Confederate 'Stars and Bars' Flag, Wisconsin Veterans' Museum

Confederate ‘Stars and Bars’ Flag, Wisconsin Veterans’ Museum

(Trigger warning for white supremacy, racism, neo-Nazis, and other such trash.)

Recognize this? You should. It’s the Flag of the Confederate States of America. Like the United States flag, it has a star for each state in the Confederacy. This is one of the first ones ever produced, in 1861 when there were only seven secessionist states.

But if you’re like most people, you’re probably not used to the Stars and Bars. When you think “Confederate flag,” you probably think of something like this. (I will not be putting such a thing directly on the site.)

That’s the Confederate Battle Flag, or the ‘Flag of the Army of Northern Virginia,’ or the ‘Second Confederate Navy Jack,’ with a few variations for width. It was not the signifier of the state, it was the signifier of the army. It is the flag under which pro-slavery secessionist forces fought.

So, just for its own sake, this was the flag people flew when they were willing to fight and die to keep slaves. That’s bad enough. But have you ever met someone with a bumper sticker (or a tattoo) of it? They never want it to be about slavery (even though it was). It’s about ‘state’s rights.’ It’s about the right to combat an overreaching Federal government. It’s this or that or the other excuse, a defensive parry almost two centuries old.

Don’t let them get away with it. We have a right to remember what such people were like when they were not just an embarrassing side-show. In much of Europe, it’s illegal to fly the Nazi flag at all. So what have the neo-Nazis turned to as a universally recognizable symbol of white supremacy and racism?

Yup.

Up there alongside the Celtic Cross is the ol’ Battle Flag. They didn’t use the actual Confederate Flag, you’ll notice. They weren’t invoking some perceived connection to that defunct and defeated state. They explicitly use the Battle Flag.

So unless you think the Ukrainian fascist movements just have strong opinions about the right of individual states of the USA to secede from the federal government, there’s probably only one reason they’d use such a symbol.

Any guesses?

 

[sc:respoads]