Just when you thought the recent fortunes of young American white supremacists couldn’t get more embarrassing — especially after last week’s paltry turnout for the “Unite the Right 2” rally — prominent members members of the far-right have continued to suffer personal setbacks stemming from their public displays of racism.
As this cohort, the leaders of the so-called “alt-right,” reel from decreasing relevancy and collapsing finances, a combination of lawsuits, live-streams, and payment companies cutting off funds have hammered these young white supremacists’ outlooks — and potential impact — even further. But still, even if they’re not showing up in the droves they once were, that doesn’t mean white supremacists and their rancid ideologies have collapsed entirely.
First, as ThinkProgress’ Luke Barnes detailed, “Unite the Right 2” organizer Jason Kessler — already dealing with a tiny turnout for last weekend’s fascistic festivities — had a live-stream with neo-Nazi Patrick Little from June resurface on Wednesday. Kessler, however, also had another unexpected guest on the live-stream: his father, who promptly began yelling at Kessler to “get out of my room!”
Kessler, who is in his mid-30s, explained that he had moved back in with his parents because of the spiraling costs associated with a recent lawsuit, brought by Integrity First for America, which has accused him of conspiracy to commit violence at last year’s “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. Unfortunately for Kessler, a judge ruled earlier this summer that the lawsuit will move to trial — meaning the costs will continue to mount for the foreseeable future.
Kessler, though, is by no means the only white supremacist to take a financial hit from the recent lawsuit. The website of Occidental Dissent, a white supremacist publication run by the League of the South’s Brad Griffin, was down on Wednesday. Griffin wrote that the site had been “censored,” and pointed to costs from the “ridiculous lawsuit.”
The white supremacist "Occidental Dissent" site is down, claims they're being "censored": pic.twitter.com/3GP0vXE3Ws
— Casey Michel 🇰🇿 (@cjcmichel) August 15, 2018
Kessler’s ability to raise funds has also taken a significant hit recently, as PayPal put an end to his efforts to raise money via his lawyer. (The same goes for “Crying Nazi” Chris Cantwell, who did not show up at last weekend’s rally.) As HuffPost’s Jessica Schulberg recently wrote, “Online payment processors and fundraising platforms have repeatedly shown they have the ability to identify and remove white nationalist users — if there’s enough public pressure to do so.”
Indeed, there have been a number of instances of payment processors or sites bouncing white supremacists from their platforms, or even collapsing completely, over the past few months, including MakerSupport and Funded Justice. Many of these sites appear to have been affected after, of all things, white supremacist Richard Spencer’s decision to join their platforms.
Spencer’s rapid descent in relevancy — there was such little turnout at his attempt at a nationwide tour that he was forced to cancel — has mirrored his collapsing financial fortunes. A report last week in Washingtonian noted that Spencer, who has also been named in the lawsuit alongside Kessler and a number of other prominent white supremacists, was forced to leave Alexandria, Virginia, where he had been renting an apartment.
“I didn’t talk to him, but my client called me and said that [Spencer] was thinking of breaking the lease,” real estate agent Fatana Barak, who leased the apartment to Spencer, told ThinkProgress. Left-wing blog It’s Going Down, which also reported Spencer’s move, told ThinkProgress that Spencer had moved back to Whitefish, Montana, where his mother currently lives.
Richard Spencer has moved out of his Alexandria, VA apartment and back to what we assume, is mommy and daddy's. The house was the site of bi-weekly protests by locals, and once a hub for the Alt-Right. Guess The Grouch will have to keep updating this list. https://t.co/kocuD6gKMK
— It's Going Down (@IGD_News) August 14, 2018
While Kessler’s and Spencer’s recent moves and financial woes are welcome developments for those opposed to their racist ideologies, it’s worth noting that the recent string of embarrassments don’t seem to have had any impact on their willingness to espouse white supremacy.
That is, rather than having their ideologies defeated, they may simply be slinking back to the online shadows from which the so-called “alt-right” first emerged. Their public presence may have taken a hit — and the leaders may have collapsed more quickly than many anticipated — but their putrid beliefs haven’t gone anywhere. There’s a reason that white supremacy has been a constant strain through American history, after all.
To answer the inevitable question some will ask: no, the low white supremacist turnout in DC today does not speak to the state of the white supremacy movement as a whole. Experts long predicted it would get low turnout, bc organizer Kessler burned all his bridges w/the movement.
— Mark Pitcavage (@egavactip) August 12, 2018
Still, it’s worth noting that those shadows to which these young white supremacists have slunk back to now appear to be located in their parents’ houses — and that the financial outlook for these white supremacists are far dimmer than they were even a few months ago.