The Hatewatch blog is managed by the staff of the Intelligence Project of the Southern Poverty Law Center, an Alabama-based civil rights organization.

League of the South: ‘What Would it Take to Get You to Fight?’

By Janet Smith on August 4, 2011 - 9:23 am, Posted in Extremist Propaganda, Neo-Confederate

ABBEVILLE, S.C. – Since its bookish beginnings as a group dominated by academics in 1994, the League of the South (LOS) has been obsessively driven to glorify Southern history and culture, pining for the independence denied the region by federal troops 150 years ago.

Over the years, the neo-Confederate group’s platform grew to be distinctly racist, with the goal of a theocratic South defined by “the cultural dominance of the Anglo-Celtic people and their institutions,” as its president, former Stillman College professor Michael Hill, once put it. At the same time, its early rhetoric angrily demanding that the rest of the country treat the South with more respect has been replaced with explicit calls for a second secession from the “ungodly” North.

Now, the League’s agenda appears to be evolving even further away from the ivory tower in favor of armed militancy and survivalist resistance.

During its national conference last weekend in Abbeville, S.C. — the self-proclaimed “birthplace and deathbed of the Confederacy” — the LOS took as its theme “When the Day Comes,” an apocalyptic phrase suggesting that members should prepare for the day the federal government collapses and the South rises again. “The mantra [that] violence, or the serious threat thereof, never settles anything is patently false,” Hill said in a speech later posted on the group’s website. “History shows that it indeed does settle many things. Please don’t forget this – your enemy hasn’t.”

For two days, more than 100 members sat through workshops focused on surviving the repeatedly predicted unrest. John Weaver, an LOS member and former chaplain for the Southern heritage group Sons of Confederate Veterans, gave lessons on basic gun safety. Franklin Sanders, considered the League’s No. 2 man, encouraged members to invest in silver and gold – the idea being that when the government collapses so will the Federal Reserve. There were also training sessions on how to stock and maintain a home pantry, lessons on how to hunt and track, and calls for members to buy short-wave radios and begin using them instead of telephones.

Hill did much to suggest that a fight is brewing. “He who is willing to die for a cause will defeat one who isn’t,” he said. “Always act as if you are fighting in the last ditch for the survival of all you hold dear.” Later, Hill added, “We are already at war – we just don’t know it.”

In other recent speeches, Hill has warned that uncontrolled immigration will undermine the “Southern” fabric of American culture. At a meeting in March of the League’s Georgia chapter, Hill encouraged members to stock up on assault weapons (AK-47s are preferred because they require less maintenance) and plenty of ammunition. He said a family would need 400 rounds of ammunition to last in the woods for two days, and he has even recommended the style of bullets – deadly hollow points.

For a group that essentially has defined itself for years as a political club for culturally concerned intellectual Southerners, this open embrace of survivalist paramilitarism comes as something of a surprise. But there have been hints for years of the hard-line militancy of at least some key League members.

The best example may be Michael Tubbs. The former Green Beret demolitions expert pleaded guilty to theft and conspiracy in the 1990s for stealing a cache of weapons from the military — some of them robbed at gunpoint from fellow soldiers as Tubbs and a partner yelled, “This is for the KKK!” — that included machine guns, 25 pounds of TNT, land mines, an anti-aircraft gun, grenades, 45 pounds of C-4 plastic explosive and more. Prosecutors said Tubbs had drawn up a list of targets including newspapers, television stations and businesses owned by Jews and black people, though none was ever attacked. Today, Tubbs is the director of the Florida state chapter of the League of the South despite his past. He gave a speech during the Abbeville conference on why reforming the federal system is impossible.

Tubbs told the national gathering to withhold loyalty from the federal government and instead pledge allegiance to the Southern National Congress, a neo-Confederate group focused exclusively on advancing a new secession. Tubbs’ presentation also included a seven-part strategy to “delegitimate” the federal government through the establishment of “organic local communities.”

“The beast is dying and dragging us with it,” Tubbs said.

To Hill — a former history professor, with an expertise in Celtic traditions, at Alabama’s historically black Stillman College — the coming fight is no different than Scottish freedom fighter William Wallace’s insurgent war against the British. In fact, he first developed his ideas about Southern heritage in the 1970s, expanding on the idea that the South was different from the North because the population was “Celtic” – a belief that led to the creation of the LOS. Now, Hill seems to believe that the only way to defend the South is through force of arms.

“What would it take to get you to fight? … What would it take to turn you into a William Wallace?” Hill asked in opening his Abbeville speech. “We are not made to live in isolation. Rather, we here in the South are a people. … The South is where we make our stand.”

Hatewatch staffer Ryan Lenz contributed to this report.

  • Dick Hopkins

    Please excuse an old man of 70. But what the hell are these so called hate groups doing.
    If you must kill a snake, you do not poke at the body, you cut the head off. I am a student of the french revolution, they did not kill each other, they killed the leaders.

  • Ruslan Amirkhanov

    The problem, Mr. Haney, is that Goldwater, Reagan, the Tea Party, and Ron Paul, are FOR “corporatism”, no matter how much they claim to be against it. Ron Paul also follows a school of economics designed to appeal to self-important morons who don’t really know what they are talking about.

  • Sam Molloy

    @Chas Knause, what would you have the SPLC do? They already print up tolerance programs that are really great, but a lot of school districts won’t use them. Apparently It’s up to you to be the voice of reason in that enclave of rocket scientists you live in. There’s non religious reasons for supporting Israel, so don’t hit ’em there. Ask why we fought WWII and did we win or not. @ John Haney, I see the Tea Party movement as funded and organized by corporate plutocrats using fear of gays and the undocumented to congeal the populist aspect of the movement. They are the very ones responsible for the economic situation, and the tea party patriots should be on the side of oppressed people everywhere and not helping the oppressors..

  • John Haney

    If you bother to look, we are in some sort of economic endgame here and many other countries around the world. There is a real risk of the dollar losing reserve status, and if other countries dump the bonds they hold, and change it into cash, we have a strong chance to have a Weimar or Zimbabwe style hyperinflation in this country. The constitutional struggle between large centralized government and small local government with enumerated powers has begun afresh. The struggle between personal liberty and government supported corporatism is at the core of the populist movements of Goldwater, Reagan, the Tea Party, Ron Paul’s campaign, and believe it or not, the League of the South.
    The League will seem prescient within a few years. Best of luck to you all.

  • Ruslan Amirkhanov

    Laura, try getting a dictionary and learning what “Communism” means. It will make you sound far less ignorant.

    And the US military hasn’t fought for “freedom” in quite some time. Rather it has fought to prop up dictators, or to control territory in various geopolitical games with other super-powers. Those who volunteer to put their life on the line are getting a rude awakening when they get home to find there are no jobs, there’s a crumbling infrastructure, no safety net, no heathcare, etc.

  • laura

    Reminds me of a song. “I’m proud to be an American where at least I know we’re free…. And I’d like to thank the men who fought to give that right to me”. Seems to me that we have our armed forces fighting to keep us free. They fight for our freedom. And if any day the Federal Government itself threatens our freedom through communism in violent attempt to enslave the American people.. .and worse… well, that’s when it’s a Constitutional requirement that persons fight to keep us free from all enemies foreign and domestic. Americans are supposed to fight to be free. What’s the problem?? If the Government refrains from communism and exists to defend the Bill of Rights, there is no problem.

  • Tom Seay

    The South Shall Rise Again! Thats Been Repeated Since The War Between The North & The South! It” Just Southern Pride, Never Going To Happen.. My People, The Native American, We Would Like To Believe Our Lands Will Be Returned To Us. Do You Think That Will Happen? If You Do You Are A Dreamer!I Think Our World Is Beyond Repair..Being A Native Minister, I Pray For Us All!
    Rev. W Tom Seay Joplin Mo.

  • red-diaper baby 1942

    If the South wants to secede or separate itself from the United States, this time we should let them go — and good riddance. We could finally become a modern, secular state in the comity of nations, with a Congress that doesn’t see as its main or only goal the obstruction of all progressive legislation. The moderate center would become a true center, rather than a far-right position as it is now.
    However, I don’t believe it’s the South as a whole — despite the hateful rhetoric of these groups, and Republican politicians trying to gain the support of the basest of their base. It’s just groups like these. I don’t believe they speak for the all of the South.

  • Ed Weston

    Are any of these states putting more money into the federal government tax coffers than they recieve from those same coffers?

    I don’t think so. How will they replace that income?

    Many of the leading families of the old south came from England, where they were on the losing side of a civil war over there. A society apparently dominated by a small population of angry women.

  • Larry

    Same poor demented souls we had to take down in the 60’s. Best to take them down before we did and the secret is, as it has always been, MONEY. When the PEOPLE of this backward state realize their very livelihoods is linked to the Federal Government it’s amazing how fast these creatures fade away under the rocks.

  • krissy

    Latin Americans are a pretty mixed up bunch but if you have a Spanish last name like the majority of us do, then you do have Celt-Iberian heritage. But we don’t need to pass a celtic blood test to live in America.

  • Hlodveg

    “So the Hispanics who are so unpopular with groups like the LOS are very likely their cousins.”

    Well, if these so-called “Hispanics” in question ARE in fact Spaniards, i.e – the ACTUAL people of Spain (or Hispania, as it was known in Roman times) and NOT from any of the mulatto, mestizo and Amerindian majority population of the most Latin American countries, then I highly doubt about them being “unpopular” with LOS.

  • Matt Jerabek

    I suggest you read “The Jewish Confederates” by Rosen, the memory of Judah P Benjamin

  • CM

    “He said a family would need 400 rounds of ammunition to last in the woods for two days …”

    Um, that’s eight rounds per hour. What are they going to be shooting at? Not possums for dinner, obviously, unless they have a really really big family.

    “… calls for members to buy short-wave radios and begin using them instead of telephones.”

    Otherwise known as Ham radio, which requires a license from the FCC, which requires passing some tests. Also, it only works when the person you want to talk to is sitting at his or her radio waiting with bated breath for you to shout out. Meanwhile, anyone with a SW receiver can hear everything you’re saying to each other. Brilliant.

    On the Celtic thing: The Iberian peninsula (i.e., modern Spain and Portugal) was heavily populated by Celts when the Romans arrived; they’re referred to as Celto-Iberians. So the Hispanics who are so unpopular with groups like the LOS are very likely their cousins.

  • Matthew Bright

    What is it about certain malignant personalities that makes the sufferer insist on everyone else becoming just as sick and miserable as they are?

  • Charles Knause

    I am very concerned about this matter as I live in an over 55 mobile home community in Ormond Beach, FL where these people have just about taken over completely. It is a very sad situation and I am most outraged at the park owner who is Jewish and no doubt a fanatical supporter of Israel who has allowed and even encouraged this very hatefilled and bigoted environment here.

    I think the one things that you conveniently fail to recognize is that all these far right “christian” extremist groups are staunch and fanatical supporters of Zionism and the state of Israel.

    There is a marriage of convenience between these “christian” Zionist groups and the wealthy real estate investors who own and control whole communities here in the South.

    Why don’t you get real for a change and talk about that.

    You and your organization are all talk and zero action, i.e. just another fund raising vehicle for Morris Dees.

    I don’t really for a second think that you are really serious about doing anything about this very ominous and hate filled environment here in the South.

    I do however, appreciate and support you intelligence gathering effort. I need very much to keep up with your latest reports.

    I have heard that your organization does consulting work for the FBI on the matter of these organized hate groups. I hope that that is indeed correct.

    I would be happy to assist that effort in any way that I can as I think that this is a very, very serious matter where many lives could be effected.

    The name of the over 55 community in Ormond Beach is Life Village, 500 So. Nova Rd. 32174.

    The owner’s name is Steven Unitan.

    Maybe he is just not aware of how bad the situation has gotten here or probably just doesn’t care. This is a common problem here in the South today; however, I think that my analysis of the matter is correct.

    I suspect, however, that maybe the owner himself may feel intimidated by these far right confederate extremists.

    Thank you for the good work that you do in helping to keep people informed with good up to date intel.

    I only wish that more could be done to eleviate the conditions of hate that these groups sow.

  • Phil Ramsey

    What these people need is a WAR, where they can fight FOR this country not against this country.

    Now in that war people die, They have two to choose from.

    GI Joe was an action figure, not a member of the Losers Of the South.

  • ali rion

    Me too Dennis. And, there are a lot of others like us out there. One important element Hill and his followers are overlooking: The nation they seem to hate gives them the very freedom of speak they enjoy.

  • Norman Autrey

    This sounds like a call to overthrow our duly elected government. That is treason. It is also illegal for a person to purchase a firearm if they advocate for the violent overthrow of our government. Just like Nathan Bedford Forrest, they are terrorists and should be watched very closely, put on no fly lists, and otherwise not allowed to get US Government benefits.

  • chris

    First off I want to say “thanks” to Dennis. I’m black and a Navy vet but I have never been in combat. So thanks for your service. Secondly it’s strange how some people go on and on about how we “all Americans” yet for some reason want to be something other than that. Guess all the “Captain America” feelings after 9/11 have (no pun intended) gone south.

  • Democratic Cats

    Yeah, Rick Perry could be President of these guys. And are they going to wear kilts and paint their faces blue? Can’t wait!

  • Reynardine

    Oh, and “Celtic” my Aunt Sally! At the time of the Civil War, the undoubtedly Celtic Irish, at home and abroad, were being treated as badly as blacks were treated for the first hundred years after the War’s end. Welsh coal miners enjoyed no exalted position, either, and the Gauls had long ago succumbed to linguicide, as had the Cornish before our nation was founded. The LOSers seem to think the only “Celts” that ever existed were Mel Gibson’s version of William Wallace’s Scots.

  • Jami

    I’m a mongrel – like almost ALL Americans, despite claims to the contrary – and in my 9 years in the military, I’ve also seen patriots of all races, religions, sexual orientaitions and political parties fight and die for America.

    I wonder if it’s any coincidence that the acronym for the League Of the South is the same as the first half of “losers”.

  • Reynardine

    What LOSers! The enemy – Americans! Are those their agents, in the House of Representatives, in the Obstructionist wing of the Senate, in the Tea Party, at Fox, and now controlling the Republican Party itself, trying to pull the plug on the nation, so the South can rise again? Folks, we got a sedition problem!

  • Dennis

    Well, I’m Celtic also but I don’t hate other races of people. I fought in a war too, and I’m not about to fight in another one. Incidentally, I saw the black man, the Hispanic man, and the Oriental man, bleed and die for this country.

  • Kell Anne Busey

    These are the sort of people who will be attending Rick Perry’s AFA day of “Prayer” in Houston.

  • Walterius

    Is it just me or does anyone else think that these “gentlemen” sound like similar groups in the 1990’s who preached “Beans, Bullets and Bandages” to the masses?

    Well, it didn’t work then and I doubt it is working now.