The new Intelligence Report, the Southern Poverty Law Center's annual survey of American extremist organizations, finds no fewer than 84 hate groups that call California home, sweet homeland. Locally, we can count on the National Socialist Movement, headquartered in Glendale (or is it
Riverside?), while Santa Ana boasts of its very own chapter of the Ku Klux Klan (who knew?). Anti-immigrant groups include the California Coalition for Immigration Reform in Huntington Beach, and the American Patrol of Sherman Oaks. Even Big Bear's thrown into the mix, thanks to something called the Coors Family Skinheads. SPLC breaks the color line by throwing in black separatist groups such as the Nation of Islam, based locally in Compton.
The SPLC cites the ingredients of a perfect storm that saw 2008 produce
a record number of hate crimes and hate groups. Among these factors are
the imploding economy, illegal immigration by nonwhites and the
election of an African American president. (It's well to remember here
how French anti-Semitism exploded in 1936 when Leon Blum -- a Socialist
and a Jew -- became Prime Minister.)
Not all organizations the
SPLC designates as hate groups have members walking around carrying
barely seem more than comatose, newswise. Locally, the JDL
has appeared pretty kaput since the 2001 arrests of Irv Rubin (who
later died in prison awaiting trial) and others for conspiracy to bomb
a mosque and Congressman Darrell Issa's office. Voz de Aztlan is
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basically a rudimentary Web site trumpeting Chicano nationalist sentiments laced
with a jolt of anti-Semitism ("Jew Humiliates Mexican Laborers"). A
third, the anti-Catholic Tony Alamo Christian Ministries of Canyon Country, has also been on life-support since the arrest and imprisonment of Alamo for child abuse in Arkansas.
Perhaps in 2009, however, the economy's continued free-fall will provide a stimulus package to hate groups seeking new recruits.