By AARON MORRISON Associated Press During one of the most politically divisive years in recent memory, the number of active hate groups in the U. S. actually declined as far-right extremists migrated further to online networks, reflecting a splintering of white nationalist and neo-Nazi groups that are more difficult to track.
In its annual report, to be released Monday, the Southern Poverty Law Center said it identified 838 active hate groups operating across the U. S. in 2020.
The law center said, online platforms allow individuals to interact with hate and anti-government groups without becoming members, maintain connections with likeminded people, and take part in real-world actions, such as last month’s siege on the U. S. Capitol.
That includes seven defendants linked to QAnon, a once-fringe internet conspiracy movement that recently grew into a powerful force in mainstream conservative politics; six linked to the Proud Boys, a misogynistic, anti-immigrant and anti-Semitic group with ties to white supremacism; four linked to the Oath Keepers, a paramilitary organization that recruits current and former military, law enforcement and first-responder personnel; four linked to the Three Percenters, an anti-government militia movement; and two leaders of “Super Happy Fun America,” a group with ties to white nationalists known for organizing a so-called “straight pride” parade in downtown Boston in 2019.
——— Morrison is a member of the AP’s Race & Ethnicity team.