SPLC Report: Far-right Extremist Groups Decline But Remain At Near-record Levels
By Sarah Ford on February 25, 2014
The number of far-right extremist groups fell significantly in 2013 for the first time in a decade, the SPLC found in its annual count, released today. But with a total of more than 2,000 groups, the radical right remains at historically high levels.
“The radical right is growing leaner and meaner,” said Mark Potok, senior fellow at the SPLC and the editor of the report. “The numbers are down somewhat, but the potential for violence remains high.
“Moreover, there is a disturbing dynamic at play. At the same time that the number of extremist groups is dropping, there is more mainstream acceptance of radical-right ideas.”
The SPLC found that the number of hate groups dropped by 7 percent – from 1,007 in 2012 to 939 in 2013. Hate groups reached a peak in 2011 with 1,018 groups.
The more significant decline came within the antigovernment “Patriot” movement, composed of armed militias, “sovereign citizens,” and other conspiracy-minded organizations that see the federal government as their enemy. These groups fell 19 percent – from 1,360 groups in 2012 (an all-time high) to 1,096 in 2013. The decline followed an unprecedented rise that began in 2008, the year President Obama was elected, when a mere 149 Patriot groups were operating.