The Southern Poverty Law Center’s lunatic attack on immigration reformers

As Robert Locke shows in a lengthy commentary at Front Page Magazine, the Southern Poverty Law Center headed by Morris Dees has brought PC demonization to new heights of lunacy. A recent article in the house journal of SPLC, an organization that specializes in the ferreting out of “hate groups,” purports to show the “white supremacist” character of the immigration reform movement. Short on facts, long on lies, and containing little more than the same three or four well-known adjectives and nouns used over and over, the article makes such extreme and ridiculous assertions as to cause bursts of therapeutic laughter. Thus Glenn Spencer’s grass-roots anti-illegal immigration organization in California, American Patrol, is baldly characterized as a “racist hate group,” while John Tanton, the founder of the Federation for American Immigration Reform and other mainstream organizations, is described as forming a network of “like-minded white supremacist activists.”

Guilt by association is a big factor in the SPLC’s diatribe. Thus Tanton is attacked because of the alleged racist associations of writers who have contributed to his quarterly, The Social Contract. In particular the SPLC targets (without quoting any of its contents) a special issue of Tanton’s journal published in 1998 on the theme of “Europhobia,” the fear and hatred of white people, and edited by John Vinson of the American Immigration Control Foundation (which published my 1990 booklet The Path to National Suicide: An Essay on Immigration and Multiculturalism).

Since it portrays me as a link in the chain that supposedly proves Tanton to be a racist, I’ll quote this passage which gives the flavor of the whole article:

The issue was one of the first public manifestations of a collaboration between Tanton’s network and open racists. In addition to Tanton and Vinson, the line-up of authors included … Lawrence Auster, who also spoke at conferences of American Renaissance, a pseudo-scientific magazine devoted to racial breeding and the idea that blacks are less intelligent.
Now follow this truly incriminating string of evidence. I wrote an article for John Tanton’s magazine in 1998. Four years earlier, I had spoken at an American Renaissance conference. American Renaissance, we are told, advocates racial breeding (which by the way is not true; to the best of my knowledge, only one passing comment in one article in the 12 year history of that publication has ever mentioned the idea of lowering reproduction rates for certain groups). In any case, I as a speaker at an AR conference am tainted with the advocacy of racial breeding; and, since Tanton’s magazine published an article by me, so is John Tanton; and since Tanton is the leading figure in the modern immigration reform movement, so is the entire movement.

This is what passes for logic and reasoning at a “respectable,” “reputable,” very well-funded, liberal American organization in the year 2002.

By the way, my article in the “Europhobia” issue of The Social Contract had nothing to do with racial breeding, or even with racial intelligence. The article was entitled “Multiculturalism And The Demotion Of Man.” It began with two quotes from the book of Psalms and St. Paul’s Epistle to the Romans, and it was about the inversion of all moral and spiritual and cultural values by radical egalitarianism—one of the many consequences of which, I argued, is our open borders policy.
Posted by Lawrence Auster at July 31, 2002 08:57 PM | Send


This sort of attack is to be expected. It is an indication, I think, that immigration reform is starting to take off, albeit slowly, and that the power elites and their attack dogs on the left are starting to recognize it. But perhaps I’m being too optimistic here. I do know that several immigration reform outfits have been the target of increasingly virulent assaults from the left, yet seem to be gaining strength and credibility nonetheless. The Robert Locke piece was excellent, by the way. Is Locke published anywhere else?

Posted by: William on August 1, 2002 9:43 AM

Let me spell it out for you

F.A.I.R. A M E R I C A N P A T R O L

lA paz JC

Posted by: Juan Connors on August 1, 2002 10:16 AM

The attack strikes me as strange, since as far as I could tell the immigration reform movement has not been making particular headway lately, even in the aftermath of the attack on America. It may be that SPLC is wholly driven by financial considerations. They raise money by convincing people there’s some terrible racist movement afoot. Since that message won’t play vis à vis the Klan any more, they had to find a new target.

As for Robert Locke, he’s is a regular columnist at David Horowitz’s Front Page Magazine, He also has his own blog,

Posted by: Lawrence Auster on August 1, 2002 10:17 AM

Like most organizations of this kind the SPLC is driven by financial considerations, so it is in their interest to promote racism, anti-Semitism, “hate”, etc. What I mean is, if they can convince the public, the government, and — most importantly — donors, that racism is on the rise, then it means more funding.

What is especially dangerous — and why immigration reformers should be very concerned — is the establishing of close ties between the SPLC and the government, especially the security forces. The connections among private left-wing intelligence services such as the SPLC and the central government grew stronger during the Clinton years. The SPLC is in effect a private intelligence outfit whose views on immigration reform groups are taken seriously in Washington.

So it’s no surprise that immigration extremists unfairly characterize their opponents as “hate groups,” “racists,” etc. What is alarming is that these leftist radicals are given such a welcome reception in Washington.

Posted by: William on August 1, 2002 10:38 AM

Thanks to William for that comment, which I think is significant. I have forwarded it to a list of immigration reformers.

Posted by: Lawrence Auster on August 1, 2002 11:28 AM

Hey guys, don’t fear, I have a friend with a wonderful encampment in Idaho with all the modern fixins’ and a delightfully large cache of heavy weaponry in case the Feds get a little trigger happy, and y’all invited!

Ha, just kidding guys, I live in Canada, and the only people who have encampments are leftovers from the 1960s with communes on the West coast.

Posted by: Rory Dickson on August 1, 2002 11:47 AM

First, let me say that the tactics of using names such as “racist” and “hate groups” are none other than lack of arguement and good facts to support them. Second, I am the North Carolina Executive Director of the Council of Conservative Citizens, a national non-profit organization adamant on stopping illegal immigration. Take it from an insider, as well as a leader—-WE ARE NOT A HATE GROUP, although deemed so by Dees and his brainwashed followers. Third, consider the source—-none other than Morris Dees himself. His character is definately questionable, and if you need proof then check out, in which you will find Dees is nothing more than a child-molesting pervert who constantly engaged in extrmarital affairs. I hope at least if you don’t change your mind about certain groups labeled as “hate groups,” then maybe you will choose to collect your information from someone a little more credible. To all immigration reformers: don’t let name-calling deter you from your cause. You are on the right track; we must not give up—-OUR FOREFATHERS NEVER DID.

Posted by: Shanna on August 1, 2002 12:06 PM

While I don’t care to speculate on Mr. Dees’s personal life, I do think the way his organization and others like it engage in debate is contemptible.

Their tactics primarily involve repeated ad hominem insults and slander. To me this indicates that the immigration reform side is winning, at least intellectually. If there were a solid argument in favor of open borders it would have been made by now. As it is the only thing they can do is resort to name-calling.

But I think it also demonstrates the broader tendency on the left to demonize and de-humanize those of us on the right. According to this, not only are people who oppose third world immigration wrong, but we are also “evil,” “racist,” and “xenophobic”, i.e. subhumans who need to be watched carefully, if not arrested and put away. I think the implications of this kind of thinking are pretty unsettling.

Posted by: William on August 1, 2002 12:27 PM

While the left’s lack of good arguments is in the long run a major vulnerability for them, it does not mean that they are losing in the present. As Irving Kristol once said (if I may be forgiven for approvingly quoting a neoconservative): “Liberalism is brain-dead, even as its heart continues to pump out blood to our whole political system.” This very accurately describes the situation.

Posted by: Lawrence Auster on August 1, 2002 12:36 PM

Another view of Morris Dees and the S.P.L.C.


Morris Dees and the Southern Poverty Law Center are much in the news as a
source of information on Southern Heritage groups and personalities. In many
cases the information is treated as if it is from an unbiased source. In
order to assist the public and the media to understand the lack of
credibility, lack of character, the very real bias and left of center agenda
of Morris Dees and the Southern Poverty Law Center, the following is

Full name: Morris Seligman Dees, Jr.
Born: December 16, 1936 in Shorter, Macon County, Alabama
Graduated from Sidney Lanier High School in Montgomery, Alabama in 1955
Received B.A. & J.D. Law degree (1960) from University of Alabama

In an article titled “Poverty Palace” Morris Dees told journalist John
Edgerton that “.I had a traditional white Southerner’s feeling for
segregation.” (The Progressive, July 1988 - Edgerton, John. “Poverty
Palace, How the SPLC Got Rich Fighting the Klan”)

Dees made a fortune selling cookbooks by mail in partnership with Millard
Fuller (who later founded Habitat for Humanity). (Fuller, Millard.
Bokotola. New Century Press: 1977)

Fuller has this to say about his 8 year association with Dees:

Dees and Fuller formed the law firm of Dees & Fuller in Montgomery, Alabama
in 1960.

“Morris Dees and I, from the first day of our partnership, shared one
overriding purpose: to make a pile of money. We were not particular about
how we did it; we just wanted to be independently rich. During the eight
years we worked together we never wavered in that resolve.”

“But everything has a price. And I paid for our success in several ways. One
price I paid was estrangement from the church.”

Dees served in 1958 as state campaign manager for segregationist attorney
general candidate McDonald Gallion and also worked for George C. Wallace.
Fuller stated: “We wanted to be sure of having friends in high places.”

In 1961 when Freedom Riders were beaten by a white mob at a Montgomery bus
station, Dees (and Fuller) expressed openly his sympathies and support for
what had happened at the bus station.

When one of the men charged with beating the Freedom Riders came to their
office for legal representation, Dees and Fuller took the case. The legal
fee was paid by the Ku Klux Klan and the White Citizen’s Council. (Fuller,
Millard. Love in the Mortar Joints. New Century Press: 1980 and The
Progressive, July 1988)

Dees founded the Southern Poverty Law Center in 1971 with Joseph Levin (who
left the SPLC in 1976) and Julian Bond (resigned late 1970’s). (Articles of
Incorporation. Southern Poverty Law Center, Inc.)

Acted as Chief fundraiser for George McGovern’s 1972 presidential campaign
in return for the campaign’s mailing list. Raised $20 million for McGovern.
(Burlington Times, July 30, 1975. The Progressive, July 1988.)

Arrested and removed from court in 1975 for attempting to suborn perjury
(bribing a witness) in the Joan Little murder trial in North Carolina.
Little, a black convict, was accused of killing a prison guard with an
ice-pick . The felony charge against Dees was subsequently dropped, but the
presiding judge, Hamilton Hobgood, refused to
re-admit Dees to the case. The refusal was upheld on appeal after the
Supreme Court of the United States refused to hear Dees appeal. (Ibid.)

“The great untold story of the JoAnn Little trial was the role of the
Communist Party, through its National Alliance Against Racist and Political
Repression, in controlling the entire political movement surrounding the
case. Angela Davis, a leading figure in both organizations became the most
frequently quoted movement figure and constant companion of JoAnn Little…
Party members were visible and influential on the defense committee, and the
party frequently set up rallies of support around the country.” (Columbia
Journalism Review. Pirsky, Mark. March/April, 1976.)

Fund-raised for Jimmy Carter in 1976 hoping to be named Attorney-General,
but was unenthused by the campaign for its middle of the road appeal ” You’
ve got to have a candidate who is way out on the extremes!” (The
Progressive, July 1988.)

Acted as a fundraiser for both Ted Kennedy’s 1980 and Gary Hart’s 1984
presidential campaigns and received their mailing lists as reward. (Ibid.)

Perhaps explaining the SPLC’s “Gay” rights activism, Dees was cited in 1979
by his ex-wife with a homosexual encounter during their marriage. She also
cited numerous affairs with women including his daughter-in-law and underage
stepdaughter. (Alabama Court of Civil Appeals CIV 2114, 1979)

-The SPLC’s fundraising practices have provoked the disapproval of watchdog
groups that monitor charities: In 1993, the American Institute of
Philanthropy assigned the SPLC a “D” grade on a scale of A to F. (American
Institute of Philanthropy xxxx 1993 Charity Watchdog Report)

“By frequently mailing out such persuasive appeals, Dees and his associates
have drawn financial support from about half a million Americans (by 1988).
The number of contributors and the amount they have given are probably
greater than any left-of-center group has recorded in a comparable period in
the history of American philanthropy.” (The Progressive, July 1988.)

Randall Williams who formed Klanwatch in 1981 as part of the SPLC’s said in
1988: “We were sharing information with the FBI, the police, undercover
agents. Instead of defending clients and victims we were more of a super
snoop outfit, an arm of law enforcement. Randall and four staff attorney’s
resigned from the Center in 1986. (Ibid.)

In 1994 the Montgomery Advertiser won a journalism award for a series of
incisive and penetrating investigative articles exposing the unethical
fundraising practices of Dees and the Southern Poverty Law Center including:

Since August 1, 1984, the Law Center has taken in about $62 million in
contributions and yet only spent about $21 million on actual programs,
according to federal tax records.

-In a series of fund-raising letters the Law Center implied it forced the
United Klan’s of American to pay $7 million to the mother of lynching victim
Michael Donald in 1987. Beulah Mae Donald actually received only $51,874.70
from the Klansmen. The Law Center collected millions as the result of
fund-raising letters about the case.

-The Montgomery Advertiser conducted a “random sampling of donors—people
who receive a steady stream of fund-raising letters and newsletters—showed
they had no idea the Law Center was so wealthy.”

“They’re drowning in their own affluence,” Pamela Summers, a former SPLC
legal fellow told The Montgomery Advertiser. “What they are doing in the
legal department is not done for the best interest of everybody [but] is
done as though the sole, overriding goal is to make money.”“I think people
associate the SPLC with.going to court. And that’s why they get the money.
And they don’t go to court.” There have only been a handful of court cases
over the years, many of which remain unresolved.

The SPLC which has crusaded for the rights of blacks for 23 years, is
controlled by whites. It has hired only two black staff attorneys in its
history, both of whom left unhappy. 12 of 13 former Black employees
interviewed by the Montgomery Advertiser complained they experienced or
observed racial problems during their employment. Several said the SPLC was
“more like a plantation.” (Montgomery Advertiser. Feb. 13-14, 1994.)

In 1986 the entire SPLC legal staff resigned in protest of Dees refusal to
address issues such as poverty, homelessness, voter registration and other
issues they considered more pertinent to poor minorities rather than to get
rich fighting a Klan chimera. (Harpers Magazine. Silverstein, Ken. “The
Church of Morris Dees.” November 2000.)

The Birmingham News has also investigated Dees and the SPLC in 1994 and
found the following:

-Christine Lee, a Harvard Law School alumnus who interned at the Center in
1989, “I would definitely say that there was not a single black employee
with whom I spoke who was happy to be working there.” “As I was told (at the
SPLC), they don’t need Black people telling them how to handle Black
issues,” Lee said.

-Dees responded by saying, “We don’t have black slots and white slots.
Probably the most discriminated people in American today are white men when
it comes to jobs because there are more of those who had more education
opportunities and who the test scores show are scoring better and on paper
look more qualified. That’s why you have so many reverse discrimination
cases around.” (Birmingham News. Feb. 17, 1994.)

The USA Today reported in 1996 that Dees’ Southern Poverty Law Center was
the “nations richest civil rights organization” with $68 million in assets.
(USA Today. Aug. 3, 1996) Today it is closer to its stated goal of a $100
million endowment.

In the same article Stephen Bright, one of Dees numerous former associates
told a reporter that Dees is “a fraud who has milked a lot of very
wonderful, well intentioned people.” (Ibid.)

-At a news conference in Washington in April 1996, Dees announced that
“Those [black] churches that have been burned in the South were certainly
burned by racists.” After subsequent investigation revealed there was no
rash of black church burnings, many newspapers, including The Charlotte
Observer, concluded that Dees “misinformed” the press. (Charlotte Observer.
October 10, 1996.)

Dees has actively campaigned for for laws in which “associations of two or
more persons” who train in the use of firearms for defensive purposes are
declared “illegal militias.” (Selected Speeches and Writings of Morris

Dees is well known for putting “Hate on Trial” in the 1990 Portland. Oregon
civil trial of extremist Tom Metzger. One of the witnesses in that trial,
Greg Withrow, now accuses Dees of suborning perjury by paying witnesses (and
then hush money for another 5 years) for their testimony. (San Diego Times
Union. August 25, 2002.)

Dees & the SPLC defames the entire Southern Heritage Community by labeling
them “Neo-Confederates.” (SPLC Intelligence Update. Summer 2000)

Dees assaulted an elderly journalist at a symposium sponsored by the
University of West Florida, Pensacola, Florida on January 12, 2002. The
journalist had asked Dees a “bad question.” Dees then had the journalist
physically hauled out of the building by two policemen. (The First Freedom.
February, 2002.)

This report will be updated frequently. Submissions are welcome.”

Posted by: Jack on August 1, 2002 2:37 PM

Thanks for the favorable comments, people. While we’re all attacking SPLC, don’t forget to point your browsers to, which gives the lowdown on these pests.

Posted by: Robert Locke on August 1, 2002 6:21 PM
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