A new report by the Southern Poverty Law Center has unearthed shocking data about the rise of militias, antigovernment groups, and other right-wing extremist groups. The report, titled “Rage on the Right,” has found that there has been an increase of 244 percent in the number of these extremist groups in 2009:
The number of extremist groups in the United States exploded in 2009 as militias and other groups steeped in wild, antigovernment conspiracy theories exploited populist anger across the country and infiltrated the mainstream, according to a report issued today by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC).
Antigovernment “Patriot” groups — militias and other extremist organizations that see the federal government as their enemy — came roaring back to life over the past year after more than a decade out of the limelight.
The SPLC documented a 244 percent increase in the number of active Patriot groups in 2009. Their numbers grew from 149 groups in 2008 to 512 groups in 2009, an astonishing addition of 363 new groups in a single year. Militias — the paramilitary arm of the Patriot movement — were a major part of the increase, growing from 42 militias in 2008 to 127 in 2009.
Early last year, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) warned about the rise of “rightwing extremism in the United States,” sparking an uproar among many on the right who derided DHS’s warning as merely “paranoid accusations of liberal bloggers.”