The second Unite the Right rally, which took place in Washington, D.C. this August, was a dismal failure for far-right organizations across the country. The tiny group of two dozen marchers was vastly outnumbered by counter-protesters, to the point that some counter-protesters never even saw any white nationalists.
Keep in mind, this is the sequel to last year’s first Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, which saw hundreds of white nationalists marching by torchlight saying “Jews will not replace us." That rally spawned a virtual riot, and left one person dead.
So why did attendance at two major alt-right rallies drop so dramatically in just one year? To understand this failure on the part of the Nazis as they tried not to appear foolish and small, one needs to recognize certain aspects of this event and the recent historical context surrounding it.
The white nationalists in charge of the second Unite the Right blamed the lack of attendance on logistical issues, ultimately falling short of their goal of mobilizing hundreds of protesters. This may have something to do with the fact that the first rally occurred on a Saturday, as opposed to the second’s Sunday scheduling.
However, judging from the Neo-Nazis I have met in my life and those who I have heard of, most people who ascribe to the ideology of white nationalism tend to be unenlightened and unemployable half-wits, who would most likely have nothing better to do on any given Sunday than to wave a swastika in Washington, D.C.
Another reason given by the event’s organizers for the low turnout was that some possible attendees were too afraid to show their faces at the rally after last year’s events. It’s truly fascinating that a group of people whose entire ideology is based on their intellectual and physical superiority seem too afraid to actually demonstrate that superiority when given the chance and are too dumb to not plan their rally on a Sunday.
The anti-white nationalist force that seems to get the most media attention is Antifa, although it remains widely misunderstood. This movement has been around since the 1930s and prefers to fight far-right extremists directly rather than resort to political means. Antifa is not a top-down organization. It is composed of widely decentralized groups of anarchists and communists centered around major metropolitan areas.
Their tactics include wearing all black and facial coverings to act as an anonymous mob to harass white supremacists. To be clear, Antifa is not an ethically perfect group of protesters. Often, like at the second Unite the Right rally, Antifa members have harassed journalists and police. They have destroyed property in the past. I support Antifa in the way they prevent the United States from becoming an ethnostate, which they seem to be doing quite well, even if their press attacks and wanton destruction are unsavory tactics that should be discontinued.
So based on this information, why was Unite the Right 2018 a failure? The simple answer is that the tactics used by Antifa and other counter-protesters are working. American Neo-Nazis don’t seem interested in attending an event where they are not guaranteed safe passage and greater numbers, and therefore they did not attend the rally in Washington.
Like the alt-right darling Richard Spencer said in a vlog post following the cancellation of his speaking tour, Antifa is winning. Sure, there is nothing wrong with being against Antifa for pepper spraying cops or destroying the windows at Starbucks, but these events have demonstrated that, in the free market of ideas, white nationalism has lost.