Fears that the nation’s first black president will be re-elected has fueled the dramatic growth extremists groups in the U.S. over the past year, according to a report from a civil rights organization that tracks these groups.
The number of groups in the anti-government “Patriot” movement have sky rocketed 755 percent since President Barack Obama has been elected, the Southern Poverty Law Center’s (SPLC) yearly report found.
“These groups are becoming more and more aware as they watch the primary season unfold that Obama is fairly likely to win and some of them are having meltdowns over this,” Southern Poverty Law Center senior fellow Mark Potok told Raw Story. “They’re looking at four more years under a very hated black president — hated by them. So, we’re seeing signs of real anger over that. People saying we’re at war already, saying go out and buy AK-47s and hollow-point bullets, get tools to derail trains.”
Unlike traditional hate groups, “Patriot” groups subscribe to a set of conspiracy theories and see the government as their primary enemy.
“Basically what ‘Patriot’ groups think is that the federal government is an evil cabal in the hands of bad people,” Potok explained. “The government is about to impose martial law on the country, very probably with the help of foreign troops, perhaps U.N. troops. They intend to confiscate all guns from Americans. Those liberty-loving Americans who resisted will be thrown into concentration camps that have secretly constructed by FEMA. And ultimately the government will force us all into a socialistic kind of one-world government, the so-called New World Order.”
In addition to the staggering growth of groups in the “Patriot” movement, hate groups in general have grown from 926 in 2008 to 1018 last year. Anti-LGBT groups have grown by 27 percent and anti-Muslim groups have triple from 10 to 30 in just one year.
Ku Klux Klan groups actually fell from 221 to 152 last year, largely because the second largest Klan group — the Brotherhood of Klans in Ohio — folded after its leader, Jeremy Parker, joined a faction of the Aryan Nations.
Overall, Potok said that it was the disturbing growth by ‘Patriot’ groups that shocked the Southern Poverty Law Center.
“We were all astounded by the numbers this year,” Potok told Raw Story. “We’ve seen a very, very rapid growth in the ‘Patriot’ movement in the prior two years. We all expected that just had to tail off, that this kind of growth couldn’t continue for another year. But the reality is that we saw something close to 450 new groups appear on the scene last year.”
If the president is successful in his re-election bid, Potok sees no reason that the dramatic growth will not continue.
“I think if Obama is re-elected, this is very likely to get worse before it gets better,” he said. “We’re already seeing signs of anger in groups that are coming to believe that Obama will probably win the election so they’re going a bit crazy out there.”
David Edwards has served as an editor at Raw Story since 2006. His work can also be found at Crooks & Liars, and he's also been published at The BRAD BLOG. He came to Raw Story after working as a network manager for the state of North Carolina and as as engineer developing enterprise resource planning software. Follow him on Twitter at @DavidEdwards.
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