I am going to make an unpopular point on something we think we understand. I spent Saturday (8/4/18) glued to the livestreams of protests and counter protests in Portland Oregon. The protesters are Trump supporters, and the counter protesters are... not. I then attended the rally in Berkeley. Like last year this rally was labeled the, "Say No to Marxism Rally". Again the protesters were Trump supporters, and the counter protesters were, not. What seems clear just from the sample size I viewed of these faction is, these two factions of our society really, I mean really do not like each other. One side receives clear protection from the police, and the other side does not. In both instances in Portland and Berkeley the Trump supporting, and police protected side has been much smaller than the counter protesters. It seems that in terms of the folx who came out to protest on the west coast Trump supporters are highly outnumbered (no surprise).
If you were to try to get a general consensus from each group, one side would call the other side a bunch of commies, and that side would call the first group a bunch of white supremacists fascists, and or racists. Neither consensus is wholly accurate. The unpopular opinion I want to debunk is the fact that the Trump supporters are not necessarily white supremacists or racists. Of course there are white supremacists and racists among the Trump supporting protesters, but also among this group are people of color (POC). I am not arguing that people of color cannot advocate white supremacy. Nor am I arguing that the Trump supporting protesters are intolerant of people of color. This group is tolerant of people of color so long as cultural normative practices and beliefs align. In making sure that the cultural beliefs align this group which includes POC have a strong tendency towards xenophobia. Evidence can be found in too many of Trump's endless non-stop bullshit campaign tours. The tendency towards ensuring a homogeneous cultural normativity is combined with xenophobia and a healthy dose of jingoism. The characterization of the belligerent acceptance and parroting of a burgeoning nationalistic foreign policy is readily apparent. I am not saying these groups are not white supremacists. This group is doing its best to be inclusive enough to shuck the title of being white supremacists. Calling these people racists or white supremacists just leads into a rhetorical k-hole where these people try to show how humanistic they are in terms of racial inclusivity.
These changes in tendency or at the very least the changes in public optics and or messaging is a concerted effort to be out in the open about the pro-jingoist, pro-xenophobic rallying cry of the alt-right 2.0. The messaging used by the protesters appears not too be racist on the surface. This new messaging allows for the appearance of a multiracial inclusivity, while also pouring on the xenophobia and jingoism. This is the southern strategy version 10.0. This latest rendition of the alt-right has changed from a year ago. Their message has been normalized. These aren't your older brother's racists. Why does this strategy work? Well after years of messaging these folxs no matter their racial heritage can agree that multiculturalism is bad. Beyond the agreement that multiculturalism is bad we dig deeper into a layer of red-scare tactics. It's as easy as simplifying every model of every economy to simply being capitalistic or communistic. This red-baiting serves as a clever rhetorical tool. This tool allows for the dismissal of anything that appears to be
prima facie liberal. Within this rhetorical tool is the outright dismissal of the notion that there is a vast difference between leftists and liberals.
After years of misinformation decrying how evil liberals has culminated in absurd conspiracy theories, anyone unable to cross reference information, who falls for the easily digested sound bytes of patriotism will be readily welcomed into the fold of these right wing, pro-Trump groups, so long as their cultural normative views align. A nuanced, and highly contentious culturally normative trait that these groups share is privilege. This privilege is shared. This privilege aligns on income and wealth, and most importantly the love affair of the mythic entrepreneurial spirit. Now if we all could just be entrepreneurs capitalism would be saved and all the commies would die on the vine... (Sarcasm). It's important to mention the demographics of this current iteration of the Trump base because they are not the same group we saw during the summer of 2017 or in Charlottesville Virginia during the deadly unite the right rally. Heather Heyer we still weep for thee.
"Please halp me my free speech is under attack" say these pro-Trump spongers. The government is not attacking their free speech, and neither are the counter protesters. Disagreeing, even if it is done loudly does not equal a subversion of someone's first amendment rights. If you paid attention to this week's actions in Portland and Berkeley the exact opposite is actually true. In both Portland and Berkeley the Police were creating safe spaces for these groups. Shielded from most of their opposition, the protesters had all day to sell their bourgeois notions of liberty and freedom to make someone else rich. In Berkeley the police used a series of roadblocks and several squads of cops dressed in riot gear to maze out counter protesters from reaching the site of the protest at MLK Park. If you're one of the three people who will read this, I assume you are asking yourself "the Trump supporters needed safe places?" Yes these privileged Trump supporters needed a safe place.
My write-up here is an act of futility. The persons I am attempting to critique are highly individualistic and contrary to what some leftists think, they do not operate within some kind of hive mind. The only thing I am trying to describe is that some individuals of the alt-right 2.0 are attempting to move away from the racist stereotype they were once branded with. On August eleventh 2018 president Trump tweeted "The riots in Charlottesville a year ago resulted in senseless death and division. We must come together as a nation. I condemn all types of racism and acts of violence. Peace to ALL Americans!".
Does a re-branding without a lot of work to understand why a person is racist mean, they are no longer racist or xenophobic? Of course it doesn't. However here we are witnessing this shift away from past racist rhetoric. How this plays out in the coming months, we'll just have to wait and see.
For a much better write-up click the following link.