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Chip Berlet
For over 40 years Chip Berlet has written about civil liberties, social justice, right-wing groups, prejudice, political repression, systems of oppression, and scapegoating. From 1981 to 2011 he was senior analyst at Berlet is co–author of Right-Wing Populism in America: Too Close for Comfort (Guilford, 2000) and editor of Eyes Right! Challenging the Right Wing Backlash (South End Press, 1995), both of which received a Gustavus Myers Center Award for outstanding scholarship on human rights and bigotry in North America.

Berlet’s byline has appeared in publications ranging from the New York Times and Boston Globe to the Progressive and Amnesty Now. He has appeared on ABC Nightline, the NBC Today Show, NPR’s All things Considered, Democracy Now, and many other radio and television programs.

His essays here on Huffington Post are his own views of any organization.

For more biographical information and cites to selected published material, go here.

Entries by Chip Berlet

Racist Violence and Social Science

(3) Comments | Posted June 25, 2015 | 1:59 PM

Racist violence is grotesque and horrifying. The shootings in a Charleston church have launched a much needed public discussion about the relationships linking Lone Wolf terrorists, white supremacy, and organized racist groups. Let's dig deeper into the existing social science on this issue.

Right-wing hate groups do not cause prejudice...

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The Budget Showdown in a Teapot: Short Executive Summary

(15) Comments | Posted October 10, 2013 | 4:27 PM

Co-authored by Abby Scher

The budget showdown illustrates the perfect storm brewed by the Tea Party movement which brings together five major political and economic trends of the last 20 years.

First, rising economic inequality produces social and political isolation with some of the rich separating themselves from the rest...

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Obama, Tea Parties, and Apocalyptic Aggression

(0) Comments | Posted September 23, 2013 | 8:36 AM

When President Obama talks about the Congressional budget showdown as apocalyptic... what does that mean?

What is Apocalyptic Aggression?

The merger of apocalyptic frameworks and conspiracy-based belief systems spawns aggressive confrontations that undermine civil society in a democracy.

Apocalyptic Aggression occurs when demonized scapegoats are targeted as...

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Anti-LGBT Family Research Council Mimics 'Patriot' Rhetoric

(4) Comments | Posted July 11, 2013 | 1:26 PM

As barriers to equality for the LGBT community continue to fall, the Family Research Council (FRC), an influential Christian Right group that has been propagating anti-gay pseudo-science for decades, is broadening its message by adopting the language of the antigovernment "Patriot" movement.

Case in point: This week, less...

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Reflections One Month After the Boston Marathon Bombing

(8) Comments | Posted May 20, 2013 | 8:53 AM

A month after the Boston Marathon Bombing, the unified response here in the Boston area is the slogan "Boston Strong," which I see on handmade signs and professional banners hanging on walls and highway overpasses.

In the hours following the bombing, the corporate media engaged in outlandish rumor-mongering,...

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Make April 8, 2013 International Friendship Day

(5) Comments | Posted April 4, 2013 | 10:49 AM

April 8, 2013 could be a day to welcome immigrants and people from other nations. My colleague and friend Dr. Mohammad Mahallati, at Oberlin College, wants Congress to declare April 8 International Friendship Day. Mahallati, from a family with generations of Imams, says "difference is a blessing." He has his...

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Newtown Shootings an Israeli-US Plot, Suggests Conspiracy-Mongering Professor

(0) Comments | Posted January 9, 2013 | 12:22 PM

The Newtown, Connecticut school shooting may be part of a sinister Israeli intelligence operation according to retired professor James Fetzer. The Duluth News Tribune reported this week week that Fetzer claimed "Israeli Mossad death squads and the U.S. government might have been behind the school shootings." Fetzer

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Apocalypse Means Never Having to Say You Are Sorry

(1) Comments | Posted May 23, 2011 | 4:32 PM

No one ever lost money by betting against the apocalypse happening on a particular day. That's a joke among scholars of apocalypticism, and it was a considered a hoot at meetings of the Center for Millennial Studies (CMS).

I was on the advisory board of CMS and wrote the entry...

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The Attack on Working People & Organized Labor

(8) Comments | Posted May 13, 2011 | 9:29 AM

It became clear in 2011 that there was a broad attack on working people, especially those in unions. Ultraconservative members of the House of Representatives, including members of the Tea Party Caucus, relentlessly introduce legislation that would benefit the rich and powerful and slice up the economic safety net most...

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Time to Rethink Using the Term "Extremism"

(0) Comments | Posted December 28, 2010 | 12:39 PM

Every time the government uses the term "extremist" it helps justify political repression against political opponents.

Every time the term "extremist" is used to describe a political opponent, it marginalizes political dissent across the political spectrum.

Every time liberals and leftists use the term "extremist" it undermines the...

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Reporting on Anti-Islamic Trainings Began in 2008

(2) Comments | Posted December 21, 2010 | 7:57 AM

Why has Obama's Justice Department failed to take action to stop the training of counterterrorism agents by anti-Muslim bigots?

One website in particular has carried over 25 articles mentioning one of the most outlandish bigots, Walid Shobat. These online articles date back to 2008.

Over at the website Talk to...

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Boston Tea Party Group Lurches Far Right

(0) Comments | Posted December 14, 2010 | 9:27 AM


Tea Party enthusiasts in Massachusetts are falling off the right side of the wharf.   A recent event featured a bevy of well-known aggressive right-wingers and conspiracy mongers. Meeting in Boston's Faneuil Hall, near where the first Tea Party protest took place in 1773, some 200 people gathered Sunday,...

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Abstaining from Bad Sects

(2) Comments | Posted December 11, 2010 | 6:13 PM

This essay first appeared as "Abstaining from Bad Sects: Understanding Sects, Cadres, and Mass Movement Organizations," Resist Newsletter, Somerville, MA: Resist, Vol. 8, No. 10, December 1999. It has fallen off the website of Resist, so I re-publish it here due to several recent requests.

= = = =...

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Fanatics Defame Murdered U.S. Soldiers

(20) Comments | Posted November 19, 2010 | 1:39 PM

A small group of fanatics plan to hijack a memorial event on Sunday ostensibly dedicated to the memory of soldiers who died in an attack last year at Fort Hood, Texas. The event will feature speakers with a long history of vicious anti-Islamic bigotry and rhetoric that targets not the...

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The Tea Party Republicans' Malek Problem

(0) Comments | Posted November 3, 2010 | 9:26 AM

Fred V. Malek, is a key political strategist for the American Action Network which just spent some $7 million to unseat Congressional Democrats with votes from the Tea Partiers. Malek is in the midst of a renewed controversy stemming from an incident in 1988. Malek resigned his post at the...

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Fox News Hoax Exploits Holocaust Link to Mask Racism in Tea Parties

(4) Comments | Posted April 29, 2010 | 4:08 PM

The story surfaces nationally with a surreal Glenn Beck segment and two ludicrous Fox News discussions highlighting the false claim that Brandeis University was hosting an international conference linking the Tea Party movement to Nazis in Europe. The conference, which took place yesterday, revealed the entire propaganda campaign was a...

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Armed Militas, The Antichrist, and Obama

(2) Comments | Posted March 29, 2010 | 11:41 AM

That armed militias in the midwest were preparing for an actual battle with agents of the Antichrist is not a surprise. Fear mongering has become epidemic on the political right. Why now? Since the millennium comes at the end of the Tribulations, its approach is constantly expected, and not necessarily...

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Pentagon Attack Highlights Growing Conspiracist Anger

(5) Comments | Posted March 5, 2010 | 3:17 PM

Is it a surprise that an angry citizen, John Patrick Bedell, attacked the entrance to the Pentagon? Was it a surprise that an angry taxpayer flew his small plane into an IRS office? These and other acts of violence are linked to a form of apocalyptic conspiracism rampant in the...

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Angry Voters, Right-Wing Populism, and Racial Violence

(1) Comments | Posted January 27, 2010 | 9:22 AM

Eric Ward is nervous. He's seen it before -- the angry right-wing populist crowds, the strident calls to "Restore America" and "Take it Back." In the mid 1990s Ward was a community organizer for a human rights group in the Pacific Northwest. As a burly young black man with a...

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Lieberman's "Leaderless Jihad" Fetish: Bogus Theories Feed Islamophobia

(0) Comments | Posted November 19, 2009 | 12:27 PM

The Senate committee hearing on Islamic terrorism staged today by Sen. Joseph Lieberman is an example of flawed, biased, or discredited scholarship being used in a zealous propaganda campaign that will do little to enhance public safety and much to expand bigotry against Muslims in the United States.

The U.S....

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