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  • KKK

    In the Land Leviathan, Bastable talks about how storys of the "KKK, Heroic Knights of the south" (or something close to that) used to thrill him as a child. Whats that all about? In that reality did the KKK originally not stand for racial hatred? Did they become that way after America was destroyed?

  • #2
    Could it be a reference to DW Griffiths' "Birth of a Nation" (1915) which presents the Klan very much in that light?
    \"...an ape reft of his tail, and grown rusty at climbing, who yet feels himself to be a symbol and the frail representative of Omnipotence in a place that is not home.\" James Branch Cabell

    Comment


    • #3
      The KKK were turned into heroic, mythical heroes by Birth of a Nation, based on the novel The Klansman. There were two phases of the KKK -- the first groups emerged immediately after the Civil War and dressed in a variety of costumes intended, apparently, to scare black people. They arose as racist vigilantes and gradually died out until the group we more or less know today was founded in Georgia in, I think, 1915. Their success was founded directly on the success of the movie, which, if you haven't seen it, is extremely racist. You can find a lot of this stuff in the second Pyat novel, The Laughter of Carthage. Recruitment to the Klan grew through the twenties and into the thirties and there was one Klan governor elected in Indiana. They threatened the power of the existing political machines in the South and were resisted not because of their racism but because of the challenge they offered to existing power elites.
      Recruitment in the South came through the Orange Lodge and the Scottish Rites Lodge, both strongly anti-Catholic. They were, indeed, violently anti-Catholic, believing all the various myths of the day -- that the Pope was arming secret armies of Catholics to take over the US and so on. You still get some of this in the various racists groups still around -- American Nazis included. In certain States the anti-Catholic emphasis was greater than in others, but they were all anti-black, generally anti-Jewish and I make the point in Laughter of Carthage of how similar they were in rationale and attitudes to the Nazis in Germany. Indeed, Hitler borrowed many of his ideas from the same sources and German race laws were based on long-existing race laws found in America. There are a number of good books about the Klan in print and I'm sure you could find more information on the web. There are also, of course, quite a few white superiority groups on the web -- including various branches of the KKK. The Klan's political power began to wane in the thirties and the existing groups are often not more than a few hundred strong. Check out the Oklahoma bomber, for instance. McVeigh's ideas had their roots in the same poisons -- conspiracies of Jewish (and/or Catholic) bankers,
      racial 'purity', plots of the U.N. to invade America. Laughter of Carthage
      also quotes Klan documents, offers a history of the Klan (through Pyat's eyes, admittedly) and shows how the unified Klan broke up partly as a result of greed and corruption amongst fund-raisers.
      Bastable represents Edwardian imperialism, don't forget. In the popular fiction he would have read, the 'noble' Klansman would have been a knightly figure defending the honour of the old South, much as it was depicted in The Klansman and Birth of a Nation. Apparently the fiery cross was based on the signal of the Scottish Covenanters. A great deal of fictionalised Scottish history infects the mythology of the South. Perhaps its most recent example was Mel Gibson's 'Braveheart', which is a ludicrous misrepresentation of the truth but a very good guide to the power of this sort of folk-history. The movie Rob Roy was actually a much more accurate picture of Scottish history and written by a man who knows his Scotland as well as his Scots. The movie has nothing to do with Walter Scott's novel, incidentally, though Walter Scott's versions of history DO have something to do with the mythology of the American South.

      Pre-order or Buy my latest titles in Europe:
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      Doctor Who: The Coming of the Terraphiles - Kizuna: Fiction for Japan - Modem Times 2.0 - The Sunday Books - The Sundered Worlds


      Pre-order or Buy my latest titles in the USA:
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      Kizuna: Fiction for Japan - The Sundered Worlds - The Winds of Limbo - Modem Times 2.0 - Elric: Swords and Roses

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      • #4
        Ahhhhh, now it all makes sense. Thanks Mike! Thanks everyone!

        Comment


        • #5
          There's an article here about the Klan, including some speculation on the origin of the name:

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ku_Klux_Klan
          'You know, I can't keep up with you. If I hadn't met you in person, I quite honestly would NOT believe you really existed. I just COULDN'T. You do so MUCH... if half of what goes into your zines is to be believed, you've read more at the age of 17 than I have at the age of 32 - LOTS more'

          Archie Mercer to Mike (Burroughsania letters page, 1957)

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          • #6
            This is probably in bad taste, but comedian Bill Bailey had me near to tears when speaking about the Klan.

            "The KKK Nature Program. Keeping the arctic white."



            :oops:
            Call me cockey, but if there\'s an alien I can\'t kill, I haven\'t met him and killed him yet!

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Bob
              "The KKK Nature Program. Keeping the arctic white."
              :lol:
              You can't spell "politically correct" without "correct".

              Comment


              • #8
                Brilliant condensed history, Michael; so much hard research work behind it. Thank you very much, and if you don't mind I shall print it off and pass it on to my two history-interested children. Properly acknowledged so they know it's yours, of course.

                Comment


                • #9
                  KKK comes from...

                  In one of the Sherlock Holmes stories, Conan Doyle claims that the name "Ku Klux Klan" came from the sound a shotgun makes when you break it (to load it) and snap it back together again ("Ku Klux"). If I were to describe that sound, "Ku Klux" would make as much sense as any other, I guess... No idea if there's any truth to that theory though.

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                  • #10
                    I read somewhere the name is from Greek Kuklos = circle. can't remember my source for that, though.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Michael Moorcock View Post
                      The KKK were turned into heroic, mythical heroes by Birth of a Nation, based on the novel The Klansman. There were two phases of the KKK -- the first groups emerged immediately after the Civil War and dressed in a variety of costumes intended, apparently, to scare black people. They arose as racist vigilantes and gradually died out until the group we more or less know today was founded in Georgia in, I think, 1915. Their success was founded directly on the success of the movie, which, if you haven't seen it, is extremely racist. You can find a lot of this stuff in the second Pyat novel, The Laughter of Carthage. Recruitment to the Klan grew through the twenties and into the thirties and there was one Klan governor elected in Indiana. They threatened the power of the existing political machines in the South and were resisted not because of their racism but because of the challenge they offered to existing power elites.
                      Recruitment in the South came through the Orange Lodge and the Scottish Rites Lodge, both strongly anti-Catholic. They were, indeed, violently anti-Catholic, believing all the various myths of the day -- that the Pope was arming secret armies of Catholics to take over the US and so on. You still get some of this in the various racists groups still around -- American Nazis included. In certain States the anti-Catholic emphasis was greater than in others, but they were all anti-black, generally anti-Jewish and I make the point in Laughter of Carthage of how similar they were in rationale and attitudes to the Nazis in Germany. Indeed, Hitler borrowed many of his ideas from the same sources and German race laws were based on long-existing race laws found in America. There are a number of good books about the Klan in print and I'm sure you could find more information on the web. There are also, of course, quite a few white superiority groups on the web -- including various branches of the KKK. The Klan's political power began to wane in the thirties and the existing groups are often not more than a few hundred strong. Check out the Oklahoma bomber, for instance. McVeigh's ideas had their roots in the same poisons -- conspiracies of Jewish (and/or Catholic) bankers,
                      racial 'purity', plots of the U.N. to invade America. Laughter of Carthage
                      also quotes Klan documents, offers a history of the Klan (through Pyat's eyes, admittedly) and shows how the unified Klan broke up partly as a result of greed and corruption amongst fund-raisers.
                      Bastable represents Edwardian imperialism, don't forget. In the popular fiction he would have read, the 'noble' Klansman would have been a knightly figure defending the honour of the old South, much as it was depicted in The Klansman and Birth of a Nation. Apparently the fiery cross was based on the signal of the Scottish Covenanters. A great deal of fictionalised Scottish history infects the mythology of the South. Perhaps its most recent example was Mel Gibson's 'Braveheart', which is a ludicrous misrepresentation of the truth but a very good guide to the power of this sort of folk-history. The movie Rob Roy was actually a much more accurate picture of Scottish history and written by a man who knows his Scotland as well as his Scots. The movie has nothing to do with Walter Scott's novel, incidentally, though Walter Scott's versions of history DO have something to do with the mythology of the American South.
                      This is an excellent and very interesting post.

                      I can't seem to escape Pyat's thoughts, "The Birth of a Nation" is on streaming Netflix. Hard to believe, I had a free Netflix trial and found it under Classics when browsing.

                      "With a deep, not-unhappy sigh, Elric prepared to do battle with an army." (Red Pearls)
                      - Michael Moorcock

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        And by sheer coincendence, the DM posts this little charmer...

                        http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/arti...lax-1920s.html

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          There's a website operated by the Univ. of North Carolina that's focused on Southern culture and literature (http://docsouth.unc.edu/index.html) and it features e-versions of Thomas Dixon, Jr.'s books, including The Clansman. Dixon's race melodramas had a huge (and ugly) impact on popular and political culture in the US--particularly in the South--that persisted throughout the 20th century and lingers in ways that most Americans no longer notice. For example,

                          Dixon's influence on subsequent southern literature appears as significant—if not entirely quantifiable—as his impact on the southern racial climate. Most clearly, his work inspired Margaret Mitchell, and Gone with the Wind owes much to his Ku Klux Klan trilogy. Mitchell loved Dixon's books, and as an adolescent she even organized neighborhood children for their own dramatizations of his novels. Years later, Mitchell remained fond of Dixon and his work. When he wrote to congratulate her on the success of Gone with the Wind, she returned the compliment, explaining, "I was practically raised on your books, and love them very much. For many years I have had you on my conscience, and I suppose I might as well confess it now." (41) Mitchell proceeded to explain jokingly that she feared lawsuits for copyright infringement over her dramatic productions as a child, but she might as well have had in mind the literary debt she owed to his version of Reconstruction. Gone with the Wind contains all the same stereotypes of African Americans during Reconstruction that Dixon presented, including the sexual threat, and it is not unreasonable to read Gone with the Wind as the standard bearer for Dixonian Reconstruction into the latter half of the twentieth century. While Dixon's fiction established the popular image of the South for the first two decades of the twentieth century, Margaret Mitchell's Gone with the Wind did the same for her generation. The pattern of Dixon's and Mitchell's influence paralleled each other as well: wildly popular historical romance followed by blockbuster movies. Whereas Dixon's fiction proved to be the most powerful shaping factor of the southern image for twenty years or so, Mitchell's presentation of the South has now endured for nearly seven decades and shows little sign of fading.
                          From http://docsouth.unc.edu/southlit/dixon_intro.html

                          I still think that a lot of the rhetoric that was tossed around by the GOP's rightists during the 2008 and '10 federal election cycles was lifted, consciously or not, from post-Reconstruction writers like Dixon and slightly modified for this generation's psychwars.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            This benign version of the Old South is probably seen at its most concentrated in the 'banned' Disney movie SONG OF THE SOUTH, which was I think the first feature to blend live action and cartoon. Zippedy Doo Da indeed! You can find the whole movie on YouTube. The Brer Rabbit stuff is funny and charming but you're watching America tell herself that her racism and genocide were fine. A bit like fox hunters telling you how the fox enjoys the chase as much as the hounds.

                            Pre-order or Buy my latest titles in Europe:
                            The Whispering Swarm: Book One of the Sanctuary of the White Friars - The Laughter of Carthage - Byzantium Endures - London Peculiar and Other Nonfiction
                            Doctor Who: The Coming of the Terraphiles - Kizuna: Fiction for Japan - Modem Times 2.0 - The Sunday Books - The Sundered Worlds


                            Pre-order or Buy my latest titles in the USA:
                            The Laughter of Carthage - Byzantium Endures - London Peculiar and Other Nonfiction - The Sunday Books - Doctor Who: The Coming of the Terraphiles
                            Kizuna: Fiction for Japan - The Sundered Worlds - The Winds of Limbo - Modem Times 2.0 - Elric: Swords and Roses

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              I grew up in a town where the Klan was once powerful, and where race is still an open wound.

                              Some families still preserve Klan robes as precious relics, and whispered conversations of reverence can be heard, time to time. Yea, verily, I live among hill-jacks and pitiful nimrods.

                              Nathan Bedford Forrest called on the clandestine night riders like the White Boys or the Peep o'Day gang, well remembered by the Scotch-Irish settlers of the South. The dreaded Patrol, slave police, simply made a few adjustments in their methods in hopes of continuing slavery as an extralegal system, and evade the consequences of Emancipation.

                              When the North lost interest in Reconstruction-probably because of the northern migration of ex-slaves and a flowering of racism(not that it was ever truly withered!
                              ) the Klan was disbanded.

                              When it returned, it was more an anti-immigrant organization in the North. Hereabouts, it was a tool for the industrialists to keep out the IWW and union organizers. Such is the love of violence at the bottom of American society that the very mill hands who were being sweated turned out to repel the very people who were trying to help them.

                              An aside, the pointed masks of the robed Klansmen were copied from robes worn by the servants of the Inquisition. A very effective disguise.

                              The Klan grew in size and power, indeed, some places it became a marching and chowder society mostly devoid of the rancor of previous times. Rival groups like the Black Legion sprang up, and in Europe, there were Cagoulards(hooded ones) in France. Europe was a VERY rough place between the World Wars.

                              A series of money and sex scandals wrecked this new Klan,and a long decline began.

                              After WWII the Klan became a whisp, but a malicious one. Membership was small, and the Klan would have died except for the dues paid by FBI snitches. These pathetic boobs explored new frontiers in pure gormlessness as every plot they hatched was known to the FBI at once.

                              However, once the Klan was a force to be reckoned with, the Ton-Ton Macoutes of their time, an adjunct to the local power structure, yet, mostly despised and unloved in the latter stages.

                              Ethnic tensions are still very real, as are people who know how to profit from them.

                              (sorry about the typographical chaos above, I think my keyboard is quitting, or somehow I hit a wrong key.)

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