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Do you see the increase of extremist groups?

WASHINGTON (AFP) – The US has seen an "explosion" in the number of extremist groups and armed militias which advocate radical anti-government doctrines and conspiracy theories, a recent report has found.

The number of active "Patriot" groups nearly tripled last year to 512 from 149 in 2008, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks the activities of hate groups.

Some 127 of those groups were paramilitary militias, up from 42 a year earlier.

"We saw a real explosion in militias and the larger anti-government patriot movement," said Mark Potok, who directs the group's Intelligence Report.

"This is a movement that sees the government as the primary enemy and is completely eaten up with all kinds of conspiracy theories," Potok said in a video accompanying the report published Tuesday.

"They really believe the government is part of an evil scheme to do in Americans."

Answer Question

Asked by sweet-a-kins at 1:00 PM on Mar. 5, 2010 in Politics & Current Events

Level 34 (67,502 Credits)
Answers (47)
  • Potok traces the recent rise in patriot groups to anger over racial changes in the population - most notably the election of the first black president - rising public debt, the bank bailout and an array of initiatives by President Barack Obama's administration that are seen as "socialist" or "fascist."

    "The economy being in shambles, and so many people unemployed has left a lot of people hurting, frustrated, angry and looking for a reason why they are in the place they are in," Potok said.

    "There's a great deal of anger and frustration and that is being channeled sometimes by conspiracy theories or by scapegoating certain groups into this kind of rage we are seeing all across the country."
    The concern, Potok said, is that so many people appear ready to "take action" and so many mainstream politicians and pundits are adopting anti-government stances.

    Answer by sweet-a-kins at 1:00 PM on Mar. 5, 2010

  • Right, so now, when you question the system, you're a conspiracy theorist and/or an "extremist."

    Answer by Anonymous at 1:04 PM on Mar. 5, 2010

  • Right, so now, when you question the system, you're a conspiracy theorist and/or an "extremist."

    No, you should always question the government but extremism is a little different, a little more severe with wide ranging conspiracy theories


    Answer by sweet-a-kins at 1:07 PM on Mar. 5, 2010

  • Southern Poverty Law Center! What a joke! According to them, people with a concealed carry license are potential terrorists! Basically, any study done by them is totally biased and full of crap.

    BTW, the Constitution does allow for WE THE PEOPLE to maintain militias.

    Answer by yourspecialkid at 1:13 PM on Mar. 5, 2010

  • How many of these groups were Islamic? Our state has shut down 2, one with a training facility.

    Answer by Anonymous at 1:15 PM on Mar. 5, 2010

  • Wouldn't it depend on WHO makes the definition of extremism and what the definition is? The current admin has a different def than the last admin.

    Answer by Anonymous at 1:17 PM on Mar. 5, 2010

  • I'm going to have to agree with the article... As much opposition as there was against Bush, it was much more civilized and logical compared to some of the nutcases running around screaming "socialism" etc now, especially since 99.9% of those people haven't the faintest idea what socialism actually entails. And frankly, it scares me to death. I think certain right wing groups do their best to whip people in a frenzy with their conspiracy theories, scare tactics and outright lies. Most people just don't seem to realize that Obama is NOT responsible for the state of the economy right now, and that it WILL take years to recover. They seem to think that as soon as Obama took office, he should have somehow been able to wave a magic wand and make everything better. Not how economics work, but I guess a lot of people just can't figure that out...

    Answer by Anouck at 1:19 PM on Mar. 5, 2010

  • Once again, Obama has failed to "bring people together" and "end the divisiveness" like he promised.  Instead, he has increased public suspicion of the government.  His attempts to ram HCR through are not helping his case.  Neither are his policies regarding Fox news (since recanted), and Pelosi's labeling of Tea Party goers as Nazis.  Not to mention his administration's suspicion of Libertarians and anyone else outside of the mainstream. 

    Anouck, I didn't expect Obama to save the economy.  Obama made promises, they failed to pan out for him.  The stimulus did NOT stop unemployment from growing, and that was Obama's stated goal.  That lies in his corner, his stimulus failed to do what he promised.  I can hold him responsible for what he said and failed to delivery, right? 


    Answer by mancosmomma at 1:34 PM on Mar. 5, 2010

  • People are getting really desperate -- wanting to blame someone for the economy...even though the economy has been in bad or even worse shape in the last 200 they blame the current President. It gets scary....some idiot Preacher in Southern California is actually praying that the Obamas ..all of them...die. Local "Patriots" blame Obama and call Democrats names that I won't repeat. There are so many websites that encourage rebellion and violence. It makes me afraid.

    Answer by Anonymous at 1:37 PM on Mar. 5, 2010

  • Scary study. I am a member of one of their so called "militia" groups. We are actually a gun club and some of us shoot competitively. ONE of us happens to be one of the leaders of a rather large tea party group. Interestingly, three of us are Obama supporters. I wonder what their criteria is.

    Answer by Anonymous at 1:38 PM on Mar. 5, 2010

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