Southern Poverty Law Center releases report on hate and extremism

According to the Southern Poverty Law Center’s (SPLC) The Year in Hate & Extremism 2021 report released in early March: hate and antigovernment extremism have gone mainstream, infecting the national and political dialogue. The new report identified 733 hate and 488 anti-government groups actively operating across the United States—a decrease from the 838 and 566 documented in 2020 and the record-high 1,020 in 2018.

With far-right extremists finding safe haven in online networks steeped in hateful ideology, the number of documented active groups has declined for a third year; however, hate and extremism in America has not diminished. Instead, it has coalesced into a broader movement that is both threatening democracy at the community level and embracing violence as a means to achieve white supremacist goals.

The Year in Hate & Extremism 2021 report does reveal that the threat posed by extremist activity has grown. 

“Our nation stands at a dangerous crossroad. The mainstreaming of hate and extremism threatens our people, our communities, our education system and democracy itself,” said Susan Corke, director of the SPLC’s Intelligence Project. 

On policy recommendations

In addition to the deep analysis of the nature and magnitude of the threat posed by hate and extremism today, the report provides a wide range of forward-looking policy recommendations designed to defend and strengthen the nation’s democratic institutions and build community resilience. Central to addressing the threat is a commitment to whole of government, long-term initiatives to counter racism, antigovernment extremism and hate groups in America include such recommendations to lawmakers and citizens as:

• Speaking out against hate, racism, extremism and attacks on voting and democratic institutions, in all forms.

• Enforcing current laws against private militias and political intimidation.

• Protecting every citizen’s right to vote.

• Holding the planners and perpetrators of the January 6 attack – and those who inspired their violent acts – accountable, with real consequences.

• Improving government coordination and response to domestic extremism.

• Confronting white supremacy and extremism among active-duty military and veterans.

• Funding prevention and education initiatives to steer individuals away from hate and extremism.

• Making tech and social media companies more accountable and transparent to promote online safety

On social media

The report also documents the far-right’s move to livestreaming as the preferred tool for organizing, fundraising and spreading propaganda. The trend, driven in part by their deplatforming from more mainstream platforms, has shown the resilience of online hate. Hard-right extremists continue to raise money and spread propaganda online even as their outreach becomes more diffuse and harder to capture.

To access the full “The Year in Hate & Extremism 2021” report and map, visit