The deadly violence that enveloped Charlottesville, Virginia, last weekend when white nationalists rallied in support of preserving a statue of Robert E. Lee in a public park has not deterred the racist Alt-Right from planning similar rallies across the country in the coming months. Several events were planned for this weekend, but only one is moving ahead, what organizers are calling the “Second Boston Free Speech Rally.”
The “Free Speech Rally” organized by the “free speech absolutionists” at Boston Free Speech Coalition has been plagued by problems almost since its inception. Despite holding the first “Boston Free Speech Rally” in May, naïve organizers have stumbled around the permit process and struggled to stay on message—particularly difficult in the wake of the violence in Charlottesville.
On August 14, ADL wrote of the planned event:
Unlike Charlottesville, the Boston event, as currently planned, is not a white supremacist gathering. It has been organized under the auspices of the alt lite, which embraces civic nationalism, rather than the alt right, which advocates white nationalism…The alt lite, sometimes referred to as the New Right, is a loosely-connected movement whose adherents generally shun white supremacist thinking, but who are in step with the alt right in their hatred of feminists and immigrants, among others. Many within the alt lite sphere are virulently anti-Muslim; the group abhors everyone on “the left” and traffics in conspiracy theories.
However, as ADL also notes, the lines between the alt-lite and Alt-Right are blurry. In an August 15 Facebook post, the Boston Free Speech Coalition wrote:
While we maintain that every individual is entitled to their freedom of speech and defend that basic human right, we will not be offering our platform to racism or bigotry. We denounce the politics of supremacy and violence. We denounce the actions, activities, and tactics of the so-called Antifa movement. We denounce the normalization of political violence.
That position is in direct conflict with their slate of speakers, which has included known white supremacists and those who incite and engage in violence at protests.
The original line-up for this weekend’s rally included Charlottesville speaker Augustus Sol Invictus who was (perhaps mistakenly) disinvited “due to his willingness to support violence, as well as his Holocaust denial.” Another scheduled headlining speaker was Gavin McInnes, who started the Proud Boys network, an anti-feminist, Alt-Right group that prides itself in promoting what it calls “western chauvinism.” After Charlottesville, McInnes backed out of the Boston event and said he hoped it would be cancelled so it didn’t “look like we’re fighting for Nazis we don’t like.”
In early August, Augustus Sol Invictus spoke at “Make Men Great Again: A Celebration of Masculinity” alongside two individuals who are still listed as speakers for the Boston event: Kyle Chapman and Joe Biggs.
Kyle “Based Stickman” Chapman became an Alt-Right hero when he was filmed wearing homemade armor and breaking a wooden pole over an Antifa protester’s head in Berkeley. Chapman, a three-time felon who has spent years in prison, formed the “Fraternal Order of Alt-Knights” to serve as the “tactical defensive arm” of McInnes’ Proud Boys, saying of the new group, “We don’t fear the fight. We are the fight.”
Joe Biggs used to work at InfoWars, where he was a key pusher of the “Pizzagate” conspiracy that almost caused a mass shooting and “reported” that the shooting in San Bernardino, California, was a false flag event. In early 2017, he was brought on to the pro-Trump media group Right Side Broadcasting Network to host a show about the Second Amendment, but only one episode has appeared. Biggs also has a long history of tweeting violent fantasies and threats about women and LGBTQ individuals. In one, he wrote, “Every girl at this bar wants to fuck me. They don’t know it yet because the drugs haven’t kicked in.” In another, he says, “Call me old fashion, but something about clubbing a bitch over the back of the head before sex really sets the mood right.”
None of these men has tried to hide their hateful, violent beliefs so it is suspicious that Free Speech Rally organizers say they denounce violence and don’t want to be a platform for racism but also insist they “carefully vetted” those they invited to speak.
As of this writing the rally is moving forward, Ku Klux Klan attendees and all. Boston granted a rally permit on the condition that every attendee will be searched, no weapons or blunt objects are allowed, the police will barricade and separate the ralliers from counterprotesters, and police will escort people in and out. A rally spokesman told a local news station his “objective is to coordinate with police and with city officials to make sure that logistics are entirely in place and everything is kept orderly, everything is kept safe.” However, an August 17 post on the rally event page reads, “Despite the fact that our rally was peaceful in May, we are going to be facing a police state and surrounded by a mob,” and “any concerns regarding these draconian restrictions should be directed to Mayor Marty Walsh.”
While the event in Boston is scheduled to go ahead, a planned Alt-Right “March on Google” that was scheduled to take place in nine cities has been postponed.
Jack Posobiec—the right-wing provocateur known for advancing the lie that DNC staffer Seth Rich was murdered, faking a transcript of testimony given by former FBI Director James Comey, helping push the dangerous Pizzagate conspiracy theory, and holding up a “Rape Melania” sign and making it seem that it was brought by anti-Trump activists—attempted to set up a multi-city protest against Google on August 19th.
Posobiec wanted to protest the firing of a Google employee who, as the Washington Post reported, “argued that biological differences helped explain why women are underrepresented at the company.” The protests were set to occur in Atlanta; Austin; Boston; Los Angeles; Mountain View, California; New York; Pittsburgh; Seattle; and Washington, D.C. but in at least two locations no permits were requested.
Although march organizers would not elaborate on the threats they allegedly received, Posobiec wrote on August 16: “The Peaceful March on Google has been postponed due to credible Alt Left terrorist threats for the safety of our citizen participants. Despite our clear and straightfoward statements denouncing bigotry and hatred, CNN and other mainstream media made malicious and false statements that our peaceful march was being organized by Nazi sympathizers.”