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SPLC Releases Annual “Year in Hate & Extremism” Report, Names Several Political Parties

The Southern Poverty Law Center, a nonprofit seeking to “dismantle white supremacy, strengthen intersectional movements, and advance the human rights of all people,” recently released its annual “Year in Hate & Extremism” report, naming several emerging party affiliates and their affiliates.

The report, published on June 6, 2023, examines organizations that meet the Southern Poverty Law Center’s definition of a hate group and divides them into several categories. Among them are organizations participating in right-wing extremism, supporting or organizing militia activity, engaging in anti-Semitic behavior, or those who are otherwise antigovernment in design and purpose. The report also offers potential policy solutions and proactive ways to respond to organizations meeting their descriptions.

Under the category of antigovernment organizations, SPLC names over two dozen Constitution Party affiliates and former affiliates. The list includes the majority of Constitution Parties, including Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nevada, New Hampshire, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas, Utah, and Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming. It also further specifies the Cole County and Pulaski County regional affiliates in Missouri and Lancaster County in Pennsylvania.

In addition to the Constitution Parties are the American Patriot Party, based out of Oregon, and its Arizona state affiliate. The American Patriot Party is an emerging constitutional party that seeks to “protect, defend and implement” the intents outlined in the Declaration of Independence and the Rights of Colonists, a 1772 text by Samuel Adams. The Tea Party of Kentucky is also listed; however, the Tea Party movement has historically not functioned like a typical political party organization.

The Southern Poverty Law Center defines “antigovernment” organizing as a “conspiratorial movement” focused on curtailing the powers of both state and federal governments” and composed of “sub-ideologies” that utilize unique tactics to accomplish those aims.

At least one organization, however, is pushing back against the SPLC’s labeling of them as a hate group. Chairman of the Constitution Party of Virginia, John Bloom, dismissed claims that his organization is a hate group. Speaking with local media, he stated that the SPLC likely came to that conclusion because of the nationwide Constitution Party brand.

“We shouldn’t be [on the list],” Bloom said in a conversation with WAVY/WVBT’s 10 On Your Side. “I think we got a bad rap from the National Constitution Party, which the Constitution Party of Virginia is no longer a member of.”

The Virginia Constitution Party is a statewide party dedicated to “protecting, preserving and defending the Constitution of the United States.” They are “100% Pro-life” with no exceptions” and oppose the 16th and 17th Amendments. The organization formally voted to disaffiliate from the Constitution Party on June 20, 2019, by a 3 – 2 vote. That same year also saw the disaffiliations of the Idaho, South Dakota, and Alaska parties.

The Constitution Party has been listed several times by the Southern Poverty Law Center due to its political organizing in the past. Neither it nor the American Patriot Party have yet to respond to the Southern Poverty Law Center’s “Year in Hate & Extremism” report.

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