Southern Poverty Law Center refuses to label Antifa as a Hate Group
- SOUTHERN POVERTY LAW SINNERS
- Stable Genius
- Posted 11/06/2017 03:21 AM - Hide
- SPLC Won't Label Antifa a Hate Group
To the SPLC, targeting conservatives and giving Antifa a pass is good for business
Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) president Richard Cohen offered the Washington Examiner the SPLC's views on Antifa, a violent, far-left movement responsible for many recent attacks on free speech.
They're merely "wrongheaded" for using violence to achieve their ends, Cohen says. "We oppose these groups and what they're trying to do." But he won't label Antifa a hate group, despite the group's efforts to censor conservative speakers and disrupt lawful protests, because they don't discriminate according to race, sex, religion, or other factors. Cohen offers flimsy reasoning:
There might be forms of hate out there that you may consider hateful, but it's not the type of hate we follow.
Cohen's euphemistic idea of "hate" conveniently allows the SPLC to avoid condoning Antifa violence without offering any real challenge to the far-left, but it can't erase Antifa's actions. Antifa, or "anti-fascist action," has its origins in the 1920s and 1930s during the resistance to the rise of fascism in Italy and Spain, and National Socialism in Germany, but it quickly died out as a political movement after World War II.
Donald Trump's victory in the 2016 presidential election triggered a new wave of so-called "anti-fascists," who used the name "Antifa" to lend their terrorist movement an artificial legitimacy with the mainstream media. The black-clad group is known for damaging property, inciting riots, and assaulting individuals who doesn't support their extreme agenda. Antifa is responsible for smashing windows and setting fires during protests at the University of California, Berkeley, and inciting a protest at the G20 Summit in Hamburg, Germany that left 196 officers injured.
Naturally, Cohen's refusal to identify Antifa as a hate group prompted outrage, but it's consistent with the group's strategy of assailing organizations which don't hold to the SPLC's ideology. Founded to combat legitimate hate groups, the SPLC initially earned respect by winning legal battles which helped to bankrupt groups the Ku Klux Klan. But it soon became a victim of its own success as hate groups largely died out and far-left leadership took over - prompting the SPLC to seek new, non-hate group targets such as the Family Research Council (FRC), a respected Christian charity. The group's slander has inspired the hate crimes it was founded to prevent - as in 2013, when Floyd Lee Curtiss II assaulted FRC headquarters intending to shoot its employees and "smear  Chick-Fil-A sandwiches in [their] faces." Curtiss later cited the SPLC's hate group label as the reason he attacked the FRC.
Today's SPLC is drastically different from its predecessor. With a gift shop sporting SPLC-branded water bottles and postcards and net assets topping $315 million, the organization has morphed into a moneymaking venture aimed at targeting conservative nonprofits by labeling them "hate groups" on its ever-growing HateWatch list. By lumping legitimate organizations in with neo-Nazis, SPLC's smears have damaged numerous groups which dared to disagree with its leftist agenda. Politico's Ben Schreckinger notes the strategy's effectiveness: