Taylor Nadauld of the Moscow-Pullman Daily News interviewed two UI history professors (Dale Graden and Richard Spence) to dissect the “complex situation” with supremacists, nationalists, and Antifa.
Both Antifa and white supremacist groups claimed to be present at the Charlottesville riots. So who was in the wrong?
Spence would not pick a “bad” side, but said both were capable of violence.
“The bad guys are the guys that do bad things,” Spence said.
That’s a great quote.
This was an excellent, extensive article. I want to quote just a few paragraphs from it. Go to the Daily News to read the rest.
With confusion surrounding terms like “white nationalist,” “white supremacist” and “Antifa,” Graden and another local historian gave their input to the Daily News to define the terms, their origins and how the events in Charlottesville relate to the rest of history.
UI history professor Richard Spence believes the titles mostly exist in people’s heads, but their meanings tend to differ depending on how one identifies.
“The one thing those terms basically have in common is they are names people call each other,” Spence said.
By his understanding, a white nationalist is a person who views being white as an ethnicity or as an identity – and by embracing a certain identity, you are declaring what you are not, he said.
“You can make the ‘white’ category pretty much whatever you want it to be,” Spence said.
Still, just because one defines his or herself as something does not necessarily mean he or she is antagonistic, Spence said.
The difference between a white nationalist and a white supremacist, arguably, Spence said, is that supremacists demand whites hold the position of dominance. To see an example, just look back to the Jim Crow laws of the South.
The term Neo-Nazi includes people who have called themselves Nazis since the end of World War II, or, as Spence puts it, “Hitler fanboys.”They buy into the symbolism of Nazism, Spence said, though not necessarily national socialism.
Graden suggested all white supremacists are white nationalists and many nationalists are supremacists.
That’s pretty bold making a categorical statement like that. Is it true, though?
Most are young, angry men, both professors said.
Looking at the videos, that seems accurate. There were a few women marching. I’m not sure what he means by “young”, though.
Then there’s Antifa, widely understood to be the other side referenced in Trump’s “both sides” statement.
The term goes as far back as 1930s Germany, Spence said, when a movement called Antifaschistische Aktion (Anti-Fascist Action in the United Kingdom) was formed to counter the Nazi party. The movement was later disbanded.
But by the ’70s and ’80s, Spence said, a new punk movement had emerged in its place after the fall of the Berlin Wall, and with it, a skinhead subculture. That subculture split in polarizing directions, some emulating neo-Nazis, some anti-fascists.
You have to wonder how anti-fascists split off into neo-Nazis. There’s something rotten in the core when that happens.
Today, Antifa is not necessarily an organized group with a headquarters, Spence said, though individuals identify as members.
Many are left-wing, anti-capitalism and anti-patriarchy, Spence said. Often associated with anarchists, they may be violent or pacifist.
Go to the Daily News to read the rest.