White supremacists want Virginia to split from United States

Saturday, 12 August 2017, 02:49:57 PM. TORCH-wielding white supremacists are marching through Charlottesville, Virginia, shouting ‘unite the right’ and ‘you will not replace us’ — and calling for a split from the United States.

White Nationalists Rally on UVA Campus, Chant 'You Will Not Replace Us' Credit - Twitter/Tim Dodson via Storyful, The Cavalier Daily1:14

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White nationalists staged a torchlit march on the campus of the University of Virginia on August 11 ahead of a planned far-right rally in Charlottesville on Saturday. Charlottesville’s Daily Progress newspaper reported that police declared the march an unlawful assembly and used pepper spray following clashes between the marchers and counter-protesters. These videos, taken by student journalist Tim Dodson, shows the crowds chanting “white lives matter” and “you will not replace us.” It also shows counter-protesters at the scene. Hundreds of white nationalists gathered in Charlottesville for the Unite the Right rally, which is the latest in a series of demonstrations opposing the city’s decision to remove a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee from a park. A demonstration in Charlottesville over the statue led to violent clashes in May. Charlottesville Mayor Mike Signer branded Friday’s march as a “parade” of “bigotry, racism, and intolerance”. Credit: Twitter/Tim Dodson via Storyful, The Cavalier Daily

  • August 12th 2017
  • 4 hours ago
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Hundreds of protesters have today clashed briefly with counterprotesters on the Charlottesville campus of the University of Virginia ahead of a planned rally tomorrow.

Punches were thrown and placards used as bludgeons before authorities reacted.

Police used teargas to disperse the groups, which have been assembling in the flashpoint Southern State town of 45,000 residents over a dispute relating to the statue of a Southern Civil War hero.

“I am beyond disgusted by this unsanctioned and despicable display of visual intimidation on a college campus,” Mayor Mike Singer said in a statement.

Virginia’s governor has urged people to stay away from the weekend rallies of far right and white supremacist groups in the university town of Charlottesville.

Some 2000 to 6000 ‘Unite the Right’ supporters are expected to march later this weekend. The National Guard is on alert because of a believed high risk of violence.

Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe has said extremist groups have threatened to try and turn the rally into a fight.

McAuliffe, a Democrat, said many of the people at the rally will “express viewpoints many people, including me, find abhorrent. As long as that expression is peaceful, that is their right.” He said he had given security forces instructions to act quickly and decisively if violence breaks out.

“I want to urge my fellow Virginians, who may consider joining, either in support or opposition to the planned rally, to make alternative plans,” McAuliffe said.

The white nationalists, including supporters of the Ku Klux Klan white supremacist group, and anti-fascist activists have turned out in Charlottesville, as the othwerise sleepy town is planning to remove a statue of General Robert E. Lee, who led Confederate forces in the US Civil War.

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“The Charlottesville event could be a potentially historic showcase of hate, bringing together more extremists in one place than we have seen in at least a decade,” said Oren Segal, director of the Center on Extremism at the Anti-Defamation League, a group that monitors and combats anti-Semitism.

Units of the Virginia National Guard have been placed on standby, he added.

On July 8 a few dozen Ku Klux Klan marchers gathered in Charlottesville to protest plans to remove the statue of Lee. But they were outnumbered by hundreds of jeering counter protesters.

This time the extreme right hopes to have a stronger showing thanks to the presence of various leaders of the “all-right” movement that has been emboldened by Donald Trump’s ascent to the White House.

Tonight’s torchlit rally - held ahead of the main march tomorrow - already appears to be much larger.

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Police are covered in tear gas used on counter-protesters following a Ku Klux Klan rally in July. Picture: AFPSource:AFP


As 21st century activists seek to topple monuments to the 19th century Confederate rebellion, some white Southerners are again advocating for what the Confederates tried and failed to do: secede from the Union.

It’s not an easy argument to win, and it’s not clear how much support the idea has: The leading Southern nationalist group, the Alabama-based League of the South, has been making the same claim for more than two decades.

But the idea of a breakaway Southern nation persists.

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Police escort members of the Ku Klux Klan past protesters in Charlottesville, Virginia. Picture: AFPSource:AFP

The League of the South’s longtime president, retired university professor Michael Hill of Killen, Alabama, posted a message in July that began, “Fight or die white man” and went on to say Southern nationalists seek “nothing less than the complete reconquest and restoration of our patrimony — the whole, entire South.” “

And that means the South will once again be in name and in actuality White Man’s Land. A place where we and our progeny can enjoy Christian liberty and the fruits of our own labour, unhindered by parasitical ‘out groups,”’ said Hill’s message, posted on the group’s Facebook page a day after a rally in support of the a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee in Charlottesville.

The group’s website says it is “waging a war to win the minds and hearts of the Southern people”.

While white-controlled government is its goal, the group says in a statement of beliefs that it offers “good will and co-operation to Southern blacks in areas where we can work together as Christians to make life better for all people in the South.”

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Ku Klux Klan protesters in Charlottesville, Virginia. Picture: AFPSource:AFP


According to the US Census, 55 per cent of the nation’s black population lived in the South in 2010, and 105 Southern counties had a black population of 50 per cent or higher.

Hill said they’re not advocating for a repeat of a Civil War that claimed 620,000 lives or a return to slavery, the linchpin of the South’s antebellum economy.

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Statue of Robert E. Lee, Confederate Civil War General, at Lee Park in Charlottesville, Virginia.Source:Getty Images

“We have no interest in going back and recreating an un-recreatable past,” Hill said in a telephone interview. “We are future oriented.”

The group has erected billboards that said “SECEDE” in several states, and it even has its own banner — a black and white version of the familiar Confederate battle flag, minus the stars.

Secession also finds support on some websites that support white nationalism, including Occidental Dissent, run by a Hill associate, and the openly racist, anti-Semitic Daily Stormer. Extremist watchdog Heidi Beirich said strict Southern nationalism seems to have been swept up into the larger white-power agenda in recent years.

“I think it’s mostly subsumed into the white nationalist movement,” said Beirich, director of the Intelligence Project at the Southern Poverty Law Center. “There might be a little Southern softness to it. But I can’t tell a whole lot of difference between the League and white nationalism.”

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Members of the KKK escorted by police past a large group of protesters during a KKK rally in Charlottesville. Picture: APSource:AP


Secession isn’t the sole property of Southern white nationalists.

A group that wants California to secede from the United States is based mainly on liberals wanting to exit the United States because of President Donald Trump’s election. They are collecting signatures to place a secession ballot initiative on the 2018 ballot.

The initiative would form a commission to recommend avenues for California to pursue its independence and delete part of the state constitution that says it’s an inseparable part of the United States.

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A member of the Ku Klux Klan in Charlottesville, Virginia. Picture: AFPSource:AFP

The “Calexit” initiative also would instruct the governor and congressional delegation to negotiate more autonomy for California.

Secession also has been discussed on and off for years by the far right in states including Texas, particularly when Barack Obama was president. Online, many Southern nationalists seem animated by drives to remove Confederate memorials, as happened in New Orleans and is planned in Charlottesville, Virginia. Not everyone who supports Confederate monuments wants to remove the South from the United States once again. Some supporters of the Old South say they simply want to honour ancestors who wore the grey during the Civil War. But some want to make a break.

Perhaps the United States should just let the South leave, said author Chuck Thompson.

Thompson’s 2012 book “Better Off Without ‘Em: A Northern Manifesto for Southern Secession” argued that both the United States and the South might both be best served if Southern nationalists won the argument and succeeded in forming a new nation.

The South has been at odds with the rest of the nation for generations over issues including education, race, politics, shared history and religion, Thompson said in a telephone interview, and some things just don’t change. “It’s not that just the rest of the country would be better off without them,” he said. “It’s that everyone would be better off without them, both sides.”

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