Founded by Jean Hardisty in Chicago as Midwest Research, with a staff of three.
1982
Midwest Research produces two award-winning posters emphasizing the broad spectrum of right-wing violence.

View Poster 1 - View Poster 2

Researcher Chip Berlet appears live on the NBC Today Show to discuss Posse Comitatus recruiting in the beleaguered farm belt.

Berlet is named as a defendant in a defamation lawsuit brought by Lyndon LaRouche against NBC News and others.
In response to the New Right's "pro-family" movement, Midwest Research publishes its first monograph, Nostalgia on the Right: Historical Roots of the Idealized Family, by historian Nancy Theriot.
Midwest Research attains 501(c)3 status, becoming a not-for-profit organization.

An online computer bulletin board system (BBS) is launched, the second progressive BBS in the United States, and the first devoted exclusively to challenging the Right. (read more)


1986
Apartheid in our Living Rooms: U.S. Foreign Policy and South Africa, by Prexy Nesbitt, is published in response to the Reagan administration's constructive engagement policy and the U.S. presence in South Africa.

Midwest Research receives the Citizens Alert "Rev. Willie Baker Award" for "outstanding efforts" in working for racial justice in Chicago by helping anti-racist activists understand how White supremacist and antisemitic groups mobilized support in neighborhoods.
Research Chip Berlet and Director Jean Hardisty meeting with Chicago's Mayor Harold Washington before PRA moves to Boston
With a farewell from Chicago Mayor Harold Washington, the office moves to Boston and is renamed Political Research Associates.

PRA works with the Center for Constitutional Rights, the National Lawyers Guild and other groups in a national network to expose FBI spying on the progressive movement against U.S. intervention in Central America.

1988
Lyndon LaRouche: Fascism Wrapped in an American Flag, a topical report by Chip Berlet and Joel Bellman, is published by PRA.
PRA leads a research project on right-wing attacks on Legal Services for the poor.

1990
PRA leads a research project on right-wing obsession with obscenity and pornography, with a special focus on their attacks on the artists Robert Mapplethorpe and Andres Serrano.

PRA collaborates with South End Press to co-publish two books by Russ Bellant, The Coors Connection: How Coors Family Philanthropy Undermines Democratic Pluralism, and Old Nazis, the New Right, and the Republican Party.
PRA publishes Chip Berlet's report Right Woos Left: Populist Party, LaRouchian and Other Fascist Overtures to Progressives and Why They Must be Rejected.

PRA celebrates its ten-year anniversary!

In response to the anti-environmentalist movement, PRA publishes The Scent of Opportunity: A Survey of the Wise Use/Property Rights Movement in New England.
PRA begins publication of its magazine, The Public Eye.

PRA Executive Director Jean Hardisty serves as an expert witness in the successful legal challenge to the anti-gay Amendment Two in Colorado. She then pens groundbreaking study “Constructing Homophobia” in Public Eye magazine.


PRA produces a twelve-part set of packets titled Constructing Homophobia: How the Right Wing Defines Lesbians, Gay Men and Bisexuals as a Threat to Civilization.
PRA completes groundbreaking research on Christian Reconstructionism, an ultra-fundamentalist wing of the Christian Right that has been a factor behind increased violence in the anti-abortion movement. (read the article)

South End Press publishes Eyes Right! Challenging the Right Wing Backlash, edited by Chip Berlet. The book receives the Gustavus Myers award.


PRA report warns of the rise of armed citizen’s militia movement and the potential for violence—before Oklahoma City bombing.

1996
Lucy Williams’ Public Eye article “The Right’s Attack on Aid to Families with Dependent Children” is published.

In the face of the right's demonizing rhetoric about "welfare queens," PRA publishes Decades of Distortion, a report that documents the right's strategic misidentification and stereotyping of those aided by public assistance.
A joint research report with the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force and Equal Partners in Faith, Calculated Compassion, is first to identify the Christian Right “Ex-Gay” movement as another attack on gay rights using softer rhetoric and clever re-framing of issues.
Beacon Press publishes Jean Hardisty’s Mobilizing Resentment, winner of the Gustavus Myers award.

PRA publishes Defending Public Education, the first in a series of Activist Resource Kits, primary and secondary materials about campaigns on the Right.
Guilford Press publishes Right-Wing Populism in America: Too Close for Comfort, by Chip Berlet and Matthew N. Lyons, which receives the Gustavus Myers award.

PRA publishes a Public Eye Special Issue on 9/11 focuses on Nationalism and Nativism.

2001
2002
PRA issues a Special Report on a Massachusetts think tank: The Pioneer Institute: Privatizing the Common Wealth.

PRA publishes acclaimed research on the African-American anti-abortion movement and the Right's attack on LGBT safe zones in high schools.
After more than 20 years at PRA, founder and executive director Jean Hardisty steps down to serve as President Emerita.
PRA welcomes Katherine Ragsdale as the new Executive Director.
Defending Justice: An Activist Resource Kit is published. It includes over 250 pages of information on how to resist the growing system of courts, surveillance, policing, and incarceration. With it, a comanion website, www.defendingjustice.org, is launched.

The expanded Public Eye addresses intelligent design, left-right resistance to the Patriot Act, conservative attempts to takeover mainstream churches, the latest tactics by conservative NGOs at the UN, white supremacy on the Web, and biased, agenda-driven science.


PRA celebrates its 25th anniversary!

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