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Exclusive Interview With South Carolina Secessionist Party founder James Bessenger

By Adam Seaman, contributor at American Third Party Report (ATPR)

Earlier today I e-mailed James Bessenger, founder of the South Carolina Secessionist Party 10 questions for an interview. I did so because of an article I read today about this party’s plan to hold a Confederate Flag Raising Rally in Columbia, SC on the anniversary of it’s removal from the capitol grounds 1 year ago July 10th. I asked him about this and more…

ATPR: What is the South Carolina Secessionist Party and What do you stand for?

Mr. Bessenger: The South Carolina Secessionist Party is a grass-roots organization with the goal of restoring honor, integrity, tradition and Sovereignty to the State of South Carolina through political activism and the electoral process. We consider ourselves representative of the constitutional minded people of South Carolina and strive to restore the rights secured by our forefathers for all South Carolinians. Except for a few issues (immigration, etc.) we are often compared, in policy, to the Libertarian Party.

ATPR: Most people are unaware that many of the states that formed the Confederacy we’re actually independent republics for a short period time (the time between them leaving the union and joining the confederacy). Your Facebook page flies that South Carolina flag of the Republic, is this what your main goal is? To be a free and independent Palmetto Republic?

Mr. Bessenger: Yes. Ultimately we seek to restore South Carolina to her rightful place among the nation’s of the world.

ATPR: How would the SCSP achieve this? (revolution, elections, run candidates, protests, etc.)

Mr Bessenger: The South Carolina Secessionist Party does not advocate or promote armed rebellion or violent revolution, but rather the education of the People of South Carolina to the failed experiment of the Union. Electing people with a heart for our State and Her People and the desire to restore true republican government, we believe, will inevitably lead to secession.

ATPR: In July you plan to raise the Stars & Bars in Columbia again. First time since it was taken down I believe. What is the motive behind this demonstration?

Mr. Besseneger: A common misunderstanding, the flag that was removed and that we will raise is the Confederate battle flag. The Stars and Bars is actually the nick-name of the First National Flag of the Confederacy. We intend to raise the flag on the anniversary of its removal last year for the purposes of defying the action take by our State legislature without the input of the People, to show that those actions will not be forgotten, and in a show of solidarity with our States Confederate forefathers who gave up everything including their lives in defense of our State and it’s people. They deserve our respect and the preservation of their memory and honor.

ATPR: I lived in North Carolina for about a year and the difference is obvious. The South is a country unto its own and many people would rather have it that way. How have you been perceived in public in South Carolina? (support and/or opposition)

Mr Besseneger: For those who who see only the name of the organization or the Sovereignty Flag (similar in appearance to the Battle Flag, but predates the Battle Flag) that we have adopted, we meet some resistance and hesitation. However, for those who have read our platform and heard our message and positions, we have been received very well.

ATPR: Let’s say I’m a Confederate who loves my heritage but I don’t live in South Carolina, who would you recommend I support and/or join to help further the cause?

Mr Bessenger: It is important to understand that we are not a Heritage Preservation organization. We support efforts to preserve Confederate Heritage, but it is not our primary function. That being said, I would encourage someone in that situation not to vote wholesale for any party, candidate or organization , but to thoroughly line them up with your personal beliefs, and not compromise your values. If something like that doesn’t exist, create it.

ATPR: What do you say to those out there who automatically denounce you as racists and bigots? What do you say to them to disprove that in their minds?

Mr Bessenger: I would ask them to prove that. Those are hefty assertions to make about total strangers. I presume they would be assuming that we are in favor of or promoting slavery or racism but that is untrue entirely. We stand for the People of South Carolina All of the People of South Carolina. We are proud to have members of most races and multiple religions. That is a credit to those individuals who took the time and possessed the maturity to be objective and hear what we have to say. People look at the confederate flag and see what they want, but I see pride in the South. It’s such a powerful symbol; I know some friends who even have the flag on their bedding from

ATPR: Historically, what person represents the values of your party and its platform best and why?

Mr. Bessenger: It’s hard to narrow it down to one, so I’ll narrow it down to the 56 brave men who signed the Declaration of Independence. They put there names to paper in defiance of a corrupt and tyrannical government for simple purpose of standing up for the People their colonies. They bucked the system for the betterment of their People. I like to think that’s what we are doing today.

ATPR: What would an independent South Carolina look like 10 years after the fact?

Mr. Bessenger: The first ten years would be complicated. Fortunately we have a similar structure to the federal government, but on the State level, so the transition would not be too foreign in that respect. South Carolina is currently on par with Ireland in terms of population, GDP, military power (army and air national guard), while surpassing them in energy with our multiple nuclear plants and being far less socialistic. It would be an adjustment, but South Carolina would be served well by Her access to the sea, Her natural resources, Her lack of international enemies and the spirit of Her People. We would prosper.

ATPR: Do you support any other aspiring freedom loving nations out there in the world and why?

Mr. Bessenger: As a general rule, I support any People who seek to free themselves from a government that mistreats them or fails to properly serve or represent them. I’ve been very watchful over the situation in Catalonia and Spain, and feel the People of Catalonia are capable of governing themselves and that they should be allowed to do so.

For more information on the South Carolina Secessionist Party visit theirFacebook page

First Annual Flag Raising Rally Event Page

Buy a South Carolina Sovereignty flag Here


  1. Rblee22468 April 7, 2016

    Is this guy a moron? Outside of the one armed by the Federal Government, South Carolina has NO military at all. The Civil War was a completely different time. Weaponry was very different. South Carolina has no industry to build real war machines like fighter jets, drones, tanks. Your seccesionist dreams are just that, dreams which will never happen. This dudes a total loser who couldn’t secede his way out of a paper bag much less a Union of States.

  2. JACK SMITH April 6, 2016

    I am a member of the “Sons of Confederate Veterans” in the Commonwealth of Virginia.I plan on being at the Ceremony on the State House grounds in Columbia on July,10th 2016 to enjoy and witness the raising again of the “Stars and Bars”. My Great Great Grandfather, Captain Harry Bryant Gibson in E. Company 2nd.South Carolina Regiment, under the command of Capt. J.D. Graham. On July 3, 1863 in Gettysburg, Pa. the Capt. was wounded severely in his left leg by the cannonadina preceding Pickett’s Charge,a wound that necessitated amputation. Previously in the Spring of 1862, at the Battle of “Malvern Hill” Private Gibson bravely under Federal fire noticed when the Confederates were in temporary retreat the Battle Flag was left behind. Pvt. Gibson spurred his horse and recovered the flag, though the staff was shattered by enemy fire.Having the excellent education afforded him by his Plantation owning father, was promoted to the rank of Captaincy in the Confederate Army. J.C. Smith ( SCV )

  3. Mark Seidenberg April 4, 2016


    Another suggested read is “The Confederate Minority in California”, by Benjamin Franklin Gilbert.

    California Historical Society Quarterly, Vol. 20, No. 2 (Jan. 1941) pp. 154-170.

    Sincerely, Mark Seidenberg, Chairman, American Independent Party of California.

  4. Mark Seidenberg April 3, 2016


    My suggestion in reading was a book forward by Governor Ronald Reagan of California in 1967. The book
    was authored by Simon Ide (brother of William Ide) from an entry in the Congressional Record in 1880.

    Title of the book was WHO CONQUERED CALIFORNIA?: The Conquest of California By The BEAR FLAG PARTY
    – A Biographical sketch of the Life of William B. Ide .

    The BEAR FLAG PARTY is the oldest political party in California. That would be a great name for a party
    currently in California if someone was interested in forming anew political party in California.

    I am at a total loss as to why the South Carolina party wants the California Republic flag to go up in flames!?

    Sincerely, Mark Seidenberg, Chairman, American Independent Party of California

  5. NewFederalist April 3, 2016

    Mark- you have the most fascinating historical trivia I have ever read. I have no idea if any of it is true but it is really interesting in any case.

  6. Mark Seidenberg April 3, 2016

    I just looked at the Facebook website of the South Carolina Secessionist Party and it shows the flag of the
    State of California in flames. Is that a friendly act to the people of California!? My suggestion is that the
    Bear Flag of California should be honored.

    A bear flag was used in 1846 to liberate the people of Alta California from Mexico. Dr. Robert B. Simple flag was used in the liberation of California, until the county was occupied by United States military forces during the war with Mexico.

    I am an alumni of UCLA, and the Bruin (bear) is the mascot of the University. Like the University of California, the Bear was adopted to honor Dr. Robert B. Simple, because he placed it on the flag of
    California, with the consent of President William Ide (the only person to be a President of the Independent California Republic).

    Dr. Simple came to California with his friend the Hon. Lansford Warren Hastings who served as a judge
    in Yuma. Arizona was a Organized Territory of the Confederate States of America. I recall my friend
    William Shearer (founder of the American Independent Party) lent me papers to read about how Judge
    Hastings was working with the Confederate States of America to separate California from the United
    States. William Shearer also informed me that Judge Hastings would not be reconstructed and left
    North America for the Danish Virgin Islands where he died in 1870.

    Sincerely, Mark Seidenberg, Chairman, American Independent Party of California

  7. Mark Seidenberg April 3, 2016

    On the Pacific Coast, there is an organized effort to support the formation of the State of Jefferson, between
    certain counties in both Northern California and Southern Oregon. The American Independent Party of
    California endorses the formation of the State of Jefferson. This will create a smaller California and a
    smaller Oregon. The good news we will have a new state on the Pacific coast.

    Good luck to the people of South Carolina!

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