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Devin Burghart (206) 331-2978
FreedomWorks Hopelessly Entangles Itself with John Birch Society
A new study, "FreedomWorks and the John Birch Society Problem," by the Institute for Research & Education on Human Rights of the FreedomWorks social networking site, FreedomConnector, reveals that former Cong. Dick Armey's organization has embraced the John Birch Society. FreedomWorks, a Washington D.C. lobby, has been known for its efforts to keep explicit bigotry and conspiracy-mongering out of the Tea Party movement. The John Birch Society has been known for its long history of wild conspiracy theories, opposition to civil rights legislation and out-front bigotry.
"FreedomWorks staff and the FreedomConnector web team have posted at least fifty-nine different announcements that advertised John Birch Society events across the country in the last five months," said Devin Burghart, IREHR vice-president and the report's principal author. "That is a fairly significant tie," he said.
Civil rights advocates are worried. "The disturbing connection between these two organizations raises deep concerns," said Hilary Shelton, Director of the NAACP's Washington Bureau and Senior Vice President for Advocacy and Policy.
The report also documents a sharp increase in FreedomWorks' cyber-activity, and asks if FreedomWorks is sacrificing mainstream respectability for a short-term growth in its activist base. Many of the Birch Society events advertised by FreedomWorks staff were in states such as Ohio, Pennsylvania and New Jersey, where election activity will be particularly high in 2012.
The Institute for Research & Education on Human Rights, founded in 1983, examines racist, anti-Semitic, and far right social movements, analyzes their intersection with civil society and social policy, and hopes to assist in the protection and extension of human rights through organization and informed mobilization. Its 96-page comprehensive examination of the Tea Party movement, Tea Party Nationalism, was released in October 2010, and is available at www.teapartynationalism.com.
This full report is available at http://www.irehr.org/issue-areas/tea-parties/19-news/85-freedomworks-and-the-john-birch-society-problem
is vice president of IREHR. He coordinates our Seattle office, directs our research efforts, and manages our online communications. He has researched, written, and organized on virtually all facets of contemporary white nationalism since 1992, and is internationally recognized for this effort. Devin is frequently quoted as an expert by print, broadcast, and online media outlets. In 2007, he was awarded a Petra Foundation fellowship. more...
Follow him on twitter: @dburghart