Editor’s Note: This is the transcript of my speech delivered at the 2018 League of the South National Conference.
I would like think I stand before you today older and wiser than I was three years ago. I want to talk to you today about my experience as a member of the League of the South: where it was when I joined, where it stands today and where it is going.
Since 2013, I have been a strong advocate of public activism. I have argued that public activism is necessary to erode the dominant taboos which have marginalized our community. While I still believe the League should engage in public activism, I now believe that we must be much more prudent in doing so in the current political climate.
When Barack Obama was president, I believe that public activism worked well for the League of the South. It was a net positive that attracted new members to our organization. The average, rightwing Southerner was alienated from Barack Obama’s America. We held public rallies about a series of neglected, hot button populist issues – immigration, refugee resettlement, free trade, Confederate heritage – which resonated with the public.
The mainstream Left was content so long as Barack Obama was president and as a result radical, violent Antifa groups failed to gain traction. In the Obama years, we became accustomed to seeing these people as a joke. We held nearly 20 rallies between 2013 and 2017 which never attracted more than a small, motley crew of mostly non-violent liberal counter-protesters. The Radical Left withered in the Obama years because the mainstream Left was satisfied, asleep and disengaged from participating in public activism.
Throughout the Obama years, the League of the South hosted our own public events. We tightly controlled our own members. We controlled our own message. We were careful to control our public image. There were no violent confrontations with the Radical Left in the Obama years and we were able to engage extensively with the public. In 2013, we held a rally against refugee resettlement in Shelbyville, TN and distributed hundreds of Free Magnolias. In 2017, when we went back to Shelbyville, TN and were treated like caged animals.
I believe this change in public perception and crowd control at our rallies is entirely due to the Trump presidency and the radicalization of the Left that followed in its wake. In the Trump era, the mainstream Left, which was traumatized by the shock of Trump’s surprise victory in the 2016 election, began to openly endorse political violence. Mainstream leftwing publications have defended “punching Nazis” in the name of “the Resistance.” We saw early in 2017 how leftwing bastions on the West Coast like Portland, OR and Berkeley, CA were failing to uphold law and order. They looked the other way while anarchists rioted and engaged in violence against even mainstream conservatives and libertarians.
As a result of the Trump presidency, public rallies, protests and demonstrations organized by the League of the South have been used as a foil by violent Antifa to harness the energy of the traumatized “Resistance” to recruit new members. Many of our public events, which used to attract little attention from these fanatics, have become a public stage for acting out the violent, leftwing backlash against the Trump presidency. Meanwhile, the conservatives who have reaped all the benefits of the Trump presidency have been content to ignore all their violence, the erosion of free speech and the censorship of social media.
In the current political climate, I believe it is necessary to reevaluate the prudence and wisdom of public activism and change our tactics. For starters, I don’t believe it is necessary or wise to announce public events in advance. This only gives our opposition advance notice and time to mobilize their radicalized supporters to engage in violence and create a climate of fear in the communities in which we are attempting to organize. It is not in our interest to absorb the costs of the anti-Trump backlash.
Insofar as we continue to engage in public activism during the Trump presidency, I believe that future events ought to be invitation only, unannounced and privately coordinated. This change in tactics will prevent violent Antifa from mobilizing to oppose our activists. We will have the opportunity to actually engage the public which we didn’t have when we were treated like caged animals in Pikeville, KY, New Orleans, LA and Shelbyville, TN. The costs of painting a target on our backs outweigh the benefits.
I believe everyone in the League of the South will agree that we need to adjust our tactics. The easiest way to fight Antifa is to deny them intelligence and targets to mobilize against. We should steer clear of violent leftists and cut them out of our events so that they will be forced to redirect their harassment to mainstream conservative targets.
The League of the South’s experience in Charlottesville shows why this is necessary. We announced that we were participating in a public rally months in advance. This gave violent Antifa groups from across the country months to organize and mobilize their supporters to come to Charlottesville to attack our group with all kinds of weapons. It also gave Charottesville officials the excuse they needed to cancel the rally.
In hindsight, I think we failed to appreciate that Charlottesville was demographically the most radically leftwing city in the South. We couldn’t have picked a worse place to hold such a large event in all of Dixie. We failed to anticipate that elected officials in Charlottesville were cowed and hostage to violent Antifa groups. We failed to anticipate that the Charlottesville Police Department and Virginia State Police would stand behind barricades and give violent Antifa a free hand to incite a riot. We failed to anticipate that the corruption in Charlottesville had extended its tentacles into all public institutions.
In Charlottesville, we assumed that with a federal court order we would be allowed to exercise our constitutional right to free assembly as American citizens. We failed to anticipate the degree to which the radicalization of the Left under the Trump presidency meant that the norms of law and order had been suspended in some places. Nothing symbolizes this misconception more than how the Alt-Right cheered in Charlottesville when riot police marched into Lee Park. They assumed that the riot police were being sent in to quell the Antifa engaging in street violence, but instead they were used to clear Lee Park by pushing out the peaceful Alt-Right demonstrators into the crowd of Antifa. The police on duty in Charlottesville were ordered to escalate the violence.
While several League of the South members were returning to their vehicles in the Market Street Parking Garage, they were pursued and assaulted in front of the Charlottesville Police Department in full view of Charlottesville Police Officers. These police officers failed to arrest the suspects which they had witnessed engaging in aggravated assault on their own doorstep. DeAndre Harris raised over $160,000 on GoFundMe. He walked away from that incident scot free while our brother Tyler Davis now faces being sent to prison.
Charlottesville illustrated in vivid detail the folly of trusting the ability of law enforcement in leftwing strongholds to maintain the peace at these events. We can’t trust elected officials in super leftwing cities to respect our constitutional rights. We can’t trust the judicial system in these cities to be fair and impartial. We’ve been taking for granted our constitutional rights as American citizens which violent leftwing gangs have been given the green light to nullify by sympathetic Democratic local officials.
There is nothing for the League of the South to gain from hosting public events in such demographically hostile cities which are announced months in advance. We can’t win in such places. We are only putting ourselves at risk by going there under those unfavorable conditions. It is neither prudent or wise for the League of the South to participate in public rallies in cities like Charlottesville, VA where few of our people even live.
I believe there is a consensus now in the League of the South that we should only hold public rallies in cities where we can recruit and organize potential sympathizers. If we are going to invest time and resources in public activism, we should go to where those people live.
From 2013 to 2016 the League of the South steered clear of forming alliances with other groups, but in 2017 at Pikeville we joined the Nationalist Front. In hindsight, I believe we did this out of a spirit of solidarity in a climate of rising leftwing political violence. In such a hostile environment, we began to see the value of strength in numbers and the ugly face of a violent, deranged common enemy.
In 2017, we began to participate in demonstrations with other groups who have different ideologies and agendas, but the price of the greater security at our public demonstrations was the costs of guilt by association. The implosion of the Traditionalist Worker Party in a sordid public sex scandal was one of the things which illustrated the costs of this alignment. We have paid a heavy price for ceding control of our public image.
Is there anything to be gained by participating in these public rallies where we are treated like caged animals and prevented from interacting with the public? I don’t think so. I believe we should discontinue this type of public activism. For the time being, I believe we should host our own private, invitation-only, unannounced public events. We need to reassert control over the messaging and images of our public events. James Fields, Jr., a young man from Ohio who none of us knew, showed the negative impact that unvetted people who aren’t under our control can have on our public events.
The last year has shown that we would be better off just showing up unannounced in cities like Shelbyville, TN and Newnan, GA. We could spend the whole day interacting with the public in cities across a region like Middle Tennessee or North Georgia which would be much more receptive to our message without violent Antifa tagging along and creating a siege mentality in the communities in which we are organizing.
In 2017, we aligned ourselves with the Alt-Right, and I now believe that those who had misgivings about this alignment were justified.
The fallout from the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville illustrated the lack of solidarity and cohesion in the Alt-Right movement. Many of our allies in the Alt-Right scapegoated the League of the South for the “bad optics” of Charlottesville. They announced that they were rebranding themselves as American Nationalists.
In the months after Charlottesville, many prominent voices in the Alt-Right have embraced the incel and MGTOW movement. Some have embraced miscegenation out of hatred and loathing of White women. They sneer about the bad optics of the White working class, denigrate Christianity and show contempt for their elders while wrapping themselves in the flag of the US federal government. They have publicly rejected the estate of marriage and discourage young men from starting their own families.
In short, many prominent voices in the Alt-Right showed how much they reject our faith-centered, family-centered, folk-centered worldview. In light of these developments, I have since come to regret jumping on that bandwagon. While I still believe we share some common beliefs on race, I am much more aware now of our cultural differences.
I don’t think we should continue to stray from our identity as Southern Nationalists. I believe we were more successful in appealing to our own people when we presented ourselves as purely Southern and nothing else. I believe we should return to what works and leave the baggage of internet trolls and nihilists to their own corners of the internet.
In hindsight, I consider supporting Donald Trump another one of my regrets, and now believe the League was correct not to support his candidacy.
While I was right that the Trump presidency would be intensely polarizing, I was wrong that the average Southerner would undergo a political awakening. According to the latest polls, 90% of Republicans support the Trump presidency and that was before the announcement this week that Justice Anthony Kennedy is retiring from the Supreme Court. The average Southern Republican has dozed off and gone back to sleep while his heritage is being systematically destroyed and the First Amendment is being eroded.
President Trump has failed to build his wall which was his signature campaign issue. He has failed to make any meaningful changes to our immigration system. He used populist rhetoric about immigration and trade in order to push the standard conservative agenda of tax cuts and greater military spending through Congress. He has succeeded in deregulating banks for donors who are now fully invested in his presidency. He has done countless things for Israel, but our own borders remain porous.
While I am happy about some aspects of the Trump presidency (for instance, peace with North Korea), I believe he has been far more devastating for our Confederate monuments and free speech than Barack Obama. I don’t believe we have reaped any benefits that are worth the costs. As I predicted at the Arkansas State Conference, we have been absorbing the costs of this political polarization at our demonstrations. We need to make long overdue adjustments to this new reality.
Social Media and Crowdfunding Websites
The precarious foothold we had established on social media and crowdfunding platforms came to a crashing end in 2017.
This is another cost to our movement of the anti-Trump backlash. It was going on long before Charlottesville too. I’m going to count our demise on Facebook as a hidden blessing. I gave an entire speech at last year’s conference in which I lamented how that platform has been misused to sow division and foster in infighting. Facebook was also an invaluable tool that our enemies used to engage in data mining and doxing.
We should be thankful that Mark Zuckerberg has kicked us out of his community. I would argue that the costs of remaining on Facebook outweighed the benefits. We continue to think of ourselves as normal, ordinary people when we should be thinking ourselves as political dissidents. Discord was an even worse and insecure platform than Facebook, but thankfully we never made much use of it.
The loss of access to crowdfunding platforms has been a real financial blow. It ought to teach us a lesson in free-market economics. In the contemporary United States, the free-market consists of two or three leftwing controlled corporate monopolies which are more than willing to use their concentrated economic power in order to harm our community to virtue signal to their to their fellow leftists. We can count on the U.S. Post Office, but not on private crowdfunding platforms like PayPal or Stripe.
I used to believe that had to get out there and “do something.”
I believed we had to go into the public square and assert our identity and values. We had to break these evil taboos. We had to defiantly assert our will as a nation to continue to exist as a distinct people on this earth. As a nation, we are headed toward the abyss and those of us who love our people are desperate to change this suicidal course.
Lately, I have been having some second thoughts about this noble, but naive worldview. I’ve begun to wonder if this dystopia we are living through is the just chastisement of an angry, righteous Almighty God. I look at our people who have forsaken their God, who no longer honor their mothers and fathers, who murder their own children and call it “liberty,” who would be proud, patriotic citizens of Sodom and Gomorrah, which they would toast for being “free” and “tolerant” and “modern” and “progressive.” Have you ever wondered if people who are so indifferent to the fate of their own children and their own folk deserve this punishment because of their own wickedness?
In its final days, the degenerate Roman Empire deserved to fall to the barbarians. Now it is America’s turn to lay on its own funeral pyre, a victim of its own ideology, liberal democracy. If ever there was a nation in history which deserved to fall, it is this one, which defies natural law by calling “good” by the name evil and “evil” by the name of good, and which justifies every sin under the cloak of “individual freedom.” The country in which we live holds up moral degenerates as role models. These celebrities have millions of social media followers and set the tone of America’s debased popular culture. Kim Kardashian and Kanye West, not people like us, have the ear of the President of the United States.
We are a hated, besieged minority in this dying country – no more than 3% of the population. A common theme that runs through our misfortunes is our failure to recognize how we are strangers in this land. We want to think of ourselves as normal people with all the rights of other American citizens, but we are no longer the mainstream. Instead, it is evil, perversion and injustice that is normal and flourishes in this country, which if our religion is true must be an abomination in God’s eyes. Have you ever thought about what America must look like in God’s eyes? Is there anything we can do to forestall God’s damning judgment?
I believe we should repent, and try to separate ourselves as far as possible from the abomination that is modern America. We’ve tried voting. We’ve tried protesting. This system isn’t going to be reformed and it has never listened to us. When we protest something, we operate on the assumption that American politicians care about what we think, which isn’t true. They only care about serving their donors. The Southern people are sunk in their own personal lives and try to avoid thinking about their future. We’re never going to rouse them to action with a Republican in the White House who is perceived to be successful.
We still have a great task before us, but it involves returning to our roots. We need to become an intellectual movement again. We need to offer our people an alternative vision and way of life. I believe that we have neglected that due to our singleminded focus on public activism. I think we need to emulate the church and focus on morality and education. We’re not producing nearly as much Southern Nationalist content as we need to be. A lost generation is growing up that has been severed from its roots and lacks moral guidance. It doesn’t even know what morality is anymore because it has never been exposed to it.
I don’t think we have taken advantage of all the activities we can hold on private property. It would be nice to have other buildings like this one in other Southern states. We’ve been too focused on forcing the world to change and not enough on developing and articulating our own beliefs and making a persuasive case for them. While I believe we should still hold public events, I don’t believe that public activism should be our primary focus. I’ve found that private family gatherings are the most enjoyable activities I engage in these days. We have sons and daughters to raise and they need to be brought up among peers.
I think we have been putting the cart before the horse. Southern identity is extremely weak and our people lack the strength and will to rise up. They lack a sense of national consciousness. They have too much faith in the system. They lack a sense of moral urgency. They even believe Trump is Making America Great Again. It isn’t true. Nothing about our fate has really changed, but normal people will grasp that comfort blanket to shield themselves from having to face hard truths. These things have to change before we can start to accomplish our goals.
It is the responsibility of the League to articulate and nurture our Southern identity and to show why Americanism has failed and is doomed in the long run. We have to show our fellow Southerners that a better world is possible than this one to entice them to move into a new paradigm. We have to be able to clearly explain to them what is the right way to live and what is the wrong to live and why this is the case. Finally, we have to create an atmosphere that will make more people comfortable and willing to join us. We always have to keep in mind that we are a hated, stigmatized minority.
We’re not accomplishing this by being locked behind steel cages and metal detectors, fighting off frivilous lawsuits or by wrestling with violent leftwing fanatics in the streets. I believe that offering a sense of identity and place, deep roots, new ideas, a new ethos, content and fellowship is a better alternative for our people who are trying to untangle their lives from the abomination. In the year ahead, I believe we should focus more on ourselves and less on the world.