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 VisionBedding.com.
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
Buy a South Carolina Sovereignty flag Here