After hundreds of far right activists marched on the University of Virginia campus in Charlottesville on 12 August US President, Donald Trump, condemned both sides. In other words he placed Nazi sympathisers who chanted antisemitic slogans on the same moral level as the anti-racist black and white youth who rallied against them.
The anti-fascists faced extreme violence from the far-right, including one murder, of Heather Heyer, mowed down by a racist who rammed a car into a group of protesters. Trump’s remarks were met with outrage, and even some Republican politicians openly protested.
Heather Hayer’s mother refused to talk to Trump and sixteen members of Trump’s Committee on Arts and the Humanities resigned. A new Washington Post poll suggests that only 28% of Americans approve of Trump’s handling of the Charlottesville crisis. 56% disapprove. That's good because the fact that the far-right is on the march in the US, and clearly feels enabled by Trump, is extremely alarming.
The far-right marchers were protesting at plans to remove a statue of the Confererate general Robert E Lee. Trump sided with those who oppose removing the statue, praising the “beautiful statues and monuments” of the South’s civil war leaders. On Saturday 19 August a right-wing rally in Boston was surrounded by anti-racists. Trump denounced the protesters as “anti-police agitators”.
One anti-racist, commented to a Guardian, “Well, [Trump] is not wrong. Our generation has been radicalized by police murdering people of colour. Cops shut down a massive section of Boston and protected about 25 right-wingers while 45,000 people joined counter-protests.
“I think for a lot of people it’s clear what side the police are on.”