If you had heard about a handful of so-called White Lives Matters rallies that had been planned for April 11 in cities around the country, you’ll be happy to know that they added up to one spectacular bust. Planned as the first major white supremacist rally since the 2018 Unite the Right 2 rally in Washington, D.C., (which also failed to come together) the White Lives Matter rallies saw extremely low turnout, with counterdemonstrators outnumbering far-right extremists in various cities across the United States, including Chicago, New York City, Orlando, Fort Worth, and Raleigh.In Huntington Beach, California, where Ku Klux Klan propaganda fliers were distributed to promote the racist rally, Black Lives Matter supporters vastly outnumbered the White Lives Matters rallygoers. According to reports , more than 500 people gathered in downtown Huntington Beach, where a series of skirmishes broke out between the opposing factions.
The rally ended prematurely after police declared an unlawful assembly in order to disperse the crowd.
Other cities saw almost no attendance from white supremacists and far-right extremists. In Albuquerque, New Mexico, a lone White Lives Matter marcher was encircled by police officers to separate him from a large crowd of counterprotesters. A similar incident took place in Fort Worth, Texas, where three protesters assembled around a “White Lives Matter” banner outside of City Hall while police officers formed a line to separate them from counterprotesters. In New York City, a single protester stood in front of Trump Towers while counterprotesters stood across the street.
Elsewhere, anti-fascist and anti-racist activists held their own gatherings. Anti-fascists held a “ Picnic Against Hate ” event at Philadelphia City Hall, where they distributed pizza and other snacks while awaiting White Lives Matter protesters who never showed up. One activist tweeted photos of the pizza party along with the caption, “This is what antifascism looks like.”
From QAnon adherents to full-blown white supremacists, far-right extremists appear to be uniting in their quest to undermine the Covid-19 vaccine.As the Biden administration has steadily improved the scale and efficiency of the vaccine rollout over the past few months, administering more than 2 million shots a day since early March with the intention of having 200 million vaccines completed by the end of April, extremist organizations have continued to push anti-vaccine propaganda aimed at undermining the government’s progress. According to The New York Times , “bashing of the safety and efficacy of vaccines is occurring in chatrooms frequented by all manner of right-wing groups including the Proud Boys; the Boogaloo movement, a loose affiliation known for wanting to spark a second Civil War; and various paramilitary organizations.”
The far-right narrative that vaccinations are tools of excessive government control has also spread through QAnon channels, many of which are using fearmongering, fake news, and disinformation campaigns to stop followers from taking the vaccine. The goal is obvious: If Sleepy Joe is shown to have stemmed the spread of the virus, people might start to like him and other Democrats. If depriving Biden of good press costs a few lives, what the hey? Then there’s this: If Biden manages to control the virus’ spread, what does that say about the pandemic-management skills of the former guy?
Free Speech, Kinda
Angered by being banned from various social media platforms for ceaselessly spreading conspiracy theories and disinformation about the 2020 presidential election , religious-right activist and MyPillow founder Mike Lindell decided to createhis own social media platform , which he promised would be a bastion of free speech. Well, almost. As Lindell explained to hard-right radio broadcaster Eric Metaxas, “People asked me, ‘You’re going to let everything go? Porn? Swearing? Everything?’ And I said, ‘Absolutely not.’ We have a thing we found in the Constitution and our founding fathers that defines what free speech is.”
Actually, there is no such “thing” in the Constitution; it simply guarantees a right to freedom of speech , without defining what that means.
“And Eric, get this, this Judeo-Christian platform we’re going to have here, they go by biblical principles—you know, you get to the Supreme Court, you have the 10 Commandments there—so, in other words, you’re not going to have porn up there, you’re not going to have these sites that contain material that go against our Constitution, go against what our founding fathers put in there.”
“Wow,” Metaxas responded. “That’s really puritanical. I like it.”In naming his new platform Frank Speech, we sense a lost marketing opportunity for the MyPillow guy. Pillow Talk, anyone?
OK, perhaps not puritanical enough.