Tuesday, August 15, 2017

After Charlottesville, Twitter Makes Lists and Names Names: "It Was the Silence of Good People That Allowed the Nazis to Flourish the First Time Around"

Every single person who showed up at that torchlit rally on Friday night will forever be identifiable as a person who attended that rally. It's going to end up being important that they all showed their faces. They were all very well-lit. They were all very, very well-photographed. 
~ Rachel Maddow
One of the noteworthy developments following the Charlottesville Nazi + Klan white supremacist march is that the faces of the Nazis, Klansmen, and their fellow travelers proudly displayed during the events in Charlottesville — no one hid under those pesky bedsheets, don't you know — are now online. They've been shared around the world. People are working to identify those who showed their faces giving Nazi salutes, beating protesters, screaming, "F—k you, f—ts!," sporting Nazi insignia.

There they are for all the world to see, memorialized in the daylight now just like, well, the Confederate soldiers sitting atop marble pillars in communities throughout the old slaveholding states. As many commentators have pointed out, one reason these Nazis and Klansmen and fellow travelers dared to show their faces in this way is that they know full well they don't have to hide any longer, now that the man occupying the White House is their ally and defender.

But as Rachel Maddow points out in the video clip above, there's another side to this exposure. There they are, defiantly showing their faces in a torchlit rally or in broad daylight. And they're being identified, exposed. The bedsheets are, so to speak, being pulled off. As a Facebook friend of mine who lives near the border of Arkansas, Louisiana, and Texas wrote on my Facebook page yesterday,

Social Media and Donald Trump💣💥 have made it impossible for many of us to try to pretend we don't recognize the folks behind the bed linens...I chose not to avert my eyes or pretend I can't smell the residuals of kerosene (well, in this case I guess it's citronella) from their night-before torches. I'm. So. Done. *Straight white woman of privilege, but your ally, nonetheless.

Article after article and tweet after tweet are now coming out online, encouraging people to name the names of the Nazis and Klansmen and fellow travelers in the Charlottesville photographs, and explaining how you can help in this process. As a report in the Raleigh, North Carolina, News and Observer yesterday notes, one brave citizen journalist, Logan Smith of Raleigh, has been particularly courageous in seeking to expose those who attended the Charlottesville hate-and-white-supremacy rally. Logan Smith has used a Twitter account, @YesYoureRacist, to solicit information about people photographed at the demonstration, and to publish the information that comes to him. The Raleigh report states,

The Raleigh man behind the viral Twitter account @YesYoureRacist said on Monday that since publishing photos of torch-carrying white supremacist protesters Saturday in Charlottesville, he has received remarkable support – but also death threats. 
Logan Smith, who works as the communications director for Progress NC Action, says the account had about 65,000 followers Saturday morning. On Monday afternoon, it had topped 307,000 and was climbing. 
"I have been receiving death threats for the past 20 hours or so," Smith, 30, said in a phone interview. 'They have been threatening my family, too. The overall response of course has been 99 percent positive, but there's always that extremely small but extremely loud and extremely angry minority that bites back." . . . 
"Nobody likes to get death threats, but intimidation is how these people work," he said. "It’s how they've worked from the days of the KKK burning crosses in peoples' yards and in Nazi Germany. By giving in to their intimidation tactics, that’s how they win." 
"I’m not going away."

As Rachel Maddow notes, there have already been consequences for those who have been identified as attendees of the Nazi + Klan event. Cole White of Berkeley, California, lost his job after he was outed by Logan Smith as a Charlottesville rally participant.

University of Nevada at Reno student (and white supremacist) Peter Cvjetanovic drove to Virginia all the way from Nevada to march in the demonstration, and was quickly identified by people combing through photos of participants. He's now having to face shunning and censure from those who deplore everything this event stood for, and wants to maintain, à la Hazel Bryan Massery the morning after, that he's not the angry racist we see in rally photos.

But as Jeet Heer suggests, Cvjetanovic's face from the rally photos speaks for itself:

And isn't it odd, when we can plainly see the Identity Evropa logo on his white polo shirt in rally photos, that Cvjetanovic wants to deny he's a white-supremacist racist? Racist is what Identity Evropa is, for pete's sake! Identity Evropa is a a hate group founded (with influence of Ku Klux Klan Grand Wizard David Duke) with the explicit aim of promoting white supremacy and racism. Identity Evropa promotes racial segregation and excludes from membership anyone not of white European descent. It is explicitly racist and attacks Jews as non-whites, blaming them for every social ill imaginable.

Sure you're not racist, Mr. Cvjetanovic. And the moon is made of green cheese and the Atlantic Ocean tastes like the finest beer when quaffed in crystal steins.

An interesting footnote to the story of Peter Cvjetanovic: as Eric Brackett notes,

One of the more disturbing trends exposed on "Yes, You're Racist's" Twitter feed was the fact that a few of the people exposed had met with elected officials within the Republican Party.

One of the more sensational stories to emerge from this process of naming names of those who drove from far-flung places to display their hate with no bed linens covering them in Charlottesville is the story of Peter Tefft of Fargo, North Dakota. Whose own father has publicly repudiated him and told him that if he intends to shove folks into ovens, he might as well start with the members of his own family, who do not approve of his racial hatred and Nazi views.

 As TPM reports, in a letter to the North Dakota-Minnesota news site Inforum,Tefft's father writes,

"My name is Pearce Tefft, and I am writing to all, with regards to my youngest son, Peter Tefft, an avowed white nationalist who has been featured in a number of local new stories over the last several months," he wrote in a letter to North Dakota-Minnesota news site Inforum. 
Tefft's father said his son "did not learn" white nationalist rhetoric "at home" but attended the rally Saturday in Charlottesville, where he "was interviewed by a national news outlet while marching with reported white nationalists." 
"We have been silent up until now, but now we see that this was a mistake. It was the silence of good people that allowed the Nazis to flourish the first time around, and it is the silence of good people that is allowing them to flourish now," he wrote. "Peter Tefft, my son, is not welcome at our family gatherings any longer."
He said Tefft's "hateful opinions are bringing hateful rhetoric to his siblings, cousins, nieces and nephews as well as his parents." 
"He once joked, 'The thing about us fascists is, it's not that we don't believe in freedom of speech. You can say whatever you want. We'll just throw you in an oven,'" Pearce Tefft said. "Peter, you will have to shovel our bodies into the oven, too."

There has, of course, been criticism of what people like Logan Smith are doing to name names of those who attended the white-supremacist hate rally in Charlottesville. To those who claim that this is unfair doxxing, Dave Weigel responds as follows:

And the Christian gospels have a word for those who took off the bedsheets and marched proudly and defiantly in torchlight and daylight in Charlottesville, letting the world see their hate:

There is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that not will be made known. What you have spoken in the dark will be heard in the daylight, and what you have whispered in the inner rooms will be proclaimed from the housetops (Luke 12:2-3). 

No comments: