John Birch Society
The John Birch Society (JBS) is an American right-wing political advocacy group. Founded in 1958, it supports anti-communism and social conservatism. The JBS is associated with ultraconservative, radical right, or far-right politics.
|Named after||John Birch|
|Formation||December 9, 1958|
|Founder||Robert W. Welch Jr.|
|Founded at||Indianapolis, Indiana, US|
|Type||Political advocacy group|
|Headquarters||Grand Chute, Wisconsin, US|
Chief executive officer
|Subsidiaries||The New American Magazine|
|Affiliations||American Opinion Foundation |
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The society's founder, businessman Robert W. Welch Jr. (1899–1985), developed an organizational infrastructure of nationwide chapters in December 1958. The society rose quickly in membership and influence, and was controversial for its promotion of conspiracy theories and opposition to the civil rights movement. In the 1960s the conservative William F. Buckley Jr. and National Review pushed for the JBS to be exiled to the fringes of the American right. More recently Jeet Heer has argued in The New Republic that while the organization's influence peaked in the 1970s, "Bircherism" and its legacy of conspiracy theories have become the dominant strain in the conservative movement. Politico has asserted that the JBS began making a resurgence in the mid-2010s, while the JBS has argued that it shaped the modern conservative movement and especially the Trump administration. Writing in The Huffington Post, Andrew Reinbach called the JBS "the intellectual seed bank of the right."
Originally based in Belmont, Massachusetts, the John Birch Society is now headquartered in Grand Chute, Wisconsin, a suburb of Appleton, Wisconsin, with local chapters throughout the United States. It owns American Opinion Publishing, which publishes the magazine The New American.