The Southern Poverty Law Center suffered a well-publicized setback in the summer of 2018 when it agreed to pay $3.375 million to the Quilliam Foundation and its founder Maajid Nawaz for wrongly placing them on a 2016 list of “anti-Muslim extremists.” Nawaz, a former Islamic extremist turned moderate, has been critical of Islamic extremism (for example, the ban on Muhammad depictions), and for this he was smeared by the SPLC.
This, of course, is a big deal since many powerful organizations including Amazon, PayPal, and Google use the SPLC to determine whom to ban, punish, or de-platform. As a result, being targeted by the SPLC can be devastating, especially if you’re on the Right. The SPLC a well-funded, mostly Jewish, anti-white, Leftist organization which has no intention of following its own dedication “to fighting hate and bigotry and to seeking justice for the most vulnerable members of our society.” It claims to be against extremism, racism, and hate, yet it engages in all three of these in order to fulfill its real purpose: the annihilation of the Right, especially the white Right.
While it was nice to see the SPLC suffer a defeat, the Nawaz Affair was not terribly earth-shattering in itself. Nawaz is, in the big scheme of things, a moderate non-white liberal, and by attacking him the SPLC had indeed gone too far within the pro-non-white ethos it has set for itself. Of course a guy like Nawaz was going to win in a way that a white guy like Robert Spencer (another vocal critic of Islam) would have a harder time doing. Nawaz didn’t even have to follow through on his threat of litigation—the SPLC caved simply after reading his demand letter.
This victory has had some happy and foreseeable consequences for the Right, however, since dozens of organizations are considering suing the SPLC for falsely labeling them as hate groups. Their logic should be crystal clear. If they’ve been unfairly smeared by the SPLC then they should be able to seek the same satisfaction that Maajid Nawaz did. If anything, the Nawaz affair revealed that victories can be achieved against the SPLC and it is possible to make it reverse itself.
Thing is, you don’t have to be of the Dissident or Alt versions of the Right to run afoul of the SPLC. In many cases, it’s enough to oppose gay marriage and other aspects of the gay civil rights agenda which contradict religious doctrines. This is why many conservative Christian organizations, which are otherwise all aboard on the PC bandwagon, get targeted by the SPLC. This could be quite serious. In 2012 a terrorist attempted a mass-shooting at the conservative Christian Family Research Council in Washington, DC. The terrorist claimed to have been inspired by the SPLC’s hate map, which, of course, the FRC was on.
Recently, there have been three lawsuits leveled against the SPLC that should be of great interest to the Dissident Right. Dearest to our hearts should be the case of Glen Allen. Kevin MacDonald at the Occidental Observer gives the story a great rundown. Here is the condensed version:
Glen Allen is a Baltimore attorney whom the SPLC recently got fired from his job working for the city. Because he once allegedly supported William Pierce’s National Alliance, SPLC officials Heidi Beirich and Mark Potok (both defendants in this case) allegedly pressured the city leaders to fire Allen, which they did. Allen responded by filing suit in December 2018 demanding millions in damages and claiming that the SPLC’s tax-exempt status be revoked for its alleged violation of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act. In 2015, the SPLC had allegedly acquired stolen documents which Beirich then used to author an article about the National Alliance—an article which explicitly mentions Glen Allen. The SPLC later smeared Allen as a “Neo-Nazi,” a term I have described in the past as an anti-white racial slur. That Allen has disavowed the National Alliance and describes his time with them as a mistake, seems not to matter to the SPLC.
MacDonald is quite correct when he characterizes the SPLC as a “secular-sounding front for Jewish anti-White activism.” If there ever was a situation in which you have ‘Gentile, good. Jew, bad’ this is it. Here is an excerpt from Allen’s defense (it’s long, but it’s good):
Providence has endowed humanity with the ability to grow and change. Indeed, we have a moral obligation to grow and change as we learn new aspects of reality. At the pinnacle of the means by which we grow and change should be robust dialogue, open debate, an aversion to taboos, and genuine conversation. This is the theory of our remarkable American traditions of free expression, as embodied, among other ways, in the First Amendment. But there are also other approaches to inevitable human discord. One is to draw lines of political or cultural orthodoxy, develop massive surveillance networks and extensive dossiers, and severely punish perceived transgressors who cross those lines, seem to cross them, or even seem to think about crossing them.
Beirich, Potok, and the SPLC, defendants in this case, have chosen this latter approach. Motivated by lucrative fundraising aims and employing fundraising techniques decried across the political spectrum as deceptive, the SPLC’s avowed goal, under the leadership of Beirich, Potok, and others, is to destroy, through public shaming, loss of employment, loss of reputation, and other severe harms, groups and persons the SPLC broadly defines as its political enemies.
Glen Allen, plaintiff in this case, is one of Beirich’s, Potok’s, and the SPLC’s victims. The cause of free expression itself is another, for the SPLC has become one of the most effective forces in the country for stifling honest and robust debate on controversial issues. Beirich, Potok, and the SPLC are entitled to espouse their outlook forcefully. They are not entitled, however, to the following actions, all alleged and supported in this complaint: to receive, pay for, and use stolen documents, including confidential documents and documents protected by attorney client privilege, to tortiously interfere with Allen’s prospective advantage in employment; to defame him by publishing false statements that he was “infiltrating” the City of Baltimore’s Law Department; or to masquerade as a 501c3 public interest law firm dedicated to a tax exempt educational mission, when in reality the SPLC fails the basic requirements for this favored status because of its illegal actions (including numerous instances of mail and wire fraud), multiple violations of canons of professional ethics (including improper disclosure of confidential and privileged documents and failure to train its nonlawyer employees), orchestration of violations of the constitutional rights of the organizations and individuals it targets, and sensationalist supermarket tabloid style one-sided depictions of its victims.
The reality is that Beirich, Potok, and the SPLC have perfected what the scholar Laird Wilcox, speaking of the SPLC, called “ritual defamation”: “a way of harming and isolating people by denying their humanity and trying to convert them into something that deserves to be hated and eliminated. They accuse others of this but utilize their enormous resources to practice it on a mass scale themselves.
So, yes, Allen is not just accusing the SPLC of defamation but of theft, fraud, and other unethical behavior as well. Allen also quotes Potok in his complaint, and this one is a doozy:
We see this [as a] political struggle, right? … I mean, we’re not trying to change anybody’s mind. We’re trying to wreck the groups, and we are very clear in our head, … we are trying to destroy them.
Here are some images of the defendants in this case, to give them a more human dimension. I think this indicates quite clearly what Glen Allen is up against.
The RICO Act plays an important role in another pending lawsuit against the SPLC, that of the Center for Immigration Studies. CIS is a prominent think tank which researches the costs and consequences of mass immigration and pushes to restrict immigration. “Low-immigration, Pro-immigrant” is its motto. Its suit, filed in January 2019, specifically targets Beirich and SPLC President Richard Cohen for conspiring to falsely label CIS as a hate group. According to CIS executive director Mark Krikorian, this resulted in CIS being pulled from Amazon’s AmazonSmile program and losing thousands in donations.
In particular, Krikorian argues the SPLC’s Hatewatch blog (which gave CIS its own category) violated a particular wire fraud statute. According to the statute, anyone who attempts to defraud or cause damage to another person by false pretenses through wire, radio, or television communication in interstate or foreign commerce can suffer fines or imprisonment. The “interstate” part of this comes into play because the SPLC is located in Alabama, the defendants are citizens of Alabama and Georgia, and CIS is located in Washington, DC. Hence the RICO violation claim.
Krikorian also demonstrates that the SPLC can’t get its story straight about what is a hate group and what isn’t. According to sections 14 and 15 of the CIS complaint:
SPLC defines as “hate group” as “an organization that – based on its official statements or principles, the statements of its leaders, or its activities – has beliefs or practices that attack or malign an entire class of people, typically for their immutable characteristics.”….
As the Supreme Court has recognized, being an illegal, unauthorized, or undocumented immigrant is not an “immutable characteristic” since “it is the product of a conscious, indeed unlawful, action. And being a legal immigrant is similarly the result of a personal choice. Thus, SPLC has not even articulated a basis for designating CIS or any organization a hate group based upon its views of immigration policy.
The complaint further argues that even if being an immigrant were an immutable characteristic, the SPLC would have to prove that wanting to reduce—but not eliminate—immigration is tantamount to attacking or maligning immigrants as a class, which they have not yet been able to do. This may sound like a niggling exercise in logic and hermeneutics, but it seems that much of Krikorian’s case relies upon it. If he can prove that the SPLC labeled CIS a hate group when it knew it wasn’t one, he can then prove fraud and then open the door for the accusations described above.
Most telling about this lawsuit is the SPLC’s obdurate and downright prejudicial attitude towards CIS. They are not willing to roll over like they did for Nawaz. In fact, they’re doubling down. Here is their response to the lawsuit:
The Center for Immigration Studies richly deserves the hate group label. It has a history of making racially inflammatory statements, associating with white nationalists, and circulating the work of racist writers. Its lawsuit is nothing more than a heavy-handed effort to try to silence us from exercising our First Amendment right to express our opinion. We look forward to defending ourselves in court.
Such a jaw-droppingly dishonest statement. One of the “racially inflammatory” statements the SPLC refers to on its web site is one made by CIS co-founder John Tanton:
I’ve come to the point of view that for European-American society and culture to persist requires a European-American majority, and a clear one at that.
Common sense, right? But according to the SPLC, it is “racially inflammatory” to be pro-white and in favor of keeping white majorities in white homelands. The SPLC’s statement sounds more anti-white than anything else since the SPLC and other leftist entities refuse to apply the same pluralistic standards to Jews in Israelis or to the Japanese in Japan. It’s only white people that must suffer this mandatory displacement. Furthermore, the SPLC constantly looks the other way when non-whites or leftists make “racially inflammatory” remarks about whites. Paul Krugman and Sarah Jeong, currently still employed by the New York Times, are good recent examples. So is MEChA, an anti-white, Hispanic organization in good stead with the SPLC, which is dedicated to repelling the “brutal ‘gringo’ invasion of our territories.”
Next, one does not have to be a white nationalist to warrant a notice on Hatewatch. Simply associating with a white nationalist should do the trick according to the SPLC. So all of our parents, relatives, neighbors, and colleagues are in big trouble, apparently. Sargon of Akkad is now officially a hater because he once had Richard Spencer on his YouTube program. This guilt by association claim is as malicious as it is ridiculous. One does not have to be a white nationalist to see that. The double standard applies here too. Barack Obama once associated with anti-American terrorist Bill Ayers. Why didn’t the SPLC make hay over that?
And those racist writers whose work the SPLC accuses CIS of circulating? One would be Jason Richwine, the race-realist scholar who was shamefully forced to resign from the Heritage Foundation in 2013 after accurately reporting on the low average IQ of Hispanic immigrants. Others would be Peter Brimelow, Jared Taylor, and John Derbyshire whom the SPLC incorrectly labels as “white nationalists.” In this regard, the SPLC takes guilt by association to an extreme. If CIS circulates an article on immigration by writer X, and writer X either is critical of Jews (Kevin MacDonald), is a Holocaust denier (John Friend), once appeared alongside David Duke at an event, or reviewed a book by David Irving, or is guilty of anything the SPLC deems a thought crime, then CIS deserves to be “destroyed” in the words of Potok.
Note how time is meaningless to the SPLC, either the future or the past. The quote above from Tanton is from 1993, and the SPLC still holds CIS to it. They also criticize CIS distributing an article written by Richard Spencer back in 2008, well before he became the white nationalist figure he’s known as today. Note also how the SPLC does not discuss the factual content of the articles CIS distributes, but would rather smear the authors of these articles within unrelated contexts. Essentially, they try to scare people away from the truth by turning the entire field of white advocacy into a bogeyman.
The last pair of whoppers in the SPLC’s statement sink to Mephistophelean depths. For an organization dedicated to stifling the First Amendment rights of others through intimidation and lawfare to complain about CIS trying to limit its First Amendment rights is rich to say the least. Further, the SPLC does not merely “express” its opinion. It pressures other organizations to implement its leftist, anti-white agenda. Hopefully a judge will see through such shameless dissemblings and find the justice behind the CIS complaint.
Here is Tucker Carlson interviewing Krikorian about the CIS lawsuit.
Gavin McInnes is the latest high-profile figure to sue the SPLC. As an “Alt-Lite” writer and commentator as well as founder of the all-male, “Western chauvinist” group the Proud Boys, McInnes is well known on the Dissident Right. In February 2019, he submitted a 61-page complaint accusing the SPLC of defamation and harassment. McInnes’ tack seems to be to praise the SPLC as a formerly-noble institution that has become corrupt and oppressive in recent times. He seems to have recently swerved sharply towards more moderate positions when it comes to race and identity. He has also disavowed the Proud Boys and claims to be against all forms of racism. This probably won’t endear him much to the race-realist, pro-white, Dissident Right, but his suit against the SPLC is real and deserves at the very least our moral support.
Here’s McInnes in his own words:
I am doing this, not just to protect my reputation and my family but to protect everyone else’s. The SPLC has gone from a noble institution genuinely dedicated to eradicating hate to a hate group in and of itself that pretends this country is frothing with bigots desperate to foment WW3. They purposely lie about their enemies in an attempt to “destroy” them (their words) and it’s become a very effective way to make money. Scaremongering brought them the $50m their founder originally set out to make. Since then, it’s garnered hundreds of millions including untold millions in the Cayman Islands. I don’t fault entrepreneurs but they are using this incredible wealth to wield power over the innocent and destroy careers and businesses in their insatiable need to generate more bigots because, in the world of SPLC fundraising, mo hate is mo money.
Ben Carson is an extremist to them. So is, Laura Ingraham, the Tea Party, Jeanine Pirro, a group of volunteer lawyers called Alliance Defending Freedom, the Center for Immigration Studies, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, and Maajid Nawaz. Maajid was a jihadist who toned it down and became a moderate Muslim. For that, he was deemed an anti-Muslim extremist. He sued the SPLC and won. I intend to win too.
Regardless of what you think of McInnes as a person, there is a lot of truth in his complaint. He also raises another interesting point about the SPLC: that many believe it raises and spends money unethically. Specifically, it raises more money than it needs for its mandate and lavishes the remainder on its top directors and in large offshore investments. If the SPLC loses any one the above cases, perhaps more information of this nature will come to light, which can only be good for our cause.
Learn more about McInnes’ suit here.
In less than a year, things have gotten quite interesting for the Southern Poverty Law Center. We should keep in mind however that none of the above lawsuits seek to abolish the SPLC’s modus operandi (i.e., the malicious use of “hate” as a weapon for the anti-white Left). Instead, they object to how the SPLC uses this weapon in specific instances. In other words, it’s okay if the SPLC calls those guys over there haters, but not me and my pals. Further, none of the above lawsuits are out and proud about being pro-white. But that’s okay for now. This is how revolutions begin: localized tumult widening over time into something vast and general. We’ll see how the SPLC responds to pro-white plaintiffs when it is facing thirty or three hundred serious lawsuits instead of just three.
The Dissident Right should keep careful tabs on how the above lawsuits play out since they will have ramifications far beyond the lawsuits themselves. Because if Glen Allen, Mark Krikorian, and Gavin McInnes can win against the SPLC, then edgier figures like Robert Spencer, Jared Taylor, and Peter Brimelow can too. And if that happens, then not only does a weakened SPLC become even more susceptible to lawsuits and payouts, but its past actions against the Right (for example, its recent lobbying of Amazon to ban books) can be challenged as well.
These lawsuits and the ones that follow will no doubt become important—if not historic—battles in the greater culture wars.
Spencer J. Quinn is a frequent contributor to Counter-Currents and the author of the novel White Like You.