In the upcoming issue of Newsweek, Evan Thomas and Eve Conant report on how “‘Patriot’ groups— described by the [Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC)] as outfits ‘that see the federal government as part of a plot to impose ‘one-world government’ on liberty-loving Americans’ — are ‘roaring back’ after years out of the limelight.” According to the SPLC, there has been “a 244 percent increase in the number of active Patriot groups in 2009, growing from 149 groups in 2008 to 512 groups in 2009. Newsweek also notes that recent years have seen a resurgence in membership in the Ku Klux Klan:
Fear of “the other” has long fueled hate crimes, from the torture and lynchings by the Ku Klux Klan beginning in the late 1800s, to the violence of the 1950s and ’60s, to the virulent anti-immigrant groups today. In 2008 the Census Bureau announced that whites will make up only half the U.S. population in 2050. “That was a big deal,” says the SPLC’s Potok. In recent years white-power groups mushroomed and the Klan reversed declining membership.
The SPLC estimates that “there are between 5,000 and 8,000 Klan members” active today, “split among dozens of different — and often warring — organizations that use the Klan name.”