|John Birch Society|
Logo of the JBS
|Type||Educational and Political advocacy group|
|Region served||United States|
The John Birch Society (JBS) is an American political advocacy group that supports anti-communism, limited government, a constitutional republic and personal freedom. It has been described as radical right-wing.
Founder Robert W. Welch Jr. (1899–1985) developed an elaborate organizational infrastructure in 1958 that enabled him to keep a very tight rein on the chapters.Its main activity in the 1960s, says Rick Perlstein, "comprised monthly meetings to watch a film by Welch, followed by writing postcards or letters to government officials linking specific policies to the Communist menace." After an early rise in membership and influence, efforts by people like conservative William F. Buckley, Jr. and the National Review led the JBS to be identified as a fringe element of the conservative movement.
Originally based in Belmont, Massachusetts, it is now headquartered in Grand Chute, Wisconsin, with local chapters in all 50 states. The organization owns American Opinion Publishing, which publishes the journal The New American.
- 1 Values
- 2 History
- 3 Popular culture
- 4 Officers
- 5 See also
- 6 References
- 7 Further reading
- 8 External links
The organization identifies with Christian principles, seeks to limit governmental powers, and opposes wealth redistribution, and economic interventionism. It opposes collectivism, totalitarianism, andcommunism. It opposes socialism as well, which it asserts is infiltrating US governmental administration. In a 1983 edition of Crossfire, Congressman Larry McDonald (D-Georgia), then its newly appointed president, characterized the society as belonging to the Old Right rather than the New Right.
The society opposed aspects of the 1960s civil rights movement and claimed the movement had communists in important positions. In the latter half of 1965, the JBS produced a flyer entitled "What's Wrong With Civil Rights?", which was used as a newspaper advertisement. In the piece, one of the answers was: "For the civil rights movement in the United States, with all of its growing agitation and riots and bitterness, and insidious steps towards the appearance of a civil war, has not been infiltrated by the Communists, as you now frequently hear. It has been deliberately and almost wholly created by the Communists patiently building up to this present stage for more than forty years." The society opposed the Civil Rights Act of 1964, claiming it violated the Tenth Amendment to the United States Constitution and overstepped individual states' rights to enact laws regarding civil rights. The society opposes "one world government", and it has an immigration reduction view on immigration reform. It opposes the United Nations, the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), the Central America Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA), the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA), and other free trade agreements. They argue the U.S. Constitution has been devalued in favor of political and economic globalization, and that this alleged trend is not accidental. It cited the existence of the former Security and Prosperity Partnership as evidence of a push towards a North American Union. Stuart A. Wright has said that their political racism, however, was not inconsistent with the views of either Republican or Democratic mainstream politicians at the time.