SPLC: America’s Left-Wing Hate Machine

By Jerry Woodruff
Volume 20, Number 3 (Spring 2010)
Issue theme: "The Southern Poverty Law Center - A Special Report"

The Southern Poverty Law Center is one of those left-wing groups famous for its advocacy of equality, justice, and tolerance. On its Web site, the SPLC insists that its mission is to fight hate, teach tolerance, and seek justice. It says it does this by tracking and monitoring the activities of “hate groups” and providing educators with “free resources that teach school children to reject hate, embrace diversity and respect differences.” It publishes a quarterly “Intelligence Report” that informs law enforcement agencies, the media, and the public about “extremists.” It also publishes Teaching Tolerance magazine twice a year as a forum for teachers to “exchange fresh ideas for teaching about diversity.”

Founded by direct-mail wizard Morris Dees, who raised money for the presidential campaigns of left-wing leaders Ted Kennedy and George McGovern, the SPLC gained a national reputation in 1987 when it won a verdict in a civil suit against the United Klans of America for its alleged role in the death of a black man. At the time, the Klan was a broken, fragmented, and politically insignificant shell with little money, few members, and virtually no influence.

Aided by a wave of favorable publicity for the suit, SPLC’s subsequent direct-mail fund-raising campaign based on an inflated, and perhaps even imaginary, vision of the KKK and other politically impotent fringe groups enhanced the SPLC’s public image as a seeker of justice against the dark forces of hate. But a review of the ideological leanings, political habits, and political associations of its officers, directors, and publications reveals that in stark contrast to the image of virtuous advocacy of tolerance and justice carefully crafted by its public relations materials, inside the SPLC lurks a more sinister reality that promotes the very vices of hate, bigotry, and racial animosity that the group piously pretends to oppose. Especially troubling is the repeated and continued willingness of the SPLC to associate itself with, or make recommendations for, a variety of hate-driven, anti-American political groups, including communists and communist-friendly individuals and organizations.

In 1990, Morris Dees himself received an award named for an advocate of communism. Called the Roger Baldwin Award, this dubious honor is conferred by the left-wing American Civil Liberties Union, which Baldwin founded.

“I am for socialism,” Baldwin wrote. “I seek social ownership of property, the abolition of the propertied class, and sole control by those who produce wealth. Communism is the goal.”

Baldwin was a friend and admirer of anarchist Emma Goldman, a.k.a. “Red Emma,” who advocated murder and violence to further revolution. A Russian immigrant to the U.S., in the 1890s she plotted with her lover to kill the manager of the Carnegie Steel Company, and later openly spoke in defense of Leon Czolgosz, the fellow anarchist executed for assassinating President William McKinley. She was eventually deported for her subversive activities. Baldwin wrote in a letter to her, “you always remain one of the chief inspirations of my life....”

Another inspiration for Baldwin was communist-anarchist intellectual Prince Peter Kropotkin. In 1927, Baldwin published an English language edition of his hero’s works, entitled Kropotkin’s Revolutionary Pamphlets for which he wrote a glowing introduction.

The character of the Baldwin Award was highlighted when the ACLU bestowed it on activist Anne Braden, identified by an undercover FBI informant in sworn testimony before the Senate Internal Security Subcommittee as a member of the Soviet-linked Communist Party USA. Anne and her husband Carl — also identified as a CPUSA member — were active in party efforts to provoke racial tensions between blacks and whites in the South.

To gauge the political significance of Dees’ acceptance of the award, consider what it might mean if a conservative activist — say, someone like Phyllis Schlafly — had accepted an award named for George Lincoln Rockwell.

That the millionaire Dees would accept an award named for a self-professed communist who sought to abolish private property indicates much more than simple Tartuffery. Dees’ willingness to associate himself with the Red anarchist is part of a larger pattern of the SPLC’s links with the extremist left and communist-friendly groups that shows its own hate-driven political extremism.

Consider the connections and political habits of its directors, for example.

SPLC Director James Rucker is executive director of ColorOfChange.org, which calls itself “an online citizens lobby dedicated to amplifying the political voice of Black America.” On its Web site, ColorOfChange openly advertises a racialist agenda, explaining that it is “changing the color of democracy.” Just what color democracy ought to be is spelled out explicitly: “ColorOfChange exists to strengthen Black America’s political voice,” the group says. The word black is always capitalized on the group’s Web site. “Our goal is to empower our members — Black Americans and our allies — to make government more responsive to the concerns of Black Americans....” It emphasizes, “We’ll bring attention to the needs and concerns of Black folks....” ColorOfChange perfunctorily is open to “those of every color,” but just make sure you sympathize with “Black concerns.”

Projects organized by ColorOfChange include a “campaign against racism on Fox News,” which the group says has “consistently attacked Black people.” ColorOfChange wanted to pressure CNN not to hire neoconservative William Bennett, former Secretary of Education under President George H.W. Bush, because the group believes Bennett “perpetuated the idea that Black people are part of a criminal class.” The group accuses Fox News of “a longstanding pattern of race baiting and fear mongering.”

ColorOfChange was cofounded by Van Jones, a radical black activist who admitted communist sympathies. In California, he was a member of a Bay Area group called STORM, Standing Together to Organize a Revolutionary Movement, whose official Points of Unity endorse “revolutionary democracy, revolutionary feminism, revolutionary internationalism, the central role of the working class, urban Marxism, and Third World Communism.” Jones resigned from his post in the Obama administration after reports surfaced about his extremist associations, including his signature on a petition demanding an investigation into whether President George W. Bush helped plot the 9/11 terror attacks.

Another director, Patricia Clark, joined the SPLC after a stint as National Criminal Justice Representative at the American Friends Service Committee. Founded in 1917, AFSC has a long history of friendliness to communists and supporters of communism. During the Vietnam War, AFSC shipped medical supplies to North Vietnam while it waged war on American soldiers. In the 1920s, AFSC sponsored a trip to Soviet Russia by Jessica Smith, the wife of Soviet spy cell leader Harold Ware, in an effort the group claimed was designed to determine the needs for “famine relief.”

In an AFSC pamphlet, “Non Violence: Not First For Export,” author John Bristol defended Third World terrorism, saying it is “used to signify violent action on the part of oppressed peoples in Asia, Africa, Latin America, or within the black ghettos of America, as they take up the weapons of violence in a desperate effort to wrest for themselves the freedom and justice denied them by the systems that presently control their lives.” He blames affluent Westerners for the plight of Third World terrorists: “What millions of middle class and other non-poor fail to realize is that they are themselves accomplices each day in meeting [sic] out inhuman, all-pervading violence upon their fellows.”

According to Gordon Lamb, writing for Frontpagemag.com (“American Friends? Hardly,” June 5, 2003), an AFSC Conference on Justice and Global Security in 2002 was cosponsored by the Communist Party USA.

Marsha Levick is another SPLC director associated with a left-wing group founded by radicals. From 1982 to 1988, Levick served as legal director and executive director of the National Organization for Women Legal Defense and Education Fund. NOW’s two most prominent founders, Betty Friedan and Bella Abzug, have long histories of Marxist associations.

Friedan, posing as a typical suburban housewife, authored The Feminine Mystique, a manifesto of the modern left’s hate campaign against “patriarchy” and the American family. Far from being a typical American housewife, Friedan had been a Marxist activist since her student days at Smith College. In the late 40s and early 50s, she was a reporter for the newspaper of the United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America which was described by the U.S. Department of Justice as “communist dominated.”

In the Communist Manifesto, Marx condemned the middle class family and pledged to abolish it under communism. “On what foundation is the present family, the bourgeois family, based? On capital, on private gain....” He sneered at what he called the “bourgeois claptrap about the family and education, about the hallowed co-relation of parent and child.... The bourgeois sees in his wife a mere instrument of production.” Heeding Marx’s call to destroy the family, Friedan compared the plight of married women in America to the suffering of Jews in Nazi Germany, calling the middle class suburban family “a comfortable concentration camp.” What she labeled as the “feminine mystique” was the ghastly phenomenon of “millions of women [living] their lives in the image of those pretty pictures of the American suburb housewife.... Their only dream was to be perfect wives and mothers; their highest ambition to have five children and a beautiful house, their only fight to get and keep their husbands. They had no thought for the unfeminine problems of the world outside the home....” For Friedan, this role of housewife was “dehumanizing,” because “a woman who evades her own growth by clinging to the childlike protection of the housewife role will...suffer increasingly severe pathology, both physiological and emotional.” She called this feminine mystique of the housewife “sick and dangerous.”

Political activist Bella Abzug, after graduating from Columbia Law School, became chair of the Civil Rights Committee of the National Lawyers Guild, which was cited by a congressional committee as “the foremost legal bulwark of the Communist Party” and described in 1953 by U.S. Attorney General Herbert Brownell as “the legal mouthpiece of the Communist Party.” In 1948, Abzug was an official NLG representative in Prague at the Third Congress of the International Association of Democratic Lawyers, where she cosponsored a resolution denouncing alleged “persecutions directed against the leaders of the American Communist Party by the government of the U.S.A.” The New York Post described her in a 1941 profile as a political activist who “generally followed the Communist Party line.” Abzug hated American society, telling the Commonwealth Club in California in a 1973 speech that the U.S. was “sexist,” “racist,” and “militarist.”

The left-wing extremism of NOW’s two leading founders was apparently no impediment to Levick heading up NOW’s Legal Defense and Education Fund. The fund (renamed Legal Momentum) has its own extremist streak. One of its tracts, “Is the Law Male? Let Me Count the Ways,” is described as illustrating “the concept of law as male by analogizing it to the medical community’s treatment of the male body as the norm.”

Apart from Dees, SPLC’s most famous official is Director Julian Bond, the SPLC’s first president, who was also a founder of the radical left-wing Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), which produced violent revolutionary black leader H. Rap Brown and anti-white racist Stokely Carmichael. A former Georgia state legislator, the acid-tongued Bond was the SPLC’s president from 1971 to 1979, and currently serves on its board of directors. Bond was SNCC’s communications director.

While SNCC is often described as merely a “civil rights organization,” it was in reality a virulent radical left political organization with a rhetoric that echoed Soviet and Maoist-inspired Marxist movements worldwide. SNCC had its roots in the Southern Negro Youth Congress, cofounded by James E. Jackson, Jr., who was Southern secretary of the Communist Party and editor of the party newspaper, The Worker . “Historians view the Southern Negro Youth Congress as the predecessor of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee,” said Michael Nash, director of the New York University library where Jackson’s papers are stored.

Bond admitted that SNCC was far more radical than a conventional civil rights organization. “Unlike mainstream civil rights groups, which merely sought integration of blacks into the existing order, SNCC sought structural changes in American society itself,” he said in a 2000 article, “SNCC: What We Did.”

In 1967, SNCC declared it was dedicated to the “liberation not only of black people in the United States but of all oppressed people, especially those in Africa, Asia, and Latin America.” In the U.S., SNCC exploited and exacerbated racial tensions between blacks and whites in the 1960s, and denounced the U.S. government of liberal Democrat President Lyndon Johnson for “terrorizing” and “oppressing” blacks. Its policy statement condemning U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War in 1968 said, “the United States government has never guaranteed the freedom of oppressed citizens, and is not yet truly determined to end the rule of terror and oppression within its own borders.” SNCC accused American troops of murder: “Vietnamese are murdered because the United States is pursuing an aggressive policy in violation of international law.”

In 1964, SNCC sent 11 members to establish ties with the one-party dictatorship of Marxist President Sekou Toure of Guinea. An advocate of Pan-African racial solidarity, Toure was awarded the Lenin Peace Prize in 1961 and jailed and killed his political opponents, some 50,000 of whom reportedly died in Toure’s concentration camps.

The violence-prone H. Rap Brown, famous for his hate threat, “If America don’t come around, we’re gonna burn it down,” became chairman of the “nonviolent” SNCC in 1967 and was arrested that same year for inciting a riot in Cambridge, Maryland. The courthouse where Brown was to be tried was bombed. He later joined the anti-police hate group, the Black Panther Party, as its “Justice Minister” and served five years in prison for armed robbery. In 2002 he was convicted of killing one police officer and severely wounding another in Fulton, County, Georgia. The “nonviolent” former SNCC leader now refers to himself as “Jamil Abdullah Al-Amin.”

Anti-white Stokely Carmichael, SNCC chairman in 1966, was an advocate of “black power,” and endorsed SNCC’s decision to exclude whites from the group’s voter registration drives, believing that integration was a white plot to maintain white supremacy. In 1966 and 1967 he traveled to North Vietnam, Cuba, and China to establish political ties with anti-American communist regimes. In Havana, the leader of the “nonviolent” SNCC said, “We are preparing groups of urban guerrillas for our defense in the cities. It is going to be a fight to the death.” He identified with Fidel Castro’s Che Guevera, saying, “The death of Che Guevera places a responsibility on all revolutionaries of the world to redouble their decision to fight on to the final defeat of imperialism. That is why in essence Che Guevera is not dead, his ideas are with us.” Carmichael left SNCC to became “Honorary Prime Minister” of the Black Panthers, but later broke with the group in disagreement over policy. He hated Western civilization, which he hoped black people would soon destroy. “When you talk of black power, you talk of building a movement that will smash everything Western civilization has created,” he said in speeches, according to his obituary in the New York Times. After renaming himself after President Toure of Guinea, he died of prostate cancer in 1998, and blamed his cancer on the “forces of American imperialism and others who conspired with them.”

Speeches today by SNCC cofounder Bond don’t contain the kind of direct threats of violence hurled by his colleagues Brown and Carmichael, but they, too, are incendiary and pointedly racial. Bond’s speeches typically seek to establish black racial solidarity by inflaming hatred against whites, whom he regularly demonizes.

A speech to the NAACP in 2005, for example, was clearly designed to inflame racial tensions after the U.S. Senate overwhelmingly approved a resolution (with 79 cosponors) that apologized for failing to pass legislation 100 years ago against lynching. Not satisfied with the near unanimous apology, Bond was angry that the resolution passed by a voice vote instead of a roll call, allowing eight senate opponents to avoid recorded ‘no’ votes. He recalled the brutal lynching in 1918 of a pregnant black woman, Mary Turner, by whites in Valdosta, Georgia. Bond regaled the nearly all-black audience with gory details of the vicious crime, quoting an NAACP organizer’s account: “After she had been tied to a tree and burned, a man stepped forward with a pocket knife and ripped open her abdomen in a crude Caesarean operation. ‘Out tumbled the prematurely born child ... Two feeble cries it gave — and received for the answer the heel of a stalwart man, as life was ground out of the tiny form.’”

“If a United States Senator, in the year 2005, can’t apologize for that, what outrage is deserving of an apology?” Bond thundered.

But no members of the Senate participated in the lynching; nor were they members of any earlier Senate that failed to pass anti-lynching legislation; and none (except Sen. Robert Byrd, born in 1917) were even alive at the time of the crime.

Pinning the responsibility to apologize for the grisly 1918 murder of Mary Turner on the U.S. Senate in 2005 was a cold-blooded, calculated rhetorical maneuver whose only purpose was to inflame passions and provoke division and hatred. Bond then went even further, and depicted the eight senate opponents as members of the Ku Klux Klan, approvingly quoting a resolution supporter who said, “they’re hiding out, and it’s reminiscent of a pattern of hiding out under a hood in the night, riding past, scaring people.”

Smearing political opponents with hate-inspired slurs is typical of Bond. In 2001 he compared President George Bush’s cabinet appointees to Islamic terrorists, saying they “are from the Taliban wing of American politics.” He condemned the selection of John Ashcroft as Attorney General and Gale Norton as Interior Secretary as designed to “appease the wretched appetites of the extreme right-wing” because their “devotion to the Confederacy is nearly canine in its uncritical affection.”

The hallmark of Bond’s hate speeches is a casual willingness to pick at the scab of what is perhaps the greatest wound in American history, the Civil War, and to revive long-buried resentments and bring them back to life for his own political purposes. In an especially vicious address to the NAACP, Bond inflamed his audience by comparing Republicans to Confederate leaders of 150 years ago. He railed that the GOP is “appealing to the dark underside of American culture, to that minority of Americans who reject democracy and equality.” He said “they embrace Confederate leaders as patriots,” and that “their idea of war reparations is to give war criminal Jefferson Davis a pardon.” He then wildly equated the Confederate South with Hitler’s Nazi Germany: “Their idea of equal rights is the American flag and Confederate swastika flying side by side,” he said.

When not smearing them as Klansmen or Confederates, Bond stirs up hate against white Republicans by depicting them as Nazi war criminals. In February 1970, United Press International reported that in an interview taped for Dutch radio, Bond was asked if he regarded President Richard Nixon as a friend of blacks. He replied, “If you could call Adolf Hitler a friend of the Jews, you could call President Nixon a friend of the blacks.” He added that he thought Nixon’s extermination methods were “much more subtle.”

Bond’s political history is steeped in left-wing radicalism. In 1968 he campaigned for radical lawyer Paul O’Dwyer in his ultimately failed bid for the U.S. Senate from New York. O’Dwyer had been president of the New York chapter of the communist-friendly National Lawyers Guild. In 1967, Bond was cochairman of the National Conference for New Politics, described by Sen. James O. Eastland, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, as “working hand in glove with the Communist Party.” He added, “the original goal of the NCNP was revolution in the United States....” The national council of the NCNP included Marxist theoretician Herbert Marcuse and the notorious Afro-racist Stokely Carmichael.

For decades Bond has charged that white government officials engage in conspiracies against black people. In 1970, UPI reported Bond’s accusation that there was a “conscious conspiracy” by all law enforcement agencies in the country to eradicate the Black Panther Party, including efforts by President Nixon to stage rigged trials for its members. “There seems to me to be a conscious conspiracy on the part of local police forces and state police forces and the federal police force, the Federal Bureau of Investigation. I think it comes from President Nixon and Attorney General Mitchell making a serious attempt to destroy the Black Panthers. They do it in two ways — one by political assassination and by political trials, the kind they have in the Soviet Union,” he said.

In remarks to the NAACP convention in 2002, Bond alleged yet another conspiracy in high places, including at the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. “There is a vast right-wing conspiracy, and it’s operating out of the United States Department of Justice and the Office of the White House Counsel and the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. There is an interlocking network of funders, groups and activists who coordinate their methods and their message. They are the money, the motivation and the movement behind attacks on justice everywhere,” he said.

Bond accuses whites of being out to discriminate against blacks, and suggests only force can stop them. Even though blacks have served as big city mayors, congressmen, senators, governors, federal judges and Supreme Court justices, cabinet secretaries, as secretary of defense, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, national security advisor, and have achieved multi-millionaire success in business, movies, television, music, sports, and all other aspects of popular culture, and even though white-run institutions have established affirmative action programs that give blacks first-in-line treatment for college admissions and employment, Bond told the NAACP’s 97th convention, “the quest for meaningful equality — political and economic equity — remains unfulfilled today.” Turning the knife, he told his mostly black audience that whites will always discriminate against them in the absence of force: “The history of racial struggle in America is a hymn to self-help and an acknowledgment that white Americans will not and cannot voluntarily end discrimination.”

Bond’s fear-mongering about whites as perpetually anti-black and Republicans as Confederates, Klansmen, and Nazis is recapitulated in the SPLC’s claims to have discovered racists and confederates throughout the American mainstream.

In its online “Intelligence Files,” the SPLC smears former presidential aide and syndicated columnist Patrick J. Buchanan as a “white nationalist commentator.” Buchanan, a news analyst for MSNBC, a former senior advisor to presidents Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, and Ronald Reagan, the author of 10 books, many of them bestsellers, is a traditionalist Catholic conservative. He ran for president twice in Republican primaries and once on a third party ticket on a platform of reducing the size of government, balancing the budget, cutting or freezing federal spending, withdrawing U.S. troops from foreign outposts, and protecting U.S. jobs from unfair foreign competition. He has never advocated segregation or a separate nation for whites only, and has referred to the civil rights movement of the 1960s as “liberalism’s finest hour.” In a third party presidential bid, he chose a black woman as his running mate. Yet the SPLC charges he is a “white nationalist.” When it comes to demonizing one’s opponents, reality means little to the minions of the SPLC.

The “Intelligence Files” also refer derisively to widely respected scholar Russell Kirk as a “neo-confederate thinker,” whatever that means. One suspects “neo-confederate” is simply the SPLC’s Bond-inspired rhetorical term designed to politicize as inimical any Southerner who is interested in cultivating or memorializing his heritage (and therefore is a suspected slavery sympathizer who no doubt secretly yearns for secession). The smear is doubly ridiculous as applied to Kirk, a traditionalist conservative intellectual. Born in Michigan, Kirk was neither a Southerner nor an advocate of secession. The author of 32 books, including The Conservative Mind: From Burke to Eliot, Roots of the American Order, The Politics of Prudence, Eliot and His Age, Edmund Burke: A Genius Reconsidered, Enemies of the Permanent Things, Redeeming the Time, Academic Freedom, etc., Kirk was a Guggenheim Fellow, a senior fellow of the American Council of Learned Societies, a Fulbright Lecturer in Scotland, and a Constitutional Fellow of the National Endowment for the Humanities. He counted among his friends T.S. Eliot, Wyndham Lewis, Wilhelm Roepke, Malcolm Muggeridge, Flannery O’Connor, William F. Buckley, Cleanth Brooks, and many other poets, writers, and scholars.

But SPLC smears Kirk as a “neo-confederate.”

A host of other less well-known conservatives and immigration control activists are routinely smeared by the SPLC as “anti-black,” “white supremacist,” or “racist.”

If the SPLC were serious about exposing racism, it might take a look at its own publishing habits. In 2004, SPLC’s affiliate, Tolerance.org, published an online movie review by Andrea Lewis of the left-wing Progressive Media Project. Entitled “Lord of the Rings vs. The Matrix,” the review criticized the Academy Award-winning Lord of the Rings movie trilogy because it depicts white males as heroes and relegates females to non-warrior roles. “Almost all of the heroes of the series are manly men who are whiter than white,” wrote Lewis. She said they “exude a heavenly aura of all that is Eurocentric and good. Who but these courageous Anglo Saxon souls can save Middle Earth from the dark and evil forces of the world?” She said the film promotes white, patriarchal stereotypes. The film was “like promotional ads for those tired old race and gender paradigms that were all the rage back in author J.R.R. Tolkien’s day.” By contrast, she found The Matrix trilogy more satisfying because it features non-white and mixed race heroes, including “a warm and witty African American woman” who is “the wisest figure” in the cast. “The [ Matrix] films are also infused with a strong sense of Asian style and culture, exemplified by the character Seraph (Collin Chou) who is both a martial arts expert and Buddhist meditation practitioner.” Lewis is particularly happy because in The Matrix whites are villains. “Most of the really bad guys in ‘The Matrix’ are Eurotrash ... [including] a rather stuffy and pompous white guy with a white beard and white suit who reeks of imperialism.” She concludes, “To my African American female eyes, the biggest difference between ‘The Lord of the Rings’ and ‘The Matrix’ [is] ... the patriarchy of the past versus the Rainbow Coalition of the Future.” (One wonders how Tolerance.org would react to a white reviewer who had trashed The Matrix because its heroes are racially mixed and non-white, while praising Lord of the Rings for its “courageous Anglo Saxon” heroes.)

Publishing Lewis’s review indicates SPLC regards it as an important component of the message SPLC seeks to convey. The anti-white, anti-European theme of the review embellishes and exacerbates the non-white resentments that the SPLC and its extremist allies on the left seek to nurture into hatred and division in order to fuel its ideological assault on America’s unique, European-derived capitalist heritage and traditions.

Lewis, now deceased, was a regular contributor to the we-hate-the-patriarchal-white-middle-class literature disseminated by the Progressive Media Project, a leftist outfit that argues newspapers publish too many articles by white people. With money from the left-wing Ford Foundation, the project is dedicated to “democratizing” the nation’s newspapers by disseminating articles based on the sexual habits and skin color of the authors. Says the project: “Each week we send out an op-ed by an African-American, and by a Latino/a. And every month, we send out op-ed pieces by Asian Americans, Arab Americans, Native Americans, persons with disabilities, LGBTs, and women.”

Lewis’s other contributions include columns that claimed, “the FBI may soon be going after American citizens on the basis of our race, religion, and ethnicity — even when there is no evidence of wrongdoing,” and asserted the Pentagon was fostering a “culture of sexist violence” against women. In 2008 she wrote a paean to infamous American communist activist/entertainer Paul Robeson, an apologist for the Soviet Union, admirer of Josef Stalin, and winner of the Stalin Peace Prize. Said Robeson in a saccharine tribute to Stalin, “Forever will his name be honored and beloved in all lands. In all spheres of modern life, the influence of Stalin reaches wide and deep... his contributions to the science of our world society remain invaluable. One reverently speaks of Marx, Engels, Lenin and Stalin — the shapers of humanity’s richest present and future.” Lewis’s column acknowledged Robeson’s communist activism and concluded, “We would all do well to follow the example of Paul Robeson.”

In addition to Lewis’s tirade against movies with white heroes, SPLC’s Tolerance.org promotes other anti-American and anti-white bigotry under the umbrella of “social justice” and “multiculturalism.” On its Web site, the group claims it works “to foster school environments that are inclusive and nurturing — classrooms where equality and justice are not just taught but lived.” The group prepares kits that school teachers can use to “prepare a new generation to live in a diverse world.” The kits contain ideologically tilted reading materials aimed at students in various grades from kindergarten through high school. The kits suggest sample questions and activities that will steer students toward the radical left’s ideology of class warfare, racial resentment, and anti-white cultural activism.

One typical lesson in “tolerance” is aimed at generating Marxist-style economic resentments and class antagonisms among sixth graders. Entitled, “Economic Injustice Affects Us All: A Lesson from Viva la Causa,” the lesson teaches children to identify “economic injustice,” part of a larger kit that introduces students to the strikes and boycotts led by migrant labor organizer Cesar Chavez against grape growers. Says the lesson: “Growers made their fortunes while farmworkers struggled to get by. Such disparity is common not just in the fields, but throughout the U.S. economy.”

The lesson describes how activists raised public awareness of economic injustice by a demonstration at the Washington Monument in Washington, D.C. Activists said the monument, at 555 feet tall, represented the pay received by corporate CEOs. To illustrate injustice, the activists “then placed a much, much smaller replica of the Washington Monument next to the real thing. The replica represented worker pay. In 2003, it would have stood at just 16 inches tall, a ratio of 419 to one.” The lesson claims that in 1965, a monument representing farmworkers’ pay would have been 13.5 feet tall, for a ratio of 41 to 1.

The lesson doesn’t teach why a skilled, experienced, and educated person would earn more in a marketplace than a less educated, inexperienced worker with fewer skills. Instead the lesson only provokes Marxist-style class resentment. No economic principles are illuminated, only “injustice.” Students for example are directed to create various art projects that illustrate pay differences, then use them to propagandize others. “Display students’ art projects in the classroom, school library or elsewhere, and hold a forum where students explain the meanings of their artwork to other students,” the kit advises. “In this activity, students will come to see that economic disparities affect us all and that we should all be concerned with economic justice.”

(Perhaps the Montgomery, Alabama-based SPLC could show students its 2008 tax return revealing that SPLC President and CEO Richard Cohen’s annual compensation was $348,652 compared to Alabama’s median family income of $42,586.)

Another lesson for sixth graders, “Injustice on Our Plates,” teaches students to support agriculture boycotts organized by the Coalition of Immokalee Workers, The National Union of Food Industry Workers in Colombia, and the National Federation of Free Peasants and Indigenous People of Ecuador. Students are asked if they’ve recently eaten at McDonalds, Burger King, or Taco Bell or drunk a Coca Cola or eaten a banana. If so, for each “yes” answer they are to take one step away from a sign reading, “Dignity and Fairness for Workers.” The lesson is that their consumer choices can distance themselves from fairness and “may well have silenced some workers’ efforts to secure fair wages, safe working conditions and union representation,” the lesson says.

Besides encouraging economic resentments, Tolerance.org also provokes ethnic animosities. In its recommended lesson, “Thanksgiving Mourning,” students are taught to be ashamed of America’s unique November holiday. “For some native Americans, Thanksgiving is no cause for celebration, but rather serves as a reminder of colonization’s devastating impact on indigenous people,” the lesson says. Seventh-graders — who have probably never thought about ethnic antagonisms — are instructed to read “The Suppressed Speech of Wamsutta James,” from the United American Indians of New England (UAINE).

Frank B. (Wamsutta) James was a Wampanoag Indian activist, trumpet player, and music director of the Nauset Regional Schools in Massachusetts. He founded UAINE in 1970 and organized other anti-American activists to boycott America’s traditional Thanksgiving holiday and declare the day as a “National Day of Mourning” to memorialize the sufferings of American Indians at the hands of white European colonists in America.

UAINE’s Web site (as of May 1, 2010) features demands for the release of left-wing cop-killers Leonard Peltier and Mumia Abu Jamal (a.k.a. Wesley Cook). Peltier, a leader of the radical left-wing American Indian Movement, was convicted and drew two consecutive life sentences for the 1975 murders of two FBI agents, Jack Coler and Ronald Williams, on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota. The two were shot at close range in the head. Abu Jamal, a member of the Black Panther Party, was convicted of the 1981 murder of 28-year-old white Philadelphia police officer Daniel Faulkner; who was shot five times, once at close range in the head. The two killers are major celebrities among left-wingers and communists throughout the country who charge that they are “political prisoners” and victims of white racism.

UAINE claims Wamsutta James was invited to deliver a Thanksgiving Day speech at a “Commonwealth of Massachusetts banquet” but was disinvited after his hosts read the inflammatory text. UAINE does not identify the hosts by name, and still refers to it as the “suppressed” speech even though it is widely available on left-wing Web sites throughout the Internet.

Still popular among anti-American activists, the speech displays James’s ethnic pride and the resentments he has assiduously nursed about events that occurred more than 350 years ago. James was upset about the story of the first Thanksgiving, which depicts white European Pilgrims and the native Indian population sharing food in comity and friendship.

“The Pilgrims had hardly explored the shores of Cape Cod for four days before they had robbed the graves of my ancestors and stolen their corn and beans,” he complains in the speech. He goes on to glorify Indians’ racial solidarity in the face of a white culture he condemns as “materialistic.” He says he is “proud of my ancestry” and that he and his family “are Indians first.” He recounts the loss of his tribe’s lands to whites and the dispersal of his people. “Although time has drained our culture, and our language is almost extinct, we the Wampanoags still walk the lands of Massachusetts. We may be fragmented, we may be confused. Many years have passed since we have been a people together. Our lands were invaded. We fought as hard to keep our land as you the whites did to take our land away from us. We were conquered, we became the American prisoners of war...,” he lamented.

Throughout human history, conquered peoples have universally mourned their fate. But very few nurse the idea of revenge after nearly 400 years. But here in the U.S., the SPLC wants to use James’s speech to open centuries-old wounds and resurrect ethnic hostilities. By airing James’s demand for “justice,” the SPLC aims to legitimize James’s none-too-gentle hint at getting revenge: “Our spirit refuses to die,” he wrote. “We are uniting. We’re standing not in our wigwams but in your concrete tent. We stand tall and proud, and before too many moons pass, we’ll right the wrongs we have allowed to happen to us.”

The lesson plan suggests students should describe the ways in which James’s perspectives are “gifts to our nation.” As a closing activity, the lesson suggests teachers “ask students to write letters to Wamsutta James” to thank him for sharing his point of view. James died in 2001, so SPLC says “teachers can send student letters to the United American Indians of New England, which oversees the National Day of Mourning.” The defenders of cop-killers Peltier and Abu Jamal will no doubt be pleased to receive the names and addresses of many impressionable young students.

Getting students to write to UAINE is only one way that Tolerance.org has asked visitors to contact allied left-wing groups. In a previous incarnation of its Web site, Tolerance.org displayed its “U.S. Map of Social Justice Groups” to serve “as a resource for individuals wanting to connect with organizations that promote equality on the local, state, and national levels.” Visitors in late 2007 could click on their home state to see a list of “social justice groups” there that the SPLC said are “taking an active stand against hate in all forms, empowering communities to build and retain respectful and just environments.”

On the lists are dozens of well-known left-wing groups, from the American Civil Liberties Union and the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network to Jessie Jackson’s National Rainbow PUSH and the National Council of La Raza. Also recommended are a variety of lesser-known organizations with radical agendas that are frankly extremist or openly racialist. One “social justice group,” called Critical Resistance, frets over what it calls “the crisis of the prison industrial complex” and maintains that “prisons and policing are destroying us.” The group opposes imprisonment of criminals. “The prison industrial complex, or PIC, affects us all,” it says. “[P]risons have failed to cut crime. They have instead led to more racism, poverty and sexism. Our communities become weaker when we use punishment to solve our problems.” The group says “We work to prevent people from being arrested or locked up in prison.”

Another group, the Center for Third World Organ- izing, pursues an openly racialist agenda, saying it wants to create “race consciousness” among non-whites. CTWO says it wants to “increase the pool of highly trained, race-conscious organizers of color to work for community and labor organizations that contribute to the long term struggle for racial and social justice.” A goal is to “promote race-based analysis and its application to local and global struggles for economic and social equity.”

Another group Tolerance.org recommends is the National Association for Multicultural Education (NAME). At its national convention in 2007, NAME delegates elected one of its board members and regional directors, Paul Gorski, as president. Gorski is assistant professor of Integrative and Interdisciplinary Studies at George Mason University’s New Century College in Fairfax, Virginia. He is founder of a left-wing multiculturalist education group called EdChange that operates an online “social justice store.” The store sells T-shirts, coffee mugs, bumper stickers, magnets, hats, and other trinkets featuring pictures or quotes from Karl Marx, murderer Che Guevera, anarchist Emma Goldman, and leader of the bloody rebellion in Haiti against the French, Toussaint L’Ouverture.

At its annual conventions, NAME has sponsored workshops at which speakers delivered hate-filled diatribes against the U.S. One explicitly declared, “multicultural education demands the removal of the American system. If we want power, we’re going to have to take it. Multicultural education is about how to take it.”

In 1997, NAME delegates gave a standing ovation to the group’s convention keynote speaker, Ward Churchill, a radical ethnic studies academic who was then at the University of Colorado, who called for abolition of the United States, according to a researcher at the meeting who transcribed his anti-American hate speech.

Said Churchill: “We are not part of the United States simply because the United States says so.... Rather than taking over the reins of power of the United States, we’re talking about abolishing those reins altogether.... United States, out of our classrooms! United States, out of East L.A.! United States, out of North America! And most important, United States, out of mind!”

Churchill achieved national notoriety with his essay, “Some People Push Back: On the Justice of Roosting Chickens,” in which he compared the victims killed in the September 11 terror attacks on the World Trade Center to Nazi war criminals. He called employees of the financial companies there “a technocratic corps at the very heart of America’s global financial empire,” and viciously added that if there were “any other way of visiting some penalty befitting their participation upon the little Eichmanns inhabiting the sterile sanctuary of the twin towers, I’d really be interested in hearing about it.”

SPLC’s recommendation of NAME is not the only case where its ideas about “social justice” became entangled with unsavory characters who have endorsed violence.

Tolerance.org unashamedly praised self-professed communist Bill Ayers, the Weather Underground terrorist who admitted setting off bombs at the Pentagon and the U.S. Capitol. The group’s Teaching Tolerance magazine published a glowing profile of Ayers, now an “education reformer,” by Gabrielle Lyon, an SPLC research fellow who promoted Ayers’ theories on education. Lyon described Ayers as a “civil rights organizer, radical anti-Vietnam War activist, teacher and author.” She made no mention of Ayers’ communist sympathies or his admission to setting bombs. Her description of him as an “anti-Vietnam War activist” is misleading, implying that Ayers was a peace activist. He was, in fact, a supporter of communist North Vietnam’s war aims, and he actively advocated the defeat of the U.S.

In 1969 Ayers and his future wife, Bernadine Dohrn, convened a “War Council” of underground revolutionaries from the “weatherman faction” of the radical Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) in Flint, Michigan, to create a “Red Army” inside the U.S. as a fighting force allied with Third World communists to destroy the country from within. Raising three fingers in a “fork salute,” Dohrn praised the mass murder masterminded by Charles Manson in which pregnant actress Sharon Tate and her friends were slaughtered by the “Manson family.” Dohrn told the assembled throng of Reds, “Dig it. First they killed those pigs, then they ate dinner in the same room with them. They even shoved a fork into a victim’s stomach. Wild!”

Ayers is the author of the Weather Underground’s revolutionary manifesto, called “Prairie Fire,” dedicated to Robert F. Kennedy’s assassin Sirhan Sirhan and other America-hating activists regarded by Ayers as U.S. “political prisoners.” Today, Ayers is unrepentant, telling the New York Times in 2001, “I don’t regret setting the bombs. I feel we didn’t do enough.”

SPLC’s Lyon praises Ayers as a dedicated educator who has “developed a rich vision of teaching that interweaves passion, responsibility and self-reflection.” She says that for Ayers, “challenging stereotypes and reforming inner-city schools is as much about fighting for social justice as about improving the quality of teaching and learning.”

Larry Grathwohl, an FBI undercover informant who infiltrated the revolutionary Weather Underground, said in sworn congressional testimony that Ayers told him Dohrn was responsible for setting the bomb at a San Francisco police station in 1970 that killed a police officer. Appearing before an internal security subcommittee of the Senate Judiciary Committee in October 1974, Grathwohl said Ayers complained to him that members of the organization weren’t doing enough, and that a leader of the group, Bernadine Dohrn, “had to plan, develop, and carry out the bombing of the police station in San Francisco.” The bomb, planted on a window ledge of the Park Police Station on February 16, 1970, in San Francisco, killed Sergeant Brian V. McDonnell and permanently disabled Officer Robert Fogarty. Several others were wounded. In March last year, leaders of San Francisco’s police union issued a call for investigating Ayers’ and Dohrn’s alleged roles. (Ayers denies any role, calling Grathwohl a “dishonest person.”)

SPLC’s Lyon is a coauthor, along with Ayers and Michael Klonsky, of A Simple Justice: The Challenge for Small Schools. Klonsky, an old friend of Ayers and a radical political associate from their days together in SDS, founded the revolutionary Communist Party, Marxist-Leninist, and was feted by Beijing’s communist rulers during a visit there in the 1970s, one of the first Westerners to visit Red China.

American journalists refer frequently and casually to SPLC and its minions as “experts” on hate groups, even though there is no college or university that awards degrees in the study of hate groups, nor is there any professional association for the study of hate groups that confers “expert” status on applicants after some rigorous apprenticeship. The designation of SPLC spokesmen as experts is simply a flimsy journalistic contrivance to justify quoting them. SPLC enjoys the masquerade, allowing it to conceal a history of publishing writers who praise communists, promoting people who endorse revolution against the U.S., recommending groups that defend cop-killers, and disseminating ideas and attitudes that provoke suspicion, division, and hatred based on race and class. Referring to SPLC and its minions as “experts” on hate is like calling Typhoid Mary an “expert” in epidemiology. If SPLC and its minions really are experts in hate, it is only because they have so much experience promoting it.

About the author

Jerry Woodruff is editor of Middle American News.