league of the south » ADL Blogs
Posts Tagged ‘league of the south’
July 2, 2015 0

Confederate heritage group denounces extremists, but has them in ranks

The Sons of Con­fed­er­ate Vet­er­ans (SCV), a so-called Con­fed­er­ate “her­itage” group, recently denounced the deci­sion of the Loyal White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, a North Carolina-based Klan group, to hold a July 2015 protest in front of the South Car­olina state­house in Columbia.

Missouri CCC members receive SVC awards

Mis­souri CCC mem­bers receive SVC awards

Accord­ing to a press release issued by the SCV, the group’s mem­ber­ship “vehe­mently oppose[s] and denounce[s] this hate­ful and divi­sive event.” The SCV also trum­peted what it referred to as its “strictly enforced ‘hate’ pol­icy,” claim­ing that any­one with ties to any racist orga­ni­za­tion or hate group is denied mem­ber­ship and will be “imme­di­ately expelled.” The state­ment was attrib­uted to Charles Kelly Bar­row, the “commander-in-chief” of the SCV.

One may legit­i­mately won­der how “strictly enforced” the SCV’s “hate” pol­icy actu­ally is. After all, one of the major fig­ures in the SCV for many years has been Kirk Lyons, who has played a major role in the politi­ciza­tion of the SCV dur­ing that span. For decades, Lyons has been a friend to and rep­re­sented numer­ous white suprema­cists in court cases, once describ­ing him­self as an “active sym­pa­thizer” of their causes. Lyons has also spo­ken to or before a vari­ety of extrem­ist groups, rang­ing from the white suprema­cist web­site Storm­front to the equally white suprema­cist Coun­cil of Con­ser­v­a­tive Cit­i­zens (CCC).

The SCV has its own CCC prob­lem. The con­nec­tions between the “her­itage” group and the white suprema­cist group—the lat­ter allegedly a source of edu­ca­tion and inspi­ra­tion for Charleston church shoot­ing sus­pect Dylann Storm Roof—are exten­sive. In Jan­u­ary 2014, for exam­ple, three mem­bers of the Coun­cil of Con­ser­v­a­tive Cit­i­zens, includ­ing its founder and leader Gor­don Lee Baum (who died in March 2015), all of whom were SCV mem­bers, received “SCV War Vet­eran Medals” from one of the group’s Mis­souri chap­ters. Another CCC founder, Leonard Wil­son, who died in 2013, was an SCV mem­ber and the for­mer Alabama state com­man­der of the SCV.

In 2014, SCV mem­ber (and for­mer Ten­nessee state com­man­der) Gene Andrews spoke at the CCC’s annual national con­fer­ence. Andrews also con­tributed an arti­cle to the CCC web­site in 2010. In 2009 and 2011, Cecil Fayard, then the “National Chap­lain” of the SCV, spoke before the Car­roll County, Mis­sis­sippi, chap­ter of the CCC. In 2008, SCV mem­ber John Flip­pin, also a CCC mem­ber, spoke before the Web­ster County, Mis­sis­sippi, chap­ter. These are just a few exam­ples of SCV-CCC crossover.

Even Charles Kelly Bar­row, the cur­rent com­man­der, may have had extrem­ist ties. Accord­ing to a 2002 South­ern Poverty Law Cen­ter report, Bar­row was a mem­ber of the League of the South, a neo-Confederate hate group that has recently orga­nized protests that have included neo-Nazis and issued dire warn­ings of “race war.”

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

June 4, 2015 13

League of the South and Neo-Nazis Join Forces in Kentucky

Mem­bers of the neo-Confederate League of the South (LOS) joined together with neo-Nazis and other white suprema­cists on May 30 for a “Feds Out of Ken­tucky” rally in Alexan­dria, Ken­tucky, a few miles south­east of Cincinnati.

League of the South, Alexandria, KY

“Feds Out of Ken­tucky” rally in Alexan­dria, KY

The rally was orga­nized by Cole­man Lacy, a young mem­ber of the LOS from the local area who serves as the group’s “state chairman.”

In addi­tion, Geof­frey Rash, the Ken­tucky leader of the neo-Nazi National Social­ist Move­ment (NSM) and also a local res­i­dent, brought mem­bers to the event. After­wards, Rash stated that it was good for the LOS and the NSM to work together “to rid this coun­try, start­ing with our own states, of the Zion­ist Jewry that decays our peo­ple, our states and our nation.”

Though the LOS pro­moted the event, only about 14 peo­ple took part in the rally, wav­ing flags and anti-government signs.

How­ever, the sig­nif­i­cance of the event was not in its size.

Rather, the Alexan­dria rally marked the com­ple­tion of the LOS’s grad­ual trans­for­ma­tion from a neo-Confederate group that typ­i­cally denied hav­ing racist ties into an unabashed white suprema­cist group.

The LOS has had ties to other hate groups in the past but fre­quently denied such ties or dis­tanced itself from hate groups when ties were actu­ally pub­li­cized. In 2005, fol­low­ing the dev­as­ta­tion of Hur­ri­cane Kat­rina on the Gulf Coast, mem­bers of both the NSM and White Rev­o­lu­tion announced the LOS’s coop­er­a­tion in pro­vid­ing assis­tance to “white only” vic­tims of the hur­ri­cane. The LOS later said that it did not take part in or endorse such measures—though it did post “whites only” offers of assis­tance on its own website.

As recently as 2013, the LOS expelled a mem­ber, Matthew Heim­bach (also head of the Tra­di­tion­al­ist Youth Net­work, a small white suprema­cist group), for attend­ing a neo-Nazi event in Ken­tucky. How­ever, in another sign of the trans­for­ma­tion of the LOS into an explic­itly white suprema­cist group, Heim­bach was back inside the folds of the LOS within a year. Heim­bach attended the Alexan­dria rally.

Behind the grow­ing rad­i­cal­iza­tion of the LOS is none other than its founder and long­time leader, Michael Hill. Once a col­lege his­tory pro­fes­sor, by 2011, Hill was urg­ing his fol­low­ers to arm them­selves and “join the resis­tance.” The LOS began offer­ing mem­bers weapons train­ing around this time.

Protests by African-American com­mu­ni­ties in 2015 in the wake of highly-publicized police shoot­ings moved Hill even fur­ther into bla­tant white supremacy. In May 2015, Michael Hill declared his deter­mi­na­tion to par­tic­i­pate in a race war if “negroes,” egged on by the “largely Jewish-Progressive owned media,” engaged in “black rage.” Hill warned that “if negroes think a ‘race war’ in mod­ern Amer­ica would be to their advan­tage, they had bet­ter pre­pare them­selves for a very rude awak­en­ing.” On June 1, Hill openly declared that “our South­ern fore­bears” who opposed civil rights for African-Americans “were right.”

With a leader spout­ing tirades about race war and fol­low­ers openly cavort­ing with neo-Nazis and other white suprema­cists, there can be no fur­ther doubt that the League of the South, despite its past denials, is any­thing other than an explic­itly white suprema­cist organization.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

July 3, 2014 3

Matthew Heimbach Publically Returns to Racist Street Activism

matthew-heimbach-racist

Matthew Heim­bach

After announc­ing he was tak­ing a sab­bat­i­cal from activism, Matthew Heim­bach, the co-founder white suprema­cist Tra­di­tion­al­ist Youth Net­work (TYN), returned to racist activ­i­ties dur­ing the month of June. Heim­bach attended three events in June orga­nized by the white South­ern nation­al­ist group League of the South (LOS).

Despite the fact that Heim­bach was pre­vi­ously banned from the orga­ni­za­tion for attend­ing neo-Nazi events, Heim­bach not only attended the recent LOS annual con­fer­ence but also took part in LOS demon­stra­tions in Ken­tucky and Alabama.

On Sat­ur­day, June 1, Heim­bach attended demon­stra­tions orga­nized by the Ken­tucky chap­ter of the League which took place in the towns of Car­roll­ton, and War­saw, Ken­tucky. At the demon­stra­tions, Heim­bach held a sign that read, “Feds out of Ken­tucky.” Another LOS protest is sched­uled to take place in the town of Pikeville, Ken­tucky, on July 19. Accord­ing to LOS, the demon­stra­tion will be in sup­port of coal min­ers in the state “whose indus­try is being destroyed by the feds.”

Over the past two years, LOS changed tac­tics, focus­ing more on street activism in an attempt to attract new mem­bers and raise aware­ness about the orga­ni­za­tion and South­ern nation­al­ism. Brad Grif­fin, aka Hunter Wal­lace, the founder of the racist blog Occi­den­tal Dis­sent is the main pro­moter of this tac­tic. The theme of this year’s LOS national con­fer­ence was “Hit­ting the Streets: Tak­ing the South­ern Nation­al­ist Mes­sage to the Public.”

Grif­fin joined LOS two years ago and is respon­si­ble for bring­ing the orga­ni­za­tion closer to the Coun­cil of Con­ser­v­a­tive Cit­i­zens (CofCC), another racist orga­ni­za­tion with chap­ters around the South. Grif­fin is mar­ried to Renee Baum, the daugh­ter of Gor­don Baum, the head of CofCC. LOS and CofCC held demon­stra­tions together for the first time dur­ing the past year. Grif­fin spoke about the issue of street activism and the media atten­tion it gar­ners at the LOS national con­fer­ence last Sat­ur­day, June 28.

After their national con­fer­ence ended on June 28, LOS held a demon­stra­tion in Wetumpka, Alabama, where the group is head­quar­tered. Heim­bach and many other con­fer­ence atten­dees joined the event, which focused on sup­port­ing South­ern work­ers who LOS claims are los­ing their jobs to immi­grants. Many of the LOS protests are anti-immigrant but oth­ers focus on issues such as mar­riage equal­ity. A sim­i­lar demon­stra­tion is sched­uled to take place in Gainesville, Geor­gia, on August 23.

Heimbach’s return to racist activism appears only to be with LOS for the time being. One pos­si­ble rea­son for this is the LOS’s pro­mo­tion of a racist ver­sion of Chris­t­ian val­ues, which Heim­bach also embraces. It remains to be seen whether Heim­bach will orga­nize again with other racist orga­ni­za­tions, but it’s clear that his sab­bat­i­cal from racist activ­ity is over.

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,