A Declaration for a More Progressive South

Instead of doing an “About The Blog” section of The South Lawn, we figured that we would set out some principles that we would operate by under here.

  1. We will give honest appraisals of where we are in the South. When discussing Southern politics with fellow progressives, we have found that there can be two extremes: either the South is a uniformly evil place that is wholly unreconstructed since 1860, or the South has changed to the point where there is no difference between the social maladies faced here and the ones faced anywhere else. Neither of these things are true. The key to figuring out what’s needed for a more progressive South is to figure out where we are first, without sugarcoating things or making them seem worse than they are.
  2. We will strive to be comrades and stand in solidarity against exploitation and oppression in all of its myriad forms. An injury to one is an injury to all, as the old Wobbly saying goes. Only through collective action and shared struggle can the kinds of base exploitation that have haunted the South for centuries be ended.
  3. We seek to be a core part of building an independent left-wing politics across the South. For too long, Southern politics has done little except serve the capitalist class at the expense of the working class. The Republicans have cornered the market of reaction and repression, but the Democrats have put up only the weakest of resistances to their political program, and have many times implemented anti-worker measures themselves. It is time to build an independent socialist politics in communities across the South, bringing together coalitions of the oppressed and their comrades acting in solidarity.
  4. To that end, we will always approach organizing and politics from a standpoint of building a popular front for radical change. We need all hands on deck if we are to realize the vision laid out before you in the pages of this blog. So when we discuss movement strategies and organizing communities for macro-level change, we will always do it from a standpoint of bringing in as many people from varying levels of knowledge and walks of life as we possibly can. Our organizing has to reflect the vision, and our vision is of an inclusive and progressive South.
  5. Reactionaries will never find any succor or support here. Racial supremacy, misogyny, and anti-gay sentiment is a hallmark of fascist thought. We stand full-bore against all of these things and will not provide a platform to any of them on this blog.
  6. All of us are community organizers, and all of us are part of an organizing community. All politics are, at its core, community organizing. The approach that we take to politics and issues on this blog will be from a standpoint of consideration for how this affects communities across the South. But, as community organizers, we do not work or live in a silo. We can always learn from (and improve upon) the tried and true strategies that other organizers have used in their work for social justice. No one person has the key; it will take all of us to unlock the South’s potential for humanity and justice.
  7. We will never take a community for granted, be it for our cause or against our cause. We should never look at a neighborhood, city, state, or region and simply write them off. There are always people who are open to a more progressive South hidden in places that we would never expect. Let us not have our preconceived notions about people and places keep us from doing the social justice work that is necessary wherever it needs to be done.
  8. The Declaration is a living document. This is, much like all of us, a work-in-progress. If there is something that you think should be included, then let us have that conversation. If there is something that you think we should delete, then let us have that conversation. Having the conversation is the only way that we will ever move forward down here.