Yesterday, I spoke with an ANTIFA (Anti-Fascist) leader, the National Socialist Movement (a white nationalist group) chief of staff, and a journalist who’s been covering white nationalists for 15 years. What all three could all agree upon was that unlike the annual sometimes violent skirmishes between quasi-militant Anti-Fascist groups and white nationalists, Charlottesville marks a turning point. It’s wrenched once-marginal extremist groups from the fringes into the center of national racial turbulence and brewing Southern anger over an identity crisis with the loss of Confederate symbols. “This is because of the monument, which unites the South (which is proud of its Confederate heritage) with the racists,” the journalist told me. “It’s the perfect storm.”
Around the election last year, I spent some time interviewing KKK leaders and white nationalists, imagining what a then-alternate reality would look like under an unlikely Trump presidency. The Imperial Wizard of the Texas Rebel Knights had remarked to me that the Civil War wasn’t over, but referred to the past century-and-a-half as “halftime.” I took that with a grain of salt because it’s something KKK and white nationalists have been saying for years, especially in the run-ups to elections. (Here’s KKK member Steven Howard telling Dateline in October 2012: “I believe that...whites and blacks need to be separated...Let them set up their own state where they belong and give them their own homeland.” (scroll to 6:30).) The idea of retaking a “homeland” is repeated throughout white nationalist rhetoric; it’s what “white nationalism” means, whether it takes shape in a whites-only North Dakota town or in this weekend’s battle to keep up a Confederate statue.
As National Socialist Movement chief of staff Butch Urban described it to me, the violent rally was the outbreak that thousands of white nationalists, who’d gathered from all over the states this weekend, had been anticipating for years:
...today isn’t just about removing Confederate monuments and statues and renaming parks. I think people are tired. They’re tired of the bullshit, the political correctness, using our tax dollars to bring in people from Syria and Somalia, all this other stuff with homosexuality.
It’s come to a head, and today’s a prime example.
For today, at least, that looks accurate. So much fallout is raining down in the news from all over the states that it’s impossible to pinpoint a single story. So in the absence of a Jezebel Barf Bag weekday evening news bulletin–and because nobody is talking about anything else today–here is a Sunday special on all the shit we couldn’t cover today:
- Demonstrations have been taking place in at least New York, LA, Chicago, and Oakland to protest the violence in Charlottesville. [NBC New York, LA Times, DNAinfo, HuffPost]
- The 32-year-old woman killed in Charlottesville has been identified as Heather Hayer, whose last Facebook post read “If you’re not angry, you’re not paying attention.” [Independent]
- The Daily Stormer, the white nationalist homepage, is calling her a “fat, childless 32-year-old slut.” [Daily Stormer]
- Images of debris from Charlottesville. [Daily Mail]
- More info keeps coming in on suspect James Alex Fields Jr., piecing together a portrait of a troubled loner with neo-Nazi leanings, who’d had a brief stint in the military. [New York Times]
- Trump is now televising propaganda. [Splinter News]
- A “White Lives Matter” rally is being planned at Texas A&M University for September 11th, as is a counter-protest. [Texas Tribune]
- The fucking Mooch weighs in and tries to take the high road, blaming Bannon for “inexcusable” “toleration” of white supremacy and white nationalism. The “Bannon-Bart influence is a snag on the President.” He also said he felt that Trump needed to be “much harsher.” [ABC News]
- Barack Obama, in his wisdom, tweeted a lovely and poetic Nelson Mandela quote. [Twitter]
- We’re still not sure what caused the helicopter crash which resulted in a ball of flames in a residential neighborhood, killing two state police outside of the Charlottesville rally, but TMZ has video. The man taking the video speculated that it was flying too low. [TMZ]
- Mic’s Jack Smith tweets a video of riot police marching through an open mall full of diners, our new normal. [Twitter]
- Ivanka finally chimes in to name white supremacy which her father would not:
- Whatever, Ivanka. [Perez Hilton]