White supremacists shouting anti-black, anti-immigrant and anti-Semitic slogans had converged to protest the imminent removal of a statue of confederate General Robert E. Lee on the grounds of the Virginia university founded by slave owner Thomas Jefferson. They were confronted by democratic socialists, anarchists and other social justice groups who'd traveled to the quiet college town to show solidarity and bear witness.
There has to be a reason that police stood by and let the two groups battle it out in the streets before they finally intervened. It was to give the TV audience watching at home the opportunity to see that "both sides do it." Lookee here, folks, socialists are the same thuggish thing as fascists! So before one young woman got killed and many others injured by a road-raged young neo-Nazi, the violence was dutifully portrayed as a "clash" between two equally unruly groups. If an alt-right man threw a punch, and a leftist defended him or herself, it was caught on camera so that both could be chided for resorting to violence. Maybe they would just cancel each other out in the eyes of the great moral majority, and go home so that the proper anti-Trump resistance of the Democratic-Neocon alliance could get on with the more seemly outrage and virtue-signalling.
Although centrist criticism of the leftist counter-protesters has now become suitably muted in light of the fact that one of them - a white female Bernie Sanders supporter, no less - was actually killed, the liberal punditocracy had been saying the exact same things which they are now criticizing the shocking Donald Trump for saying: that "many sides" act egregiously.
Right before Saturday's terror attack, corporate Democratic groups were actually goading young leftists, mocking them as probably too cowardly and basement-bound to ever don a pink pussy hat and join the astroturfed Clintonoid "resistance" movement against Trump. Writes Shuja Haider of Jacobin:
The morning before the rally, Mieke Eoyang, vice president of the National Security Program at centrist think tank Third Way, tweeted, “If the Bernie Bros wanted to make a show of force on behalf of progressive values, Saturday in Charlottesville would be a good time.”If it had been Hillary Clinton supporters who were attacked by a Nazi sympathizer with a vehicular weapon, I think it's a good bet that their biographies would be cause celebre for a massive outpouring of corporate news coverage and fundraising appeals. But the New York Times, to name just one, never even mentioned in its bio-piece about the murdered Heather Heyer that she had been a Sanders supporter. It doesn't fit their prescribed identity politics Narrative. As a matter of fact, in a separate Tweet, Times reporter Sheryl Gay Stolberg remarked that "the hard left seem as hate-filled as the alt-right."
Neera Tanden, president of liberal think tank Center for American Progress, turned disdainfully to her left later that day. “We have actual fascists marching with torches. Maybe everyone on the progressive side could focus on the enemies of progress in front of us,” she tweeted. “We’re ready for you to join us Neera,” one young activist responded. Tanden’s response was to ask him to condemn “those on the alt left who want to join with the fascists.”
Meanwhile, down at the more staid Netroots Nation's annual convention, which wound up over the weekend, the agenda was The Russian Infiltration of Our Democracy™️. The prescribed resistance at the Atlanta meeting was not against fascism, but against any and all criticisms of the Democratic Party's Russophobic propaganda. If I were a conspiracy buff, I might even suspect that the NSA and the CIA have infiltrated what used to be an independent group of progressive activists and bloggers. From Politico:
The question of alleged Trump campaign collusion with Russia looms especially large here. In the hallways and on side panels, activists and organizers are resisting the guidance of party leaders who worry about overplaying the Russia issue at the expense of others that may matter more to voters. The message from the grass roots? We’re not going to stop talking about President Donald Trump and Russia.Chamberlain wasted no time, therefore, sending out an email blast in which he used Donald Trump's remarks about Charlottesville as the perfect fund-raising hook. How quickly Russia is forgotten! Now we should give this Democratic veal pen group money to show how united we are in (artificially narrow) righteous indignation against Trump's failure to call out white supremacists. It is absolutely critical for the Democratic Party to co-opt the same events that it deliberately chose to ignore in favor of Russia, Russia, Russia. (Not least because their backfiring pro-Clinton propaganda has seemingly infected so many "grassroots" minds to the point of no return.)
“Not only is it a false choice, it’s a really limited choice,” said Democracy for America Executive Director Charles Chamberlain of the common refrain that Democratic candidates and groups ought to focus on issues like health care rather than the investigations. “I get it when people are frustrated when they feel like all they’re hearing is, ‘Russia, Russia, Russia…[but] it actually isn’t a distraction: It’s actually critical for our democracy.”
Hate and righteous anger are being falsely equated by far more sources than just the odious Donald Trump. As usual, the establishment is bursting its seams with its own, glibber versions of the same old platitudinous jingoistic boilerplate. (Love Trumps Hate; This Is Not Who America Is; Let the Healing Begin; Thoughts and Prayers; War Is Peace, etc.)
That being said, the emboldened, no-hoods-needed neo-Nazi movement is absolutely being aided and abetted by Trump's dangerous rhetoric, more bullhorn than the usual right-wing dog whistle. He is simply using the resentments of bigoted young white men the same way he is using the plights of the coal miners and the veterans and the fragmented labor unions: to further cement his own power. An administration composed of Wall Street bankers, bloodthirsty generals and fascist ideologues is his dangerous way of triangulating against traditional institutions, not least of which are the United States Congress and the entire federal court system. The courts have thus far balked at his unconstitutional directives and desires, the Congress not so much. So where there's gridlock, there's at least a little hope left for what is still left of our democracy.
Meanwhile, membership in the Democratic Socialists of America is skyrocketing. As a result, there are already worrying signs of infiltration by establishment Democrats, who'd also tried to co-opt the Occupy movement before the camps were torn apart by Democratic mayors, and the solidarity splintered, and the co-optation rendered moot.
While supporting such measures as universal health care and standing up to Trump-inspired fascism, there is, tellingly, nothing on the DSA website about resisting American wars and imperialism.
And what is the American military's aiding and abetting of multinationals high on capitalistic crack but fascism? What are the bombings and occupations of faraway countries and their darker-skinned people anything but racism?
Note to readers: I'll be away, so few to no postings in the next two weeks. I'll still be checking in regularly to moderate and publish your comments.