There is a new study from our friends at the SPLC, reported in The New York Times, that indicates a dramatic resurgence in the number of racist, neo-Nazi, and far-right extremist groups operating across our country. The SPLC, which has kept track of such groups for 30 years, recorded 1,018 hate groups operating last year. And, lest you think this is a southern U.S. phenomenon, the states with the most active hate groups were California, Florida, Georgia, New Jersey and New York.
The far-right patriot movement began its current resurgence in 2008, after the election of Mr. Obama and the beginning of the recession. Chapters of the traditional white supremacist group, the Ku Klux Klan fell from 221 to 152.
As reported in the NYTimes piece, the federal government does not focus on groups that engage in racist hate-based speech, but does monitor paramilitary groups and others that it determines have some inclination toward violence, said Daryl Johnson, a former senior domestic terrorism analyst for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).
The SPLC also has a fascinating interview with Daryl Johnson (from summer 2011) about how the DHS has bowed to political pressure around not focusing on domestic, right-wing terrorism. It will be interesting to see if this latest report changes the policy of the DHS.