Conspiracy theorists, hate groups and other extremist organizations hit a new high for 2012, the Southern Poverty Law Center says in its latest journal, some of which have active presence in South Carolina.
“The Year in Hate and Extremism 2012” is included the Spring 2013 edition of Intelligence Report, which was released on March 6.
Since Obama’s first presidential election, the total number of recognized “patriot,” militia and hate groups in the U.S. have more than doubled, reaching a new high of 1,360.
Much of this growth can be attributed to circulation of false information to one particular voting sector, the report implies.
For example, SPLC offers, a recent poll found that 49 percent of Republicans think Mitt Romney lost the 2012 election because of tactics by ACORN. That community organizing group has not existed since 2010, however.
South Carolina has 21 recognized hate groups, SPLC reports – a number that has remained stable in recent years with no new development. Most are local chapters of national organizations, and three have affiliates in the Charleston region.
The Council of Conservative Citizens reportedly has two chapters in South Carolina. Active in 15 states since its 1985 formation, this national organization is a rebuilding of the older White Citizens Councils.
Some notable Republicans, including Mississippi’s former governor Kirk Bodice and former U.S. Senator Trent Lott, have openly affiliated with CCC. Others, such as former Arkansas governor and presidential candidate Mike Huckabee, have openly refused any association with the group.
Its Charleston chapter is headed by Kyle Rogers, who is also on CCC’s national board of directors. Last year Rogers was listed as one of “30 to watch” radicals in the country by SPLC, and was the subject of a Post & Courier article titled “Suburban Supremacist.”
Its activities in the state have included demonstrations supporting display of the Confederate flag from the State Capitol.
Incidentally, Rogers reputedly operates an online Confederate memorabilia website called “Patriotic Flags.”
The Nation of Islam, a black separatist organization, has two chapters in South Carolina, according to SPLC. One operates from the Fruit of Islam church in North Charleston.
Farrakhan had only reformed the then-stagnant group under that name in 1981 after remaining elder members created a new organization (American Society of Muslims).
Under Farrakhan, NOI openly issued anti-Semitic statements and claimed its members to be a superior race, SPLC documents.
Despite its record of discrimination and racial separatism, the national NOI has record of working with groups that might ordinarily appear to be its enemies. For example, it’s held conference with the Ku Klux Klan, SPLC reports, and has received financial contributions from Tom Metzger, founder of White Aryan Resistance.
The National Socialist Movement, which was formed by members of the American Nazi Party in 1974, reportedly has three organizations in the state, including one in Charleston.
Identified as “neo-Nazi,” the national group is reputed to be openly racist and anti-Jewish, even using the swastika in its logo.
Its 2008 presidential candidate, John Taylor Bowles, said his first action if elected would be to “sign an emergency Executive Order ordering all non-Whites to be respectfully transferred to their own racial homeland.”
In 2009 the local chapter acknowledged distributing racist flyers that also had swastika decorations in Hanahan and James Island.
Other “hate groups” included in SPLC’s listing for South Carolina are the Jewish Defense League, the League of the South and the European-American Unity and Rights Organization.
SPLC was founded by attorneys Morris Dees and Joseph Levin Jr. in 1971, and operates as a non-profit promoter and defender of civil rights.