Chip Berlet

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Chip Berlet

Template:TOCnestleft Chip Berlet is a veteran freelance writer and photographer who specializes in investigating right-wing social movements, apocalyptic scapegoating and conspiracism, and authoritarianism.[1] Lives in Boston, Massachusetts.

Partner of Karen Moyer.

Family and Personal life

Berlet and his family lived for ten years in a Southwest– side Chicago neighborhood.[2]


  • Studied Sociology/Media - dropped out to join Underground Press after 3 years at University of Denver
  • Went to Pascack Valley High School


FRSO comrades


Chip Berlet, Bill Fletcher, Jr., Juliet Ucelli at Brooklyn For Peace 2016.

Letter to Judge Thapar asking for leniency for the Oakridge 3

Chip Berlet signed a letter dated January 9 2014 asking for leniency for the "Oakridge 3":[3]

January 9, 2014
The Honorable Amul R. Thapar United States District Judge 800 Market Street, Suite 130 Knoxville, TN 37902
Dear Judge Thapur: The Defending Dissent Foundation is a 53 year old civil liberties organization that recognizes the value of dissent in a vibrant democracy. As such, we regard the actions of Sister Megan Rice, Greg Boertje-Obed and Michael Walli on July 28, 2012 as nonviolent civil disobedience in the finest American tradition. Therefore, we respectfully request that you exercise your right to judicial discretion in sentencing these three individuals. The Defending Dissent Foundation takes no position on nuclear weapons facilities or the content of the protest, but it is clear that the three sought to call attention to an issue of national importance and, through symbolic action, voice their concern and opposition. Their goal never was to harm anyone, and no one was harmed. The fact that the three were able to find their way into the facility and reach the uranium storage unit reflects the abysmal security system of the facility. These activists should not be held liable for the closure of the plant for two weeks to address security lapses. It should not be a factor in their sentencing. Non-violent civil resistance and civil disobedience have long played an important role in our democracy, bringing important issues to the public sphere and advancing our society toward justice, freedom and peace. Like others who have undertaken such action, Sister Megan Rice, Greg Boertje-Obed and Michael Walli are willing to serve time in jail, which they have done without complaint. However, to sentence the three to terms of up to twelve years would be an injustice. In your October 1, 2013 Memorandum Opinion and Order you wrote, “Of course, the defendants’ non-violence will be relevant at sentencing, since the Court must account for both the “nature and circumstances of the offense and the history and characteristics” of the defendants… Given the obvious differences between the defendants and the paradigmatic saboteur, those factors surely will be worthy of discussion”. We applaud your wisdom and insight and strongly encourage you to sentence the three with downward departures from the sentencing guidelines.

"Civil liberties" work

In the Summer 1985 issue of Shmate: A Journal of Progressive Jewish Thought Leonard Zeskind joined Chip Berlet, Jean Hardisty, Lynn Wells and others in lamenting the emergence of the extreme right. Wells, identified as “Executive Director of the National Anti-Klan Network,” observes:

Political work against fascism by progressive movements has consisted primarily of a struggle to preserve our civil liberties and the right to organize against the establishment, which periodically names various movements its “enemy.”

In I986 the National Anti-Klan Network changed its name to the Center For Democratic Renewal. The masthead of its newsletter, The Monitor , however, continued to list Lynn Wells as executive director and Leonard Zeskind as director of research.[4]

Right Wing Populism in America

In 2001 Berlet released (with Matt Lyons) a new book "Right Wing Populism in America — Too Close for Comfort".

National Committee Against Repressive Legislation

As of April 2006 Chip Berlet was listed on the Steering Committee of the National Committee Against Repressive Legislation.[5]

DataCenter Donor

In 2007 Chip Berlet and Karen Moyer were listed on the DataCenter's annual report as donors to the organization. The Oakland, California based DataCenter is widely regarded as the intellegence wing of the United States Left and has close ties to Cuba.[6]

Left Forum 2008

Is the Christian Right Dead?: The coalition between economic and social conservatives seems kind of rocky coming out of the Bush Presidency that brought them together. Is the Christian Right dead?

Moderator: Esther Kaplan, Nation Institute, The Public Eye, Political Research Associates

Left Forum 2010

Right-Wing Populism, Political Economy & Radical Dissent: Public Eye

Defending Dissent

As of Oct 3 2009 Chip Berlet was listed as a Vice-President of the Board of Directors of Defending Dissent.[7]

National Lawyers Guild

Berlet has served as vice president for the National Lawyers Guild, and co–chaired its Civil Liberties Committee.[2]

American Civil Liberties Union

Berlet has assisted lawsuits against governmental agencies’ infringement of civil liberties, including an American Civil Liberties Union lawsuit against illegal surveillance by the Chicago Police Intelligence Unit.[2]

Political Research Associates

Berlet is a senior analyst at Political Research Associates. He has spent "over 25 years studying prejudice, demonization, and scapegoating... defending democracy and diversity... investigated far right hate groups, reactionary backlash movements and theocratic fundamentalism, as well as civil liberties violations by government agencies and police misconduct."

PRA is "an independent, nonprofit research center that unmasks the US political right, collecting and analyzing information on all ultra-right movements and serves as a one–stop information resource for activists, organizers, educators, and others seeking to understand and counter right–wing campaigns, and for journalists needing accurate, up–to–date information and analysis."[2]

DSA health forum

On October 21, 2009 Boston Democratic Socialists of America and Mass-Care co-sponsored a forum "Health Care Reform 2009:Politics and Paranoia" at 33 Harrison Ave., Boston. Invited speakers were;

  • Rashi Fein, Professor of Medical Economics, Emeritus, at the Harvard Medical School, and author of nine books, including the soon-to-be-published Lessons Learned: Medicine, Economics and Public Policy. A senior staff person on President Kennedy’s Council of Economic Advisors, he helped develop the initial legislation for Medicare
  • Chip Berlet, Senior Analyst at Political Research Associates, where he specializes in researching right-wing hate groups, with occasional forays into the left, such as his recent tangle with the 9- 11 “Truth” movement. He is co-author of Right Wing Populism in America: Too Close for Comfort. Chip has been sued twice by the Lyndon LaRouche cult— and won both times!
  • Marcia Angell, Senior Lecturer in the Department of Social Medicine at the Harvard Medical School, and formerly Editor in Chief of the New England Journal of Medicine.[8]

DSA Boston Public Facebook Group


Members of Boston Democratic Socialists of America Public Facebook Group, in January 2017 included Chip Berlet.[9]

"TeaParties, White rage & right-wing populism"

On Nov. 30, 2010, Berlet was scheduled to speak on "TeaParties, White rage & right-wing populism" at the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee Union Fireside Lounge, 2200 E. Kenwood Ave. The event was sponsored by Progressive Students of Milwaukee; National Lawyers Guild – Milwaukee Chapter; and Peace Action Wisconsin.[2]

Ear to the Ground Project

Ear to the Ground Project;

We would like to express our deep respect and appreciation for everyone who took the time to talk with us, and the organizations that generously hosted us during our travels. Interviews were confidential, but the following people have agreed to have their names listed for this publication:

Most of those listed were connected to Freedom Road Socialist Organization.

Chip Berlet was among those on the list. [10]

Now What? Defying Trump and the Left's Way Forward


Now What? Defying Trump and the Left's Way Forward was a phone in webinar organized by Freedom Road Socialist Organization in the wake of the 2016 election.

Now what? We’re all asking ourselves that question in the wake of Trump’s victory. We’ve got urgent strategizing and work to do, together. Join Ash-Lee Woodard Henderson of the Movement for Black Lives and Freedom Road, Calvin Cheung-Miaw, Jodeen Olguin-Taylor of Mijente and WFP, Joe Schwartz of the Democratic Socialists of America, and Sendolo Diaminah of Freedom Road for a discussion of what happened, and what we should be doing to build mass defiance. And above all, how do we build the Left in this, which we know is the only solution to the crises we face?

This event will take place Tuesday November 15, 2016 at 9pm Eastern/8pm Central/6pm Pacific.

Those invited, on Facebook included Chip Berlet.[11]


  • Right Wing Populism in America: Too Close to Home (co-author)