This weekend saw historically accurate types of support for confederate iconography as hate groups gathered in Charlottesville, VA to voice their support for symbols of white supremacy. By historically accurate I mean the use of terrorism, murder, and intimidation to support confederate iconography and the white supremacy it represents, just as was done during and after the Civil War, and just as was done during the Jim Crow era.
The proconfederate violence began Friday night, August 11, 2017, when a mob of confederate monument supporters carrying torches in a show of intimidation shoved, pushed, struck, and pepper sprayed some peaceful protesters who had linked arms near the Thomas Jefferson monument in Charlottesville. Chanting white supremacist slogans such as “White Lives Matter” and anti-Semitic slogans such as “Jews will not replace us,” the torch-bearing confederate monument supporters appear to have assembled illegally, as they don’t seem to have had a permit for this particular demonstration. Police did not intervene until after the violence was over. That evening, a Federal judge ordered the city to allow the Saturday demonstration to go forward.
Today’s violence was even worse, with one anticonfederate person murdered and 19 others wounded when a proconfederate person drove his car at high speed into another car and a group of anticonfederate protesters. The march began as last night’s violence did, with the proconfederate people chanting Nazi and anti-Semitic slogans, and on encountering counterprotesters violence ensued again. A BuzzFeed video shows some of these racists milling around.
CNN also has some video of the violence:
The Associated Press posted this video:
Violence was apparent on both sides today.
In today’s violence one proconfederate person murdered one person and tried to murder several others with his vehicle.
“Videos of the incident show a silver Charger traveling at high speed down a narrow downtown street, into a crowd and slamming into plowing into the back of a second vehicle. With the car’s front badly damaged and its mangled bumper sticking out one side, the driver backs up a high speed for several blocks, then turns left and speeds off, chased by police.”
The individual should be apprehended, especially since his license plate appears to be clearly visible.
Perhaps coincidentally, perhaps not, the white supremacist organization League of the South, aka LoSers, called again for secession and a new confederacy to be established.
My position has been that it should be up to local people to determine who and what they determine to be worthy of being honored with a monument, and that hasn’t changed. I’ve supported maintaining confederate monuments and augmenting them with additional monuments to diversify the commemoration landscape as well as adding context to the monuments to interpret the age in which they were erected. However, after this incident, I would not be upset if Charlottesville decided to grind all their confederate monuments to dust. That, of course, is emotion speaking instead of reason. But I think it’s an understandable reaction.
UPDATE: A suspect in the murder is in custody.
UPDATE #2: We find the torch-bearing confederate monument supporters actually surrounded a church with black worshippers in their racial intimidation demonstration.
The Charlottesville murder suspect was identified as James Alex Fields, Jr., age 20, from Maumee, Ohio.