Secessionist and nationalist movements are frequently lumped into the category of “hate groups” due to their hyper niche ideology focused on eliminating some form of tormenter. For some its the “Jews” while for others its African Americans, foreigners, gays, or any other segment of society which fails to meet their standards. Applying the label of hate group conjures up images of hooded white men chanting racial slurs while marching in lock-step around a burning cross. Any more, the designation leads to a quick dismissal by the larger activist community, and allows these groups to operate with impunity in the shadows. Thus is the case with the emerging League of the South.
Founded in 1994 by a group of Southern academia and attorneys, LOS claims ideological kinship with the League of United Southerners and the Italian national-populist movement, Lega Nord. According to their own website, LOS was formed as a secessionist movement brought about because of the corruption of the United States government. Their formation in the mid-nineties follows the marked increase of anti-government groups during the same time. Founders and early members of the group include the attorney who defended Martin Luther King’s assassin, and a weapons trafficker who was building his own armory with stolen US military assets.
LOS is careful to avoid the label of “revolutionary”, which would denote the violent overthrow of the US government. Rather, LOS claims to be a pure secessionist movement seeking legal separation from the United States. LOS leadership encourages their adherents go through a process they call “abjuration of the realm” which in short, is the complete removal of oneself from the power of the government. An extrapolation of this hints at traditional sovereign citizen actions like refusing to pay taxes, refusing to vote, and recusing oneself from the census. Indeed, LOS feels the current US government constitutes an unholy empire, occupying southern lands and that through abjuration the entire south can become a sovereign nation with its own commerce, customs, and rule of law all favoring a Christian Southern Lifestyle.
LOS recently garnered media attention due to a rallies in Montgomery, Alabama and Tallahassee, Florida. In Alabama, a small contingent of LOS members participated in an anti-gay marriage rally. According to LOS, gay marriage is not in-line with the teachings of Jesus Christ, therefore is not tolerable. In April, LOS combined with the Republic of Florida Militia to protest against the Students for Justice in Palestine, and their burning of a Confederate flag. To LOS, the Confederate Flag is a symbol of their culture and heritage whereas to the Students for Justice in Palestine, it represented hate and violence a la the Ku Klux Klan. While protesting against the Students for Justice is hardly indicative of a hate group, LOS’ description of the protestors as “trannies” left little doubt as to their ideology.
LOS membership numbers are unknown, but based on their social media page and publicly available photographs, they probably number anywhere from 30 to 50. There is no indication LOS has influence outside of the southern states, but within that region they are definitely on the move. They revamped their website recently, moving away from “Dixie Net” to a more professional URL. They also maintain a facebook page complete with a banner showing members holding signs reading, “Immigration hurts southern workers” another indicator of their bias against anyone but their own “kind.” Page admins bragged recently about new members with diverse skill sets volunteering their time to improve their image. There is also unconfirmed reports from late 2014 indicating the group was building and training a paramilitary force for protection.
Time will tell if LOS makes an aggressive move into the militia realm or will stay a club-like secessionist movement. In either case, if the last few months are an indicator of what’s to come, we may be seeing more of the League of the South.