APnc 06/11 0634 Far Right By MITCHELL LANDSBERG Associated Press Writer NEW YORK (AP) -- T

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APnc 06/11 0634 Far Right By MITCHELL LANDSBERG Associated Press Writer NEW YORK (AP) -- The Reagan administration has been the toughest foe the extreme right has faced in decades, in part because it has provided a mainstream alternative to conservative fanaticism, a report says. The administration also has brought more right-wing extremists to trial than any other since World War II, said the Anti-Defamation League of B'nai B'rith, a Jewish service organization. "The hate movement is weaker today than in many years," the ADL said in Wednesday's report. It gave credit to "the superb job done by the Justice Department and law enforcement agencies" and to "the good sense and decency" of most Americans. The report, "The Hate Movement Today: A Chronicle of Violence and Disarray," focuses on such groups as the Ku Klux Klan, the Order, Posse Comitatus, the Aryan Nations and various neo-Nazi organizations. Such groups reached a peak of popularity in 1981 and have been declining since, the report said. The ADL said the Reagan administration's conservative social and cultural values have "tended to undermine whatever base of popular support the far right had begun to acquire." "The tendancy ot extremist groups is to thrive when there are administrations in Washington that represent the opposite of their views," said Irwin Suall, fact-finding director for the ADL. He said the Reagan administration appeals to the "sympathetic constituency" of the far right -- people who might support extremist groups without becoming heavily involved in their activities. As a result, the far right has been pared down to "hardbitten ideologues and fanatics" who would oppose anyone in the White House, he said. And the federal government has responded harshly to their growing penchant for violence. The report catalogued a long list of criminal cases against far right groups for such activities as synagogue firebombings, the slaying of Denver radio talk show host Alan Berg, illegal paramilitary training and conspiracies to overthrow the government. "Not since the Roosevelt administration's wartime indictments of Axis sympathizers on charges of sedition have so many far-right extremists been placed on trial," the report said. It said extremist groups have been energized by recent events in Forsyth County, Ga., where demonstrations by civil rights groups brought an outpouring of resentment from local whites, and in the Howard Beach section of Queens, where a black man was struck and killed by a car after he and his companions were set upon by a white gang. However, the ADL said these incidents "have provided only brief periods of enthusiasm for activists rather than any lasting build-up in the ranks of the Klan and neo-Nazi groups involved." The report said the Ku Klux Klan, which has splintered into three major factions, has been reduced to a nationwide membership of between 4,500 and 5,500, a decline of as much as 25 percent suring the past 2 1/2 years and the lowest total in 14 years. The neo-Nazi movement, which has become divided since the heyday of the American Nazi Party under George Lincoln Rockwell, can claim only about 400 to 450 members, a drop of 10 to 20 percent in the past 2 1/2 year, according to the ADL. It offered no comparative figures for the various "Christian Identity" groups that have captured headlines in the past few years: the Order, Posse Comitatus, the Arizona Patriots and the Covenant, the Sword and the Arm of the Lord. However, it indicated that these groups, too, are in decline. Last page !


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