It appears that the Southern Poverty Law Center's report on Vermont secessionists' ties to the racist League of the South has made an impact.
In what appears to be a dramatic turnaround for the secession-minded Second Vermont Republic, its founder Thomas Naylor has issued a "love letter" from the group to one of its long-time allies, the League of the South. SVR's ties to the LOS — an organization that the Southern Poverty Law Center has deemed a racist organization — have been questioned widely by some in the Vermont media, bloggers at Green Mountain Daily, and some anonymous bloggers as well.
Naylor has long defended ties to the League of the South, claiming that secessionists have to stick together and that, well, he has met some of their leaders and doesn't consider them racist.
But, in his July 4th letter Naylor takes a new stance:
Secession always brings to mind images of the Civil War, slavery,racism, violence, and preservation of the Southern way of life.Secession is often equated with Southern, redneck, Christianfundamentalist racism. Anyone who is a secessionist is considered alikely racist, but a Southern secessionist is a racist a priori. Sincethe LOS is a Southern secessionist group, it’s hardly surprising thatthere is a widespread perception that it is racist.
To achieve its twofold objectives of Vermont independence and thepeaceful dissolution of the American Empire, SVR needs all the help itcan get from other independence movements. But so long as the albatrossof racism hangs around its neck, the LOS can never be a truly effectivepartner for SVR. SVR, on the other hand, risks being tainted by thescourge of racism simply by associating with the LOS.
Naylor then takes it one step further and says the LOS must do the following if it wants to rid itself of any racist shackles:
1. Renounce Racism
2. Recruit Black Members
3. Invite Black Speakers
4. Admit the Civil War is over
5. Unify the South
The Southern Poverty Law Center, which issued an Intelligence Report on SVR in June (a report Naylor denounced), has an excellent overview of Naylor's letter to LOS as well as key background on SVR and its activities. Naylor takes a shot at SPLC in his new letter, too, calling it a "race-baiting" organization.
Apparently, the LOS has not yet responded. But, some of their friends have, and Naylor's not their favorite whitey right now.
The blog "White Reference" said Naylor has "thrown the League of the South" under the bus to get off SPLC's "shit list." The blog provides a swift counter-attack to Naylor here, picking apart Naylor's letter and his five-point recommendations.
The right-wing Vanguard News Network also takes aim at Naylor, wondering if he has "shit between his ears." Adding, "How can any sane person not comprehend the need for a racial basis to society after witnessing the America of today?"
Hopefully, Naylor's letter is not just a way to assuage some of his critics. The response from the racists who use the League of the South as their wedge into mainstream politics shows that the company he's been keeping is far from the like-minded Vermonters who argue for a peaceable secession.