It is time to put the false equivalency aside.
First: There are NO “very fine people” from Unite the Right
There are NO “very fine people” among the Nazis, nor among the KKK, nor among Neo-Confederates, nor among White Nationalists or on the Alt-Right. Nazis are bad. Period. The KKK is bad. Period. Neo-Confederates are bad. Period. The White Nationalist Militia movement is bad. Period. The Alt-Right is bad. Full. Fucking Stop.
Every single one of their ideologies is about exclusivity. Every one of their ideologies is based in hatred of those who are different than them. Every last one of them has the intent of oppressing anyone who not only doesn’t look like them, act like them and think like them, but that oppression has roots in racial, ethnic and religious extermination.
The only good Nazis are the ones already in their grave. As has already been pointed out numerous times, we fought an entire War over this. The whole world was involved.
Second: “Both Sides” are NOT the problem.
There are not many “sides” to the violence. The “left” isn’t the same as the “right.” Not in general and NOT in this case specifically. Period.
Ideologies do NOT exist in an equilibrium. There doesn’t have to be some political balance at play. It is not only entirely possible, it is actually happening, that the right is significantly more intollerant and violence than the left.
Pretending that there has to be this balance and then making up examples that it exists is an attempt at false equivalency and gives cover to the real evil happening.
The right-wing extremists are the problem. Full Stop.
Third: That there is NO SUCH THING as the “alt-left.”
This is a completely made up term that NO ONE self-identifies as. No one other than the Alt-Right uses to describe anything. While the Alt-Right have raised their own awareness through self-identification and gained enteries into Politico’s encyclopedia of politics, into Wikipedia, into and as part of the mainstream lexicon used by the media, regular citizens and politicians literally the ONLY place you can find this fictitious alt-left is when the false equivalency argument comes up on sites like the racists message board 4Chan or out of of the mouths of wing nuts on Alex Jone’s show, or now from the President of the United States. These are NOT credible sources of knowledge or fact.
Forth, speaking of FACT, lets get some down that defend the above positions:
The Confederate Monument in Charlottesville was not constructed immediately after the Civil War as a direct memory of the soldiers that died in battle. It was constructed during the Jim Crow era, more than 50 years after the war ended.
There’s a reason it took that long for this and other monuments to go up: while honoring soldiers killed in action is a nobel cause, the Confederacy was traitorous and it’s leadership deserve no honor in having broken their oaths to the US Constitution in order to fight. Secession was defeated and the nation had NO reason to glorify the insurrection. Of course, in the state’s that remained Sovereign there was no need to even have this discussion as there would never be a thought about honoring traitors, however, many of the surviving Confederate leadership, including Lee, understood the so-called Pride their constituents felt despite losing and were against memorializing the insurrection as the nation struggled to put itself back together. They understood that anything that perpetuated the rebellion post-surrender did more harm than good. These two contributed to the lack of memorialization early on.
As the Southern Poverty Law Center points out, most of the over 1,200 cataloged Confederate monuments come from decades after the way as racism swelled in the post-reconstruction South. They went up with the implicit purpose of maintaining the spirit of white superiority long after those involved in the original war had passed on. It wasn’t about the brave struggles of these traitors as much as it was about using their martyrdom to inflict fear on blacks.
The removal of the monument by Charlottesville wasn’t just done on a whim. Since about 2015 the purging of treasonous Confederate paraphernalia has been ongoing and Charlottesville ,like many other towns, cities and States, realized the origins of hate underlying their presences and to legal steps toward their removal. The pitch to remove the statue originated with Vice Mayor Wes Bellamy last march and was generally met with bipartisan support. The process was open enough that Bellamy exposed himself to character attacks and an attempt at political ouster by those who opposed the statue’s removal. However, ultimately the legal process played out and the statue was scheduled to come down.
The Unite the Right Protest
The Unite the Right campaign as organized by self-identifying Alt-Right Charlottesville resident Jason Kessler however he utilized a national recruitment through his Unity & Security for America organization and affiliation with the White Power website the Daily Caller. Thus the protesters were not just from Charlottesville – the intention was never just to rally Charlottesville – it was to mobilize a national response. He leveraged VDARE and other groups he’s had association with, as well, so far as was reported by local news, reaching out to regional chapters of Nazi groups, the KKK and White Nationalist Militias, and other Pro-White organizations to spread the word.
These groups in turn spread the word nationally. Coverage by far-right media such as the Daily Stormer, Inquisitor, and others that don’t deserve the additional promotion, continued to recruit attendees, while message boards like 4Chan and the comments section of Breitbart, among others that don’t deserve mention, did the rest. So, while there were some local citizens this was hardly promoted as a local event.
The original protest for the statue’s removal fits in the broadest sense under the First Amendment as Freedom of Speech, Freedom of Assembly and to a degree Freedom to Petition for a Redress of Grievances. The attempt at going through the appropriate channels for permitting and approvals and all seems to have occurred.
However, though Kessler did not originally promote it with the explicit intention of violence, he reached out to groups he, and everyone else, know full well have violent tendencies. Once these groups became involved in the promotion of the event the threat of violence became very really.
Why Unite the Right Could Leverage Violence
Right Wing Extremist groups know they can get away with violence for three reasons which is why they openly use violent rhetoric.
First is the Lone Wolf. We’ll discuss them further later, but Lone Wolves are the perfect cover because the premise is it’s a deranged individual acting alone outside the representation of a formal hate group. While some Lone Wolves actually are just that, most probably aren’t. They are true believes that allow themselves to be thrown under the bus for the greater good of the whole. And, because society allows for hate groups to distance themselves from the effects of the hate that they preach these groups know they can get away with extremist actions and face few real consequences. The martyrdom of one of their own simply emboldens them further.
Second is the false equivalency which will come up again and again in this discussion. The Right Wing knows that if the Left does anything at all to defend itself the narrative will be “both sides” engaged. If violence occurs, regardless of who started it, they will always have the cover of saying “both sides” and then using a combination of “Stand Your Ground” type defenses and “self-defense” arguments to justify their violence. Again, because society allows for hate groups to distance themselves from the effects of the hate that they preach these groups know they can get away with extremist actions and face few real consequences. Any injuries sustained by the Right because they were defending themselves from the so-called inherent violence of the Left. Any injuries sustained by the Left are because they deserved it. This is perpetuated over and over through the narrative despite the evidence otherwise.
Finally, because they know the Justice System will do very little to them. The FBI has cataloged for years the infiltration of hate groups into local Police forces. This is nothing new as the Klan heavily utilized this tactic during the Jim Crow and Civil Rights eras. Knowing the Cops are one of you provides a wide berth for taking questionable actions. Furthermore, in the cases where the Police are forced into taking action, the reality is there are many in the Justice System who identify further right leaning, and in extreme cases are members of these hate groups, and are more likely to be sympathetic during the process. This is not only something documented by the FBI, but the ACLU, NAACP, ADL and others also have statistical evidence pointing toward this behavior. And, when these people finally face a jury of their peers in all likelihood will adjudicate the cases different for a White Conservative than say a black man. There’s reams of research that speak to this point already that I don’t even need to re-document it here.
The Reality of Unite the Right Violence
Op-eds on several prominent hate sites called for both first-strike violent interactions and goading on the counter-protesters into violence. These threats have been well documented so there’s no reason to redistribute their author’s hate here. Individuals posted their intent to be violent on their personal Social Media pages, on message boards and in comment sections. In some cases individuals went on record with the media, including Vice and the local news, before and during the event stating they not only expected violence, they hoped for it.
Nazi groups, the KKK and White Nationalist Militias, and others came with helmets, shields, body armor, clubs and night sticks, improved weapons, chemical weapons like pepper spray and tear gas, and of course a variety of guns. One doesn’t attend a peaceful rally armed to the hilt and what they came prepared with was overkill as merely self defense.
This should not be a surprise considering the foundational history of those involved. The Nazis, KKK and other white nationalists are large, organized groups that have GENERATIONS of historical violence as well as recent actions that define the premise of exactly WHO THEY ARE. They are violent hate groups. They were on record before the event as explicitly stating their mission was to insite violence from the left. They did so on websites like the Daily Stormer, they made flyers recruiting for it, they chanted it for multiple days before one of them rammed a car into a crowd with the intent to kill people. They came prepared armed to the hilt like militias and actively wielding the traditional symbols of violence including torches an nooses.
The KKK has a long, distinguished history of hate filled violence. Today, there are 42 different Klan groups active in 22 states according to SLPC while the ADL tracked Klan activity to 11 other states during that same time through less formally organized groups and the NAACP has estimates that put some form of Klan activity in nearly all 50 States since the 2008 election.
Historically, the Klan were a conservative group of White Christians who sought to promote a narrow world view of a master race. It openly thrived on violence as a method of ethnic cleansing. It had support from conservative politicians, first from the old Democratic Party, and later, when the parties flip-flopped on the ideological spectrum, the modern Republican Party. This included lawmakers and those in the justice system in its active ranks as well as having a tacit endorsement of it’s beliefs from the Right Wing’s most prominent voices.
The modern Klan has been forced to operate more covertly, be more accommodating to a membership it might not have previously supported, and be less outwardly violence. It has also been able to use the Lone Wolf excuse as a way of distancing itself from the violence it’s believers have participated in by isolating members from the organization once they carry out their attacks. And, until recently with the rise of the Alt-Right had lost it’s most direct political affiliation other than the the dog-whistle politic’s of the Republican Party’s “Southern Strategy” that began under Goldwater and continued through Reagan and existed explicitly in the most recent election. Trump was slow to disavow endorsements both from past Klan leaders as well as current members and even in those statements was ambiguous, at best, if it was simply distancing himself from the person rather than that of the underlying beliefs they espoused.
There’s nothing about the Klan however that is non-voilent since inherent to it’s core tenants is that of ethnic cleansing. There’s no way to get around it and their presence at the rally comes with the predisposition of this inherent violent tendency. The propaganda being passed around for the Unite the Right event prominantly featured KKK references along with implicit and explicit calls for violence. When there Klansman engaged in chants designed to instigate violent reactions that were caught on camera both at the evening torch rally that resembled a traditional KKK gathering and the next day’s protest.
Nazis also have a long, distinguished history of violence. Nazi faciesm is a conservative set of beliefs where White Anglo-Saxon Protestants are the favored group. The National Socialist Movement (formerly the American Nazi Party) is the largest affiliation of Nazis in the US (and make no mistake about it, the Socialist in their name is not the left-leaning Marxist concept normally associated with the word, it’s a mask as to their true right wing intent) but there nearly 100 unaffiliated organizations covering all 50 states catalogued by the SPLC and ADL that operate within the same sphere of belief.
Everyone is well aware what Hitler’s third reich attempted to accomplish in Europe. US Nazi draw upon the underlying ideology while putting a uniquely American spin on it which was emboldened during the Civil Rights era. Unlike the Klan which was able to embed itself into the conservative wing of American politics, Nazi’s typically were forced to the right wing fringes due to the social stigma of WWII. However, as time has passed and the memory of the atrocities fade from the public conscious their impact of conservative politics has a foothold through the self-defined Alt-Right.
While the third reich’s violence is well know, explicit Nazi violence in the US is more limited than say what the Klan’s was. That doesn’t make them any less dangerous and their current strategy follows that of the Klan where any attack by a Nazi is immediately discredited as a lone wolf actor and not representative. Under this cover they are able to perpetrate much greater violence than they would otherwise be capable of as a centralized organization drawing attention to themselves.
Much of the propaganda being distributed for Unite the Right included Nazi symbols along side statements that either explicitly or implicitly supported violence. Once there, Nazis chanted traditional Nazi slogans with an intent to incite violent reactions including “blood and soil,” “death to jews” and more which were captured both by amateurs filming and by the media on hand.
The rise over the past couple of decades of American Militias is well documented by several agencies in the Federal Government as well as organizations like the ADL and SPLC. The vast majority of them are right leaning groups either through self-identification or by their underlying tenants of membership. Some of them have direct affiliations to the Republican Party at the local level such as the One Percenters being used as so-called security details. For the most part, Militia Groups have not explicitly participated in violence multiple members of the following groups have been arrested and convicted, usually on weapons, explosives, or conspiracy charges: Oklahoma Constitutional Militia, Georgia Republic Militia, Arizona Viper Militia, Washington State Militia, West Virginia Mountaineer Militia, Twin Cities Free Militia, North American Militia, San Joaquin County Militia as well as high profile examples like the Bundy standoffs.
Because Militias are generally decentralized, there’s not necessarily a single belief system among them or bond between them. Militias by nature though are prepared for violence. They might not come with the intent of being a first strike but they are certainly prepared in full military type gear for whatever may come.
There were Militias in attendance, such as the Pennsylvania Light Foot Militia and the New York Light Foot Militia, who remained neutral throughout, condemned the violence and specifically made effort to callout the Nazi and Klansmen for their actions.
Surprisingly enough though, with all these gun wielding people not a single “good guy with a gun” was able to do ANYTHING to stop a car from plowing down a crowd of people by a Unite the Right attendee. Not a single gun wielding vigilantes in the crown was able to stop any of the physical beatings inflicted by Unite the Right. Not a single one of the gun weilding militia members was able to do anything to de-escalate any of the violent clashes. That’s because these guys are NOT trained in policing tactics at all and some of them attended knowing full well that open cary displays actually people crowds more on edge – a tactic that’s well researched and studied by everyone from tacticians that develop crowd control and disaster response plans, to Police Accountability groups, to the Military, to anti-gun violence advocates, etc.
Furthermore, some militias claimed to be in attendance to “Protect Free Speech” from the oppression of the counter protesters. Of course, anyone with a basic understanding of the Constitution knows that the Free Speech clause of the First Amendment only applies to Government oppression and there was no threat of either Charlottesville or the Federal Government to stop the Unite the Right gathering so what they were really there to do was intimidate the counter protesters. So, while they weren’t acting as a “security detail” for Unite the Right’s side of things it was obvious where their sympathy and allegiance lie.
Then there was extreme end of right wing Militias are those that organize explicitly under the guise of White Nationalism which were in attendance. While no violent acts have been directly attributed to them yet there were plenty of them in attendance that also were donning Klan and Nazi insignias alongside their paramilitary regalia.
The movement is the self-defined alternative to the establishment of the Republican Party. Paul Gottfried identified the their nationalist overtones and authoritative tendencies back in 2008 but it was White supremacist Richard Spencer coined the term in 2010 to rally a movement centered on white nationalism.
The splinter effect on right wing politics is similar to the approach the Tea Party took with breaking the political norms of the Right. Despite its disdain for mainstream Republicanism it is a right leaning, semi-organized group of talking heads, voters and activist groups that falls under the Republican “big tent.” Even before the run-up to the 2016 election some Republican ticketed candidates were campaigning as self-identified Alt-Right in local elections and during the previous mid-term national election. The current Republican White House has members of its administration who are self-avowed Alt-Righters. And, in the special elections since last October several more Republican ticketed candidates have stated they are part of the Alt-Right. However, despite pandering to them as voters, there are not currently self-proclaimed Alt-Righters among GOP leadership other than within the executive branch.
While the Alt-Right doesn’t explicitly insight violence under it’s own brand per se, it’s very common to experience it espoused by those who self-identify with especially on sites like Breitbart, 4Chan and others previous discussed. However, neither the Federal Government nor groups like SPLC and the ADL nor within the media is there a comprehensive list of explicit Alt-Right inspired acts of violence. Rather, with the rise in self-identifying Alt-Right individuals and related Alt-Right branded organizations (as social groups, as political lobyists, as activists, etc), there’s been correlative growth in both right wing hate groups (like the KKK, The National Socialist Movement and others) and right wing terrorism. According to several different resources, including the FBI, particular since the election there’s been a massive spike in such violence.
While correlation is not necessarily causation it’s hard to overlook the implications of a rise in White Nationalist beliefs and a subsequent rise in hate crimes perpetrated in the name of such beliefs. The crimes are exceedingly well documented in the public record so there’s no need for me to go over them here. It’s also not hard to imagine that if this kind of violence generally exists within the context of a broad social movement that concentrating the members of that movement in a single area where their ideology can be amplified probably increases the likelihood that violence would follow.
Neo-Confederates & the claim of “Southern Pride”
The people may, or may not, self-identify as Alt-Right and may, or may not, also affiliate with groups like the KKK, Nazis, Militias, etc. but they do fly the Confederate Flag under the guise of revisionist history that the “War of Northern Aggression” was fought strictly over “States Rights.” While they may, or may not, be explicit racists and bigots they are implicitly supporting those views.
These people showed up because even though the traitors of the south lost the war they are still historical symbols to them. They are the idols to a failed ideology, but an ideology none-the-less. Losing these icons is a sore spot because it undermines the sense of pride they have and in the past have been very vitriol driven in their response to it.
However, they are rarely organized. They don’t identify under a unified title. And, their actions are unpredictable, at best, other than a definace against typical Liberal (or in their lingo Libtard) priorities.
Due to this, it’s impossible to know how many of these people showed up with the real intent of violence. Some of them are weekend warriors who wear KKK or Nazi garb to events without necessarily the strict association or full understanding of what it might mean.
The Lone Wolf (of the Right Wing)
As expected, the Klan, the Nazis and the rest of the organized Alt-Right immediately distanced themselves James Alex Fields Jr. labeling him a lone wolf despite his participation in previous Alt-Right events, relationships with those groups on social media, and his own statements on blogs and social posts about his involvement with them. Likewise, the GOP distanced itself from him despite his being a proud Republican voter. Even his own mother despite all of the signs and signals about his behavior tried to distance herself from him, but more notably him from those other groups that he outwardly supported.
Any deaths and serious injuries that occurred during the Unite the Right rally were always going to be positioned this way because that’s the way it always is. This is because while these groups were in attendance there were a lot of self-proclaimed Alt-Righters who were attending for any number of other reasons. This provided those organizations with violent tendencies the cover to use the lone wold argument rather than accept the social and legal responsibility that they themselves insitigated violence.
It’s a pattern we’ve seen over and over again with the likes of Dylann Storm Roof and more recently Adam W. Purinton, Jeremy Joseph Christian, Sean C. Urbanski, James Harris Jackson to name but a few. Their actions are, again, very well cataloged and I don’t want to “re-glorify” them here by naming them all out. The obvious associations to Nazi and Klan organizations and their ideology is immediately broken by the lone wolf narrative that claims these are self-radicalized individuals who are accused of suffering from metal illness rather than being card-carrying members of the ideologies they aspired to.
Nonetheless, it’s important to note, real lone wolf or part of one of these groups, a very large number of attendees stated in advance they were there for violence. This is why, for example, Nazi sympathizer Chris Cantwell has a warrant out for his arrest because he explicitly made it known he was there for blood and is now seen blubbering on a video fearing what might happen to him now.
The Solidarity Cville Counter Protest
The counter-protestors were also not just from Charlottesville either, however, it was planned by Solidarity Cville which is a local group of concerned residents and smaller local social justice groups.
As part of that organization there were also religious leaders, organized by the local UCC Church, which included participation from other regional churches and national religious organizations spanning a wide variety of spiritual beliefs. It included faith leaders wearing their full religious dress to the event as well as individual religious organization members whose association to the faith group gathering was unmistakable.
There was Black Lives Matter who’s local ‘chapter’ accommodated concerned members from across the US to participate. There were several other social justice groups that participated in the event either explicitly through working with Solidarity Cville or on their own to draw attention to the situation.
While many of these groups are generally associated with the “left” make no mistake, this was a cross-section of concerned people standing up to Alt-Right hate.
The counter-protest ALSO fits in the broadest sense under the First Amendment as Freedom of Speech, Freedom of Assembly and to a degree Freedom to Petition for a Redress of Grievances. Contrary to what has been said, counter-protesters DID in fact have valid permits for counter protesting. The local papers, Washington Post, the New York Times, the AP and more have all documented this despite Trump and others acertions.
The counter protesters in this group weren’t there to incite violence and made up the vast majority of those on hand. Many of them stressed the need for peaceful protest up front in their own recruitment campaigns, in their interviews with the media and more. Any mention of violence was in response to being prepared for what could happen when that many emotional people confront one another.
And then there was the Antifa, a loosely organized Anti-faciest semi-Anarchist movement who also showed up. Make no mistake, much of the Antifa generally support meeting violence with violence. They didn’t attend to be peaceful. They attended with the expressed notion that violence would be met with violence and came prepared with primarily improvised weapons both to insight violence from the Unite the Right attendees and as self-defense from whatever violence erupted.
Although anti-facism and anarchism are on the far-left of the ideology spectrum they are not part of the American political landscape. The movement neither identifies with nor participates in the the US political process and has no connection to the American Progressive movement or to the current liberal ideal of the Democratic Party or even other left-leaning parties like the American Green Party. No one on the political left even attempts to address the Antifa, not as a voting bloc and not as a part of the “big tent” like what the Republican Party has with the Tea Party and Alt-Right. Antifa are their own little extreme left expressing movement. The are so far left that they are left of even most of the most left leaning international Political Parties (remember the American Left is still Right of most of the rest of the World’s leftest, and not by a little bit either).
The roots of the Antifa date back as long as there have been Faciests to stand against – hence the name Antifa as short handed for Anti-Faciest. Literally, their raison d’etre is because right wing extremism like Nazis exist.
In the US their influence is a rather recent phenomenon. In the past elements of their activities popped up in response to the rise of the American Nazi Party, to the Neo-Nazi skinhead punk movement, and so on. So, it’s no surprise that with the rise of the Alt-Right and it’s memberships embracing of Nazi themes and beliefs that the Antifa would also make an appearance.
The more aggressive the Alt-Right has become in espousing Right Wing Extremist Hate and White Nationalistic Nazi based ideology the more active the Antifa movement has become. The two are in lock-step. It has come to a violent head several times including at UC Berkley where the Antifa movement essentially took center stage for their part in the violence and gained national attention – mostly negative (for the reasons including false equivalency noted above).
This time around their involvement in stopping Nazi hate has gained the praise from the likes of Brandy Daniels of the Luce Project on Religion), Rabbi Rachel Schmelkin of Congregation Beth Israel, Rev. Osagyefo Seko, Directing minister of Restoration Village Arts Rev. Seth Wispelwe as well as Charlottesville residents like Rebekah Menning and attendees like Cornel West Mary Esselman, and many others who felt the Antifa’s actions protected them (and as one quoted “saved my life.”)
The coverage of the event shows protesters and counter-protesters actively clashing with one another. In some cases it is clear that the Unite the Right attendees initiated it. In some cases it is clear that the Antifa initiated it. In some cases it’s clear that a rogue protester do clearly part of any specific group initiated it. HOWEVER, in most cases it’s not clear where it began only that the ensuing melee included a variety of participants.
The Militias there to so-called “protect” generally stood by and did very little to get involved. They thankfully kept their fingers off the trigger so there was no escalation to shootings.
The Police generally stood by and did very little either to keep the groups separated initially or to break up violence as it began. There’s some claims that are being fact-checked by the ACLU and others that the Police were explicitly told to stand down, but the reason for this order, if true, is still unknown.
Every nariative trying to lay blame on “the left” or the “alt-left” as it’s being branded is part of a larger false equivalency.
The violence that the Alt-Right promoted, that the Nazis and KKK and others essentially promised occurred.
The violence that the Antifa anticipated they would be involved in occurred.
The violence the Solidarity Cville warned could occur if the sides didn’t remain peaceful ended up happening.
The violence DID NOT occur proportionally.
When the dust settled a number of individuals, mostly black, had been severely beaten by Unite the Right participants some of whom filmed their hate filled assaults. Where they weren’t filmed directly by Unite the Right attendees other bystanders were able to capture the footage
One woman, Heather Heyer, was killed and 19 others injured when a Unite the Right participant drove a car into a crowd.
A number of people are in custody by local police and a number more have outstanding warrants out for their arrest, most of which have been identified as Unite the Right attendees.
No one died at the hands of the counter protesters participating in Solidarity Cville.
No one was severely injured by the counter protesters participating in Solidarity Cville..
Very few of the counter protesters participating in Solidarity Cville have been arrested and charged with crimes.
No one died at the hands of the Antifa.
So far no none explicitly involved with the Antifa have been arrested and charged with crimes
Minor injuries were reported by Unite the Right, Solidarity Cville and Antifa participants as well as by bystanders who weren’t part of any of those groups.
This ALL should make it PATENTLY CLEAR that the so-called “two sides” are NOT THE SAME. One side, the Unite the Right, clearly came prepared for violence and inflicted the majority of the injury and the only death. Everything else that occurred was a product of Unite the Right and it’s entire approach to the event. No hate rally means no counter-protest. No hate rally means no Antifa. No shields and helmets, clubs and guns by the Right means no self-defense preparation by everyone else.
And, Once again, there is no alt-left
Seriously, let me say this again just so we’re clear: there is no alt-left
This is just a narrative being spun by those who refuse to accept that what happened is the responsibility of the right. By claiming that somehow this fictitious alt-left exists it provides cover for the atrocities that the Alt-Right is perpetrating. It makes it seem ok that because the Right misbehaves so badly if there’s somehow some bad guy on the left that does something “similar.”
However, standing up to hate is not the same as espousing hate. Period. Standing up to a Nazi is no the same as being a Nazi. Period. Standing up to the KKK is not the same as being the KKK. Period. Standing up to the Alt-Right is not the same as being the Alt-Right. Full Stop.
The ONLY reason there’s even a need for so-called leftist violence to begin with is because of Right Wing Terrorists acting out on their ideology in the first place! There is NO WAY to make this any clearer. If some on the Right weren’t protecting domestic terrorists then everyone else, including those on the left, wouldn’t have to take the actions it does to tamp it down.
The many sides not the same and no amount of false equivalency is going to change the factual reality that the Right is responsible for allowing its extreme fringes to gain a foothold in society.
While the left of American Politics is hardly “united,” and does have its own extreme elements, it’s done a whole helluva lot better in its resolve to not foster this kind of extremist behavior in the first place. The varying groups falling under the Democratic Party’s big tent do not have nearly the same kind of “alternative to the establishment” movement in it the way the Alt-Right exists for the Republicans. There’s no one running around claiming to be alt-left, not even the Democratic Socialists movement spurred by Sanders, and other Independents that caucus with the Dems identify as alt-left and they’re about as so-called alternative to the Democrat mainstream as it comes.
The Democratic Party doesn’t have nearly the reputation of the Republican Party in fostering hate and even of it’s most fringe ideas associated to the left-leaning tendencies of the party like Progressives, Socialists, etc none of them have violence or hate speech associated to them. While you might not agree with their beliefs and you might even be able to find fault in their logic, there’s nothing in their platform that is hate driven, not even implicitly.
Unless, of course, you count hating the racist bigotry of the KKK, the Nazis and the traitors of the Confederacy – in which case, guilt as charged from everyone on the left, as well as probably nearly everyone from the center / independent and, likely a good part of the the right too.
Again, though, just to be clear, the Republicans explicitly sowed the ground with the seeds of the Alt-Right by the welcoming of the conservative Dixicrats that became the bedrock of the Southern Strategy employed by the GOP since the 60s as it fought the Civil Rights movement. The implications of fostering these beliefs over and over again through rhetoric and policy initiates created an ability for the racists and bigots to rise up through the party’s platform. Had mainstream Conservatives rejected the ideology from the get-go and the party of conservatives not fostered the fears and stoked the insecurities of people then the Alt-Right and the right wing extremists it attracts, such as the KKK and Nazis, would exist outside of it’s Big Tent rather than propping it up.
The left just doesn’t have anything remotely close to that happening right now. So there’s no alt-left other than the fictitious one that exists in the Extremist Right Wing’s justification of its own existence.