Monday, 13 July 2015 00:00

Our Neo-Confederacy

Written by  Salim Muwakkil | In These Times
Jalaluddin Abdul Hamid shouts, ‘Take it down!’ in response to a pro-Confederate-flag demonstration outside the South Carolina State House on June 27. Jalaluddin Abdul Hamid shouts, ‘Take it down!’ in response to a pro-Confederate-flag demonstration outside the South Carolina State House on June 27. Lexey Swall / Getty Images

The flag may be wiped from state grounds and license plates, but its ideals live on in the GOP agenda.

It is an irony that the symbol of the old Confederacy has become the most prominent victim of the June 17 massacre in Charleston, S.C., rather than the three men and six women who were slaughtered at church.

After photos surfaced of the shooter posing with the flag, a bipartisan chorus of politicians, including at least a dozen Southern Republicans, denounced the flag's display on state grounds and license plates.

Though the Stars and Bars served as the battle flag for the Confederate Army, it only became a totem of the South in opposition to the integrationist push of the 1950s and 1960s, when it was adopted by the Dixiecrats—Southern Democrats repelled by their party's embrace of civil rights.

Those disgruntled white Democrats were aggressively recruited by the GOP through Nixon's Southern Strategy, which was exceedingly successful in transforming the Dixiecrat South into Republican central. Alienated Republican Michael Lofgen, a former staff member of the House and Senate Budget Committee, told MSNBC's Chris Hayes in 2013 that the GOP has become, in the past few decades, “an insurrectionist, neo-Confederate party.” Or, as Paul Krugman put it in a June 22 column, “Race made Reaganism possible.”

Some see the Tea Party as the latest manifestation of the GOP's neo-Confederate march. Law professor Ian Haney Lopez, author of Dog Whistle Politics: How Coded Racial Appeals Have Reinvented Racism and Wrecked the Middle Class, argues that the Tea Party's appeal has much to do with its coded racist messaging. The modern Republican Party—with its voter suppression schemes, states’ rights fetish, and steep cuts to government jobs and services that most benefit black communities—has absorbed the Confederate message. Its platform is in line with the principles espoused by neo-Confederate white separatist groups like the Council of Conservative Citizens, which donated $25,000 to GOP candidates in the last election cycle. 

There is little doubt that the ascension of the first black president has contributed to this neo-Confederate boomlet. Obama's election exacerbated anxiety among America's white majority about the demographic changes that will, according to the U.S. Census, render it a minority in the next three decades. According to a 2014 Bloomberg poll, most Americans believe black-white “race relations” have worsened since Obama's election. In its official statement responding to the massacre at Charleston's Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) noted that racist hate groups are on the rise. The Charleston shooting was “an obvious hate crime by someone who feels threatened by our country’s changing demographics and the increasing prominence of African Americans in public life,” said SPLC President Richard Cohen. The most prominent example is the presence of a black man in the White House.

Every week, it seems we're presented with new evidence (often videotaped) of ongoing racial turmoil in Obama's America, incidents so egregious they've sparked national protests and given birth to the Black Lives Matter movement.

Perhaps the savagery of a rampage in a sacred sanctuary will hasten some racist white Republicans to reappraise their views. The victims' families' expressions of Christian forgiveness won many whites' admiration; yet those conciliatory attitudes disquieted many black activists, a growing number of whom are increasingly militant—frustrated with the seeming acceleration of police abuse and the concomitant lack of racial progress on other fronts.

Indeed, it seems Republicans' sympathy for African Americans goes only so far. The GOP's neo-Confederate agenda is almost diametrically opposed to the interests of the black electorate. A glance at the platforms of the cavalcade of presidential candidates now lining up for the Republican primaries reveals a solid consensus behind the neo-Confederate agenda and little support for measures that strike at the heart of structural racism, like expanding voting access, creating more federal jobs and reforming criminal justice.

In light of the GOP's Southern dominance, the once-revered Confederate battle flag has served its purpose. The GOP elephant is the only totem now relevant. The flag is dispensable; the agenda isn’t.

Original article on In These Times

Read 702 times

Latest Economic and Social Justice News

  • Washington Supreme Court Rules All SeaTac Workers Must Be Paid $15 Minimum Wage

    SeaTac workers have a reason to celebrate after the Washington Supreme Court ruled 5-4 yesterday that the $15 minimum wage passed by a recent voter referendum should apply to thousands of airport employees. SeaTac surrounds Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, and many of its 28,000 residents are employed by companies near and

    Read More
  • The Racist Roots of the GOP’s Favorite New Immigration Plan

    Birthright citizenship is enshrined in the 14th Amendment, but Donald Trump and other candidates are keeping alive the idea that some Americans should not have equal rights at birth.

    Read More
  • Our Perceptions About the “Unworthy Poor” Haven’t Changed

    I first learned about the history of the “unworthy poor” when I pursued my Master of Social Work degree. I read about the social movements in the early 20th century and how they tended to divide people in need into people whose poverty was outside of their control – for example, widows

    Read More
  • Passing the Torch: From Julian Bond to Black Lives Matter

    Civil-rights pioneer Julian Bond died this week at the age of 75. In 1960, as a student at the historically black Morehouse College in Atlanta, Bond led nonviolent protests against racially segregated facilities like restaurants, movie theaters and parks. He co-founded SNCC, the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, and spent years

    Read More
  • The War on Women in Israel

    Sexist laws and institutions threaten all women in Israel, but Arab women are beset from all sides. In 2009, a couple from the village of Taybeh in central Israel were in the midst of a bitter separation. Their marriage had already dissolved in acrimony, with various legal battles under way,

    Read More
  • Where are Chicago's poor white neighborhoods?

    Poverty touches all races in Chicago, but it's more visible among blacks and Latinos. Here's why that happens and why it matters.

    Read More
  • Why erratic schedules are one of the worst parts of low-wage work

    Life in a low-wage job — at a restaurant or retail store, for example — has never been easy. You spend hours on your feet and deal with angry customers. And for parents, finding affordable child care can be a struggle. A recent management trend has made the lives of low-wage workers

    Read More
  • On 80th Anniversary, Progressives Call for Expansion of Social Security

    WASHINGTON—Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC) Co-Chairs Reps. Raúl M. Grijalva (D-AZ) and Keith Ellison (D-MN) released the following statement celebrating the 80th anniversary of Social Security. “For 80 years, the promise of Social Security has delivered a secure retirement and vital disability support to countless Americans. This is an investment that we all

    Read More
  • How Childcare Actually Causes Poverty in America

    If the people who prepare your lunch deserve a living wage, the people preparing our toddlers for school do too. Is the most precious thing in your life worth more than a poverty wage? Activists are pushing for a $15 hourly base wage for preschool teachers and childcare workers. Many

    Read More
  • For Many Americans, the Great Recession Never Ended. Is the Fed About to Make It Worse?

    Why it’s a mistake for the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates this year. When the Federal Reserve considers raising interest rates on July 28—and then again every six weeks after—MyAsia Reid, of Philadelphia, will be paying close attention. Despite holding a bachelor’s degree in computer science, completing a series

    Read More
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 6
  • 7
  • 8
  • 9
  • 10
  • 11
  • 12

Featured News

  • Washington Supreme Court Rules All SeaTac Workers Must Be Paid $15 Minimum Wage +

    SeaTac workers have a reason to celebrate after the Washington Supreme Court ruled 5-4 yesterday that the $15 minimum wage Read More
  • How the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Keeps Working People Poor and Destroys the Environment +

    The Chamber of Commerce is a juggernaut in the American political system, and it doesn't use that power to fight Read More
  • Banking On Bondage: Private Prisons And Mass Incarceration +

    Executive Summary The imprisonment of human beings at record levels is both a moral failure and an economic one — especially Read More
  • Congress Is Sick of the Secrecy Around the TPP +

    And Senator Sherrod Brown is blocking a key Obama nominee to show it. The Trans-Pacific Partnership is in its final Read More
  • The Racist Roots of the GOP’s Favorite New Immigration Plan +

    Birthright citizenship is enshrined in the 14th Amendment, but Donald Trump and other candidates are keeping alive the idea that Read More
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 6
  • 7
  • 8
  • 9
  • 10
  • 11
  • 12
  • 13
  • 14
  • 15
  • 16
  • 17
  • 18
  • 19
  • 20
  • 21
  • 22
  • 23
  • 24
  • 25
  • 26
  • 27
  • 28
  • 29
  • 30
  • 31
  • 32
  • 33
  • 34
  • 35
  • 36
  • 37
  • 38
  • 39
  • 40
  • 41
  • 42
  • 43
  • 44
  • 45
  • 46
  • 47
  • 48
  • 49
  • 50
  • 51
  • 52
  • 53
  • 54
  • 55

ESJ Calls

Featured Economic and Social Justice News

  • Washington Supreme Court Rules All SeaTac Workers Must Be Paid $15 Minimum Wage +

    SeaTac workers have a reason to celebrate after the Washington Supreme Court ruled 5-4 yesterday that the $15 minimum wage Read More
  • The Racist Roots of the GOP’s Favorite New Immigration Plan +

    Birthright citizenship is enshrined in the 14th Amendment, but Donald Trump and other candidates are keeping alive the idea that Read More
  • Our Perceptions About the “Unworthy Poor” Haven’t Changed +

    I first learned about the history of the “unworthy poor” when I pursued my Master of Social Work degree. I Read More
  • Passing the Torch: From Julian Bond to Black Lives Matter +

    Civil-rights pioneer Julian Bond died this week at the age of 75. In 1960, as a student at the historically Read More
  • The War on Women in Israel +

    Sexist laws and institutions threaten all women in Israel, but Arab women are beset from all sides. In 2009, a Read More
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 6
  • 7
  • 8
  • 9
  • 10
  • 11
  • 12
  • 13

Does Your Legislator Support the ERA

 

ERAMap