Professor Kathleen Blee is Distinguished Professor of Sociology at the University of Pittsburgh. She is author of four books and recipient of numerous awards for her research and teaching. Much of her research focuses on right-wing social movements, specifically gender in organized racism.
Pundits and scholars alike have pointed to what appears to be increasing visibility of far right figures and ideas in mainstream media and popular culture. Below is an edited transcript of an interview I conducted with Blee in December about what her research can tell us about the results of the November election, how organized racism is changing in the 21st century, and what this means for social movement scholars going forward. Continue reading
The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) has developed an international reputation for its tracking of extremism since the 1980s and its innovative lawsuits. Initially founded as a civil rights law firm, the SPLC has been at the forefront of groundbreaking lawsuits that have advanced social justice, furthered reform, and helped end or damage major extremist organizations including several powerful Klan groups.
Each year, the Southern Poverty Law Center produces a list of groups that fall into a variety of “hate” categories. Continue reading
Most people are familiar with the Tea Party by now, a movement that burst onto the political scene in the early days of the Obama presidency. There is little doubt that they’ve energized the Republican Party. Consider the 2010 midterm election cycle. A report issued by Institute for Research and Education on Human Rights indicates that 10 sitting Republican senators were backed by one of the six major Tea Party factions, as were 85 members of the House. Still, if the ongoing Republican primaries are in any way indicative, a rift has developed between the Republican “establishment” and Republican insurgents: “grassroots” conservatives associated with Tea Party. In both South Carolina and Florida, establishment types appear to favor Mitt Romney, while strong Tea Party types, by and large, favor Newt Gingrich. What is the source of the rift? If there is a division between the two wings of the Republican Party, how big is it? Continue reading
September of 2009, I rode a veritable river through the streets of Washington, D.C. toward our nations’ capitol. I recall unmatched feelings of both awe and amazement as I watched Americans of every shape and size, color and age, stream from every side street, pouring into the ever-growing sea of bodies pressing toward the Capitol grounds. Nearly every citizen carried a hand-printed sign – cobbled together in their hotel room with anything they could find at Walgreens on Connecticut Avenue – that mirrored the frustration and purpose on their face in some inventively snarky and hilarious way. Continue reading