Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Convicted former Sons of Confederate Veterans Commander-in-Chief Ron Wilson, an update. What type of people are attracted to the Sons of Confederate Veterans. UPDATE

Some time ago I posted a blog on former Sons of Confederate Veterans (SCV) Commander-in-Chief Ron Wilson and his conviction for fraud in running a ponzi scheme. The posting is:


He is now serving a 17 year sentence for the ponzi scheme.

It seems he has been indicted again for trying to hide some of  his ill gotten gains with his estranged wife and his brother. They are being indicted along with him. This is an article from The Independent Mail in South Carolina.



They were convicted according to this article.


The Ron Wilson case reminds me of another SCV officer from whom there has been unfavorable public news reporting.

There is Ray McBerry, Commander-in-Chief of the Georgia Division SCV.

This is one news story.


There are a series of text messages shown for the article. They seem creepy to me.

This is another news story.


And this is another news story.


Along with some other things I have observed, which I am not going to go into here, I wonder if the SCV hasn't reached a certain stage in its history.

This would be a stage in which normal people tend to avoid the SCV and the SCV instead more and more attracts persons who are extremists or mentally a little off or both. As the SCV becomes more explicit in its agenda SCV members who are Confederate enthusiasts but not wanting to secede or support the neo-Confederate agenda feel uncomfortable belonging, but this more explicit agenda tends to at the same time attract more extremist elements. This further shifts the SCV to a more extremist agenda and the process repeats. Perhaps this process is already underway in the SCV.

Also, the SCV has a fair quantity of assets in terms of money and real estate. Some scammer might even now be planning to be Commander-in-Chief to get at the assets of the SCV.

Again this is a speculative thought. However, if you organized a flat earth society what type of members do you think you would attract?


In the "With friends like this you don't need enemies," category there is this response to this blog posting about the SCV.


The defense of the SCV by the League of the South (LOS) in my opinion hardly helps dispel the idea that the SCV might be becoming an organization of people who are cranks.

For the League of the South I might point out a person's misbehavior is not excused by the misbehavior of others.  It is a child's response when one is caught taking cookies to exclaim that a sibling has also been taking cookies.

Monday, December 22, 2014

The United Daughters of the Confederacy and their shrine to white racist terrorists the Red Shirts is getting national news coverage.

I have been trying to bring this to the public's attention for years. I am happy to report that the Red Shirt museum in Edgefield, South Carolina which is run by the United Daughters of the Confederacy is being given news coverage via an Associated Press news story.  The Red Shirts were violent white supremacists who overthrew democracy in South Carolina in 1876.

The following are links to the story appearing in different newspapers.

http://chronicle.augusta.com/news/metro/2014-12-20/edgefield-museum-shrine-south-carolina-red-shirts-who-attacked-blacks-during  (Georgia near the border of South Carolina.)

From the article:
The home of a Confederate officer who helped take power away from blacks and drive Republicans out of South Carolina’s government after the Civil War is now a museum honoring the Confederacy and its leaders. Those leaders include the “Red Shirts,” who used violence and intimidation to end Reconstruction in the state.
The article also mentions the Hamburg "massacre" of African Americans.

It appears the same article is being run in newspapers across the country.

http://www.dailyjournal.net/view/story/98da36b17b6844c9b1274fec9ded7e5f/SC--Red-Shirts-Museum/    (Indiana)

http://gazette.com/museum-remembers-controversial-sc-red-shirts/article/feed/189822 (Colorado)

Hopefully this news story will get more circulation.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Kevin Levin enabling neo-Confederates and his uncritical thinking of history and his elitism. UPDATED. UPDATE 2

I was recently going through my copy of The Journal of the Civil War Era, Vol. 4 No. 4, Dec. 2014 and I came across Kevin M. Levin, "Black Confederates Out of the Attic and Into the Mainstream," pages 627-635.

The article isn't entirely bad. Levin points out that the myth of the Black Confederates is pushed to sanitize the Confederacy. He talks about some the specific myths advanced by neo-Confederates such as the claim that there is a Black Confederate soldier on the Arlington Confederate Monument and disposes of them. However, in general the article really fails and a person has to wonder what the editors of The Journal of the Civil War Era were thinking.

There are three problems with the essay. The first is his enabling of the neo-Confederate movement. The second is his lack of critical thinking regarding history. The third is a failing to connect it to either the use of token African Americans by neo-Confederates and the neo-Confederates use of identity.

Levin refers to "Southern Heritage" groups as being the advocates of the myth of Black Confederates. On page 630 Levin states, "None of the print sources published during this period had much of an impact beyond a small select group of readers within the southern heritage community."

The neo-Confederate movement uses the term "Southern heritage" to assert that being critical of the Confederacy is to be critical of the South and to conflate the two. Levin uses the neo-Confederate movement's own terminology reinforcing the neo-Confederate assertion that Southern identity doesn't exist without embracing the Confederacy as a positive thing and that the Confederacy is central to Southern identity. The term "heritage" though technically means what is inherited from the historical past has in general use come to mean what is positive from the historical past. This is enabling white supremacy.

The magazine Oxford American and the journal Southern Cultures could be called southern heritage publications, but the UDC and the SCV are about the Confederacy and not about Southern history in general excepting as it relates to the Confederacy and Reconstruction.

On page 631 Levin states, "Southern heritage groups such as the SCV and UDC have utilized these stories to counter a narrative of the war that increasingly has come to embrace emancipation and the role of United States Colored Troops in ending slavery."

It would have been illuminating if Levin pointed out the irony of these two groups promoting the myth of the Black Confederate while at the same time promoting a white supremacist view of history. However, Levin, like many Civil War historians and enthusiasts, wishes all the controversy would just go away and they could get back to the toy soldier gaming of the Civil War. (Maybe a special issue devoted to it.) Levin has stated that he doesn't like the word "neo-Confederate." He likely fears that it will lead to loud voices at Civil War Round Tables and disquieting questions about some of the members of the Civil War history profession.

However, the essay really fails in Levin's understanding of historiography. It is something that someone might believe in when they were in middle school. It doesn't have any comprehension of the problematic nature of historical narratives.

Levin thinking in the essay goes like this:

1. Historians with their training and expertise and knowledge have in their possession true history.

2. Unfortunately with the Internet, those without this training and expertise and are wrong headed are making false historical assertions.

3. This problem would be solved by informing people to only listen to properly credentialed historical experts and authoritative institutions.

On page 627 in the beginning Levin asserts:
"The success of the black Confederate phenomena can be traced directly to the expansion of the Internet, including access to rich databases of primary sources and the availability of digital tools such as blogs, wikis, and other platforms that allow practically anyone to publish a Web site and engage and influence a wide readership. This has led to a sharp increase in the amount of history published online by individuals and organizations with little or no formal training in the field."
However, the Internet is not needed at all to propagate blatantly false history. The Lost Cause interpretation of the Civil War and Reconstruction flourished in the early 20th century long before the Internet or even before radio transmissions. Holocaust denial was widely known about, much to popular disgust, before the Internet. About half the American public doesn't believe in the geological history of the earth and evolution and this refusal to accept science is previous to the advent of the Internet. Similarly the notorious "Protocols of the Elders of Zion" and Anglo-Israelite identity theories both had wide circulation prior to the invention of the Internet.

The Black Confederate narrative served the interests of neo-Confederates and a broad section of the white South which embraces the Lost Cause historical narrative and so it had an audience of those who wanted to believe. The Internet merely served to make more efficient the communication of this narrative to those who very much wanted to believe it, who are grasping for straws to justify the Lost Cause.

Levin portrays the general public which uses the Internet as naive and uncritical consumers of information on the Internet. He states on pages 632-633:
"Rather than assuming the static position of dispensing historical knowledge ex cathedra, public historians, along with academics and other history educators from junior high school through college, need to focus their efforts on teaching the kinds of digital literacy skills that will assist students and the public generally in their quest for reliable information." 
The public already knows that the Internet is full of misinformation. There is a website www.snopes.com devoted to it and people refer to it. Misinformation on the Internet is a topic on the Internet. Levin is avoiding the issue that the Black Confederate narrative is something some people want to believe against all odds, and attempts to position it as an issue of the gullible public who unfortunately are not guided by the expert history establishment, the League of Distinguished Civil War Historians of which he is so fond of thinking that he is a member. (Didn't Coski tell him that he was a member?)

Levin continues on page 633 stating what questions an Internet user might ask to to avoid ending up in believing in Black Confederates, he states:
"Is the site associated with reputable institution like a museum, historical society, or university? Can you identify the individual or organization responsible for the site, and are in the proper credentials displayed? Is the information provided on the Web site, including text and images, properly cited? What can you discern from the site's incoming and outgoing links?"
This is fairly direct. Believe what the establishment tells you about history and be very skeptical of all others.

However, academics and institutions have their agendas and problems. If the Internet existed in the first half of the 20th century distinguished professors like William Archibald Dunning of Columbia University would  have had the reputable Internet site explaining that Reconstruction was a terrible period of "negro misrule." Dunning could probably provide footnotes.

I wonder what the reputable institutions of history in Turkey have to say about the Armenian holocaust? I am sure they have footnotes.

With all the problems with public school texts and the teach of American history in public schools should junior high and high school history teachers be employed to refute historical mythologies outside their teaching. I suggest they start first with their own text books.

Historical memory and knowledge is contested. Histories are written to serve agendas. People believe what they want to believe. That fact that history itself is problematic has been realized for some time.

Napoleon Bonaparte quipped, "History is a set of lies agreed upon," shows that even in his time, people had an idea that established history was questionable and might just be a narrative serving an agenda.

"Treason doth never prosper. What's the reason?  Why if it prospers none dare call it treason," states an epigram by John Harrington in the 16th or early 17th century. The epigram is a commentary on the contested nature of historical memory.

The historical narrative of Black Confederates is another example of many examples of contested historical memory and how different groups advance histories to serve their own agendas including the respectable establishment historians. There is a whole field of inquiry regarding historical memory.

Additionally, Michel Foucault has written "The Archaeology of Knowledge," examining how knowledge is produced.  How is historical knowledge produced and consumed?

Thomas Carlyle stated, " Every new opinion, at its starting, is precisely in a minority of one." Perhaps the website lacking institutional credentials might be a website to read.

The issue of Black Confederate historical narratives is about contested historical memory, how beliefs are accepted or rejected, and how we construct our world views.

What would be useful for the non-professional historian is training how to critically interrogate all history whether it is on the Internet or published by Harvard University or some other distinguished body. All of history is contested. All sources might be subject to skepticism.

Levin doesn't locate the invention of Black Confederates in their obvious contexts. The neo-Confederates have also proposed the idea of the Celtic Confederacy and the South being a Celtic nation. This proposed ethnic identity replaces the older Lost Cause idea of the South being an abode of Anglo-Saxon purity and the Lost Cause mythology of the Cavalier and Round Head.

There is also the issue of the invention of ethnic identities to avoid confronting the issues of race in the South.

I think also that Black Confederates is part of a larger agenda of neo-Confederates to use African Americans to justify neo-Confederate beliefs. The Sons of Confederate Veterans parades around African American H.K. Edgerton wearing a Confederate uniform and flying the Confederate flag in their defenses of the Confederacy.

An even larger context to locate this invention of Black Confederates would be to consider it in the context of the larger practice of using token African Americans to justify white racist beliefs.

Other topics in which Black Confederates might be compared to is the Melungeon mythologies which served largely for some people to escape believing in their African American ancestry. 

The article is a simplistic, cartoonish, idea that a gullible public is being led astray by persons lacking proper historical training and credentials. It is an article that would be written by an elitist unconscious of the larger issues or critical theory. 

That the editors of the journal accepted this article raises concerns about Civil War scholarship in general.


Recently Salon.com published a parody of a writer in the New York Times who was upset with the Internet.

The Salon parody is online here:

The New York Time's article that Salon parodies is online here:


Information and discourse is being democratized which upsets by those who were previously privileged. When the privileged are dispossessed they usually scream in outrage.

Witness this blog posting by Brooks D. Simpson who is actually on the editorial board of Civil War Era.


As you will note his tirade doesn't actually address any specifics in my blog posting. It is just sputtering rage. When I saw the Salon parody I thought of Simpson's raging article and Kevin Levin's complaint about the Internet.

League of the South allowing it to be used by a foreign power against American interests. UPDATE:

I was reading this interesting article about Putin and Russia at the New York Review of Books in the latest issue. You can read it here:


In place of a genuine media and a real civil society, Putin and his inner circle slowly put into place a system for manufacturing disinformation and mobilizing support on a new and spectacular scale. Once the KGB had retaken the country, in other words, it began once again to act like the KGB—only now it was better funded and more sophisticated. Today’s Russian “political technologists” make use of their state-owned media, including English-language outlets such as the TV news channel Russia Today; armies of paid social media “trolls” who post on newspaper comment pages, as well as on Twitter, Facebook, and other sites; fake “experts” whose quotes can be presented with fake authority; and real experts to whom Putin’s officials have granted special access, or have simply paid. Former Western ambassadors to Moscow, businessmen who have been recruited to Russian company boards, European politicians as high-ranking as Schröder and Silvio Berlusconi—all have been well compensated, directly or indirectly, for offering their support.

Using these different sources, the Kremlin began putting out messages designed not necessarily to make Russia look good, but rather to undermine the Western establishment and Western institutions, including the European Union and NATO. Using both money and information, they seek to empower the Western far right, the anti-establishment left, and the international business community all at the same time. Thus Russia Today supports Occupy Wall Street. A Russian oligarch organizes a meeting in Vienna attended by the French National Front, Hungary’s nationalist political party Jobbik, and Austria’s Freedom Party.3 Whispering campaigns, conducted in the world’s financial capitals—especially Frankfurt and the City of London—hint at the dire things that will happen if sanctions against Russia are not lifted. In an article recently published by The Interpreter, an online publication dedicated to exposing Kremlin disinformation, the journalists Peter Pomerantsev and Michael Weiss argue that:

since at least 2008 Kremlin military and intelligence thinkers have been talking about information not in the familiar terms of “persuasion,” “public diplomacy” or even “propaganda,” but in weaponized terms, as a tool to confuse, blackmail, demoralize, subvert and paralyze.4

In understanding this we can see why Russian media has been interested in giving League of the South President Michael Hill and some others a platform in their media. Recently the League of the South was exultant in the fact that they were on Russian media.


The Russians may not take the League of the South very seriously but want to assist any group that they feel could harm the United States of America and in the case of giving League of the South media access they are covering all their bets.

It would suit the Russians very well if a real secessionist movement would gain some traction in the United States.

At some point what the League of the South is doing is treason.


This is another item of the Putin government supporting the neo-Confederate movement in the United States.


League of the South President Michael Hill is pleased to announce that he spoke via Skype at an Anti-Globalist conference in Moscow on the topic “The Right of People for Self-Determination and Constructing a Multipolar World.”

I am trying to find out some information about the conference. This is a YouTube video of it. Doesn't seem like a major affair.


The same video can be found at:


I don't know if the Putin government is giving the League of the South any financial resources, but being on Russian TV and being invited to conferences certainly must encourage the neo-Confederates and maintain moral when their agenda doesn't seem to be going anywhere. Also, it has the potential to raise their prestige in the eyes of other extremists and help them recruit members and retain members.

I have not indication so far that the Sons of Confederate Veterans, United Daughters of the Confederacy and the Abbeville Institute are connecting with Russian groups as part of an anti-Western effort.  The people at the Rockford Institute have been in contact with all sorts of reactionary groups in Europe and been sympathetic to reactionaries in Eastern Europe, but I haven't really paid too close attention to this. I think I will need to pay more attention to it in the future.

This article in the Dec. 2014 issue of Chronicles certain shows that they are supportive of Putin and his regime in Russia.


The support for neo-Confederates by the regime in Moscow is a disturbing development and needs to be watched closely.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Neo-Confederates and the definition of the "Megastate"

I am not sure there is a definitive definition of what a megastate is. I found definitions online that said it was a large geopolitical state. I suppose that everyone would agree that Russia and China and the United States are very large states in comparison to the rest of the states.

I think others would agree that Luxembourg, Andorra and Lichtenstein are not megastates.

Evidently there is however a broad interpretation on what is a megastate by neo-Confederates.

I refer to this posting on protest by a secession movement in Yemen.


The blog posting states:
First communism, now the megastate. Slowly but surely, the bloody legacy of 19th- and 20th-century ideology is being dismantled and discarded.
Really, Yemen is a megastate? It might be that it is merely a conflict local in nature and doesn't represent any world wide trends.

Other "megastates" at the League of the South blogs are:





United Kingdom:






The second posting states:
The age of the megastate, with its internal oppression to hold it together, and its belligerent foreign policy to expand its power, is past. Good riddance.
Belgium, a megastate?

The possible break up of Belgium relates to the reason that it was a state put together by diplomacy for a variety of reasons. Again there are unique local factors driving the break up of Belgium. It doesn't represent any global trend of devolution.

Finally all these proposed nations, Scotland, Wales, Flanders, Catalonia, Venice, etc. plan as the first thing on their agenda to apply to the European Union so they can exist. I think the European Union is a developing megastate.  They are It is just trading one capitol for another. They are also counting on NATO to provide security for Western Europe.

The Scottish secessionists even hoped to continue to use the British Pound.

This fascination and discussion about secession overseas by neo-Confederates is just them trying to convince themselves and others that secession is possible in the United States.

So far secession in the United States is just people blowing off steam when they are contacted by pollsters.

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