To hear embarrassed right wingers tell it, white supremacist and neo-Nazi groups are really leftists. “The KKK were Democrats,” they yell. “And the Nazis were the National Socialist Party!” But this weekend there’s a big white supremacist rally in Virginia and they’re calling it the Unite the Right Rally.
For the second time in six weeks, Charlottesville is bracing for a protest of its decision earlier this year to remove a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee from a downtown park. White nationalists, white supremacists and members of alt-right groups will gather in the city Saturday at noon for the Unite the Right rally to voice opposition to the decision and assert itself as a movement.
The planned event — and one held July 8 by the Ku Klux Klan for the same purpose — has sparked fierce opposition in this town of close to 50,000. Large counter-demonstrations are planned by a collection of faith-based groups, civil rights organizations, local businesses and faculty and students at the University of Virginia, which is located in the city.The convergence of potentially thousands of protesters and counter-demonstrators has left many city leaders, residents and business owners worried about possible violence and property damage in the typically tranquil community.
The organizer of the event, Brad Griffin, says it will be “biggest rally event we’ve had this millennium” and will give the movement “a real-world presence, which it hasn’t had in 15 years.” But we’ve heard those kinds of claims many times before. Just a few weeks ago they held a rally at the very same place with the very same predictions of huge crowds of proud racists showing up to protect their “heritage,” but they got a small crowd that was dwarfed by the number of counter-protesters. I expect the same thing to happen tomorrow.