Racial Racketeering for Fun and Profit: The Southern Poverty Law Center Scam

Racial Racketeering for Fun and Profit: The Southern Poverty Law Center Scam

by Thomas J. DiLorenzo
June 22, 2011
published on LewRockwell.com


"I have great respect for the Southern Poverty Law Center."

~ Congressman Lacy Clay (D-Banksters)

"Instead of monitoring "hate" and "extremism," they [the SPLC] are concerned with tarring patriotic Americans who oppose their left-wing agenda as haters and extremists."

~ Former Congressman Tom Tancredo

"When you get right down to it, all the SPLC does is call people names. It’s specialized in a highly developed and ritualized form of defamation . . .

What they do is a kind of bullying and stalking . . . . Americans really need to ask themselves if they are willing to tolerate this kind of operation in a free society.

~ Laird Wilcox, author of The Watchdogs: A Close Look at Anti-Racist "Watchdog" Groups


When Rush Limbaugh attempted to buy into an NFL franchise, the political left spread spectacular lies about him, even falsely and absurdly claiming that he had defended slavery on his radio program. When the American Enterprise Institute in Washington, D.C., sponsored a public debate on immigration policy, the left-wing hate group known as the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) smeared and denounced AEI by claiming that it was "mainstreaming hate" by sponsoring the debate. Of course, Americans have been debating immigration policy ever since the Louisiana Purchase. The SPLC is the leading leftist group that engages in this kind of totalitarian behavior.

When a group of military and police officers organized a group called "Oathkeepers" to simply affirm the oath they had all taken to respect and live by the U.S. Constitution, they were denounced by the SPLC as a "hate group," the exact same language the SPLC uses to describe the KKK. When in 2009 the Department of Homeland Security issued a statement that "Ron Paul for President" bumper stickers "could identify likely threats," their asinine statement came from information supplied to them by the Southern Poverty Law Center.

The League of the South recently published its "Declaration of Cultural Secession" advocating a society that advances what it calls the virtues of "Celtic culture," defined on its Web site as "the permanent things that order and sustain life: faith, family, tradition, community, and private property; loyalty, courage, and honour." The SPLC lied about and defamed the League of the South by spreading the falsehood on its own Web site that by "Celtic culture" the League of the South means, and I quote, "white people." Apparently the SPLC believes that only white people embrace family, tradition, community, private property, courage, etc.

Impuning the motives of one’s political opponents, rather than engaging in civilized debate, is an age-old strategy of socialists and other left-wing extremists. In his famous book, The Law, Frederic Bastiat wrote of how the socialists of his day (the 1840s) routinely responded to his criticisms of their interventionist economic schemes by accusing him of hating the poor. It is also obviously the modus operandi of the Southern Poverty Law Center. The SPLC works hand-in-hand with leftist politicians like Congressman Lacy Clay (D-Banksters), quoted at the top of this article, who are too cowardly to sponsor a new Sedition Act that would outlaw criticisms of the government altogether, as was done during the Adams administration. Instead, they support in any way they can the operations of the SPLC, which attempts to censor all serious criticism of the extreme leftist political agenda of socialist politicians like Lacy Clay by accusing any and all critics of "hate" or "extremism," the same words that are used to describe genuine hate groups like the KKK, or criminal or terrorist organizations and individuals.

The SPLC’s Extreme Left-Wing Agenda

The Spring 2010 issue of an online journal, The Social Contract, published seventeen articles about the Southern Poverty Law Center by various scholars and journalists. In an article entitled "SPLC: America’s Left-Wing Hate Machine," journalist Jerry Woodruff wrote of how the SPLC’s founder, Morris Dees, proudly received the Roger Baldwin Award from the ACLU in 1990. Baldwin was a communist who is quoted by Woodruf as having written such things as "I am for socialism" and "I seek social ownership of property, the abolition of the propertied class . . . . Communism is the goal."

Baldwin was a companion of "Red Emma" Goldman, who publicly advocated murder and violence to further a communist revolution in America. She was eventually deported, and Baldwin wrote to her, "you always remain one of the chief inspirations of my life," Woodruff documents.

Morris Dees’s cheerful acceptance of an award that is associated with such despicable characters is not an isolated example of the extremist backround of the SPLC’s staff and directors. SPLC Director James Rucker is also the executive director of an organization called "Color of Change" that was founded by one Van Jones, who was forced to resign from the Obama administration after online videos appeared showing him publicly describing himself as an advocate of "urban Marxism" and "Third World Communism."

Perhaps the most absurd thing the SPLC does is to sponsor a Web site called "Tolerance.org" and to purportedly teach "tolerance" in primary and secondary schools. The man in charge of Tolerance.org is none other than William Ayers, the "Weather Underground" terrorist of the 1960s who admitted to setting off bombs at the U.S. Capitol building in his youth. "I don’t regret setting the bombs," Ayers told the New York Times on October 4, 2008. "I feel we didn’t do enough" bombing, he said.

There appears to be no reason to suspect that Ayers has ever abandoned his revolutionary communistic ideology. Woodruff writes of how Tolerance.org works closely with another far-left group known as the National Association of Multicultural Education (NAME), which raises money by selling bumper stickers, coffee mugs, and other trinkets with sayings imprinted on them by Karl Marx, Castro’s henchman/murderer Che Guevara, and Red Emma. NAME is said to have given a standing ovation for its 1997 convention keynote speaker, Ward Churchill, the fake American Indian/plagiarist/resume fraud who was forced to resign from the University of Colorado several years ago after he publicly compared the people killed in the World Trade Center buildings on 9/11 to Nazis. Ah, tolerance.

The SPLC as a "Hate Group" Hedge Fund

Shortly after Barack Obama was elected president a student of mine who was the president of the College Republicans asked me if I thought Obama would play the race card and accuse his legitimate critics (of socialized medicine, for example) of being motivated by racism as a way of censoring debate. My response to the student was that such a thing is considered to be too vulgar and uncivilized for a president to engage in, which is why Obama and the Democratic Party would probably assign the job to one the hundreds of "nonprofit" organizations that are essentially fund-raising and propaganda arms of the Democratic Party. The Southern Poverty Law Center quickly took the lead, since it was already so experienced at race baiting and racial racketeering.

For example, it was the SPLC that spread the false stories during the Clinton administration that there was an "epidemic" of fires at predominantly black churches in the South. Investigative reporters at the Wall Street Journal and elsewhere quickly proved the story to be false, which would have destroyed the credibility of any conservative or libertarian organization, but never an organization or individual on the extreme Left. That of course is where your typical member of the "mainstream" media sits.

In another Social Contract article entitled "Cooking the Books on Hate: A Closer Look at the SPLC’s Famous List," Steven Menzies quotes the SPLC’s chief hatchetwoman/propagandist, one Heidi Beirich, as saying that its list of "hate groups" is determined by vague "journalistic procedures." But when any group is placed on the list there is usually no specific information, no footnotes, and no fact checking is possible. "Mr. X of the YZ organization is said to have once associated with a dubious character with racist feelings" is the kind of statement that is used to "list" a "hate group."

There have never been any left-wing groups on the SPLC’s lengthy list of "hate groups." It’s "Hate Watch" Web site clearly states that it is supposedly "Keeping and Eye on the Radical Right." There is no mention of the Radical Left, such as the organizations the SPLC’s board members all have founded or belong to and associate with. When pressed, the professional political haters at the SPLC will admit, as Mark Potok, author of the laughingly-named "Intelligence Report" did, that his "hate group" list is "all about ideology," as Menzies writes.

In "Fighting Hate for Profit and Power," also in the Spring 2010 issue of The Social Contract, John Vinson demonstrates just how dogmatic, hateful, and plain weird Mark Potok of the SPLC is when he quotes him as saying of the critics of an open-border immigration policy (which would include most members of Congress and most Americans) that he will "destroy, completely destroy them" with his practice of "ritual defamation." Ah, tolerance.

The teachers of tolerance at the SPLC responded to the creation of the TEA Party movement by issuing a 2010 "Intelligence Report" entitled "Rage on the Right: The Year in Hate and Extremism" claiming that the TEA Party movement is "shot through with rich veins of radical ideas, conspiracy theories, and racism." Most "mainstream" journalists support everything the SPLC stands for (radical socialism, essentially) and therefore reports such hysterical nonsense as though it were scientific fact.

The SPLC has become an extraordinarily wealthy organization, and its directors and employees profit very handsomely from it. Morris Dees long ago became a millionaire from this shady scam. Apparently, its main source of revenue is fundraising letters that are sent out to the least intelligent/most gullible liberals in America who actually believe the SPLC’s wild and unproven smears and respond by sending them a check. In a Social Contract article entitled "Bashing for Dollars: The SPLC’s Predatory Game," Brenda Walker writes that by 2005 the organization had an endowment of $174 million. "Very little of the hoard is spent on actual civil right work," writes Walker. "The major products are smear campaigns," which are essentially fundraising campaigns.

In an article entitled "The Church of Morris Dees" in the November 2000 issue of Harper's magazine Ken Silverstein noted that the SPLC spends such a high percentage of its revenue on salaries, perks, and fundraising that "The American Institute of Philanthropy gives the Center one of the worst rankings of any [nonprofit] group it monitors." That, I suppose, is how it was able to move into its new palatial headquarters building in Montgomery, Alabama that is known locally as the "Poverty Palace."

All of this is undoubtedly why leftist journalist Alexander Cockburn wrote in the New York Press in 2007 that "I've long regarded Morris Dees and his Southern Poverty Law Center as collectively one of the greatest frauds in American life. The reasons: a relentless fundraising machine devoted to terrifying mostly low-income contributors into unbolting ill-spared dollars year after year to an organization that now has an endowment of more than $100 million . . ." Amen, Brother Cockburn.

June 22, 2011

Thomas J. DiLorenzo is professor of economics at Loyola College in Maryland and the author of The Real Lincoln; Lincoln Unmasked: What You’re Not Supposed To Know about Dishonest Abe and How Capitalism Saved America. His latest book is Hamilton’s Curse: How Jefferson’s Archenemy Betrayed the American Revolution – And What It Means for America Today.

Copyright © 2011 by LewRockwell.com. Permission to reprint in whole or in part is gladly granted, provided full credit is given.

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