SCV Once Again Elects Radical National Leaders

Neo-Confederates

The Sons of Confederate Veterans (SCV), a Southern heritage group that has been largely dominated by racial extremists since 2002, has again elected a commander in chief and other national leaders who are closely tied to its radical faction.

At its August convention in New Orleans, SCV delegates selected as their national commander Chris Sullivan, a longtime ally of outgoing commander Denne Sweeney and a fellow South Carolinian. Sullivan is the editor of Southern Partisan, a controversial neo-Confederate magazine that has depicted antebellum slaves as happy and slave traders as benevolent. Other Sweeney allies were elected to top posts in the SCV's three "armies," or major geographical subdivisions.

For four years, the SCV has been split by an internal civil war between moderates and radicals with hard-line racial views. The radicals have sought to turn the SCV into an explicitly political group that pushes racist neo-Confederate ideas and issues. The latest election was a clear victory for the radical faction.

"We should all [now] resolve to work to defeat the Marxist Socialists that are waging war on Southern culture," Ed Butler, a newly elected leader of the Army of Tennessee, exulted after his victory. The League of South, a neo-Confederate hate group sympathetic to the radicals, was pleased, too, enthusing on its website that "The Sons of Confederate Veterans have endorsed a radical direction."

The election also solidified the hold on the SCV of Kirk Lyons, a white supremacist North Carolina lawyer, and his Southern Legal Resource Center, which specializes in defending Confederate symbols. Two SLRC board members -- Roy Burl McCoy and Bragdon Bowling -- won posts on the SCV's executive board. In addition, a new constitution, largely written by Lyons with Sweeney's approval, was adopted. The document gives unprecedented power to the national commander.

As a result of the latest vote, discouraged moderates continued to trickle out of the SCV, as they have for several years. "Our convention committee presided over the funeral of what we all once thought of as the SCV," lamented the commander of the New Orleans SCV "camp," or chapter, that hosted the convention. "The SCV that we knew was dumped as a rotting carcass in a dung heap."