THE SOUTHERN-PATRIOT MOVEMENT: POLITICS, OR PROTEST DEMONSTRATIONS?
Now that liberalism’s attacks against the South’s heritage and culture have reached crisis proportions, should we dig in our heels and fight; or turn to the politicians for our salvation; or retreat slowly before the onslaught; or fold our tents now and disappear swiftly into the night?
By Frank Conner
The continuing Georgia flag-fight has triggered an entire spectrum of reactions from leaders of the Southern-patriot movement, and the regional pundits who discuss that movement in print. Some of them recommend that the Georgians fight to reinstate the 1956 state flag with its battle-flag element–which Governor Perdue and the Georgia General Assembly, working in concert, recently managed to bury officially. Other leaders/pundits recommend that we become full-time backers of the Republican party in Georgia, in hopes that over time we will become such an important element of the party that someday we can then persuade it to reinstate the 1956 flag. Others want us to ignore the Democrats and Republicans and sponsor a third political party.
Still other leaders/pundits of the Southern-patriot movement recommend that we embrace the modified First National flag which Georgia’s state government has arbitrarily foisted upon us, and declare it a great victory for our cause because that flag has a vaguely-Confederate theme. Others recommend that we abandon the field entirely, because the people of Georgia have so far failed to rally around us and carry us to victory. And still other leaders/pundits have maintained an unbroken silence regarding the Georgia flag-fight.
That flag fight is an excellent litmus-test, because the attitudes of the leaders and pundits toward it largely reflect their attitudes toward the entire Southern-patriot movement. So who among them is right? Whose views should the Georgians (and the rest of the traditional Southerners) accept? Whom should we now follow? At this point it is very difficult to decide those questions, because few if any of those leaders and pundits have put their views re the Georgia flag-fight in the proper context: many of them have failed to state clearly their long-term goals for the Southern-patriot movement; and most have failed to describe the battlefield conditions of the current era which necessarily shape the strategy and tactics of the ongoing culture-war. So unless we can also learn the views of the leaders and pundits on those two key elements, then their comments about the Georgia flag fight are largely meaningless.
THE LONG-TERM GOALS OF THE SOUTHERN-PATRIOT MOVEMENT
Of the goals stated by the various Southern-patriot organizations, I like best the ones contained in Gen. Stephen Dill Lee’s charge to the SCV, as follows: "To you, Sons of Confederate Veterans, we submit the vindication of the Cause for which we fought; to your strength will be given the defense of the Confederate soldier’s good name, the guardianship of his history, the emulation of his virtues, the perpetuation of those principles he loved and which made him glorious and which you also cherish. Remember, it is your duty to see that the true history of the South is presented to future generations."
In other words: cherish your Confederate heritage (which consists primarily of the belief system and way of life of the Old South–minus slavery and segregation); live by it; and persuade your fellow Southerners to live by it too. In practice, this means living by the following set of priorities: religion (usually Christianity) first; then personal honor–including seamless honesty and unrelenting courage in the face of whatever comes along; then family; then community; then fairness in dealing with all others; and then kindness to others, whenever they will permit that. This belief system also demands a sharply-limited federal government as prescribed by the US Constitution; and it holds the firm conviction that the state exists to serve the citizen–and not the other way around as the liberals insist. S.D. Lee also charges us to convince our fellow Southerners–by example and persuasion–to live this same kind of life. And he asks us to defend our Confederate heritage effectively against all attacks mounted by our enemies (who are primarily the ideological liberals and their black-activist catspaws).
If those are your goals for the Southern-patriot movement too, then the need is clear and unambiguous. If you care anything at all about the kind of South that your children and grandchildren will inherit, then you must not surrender; you must not pretend that our resounding defeats are actually our victories, or that they do not matter; you must treat all of the current politicians as the adversaries that they really are and will remain until such time as we have converted so many Southerners to our side that we can at will turn any Southern politician out of office; and you must fight effectively to discredit and defeat our enemies, and regain what we have lost. If you do not, the liberals will finish converting the South into their "New South" Gramsci-Marxist paradise with government-enforced social and economic equality for all–except that in actual practice the traditional whites won’t be anywhere near as equal as the liberals and the black activists.
Because ideological liberalism has been employed as official US-government policy for the past 40 years, and the general public has observed that it is unworkable, liberalism has at last become vulnerable, such that our movement could now counterattack it ideologically (with words, not bullets); discredit in the eyes of the Southern public the beliefs and policies of the liberals who now control all of our institutions; and persuade that public to readopt the belief system and the way of life of the traditional South. By so doing, the South could regain its rightful place in the sun. (For details of that approach, read my book, "The South Under Siege 1830 – 2000 /A History of the Relations Between the North and the South.")
Thus, our leaders and pundits who urge us to surrender openly, or to surrender covertly by rejoicing in the fact that our enemies have not yet quite finished taking away all of our Confederate symbols, or to retreat discreetly so as to avoid putting our dignity at risk, or to put our faith in the politicians now when we have no control over them, cannot possibly be pursuing admirable long-term goals for the Southern-patriot movement. Therefore they should step aside.
THE TRUE NATURE OF OUR BATTLEFIELD TODAY
In recent years, many longtime defenders of Southern heritage have failed to take stock of the basic changes in the nature of the culture war being waged against us–thus in the conditions which exist on the battlefield today. What they have failed to notice is that several years ago, to all intents and purposes our enemies (the liberals, with recent assistance from the black activists) won the ideological war which they’ve been waging against the traditional white Southerners for more than a century and a half–to destroy us as a people; and now they’re just mopping up.
In Georgia, for example, our deadly liberal enemies now control virtually all of the news-and-entertainment media; the education establishment; big business; most of the regional and local governments; most of the judiciary; and virtually all of the other major institutions. The liberals and their black-activist catspaws can and do regularly call our Confederate ancestors and ourselves any filthy name in public; they can and do regularly tell any base lie that comes to their minds about our history in the newspapers, on television, and in the movies; and they refuse us access to their media to rebut their calumnies and lies. Accordingly, they have successfully blackened the names of our Confederate ancestors, and they have made our heritage and culture synonymous with evil in the minds of much of the public. The liberals have now had 40 years in which to brainwash and guilt-trip the people of Georgia into repudiating the belief system of the Old South; and they have made the most of their opportunity.
Consequently, the people in the Southern-patriot movement are no longer members-in-good-standing of the establishment, defending our homeland against the invading armies of liberal ideologues. Our homeland no longer exists, except in our memories; we ourselves are now living and operating in hostile territory; and in the eyes of our institutions, we are now second-class citizens who no longer deserve the rights and privileges that are now reserved for the politically-correct "good" citizens. Thus, the sociopolitical environment which we presently encounter in Georgia and most of the other Southern states is really no different from that of, say, Ohio or Illinois.
Our enemies have successfully discredited the belief system of the traditional South in the eyes of the public; and they have persuaded the public that the traditional Southerners do not deserve to be allowed to exist as a people; and without those basics, we have nothing of importance left of our heritage and culture to defend. All we have left are a few remaining Confederate symbols which our enemies are now systematically taking away from us. We have been vanquished, and destroyed as a people.
So we can no longer think of fighting a defensive war. If we wish to accomplish anything of value, we must now think in terms of taking back that which has been taken away from us: our self respect, our faith in the validity of the belief system of the Old South, and our legitimacy as a people. And then we must discredit our mortal enemy–liberalism–in the eyes of the Southern public. And then we must cause the rest of the Southerners to readopt the belief system of the Old South, and regain their status as a people to be respected.
For all practical purposes, the people in the Southern-patriot movement are now revolutionaries, not defenders. It is vitally important that we recognize this major change to our status, and change our mindsets accordingly. People with a defender’s mindset cannot lead a revolution or participate in it effectively; they can only impede it. (In addition, those who joined the Southern-patriot movement only because they wanted to bask in the reflected glory of their Confederate ancestry would do well to depart the movement now. And those who–unlike their Confederate ancestors–only wish to participate if their side is in the majority will also find this a convenient time to depart the scene.)
I have been speaking in terms of doom and gloom, but potentially our future is bright–if we will acknowledge the realities and take full advantage of them, because although our enemies now wield all of the power, they have become dangerously vulnerable. And we do have many natural allies in Georgia and the rest of the South: they are the traditionalists who live in the small towns and have not been brainwashed and guilt-tripped as effectively as the "New South" residents (the chattering classes) of the big cities. Once we have gotten our own act together, we will need to romance these people and turn them against the liberals in the big cities who are changing the South into a tightly-regulated socialist regime, and the politicians who support those liberals. By polarizing the South in that way, we can soon become a powerful force–if we do not fall into such politicians’ traps as "inclusiveness" and "the big tent."
So. Those people in the Southern-patriot movement–including some of its leaders and its pundits–who think they are still living in the South of 20 or 30 years ago, and who are acting accordingly, are crippling the effectiveness of the movement. We need to acknowledge that our enemies have won their war against us, and learn how to counterattack them most effectively, and ignore those leaders/pundits who continue to preach business-as-usual.
THE GEORGIA FLAG-FIGHT AS METAPHOR FOR THE SOUTHERN-PATRIOT MOVEMENT
For many decades, the smartest revolutionary in Georgia has been a black activist named Tyrone Brooks, who serves as a state representative (D-Atlanta), and generally runs the black political-caucus in Georgia. Early on he learned to play the intricacies of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965 like concert-grand pianos; and single-handedly he tied the voting procedures and the state judiciary of Georgia into a series of racial Gordian-knots, and just about brought the state to a standstill.
Brooks is the dedicated enemy of the traditional white Southerners. And ten or fifteen years before the NAACP figured it out, Brooks realized that the battle flag is the keystone symbol of our entire Confederate heritage. Yank it out, and the rest of the entire structure will inevitably crumble and come tumbling down. But Brooks knew that the Georgians would not stand for the summary expulsion of the 1956 flag. It would have to be a two-step process, in which the Georgians would first have to be threatened and cajoled into substituting something like the First National flag of the Confederacy for the battle flag; and then four or five years later the black activists could successfully demand that the First National flag be taken down. So for 22 years Brooks introduced bills into the Georgia General Assembly to substitute a modification of the First National flag for the 1956 flag with the battle flag emblem. His bill failed each time.
Finally, in 2001 the black activists (backed fully by the liberal CEOs of big business in Georgia) found an accommodating governor–Democrat Roy Barnes. He then cut such a huge number of backroom deals with members of the General Assembly that he was able to call for a surprise vote by the legislature to junk the 1956 flag and replace it with a totally-different design (not even a recognizable Confederate flag per se). The public got only three or four hours’ forewarning that any such measure was even being contemplated, and was shocked by the underhandedness of that coup. It rubbed the Georgians’ noses in the smelly fact that Georgia’s politicians notoriously run the state so as to suit big business and the black activists, not the citizenry. A number of Southern patriots (mostly SCV members, but also including members of the League of the South, the Southern Party of Georgia, and others) independently began to mount protest demonstrations ("flaggings") during the reelection campaigning of Barnes and his cohorts; this attracted widespread attention, and eventually the uniformly-hostile news media were forced to cover the flaggings. Most political experts believed that the flaggings were a major factor in Barnes’ failure to get reelected.
Previously, the out-of-power Georgia Republicans had used the battle flag as a handy wedge-issue to help unseat the reigning Democrats; but when Republican candidate Sonny Perdue won the governor’s race, and the Republicans captured the Senate, the shoe was then on the other foot. The Republicans too take their marching orders from the liberal CEOs of big business in Georgia and the black activists; so now they too wanted no part of the 1956 flag. Earlier Perdue had promised the citizens a referendum so they could select their state flag, but instead of giving them a straight choice between the hated 2001 flag and the 1956 flag that it had replaced, Perdue offered them a convoluted multi-step procedure which also contained the pre-1956 First National flag; clearly he intended for the 1956 flag to lose. The General Assembly got the message and modified Perdue’s plan, to eliminate the 1956 flag from the referendum, and arbitrarily adopt immediately a modified version of the First National flag; and Perdue signed that travesty into law.
The flaggers now understand clearly that they have nothing to gain by attempting to ally themselves with either of the political parties in Georgia, because both parties are politically correct and want nothing to do with the traditional Southerners–except to get their votes on election day. The flaggers understand that the only way they can get back their 1956 flag and their Confederate heritage which goes with it is by causing the politicians to fear them more than they now fear big business and the black activists. The flaggers know that they can best attain that goal by mounting protest demonstrations at every public appearance by the governor and the other key players who torpedoed our 1956 flag, to persuade the public not to reelect them in 2004.
Reinstating the battle flag as an element of the Georgia state flag is vitally important, because it has been proven time and again that the battle flag is the only symbol beneath which the Southerners will rally in defense of their heritage and their culture. But the key factor here is not how fast we get it reinstated, but how we go about that: how we fight is far more important than when we win; the process is actually more important than the end result.
The liberals own the news media, and one of their most-important weapons for destroying the traditional Southerners as a people has been to slant everything they say about us to denigrate us, and then to prevent us from gaining access to the media to put across our own story. That has been liberalism’s giant roadblock, which has traditionally prevented our movement from getting off the ground. But the Georgia flaggers broke that roadblock, with their shocking-but-colorful tactics and their persistence. After awhile they became such big news that the hostile media could no longer ignore them, and had to give them big coverage. And the public was impressed by the activist flaggers–in ways that it is not impressed by Southern patriots conducting ceremonial events. These flaggers obviously were men who cared enough about their heritage to fight for it–in some cases with their wives and children standing by their sides. And they obviously cared more about saving the South than about preserving their dignity.
Such was the nature of the drama building around the Georgia flaggers’ protest-demonstrations in 2002 that had the election not come about when it did, soon the news media would have been forced to give the spokesmen of the flaggers a mass-media soap-box from which to tell the now-attentive Georgia public in detail about their Confederate heritage and what is being done to it. That is the kind of opportunity which the Southern-patriot movement has only dreamed of until now.
The other vitally-important point about the flaggings is that they taught the flaggers some invaluable lessons about themselves which could not be learned in any other way. Society’s awesomely-effective conditioning dictates that each well-brought-up Southerner must remain meek, mild, obedient, and polite at all times; must avoid public confrontations at all costs; and must be concerned about maintaining his dignity above all else. People with the standard Southern-mindset are not mentally equipped to fight off liberalism’s all-out attacks against us; yet that is the mindset which most members of the Southern-patriot movement have; and that is why we have made so little progress. Yet in the case of the Georgia flaggers, their repeated direct confrontations with the establishment on the street broke their conditioning and changed their mindset. This had some startling results.
The flagger came to realize that while he was flagging, he was no longer bound by society’s ordinarily-restrictive behavioral demands. Therefore the flagger no longer saw himself as society’s captive, helpless to withstand its manipulations; instead, he was now a free agent, and society was vulnerable to HIS manipulations. He realized that he did not need a Big Daddy to tell him what to do at every step along the way. He was free to do almost anything he could think up; there was precious little that he could not get away with; and so he began to think outside the box. The flagger stopped fearing for his dignity; he realized that his dignity no longer mattered, because others now saw him as a powerful agent of change–for good or ill, depending upon their own viewpoints.
The flaggers now realized that numbers of people alone are meaningless; it is the dedication and ingenuity and determination of the participants–many or few–that count for everything. Our fight with our enemy is really only a contest of wills; the side that is most determined wins, regardless of its size initially. So the flagger is really a revolutionary. And ten revolutionaries can accomplish more than a thousand ordinary brainwashed citizens.
Participation in only one or a few flaggings or other direct confrontations won’t change your mindset. Neither will marching in a thousand parades or participation in a thousand rallies; you have to confront your enemy directly and personally on his turf; and you have to do that repeatedly–and that makes you a free man.
Given our enemies’ vast resources and total dedication to the destruction of our heritage and ourselves as a people; and given our own lack of resources, and the present lukewarm determination of most members of the Southern-patriot movement to defend our heritage and our people; then widespread activism of the type that I have described here is probably our only realistic path to victory. But significantly, there is probably not a single high-level leader within the Southern-patriot movement who has taken that path and become radicalized himself; thus, there is not a single leader within our movement who could attract and hold the allegiance of the flaggers and other real activists.
Our traditional weapons–angry letters to the editor, rallies, boycotts, etc.–have all failed completely to slow even momentarily the onslaught of our enemies. If we want to win out in the hostile environment which now constitutes the South, we will have to embrace lawful-but-in-your-face activism on a large scale, and be ready to put across our real message powerfully to the public when the opportunities inevitably arise as the result of that. That is the only way we can attract and hold everyone’s attention, put the fear into the politicians and our other enemies, and start converting the Southern public back to reality and sanity in their daily lives.
The Georgia flaggers have already begun flagging Governor Perdue for burying our flag last month. So it will not stay buried.
Copyright © 2003, Frank Conner, Southern Party of Georgia