Anarchism and Confederate-Flag Culture: One Man’s Journey from Southern Heritage to Libertarian Socialism



If you are someone who displays a Confederate flag out of overt racism, this text is not for you. In fact, we will fight you in the streets.

If, however, you are someone who insists that he is not racist, but you have at some point in your life displayed a Confederate Flag out of a general sense of rebellion against the government, the boss, parents, pompous Yankee liberals, or just against modern society in general, then this text is addressed to you. Especially, if you are a working class southerner who flies the Cross of St. Andrew as an in-your-face act of protest against the mass production of national “culture,” a McDonaldized product that has the effect of smothering and burying authentic local cultures that (some feel) are symbolized by the Confederate flag… especially, then, this brief sketch of one man’s odyssey from the glorification of southern heritage to an appreciation of anarchist ideas and values, may have something to say to you.

As a child I was raised by the school, television, church, and my parents, in roughly that order of importance. All of these authorities told me what it was appropriate for me to think, do and feel at any given moment. I was supposed to love and obey a God who never bothered to show his face to me, and in a similar vein I was supposed to love and obey a familial father who didn’t have time for me, either. Parents and teachers were to be respected, and for children who failed in that endeavor the “policeman would come and get you” (which proved to be all too true.)

But at least I had the television… Mr. TV was my buddy, my fellow sufferer in the face of all this authority. Mr. TV was the coolest kid on the block, the guy who knew his way around the social pit-falls of school, the ultimate arbiter of what was cool and what was, gasp, “lame” (can you imagine a crueler, more horrible expression?)

The problem was, it was all a bunch of lies, and I knew it. (Or at least, once I got old enough to think for myself, I knew it.) The meaning-of-it-all that the church offered meant, in fact, nothing at all. It was illogical, but served the purpose of telling me to be a good servant, because I would get my reward after I was dead from an invisible person in the sky. (I don’t think the unlikelihood of THAT little scenario requires too much commentary.) The school, with its sports programs and detention halls, which claimed to be opening my mind to the mysteries of the universe and the joys of great art, was in fact training to me to become a cog in the great corporate machine. And my parents were too much in the thrall of this corporate religion themselves, to do anything but reinforce it.

Even my best friend, the TV, turned against me. He begin to say that if I was born a white southerner, then I was to blame for all the racial ills of mankind. That’s right, I, little ole southern white boy, had done it all, from the Grecian slave societies of antiquity to the Boston busing riots, from the rape of Nanking to the Holocaust, all the racial ills of mankind could be laid at my doorstep. By this point in time the church (and my parents) had stuffed me so full of irrational guilt that I was inclined to believe it… but somehow, it just didn’t add up.

So I took a big horn from a bottle of (Kentucky) bourbon, hung a Confederate flag in the window, and told the world to kiss my ass. I was through apologizing for being born…

Here is the summary version: the American corporate titans that control the TV, newspapers, and grammar school textbooks have declared all things southern to be racist, and all things racist to be southern, in order to confuse the issue and evade their own responsibilities. They portray slavery as having been a purely southern institution, instead of as a single component of a universally oppressive white/Anglo economic system (that happened to find its worst excesses in the cotton fields of the southern United States in the 1800’s).

By painting slavery and racism as a uniquely southern phenomenon, the CEO’s manage to divert attention from the racist legacy that remains. When they falsely imply that racism is uniquely southern, and then correctly add that the racial situation in the south now mirrors that of the rest of the country, they declare the problem solved. Implicitly this has the effect of encouraging such reactionary nonsense as charges of “reverse discrimination.”

In fact, nothing could be further from the truth. The problem of white supremacy in America is anything but resolved. In fact, police officers all over America target people of color for searches and beatings, while the nation’s jails, prisons and housing projects are littered with the dark-skinned human refuse of the ultimate soulless commodity system, the great American labor market. In the 1850’s most blacks were subject to whips and chains, but a small portion were relatively “free”. In modern society, most people of color are impoverished or imprisoned, while a similarly small portion are middle-class, or relatively “well-off”. Very little has changed, other than the means of the enslavement.

These facts are what the “racism is a southern thing” myth is intended to obscure. Blacks, Latinos, and to a lesser extent, working-class southern whites are all harmed by this myth. It is time to place the responsibility for American racism and poverty squarely where it belongs, at the doorstep of the business class, and at the foot of the American flag (and all other Anglo-nationalist flags) which provide the business class with aid and comfort.

So, burn your Confederate flag — give it a respectful ceremony if you must, but really, get rid of it — and join the anarchist movement as we set out to combat, defeat and replace the racist, classist, patriarchal society that bores us with political speeches, numbs us with television, scares us with the superstitions of religion, hypnotizes us with the banalities of commercial advertising, and threatens us with the state-religion of patriotism. We are the “rebels” of the modern corporate-techno-nightmare age, and our ultimate goal is to replace the businesses, government and churches with a society of free equals, in which all live at peace with nature and each other.

Join us as we set out to build a new world, a world in which every man, woman and, yes, child is viewed and treated as a valuable part of the great whole of larger humanity, instead of as a competitor for money, sex, and power. Join us as we set out to build a world based on sharing and mutual respect, where local idiosyncrasies (that are supportive of human dignity) are respected, even celebrated. Join us, and be proud of the human being that you are, the community in which you live, and the planet on which you stand.

Down with McDonalds, Wal-Mart, ADM and the rest of the corporations! Up with your neighbors, and yourself!

Prole Cat

September, in the year of our store, 2003

11 replies »

  1. “It is time to place the responsibility for American racism and poverty squarely where it belongs, at the doorstep of the business class, and at the foot of the American flag (and all other Anglo-nationalist flags)”

    As a matter of historical fact the British State abolished slavery throughout its Empire in 1833. Considering that Empire consisted of about a third of the global population at the time and that no other state or Empire anywhere anytime had implemented a similar policy it’s a little hard to blame slavery on “anglos” or even their states.

    The British state’s attitude towards slavery after that date, and the attitude of a significant portion of its political class for the fifty years before is interesting in the light of their current behaviour. This was perhaps the first time that the British establishment ever acted out of a sense of moral duty and when they did so they did so on a global scale using the full force of their miltiary power. Royal Navy ships deeming any vessel carrying slaves in international waters to be “pirates” and the proper subject of attack even if it flew the flag of another nation.

    At the time I dare say this was laudable given the issue at stake, but that attitude has had consequences. It is with this tradition in mind that Western (Anglo anyway) States so frequently decide they have the right to kill anyone they can anywhere in the pursuit of the global dominance of their values.

  2. I, of course, as a Southern nationalist, completely disagree with this load of garbage. I reject this Leftist PC notion of ‘racism’ and embrace my roots, my culture and my people’s resistance to the US Empire. I will not be burning my flag – I will be flying it high as a symbol of my people and our resistance. Anyone who finds that ‘racist’ is free to do so. This whole ‘racist legacy’ business is BS – no group is so hated and oppressed in the US as are we Southern Whites.

  3. “Racism” is a code word for anti-white. I’ll be keeping my rebel flag too. Anybody who don’t like it can feel free to fly their own.

  4. What is racism? Really, not kidding, I’m not sure how the concept may have mutated since yesterday, given the speed of its changes of meaning, always in a way detrimental to the mere existence of white/euro peoples.

    I’m not joking: yesterday I learned in The American Conservative, which used to be a paleocon publication till Buchanan left the building, that you’re a racist if you fail to actively support interracial marriage. It was in the context of a defeatist and frightened simulacrum of defense of Burroughs and the recent “John Carter” film. It was not Matthew Yglesias asserting his own moral superiority. It was The American Conservative.

    So, please someone tell me, what self-destructing behaviors would be suicidal enough to finally escape the racist label?

  5. I see America as a system of racist institutions. I could care less what people do in their own communities as long as it doesn’t harm others. The prison industrial complex, the war on drugs, urban planning departments, police, are all tools of racism.

    “Adolf Hitler as chancellor of Germany is a horror; Adolf Hitler at a town meeting would be an asshole” – Karl Hess

  6. ‘Racist’ is nothing but a slur against White people today. I reject it. I for one embrace my race, my ethnicity and culture and want to preserve them. Since I am White that makes me a ‘racist.’ But if I were Black it would make me a ‘Progressive.’ So, obviously ‘racist’ is just a slur for a non-self-hating White person.

  7. On the race issues, it’s not a question of either/or. For instance, it’s not necessary to deny that black Americans face many obstacles related to the legacy of US racial history or present day racial stratification in order to critique and attack PC.

    All things considered and looking at the big picture, it’s still more advantageous to be white in America than to be a minority as whites are the larger group and most elites are white. Only about a quarter of US blacks fall into the lower class/underclass socioeconomic categories and the majority of US blacks have middle class incomes, but the overall amount of aggregate wealth in the black population is greatly disproportionate to the wider demographic distribution. The things Miles describes are real and really do have very adverse effects on large sectors of the US black population.

    That doesn’t mean that anti-white racism doesn’t also exist. It depends on which sectors of society we’re talking about. There is institutionalized discrimination against whites in some professional and academic fields. Anti-white racism becomes an issue in geographical areas where whites are a minority or where the prevailing ideological climate holds up whites as a scapegoat. Also, a lot of what is criticized as anti-white racism seems to be rooted in class or geographical prejudice on the part of white elites. In other words, anti-white racism often amounts to outgroup hostility directed at working to middle class whites by affluent and elite whites. Some of it also seems related to efforts by white elites to cultivate elite members of the minority groups as allies or constituents and identifying whites from rival classes or regions as a common enemy.

    Of course, there are a lot of other variables and factors that complicate US race relations even further. But I think it’s a mistake for different ethnic or class groups to get into a pissing contest over who is most oppressed. I consider African-Americans, Native Americans, poor Appalachian whites, working to middle class Middle American whites, indigenous Alaskans and Hawaiians, Puerto Ricans, etc to all be different tribes whose common interest is that they are all under the attack of the ruling class and the state. So it’s best to focus on that.

  8. I think that “racism” can really exist in the sense of either subjugation of one race by another in a political context or irrational hostility towards people of other races on an individual level. But the concept has become so elastic as to be defined in increasingly implausible ways.

    The analogy I would use is to the anti-communist hysteria of past generations. There really was such a thing as Communism, and it was an awful system, but that didn’t mean anyone advocating social justice for the working class was a Soviet operative and that Eisenhower was a communist conspirator. The label “communist” was used to attacked anyone who advocated domestic social reform or who opposed the US empire internationally. The same way the label “racist” is used to attack anyone who opposes the totalitarian humanist paradigm.

  9. I think this article touches on some relevant points:

    It’s possible to recognize the legitimacy of many of the issues raised by black nationalists while criticizing the way the label of “racism” is used as a buzzword by the proponents of TH just like it’s possible to recognize the legitimacy of issues raised by unions or working class advocates while opposing Marxism.

  10. Here’s another analogy that might work:

    In present day American culture, it’s more socially acceptable to be a Christian than an atheist or openly anti-religious. But if you take your religion too seriously you’re also going to be marginalized as a cultist or a Jesus freak or a religious fanatic or whatever. Also, while Christians may comprise the cultural majority by a huge margin it’s also true that those with anti-religious sentiment tend to be concentrated into the ranks of the educated elites, so institutionalized discrimination against Christians still happens even though they are the culturally dominant group. Also, there are some geographical regions and specific institutions (like the media and educational institutions) where secularism dominates and social stratification roles are reversed.

    The gay question is another comparable issue. I think it’s abundantly clear that the cultural and intellectual elites, the mass media, the educational system, the professional class, much of the state apparatus and so forth are overwhelmingly pro-gay. But it’s also true that gays are a relatively small minority demographically and there’s a great deal of negative feeling about gays on a popular level. All variables being equal, it’s obviously more advantageous to be openly straight than openly gay.

    The problem with the Left’s analysis of these kinds of things is their creation of rigid categorizations based on false assumptions, and their inability to maintain any kind of nuance or see any grey. Of course, the same problem exists in a lot of sectors of the Right as well.

  11. Right on everything. I think that’s why I prefer anarchism to most political alternatives because it uses autonomy as the ultimate solution to racial problems.

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