Since the Vermont Commons newsletter folded last fall we've heard little from its former publisher, Rob Williams
A couple of movie reviews or some such (I keep expecting to see his various recipes for the crow he's been munching on throughout this winter) but little more.
Williams is a part of the Associate Faculty at Champlain College in Burlington, VT. He has something to do with "Creative Media" at the college. That figures. He's been "creatively" making shit up for years. You know, like the Vermont secesher movement is doing better than being on life support since its inception.
It was in February of 2010 that Williams made his intellectual hajj
to the center for restoration of the Confederacy, The Abbeville Institute
, to become a contributor to the eventual output of a conference entitled, "State Nullification, Secession and the Human Scale of Political Order,"
a book about the alternative historical universe inhabited by Vermont secessionists and their neo-Confederate allies.
A little history at this point will be beneficial:
Yankee Secessionist Back in Cahoots with Neo-Confederates
Posted in Neo-Confederate by Rob Waters on October 1, 2009
Last year, the Southern Poverty Law Center exposed an unsavory collaboration between the Second Vermont Republic (SVR), a quirky left-leaning band of New England secessionists, and the white supremacist League of the South, long categorized by the SPLC as a hate group. Their shared goal was to build a national secession movement.
The SPLC report, titled “North Meets South,” also documented links between SVR founder and leader Thomas H. Naylor and other extremist organizations. Naylor has appeared on the hate radio program “The Political Cesspool,” which is run by white supremacist Council of Conservative Citizens board member James Edwards. He is also an associate scholar at the Atlanta-based Abbeville Institute, which is run by former League of the South leader Donald Livingston and is devoted to the ignored “achievements of white people in the South.”
Naylor initially denounced the SPLC story, calling it “a vicious attack spearheaded by the well-financed, hate-mongering, witch-hunting, left-leaning Southern Poverty Law Center.” He cited no factual errors. But a few weeks later, he had second thoughts. In a letter that appeared to signal an end to the alliance, he called on the League to distance itself from racism and hatred. In the July 4, 2008, letter, he wrote, “So long as the albatross of racism hangs around its neck, the LOS can never be a truly effective partner for SVR.” His own group, he said, “risks being tainted by the scourge of racism simply by associating with the LOS.” He provided a few helpful suggestions for the League: Renounce racism, recruit black members, bring in black speakers, and promote Southern racial unity. And one more thing: “the Confederate flag has got to go!”
The divorce didn’t last long, however. Naylor and a close ally, prominent New York leftist writer and editor Kirkpatrick Sale, are now scheduled to speak at a conference on secession being organized by the Abbeville Institute. They will share the stage at the Charleston, S.C., conference in February with neo-Confederate scholars such as Thomas DiLorenzo, Clyde Wilson and Livingston, the Abbeville Institute founder. All three have current or past links with the League of the South. (Go here for profiles of DiLorenzo, Livingston and Wilson.)
The title of the conference is “State Nullification, Secession and the Human Scale of Political Order.”
Reached by telephone at his home in Vermont, Naylor declined to discuss the state of his relations with the neo-Confederates. “This has nothing to do with race,” he said. “It’s the SPLC that’s the hate group. Why don’t you go fuck yourself?”
At the 2010 conference a plot was hatched to compile yet another group of essays by secesher "scholars" called Rethinking the American Union for the Twenty-First Century
that forecasts yet more light at the end of the secesher tunnel
and rehashes the various rationales for their thinking. You know, like "it's an 'emerging' movement that's poised to take off at any moment." You just wait and see. No, no, not this very minute but they're getting really, really close. Just you wait. And wait. And wait...
The reality that escapes the SVR
deadenders like founder Thomas H. Naylor (an "associate scholar" at the "old times there are not forgotten" Abbeville Institute
) and Williams, his former co-chairman at SVR
, is that secession in Vermont is as dead as "the Lost Cause."
In the book Williams' contribution elevates a bumper sticker he created (no, really!) to the status of a "scholarly essay" that is nothing more than a part of Williams' lame try a creating an Internet meme. His collaboration with the neo-Confederates on this project, "Chapter 7: Most Likely to Secede: U.S. Empire and the Emerging Vermont Independence Effort”
, is just one more nail in the self-inflicted coffin of his movement's reputation. Their efforts to get secession articles on even one of Vermont's Town Meeting warnings over the past 5 years have been completely unsuccessful due to Vermonter's disdain for Williams and his fellow secesher's ties to white supremacists, racists, anti-Semites and homophobes. In not one Vermont town are voters buying into their nonsense. The handful of seceshers that ran as candidates in 2010 for various top of the statewide ticket offices squeaked into the low single digits, usually coming in last as the sesechers on the ballot (in Rutland County two seceshers came in last and next to last); the top of the ticket barely made three quarters of 1% of the vote (roughly the same amount that occurs as spoilt ballots in any election). Secesher Robert Wagner's sneaky attempt to introduce a secession ordinance at this past Monday's Town Meeting in Ripton, VT
went down in flames.
And so we come to the book. Finally, one of the sham radicals at the Vermont Commons blog, Juliet Buck, a fairly recent addition to Williams kickline of dullards, conspiracy theorists, 9/11 Truthers, anti-Semites and white supremacists that have contributed to his publishing endeavors, wrote a blog post plug for the book
, that was a complete cut and paste from the book publisher's website
. The publisher, Pelican Publishing Company or Pelican Press, has been an institution of the neo-Confederate community since 1926:
"(A)lthough neo-Confederacy is reactionary and contains racist, sexist, elitist and antidemocratic positions, these are glossed over with a scholarly veneer of closely argued rationales, references to legislative precedents and philosophical treatises. "
"(W)hen examining the proposals forwarded in neo-Confederate publications, it is evident that race is central to this ideology. The 1950s and 1960s are regularly invoked as the decades in which American society spiraled into terminal decline. Integration of schools is lamented, desegregation is derided as "social engineering" and policies like school busing and affirmative action are depicted as vindictive attempts to merge whites and African-Americans together to produce a single, ethnically homogenous and racially undefined identity. Leading neo-Confederate authors argue that racial animosities are now greater than ever in U.S. history and that the periods of slavery and Jim Crow segregation were eras of harmonious race relations."
"Advocates of neo-Confederacy articulate their arguments in numerous books, magazines and websites. One common practice is to reprint copies of pro-Confederate nineteenth century texts, such as those by Confederate Army Chaplain Robert Louis Dabney (1820-1898) and Mathematics Professor and Slavery Apologist Albert Bledsoe (1809-1877). Another is to produce new materials that advocate neo-Confederacy. Often written in a breathless style that makes the reader feel as if they are becoming privy to long-suppressed truths, the most prominent publisher of neo-Confederate texts is Pelican Books of Gretna, La. Its catalogue, which has important books outlining neo-Confederate sentiments, also contains several overwrought polemics including Michael Andrew Grissom's Southern by the Grace of God; James and Walter Kennedy's Was Jefferson Davis Right? and The South Was Right!; Walter Kennedy's Myths of American Slavery and Gordon Thornton's The Southern Nation: The New Rise of the Old South. Other significant neo-Confederate books include Frank Conner's The South Under Siege (1830-2000) which argues that Jews from northern states instigated and funded the African-American civil rights movement and used Martin Luther King, Jr., as a puppet in an effort to "destroy Christianity" and Southern Slavery As It Was by Steve Wilkins and Douglas Wilson, which selectively interprets slave narratives and rehashes pro-slavery arguments of the mid-nineteenth century to argue that the practice was benign, sanctioned by God and was used as a "pretext" by Unionists to prosecute a war fought over the "biblical meaning of constitutional government" in an effort to suppress Christianity."
For those of you who don't know or may have forgotten, the editor of the book of essays that Rob Williams contributed to is none other than a former early board member of the League of the South
, Donald Livingston, who,
"Shortly after the formation of the League of the South in 1994, Livingston became the first director of the League of the South Institute for the Study of Southern Culture and History, which was organized to further the group's revisionist takes on American history."
and about whom Williams once famously said,
"Is (Livingston) a racist? I don't know. And frankly, it is none of my damn business, at a personal level."
Livingston was once famously quoted as having said,
"the North created segregation"
I wrote at length last fall about Williams and Livingston's essay compilation regarding their "historical alternative universe" here
. Juliet Buck, Williams' book flogging toady, has gotten around to her own cheap promotion of that predictable collection of revisionist thought by reprinting in toto
the publisher's promotion. She didn't mention much else about the other contributors who include a North Carolina delegate to the neo-Confederate Southern National Congress
, Kirkpatrick Sale; "League of the South" bigwig, Pres. Abraham Lincoln basher and contributor to the anti-Semitic, Holocaust denial publication, The Journal of Historical Review
, Thomas DiLorenzo; a minor figure in the neo-Confederate movement who was on the masthead as an advisor of the now defunct neo-Confederate Journal of Confederate History, Kent Masterson Brown; and perhaps even more absurdly, an essay from a wingnut who has claimed that Southern secessionists did not do so with the intent to preserve slavery and that therefore the Confederate flag is not a symbol of oppression and hatred but merely one that honors heritage and pride, one Marshall DeRosa.
One can only wonder what was going through Williams' head when he agreed to go all in with these nutters on a book edited by a founder of the "League of the South."
More on the neo-Confederates that Williams has thrown in with may be found at Ed Sebesta's excellent website here
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Labels: Abbeville Institute, crackpots, Donald Livingston, Juliet Buck, Kirkpatrick Sale, League of the South, racist hate groups, Rob Williams, Thomas Naylor