The Cheese Stands Alone: Vermont Secession’s Strange Bedfellows.

The Vermont secession scene is a bizarre bag of worms. Despite cursory interest from the left, the movement exists primarily as a feeble source of external validation for its leader, Rob Williams– who is all too happy to pal around with any group that spouts any “secession”-themed rhetoric, with no regard if they’re ardent white supremacists. These antics inevitably tie him into some of our usual suspects, like the League of the South and LoSer Franklin Sanders. For an excellent primer on the disgusting spectacle that is “The Second Vermont Republic,” please read this post by our friend Thomas Rowley at his blog, “Vermont Secession.”

Eight years ago the dead founder of the equally dead secesher movement, Second Vermont Republic, the Dixie singin’ Thomas H. Naylor and his Renfield-like then co-chairman, Rob Williams convened a convention in Burlington, VT to which they invited various racists and homophobes like the Hawaiian Independence Movement, the Alaska Independence Party, Exodus and, perhaps most notably, the openly racist League of the South. Laughably, Williams sat next to LoSer convicted felon and Board member Franklin Sanders and they agreed that “Secession is not a racist plot.”

A few years later when the stink of LoSer racism became so overpowering that it resulted in a piece written by the Southern Poverty Law Center ( based largely on material developed on this and two other Vermont blogs), Naylor wrote a disingenuous plea for the LoS to renounce racism. The SPLC wrote about that here

“So long as the albatross of racism hangs around its neck, the LOS can never be a truly effective partner for SVR,” Naylor wrote in July. He also suggested that the league renounce racism, recruit black members, bring in black speakers and promote Southern racial unity. “The Confederate flag,” he added, “has got to go!”

but apparently Naylor and Rob had second thoughts, so they disappeared the letter from their websites. Portions of the letter can still be found at the crypto-Fascist website run by Keith Preston called AttackTheSystem here. And, as if to underscore their change of heart, Naylor, Williams and their flack, Christopher Ketcham, attended a conference sponsored by an LoS founder, Donald Livingston. The racist bonafides of the all white session can be found in the fact that it was held at Livingston’s conference venue, his own “Abbeville Institute,” is so named for the plantation of slaver champion John Calhoun who once lectured Congress about the good things of slavery.

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