Sunday, May 28, 2006

The inherent failure in Southern identified progressive movement. The Political Purpose of the the concept of the South

The Neo-Confederate groups and some other groups are defining what is the Southern position on immigration. They point out that of 30 U.S. Senators from 15 Southern states, (which they define to include West Virginia, Kentucky, Oklahoma, and Missouri) that 23 Senators are against the compromise amnesty bill that was passed in the U.S. Senate last week.

The League of the South, feels that there is a Southern position on immigration.

The key thing to observe from this, is not the the pro and con arguments that might be put forth against or for immigration, or the various reasons the Neo-Confederates put against various policies concerning immigration.

The most important thing to observe is how they are creating the "Southern" position on immigration which means their opponents are "Unsouthern." Differing with anti-immigration views will somehow mean that you are letting down Robert E. Lee and the Confederate dead. It is related to the tactic of denouncing something as being unAmerican.

Progressive persons in the South self-identified as Southerners will not even be concious of this Neo-Confederate tactic. It does happen that they will start off by identifying their Confederate Southerners and their love of the South, or some assertion of Southern identity, and then promote their progressive idea after establishing their claim to be a "real Southerner." (This isn't the case always.)

With this mentality it should it should not be surprising that progressive movements don't go far in the South. It fails in multiple ways.

First, Southern progressives are not identifying and exposing this tactic of making progressive ideas "unsouthern" and by exposing this manipulative argument demolishing it once and for all.

Second, instead of rejecting this tactic, Southern identified progressives, reinforce it by introducing their argument with their Confederate credentials, or declarations of Southern identity, which assumes that are ideas that are unsouthern and that ideas should be sorted out as acceptable to the South or not. The progressive Southerner just feels that the classification of a particular idea as unsouthern is wrong.

Third, it reinforces the idea that "real" Southerners are those with Confederate credentials and reinforces that those with Confederate ancestors are legitimately a hereditary caste to whom it should be left to determine what is southern. Also there is the obvious implication that African Americans are not Southern. It also creates in the South classifications of whites as being Southern and unsouthern. Some people in the South haven't had family that has been in the South for generations, or are not practicioners of "southern culture" or are not "born and bred" in the South. Some white people in the South are unsouthern and their ideas illegitimate.

Fourth, it starts every debate with the progressive side up against a unlevel playing field with progressives having to debate both their ideas and whether it is unsouthern.

The utility of this tactic for maintaining the South as a reactionar fortress is clear, hence the popularity of the expressions "Damn Yankee" and the creation of a "North" as a geographical idea. It makes progressive ideas alien and anti-Southern, and not debatable on the issues, but removed to debating the holder of these ideas as unSouthern.

It should not be surprising that progressive politics in the South don't go very far with this mentality. If you haven't left the plantation mentally, don't be surprised if you are ineffective opposing a plantation politics.

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