Has anyone checked on Michael Hill? All the signs of life are still there. He’s posting on the website of his neo-Confederate group, the League of the South (LOS). His writing, still remarkable for its flagrant anti-Semitism and his reliance on the tired (((echoes))) meme, is replete with calls for “Christian manliness” in the face of “Yankee tyranny." But something about Dr. Hill seems off.
Before Election Day, there was an almost palpable energy behind Hill’s proclamations of the pending “third secession” –– the first was the American Revolution, the second the Confederacy.
Regarding the many-headed hydra of “internationalism (globalism), which of course is the preserve of the Jew (Esau-Edomites and Khazars, to be exact)” Hill asked: “What to do? Continue to submit and pass out of existence as distinct people groups (nation-states) or fight back and drive our enemies from our midst. And when I say fight, I mean it literally. You cannot use the pen when the situation clearly calls for the sword.”
Contrast this with a post from Hill on January 19. “[U]nder which entity –– the USA regime or a free, independent South –– am I likely to see these changes made manifest? We Southern Nationalists think we know the answer.”
But in the aftermath of Trump’s surprise victory and the run-up to his inauguration, his rhetoric has been decidedly muted.
Under a Clinton administration, Hill could have sown the seeds of discontent in fertile soil. Southern antipathy towards Hillary Clinton isn’t a new phenomenon and the remarkably toxic rhetoric on display during the campaign served only to amplify that deep-seated distrust of Clinton and the Washington elite many felt she stood for.
In a post on the LOS website titled “A Few Pre-Election Thoughts” on November 3, Hill salivated over the potential of a Clinton presidency for advancing his ends:
For some time now, I have tried to get a handle on understanding this presidential election between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. Not because I’m trying to figure out for whom I shall vote; I will not vote in a national election, only State and local. But because of my belief in the following dictum: The global elites will not allow the whims of voters to determine who holds the most powerful elected office in the world. They will not allow you, as a voter, to put their wealth, power, and position at risk by making the “wrong” choice on election day [sic]. … Few would have trouble seeing Hillary Clinton is [sic] this light –– she and her husband are crooks for sale to the highest bidders.
Completely blindsided by Trump’s victory, though, Hill, now in his 70s, has been forced to face the realization that his house is not nearly as orderly as he thought. Since Trump’s victory, League groups on social media have been awash with pro-Trump epistles from members excited to fly the stars and stripes “for the first time since Obama.”
While this post-election elation might fade should Trump fail to live up to his campaign promises, there are more structural issues that demand Hill’s attention.
The League has been rocked by numerous high-profile departures to other ascendant groups on the right that were better able to parlay Trump’s success. Perhaps most notable are former Hill disciples Brad Griffin and Matthew Heimbach, who have experienced increasing notoriety among extremist circles independent of the League’s narrowly defined condemnation of the US as a “proposition nation.”
Griffin engaged in a public spat with Hill that was fueled in part by Hill’s visible envy over the high-profile success of Griffin’s blog, Occidental Dissent. Heimbach was temporarily expelled from the LOS after photographed making a Nazi salute with a group of skinheads. Heimbach has since maintained that he was granted re-entry into the group and that he and Dr. Hill are friendly.
But when Heimbach left, he didn’t go alone. Former Georgia League Chairman William Flowers, a popular speaker in League circles, went underground for most of a year before emerging as a new initiate in Heimbach’s Traditional Workers Party (TWP).
Michael Cushman, former South Carolina LOS chairman, fled the League in 2015 due to its increasingly militant and anti-Semitic rhetoric post-Charleston. Cushman’s new blog, “Southern Future” exists essentially to defend Griffin and to act as a sales outlet for Cushman’s revisionist historical text on the “Golden Circle.”
Cushman and Griffin’s departures represent the latest in a decades-long trend of the League losing its quasi-academic veneer of respectability. That façade is being steadily replaced by the open militancy exemplified by LOS Chief-of-Staff and Florida State Chairman Michael Tubbs, a former Green Beret once convicted for his role in the theft of weapons and munitions from the U.S. military.
In “An Open Response to Michael Hill,” Griffin had this to say about the shift:
“I don’t think militias, survivalism or violent apocalyptic rhetoric – the 1980s and 1990s is the way forward. When I joined the League of the South, it was none of those things. Because of Lügenpresse guilt by association, I had to deal with the aftermath of the Dylann Roof shooting in Charleston. I’ve never wanted to be associated with violent vanguardists like that. I don’t want to attract or encourage unstable people who do stupid things.”
For a preview of the conduct and behavior forthcoming from the League in the coming months, look no further than the conduct of younger members after this year’s Nationals Conference.
With no apparent provocation or direction from leadership, a group of 20-somethings and a few older ex-Klansmen –– Jeremy Walls and Shaun Winkler –– gathered at the outskirts of a gay pride rally in downtown Montgomery and hurled abuse like “God hates fags” at demonstrators.
Hill has been unable to keep a muzzle on the reactionaries in his fold. One has to wonder whether his grasp on the leash is failing.