Yankee Secessionist Back in Cahoots with Neo-Confederates

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?”