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Southern Secessionists Welcome Yankees to Convention


CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. — In an unlike­ly mar­riage of desire to secede from the Unit­ed States, two advo­ca­cy groups from oppo­site polit­i­cal tra­di­tions — New Eng­land and the South — are sit­ting down to talk.

Tired of for­eign wars and what they con­sid­er right-wing courts, the Mid­dle­bury Insti­tute wants lib­er­al states like Ver­mont to be able to secede peace­ful­ly.

That sounds just fine to the League of the South, a con­ser­v­a­tive group that refus­es to give up on South­ern inde­pen­dence.

“We believe that an inde­pen­dent South, or Hawaii, Alas­ka, or Ver­mont would be bet­ter able to serve the inter­est of every­body, regard­less of race or eth­nic­i­ty,” said Michael Hill of Killen, Ala., pres­i­dent of the League of the South.

Sep­a­rat­ed by hun­dreds of miles and diver­gent polit­i­cal philoso­phies, the Mid­dle­bury Insti­tute and the League of the South are host­ing a two-day Seces­sion­ist Con­ven­tion start­ing Wednes­day in Chat­tanooga.

They expect to attract sup­port­ers from Cal­i­for­nia, Alas­ka and Hawaii, invit­ing any­one who wants to dis­solve the Union so states can save them­selves from an over­bear­ing fed­er­al gov­ern­ment.

If allowed to go their own way, New Eng­lan­ders “prob­a­bly would allow abor­tion and have gun con­trol,” Hill said, while South­ern­ers “would prob­a­bly crack down on ille­gal immi­gra­tion hard­er than it is being now.”

The U.S. Con­sti­tu­tion does not explic­it­ly pro­hib­it seces­sion, but few peo­ple think it is polit­i­cal­ly viable.

Ver­mont, one of the nation’s most lib­er­al states, has become a hotbed for lib­er­al seces­sion­ists, a fringe move­ment that gained new trac­tion because of the Iraq war, ris­ing oil prices and the for­ma­tion of sev­er­al pro-seces­sion groups.

Thomas Nay­lor, the founder of one of those groups, the Sec­ond Ver­mont Repub­lic, said the friend­ly rela­tion­ship with the League of the South does­n’t mean every­one shares all the same beliefs.

But Nay­lor, a retired Duke Uni­ver­si­ty pro­fes­sor, said the League of the South shares his group’s oppo­si­tion to the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment and the need to pur­sue seces­sion.

“It does­n’t mat­ter if our next pres­i­dent is Con­doleez­za [Rice] or Hillary [Clin­ton], it is going to be grim,” said Nay­lor, adding that there are seces­sion­ist move­ments in more than 25 states, includ­ing Hawaii, Alas­ka, New Hamp­shire, South Car­oli­na and Texas.

The Mid­dle­bury Insti­tute, based in Cold Spring, N.Y., was start­ed in 2005. Its fol­low­ers, dis­il­lu­sioned by the Iraq war and fed­er­al impe­ri­al­ism, share the idea of states becom­ing inde­pen­dent republics. They con­tend their move­ment is grow­ing.

The first North Amer­i­can Sep­a­ratist Con­ven­tion was held last fall in Ver­mont, which, unlike most South­ern states, sup­ports civ­il unions. Vot­ers there elect­ed a social­ist to the U.S. Sen­ate.

Mid­dle­bury direc­tor Kir­patrick Sale said Hill offered to spon­sor the sec­ond seces­sion­ist con­ven­tion, but the co-spon­sor arrange­ment was intend­ed to show that “the folks up north regard you as legit­i­mate col­leagues.”

“It both­ers me that peo­ple have wrong­ly declared them to be racists,” Sale said.

The League of the South says it is not racist, but proud­ly dis­plays a Con­fed­er­ate Bat­tle Flag on its ban­ner.

Mark Potok, direc­tor of the South­ern Pover­ty Law Cen­ter’s Intel­li­gence Project, which mon­i­tors hate groups, said the League of the South “has been on our list close to a decade.”

“What is remark­able and real­ly astound­ing about this sit­u­a­tion is we see peo­ple and insti­tu­tions who are sup­pos­ed­ly on the pro­gres­sive left rub­bing shoul­ders with bona fide white suprema­cists,” Potok said.

Sale said the League of the South “has not done or said any­thing racist in its 14 years of exis­tence,” and that the South­ern Pover­ty Law Cen­ter is not cred­i­ble.

“They call every­body racists,” Sale said. “There are, no doubt, racists in the League of the South, and there are, no doubt, racists every­where.”

Har­ry Wat­son, direc­tor of the Cen­ter For the Study of the Amer­i­can South and a his­to­ry pro­fes­sor at the Uni­ver­si­ty of North Car­oli­na at Chapel Hill, said it was a sur­prise to see The Mid­dle­bury Insti­tute con­fer­ring with the League of the South, “an orga­ni­za­tion that’s asso­ci­at­ed with a cause that many of us asso­ciate with the preser­va­tion of slav­ery.”

He said the unlike­ly part­ner­ing “rep­re­sents the far left and far right of Amer­i­can pol­i­tics com­ing togeth­er.”


2 comments for “Southern Secessionists Welcome Yankees to Convention”

  1. A peak into the League of the South’s 2012 nation­al con­fer­ence:

    Crooks and Liars
    GOP­er Asks Seces­sion­ists To Rise For ‘Nation­al Anthem,’ And Then Sings ‘Dix­ie’ Instead
    By David July 28, 2014 1:45 pm

    Video has sur­faced of a Mary­land Repub­li­can nom­i­nee for Anne Arun­del Coun­ty Coun­cil singing “Dix­ie” as the nation­al anthem at a seces­sion con­fer­ence in Alaba­ma.

    Over the week­end, Grove City Col­lege psy­chol­o­gy pro­fes­sor and blog­ger War­ren Throck­mor­ton uncov­ered video of Michael Per­out­ka speak­ing to the 2012 League of the South nation­al con­fer­ence in Walls­boro, Alaba­ma.

    Per­out­ka gen­er­at­ed con­tro­ver­sy after win­ning the GOP nom­i­na­tion because he believes that the cur­rent U.S. and state gov­ern­ments are no longer valid, and should be destroyed by seces­sion or oth­er means.

    “You need to secede and then you need to have the bib­li­cal under­stand­ing of law and gov­ern­ment, and make the appli­ca­tions,” Per­out­ka told the League of the South in 2012. “So we need to take the bib­li­cal under­stand of law and gov­ern­ment into account no mat­ter what the out­come is with respect to the crum­bling of the cur­rent regime.”

    “We’re going to have to have this foun­da­tion­al infor­ma­tion in the hearts and the minds of the peo­ple or else lib­er­ty won’t sur­vive the seces­sion either,” he explained. “I’m say­ing this because I don’t want peo­ple from League of the South to think for one minute that I am about reform­ing the cur­rent regime, and study­ing the Con­sti­tu­tion is about reform­ing the regime. I, like many of you and like Patrick Hen­ry, prob­a­bly have come to the con­clu­sion that we have smelled a rat from the begin­ning.”

    At the con­clu­sion of his near­ly hour-long talk, Per­out­ka asked the audi­ence to rise and sing the “nation­al anthem.”

    But instead of “The Star-Span­gled Ban­ner,” Per­out­ka led them to sing “Dix­ie,” the de fac­to anthem of the Con­fed­er­a­cy dur­ing the Civ­il War. The song tells the sto­ry from the point of view of a freed slave who wish­es to return to the plan­ta­tion where he was born.

    Last week, Steve Schuh, the GOP can­di­date for coun­ty exec­u­tive, called on Per­out­ka to cut ties with League of the South.

    “I’ve asked Mike Per­out­ka to resign from an orga­ni­za­tion that I do believe could be con­sid­ered racist,” Schuh told the Cap­i­tal Gazette. “He has assured me that he is not a racist and that he believes in the equal­i­ty of all mem­bers of the human fam­i­ly... He has fur­ther assured me that he does not believe in seces­sion of any por­tion of our coun­try.”

    “He has assured me that he is not a racist and that he believes in the equal­i­ty of all mem­bers of the human fam­i­ly... He has fur­ther assured me that he does not believe in seces­sion of any por­tion of our coun­try”

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | July 29, 2014, 5:18 pm
  2. More on Michael Per­outka’s whistling of ‘Dix­ie’ at the 2012 League of the South meet­ing. Let’s just say, based on the com­pa­ny he keeps, that Per­out­ka may have been whistling past the polit­i­cal grave­yard...that his bud­dies are plan­ning on send­ing non-neo-Con­fed­er­ates to after they form their rev­o­lu­tion­ary death squads:

    Talk to Action
    Not Just Whistling ‘Dix­ie’: Per­out­ka Stands Up for South­ern Seces­sion — UPDATED x2!

    Wed Jul 30, 2014 at 10:34:14 PM EST

    Cross-post­ed from The Huff­in­g­ton Post.

    Michael Per­out­ka, the Repub­li­can can­di­date for Anne Arun­del Coun­ty Coun­cil, stood up for seces­sion and the white nation­al­ist League of the South, at a hasti­ly called, stand­ing-room-only press con­fer­ence on July 30 in Glen Burnie, Mary­land. Per­out­ka has been under fire for months for his involve­ment in and lead­er­ship of the League of the South, a white nation­al­ist group that advo­cates con­ser­v­a­tive, Chris­t­ian theoc­ra­cy and seces­sion to form a South­ern Repub­lic. Top Demo­c­ra­t­ic and Repub­li­can lead­ers had called for him to resign from the group.

    Most promi­nent­ly, Mary­land Repub­li­can guber­na­to­r­i­al can­di­date Lar­ry Hogan, Jr., recent­ly dis­avowed Per­out­ka because of his involve­ment in the racist and theo­crat­ic group. Hogan cam­paign spokesman Adam Dubit­sky said: “Lar­ry absolute­ly dis­avows him. Those views have nev­er been a part of the Repub­li­can Par­ty and they nev­er will.”

    But before the state press corps, Per­out­ka refused to resign from the the League, which he calls “a Chris­t­ian, free mar­ket group.”

    But for all of his effort to come across as bold, prin­ci­pled, and forth­right, he man­aged to reveal him­self as both weasel­ly and dem­a­gog­ic.

    One Peo­ple’s Project, an anti-racist group, has post­ed a YouTube video of the entire press con­fer­ence, includ­ing Per­outka’s Q & A with reporters. View the video:
    [see video]

    ‘Not a Mis­take’

    Per­out­ka, the 2004 pres­i­den­tial can­di­date of the Con­sti­tu­tion Par­ty, twice affirmed that his pro-seces­sion remarks at the League’s 2012 nation­al con­fer­ence in Alaba­ma were “not a mis­take.” In that keynote address, he had spo­ken favor­ably of seces­sion. He had con­clud­ed by grab­bing a gui­tar and ask­ing the crowd to “please stand for our nation­al anthem.” But instead of singing “The Star-Span­gled Ban­ner,” he belt­ed out a rau­cous cho­rus of “I Wish I Was in Dix­ie.” “No, I don’t think it was a mis­take,” he told reporters (see 22:18 in the One Peo­ple’s video).

    View an excerpt of Per­out­ka lead­ing the League in “Dix­ie”:
    [see video]

    Per­out­ka then tossed a red her­ring into his own press con­fer­ence, but one that failed to divert atten­tion from the mat­ter of Per­outka’s advo­ca­cy of South­ern seces­sion and his rela­tion­ship to the League of the South. In fact, his eva­sive­ness only drew fur­ther atten­tion to it.

    Per­out­ka assert­ed that Pro­fes­sor War­ren Throck­mor­ton had “altered” the reveal­ing 2012 video of his con­tro­ver­sial com­ments and “Dix­ie” cho­rus at the League con­ven­tion before post­ing it online. In fact, Throck­mor­ton had repost­ed the entire, unal­tered, 51-minute video on the con­ser­v­a­tive Evan­gel­i­cal Chris­t­ian blog Patheos. The video was shot by Michael Cush­man, a for­mer mem­ber of the Nation­al Alliance, a neo-Nazi group, who now leads the League’s South Car­oli­na chap­ter. Cush­man had post­ed it at Red­Shir­tArmy, a League-affil­i­at­ed YouTube chan­nel.

    Cush­man, in an irate com­ment post­ed under Throck­mor­ton’s piece, demon­strates that the video is authen­tic, because he insists that he made it, and he demands cred­it. He com­plains that “nei­ther this hit-piece nor the Left­ist blog­gers who are link­ing to it give me any cred­it for shoot­ing this video.” He adds, “Nor did they ask my per­mis­sion to post it on their web­sites.” The unedit­ed video on Patheos is iden­ti­cal to the one on Red­Shir­tArmy. Sev­er­al out­lets, includ­ing RightWing Watch, Raw Sto­ry, and Gawk­er, have post­ed clips of the video, cred­it­ing Throck­mor­ton with the find.

    But it is the sub­stance of the video that Per­out­ka would rather we not focus on. In the video (start­ing at 26 min­utes), Per­out­ka stands up for seces­sion as an alter­na­tive to work­ing with­in a demo­c­ra­t­ic sys­tem that he sees as beyond repair or reform:

    “I don’t dis­agree with Dr. Hill [League of the South pres­i­dent] at all that this regime is beyond reform, and I think that’s an obvi­ous fact, and I agree with him.”

    He then edges up to the kind of theo­crat­ic gov­ern­ment he envi­sions, after the Union is destroyed and the South ris­es again. He said:

    “How­ev­er, I agree that when you secede, or how­ev­er the destruc­tion of the rub­ble of this regime takes place and how it plays out, you’re going to need to take a bib­li­cal world view, and apply it to civ­il law and gov­ern­ment. That’s what you’re still going to need to do. We’re going to have to have this foun­da­tion­al infor­ma­tion in the hearts and minds of the peo­ple or else lib­er­ty won’t sur­vive the seces­sion either.”

    But his rela­tion­ship with the League did not end there. In fact, it is as cur­rent as his post-pri­ma­ry appeal for sup­port from League mem­bers on July 8. Per­out­ka emailed his thanks to League Pres­i­dent Michael Hill and his fel­low mem­bers for their friend­ship, work, and hos­pi­tal­i­ty, and solicit­ed their finan­cial sup­port. Hill sep­a­rate­ly called Per­outka’s unex­pect­ed win­ning of the GOP nom­i­na­tion for Anne Arun­del Coun­ty Coun­cil — as well as a seat on the GOP’s Cen­tral Com­mit­tee there — “a vic­to­ry for us.”

    One week lat­er, Hill dis­cussed on the League’s web­site some of his ideas of how we get from here to the new South­ern nation. In Hill’s July 15 essay, titled “A Bazooka in Every Pot,” he calls for “gueril­la war” and “three-to-five-man” death squads to assas­si­nate elect­ed offi­cials, jour­nal­ists, and oth­er pub­lic fig­ures in order to accom­plish the League’s seces­sion­ist goals.

    “To over­sim­pli­fy,” writes Hill, “the pri­ma­ry tar­gets will not be ene­my sol­diers; instead, they will be polit­i­cal lead­ers, mem­bers of the hos­tile media, cul­tur­al icons, bureau­crats, and oth­er of the man­age­r­i­al elite with­out whom the engines of tyran­ny don’t run.”

    Per­out­ka nev­er­the­less refused at his press con­fer­ence to denounce any of the con­tent on the League’s web­site, because “peo­ple can go there and see for them­selves.”


    “To over­sim­pli­fy,” writes Hill, “the pri­ma­ry tar­gets will not be ene­my sol­diers; instead, they will be polit­i­cal lead­ers, mem­bers of the hos­tile media, cul­tur­al icons, bureau­crats, and oth­er of the man­age­r­i­al elite with­out whom the engines of tyran­ny don’t run.” Ahem.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | August 5, 2014, 11:00 am

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