R.E.A.L. sends its sympathies and prayers for all of the victims of violence and hate in Charlottesville, Virginia on August 11 and 12. R.E.A.L. calls for the American public to reject the forces of hate and violence, and condemn the ideologies of Nazi and white supremacist extremism.
R.E.A.L. has challenged Nazi anti-human rights extremist movement, since our founding, and has widely reported on the extremist views of these groups, including repeated acts of terrorism by some Nazi terrorist groups. R.E.A.L. has reported on the “war of ideas” with Nazis, as well as white and racial supremacist groups for many years. As a result, R.E.A.L. has regularly been the target of Nazi hate and death threats. To be specific, R.E.A.L. and its leadership has been the target of threats by members of National Vanguard Nazi Party, Stormfront, and other Nazi and white nationalist organiations for over a decade.
The Nazi slogans, images, that we have seen from attendees at a recent white nationalist movement in Charlottesville, Virginia event and subsequent riots have become normalized for too long, when they need to be viewed as unacceptable.
As we saw on the night of August 11 and then again on August 12, 2017 in Charlottesville, Virginia, groups such as the Vanguard America (VA) white nationalists marched to the Nazi chant “Blood and Soil,” which was popularized by Adolf Hitler’s Nazi Germany “Blut und Boden.” In Adolf Hitler’s time, this was ideology was linked to German racial purity and control over “its borders,” while at the same time Nazi Germany sought to take over the borders of other nations.
In the case of the American group “Vanguard America (VA),” they seek to make the United States of America as an exclusively white nation. The Vanguard America movement seeks to create an America that “is to be a nation exclusively for the White American peoples who out of the barren hills, empty plains, and vast mountains forged the most powerful nation to ever have existed.” Vanguard America is a member of the multi-state “Nationalist Front (NF)” Neo-Nazi organization. It is one of many other Nazi groups in the U.S., including the “National Vanguard” (formerly “National Alliance”) that is headquartered in Charlottesville, Virginia.
The Vanguard America group is not unlike other Nazi “Vanguard” groups, which have threatened R.E.A.L. for many years. The “Vanguard America” group also promotes vile anti-Semitic remarks and hate ideologies including posters titled “Beware the International Jew.”
In the United States of America, we have seen too many Nazi-inspired terrorist attacks over the past decade, including Washington, DC, Overland Park, Kansas, Oak Creek, Wisconsin, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, Columbia, Tennessee, Lafayette, Louisiana, Bells, Tennessee, and links of the Charleston, South Carolina terrorist Dylann Roof to pro-Nazi ideology.
With the violence and the death of a counterprotester Heather Heyer, in Charlottesville, Virginia, it appears we now add it to this list of infamy. The police have charged James Alex Fields, Jr. of Ohio, who has been charged with held on suspicion of second-degree murder, and malicious wounding, and vehicular attack which led to one death and 19 injured. Photographs in Charlottesville linked Mr. Fields to the Vanguard America group. The Charlottesville police chief indicated that the vehicle attack was “pre-meditated.” The FBI is investigating what many consider to be a terrorist attack. James Fields is scheduled to be arraigned on August 14, 2017.
Mulitiple independent archive images and reports of James Fields’ social media had images of Adolf Hitler, and also repeated images of the fascist National Vanguard (Avanguardia Nazionale) flag used in Italy. The fascist National Vanguard (Avanguardia Nazionale) flag uses a Nordic Rune symbol “othala,” which stands for “ancestral inheritence.” R.E.A.L. notes that the Avanguardia Nazionale was reportedly a branch of the “New Order” (Ordine Nuovo); Ordine Nuovo was linked to several terrorist attacks in the 1960s and 1970s.
At the Charlottesville riots, a total of 34 were injured in violence and riots by Nazis, Anarchists, and other members of the public. Violence must continue to be rejected by all of those legitimately in support of our shared Universal Human Rights.
For years, R.E.A.L. has challenged the normalization of Nazi images and rhetoric, which many media found years ago to a source of mockery, including the Washingtonian and Vox. R.E.A.L. asked Benjamin Freed with the Washingtonian, if he planned to revisit the impact of such normalization of Nazi imagery, in the context of the tragedy at Charlottesville, and was told “no.” Others in human rights have told me that challenging the normalization of Nazi slogans and normalization of Nazi hate symbols were “not their fight.” They continue to fail to grasp that the ormalization of Nazi images and hate are wrong. Those who claim Nazi slogans and Nazi images are “not their fight” have been and continue to be WRONG. We work to support Human Rights for all people, of every race, every religion, every gender, every identity group.
But unlike some foreign media, who claim that the hate and violence we saw by Nazis and Anarchists in “Charlottesville is America everywhere,” R.E.A.L. knows this is not true. Such marginal anti-human rights extremists are a threat, but we must never forget that they are a fringe minority of the American public, who live peacefully in a diverse nation, who respect law and order, and who respect the human rights and Constitutional rights of their fellow Americans.
We challenge this threat by condemning and rejecting the normalization of Nazi, fascist, and anti-Human Rights views and ideology. As we have stated with other terrorist threats, the “front line” to fighting such threats begins with a “war of ideas,” not adopting our OWN extremist violence tactics in the street (which we have seen too often).
We challenge this threat by continuing to use peaceful means to reject such ideologies of hate, not encourage public violence, and not empower such hate-mongers.
But most importantly, we work to promote SHARED human rights, not replacing one extremist view with another, and not believing a different shade of authoritarian hate and violence will achieve progress.
Don’t be deceived by those who think Hate and Violence will stop Hate and Violence.
Be smarter than that.
Lead with your HEART, not your Hate.
R.E.A.L. is not, and will not, be AFRAID of white supremacists, fascists, and Nazis. We reject the view that we can promote human rights through our own version of hate and violence. We call for all people to release the hate in their hearts.
As you see violence fail, don’t forget to remember you saw real courage succeed.
We don’t need an upraised fist.
Choose Love, Not Hate, Love Wins.