From Charleston to Rhodesia...

Online activists are calling for the Confederate flag that remains flying outside South Carolina's state house after nine parishioners were shot dead at the Emanuel AME Church in Charleston to be removed on the grounds that it is "insulting" to the victims of the shooting. Gawker reports that, in fact, every flag at the state house is flying at half mast in honor of the slain—except the Confederate one! Apparently because the Stars-and-Bars is so revered that it requires an act of the state legislature to even lower it. So, the flag of slavery stays proudly at full mast in the wake of a massacre of Black folks at a church associated with the anti-slavery and civil rights struggles. The mind boggles.

It gets worse. ABC notes:

Gov. Nikki Haley, who was in tears during a news conference this morning on the mass shooting at the historically black church, previously rejected the notion of removing the flag at a debate last year, saying it was a "sensitive issue" but that she didn't believe the flag presented an image problem for the state because she never had "one conversation with a single CEO about the Confederate flag."

We don't need your tears, Gov. Haley. We need you to take down that flag. Meanwhile, Time reports that the apprehended suspect had a Facebook page that showed him decked out in white-supremacist regalia:

The [Facebook] photo, thought to be of Dylann Storm Roof, shows a young man wearing a black fleece jacket. Affixed to the right breast are two flags, one for apartheid-era South Africa, and another for the former colony of Rhodesia, which is now known as Zimbabwe.

And he also had a "Confederate States of America" license plate, Gawker tells us. Will people finally start to get it now? The Confederate flag is no different than the apartheid flag or the Rhodesian flag. It is equally a symbol of white supremacy. Arguably, it is even worse, as even apartheid South Africa and Rhodesia were not actually predicated on chattel slavery, as the Confederacy was. Hopefully, this horror will turn up the pressure on Confederacy nostalgists and bogus "libertarians" who peddle the revisionist lie that the Civil War was about "state's rights" (sic!) and not slavery.

Alas, some liberal responses to the Charleston attack have also been problematic. New York's Mayor Bill De Blasio said: "We've seen so many tragedies in our high schools and college campuses like this—so many related to mental health problems, so many mental health problems that in many cases were noticed and not acted upon. So there's a lot that we have to unravel here." (SI Live) This isn't the first time that left-liberal figures have loaned legitimacy to calls for a therapuetic police state in which there is prior restraint of those held to be "mentally ill." This misreading of the problem is not only lubricating an assault on freedom, but it is a distraction from the actual roots of the problem. As we've had to say before: fascism is not a mental illness.

Stars & Bars 'White Man's Flag'

A little corrective perspective to all the sanitizing revisionism about the Confederacy os provided on the website of anti-racist activist Asa Gordon, who notes the article in the Savannah Morning News of April 23, 1863 by the paper's publisher William Tappan Thompson, who helped design the Confederate flag. In the article, he explicitly hailed it as the "White Man's Flag," and explianed his intentions, particularly in the white outline of the Southern cross: "As a people, we are fighting to maintain the Heaven-ordained supremacy of the white man over the inferior or colored race."

Not about racism? Really?

Jeb Bush: 'I don’t know' if Charleston attack was racist

Survivors famously report that the shooter in the Charleston massacre said that Blacks have "raped our [white] women, and you are taking over the country. I have to do what I have to do." But Republicans are still voicing the most vulgar denialism. Salon reports that Rick Santorum and Lindsey Graham speculated that the shooter was a "whacked out" opponent of "religious liberty," just one of many "people out there looking for Christians to kill them." And Jeb Bush told attendees at a Faith and Freedom Coalition summit in Washington today that he doesn’t "know what was on the mind or the heart of the man who committed these atrocious crimes."

Their denailism is a form of support for racism, as we all understand vis-a-vis Holocaust revisionism. It's certainly an historical irony given the politics of the Civil War and Reconstruction, but it could not be more evdient that the GOP is today the party of white supremacy and Confederacy nostalgism. This Boston Globe cartoon says it all:

Several online petitions have been launched demanding that the Confederate flag at the South Carolina state house be taken down. Support them.

Charleston shooter's anti-Semitism —surprise!

What is now thought to be the Internet manifesto of Dylann Roof (perhaps in emulation of Anders Breivik) is online at Huffington Post—along with some extremely unpleasant photos of the punk (be forewarned), including some in which he poses sullenly with the Confederate flag. Roof cites the Trayvon Martin case as "the event that truly awakened me." He cites the Council of Conservative Citizens (whose website seems to be down at the moment—wonder why?) as part of his "awakening"—upon googling "black on White crime," he found there "pages upon pages of these brutal black on White murders." Next, "I researched [sic] deeper and found out what was happening in Europe... Europe is the homeland of White people, and in many ways the situation is even worse there. From here I found out about the Jewish problem and other issues facing our race, and I can say today that I am completely racially aware."

Truning his attention back to the US, he finds that Black uppityness and protests are due to "Jewish agitation of the black race."

He concludes with his breakdown of groups he sees as a threat to white America—Blacks, Jews, Hispanics and East Asians (in that order, and thusly named). The section on Jews includes such gems as: "Just like niggers, most jews are always thinking about the fact that they are jewish." And: "I dont pretend to understand why jews do what they do. They are enigma." (Sic.)

SC gov blinks on Confederate flag —score!

Under mounting national pressure, Gov. Haley (who is actually of Indian Sikh background) is now calling for the Confederate flag to be removed from the state house. However, it still takes an act of the legislature to make it happen. (NBC)

It has been correctly pointed out to us that we've been making the common error of referring to the Confederate battle flag as the "Stars & Bars." The Stars & Bars was actually the so-called "First Confederate national flag," while the classic Confederate flag with the stars arranged in a Southern Cross, also known as the "Stainless Banner," was that used on the battle-field. In May 1863, it became the national flag of the Confederacy, because it was perceived that the Stars & Bars insufficiently differed from the Union flag.

Confederate flag protesters: 'Bring it down'

Inspiring footage on Reuters today of hundreds of South Carolina residents, Black and white, rallying in the sweltering heat at the state house to demand that the Confederate flag come down. NPR runs a story that commits the same error of referring to the battle flag as the "stars and bars," but provides some background to the current controversy. A 1994 "non-binding referendum placed on the GOP primary ballot found that three-in-four voters said the flag should keep flying." We aren't sure why the issue only went before Republican voters. In any event, as a "compromise" in 2000, the battle flag was removed from atop the capitol dome and placed next to the Confederate monument on the state house grounds. However, as a part of that compromise, "lowering the flag requires approval of the Legislature, which is why even after Haley ordered the American and South Carolina flags ordered to half-staff following [the] massacre, the Confederate flag remained at full staff." (And as CNN notes, the legislature doesn't convene again until January.)

NPR also notes that several Southern states have incorporated elements of the Confederate flag into their official state flags. Georgia's flag was changed to incorporate part of the Confederate flag into its own in 1956 (just as the Civil Rights movement was getting off the ground, note). In 2003, a new state flag was adopted instead drawing "from parts of the actual flag of the Confederate States of America and not the Confederate battle flag." (Meaning the the actual "Stars and Bars.") Kind of a lateral move, at best. We've noted how racists continue to hide behind these state flags, giving them a weasily deniability, as if Confederacy-nostalgia were somehow less noxious for being officially embraced!

Mississippi remains the only state that still incorporates the battle flag into its official flag. Perversely, it is also the state with the highest percentage of African Americans. May the "Bring it Down" movement spread there next.

SC Confederate flag comes down! (For a minute...)

A woman named Bree Newsome just scaled the flagpole in front of the South Carolina state capitol and took down the Confederate flag. She was then arrested, and the flag raised again—of course. Check out the video at Mother Jones...

Wave of racist church-torchings across South?

It has received frightfully little (any?) mainstream media coverage, but the Southern Povery Law Center reported June 26 that "[i]n what may not be a coincidence, a string of nighttime fires have damaged or destroyed at least six predominately black churches in four southern states in the past week." Arsonists started at least three of the fires, while other causes are being examined in the others. The fires are reported from Knoxville, Tenn., Charlotte, NC, Macon, Ga., and Gibson County, Tenn.—this last a landmark structure built in the 1800s, and completely destroyed. The cause of that fire remains under investigation.

Southern church-torchings continue

A fire has heavily damaged a the Mount Zion AME Church in Greeleyville, SC—which was rebuilt after it was burned down by members of the Ku Klux Klan in 1995. This brings to seven the number of Black churches to burn in the South since the Charleston incident. (Heavy)

South Carolina removes Confederate flag from state house

South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley signed into law a bill on July 9 to remove the Confederate flag from the state's legislature. The South Carolina Senate had approved the bill two days earlier; It was then introduced in the South Carolina House for approval. The amendment states that the only flags allowed on state grounds will be the US flag and the South Carolina flag and that the Confederate flag will be transported to the South Carolina Confederate Relic Room & Military Museum to be put on display. (Jurist)

Here's some words and images on the mass mobilization that brought the welcome development about from photojournalist John Penley in The Villager...

'Heritage not hate'? Funny about all the swastikas then...

It's almost comforting to see white supremacists show their true colors, as the Loyal White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan did in their march on the South Carolina statehouse grounds July 18, adangle with both Confederate battle flags and Nazi swastikas! Some were wearing black paramilitary unifroms with armbands that combined both symbols. Great PR, guys—please, keep it up! Fortunately, they were massively outnumbered by mostly Black counter-demonstrators, who gave them an earful and a half. Writes Revolution News: "During the brief KKK rally every dehumanizing racial slur against people of color that could be thought of was yelled in the faces of the Columbia residents who came to tell the Klan that they were not welcome in their town. Klan members also made statements about their hate for Jewish people and made a display of stomping the Israeli flag in the ground."

Devastating take-down of Confederacy revisionism

Maybe they'll believe it if ti comes from a man in a uniform. West Point historian Col. Ty Seidule has a devastating video on Facebook that "settles the debate once and for all." Of course that's quite a claim for a five-minute video, but he indeed deflty demolishes the revisionist arguments that the Civil War "wasn't about slavery," and he obviously has the scholarly chops to back up his claims. Very refreshing.

Interestingly, the video was produced by Prager University, which Raw Story informs us was founded by conservative commentator Dennis Prager. So even sectors of the right seem to be waking up to how the Confederacy-nostalgia yahooism is hurting them...