That was the takeaway from the neo-nazi march in Virginia this weekend, a spectacle of sound and fury signifying nothing but the weakness of the marchers themselves. They came, they saw, they scurried off when the kids talked back. A wave of preppies with tiki torches, bands of right-wing militia carrying their street-legal AR-15s, and they retreated from mouthy, unbowed college students without firing a shot. And even the Republicans are demanding criminal investigation after the one loser out of all the other losers staged a terrorist attack with his car, like a feckless European jihadi.
Keep that in mind as all the polite media types ring their hands over this terrible excuse for political violence: The armed right-wing militia never fired a shot, the worst violence being delivered by some chipmunk-faced shmuck from Ohio driving into a pedestrian mall. As terrible and tragic as that attack on the Downtown Mall was, it netted only a single casualty. Nineteen injured and one dead is a typical Cavaliers victory party.
Comparisons to ISIS are even more accurate than they typically are when talking about these alt-right types. ISIS sympathizers who plow through pedestrians in Paris and Berlin are making a tactical decision, using the best weapon they have available. Contrast this with Virginia, where you can buy guns. Loads and loads of guns. There's a gun show somewhere in the Commonwealth every month, so if you're serious about revolutionary violence you and your buddies can get strapped right quick. That's what many of the alt-reichers did for this march:
Something for folks who see these people as some sort of lower-class other: this gear is not cheap. These are middle class white men. pic.twitter.com/nsJMYqmmei— Punching Nazis =👍🏻 (@inthesedeserts) August 13, 2017
The far right has been totally driven out. Militia evacuated, traditionalists flee. Anti-racists cry in victory. Watch all of this video. pic.twitter.com/0WZ9Ji5g1v— Jack Smith IV (@JackSmithIV) August 12, 2017
Veterans for Bernie like to point out these guys aren't actual soldiers, despite all their tacticool gear. They showed up to menace everyone who isn't a nazi into silence.
It didn't work, as you can clearly see. But no one going to C-Ville knew that, especially not the UVa kids and locals who turned out to counter-protest without any weapons beyond hairspray. And it speaks all the more to their bravery that they took on these self-styled brownshirts without any hope of protection from the Charlottesville police.
I lived in Charlottesville for three years after college. I can say from personal experience that the ruling institutions of that town are a microcosm of all the mealy-mouthed poshlost that passes for respectable discourse in this country. This is best illustrated by the Downtown Mall where the attack took place, where I once saw a C-Ville police officer ticket a black man for drinking a beer while fifty yards away the wealthy white liberals of UVa swilled wine at an over-priced restaurant. C-Ville cops are not there to protect you, but to protect the image of a college town that loves to talk up it's relationship to Thomas Jefferson without ever mentioning his support of free universities. Or his slaves.
This makes C-Ville an ideal place for the Alt-Right's big debutante ball but they couldn't even do that right. They came in their macho-wannabe uniforms, trying to look united and scary, and turned right around when they met resistance. One ISIS-style hit and run and trying to gang up on a guy in a parking garage, that's what happens when these nazi thugs try to make good on their violent rhetoric.
Like ISIS and other right-wing reactionaries, the Alt-Right is much more a support group for miserable middle class failures than a competent military force. That should be everyone's takeaway from the Battle of Charlottesville, that the nazis of the 21st century are a pale imitation of the Wermacht, that they have no stomach for a real fight and what's more they're real shit at fighting anyway.
Just be sure to arm yourself, because cops won't protect you. That goes double if you're not white.