The debacle at the United States Capitol building last January 6th is still being analyzed and debated, but we can already see the shape the fallout is taking. Nancy Pelosi recently claimed that the rioters "chose their Whiteness over democracy." Arnold Schwarzenneger likened the event to a Nazi attack. A chorus of left-wing politicians, and some supposedly right-wing ones, are decrying the protests as being rooted in White Supremacy.
What is happening to the Stop the Steal rally attendees is exactly what happened to the Charlottesville Unite the Right attendees, writ large.
Attendees of the Charlottesville Unite the Right rally self-identified as many things - historical preservationists, Southern heritage supporters, Southern Nationalists, American nationalists. Some were members of groups that embraced European and White identity in a positive manner which promoted no malice towards others. Some were National Socialists and White Nationalists. Others, probably a small minority, could accurately be described as "supremacists." In keeping with the "Unite the Right" theme which meant to draw a broad swath of people to stand up for the right wing in general, about a thousand people were in attendance, representing a wide variety of groups with differing goals and beliefs.
All of them - ALL OF THEM - were relentlessly branded as "Nazis" and "White Supremacists" by the national news media.
ALL OF THEM were implicitly blamed for the events of the day, which has now been firmly cemented in the minds of the American public as a "deadly White Supremacist rally."
The most powerful voices in America, seeing an opportunity to further a narrative favorable to their goals, did not care to ask whether it was accurate to describe everyone there as a "Nazi" or "White Supremacist," and they did not care to ask about the degree of blame due to the authorities for the "deadly" part.
Most of the American public uncritically lapped up the preferred narrative of the elites, that Nazis and White Supremacists, emboldened by their leader Donald Trump, had laid siege to Charlottesville, Virginia, resulting in carnage. The few people who knew the truth of the matter, branded with the most foul possible stigma and hobbled by censorship, were powerless to refute the myth.
The villainized attendees suffered varying types and degrees of political and criminal persecution. Some who engaged in physical altercations were punitively overcharged for their actions, while serious misbehaviour on the part of leftist counter-protesters was minimized, ignored, or even celebrated. Civil cases which may be described as "lawfare" were filed against parties involved with organizing the event. Some attendees were doxxed and hounded by self-righteous mobs of activists into ostracism and unemployment - one man was even driven to suicide as a result of being so targeted. Organized groups that had been represented at Unite the Right were purged from social media and deplatformed from all kinds of online services. Indirectly, everyone associated with the political movement that Unite the Right represented was affected by censorship as the Big Tech overlords clamped down on their "dangerous" speech and ideas.
This is what people must understand: Everything that happened at Unite the Right in Charlottesville is happening again with Stop the Steal in DC. The kneecapping of the extreme right elements that gathered in Virginia was a dress rehearsal for what is happening to Heritage Americans as a whole now. Just as the "punch a Nazi" meme turned overnight from "It's okay to punch Richard Spencer" to "It's okay to punch anyone with a Trump hat," the condemnation of Charlottesville participants has morphed into condemnation of all American nationalists.
Other aspects of the Charlottesville reaction are being repeated. There are calls to charge people who are guilty of at most trespassing and vandalism with treason and sedition. There was a swift and severe deplatforming and censorship reaction that reached all the way up the highest office in the land. Donald Trump, while still holding the office of President of the United States, had his ability to address his tens of millions of supporters stripped away by the technology oligarchs at Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. A large rival company supported by dozens of popular, nationally-known conservatives attempted to provide an alternative platform, and was wiped completely off the internet by executives at Amazon. While half the country's communications is hampered, an alternative, false interpretation of the events is being hammered into the public by our elite class. Treason! Sedition! An attempted violent coup of our democracy inspired by conspiracy theories about election fraud, and egged on with incitement from the losing candidate. (A video in which Donald Trump clearly told his supporters to protest "peacefully and patriotically" is being scrubbed from the internet.)
Another similarity in the Charlottesville rally and the Capitol "siege" is the conspicuous absence of law enforcement. In Charlottesville, witnesses on both sides of the political spectrum reported, and an independent investigation confirmed, that an ineffectual and passive law enforcement presence was a major factor in the calamitous turn of events. It is shocking that our Capitol building could be easily breached by a disorganized group of mostly unarmed protesters, and it is puzzling that this egregious failure of law enforcement is almost completely unnoticed by those who are most enraged by the "siege."
Another aspect of the Charlottesville fallout is beginning to be repeated. Jason Kessler, the organizer of the Charlottesville rally, has for several years been reporting on the journo-activists who targeted attendees of Unite the Right - activists like Ford Fischer and AC Thompson who created the award-winning "Exposing Hate" documentary. For this work, they besieged Unite the Right attendees by, for example, ambushing them with camera crews at their place of employment. Their reporting omits mention of the threats and violent behavior of the left-wing participants, and uses deceptive editing and scary music to portray the rally participants as dangerous instigators of violence. Kessler explains, "These men essentially blood libel the participants of the protests by omitting crucial evidence that makes them look bad." They have begun work on a new project focused on the events of January 6th.
Unite the Right participants did not expect the events to go awry as they did. However, most of them at least realized that they were on the edge or outside of the Overton window and that expressing their beliefs would shock some people and draw strong criticism. Participants of Stop the Steal are, by contrast, lambs to the slaughter. Most of them are moderate, conservative Americans who are operating under the assumption that we still live in the country in which they grew up. Unite the Right attendees were disabused in 2017 of the idea that the freedom of speech and assembly are still protected. MAGA-Americans are for the most part unaware that we are experiencing a shift to a new regime - a regime in which expressing a belief in traditional American values may be considered domestic terrorism. They have no idea that they are potential targets for doxxing, violence, un-personing, and abusive prosecution which befell the Charlottesville attendees. As the nation becomes assimilated into the reality of the communist regime, they are about to learn a painful lesson.
This week, we learned a lot about who wields true power in the world.
On January 6, 2021, a crowd of mostly Trump-supporting protesters surged past security into the White House due to frustrations over unanswered claims of election fraud. This act is being described by some as an act of mostly peaceful civil disobedience coupled with antics akin to a fraternity prank, and by others as an attempted overthrow of the government based on "incitement" by President Donald Trump.
In response, with rationale about the public safety and prevention of violence, tech oligarchs like Jack Dorsey and Mark Zuckerberg did something that would have once been considered unimaginable. These unelected CEOs of private companies, in collusion with his political enemies, for all practical purposes completely silenced the sitting President of one of the most powerful countries on Earth. With the flip of a switch, in the midst of a contentious transfer of power, they cut the leader of the nation off from tens of millions of his supporters.
Quickly thereafter, in a series of moves which would have made George Orwell's head spin, the tech giants began purging the social media voices of the President's most prominent allies, including recently pardoned General Mike Flynn, a man who many American nationalists would have looked to as a trusted leader in the absence of President Trump. A flurry of purges followed of popular accounts of independent journalists and citizen Trump supporters, whose means of communication were shut down without warning or means of appeal in an act justified by vague claims about "misinformation" or "dangerous" content.
Many high-profile politicians, pundits, and citizen "influencers" began migrating to the social media platform "Parler," a Facebook alternative plugged by popular Fox News personalities like Dan Bongino and Sean Hannity. This fairly new social media platform features a clunky interface and less-than-ideal security protections for its users.
What happened next was shocking to millions of people - though not to those of us who had been closely following the battle to preserve free speech in the internet age. First, Parler's smart-phone app was banned from the Apple store for failure to comply with Apple's restrictions on "dangerous and objectionable" content. Next, enemies of the President and his supporters petitioned Parler's cloud-hosting company, Amazon, to remove Parler from its servers. Citing concerns about public safety, Amazon chose to cease hosting for Parler. Thus, the social media outlet preferred by the best-known voices of Conservatism, Inc, found itself quickly hobbled.
They should have listened to Andrew Torba. The Christian, 30-year-old father and self-described "American populist" from rural Pennsylvania, has fought this battle already - and survived.
In 2016, the shocking election of Donald Trump rocked the ruling class to their core. The election of Trump had been facilitated by an army of independent reporting outlets and citizen influencers loosely known as the "alt-right," who led a resistance to Team Hillary and Team Never Trump, plaguing them like a swarm of ants attacking an elephant. Determined to prevent an uprising of the rubes and other undesirables from being repeated, Big Tech began aggressively purging accounts of the newly emboldened "Nazis" of the alt-right. The "respectable" Republicans, not wishing to be associated with the unwashed and politically incorrect troublemakers on their side of the political spectrum, almost universally applauded this development.
For a while, the accounts of popular deplorables routinely re-emerged with slightly different user names, and were quickly removed again - a kind of technological game of whack-a-mole. It was tiresome and not viable as a long-term plan.
Andrew Torba had worked in Silicon Valley and was well aware of the hostility towards conservatives that dominated the Tech Industry. In response, he launched the social media site Gab in August of 2016. The start-up, a favorite haven for the "alt-right" influencers shunned by Big Social, was swiftly decried by country club conservatives for its hardline stance on free speech: All free speech, within the limits of United States law, is allowed. Because of his principled commitment to free speech and foresight about the battle ahead, Torba allowed his platform to be used by "alt-right" accounts who engaged in unseemly behaviour like refusing to observe the language and debate parameters preferred by the left, and openly discussing Those Who Must Not Be Named - White Americans - as a group that exists and has distinct interests. Though Gab is open to all, it is routinely described in the mainstream news as "far-right," with implications that it is a dangerous hotbed of extremism.
The things that happened to President Trump and Parler this week have all already happened to Andrew Torba. In a short video recently released to his followers, a bleary-eyed but chipper Torba, wearing a trucker hat embossed with "MAKE SPEECH FREE AGAIN" and standing in front of a wall with a cross visible in the background, explained how the challenges of the past have prepared Gab for this week.
"It's happening. It's finally happening. This is a moment that we have been preparing for, for four and a half years now. August of 2016 is when we started Gab. And in 2018, we were removed from everything. We were banned from the app stores, which we're seeing unfold again, which I predicted would happen...We have been building for the past two years our own infrastructure. We have our own servers. We built our own email services for internal use. We built our own app stores. We built our own web browser. We built our own social network. We built our own YouTube alternative which we just launched two weeks ago. They told us to build our own. And that's exactly what we did. And through the grace of God we survived the biggest no-platforming and censorship of a technology startup, of any business in the US, ever, in 2018. And we're still standing."
With Parler scrambling to stay online, Big Tech defectors are flocking to Gab. Torba reports that their traffic was up almost 800% yesterday, and that his team is working around the clock to install new servers to keep up with the demand.
In his video message, Torba shows optimism and encourages other Americans, citing his Christian faith as reason for hope.
"I wanted to make this message to give people hope, because in a time like this it can be really easy to set into despair, and to get depressed and to get anxious, and get worried. But I'm not worried, because I serve and worship the creator of the universe, Jesus Christ, who is king, and who is on the throne right now. God is in control, and patriots are in control. We're gonna save our country, folks. And Gab is gonna help do that by saving free speech on the internet."
By providing a haven for free speech outside of the reach of the oligarchy, Torba will become a target of the frothing, power-hungry Goliaths of the modern world. Pray for him.
The Carolina Contrarian, Anne Wilson Smith, is the author of Charlottesville Untold: Inside Unite the Right and Robert E. Lee: A History Book for Kids. She is the creator of Reckonin' and has contributed to the Abbeville Institute website and Vdare. She is a soft-spoken Southern belle by day, opinionated writer by night. She loves Jesus, her family, and her hometown. She enjoys floral dresses and acoustic guitar music. You may contact Carolina Contrarian at CarolinaContrarian@protonmail.com.