Fractured Southern Party in Unity Talks
When 150 neo-Confederates gathered in the summer of 1999 for a kick-off rally of the Southern Party, they heard party leader Ron Holland exclaim, "This is the most important day in Southern history since Lee's surrender at Appomattox."
When perhaps 100 neo-Confederates gathered for a "unity rally" this Feb. 22 in Abbeville, S.C., they heard Holland — the editor of Dixie Daily News — talk about "finally reconciling and getting our political act together after a long nightmare period of mistakes, infighting and failures."
Launched by Holland and other members of the League of the South hate group, along with other Southern activists, the Southern Party fell apart almost as soon as it formed. War broke out between state chapters about whether there should be a central committee overseeing the organization. Many Southern Party activists went off on their own, forming Southern Independence parties in different states.
Now, after making little headway with their separate efforts, some have allied themselves again with the League, whose South Carolina chapter is headquartered in Abbeville. "In our view, the key to the future is Unity, not unanimity," wrote one of the former dissidents, Madison Cook, chair of the Southern Independence Party of Tennessee.
Holland and other speakers at the Abbeville conference tried hard to rekindle the secessionist spirit of '99. "[T]he conflict and political movement is not over until we are, again, a free people and a free nation taking our place among the nations of the earth," Holland told the assembled.
Among the political plans of these reunified Southerners could be a run for U.S. president by Donnie Kennedy, co-author of the neo-Confederate bibles The South Was Right! and Was Jefferson Davis Right?
Kennedy, at least, has no trouble being upbeat about the next new Southern political movement. In a recent essay posted on the Internet, "2004 — The South Strikes Back," Kennedy writes that "3,000 to 5,000 dedicated Southerners could begin a movement that within six years would turn the world upside down."