Southern Poverty Law Center: More and More a Ripoff

Hunter Gray hunterbadbear at earthlink.net
Tue Sep 4 14:14:50 MDT 2001


The Southern Poverty Law Center and its prime mover, Morris Dees, have
become a discussion topic on a couple of Lists.  Hence this post of mine.

It's been known for many years by  social justice activists -- Southern
context or otherwise -- who are involved in anti-Klan, anti-Nazi etc
endeavours, that the Southern Poverty Law Center and its increasingly
massive, super-slick hustling complex has been  basically a very profitable
money-making operation for Morris Dees.  The first director of SPLC's
Klanwatch project was Randall Williams, who I knew fairly well  and still do
[Klanwatch published an article of mine on poor white poverty and the
Southern Klans:  "Beneath The Burning Crosses:   Reflections On The Klan And
Poor People."]  Randall  and I and many others were [and certainly are] much
concerned about getting down, creatively and constructively, to the basic
economic roots of Southern -- and national -- racism.

But an increasingly displeased Randall Williams left Dees' operations
early-on ,1982, for a position with the quite liberal Southern Regional
Council.   Danny Welch, Randall's Klanwatch successor, left several years
ago.  I didn't know Welch directly [a little phone and  some mail contact]
but, occasionally, we'd be interviewed together for hate group stories --
though the last time we appeared substantially together  as a two-some was
in a long piece in the Episcopal social justice magazine, Witness, 'way back
in November '92: "The Ku Klux Klan: America's Fiery Shadow."   Danny Welch
was, I have heard on  good authority, unhappy with many aspects of the Dees
operation.
Occasionally,  Dees and SPLC do something obviously positive -- e.g.,
joining  recently with good local attorney Norm Gissle in the Idaho Coeur
d'Alenes to get rid of the physical base [compound] of the quite decaying --
but still dangerous -- Aryan Nations operation at Hayden Lake [though, in
that suit, Dees collected a substantial hunk of dinero.]

[Since then, I should add, the super poisonous and violent National Alliance
[Identity Church/Phineas Priesthood]  has been moving into Idaho -- and
we're sensibly and effectively concerned about that.]

Dees was very much around as an adult and a lawyer
during the high water period of the Southern Movement.  He played no
activist or supportive role in the Movement whatsoever.  It's always been my
understanding that he essentially supports the death penalty;  but, in any
event, he certainly hasn't used SPLC resources to combat it -- despite
SPLC's ostensibly broad anti-racist focus. The well-known death penalty
class/race  bias -- a hideous national tragedy -- is even much more
exaggerated in the South [and very much in Dees' base state of Alabama.]
Never a radical,  never interested in the deep economic roots of racism, and
someone whose contempt for  Southern poor
whites has been blatantly obvious, Dees blended  very tightly with the Bill
Clinton machine.  He's also been under civil suit for SPLC's increasingly
White-only hiring and promotional practices.

In Solidarity -

Hunter Gray [Hunterbear]

Hunter Gray
www.hunterbear.org





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