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League of the South Announces Formation of ‘Southern Defense Force’

Edging closer to militancy, the neo-Confederate League of the South says it's forming a force to combat the 'leftist menace to our historic Christian civilization.' 

In a military-styled order titled “Directive 02022017,” Michael Hill, president of the neo-Confederate League of the South (LOS), announced Friday the formation of a new vigilante “defense force.”

[T]he League of the South is calling for all able-bodied, traditionalist Southern men to join our organization’s Southern Defense Force for the purpose of helping our State and local magistrates across Dixie combat this growing leftist menace to our historic Christian civilization. As private citizens in a private organization, we will stand ready to protect our own families and friends, our property, and our liberty from leftist chaos. Moreover, we will be ready to assist our local and State authorities in keeping the peace should they find it necessary to “deputize” private citizens for that purpose.

It remains to be seen what actions the new “Southern Defense Force” [SDF] will take to “plan for contingencies – natural or man-made –– that might affect the Southern people.” But announcements of plans to militarize the League are not new.

In 2014, the group began developing and training a paramilitary unit called the “Indomitables” to advance a second secession, though such efforts fizzled quickly.

Promising increased LOS militancy has cost the group and led to faltering membership. Since Dylann Roof’s massacre of nine congregants at Charleston’s Emanuel AME Church in 2015, Hatewatch has documented a string of high-profile departures.

All of that has not stopped Hill from adopting the posture of a military commander, albeit one who has demonstrated a repeated and remarkable inability to maintain a clear chain of command and restrain more impulsive League members. At last year’s LOS national conference, younger members broke away for an unsanctioned protest of a Montgomery, Alabama, LGBT Pride parade and shouted “God hates f---” at demonstrators.

LOS President Michael Hill.

Hill’s militancy also comes as President Trump signs a litany of executive orders to make good on campaign promises on mass immigration and Islamic extremism. Hill wagered hard on a former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's victory in the 2016 election and has since struggled with the realization that Trump's rhetoric has sapped support in the Deep South for causes historically championed by the League.

Hill’s announcement closes by directing recruits to contact the League using a web form reserved for normal members. “Are you ready to be a man among men?” Hill asks. “Join the League and its Southern Defense Force today!”

The phrase “man among men” is a reference to propaganda posters for the Rhodesian Army during the Rhodesian Bush War, a civil war from 1964-79 in the unrecognized country of Rhodesia that remains a popular reference for white nationalists. The conflict inspired Dylann Roof, who named his blog “The Last Rhodesian” and posed for pictures on social media with the Confederate Battle Flag while wearing a jacket patched with a Rhodesian flag.

It seems to have inspired Hill, too. He has echoed the Rhodesian mythos in a series of social media posts and on the LOS website, typifying the loss of political hegemony by whites in that war as tantamount to racial genocide.

While Hill is just one voice in a growing chorus contributing to an escalation of violent rhetoric across the South and the United States, the formation of the SDF represents something else, too –– a desperate promise of armed resistance from an aging radical on the fringe of a movement he once dominated.

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