Hundreds of neo-Nazis have descended upon the Virginia town of Charlottesville, leading to the death of one counter-protester who was allegedly murdered in a car ramming attack.
Members of various far right and neo-Nazi groups arranged a “Unite the Right” march which took place over August 11th and 12th.
On Friday the Nazis were heard chanting “Jews will not replace us”, reflecting an antisemitic conspiracy theory espoused by the far right that Jews are attempting to undermine “traditional values” and preventing white families from having children, with the Nazis chanting “white lives matter” alongside this. They also chanted “Blood and Honour”, a slogan which originates in Nazi Germany.
Friday also saw several clashes between the far right and counter-protesters, which left several injured.
On Saturday the Nazi chanting resumed, with protesters shouting “Blood and Soil”, another slogan from Nazi Germany. They also held placards saying “the goyim know”, an antisemitic meme which is explained here in one of our previous articles. They also shouted “the Jewish media is going down”, again peddling an antisemitic conspiracy theory.
As street brawls erupted all over the town, a 32-year-old counter-protester was killed in a car ramming attack, which injured 19 others, which has been branded a terrorist attack. One suspect is now being charged with murder.
Donald Trump drew criticism for having inflamed racial tensions during his Presidential campaign, which often played with antisemitic rhetoric. Following the incidents of the last two days, Trump says that he condemns the “egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides”. However, he has not specifically and explicitly condemned the white supremacists, many of whom are his supporters, with former KKK-leader and notorious antisemite David Duke portraying the events as an opportunity to fulfill the “promise” of Trump’s campaign. Indeed, during his Presidential campaign, Trump was repeatedly criticised for initially being unwilling to repudiate Duke’s support. Trump’s response was so tepid, and so friendly to the interests of neo-Nazis, that the Daily Stormer celebrated his comments as they didn’t specifically condemn them.
Thankfully, many senior Republicans did condemn the far right extremists in strong and unequivocal terms. The police too seem to have worked tirelessly to bring order to the town, with two dying in a helicopter crash. However, until Donald Trump is willing to confront the extremism from his own supporters, the far right will be allowed to flourish in America.