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Record number of hate groups were active in 2023: SPLC report

The latest SPLC annual report identified 20 hate and antigovernment extremist groups active in Alabama and hundreds of hateful incidents.

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On June 4, the Southern Poverty Law Center released its latest annual Year in Hate & Extremism report.

During a call with reporters, SPLC president and CEO Margaret Huang said the 2023 report “documented more hate and anti-government extremist groups than ever before.” The 2022 report covered 1,225 groups and the 2023 report covered 1,430, over 200 more.

Rachel Carroll Rivas, the interim director of the SPLC’s Intelligence Project, said that the only major shift in how groups were identified between the 2022 report and the 2023 report was recognizing “anti-abortion extremist organizations that were part of the male supremacist movement.” That change only accounted for 4 of the more than 200 new groups.

However, despite the significant growth nationwide in the number of the groups the SPLC reported on, the 2023 report’s section on the Deep South stated that “the number of groups in Alabama remains small.”

The twenty hate and antigovernment extremist groups identified by the SPLC as being active in Alabama were:

  • Active Club
  • Alabama Parents Involved in Education
  • Asatru Folk Assembly
  • Church of the Keystone Knights of the Ku Klux Klan
  • Eagle Forum
  • Freedom Yell
  • Incels
  • John Birch Society
  • League of the South
  • Medical Kidnap
  • Moms for Liberty (several chapters)
  • Occidental Dissent
  • Patriot Front
  • Republic for the United States of America
  • Southern Cultural Center
  • Three Percenters
  • United States of America Republic Government

While the number of groups in Alabama may have remained small compared to other states like Florida, they weren’t inactive. Carroll Rivas said that in 2023 “the Deep South was an organizing hub for anti student inclusion groups and the anti-government movement.”

“The white nationalist group Patriot Front attempted to intimidate communities through flyering, especially in states like Alabama,” she continued.

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R.G. Cravens, a senior research analyst with the Intelligence Project, explained that flyering is “a form of direct action designed to intimidate and harass communities of color, stoke fear, and suppress diversity, and the language used in it is often derived from racist and antisemitic conspiracies.”

In Alabama, the SPLC documented a total of 120 hate flyering incidents, twelve attempts to ban books at public libraries, a Patriot Front protest at a Prattville pride parade, a road sign hacked to display hate slogans, a neo-Confederate conference in Wetumpka, and bomb threats received by Jewish organizations in several Alabama cities.

In addition to documenting hate and antigovernment groups, and their activity, the SPLC’s report also provided a list of suggested policies to help combat bigotry and extremism.

These “fourteen actions to stop hate” ranged from holding everyone responsible for January 6 accountable to addressing white supremacy in the military and law enforcement, to promoting “inclusive education and democracy-building school initiatives that celebrate our nation’s diversity.”

Huang said the SPLC hopes that the takeaway from this year’s report is “both an affirmation of [communities’] experience and an understanding that it helps create for them of what they’re seeing and observing and participating in in their communities, but also a galvanizing tool.”

Chance Phillips is a reporting intern at the Alabama Political Reporter. You can reach him at [email protected].

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