Remember the good old days, back in the 1990s, when the Council of Conservative Citizens (CCC) was still claiming to be a non-racist, if conservative, group? That was when then-Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott (R-Miss.) was still trying to defend his ties to the CCC in the aftermath of an SPLC exposé revealing the virulent racism at the core of the group. By 2000, the CCC had relaxed a little, letting its ideological hair down with a Web posting advertising South Carolina’s “whiter beaches” (the state was being subjected to a tourism boycott by the NAACP) and, in a final display of let-them-think-whatever-they-damn-want-to insouciance, an essay calling blacks a “retrograde species of humanity.” But still, CCC officials soldiered on, telling anyone who would listen that theirs was a mainstream group and that those who criticized it were the real haters. Even as the politicians it once influenced fled, the CCC struggled to remain relevant.
Now comes Larry Darby, the newly appointed chairman of the CCC’s Alabama Capital Region. The man is not an advertisement for the CCC’s alleged moderation.
For years, Darby was a lonely atheist in hyper-religious Alabama, denouncing religion every time he could get a TV camera pointed his way. He supported the legalization of marijuana. Then, in late 2005, he invited David Irving, the world’s leading Holocaust denier, to central Alabama, billing him as an “expert” on World War II and “free speech.” Running (unsuccessfully) for state attorney general the following year, he said the Nazi Holocaust “never happened,” the Voting Rights Act of 1965 should be repealed, and segregated schools should be reinstated. He suggested that martial law be imposed and troops stationed on interstates to deal with “illegal aliens.” He traveled to a May 13, 2006, rally in New Jersey held by the neo-Nazi group, National Vanguard, to speak alongside other neo-Nazi leaders, including David Duke. A photograph from the rally show a smiling Darby arm in arm with infamous neo-Nazi stage mom April Gaede.
All this might have left Darby in the political wilderness in most places. Not so the Alabama CCC, which liked Darby just fine — once he renounced his atheism, that is, and announced that he’d been unexpectedly reborn as a right-wing Christian.
Now, Larry Darby and the CCC are marching together off into the future. Most recently, Darby sent letters to two Alabama newspapers, the Anniston Star and the Montgomery Advertiser. In them, he accused the newspapers of being a “fifth column” because they opposed English-only driver’s license testing. He said they were promoting the “disintegration of Alabama’s Anglo-Celtic society.” He charged that Alabama and America generally are “under the thumbs of international bankers” and sundry “economic vampires and slavers” (read: the Jews). And then, in a curious last thought, Darby offered up this conundrum: “Is it coincidental that Karl Marx’s ideas appeared in New York newspapers as early as 1861, when Abraham Lincoln abandoned republican government and diverted the ship of state to its present course?”
Good question, Larry. We’ll be thinking about it.