Southern Nationalism Is Growing Up
Two years ago, I concluded that Southern nationalists were still trapped in the rhetoric and mindset of Beltway conservatism. However, Southern nationalism must not be ignored by any serious white advocate. The South is the one region of the country where there is a real cultural identity and a self-conscious white constituency motivated to fight in defense of white interests and eventual political independence.
The challenge is making the transition from an implicitly white movement based around abstract ideas to explicit white advocacy grounded in defending the interests of a specific people. This transition is usually where American movements fall short.
The Tea Party, which provided a great deal of hope that white people were finally “waking up,” is a spent force. Some of the Tea Party’s supposed “heroes,” such as Senator Marco Rubio, are now essentially anti-white activists pushing open borders. To paraphrase what James Burnham said about “right wing” organizations, any group that is not formed explicitly in defense of white interests eventually becomes “anti-
Even among actual neo-Confederates, there has long been a tendency to seek to justify the Lost Cause by appealing to anti-racism and multiculturalism. This mostly takes the form of historical revisionism, especially about the vast numbers of blacks who supposedly rallied to the Stars and Bars to fight off the Yankee invader. Such claims are not only false, but serve to limit Southern nationalism to a historical debate.
In contrast, the League of the South, an organization named and modeled after the Italian “Lega Nord,” has made real steps in redefining Southern nationalism in recent months. One psychologically important decision was the adaption of a “Southern nationalist flag” with a black St. Andrews cross on a plain white background. The white represents European heritage. Amazingly, this actually upset a number of members who thought it was “disrespectful” of the Old Confederacy. However, this is a necessary step in rebranding Southern nationalism as a contemporary phenomenon in response to recent events, not just an exercise in historical nostalgia.
More importantly, the League of the South is now hosting street demonstrations against what it calls the “demographic displacement of the Southern people.” Nationalism presupposes the existence of a nation, and Southern nationalism is finally taking on the hallmarks of a liberation movement for a people that already exists. Southern nationalism is now an ethnonationalist movement, not a universal philosophical tendency. This new direction seems to date from the League’s most recent conference, which featured speakers talking about the dispossession of the Boers.
The results are initially positive. At a recent demonstration in Uvalda, GA, the League of the South demonstrated against Mayor Paul Bridges, a nominal Republican “conservative” who distinguished himself by working with the Southern Poverty Law Center to displace his constituents through mass immigration. Though Mr. Bridges couches his rhetoric in terms of Christian moral obligations, his real motivation is securing low wage workers for local corporations.
Ideologically, identifying Mayor Bridges as a target was an important step for the League of the South because it distinguishes them from typical “Republicans” who identify conservatism with securing cheap labor. Rather than defending a destructive economic system, the League is defending Southerners as a people. This also seems to have won some real local support, as the Uvalda police chief joined the demonstration, even after the Southern Poverty Law Center tried its usual smear and intimidation tactics.
The next target for the League is Murfreesboro, TN, where local residents are organizing against the construction of a “mega-mosque” in a city that once served as shorthand for traditional Americana. Here also, conservatives have been all but useless. They are quite willing to bomb Muslims populations overseas but seem indifferent to the transformation of American cities into Muslim colonies like Dearborn, Michigan.
The League has also made explicit statements about defending the “Anglo-Celtic” core of the South. In an article significantly entitled “In Defense of Our Blood,” League president Michael Hill frames the contemporary struggle as a renewal of the traditional behavior of “Northern Europeans,” especially the militaristic Scots-Irish so influential in America’s westward expansion.
As even the Southern Poverty Law Center reluctantly concedes, the League avoids “white supremacist” language. The defense of the Southern people, defined as the founding stock of the American South, is a more subtle concept than defending the white race generally. However, whatever divisions between the two ideological communities, Southern nationalism is simply a local variant of white nationalism.
Just as the identitarians of Europe prioritize the defense of their own group without abandoning the larger European struggle, Southern nationalists dodge many of the pitfalls of white nationalism without surrendering on racial issues. Race is a necessary element of ethnonationalism, but it is not always sufficient. The defense of a local group and a traditional culture grounds the struggle. It makes the political movement comprehensible to ordinary people, it allows activists to frame white Southerners as victims of the powerful elite, and it prevents the kind of ideological flights of fancy that lead to infighting and permanent political marginalization.
Has Southern nationalism “arrived?” Sadly, the answer is still no. There is no mass following, Southern symbols are still being displaced, and despite the more youthful look of contemporary Southern patriotism, it is still marginalized.
That said, there is at least the potential for growth and the possibility of victory, something that was absent even a few short years ago. Southern nationalism could still be strangled in its cradle. However, if it survives, it could be the beginning of the first European style “identitarian” movement on American soil. It’s about time.