Tuesday, November 30, 2010

They Have Blood on Their Hands: The Sons of Confederate Veterans will Celebrate the Anniversary of Secession with a Gala Ball

The proclamation was urged on him by the Sons of Confederate Veterans, which asserts that the Confederacy was a crusade for small government and states’ rights. The sesquicentennial, which coincides now with the rise of the Tea Party movement, is providing a new chance for adherents to promote that view.

Jeff Antley, a member of the Sons of Confederate Veterans and the Confederate Heritage Trust, is organizing the secession ball in Charleston and a 10-day re-enactment of the Confederate encampment at Fort Sumter, where the first shots of the war were fired on April 12, 1861. He said these events were not about modern politics but were meant to honor those South Carolinians who signed the state’s ordinance of secession on Dec. 20, 1860, when it became the first state to dissolve its union with the United States.

“We’re celebrating that those 170 people risked their lives and fortunes to stand for what they believed in, which is self-government,” Mr. Antley said.


Those willfully ill-informed Right-wing neo-secessionist nostalgia mongers wacky kids are at it again. As detailed in the NY Times, it seems that the Sons of Confederate Veterans are planning gala events for 2011 to correspond with the 150th anniversary of the South's treasonous deeds.

First random thought: Who would've thunk that in the 21st century the Lost Cause would still have purchase and appeal?

Second random thought: It must be my northern Yankee blood that blinds me to the permanent pain of the South's defeat.

For some, this ideology involves play acting in historical reenactments. For others, the Lost Cause is a way to signal to the lost dreams of Jim Crow white supremacy and the "good old days" when black and brown folk knew their "rightful place."

History does political work. As a corollary, memory is a function of power, selective forgetting, and intentional remembering to advance certain ends in the here and now.

It is no coincidence then that the New Right and elements of the Tea Party GOP are deploying the dog whistles of "our America," "state's rights," "nullification," and "intercession" as they attempt to mobilize their largely older, racially resentful, frightened, white victimology possessed, and extremely conservative base. It is also no small coincidence that these factions yearn for a white washed (if not wholly White history) in which America returns to her "founding values."

Not ironically, the symbolism and convenient language of the Lost Cause and the Confederacy are a near perfect fit for the Tea Party GOP and the New Right in the Age of Obama.

Conveniently, the founding values that the Tea Party GOP pledges allegiance to do not include the white supremacy that was the beating heart of the U.S. Constitution--and the ultimate reason for the South's leaving the Union. For the white gaze that is the Lost Cause and New Right, the role and centrality of black folk to American history is a mere inconvenience at best and a footnote at worse. That people of color, and Black Americans in particular, died and struggled to help perfect this country's democracy is an impossible thought, one anathema to the white racial frame and the Tea Party imagination.

I do not know if the Sons of Confederate Veterans and their related ilk are good people or bad. In fact, I could care less. All I want is a little honesty in how American history is taught and remembered. Is it so much to ask that as these (presumably) white folk (and their obligatory token Republican negroes) dance about in period clothing, smiling as they imagine antebellum life in terms of Gone with the Wind on yee old plantation with happy piccaninnies and doting mammies, give some thought to the many thousands dead, the millions of black folk whose full humanity and freedom was denied by the society that the Sons of Confederate Veterans venerate?

I won't disallow the White Soul its pleasure in celebrating Jim Crow and the Confederacy. I can only hope that those who celebrate a centuries long tradition of treason, slavery, rape, exploitation, and death own the blood on their hands. Why? Because a person cannot truly celebrate a thing without taking ownership of all its aspects...good and bad alike.

Is that too much to ask?

The New York Times' story "Celebrating Secession Without the Slaves" can be found in its entirety here.


Oh Crap said...

That people of color, and Black Americans in particular, died and struggled to help perfect this country's democracy is an impossible thought, one anathema to the white racial frame and the Tea Party imagination.

Hm, I wonder about this. The way I see it, they know as much, and even tacitly acknowledge it, though only as part of their god-given birthright. In their warped universe, that is precisely what their creator put us here to do: sacrifice family, children, breastmilk, limbs, lives for white conservative whims, desires and needs. Those, they routinely all collapse together and most still struggle to understand the differences.

They get confused with the concept of victimization, as they believe their rights to rule are under assault when social conditions are otherwise.

Ex: Homegirl Palin acting like her bigot-in-training daughter was the victim, when critized in public for using an antigay slur. Such indignities are an affront, because god's favorites are to be cast in the best possible light at all times. Anything else is suppression of their precious rights.

Making things worse, On Top Mag plays a common, related "the niggs and retards have theirs/why don't we have ours yet" card when reporting it http://bit.ly/e1WvDD

These resentments Chauncey documents so well have been simmering near boiling point with them since they were caught on camera burning integration buses for schoolchildren. Enter the tea party.

A couple links. For people who must still endure the types who deny secession and the Civil War was primarily about slavery, there's Declaration of Causes of Seceding States.

And one I use to rub current tea party rhetoric right back in their faces: Citizen's Council, the newspaper of the White Citizen's Councils. Direct from the source. It's also good for batting around dingy Black conservatives/slavecatchers hellbent on protecting wounded whiteness from the rest of us. CC is slow to load but it's gotten very thorough since it's launch. I'm making my way through it.

Plane Ideas said...

I am not to going to waste my time on the racist exploits of whites and Black apologists who are committed to the legacy of the Confederacy..

There are no more surprises nor historical data or documentation that I need to confirm about white supremacy.

It is a condition that remains a part of life in America as such I will deal with it accordingly..

I am more interested in the lives of Black folks rather than chasing down the usual white racists of the past and those presently in my midst..

I have conquered white supreamacy and all of its derivatives..I am not compelled to defined my existence because of white cultural shortcomings and the legacy of its pathology in our nation.

Black folks and our community deserve and demand our focus on our living not the interests and nonsense of underdeveloped white folk still trying to win the civil war..

CareyCarey said...

Damn man, if I had your hand, I'd throw mine away. I mean, this was a great post. Yep, you got skills.

So, let me see if I have this right. phrases like “state’s right” and “southern independence” are code for what? **smirk**

Don't tell me the core of their “rights”,
and their desire to be “independent” was their right to have free labor? Well, since the northern states were not in love with the negro (no never), their interests was more about money. So tell me, was the war about slavery or King Cotton and the slave? And, did the person or person’s that controled both industries, control the USA? Money is power and power rules governments and money and power and money and ....

Citizen Ojo said...

It's unfortunate that we are now dealing with Revisionist History but this is the by-product of the fear of a "Browning Planet." America is turning brown or at best beige. This has folks terrified. And they are holding on to the last bit of their existence. But they fail to realize that their downfall is inevitable.

Werner Herzog's Bear said...

I am a peace loving person, but this is one issue where I get violently angry. Jeff Davis, Alexander Stephens, and the rest of those traitorous bastards should have been hung from the nearest sour apple tree. What Sherman did to Atlanta was too good for those war mongering sons-of-bitches. Secession happened because a bunch of tyrannical fire-eaters refused to see that the oppressive system of chattel slavery was dying out in the world. Over 600,000 people had to lose their lives before the traitors were finally laid low. That blood -and the blood of what Lincoln called "the bonds-man's unrequited toil"- is on their hands, and on the hands of anyone today who apologizes for them.

chaunceydevega said...

@Oh Crap. You are such a racist! How dare you call out good well intentioned white people--especially conservatives. Have you no empathy? If your rightful place was being usurped you would be upset to!

@Thrasher. I struggle with this too. Should we talk about these racist knuckledraggers and by doing so spend valuable energy, or should we fight our fight on different terrain?

@Carey. Thanks for the thoughts. You ain't too bad yourself. But like those other complaining people you just keep chasing racism and talking about code words! These are good, kind, just people. The tea baggers are just tired of your intellectual elite snobbery!

@Citizen. Their downfall. I don't know. Remember white racism is the greatest invention of all time, it just keeps morphing and changing to suit all times, so don't sleep on her.

@Werner. Where is the sympathy? What about taking people in their own historical context? Ha ha, that is the joke isn't it, as when we look at their contemporaries and take serious the Secesh trash's own words we see them for who they are/were.

Plane Ideas said...


My comments speak to my focus...At some point history becomes an obstacle...

Invisible Man said...

This article shows just how far we have not come, when it comes to race or having substantive national conversations about race. I remember how Obama gave his "conversation on race speech and so many white liberals acted like it was the greatest thing since sliced bread. All it did was remind me why I really don't like white liberals or light beer.

And they wonder why we can't just all get along, or move forward.

Anonymous said...

The problem all you people have with The Sons of Confederate Veterans is they speak the true causes of the War Between the States and that does not fit in with What You Want to Believe . And as far as slavery goes why not talk about the African Americans who owned slaves and Africa who sold their people into slavery and when they were not sold they held them as slaves themselves or killed them. Thats Right Folks it was not like the movie Roots. so if you want to talk revised history then lets talk about that some time.

Anonymous said...

I am a proud member of the Sons of Confederate Veterans and I am very proud of my heritage and I have a right to be . I am tired of the true racist who try to prevent me from honoring my heritage and my Confederate Ancestors. They are the ones who promote hatred . You are the ones who need to get over it

annum natalem said...

It must be a great thing to be proud of one's heritage, Anonymous. At least you've got one. I bet you can trace your ancestry back to Europe. So can I.

It's the other half of my heritage that I'd like to be proud of as well. But the fact of the matter is, I, and a bunch of other descendants of slaves will never know what families we come from, what countries, what... "heritage", shall we say.

And there's a group of people who think that honoring their heritage equals turning a blind eye to the fact that they stole my ancestors from their homeland and systematically and horrifically abused and oppressed them.

Okay, I'll call your bluff. "Black people sometimes owned slaves." Now, your turn to admit that white people owned slaves. Tell us about the proud parts of your history, and why exactly you are so proud of having enslaved people, and fought for the right to continue to do so.

CareyCarey said...

"And as far as slavery goes why not talk about the African Americans who owned slaves and Africa who sold their people into slavery and when they were not sold they held them as slaves themselves or killed them"

Okay Anon, talk about it. I mean, what do you want to talk about? Surely you're not trying to draw a comparison?

But wait, if you're so proud of your grandpappy, why do you post under "Anonymous"? Could it be that you last name is Snake?

Invisible Man said...

It's funny how the son's of the Confederate are only Patriotic Americans when it suits them. Just like it was o.k. for their great grandfathers to become terrorist to keep Black people in chains, brutalized, and working and building the south for free. Maybe one day they will be calling for American Muslims to honor the terrorist who bombed New York on 911. Thank god, Muslims in America are not that self centered and dumb.

Invisible Man said...

p.s.yes African's own slaves, but African Slavery was more like European serfdom, which was vastly different then American chattel slavery, also Europeans fueled the slave trade in Africa by introducing guns which destablized the continent to the point where the only way to defend yourself was with guns and the only way to buy guns was with slaves. But something tells me that you're not all that into factual history.