See the facts about the Charlottesville riot. You decide what they mean.

Summary: The riot at Charlottesville’s “Unite the Right” event is trivial by historical standards. But it is rich with insights into modern America. This street fighting, like that of the Weimar Republic, might be a milestone on America’s path to an ugly future. Here are the facts about what happened, fairly showing both sides in action. You decide their significance. At the end you will see my proposed solution.

“Where are the police?” shouted a man shortly before noon.”
— From the NYT. We still don’t know the answer. Officials refuse to answer.

Unite the Right

Contents

  1. About the events in Charlottesville.
  2. About the police response.
  3. About the armed militia!
  4. An “F” for the police response.
  5. Journalists have their big story.
  6. We’re victims. It was their fault!
  7. The bad news. And a solution.
  8. For More Information.

(1)  What happened in Charlottesville?

Fourteen people were injured in the riot on April 12 at Charlottesville, VA, not including victims of the car crash.

“Cable news replayed a seemingly endless loop of the early violence at Emancipation Park, which police in riot gear had surrounded {the protesters} on three sides, although they seemed to watch as groups beat each other with sticks and bludgeoned one another with shields. Many on both sides came dressed for battle, with helmets and chemical irritants. At one point, police appeared to retreat and then watch the beatings before eventually moving in to end the free-for-all, make arrests and tend to the injured. Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) declared a state of emergency about 11 a.m. and activated the Virginia National Guard.” {Source: WaPo.}

Maggie Astror of the NYT gives a version of events for children: “A Guide to the Violence in Charlottesville.” It’s almost fact-free; a big chunk of it criticizes Trump.

The NYT also provides a thrilling photo montage which gives near-zero information about what happened: “A Far-Right Gathering Bursts Into Brawls” by Hawes Spencer — “A white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Va., became a scene of a constant stream of projectiles as attendees and counterprotesters clashed.” Spencer gives a classic example of burying the lede. Deep into the article we read ““Where are the police?” shouted a man shortly before noon.” We don’t get an answer from Spencer.

We learn more from one of the best accounts of the riot: “Police Stood By As Mayhem Mounted in Charlottesville” by A. C. Thompson and Robert Faturechi of ProPublica — “State police and National Guardsmen watched passively for hours as self-proclaimed Nazis engaged in street battles with counter-protesters. ProPublica reporter A.C. Thompson was on the scene and reports that the authorities turned the streets of the city over to groups of militiamen armed with assault rifles.” Of course, it’s wildly slanted coverage.

“There was nothing haphazard about the violence that erupted today in this bucolic town in Virginia’s heartland. At about 10 a.m. today, at one of countless such confrontations, an angry mob of white supremacists formed a battle line across from a group of counter-protesters, many of them older and gray-haired, who had gathered near a church parking lot. On command from their leader, the young men charged and pummeled their ideological foes with abandon. One woman was hurled to the pavement, and the blood from her bruised head was instantly visible.

“Standing nearby, an assortment of Virginia State Police troopers and Charlottesville police wearing protective gear watched silently from behind an array of metal barricades — and did nothing. It was a scene that played out over and over in Charlottesville as law enforcement confronted the largest public gathering of white supremacists in decades. We walked the streets beginning in the early morning hours and repeatedly witnessed instances in which authorities took a largely laissez faire approach, allowing white supremacists and counter-protesters to physically battle.

“Officials in Charlottesville had publicly promised to maintain control of the “Unite the Right” rally, which is the latest in a series of chaotic and bloody racist rallies that have roiled this college town …

“{By 11 a.m.} what had started hours earlier with some shoving and a few punches had evolved into a series of wild melees as people attacked one another with fists, feet, and the improvised weapons they’d brought with them to the park. White supremacists and anti-racists began blasting each other with thick orange streams of pepper spray. The police did little to stop the bloodshed. Several times, a group of assault-rifle-toting militia members from New York State, wearing body armor and desert camo, played a more active role in breaking up fights. Shortly before noon, authorities shut down the rally and the related demonstrations and marched the white supremacists out of the park and into the streets. …

While a fact-rich report, it’s propaganda – not mentioning that both sides came prepared for violence and rioted enthusiastically. It is written in terms of white hat Leftists and evil fascists. The news media’s coverage was so one-sided that some journalists broke ranks and called their peers out on it.

“David Copper, 70, of Staunton, Va., spoke to the AP after a Saturday morning brawl at a park that went unchecked by police. He said that ‘people got hurt and the police stood by and didn’t do a godd—- thing.’ The AP did not mention Copper’s reason for being in Charlottesville on Saturday, or whether he had organized or protested on any particular side.” {Source: AP story in ABC News.}

 

 

The other big story of the riot is that, like the Berkeley riot, police were largely well-paid and heavily armed observers.

“Brittany Caine-Conley, a minister in training at Sojourners United Church of Christ, arrived in downtown Charlottesville on Saturday morning expecting that there might be violence. She did not expect things to get out of hand so quickly. …’There was no police presence,’ Ms. Caine-Conley said. ‘We were watching people punch each other; people were bleeding all the while police were inside of barricades at the park, watching. It was essentially just brawling on the street and community members trying to protect each other.’ {Source: NYT.}

Even after the riot, police were derelict in their responsibility to maintain order. Police were not at a potentially explosive event at the Town Hall. But they show up afterwards!

“Jason Kessler, a white nationalist organizer, attempted to give a press conference Sunday afternoon to address issues related to the rally, but was shouted down by a gathering of protesters, and opted to flee the scene in front of Charlottesville Town Hall.  Police did not appear to be in the immediate vicinity of his press conference, and seemed to arrive to control the crowd only after Kessler had already fled the scene.”  {Source: ABC News.}

Many accounts mention the Right-wing militia — a new and disturbing addition to this new phase of American politics.

“Complicating the dynamics was the fact that several dozen groups of armed militias — men in full camouflage toting assault-style weapons — were in the middle of the crowds. Some claimed that they were there to keep the peace, although none appeared to try to stop the skirmishes.” {Source: WaPo.}

Updates.

CNN has a timeline of the event, from the precursors in May – July, to the roughly six hours of chaos at the riot.  Also, The ACLU of Virginia upheld their proud tradition by accurately reporting events at the riot. See their tweet from 9:30 AM.

Which side to support in our Weimerica street battles? The police maintaining order.

Which Side to Support?

(2) About the police response. Welcome to Wonderland!

Perhaps the most amazing chapter of the riot was how government officials responded to it afterwards. They sound like characters from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. I put the more rational statements at the top and the truly delusional ones at the end. Red emphasis added.

In the weeks leading up to the protest, city and state officials put together a detailed plan for the rally, mobilizing 1,000 first responders, including 300 state police troopers and members of the National Guard. Judging from how events unfolded today, it appears that the strategy was to avoid direct confrontations with the protesters”. {Source: ProPublica.}

One thousand “first responders”! That’s a lot. Where were they? Estimates of the crowd size vary widely, but most are several thousand.

“Police says ‘We’ll not intervene until given command to do so.'” {Source:  ACLU of Virginia, giving no source.}

The government explains their inaction.

There was a ton of preparation that went into one goal for government which was setting the conditions so that people could express themselves and assemble peaceably, and what happened was you had a lot of people who were not willing to accept even that basic condition of what we do in our democracy,” {Mayor} Signer said. {Source: ABC News.}

After a major screw-up, saying nothing is often the best policy.

“Local and state authorities declined to address specific questions about how the demonstration was handled or their strategy for the day. The city’s mayor, police chief, city manager and McAuliffe also did not answer questions at an early-evening news conference. Al Thomas, the police chief, said only that the city will be ‘reviewing events of the day over coming weeks and months.'”  {Source: WaPo.}

When in doubt, obfuscate.

“Charlottesville Vice Mayor Wes Bellamy defended the police tactics. ‘I’m not in the business of throwing our police department under the bus, because they’re doing the best job they can, ‘ said Bellamy. ‘I don’t think the police officers were just twiddling their thumbs.'”  {Source: ProPublica.}

The Chief of Police sets up his own personal goal poles.

“Charlottesville police Chief Al Thomas said at least 35 people had been injured — many of them from violent encounters between white supremacists and the counter-protesters. He said nobody had been wounded due to confrontations between police and the public. ” {Source: ProPublica.}

Who are you going to believe, the State Police spokeswoman or your eyes?

“Corinne Geller, a spokeswoman for the State Police, said, ‘It may have looked like a lot of our folks were standing around,’ because of the sheer number of officers on the scene, but ‘there were other troopers and law enforcement officers who were responding to incidents as they arose.'”  {Source: NYT.}

This is especially odd.

“Lt. Joseph Hatter, a commander with the Charlottesville police, said officers tried to create separate areas for protesters and counterprotesters to ‘reduce the violence.’ But, he conceded: ‘It didn’t work, did it? I think there was a plan to have them separated. They didn’t want to be separated.’ About the apparent delay in reacting to the violence, Hatter said, ‘I don’t know that we did wait. I think we did the best we could under the circumstances.’ He declined to elaborate.”  {Source: WaPo.}

Some key officials were especially delusional.

“Brian Moran, Virginia’s secretary of public safety and homeland security, was watching the events from a command post on the sixth floor of a Wells Fargo bank on the downtown mall. There were sporadic fights. ‘I compare it to hockey,’ he said. ‘Often in hockey there are sporadic fights, and then they separate.’ …Asked why the police did not do more to control the brawling, Mr. Moran said, ‘It was a volatile situation and it’s unfortunate people resorted to violence. But from our plan, to ensure the safety of our citizens and property, it went extremely well.’”   {Source: NYT.}

The police chief denied the rumors about political interference, then admits his incompetence (not following standard police preparations for a riot).

“The police chief of Charlottesville, Va., denied Monday that cops were ordered not to intervene or make arrests during the violent clashes that led to the death of an anti-racist protester. Chief Al Thomas said it was ‘simply not true’ that cops had been told to stand down Saturday. He then abruptly ended a televised news conference. …

“Thomas said uniformed cops had to change into ‘protective gear‘ before clearing out the park, which sparked ‘disturbances throughout the downtown area’ that weren’t quelled for about an hour. …Asked if he regretted not having his cops in riot gear before the planned rally, Thomas didn’t answer the question directly and only spoke about the three people who died.” {Source: NY Post.}

Adding to the festivities, State Delegate David J. Toscano (D-Charlottesville), minority leader of Virginia’s House, praised the response by Charlottesville and state police.

“’Things were getting out of hand in the skirmishes between the alt-right and what I would describe as the outside agitators who wanted to encourage violence,’ he said. Asked why police did not intervene sooner, Toscano said he could not comment. He said they trained hard to prepare for the demonstration ‘and it might have been that they were waiting for a more effective time to get people out’ of the park.”  {Source: WaPo.}

(3)  About the armed militia!

Under pressure from an angry public, the Governor resorted to some myth-making — which went viral.

“At a brief press conference this evening, Virginia officials declined to answer questions about the police response, but said they were not taken surprise by the violence or the number of protesters. ‘This could have been a much worse day,’ said Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, ‘We planned for a long time for today’s incidents.'” {Source: ProPublica.}

“Governor McAuliffe also defended the police response, saying, ‘It’s easy to criticize, but I can tell you this, 80% of the people here had semiautomatic weapons.’ ‘You saw the militia walking down the street, you would have thought they were an army,’ he added. ‘I was just talking to the State Police upstairs; they had better equipment than our State Police had,’ he said, referring to the militia members.” {Source: NYT. The NYT later edited this out of the story, but confirmed the accuracy of the quote.}

“Says VA Gov, 80% of Racists at Charlottesville had semi-auto assault rifles. Armed militias rivaling state power.”
Tweet by Keith Ellison (Democratic representative from Minnesota).

Videos of the event show few people with guns. How many militia were there at Charlottesville? A few dozen, vs. the thousand “first-responders” and “300 state police and National Guard.” And what was the protestors’ “better equipment”? In August 2014 The Virginian-Pilot (Virginia’s largest newspaper) reported on the large quantities of military equipment stockpiled by Virginia police. Here’s a photo of an armored vehicle on patrol in Charlottesville during the riot. Heather Fluit, deputy communications director for the governor’s office told PolitiFact:

“The governor was referencing the weapons and tactical gear the members of various groups attending the rally had on their persons. I can assure you that the Virginia State Police personnel were equipped with more-than-adequate specialized tactical and protective gear for the purpose of fulfilling their duties to serve and protect those in attendance of the August 12 event in Charlottesville.”

Corinne Geller, Virginia State Police public relations manager, said much the same to the Washington Free Beacon. The governor also claimed there were weapons stashes around the city. Geller said that the police conducted searches before the protest. “No weapons were located as a result of those searches.

I found few details about the numbers and actions of the militia at the riot, except for this in The Guardian, a solidly left-wing voice (i.e., nice words about right-militia are probably true):

“The men in charge of the 32 militia members who came to Charlottesville from six states to form a unit with the mission of ‘defending free speech’ were Christian Yingling, the commanding officer of the Pennsylvania Light Foot Militia and…

“’We spoke to the Charlottesville police department beforehand and offered to come down there and help with security,’ Yingling told the Guardian. ‘They said: “We cannot invite you in an official capacity, but you are welcome to attend,” and they gave us an escort into the event,’ he added. …Yingling said he had been asked to bring a team to Charlottesville by a local militia, the Virginia Minutemen Militia, to reinforce their numbers, and to be in charge on the day. But Yingling said the original request for a militia force to attend the event had come from the organizers of the white nationalist rally, who wanted them to act as security. The militiamen had said: ‘No, we will not come and defend just you,’ Yingling recalled. ‘It’s important for us to say we were there in a neutral stance.’”

(4)  Experts give the police an “F” for their response.

America has long experience with riots. Police have developed effective techniques to maintain order. Too bad the Charlottesville police did not use them.

“’The whole point is to have overwhelming force so that people don’t get the idea they can do these kinds of things and get away with it,’ said Charles H. Ramsey, who headed both the District and Philadelphia police departments. Demonstrators and counterdemonstrators ‘need to be in sight and sound of each other, but somebody has to be in between,’ he said. ‘That’s usually the police.’” {Source: WaPo.}

New York City has had more experience with riots than most US cities, going back to the draft riots during the civil war. Here is a perspective by one of New York’s finest.

“Joseph L. Giacalone, a retired New York Police Department sergeant and adjunct professor at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice, said he was floored that a large band of white nationalists were allowed to carry torches into a rally on Friday evening — and that people from both sides were allowed to carry masks, helmets, face-guards and sticks to the Saturday event.” {Source: Daily Press.}

Here is a brief description of the trade-offs and risks of various methods of crowd control.

“Miriam Krinsky, a former federal prosecutor who has worked on police reform efforts in Los Angeles, said it was too early to assess the law enforcement response in Charlottesville. But she said a strategy of disengagement generally works to embolden unruly crowds. ‘If things start to escalate and there’s no response, it can very quickly get out of control,’ she said. ‘Individuals can and will get hurt.’ But an overly forceful response, she said, can also make the situation worse. Krinsky said attempts to seize weapons might have led to more clashes between police and protesters. ‘Trying to take things away from people is unlikely to be a calming influence,’ she told ProPublica. A good strategy, she said, is to make clashes less likely by separating the two sides physically, with officers forming a barrier between them. ‘Create a human barrier so the flash points are reduced as quickly as possible,’ she said.”  {Source: ProPublica.}

Demand real journalism
We can get what we demand – if we pay for it.

(5)  Journalists have their big story.

While they tell us little about the genesis of the riot and why the police just watched it, journalists tell us what they believe is the big story. Their motto is All Trump, All the Time. For example, The Guardian gave us these two articles today, in case just one did not convey the big message. Much of the major media made Trump a big part of story, casting chaff to could our vision.

Trump’s failure to condemn Virginia neo-Nazis is shocking but not surprising” by David Smith — “The president’s refusal to properly condemn the attack in Charlottesville is consistent with past comments and a divisive campaign that stoked hatred.”

Charlottesville: Trump under fire for failure to condemn far right” by JoAnn Walters — “Republicans and Democrats say president’s words on apparent deliberate killing of protester should have been much harsher.”

Fun note about American journalism: I submitted a press release about this post, with the headline “a balanced fact sheet for journalists”. A major press release distribution service rejected it: “We don’t want to tell people that.” He hung up.

Update: See Journalists loved Antifa. Now they’ve turned on them.

(6)  We’re innocent victims. It was all their fault!

Accounts of real journalists show how both sides believe the police treated them less fairly than their foes. Such as this in the LAT. More interestingly, the LAT links to first-person accounts of the riot by a wide range of people. Some describe both Left and Right arriving armed and eager to fight — and fighting. Partisans describe their side as innocent angels attacked by devils. As usual with eyewitness testimony, the accounts are contradictory.

A view from the Left: “Police Stood By As Mayhem Mounted in Charlottesville” by A. C. Thompson and Robert Faturechi of ProPublica — “State police and National Guardsmen watched passively for hours as self-proclaimed Nazis engaged in street battles with counter-protesters. ProPublica reporter A.C. Thompson was on the scene and reports that the authorities turned the streets of the city over to groups of militiamen armed with assault rifles.” A story of innocent leftist protesters beat up by bad guys. They skillfully lie.

A view from the Right: “Mainstream Media Ignores Violence by Antifa and Black Lives Matter in Charlottesville – Puts Blame on Unite the Right” by InfoWars. A story of innocent white nationalists marching for freedom, assaulted by evil leftists.

This is an important reminder: reform in America is impossible until we become more skeptical about propaganda and more interested in truth.

  1. We cannot agree on simple facts and so cannot reform America.
  2. American politics is a fun parade of lies, for which we pay dearly.
  3. Swear allegiance to the truth as a step to reforming America.
Weimerica Weekly
Read it here.

(7) Now for the bad news. And a solution.

How many riots like this has American had in the past few years, with street fights between Left and Right (sometimes one as aggressor, sometimes both) — with the police as bystanders? This is very Weimerica — yet another example of America following the path of the Weimar Republic in the 1920s. A government that cannot maintain order in the streets — that has lost the will to even try and do so — signals to extremists that it has rotted. Extremists will gather in strength to prepare for the next regime. We are in the early stages, with time to reform. It is our job to demand that the police — supported by local and state governments — maintain order during political protests.

Another worrisome sign is people’s turn to the President for immediate action, as if he is our God-Emperor. Local law enforcement is not Trump’s job. The Constitution created a federal system. Let’s try it lest we lose it. We won’t like what comes next.

There are two ways to restrain this wave of political violence. Click on the links for details. First, keep the Confederate monuments; rededicate them to our needs. Second, the police must maintain order in public spaces at political events.

(8) For More Information

For updates on this and other major issues, like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter. See all posts about protests, about riots, about Reforming America: steps to new politics, and especially these about protests…

Know our enemies, such as the white nationalists at “Unite the Right”.

We have to know them to successfully fight them. They show themselves in this video.

 

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79 thoughts on “See the facts about the Charlottesville riot. You decide what they mean.

  1. The Governor responds to people saying “both sides” were violent

    Trump and many others (including me) have described the violence as done by both sides. The Governor responds, from the NYT.

    “Neo-Nazis, Klansmen and white supremacists came to Charlottesville heavily armed, spewing hatred and looking for a fight,” Mr. McAuliffe said. “One of them murdered a young woman in an act of domestic terrorism, and two of our finest officers were killed in a tragic accident while serving to protect this community. This was not ‘both sides.’”

    Does this make sense? He ignores evidence that many on the Left came armed, ready to fight. Why is the helicopter accident relevant to discussing which side was most responsible?

    As for “heavily armed”, see this in The Guardian, a solidly left-wing voice (i.e., they didn’t contract it):

    The men in charge of the 32 militia members who came to Charlottesville from six states to form a unit with the mission of “defending free speech” were Christian Yingling, the commanding officer of the Pennsylvania Light Foot Militia and…

    “We spoke to the Charlottesville police department beforehand and offered to come down there and help with security,” Yingling told the Guardian. “They said: ‘We cannot invite you in an official capacity, but you are welcome to attend,’ and they gave us an escort into the event,” he added. …

    Yingling said he had been asked to bring a team to Charlottesville by a local militia, the Virginia Minutemen Militia, to reinforce their numbers, and to be in charge on the day. But Yingling said the original request for a militia force to attend the event had come from the organizers of the white nationalist rally, who wanted them to act as security.
    The militiamen had said: “No, we will not come and defend just you,” Yingling recalled. “It’s important for us to say we were there in a neutral stance.”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Despite the incompetent response of government, the mainstream left sees this as yet another good reason for more government control. (I completely agree with the solutions you proposed up in your follow up post. Competent policing…what an idea!) Despite the use of just about every weapon BUT firearms in this travesty, we will be safe if only “assault weapons” are banned. Of course, no other weapon can be used for assault. I guess the other weapons are all defenselive only.

      I was talking to my wife one day before the horror in Charlottesville, and I said “this Anfia/white supremacist street fighting will have a body count soon. And this is how Nazi Germany was born.” I take no pleasure in being right on the first count, I pray I am wrong on the implications of the second.

      I must say your musings have been an accurate guide to The Crazy Years. And your focus on the military as the only institution with mass support stikes me as accurate and particularly chilling.

      Like

    2. Christopher,

      Thank you for the analysis and review. This series of posts generated strong feedback and intense pushback from both Left and Right. As did the posts about the Berkeley riots. These days I guess that’s the best indicator of a neutral analysis — it is attacked by both sides.

      Like

  2. I find it strange that police are at times disproportionately violent in incidents such as shooting family pets, including puppies and chihuahuas, incidentally making lifelong enemies of children who in some cases saw their pets killed in front of their eyes. The DOJ estimates 10,000 dogs are killed by police per year.
    That’s a lot of dogs. https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2017/07/what-dog-shootings-reveal-about-american-policing/533319/

    I believe this rampant dog killing desensitizes police to violence, and that people are next. Also many soldiers become police officers, having come from Iraq and Afghanistan where anyone is potentially an insurgent, with training and experience having taught them a hair-trigger, shoot-first mentality, which they bring with them to a job that rarely if ever calls for it.

    Yet in the Berkeley and Charlottesville riots the police stood by and did nothing, allowing the rioters to, well, riot. At Berkeley it was reported that police were ordered to stand down. I presume the same was true in Charlottesville, although also I expect the police were afraid; the Dallas police massacre in which five officers were killed and seven more wounded would have been on their minds.

    Why would the leaders order the police to stand down? I think their political calculus led them to decide to allow the violence. In the Berkeley case a liberal mayor may have been aligned with preventing Yiannopoulos from speaking. In Charlottesville I reckon they (Gov. McAuliffe?) expected that the riots would be blamed on President Trump and used to tar Republicans in general, which as you noted they largely have been.

    Will they ever say who gave the order? Probably not. They’ll hide behind the bureaucracy, and a pliant press will let them. Meanwhile, political violence increases.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The Iconoclast,

      I agree! That was my reaction as well. Individual police will blow away somebody for trivial reasons (and shoot dogs for little or no reason). A group of police will put 200 bullets into a joy rider’s car. Armies of heavily armed police wrecked the Occupy camps with joy. Yet we have these recent incidents.

      “Will they ever say who gave the order? Probably not. They’ll hide behind the bureaucracy, and a pliant press will let them.”

      Beware of linear extrapolations. People are taking notice and asking questions. I suspect that answers will be demanded about the Charlottesville incident. And certainly so if it happens again.

      “Meanwhile, political violence increases.”

      That seems like a safe bet.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. “Also many soldiers become police officers, having come from Iraq and Afghanistan where anyone is potentially an insurgent, with training and experience having taught them a hair-trigger, shoot-first mentality, which they bring with them to a job that rarely if ever calls for it.”

      There are cases of that, but I can tell you that many of my fellow soldiers in the Guard with multiple deployments and formerly active duty, that they are very averse to shooting Americans or trampling on their rights, in fact I would say most vets these days swing libertarian rather than traditional conservative.

      Of course this is anecdotal, but from what I have seen, those cops that shoot first and ask questions later or who are overly aggressive are usually badly rated officers, have something to prove and often were rejected from military service. Also, please note that it is very hard for vets to be taken on to an agency precisely because of the trauma that deployments leave on soldiers, it is not as automatic as one would think, those with PTSD and violent tendencies are actually not very likely to make it through the Academy.

      The problem I think comes down to the municipal, police union, and other higher echelon political levels where there is an extreme risk aversion and where the primary concern are benefits and officer safety. That’s why they will hang back when there is real danger yet shoot a person who presents very little obvious risk. Movies and TV have conditioned us to see police as heroic and I do think many are individually, but the actual departmental policies will almost always err on the side of caution and not act unless there is overwhelming force available. This is why you have SWAT teams aggressively serving warrants when inside there might be one drug dealer with a revolver.

      Like

  3. There’s a podcast where the ex-military person in charge of altright VIP security said he worked for days coordinating with the police. When the day came the police did nothing they agreed to, it was a set up from the beginning. He told the police to either protect the VIP’S, or he would bring 200 guys with rifles to restore order, then the police acted within 15 minutes.

    Like

  4. Thanks for a timely and well-written post on the riot. Over the last couple of days, I have become increasingly annoyed with the media’s coverage and I started to ask myself what needs to change to prevent a violent protest from escalating into a hate crime/domestic terrorism? Considering that groups with extremist opinions have protested peacefully in the past, the first step is for the police to do their job. On Saturday the police were incompetent, people got hurt, and a person died.

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    1. —-Why were the police so passive at Berkeley and Charlottesville? It is a mystery so far.

      the reflexive answer is that a political decision was made by someone in a Mayor’s office to go gentle on the counter-protestors. Without any awareness that mobs are only as smart as the dumbest person participating. No police commander is going to jeopardize his pension by fighting City Hall.

      Supposedly a similar thing happened in the 1992 LA Riots. Protestors were given a wide berth, but criminal elements used the freedom to riot and then the incidents metastasized into a riot.

      Like

    2. Chain of command,

      “the reflexive answer is that a political decision was made by someone in a Mayor’s office to go gentle on the counter-protestors.”

      (1) That’s called guessing. It is a very bad thing in these situations, just throwing chaff into an already fraught discussion. Both the police spokeswoman and the Chief of Police have denied that the police received such instructions. It would be a stupid thing to lie about, almost certain to be revealed by leaks or investigation.

      (2) That implies that the police were more aggressive against the alt-right protesters. I’ve seen no evidence of that. Both sides, as usual, lie big-time. I suggest skepticism.

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  5. There is a general sense of apathy in many police departments and government offices around the country with the idea of doing the least possible and “minimizing risk”. Everyone is now operating from a defensive posture and unwilling do act boldly and responsibly. All they care about is not risking their careers or getting sued.

    It is as you say a sign of the rot within our governments, both local and federal. The main responsibility of the government is to secure our liberties, especially basic security, a government that can’t do that will soon lose all respect from society and that is an extremely dangerous situation.

    I have seen this in Ecuador where my family is from, a government that cannot uphold rule of law and police forces that are a joke to everyone. That emboldens all sorts of criminality, corruption, and political extremism and makes prosperity and freedom impossible. At the end of that road is not a nation where everyone has a voice and a place but rather a collection of groups each fighting for their own petty interests and short term goals.

    Like

    1. dfocil,

      “There is a general sense of apathy in many police departments and government offices around the country”

      Do you speak from first-hand experience as a member of local government or law enforcement? Or from first-hand observations?

      This would not surprise me, as I have so often written about American’s apathy and passivity as citizens. Still, it is bad news.

      Like

    2. I was thinking something similar – the great emphasis on “your job is to come back safe and not make your wife a widow” which I have heard as justification for why it’s fine for them to shoot first, would seem to also encourage reticence in the face of actual physical threat. Some of this may also involve insurance risks and so on, for all I know.

      This may have also been something well outside of the experience of the area’s police officers, which would have also contributed to excessive caution.

      I worry sometimes about how the police seem to get glamorized almost to the point of being a sort of privileged and exalted class in society. At least in the aggregate.

      Like

  6. Fabius Maximus, intriguing post.

    “Why were the police so passive at Berkeley and Charlottesville? It is a mystery so far.”

    I think that a big chunk of the answer lies in the Occupy Wall Street protests and their aftermath. Police departments and city governments were the targets of a lot of law suits that had at least six figure settlements. In general, police departments have been causing a lot of lost money for cities as the result of their own misconduct. It is only natural that they would seek to minimize those costs if they could.

    Considering the sort of people attending these rallies and that they are happening in a space where businesses are not being damaged, I think strict cost-benefit analysis supports police not engaging. That doesn’t make it right or negate the very serious downsides to this strategy, but if your primary concern is a lawsuit and paying money to a skin head or communist dummy for ‘excessive force’ then having them attack each other is the better option.

    There is the real danger that both sides thinks they won and that the violent are not being actually punished for their actions. This means that they likely think that coming back, but with more, will make victory even more likely. That means escalation, escalation means counter-escalation which means significant property damage and death. Nipping this in the bud sooner would have paid dividends later but we’re well past that now. Hard to imagine any political leaders behaving in a way that would benefit the country 50 years from now at the expense of the next 6 weeks, so this is what we get.

    One other thing seems really clear to me now is that providing police with body armor and tactical weapons doesn’t actually make them more prone to take on aggressive and dangerous bad guys. Police have militarized under the premise that because they have body armor and armored trucks and guns they can go in and save people in hostage conditions or fight terrorists but that doesn’t seem to happen. Examples, Columbine school shooting, police waited; Newtown school shooting, police waited; pulse nightclub, police waited; Charlottesville vehicular terrorism, police waited. It turns out you can’t trick someone into going into harms way with really powerful weapons and body armor. Instead they just use it to bust in on people who are significantly less dangerous and/or are not really a threat.

    Cake88

    Like

    1. Cake88,

      “I think that a big chunk of the answer lies in the Occupy Wall Street protests and their aftermath.”

      The obvious rebuttal is that nobody is giving that as an explanation. Not the local govt officials or police. Have you seen police experts, union leaders, attorneys in the field, criminal science professors — anyone giving that theory.

      The second rebuttal is that the Occupy Protests were people sitting there — subjected to police violence. There were heavily armed protesters engaged in public disorder. Sensible people looked around at the armed to the teeth crowd and went home. What are the odds that someone in that crowd could collect damages when the police broke it up? Small, is my guess.

      Like

    2. Fabius Maximus,

      “The obvious rebuttal is that nobody is giving that as an explanation.”

      That is a surprising response given that you explicitly said that many of the answers given were delusional. This is an answer that is cold calculated and rational given the litigious atmosphere, it would go as well with all the emotional energy in this country as cheese and chalk. What would have been the response by the public to an official who pulled out an equation and said, ‘see, we saved X dollars by allowing this to happen!’
      As I see it, your article presents compelling evidence that a) the cops and officials were aware of this and planned for it, it was as simple an operation as a linear ambush out of FM 7-8. They didn’t do it though and the question of why can be explained by economics. It can also be explained by more complicated political maneuverings, is that what you think is going on here?
      FYI, I can easily google and find evidence of millions of dollars in settlement fees streaming out of cities around the country towards issues related to how police and citizens interact.

      “What are the odds that someone in that crowd could collect damages when the police broke it up? Small, is my guess.”
      I would hope, but I don’t know if I expect it. Consider that the Ferguson protests got quite violent but it was police vs protestors mainly.
      http://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory/appeals-court-revives-mans-lawsuit-ferguson-protests-48985414
      $40 million? That’s a big chunk of change (although it is unclear how much it’ll be for now that some of the plaintiffs are off the case). And to be clear, I think there were issues with how Ferguson’s police force reacted and handled the situation. What happened to this man sounds awful. I could easily see something having happened like this though at Charlottesville, if instead of letting brawlers brawl, the police had confronted them.

      Cake88

      Like

    3. Cake,

      “That is a surprising response given that you explicitly said that many of the answers given were delusional. ”

      That referred explicitly and specifically to govt officials. There is a large body of commentary on the police actions by outside experts. They’re not delusional. A few are quoted here.

      “FYI, I can easily google and find evidence of millions of dollars in settlement fees streaming out of cities around the country towards issues related to how police and citizens interact.”

      Congrats on your use of Google! It’s still irrelevant.

      Re: odds of large settlements from police clearing violent protesters.

      You cite a settlement from the Ferguson protest. You’re being either silly or duplicitous. Let’s look at what the police did to warrant that large settlement:

      “The 8th Circuit revived only the claims of Matthews, who said police beat him, held his head underwater for several seconds in a roadside culvert, slammed his face onto pavement, and pepper sprayed him after he repeatedly was shot by bean bags and rubber bullets as he walked through the protest zone on his way to his mother’s home.”

      That was not a result of normal police action, but a rogue cop. By your logic, police should stop making traffic stops because some police use them as occasions to misbehave.

      Like

    4. Fabius Maximus,

      First, I think you’re reading quite a bit into what I wrote. To the extent that it is my fault, I apologize for my lack of clarity.

      To be clear, I think concerns about lawsuits is a reason (among many) that the police/local officials were hesitant to deploy themselves in a more effective manner.
      I say this because
      a) they could predict there would be limited property damage and injury to locals and that if they were wrong, they could deflect too much criticism by blaming Nazis
      b) they have had budget problems in the recent past http://www.nbc29.com/story/31154638/charlottesville-city-council-works-to-erase-budget-deficit
      c) lawsuits against the police payout and cost lots of money, see here about what occurs in NYC
      https://www.muckrock.com/news/archives/2014/oct/10/nypd-paid-over-428-million-settlements-over-last-f/
      Important quote: “A couple interesting take-aways: one, the sheer volume of capital that is being spent on settlements, and two, that the overwhelming majority of these cases end with the NYPD at fault. ”

      I am not claiming that this is the only reason, are you claiming that it is not a reason at all?

      Cake88

      Like

  7. I have three comments that I will share separately:

    1. I’ve watched some video footage of the Charlottesville incident (not very much, I can’t seem to find a lot, which surprises me) and I’ve noted the following general trends. Note that there are exceptions to all comments below.
    a) The Alt-right came prepared for this fight better than Berkley, more equipment and more training. The same cannot be said of the Alt-left
    b) Most of the combat occurred when the Alt-Left attacked without provocation
    c) The combat features the Alt-right working together, using their weapons effectively, and reforming after the struggle has been resolved (usually in their favor). The Alt-left, on the other hand, tends to come screaming singly and in mobs and ineffectively flailing their arms. There are numerous incidents where the Alt-Left employs weapons but the Alt-Right has developed counter-tactics for most of them. The most interesting incident involved a black man attempting to light the Alt-Right flags on fire with an aerosol can turned into a flamethrower.
    d) The city leaders cancelled the march and the Alt-Right marched anyway and did so with pretty good discipline. This is taken straight from Martin Luther King’s playbook although the use of weapons to defend themselves was not.
    e) The ramming of civilians with a car was denounced by the Alt-Right. Again, taken from MLK’s playbook although the response could have been faster and more complete

    Like

    1. 2. Very little of the news coverage was about the details of the incident but about how the journalists felt about different aspects of the incident. Furthermore, nearly all commentary on Trump’s potential actions were actually people attempting to impose their values on Trump.

      This interests me because it is also what happened during the election. People don’t seem to pay attention to what Trump does or says, they just assume that he will behave in a pattern they impose on him and are surprised and outraged when he doesn’t follow their script. FM has commented on this before but I feel it needs to be further called out.

      I want it noted that I am not defending Trump; I am too busy being confused by him to defend him, but I am fascinated by this continual projection of everybody’s hopes and desires on a man who obviously does not fit those hopes and desires and will not do what they want. This flat-out refusal to accept reality even when it is obviously causing great problems for the individuals involved bothers me greatly.

      Like

    2. 3. The Alt-Left continues to demonstrate that they learn very slowly from past mistakes. Once again they call for massive rallies in other cities to protest the Alt-Right actions and they intentionally jam up traffic and make a general nuisance of themselves. This is a very bad way to win friends and influence people, but, as mentioned in my second point, they refuse to see it.

      The Alt-Right continues to learn from their mistakes much faster than the Alt-Left and I can only foresee the Alt-Right becoming an increasingly powerful political force. The worst part of this is that their growth comes not from the value of their ideas but from the stupid mistakes of their opponents.

      Like

    3. Pluto,

      How long were the videos you watched, in total? The event was roughly 6 hours, spread over a wide area. The initial phase was a hour.

      You have some facts wrong. The police cancelled the alt-Right’s assembly permit before the event began, and forced them out on to the streets. There was no march permit.

      Many eyewitness accounts contradict your account. That’s almost always the case. Eyewitnesses are useful only in aggregate.

      I believe we won’t know what happens until the accounts are collated, assembled into an overall picture. The many brief videos will help. The video taken by the team on the roof top (National Guard?) will tell us much.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I’ll throw my hat in with Michael Parenti, who argues that the rulership class is not stupid, and that when it operates it operates intentionally, deliberately and purposefully.

    I’ll also agree with Rogers Brubaker that material interests are at stake, and that “ethnopolitical entrepreneurs” strategically use “ethnic framing to mask the pursuit of clan, clique or class interests,” and that “the calculated instigation or provocation of conflict with outsiders” is frequently done by “vulnerable incumbents seeking
    to deflect in-group challenges to their positions.”

    The violence in Charlottesville occurred because people in high places wanted it to occur.

    It’s a game as old as the hills, as Brubaker goes on to explain:

    — Ethnicity without groups —
    http://bev.berkeley.edu/Ethnic%20Religious%20Conflict/Ethnic%20and%20Religious%20Conflict/1%20Identity/Ethnicity%20without%20Groups%20Brubaker.pdf

    “[E]thnopolitical entrepreneurs…may live ‘off’ as well as ‘for’ ethnicity… [They] often have what Pierre Bourdieu has called a performative character. By invoking groups, they seek to evoke them, summon them, call them into being. Their categories are for doing — designed to stir, summon, justify, mobilize, kindle and energize. By reifying groups, by treating them as substantial things-inthe-world, ethnopolitical entrepreneurs may, as Bourdieu notes, ‘contribute to producing what they apparently describe or designate.’ ….

    [T]he dynamics of group-making [is] a social, cultural and political project, aimed at transforming categories into groups or increasing levels of groupness.

    Sometimes this is done in quite a cynical fashion… In this sense, group crystallization and polarization [are] the result of violence, not the cause….

    Certain dramatic events, in particular, can serve to galvanize and crystallize a potential group, or to ratchet up pre-existing levels of groupness. This is why deliberate violence, undertaken as a strategy of provocation, often by a very small number of persons, can sometimes be an exceptionally effective strategy of group-making….

    The ‘ethnic’ quality of ‘ethnic violence’, for example, is not intrinsic to violent conduct itself; it is attributed to instances of violent behavior by perpetrators, victims, politicians, officials, journalists, researchers, relief workers or others. Such acts of framing and narrative encoding do not simply interpret the violence; they constitute it as ethnic. Framing may be a key mechanism through which groupness is constructed….

    A great deal is at stake, then, in struggles over the interpretive framing and narrative encoding of conflict and violence….

    Actors may take advantage of this coding bias and of the generalized legitimacy of ethnic and national frames, by strategically using ethnic framing to mask the pursuit of clan, clique or class interests. The point here is not to suggest that clans, cliques or classes are somehow more real than ethnic groups, but simply to note the existence of structural and cultural incentives for strategic framing….

    [S]ensitivity to framing dynamics, to the generalized coding bias in favor of ethnicity and to the sometimes strategic or even cynical use of ethnic framing to mask the pursuit of clan, clique or class interests can alert us to the risk of over-ethnicized or overly groupist interpretations of (and interventions in) situations of conflict and violence. One need not subscribe to a reductionist ‘elite manipulation’ view of politicized ethnicity to acknowledge that the ‘spin’
    put on conflicts by participants may conceal as much as it reveals and that the representation of conflicts as conflicts between ethnic or national groups may obscure the interests at stake and the dynamics involved.”

    Like

    1. Glenn,

      “The violence in Charlottesville occurred because people in high places wanted it to occur.”

      That’s a classic conspiracy theory. Speculate that a vaguely defined group of people have a goal, without any evidence that they do in fact have that goal. Then look at an event that perhaps advances that “goal”, and conclude that they must have caused that event.

      It’s the kind of reasoning chain that in real life few would wager a dime on, but is asserted as certain truth.

      Like

    2. Sorry Editor, but in my world the buck stops at the top.

      The authorities in charge are not stupid, they are not incompetent, and things don’t “just happen.”

      There is no excuse whatsoever for the authorities sitting back and letting this thing spiral out of control.

      What is your explanation for why they let it get out of hand?

      Like

    3. Glenn,

      So you believe every event in history was a result of leaders’ intention? Wow.

      In my world events are caused by rational intent plus accidents, mistakes, incompetence, miscommunications, feedback cycles which quickly zoom out of control, poor chains of command, bad decisions made in the “fog of war” (e..g, upon bad information, confusion, emotions), subordinates acting on their own initiative — it is a long list of reasons in addition to rational intent.

      Seeing the world as master chess players moving pawns is fun, but not remotely accurate.

      Like

    4. — VIDEO: The Politics of Conspiracy Theory —

      MICHAEL PARENTI: “Conspiracy theory is a term that is used whenever anybody ascribes conscious intent to people with power.”

      RUSS BAKER: “I find the term conspiracy theory a broad brushed pejorative which I think is designed to suppress discussion.”

      PETER DALE SCOTT: “We have to acknowledge that there are processes going on that are not finding their way straightaway into newspapers and history books, and it’s so interesting that America can see that about other countries, it just has problems seeing it about itself.”

      Like

    5. Editor,

      Fog of war? Do you even know what ‘fog of war’ refers to?

      “War is the realm of uncertainty; three quarters of the factors on which action in war is based are wrapped in a fog of greater or lesser uncertainty. A sensitive and discriminating judgment is called for; a skilled intelligence to scent out the truth.”

      — CARL von CLAUSEWITZ, Vom Kriege

      You seem to have missed the part about “A sensitive and discriminating judgment is called for; a skilled intelligence to scent out the truth.”

      You also seem to have missed what another great military commander, Frederick the Great, had to say about the conduct of war: “War is not an affair of chance. A great deal of knowledge, study, and meditation is necessary to conduct it well.”

      Or yet another:

      “In peace time, differences of opinion may be allowed to go by the board without great harm being done… In war the case is different — chickens remorselessly and rapidly come home to roost, errors can seldom be rectified and men’s lives are at stake.”

      — FIELD MARSHALL SIR WILLIAM ROBERTSON

      Why are you so intent upon exculpating the authorities in Charlottesville?

      And again I ask, what is your explanation for why the authorities let the situation get out of hand?

      Like

    6. Glenn,

      You don’t appear to be reading my comments. I’ll try again.

      “Why are you so intent upon exculpating the authorities in Charlottesville?”

      You said that these events were the result of rational intent. I said that they might result from human error, even incompetence. That is not “exculpating” them.

      “And again I ask, what is your explanation for why the authorities let the situation get out of hand?”

      See above, which summarizes what I said at length in my previous comment.

      Like

    7. I really don’t understand why the editor is needing to do so much handholding to explain his views here. Certainly, “we should reserve judgement until we have the facts” shouldn’t be too hard to understand if you follow this site with any regularity.

      I come here to maintain my political sobriety (not to be spoonfed a “truth”). There are plenty of echo chambers on the net to blindly follow a rush to judgement. I am baised towards thinking this was a deliberate and calculated allowance of a street fight, but I also have trouble thinking that any leader would allow such chaos fully deliberately. Politicians like much more finely managed demonstrations of why they need more power.

      Like

  9. Glenn, that Michael Parenti quote you used he is refering to the Prison Industrial Complex and arguing against those who argue it came about due to corporate greed. His point was that poverty was spreading too far and revolt was a possibility so they used the prisons, as well the design of urban areas like projects and highways dividing the very poor from the working/middle class for control purposes and was not just an accident of greedy corporations.

    I don’t see the connection to a riot between a few hundred people which neither side is poor in the context of why the authorities/police let it happen.

    I would guess some of the police sympathize with the “alt-right” protesters complaints and the people at the top thought a hands off non confrontational role for the police would result in less violence which they would be clearly wrong about if so. There was always the chance that both sides would have attacked the police if they were heavy handed from the start.

    Like

    1. Joe Defiant,

      The Michael Parenti quote you refer to came from the video I linked, “The Politics of Conspiracy Theory.”

      It has absolutely NOTHING to do with the Prison Industrial Complex, so I don’t know where you came up with that idea. Maybe you are confusing Michael with his son, Christian, and his book “Lockdown America”?

      Here’s another video where Parenti expresses his disdain for Editor’s “liberal” belief that the ruling class is just “stupid,” “confused,” “misguided,” “reckless,” “inept,” “bumbling,” “self-deceptive,” “deluded,” “driven by false assumptions,” and “laden with tragic mistakes” (minute 04:57).

      The rulership class is of course none of those things. When it operates it operates deliberately, intentionally and purposefully.

      The city and state authorities in Charlottesville and Virginia are “ethnopolitical entrepreneurs.” They wanted a violent conflict for the reasons Brubaker sets out, and they purposely, deliberately and intentionally set out to create the conditions where that would happen. All they had to do was to look the other way, and the outcome was predictable. The political careers of these people depend on identity politics, protest politics and racial and ethnic strife.

      I hope the victims of these ethnopolitical entrepreneurs in Virginia sue the pants off them, so they can tell their story to a jury, just like the ethnopolitical entrepreneurs in San Jose, CA will get to:

      — Federal Judge Green-Lights Lawsuit Against San Jose For Failing To Protect Trump Supporters Against Anti-Trump Mob —
      http://www.dailywire.com/news/14659/federal-judge-green-lights-lawsuit-against-san-james-barrett#exit-modal

      And just like the ethnopolitical entrepreneurs at Berkley will get to:

      — UC Berkeley Faces $23M Suit for Yiannopoulos Speech Riot —
      https://www.courthousenews.com/uc-berkeley-faces-23m-suit-yianoppoulos-speech-riot/

      The ethnopolitical entrepreneurs who “live ‘off’ as well as ‘for’ ethnicity” — off of group conflict and violence — must be held accountable.

      Like

  10. Regarding the role of “Groups” and the Brubaker piece: The way social media has put all groups in a bubble where they only view information they already agree with and consider all other information “fake news” is horribly detrimental to society. Convincing people that their “source of information” is lying to them is a difficult task and I have no idea how to accomplish this. I have people close to me in my personal life who I cannot accomplish this with.

    To find the truth on most issues you have to conduct a intenstive research project that takes at the very least a few hours. Couple that with peoples lack of trust of media that they don’t regularly consume and it becomes a difficult task to even have rational discussion with most people.

    For example the other day I was discussing the fact that North Korea has been offering to halt it’s nuclear program and allowing UN/International inspections of said program in exchange for US/South Korea halting its miitary exercises and moving away from their border and stopping the practice bomber runs over NK and/or food and economic aid and about 50 college educated people either accused me of lying or had never heard of it. Trying to find sources that they would accept as factual took some time on my part because the mainstream press in america has buried this info. (I am getting away from the topic at hand but bear with me).

    Two groups who are angry due to the neoliberal economy not working for them rioting in Charlotesville over removal of a confederate statue is IMHO due to this grouping of information and belief only of sources they already agree with. What is causing these two groups of mostly young men to become angry and be willing to fight in the street is the same economic issues. If not for this group information problem they would be likely to discuss the issue and work together to fix it.

    Like

    1. Joe,

      “The way social media has put all groups in a bubble where they only view information they already agree with and consider all other information “fake news” is horribly detrimental to society.”

      After running a website for ten years (a million page views per year), I know that’s not how it works. Publishing a wide variety of information, showing both sides of issues, is bad for business. Publishing information pleasing to a tribe, with nothing that disturbs the flock, is the path to success.

      We live in a free market economy, where success comes from giving consumers what they want.

      Like

    2. Joe Defiant: “What is causing these two groups of mostly young men to become angry and be willing to fight in the street is the same economic issues. If not for this group information problem they would be likely to discuss the issue and work together to fix it.”

      There are two issues here. One is the revolution in communications. Each revolution in communications in the past (e.g., writing, printing press, radio, television) has ushered in a social and political revolution. There is no reason to believe the internet revolution will be any different. I suspect what it will bring about is the end of Modernism and its offspring: liberalism, Marxism, Lippmann’s “theory of democratic elitism,” etc. What will replace these is yet to be seen. It could be something better than what we currently have, or something worse.

      Two is what causes “young men to become angry and be willing to fight in the street.” I agree that material interests are at the heart of it. However, I’m also a fan of Carrol Quigley’s cyclical theory of history:

      “The vested interests encourage the growth of imperialist wars and irrationality because both serve to divert the discontent of the masses away from their vested interests…. [T]he old institution of expansion now begins to lose its privileges and advantages to…the institution of irrationality, [which] controls much of the intellectual life of the society. [This] become[s] dominant, and the group that formerly controlled the institution of expansion falls back into a secondary role, its surplus largely absorbed by its own creations. In this way…the Nazi party, which had been financed by some of the German [and American] monopoly capitalists as an instrument of…irrationality, took on purposes of its own and began to dominate the monopoly capitalists for its own ends.”

      — CARROL QUIGLEY, The Evolution of Civilizations

      Like

  11. The Vice Mayor, Wes Bellamy who stirred up the statue issue has been stewing to get back at Kessler for awhile, since Kessler outed Bellamy’s racist, sexist, and homophobic social media rants.

    Homophobic, sexist, anti-white language abundant in Charlottesville vice mayor’s tweets” at the Cavalier Daily,28 November 2016 — “Wes Bellamy’s tweets contrast with other published messages of unity, empowerment.”
    .
    .
    Editor’s Note: Wes Bellamy is Charlottesville’s Vice Mayor. Jason Keller is a white nationalist and one of the organizers of the “Unite the Right” rally.

    Like

  12. Excellent article and very true observation in your conclusion. The only thing I disagree with is the rebuilding of confederate statues. I fail to see why this is important to build your future. Robert E Lee did not stand for much more than white supremacy. I don’t think that is an important rhetoric for the future of humanity. Being from Scotland and recently immigrating to USA , my frame of reference is different having never been brought up stateside but it would be something like erecting a statue of Oliver Cromwell or Maggie thatcher in Glasgow city centre.That would be highly inflammatory and offensive to a large portion of the population. There is however a statue of Cromwell in London which I find highly offensive and I think should be removed. People like that from our history should not be immortalised as heroes , people like Captain Sully or Martin Luther King should. Again,loved the article.

    Like

    1. Colin,

      “Robert E Lee did not stand for much more than white supremacy. I don’t think that is an important rhetoric for the future of humanity.”

      That’s totally backwards. The evil of slavery and its role in America is why those statues must be kept. “Whitewashing” (quite appropriate term here) of history to remove them is inexcusable. The mobs destroying those statues exult in their self-righteousness — unjustly, having played no role in ending slavery. Instead this history needs to be preserved for future generations, reminding them of what America once was — how far we have come — and how far we have to go to reach our ideals.

      “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”
      — By George Santayana in The Life of Reason.

      See the detail explanation by Torrance Stephens here: Keep the Confederate monuments. Rededicate them to our needs.

      Like

    2. Colin,

      “There is however a statue of Cromwell in London which I find highly offensive and I think should be removed. ”

      I’m sure you are a nice person, but your belief that the past should be sanitized to remove any discomfort by you is quite mad. The world’s history is largely one of injustice, back to Greece (slave-holders all) and beyond. Our slow improvement should be a source of pride, and motivate us to do better. Since you stand on those accomplishments of previous generations, spitting on those before you isn’t something to admit with pride. Preening yourself as virtuous due to their work is even less admirable.

      Like

  13. I’m sure your very intelligent, but don’t patronise or insult me please. I do not preen myself as virtuous but it seems you certainly do. Maybe if you knew something of Scottish and English history aside from what you read on Wikipedia you would feel very differently.
    Taking down statues of murders and despots does not necessarily represent the sanitisation of history. People will always discover the history by other methods, not statues. Some the statues themselves were erected and stay erected over the pride of the oppression they represent ” rule Britannia ” white power ” and all that crap. Which still exists today. Keeping that representation alive as a reminder of heroic works of building a country on oppression ,is quite mad.Whether you like it or not, there are people who find this a constant reminder of a problem that isn’t going away anytime soon and I find your viewpoint rather morbid and insensitive.
    Please spare me the condescending re-quote in your reply.

    Like

    1. Colin,

      “People will always discover the history by other methods, not statues. ”

      That’s quite false. Americans know absurdly little of their history, having already sanitized most of it.

      • Our awareness of the Revolution is a cartoon. That one-third of the Americans supported the Crown is little known. That we stole their property and drove them out is lost history. In the Treaty of Paris we promised compensation; we pretty much ignored that provision.
      • Did I say about one-third supported the crown? That didn’t include the slaves, almost all of whom (logically) supported the Crown. Like so much about slavery, we have amnesia about that.
      • Many have a Gone With The Wind vision of slavery, happy darkies singing while working in the fields.
      • The Wild West as an era of noble lone entrepreneurs — settling disputes with fair fights in the streets. It was a horror show, with injustice ruling far more often than not. When the cavalry arrived, they often helped the bad guys (e.g., the Lincoln County War). It main value was to inspire Canada to open its West under tighter government control, so they didn’t follow our bad example.
      • The near-war-like fight of businesses against labor unions — and the near-slavery-like conditions that sparked their creation — is lost history.

      Sadly, that’s not even a complete list. Tearing down the physical history will make further sanitization of American history easier. Perhaps inevitable. We can re-purpose that history to make this less likely.

      “Some the statues themselves were erected and stay erected over the pride of the oppression they represent ”

      Which is why I said we should repurpose them. The link in my comment goes to a detailed explanation.

      “Keeping that representation alive as a reminder of heroic works of building a country on oppression ,is quite mad.”

      Which is why I proposed doing the exact opposite.

      Like

  14. Basically what your saying is that the ancestors of the oppressed have no right to be offended by these statues or statements of oppression? Utter bullshit!
    The confederate statues were erected 50 years after the civil war and represent one side of the argument. Why were there no monuments erected depicting the struggle of the oppressed? Why in Berlin did they completely deform the statues of Hitler’s regime. Do you think the German people need reminding of those atrocities by keeping the hitler statue in perfect condition in a full nazi solute? People on the side of the oppressed do not need constantly reminded of how supposedly inferior they are. Maybe if the statue of Robert E Lee stood with his head hanging in shame , that would be a true representation of his sordid past.

    Like

  15. It’s not lost history if you know about it and are using it in quotes. Think about who commissioned those statues to be built and maintained. Do you think any African Americans donated reformation money to this just to remind them of an oppressive past?

    Like

    1. Colin,

      “I read your link and fully understand that side of the coin ….”

      Obviously not true. You said “Keeping that representation alive as a reminder of heroic works of building a country on oppression is quite mad.” I proposed doing the exact opposite of that.

      Like

    2. Colin,

      Let’s let readers decide for themselves if your words fairly represent what I said.

      You said: “Keeping that representation alive as a reminder of heroic works of building a country on oppression is quite mad.”

      My post was “Keep the Confederate monuments. Rededicate them to our needs.” My recommendation:

      “Should we sanitize our history and erase disreputable, even evil, elements? But those sins are not our sins. The deeds of the dead are beyond punishment. It is good that we see accepted practices of the past, like slavery, as evil. This shows America’s progress over time. But we just as we cannot punish the dead, we cannot take credit for the successes (only our own). As Newton said, we stand on their shoulders. It ill becomes us to spit down upon them.

      “Monuments of the past should be preserved to remind us of our history. It is part of who we are. Statues of Confederate leaders are tangible evidence — more compelling than words or TV shows — that America was born with and built on slavery. As Dr. Stephens says, we cannot allow ourselves to forget this.

      “As Calvin explains in the below cartoon, progress requires us to revalue events in our past. Monuments erected with pride now remind us of darkness in our past — and should warn us against relapses. Racism is resurgent. We should be holding rallies at Confederate monuments to swear to never allow America to backslide on our painfully won progress against racism. …”

      Like

  16. This “both sides” narrative is ridiculous. ANTIFA is rioting on a monthly, almost bimonthly, possibly even weekly basis.

    Alt-right is NOT the American right, and everyone knows it. They were targeted by ANTIFA to help edge forward the idea that closing the border is racist. Closing the border addresses ForEx inequalities in need of addressing since 1971, and really bank reform going back to the beginning of banking, when it became common practice to float loans against an only partial reserve of demand deposits.

    ANTIFA is the main problem. The solution is bank reform. ANTIFA demands not bank reform, but nationalization of resources.

    Nationalization is not a solution if the problem is already too much centralization and abuse of power.

    Like

    1. Shane,

      “ANTIFA is rioting on a monthly, almost bimonthly, possibly even weekly basis.”

      True. But the right-wing groups showing up at conservative posts are indestinguishable from Antifa, brothers and sisters under the skin. I wrote five posts documenting this in detail at the April Berkeley riot.

      Note that both sides claim that their sides are angels — clearly seeing what the other side is doing and blind to the actions of their own side. Again, similar behavior by both sides.

      “ANTIFA is the main problem. The solution is bank reform.”

      I don’t think so.

      “ANTIFA demands not bank reform, but nationalization of resources.”

      Where do you find Antifa’s manifesto? They are not a unitary entity, but a movement of allied parts — most of which are themselves only loosely organized.

      Like

    2. To the Editor.

      This term “right wing” is useless. ANTIFA and Unite the Right may have a lot in common, but ANTIFA has NOTHING in common with what folks call the right in America, and Unite the Right has in common that they support closed borders.

      The problem is a straight forward one. ANTIFA is being used to demonize closed borders, which in turn relates to bank reform through the reality of Foreign Exchange abuses.

      “I don’t think so,” is a singularly unconvincing argument.

      If the media has finally become leery of its promotion of street level violence, that would be wonderful, but I’ll believe it when I see signs of the media accepting its culpability for its one sided coverage of border issues and economics in general.

      Like

    3. Shane,

      “ANTIFA has NOTHING in common with what folks call the right in America”

      That’s because it is a far-left organization.

      ‘“I don’t think so,” is a singularly unconvincing argument.”

      I’m uninterested in discussing banking obsessions and the thousand and one other fringe theories out there. Long experience has taught me it is a waste of time, and of zero interest to 99.99% of readers.

      Like

    4. Too bad posts are not editable.

      To explain further, ANTIFA pretends to be against fascism. The operative problem with fascism to their minds is not totalitarianism or central government control, but rather nationalism, which they equate to racism.

      The American “right” consists not entirely, but to a large extent, of what used to be termed small government classical liberals. In a time in history where government begins to take on a global character, and in which that globe spanning government begins to be abusive, nationalism begins to look like small government liberalism to some by comparison.

      The ANTIFA then characterize the very concept of SELF GOVERNMENT as nationalism, and by extension fascism. And, in the name of opposing fascism, they support government centralization and totalitarianism.

      This all dovetails in extremely convenient ways with DNC party line politics, and of course leaves currency and bank practices undiscussed, which is precisely how most major political powers these days prefer things to be.

      Because at some point, it becomes ridiculously obvious that being forced to use fake money at the end of the barrel of the government’s guns is NOT freedom or justice.

      Like

    5. Shane,

      To follow-up on my earlier comment, rather than have you explain what you believe Antifa is about (which seems unlikely to me) it would be more useful to present your sources.

      “The American “right” consists not entirely, but to a large extent, of what used to be termed small government classical liberals.”

      Evidence? Both conservatives and political scientists usually describe the US “right” as a coalition of three or four disparate movements/groups. “Small government classical liberals” are just one component of the right.

      Like

    1. Colin,

      There is no point to talking with people who lie about what I said. Life is too short.

      You said: “Keeping that representation alive as a reminder of heroic works of building a country on oppression is quite mad.” I proved that I said the exact opposite of that.

      Like

  17. “Colin,

    Let’s let readers decide for themselves if your words fairly represent what I said.”

    I’m in disagreement with you.
    Why would MY words fairly represent what YOU said???

    “I assume you are kidding us. “Lost history” is a common phrase referring to the public’s knowledge of a historical event.”

    I’m sorry I’ve never heard this phrase used as a common term. But I’m not from the USA or an historian but my wife is both and we both agree that your interpretation of that phrase is debatable.Then again I never heard the phrase alternative facts either until I moved here.
    It’s kind of arrogant, scrap that totally arrogant ,that you think that most Americans except yourself, don’t know their history. Especially now in the digital age where you can access pretty much any historical event written about ( I’m sure you’re aware of that.)
    Your little history lesson wasn’t news to me sorry to shatter your ego but it’s common knowledge that American history is mostly built on lies. Since you’re a fan .

    John Reilly and the San Patricio’s
    There’s a gem of a story. Which refers to what you said about the us army in the old west often siding with the side of criminals and dishounering the constitution. Again common knowledge.

    We should be holding rallies at Confederate monuments to swear to never allow America to backslide on our painfully won progress against racism. …”

    Don’t see how this is possible in the current climate.

    Another obvious viewpoint about statues that you fail to see is the felling of Sadam Husain’s effigy by American troops. So by your logic the US forces should have left the statue alone in order to build relations with the locals of Baghdad. In reality exactly the opposite happened and when it came crashing down,the reaction from the locals was one of exuberance and adulation.

    Like

  18. The questions I refer to are as
    follows. Looks like you’re the one not reading properly. Maybe YOU “should read more slowly ”

    Why were there no monuments erected depicting the struggle of the oppressed?
    Why in Berlin did they completely deform the statues of Hitler’s regime. Do you think the German people need reminding of those atrocities by keeping the hitler statue in perfect condition in a full nazi solute?

    Think about who commissioned those statues to be built and maintained. Do you think any African Americans donated reformation money to this just to remind them of an oppressive past?

    Like

  19. Here it is again so you can read it twice and how did I lie about what you said?
    The questions I refer to are as
    follows.

    Why were there no monuments erected depicting the struggle of the oppressed?
    Why in Berlin did they completely deform the statues of Hitler’s regime. Do you think the German people need reminding of those atrocities by keeping the hitler statue in perfect condition in a full nazi solute?

    Think about who commissioned those statues to be built and maintained. Do you think any African Americans donated reformation money to this just to remind them of an oppressive past?

    Like

  20. I was once told ,in arguing with an idiot you run the risk of being one yourself.
    I’ve been an idiot for the last day now.

    Like

  21. Oh my fucking God. Just read some of your so called climate science opinions . Hahahahahaha you are actually a fucking idiot. I thought you were just ignorant but yeah you’re a fucking idiot!!! Hahahahahaha good luck in life you’re gonna need it. Hahahaha can’t believe what I just read .

    Like

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