NEW REPORT CLAIMS TEA PARTY HAS TIES TO WHITE NATIONALIST GROUPS
October 21, 2010
(NATIONAL) -- Just two weeks before the mid term elections the nation’s oldest civil rights group, the NAACP, released the results of a year long probe into the Tea Party movement that claims the movement has ties to white nationalist groups and the militia movement.
While N.A.A.C.P. president Benjamin Todd Jealous notes in a forward to the report that the vast majority of Tea Party supporters “are sincere, principled people of good will,” he adds that among the findings of the report are that leaders running Tea Party chapters in Mississippi and Florida come from the Council on Conservative Citizens, one of the oldest and largest white nationalist organizations and that a Texas leader of the Tea Party Patriots officially supported the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, of which her husband was a member.
The report, produced by the Institute for Research & Education on Human Rights, utilizes Tea Party literature and websites, government documents, campaign finance reports, and visits to Tea Party meetings to reach its conclusions.
The institute’s mission is to examine and expose racist, anti-Semitic and far-right social movements.
In the report it analyzed what it calls six nationwide Tea Party networks at the core of the movement, and concludes that leaders of all but one — FreedomWorks, a libertarian group in Washington headed by Dick Armey, a former House Republican majority leader — have raised questions about the validity of President Obama’s birth certificate.
The report calls the Tea Party a multi-billion dollar complex – far from the humble “grass roots” group painted by Tea Party members - that includes for profit corporations as well as non-profit and non-party organizations.
The report claims that beyond specific ties to racist and anti-immigrant groups, the Tea Party has become a platform for extreme views that include, anti-Islam rhetoric and moves to end birth right citizenship, guaranteed in the Fourteenth Amendment.
Devin Burghart, researcher and co-author of the report, says “What’s going on isn’t simply a one way street, where white nationalists are trying to infiltrate the Tea Party, even more disturbing to us is how it’s become a two way flow of traffic between tea party organizations and white nationalist groups.”
Several polls have noted that blacks and Hispanics are not represented in the Tea Party movement according to their proportion in the general population.
In response to the report, other civil rights leaders called on Tea Party leadership to renounce the ties to such groups.
William Barber, president of the North Carolina Chapter of NAACP, said the rhetoric of “taking the country back” dates back to the reconstruction period after the Civil War and to the 1960s, during the birth of the civil rights movement.
“These terms have been used in the divisionist lexicon for years and they have deep imprint and impact of the psyche of American culture and they’re not terms used haphazardly or without understanding that political import and if they are we need to challenge that. Hate language, hate ideology, hate filled distortion of political ideology rooted in supremacy ideals, hinders us from having the real and necessary honest debate about jobs, education, and justice for all.”
In a cover letter to the report, NAACP president Benjamin Jealous called on Tea Party leaders to look carefully at the racism and xenophobia of those identified in the report.
Judson Phillips, founder of Tea Party Nation, told the Kansas City Star that the report is a "liberal smear." "Here we go again," he said.
The report can be read HERE