Disgusting, intolerable, and revolting are just a few of the many descriptors for the hate and the ongoing violence that has taken place in Charlottesville, Virginia. This gathering of alt-right, White supremacist, Neo-Nazi groups engaging in a Unite The Right rally, also being called the White Lives Matter march, might not have happened but for the election of the 45th* President of the United States. But look closely at the images on your TV, computer, and smartphone screens. The violent confrontations began not between the White Lives Matter marchers and police, but with the same anti-fascists, worldwide socialists, and anti-capitalists who went to Hamburg, Germany in early July, 2017, to riot during the G-20 conference. Purposefully engaging in violence with thugs armed with guns, clubs, and who knows what else, is not the way forward to peace and understanding. Gandhi and Dr. King would not be pleased.
Confronting, taunting, and even throwing objects at well trained police who are under orders and legal constraints that require restraint, provide protestors a certain degree of assurance that their personal safety will not be unduly endangered during a legally sanctioned demonstration. But Virginia is an open carry state. Openly confronting the kinds of individuals supporting this White Lives Matter march, is a bad idea that can reasonably be calculated to lead to tragic consequences. Predictably, after a previous night of protests and the violence that followed on August 12, 2017, the City of Charlottesville declared a state of emergency. while also declaring the rally an unlawful assembly.
Still the violence ramped up, culminating with a car purposefully crashing into other vehicles then backing out, running down pedestrians in the process. Virginia’s Democratic Governor, Terry McAulliffe, responded by declaring a state of emergency and calling out the national guard. One person has been reported dead, and nineteen others injured. We now have a first degree, potential death penalty situation for the driver, and possibly the occupants of that vehicle, if any.
Take a close look at the flags and banners being carried by some of the counter protesters, and you will see the black and red fist symbol of what is now referred to as the Resistance.
This image incorporates the black and red colors of the American Socialist Party,
with the International Socialist Organization’s red lettering and black fist.
The Democratic Socialists of America also use the black and red motif.
Red and black are also the colors of the anti fascist groups across the globe.
These groups came to Charlottesville, VA for a confrontation with the the Unite The Right marchers in much the same way that protesters went to Hamburg, Germany to confront the G-20 summit. There,
“Anti-capitalist and anti-fascist groups from Italy and France gathered among German protesters.”
The Hamburg protests, organized by ANTIFA, welcomed the New American President to Germany with the greeting of welcome to hell.
The Socialist groups, such as the Socialist Resistance, had promoted attending the protests in Hamburg as the opportunity for Socialist protestors to,
“Provide a dry run for activists in Scotland, Wales and England planning for Trump’s visit to Britain in the autumn.”
ANTIFA means the anti-fascist movement, and,
“The movement’s current iteration can be traced to parts of the Occupy Movement and anti-globalist protests in the early 2000s.”
The association of groups that refers to themselves as ANTIFA,
“Combines radical left-wing and anarchist politics, revulsion at racists, sexists, homophobes, anti-Semites, and Islamophobes, with the international anti-fascist culture of taking the streets and physically confronting the brownshirts of white supremacy, whoever they may be.”
The 45th* President interrupted his previously scheduled made for television reality moment, by making a brief statement on the violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, saying,
“We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry, and violence on many sides.”
The violence in Charlottesville, Virginia was engaged in by people on both the far right and the far left. Anyone engaging in political violence must be condemned no matter where they fall on the ideological spectrum. Note the striking refusal by the President to call out by name, and to specifically condemn the hate groups that are his strongest supporters, who along with the President himself, are the root cause of these two days of protests and the violence that has transpired. Still, it does take two to tango and we can expect 45th*, who has already blamed what he called, many sides, to use the violence in places like Charlottesville as an excuse to crack down on all of our basic, constitutionally protected, civil liberties. History does and is repeating itself.