, continued to rise slowly. But by far the most dramatic growth came in the antigovernment Patriot movement conspiracy-minded organizations that see the federal government as their primary enemy which gained more than 300 new groups, a jump of over 60%. Taken together, these three strands of the radical right the hatemongers, the nativists and the antigovernment zealots increased from 1,753 groups in 2009 to 2,145 in 2010, a 22% rise. That followed a 2008-2009 increase of 40%. What may be most remarkable is that this growth of right-wing extremism came even as politicians around the country, blown by gusts from the Tea Parties and other conservative formations, tacked hard to the right, co-opting many of the issues important to extremists. Last April, for instance, Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer signed S.B. 1070, the harshest anti-immigrant law in memory, setting off a tsunami of proposals for similar laws across the country. Continuing growth of the radical right could be curtailed as a result of this shift, especially since Republicans, many of them highly conservative, recaptured the U.S. House last fall. But despite those historic Republican gains, the early signs suggest that even as the more mainstream political right strengthens, the radical right has remained highly energized. In an 11-day period this January, a neo-Nazi was arrested headed for the Arizona border with a dozen homemade grenades; a terrorist bomb attack on a Martin Luther King Jr. Day parade in Spokane, Wash., was averted after police dismantled a sophisticated anti-personnel weapon; and a man who officials said had a long history of antigovernment activities was arrested outside a packed mosque in Dearborn, Mich., and charged with possessing explosives with unlawful intent. Thats in addition, the same month, to the shooting of U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords in Arizona, an attack that left six dead and may have had a political dimension. Its also clear that other kinds of radical activity are on the rise. Since the murder last May 20 of two West Memphis, Ark., police officers by two members of the so-called sovereign citizens movement, police from around the country have contacted the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) to report what one detective in Kentucky described as a dramatic increase in sovereign activity. Sovereign citizens, who, like militias, are part of the larger Patriot movement, believe that the federal government has no right to tax or regulate them and, as a result, often come into conflict with police and tax authorities. Another sign of their increased activity came early this year, when the Treasury Department, in a report assessing what the IRS faces in 2011, said its biggest challenge will be the attacks and threats against IRS employees and facilities [that] have risen steadily in recent years. Extremist ideas have not been limited to the radical right; already this year, state legislators have offered up a raft of proposals influenced by such ideas. In Arizona, the author of the S.B. 1070 law a man who just became Senate president on the basis of his harshly nativist rhetoric proposed a law this January that would allow his state to refuse to obey any federal law or regulation it cared to. In Virginia, a state legislator wants to pass a law aimed at creating an alternative currency in the event of the destruction of the Federal Reserve Systems currency a longstanding fear of right-wing extremists. And in Montana, a state senator is working to pass a statute called the Sheriffs First Act that would require federal law enforcement to ask local sheriffs permission to act in their counties or face jail. All three laws are almost certainly unconstitutional, legal experts say, and they all originate in ideas that first came from ideologues of the radical right. There also are new attempts by nativist forces to roll back birthright citizenship, which makes all children born in the U.S. citizens. Such laws have been introduced this year in Congress, and a coalition of state legislators is promising to do the same in their states. And then theres Oklahoma, where 70% of voters last November approved a measure to forbid judges to consider Islamic law in the states courtrooms a completely groundless fear, but one pushed nonetheless by Islamophobes. Since then, lawmakers have promised to pass similar laws in Arizona, Florida, Louisiana, South Carolina, Tennessee and Utah. After the Giffords assassination attempt, a kind of national dialogue began about the political vitriol that increasingly passes for mainstream political debate. But it didnt seem to get very far. Four days after the shooting, a campaign called the Civility Project a two-year effort led by an evangelical conservative tied to top Republicans said it was shutting down because of a lack of interest and furious opposition. The worst E-mails I received about the Civility Project were from conservatives with just unbelievable language about communists and some words I wouldnt use in this phone call, director Mark DeMoss told The New York Times. This political divide has become so sharp that everything is black and white, and too many conservatives can see no redeeming value in any opponent.

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November 7, 2013   Posted in: Mark Potok  Comments Closed

Alleged Sikh temple shooter former member of Skinhead band …

UPDATE (4:38 p.m. CST): Label56, the record label that distributed albums by Wade Michael Page’s band End Apathy, released a statement Monday afternoon one day after Page killed six Sikhs in Wisconsin attempting to distance itself from the terrorist attack. “We have worked hard over the years to promote a positive image and have posted many articles encouraging people to take a positive path in life,” the statement says. “[W]e have never sought attention by using shock value’/ symbols and ideology that are generally labeled as such. With that being said, all images and products related to End Apathy have been removed from our site.” The Southern Poverty Law Center has listed Label56.com as a hate site since 2006 due to its active promotion and distribution of racist hate music. And while the label might have stopped selling End Apathy’s albums, it continues to offer such hate rock bands as Stormtroop 16, Children of the Reich, Total War and Bound for Glory. UPDATE (12:23 p.m. CST): Wade Michael Page was a member of two racist skinhead bands End Apathy and Definite Hate, a band whose album “Violent Victory” featured a gruesome drawing of a disembodied white arm punching a black man in the face. In the drawing, the fist is tattooed with the letters “HFFH,” the acronym for the phrase “Hammerskins Forever, Forever Hammerskins.” The Hammerskins are a nationwide skinhead organization with regional factions and chapters that once dominated the racist skinhead movement in the United States. Both of Page’s bands played with a revolving lineup of musicians, and their music was at one time featured on the Hammerskin Nation record label. In 2010, Page and his band mates including Brent Rackley, a member of a Confederate Hammerskins chapter in North Carolina played at a racist music festival called Independent Artist Uprise in Baltimore. Other bands featured at the show were Blue Eyed Devils and Max Resist, both influential mainstays on the hate music scene.

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November 7, 2013   Posted in: Mark Potok  Comments Closed


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