In a recent Periscope video, white nationalist Jason Kessler said the quiet part loud by calling on followers to force the state to inflict violence on anti-fascists instead of doing it themselves. Kessler organized 2017’s deadly “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, and is one of many white supremacist figures currently being sued over the violence that took place.
In his October 13, 2019 video — which he posted a link to on his Twitter account — Kessler addressed the arrests of and lawsuits against white nationalists such as himself stemming from public protests. Citing protests in favor of workers’ rights in the 19th and 20th centuries, Kessler said that protesters should expect “forces trying to stop them from protesting.”
“Over time, folks found ways of dealing with that,” Kessler said.
“And it wasn’t just, you know, some thugs are gonna come and beat us up so we’re gonna become bigger thugs — more armed thugs — which is a simplistic way of looking at things, and I think is a problem that these dissident Right people are having with understanding how to combat these forces that are trying to keep them from protesting, from being able to have their voice in the public square.”
Instead, Kessler, suggested, white nationalists should rely on the state to commit violent acts against the anti-fascists who rally against them. Kessler said that white nationalists should not beg for their rights or “be planning to do the violence yourself.” Instead, he said, “you have to make the state do the violence” against anti-fascists.
“And I hate to put it that way because I’m not talking about, you know, some kind of Tiananmen Square, like you’re just gonna run over people you disagree with,” he continued. However, he approved of law enforcement arresting and “locking people up” or using billy clubs, mace, or stun guns on people. “But it should be the police doing that, and they have to do that to protect rights,” he said.
Kessler went on to say that anti-fascists have control over the media, and that this is reflected in the way events like “Unite the Right” are ultimately covered. He claimed that “when they want certain people arrested, like at Charlottesville the dissident Right people, they’ll have publications like ProPublica or whatever” report on their negative actions.
ProPublica’s coverage has led to the identification and arrest of white supremacists belonging to organizations such as Atomwaffen Division and the Rise Above Movement (“RAM”).
Kessler complained that the media doesn’t show the “normal, boring parts” of rallies like “Unite the Right,” which was quickly declared an unlawful assembly due to the numerous violent confrontations between white supremacists and anti-racist counterprotesters that day. Instead, he complained, they show the “most radical people” in attendance. (All of the “Unite the Right” speakers could have been fairly described as “radical.”)
He then accused anti-fascists of the very thing “Unite the Right” organizers and attendees have been credibly accused of: planning for violence and instigating confrontations at rallies. “They don’t show that the people they’re portraying as victims in these cases have mapped out and planned how they were going to incite the Nazis to violence,” he claimed.
Leaked chatlogs from Discord servers operated by “Unite the Right” organizers, on the other hand, reveal that they applauded the deadly violence in Charlottesville. In fact, violent confrontations had been anticipated, with attendees discussing what weapons and armor would be most appropriate to bring.
Jason Kessler is one of several named defendants in the landmark lawsuit Sines v. Kessler, which alleges that the rally organizers conspired to commit violence and sow terror in Charlottesville.