White Lives Matter Rallies Fail Miserably Across the Country

AP Photo via Steve Helber

In attempting to make “the whole world tremble,” as told by NBC News, the White Lives Matter rally efforts planned for Sunday afternoon failed miserably. As the first major real-world organized efforts planned by white supremacists since 2018, the events had one problem: hardly anyone actually showed up.

Neo-Nazis and other far-right extremist groups planned rallies in dozens of major cities on Sunday to promote their racist ideologies to larger audiences but struggled in using semi-private, encrypted chats. Using the encrypted app Telegram, these groups that allegedly also took part in the US Capitol riots on January 6, attempted to gather in places such as Raleigh, North Carolina, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Albuquerque, New Mexico, Fort Worth, Texas, New York City, New York, Charlottesville, Virginia, and Huntington Beach, California. They were also met with counter-protesters made up of anti-racist and anti-fascist groups.

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Crowd Grows in Huntington Beach Before Competing Rallies

But as counter-demonstrators were ready to stand in the name of Black Lives Matter, they were seemingly very unopposed. In New York City, only one person arrived at the Trump Tower and only three protesters assembled around a White Lives Matter banner in Fort Worth. Apparently, those who organized the White Lives Matter rally in North Carolina were unaware of the state law governing protests, including laws that banned firearms. Other organizers were also unable to use Telegram properly, allowing trolls to interfere with their communication. Activists were also able to disrupt other White Lives Matter rallies in several cities, leaking internal chats to journalists and using the Telegram channels as traps to expose those who supported the movement.

The fliers for the event detailed “taking a stand” against the media, government, and other institutions that are reportedly “anti-white,” with recycled images from disbanded neo-Nazi organization Vanguard America. And according to the Anti-Defamation League, the slogan “White Lives Matter” has also been promoted and used by white supremacist group Ku Klux Klan (KKK) as, “a racist response to the Black Lives Matter movement.”

Although police officers and law enforcement were initially prepared for large crowds to file in to support the White Lives Matter movement, they actually ended up having to protect the sole protestors that showed up from the large crowd of counter-protesters. Hundreds in an unruly crowd had gathered at Huntington Beach Pier in Southern California running off the few single protestors supporting white supremacist groups, yelling, “Nazis go home!”

“White Lives Matter” Rally in Huntington Beach, California

The lack of organization proves how these extremist groups have continued to be driven underground by those who have infiltrated their private online channels, interrupting their communication attempts to organize. Brian Levin, director of the Center for the Study of Hate & Extremism at California State University, San Bernardino, said, “Not only have organized larger groups splintered but so, too, did their social media footprint. Some extremists continued a whack-a-mole migration underground to encrypted, affinity-based platforms, while others exited these movements altogether.”

Nevertheless, the lack of cohesive leadership does not lessen the threat. Levin explained that the risk can be found in, “loners and cells, who act on their own combination of hatreds and idiosyncrasies often cobbled together from a constant all-you-can-eat buffet of stereotyping and conspiracies that still populate online discourse.”

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