Lose-Lose: Unite the Right 2 Versus #ShutItDownDC

Lose-Lose: Unite the Right 2 Versus #ShutItDownDC

Lose-Lose: Unite the Right 2 Versus #ShutItDownDC

Will you be in DC this weekend? Seems there is something going on there for everyone on the fringes – pick your poison: Unite the Right rally, or counter-protest with Black Lives Matter and Antifa?

On Sunday, August 12, the Unite the Right group, led by Jason Kessler, organizer of the Charlottesville march last year, will march to Lafayette Square in front of the White House, hear some dubious speakers, and dissemble within two hours.

According to the Richmond Times-Dispatch, the National Park Service released documents on Monday showing that Kessler’s confirmed speakers include neo-Nazi Patrick Little, former Ku Klux Klan Grand Wizard David Duke, Suidlanders spokesman Simon Roche, Patriot Prayer follower Kevin Cormier, Revolutionary Conservative editor Avialae Horton, attorney Corey Mahler, and “pro-white” town manager Tom Kawczynski.

They have estimated the number of people who will participate is 400. Wow, impressive. Or not.

Joan Donovan, a researcher who has studied media manipulation and white supremacy for Data & Society, isn’t so sure that the white supremacists’ presence will be so large. She tells the Cut that she hasn’t personally observed the online mobilization that’s necessary for mass demonstrations, as much of the energy she’s seeing for these sorts of events is coming from the West Coast.

“I don’t see a lot of people asking for money to travel or coordinate caravans and cars to go to the rally, and I don’t see a lot of coordination in terms of circulating memes and promoting the event,” she told the Cut. “That’s what I look for when I’m trying to understand if an event is going to be large, because large events have to be organized online.”

However, it looks like DC law enforcement, and particularly the counter-protestors who include at least 40 named groups supporting #ShutItDownDC, will far outnumber the white supremacists. Now, that is impressive.

Twenty-two organizers from groups including Black Lives Matter Charlottesville, Black Lives Matter D.C., Maryland Antifa, the D.C. Antifascist Collective, and the Frederick Socialists are planning a mass counterprotest, according to DCist. This specific demonstration is called Shut It Down D.C., which will go on for the entire weekend.

I am not a fan of these types of protest. I can think of a lot of better things to do with my time, and just being in the middle of such cult-like behavior really creeps me out. I can’t speak to the days of MLK’s march on the Mall or lunch counter sit-ins, but the protests as they manifest themselves today just seem like people who want to fight. They are not primarily interested in communicating a persuasive message. They are interested in bashing people’s heads, or at the least, winning shouting contests. I don’t abide.

I looked for official information on Unite the Right. Their website is pretty elementary. Just gives the time and place of the event, basic rules of behavior, what to bring, and what to leave at home. It’s kind of embarrassingly primitive. Maybe that’s the look they are going for, less exposure, keep their evil ways in the dark? At any rate, I’d say it’s a marketing fail.

The #ShutItDownDC website on the other hand is a giant par-tay! Lots of links to the participating groups, lots of emotional rhetoric and emotive content. Every social justice issue under the sun is brought together under one umbrella of being on the righteous side of history. The site was certainly more appealing to a hip demographic. Progressives do have their finger on the pulse of the wayward young adult.

From last year’s Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, VA

Despite the manufactured energy emanating from these tribes, and amplified by our oh-so-better-than-thou media, I’m not feeling it. I think they are all dumb, egotistical, and self-destructive. But they will get the attention, and no matter what happens, both sides will blame the other for anything that goes wrong. I recommend we all stop watching and stop giving them the notice they are so desperately craving. They will not be the ones to fix our problems. They are only making things worse.

I hope this weekend passes without serious incident, but I mostly wish these people would do something more positive with their energy. Is it necessary to make racists “uncomfortable” or would we make more progress by ignoring them? What do you think?

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  • Kathy says:

    Ignore them!

    Only a bit related — I like that some departments have announced they are moving large sections out of DC. Less of a hopefully also smaller bureaucracy for this kind of event to interfere with and also out of the DC madness.

  • Instead of ignoring them, can’t we round up all the participants from every side, put ’em on one big boat, and send it out to sea? Let them have their riot where it won’t do any real harm?

  • willie says:

    I don’t care who does it, I love seeing Antifa getting its ass handed to it

  • scott says:

    I think it’s reasonable to make the argument that all the involved groups are racist, unless of course you subscribe to the leftist theory that blacks can’t be racist…

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