It’s been one year since a parade of tiki torch-wielding, polo-shirted Brock Turner lookalikes weaseled through the University of Virginia’s campus chanting, “Jews will not replace us!” A year since James Fields, Jr. rammed his Dodge Challenger into a crowd and murdered Heather Heyer. Unlike the actual genocide for which their swastikas stand, the anniversary of the Unite the Right rally is something these neo-Nazis will never forget, and so, like a field trip from a middle school in hell, they are piling into Washington, D.C., for “Unite the Right 2.”
But, to borrow a term of art from the president, there are “Very fine people” on the other side of this Make America Germany In 1940 brigade, preparing for the arrival of however many white supremacists show up. The Unite the Right organizers are surely hoping for another Charlottesville.
“If something happens to the Nazis, it’ll be purely the result of their own aggression.”
If that’s how this weekend goes – if it becomes another entry in D.C.’s fine tradition of humiliating white supremacists – it will be due in part to the efforts of counter-protestors in Washington. Efforts have likely ramped up in the month since Charlottesville officially denied Unite the Right 2 organizer Jason Kessler’s a permit to return to their city, forcing him to focus all his attention on D.C.
Thursday night, about a dozen activists from ANSWER Coalition, met at a home in Washington’s Shaw neighborhood to make signs and prepare for protests this weekend.
Walter Smolarek, 25, an organizer with the Answer Coalition, was in Philadelphia during last year’s march in Charlottesville. In the kitchen, as some activists carefully removed Palestine-related signs from sticks and stapled on freshly-painted anti-racist ones, Smolarek said his group had “Secured a permit for Lafayatte Park,” where Unite the Right 2 is slated to assemble.