April 22, 2018
A small neo-Nazi rally of the sort that has been taking place every year for decades is getting a lot of press in a post-Charlottesville America.
A neo-Nazi rally outside of Atlanta on Saturday drew only a few participants and did not last very long.
But the event still upended Newnan, Ga., a city of about 38,000, for an afternoon as downtown shops closed and counterprotesters gathered. Hasco Craver, the assistant city manager, said more than 700 law enforcement officers were present from 42 agencies.
Members of the National Socialist Movement, a white nationalist organization that has been labeled a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, gained a permit last month for a rally from 3 to 5 p.m. at a park. Organizers estimated the rally could draw 50 to 100 people, city officials said.
Their plans called to mind a rally of white nationalists in Charlottesville, Va., in August that spun out of control, with demonstrators and counterprotesters clashing in the streets.
But when rally participants converged on Greenville Street Park in Newnan shortly after 4 p.m., it appeared there were only about two dozen white nationalists on a platform there.
Yeah, that does not seem like a low-ball estimate.
Having clicked through a livestream of the event, that seems about like what was there.
In a speech, Jeff Schoep, who leads the National Socialist Movement and was also at the rally in Charlottesville, criticized illegal immigration, skinny jeans and the removal of Confederate monuments, adding that he was “standing on behalf of white nationalism, white patriotism and our history as American people.”
In front of the rally participants was a smattering of reporters in a grassy area that was mostly empty. Beyond that were barricades and dozens of black-clad, helmet-wearing law enforcement officers lining the street that bordered the park.
And beyond all of that, at least 100 people stood in opposition to the gathering, including some activists of the anti-fascist group known as antifa.
The counterprotesters had been demonstrating downtown for hours before the white nationalist rally. They marched through the streets and waved signs that said “Smash white supremacy” and “Love thy neighbor,” while a helicopter pulled a banner that said “Newnan believes in love for all.”
Burt Colucci, a member of the National Socialist Movement, told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution there was no particular reason Newnan was chosen for the rally.
There were a few confrontations between counterprotesters and the police. City officials said about 10 arrests were made but it was unclear who was charged or for what. By 6 p.m., downtown Newnan seemed calm.
Again, for those who do not know, this is something that has been going on for decades.
Much of the media is trying to spin this is “all that remains of the Alt-Right,” but that is the opposite of the truth.
Basically what happened was, at Charlottesville, the NSM and the associated groups came together with the much more populated Alt-Right movement, creating an event with thousands of people.
After the problems associated with Charlottesville, the Alt-Right groups have backed away from these sorts of planned, publicly announced protests, and what remains is what was always there. After the collapse of TWP (an NSM allied group part of a larger “Nationalist Front” alliance), due to the strange domestic situation which developed involving that group’s leadership, this event Saturday was even smaller than it would have been a couple years ago.
I just want everyone to remember that the Alt-Right did not begin as a protest movement, and its stint as a protest movement largely started and ended with Charlottesville.
The Alt-Right began as a cultural and social movement associated with /pol/, the Daily Stormer, Groyper, The Right Stuff, Identity Europa and Richard Spencer.
Following the election of Donald Trump, the idea of trying the protest movement scene was hit on, and it turned out to be a media disaster and resulted in imprisonments and lawsuits.
Of course, it wasn’t all bad, and indeed I believe it had to happen in order for us to understand that this isn’t the direction that we want to go in as a movement.
Since then, we have gone back into the space where we were winning, focusing on creating media that reaches out to young people and brings them on-board with our agenda, while also focusing on building real-life communities, and working toward putting together organizations which will give us the needed infrastructure for the long-haul as a force of change in America.
Don’t let the media gaslight you by pointing to these NSM protests and saying “this is all that is left of the Alt-Right.” The NSM never was Alt-Right, they simply joined us at Charlottesville for one event, and now we’re going back to doing what we do and they’re going on doing what they do.
That is all.