A Southern Nationalist Addresses Sons of Confederate Veterans

This short address by self-proclaimed Southern Nationalist and League of the South member, Harold Crews, came across my YouTube feed this morning. It’s actually quite interesting. Crews’s argument is straightforward: As a member of the SCV he fully supports the goal of the Confederacy in its bid for independence as a slave-holding nation with white supremacy at its center. Crews wants others within the SCV and those who are active in Southern Heritage communities to acknowledge the impossibility of maintaining a “dual identity” as both Southerners and Americans.

The most interesting aspect of Crews’s argument is his claim that SCV members and others are mired in “escapism” in the past. They’ve become seduced by a distorted (Lost Cause) view of the Confederacy and have failed to make the necessary connections between its stated purpose and the challenges that white Southerners supposedly face today. At the center of it all, according to Crews, is the threat that whites face from the Obama administration and secular America. Crews seems to be saying that if white Southerners, who embrace Confederate heritage, really understood their history than they would be Southern Nationalists. After all, diehard Confederates were certainly Southern nationalists.

Crews could have taken his analysis one step further by pointing out that there is an ongoing tension between Southern Nationalism and Confederate/Southern Heritage. Brooks Simpson and others have explored this in reference to the Southern Heritage Preservation Group Facebook community, which has had some difficulty coming to terms with this internal tension. We’ve also seen it in the Virginia Flaggers as well.

In the meantime, the Sons of Union Veterans now has a presence in South Carolina and Georgia.

The Department of Georgia and South Carolina was chartered in 2008 and now boasts about 100 members, according to Brian Pierson, camp commander for Camp 10. “Our mission is to, basically, keep the memory of the boys in blue,” Pierson said. They do that by focusing on patriotism, good citizenship and history.

[Uploaded to YouTube on March 23, 2014]
29 comments… add one
  • Julian Apr 30, 2014 @ 8:29

    and it cuts both ways. On other ACW sites that have a more reenactor-based following there are some interesting recent comments around the SCV and the debates around the declining reenactor scene. One commentator laments that with the growing influence of purely modern politics and extremism within Southern history and heritage groups – he is finding that he is having less in common with Southeners whom he meets at events and less chance of a friendly dialogue than before. Another goes so far as to blame the SCV for the decline suggesting that their move from honouring the Confederate soldier to pushing modern politics has alienated younger people – who do not share the politics – from Civil War re-enactment and commemoration. Of course as we have debated already 1961 style celebrations of the war are dying, but 2010 style engagements with the war abound

    • Andy Hall Apr 30, 2014 @ 9:17

      “Another goes so far as to blame the SCV for the decline suggesting that their move from honouring the Confederate soldier to pushing modern politics has alienated younger people – who do not share the politics – from Civil War re-enactment and commemoration.”

      That’s undoubtedly part of the picture as far as the SCV goes. Ron Wilson, Kirk Lyons and that crowd effectively purged the SCV of the “grannies” fifteen years ago or so, embracing (and enforcing) both a hard-line ideology and more direct activism. It’s not a message that resonates widely with a younger generation, North or South.

  • Dennis Durham Apr 28, 2014 @ 5:37

    We have a modern day tyrannical government. Our Forefathers & Confederate ancestors would’ve been shooting by now. Our Southern politicians of those days are long gone. Today we have politically correct ones that are afraid to offend someone vs representing Southern interest. We cannot live in the past and fight the 1860’s all over again, we need Southern Independence now. As for voting. I don’t think every adult should have the right to vote. If you are on government assistance; welfare, SS disability,& food stamps you shouldn’t be allowed to vote . These people will only vote for the politician that promises the most free stuff.

  • Bob Huddleston Apr 27, 2014 @ 18:34

    Except for an acceptance of the end of slavery, Lee did not change his attitude toward African Americans. An excellent example is the 1868 White Springs Declaration, which you can read at http://valley.lib.virginia.edu/news/ss1868/va.au.ss.1868.09.08.xml

  • Eric A. Jacobson Apr 27, 2014 @ 17:46

    I made thru two minutes and twenty-six seconds. I decided that being nauseous wasn’t a good way to end my Sunday. 🙂

  • Brendan Bossard Apr 27, 2014 @ 16:01

    As always, the Devil is in the details. At least Mr. Crews is attempting to be reasonable, although his views are based on a faulty memory of the Southern cause. He could be worth debating publicly, if a willing opponent can be found.

    • Kevin Levin Apr 27, 2014 @ 16:05

      But he does acknowledge the maintenance of white supremacy as central to the Confederate cause. That seems to be the thread that connects the past and the present for Mr. Crews.

      • Brendan Bossard Apr 27, 2014 @ 16:46

        Yes, he does acknowledge white supremacy as central, but he couches it in terms that avoid discussion of the enslavement of black people. An antebellum Mr. Crews probably would have been more assertive about the latter. However, I admit that he may actually believe this, but is smart enough not to say it in today’s climate.

        • Kevin Levin Apr 27, 2014 @ 16:47

          Good point.

  • Frank Apr 27, 2014 @ 15:39

    It means Kevin we now want to hide truths an facts so we do not offend or hurt anyone’s feelings.

    • Kevin Levin Apr 27, 2014 @ 15:41

      Look, if you don’t want to address the content of the post than I suggest you find another blogger to harass. This is your final comment on this particular thread. Thanks for taking the time to read and to comment, but I don’t have time to moderate a thread that has become more about your own insecurities.

  • Frank Apr 27, 2014 @ 14:42

    Yes I am, and unfortunately there a racists in every race and I have no control over them. What I do know is my history and the truth about it including this country. This country has become so racially sensitive and to not want to offend, even kids sports are rediculous now, every kid on every team gets a trophy even if they lost all their games, what is that teaching them?

    • Kevin Levin Apr 27, 2014 @ 15:01

      This country has become so racially sensitive and to not want to offend, even kids sports are rediculous now, every kid on every team gets a trophy even if they lost all their games, what is that teaching them?

      I have no idea what this means.

  • Marian Latimer Apr 27, 2014 @ 14:39

    I am sure Cliven Bundy might have some space and opportunity for this guy and his fellow travelers. What’s scary is that there seems to be more and more of these lovely individuals crawling out from under their white robes and hoods. The general revulsion that Bundy has brought out is probably going to embolden individuals like this. Ew, I am just totally creeped out and I’m going to go shower with Clorox now. Oh, wait, how many followers does this, ahem, gentleman have? If this is Christianity, I may have to look into Atheism or Humanism.

    • Brendan Bossard Apr 27, 2014 @ 15:54

      Marian, it ain’t Christianity. Just ask people like William Wilberforce and Frederick Douglass! 🙂

  • Frank Apr 27, 2014 @ 13:35

    You can nitpick and go after certain individuals on your site with your groupies, it’s funny. I simply joined the SCV to honor my family members that fought for their country. Your groupies keep injecting race and actually think the war was about slavery. You think the Confederate flag is a symbol of racism, if so then the flag of the US is even more so.

    • Kevin Levin Apr 27, 2014 @ 13:41

      I simply joined the SCV to honor my family members that fought for their country.

      So did Harold Crews and based on my understanding of the history of the Civil War he has a much better understanding of the country for which his ancestor fought.

      Your groupies keep injecting race and actually think the war was about slavery.

      You are free to avoid the subject of this post. Good day.

  • Frank Apr 27, 2014 @ 13:21

    I have never heard more garbage from supposedly educated men, I am a member of the SCV and am proud of my heritage, I also served in the US Army in Dessert Storm and am also college educated. I have studied the time period of the War Between the States and know the facts. You are the ones that keep bringing race into the issue, talking about white supremacy and other garbage such as Russia. We are one of the only countries that ask people what their race is, whenever I am asked I say “human”. If it were left up to people like you all we would have is the fictitious history they teach our children in schools today.

    • Kevin Levin Apr 27, 2014 @ 13:24

      Hi Frank,

      Thanks for the comment, though I am not sure why you are upset with the other commenters. Shouldn’t you direct your frustration at Harold Crews? He is the one injecting race into his understanding of Confederate heritage as a member of the Leauge of the South and the SCV.

    • Christopher Shelley Apr 27, 2014 @ 14:58

      Frank, I didn’t bring race into it–Mr. Crews did. And I agree, I’d love to see race disappear from the social and political landscape. But Mr Crews clearly said “his people” were in danger, and he didn’t mean non-white Southerners. If you want to honor your heritage, great. But you beef is with Mr. Crews, not me. He’s the one telling you that your interest in Confederate heritage is a distraction from the big picture. And while I honor your service to our country, Mr. Crews CLEARLY DOES NOT; he just said so in this video! You should be contacting HIM and telling him he’s a racist idiot, rather than attacking us.

  • Christopher Shelley Apr 27, 2014 @ 10:15

    I was surprised to hear that I have a “universalist ideology.” Who knew?

    It’s good to have such a public statement out there, now that the FB site is closed. (Andy’s mention of this yesterday made me go look at it before they closed it off. I spent an hour of so reading various policy points written by Michael Hill on immigration, social services, and voting. I needed a shower afterwards.) The reject the United States–certainly, they reject the logical arc of United States to a multicultural democracy. Southern Nationalism is based on white supremacy. Period. It’s as if they ripped the Democratic Party’s platform right out of the 1840s.

    And I agree with Kevin: he’s arguing you can’t have it both ways. Confederate “heritage” is a cute thing, but it’s a distraction to the Main Event: a Southern pigmentocracy grounded in Christian fundamentalism.

    It brings to mind a remark by Barry Lopez: “Beyond this there are only failures of imagination: reductionism in science; fundamentalism in religion; fascism in politics.”

    • Brendan Bossard Apr 27, 2014 @ 15:49

      There were at least as many Christian “fundamentalists” who objected to the cause of the South as there were who supported it, Southern Christians’ claims to the contrary. Today, there are dramatically more who would object to Mr. Crews’s version of Christianity.

      • Christopher Shelley Apr 27, 2014 @ 18:52

        No, Brenon. The thing we call “fundamentalist Christianity” is more recent. The Christians of the period nder discussion were NOT fundamentalist, since they did NOT interpret the Bible literally. This new Southern Nationalism is therefore a different animal; it has little to do with the Civil War. That’s my main point: this southern nationalism is dangerous and stupid beyond the silliness of neo-Confederate nonsense.

        • Brendan Bossard Apr 28, 2014 @ 14:17

          Well, although you and I apparently disagree about what constitutes a “literal” interpretation of the Bible, we definitely agree that Mr. Crews promotes a “dangerous and stupid” ideology.

  • Al Mackey Apr 27, 2014 @ 6:03

    He should move to Russia. He’d love Putin.

    • Kevin Levin Apr 27, 2014 @ 6:49

      Be nice, Al. 🙂

    • Andy Hall Apr 27, 2014 @ 7:01

      Many of them do love Putin. He’s effectively made the Orthodox Church a state religion, he’s rabidly ethno-nationalist when it comes to immigration, and is trying to drive LGBT Russians underground. He rules like an tsar and (to southern white nationalists’ minds) makes the United States look weak and vacillating. Or maybe they just love his moobs.

      Either way, they love Putin plenty.

      • jimmy dick Apr 27, 2014 @ 7:55

        Al is right. Note that these southern nationalists want a nation that is not based upon Democratic ideas and certainly not anything close to Republican ideas expressed by Jefferson. They are threats to the nation envisioned by the Founders.

        • Andy Hall Apr 27, 2014 @ 8:33

          Before they slunk off into the shadows of Facebook by setting their group status to “closed,” the LotS gang was having a vigorous discussion on how they would narrow the electorate in the “Free South” they envision. They are adamantly opposed to the notion that every adult citizen should have an equal voice in governance.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *