League of the South
The League of the South (LS) is a white nationalist, Neo-Confederate, white supremacist organization, headquartered in Killen, Alabama, which states that its ultimate goal is "a free and independent Southern republic". The group defines the Southern United States as the states that made up the former Confederacy (Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas, Tennessee and Virginia). It claims to also be a religious and social movement, advocating a return to a more traditionally conservative, Christian-oriented Southern culture.
|Motto||Survival, Well-Being, and Independence of the Southern People|
|Type||Non-governmental organization, Separatist group|
|Purpose||Creation of a neo-Confederate white Southern nation, based on Protestant Christianity.|
|Southern United States|
|Thomas Fleming, Michael Peroutka, Brad "Hunter Wallace" Griffin, Clyde N. Wilson, Isaac Baker, Michael Tubbs, Michael "Palmetto Patriot" Cushman Thomas Woods|
|Subsidiaries||Southern Patriot (magazine)|
The movement and its members are allied with the alt-right. The group was part of the neo-Nazi Nationalist Front formerly alongside the National Socialist Movement (NSM), the now defunct Traditionalist Workers Party (TWP) and Vanguard America (VA) since rebranded as Patriot Front. The group participated in the Pikeville rally in Pikeville, Kentucky, the Charlottesville riots/Unite the Right in Charlottesville, Virginia and the White Lives Matter rally in Shelbyville, Tennessee as key organizers in all three events. The Southern Poverty Law Center has designated it as a hate group.
The organization was formed in 1994 by Michael Hill and others, including attorney Jack Kershaw. The League of the South was named in reference to the League of United Southerners, a group organized in 1858 to shape Southern public opinion and the Lega Nord (Northern League), a very successful populist movement in Northern Italy from which the group took inspiration.
The LOS' first meeting was represented with a group of 40 men, 28 of whom formed an organization then known as The Southern League. The name was changed to The League of the South in 1996 in order to avoid confusion with the Southern League of Minor League Baseball. Among the early members were Southern professors, including president Michael Hill. Hill was a British history professor and specialist in Celtic history at Stillman College, a historically black school in Tuscaloosa. However, Hill has since left his teaching position.
Since 2007, The League's main publication has been The Free Magnolia, a quarterly tabloid.
The group believes that the Southern United States should be an independent country ruled by white men.
In 2001 they asked US congress to pay $5 billion in reparations for "property" (which at the time included human beings) which was taken or destroyed by Union forces during the Civil War. The group's legal counsel Jack Kershaw said their proposal included paying reparations to African-Americans due to the supposed negative effect the end of slavery had on their ancestors: "Blacks were better off in antebellum times in the South than they were anywhere else. [...] They lost a lot too when that lifestyle was destroyed."
The League defines Southern culture as profoundly Christian and pro-life. The League describes Southern Culture as being inherently Anglo-Celtic in nature (originating in the British Isles), and they believe the South's core Anglo-Celtic culture should be preserved.
According to the League, the South has had a Marxist and egalitarian society "impressed upon it". The League's Core Beliefs Statement advocates the stigmatization of "perversity and all that seeks to undermine marriage and the family."
The League believes that what it calls "the Southern people" have the right to secede from the United States, and that they "must throw off the yoke of imperial [federal, or central government] oppression". The League promotes a Southern Confederation of sovereign, independent States. The League favors strictly limited immigration, opposes standing armies and any regulation whatsoever of firearms. This proposed independent nation is described by League publications as part of a process to convince "the Southern people" that they have a unique identity.
The League focuses on recruiting and encouraging "cultural secession". In November 2006 its representatives attended the First North American Secessionist Convention of secessionists from a different parts of the country. In October 2007 it co-hosted the Second North American Secessionist Convention in Chattanooga, Tennessee.
In 2015, the group announced it would be holding an event celebrating the assassination of Abraham Lincoln, while honoring John Wilkes Booth as a hero. On April 11, 2015, it was organized by the vice chairman of the Maryland-Virginia chapter of the League, Shane Long. The LOS's main Facebook page put it bluntly: "Join us in April to celebrate the great accomplishment of John Wilkes Booth. He knew a man who needed killing when he saw him!"
The League has attempted to form paramilitary groups on more than one occasion.
The League of the South is opposed to fiat currency, personal income taxation, central banking, property taxes and most state regulation of business. The League supports sales taxes and user fees.
Charges of racismEdit
In the summer of 2000, the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) labeled the League of the South a "racist hate group" and issued a report filled with allegations of racist statements, especially by the League's President Michael Hill. Hill responded by dismissing the label as being politically motivated, claiming that he welcomed the designation as a "badge of honor" and expressing his belief that the designation was designed to discredit the League of the South.
During the 2006 First North American Secessionist Convention, when the issue of the League of the South and racism was raised, Don Kennedy, identified as "a leader of the League of the South", stated: "How can you believe in liberty and discriminate against your neighbor? Equality before the law is something we want, and we're on the record for that." News stories about the Second North American Secessionist Convention also mentioned the SPLC's allegations, as well as skeptical responses from convention attendees. Convention organizer Kirkpatrick Sale responded: "They call everybody racists. There are, no doubt, racists in the League of the South, and there are, no doubt, racists everywhere."
In response to the 2016 Orlando nightclub shooting Hill wrote on the League's website that "In a free & independent South, Islam would be banned, Muslims deported, and all mosques closed down. The ownership of firearms, including military grade, would be encouraged for all Southern citizens in order to protect the public from such incidents as occurred overnight in Orlando, Florida".
In a 2017 decision, the Tennessee Court of Appeals ruled that a blog post describing a family as white supremacist, based on a photo showing a League of the South bumper sticker on the family car, was not defamatory because it was an opinion based on disclosed facts.
The League's Board of Directors is composed of Michael Hill, Mark Thomey, Mike Crane, Sam Nelson, and John Cook. Among the founding members were Thomas Fleming, Thomas Woods, Grady McWhiney, Clyde Wilson, and Forrest McDonald.
- "Meet the League 2018". June 29, 2018. Archived from the original on October 10, 2018. Retrieved August 22, 2018.
- "Michael Ralph Tubbs". Southern Poverty Law Center/Hatewatch. Retrieved May 12, 2019.
- "'May I Be Of Service?' Michael Cushman's Letter to National Alliance Founder William Pierce". Southern Poverty Law Center. February 9, 2017. Retrieved May 12, 2019.
- Applebome, Peter (March 7, 1998). "Could the Old South Be Resurrected?; Cherished Ideas of the Confederacy (Not Slavery) Find New Backers". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Archived from the original on June 25, 2018. Retrieved May 11, 2018.
- "Boston.com / News / Boston Globe / Opinion / Op-ed / Last of the Confederates". archive.boston.com. Archived from the original on November 15, 2017. Retrieved May 11, 2018.
- Pavia, Will (December 4, 2010). "'They call us rednecks and crackers but we can govern ourselves'". The Times. ISSN 0140-0460. Retrieved July 16, 2018.
- Atkins, Steven E. (2011). Encyclopedia of Right-Wing Extremism In Modern American History. ABC-CLIO. p. 166. ISBN 978-1-59884-350-7. Archived from the original on April 24, 2017. Retrieved November 5, 2016.
- Taylor, Helen (2002). "The South and Britain". In Jones, Suzanne W.; Monteith, Sharon (eds.). South to a New Place: Region, Literature, Culture. Louisiana State University Press. p. 341. ISBN 9780807128404.
- "League of the South (LoS)". Anti-Defamation League. Archived from the original on July 17, 2018. Retrieved July 16, 2018.
- Weill, Kelly (March 27, 2018). "Neo-Confederate League of the South Banned From Armed Protesting in Charlottesville". The Daily Beast. Archived from the original on March 28, 2018. Retrieved July 16, 2018.
- "League of the South website". Archived from the original on December 22, 2017. Retrieved December 19, 2017.
- "The US Civil War as a Theological War: Confederate Christian Nationalism and the League of the South" Archived October 30, 2005, at the Wayback Machine
- "League of the South Core Beliefs Statement". League of the South. Archived from the original on June 15, 2008. Retrieved January 10, 2011.
- "From Alt Right to Alt Lite: Naming the Hate". Anti-Defamation League. Archived from the original on October 24, 2017. Retrieved October 25, 2017.
- "Meet the League: State Chairmen and Organizers of the League of the South". Southern Poverty Law Center. Archived from the original on October 25, 2017. Retrieved October 25, 2017.
- "League of the South page at SPLC". Archived from the original on March 11, 2010. Retrieved March 11, 2010.
- http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/tennessean/obituary.aspx?n=jack-kershaw&pid=145402616&fhid=4485 Archived January 21, 2012, at the Wayback Machine Jack Kershaw Obituary
- "League of the South FAQ". Archived from the original on April 10, 2016.
- "League of the South". Archived from the original on September 5, 2015. Retrieved September 9, 2015.
- Edsall, Thomas B. (July 23, 2000). "Buchanan's Bid Transforms the Reform Party; Candidate's Stands Draw Extreme Right Support". The Washington Post. p. 4.
Patrick J. Buchanan's presidential bid has turned the once- centrist Reform Party into a magnet attracting leaders and activists of such extreme right organizations as the National Alliance, the Liberty Lobby, the Council of Conservative Citizens and the League of the South. [...] * Alabama League of the South, a pro-secession organization, recently published an article in its newsletter declaring that "conservatives do have a place to go. The Reform Party is America First on nation-defining issues. . . . It is essential that Buchananism lives on after the 2000 election."
- Whitmore Jones, Suzanne; Monteith, Sharon (2002). South to a new place: region, literature, culture. LSU Pres`. p. 341. ISBN 978-0-8071-2840-4. Retrieved January 5, 2011.
- Walkowitz, Daniel J.; Lisa Maya Knauer (2005). Memory and the impact of political transformation in public space. Duke University Press. p. 39. ISBN 978-0-8223-3364-7. Archived from the original on September 10, 2017. Retrieved November 5, 2016.
- Atkins, Stephen E. (2002). Encyclopedia of modern American extremists and extremist groups. Greenwood Press. p. 183. ISBN 978-0-313-31502-2.
- "White nationalist group linked to violent street brawls descends on Florida". Newsweek. January 27, 2018. Archived from the original on April 20, 2018. Retrieved April 20, 2018.
- Ahmed, Saeed (April 13, 2001). "Group seeks reparations for Civil War 'atrocities'". The Atlanta Constitution.
- The Grand Strategy Archived September 26, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
- Gary Shapiro, "Modern-Day Secessionists Will Hold a Conference on Leaving the Union," The New York Sun, September 27, 2006, 6; Paul Nussbaum, "Coming together to ponder pulling apart, Latter-day secessionists of all stripes convene in Vermont, The Philadelphia Inquirer, November 6, 2006.
- Bill Poovey, Secessionists Meeting in Tennessee, Associated Press, reprinted in The Guardian, October 3, 2007; Leonard Doyle, Anger over Iraq and Bush prompts calls for secession from the US Archived January 17, 2008, at the Wayback Machine, Independent, UK, October 4, 2007; WDEF News 12 Video report on Secessionist Convention Archived October 11, 2007, at the Wayback Machine, October 3, 2007. The Third North American Secessionist Convention will be held in Manchester, New Hampshire, on November 14–16, 2008.
- Throckmorton, Warren. "League of the South Plans April Celebration of Lincoln's Assassination". Archived from the original on February 25, 2015. Retrieved February 25, 2015.
- "League of the South Announces Formation of 'Southern Defense Force'". Southern Poverty Law Center. Archived from the original on May 15, 2017. Retrieved June 11, 2017.
- SPLC article on League of South Archived March 11, 2010, at the Wayback Machine; also see SPLC article on Michael Hill Archived September 27, 2007, at the Wayback Machine.
- John DeSantis, Civil War revisionism all cited by watchdog group Archived December 15, 2013, at the Wayback Machine, from The Sun Herald, September 7, 2000, reproduced at Ross Institute.
- Nussbaum, Paul (November 6, 2006). "Coming Together to Ponder Pulling Apart". The Philadelphia Inquirer.
- Bill Poovey, Associated Press, October 3, 2007; Leonard Doyle, Independent, UK, October 4, 2007.
- Lenz, Ryan. "U.S. Racists Respond to Mass Shooting at LGBT Nightclub In Orlando". Southern Poverty Law Center. Archived from the original on August 19, 2016. Retrieved July 8, 2016.
- https://www.scribd.com/document/362729251/Weidlich-v-Rung Weidlich v. Rung, 2017 WL 4862068 (Tenn. App. October 26, 2017)
- The League's website
- Applebome, Peter (March 7, 1998). "Could the Old South Be Resurrected?; Cherished Ideas of the Confederacy (Not Slavery) Find New Backers". nytimes.com. The New York Times. Archived from the original on August 13, 2017. Retrieved September 28, 2016.
...Mr. Woods, one of the founding members of the League of the South.
- Young, Cathy (February 21, 2005). "Last of the Confederates". The Boston Globe. Archived from the original on October 10, 2016. Retrieved September 14, 2016.
- Young, Cathy (June 1, 2005). "Behind the Jeffersonian Veneer". Reason. Archived from the original on November 15, 2016. Retrieved September 14, 2016.