Southern Partisan

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Southern Partisan is a conservative political magazine which was published in the United States. Founded in 1979, the magazine focused on its Southern region and those states that were formerly members of the Confederate States of America. Its first editor was Thomas Fleming. From 1999 to 2009 it was edited by Christopher Sullivan. After 2009 it ceased publication as a print edition and is now published only online.

The magazine generally espouses a pro-southern perspective on political issues and the American Civil War. The magazine features commentary on southern culture, history, literature, the Southern Agrarians, the Civil War and Confederacy, and current political issues. It carries a news section entitled "CSA Today" covering stories from each of the eleven former Confederate states, as well as Missouri and Kentucky.

The magazine is harshly critical of political correctness and highlights news events involving what it describes as "politically correct" policy-making, such as the removal of Confederate historical monuments. It also gives out a "Scalawag Award" in each issue to Southerners who act contrary to the magazines pro-Southern editorial position.

Book reviews of current texts pertaining to all aspects of the southern United States appear in each issue, as do general political opinion pieces from conservative and libertarian perspectives. The magazine carries columns by syndicated opinion commentators including Walter Williams, William Murchison, Joseph Sobran, and Charley Reese.

Although the magazine is frequently found in the historical racks in mainstream bookstores, it would be more fitting to find it in the current events section. Its emphasis is also cultural and political. Its statement of purpose, stated at the top of its masthead in every issue, is taken from a letter written by Donald Davidson (poet) to Allen Tate in May 1927: "If there were a Southern magazine, intelligently conducted and aimed specifically, under the doctrine of provincialism, at renewing a certain sort of sectional consciousness and drawing separate groups of Southern thought together, something might be done to save the South."

Critics and commentary[edit]

Due to its conservative political leaning and advocacy of the southern side in the American Civil War, Southern Partisan has been the subject of controversy. The New York Times described Southern Partisan as "one of the (southern) region's most right-wing magazines," notes its disapproval of Abraham Lincoln and the Union during the Civil War, and tendency to "venerate the rebel soldiers who fought to secede from the United States." According to the Times, it is also socially conservative as evidenced by a 1999 editorial denouncing the Miami Herald's coverage of gay issues. Though critical of these beliefs, the Times nevertheless notes that "Many of (Southern Partisan's) articles, however, are more high-minded historical reviews in the tradition of the Southern agrarian movement, which glorified the South's slow-paced traditions of farms and small towns." [1]

Several sources on the political left have openly accused the magazine of racism. Ed Sebesta, an anti-confederate partisan based in Dallas, Texas commonly attacks the magazine, asserting that Southern Partisan, along with Chronicles, are the " major publications" of the Confederate movement.[2] Slate online magazine has described the Southern Partisan as a "crypto-racist, pro-Confederate magazine."[3] In 2000, the president of People for the American Way called it "racist" and pointed to columns that criticize Martin Luther King, Jr and Nelson Mandela, and alleged that it views slavery favorably.[4] The Times report quotes a passage about the "myth that vicious white slave traders dragged Africans from their idyllic homeland to serve as chattel for arrogant white Americans." They also note that the same article describes white slave traders as being better to the blacks than the African warlords. The Times notes that "(t)he magazine rarely writes about slavery," preferring to focus on more genteel aspects of the past. According to the Times article, Southern Partisan "takes the position that the Civil War was fought not over slavery, but over the preservation of a Southern way of life that to this day is worth preserving." (2/8/2000)

The magazine rejects many of its critics' characterizations, arguing that they derive primarily from the far left wing of the political spectrum and from advocates of political correctness. Responding to critics the magazine's Christopher Sullivan charged them with taking "quotes out of context to paint a picture of racial and historical bigotry in the Partisan." (The Never Ending Struggle by Christopher Sullivan, Southern Partisan 1999 4th Quarter) As a prime example, Sullivan pointed to excerpted quotations that critics purported to speak favorably about slavery but were in fact a synopsis of statistical data from Time on the Cross, a scholarly study on slavery authored by socialist cliometrists Stanley Engerman and Nobel prize recipient Robert Fogel. Sullivan contended that other quotations had been similarly misconstrued by critics on the left and rejected their attacks as the product of a politically correct and politically motivated "feeding frenzy."

Responding to the allegations of racism, the magazine's editors are quick to point out that they regularly publish articles by African American writers such as Walter E. Williams. Sullivan dismisses these allegations as ad hominem attacks and predicts they will continue from sources in the media and on the political left as long as the magazine is published. "Will it end? As King Lear put it, 'Never, never, never, never, never.' And that's why our resistance to the assaults must also never end."

John Ashcroft nomination[edit]

Southern Partisan received national attention in 2001 during the confirmation hearings of U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft. Democrats in the U.S. Senate criticized Ashcroft over a 1998 interview he gave with the magazine in which he praised Robert E. Lee. It was alleged that Ashcroft's statements exhibited racial insensitivity since Lee was a former general for the Confederacy. The magazine responded that Ashcroft's critics were engaging in political correctness and playing the "race card" for political reasons. When pressed by Democratic Senators Joseph Biden and Ted Kennedy about the interview during his confirmation hearings, Ashcroft replied "I would rather be falsely accused of racism than to falsely accuse others."

See also[edit]

External links[edit]

Supportive

Critics