THE VIEW FROM PAEONIAN SPRINGS
Hate groups still dot the American landscape.
by Michael H. Thomson
January 4, 2006
In 1988, a young Brewton, Alabama teenager was abducted from a church, raped, tortured, and murdered. She was white and her murderer was black. Edward Russell Dubose was convicted of the murder and was sentenced to die in the electric chair. Years later, Dubose's sentence was overturned by the Alabama Supreme Court through the efforts of pro bono attorneys working with the prominent international law firm of Covington and Burling. Edward Dubose pleaded to a lesser charge of simple murder. His sentence was reduced to life with possibility of parole. In 2004, that "possibility of parole" presented itself and Edward Dubose's case went before the Alabama Board of Pardons and Paroles. Although not present he was represented by pro bono attorney Ann-Kelley Kemper of Covington and Burling.
The possibility of Dubose being paroled created quite an outcry throughout Alabama and particularly in the small town of Brewton. There, a number of former classmates of the victim, Stephanie King, organized themselves to protest the possible parole of Dubose. Letters and petitions were sent to the parole board to reflect the community attitude towards his possible release. Additionally many of these people appeared on the day of the hearing to let their sentiments be known. The public outcry and documentation were compelling. Dubose was denied parole. I cheered.
Prior to the parole hearing, Dubose and the murder had been on my mind for several years, I'd written a fiction novel inspired by the events. See The Publisher. Since writing the book, I have regularly checked through various sources to see if there were any updates on the case. Last week I came across some information that was very disturbing.
It seems in the weeks prior to Dubose's parole hearing, a racist hate website called New Nation News Reporter Newsroom[author's note: This is a cached record, New Nation News Reporter Newsroom has disabled the link to their incriminating posts - but too late!] became involved in the case. Upon appeal from someone close to the case, New Nation News through its various anonymous, pseudonymed posters solicited its readers to join in the petition drive to attempt to shape the "community attitude" portion of the parole hearing of Edward Dubose. I have no idea how many petitions the Alabama Parole Board received prior to the hearing, but I have no doubt, from the evidence of this website, that some petitioners were white supremacists. How would one know? A hate group through its website encourages readers to sign a petition, how would the state know which were representative of a hate group and which were bona fide representatives of the community?
The sad thing is that I personally know many of the people who protested against the parole of Dubose and know them to be honest, hard-working, church going, members of society who would have never participated in any petition drive if they knew they would in any manner be associated with a hate organization. I notified the parole board of this website as well as the pro bono attorney from Covington and Burling.
Hate groups in America haven't gone away. They are still as plentiful as ever. One has even come close to passing as a mainstream political organization. Before I get to the Conservative Citizens Council, let me mention a few other groups in passing. My information for this segment comes from the website of the Southern Poverty Law Center and the Anti-Defamation League Law Enforcement websites.
Let's begin with the Nazis. Yes, there are Nazis in the United States and the largest of the Nazi groups is the National Alliance. Following the same tired themes of Adolph Hitler – anti-Semitism, white supremacy, and Aryan domination - this group is troubled of late. Having a leadership crisis and collapsing upon itself, the National Alliance may soon become another footnote in the sad history of bigotry and hatred. A second Nazi group, however, is on the rise.
The Nationalist Socialist Movement based in Minneapolis, Minnesota is growing in influence among so-called skinheads and young white supremacists. These neo-Nazis have as their aim the denial of citizenship to Jews, non-whites, and homosexuals. While groups like the National Alliance and National Socialist Movement are not noticeably prevalent in the mainstream of American life, the Nationalist Socialist Movement is particularly troubling because it is young, energetic, and works to coordinate its activities with other hate groups. There are 158 hate groups in the United States classified as neo- Nazi.
Black separatist groups such as Nation of Islam and New Black Panther Party are anti-white and anti-Semitic. These two groups plus several independent groups comprises over 108 organizations that could be categorized as black separatist. If you were to look at the public objectives of the Nation of Islam under the leadership of Dr. Louis Farrakhan, you would be hard pressed to find any objectionable statements on their Nation of Islam website. Although the organization now endeavors to be politically correct, Louis Farrakhan has never apologized for his anti-Semitic and racist statements of the past.
The Ku Klux Klan is generally accepted as the premier white supremacist organization with 162 loosely related organizations in the U.S. Lawsuits and infiltration by the FBI have greatly reduced the once formidable influence of the Klan in the South. However today, the Klan has chapters in places that you would not associate with its southern tradition. Places such as Portage, Indiana; Newport Beach, California; Cincinnati, Ohio; and believe it or not, Washington, D.C.
The shock troops of the white supremacist groups are the skinheads. Skinheads are a European import. Characterized by their shaved heads, black Don Marten's boots, racist tattoos and jeans supported by suspenders, skinheads move around a lot hoping for the race war they believe will someday come. Although small compared to other groups I have listed, skinheads are the most violent. Skinheads operate in crews moving around from city to city. There are approximately 48 skinhead groups, with a large concentration of skinheads in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.
The South will rise again, or at least that's the hope of a 9000 member organization known as the League of the South. The League of the South wants to establish a separate Southern homeland, divorcing itself from the influence of the occupier, The United States. The League has several chapters – many in South Carolina. I personally think it is a stretch for the SPLC to brand this group as racist. They are secessionist and that's much different than being racist.
One of the weirdest and thankfully the smallest of hate groups (28 groups) is the Christian Identity movement, which believes that whites not Jews are the true Israelites favored by God in the Bible. They further believe that Jews are the biological descendants of Satan.
Do you remember the White Citizens Councils of the civil rights era? The White Citizen's councils are still here in a new disguise: The Council of Conservative Citizens is very dangerous because of its sophistication and its appeal to mainstream Americans. Adopting some of the principles of right wing conservatives, The Council of Conservative Citizens is still very connected to its racist past. Past associations with racists David Duke, Mark Cotterill, Chris Temple, and Paul Fromm have kept the CCC from achieving the mainstream political identity it desperately craves.
Despite its message of white supremacy, the CCC in some quarters is very influential. U.S. Senator Trent Lott, Mississippi governor and former RNC chair Haley Barbour and even Family Research Council president Tony Perkins have seen it necessary to appear before the CCC in giving speeches, etc. Tony Perkins during a stint campaigning for a senatorial candidate in Louisiana spoke in front of the CCC and even paid racist and former Imperial Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan, David Duke, $82,000 for his mailing list.
Recently in a letter to the editor, a reader challenged my assertion that racism possibly played a part in the federal government's disgraceful response to the Hurricane Katrina disaster. I have spoken to others who believe racism is a remnant of the American past and not the American present. I would invite the reader I spoke of and others who think racism is outdated to look at the Southern Poverty Law Center's Hate Groups Map depicting approximately 762 active hate groups in the United States.
These groups are still with us and as the United States copes with problems such as illegal immigration, terrorism, and an ever-increasing visual presence of a diverse racial, cultural, and ethnic population don't expect their numbers to diminish any time soon.
About the Author:
Mike Thomson knows this article will be uncomfortable for some. He thinks it should be.
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