I gave a speech this weekend at the 2014 Alabama LS State Conference that was an expanded version of my article, The Logic of Street Demonstrations.
The speech was inspired by my long experience in the White Nationalist movement and reflections on how the Southern Nationalist movement could avoid the pitfalls of getting bottled up and stuck on the internet.
Here are some key points that were missed in the previous article:
I think we realize now that it is not enough for an organization to focus on spreading ideas, raising awareness, and educating the public – this is a legitimate function of every organization, including our own organization, but there has to be a next step beyond converting people to the cause of Southern Nationalism.
In the speech, I drew a distinction between “passive consumers of information” and “active participants in our struggle.” A “passive consumer of information” doesn’t have to join an organization or get more deeply involved in our movement. Such a person can reap all the benefits they are seeking by reading our websites, watching our videos, subscribing to The Free Magnolia, and following us on Twitter and Facebook.
The League is the home for people who are already converted to Southern Nationalism, who are not content to just be passive consumers of information, but who have decided to pool their resources with others and become active participants in our struggle. An “active participant in our struggle” has an incentive to join the League and become more deeply involved in order to connect with people like them, in the real world, who they can work with to advance our cause in their area.
So, the primary reason anyone would join an organization is to connect with other people who share their ideas – again, the allure of an organization to a convert lies not just in its ideas, but specifically, in other people who are embodying those ideas whose numbers are necessary to bring about political change.
What sends a more powerful message? Is it 50 anonymous comments or 25 people standing in a public place with a consistent message? Is it 1,000 anonymous comments or 500 people standing in a public place with a consistent message? For better or worse, standing behind your ideas with integrity with other people in a public place multiplies the effectiveness and resonance of your message.
We know from bitter experience that an organized and aggressive minority can get its way more often than a disorganized and passive majority – organization and activism are also multipliers of power. The street demonstrations are a convenient entry point for converts into the Southern Nationalist movement. The same is true of local meetings and annual conferences, but there aren’t enough of those and generally they aren’t fun enough to be sustainable in the long run.
Street demonstrations are better advertisements of “people who are embodying your ideas” than lectures and local meetings. It is an activity that can engage far more of our people and make them more deeply committed than writing and reading philosophical essays on pretty websites. It is an activity that takes complex abstract problems and turns them into practical, organizational problems which are easier to solve.
More than anything else, street demonstrations are a way to take an anonymous, internet based social movement, strip it of most of its piss, venom, and dysfunction, and transform it into a stronger real world social movement that takes advantage of multipliers to make it more attractive to the public.
Update: Here’s a link to the audio version of our speeches at the 2014 Alabama LS State Conference:
Brad Griffin, The Logic of Street Demonstrations
Michael Cushman, Winning With Southern Nationalism
Ed Wolfe, The Fable of American Nationalism