Confederate Heroes

Mark Lause lause at
Sat Mar 17 08:46:58 MST 2001

There were Confederates, of course, who repudiated their war as a "rich
man's war and a poor man's fight".  Of what's today estimated at around 1.2
enlistments in the Confederate military, only 100,000 (probably a high
estimate) were around to surrender at the end.  Most Southern whites had a
great deal more sense than their leaders.  The bulk of those old gray-clad
men who marched in the Southern Memorial Days in the 1890s were draftees who
had actually done the most honorable thing and deserted.

There were many "reconstructed rebels" like Albert Parsons, the Haymarket
martyr.  I encountered an interesting story in the _Irish World_ for 1880
about the Greenback-Laborites who won election to office in Yalabush County,
Mississippi.  These reorganized the multiracial political coalitions of
Reconstruction, if only briefly, under the slogan of a "free and fair
ballot"--that is black voting rights.  In Yalabush County, they elected a
Confederate veteran named Pearson to be sheriff.  Also living there was the
state chairman of the Greenback-Labor Party was a Captain A.T. Wimberly who
had ridden with Gen. Forrest during the war (hardly a paragon of racial
virtue).  The Democratic county committee essentially warned them repeatedly
to cease and desist.  They didn't, so the Democrats opened fire on them,
apparently killing Pearson in broad daylight in front of his own office.
Another shootout took place on election day 1880 wherein proponents of the
white Redeemer governments gunned down the editor of the Holmes County Times
and the son-in-law of A.M. West (the Mississsippian who ran in 1884 for vice
presidency on behalf of the Antimonopolists).

Southern white ex-Confederate heroes?  Absolutely.  There is a need to
recover the deeper history of the South.

Of course, they'd have not liked the term "carpetbagger," and you'd have to
be actually interested in Southern history to meet them.


Tony Abdo wrote:

> Well, I agree with Jay and Louis to this degree, the Confederacy has no
> heroes for us.       Instead, the Left has a long tradition of
> alternative heroes.....
> As Lou stated... <Our heroes are John Brown, Thaddeus Stevens, William
> Lloyd Garrison and Frederick Douglass.>
> And this is not to mention any of the latest Southern heroes, those of
> the Civil Rights Movement that occurred in the '50s and '60s.     And
> also not to mention those brave communists of the '30s, that tried to
> build (and did build) the Movement in the South.
> The problem for the Left, is that the Civil Rights Movement left little
> Left structure in the South.     It was unsuccessful in building either
> the Labor Movement as a whole, or any multi-national Left organization
> that endured.
> The South that the Civil Rights Movement had to confront, has changed
> considerably.    For two things, it is no longer a region that is Black
> and White, or principally rural in predominant character.
> The Latin influence is an undercurrent that floats South from New York
> City, north from Southern Florida, and east from Mexico.     It is
> destroying the entire duality of the traditional Southern conflict
> between THE 2 races.     Oops, there are now 3, and even 4 races living
> in the South (and that is still an undercount of the racial census,
> too).
> So Carrol's ...the Whites have to accept Black leadership... view, is
> quite a mistatement of what has to be mobilized ahead.    Leadership has
> to come from ALL ethnic commuities living in the South.    This is
> precisely identical with the situation as in the country as a whole.
> But the problem is, that in the South, the White worker is even more
> conservative than the White worker in the North.
> Carrol is most definitely absolutely right in his view, that the Black
> community will undoubtably be the most militant sector of the working
> class in fighting for change.      In this sense he is correct, that the
> leadership will come from the Black community to do something more
> than.... just submit to the bosses abuse.
> In some sense, how to relate to the White worker, is just as much a
> dilemma, as how to relate to the deeply religious worker???      What
> success would Lou, Jose, Carrol, Mark, and some of the other
> 'hardliners' have, if they started talking to the Christian worker,
> about how the Christians deserved to be thrown to the lions?     That
> the Christian inquisition and collaboration with the Nazis demonstrated
> that the Christian religion was a totally worthless and despicable
> delusion of scoundrels  and murderers (which it is)?
> We don't want to cater to backwardness, but should we cater to
> tactlessness, instead?    And this is the key to why it is important to
> construct an indigenous multi-racial Movement in the South.
> 'Outsiders' are inherently tactless to locals, when it is they that have
> control in the centers of power.
> In fact, I believe that the Southern Black community also finds itself
> at odds with Northern Black leadership circles at times (and
> vice-versa).      Traditionally, the Black community in the South, has
> also been much more conservative, in certain ways, than the Black
> community in Northern cities.
> The Black Panther Party was of Oakland, MLK of the South, and Malcolm of
> New York City.     So even within the Black community, regional
> differences have played an important role.
> In regards to this...
> <This is something I (Louis Proyect) received offlist from an African
> student:
> Closer to home, I'm wondering what mental gymnastics must be required to
> lament the south, the south of oligarchs and slave owners no less, being
> treated as a defeated enemy--- and all this on your list of all
> places!!>
> The South was home in all its bitterness to the slave also.     The cool
> breeze that arrives in a Southern night has no slave owner or
> 'oligarch'.      Nobody on this list has done the 'mental gymnastics' to
> lament the downfall of slave ownership.
> Black and White, we're just looking for a breeze to return to the
> Southern night.     (And note.... this breeze can't be much found in
> Houston today.    Too damn smoggy.)
> Tony

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