In the eyes of most Americans, the incidents of August 11th and 12th in Charlottesville, Virginia were an anomalous part of recent American history. They believe that White supremacists descended upon an historic Southern city, bringing hatred, havoc, and death. Most have likely given it little thought over the past four and a half years. However, those of us with more than a passing knowledge about Unite the Right know that the mainstream "common knowledge" about the event is far from the truth, and we know that its true significance amounts to far more than a distant blip on the news about an ill-fated summer weekend in Virginia.
The truth of the matter, supported by voluminous documentation and eyewitness testimony, is a tale of government treachery and anarcho-tyranny. The attendees of legally permitted rally were intentionally surrounded by a hostile, armed mob of their enemies and left to literally fight for their lives while local, state, and federal "law enforcement" authorities stood idle. After the event went awry, attendees were maligned with propaganda emanating from across the nation - including supposedly right-wing-friendly news outlets and public figures - who attributed intentions to them without regard for accuracy, and portrayed them as the perpetrators of the mayhem. Just as they were being subjected to a coast-to-coast chorus of vile accusations, an unprecedented wave of censorship drove rally organizers and attendees from virtually every public platform where they might refute those accusations.
The "insurrection" that took place at the Stop the Steal rally in Washington, DC, on January 6, 2021, has evoked comparisons to Unite the Right. Though the rally contesting the 2020 election results was different in many ways from the Charlottesville one protesting the removal of a Robert E. Lee statue, there are still important similarities; in fact, one might even say that the "J6" events were a repeat of the same template, writ large. In Charlottesville, law enforcement inaction (or possibly malfeasance) created the pretense of a dangerous uprising, which was followed by successful vilification and persecution of the Alt-Right in 2017. The same thing happened to supporters of President Trump in 2021, when elites seized upon the “insurrection” as an opportunity to declare mainstream right-wingers to be White supremacists and terrorists.
Similar to Charlottesville, the criminal courts have been used as a tool for punishing J6 political dissidents. In each case, attendees accused of crimes faced repercussions far beyond what would be typical based on their deeds alone. Numerous reports have emerged of J6 defendants being denied due process, mistreated, or even subjected to torture. Were we to hear of such treatment of political dissidents taking place in another part of the world, we would not hesitate to condemn it as a violation of human rights.
Abuse of civil litigation was also weaponized against Charlottesville participants. During October and November of 2021, a long-awaited trial against a group of Unite the Right organizers and notable attendees took place. The Sines v Kessler suit was brought by a group of nationally renowned lawyers and funded by Hollywood, Silicon Valley, and regular citizens who donated to help an elite team of Washington and Wall Street-connected lawyers #SueANazi. The lawsuit is the sort that some have termed a "SLAPP," that is, a strategic lawsuit against public participation. While supposedly brought on behalf of "victims" of the rally, the lead attorney bragged that the aim was to create a deterrent effect against "White supremacists" organizing, and she pledged to "chase them around for the rest of their lives." The plaintiffs included some people who, while seriously injured in the car crash, dubiously attributed their injuries to rally planners and headliners in addition to the driver of the car that struck them. Other plaintiffs, most clearly left-wing activists, were physically unharmed but claimed to suffer residual trauma from their proximity to the rally.
The case concluded with a $25 million judgement against the rally organizers, which was touted in the headlines and by the plaintiffs’ attorneys as a decisive victory against "hate." In reality, it was a mixed result. About half of the award amount was against the driver in the fatal car crash, James Fields, a mentally ill indigent who has already been sentenced to hundreds of years in prison and who is unlikely to produce a penny of the money. The rest of the amount, which was divided among various people and organizations, is far less than the $10 million per plaintiff that was sought, and is likely to be reduced further post-trial. Interestingly, the compensatory damages awarded to plaintiffs were either $0 or $1, suggesting that the jury found the plaintiffs disingenuous and not much more likable than the defendants.
Though the Sines v Kessler lawsuit, four years in the making, cost the plaintiffs about $25 million (the same as the final judgement), the plaintiffs’ backers have the deep pockets to absorb the cost. By contrast, six or seven-figure judgements are enough to be crippling for the mostly working class and indigent defendants, and the process of the trial itself was financially and personally burdensome. The tactic of pursuing civil litigation to bankrupt ideological opponents of the regime is now being used against groups who participated in J6 as well.
So where do things stand now? Some Unite the Right participants have persevered in fighting for their causes, despite being besieged by financial and legal challenges. Some of the biggest names associated with Unite the Right have stepped into relative obscurity, either working in a more subdued manner on their activism or retired altogether. At least one has declared bankruptcy and another is on the lam. One Unite the Right headliner, podcast host Christopher Cantwell, was convicted subsequently for online threats made against a rival. Though his record is spotted with a series of relatively minor crimes, he is now being housed in a communications-restricted unit within the Federal prison system informally known as “Little Guantanamo” alongside “low-level terrorist” Muslim extremists. That this is the fate of a man mostly guilty of word crimes should concern everyone who cares about human rights, not just political dissidents. This is especially true in light of the fact that our ruling regime has determined that “white supremacist terrorism” is now the nation’s preeminent threat.
Most of the legal issues emanating from Unite the Right have been resolved, though a lawsuit by the main rally organizer against the city of Charlottesville for violating his First Amendment rights is still winding its way through the court system. It could conceivably end up before the Supreme Court, assuming the vestiges of the United States last longer than the trial process.
Over the past four years, the elitist-approved version of Unite the Right became cemented in the minds of most the American public. One may hope that the progression of the communist revolution will eventually lead to greater retrospection and a more accurate understanding of the events of Charlottesville, VA, in August of 2017: The truth that it was a harbinger for the fate of historic America.
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.