A couple of hundred Nazis and other white nationalists took part in a “White Lives Matter” event on Saturday in Shelbyville, Tennessee. A second planned event in Murfreesboro was officially cancelled by organizers but a handful of protesters and a much larger group of counter-protesters faced off in a downtown square anyway.
“The dual rallies were targeted at refugees, according to the white nationalists and neo-Nazis that organized the event,” writes Newsweek’s Michael Hayden, noting that some Somali and Sudanese refugees are being resettled in middle Tennessee. Rally organizers, he writes, argued that these refugees “are somehow displacing white people, and that they harbor a dislike for whites and white culture.”
Huffington Post’s Christopher Mathias reported, “Mike Tubbs, an imposing former Green Beret who spent time in prison for plotting to bomb black and Jewish businesses and who was responsible for violence in Charlottesville, led the hundred or so white supremacists into their designated rally area.” Mathias said, “I’m here to defend my heritage and my people against the forces of darkness.”
Reporter Natalie Allison of the Tennessean posted video of marchers chanting the Nazi slogan “blood and soil” and “Closed borders, white nation, now we start the deportation.” Indiana-based white nationalist Matthew Heimbach, the leader of the Traditionalist Worker Party, explained his support for deportations as a defense of his “blood and soil”:
First of all, my nation is my people, my extended family. My land, my blood and my soil, is my family. So if you come into my home, you’re welcome, let’s go have supper together. But when it’s time for you to go home to your home, and if you don’t want to leave when you’re in my home, I can ask you to leave, I can gently ask you, I can raise my voice, and at some point, in my home, I’m gonna have to get you out of my home, one way or the other, because this isn’t your home. You have a home to live in. All peoples have a right to their own nation. But they don’t have a right to take a nation from another people. So the idea of deportations, what’s wrong with that?
During the presidential campaign, Heimbach celebrated Donald Trump’s “America First” rhetoric and said Trump’s campaign helped the Traditionalist Worker Party’s recruiting and organizing efforts. When it became clear that Trump would be the Republican nominee, Heimbach celebrated on his Radio Aryan show:
The fires of nationalism, the fires of identity, the fires of anger against the corrupt establishment are arising all around Europe, all around America, all around the entire world. So we just need to strap in, because the future is gonna definitely be interesting, and I believe we could have a switch in our direction even more…Hail, Emperor Trump! And hail, victory!
This summer, Heimbach was given a 90-day jail sentence related to an incident in which he was caught on video shoving a black protester at a 2016 Trump rally; the sentence was “waived on the condition that he not re-offend for two years,” reported the New York Daily News.
In Shelbyville, Heimbach aimed his megaphone at counterprotesters and charged them with doing the dirty work of globalist bureaucrats. He suggested that Black Lives Matter activists abandon their quest for justice in a multiracial America and pursue their own “ethno-state” like the whites-only one Heimbach seeks to create:
You are doing the jobs of the bosses. You are scabs in this class war. This is not just a racial conflict. This is a fight for basic human dignity. You have betrayed your community, your family. … You don’t have to be on that side of the barricade if you want to fight for justice, if you want to fight for peace. … Self-determination means liberation for whites, for blacks, for people around the world. What we want is a home, a home for our people, for your people, and for us to find solutions together. … To Black Lives Matter, I say, you deserve your own police. You deserve your own community. You deserve your own justices and lawmakers. Because integration doesn’t work. Multiculturalism doesn’t work. And the way to be able to get what your community needs isn’t to fight us. The white community is suffering too. It’s to work together to say that America has failed. We didn’t leave America, America left us. … How many Tennesseans have given life and limb for the country that spits on them every day and is working to ensure that their children end up as a hated and despised minority and slaves to multinational corporations and banks?
We noted last year that Heimbach was working to flesh out a statement of principles meant to help the Nationalist Front, a partnership of “pro-white” organizations, work together more effectively. Huffington Post reported that the Nationalist Front called the Shelbyville rally.
Among the groups that took part was the neo-Confederate League of the South, which brought signs saying “Stop Southern Cultural Genocide.” Also mentioned in news coverage were Thor Henderson, an officer in the International Keystone Knights branch of the KKK, and Dillon Hopper of Vanguard America.
On Sunday, white activists affiliated with white supremacist Identity Evropa showed up outside a church in Antioch, Tennessee, where a Sudanese-born man killed a woman and left seven others injured in a September shooting. The man charged in the shooting is not a recent refugee; he has lived in the U.S. since he was a small child. Chuck Johnson and other Alt-Right figures have charged that the media is covering up the crime because the shooter is black and the victims white.
Newsweek’s Hayden notes, “Tennessee’s resistance to the idea of white nationalism—and against the criticism of refugees—ultimately defined the day’s events”:
Counterprotesters arrived earlier than the white nationalists in Shelbyville, and in greater number. When the white nationalists arrived in Shelbyville, they spoke across a barricade separating them from the rest of the city. They were shouted over by people mocking President Donald Trump, and people ridiculing the idea of America being a country founded only for whites. The counterprotesters not only came in greater numbers but were represented—in both Tennessee cities—by a range of different ethnicities, faiths, and backgrounds by Americans rejecting the idea of Nazism with signs and organized chants.
Many people in Shelbyville, like their counterparts in Charlottesville and around the country, remain deeply disturbed by the sight of self-proclaimed Nazis openly pursuing their dream of a whites-only ethno-state. Trump’s campaign, beginning with his immigrant-bashing campaign launch, electrified white nationalist groups and brought them out of the obscure fringes of American political culture. As Heimbach himself said last February, “Donald Trump, whether he meant to or not, has opened this floodgate that I don’t think can be restrained regardless of what happens in the 2016 elections.”