We don't call them teabirchers for nothing. For years, a whole lot of us have been saying that even though Charles and David Koch don't have membership cards to the John Birch Society, they're peddling the same message in a different format.
Now we have evidence of that. Democracy Now! and Progressive Magazine have unearthed documents showing that Charles Koch was a documented, card-carrying, activist member of the John Birch Society during the Civil Rights Era.
From the transcript:
And we’ve been doing research in archives across the country, and what we’ve discovered is not just that Fred Koch, Charles and David Koch’s father, was a member of the John Birch Society and in fact helped found it, but what we discovered in archives is that Charles Koch himself followed his father’s footsteps into the John Birch Society. And that society was a very extreme organization. It was an extreme right-wing organization that spent the '60s largely opposing the civil rights movement here in the United States. And so, these documents, some of the documents we're revealing today, talk about—are, in Charles Koch’s own words, funding for the John Birch Society, trying to support its mission. And what we’ve documented is what that means in context in the civil rights movement, how that organization was trying to stop the civil rights movement, trying to discredit it, opposing the Civil Rights Act of 1964, opposing other progress on integration of our society.
This explains so much of why they've taken the lead today. Liberty is just another name for racism, and it wasn't limited to Charles Koch's time in the Birch Society, which is why it's important that people get a clue about what the Koch brothers really intend for our democracy.
The reactionary ideas learned from his father and stoked by his ideological ally in Wichita, Bob Love of the Love Box Company, were not simply passing fancies of the young scion of an oil fortune. The tools of the trade he absorbed in his late twenties and early thirties appear to continue to animate some of his actions decades later, as with his 2014 op-ed in the Wall Street Journal claiming those who criticize him are "collectivists." The echoes of his past role reverberate along with the millions he and his brother David Koch have spent fueling a John Birch Society-like "Tea Party" peopled with right-wingers like Birchers of decades past who contend against all reasoning that the president is a communist. David Koch himself has claimed President Obama is a scary "socialist." These roots run deep in the Kochs.
In many ways, the playbook deployed by the Kochs today through myriad organizations resembles a more sophisticated (and expensive) playbook of the John Birch Society back then. Even the recent announcement of the Kochs to give a $25 million gift to the United Negro College Fund (with strings attached requiring the recruitment of free market African American college students) echoes that past. In 1964, in the face of criticism for its assault on the civil rights movement, the John Birch Society also funded a scholarship program to give college funds to African Americans who were not active in the civil rights movement, according to documents the Progressive.org/Center for Media and Democracy has obtained.
Their activism continued on into the 90s and Bill Clinton's administration:
So, after leaving the John Birch Society and funding a number of other organizations, Charles and David Koch appear to have been involved in an operation called the Triad entity, basically, that was investigated by Congress back before smartphones and Google, and so it’s a little bit of obscure history, but in fact it’s very revealing because the Triad operation in Kansas was designed to use shell corporations, shell entities, to run ads to influence the 1996 races, federal races in this country. It was investigated by Congress. There were efforts to subpoena the people involved in Triad. One of the Republicans shut down that investigation, and later it turned out that part of that operation was largely financed by the Koch family fortune.
It really feels good to be able to have confirmation of what I and many others have been saying for years. These 'tea party' types are just reanimated Birchers, using Birch techniques with a few updates for technology advances.
They intend to deploy this 'grassroots' Birch-like organization to take the Senate in order to continue their campaign to destroy our democracy and mainstream radical Birch ideas. Lisa Graves:
In many ways, what Charles Koch has done is put a more sophisticated gloss on the John Birch Society through the organizations that he and his brother have helped fund and fuel and, in fact, really proliferate across this country to try to push these ideas into the mainstream, these ideas that anything that is—anything other than free market fundamentalism is somehow communist or collectivism.
Vote them into oblivion, please.