Days After El Paso Massacre, White Nationalists Will Hold Florida Convention

Volunteers pray over crosses memorializing the victims of a mass shooting that left at least 22 people dead in El Paso.
Volunteers pray over crosses memorializing the victims of a mass shooting that left at least 22 people dead in El Paso. Photo by Mario Tama / Getty Images
Saturday morning, a white-supremacist terrorist walked into a Walmart in El Paso, Texas, sprayed the building with bullets, and killed 22 people while injuring 25 others. The shooter left a manifesto online stating he targeted the Walmart because he hates immigrants and wanted to kill as many as possible.

But mere days later, it does not appear the act of terror will force other white supremacists to rethink their ideologies. August 10 — just seven days after the shooting — the League of the South, one of the most prominent white-nationalist organizations in America, will host a conference in Lake City, Florida, which happens to be the site of the largest Civil War battle in state history.

The League of the South (LOS) fashions itself as a "Southern nationalist" group — that is, in their words, simply a group of people who believe in Southern secession and the "the sovereignty of states." In actuality, it means racism. The Southern Poverty Law Center, the nation's premier hate-tracking nonprofit, has repeatedly cataloged hideous and racist comments from various LOS members over the years. LOS members have praised slavery, said they want to create a society run by whites of European descent, and stated that Jews control the media, among other insane claims.

The LOS was also heavily present at the 2017 Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, where a white supremacist drove a car into a crowd of leftist counterprotesters and killed activist Heather Heyer. Earlier this year, the driver was convicted of first-degree murder, hit-and-run, eight counts of malicious wounding, and a host of hate-crime charges.

During the same rally, multiple LOS members — including leading Florida League member Michael Tubbs — were filmed standing near or engaging in beatings of leftist activists that weekend. Tubbs, a former Green Beret, is otherwise infamous for stealing weapons and ammunition from other military members and allegedly shouting "This is for the KKK!" in at least one incident.

According to @AntiFashGordon, a Twitter user who catalogs white-nationalist activity nationwide, the League of the South is scheduled to gather this Saturday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at an event space called Casa Isabel. The facility did not answer a phone call from New Times yesterday.
According to event pages listed online, the daylong event will include talks about why "Southern Nationalism is the Answer to Communist Tyranny" and how to organize white-nationalist events in a post-Charlottesville world. Let's hope organizing gets a lot harder after another one of their sympathizers just murdered a bunch of people.
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Jerry Iannelli is a former staff writer for Miami New Times from 2015 to March 2020. He graduated with honors from Temple University. He then earned a master's degree in journalism from Columbia University.