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American Extremists: Militias, Supremacists, Klansmen, Communists, and Others

NCJ Number
John George; Laird Wilcox
Date Published
443 pages
This volume examines the history, motivations, and activities of political extremism on both the far left and the far right and includes discussions of militia groups, white supremacists, members of the Ku Klux Klan, Communists, and revolutionary and terrorist groups of other kinds.
The discussion is based on discussions with approximately 600 political extremists over a period of many years. The discussion notes that political extremists prefer to believe what they prefer to be true and thus to be ideologues in purest form. The discussion begins with a historical analysis of extremism prior to 1960. It notes that extremism as broadly defined has existed in the United States virtually from the moment it was inhabited by humans. Organized extremism began with the Anti-Masonic Movement in the first third of the 19th century and continued with the formation of the American Protective Association and the establishment of both right-wing and left-wing groups in the 20th century. The volume next examines the reasons people join extremist groups, stay in them, and leave them. Subsequent chapters describe the history and activities of groups on both the left and the right. Groups active during or since the 1960’s on the far left include the Communist Party USA, Socialist Workers Party, Black Panther Party, Students for a Democratic Society, Progressive Labor Party, and many others. Among the groups on the far right are the John Birch Society, the Christian Right, the militias, the LaRouche network, the Jewish Defense League, the Nation of Islam, assorted Neo-Nazis, and the Ku Klux Klan. Photographs, chapter notes, appended background information, and index


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