As of 2011, Louisiana was home to 27 known hate groups, including the Ku Klux Klan and several anti-government organizations. Nationwide, there were 1,018 known hate groups — an increase of 69 percent since 2000.
Those numbers are expected to show a marked increase when the Southern Poverty Law Center releases new figures, the center says. The Alabama-based center is nonprofit civil rights organization that monitors hate and other extremist groups.
The 2012 report should be published by the third week in February.
The largest gains are expected to be in the number of so-called Patriot groups. First referred to as militia groups, Patriot organizations are classified as hate groups by the center because of their growing opposition to government and more narrowly to talk of laws aimed at gun control.
Still, the center doesn’t rank Patriot groups any more dangerous than hate groups such as the KKK, Aryan Nation, Nation of Islam or the New Black Panthers.
However, Potok said, “the truth is … we’ve seen more violence out of the Patriot groups than hate groups in the last 15 years.”
Seven of the 27 groups identified in Louisiana are in northwest Louisiana, ranging from the South Africa Project in Converse to the League of the South in Logansport to the Nation of Islam and Council of Conservative Citizens in Shreveport to the White Riders RC in Arcadia.
Most are characterized by a pro-white race stance and strong opposition to homosexuality. In some cases, the neo-Confederates are open secessionists, while the Nation of Islam seeks a separate nation for all black citizens. Anti-white and anti-Semitic beliefs also are associated with the black separatist group.
While the numbers show a variety of hate groups throughout Louisiana, Shreveport-area law enforcement agencies say they have few worries because of little or no activity associated with them.
However, there have been at least two arrests of individuals in the past five years for hate-related crimes. A man was convicted of beating a man in the face with a pool cue at a downtown Shreveport nightclub because of the victim’s sexual orientation.
And in Bossier City, a man was jailed for a hate crime after he got angry at a cashier at a department store, called her racial slurs abd then snatched the lanyard around her neck. The woman fell forward, police said.
“This was an isolated incident and not connected to a hate group,” said Mark Natale, spokesman for Bossier City. “We have no record of any criminal activity occurring in Bossier City involving organized hate groups and are not aware of any such groups being based in the city.”
Davidson is not prepared to add Patriot groups to the hate category like the law center. He’s aware of the spread of such movements, but he finds that most draw members who are “simply fed up with the ridiculous laws of the federal government that are being forced down their throats, especially those against farmers and opposing the Second Amendment.”
A subgroup of the Patriots that is emerging in attention is called “sovereign citizens.”
“They are the most rapidly expanding,” Potok said.
The law center in 2011 estimated the sovereign movement had 100,000 “ardent followers” and about 200,000 sympathizers across the country. The FBI does not track sovereigns by number but does not dispute center’s estimates.
Number of US Hate Groups Is Rising, Report Says
Fed by antagonism toward President Obama, resentment toward changing racial demographics and the economic rift between rich and poor, the number of so-called hate groups and antigovernment organizations in the nation has continued to grow, according to a report released Wednesday by the Southern Poverty Law Center.
The report also described a “stunning” rise in the number of groups it identifies as part of the so-called patriot and militia movements, whose ideologies include deep distrust of the federal government.
The center, based in Montgomery, Ala., records only groups that are active, meaning that the groups are registering members, passing out fliers, protesting or showing other signs of activity beyond maintaining a Web site.
The Occupy movement is not on the list because its participants as a collective do not meet the center’s criteria for an extremist group, he said.
The far-right patriot movement gained steam in 1994 after the government used violence to shut down groups at Ruby Ridge, Idaho, and Waco, Tex. It peaked after the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing and began to fade. Its rise began anew in 2008, after the election of Mr. Obama and the beginning of the recession.
There have been declines in some hate groups, including native extremist groups like the Militiamen, which focused on illegal immigration. Chapters of the Ku Klux Klan fell to 152, from 221.
It seems to me that if you hate big government, you’re going to be considered a hate group the way things are evolving. They will try to label it as being over race or something if they can spin it that way. For instance, militia groups concerned about illegal immigration being considered hate groups.
The Occupy Movement aren’t considered hate groups because they work as a collective? Because they focused on banks and businesses and not government? Some of them acted collectively to destroy private party, that seems kind of hateful.
When was the last time you saw a Tea Party break out into people busting windows of businesses and blocking streets?
Ah well, enough of reading this crap…it’s making my head hurt.
The news hates me.