Were There Really any “Very Fine People” Marching with Nazis in Charlottesville?

 

We’ve seen a surprising number of regular conservatives, even people we consider friends, defend President Trump’s statement placing blame for the violence in Charlottesville “on both sides.” The part they seem to agree with him most about is that not everyone marching on the Nazi side of the event was necessarily a bad person. Some, they say, might have just been there to protest the removal of the statue or stand up for history or something. Honestly, we have a hard time following the argument.

But the basic underlying claim–that there were “very fine people” marching with Nazis that weekend–seems easy enough to check. After all, this was not a spontaneous public demonstration. It was organized over a period of months by specific groups with names, identities, and agendas. (Remember, as Trump bizarrely pointed out, they even had permits!)

The people who attended the rally, therefore, were invited there by at least one of these groups and likely identify with at least one of the group’s stated agendas.

So who were these groups? What do they believe? Is it possible some of them included some “very fine people?”

The event in Charlottesville represented a patchwork of different alt-right, white nationalist, and white supremacist groups. It was a rare showing of unity for such a collection of malignant contrarians. In fact, the real point of the whole event was to show a unified front between disparate movements that have historically existed only on the fringes. That’s why it was called the “Unite the Right” rally and not the “Save our Statues” rally.

We scoured the internet in an attempt to identify each and every group that attended this event. We’ll tell you what we know about each one. Then we’ll ask whether members of each group could possibly be considered “very fine people?”

Brace yourselves. Here we go.

 


 

White Nationalist Groups

Most of the groups who organized the Charlottesville march are white nationalists, meaning they want to form a nation exclusively for white people. They might differ on the methods they’re willing to use to achieve this goal, or which religious philosophies inspire them to it, but at the end of the day, a white nation is really what they want. They’re all pretty up front about that.

Here are all of the white nationalist groups we’re aware of that attended the rally in Charlottesville:

The Daily Stormer

Who are they?

The Daily Stormer is an American neo-Nazi and white supremacist news and commentary website. Their headlines include: “All Intelligent People in History Disliked Jews” and “Adolf Hitler: The Most Lied About Man of All Time.” Most recently, their editor posted a column calling Heather Heyer, the victim of the Charlotesville attacks, a ” fat, Childless 32-Year-Old Slut” and praising her killer as “a straight player.” This got them kicked off of GoDaddy.com’s hosting services, proving for the first time that it is possible too big of a douchebag for GoDaddy.

 

Any “very fine people” here?

Let’s be clear: this website and the people who write for it could not possibly be any more racist. They’re the Michael Jordan of racist websites.

But there is another possibly less racist group of people associated with The Daily Stormer: sad virgins.  Despite espousing Nazi ideas straight out of the 1930’s, The Daily Stormer has gained more prominence recently in dark little messed up corners of the internet where people incapable of love hang out. Like 4Chan. A lot of the “Pepe” and “Kek” memes you saw during the campaign sprung out of this bizarre marriage. This is the so-called “troll army” that credits itself for Trump’s victory.

Having met some of these sad trolls in real life, we think it’s possible that they see The Daily Stormer and its memes as some sort of useful joke–a way to rile up the “PC police” and aggravate “SJWs.” Is it possible that some of these people aren’t really white supremacists, but just maladjusted millennials who don’t have friends?

Perhaps. But as this kid found out, if you spend all your time hanging out in forums that celebrate Nazis and post anti-Jewish memes, and then you decide to purchase a plane ticket and travel to a rally put on by this website that you claim is “just a joke,” well it’s not really much of a joke anymore, is it?

When you see the torch-carrying reality of what you’ve joined into, you should turn around and leave. If you don’t do that, you’re no longer a pretend Nazi just for the lulz. You’re just a Nazi.

Conclusion: Nope, no very fine people here.

 

The Right Stuff

Who are they?

The Right Stuff is a white nationalist blog best known for popularizing the use of “echoes”, an antisemitic marker which uses triple parentheses around names to identify Jews on social media. Mike Enoch, the blog’s founder, says its core tenet is “ethno-nationalism,” or the belief that America is primarily for white people and should be cleansed of other races.

The Right Stuff community is so racist that it actually turned against its founder when it learned he was married to a Jewish woman (proving once again that most racists are self-loathing hypocrites). The two have since separated.

Any “Very Fine People” here?

With much the same analysis we engaged in above, nope.

 

The National Policy Institute

Who are they?

Don’t let the not-overtly-racist-sounding name sneak up on you. This is the group founded by Richard Spencer, who you probably remember from this video where he gets a room full of white people to sieg-heil Donald Trump as he calls for other races to be removed from the country:

Yep, this is another racist group that thinks America is just for white people. The group has publicly called for a “peaceful ethnic cleansing.” Because the word “peaceful” makes it ok!

Any “Very Fine People” here?

Nope. We’re going to go out on a limb and say ethnic cleansings are unequivocally wrong, peaceful or not.

 

The League of the South

Who are they?

This is a group of neo-Confederates. They’re people who wish the South had won the Civil War. They want the South to secede again and form a “natural societal order of superiors and subordinates”, using as an example, “Christ is the head of His Church; husbands are the heads of their families; parents are placed over their children; employers rank above their employees; the teacher is superior to his students, etc.”

So basically they’re the bad guys in The Handmaid’s Tale. See you in Gilead, League of the South!

Any “Very Fine People” here?

Let’s ask her:

Handmaids tale - Were There Really any "Very Fine People" Marching with Nazis in Charlottesville?


Traditionalist Youth Network / Traditionalist Worker Party

Who are they?

More folks who fancy themselves as the hip new millenial version of the Third Reich. Their leaders, Matthew Heimach and Matt Parrott (so many racist Matts!), are self-described ethnonationalists who want to create a white ethnostate, devoid of other minorities.

You might also remember Heimach from that time he assaulted a female protester at a Trump rally after Trump shouted “get em outta here!”

In 2016, Heimach’s group joined in a “Unity Meeting” with several other racist groups, including believers in the Phineas Priesthood, which advocates for the murder of any couples who engage in “race-mixing.” The meeting concluded with “a ceremonial lighting of a Swastika,” in case you still had any doubt that these guys are straight racist.

Any “Very Fine People” here?

Matt Parrott called his first white supremacist group “Hoosier Nation,” so we guess it’s possible that one or two Indiana basketball fans just joined by mistake…

Vanguard America 

Who are they?

Vanguard America is another white nationalist group whose ultimate goal is to create a white ethnostate (are you sensing a pattern here?). If their name sounds familiar this week, it’s because James Alex Fields, the Nazi who ran his douchebag novelty car into a group of peaceful protesters and killed Heather Heyer, is a member of Vanguard.

They claim he’s not, but look, here he is standing with them right here:

Stupid cell phone cameras.

Any “Very Fine People” here?

In July 2017, VA tweeted, “Those behind the subversive elements eroding our culture often have something in common. Jewish influence is prevalent, invasive, dangerous.”

Huh, a Jewish conspiracy. I wonder where they came up with that.

National Socialist Movement

Who are they?

This one is not too complicated. They’re neo-Nazis. The NY Times called them “the nation’s largest neo-Nazi party.” Jeff Hall, leader of the California branch of the party, has said “I want a white society. I believe in secession. I believe in giving my life for secession.”

Here he is in a Nazi uniform:

Jeff Hall - Were There Really any "Very Fine People" Marching with Nazis in Charlottesville?

Jeff Hall was murdered by his 10-year-old son in 2011. His son claimed he did it because Mr. Hall would not stop beating up his mother. A tragic case, but not for the loss of life.

Any “Very Fine People” here?

After Donald Trump was elected, the NSM changed its logo to an “Odal rune.” I’ll give you one guess what it was before that…

NSM - Were There Really any "Very Fine People" Marching with Nazis in Charlottesville?

Yep, a swastika!

The Ku Klux Klan

You know these guys! We don’t need to spend any time explaining how there are no good KKK members, so instead, we’ll just share this awesome scene from O Brother, Where Art Thou:

 

Learning John Goodman was an actual KKK member is pretty much the only thing that could make us stop loving him.

Fraternal Order of Alt-Knights

Who are they?

The FOAK, as they’re known by the horrible people who know them, are the self-described “military division” of the “Proud Boys.” The Proud Boys were formed by Gavin McInnes after he was fired from Vice Media for being too racist. McInnes has referred to Asians as “slopes” and “riceballs,” called Muslims “stupid, inbred and violent,” and defended the use of blackface and the n-word (natch).

It’s not all together clear what this group wants, other than to dress up like Nazis and fight in the streets, but that’s mainly what they do.

Their initiation process is pretty bizarre. To join, you first have to declare yourself “a Western Chauvinist who refuses to apologize for creating the modern world.” Then, you have to allow “five or more dudes to beat the shit out of you until you can name five breakfast cereals.” (How long could that take? Are breakfast cereal names a great mystery to these people?) Then you have to get a tattoo. Final rule: #NoWanks, which we think means you can’t masturbate.

It goes without saying that women are not allowed at their meetings.

Any “Very Fine People” here?

We’re not that sure what “refusing to apologize for creating the modern world” really entails, but it certainly sounds pretty racist. Honestly, this group seems more about having some kind of masculine outlet for the barely contained rage that can only come from always wondering what breakfast cereals are named and never masturbating. They might be more about violence than racism. But is that better?

We’re not sure what to make of all this, but we certainly wouldn’t call any of it “very fine.”

Identity Evropa

Who are they?

The organization’s founder, Nathan Domingo, is a former Marine who was convicted of armed robbery in 2007. He put a gun to the head of a cab driver he believed to be Iraqi and robbed him of $43. During his time in prison, he “finally started looking at the more intellectual roots and started researching books and literature on race and identity.” (Books and literature?! Couldn’t he just have stuck to Harry Potter or something?)

Domingo’s prison book-leanrnin’ tour led him to found Identity Evopra, which predictably espouses white supremacist and white separatist views. Apparently it did not cure him of his tendency toward violently assaulting people, though. Here he is punching a woman in the face and then running away:

 

I have never been more proud of the white race.

Domingo says his group’s goal is “to act as a fifth column, over time shifting the edifice of our political establishment” in favor of what he describes as “pro-white” interests. So yep, pretty racist.

Any “Very Fine People” here?

Nope, Identity Evopa is one of the worst things to come out of San Jose, and that’s saying something.

“Detroit Right Wings”

Who are they?

Is it redundant to say that you’re both a hockey fan and a white supremacist? Not to these guys!

Many were perplexed when amidst the swastikas and burning crosses in Charlottesville, there were also several flags bearing the logo for the Detroit Red Wings. Journalists traced it back to a group called the “Detroit Right Wings,” which calls itself a white nationalist movement. Their logo also appeared on a Twitter account for the Muskogee Militiamen, which bills itself as “alt-right and pro-white.”

Any “Very Fine People” here?

Hasn’t Detroit taken enough hits to its civic pride? This is a low blow.

Rise Above Movement / DIY Division

Who Are They?

The Rise Above Movement, formerly known as the DIY Division, is yet another neo-Nazi group out of California with a penchant for street-level violence. They have been a feature at “protests” throughout California, including in Berkeley. Here’s a picture of them, so you can get a sense for the kind of fun they have:

R.A.M. - Were There Really any "Very Fine People" Marching with Nazis in Charlottesville?

Any “Very Fine People” here?

If there’s one thing I’ve learned decades of reading Marvel comics, it’s that skull-face guys = bad racists.

True Cascadia

This is a group of white nationalists in the Pacific Northwest. They’re not quite prominent enough for me to readily identify any of their specific goals. But here are some of their recent Tweets:

Any “Very Fine People” here?

Wait, did these people really say all heroes must first be villains?

doesnt make any sense anchorman - Were There Really any "Very Fine People" Marching with Nazis in Charlottesville?

 

Armed Militia Groups

This is where we start getting into the frightening but still deeply stupid world of American armed militia groups. You might remember militias from the 1990s, when one of them blew up the Oklahoma City federal building, killing thousands of civilian workers in the largest domestic terrorism incident in United States history. These groups have had a resurgence since the election of Barack Obama in 2008 (I wonder why). They are generally less overtly racist than the white nationalist groups listed above, but also much more violent.

The Oath Keepers

Who are they?

The Oath Keepers are a far-right organization that is generally opposed to the federal government. They claim to count many current and former police officers, military officers, and first-responders in their ranks. They direct their membership to “uphold the constitution,” through armed revolt if necessary.

But “upholding the constitution” doesn’t mean the same thing to everybody. And the Oath Keepers’ view of “upholding the constitution” essentially boils down to staging armed confrontations with the federal government whenever possible.

In 2014, they sent their members to Ferguson to “protect” local businesses from anticipated rioting, which in practice meant a bunch of heavily armed white people stalking rooftops ready to shoot any black person they believed might be about to rob a store.

They were also there at the Bundy ranch revolt in Nevada and the Malheur Wildlife Refuge standoff in Oregon. Basically anytime you see a group of regular citizens in an armed showdown with the United States government, you can bet the Oath Keepers are either there or on their way.

In 2016, an article posted on the Oath Keepers website predicted a new Civil War if Hilary Clinton were to win, but it’s starting to feel like we might get one anyway.

Any “Very Fine People” here?

Let’s be diplomatic and accept that there might be some Oath Keepers out there who aren’t racist. Some may just honestly believe the federal government is taking the country too far from its constitutional principles. Nonetheless, advocating armed revolt against the United States government seems to go several bridges too far.

These people may not all be straight up evil, but they’re certainly not “very fine” either.

 

The 3 Percenters

Who are they?

The 3-Percenters are an offshoot branch of the Oath Keepers that is a bit more jazzed about armed revolt, especially in response to any threat to remove their vast array of firearms. Taking their name from the supposed “three percent” of Americans who joined in the armed revolution against the British government in 1776, Mike Vanderboegh described the concept this way in 2009:

“The Three Percent today are gun owners who will not disarm, will not compromise and will no longer back up at the passage of the next gun control act. Three Percenters say quite explicitly that we will not obey any further circumscription of our traditional liberties and will defend ourselves if attacked. We intend to maintain our God-given natural rights to liberty and property, and that means most especially the right to keep and bear arms. Thus, we are committed to the restoration of the Founders’ Republic, and are willing to fight, die and, if forced by any would-be oppressor, to kill in the defense of ourselves and the Constitution that we all took an oath to uphold against enemies foreign and domestic.”

Vanderboegh is also known for directly inciting violence among members of his group.

In 2010, he called for breaking the windows of Democratic Party offices, and a slew of such attacks followed. He called for armed resistance to Obamacare and has published personal information about the families of legislators who voted for gun control measures.6 At the 2015 Salem, Oregon rally against state gun control legislation, he threatened “civil war” (as he did at the Bundy Ranch) as a response to the new laws. He also called Oregon Governor Kate Brown and others in the state government “tyrants” and “domestic enemies of the Constitution,” before saying, “this country has long had a remedy for tyrants—a second amendment remedy. So be careful for what you wish for, Madam—you may get it.”

Any “Very Fine People” here?

When you’re not only willing but a bit excited to take up arms against your democratically elected government in defense of your own narrow view of the world, you’re no longer in the category of very fine people.

 

Statue Enthusiasts and History Buffs

 

Just kidding.  There weren’t any of these there.

 


 

Well, there you have it. That was our exhaustive (and exhausting!) list of all the groups we could find who organized or attended the Charlottesville rally. No doubt we missed some, but the point is clear. This was a collection of groups who believe in promoting a white identity and white ethnostate, at the cost of excluding other races from it. Or, in rare cases, people who believe in arming themselves for a coming revolt against the democratically elected government of the United States.

Regardless of which of these groups you’re talking about, it’s patently absurd to describe them as “very fine people.” There’s another three-word phrase that I think would work well to describe them. It’s something I heard a lot during the 2016 campaign… Oh yeah, here it is:

“Basket of Deplorables” 

 

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