Charlottesville August 2017: Where is the Truth?

This article was first published in New View magazine Issue 85 Autumn 2017

When people in Britain recall the summer of 2017 they may remember the two blockbuster movies showing that season which evoked nostalgia for a summer 77 years earlier – June – August 1940: “Dunkirk” and “Churchill”. On release exactly a year after the Brexit referendum, these two films reinforced the British mythos of national unity in the face of imminent national disaster and threat. Although “Churchill” is about the period immediately before the D-Day landings of June 1944, it is the events of summer 1940 and the ‘Battle of Britain’ that really seared the image of Churchill into the national consciousness and those with which he has above all been associated. 1940 was his summer, emerging victorious (the Battle of Britain) out of the pit of defeat (Dunkirk). The two films are nationalistic films that reinforce the British view of themselves as gallant, dogged, plucky heroes in the face of adversity: the national myth of St George and the Dragon plays out, which always requires a foreigner to play the part of the dragon. [The dragon is in our midst, also within us but that is another story] Although nationalistic however, the films are also images of a Britain that has passed away, for while non-white service personnel such as those from the Caribbean took part in the events of 1940 as citizens of the Empire, and whose contribution has until today received insufficient acknowledgment, Britain in 1940 was overwhelmingly a white society in conflict with another European predominantly white society. It was not the Britain of today, in which, after the fall of Empire, the Empire has ‘returned’ to Britain, as it were, and Britain’s largest cities have become multicultural microcosms.

The situation is very different in the USA, which has been struggling with race issues ever since its origins in the early 17th century. Within the first 20 years of the establishment of the first British colony (at Jamestown, Virginia 1607), war against the native Americans (1611) and imports of Africans as indentured servants  (1619), and later as slaves, had taken place. When Americans look back at the summer of 2017, they will doubtless recall the events that took place in Charlottesville, Virginia, USA, on 11-12 August in the week before the total solar eclipse of 21 August. Those events were symptomatic of various developments since the turn of the century and demonstrated the steadily increasing polar tensions within “democratic societies” in the West. They also demonstrated tendencies in democratic societies that are just as worrying: the growing lack of concern for the truth and the rush to judgment.

The Right in Charlottesville

What occurred in Charlottesville was an event reported across the world and centred on a rally that involved a spectrum of various conservative and right-wing groups, from older, Far Right, ‘Confederate heritage’, neo-Nazi groups and armed militia groups through the recent, amorphous “Alt-Right”(1) movement to some “Make America Great Again” Trump supporters and other assorted conservative ‘patriots’. The event, which was a legal rally with a permit to assemble, was titled “Unite the Right” and was ostensibly called by Jason Kessler – a political activist and former supporter of Obama and the Occupy Wall Street movement of 2011 – to call on people across the right-wing political spectrum to protest against local government plans to remove a statue of Robert E. Lee (1807-1870) the commanding general of the Confederate Army in the US Civil War (1861-1865), from Emancipation Park, a downtown park in Charlottesville. This park had itself recently been renamed, from Lee Park (after the General) to Emancipation Park. The removal of Confederate statues and official flags throughout the South had increased after nine people had been killed in a mass shooting at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina on 17 June 2015 by Dylann Storm Roof, a 21 year old, self-declared white supremacist. Many whites in the South still continue to associate Confederate symbols not with slavery but with “Southern culture” and argue that the removal of such symbols is an attempt to destroy their “heritage”.  The new Alt-Right – which obsesses about “white genocide”, believing white people are under threat in the West from enforced ‘multiculturalism’, mass migration, and systematically encouraged  low birth rates – was there to support this “white Southern heritage”.

On the evening (11 Aug.) before the planned rally, about 100-200 mainly young white men, mostly supporters of the Alt-Right together with some others, marched with small burning torches and chants through the University of Virginia campus to a statue of Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826). There they encountered a small number of counter-protesters around the statue. The two groups began riling each other and after a short while, brawls broke out; it is unclear who started the violence. The police arrived to separate the groups, which then dispersed without much further trouble. The marchers did not set fire to anything with their torches nor smash anything or attack anyone while marching on the way to the Jefferson statue; they chanted such things as “Blood and Soil!” (a slogan used by National Socialists in the 1920s and 30s) and “You will not replace us!” (a slogan that emerged in early 2017 as a counter to the left-wing slogan “He (Donald Trump) will not divide us!”); this right-wing slogan makes clear that they will not allow what they call “white genocide” to take place. This anxiety, that the white race is going to become a minority in the USA and in Europe over the coming decades, is what the “Unite the Right” rally was really about, as can be seen from the movement’s various websites, rather than just the more limited focus of protesting the removal of the Robert E. Lee statue or defending “Southern heritage” and other Confederate statues. Charlottesville is a city controlled politically by the Democratic Party, which for many decades prior to the Civil War was pro-slavery and then, after the Civil War, opposed to civil rights for blacks. But since the 1960s it has become increasingly identified with ‘progressive’, liberal politics.

New Right, New Left

A new generation of white racialism has emerged and spread since the widespread use of the Internet and has been embraced by young white people in their teens, 20s and 30s. Some of these people are white supremacists, that is, they regard white people as inherently superior to other races; others are not supremacists but want the different races to keep to themselves; they reject multiculturalism as a failure and seek an ‘ethnostate’, a mono-ethnic state in which large, non-white minority communities and non-white immigration would not be allowed. Charlottesville was the largest demonstration by these New Right people in over 20 years. They are now seeking to become not just an online Internet presence but a public presence on the streets to challenge what they see as the dominant presence of left-wing protesters and demonstrators, whom they regard as undermining white culture and white society. In this sense, these young, white, radical right-wingers are the right-wing version of the ‘identity politics’ that has been increasingly embraced by the political Left since the 1960s. This is a politics focused on physical identity (race, gender, sexuality) rather than on economic class-based ideology that was the norm in the 20th century.

Whereas Marxists and other radical left-wingers saw the white working class in the advanced economies as the vanguard of their revolution, from the late 1960s they shifted their focus to the developing world and to issues of solidarity with groups such as blacks, feminists, environmentalists, migrants and those with unorthodox sexual orientations. The aim here was to undermine the cultural and intellectual bases of bourgeois capitalist thought. This shift was influenced by the ideas of the Italian Marxist, Antonio Gramsci (1891-1937) and also those of the thinkers of the Marxist ‘Frankfurt School’ at the Institute for Social Research at Goethe University, Frankfurt, Germany after the First World War, many of whom emigrated to the USA in the 1930s and became integrated into academia, notably at Columbia University.(2) After the Second World War, the ideas of these academics permeated higher education, publishing and the media in the USA and throughout the US-dominated western world during the Cold War era.  By 2000, two generations of teachers and students had been influenced by this thinking, which contributed greatly to the rise of identity politics from c.1970 onwards to its arguable position of centrality in today’s political discourse. Paul Mason, writing in the British newspaper, The Guardian, recently (12.6.2017) argued that: “Gramsci understood what kind of war the left is fighting in a mature democracy, and how it can be won… . Gramsci was the first to understand that, for the working class and the left, almost the entire battle is to disrupt and defy [political] common sense. He understood that it is this accepted common sense – not MI5, special branch and the army generals – that really keeps the elite in power.” In other words, Gramsci shifted the Marxist emphasis from the economic structure which, since Marx himself, had been dominant in Marxist thinking, to the “superstructure” of cultural ideology which had previously been seen as superficial and essentially irrelevant. It was these conventional habits of thought, Gramsci argued, that controlled minds. Only if these are destroyed and replaced can a Marxist revolution overthrow bourgeois capitalism. In effect, Gramsci did to Marx rather what Marx did to Hegel (1770-1831). Whereas the German philosopher Hegel had claimed the development of spirit and freedom were the keys to history, Marx took Hegel’s idea of development of spirit and applied it instead to the development of economic life and class determinism i.e. to the development of the material, physical aspects of life; it was often said that Marx thus ‘stood Hegel on his head’. What Gramsci did was in effect to reverse Marxist strategy and  ‘stand Marx on his head’ by insisting on the primacy of the superstructure of cultural ideas in order to prepare for a Marxist revolution rather than on advancing economic struggles.  Using terms that related to the military tactics of the First World War, Gramsci argued that a revolutionary ‘war of manoeuvre’ i.e. the violent overthrow of the capitalist order, was not possible without a prior ‘war of position’ (i.e. trench warfare) in which the ‘trenches’ of thought patterns that underpin bourgeois society (religion, folklore, education, family, interpersonal relations etc) are taken, captured, one by one. This undermining of the mental institutions of bourgeois capitalist society was something the Frankfurt School thinkers such as Herbert Marcuse (1998-1979) promoted in the USA.

These left-wing tactics  had become so successful by the mid-1990s that American conservatives such as  former Presidential candidate Pat Buchanan were saying that the Right had won the economic war in the 1980s with Reaganomics but had lost the ‘culture war’ to the Left, especially in the minds of the young generation. Many young people, especially those in colleges and universities, had embraced the new identity politics, an important part of which was the rejection of older liberal Enlightenment values such as open debate and tolerance for views with which one disagrees – the attitude commonly misattributed to Voltaire: “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it”. The new identity politics, influenced by Gramsci and the Frankfurt School, regards such views as pernicious tools used by bourgeois society to perpetuate itself: regressive views are to be repressed absolutely and can be allowed no ‘safe space’ in which to manifest themselves. ‘Free speech’ can be a cover for ‘hate speech’ and thus cannot be allowed free rein, because hate speech is violence against minorities. Those who are regarded as fascists and Nazis simply cannot be allowed to express their views in public. Their views are regarded as absolutely harmful viruses that are not to be engaged with in some comfortable bourgeois liberal ‘debate’ but must be suppressed and driven from the public arena: “Nazi scum, off our streets!” – and so on.

The new right-wing movement in the USA after 2000 is, amongst other things, a politics of reaction to these ‘Gramscian’ developments which have led to the dominance of the Left in the ‘culture war’, for example, in issues relating to mass immigration or to traditional family and gender values in western societies since the 1960s. Many of the young right-wingers, are the children of broken homes who lacked meaningful father figures in childhood. This was also the case with many of the young men who joined the Nazi Party, the SA and SS(3), in the 1920s and 1930s. Their fathers had been killed, maimed or psychologically damaged in the First World War; their country had been humiliated in defeat. They looked for an authoritative, substitute father figure who would make them feel good about themselves and their country. Young people, whether from broken homes or not, look for something to inspire their idealism, and if they cannot find it in healthy ways, they will seek it elsewhere. We can also observe this in the left-wing activists such as the black-clad members of Antifa groups(4), who are just as filled with hate and aggression as the right-wingers, not least because of their absolutist views that reject any engagement with those with whom they disagree. This was all too obvious at Charlottesville, though the mainstream media tried to ignore or smooth over it at first when they went into critical overdrive at Donald Trump’s remarks about hatred and bigotry and aggression “on many sides” at Charlottesville. This was objectively true, as any unbiased observer can verify by looking at various pieces of live footage from the event, preferably from a range of mainstream and non-mainstream sources.

Charlottesville 12 August

The rally was set for 12 August. The local government had tried to ban it but the organisers’ legal challenge had been successful, and the event went ahead. However, although many city police, riot police and State troopers were deployed, they were not ordered to keep the two sides apart. Two ‘pens’ were set up with metal barriers in the park which the rally attendees were supposed to remain within, but to get to the park they had to run the gauntlet of counter-protesters to even get into the pens, as there were about 1000 leftist counter-protesters to about 300 rightist protesters, and violence already broke out then. There are many videos of the whole event online on Youtube and it is obvious from them – one only has to watch them to see – that a) the police, though many in number, were conspicuous by their absence between the two groups; indeed it was sometimes the heavily armed private militiamen with their assault rifles (!) who kept the groups apart,  and b) the counter-protesters, which included members of Antifa, were mostly responsible for initiating the violence, as has indeed been the case in political violence in the USA over the past year or so wherever Antifa have been present; they have either attacked their opponents, or the police, or have smashed nearby buildings. Again, to verify this for oneself, one only has to look away from the mainstream media and instead watch some of the many videos of such events on Youtube such as the violence after President Trump’s inauguration in Washington DC on 20 January 2017 or at Berkeley, California in February, March and April 2017. Despite all the firearms at Charlottesville and the potential for a massacre, there was no shooting. However, both sides hurled ferocious, hateful abuse at each other as well as water bottles, chemical and pepper sprays, hit each other with sticks, threw punches, kicked, pushed and shoved; just a few here and there actually engaged in conversation or debate before or amidst the melee.

The rally was due to start at 12 noon but at about 11.40 am the authorities declared “unlawful assembly”– despite the legal permit – and the riot police moved in. If the police had kept the two sides apart, they would not have had to declare “unlawful assembly”, which rather suggests the authorities were looking for an excuse to do just that. The protesters in the park were now forced by the police out of the park towards the counter-protesters, and the violence ramped up. The protesters and counter-protesters harassed and attacked each other as the former split up and attempted to exit the city centre, followed and harassed by larger numbers of counter-protesters. Fighting broke out occasionally as the two groups walked through the streets. Although a state of emergency had been declared in the city, the left-wing counter-protesters continued to walk en masse through the streets in the afternoon, illegally but untroubled by the police.

One such large group of counter-protesters were gathered at one intersection about four blocks from the park at about 1.45 pm when a man drove a car (a Dodge Challenger) at about 30-40 mph(5) down a narrow street in the direction of the counter-protesters at the intersection. Before he reached them, at least one was seen to strike the back of the car with a long stick. The car went on into the crowd. In other videos bodies were filmed tossed through the air. The density of the crowd obscured the presence of two other cars stopped at the intersection, and after hitting some people, the Dodge went into the back of one of those cars, which was then pushed into a Honda SUV parked in front of it. Some of the counter-protesters then began to attack the Dodge, smashing the back window with sticks. The driver then backed up at speed for two blocks and drove off. His actions were filmed by Brennan Gilmore, who just happened to have had a 15 year career in the US State Department (mostly in Africa), and to have served on the campaign staff of Tom Perriello, a US politician funded by left-wing financier George Soros (12 August, the day of the rally, also happens to be Soros’ birthday) and of all the streets in Charlottesville, Gilmore just happened to be right there as the car driver drove down that street: “Within the next 24 hours, nearly every major American news network and a variety of international press outlets asked to interview me about the attack”, Gilmore later wrote.(6) In interviews and articles Gilmore immediately declared it to be a deliberate act of “terrorism” though no police investigation had yet been carried out. It may have been an act of panic or spontaneous anger, i.e. manslaughter rather than murder; we do not yet know. An aerial drone also just happened to be positioned overhead at the time of the incident and filmed it, but its view of the Dodge was obscured; it did not capture the Dodge actually hitting people.(7) No interview with the owner of the drone has emerged. A helicopter is also visible in the area in some videos. The driver was later filmed driving slowly past a couple of policemen who ignored the battered car with its front bumper hanging off and its shattered back window(8), but not long afterwards, the driver was apparently stopped and arrested. A very unclear photo appeared online, said to be of the arrest of the driver of the Dodge, with him sitting on the ground. 19 people were said to have been injured by the car, none of them critically, it turned out, but one woman, 32 year-old Heather Heyer, a paralegal who was there as a counter-protester, died. It was unclear whether she died as the result of a heart attack or because she was hit by the car. Her picture was soon going around the world, as was the police mugshot of the driver, identified by the police as James Alex Fields (20 years old) from Ohio.  In the late afternoon, about 4.40 pm, two Virginia State troopers were killed when their helicopter, flying at 2,300 ft, crashed about seven miles southwest of Charlottesville airport.

The narrative

Almost immediately after these events, those phenomena began to manifest which have been on the increase over the past 25 years and especially since the widespread use of the Internet, namely, a lack of concern for the truth and the rush to judgment. A one-sided “narrative” of what had happened at Charlottesville very quickly emerged across the mainstream media. This was that “Nazis”, “fascists” and “the Ku Klux Klan” had come to Charlottesville for “a rally of hate” and had caused mayhem resulting in three deaths. The violence of those that opposed the rightists and the irresponsibility of the authorities that did not deploy the police to keep the two groups apart and prevent violence were not highlighted. President Trump’s prompt initial condemnation of “hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides” was objectively correct, as there was indeed “hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides” in Charlottesville that day, but a torrent of media abuse fell on him for failing to condemn the rightists explicitly, as if they were uniquely to blame. Before people had hardly any information and real evidence about the car incident, it was being described as a “deliberate terrorist attack by Nazis”.

We have seen this pattern all too often in recent years, especially since the events of 9/11. Other cases have included the 7/7 London bombings in July 2005, the events that initiated the Arab Spring in 2011, the chemical attacks in Ghouta, Syria in August 2013, the disappearance of Malaysian Airlines flight MH 370 in March 2014, the downing of Malaysian Airlines flight MH 17 in July 2014. A narrative that claims to explain a particular event is very quickly put out via the mainstream media and the corporate–controlled social media (e.g. Twitter, Facebook) within hours or even minutes of the event, repeated ad nauseam and fixed in public consciousness so that one hears it repeated everywhere over the following days. This then leads to calls for action and, soon afterwards, government takes some action that is claimed to be justified by the narrative describing the event, even though the truth of the event has yet to be substantiated. In other words, a ‘criminal’ is identified and found guilty before a trial or even a proper investigation has taken place. Following events in Charlottesville, within several days, President Trump’s foremost radical nationalist adviser, Steve Bannon, had been forced out of office and Sebastian Gorka, a Bannon ally in the White House, also resigned. Bannon, who had already been under mounting media pressure since Trump’s inauguration in January, had signalled his willingness to resign some days before the Charlottesville events but such was the media storm of condemnation of Trump following his own failure explicitly to condemn one side in those events that Bannon was fired within a week of them, possibly as a scapegoat, to take the heat off Trump. In an interview with The American Prospect on 16 August, just before he was fired, Bannon said of the Far Right: “Ethno-nationalism, it’s losers. It’s a fringe element. I think the media plays it up too much, and we gotta help crush it, you know, uh, help crush it more. These guys are a collection of clowns.” Of the Democrats he said: “The longer they talk about identity politics, I got ’em. I want them to talk about racism every day. If the left is focused on race and identity, and we go with economic nationalism, we can crush the Democrats.” This revealing statement of strategy may actually have been the reason why Bannon was fired, because it suggests that powerful corporate interests are happy to see both Right and Left battle each other over identity politics (race, gender issues etc.) while economic issues can be used to garner the support of the majority of the population. The economic nationalist agenda of Steve Bannon has been strongly supported by the idiosyncratic, anti-Establishment hedge fund billionaire Robert K. Mercer and his daughter Rebekah Mercer. Bannon’s ejection from the White House in the wake of Charlottesville was regarded by the ‘liberal’ media Establishment (the Washington Post, the New York Times, CNN, ABC, CBS, MSNBC et al) as a significant victory for them as he and his nationalist agenda had been seen as a major plank of the Trump Presidency.

The rightists had come to Charlottesville so well-armed because at various other events, across the country over the previous six months or so they had mostly come off worse as a result of violence by Antifa and other Leftwing groups – a fact rarely mentioned in the mainstream media. The rightists did indeed come to Charlottesville expecting a fight; many had shields, helmets, and sticks and some wore body armour, and carried firearms (Virginia is an “open-carry State”, where it’s legal to carry firearms in public). The rightists notably carried more shields (a defensive arm) than the Leftists, whose arms were more offensive in nature (bottles, sticks, stones, chemical sprays; one man even used a spray can as a small flame thrower and had a shot fired at the ground in front of him by a rightist to warn him off – two extreme actions).The leftists always declare that they are opposed to ‘hate’ but one only has to watch the videos of these various events to see that no-one has a monopoly on ‘hate’. The street violence over the past 18 months has in fact usually been initiated by Antifa and the Left. This is because they seek to drive the “fascists”, “racists” and “Nazis” off the street. They do not accept that such people have a right to speak or be active in public because, they claim,  their presence ‘offends’ minorities and thus ‘constitutes violence’ against them. The Far Left believe they have to create what they call ‘safe spaces’ for minorities, spaces in which those with challenging or critical views are not allowed.  Those expressing views believed by Far Left groups to be fascist, Nazi or racist – or views even sympathetic to such groups – are shouted down, all communications with them are refused and any speakers associated with such views are increasingly banned, ‘no-platformed’, on university campuses; they are either denied permission to speak on campuses or if allowed to speak, their meetings are disrupted and broken up.

Later, in August, leftists and Antifa, fired up by what they claimed was victory against the fascists in Charlottesville, resorted to conspicuous violence again against small groups of rightists at rallies in Berkeley and Boston. Now the media and Establishment suddenly changed their tune, and Antifa were strongly criticised. Newsweek reported that “The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has formally classified the activities of anti-fascist groups (antifa) as “domestic terrorist violence” since early 2016, according to confidential law enforcement documents obtained by Politico.”(9) Noam Chomsky, a well-known academic member of the ‘liberal left Establishment’ has described Antifa violent tactics as “wrong in principle, and tactically self-destructive,” “a major gift to the right.” Increasing violence in public spaces between Far Right and Far Left groups, as happened in Weimar Germany in the 1920s and early 30s, will only have the effect of increasing public support for greater limits on civil liberties. In this sense, the identity politics street battles between groups such as the Alt-Right, Antifa and Black Lives Matter serve the interests of those elitists who are not concerned about democracy but seek to undermine it in their own economic and financial interests. It is therefore of importance to be alert to who is financing and supporting such groups on both Left and Right.(10)

The three deaths at Charlottesville, of Heather Heyer and the two State troopers in the helicopter were immediately seized upon by the mainstream media and social media and associated with “white nationalists”, “neo-Nazis”, “Nazi terrorist” protesters in Charlottesville. But no explanation has since been forthcoming about the reasons for the helicopter crash. No distress call was made and no flight data recorded. An official report by the National Transportation Safety Board later said the helicopter had left Charlottesville airport at 3:54 p.m. and “was over the downtown area at 4:04 p.m. and ‘and engaged in mission-related activities there until 4:42 p.m….The purpose of the fated helicopter flight was to provide a continuous video feed of activities on the ground, which was accomplished with multiple helicopters.” So the helicopter was over the downtown area filming only for about 40 minutes, after which it was apparently called away to another task. But by then most of the disturbances between the two political groups were well over. The park area had been cleared by the time of the car incident at 1.40 pm. There has been no explanation of the causes of the crash, and the investigation is expected to take 12-18 months, by which time the media circus will have moved on. The two deaths in the helicopter crash had nothing to do with what had unfolded on the ground, but the mainstream media included their deaths as if they were a direct result of the rally.

The Dodge Challenger

There are also many odd things about the car incident, some of which have been revealed by film footage from independent sources that emerged over subsequent days.(11) There is online footage of the Dodge Challenger a little further down the road from the intersection some seven minutes before the incident. In effect, from that spot the Dodge made a full circle to come down the street on which the Honda was parked.(12) There are articles and people online insisting that the Dodge was “powering”, “barrelling”, “thundering” down the narrow street towards the demonstrators at “top speed”, “at 80 mph”, “wheels squealing”, but again, one only has to watch the available video footage to see that this was not the case. The car seems to be going at no more than 30-40 mph. The man whose footage of the incident is most detailed, Brennan Gilmore, writes: “A group of anti-racist protesters, in a celebratory mood following what we hoped would be the expulsion of violent hate groups from our town, made their way up the street in the opposite direction, arms touching arms, carrying banners and chanting slogans. As I filmed them walk marching up the street, I suddenly heard the squeal of tires and an engine revving. Whipping around, I saw a car barrelling toward the crowd, their faces stricken in terror.” Notice the use of language here: in fact, any impartial observers can see from the footage of the rally in the morning that violence and hate were definitely on both sides; both sides can be described as “hate groups”; they both expressed abuse and hatred for each other, but those on the Left and in the mainstream media would have us believe that only those on the Right are “hateful”. One surely cannot carry a banner  saying “Love trumps hate!”, scream hate-filled abuse at one’s opponents – “Nazi scum – off our streets!!!” as one throws a water bottle at them or tries to pepper spray them  – and not be thought hypocritical. “arms touching arms” – how sweet and sentimental, but if one is linking arms and screaming abusive  slogans at the same time? As for “the squeal of tires and an engine revving”, there were no squealing tyres or any revving before any ‘tearing down’ the street. Gilmore’s camera followed the car as it went down one block towards the people and then the camera cut out and went into chaotic mode, filming the ground. He did not film the car hitting the people and he did not even film the car reversing towards him. He was too far away to see whether their faces were “stricken with terror” and did not film them in any case before the car hit. The next footage from him that we see is the car passing him backwards and out of sight up the second block. Gilmore does not go into the street and film the retreating car going up the street; instead, the camera just wanders around the street  – a curious waste of footage. Other footage, taken by independent reporter Ford Fischer minutes before the incident, shows a golf caddy, a hospital patient’s trolley and a police armoured car all situated fairly close to each other one block from the incident. They all subsequently appeared on the scene of the incident a few minutes later.(13)

The path between two poles

The events in Charlottesville were symptomatic of a number of developments that have been growing and are ongoing, not just in the USA but across the western world: ‘identity politics’ with its fixation on the physical body (race, gender, sexual orientation), intolerance and disrespect of others, and the lack of interest in the truth, or prejudging issues without sufficient knowledge. Battles between extremist groups that claim on the one hand to stand for ‘universalism’, ‘equal rights’, ‘gender equality’, ‘unlimited immigration’, and ‘no borders’, and on the other hand, for an ‘ethno-state’, ‘anti-mass migration’ and ‘secure borders’ – differentiations that are often crudely subsumed under the opposite poles of ‘globalism’ versus ‘nationalism’, are actually, from a spiritual scientific perspective, manifestations of two spiritual counterforces which, when they run to extremes, are harmful to healthy human development. These manifest as extreme sympathy and extreme antipathy, that is, a desire for excess unity versus one for excess differentiation: too great a focus on union and merger so that all differences are blurred, contrasted with too great a focus on particularism and separation so that a sense of human commonality is lost. To put it less abstractly, the first cannot see the individual trees (particular groups) for the wood or forest (mankind as a whole); the second cannot see the wood (mankind as a whole) for the trees (particular groups). It seems to this writer that those young people whose karma predisposes them more strongly to recall, however unconsciously, their experience in the spiritual world before their incarnation onto the earthly plane, incline towards the political Left. They have, as it were, not yet sufficiently grounded themselves or yet identified with the reality of the physical plane. Some of them might at some point even become mystics and actually deny the reality of the physical plane for part or all of their lives. While the Left tends to be anti-religious and anti-spiritual, there is often nevertheless a kind of religious, even messianic mood among young left-wing idealists. It can be sensed, for example, in their various, endlessly repeated chants in which they lose their individuality in a collective chant of affirmation or negation, some in their all black Antifa outfits looking like anonymous political monks.  On the other hand, those young people who incline to the political Right are those whose karma may have led them to adjust more quickly to the intrinsically separative nature of the physical plane and to identify with particular aspects of that plane – race, nation, gender, culture. These people are often more materialistically inclined, though some of them too can exalt their particularist affiliation with idealism – the willingness to sacrifice themselves for their people, their nation etc.

We saw in the 20th century the appalling excesses to which extreme nationalism can lead but there is a reason why we tend to forget the fact that far more people were killed in that century by those who subscribed to the false ‘cosmopolitan’ ideology of Communism than were killed by nationalism. Islamism is another such cosmopolitan ideology which is ruled by an abstract ideology that ignores the realities of the material plane and seeks to sacrifice them to a mental dogma. Ours is indeed a more cosmopolitan international age than the 19th century but we should beware of trying to move too fast towards a supranational, egalitarian sameness, forcing people to mix and merge before they are ready to, before their own individual consciousness has opened their minds to the reality that we are indeed all members of the one human family. We cannot speak of valuing ‘diversity’ and then seek to enforce a compulsive abolition of nations, races, tribes and states. The reason why we tend to forget the awkward fact referred to above is that the media today incline much more towards the Left pole than to the Right. Socialism and communism are criticised less by those in the liberal media in capitalist societies today (the more ‘global’ the market, the greater the profits) but nationalism is pilloried.

Obviously, the healthy path is to be found between these two poles without being drawn too intensely or for too long by either of them. As human beings, we are spiritual beings in the material world. To make the most of this human condition, we need both unity and differentiation, sympathy and antipathy, we need to understand and value both the universal and the particular and their interrelationships. We need to appreciate the polarity of Left and Right but also that they are equally unbalanced and one-sided. We can appreciate the function of this polarity not just in politics but in social life as a whole – the radicals and the conservatives: those who wish to change too fast in order to make everything the same (while claiming to believe in ‘diversity’), and those who wish to change too little in order to keep everything separate (while claiming they also believe in ‘modernity’). The middle way is surely the one we need to take throughout life, hearing one type of voice whisper into our left ear and another very different voice whisper into our right, as Christ heard the two voices of Caiaphas and of Pilate. Hearing both these two voices, listening and understanding them, sometimes inclining to one, sometimes to the other, we walk on, cleaving to neither, on the way, seeking truth in our lives.

1 The ‘Alt-Right’ (Alternative Right), a term supposedly invented in 2010 by Richard Spencer, a right-wing political activist, leader of the right-wing think tank ‘National Policy Institute’ (founded 2005), refers to all those who consider the white race under threat in the USA and Europe and who seek to reverse tendencies towards multiculturalism in recent decades in order to create white ‘ethno-states’. Consisting largely of young men in their 20s and 30s of the Internet generation, they do not hark back to the National Socialism of the 1930s like older Far Right groups in the USA, but regard themselves as a new wave, nationalist or racial political force that seeks to defend ‘white civilisation and culture’.
2 Prominent members of the Frankfurt School were: Max Horkheimer, Theodor W. Adorno, Erich Fromm,  Herbert Marcuse, Friedrich Pollock, Walter Benjamin, and Jürgen Habermas.
3 SA – Sturmabteilung (Storm Detachment  – ‘Brownshirts’) Nazi Party streetfighting units; SS  – Schutzstaffel (Protection Squadron) a Nazi personal security unit for Hitler.
4 Antifa – an abbreviation of Antifaschistische Aktion was originally a street-fighting political group, founded in 1932, affiliated to the German Communist Party. It gained a new lease of life in the 1980s with the West German squatter movement, when it began to develop its anonymous ‘black bloc’ tactics used in demonstrations. From Germany, it spread abroad, and to the USA by the early 1990s. In the USA it focuses on fighting fascism and racism “by any means necessary” (often abbreviated to BAMN).
9   In the USA terrorism is defined in Title 22 (Foreign Relations and Intercourse) Chapter 38 §2656f of the U.S. Code of Laws  as “premeditated, politically motivated violence perpetrated against non-combatant targets by subnational groups or clandestine agents.”
10 As long ago as the 1970s, the historian Anthony C. Sutton, in his books Wall Street and the Bolshevik Revolution (1974) and Wall St and the Rise of Hitler (1976) detailed how companies such as J.P. Morgan financed extremists on both sides of the political spectrum to achieve their ends.
11 Of the three cars involved, the stationary Honda was filmed parked at the intersection a full five minutes before the incident, with no driver in the driver’s seat yet a couple of minutes before the incident, a large, black-haired woman was filmed in the driver’s seat with a large tattoo on her arm. She later got out of the Honda and was filming the crowd on her phone when the Dodge Challenger hit. She ended up clinging to the bonnet of the Honda. There were at least two people in the back of the Honda. Since the incident none of these people have been traced by the police or the media nor have they come forward. The same is true of whoever was in the white car that was rammed by the Dodge into the back of the Honda. The Dodge itself was registered in Ohio and had the number plate GVF 1111. Within hours of the incident, a film crew was interviewing Samantha Bloom, Fields’ mother, who is wheelchair-bound, at her home in Ohio and very oddly, in the garage right next to her car, which happens to have the registration plate GVF1122. A remarkable similarity of numbers! There is a video online of a police patrol car pulling Fields over for a traffic offence in May 2017.13 He is driving the same grey Dodge Challenger (GVF 1111); the footage is from the patrolman’s dashboard camera and Fields can clearly be heard speaking to the officer. This footage must have been leaked by someone within the police.
13 See n. 12.