By John Friend
As AFP goes to press, the sixth anniversary of the infamous Unite the Right (UTR) rally, held in Charlottesville, Va. on Aug. 12, 2017, will be commemorated and reflected upon by the brave activists and patriots who participated in the day’s events as well as their supporters across the country.
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The UTR rally was largely organized by Jason Kessler, an activist formerly based in Charlottesville. Kessler sought to unite the broader right-wing movement in America in an effort to protest the removal of Confederate statues and monuments from public spaces not only in the South, but throughout the U.S.
The impetus for Kessler’s conviction to organize the rally was the City of Charlottesville’s decision to remove a prominent statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee and the renaming of a local park, which had been known as Lee Park prior. The removal of the Confederate statue was part of a broader movement across the country to systematically erase Southern history in the name of combatting “racism” and “white supremacy.”
“My views have been changed and shaped by the fallout of the UTR event but at the time I saw it as the birth of a burgeoning civil rights movement for white people and an expression of our American rights to free expression and assembly,” Kessler told this reporter in a recent interview. “The dignity, history and self-determination of white Americans was under attack, which I saw symbolized in the racially motivated campaign to tear down monuments to great European-Americans like Thomas Jefferson and Robert E. Lee.”
The UTR event brought together numerous figures and organizations that comprised the Alt Right and American nationalist movement. Representatives from the League of the South, a prominent Southern nationalist organization, as well as the National Socialist Movement, the now defunct Traditionalist Workers Party and Vanguard America, and some of the most prominent voices and their supporters in the pro-white dissident media participated in the fateful events that day in Charlottesville, which continue to impact the political landscape in America.
Christopher Cantwell, Dr. David Duke, Mike “Enoch” Peinovich, Richard Spencer, and many other popular Alt Right media personalities and commentators attended the event. The legally organized and permitted rally was entirely sabotaged by local police and city officials, who allowed mobs of radical far-left activists and Black Lives Matter and Antifa groups to violently attack and disrupt the rally, resulting in chaos and mayhem.
“The event was sabotaged by police inaction in the face of a terroristic assault by Black Lives Matter and Antifa,” Kessler explained. “Media coverage was pure propaganda, covering up these factors and using accusations of ‘racism’ to shut down inquiry into the causes of violence that erupted at the rally. There was an unprecedented left-wing smear campaign against the concept of white people protesting for their interests and Confederate monuments. Our political establishment took the media propaganda at face value and used the opportunity to take shots, one after the other, at the protesters without ever demanding any accountability from the terroristic left-wing groups, the police, or the local government who intentionally sabotaged the event.”
Unknown to most Americans, Timothy Heaphy, a prominent Virginia attorney and the former U.S. federal attorney for Virginia, was hired by the City of Charlottesville to investigate the UTR rally and the city’s response. The “Heaphy Report,” as it’s become known, was published by Hutton & Williams LLP, the law firm where Heaphy formerly worked while conducting the independent review.
The report made clear that the Charlottesville police failed to keep the UTR attendees and counter protesters, which included radical, violent Antifa activists, separated during the day’s events. Even worse, local authorities and law enforcement officials appeared to want the inevitable violent confrontation to take place in order to justify declaring an unlawful assembly, which is precisely what took place.
Reflecting on the sixth anniversary of the UTR event, Kessler stated that the sabotaged rally will be viewed “as the moment when the true right-wing in America lost its innocence with regards to any notions we might have about free speech or the rule of law being upheld in our favor.”
“Our rights were stripped in an orgy of violence, later ratified in a series of federal court cases refusing to uphold our rights in the face of these circumstances,” Kessler explained. “It was the moment that ‘civil rights’ groups like the ACLU backed away from defending controversial speech and the establishment left embraced Antifa violence and censorship.”
Christopher Cantwell, the popular radio host who has been railroaded by federal prosecutors in politically motivated legal actions, echoed much of what Kessler had to say about the significance of the UTR event.
Cantwell noted that “we are quite fortunate to have it all on video,” referring to the violent attacks on UTR attendees and the failure of the local police to safeguard the constitutional rights of rally supporters.
“Everyone who wants to know the truth, does, and everyone who wants to know the truth in the future, will have the opportunity,” Cantwell explained, referring to the rally. “For that reason, the Unite the Right rally, in 30 years, will be to white people as the Stonewall Riots are to the LGBTQ+ movement now.”
Cantwell stated that the broader right-wing in America has learned some very valuable lessons after the experience in Charlottesville.
“We have taken enough time to lick our wounds,” Cantwell told me. “By next year at the latest, I will take personal responsibility to make sure we commemorate that historic weekend in a manner befitting its historic nature. I am proud to follow in the footsteps of men like Matt Hale and Bill White who put it all on the line for their race and nation.”
Kessler argued that in the future, the UTR event “will be seen as one where brave white Americans took the most public stand for their self-respect and dignity during an era of unimaginable hostility and intimidation.”
“In the future,” Kessler concluded, “when white men and women look back at this time of despicable cowardice and wonder, ‘Who was speaking up for us?’ there will be no greater example than those who marched and chanted, ‘You will not replace us!’ in Charlottesville, Va.”