Hate declining groups and move to online networks


In one of the most politically disrupted years in recent memory, the number of active hatred groups in the United States has actually declined as far-right militants have moved further into online networks. This reflects the division of white supremacists and neo-Nazi groups. Tracking.

The Southern Poverty Law Center said in an annual report released Monday that it identified 838 active hatred groups operating nationwide in 2020. This is a decrease from the 940 recorded in 2019, a record high of 1,020 in 2018. A legal center that tracks racism, alien exclusion, and rebel militias.

“The number of hatred groups is only one indicator for measuring the level of hatred and racism in the United States, and group decline is interpreted as a decline in prejudiced beliefs and behaviors motivated by hatred. It is important to understand that it should not be done. “The report said it was first shared exclusively with AP communications.

A law center based in Montgomery, Alabama said many hatred groups have moved to use social media platforms and encrypted apps, while others have been banned altogether from mainstream social media networks. ..

Still, according to the Law Center, online platforms allow individuals to interact with hatred and rebel groups without becoming members, stay connected with like-minded people, and in the real world, such as the siege of the US Capitol last month. You can participate in the actions of.

White supremacist organizations, a subset of the hatred groups listed in the report, fell by more than 100 last year. These groups have grown significantly in the last two years after being energized by Donald Trump’s campaign and presidency, the report said.

The number of anti-immigrant, anti-Islamic, and anti-LGBTQ hatred groups was fairly stable, but their face-to-face organization was hampered by the coronavirus pandemic.

In conclusion, the level of hatred and prejudice in the United States has not diminished, said Margaret Juan, president and CEO of SPLC.

“The important thing is to start thinking about all the reasons why these groups have survived so long and gained so much influence at the last White House. They really feel bold,” fans said. I told the AP.

When President Joe Biden’s administration began to take hold last month, the Department of Homeland Security issued an early state terrorist bulletin in response to heightened threats from its own militias, including rebel militias and white supremacists. Issued. The militants are uniting under a broader and looser alliance movement of those who reject democratic institutions and multiculturalism, fans said.

The SPLC report was released almost a month after most of Trump’s supporters and members of the far-right group violently invaded the US Capitol by white mobs. At least five deaths have been associated with the assault, including parliamentary police officers. Some mobs waved the Confederate battle ensign and wore neo-Nazi iconic clothing.

Federal officials have arrested more than 160 people and sought hundreds more for criminal accusations related to the fatal assault on January 6. Authorities also linked approximately 30 defendants to groups or movements, according to an AP review of court records.

This includes seven defendants associated with QAnon. This was once a fringe Internet conspiracy movement that has recently grown into a powerful force in mainstream conservative politics. The six are associated with the Proud Boys, a group of misogyny, anti-immigrant, and anti-Semitic groups associated with white supremacism. The four are linked to Oath Keepers, a paramilitary organization that recruits current and former military, law enforcement, and first response personnel. The four are linked to the rebel militia movement, Three Percenters. And two leaders of the group “Super Happy Fan America”, which is related to white supremacists known for holding the so-called “Straight Pride” parade in downtown Boston in 2019.

According to SPLC, Trump’s bipartisan critics have accused the far-right group of inciting an attack on the Capitol, which it has declared success and is using as a recruiting tool to increase membership.

President Trump’s final year was characterized by a broad view of systematic racism, which also pushed racist conspiracy and white supremacist ideology into the mainstream of politics, the Law Center said.

According to an SPLC survey conducted in August, 29% of respondents said they personally knew who they believed whites were a good race. Polls also found that 51% of Americans believe that looting and vandalism nationwide around the Black Lives Matter demonstrations is more of a problem than police undue force. did.

Minneapolis police protests against George Floyd’s murder in May last year spurred the impetus for the November elections to become a referendum on white supremacy. Surrounded by Trump’s widespread fraudulent allegations, turnout between black and Hispanic voters played an important role in passing victory to Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris. It was the reality. ..

In his inaugural address, Biden strongly denied white supremacy and domestic terrorism, which is rarely the case in such a consequential speech.

SPLC has made some recommendations to the new administration in its latest report. He called on the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Justice, and the FBI to set up offices to monitor, investigate, and prosecute domestic terrorist incidents. It also helped improve federal hate crime data collection, training, and prevention. To enact federal law that shifts funds from a punishment model to the prevention of violent extremism.

Those who support or express hatred or prejudice are not necessarily members of the far-right group of cards. But that doesn’t mean they can’t be activated by violence, says Christian Pitchorini, a former far-right extremist and founder of the Free Radical Project, a group that helps people free themselves from hatred. Said.

It also doesn’t mean they can’t be reached and deradicalized, he said.

“We not only stop what is happening now, but also to prevent problems for us in the future and to understand how the promotion that is recruiting these people is widespread. We need to take a kind of dual approach, “said Picciolini.

“Now it’s a very self-service form online,” he added. “We are facing a really big problem.”


Morrison reported from New York. AP writer Michael Kunzelman contributed from College Park, Maryland.

Hate declining groups and move to online networks

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