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The Neo-Confederates

The neo-Confederate movement includes a number of organizations that generally share the goals of preserving Confederate monuments, honoring the Confederate battle flag, and lauding what is judged to be "Southern" culture. Many have close ties to the white supremacist League of the South (LOS). As the battle over removing the Confederate battle flag from atop the South Carolina Capitol heated up this year, leaders of relatively mainstream groups like the Heritage Preservation Association, the Sons of Confederate Veterans and the United Daughters of the Confederacy shared the podium with the likes of the LOS and the Council of Conservative Citizens — despite the latter groups’ clearly expressed racism. The political cross-pollination between these neo-Confederate organizations is also seen in the large number of cross-memberships among their leaders and activists.

American Renaissance

Oaktown, Va.

www.amren.com

Edited by white separatist Jared Taylor, American Renaissance is a magazine with a highfalutin tone that links IQ levels to racial groups and promotes eugenics, the "science" of improving the human race through selective breeding. Taylor, a board member of the racist Council of Conservative Citizens, has published widely on such topics, including two books: Paved with Good Intentions: The Failure of Race Relations in Contemporary America and The Real American Dilemma: Race, Immigration and the Future of America. His magazine promotes, among other things, the ideas that blacks have smaller brain capacity than whites and that they are inherently more violent than other races. The New Century Foundation, which publishes American Renaissance, also hosts biennial conferences on the same themes, which increasingly are being taken up by neo-Confederates as well as open white supremacists. The most recent conference was held in March in Reston, Va., and focused on non-white immigration. Attending were former Klansman David Duke; Steven Barry, the "military coordinator" of the neo-Nazi National Alliance; and Samuel Francis, an archconservative columnist fired from The Washington Times over a racially inflammatory column. Increasingly, American Renaissance is taking up issues dear to the hearts of neo-Confederates. In the July edition, for instance, Francis has a cover story about the Confederate battle flag called "The War on White Heritage." In it, Francis argues that the debate over the flag concerns issues of "national and racial heritage" and shows whites must work together to "face common enemies and common threats to their rights, interests, identity and heritage as whites."

Confederate Society of America

Warrensburg, Mo.

www.deovindice.org

Founded in 1992, the Confederate Society of America (CSA) claims to be the "FIRST southern nationalist organization, dedicated not only to preserving the Confederate heritage but to restoring the sovereignty of our [Southern] nation." The CSA’s leaders are tied to the League of the South and, especially, to the white supremacist Council of Conservative Citizens (CCC). CSA President Craig Maus is a League member and former Virginia head of the CCC; Vice President Kenny Ashford was chairman of the CCC’s Baton Rouge, La., chapter in 1998; and CSA founder and advisory director Jim Bitzer was a member of the CCC’s national advisory council in 1994. A principal plank of the CSA, which helped organize last January’s pro-Confederate flag rally in Columbia, S.C., is opposition to paying reparations to the descendants of slaves. Slavery, the CSA says, "has absolutely no impact upon the current generation, other than that inflicted upon the minds of negroes and liberal whites by the General Government and the profiteers of racial division. In fact, these very same people are the modern enslavers."

Confederate States of America

Tallahassee, Fla.

www.afn.org/~mpress/CSA

The Confederate States of America (CSA), a group that hopes to recreate the government that lost the Civil War, is linked to both militia leaders and militia-derived ideology. The South, according to the CSA, is "an occupied nation just like those of the Soviet Union who [sic] are occupied by foreign forces." The CSA wants to repeal all Constitutional amendments beyond the first 10 — meaning the citizenship of blacks, the right of women to vote and the federal income tax, among other things, would be withdrawn. The CSA is led by long-time militia activists — both National Director of Operations (Interim) Rick Ainsworth and Secretary of Defense (Interim) Bill Cox were once leaders in the Southeastern States Alliance, a coalition of militia groups — and its rhetoric reflects that. Rejecting the "New World Order" (which it terms the "New World Odor") and "federal tyranny," the CSA says it wants "to be the LEGAL (de jure) Government" and has vowed to create "forces to defend our citizens and sovereign states" to that end. "Battle Flags," the CSA says of the Confederate banner, "should be held in reserve until hostilities begin."

Council of Conservative Citizens

St. Louis, Mo.

www.cofcc.org

Proudly billing itself as "The True Voice of the American Right," the Council of Conservative Citizens (CCC) is the reincarnation of the White Citizens Councils that sprang up in the South of the 1950s and 1960s to oppose desegregation. The CCC, which counts some 40 state legislators and other officials in its ranks, is a white supremacist group that focuses on issues like support for the Confederate battle flag and opposition to non-white immigration, school busing and affirmative action. The 15,000-member group’s CEO, Gordon Baum, has supported former Klansman David Duke in his bid to be governor of Louisiana. The council’s main publication, Citizens Informer, is now edited by columnist Sam Francis and Chris Temple, who earlier worked for an anti-Semitic publication called The Jubilee. The CCC shares many views with the League of the South — some of them detailed on a section of its Web site devoted to the "Fight for the Confederacy" — but not the League’s desire that the South should again secede. The problem with secession, according to the CCC, is that it could lead to black domination.

The Edgefield Journal

Edgefield, S.C.

www.dixienews.com

The "only true Southern nationalist newspaper" serves as a forum for the ideas of neo-Confederate groups such as the League of the South, many of whose members pen articles for the monthly publication. The Edgefield Journal was first published in 1999 by nonagenarian William Walton Mims and was edited by Virgil Huston, former head of the South Carolina chapter of the League of the South. Another former leader in the League’s South Carolina branch, Lake E. High, helps edit the paper and writes many of its articles. Recent stories have defended Bob Jones University (which until this year had a ban on interracial dating) and John Rocker (a baseball player who derided minorities and others publicly). Another article concludes that "many slaves were willing to be slaves. … It is fact that many slaves led fairly comfortable lives, probably many more in number than those that did not." Writing about the Confederate battle flag, neo-Confederate ideologue Thomas Fleming warned: "The attacks are increasing because the New World Order of George Bush, Sr., requires that all historic nations [like the South] be destroyed." He adds: "They will murder us if they can. They already have, at Waco."

Heritage Preservation Association

Atlanta, Ga.

www.hpa.org

The Heritage Preservation Association (HPA) is a nonprofit membership group whose purpose is to "fight political correctness and cultural bigotry against the South." To that end, the HPA declared "Total War" last January on those who allegedly attack Southern heritage, focusing especially on the NAACP and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference because of those groups’ opposition to the Confederate battle flag in South Carolina. Over the last three years, the HPA has worked closely with the white supremacist League of the South to stage pro-Confederate flag rallies and similar events, and in 1999 HPA President P. Charles Lunsford joined the League. The HPA also is linked to prominent politicians: former Georgia Gov. Zell Miller was a member, and the group has enjoyed close relationships with former Alabama governors Fob James and George Wallace. The HPA was also a primary lobbyist for the Confederate Heritage Month that was declared recently in Alabama. Asked if the HPA had ever felt it necessary to condemn or disassociate itself from hate groups, Lunsford demurred: "Well, we have never felt it necessary to make a statement against them, we just aren’t for them. It would seem patronizing to come out and say things like that."

League of the South

Tuscaloosa, Ala.

www.dixienet.org

Founded in 1994 as the Southern League, the overarching mission of the League of the South (LOS) is to accomplish what the Civil War did not — Southern secession. Celtic history specialist and LOS President Michael Hill, a former professor, says he is working for "the revitalization of a general European cultural hegemony." He adds that "[t]he Southern League supports a return to a political and social system based on kith and kin rather than an impersonal state wedded to the idea of the universal rights of man. At its core is a European population." The LOS is essentially theocratic, calling for the imposition of Christian doctrine on the apparatus of the state. It is also clearly racist in its attitude toward black people, a group that Hill once termed "a deadly and compliant underclass." The LOS, with a membership of nearly 9,000 people organized into 96 chapters in 20 states, has worked with other racist groups like the Council of Conservative Citizens in promoting rallies to support the Confederate battle flag, among other things. The LOS is unusual in that it is dressed out with Ph.D.s and therefore has a veneer of legitimacy. Besides Hill, the LOS board includes three doctorate-holders: Rockford Institute leader Thomas Fleming, retired professor Grady McWhiney and professor Clyde Wilson.

Ludwig von Mises Institute

Auburn, Ala.

www.mises.org

Headed up by Llewelyn Rockwell Jr., the Ludwig von Mises Institute is devoted to a radical libertarian view of government and economics inspired by the Austrian economist Ludwig von Mises, whom the institute says "showed that government intervention is always destructive." Indeed, the institute aims to "undermine statism in all its forms," and its recent interest in neo-Confederate themes reflects that. Rockwell recently argued that the Civil War "transformed the American regime from a federalist system based on freedom to a centralized state that circumscribed liberty in the name of public order." Desegregation in the civil rights era, he says, resulted in the "involuntary servitude" of (presumably white) business owners. In the past, Rockwell has praised the electoral success of European neofascists like Joerg Haider in Austria and Christoph Blocher in Switzerland. Both Rockwell and institute research director Jeffrey Tucker are listed on the racist League of the South’s Web page as founding members — and both men deny their membership. Tucker has written for League publications, and many League members have taught at the institute’s seminars and given presentations at its conferences. At the recent Austrian Scholars Conference, the F.A. Hayek Memorial Lecture was delivered by Donald Livingston, director of the League’s Summer Institute. In 1994, Thomas Fleming, a founding League member and the editor of Chronicles magazine, spoke on neo-Confederate ideas to an institute conference. Rockwell, who is also vice president of the Center for Libertarian Studies, runs his own daily news Web site that often features articles by League members.

The Rockford Institute

Rockford, Ill.

www.chroniclesmagazine.org

The Rockford Institute, founded in 1976 by Thomas Fleming, is a far-right think tank that puts on conferences, hosts speakers and produces several publications. Its aim, it says, is "the defense of the fundamental institutions of our civilization" and "the renewal of Christendom." The institute publishes Chronicles: A Magazine of American Culture, a periodical filled with articles penned by neo-Confederates. It is also closely linked to the racist League of the South. Fleming was a founding member of the League and is currently on the board. Clyde Wilson, another charter member of the League, has been a Chronicles contributing editor. An advertisement for the League in a 1994 issue of Chronicles, in fact, noted that "Chronicles is the only national magazine whose editors are all League members." And the magazine has run articles by League president Michael Hill arguing, among other things, that the civil rights movement hurt the South. For his part, Fleming, who is also an adjunct faculty member of the Ludwig von Mises Institute, spoke this year at major pro-Confederate flag rallies in Alabama and South Carolina. Ten years earlier, Fleming had this to say about arch-segregationist Alabama Gov. George Wallace: "In his defense of ordinary people and their communities, no matter how mean-spirited or cynical, Wallace was clearly on the right track."

Sons of Confederate Veterans

Columbia, Tenn.

www.scv.org

Since its founding in 1896, the Sons of Confederate Veterans (SCV) has restricted its membership to direct male descendants of Confederate veterans of the Civil War. The SCV has long claimed to be interested only in Civil War remembrance, and in fact passed an official resolution condemning hate groups in 1990. Still, it has also had, and still does have, a number of prominent members with white supremacist leanings. In 1996, Peter W. Orlebeke, the SCV’s then-leader, said that slavery could be defended biblically, and wasn’t really so bad: "[T]here have been times that I wish someone had said to me, ‘I’ll give you a job for the rest of your life.’ " Today, although there are divisions within the SCV, its publications have clearly become more strident. The April issue of Alabama Confederate, for instance, included articles by key members of the League of the South, along with a condemnation of Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation as unconstitutional. Prominent SCV members include Michael Andrew Grissom, author of Southern by the Grace of God and a member of two white supremacist groups, the League of the South and the Council of Conservative Citizens; Donald and Walter Kennedy, charter League members; Jared Taylor, editor of the racist American Renaissance magazine; and Kirk Lyons, a long-time white supremacist lawyer. Asked about Lyons, SCV Commander-in-Chief Patrick J. Griffin told the Intelligence Report: "If Kirk has become controversial outside of the SCV, I would just view that as part of his personal life." The League has lauded the apparent change in SCV attitudes, saying in 1998 that the SCV "old guard" was on its way out and "the organization appears to be ready to work with us as a fellow pro-South group."

Southern Legal Resource Center

Black Mountain, N.C.

http://207.15.178.1:80/slrc/default.htm

The Southern Legal Resource Center (SLRC), whose "chief trial counsel" is white supremacist Kirk Lyons, has in effect become the legal arm of the neo-Confederate movement. Billing itself as a defender against "heritage violations" — attacks on the culture and symbols of the old South — the SLRC formed in 1996 with the same office, phone number and many of the personnel of Lyons’ predecessor group, the racist CAUSE foundation. When the SLRC was created, the League of the South exulted, "Dixie’s answer to the ACLU has now formed!" Today, the League still solicits contributions for the nonprofit SLRC. The executive director of the SLRC is Lourie A. Salley III, a member of the speaker’s bureau of the League’s South Carolina chapter (that chapter’s Web site describes Salley as a specialist on the legal and constitutional grounds for partition of the United States). The SLRC is mainly run by Lyons and his brother-in-law Neill Payne, and it has handled a number of cases involving the Confederate battle flag. But controversy has dogged the SLRC in Oklahoma and Georgia because of Lyons’ extremist background. The SLRC has worked closely with the League, the Heritage Preservation Association, the Sons of Confederate Veterans and an array of other Confederate flag defenders.

Southern Military Institute

Madison, Ala.

www.south-mil-inst.org

Under the direction of Michael J. Guthrie, the Southern Military Institute (SMI) is a proposed four-year, all-male college that has an office and Web site but is still in the planning and fundraising stages. Guthrie, a member of the racist League of the South and a frequent speaker at neo-Confederate events, was a featured speaker at a December gathering of the white supremacist Council of Conservative Citizens in Huntsville, Ala., where he asked for financial support. Michael Hill, head of the League, heavily promoted the planned institute in a 1997 article in Chronicles magazine. SMI was planned largely as a reaction to the admission of women at two formerly all-male military schools, The Citadel and the Virginia Military Institute (VMI), and VMI graduates like Guthrie have been instrumental in the effort. SMI’s announced purpose is training "young men for service to God, their state and their nation." SMI also "seeks to honor and support the best of Southern traditions."

The Southern Party

Houston, Texas

www.southernparty.org

The Southern Party is a political party that began, essentially, as a project of the League of the South. Fifteen League members formed the bulk of the Southern Party Exploratory Committee, and the League sponsored the party’s first meeting. The party’s current "rebmaster" (Webmaster) is George Kalas, who had served the League earlier in the same capacity. Recently, however, a dispute arose between the League and the new party over the degree of the party’s centralization, leading League president Michael Hill to pull out of the party’s first convention this summer. That convention was held in Charleston, S.C., to counter an NAACP boycott of the state over its continued flying of the Confederate battle flag over the state Capitol (it has since been removed). Speakers included former militia figure J.J. Johnson and Donald Kennedy, co-author of The South Was Right! The Southern Party says the South is defined by its "historically European … ethnic, linguistic and cultural core," and adds that this white "cultural majority represents the true fusion of blood kinship and an historic homeland that defines what the Southern nation is." It has state-level affiliates in Alabama, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and West Virginia.

United Daughters of the Confederacy

Richmond, Va.

www.hqudc.org

Formed in 1894 from the remnants of local memorial associations affiliated with Confederate veterans camps, the United Daughters of the Confederacy (UDC) is open only to women related to Confederate veterans of what the UDC still calls the "War Between the States." Although the UDC promotes an image of genteel Southern ladies concerned only with honoring their ancestors — and is, in fact, the least political of the neo-Confederate groups — its publications sometimes belie that benign appearance. In a 1989 article in UDC Magazine, for instance, Walter W. Lee argued that that "the enslaved African lived an idyllic existence in an unspoiled Disneyland, complete with self-mowing lawns. The inhabitants seemed to have had an existence that only just failed to reach that of Adam and Eve before the Fall." Other UDC articles praise an array of neo-Confederate ideologues such as Michael Andrew Grissom, author of Southern by the Grace of God (a book which portrays the original Klan favorably) and a member of two racist groups, the Council of Conservative Citizens and the League of the South. The UDC has also worked directly with these kinds of groups in erecting monuments and staging Confederate battle flag rallies. Most recently, the UDC’s president, Mrs. William Wells, shared the podium with League president Michael Hill and white supremacist lawyer Kirk Lyons.

 

Southern Poverty Law Center Intelligence Report
Issue No. 99
Summer 2000