On Aug. 12, a “Unite the Right” rally was held at the University of Virginia campus to protest the planned removal of a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee in Emancipation Park, formerly known as Lee Park.
Jason Kessler, an online blogger, organized the rally where prominent white nationalist Richard Spencer held a demonstration around that statue. Shortly after, James Fields drove a car into a crowd of counter-protesters, killing Heather Heyers.
The Alt-Right became the new, fringe political group by envisioning themselves as an alternative to traditional conservatism. Ultimately, they saw themselves as a movement that would get people elected and move legislation, generally doing broadly the things one expects from politics. This is the same group of people last weekend who, in Charlotesville, Va., chanted “blood and soil.”
It is a 19th century German Nationalist term that connotes a mythical bond between the blood of an ethnic group and the soil of their country. It was used by Nazi’s in the 30s and throughout World War II. The “Alt-Left”, according to Mark Pitcavage, an Analyst at the Anti-Defamation League, said the word was made up to equate this actual alt-right with the fabrication of a violent group centered around a leftist ideology.
The “alt-left” President Trump was referring to in his impromptu press conference about Charlottesville was most likely equated with Antifa or anti-fascists. This group has never identified themselves with any political ideology, which could be one of the reasons they engage in violent tactics against white supremacists and those that sympathize with fascist rule.
These are two distinct groups: an alternative ideology to mainstream conservatism that includes racism, homophobia, sexism and bigotry and an organized group of people who vehemently support human rights and fervently denounce white nationalism