1 hour ago by
Last weekend I joined the courageous people of Charlottesville, Virginia who gathered, first in the sanctuary and then in the streets, to offer an alternative message to the hate-filled rhetoric of thousands of white nationalists who gathered in the city’s Emancipation Park under the pretense of protesting the scheduled removal of a statue of Robert E. Lee.  Friday night, people of various faiths gathered for worship in St. Paul’s Memorial Church to spiritually prepare ourselves, in the tradition of the Civil Rights marches of the ‘60s, to serve as faithful witnesses to love the next day. The sanctuary and overflow room were filled to capacity. We sang. We prayed. We heard encouraging words, and I preached a sermon based on 1 Samuel 17 titled, “Where Are The Dreamers?” Rev. Traci Blackmon, executive minister of Justice and Witness at United Church of Christ and pastor at Christ The King United Church of Christ in Florissant, was a member of the clergy who traveled to Charlottesville, Virginia to bear witness at the Unite the Right rally. Shortly before the benediction, we were informed that a mob of white supremacists were marching toward the church with lighted torches, and we would not be permitted to leave due to the high probability of assault. We were held hostage inside of the church by this raging mob for approximately 30 minutes. Outside, there was a small group of University of Virginia students who were standing against the mob in non-violent resistance.  They were beaten and taunted. Just this morning I’ve received a request to pray for Tyler Magill, who works for UVA, and who came to the aid of the students being attacked on Friday night. In doing so, he was struck in the neck by a Tiki torch and it damaged his carotid artery.  He suffered a stroke and is now in the ICU. When we were finally allowed and encouraged to quickly leave the church we were ushered out of side and rear doors into an alley and quickly into cars. As we made our way through the area, I began to weep as I saw masses of mostly young white men, clad in Polos and Oxford button-downs with neatly coifed hair and many donning “Make America Great Again” caps, filling the streets. They carried torches in one hand and many held baseball bats in the other, chanting “Blood and Soil,” a reference to racial purity and dominance that was birthed out of the Hitler regime. They also chanted, “You will not replace us,” “Jews will not replace us,” “White lives matter” and “Whose streets? Our streets” which, ironically, was birthed in the streets of Ferguson. My tears were not tears of fear, but tears of mourning. It is a sad moment in our nation – and yet not an unpredictable one given the current social and political tone of this presidential administration. I cried because I recognized this moment, not as an escalation of white supremacy in this nation, but rather as its death rattle. And I know that the dying breaths of white supremacy will be long and arduous and violent. I know that there will be casualties on all sides. ‘The promises of Donald Trump’ Ultimately, people are responsible for their own actions, and yet our national leadership bears a moral responsibility to set the tone of what is acceptable and what is not acceptable in our nation. I recognized the rage-filled chants of these men in the streets as the primal echoes of self-preservation that give voice to the intent of legislative policies being crafted and quietly implemented while we react to the screams. I wonder might this be what former KKK leader and white supremacist David Duke meant when he said, “We are determined to take our country back. We are going to fulfill the promises of Donald Trump." For eight years, public disrespect of the first black U.S. president was not only tolerated by ranking GOP officials, but it was celebrated and promoted. This disrespect laid the ground work for a presidential campaign and election rooted in the promotion of racial, ethnic and religious bias. The Center for the Study of Hate & Extremism at California State University found that the number of hate crimes rose 21 percent in major metropolitan areas in 2016 from the previous year. The Southern Poverty Law Center reports that the number of hate groups nationally rose for the second year in a row last year, with the number of anti-Muslim groups tripling from 2015 to 2016.  I am not suggesting that this president initiated any of these groups. Clearly, White nationalism has been here since the taking of Native land.  President Trump's hateful rhetoric – categorizing entire groups of people as violent, unwanted, and undeserving of America – has given a new legitimacy to some who feel they can express attitudes which had once been discredited, but now seem again permissible. I am stating unequivocally that this president’s hateful rhetoric and the focus of GOP policies in this current administration have stoked and exploited fears in ways that embolden white supremacist groups. Between toxic tweets, travel bans, and assaults on voting rights, immigration rights, LGBT rights and environmental protections, there are many factors shaping an environment that gives license to hate and harass and make America, once again, a safe place to hate. We must react to these violently demonstrable assaults on the moral fiber of our nation. But, beyond reacting, we must also respond. We must be focused, strategic, and proactive in our engagement with this administration. What are we not paying attention to while we are reacting to death rattles, toxic tweets and incoherent temper tantrums from the highest office in this land? For instance, the president’s third set of comments about white supremacists in Charlottesville were attached to the end of an announcement concerning an executive order to substantially reduce environmental protections on building infrastructure. But we are not talking about that because our attention is averted by our reactions to Trump’s incendiary rant. We must react and respond Our nation is in a moral and political crisis. We are witnessing the last fledgling breaths of a false racial construct whose time has come to an end, and although the death will be long and tortuous for everyone, death will ultimately come. Our strategy must be to not only be reactionary to the primal flailing of neo-Nazi fascists, but responsive and proactive regarding legislative actions that are literally crafted by our enemies to take America back again. We must call upon every political representative – on local, state and federal levels – to publicly denounce white supremacy, not just with statements but with instituted policies. We must demand the restoration of the Voting Rights Act to its full power. We must organize and mobilize the masses in every election, sending a clear message to incumbents that either they will vote in the best interest of the people or we will vote against them. We must oppose the RAISE Act and defend DACA. We must demand comprehensive criminal justice reform. We must urge reengagement with the Paris Agreement on climate change. We must implement a public platform of coalition building, inclusiveness, unity, and love. We must challenge the erection of border walls. We must demand the de-escalation of warmongering rhetoric. We must lay out our expectations of a budget that is fiscally responsible and yet morally grounded. This president refuses to denounce white supremacy and has made it clear that his administration does not represent all Americans. We must respond by showing him, and all who desire to serve this country, that we, the people, are one. Rev. Traci Blackmon is executive minister of Justice and Witness at United Church of Christ and pastor at Christ The King United Church of Christ in Florissant. Read More: Meet the clergy who stared down white supremacists in Charlottesville What I Saw in Charlottesville

3 hours ago by
This weekend's white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia devolved into a bloody, hate-filled event that claimed the life of one counter-protester and injured several others. Politicians and activists quickly denounced white supremacy in the wake of the brutality driven by "alt-right" demonstrators. President Donald Trump, on the other hand, blamed the violence in Charlottesville on "many sides." Among those alleged "sides" is the antifa movement, made up of leftist activists fighting against authoritarian regimes. But what exactly is it? Here's everything you need to know about antifa, because conservatives are spreading false messages. When Trump first addressed the violence in Charlottesville on Saturday, he failed to call out white nationalism and neo-Nazism by name. This lack of specificity drew rightful ire from lawmakers and the public alike; by blaming "many sides," the president also accused anti-fascist counter-protesters of playing a role in a deliberate act of violence committed by a white nationalist. According to the New York Times, the harsh criticism caused Trump to clarify his remarks in a terse press conference in which he doubled down on his "many sides" position. Specifically, in a heated argument with a journalist, Trump blamed the "alt-left," a made-up term to describe the antifa movement and, more broadly, anti-Trump activists. Conservatives tend to use "alt-left" to conjure up images of a radical progressive movement that's against American ideals. But that's furthest from the truth. Antifa Activists Fight Against A Fascism Regime The mission is right there in the name: Antifa stands for antifascism. Antifa activists want to dismantle or disrupt radical authoritarian regimes that seek to oppress populations and suppress resistance through violence. Although antifa has a long political history, the American faction of the movement has seen a sharp rise in recent years, particularly in the days since Trump was elected to office. Mic has put together a succinct timeline of antifa activism that has taken place within the last few months. Antifa Traces Its Roots Back To 1930s Germany People may treat antifa as a new movement, but that's erasing the movement's history. According to Jacobin, antifa was born out of Germany's socialist labor movement. It started taking shape during the early years of Hitler's rise, but began to swell after World War II. And antifa ideology wasn't isolated to Germany: In 1947, the then-U.S. War Department rereleased the antifascist short film, Don't Be A Sucker. It's a 17-minute public service announcement warning Americans to not give into racism and prejudice, lest they want the United States to turn into Nazi Germany. A clip of the film circulated over the weekend, drawing parallels to the white nationalist-driven violence in Charlottesville and, more broadly, the rise of Trump's America. Antifa Is Not Equal To White Nationalism Or Neo-Nazism Trump's "alt-left" comment attempted to equate antifa with white nationalism and, within that, American neo-Nazism. But that's a logical fallacy that political pundits theorize is influenced by White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon, who has been lauded by white nationalist leader David Duke. As the Atlantic reported, antifa, unlike white nationalism or neo-Nazism, doesn't believe that one race or religion is superior above all else. Nor do antifa activists believe in a totalitarian one-party government — an important facet of conservative, white nationalist ideology. There's an argument to be made about tactics, but it's important to remember that antifa is and has always been a reaction to an oppressive, violent system that propagates and celebrates genocide and slavery. So don't let conservatives' indiscriminate use of the term fool you: Antifa is the antithesis to white nationalism and Nazism, not its equivalent. Antifa Activists Are Not "More Dangerous" Than White Nationalists Direct action has been a cornerstone of antifa ideology. That means, as antifa organizer Scott Crow told CNN, activists "go where they (right-wingers) go." That means if white nationalists are organizing a rally, as they had in Charlottesville, you could expect to see antifa members show up to counter-protest. Crow continued, And so we go to cause conflict, to shut them down where they are, because we don't believe that Nazis or fascists of any stripe should have a mouthpiece. That counter-protesting sometimes includes property damage and destruction. What antifa disruption does not include is barreling your car into a crowd of people exercising their First Amendment right. But that's exactly what white nationalist James Fields Jr. of Ohio allegedly did in Charlottesville; Fields has been charged, among other counts, with second degree murder in the death of Heather Heyer, a 32-year-old paralegal who was killed in the attack. (Romper reached out to Fields' attorney, Charles Weber, but has yet to hear back.) You also have white nationalist sympathizers  Jeremy Joseph Christian, James Harris Jackson, and Sean Urbanski, all of whom have been indicted on charges of killing people in what have been considered hate-filled attacks. Then there's the matter of basic tenets: Antifa activists believe in stopping or tearing down dictatorships and oppressive, anti-democratic systems. White nationalists and neo-Nazis, on the other hand, believe in one superior race, one superior religion that rules above all. America, if you remember, literally helped fight a war against the latter. source Read More: Drawing Equivalencies Between Fascists and Anti-Fascists Is Not Just Wrong—It’s Dangerous Antifascists Have Become the Most Reasonable People in America Anti-fascism

4 hours ago by
A white nationalist rally that turned violent in Charlottesville, Va., on Saturday brought renewed attention to dozens of Confederate monuments around the country. Many government officials have called to remove statues, markers and other monuments that celebrate controversial Civil War era figures from public grounds. Email monuments@nytimes.com if you find new information about the removal of Confederate monuments. Baltimore Four monuments removed The mayor of Baltimore, Catherine Pugh, ordered the removal of four monuments to the era of the Confederacy, saying it was in the interest of public safety after the violence in Charlottesville. The statues were taken down before dawn on Wednesday. Durham, N.C. Confederate soldier monument toppled by protesters Protesters pulled down a statue of a Confederate soldier in front of the Durham County Courthouse in Durham, N.C., on Monday. The statue, which had stood since 1924, was protected by a special law and state police have arrested four protesters since its removal. Gainesville, Fla. Monument to Confederate soldiers removed A local chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy paid for the removal of a monument to Confederate soldiers that stood in front of Alachua County Administration Building in downtown Gainesville for 113 years. The monument, known locally as “Old Joe,” was moved to a private cemetery outside the city, according to The Gainesville Sun. New Orleans Four monuments removed New Orleans removed four monuments dedicated to the Confederacy and opponents of Reconstruction in April. City workers who took them down wore flak jackets, helmets and masks and were guarded by police because of concerns about their safety. Annapolis, Md. Calls for removal of Roger B. Taney statue The governor of Maryland, Larry Hogan, called for a statue of Supreme Court Chief Justice Roger B. Taney to be removed from the statehouse grounds in Annapolis. Justice Taney was the chief author of the 1857 Dred Scott decision, which ruled that African-Americans, both enslaved and free, could not be American citizens. Charlottesville, Va. Proposal to remove monument to Gen. Robert E. Lee Violence erupted on Saturday at a far-right protest against the proposed removal of a statue of Robert E. Lee, a Confederate general, from Emancipation Park in Charlottesville, Va. Thirty-four people were injured in clashes and one person was killed when a Nazi sympathizer plowed his car into a crowd of counter-protesters, the authorities said. The statue has not been removed. Jacksonville, Fla. Proposal to remove multiple Confederate monuments The president of Jacksonville City Council, Anna Lopez Brosche, called for all Confederate monuments to be moved from city property to a museum. The most prominent Confederate memorial in Jacksonville is a statue of a Confederate soldier that sits atop a towering pillar in Hemming Park. Lexington, Ky. Two Confederate monuments slated for removal On Tuesday, the City Council in Lexington, Ky., unanimously approved a proposal to remove two Confederate statues from the city’s historic courthouse. The mayor, Jim Gray, has 30 days to propose a new location for the statues, whose removal must be approved by the Kentucky Military Heritage Commission. Washington, D.C. Proposal to remove Confederate statues from U.S. Capitol building, park Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey tweeted late Wednesday that he plans on introducing a bill to remove Confederate statues from the U.S. Capitol building. There are at least 12 Confederate statues in the National Statuary Hall Collection of the Capitol building. D.C. officials have called on the National Park Service to remove a statute of Albert Pike, a Confederate general, from a park.   More locations Austin, Tex. » Statue of Jefferson Davis moved in August 2015 from pedestal in outdoor campus grounds to American history center on campus Brooklyn » Two plaques honoring Robert E. Lee removed Los Angeles » Marker for Confederate veterans removed Louisville, Ky. » Statue of Confederate soldier removed in Nov. 2016 Montreal (Canada) » Plaque honoring Jefferson Davis removed Orlando » Statue of Confederate soldier moved from a public park to a cemetery in June San Diego » Plaque honoring Jefferson Davis, president of the Confederacy, removed St. Louis » Confederate Memorial removed from public park in June St. Petersburg, Fla. » Plaque honoring Stonewall Jackson removed Dallas » Multiple monuments under consideration for removal Helena, Mt. » Proposal to remove a Confederate memorial from a city park Memphis » Statue of Nathan Bedford Forrest considered for removal Nashville » Protests over Nathan Bedford Forrest bust in the state Capitol Pensacola, Fla. » Calls to remove Confederate statue from a city square San Antonio » Proposal to remove monument to Confederate soldiers Stone Mountain, Ga. » Calls to remove faces of three Confederate generals in stone carving Tampa, Fla. » Confederate statue outside county courthouse considered for removal The Bronx » Plans to remove busts of Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson source      

Yesterday, 8:49 am by
People across the USA have reacted to the violence in Charlottesville, Va., this week with rallies and protests, many of them standing up against hate speech.  Whether it’s the women’s rights, Black Lives Matter, health care or views for and against President Trump, protesters and counter-protesters across the country are gearing up in the coming months to voice their stances. Here’s a list of protests happening across the country in the coming weeks. Protests against hate speech From Colorado Springs to Daytona Beach, protesters will join rank with thousands of others who have already participated in marches against racism. The demonstrations aim to take a stand against hate and show solidarity with protesters who participated in a deadly counter-protest of white nationalists in Charlottesville, Va., over the weekend. Colorado Springs, Colorado: Aug. 20. Solidarity with Charlottesville: Not in our town Daytona Beach, Florida: Aug. 18. United Against Hate - Say no to racism Manchester, Iowa: Aug. 17. Candlelight rally to protest violence and racism Boston, Massachusetts: Aug. 19. Stand for solidarity Burton, Michigan: Aug. 18. Rise against racism rally in solidarity with Charlottesville New York, New York: Aug. 18. Anti-racism protest Millersburg, Ohio: Aug. 27. Anti-racism and anti-nazi rally Asbury Park, New Jersey: Aug. 20. Stand against hate-- a rally for the victims of Charlottesville Boston, Massachusetts: Aug. 19. Fight Supremacy! Boston counter-protest and resistance rally Protests against Trump A Salt Lake City, Utah, protest will call for Trump to cease threatening the North Korean leadership and possibly provoking a nuclear strike on Guam. “The unstable president of the United States Donald Trump has called for using nuclear weapons against North Korea — a small, poor nation of just a few million people, but a nation that is nevertheless politically important,” the event page reads. The protest will start at the Wallace Bennett Federal Building on Aug. 19 and is hosted by the Utah Anti-War Committee. Anti-Trump protests are nothing new. Since Election Day, demonstrations against the new commander in chief are common, molding to whatever new controversy pops up. Upcoming Trump protests include outrage over Trump’s rhetoric on the nuclear threat in North Korea, Russian interference in the 2016 election and just general discomfort with the president calling their state home.   Washington D.C.: Sept. 16. Protect American Democracy from Russian interference Jersey City, New Jersey: Aug. 19. Get Outta Jersey: Trump eviction notice rally Buffalo, New York: Sept. 5. Rally against the Trump-WalMart Agenda Olympia, Washington: Aug. 28. Feet to the fire rally a.k.a the remove Trump now rally Washington D.C.: Sept. 16. Protest Russian Interference Free speech rallies Two right-wing Free Speech rallies — and counter protests — are planned in the upcoming months. In a sequel to the Boston Free Speech rally, a second event will kick off Aug. 19 in Boston Common. In San Francisco, Patriot Prayer, which is often labeled as a white supremacist group, will gather on the beach on Aug. 26.   Rallies to support Trump In what’s promising to be the “Mother of all Rallies,” a D.C. movement will gather in the National Mall on Sept. 16 to show support for Trump. The rally is calling for one million participants to gather and send a “shock-wave message” to the world. “This is about America First. This is about protecting and supporting President Donald Trump, protecting our Constitution, and protecting our flag and all that it stands for,” the event page reads. While Trump’s approval rating has been slipping, his base continues to stand behind him. Topeka, Kansas: Aug. 19. Standing with Trump Rally Collegedale, Tennessee: Sept. 9. ACT for America: America First Trump Rally March for women's rights  To mark the anniversary of the historic amendment that granted women the right to vote, the Indivisible March hopes to promote Women’s Equality Day on Aug. 26. Groups across the country are expected to participate, including rallies in Georgia, California, Indiana, Nevada, Utah, Minnesota and more. Police reform, health care, and equality Here’s a list of other notable protests: Lincoln, Nebraska: Aug. 18. March for intelligent healthcare Olympia, Washington: Aug. 19. Single payer rally Los Angeles, California: Aug. 26. Nevertheless, we persist rally and activist festival Los Angeles, California: Sept. 23. Better together march and rally Washington D.C.: Oct. 1. Lawyers march on Washington Davenport, Iowa: Aug. 16. No hate — rally against the National Alliance New York, New York: Aug. 24. Rally for the right to know Albuquerque, New Mexico: Aug. 18. Millions for prisoners Springfield, Missouri: Aug. 26. Protest for women’s equality source

Yesterday, 7:52 am by
The violence in Charlottesville, Virginia and controversy over Confederate monuments have renewed concerns here at home over two Brooklyn streets named after Confederate generals. And as our Bobby Cuza reports, recent events have also prompted the removal of a separate tribute to Robert E. Lee that stands nearby. In North Carolina, protesters toppled a Confederate statue Monday. It was a similar story elsewhere from Tennessee to Florida to Brooklyn.  That’s right, Brooklyn, where for more than 100 years, a plaque honoring Robert E. Lee has been affixed to this tree outside St. John's Episcopal Church, a tree Lee himself planted in the early 1840s, during his time stationed at the nearby Fort Hamilton Army base. But on Wednesday, the plaque is coming down, to be removed by custodial staff, according to Bishop Lawrence Provenzano of the Episcopal Diocese of Long Island. The diocese owns the church, which hasn’t been in active use since 2014 and is being sold. The plaque had gone mostly under the radar, until it was raised by Brooklyn pastor Khader El-Yateem. "We are demanding from our Army to rename these streets," El-Yateem said. El-Yateem, a candidate for City Council, was joined by a handful of protesters Tuesday, primarily concerned with the renaming of two streets inside the Fort Hamilton Army base: General Lee Avenue, the main road through the base, and Stonewall Jackson Drive. "On our Army base, right here in our own neighborhood, we have signs that honor people who fought to preserve slavery," El-Yateem said. "Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson committed treason in defense of slavery," said John Hagan, a local resident. Others have long made the same case. In June, Brooklyn Congresswoman Yvette Clarke and three of her colleagues also demanded a name change. The Army responded that any change would be controversial and divisive, and that the streets were originally named in a spirit of reconciliation. There’s little doubt where the White House stands-- "This week, it's Robert E. Lee. I noticed that Stonewall Jackson's coming down. I wonder, it is George Washington next week? And is it Thomas Jefferson the week after?" Trump said. "You know, you really do have to ask yourself, where does it stop?" As for the plaque, it was installed in 1912 by the United Daughters of the Confederacy. But the tree itself isn't actually all that historic. The diocese says the original tree died and has been replaced twice. source Read More: Bishop: Tree plaques in Brooklyn honoring Gen. Lee to be removed

Yesterday, 9:43 pm by
Hate Groups In America: Map Shows They're Everywhere White supremacists converged on Charlottesville, Virginia, on Saturday, igniting a violent clash with counter-protesters that left a woman who stood up to hate dead when a man, revealed to have a violent past and Nazi views, allegedly drove his car into a crowd of people. In the wake of the weekend's violence in Charlottesville, as the city heals and a new push to remove Confederate statues gains steam, the country was also reminded that hate and hate groups have long been alive and well in America. A map of such groups created by the Southern Poverty Law Center shows the locations of more than 900 such organizations that exist in the country. "All hate groups have beliefs or practices that attack or malign an entire class of people, typically for their immutable characteristics," the SPLC explains. These groups can be found everywhere, from the urban to the suburban and to the rural, the expert told Patch. "So you can find them pretty much everywhere," he said. When groups do organize formal rallies or public events, there could be a tendency to have rallies in areas where they have a bigger presence, even though white supremacists come from out of state. The National Socialist Movement, for example, held its annual rally in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, in November. "They're gonna come to these areas because they have a white supremacist population that will show up," the expert said. Pointing to the alt-right movement, the expert said that while it is not new, the movement has gotten a lot of attention lately and its rise can be charted to the rhetoric of the 2016 presidential election, which gave them "implicit approval" that "it was OK now." The alt-right, he said, is a group that rejects mainstream conservatism and is made up of a loose network of racists and anti-Semites "without the robes and hoods of the Klan." A graph on the SPLC's website charting the rise of hate groups shows a slight decline starting around 2011 and a dramatic resurgence starting in 2014. The SPLC explains that since the turn of the century, the rise in hate groups is driven in part by anger over Latino immigration and demographic projections showing that whites will no longer hold majority status in the country by around 2040. When looking to more recent events, the ADL expert said that the political climate has really opened the door for them to feel emboldened. "They feel emboldened when the president gets criticized for not calling it out," the expert said, pointing to President Donald Trump's refusal to single out the ideology of white supremacists when he first addressed the events in Charlottesville on Saturday. The SPLC charts a rise in 2009 followed by a decline that it attributes to the fact that groups were moving to the web and away from on-the-ground activities. "The internet has been this incredible tool for all types of white supremacists," the expert said. It gives white supremacists a sense of anonymity and it's also a great tool for radicalization. While there are still some "keyboard commandos" who are not ready to go out there, there are plenty of people out there who feel that this is their opportunity. The shooting at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in 2015 in Charleston, South Carolina, is where it started, the expert said. After the shooting, Confederate flags began to come down, and then the Confederate monuments, giving white supremacists something to protest. The SPLC divides the hate groups in America into the following categories: Ku Klux Klan-130 groups Neo-Nazi-99 groups White Nationalist-100 groups Racist Skinhead-78 groups Christian Identity-21 groups Neo-Confederate-43 groups Black Separatist-193 groups Anti-LGBT-52 groups Anti-Muslim-101 groups General Hate-100 groups ProPublica reporter A.C. Thompson, who was on the scene in Charlottesville over the weekend, notes that many of the groups in attendance at the rally did not belong to more widely known hate groups like the Ku Klux Klan or Nazi Skinheads. Rather, many belonged to new organizations like Vanguard America, Identity Evropa, the Traditionalist Workers Party and True Cascadia. Thompson notes that many of these groups see themselves as part of the broader alt-right movement, who the ADL expert says is a sub-movement within the overarching umbrella of white supremacy. Extremist groups are not backing off after the rally in Charlottesville Saturday. Rallies similar to the one in Virginia are being planned. One such rally planned on the campus of Texas A&M University for Sept. 11 has been canceled, and another rally, organized by the group Patriot Prayer, has been granted a permit at San Francisco's Crissy Field for later this month. You can see the full list of hate organizations in from the SPLC here. While many white supremacists are associated with known hate groups, a majority of them are not formally affiliated with a particular organization. "I like to encourage the notion of not overly focusing on groups per se," a senior investigative researcher at the Anti Defamation League's Center on Extremism told Patch. The researcher asked not to be named due to the sensitive nature of his work. He pointed to the example of Dylann Roof, who killed nine black churchgoers at a South Carolina church in 2015. Roof was not part of any larger organization and was radicalized online. Still, some groups have a larger presence nationally, like the National Socialist Movement led by Jeff Schoep, which is based out of Detroit. That movement, the ADL expert said, is the largest Neo-Nazi group that has somewhat of a small national presence with different state chapters. Another example is the Keystone State Skinheads who are based in Pennsylvania and have more of a regional presence in the state. source

August 13, 2017 by
Charlottesville police refrained from intervening as violence escalated in city streets during the white nationalist ‘Unite the Right’ rally on Saturday, emerging evidence suggests. Writing for ProPublica, reporter A.C. Thompson said he and others “repeatedly witnessed instances in which authorities took a largely laissez faire approach, allowing white supremacists and counter-protesters to physically battle.” “The police did little to stop the bloodshed,” Thompson wrote. “Several times, a group of assault-rifle-toting militia members from New York State, wearing body armor and desert camo, played a more active role in breaking up fights.” The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Virginia tweeted a video on Saturday of clashes between Confederate flag-bearing militiamen and counter-protesters, with the following caption: “Police says ‘We’ll not intervene until given command to do so.'” The lack of police intervention is notable given that prominent right-wing media had called on attendees to bring weapons and battle armor to the rally. The Virginia state police and Charlottesville law enforcement have previously been criticized by the ACLU of Virginia for their conduct during protests against the far right. In July, the ACLU of Virginia, along with other legal organizations, submitted a letter to the Charlottesville City Council and Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe criticizing the “outsized and militaristic” response to a July 8th protest in opposition to a Klu Klux Klan rally in the city of Charlottesville. This isn’t the first time journalists have noted the passivity of law enforcement during violent confrontations between the right-wing and anti-fascists. Mother Jones journalist Shane Bauer, who reported on a far-right rally that took place in April on the streets of Berkeley, California, wrote that “riot police [were] conspicuously absent” despite hours of street fights: A block away, police stand near their cars. I approach an officer and ask why they haven’t intervened more during the last couple of hours of mayhem. He shrugs. “That would be a good question for the chief of police.” 1 person was killed and 19 injured after 20-year-old James Alex Fields, Jr. allegedly drove his car into anti-fascist protesters in Charlottesville. Photographs have since emerged of Fields marching with a racist right-wing organization during the rally. source Read More: A Brief History of Slavery and the Origins of American Policing The ugly history of racist policing in America Blood On Their Hands: The Racist History of Modern Police Unions    

August 13, 2017 by
“White lives matter, you will not replace us,” chanted white nationalists as they marched through the University of Virginia campus in Charlottesville, Va., with tiki torches Friday night. On Saturday, Ku Klux Klan members and others displaying Confederate flags, swastikas and an array of hate symbols gathered for a rally in Emancipation Park in that small, majority-white college town. In a four-sentence statement on the university’s website, UVA President Teresa A. Sullivan deemed the campus march “intolerable” and “entirely inconsistent with the university’s values.” Sullivan also added that she was “deeply saddened and disturbed by the hateful behavior displayed by torch-bearing protesters that marched on our grounds this evening.” But Sullivan’s message, and subsequent university postings Saturday, failed to explicitly name white supremacy as the motive of the protesters and made no mention of race. We suspect that many black parents who are about to drop their 17- and 18-year-olds off for move-in day and the fall term at UVA in the next week are worried. They have heard nothing from campus leadership that is likely to assure them that UVA is firmly committed to addressing racism when it occurs on and around campus. The posted statements don’t say that the “hateful behavior” of the “Unite the Right” marchers targeted people of color. When black freshmen at the University of Pennsylvania received messages containing racial slurs and threats of lynching last November, Penn’s President Amy Gutmann and other administrators repeatedly called these acts racist and acknowledged that black students were victims of the digital attacks. Higher education leaders must explicitly and specifically denounce racism as alt-right and other white nationalist groups bring hate to campus. White nationalist demonstrators use shields as they guard the entrance to Lee Park in Charlottesville, Va. The UVA statements do nothing to debunk Ku Klux Klan members’ and others’ claims about the status of white people. By far, whites make up the largest racial group at UVA, campus statistics show. There were 13,098 white students during the 2016-17 academic school year, compared with 1,323 blacks and 1,285 Latinos. Furthermore, last year only 87 of the university’s 2,754 faculty members were black. White men made up 49.1% of the faculty. These numbers make clear that white lives, especially white men’s lives, do in fact matter at UVA and in Charlottesville, and are in no danger of being replaced. The university must deploy these facts against the alt-right’s erroneous assertions. In moments of racial crisis, students and faculty — especially people of color — look to senior administrators for guidance and reassurance. They expect courageous leadership and the responsible use of evidence. Mishandling these situations in raceless ways does nothing to confirm, for instance, that black lives matter. It signals to students and faculty that their university is either too unaware, too afraid or insufficiently skilled to talk about racism, let alone to address it. According to 2016 data from the American Council on Education, 83% of college and university presidents in our nation are white. Campus chief executives, including those who are people of color, join white nationalists in preserving and exacerbating white supremacy when they neglect to name and boldly counter racism. source

August 13, 2017 by
Following the violence that unfolded in Charlottesville, Virginia at a series of white supremacist rallies on Friday evening and Saturday morning, President Donald Trump hosted a press conference from Bedminster, New Jersey. However, his statement sent a clear message not with strong rhetoric, but rather by omission. Throughout the evening and morning of rallies and counter-protests, violence between the white nationalists, Neo-Nazis, and members of the alt-right and folks who gathered to drown out the hateful speech. On Saturday, a car drove into a group of the anti-racist contingent, resulting in one fatality. Two more people—both Virginia State troopers—were killed in a helicopter crash southwest of the city while aiding law enforcement efforts. Virginia governor Terry McAuliffe declared a state of emergency. As of Sunday morning, at least 34 people were reported injured: 19 from the terrorist attack, and 15 others in "incidents associated with the scheduled rally," according to CNN. However, when the president stepped up to the mic on Saturday afternoon, he didn't characterize the violence in Virginia as domestic terrorism, nor did he place blame on the white nationalists spewing hate speech at the rallies. Instead, he said: "We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence, on many sides. On many sides." Trump repeated that last part for emphasis. "It's been going on for a long time in our country, he continued. "Not Donald Trump, not Barack Obama. This has been going on for a long, long time." But those two words—"many sides"—stuck; and with them, President Trump ignited an even stronger reaction than he did with his radio silence in the hours immediately after the rallies in Charlottesville turned violent. After the Bedminster press conference, people took to social media to share their confusion and disbelief at this characterization, and the president's failure to explicitly call out the white supremacists, alt-right, and neo-Nazis.       By taking the care to reiterate that "many sides" were to blame for the violence in Charlottesville, president Trump put the white supremacists and anti-racists on the same level of culpability. When asked for clarification, a White House official confirmed to CNN that, no, we hadn't misheard POTUS: Trump was "condemning hatred, bigotry and violence from all sources and all sides," the spokesperson said. "There was violence between protesters and counterprotesters today." Terrorism and white supremacy are not partisan matters—or, at the very least, they shouldn't be treated as such. And members of both political parties recognized that an ideology rooted in evil and hatred has no place in society.     Others accused Trump of being a white nationalist himself—hence his hesitation to call out who instigated the violence in Charlottesville by name.                             Others were more direct about what Trump's statement implicitly communicated: by emphasizing "many sides," Trump was victim-blaming—or taking the side of the nationalists.                                                                                             Trump later pivoted, releasing a follow-up statement that was confusingly self-congratulatory (and filled with hyperbole): "Our country is doing very well in so many ways. We have record—just absolute record employment. We have unemployment, the lowest it's been in almost 17 years. We have companies pouring into our country. Foxconn and car companies, and so many others, they're coming back to our country. We're renegotiating trade deals to make them great for our country and great for the American worker. We have so many incredible things happening in our country. So when I watch Charlottesville, to me it's very, very sad." Governor McAuliffe, meanwhile, took a vastly different approach when addressing folks Saturday evening; he delivered a speech that explicitly blasted the supremacists and neo-Nazis inviting violence in his state."You pretend that you are patriots, but you are anything but a patriot," McAuliffe said, before adding: "We are stronger than you," he said. "You have made our commonwealth stronger. You will not succeed. There is no place for you here." Former President Barack Obama also had something to add to the conversation: He reminded us of a quote from Nelson Mandela.                                                     source Read Moire: Unite the Right, the violent white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, explained Driver in custody after car rams into crowd following Virginia white nationalist rally White Nationalist Rally Picked Charlottesville For a Reason, Virginia Town Has Long History KKK Activity And Racism Torch-wielding white nationalists march at U.Va. The Largest Fascist Rally in Recent Memory Is Expected This Week -- Can the Left Unite Against It?

August 12, 2017 by
Hundreds of protesters descended upon Charlottesville, Virginia, on Saturday for a “Unite the Right” rally: a belated coming-out party for an emboldened white nationalist movement in the United States. The rally was dispersed by police minutes after its scheduled start at noon, after clashes between rallygoers and counter-protesters, and after a torchlit pre-rally march Friday night descended into violence. But activity is ongoing, with some rallygoers engaging in a march instead. It was perhaps a predictable culmination to the event — which has been a prime example of the difficulty of disentangling defenses of “free speech” from efforts to prevent violence, and the fine line between the self-described alt-right movement and more widely recognized forms of white nationalism. Self-described “pro-white” activist Jason Kessler organized the rally to protest the planned removal of a statue of confederate general Robert E. Lee from a park in Charlottesville. Kessler is affiliated with the alt-right movement that uses internet trolling tactics to argue against diversity and “identity politics” — part of a broader cultural backlash that helped elect Donald Trump. But the rally quickly attracted other more traditional groups of white nationalists, neo-Nazis, and the Ku Klux Klan. The involvement of hate groups and the threat of violence led the city of Charlottesville to attempt to marginalize the rally for “hate speech,” but the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) defended the demonstrators’ rights. The combination of rallygoers spoiling for a fight, and counter-protestors determined to convey that the rallygoers’ ideology was not welcome in America, allowed the violence to overshadow the speech — and eventually prevent the rally from going forward as planned. Plans to remove a Confederate statue have made Charlottesville a hot spot for right-wing activism Charlottesville, like many cities in the South, still has public spaces and monuments celebrating heroes of the Confederacy — many of which weren’t erected until the 20th century, as the civil rights movement began to pick up steam and Jim Crow laws started to come under attack. In the wake of the 2015 massacre of several worshipers at Emmanuel AME Church in Charleston by a white supremacist, there’s been a renewed push to remove some of these Confederate monuments and rename streets and squares honoring the Confederacy. But where those campaigns have succeeded, there’s often been a backlash from conservatives concerned about attempts to erase history, Southerners who consider the Confederacy part of their “heritage,” and outright white nationalists. In Charlottesville, advocates targeted a statue of Robert E. Lee in a park called Lee Square — City Council members pointed out that Lee had no connection to Charlottesville, implying that commemorating him was just an indirect way to celebrate the Confederacy, while a high-school student collected 600 signatures on a Change.org petition to rename the statue. (A counter-petition collected 2,000 signatures.) In February, the city council voted to sell the statue and rename the park Emancipation Park. (The statue is still in place.) The decision made the city a target for right-wing activism and shows of strength — and for activists keen to stand up to them and demonstrate that such ideas weren’t welcome. The Ku Klux Klan held a rally in Charlottesville in July, which was dwarfed by a massive counter-protest. Meanwhile, Charlottesville resident Jason Kessler — a pro-white activist and a member of the Proud Boys, a loose collective of pro-Trump alt-rightists — put together the Unite the Right rally for Saturday, to be held at what event posters still call Lee Park. Speakers include some of the alt-right personalities who have flirted most openly with white nationalism, including Baked Alaska, an internet provocateur who was once the tour manager for fellow internet provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos, as well as self-identified white nationalists like Richard Spencer. Political researcher Spencer Sunshine of the firm Political Research Associates told the Guardian’s Jason Wilson that while the rally was originally intended to attract a broad coalition of right-wing groups, it had become “increasingly Nazified” — with some primarily anti-government “patriot” groups refusing to sign on, and explicitly fascist groups like the National Socialist Movement getting on board instead. And many supporters and attendees of the rally certainly had no problem using Nazi tropes to promote it, as this “fan art” poster shows: According to the Charlottesville police affidavit put out before the rally, planned attendees included the Klan; the militia movement (a right-wing movement that gained traction in the 1990s, whose members include the activists who took over a federal nature reserve in early 2016); the “3%”, a right-wing anti-government movement; the Alt-Knights, an alt-right “fight club”; and others. The Nazification of the alt-right The arc of the Unite the Right rally — from an ostensible attempt to bring a broad coalition of conservative groups together to protest the controversial removal of a statue, to a “Nazified” rally for “the pro-white movement in America” — mirrors what’s been happening to the alt-right as a whole. The movement’s leaders have become increasingly willing to dabble in white-nationalist rhetoric and tropes, while attempting to avoid direct accusations of being themselves white nationalists. The rise of the alt-right is one face of a broader backlash against “identity politics” and “political correctness,” which have left some white Americans feeling that they’re losing ground to nonwhites — or that America is losing its identity — and that political, economic, and media elites are either uninterested in defending their heritage or actively trying to eradicate it. Among some younger, more internet-savvy people, hatred of “political correctness” has paired neatly with online troll culture, in which pushing boundaries and offending people is seen as harmless at worst and a show of cleverness at best. In 2015 and 2016, the alt-right was an inescapable online presence, with some of its members crediting the movement’s “meme magic” with the unexpected popularity of Donald Trump in the Republican presidential primary and, later, the general election. With Trump’s election, some of its leaders have become more seriously engaged in politics, via pro-Trump organizations like the Proud Boys and the Alt-Knights. Like Trump himself, alt-right leaders didn’t start out by explicitly aligning themselves with the sort of right-wing groups and movements that almost everyone in 2017 America is willing to agree are racist — like the Nazis or the Ku Klux Klan. But racist rhetoric has become a hallmark of the movement, from the use of “cuck” to deride anti-alt-right conservatives to Twitter harassment of Jewish journalists by photoshopping them into images of Nazi gas chambers. That crosses the line into ideologies that most Americans agree are taboo. People may believe that Donald Trump supporters aren’t necessarily racists, but they are willing to agree that members of the Klan and Nazis are racists. Indeed, it’s a contrast with those groups that allows some people to draw the line between “real racism” and liberals “crying wolf” about racism. (This is true outside the alt-right as well — just look at pro-Trump commentator Jeffrey Lord, fired by CNN this week after tweeting “Sieg heil!” in what he claims was a joke.) Many public figures and politicians on the left, center, and center-right have argued that the alt-right is defined by these actions — among many on the left, the term “alt-right” itself is an unacceptable euphemism that legitimizes an ideology that would be considered unacceptable if it were simply called white nationalism. Progressive writer Lindy West wrote in 2016 that the term “alt-right” was “an attempt to rebrand warmed-over Reconstruction-era white supremacy as a cool, new (and harmless!) internet fad.” Instead of responding by deliberately distancing themselves from white nationalism, though, leaders of the alt-right have deliberately blurred the distinction. They’ve adopted memes and hand gestures (like the “okay” symbol) as an inside joke, because people outside the movement have mistaken them for white nationalist symbols. The attitude tends to be that if “the left” is going to see them as Nazis, they might as well encourage that conception. But there are plenty of people whose Naziism isn’t ironic at all. And at an event like the Unite the Right rally, it’s impossible to tell the difference between someone who’s wearing a swastika pin or giving a Nazi salute “ironically” and someone who’s doing it in earnest. The people who claim they’re doing it “ironically” don’t appear to have any problem with that confusion. The line between “protected speech” and violent street fighting is getting very blurry As the movement behind the Unite the Right rally has become so closely intertwined with groups universally condemned as racist, the response to the rally has started to treat it as inherently illegitimate — as an attack on the rights of people of color, LGBTQ Americans, non-Christians, and immigrants to live and worship safely in the United States. AirBnb shut down accounts of users who were seeking accommodations in Charlottesville for the rally, citing its “Community Commitment”: “those who are members of the Airbnb community accept people regardless of their race, religion, national origin, ethnicity, disability, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, or age." And local governments have taken the initiative to shut down right-wing demonstrations before they happen — forcing them into the tricky position of deciding the line between protected free speech activity and physical violence waiting to happen. In Portland in June, the city government attempted to revoke a permit for a pro-Trump “free speech” rally, but didn’t succeed — then dispersed the rally and a counter-protest when they descended into violence. In Charlottesville, the city government attempted to move the Unite the Right rally out of downtown; the ACLU helped defend the rally, and a judge’s injunction Friday night allowed the original plan to remain in place. (Virginia governor Terry McAuliffe, meanwhile, urged both would-be rallygoers and would-be counter-protesters to stay away from downtown Charlottesville Saturday.) The problem is that while the law sees a clear distinction between speech and action when it comes to violence — a peaceful Nazi rally is protected by the First Amendment — many of the people attending do not. The recent right-wing resurgence has fed a rise in an American “antifa” (short for “anti-fascist”) movement, dedicated to violent resistance of ideologies that it sees as inherently violent (or, in simpler terms, dedicated to punching Nazis). While the counter-protesters to Saturday’s Unite the Right rally planned peaceful resistance, some were prepared for self-defense; local activist Emily Gorecenski told the Guardian that she was carrying a gun because “The second amendment is one of the few civil rights I have left as a trans woman.” And many rally participants, for their part, were more than willing to beat up counter-protesters — as was demonstrated during a related march Friday night on the campus of the University of Virginia, which devolved into a brawl when marchers assaulted counter-protesters around a statue of Thomas Jefferson. After stepping in somewhat belatedly on Friday, police officers took an aggressive stand Saturday to prevent the rally from going forward as planned. Both the city of Charlottesville and the state of Virginia declared states of emergency Saturday, minutes before the scheduled start time of the rally (but after clashes had already begun). Shortly before noon, police assembled at the rally site and declared the assembly “unlawful” before the rally actually began, then moved immediately to disperse the crowd. But it’s too late to keep the Unite the Right rally from becoming violent; to some, its concept was inherently violent, and few appear invested in stopping physical violence from erupting in its wake. source Read More: The Hidden Meaning of Trump's Charlottesville Remarks "Why we voted for Donald Trump": David Duke explains the white supremacist Charlottesville protests