Trump Asks, 'What About the Alt-Left?' Here's an Answer

White supremacists and counter-protesters clash in Charlottesville

There is no alt-left faction, and it's risky to suggest otherwise.

President Donald Trump placed some of the blame for the Charlottesville violence on the "alt-left" Tuesday. But they've kicked into high gear over the past two years: They engaged in vandalism in violence, forcing the cancelation of a speech by alt-right popularizer Milo Yiannopoulos at the University of California, Berkeley; a few months later, they attacked alt-right demonstrators in Berkeley; they attacked alt-right demonstrators in Sacramento, California, leading to a bloody street fight; they threw projectiles at police during President Trump's inauguration; they attacked pro-Trump free-speech demonstrators in Seattle last weekend. What about the fact they came charging with clubs in hands, swinging clubs, do they have any problem? Mark Pitcavage, an analyst at the Anti-Defamation League, said the word was made up to create a false equivalence between the far-right and "anything vaguely left-seeming that they didn't like".

Following the deadly violence in Charlottesville, Va., on Saturday, the news is awash in buzzwords like alt-right and alt-left. "I like the term alt-right". Far left ideology is not about racism, ethnocentrism or anything as deplorable as what white nationalists are spouting, but that fact gets obfuscated when an alt-right/alt-left parallel is drawn.

Photo President Trump spoke Tuesday at Trump Tower in Manhattan.

As best I can tell, the very first people to use the term "alt-left" was a tiny faction within the alt-right, who favor more left-leaning economic policy. For many people, it was the first time they'd heard the phrase used-at least from someone of Trump's stature. But is there really such a thing as the alt-left? It states the group is known for "inciting violence toward far-right extremists". There has been a huge upsurge in left wing violence during the past year.

This differs substantially from the derivation of the term "alt-right", was which either invented or "co-invented" by white nationalist Richard Spencer. The anti-fascists engage with those they oppose through physical confrontation. Segal said a popular white supremacist slogan is, "Diversity is a code word for white genocide". Antifa's new Republican sympathizers might think these guys only target white supremacists and neo-Nazis. Despite their repugnant views, white nationalists did have a lawful permit to hold their rally; the alt-left activists didn't. But most white supremacists aren't affiliated with an organized group, Segal said.

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Today, the Antifa movement that originally formed in Germany in the 1980s has taken root in the United States, with the goal of rubbing raw social and racial class tensions in order to delegitimize the U.S. Constitution, bring down the Trump administration, and cause the political chaos the Antifa movement believes will lead to the creation of a communist state here in the U.S.A.

Neo-Nazis: Nazi flags were in abundance during the Charlottesville clashes.

"The Alt-Light is the Alt-Right without the racist overtones but it is hard to differentiate it sometimes because you're looking at people who sometimes dance between both camps", he said. He said that it was unfair to suggest that all the torch-wielding marchers at the rally were Nazis or white supremacists. But there's no equivalent with the anti-Semitic and bigoted groups that call themselves "alt-right", he said.

White supremacists see diversity as a threat. Headline after headline streaming on the news chyrons on CNN and MSNBC asserted that Trump had defended Nazis, while the transcript (and a video) shows plainly and unambiguously he had done nothing of the sort.

On June 12, 2017, the New Jersey Department of Homeland Security and Preparedness officially declared Antifa to be a terrorist group, explaining the following: "Anti-fascist groups, or 'Antifa, ' are a subset of the anarchist movement and focus on issues involving racism, sexism, and anti-Semitism, as well as other perceived injustices".

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