Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Thomas Naylor Continues to Take Heat From Occupy Movement Supporters

Given the extreme breadth of the groups, organizations and people that Thomas H. Naylor loves to hate, including but not limited to all of Vermont's congressional delegation (except for when Naylor's wooing them, like Bernie Sanders, who Naylor had wanted once to quit Congress and then to run for the governorship as a declared secessionist); "prominent state environmentalists, the churches ("No group is more loyal to the American Empire than are the Vermont clergy")", statewide office holders, the entire Vermont General Assembly, educational institutions, as well as many (if not all) of Vermont's many revered nonprofits, Vermont's National Guard (who he's called "essentially teams of trained killers on call" and "mercenaries"), "he's likened the Vermont left to the "White Citizen Council" (sic) and the KGB" and, perhaps not so surprisingly, virtually all of Vermont's voters of which 99.24% rejected his handpicked gubernatorial candidate in 2010.

Fact is, when you look at who Naylor actually likes you only find his tiny, or as his compatriot Ian Baldwin has called, "small community" of secessionists. A select, ineffectual group indeed. Like his failed attempt to recruit Bernie Sanders to his lost cause, Naylor has spent years seeking to enlist others at the margins. One success has been Juliet Buck, a South Burlington anti-F-35 sham radical who now serves as a web and content editor at the flailing secesher website that houses what remains of Vermont Commons; its publisher, Rob Williams, has been reduced to repeating trite catchphrases and shibboleths as part of his useless movie reviews, a far cry from his days as a master blogger when he opined on all things secesher. Strangely, although Buck has received extensive coverage from Vermont media, such the Burlington Free Press (which used Buck's husband's graphics on an F-35 piece without noting his relationship to Juliet Buck) and the alternative weekly Seven Days, no mention is ever made of her ardent secessionism and calls for violence (while complaining about the pay for her husband's full time professorship at Burlington's Champlain College) like "burn this shit down!" Apparently things are looking up at Casa Buck since she's just returned from a weeks long road trip to the Deep South, perhaps to commune with her soulmates at the Florida League of the South.

But one effort by Naylor to recruit anybody to his dying secession "movement" in Vermont, a deeply flawed and false solution to an existential crisis of his, continues to backfire on him. Back in February when I revealed that he'd unleashed his spiteful rhetoric on the Occupy movement he managed to cause a brief stir. He utilized his ties to a web nest of anti-Semites, Holocaust deniers and self-loathing Jews like Alexander Cockburn, Jeffrey St. Clair, Paul Craig Roberts, the promoter of synagogue-burning Gilad Atzmon, Mary Rizzo, Norman Finkelstein, as well as Israel’s Lord Haw-Haw Uri Avnery, to name just few, at CounterPunch, a supposedly "liberal" website where he posted his anti-Occupy screed in March.

Louis Proyect, a Marxist writer and Occupy supporter, rips Naylor and his pal, Alexander Cockburn, at CounterPunch a new one over their collective ire at not succeeding to co-opt the Occupy movement. Proyect notes Cockburn's initial support, friendliness and enthusiasm for the occupiers, not at all unlike Naylor's own but worries over the recent "spitball" that Cockburn had flung in the Occupy movement's direction. Proyect writes in his own spitball thrown at Naylor, Cockburn and Naylor's pet nostrum,
"Most of Alexander’s hostility to the Occupy movement is based on an article by Thomas Naylor that appeared on Counterpunch on March 27th, 2012. Titled “Occupy Wall Street Revisited, Who is Occupying Whom?“, it poses the interesting question (without a question mark unfortunately):"
“Is it possible that the real purpose of Occupy Wall Street has little to do with either the 99 percent or the 1 percent but rather everything to do with keeping the political left in America decentralized, widely dispersed, very busy, and completely impotent to deal with the collapse of the American Empire”.
"Well, at least Naylor does not blame the CIA (Editor: this time) or other nefarious state agencies for this turn of events, as the ineffable Michel Chossudovsky did."

"Naylor also objects to the appearance of the protestors, reminding me of Al Capp and George Jessel’s fulminations against hippie protestors on the Tonight Show during the Vietnam War:"
"Although Bill O’Reilly’s mean-spirited portrayal of OWS is grossly unfair, some of the TV images of OWS protestors do not instill confidence in their ability to change the world. Many of them come across as stereotypical radical, disgruntled, hippie malcontents. The problem lies when they become the defining image of a fledgling political movement."
"Alexander had another beef with the Occupy movement: “Where the hell’s the plan?” I wonder if his endorsement of Naylor’s critique includes an endorsement of the plan that he has long been associated with, namely Vermont seceding from the United States. Naylor is founder of the Second Vermont Republic, a group described on its website as follows:"
"The Second Vermont Republic is a nonviolent citizens’ network and think tank committed to: (1) the peaceful breakup of meganations such as the United States, Russia, and China; (2) the political independence of breakaway states such as Quebec, Scotland, and Vermont; and (3) a strategic alliance with other small, democratic, nonviolent, affluent, socially responsible, cooperative, egalitarian, sustainable, ecofriendly nations such as Austria, Finland, Sweden, and Switzerland which share a high degree of environmental integrity and a strong sense of community."
"All I can say is that the young people who occupied Wall Street were vindicated by provoking the wrath of this 76 year old Professor Emeritus from Duke University, for this “plan” is about as batty as they come. I got a big kick out of the description of Austria as being “democratic” and “nonviolent”. Does Naylor read a newspaper?"
"Now I am not trying to connect Thomas Naylor with someone like (neo-Nazi Jörg) Haider but there are worrisome signs that the Vermont secessionists have been a bit undiscriminating in their relations with Americans who are. In trying to build a nationwide network, Naylor approached an outfit called The League of the South that describes itself as “distinct from, and in opposition to, the corrupt mainstream American culture.” They “stand for our own sublime cultural inheritance and seek to separate ourselves from the cultural rot that is American culture.”

"Under pressure from the Vermont left, Naylor broke with the racists. The Green Mountain Daily, a liberal Vermont website, questioned Naylor’s motivations:"

"The famous Thomas “Don’t Call Me a Racist” Naylor has published a letter called (I’m not making this up)"

"To The League of the South From Vermont With Love"

"Yes, you read that right: “With Love”. That’s only the first reason to question the sincerity of this “break”, however. If you read the letter, you will see that, far from acknowledging the racism of the League of the South, Naylor treats it as no more than a PR problem."

"Naylor thinks racism is no more than a problem of perception. Naylor covers some history, and then begins with the racist aroma surrounding secession movements: “Secession is often equated with Southern, redneck, Christian fundamentalist racism. Anyone who is a secessionist is considered a likely racist, but a Southern secessionist is a racist a priori. Since the LOS is a Southern secessionist group, it’s hardly surprising that there is a widespread perception that it is racist”. Get it? There’s nothing racist about LOS, but for some bizarre reason, people think that southern secessionists have some racist ideas. According to Naylor, this idea is no more than a “knee-jerk reaction” on the part of most Americans. It’s not that there actually is any racism involved in secessionists, it’s just “equated with” southern racism. The problem isn’t the racist ideas, it’s that people can’t stop thinking about them. There’s nothing wrong with it except those unfortunate associations with “images of the Civil War, slavery, racism, violence, and preservation of the Southern way of life.”

"This unfortunate perception even infects the cultural symbols of the South. For instance, here’s Naylor on the Confederate flag: Whether justifiably or not, most Southern blacks view the Confederate flag as an overt racist symbol aimed at rubbing salt in their 400-year wounds."
Granted, Proyect's essay misses a lot: that the source for the initial information on Naylor's and his group's strong ties to the League of the South written about first by John Odum at Green Mountain Daily and then a year and a half later by Jack McCullough in the GMD piece cited by Proyect were disclosed first on this blog here and then here; Naylor's continuing support for the blatantly racist League of the South even after his seeming dismissal of the LoS members on his SVR advisory board; his own admission of "Dixie" singin' at one LoS event; Naylor's virulent anti-Semitism, phony anti-war posing and his manor house in Vermont's second wealthiest community where he'd retired to after selling off quite handsomely his international software business - truly one of Vermont's 1%. Not many people know that.

All in all, Proyect pretty much nails Naylor, the Magnolia Vermonter , for the fraud that Vermonters know him to be. You can read Proyect's piece in its entirety here
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