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Oklahoma, Militias & Conspiracy Theories

Program #BERC-SKLH001. Recorded in Cambridge, MA on May 10, 1995.

The Oklahoma City bombing was the single most deadly act of terrorism in U.S. history. The media immediately blamed Muslims, Arabs and Islam. The revelation that the bombing was home-grown stunned the country. In the last decade there has been a growth in what are called militias. Many of their members believe in various conspiracy theories. Perhaps the most common one involves the Trilateral Commission. A key factor in the development of paramilitary formations is the deteriorating economic situation. Most of these groups are based in rural areas, where small farms and the traditional way of life have rather suddenly disappeared. Wages have been stagnant or declining for twenty years. Poverty is increasing. Many of the new jobs are temporary, low-wage and dead-end. People are justifiably angry. Right-wing radio talk show hosts provide not answers but scapegoats. In such an atmosphere, wild theories are able to take root and influence people. Interviewed by David Barsamian.

Speaker(s):

Chip Berlet

Chip Berlet is senior analyst with Political Research Associates, an organization which monitors and reports on right-wing movements. His articles appear in The New York Times, The Boston Globe and The Progressive magazine. He is the editor of Eyes Right: Challenging the Right Wing Backlash and co-author of Right-Wing Populism in America.

Holly Sklar

Holly Sklar writes for The Nation, Z, USA Today, and other journals and newspapers. She's the author of Trilateralism, Streets of Hope, and Chaos or Community?: Seeking Solutions, Not Scapegoats for Bad Economics.

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