[NOTE: This was written a year ago, in the summer of 2018, while working on the News 21 reporting project “Hate in America”. The project produced digital stories, blog posts, and a full-length, awards (three at last count) winning documentary. This specific piece is published for the first time here.]
Phoenix, AZ July 2018, by Danny Smitherman
Instead of a United Right, the status of American pro-white extremism is in major flux 11 months after the original Charlottesville rally, and on the day of its Washington, D.C. sequel.
Christopher Cantwell, Unite the Right 2017 participant, recently pleaded guilty to charges related to the UTR rally and was freed from house arrest, the remainder of the sentence suspended, ordered to leave Virginia within eight hours, and exiled from the state for five years.
Once back in his hometown of Keene, New Hampshire, after a year incarcerated in Virginia, Cantwell continued his stream of death wishes to ‘trannies’, immigrants, and non-whites:
He also continued his feud with fellow extremist and UTR 2017 organizer Jason Kessler.
Kessler planned a UTR reboot in Charlottesville this month, but the city opposed his permit request, and Kessler dropped his appeal in court. His rally for tomorrow, of course, was approved.
Cantwell is not the only one to decline Kessler’s invitation to D.C.
Patrick Little ran in the Republican primary in June in California to run against Sen. Diane Feinstein, but lost. Since then he continues to get out his message of white supremacy and anti-semitism.
He was in Missoula, Montana last month, talking with people on the streets as a run up to his run for President in 2020. When a woman stated “we’re all Jewish here” in response to Little’s mention of Israel naming Jerusalem as the capital, he admitted to his cameraman that “she may agree with my facts, but not my intentions, and my intentions are to liberate this country from Jewish supremacism [sic].”
Little won’t join Kessler in D.C., either. Little says it’s because Kessler is “punching right” by maligning other white nationalists and supremacists, adding the hashtag “#HitlerDidNothingWrong” to his RSVP.
Kessler replied that Nazis weren’t invited anyway.
A major contention in the all-white crowd is “optics”: how will this look to all those white people who haven’t yet joined the cause? Will Nazi salutes, swastikas and copies of Mein Kampf help, or hurt, the cause?
Some white nationalists see Kessler’s rally plans and rhetoric not as mere optics but as treason to the white race, and look more to Patrick Little’s virulent anti-semitism than Kessler’s preppy racism.
League of the South President Michael Hill sees much more promise in radicalization than in optics for his organization, the mission of which is to “seek to advance the cultural, social, economic, and political well-being and independence of the Southern people, by all honorable means. The League of the South is a Southern nationalist organization, headquartered in Killen, Alabama, whose ultimate goal is ‘a free and independent Southern republic,’” according to their website.
Back in April of this year Hill responded on the website to criticism he’s faced for changes he’s made to the League:
“Yes, we have radicalized by openly and directly addressing the Negro (and general dark-skinned) Question and the Jew Question. We are de facto and openly professed White/Southern nationalists, meaning that we seek to restore the South to the dominance of the White man and to make it our own ethnostate for our posterity. And because most Southerners (particularly evangelical Christians) are still reluctant to take to the streets to defend their civilization, we have made alliances with other radicals who are willing to stand with us in public.”
The group launched a new addition to their site: LOS content in Russian. They’re also planning the same for Chinese.
Clearly they aren’t reaching their intended audience by focusing on the U.S. alone, and internet technology is one disconnect.
Alongside and underneath the scattered figures of white extremism lie broken financial, social, and recruiting connections. Facebook, Twitter, PayPal, and other social and financial platforms suspended accounts of Little, Kessler and Cantwell – and now Alex Jones – since UTR 2017.
This turned out to hurt Cantwell where it counts, attested to by posts on the social platform GAB.ai:
Cantwell was so desperate for cash that he tested the GAB waters with this money-maker:
Whether or not he drummed up customers, things were bad enough for him that he apparently considered suicide:
The League of the South solicits funds via checks sent by snail mail, solicits members in Russia and China, and now solicits radical extremists willing “to take to the streets to defend their civilization.”
For Richard Spencer, coiner of the term alt-right, and chairman of the National Policy Institute, funds are elusive because it’s difficult to exchange money offline, and many online organizations draw the line at doing business with high profile white extremists.
Spencer’s NPI footer shows only the placeholder for a financial transactions plugin:
Cantwell can’t get a break either, tech-wise:
Online, Americans continue to disrupt white supremacy and extremism. In the real world, Americans continue to splinter the alt-right. And hate doesn’t appear strong enough to counter that.