I attended a reunion of radicals this weekend.
It has been years since most of us were League of the South activists who regularly attended rallies around the South championing the cause of secession or protesting things like Southern demographic displacement, refugee resettlement or the removal of Confederate monuments. My days as an activist began in Obama’s second term and petered out after Charlottesville.
No one has really changed since those days. Some people who attended those rallies were old and have grown older. Some people became discouraged and dropped out of politics. Many others were young and have become middle aged. It mainly seems that those of us who were young back then have gotten married and have lots of kids. We have less time on our hands to attend radical protests.
It wasn’t all for naught:
I’ve been maintaining this website for over a decade now. In that time, I have kept tabs on the growth of secessionist sentiment. In between 2012 and 2014, it was common to see polls which indicated that around 25% of Americans supported secession. The temper tantrum of secession petitions that followed Barack Obama’s reelection in 2012 showed that secession already had some traction even then in the Republican base and all across regions of the country and was strongest in Texas.
In between 2014 and 2021, support for secession rose from 29.7% of Republicans and 21% of Democrats favoring it to 52% of Trump voters and 41% of Biden voters. 84% of Trump voters and 80% of Biden voters also see the other party as a danger to democracy. 57% of Trump voters and 51% of Biden voters strongly agree that the other side is a danger to democracy.
Needless to say, this was a major topic of discussion. The polls clearly show that secession and angst about anti-white discrimination and demographic displacement have triumphed and have gone mainstream among White Southern Republican and Independent voters. This has also happened over the last 7 years. We’ve encountered greater resistance and have become discouraged and more disorganized since Charlottesville at the very moment that our cause was reaching a tipping point.
In retrospect, our activism was a symptom of the growth of this sentiment. Millions of people became radicalized during the Obama years. It wasn’t small organizations like the League of the South or websites like Occidental Dissent that caused this. It was the growing perception among ordinary White people that America was in terminal decline. It was events playing out on the national stage which were driving this. Donald Trump came along and harnessed this sentiment and used it to get himself elected by giving these people false hope. After he failed to “Take Back America” and Joe Biden was elected though, millions more people were radicalized. Joe Biden’s extreme actions are throwing fuel on the fire.
As we settled down, our message has been heavily censored and we have grown less organized and less active than we were just a few years ago, we have taken our greatest leap forward in public opinion polls. The ruling class has discredited itself with its extreme actions while we have mostly sat at home and watched. We didn’t come out and engage with the George Floyd protests. We weren’t in Washington for the Capitol Siege either. It was a bunch of MAGA normies who stormed the Capitol.
Look at it this way: all of those Deep State leaks and plots to undermine Trump, all of those mobs who vandalized and toppled historic monuments, all of that sanctimonious preaching about “white supremacy” and systematic racism, all of that censorship on social media, the collapse of the border, the vaccine mandates and lockdowns, the impeachments, all of those Black Lives Matter riots and attacks on the police made our case for us and far more persuasively than we could have ever done by exposing ourselves to the risks of being in the public spotlight. They have always been in the driver’s seat.
Every toppled monument was a tear in the social fabric and a new source of grievance and alienation. They brought down the monuments and Trump at the cost of radicalizing millions of new people and deepening polarization. Everything that I have seen suggests that we are better off when the other side feels compelled to “do something” because their extreme actions drive more people into our camp. Vastly fewer people were sympathetic to our ideas when we were free to make our case on the internet and in the public square without harassment. Normies see Antifa as their enemy now.
If this country ever comes apart again, it won’t be because of anything we do. It will be because of what they do. This is the way it happened the last time around with the John Brown raid, the reaction to the Dred Scott decision and the election of Abraham Lincoln. It was this series of events which suddenly pushed millions of people over the edge and destroyed their confidence in the Union and the Constitution. Southerners ceased to believe that a Union under the control of Abraham Lincoln and the Republican Party would respect their rights. It was that perception which made disunion inevitable.
How close are we to that threshold today? Does the average Trump supporter or Republican believe that a government controlled by Joe Biden and the Democrats will protect their constitutional rights?
Note: Going from 25% to 44% overall support for secession in the South and 66% support among Southern Republicans and 50% among Southern Independents in half a decade ISN’T THAT BAD. Just saying. We have no reason to be discouraged.