HOUSTON (Oct. 28)
Organized racist and anti-Semitic groups have increasingly turned to violence in the past few years, according to a 90-page report made public today by the Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith.
The ADL report, titled “Hate Groups in America: The Record of Bigotry and Violence,” focused on the Ku Klux Klan, neo-Nazi organizations and such hatemongering fringe groups as the Christian Patriots Defense League; the Covenant, the Sword, the Arm of the Lord; the National States Rights Party (NSRP) and the Aryan Nations organization.
Seymour Reich, chairman of the ADL’s national civil rights executive committee, who presented the report to ADL’s national executive committee meeting here, today through Sunday, said the document is a comprehensive study of violence-prone hate groups.
The study, Reich said, exposes the extremists’ organizational and ideological links, and details their record of violence, lawlessness, intimidation and threats of force since the late 1970’s, which includes: assaults and conspiracies against blacks, Jews and other minorities, sometimes involving firearms and bombs; establishment of paramilitary camps and training courses to teach adherents weapons training, demolition and guerrilla warfare tactics; and use of inflammatory hate language directed against minorities, including calls to arms and warnings to adherents to prepare for civil strife or race wars, allegedly in self-defense.
URGES UNITY AGAINST BIGOTS
“If America is to meet the challenge of violence by organized bigots,” Reich asserted, “all institutions of American society, including law enforcement officials, schools, churches and business and labor organizations must unite against them.”
One of the “most disturbing” elements of the trend to violence, Reich said, is paramilitary training that takes place in camps operated by Klan organizations and other extremist groups, such as the Christian Patriots Defense League.
These clandestine facilities, the report said, provide instruction in weapons and killing techniques. The operators of these camps frequently speak of the “coming race war” in the United States.
EXAMPLES OF EXTREMIST OPERATIONS
A typical Klan paramilitary operation has been conducted in rural areas of East Texas, according to the report, which cited a special camp near Houston, which was exposed in 1981, for training youths in handling of weapons. The Texas Emergency Reserve, the paramilitary arm of the Klan in Texas, received training in tactical maneuvers, military drills, map reading and weapons proficiency.
Another illustration of the extremists’ use of paramilitary training is provided in a “survival” camp run by the Covenant, the Sword, the Arm of the Lard, according to the report. Operated in northern Arkansas, it offers courses in urban warfare, riflery, pistol shooting, military tactics, martial arts, wilderness survival and “home defense.”
Several states — California, Connecticut, Florida, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island — have recently enacted anti-paramilitary training statutes based on a model statute drawn up by the League.
The U.S. Department of Justice, which seeks through its Community Relations Service to help communities resolve racial and ethnic disputes, reported that in 1979 and 1980 it responded to 68 alerts related to Klan activities. These included cross burnings, armed rallies in opposition to minority protestors, fire bombings, challenges to police and general harassment of blacks and Hispanics — a new target of hate groups in the past few years.
OTHER HATE GROUPS CITED
Although total Klan membership in the U.S. is estimated between 8,000 and 10,000 members, the report said, as many as 100,000 could be considered active sympathizers, judging by Gallup polls, the attendance at Klan rallies and subscribers to Klan literature.
Other hate groups include neo-Hitlerian organizations, which, like the Klan, have become fragmented beginning in the 1970’s. Among the most notorious, the report said, are the National Socialist White People’s Party and the National Socialist Party of America (NSPA).
An NSPA official, Michael Allen of Chicago, drew nationwide attention when he claimed that John Hinckley. Jr., the would-be assassin of President Reagan, had been a member of the organization. Allen alleged, however, that Hinckley was expelled in 1979 because “he wanted to shoot people and blow things up.”
Among the factors contributing to the trend toward increased violence by hate groups, Reich cited what he called “a sense of frustration of a small minority of whites in the face of changing race relations, leading some to seek the simple answers offered by extremist movements.” In some cases, “the extremists have exploited frustration and resentment, turning them into hate and then violence,” the ADL official said.