Mark Potok is an internationally renowned expert on the American radical right who, for 20 years, helped lead the legendary Southern Poverty Law Center in exposing hate groups, right-wing terrorism, and the rapidly increasing infiltration of extremist ideas into the political mainstream. In that role, Potok faced numerous death threats from white supremacists and constant vilification by leaders of the far-right media — a remarkable measure of just how effective his work was. Potok has been described in one book on social justice activists as having “a reputation as the preeminent editorial commentator who follows the American radical right.” In 2018, a year after leaving SPLC, he joined the Centre for Analysis of the Radical Right as a Senior Fellow. As the director of the SPLC’s Intelligence Project and, later, Senior Fellow at the SPLC and Editor in Chief of its award-winning Intelligence Report investigative magazine, Potok was a key spokesman for the SPLC, a civil rights organization based in Alabama. He has testified before the U.S. Senate, the United Nations High Commission on Human Rights, the Helsinki Commission, and in other key venues.
In this first half of their two-part conversation, Mark shares with Rachel insights from his decades of work exposing dangerous extremist groups on the far right and beyond. Together they survey the current political landscape and offer expertise from their respective fields of study. Mark and Rachel both provide analysis relating to political movements of the past and look ahead to the worrisome political climate on the horizon. They go on to compare notes on the cultic tendencies of hate groups and far-right terrorist cells.
Before You Go: Rachel reiterates the importance of learning from the lessons of history in order to seek out fundamental truths but notes taking action as equally important. Reminding us that even advanced civilizations are vulnerable to the folly of human nature.
For more info on Mark's work visit:
For more info on SPLC visit:
For more info on CARR visit:
Here’s a link to Mark's booklet on conversion therapy, “Quacks: ‘Conversion Therapists,’ the Anti-LGBT Right, and the Demonization of Homosexuality”:
Hear Rachel's thought on the U.S. Capitol insurrection:
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