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Tea Party group now called the Patriot Action Network

As anticipated in the Tea Party Nationalism special report, with the 2010 election in the rear-view mirror, Tea Party re-configuration season is in full swing.

With nary a word to loyal members, this week the ResistNet Tea Party faction started the process of quietly changing the name of the group to the Patriot Action Network. The change is primarily cosmetic, a change of the website address, the logo, and the “about us” page. Otherwise, the content has mostly stayed the same.

The web makeover is part of a post-election re-branding strategy that the group’s parent company has used before. The company has a history of changing names. As we detailed in Tea Party Nationalism, ResistNet was originally Grassfire.

Formally, ResistNet is a project of Grassfire Nation, a division of Grassroots Action, a for-profit, privately-held right-wing Internet activism services organization. Grassfire was created back in 2000 and has supported a set of concerns much broader than taxes and budgets. Grassfire online petitions have included: saving traditional marriage, “stand for the unborn,” opposition to partial birth abortion, stopping internet porn, make God Bless America the National Hymn, supporting the Pledge of Allegiance, support for Judge Roy Moore’s fight to place the Ten Commandments monument in his Alabama courtroom, and steadfast opposition to meaningful immigration reform.

Grassfire developed ResistNet almost exactly two years ago. On December 15, 2008 Grassfire owner Steve Elliott registered the website domain and soon after, it was officially launched as the “Home of the Patriotic Resistance.” This new website argued that, “Resisting is just the first step. That is why we propose a three-phased recovery for conservatives: Resist, Rebuild, and Restore. We believe that resisting will create newfound unity among conservatives.”

By taking an aggressive posture against President Obama, ResistNet quickly became the second largest of the national Tea Party factions, with now 83,888 members. No official reason has been given for the name change. But with electoral successes of 2010, perhaps they feel that they no longer have to resist.

For more on ResistNet, visit the profile of the group in Tea Party Nationalism. We will continue to closely watch the activities of the Patriot Action Network in the New Year.

Devin Burghart

Author Devin Burghart

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...

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