League of the South
|Purpose||Creation of a neo-confederate Southern nation, based on Christianity.|
|Southern United States|
|English. Rejects Merriam Webster's orthography and instead opts for the Oxford standard.|
|Thomas Fleming, Michael Peroutka, Clyde N. Wilson, Thomas Woods|
|Military Order of the Stars and Bars|
|Subsidiaries||Southern Patriot (magazine)|
|Slogan||Survival, Well-Being, and Independence of the Southern People|
The League of the South is a Southern nationalist 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. It claims to be also a religious and social movement, advocating a return to a more traditionally conservative, Christian-oriented Southern culture. It advocates a "natural societal order of superiors and subordinates", using as an example, "Christ is the head of His Church; husbands are the heads of their families; parents are placed over their children; employers rank above their employees; the teacher is superior to his students, etc." The organization has ties to the Italian separatist political group Lega Nord.
The League of the South has been described as a white supremacist and white nationalist organization. The Southern Poverty Law Center has designated the League of the South as a Neo-Confederate 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.
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 minor league baseball organization also known as The Southern League. There were Southern professors among them. Michael Hill was the leader and still is. He was a British history professor and specialist in Celtic history at Stillman College, which is considered to be a historically black school in Tuscaloosa, Ala. However, Hill has since left his teaching position.
Since 2007, The League's main publication has been The Free Magnolia, a quarterly tabloid.
The League defines Southern culture "in opposition to the corrupt mainstream American culture." It sees Southern culture as profoundly Christian and pro-life. Furthermore, the League believes that Southern culture places a greater emphasis on immediate relationships than on abstract ideas (the nation, the environment, the global community, etc.) and that Southern geography "defines character and worldview." 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, Southern society differs greatly from what it sees as the Marxist and egalitarian society lacking "any grace or charm" that its "alien [American] occupier" seeks to "impress upon it." Southern culture, for the League, is based strictly on the Bible. The League's Core Beliefs Statement also notes that Southern culture "stigmatizes perversity", such as homosexuality and promiscuity. In the words of Michael Hill "the League of the South is not a “neo-Confederate” or “Southern heritage” organization, although we certainly do honor our ancestors and our largely Christian historic inheritance as Southerners. The League is a present- and future-oriented Southern Nationalist organization that seeks the survival, well being, and independence of the Southern people. We stand for our Faith, Family, and Folk living in freedom and prosperity on the lands of our forefathers."
The League of the South's economic views are best characterized as free market. It 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. However, The League supports protectionism (i.e economic nationalism) when it is necessary to shield domestic production from unfair foreign competition.
Seeking support in the United States Declaration of Independence, 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 that "work together... to conduct foreign affairs". It believes that the South's foreign policy should favor neutrality and trade with all states. Furthermore, the League favors strictly limited immigration, opposes standing armies and any regulation whatsoever of firearms. Though the ultimate goal of the League is to create an independent Southern nation, it sees this aim as the final step in an ongoing process:
Once we have planted the seeds of cultural, economic, and social renewal, then (and only then), should we begin to look to the South's political renewal. Political independence will come only when we have convinced the Southern people that they are indeed a nation in the historical, organic, and Biblical sense of the word, namely, that they are a distinct people with language, mores, and folkways that separate them from the rest of the world.
The League's current official activities focus on recruiting and encouraging "cultural secession" and "withholding our support from all institutions and objects of popular culture that are antithetical to our beliefs and heritage." In November 2006 its representatives attended the First North American Secessionist Convention which brought together secessionists from a broad political spectrum. 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 President 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!”
Charges of racism
In the summer of 2000, the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) labeled 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. According to a news article, Hill "welcomed the designation as a 'badge of honor'" and stated that the SPLC has "a very leftist agenda, these sorts of things are designed to discredit you publicly."
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,".
The League's Board of Directors is composed of Michael Hill, Mark Thomey, Mike Crane, Sam Nelson, and Dr. John Cook. Among the founding members were Thomas Fleming, Thomas Woods, Grady McWhiney, Clyde Wilson, and Forrest McDonald.
- List of active autonomist and secessionist movements
- List of organizations designated by the Southern Poverty Law Center as hate groups
- Southern literature
- White nationalism
- League of the South website
- "The US Civil War as a Theological War: Confederate Christian Nationalism and the League of the South"
- League of the. "League of the South Core Beliefs Statement". Archived from the original on 15 June 2008. Retrieved 10 January 2011.
- League of the South FAQ
- Pavia, Will (4 Dec 2010). "'They call us rednecks and crackers but we can govern ourselves'". The Times. London (UK). p. 35.
- Edsall, Thomas B. (23 July 2000). "Buchanan's Bid Transforms the Reform Party; Candidate's Stands Draw Extreme Right Support". The Washington Post. p. 4.
- Atkins, Steven E. (2011). Encyclopedia of Right-Wing Extremism In Modern American History. ABC-CLIO. p. 166. ISBN 978-1-59884-350-7.
- Helen Taylor (2002). "The South and Britain". In Suzanne W. Jones, Sharon Monteith. South to a New Place: Region, Literature, Culture. Louisiana State University Press. p. 341. ISBN 978-0807128404.
- League of the South page at SPLC
- http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/tennessean/obituary.aspx?n=jack-kershaw&pid=145402616&fhid=4485 Jack Kershaw Obituary
- 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.
- Atkins, Stephen E. (2002). Encyclopedia of modern American extremists and extremist groups. Greenwood Press. p. 183. ISBN 978-0-313-31502-2.
- League Core Beliefs Statement
- "Southerners have respect for human life, in all its stages, as a gift from God." This language is often used by groups opposed to legal abortion and euthanasia.
- ibid – "commerce and friendship with all, entangling alliances with none"
- The Grand Strategy
- "THE FIRST NORTH AMERICAN SECESSIONIST CONVENTION". middleburyinstitute.org. 8 February 2006. Retrieved 5 September 2015.
- 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, Philadelphia Inquirer, November 6, 2006.
- "THE SECOND NORTH AMERICAN SECESSIONIST CONVENTION". middleburyinstitute.org. 16 May 2007. Retrieved 5 September 2015.
- 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, Independent, UK, October 4, 2007; WDEF News 12 Video report on Secessionist Convention, 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".
- League webpage on Confederate flags
- SPLC article on League of South; also see SPLC article on Michael Hill.
- John DeSantis, Civil War revisionism all cited by watchdog group, from The Sun Herald, September 7, 2000, reproduced at Ross Institute.
- Paul Nussbaum Philadelphia Inquirer' article November 6, 2006.
- 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. Retrieved 8 July 2016.
- The League's website
- Applebome, Peter (7 March 1998). "Could the Old South Be Resurrected?; Cherished Ideas of the Confederacy (Not Slavery) Find New Backers". nytimes.com. The New York Times. Retrieved 28 September 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. Retrieved 2016-09-14.
- Young, Cathy (2005-06-01). "Behind the Jeffersonian Veneer". Reason. Retrieved 2016-09-14.