Ku Klux Klan On a Recruiting Drive in Georgia

Why is the KKK on a push for new members now, of all times?

Good news for First Amendment fans: America’s oldest and most famous domestic terrorist organization is once again serving as a test case for how much we’re willing to tolerate in the name of free speech. The KKK is distributing flyers to people’s yards offering them the chance to join up and look like complete assholes. The Newton Citizen reports:

“The Newton County Sheriff’s Office is currently monitoring the situation … the fliers are being reviewed to make sure they don’t contain any inappropriate information or threats,” Morrison said. “As far as we know, there are no active KKK chapters in Newton County and these fliers seem to be based out of North Carolina.”

Morrison said the Sheriff’s Office had recovered three other versions of the flier — one that reads, “Help Save Our Race” and shows a klansman in front of a Confederate flag; one with a klansman on a horse with a torch; and another one with a klansman on a horse holding up a cross that reads, “White Pride = White Power.” All have the same contact number and website reference.

It’s awfully interesting that after years of decline and irrelevance, the KKK is on a recruitment drive now. Historically, there’ve been three waves of Klan activity, one after the Civil War, one after WWI, and one after WWII. Not coincidentally, all three of these periods coincided with increased rights and respect for minorities, especially African-Americans.

There’s always going to be a percentage of folks with privilege who imagine, on some level, that freedom is a zero-sum game. They think, in an unexamined sort of way, that someone else getting more freedom must mean that they, the privileged, now have less. It sounds silly, but we still have people who imagine that their own marriage is threatened by other people getting married, and that logic doesn’t make sense under anything but a zero-sum model.

That’s the model the KKK has built its past successes on: the idea that if someone other than white Protestants was being treated less badly, that must obviously constitute a threat to white Protestants. So why now? What’s going on that might make KKK-eligible folks think that, for example, “their country is being taken away” or “they don’t recognize America any more” or “their country’s been stolen”?

Ohhhhhh, right.

About Noah Brand

Noah Brand is a writer and editor, and quite possibly also a cartoon character from the 1930s. His life, when it is written, will read better than it lived. He is usually found in Portland, Oregon, directly underneath a very nice hat.


  1. wellokaythen says:

    Oh, dear. It’s amazing how people can be so paranoid and so gullible at the same time. Something to ask is how genuine these flyers really are. It would be an excellent tool for any anti-Klan organization to gather the names of people who would be willing to join the KKK, and then circulate the names in order to shame those people. It’s not like there’s a verification process to make sure the people who run the website really do speak for the Klan. The Klan’s not about to sue anyone for copyright infringement. Call the number, give your information to the website, and who knows where your personal information will end up.

    The Klan fell apart in the 1920’s in large part because of some internal financial scandals. The leaders were lining their own pockets with the dues and were up to all sorts of corruption. Apparently, white people are sometimes untrustworthy.

    The fact that the recruitment is by anonymous mass marketing suggests that the current membership may be extremely low. Normally you would be approached by someone you know who’s already in the Klan, but perhaps nowadays the vast majority of white Southerners don’t actually know anyone in the KKK, so they have to reached some other way.

    And, really, wearing white after Labor Day is just so tacky.

  2. Terry Washington says:

    Given that the KKK’s “base”(much like the GOP’s not so coincidentally) is literally dying out, I think the Klan is making the most of its “last hurrah”- fortunately the South and America as a whole (pace Obama’s election and reelection last November) has moved on even if the Klan hasn’t!

  3. What? It’s not enough to threaten 2nd amendment rights? You (plural, generic) have to go after 1st amendment rights too with this strawman argument, Noah? …”America’s oldest and most famous domestic terrorist organization is once again serving as a test case for how much we’re willing to tolerate in the name of free speech.”

    Copyleft, the truth is we *have* re-elected a black man to be president. Perhaps you’d prefer he be elected king instead?

    • No, I’d prefer that the Klan and all their associated bigots die out quietly so the rest of America can move forward.

    • wellokaythen says:

      If Obama were out to institute a dictatorship, I’m not clear how the Klan offers a more democratic alternative. It’s hardly a model of democratic process, transparent government, popular sovereignty, and egalitarianism. A secretive organization with an extensive hierarchy which dispenses information on a need-to-know basis and does not tell you where your money goes? Sounds like the Federal government, but even more it sounds like the KKK.

      Perhaps the Klan offers the more reassuring promise of a monarchy by a white man instead of a black man?

  4. Richard Aubrey says:

    Freedom’s not a zero-sum game? Wow. I thought everything was. Especially the economy. Learn something new….
    I figure this is a good idea. Now it will be easier to find them.
    As to the election results…. Nuts. The race/racist card maxed out. Even Jon Stewart had a piece on it.
    It’s okay to oppose Obama’s policies. Really. And calling somebody a racist, hoping to get him to shut up, at least, or shame him into changing his ways, doesn’t work. Hasn’t worked. Makes the accuser look really, really funny.
    Some people didn’t get the memo, “Accusations that make the accuser look stupid.”

    • You’re right, Richard. It would be silly to accuse the KU KLUX KLAN of being racist, wouldn’t it? Everyone knows that race is the last thing the KU KLUX KLAN cares about, and they’re just fine with having a black president elected to a second term. That wouldn’t bother the KU KLUX KLAN at all, and only a fool would suggest that it does.

  5. Let’s see, why would the Klan be feeling eager to recruit new members lately? What could’ve happened…?

    (checking November’s election results)
    (checking recent gun-control discussions)

    Yep. I think we’ve got a few promising leads!

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