First Southern National Congress a Resounding Success
Marion, VA; December 11, 2008 – Over one hundred Southern men and women, from all walks of life and from fourteen States, gathered near Hendersonville, NC December 5 through December 7 to convene the First Southern National Congress (SNC). This historic meeting at the Kanuga Conference Center in the shadow of the Blue Ridge was the first all-South congress since 1861. It was a “resounding success,” according to Thomas Moore of Charlottesville, VA, who was elected Chairman.
Delegates attended from the following States: Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Missouri, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia.
The SNC is a representative assembly of citizens of the Southern States, providing an alternative, legitimate forum to express Southern grievances and advance Southern interests in a way that is no longer possible through today’s political process or the major political parties.
Eminent historian and South Carolina Delegate Dr. Clyde Wilson said, “The SNC will reclaim the political legacy of great Southerners like Thomas Jefferson, Patrick Henry, and John C. Calhoun. That legacy is individual liberty and a small central government limited to its enumerated powers; and which is the creation, the servant, and the agent of the sovereign people acting through their respective States. But these principles enacted in the Constitution of 1789 have been violated. The Federal Government today is engaged in ‘a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object, evincing a design to reduce us under absolute Despotism,’ to borrow the words of Jefferson in the Declaration of Independence.”
In his opening Charge to the Delegates, Chairman Thomas Moore observed, “We Southerners are well acquainted with the attacks on our symbols, our heroes, our heritage. This is bad enough, but it only highlights the deeper attack on our liberty, our prosperity, and our very identity as a People. An authentic Southern voice is suppressed by a hostile culture, and our elected leaders have either failed us or actively betrayed us. The U.S. Government no longer represents the people’s interests; it represents the interests of the highest bidder, the big corporations and money power. We Southerners have been among the most loyal and patriotic Americans, but in sadness we must acknowledge that Washington, DC has forfeited its moral authority by its folly and its unlawful acts. Now the people of the South who still love liberty and justice have no choice but to withdraw their consent from this corrupt Regime. However, withdrawing our consent is not enough. We must have alternative, legitimate institutions to which we can transfer our consent. This is the principle behind the SNC.”
Chairman Moore explained that when the duly elected or appointed “magistrates” fail in their sworn duty to uphold the law and safeguard liberty, then any People worthy of the name will bring forth new leaders to act on their behalf. Political sovereignty resides in the whole People under a sovereign God. When oppressed, the People have the right to organize the collective means to defend their interests. Such means derive their legitimacy from a commitment to the welfare of the community. This is a constant theme in Western history and a hallowed principle in English common law. Not only does this right have support in history and politics, it also has theological sanction in the Christian doctrine of “interposition of the lesser magistrate.” That is, when then higher magistrates fail or betray their public trust, lesser magistrates must step forward and “interpose” themselves between the People and the abuses of despotism. This is the basis on which the SNC rightfully claims its moral authority.
A proven, historical model for the SNC comes from America’s own history – the First Continental Congress. The Crown-authorized governors and colonial assemblies were still the “legal” governments at the time. But they represented the exploitative interests of the British ruling class, not the interests of the American people. Colonial Committees of Correspondence appointed delegates to an alternative forum, and delegates met in Philadelphia in April 1774 to represent their States’ interests and voice their grievances.
In keeping with its mission to speak for Southern interests, the SNC debated and passed a number of resolutions called “Remonstrances and Petitions for the Redress of Grievances.” These resolutions petitioned the Federal Government to cease its abuses, usurpations, and unlawful acts in the following areas:
Failure to secure the borders and promoting of mass immigration that threatens to overwhelm our communities;
Just law, protection of liberty, and the threat of rogue government;
Just war and lawful defense, including proper (Constitutional) declaration of war;
Southern agriculture and the rights of smallholders vs. corporate agribusiness;
Sound money, economic policy, and Government crimes against our livelihoods;
States’ sovereignty over their natural resources, especially along the Gulf Coast;
The individual citizen’s unalienable right of armed self-defense.
The debates on these measures were marked by an unusual degree of knowledge, insight, dignity, public-spiritedness, and respect for the views of others. And there were dissenting views.
Internationally respected author and President of the Middlebury Institute, Kirkpatrick Sale, was a South Carolina Delegate. Mr. Sale noted that, “It was an audacious move to try to create a new political voice for the South for the first time in a century-and-a-half, but you brought it off, and with dignity and authority.”
Newly elected Vice-Chairman, Mark Thomey of Louisiana, said, “If you believe what you hear in the popular media today, we Southerners are just too backwards to be able to put together a coherent thought, much less assert our rights and govern ourselves. This Congress, and the Southern men and women who instituted it and participated in its debates, have thoroughly exploded that worn-out mythology.”
The SNC is now exploring ways in which it can operate and conduct business between annual plenary sessions through the creation of a secure Internet forum. Southerners wishing to become Delegates to the “Virtual Congress” or to future plenary sessions should apply via the SNC website, www.thesnc.org.
Qualifications to become a Delegate are as follows:
There are no restrictions based on race, creed, or sex.
A Delegate must be a resident of one of the 14 Southern States cited above.
A Delegate must be 18 years of age on the date.
A Delegate must be willing to affirm the following: I believe that I have a duty to my home State. I believe that the Southern people are a distinct people. I believe in the right of voice, the right of preservation, and the right of recognition, for the South and her people.
If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest of freedom, go home from us in peace. We ask not your counsels nor your arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains set lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen.
What is liberty without wisdom and without virtue?