One of the most important questions hovering over debates regarding the meaning of the Confederate Battle Flag is this one: “Precisely who instructed black people that this flag symbolized hatred of black people, and precisely who continues to speak this fallacy? And why?”
As the latter usually includes those pointing to the Klan, let’s look at that question. It is well-known that the initial Ku Klux Klan had no flag; the pre-WWI incarnation of the Klan carried the US flag and many images of their marches prove this. In the late 1950s resurrection of the Klan one sees the US flag, the Confederate Battle Flag, and the Gadsden flag prominently displayed in public. Not one flag, but three.
Add to this the fact that it was England and New England who populated the South with African slaves. Rhode Island surpassed Liverpool as the center of the transatlantic slave trade in the mid-1700s, and New England’s industrial base was built upon slave trading profits. It was Massachusetts tinkerer Eli Whitney’s invention in 1793 which made cotton production highly profitable, and New England mill owners became wealthy from slave-produced cotton.
If enslaving Africans is considered “hatred” of this race of people, then we should rightly condemn first the African tribes who enslaved Africans, as well as the Portuguese, Spanish, French, British and New England slave traders who brought the Africans to the New World in chains. How then, is the Confederate Battle Flag a “symbol of hatred and oppression?” The following is an insightful article by Joseph E. Fallon, writing in Chronicles Magazine in 2000.
Bernhard Thuersam, www.Circa1865.org
Attacking the Confederate Battle Flag
“The Confederate flag has become a heated topic this election year. As George W. Bush and John McCain battled in South Carolina for the Republican presidential nomination, the New York Young Republican Club invited Richard Lowry, the editor of National Review, to discuss the Republican Party’s prospects for November.
In the question-and-answer session that followed, Mr. Robert Hornak, the club’s president, asked Mr. Lowry why the Republican Party did not condemn the Confederate Battle Flag. Alleging the flag was a symbol of treason, sedition and slavery, Mr. Hornak maintained that, by not condemning it, the GOP alienates black voters, ensuring that they vote Democratic. Mr. Lowry agreed, adding that Republicans don’t condemn the Confederate flag because they want the “redneck” vote.
In attacking the flag, both gentlemen unintentionally aid their political opponents. For a more compelling case can be made against the “Stars and Stripes” as a symbol of slavery, treason and sedition than against the Confederate Battle Flag.
There was no legal right under British law for a colony to secede from the British Empire. The actions of the American revolutionaries, therefore, were treasonous and seditious; their flag was a symbol of treason and sedition.
The Stars and Stripes also symbolizes a country established as a slaveholding republic. When the Declaration of Independence was signed, the institution of slavery was legally sanctioned in all 13 colonies. There were twice as many slaves in New York as in Georgia. One of the grievances in the Declaration of Independence was London’s policy of freeing slaves – euphemistically phrased as “exciting domestic insurrection.”
In 1783, when the British army withdrew from an independent United States, at least 18,000 slaves freed by the Crown joined the British exodus.
The Stars and Stripes remained a symbol of sedition after the country achieved independence. Six years later, the first republic under the Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union was overthrown by the Constitutional Convention.
The United States recognized the right of secession even after 1789. The right of secession from the second republic was explicitly reserved by the States of Virginia, New York and Rhode Island in their documents ratifying the Constitution.
It was the Stars and Stripes, not the Confederate Battle Flag that became the symbol of sedition in 1861. Lincoln overthrew the second republic established by the U.S. Constitution when he launched his war against the South [Note: Article III, Section 3, reads: “Treason against the United States shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort.”].
As the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in the “Prize Cases” (December 1862): “[Congress] cannot declare war against a State or any number of States by virtue of any clause in the Constitution . . . [The President] has no power to initiate or declare war against a foreign nation or a domestic State . . .”
The Stars and Stripes became a symbol of total war against the innocent: Food and medicine were contraband; women, children, the sick, and the elderly became legitimate targets. The Emancipation Proclamation was not a call for liberty, but for race war [Royal Governor Lord Dunmore of Virginia emancipated slaves who would rise against their owners and join the forces of the Crown in 1775 – Lincoln emulated this in 1863].
As Lincoln stated: “I have a right to take any measure which may best subdue the enemy; nor do I urge objections of a moral nature, in view of possible consequences of insurrection and massacre at the South.”
Northern whites should not dismiss the idea that the Stars and Stripes could be banned. The [United States] flag was temporarily removed from two schoolrooms – one in California, the other in Michigan – in response to the demand of Third World militants who claimed that the flag was a symbol of “racism” and “oppression.”
As Third World immigration transforms the United States from a European-American majority to a European-American minority nation, the demand to ban the Stars and Stripes will only grow. If the Stars and Stripes is banned, Northern whites will have no one to blame but themselves. For in attacking the Confederate Battle Flag, they have provided the very arguments that most effectively undermine the legitimacy of our national flag.”
(Cultural Revolutions, Joseph E. Fallon, Chronicles, August 2000, excerpts pp. 6-7)