Dead Confederates, A Civil War Era Blog

LoS Pres: “We need to get rid of the rainbow, PC, Confederate cancer.”

Posted in Memory by Andy Hall on July 21, 2012

Anyone who’s been paying attention knows by now that the League of the South and the Southern Nationalist Network are explicitly white nationalist organizations. They’ve been saying so for a long time now, for anyone who takes the time to listen. That’s their right, of course, but we shouldn’t pretend that they’re really about anything else.

But it’s interesting that recently they’ve set their sights not so much on their well-established opponents (including yours truly), but on folks like the make-believe Confederates over at SHPG, and their determination to depict the Confederacy of 1861-65 as a diverse society, culturally and racially tolerant — you know, black Confederates and all that stuff. The LoS crowd has taken to referring to these folks dericively as “rainbow Confederates.” In the short video above, shot this weekend at the LoS annual conference near Montgomery, Alabama, LoS President J. Michael Hill tells interviewer Michael Cushman of the SNN just where their two organizations stand when it comes to the sort of retroactive, historical spin on the Confederacy put forward by the the likes of the SHPG:

As we’ve talked about here recently, we need to get rid of the rainbow, PC, Confederate cancer that’s permeated the Southern movement, because those people are gonna drag down anything we real, unreconstructed Southern nationalists are trying to do, and I’m happy to say that this League of the South meeting in 2012 is a very un-PC event, and we like it that way.

Perhaps it’s not surprising, then, that they’re not real keen on H. K. Edgerton and his message of black and white harmony in the old South, either. He wasn’t invited to the LoS event, and this time it’s not about his $20,000 appearance fee.

Cushman went trolling over at SHPG recently, posting there as PalmettoPatriot, asserting that backers of the 1957 Civil Rights Act were “enemies of the Southern people,” and subtly pushing his Confederate-heritage-is-white-heritage message. He was eventually shown the door, but in the meantime his posts got lots of “likes” and mutual fluffing. It really is remarkable how make-believe Confederates like the True Southrons™ at SHPG suddenly go all wobbly when dealing with someone whose attitudes on culture and race actually do match those held by so many real Confederates 150 years ago.

As I’ve pointed out before, exposure to Hill’s and Cushman’s brand of open bigotry, repugnant as it is, can be invigorating, like getting a cold bucket of water dumped on you. For all the discussion of abstract concepts they talk about like like liberty and freedom, their core concern is, explicitly, about maintaining and preserving white power — political, cultural and social. Their candor should be welcomed; it’s always good to know exactly where they, the League of the South, and the Southern Nationalist Network stand, and what they stand for.

As usual, light is the best disinfectant.
_______________

Upddate, July 22: LoS President J. Michael Hill has apparently issued instructions for the LoS webmaster to take down that organization’s 2005 statement denouncing racism. You know, the one that says,

We believe that the only harmony possible between the races, as between all natural differences among human beings, begins in submitting to Jesus Christ’s commandment to “love our neighbours as ourselves.” That is the world we envision and work for.
 

That sentiment is now no longer official LoS policy. Keep digging, y’all, keep digging.

_______________

Update, July 23: Over at the Southern Nationalist Network (not linking; easy to find on your own), Michael Cushman decries my “hit piece” on “Dr. Hill” and the SNN. He feels my characterization of them as “white nationalists” is inaccurate, because they are explicitly Southern white nationalists. White Yankees need not apply. Thanks for the clarification.

Also, he takes exception to my having made a joke about his height. It was a cheap shot on my part, true enough. In retrospect, I shouldn’t have called him a short man, but a little man.

So we’re cool now?

_______________

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25 Responses

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  1. Matt McKeon said, on July 21, 2012 at 5:23 pm

    Brooks Simpson has, or used to have, a pet white supremacist on his blog to make a similar point. Yucky.

    • Andy Hall said, on July 21, 2012 at 5:26 pm

      Yes, he still turns up there occasionally. I understand he was at the LoS meeting, too, even though he’s claimed in the past that the LoS is a bit too liberal for him.

  2. Michael Rodgers said, on July 21, 2012 at 8:35 pm

    Back in 2010, a group called the South Carolina Conservative Action Council got mad about my advocacy for a pretty reasonable bill by Rep. Chris Hart 2007-2008’s H-3588 and referred to the bill as “a form of ethnic cleansing.”
    http://www.wltx.com/news/local/story.aspx?storyid=84614
    The bill merely brought SC in line with NC regarding the Confederate flag.

    • Andy Hall said, on July 21, 2012 at 8:42 pm

      They have no sense of propriety or perspective when they’re aggrieved. Which is pretty much all the time.

      Thanks for commenting. Don’t be a stranger.

  3. Corey Meyer said, on July 21, 2012 at 10:06 pm

    I have notice that Cushman has been more and more bold on his website about his views and what he really wants to see happen in terms of Confederate Identity.

    • Andy Hall said, on July 21, 2012 at 10:37 pm

      He talks a good game. They all do.

      At the moment, the LoS folks on FB are happily fluffing congratulating each other over this picture, taken (I think) Friday evening outside the SPLC office in Montgomery. It seems that their idea of taking a bold, brave “stand against tyrants, miscreeants and evildoers” is to go into downtown Montgomery on a Friday night, after everyone’s gone home, and have their picture taken with a CBF on the sidewalk in front of a closed office building.

      Those are some manly men, right there.

      I hear their next phase of defending the South will be to call up the main NAACP switchboard number over and over again, then hang up when someone answers. Deo Vindice!

      I believe that’s Cushman, second from left, giving the thumbs-up. Little-bitty feller, ain’t he?

  4. Cotton Boll Conspiracy said, on July 22, 2012 at 10:06 am

    This is an issue you’ve obviously followed in more detail than I have, so I’d like to get your thoughts on something I’ve been pondering. I belong to a small SCV camp – about 20 members – and we’re interested in Civil War history, protecting the graves of Confederate veterans, etc. About the only time we “get political” is when we hear or read of a politician, newspaper columnist or someone one else making an obviously erroneous statement about the Confederacy, i.e. the South was no better than Nazi Germany, etc. (I understand that there are plenty of SCV members who don’t fully grasp the social and political history of the period before and during the war, but I don’t categorize them with those who willingly twist history for their own political agenda.) Even then, we just grumble among ourselves.

    On the other hand, there are individuals such as you’ve written about in this post who almost seem to be using the Confederacy as a prop. They may have some interest in Southern history, but their focus is definitely on the present and future. They recognize that the Confederacy offers them a legitimacy of sorts for their racialist views. The unfortunate aspect of this is that there are no small number of individuals on the other side of the political spectrum who either can’t or don’t want to be bothered differentiating between the “typical” SCV member and the white supremacist.

    My question is, can one discuss the idea that the Southern states may have had a legal right to secede without coming across like a hood-wearing reactionary, or as someone who apparently thinks slavery was OK?

    • Andy Hall said, on July 22, 2012 at 10:49 am

      Great comment, and great question. You write:

      I belong to a small SCV camp – about 20 members – and we’re interested in Civil War history, protecting the graves of Confederate veterans, etc. About the only time we “get political” is when we hear or read of a politician, newspaper columnist or someone one else making an obviously erroneous statement about the Confederacy, i.e. the South was no better than Nazi Germany, etc. (I understand that there are plenty of SCV members who don’t fully grasp the social and political history of the period before and during the war, but I don’t categorize them with those who willingly twist history for their own political agenda.) Even then, we just grumble among ourselves.

      That describes most of the camps I’m personally familiar with. These folks are not the ones I’m criticizing, though. Despite vague accusations about my being “anti-Southern” or “SCV-bashing,” etc., I make an effort to call out individuals and groups for specific things they do and say — there’s a difference.

      I do think that rank-and-file SCV members have, unfortunately, let the larger organization get hijacked by people who’ve done its reputation a lot of harm, by trying to inject themselves into both modern politics and the culture wars. Mike Givens, Kirk Lyons, Richard Hines, Brag Bowling, those guys. They really do give the SCV a black eye.

      Individuals such as you’ve written about in this post who almost seem to be using the Confederacy as a prop. They may have some interest in Southern history, but their focus is definitely on the present and future. They recognize that the Confederacy offers them a legitimacy of sorts for their racialist views.

      Yes. As it exists online — as opposed to real people, meeting once a month to plan a cemetery clean-up or report on genealogical research or whatever — the “heritage” movement is as much or more about modern culture and politics as about anything that happened 150 years ago. Those folks are using “honoring” their ancestors (literal or figurative) as a rationalization for their own beliefs and attitudes.

      My question is, can one discuss the idea that the Southern states may have had a legal right to secede without coming across like a hood-wearing reactionary, or as someone who apparently thinks slavery was OK?

      Yeah, I think so. Though too often those folks (on either side of the question) are more interested in polemics that actual discussion. That particular question is one that spirals into name-calling pretty fast. You might want to look at the forums over at Civil War Talk — I know that, and other similarly-contentious questions have been discussed there, a lot.

      • Cotton Boll Conspiracy said, on July 22, 2012 at 11:16 am

        Thanks, Andy, I appreciate your response.

        It’s been my belief that much of the problem lies with the fact that so few people in this country have a decent grasp of history, making it far too easy for those who want to try to make hay with the past to do so. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve see both sides argue that slavery was/was not the sole cause of the war, citing actual quotes from key figures from the period. Of course, without context, it’s easy to make a quote take on a different meaning than originally intended. Complex issues cannot be summed up in sound bites, but a lot of folks want simple answers that fit their preconceived notions.

        One of the things I personally like about the SCV is that many of the members I’ve come to know – though not all – are legitimately interested in history, and are able to grasp that history isn’t always as neatly packaged as some would have us believe. That’s also one of the things I enjoy about your blog. Keep up the good work.

        • Andy Hall said, on July 22, 2012 at 11:19 am

          One of the things I personally like about the SCV is that many of the members I’ve come to know – though not all – are legitimately interested in history, and are able to grasp that history isn’t always as neatly packaged as some would have us believe.

          Agreed. That’s my experience face-to-face with people. The problem comes when one set of advocates tries to counter a simplistic, comic-book view of history with another simplistic, comic-book view of history that happens to be more to their liking. The net effect is to dumb-down the conversation worse than it was before.

        • Andy Hall said, on July 22, 2012 at 12:08 pm

          CBC, let me just add one more thing — groups like the SCV and UDC, which I think can serve a useful purpose (and very often do at the individual camp level) need to be more careful about other groups espousing “Southern heritage,” and who they choose to ally themselves with, particularly those with an explicit, modern political/cultural agenda. Making common cause with groups like the LoS and the SNN will be ultimately damaging to groups like the SCV. Not every group that waves a Confederate flag is one’s friend.

          • Cotton Boll Conspiracy said, on July 22, 2012 at 12:19 pm

            Wise words, indeed.

          • Michael Rodgers said, on July 22, 2012 at 12:42 pm

            CBC,

            There is an inherent struggle with a heritage group studying history.

            “Although the terms [history and heritage] are often used interchangeably, they are in many ways opposites of each other. The discipline of history strives to present the past objectively, but acknowledges that historical interpretation is inevitably subjective and must evolve as new evidence and new perspectives emerge. Heritage is more akin to religion than history. It is a presentation of the past based not on critical evaluation of evidence but on faith and the acceptance of dogma.”
            The Confederate Battle Flag: America’s Most Embattled Emblem By John M. Coski

            So that’s your struggle in the heritage groups. Many people in the groups want to discuss history as history and yet also want to present a certain, sometimes dogmatic, perspective. Again, that’s the struggle.

            I agree with Andy that the groups can and often do good work at local levels. And I agree with you that many of the historical discussions that the groups have are good, interesting historical discussions that are valuable and worthwhile.

            This is really a struggle for every group who discusses any topic, to value objectivity as well as to cohere around commonality.

            Regards,

            Mike

            • Andy Hall said, on July 22, 2012 at 12:44 pm

              You said that better than I did, thanks.

            • Cotton Boll Conspiracy said, on July 25, 2012 at 10:28 pm

              An interesting theory, and one that would seem to bear out pretty accurately, at least based on my own experiences. Thanks for your thoughts.

          • Rob Baker said, on July 23, 2012 at 9:14 pm

            Interesting conversation especially about the SCV’s connection to the LoS and SNN in certain instances. A friend of mine’s “old man,” an SCV member, made it his mission in life to keep the League of the South members out of their camp. Pretty interesting stuff all around.

            • Andy Hall said, on July 23, 2012 at 9:22 pm

              “A friend of mine’s “old man,” an SCV member, made it his mission in life to keep the League of the South members out of their camp.”

              Wise man.

              I’ve been very critical of a lot of what the SCV does and says, and will continue to be when the do and say dumb stuff. But at the same time, I’ve known many members of that organization, and the UDC, who are very serious about history, and work hard to preserve it. Then you’ve got folks who haven’t got the sense God gave lettuce, and they’ll align themselves with any person or group that waves a battle flag and tosses out cliches about “heritage” and the “free South.” Big, big mistake.

  5. The Seeker of Truth said, on July 22, 2012 at 5:01 pm

    Kudos to the LoS and the hard stand they seek to take. Does anyone really believe that Southern history and culture can be maintained once the founding people dissappear? No I think not.
    This group and groups like them are equivalent to the fireaters of the Old South, and we should be able to agree that had they been listened to in the 1850’s the South would have been independent for a decade before the War Between the States.

    • Andy Hall said, on July 22, 2012 at 6:05 pm

      Seeker of Truth, I’m very concerned. A quick Google cache search of your e-mail address shows that it has been used (at least until recently) by someone identifying himself as the “Alabama Grand Klaliff” of the Klan. I fear that you may be the victim of identity theft, and that some rancid old klansman may have hacked your e-mail. I know you will be as upset as I am at the prospect of that.

      Identity theft is a federal crime, one that the DoJ takes very seriously. I’d encourage you to contact the FBI in Birmingham — your IP address suggests you’re in that area — and let them know about this. I feel certain that they’ll want to investigate this matter thoroughly:

      1000 18th Street North
      Birmingham, AL 35203
      Phone: (205) 326-6166
      Fax: (205) 279-1590
      E-mail: birmingham@ic.fbi.gov

  6. Foreter said, on July 24, 2012 at 12:42 am

    What the hell is this? I know nothing about the LOS, but this guy scares me.

    See, this is what keeps me away from Southern heritage people. Being interested in Confederate history is all well and good, but they try and bring it into the modern day. I’ve been kicked out of a couple Confederate Facebook groups for the feminist/gay rights postings on my personal page. Why should my modern social politics have anything to do with the Confederacy?

    I’m also into Star Trek. But Star Trek boards don’t kick people off for having the wrong real-world politics. They keep the fantasy and reality mostly separate. And Confederate groups/sites should be the same way, keeping the history apart from the modernist rhetoric.

    How can a modern person be “unreconstructed”? I was born generations later in the Reagan administration, but it appears that I can grab a flag and become one of their unreconstructed Confederates. How? I didn’t exist yet. The society and people that shaped my personality didn’t exist. My ancestors suffered an awful war …. okay. That’s sad. But I wasn’t there, and I can’t feel the emotions of an actual “unreconstructed” Southerner.

    This may sound wimpy … but I’m pretty sure that these LoS people wouldn’t like me for who I am, despite a shared ancestry. I remember one FB comment thread where they debated whether a Southern heritage advocate could have tattoos or not (my girlfriend had tattoos, so that made me uncomfortable). There is SO MUCH modern-day criteria to define who can claim Southern heritage. And this leads me to ask the question: is it REALLY about heritage at all?

    • Andy Hall said, on July 24, 2012 at 8:29 am

      You ask: “And this leads me to ask the question: is it REALLY about heritage at all?”

      The LoS, SNN and affiliated groups are about restoring the “heritage” of a time when white Southerners called all the shots, black people understood their place, and those who didn’t were shown the error of their ways. When they talk about “our” South, they are referring explicitly to white, Christian Southerners — that’s why the recent emphasis on countering what they call “rainbow Confederates,” folks who talk about Confederate heritage but who also argue for toleration and a diverse culture in the South. The LoS, SNN and their followers seek to go back to a time when they perceive that people were more moral, more Christian, harder-working, and less debauched than they are now. (Those latter assumptions are dubious, I think, but it’s what they believe.) Their embrace of the Confederacy is now what it was in the 1950s, an effort to lend legitimacy to their cause by citing historical precedent, to show that they are carrying on a generations-long struggle against oppression. It’s entirely about a modern political, cultural and social agenda, projected back onto people in the past. It’s been that way (at least) since the “massive resistance” to desegregation in the 1950s and 1960s. Some LoS types point to c, 1965 as the point at which everything went to hell for the “free South,” what with federal court rulings on segregation, passage of civil rights laws and the “Great Society” programs of the Johnson administration.

      The rhetoric is scary, and some of it is much more violent and threatening than anything in this video. But you also have to look at action. As noted above, even with the temporary courage of running in a pack, the boldest, most daring act of defiance these folks could come up with was to go to a mostly deserted downtown Montgomery on a Friday night, and get their picture taken with a Confederate flag on a public sidewalk in front of a closed office building. And these are the young leaders that LoS President Hill praises as the future of the Southern Movement? If that’s true, then the Southern Movement is well and truly fucked.

      Finally, regarding Trek — there were 200 people at this national LoS conference. I’m guessing that, at the big ST convention next month in Vegas, there will be more people than that who speak Klingonese.

  7. Tom Walker said, on July 25, 2012 at 6:09 pm

    ~~~ And are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable right, among which are
    LIFE, LIBERTY and THE PERSUIT OF HAPPINESS.

    Rights come from God.
    Life, Liberty and persuing happiness are rights.
    Slavery, being an anti-liberty and anti-happiness act which is hazardous to life, is therefore anti-God.
    Those who support slavery are therefore serving the wrong master and are themselves slaves to sin.

    I am amused that slavery was started by blacks and I’ll probably be called a racest for saying it but the worst slavery is that of the spirit.
    Brothers! Break your shackles and be free men.

    • Andy Hall said, on July 25, 2012 at 6:37 pm

      “I am amused that slavery was started by blacks. . . .”

      One or another form of human bondage it pretty common throughout history, and not restricted to Africa in its origins. Let me also suggest if you think you might be accused of being racist for saying something, you might want to reconsider whether there’s a particular point to saying it in the first place.

  8. Luther said, on July 26, 2012 at 8:28 pm

    Where is the proof that either is a “white” nationalist organization? What are you citing for this? Also, don’t you think that making mean comments about an individual’s physical stature is not just immature but detrimental to your point?

    • Andy Hall said, on July 26, 2012 at 8:46 pm

      “Where is the proof that either is a “white” nationalist organization?”

      Read some of their stuff. Listen to Hill’s speeches — especially the recent ones. Visit them on Facebook. It’s not like it’s hidden.

      “Also, don’t you think that making mean comments about an individual’s physical stature is not just immature but detrimental to your point?”

      Yes, as I acknowledge, it was a cheap shot. But Michael Cushman has said worse about me previously, unprovoked. I actually am a great believer in civility online, but I’m not a fool, and I’m not inclined to be nice to folks who’ve earned my disdain.


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