What Was The John Birch Society? Anti-Communist Fervor Of The Groovy Era

By Cyn Felthousen-Post
The Civil Rights Movement was a favorite target of the John Birch Society. Source: Southern Policy Law Center

The John Birch Society was the grassroots network of the American anti-Communist crusade of the '50s, '60s and '70s. Society members, called "Birchers," saw a constant struggle against Communist infiltration, and it was no coincidence that the group was founded the year after the death of commie witch-hunt king Senator Joseph McCarthy. The John Birch Society -- which, by the way, still exists -- embraced and propagated conspiracy theories long before the internet even existed, uniting like-minded people in a far-right community through pamphlets, radio shows and boycotts. Though lampooned by mainstream culture as a bunch of red-fearing kooks, the John Birch Society had an ambiguous significance: Was this the crazy fringe of American conservatism, or the purest form of it?