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Town Hall Seattle: Civics Series

Town Hall’s Civics series highlights everything from local policies to world politics. These events offer perspectives on a range of topics as diverse as Seattle itself—a bustling forum for activism, discovery, and thought-provoking discussion.

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Nov 1, 2017

With a reported increase of racially motivated hate crimes and following the harrowing events of Charlottesville, VA, many of us are struggling to understand the rise of xenophobic extremists and white supremacists in our country. How have these groups evolved, and what factors have helped their ideals gain traction? Seattle-based investigative reporter David Neiwert brings two decades of research to help us understand the mindsets that shape American extremism.

In conversation with Crosscut author Knute Berger, Neiwert lends insight into the momentum that has been gathering behind these belief structures since the 1990’s, citing the influence of powerful right-wing media and growth of radical conservative activist groups. He charts the evolution of the mysterious “alt-right”—from a post-9/11 profusion of fresh conspiracy theorists to the virulent rebuke against the first black president by militant racists, up to a present-day examination of connections between Donald Trump and figures on the far right. Sobering and urgent, Neiwert’s expertise promises to provide crucial perspective about one of the most disturbing pieces of American society.

David Neiwert is a journalist and author and an acknowledged expert in American right-wing extremism. He has appeared on Anderson Cooper 360, CNN Newsroom, and The Rachel Maddow Show and is the Managing Editor of the popular political blog Crooks and Liars.

Knute Berger is Mossback, Crosscut’s chief Northwest native. He also writes the monthly Gray Matters column for Seattle magazine and is an occasional guest on Weekday on KUOW-FM (94.9). His newest book is Pugetopolis: A Mossback Takes On Growth Addicts, Weather Wimps, and the Myth of Seattle Nice, published by Sasquatch Books.

Recorded live at University Lutheran Church by Town Hall Seattle Tuesday, October 24, 2017