Mark Pitcavage Profile picture
Senior Research Fellow, ADL Center on Extremism. Historian, long-time expert on right-wing extremism. Long-lost scion of Sidney Greenstreet. My own views only.
Sep 7, 2018 11 tweets 3 min read
1. For your Extremist #FridayFlashback, I'd like to share a totally-forgotten incident from September 1999 involving a militia shootout in West Virginia--one of uncounted such episodes involving right-wing extremism over the past 25 years that got very little media attention. 2. A team of fed/state/law enforcement officers were looking for illicit marijuana grows in Lincoln County, West Virginia, when they ran into two brothers who were indeed growing pot out in the woods--but who were also anti-government extremists, part of the militia movement.
Sep 3, 2018 6 tweets 2 min read
My two cents.

Here's a checklist worth considering before deciding to invite an extremist onto a platform for a 1-on-1 interview or a "debate":

1. Does doing so risk giving the extremist a significant platform from which he/she can grow/reinforce his/her audience? 2. Has the extremist already been substantially covered/exposed?
3. Would a traditional investigative piece with full context be a better way to cover/expose the extremist?
4. Would the extremist be able to exploit a combative/aggressive interview for his/her own purposes?
Sep 3, 2018 8 tweets 2 min read
1. Why do the @NewYorker, @MSNBC, and others persist in willingly giving extremist Steve Bannon a free platform? No good comes of this--only the legitimization and normalization of extremism. 2. New Yorker editor David Remnick makes the most common mistake that journalists/others who "debate" or grant 1-on-1 interviews to extremists make. He says, “I have every intention of asking him difficult questions and engaging in a serious and even combative conversation.”
Aug 17, 2018 7 tweets 3 min read
1. Gavin McInnes, head of the extreme right Proud Boys group, claims "Nazis are not a thing, Islam is a thing." Well, they're both things, but they ain't the same thing. What he actually wants to do is minimize the danger of white supremacy, of course.… 2. The fact is that right-wing extremists have killed far more people than radical Islamist extremists in this country in recent memory--and of all the different types of right-wing extremists, white supremacists kill the most (by far).
Aug 2, 2018 6 tweets 2 min read
1. Right-wing former convict Dinesh D'Souza's new "movie," "Death of a Nation," is opening on Friday. It claims white supremacists are actually leftists. He even interviews Richard Spencer & paints him as a leftist. And, of course, he claims the Nazis were "firmly on the left." 2. This trope, that Nazis and other white supremacists are somehow magically left-wing, is a convenient bit of historical revisionism designed to leave the right pristine and pure while dumping all the crimes of the right in the pile where all the crimes of the left are. Handy.
Aug 1, 2018 8 tweets 2 min read
1/ Since everybody is talking about Qanon, I will, too, at least a little. Qanon is a rare type of conspiracy theory, because it has all of the following categories:

1. It is anonymous (the proponents of most conspiracy theories love the attention).
2. It is revelatory in nature 2/ (meaning that the originator purports to have access a source of secret but crucial information).
3. It is persistent/ongoing (rather than one info-dump, the originator doles out nuggets over time to entice/increase the audience).

Many conspiracy theories have one or two of
Jul 30, 2018 7 tweets 3 min read
I finally had some time today to catch up with sovereign citizen monitoring and came across some interesting examples of sovereign stuff along the way, so I thought I'd share a few of the items with you.

We can start with a bogus diplomatic license plate someone designed. The most popular type of bogus sovereign citizen license plate right now is the PRIVATE not for commerce plate, with many variations. This one adds legal citations at the top and bottom.
Jul 27, 2018 5 tweets 3 min read
1. Extremist #FlashbackFriday. On this day 20 yrs ago, anti-gov't extremist & fugitive Alan Pilon was spotted by a couple of Navajo kids in the Four Corners area. He, Jason McVean and Robert Mason had stolen a water truck (for reasons that remain unknown) and killed a police 2. officer who had spotted them. They escaped into the wilderness, sparking one of the largest manhunts in the west. At some point they apparently split up. Authorities found Mason, who shot and wounded a deputy before killing himself as the law closed in. The others vanished.
Jun 29, 2018 6 tweets 2 min read
1. This article doesn't mention it, but the phrase Dana Loesch used--curbstomping--was made famous by an infamous and graphically violent scene in the movie American History X where the white supremacist main character curbstomps a black youth.… 2. Curbstomping is a type of usually deadly violence in which the attacker(s) place the victim's open mouth against a concrete curb or other similarly sold surface, then stomp the back of the victim's skull, thus driving the curb into the skull with the force of the impact.
Jun 28, 2018 5 tweets 1 min read
1. It is common for people on Twitter to refer to White House adviser Stephen Miller as a "white nationalist," despite the fact that he is Jewish (the overwhelming majority of white supremacists believe Jews are the ultimate enemy). Recently, alt right figurehead Andrew Anglin 2. came out with his own take on Miller, saying "That doesn't mean he is a 'white nationalist.' But all of the policies he is advocating are the ones that white nationalists would be advocating in his position." But Anglin doesn't like liking him. "As long as he is removing brown
May 20, 2018 9 tweets 2 min read
1. Texas Lt Gov Dan Patrick wants to arm teachers, says they are part of the "well-run" militia.

As someone who wrote an 800+ page dissertation on the historical militia, killing many trees, I would like to respond.

The short answer is no. The *longer*… 2. answer is this. Due to federal law, the militia in Texas and every other state is divided into two classes: organized and unorganized. The organized militia is the National Guard. The unorganized militia is a statutory nominal manpower pool that was made obsolete by the
Apr 27, 2018 7 tweets 4 min read
1. Late Fridays, circumstances permitting, I like to spend time delving into sovereign citizen stuff, esp. looking for examples of sovereign things. Sometimes I share them here. Today I looked for new (to me) UCC1-308 examples. Don't worry, it's more interesting than it sounds. 2. UCC1-308, in reality, is part of the Uniform Commercial Code, state laws governing commercial transactions & deliberately the same from state to state, to facilitate commerce. UCC1-308 allows you to sign contracts or accept commercial documents w/o giving away certain rights.
Mar 30, 2018 25 tweets 5 min read
1. Do you like coconut and chocolate candy bars? Well, you’re in luck: you can go to your local grocery store and buy an Almond Joy bar. Oh, you don’t like nuts? That’s okay—the Hershey company also makes the Mounds bar, which is the same candy bar only without the almonds. 2. Isn’t that convenient?

Some conspiracy theories offer the same convenience. Specifically, some popular conspiracy theories come in two flavors: with or without anti-Semitism. White supremacists and other anti-Semites can employ the version that includes Jew-hating, while
Feb 26, 2018 23 tweets 4 min read
1. This is a lengthy thread and may not be interesting except to those wishing to explore the ancient history of the 2nd Amendment.

The article below is a good article that accurately describes the evolution

"How the NRA Rewrote the Second Amendment"… 2. of the NRA as well as the relatively recent right-wing revisionism of 2nd-rate legal writers to change the age-old interpretation of the 2nd amendment. But the author writes, re the wording in the 2nd amendment regarding "keep and bear arms," that "We don’t really know what he
Feb 7, 2018 11 tweets 3 min read
1. This article by @liamstack on neo-Nazi Art Jones running for Congress in Illinois raises an interesting question: Why (and how) do white supremacists run for public office?

"He’s a Nazi, Republicans Warn, but He’s Their Likely Nominee for Congress" 2. After all, Art Jones--who would be running against a "safe" Democratic incumbent--has no chance of actually winning the election. So why run? Over the years, I have observed that white supremacists tend to run for office in four main ways, each with their own sets of goals.
Nov 26, 2017 16 tweets 3 min read
10 Tips for Journalists Newly Covering the Far Right

1a. Don't reach for low hanging fruit. What Richard Spencer tweets is virtually never important. Spencer’s importance in general has been highly overrated. 1b. There is more to the white supremacist movement than the alt right. There is more to the extreme right than the white supremacist movement, too.
Oct 28, 2017 10 tweets 3 min read
1. Here are a few takeaways from, & initial analysis regarding, the #Shelbyville/#Murfreesboro white supremacist events in Tennessee today. 2. Early estimates suggest as many as 200 white supremacists showed up, inc. neo-Nazis, Ku Klux Klan grps, alt right adherents & others. We
Oct 24, 2017 19 tweets 2 min read
1. I’d like to talk for a minute, from the heart, about police/law enforcement. In various tweets that I make providing info or opinion on 2. extremism, etc., I frequently have occasion to mention law enforcement. All too often, when I do, I see responses that denigrate law
Sep 4, 2017 11 tweets 2 min read
1. This article illustrates clearly why Sebastian Gorka is in no way a "terrorism expert." The errors/problems with 2. his statements here are many and basic. First, "antifa" is not an "organization." Second, terrorism does not include minor crimes--if