Georgia Conservative Group Wants To Revive The KKK (VIDEO)


Photo Credit: AP/The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Curtis Compton

Citing a need to return to traditional American values and as a response to what he believes is the imminent destruction of the United States by immigrants and labor groups, a local ex-minister has planned to climb to the top of Stone Mountain, Georgia on Thanksgiving Day and light a cross on fire to signify the rebirth of the Ku Klux Klan. A former minister with the honorary title of “Colonel”, William J. Simmons wants to defend America against minorities, immorality and non-Protestant Christian influences, including Roman Catholics. He believes this is necessary to counter the growing influences of Communism in American government, which threatens to undermine the white Christian values that this country was supposedly founded upon.

Ok, for those of you who read nothing beyond the headline and made an assumption based solely off that, this was Thanksgiving Day – in 1915. This was 98 years ago and it was the first revival of the KKK, after it had died out in the 1870’s due to government crackdowns. Since then, it was revived two more times. Once after WWII and then again in the 1970’s under David Duke. The first revival was brief but incredibly successful, and throughout the following decade their ranks swelled to the point where they marched on Washington in 1928.

Eventually, the movement died out. The leaders took the money they made off literature and membership dues, sold the group, and laughed all the way to the bank. Despite all of the attention given to hate groups today, never in US history was a group as successful as the KKK throughout its first couple of incarnations in terrorizing minorities in America.

What’s the point of this article? It’s simple. Let’s stop with Godwin’s Law or comparing every action of those we find ourselves politically or socially opposed to as the exact same as the KKK.

Yes, the Tea Party and other conservative groups do things that border on or cross over into the ideologies of the KKK or other hate groups, but if we are as intellectually mature as we believe we are, then we should be able to differentiate between then and now. There are some beliefs that are shared, but they are not exactly the same. Equating the two is a lazy approach which actually ends up marginalizing those who are pointing out and making legitimate statements against racism.

The GOP may be willing to default on the national debt if their political demands aren’t met, but they aren’t gassing six millions Jews (my family included). They may be trying to disenfranchise voters and apologize for gun nuts who kill unarmed black teens, but they’re aren’t killing civil rights activists or hanging minorities from trees. Ted Nugent may be a draft-dodging gun nut who may have had a thing for teenage girls, but calling him an actual pedophile makes us just as guilty as him insinuating that President Obama is a Kenyan Muslim.

If and when the actions and policies of the Tea Party exactly mirror the KKK or Nazis, then we can accurately apply that comparison. Sure, there are small pockets of radicals all over the country who still preach “white power” — just look at the newest story out of North Dakota for yet another example of that lunacy. But there’s a big difference between reporting on those stories with the facts, as opposed to labeling the Tea Party a bunch of Nazis. We do ourselves and our principles no favors by being intellectually dishonest. The KKK is the KKK; the Republican Party is not. Hitler is Hitler; Barack Obama and George Bush are not. There are plenty of valid reasons and ways to criticize people and groups, but when we stoop to this kind of melodrama, it only serves to make our valid points seem as ridiculous as our invalid comparisons.

We’re liberals and progressives here. Let’s stop making judgments and statements based off stereotypes and intellectually lazy bias confirmation articles. We can create a dialogue that doesn’t rely on name calling while standing firm on principle and ideals. We can and should point out racism in all forms, Tea Party or otherwise, with the facts on each case — not by leading with a headline calling them Nazis just to attract easy hits. Otherwise we’re no better than “they” are, and we end up doing a disservice to not only ourselves, but each and every person who’s speaking honestly about inequality and social justice in our country today.

* For the sake of full disclosure, the photo accompanying this article is from last year, when the KKK really did try to adopt a highway in Georgia. After the state denied their application, the ACLU ended up suing the state on behalf of the KKK, saying their First Amendment right to freedom of speech was being violated. We live in a bizarre world, indeed — all the more reason not to complicate things even more with unnecessary sensationalism and intellectual dishonesty.


Facebook comments

  • Lianne Schneider

    I think you’re wrong. It’s not that anyone is saying the Tea Party is exactly the same as Nazis or the KKK, which of course, they are not. But the fact is, there ARE parallels primarily in the way many of us shrug our shoulders and settle for calling the Tea Party a fringe group of radical extremists and doing nothing else. We forget how often in history extremist “fringe” groups have taken over countries and the terrible things they have done. To mention these facts in the same sentences as discussions of the Tea Party is to sound a warning call and identify the ease with which toleration of their aberrant policies becomes subjugation. They may not be gassing six million Jews but they are consigning millions of people to hunger, endless poverty and underpaid jobs in their efforts to undermine all of the Constitution except the 2nd Amendment. They wish to deny civil rights and voting rights to millions of others – additional first steps toward totalitarianism. And when it happens…you’ll be guilty…one of those who said, “Oh they aren’t so bad…”

    • Zarah Braun

      The problem is if you want to get rid of them the start would be the christian church. That is where they get their Radical policies. the Bible is no different then the Quran. It says the same stuff with different wording. I agree with all you said except the Nazi’s were not a fringe group that is like saying our Government only having Christians is a “fringe” group.The Nazi were elected by the people but if you want to know the truth there are Americans that believe non- Christians deserve death how are those Politicans any different then Adolf Hitler no one drag Romney through the Streets when he said he would force Christianity on the masses in fact many Christians were cheering. people only care about what applies to them personally.We are no different then Nazi Germany we just want to act like we are Christian leader want to get rid of anyone that is not Christian how is that different then any other genocide???

      • robingee

        Yeah I mean, the Nazi party was not that long ago. It happened. It’s important to remember the way it started and the marginalization of minorities that is still happening now. I shrug my shoulders at Westboro Baptist because let’s face it, they are not recruiting anyone. But this country is full of Tea Party people, including many in active politics. And their beliefs are so far out of whack that it’s truly scary.

      • Kevin F. Casey

        The Problem is not just Religion. Look at all the human rights violations committed in Atheist Nations like Cuba, Laos, china North Korea, & the former Soviet Union. Evil sites with the popular belief. you think Putin was a Christian Fundamentalist when he was serving under the KGB? No he was a Conservative Fundamentalist Hard line Atheist. Now that Communism is no longer popular he’s suddenly Found God & continues his hard line stance this time under the guise of religion. Same man Same beliefs he just switched religions to justify his evil acts.

      • Tape Operator

        Atheism isn’t a religion, it’s the absence of belief in any deities.

      • Brian

        There are a lot more Christians than communists though. It’s a lot easier to use religion rather than politics to influence people into looking the other way when millions are killed.

      • Mike List

        if you had done your reading, you would know that the bible is part of the quran. old and new testaments, most of the excessively brutal judicial sharia punishments originate in jewish law.

    • emeraldeyes24

      I couldn’t agree with you more, Lianne, I could not find numbers in my research ^^^ and came away with the uneasy feeling that they are hiding their numbers; are they substantial numbers within the realm of the conservative Republican subset of Tea Party members? I think there is a broad spectrum of Republican definition – as one would expect, all the way from the centrist, fluctuating between Republican and Democrat if one can picture a line down the middle to the Republican / Conservative who is so far to the right as to be right off the Republican scale. And, indeed, they do not consider themselves Republican, rejecting the party outright because the Republican party ideology isn’t ”purist” enough for them. An alarming 44% of Teapartiers are Born Again Christians so that says a lot.
      To your point about the fringe group of radical extremists/KKK/Nazi sympathizers, this is the tipping point. When they use language like “pure”, it gets scarily pathological with a potential for violence.

    • Dale Toy

      I’m with you, Lianne. One of a few reasons I don’t call myself a liberal, despite my very liberal outlook on a wide range of social issues, is my aversion to the liberal mantra that you always have to play nice in order to maintain the moral high ground. To paraphrase Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf, that approach is bovine scatology. Here are some reasons why :

      1. The author makes the statement : “We can and should point out racism in all forms, Tea Party or otherwise, with the facts on each case…” This looks good on the surface, until we realize that Tea Party members have a severely limited ability to recognize facts. No matter what proof you might offer them on a given subject, if it contradicts their world view in the slightest, they simply turn off and claim any source you might cite as having a “liberal bias,” therefore being untrustworthy. I’m intimately familiar with this psychological shortcoming as I have an older sibling who suffers from it. Were she a political activist, she’d be a strong Tea Party supporter. If she believes something to be correct, if the Bible itself contradicts it she’ll find some way to rationalize her way around it, in spite of being a hardcore Christian, or else refuse to discuss the issue, figuratively sticking her fingers in her ears and yelling, “Lalalalala!” These people cannot be reasoned with because they will accept nothing you have to say. There’s no need to make any pretense of maintaining the moral high ground in their case; you have it merely by existing and thinking.

      2. “But there’s a big difference between reporting on those stories with the facts, as opposed to labeling the Tea Party a bunch of Nazis.” Let’s put aside, for the purposes of this discussion, the Holocaust. Let’s instead look at the origins of the Tea Party. Do you know who put up the first Tea Party website? Citizens for a Sound Economy (CSE.) CSE was founded in 1984 by…can you guess who? That’s right, the Koch brothers. Who do the Koch Brothers also vigorously support, and who was their father a founding member of? The John Birch Society, an organization not a bit less racist than the KKK, although not as directly linked to racial violence. It was not a bit uncommon during the Civil Rights struggles for a KKK member to also be a Bircher, however, and, “In a booklet he authored, Fred (Koch) railed against civil rights leaders, and claimed the movement against racial segregation was a communist plot to use African Americans to destabilize the country.” I believe that alone makes this particular point.

      3. “We can create a dialogue that doesn’t rely on name calling while standing firm on principle and ideals.” That would be nice, wouldn’t it? Except that, unfortunately, we can’t. See point #1. Also point #2. And throw in the fact that bigotry, not to mention ignorance of what a liberal really is in the first place, is rampant throughout the ranks of the Tea Party. (On a related but side note, while America may have won the battle in the Cold War, one must wonder if by constantly referring to Stalinist Authoritarian Communism as “socialism,” something it bore virtually no resemblance to, thereby poisoning Americans to the word without them generally having an understanding of its meaning, if the now-deceased Soviet Union may not at least eventually force a draw by getting us to tear ourselves apart?)

      4. “Otherwise we’re no better than ‘they’ are…” Maybe not. But sometimes you have to put your big boy or big girl pants on, draw a line and shout at the top of your lungs, “YOU SHALL NOT PASS!”. Again, this is why I can’t identify myself as a liberal, I prefer the term “moderate progressive,” because too many liberals draw such a line and when the opposition steps over it, they take a step back and draw another and say, “Okay, now you REALLY can’t cross this one.” Repeat ad nauseam. Where’s the cajones from the 50s and the 60s? Because what’s going on in the U.S. right now is no less a battle than the ones waged then. It’s just that liberals now seem to lack the backbone to fight them.

      So, no, the time for playing nice is long over. It ended when the first signs came out disparaging the President because of his race and the first memes came out depicting his wife as an ape, a wookie, etc. That’s the deal breaker. At that point constructive dialog ends and fire gets met with fire. Because that’s all people who would stoop to such a level can understand…and that only tenuously.

  • sharongibson

    Point taken. But in light of the stories of late concerning a white supremacist’s efforts to take over a town in North Dakota and an Aryan Nation’s leader’s wish to establish a compound in Idaho, that story could easily have today’s date rather than its origin in 1915.

    • emeraldeyes24

      I believe that’s a story from several weeks ago and it was strongly objected to by the town’s people who took them on and said they didn’t want to have their town connected with that kind of thing! They ran them out of town. But the Feds can never rest and I have actually sent an email to the Washington Bureau of the FBI on a couple of posts that I have had real concerns about. One was advertising a KKK gathering and cross burning for right around now – I sent the email about 6 weeks ago and included the URL website so they could see for themselves what was being planned. I included my name and address, phone number so they would believe me and investigate. I believe that so much of this is up to the average citizen to be watchful and to report it. The FBI website is very accessible and user-friendly …. I was impressed. I just Googled FBI Washington and it came up.

      • Kevin F. Casey

        Like the FBI caes… they are too busy trolling child porn websites to give a damn about American Terrorist groups. That is till bodies start piling up of Klanners.

  • dunivant66

    That’s exactly what the modern day teabagger philosophy with Rand Paul at the head!!!

  • Timothy Bishop

    to many parallels to ignore. and we tried to keep from calling them fascists and Nazis for long even while being called communists to rise above the rhetoric. but its time to call it what it is. read into it. traditional values translates to traditional white values. traditional values translates to white privilege. traditional values translates to only white men being our representatives. we have a chance now to end all these things for good and we cant give up now. its time for another civil rights movement where people are actually equal and not just accepted. the racists kept there mouths relatively quiet and now they are making their final push, we need to push back just as hard otherwise we will fall.

  • AlbertCat

    Like the KKK ever died…. Now that the citizens have elected a black president, the bigots have crawled out of the woodwork, and not just in the South. They’re everywhere (always have been) Today they have names like “Focus on Family”.

    • robingee

      It’s always some organization with “family” in the title that is the most racist hateful group.

  • robingee

    “Ok, for those of you who read nothing beyond the headline and made an assumption based solely off that”

    And the whole first paragraph.

  • mikeatle

    The problem with your argument is the use of “exactly.” No one is saying that the Tea Party is “exactly” the same as the KKK. There are comparable elements, however, especially in the racism that pops up amongst various Tea Party darlings.

  • tygr500

    When I was in High School I read a book named “Black Like Me” a movie was made of the same title that starred ” James Whitmore” It tells the story of a white man who has his skin color changed to look black and to see what his life would be like as a black man. It drove him to the brink …. I as a person of African American heritage on my fathers side I am extremely tired of people who don’t know the pain and fear we have to endure just because of the color of our skin telling us how we should or should not respond to the hatred we deal with some times daily. I wake up go to work everyday but when i am on the freeway and I see a police car or the HWy Patrol behind me the thought of my race always comes to mind. When I walk into a night club or a bar and I am surrounded by college age or older white men who are inebriated I try to seem as invisible as possible, I avert my eyes from them or a particular female because they may feel threatened by my presence and as a result N word time begins. If I travel with a mixed group of friends and my wife is walking with one of our white male friends and i am with a white female friend Ohh if you could only see the looks we get just because people assume we are a couple. So am I paranoid ( HELL YES ) and if you noticed the video of the Klan members marching what were they caring in their hands?… American Flags.. so now and especially after 9/11 and the election of the first Black President the Flag scares people , because the racist carry the flag. That was a a recent lynching as was Trevon Martin death . I told my son who is now a grown man to never play pranks in the neighborhood if your friends want to TP a house or play ding dong ditch you can not participate because you will be recognized and what may be a prank for some will be crime for you. Why should a parent have to warn his child to be careful of certain civilians and law enforcement? So You’re Argument is Mute to those of us who deal with T-party Klan like People , they may not hang us from trees but they have other ways of hanging us . Think About IT!!!!!

    • Kevin F. Casey

      Go out get a Rebel flag dew rag & wear it proudly… That reminds me I need to order my Rebel flag toilet paper… Hope the Klan does not mind me wipeing my butt with their flag.

  • Doc Marten

    They ARE the KKK AND the Nazis on steroids. Fuck Godwin’s so called “Law”.

  • Pipercat

    It occurs to me, when the klan rolls up the bottom of their hats, they (the hats) look like dunce caps! Coincidence?

  • Allison Craig

    I really feel ambivalent about this article. On one hand, I commend the author for what I think he is trying to say, and think a lot of liberals/progressives should take it to heart. When we sink to the level of name-calling and false analogies, we are feeding into the the larger problem that we are facing in this country, and sinking to the level of hate (and stupidity) that we condemn on the other side. Liberals should strive to be better, to do the research and use facts to back up our arguments. We should focus on science, on social issues as they lead to progress for everyone, and stop being lazy and ignorant in our debates.
    On the other hand, I agree with the comments below. The problem is, the Tea Party/Republican ideology that we are seeing today is just as detrimental to society as those historical groups, and we need to acknowledge and face the danger. Right now, the Republican party is (to a large degree) the law of the land, and more and more legislation is being enacted that has a serious, daily impact on people’s lives, especially the poor. If we ignore the problem, it’s not just going to go away. Racism is rampant, and events ARE happening that are just as scary as public lynchings and segregation. Search the news, and you will find report after report. Just because the KKK is not “officially” responsible doesn’t mean that the ideals of the group are not being used to condone the violence. The problem is that the “Tea Party” is a socially accepted political party, and racism is just a “value” that seems to underpin it. The racism is just broader and more insidious.

  • Sir RomeoRN

    Outstanding comments,and really enjoyed reading your article.And as a Jewish man, you seem to be more open,sensitive,and aware of all these new radical racial hate groups,Teabagger racist dirtbags,fake extremist Christians,and Patriots, and other White supremacist bully hate groups, starting to come out again, especially now,that we have a Black president in the WH,of which I totally support,and glad we are starting to move forward,in the right positive direction,regardless of all the bigotry,ignorance,violence, inequality,and injustice,we are still seeing in America today.Especially with the killing of more innocent minority teenagers,including Whites,by many of these sick,and reckless gun owners,from the extremist religious right,and other armed fanatics,and sick people,who enjoy killing innocent Black children in cold blood. Your article once again,proves that the KKK,never died out,and is still very much alive,and very active today,all over the US,in racially divided America. Even though the US has changed,and is making great progress in breaking down the racial barriers,and other racial, gender, social,and other issues affecting us all,alot of people,of all race living in America today,are still living in self denial,and looking the other way,while not doing enough,or anything to control,or demand an immediate end to all these unnecessary hate groups,and their ridiculous hate agenda,whether it’s politically,or racially motivated.We all need to learn to come together as a united race,and learn to live in peace,equally,and respect.And finally,lets not forget,that regardless of all the hate BS,and lies,the haters are saying, America was built with the blood,sweat,and tears,of all race,color,religious, and non beliefs,including other gender groups.If anything,it’s the KKK,who’s wrong,and should be deported,or banned in the US,for good.No one should have the constitutional power to continue going around,bullying, degrading, and insulting other races,period.Perhaps one day, when we all learn to respecfully move on,then racism will be a thing of the past.I rest my case!

  • emeraldeyes24

    SOME STATS ON THE TEA PARTY: Tea Party members are right wing ACTIVISTS, NOT AN ORGANIZED POLITICAL PARTY. They are only affiliated directly with the Republican party on an individual basis, not as a faction of the party. Their financial support of ISSUES is what makes them so powerful as they select the Republican lawmakers who will fall lock-step in with their purist attitudes and beliefs and agree to vote against more liberal laws in return for the Tea Party’s donations to their campaigns. This, in effect, dictates what Republicans can and cannot say. They pick and choose which issues to support, e.g. gun ownership and then make public statements in support of the issue and donate as a group to those organizations, ex. NRA. Treda Skocpol, Harvard Researcher found that, in fact, Tea Party #’s have declined by 40% since 2010. 44% of Tea Partiers are Born Again Christians, 40% are over 55, 99% say the economy and fiscal restraint is their primary concern, they are vehemently anti-Democratic, 70% identify as Republican, a shocking 23% reject the Republican party as they are concerned with ideological purity, i.e extreme right wing, conservative values. Many feel that the Republicans are not sufficiently ”purist” or far enough right wing for them. I found it impossible to find any stats on actual #’s of supporters of the Tea Party or the average $ amount of donations and to what specific organizations they donate, although conjecture would suggest gun lobbies, anti-abortion and extreme right religious organizations. It would seem that the Democrats have not kept up with the fundraising that the Tea Party has engaged in, and this is a guess on my part, but probably because there is a stench to the brand of bribery that the Tea Party engages in in their relationship with Republican lawmakers.

  • Harry

    This is what the teatards mean when they say they want to take the country back. Racist pukes. Racism is a disease and it needs to be cured.

  • outofmi

    The Klan hasn’t gone away. A couple of years ago, they were given coverage in the Statesville (NC) Record and Landmark, misspellings, grammatical errors, and all, when their poster for a Memorial Day rally and recruitment was given most of the front page. The paper denied that this was a free ad. Ha! Needless to say, the rally didn’t come off as planned, including a cross burning, but this group of jerks are in business and claiming membership from about 20 states. Oh, yes, the town where they were going to have this little bonfire and such, wait for it, Harmony.
    There are plenty of fellow travelers in those parts. Plenty in other states too, not just the south.

    • outofmi

      And there’s a bunch of good old boys in VA who are going to fly a huge Confederate flag over I-95 because it’s about their heritage, NOT hate. Google Virginia Flaggers. Sweet bunch, they are.

      • Kevin F. Casey

        Well then I’m sure they won’t mind a bunch of Black folks flying the same flag to promote rebellion against hate right?

  • Norven Real

    Then why does the KKK vote republiKKKlan all the time? To me, they are the same, they were when I lived in Alabama, one and the same.

  • Herr Heisenberg

    I do understand what you are trying to say, but I think before you underestimate hate, you need to go back further than the Hitler that we were bombing in WWll and study the Hitler who rose to power. Study what a good thing he appeared to be to his country. Sure, he seemed to have a few ideas that were out there a bit, but overall he seemed like a good thing that would bring Germany out of a tailspin. Anything was better than the current conditions. Some of the people closest to him knew what a nut he was. The Chancellor swore he would never give Hitler power. It was only after Hitler gained this power that his true motives and extremist ideas were known. People are like icebergs. They only show a bit of themselves and it is what lies beneath that is dangerous.

  • connie

    This doesn’t resonate with me, I view it differently as a mother of an African American male. The KKK may have hung up their robes but they put on suits. They may not march burning crosses’ on front lawns, but there are in corporation CEO’s, legislators, given the power to create laws that allow the disenfranchisement of African Americans and minorities. Make no mistake, they too are quite dangerous. Our teen age children are shot and killed by walking home from candy stores and like civil rights era KKK, are not punished for their crimes, but walk free. African Americans (especially males) are incarcerated more than Whites (for the same crimes) or they are wrongly convicted, and their lives are ruined from that moment on (Central Park Jogger case). And, scrutiny of the death penalty and death row inmates, ropes and trees are not needed, it’s been replaced by “lethal injection) Yes, today’s KKK hung up their robes for uniforms. The uniform of the police who terrorize African Americans while walking or sitting in their own neighborhoods, with Stop and Frisk, or “driving while black;” “walking while black;” “shopping while black.” Their perception of the criminality of black people, and their stereotyping African Americans have the same fatal outcomes. The reasons the uniformed KKK indoctrinated mind set is the same “We though he was reaching for a gun” (no gun found just a wallet). Historically, not every terror act of the KKK resulted in a lynching or bombing. Most KKK members harassed, intimidated, and terrorized. I see no difference between them and the “confederate mind set,” of the tea party. No, today’s KKK are not marching down the hills of Stone Mountain Ga.,nor do they necessarily swing bodies from sycamore trees; however, these modern day suit wearing KKK are making policies, laws, that put the lives of African American males, women, and our families in jeopardy. KKK mindset of the superiority of White people, allow substandard education in communities of color. They create laws that allow the arrest of mothers who enroll their children in schools of a higher standard, but not in their “District”, is no different than those who were arrested by Bull Connor when his administration was arresting “Negros” for sitting at all white lunch counter. And, make no mistake, Bull Connor was an active member of the KKK. No, these modern day suit wearing confederate minded KKK do not need a rope and a tree to do their dirty deed. I say it’s about time they were called out for their confederate racist attitudes. It’s been six years, and I’ve had it!

    • connie

      PS: I was so passionate while posting. Some errors in my writing, but I am sure y’all get the gist.

  • Pamela Parker Ricer

    How about Fascist ?

  • kurtsteinbach

    Good article, but you come off sounding like an apologist for the KKK. The Klan in modern times my not go as far as the Klan did in the 50s, 60s, and 70s, but then many of those people have since done time. The FBI targeted both Dr. King and the Klan. Dr. King is dead, but his legacy lives on and so do his ideas. The Klan, however, has limped on ever since. Let’s face it, the best way to defeat the KKK, Nazis, the WBC, and other extremist groups that are a real threat to society is to not let them rise up in the 1st place.There is a distinct difference between protesting, challenging the social order, and skepticism and what the KKK, the John Birch Society, and the Neo-Nazis want, which is a country by bigots, for bigots, and of bigots. They are trying to steal a political party to do it, one that I am not willing to defend. It’s why they’ve gotten as far as they have. The ACLU is wrong, the KKK represents a real threat just as the Nazis did, and the best way to avert that threat is to not let them rise again. Let us not forget that while their racial policies have not yet overrun the nation, their corporate fascist policies are overrunning the nation as we speak….

    • Aimee Barfield

      What a refreshing reply. I’ve stayed away from this site due to many of the comments posted here and this is the first article that I’ve clicked on recently. You’ve provided a well thought out counter argument. I really have nothing to add to the debate but a kudos to you for your discourse.

  • Danny Mathey

    They already have. This time it’s called the…. KRUZ KLUX KLAN….