Charlottesville Struggles to Move on After the ‘Unite the Right’ Rally


“Trump! Trump! Trump! Trump! Trump!” “Not my president! “Not my president! Not my —” [sirens] “Hear these words. You will never be ignored again.” “On inauguration day, I was looking for Richard, because I hadn’t met him yet.” “I’ve given conferences for ages, and we’ll usually expect some protesters.” “I was going around looking for them and I was walking past that limousine that was on fire. I got a phone call from somebody that’s like, hey, did you just see Richard got punched?” “Pepe has become a symbol —” “I was pissed off because I was like, oh my god, if I had already found him or I was already there, that wouldn’t have happened. I need to meet up with Richard to make sure that that doesn’t happen again. That’s when I — I knew I had to get serious. And I knew we had to professionalize.” “A year ago, if you had asked me, what would you have been doing? You could have given me a million guesses and I wouldn’t have told you this. Essentially, I went from being an anonymous Twitter troll to being an activism leader of the alt-right, all in the span of about nine months.” “You will not replace us. You will not replace us. You will not replace us.” “Identity politics for white people is my immediate goal. And getting alt-right people to push from the online world to the real world and take up space.” “I’m Eli Mosley here representing Identity Evropa and the American alt-right. We are here today to show the establishment of this country that they will not remove white symbols in an act of white iconoclasm. The anti-white policies of the left and the right in this country come together to oppress our people and our interests.” “Shame! Shame! Shame! Shame! Shame! Shame!” “You will not stop us from representing our interests. You will not replace us. You will not replace us. You will not replace us. You will not replace us.” “It’s a far more fulfilling life —” “Shame! Shame!” “You’re anti-white!” “— than going through the motions of a life that could be anybody’s.” A little over a year ago, Elliott Kline was living a dual life. In his day job, he was an entry level H.R. administrator, but online, he was a far-right-wing Twitter troll troll who called himself “The Jew Hunter.” Here he is in a podcast when he thought only an alt-right audience was listening. Just a warning, you’re about to hear some extremely offensive language “I work in H.R. firing niggers and spics all day. Before that, I was in the Army and I got to kill Muslims for fun. I’m not sure which one was better, watching niggers and spics cry that can’t feed their little mud children, or watching Muslims’ brains sprayed on the wall. Honestly, both probably suck compared to listening to a kike scream while being ovened.” His trolling name was Eli Mosley, after Oswald Mosley, a British fascist leader and admirer of Adolf Hitler. “Hail Trump. Hail our people. Hail victory.” As the Trump campaign gave way to a polarizing victory and white nationalists started coming out in public, “Back the [expletive] up!” Eli Mosley stepped away from his keyboard into real life. “Let’s go, start lighting your torches. Start lighting your torches.” “Jews will not replace us. Jews will not replace us.” He became a lead organizer of the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville. “I’m about to send at least 200 people with guns to go get them out —” “This is where violent clashes have broken out between white nationalists and counterprotesters.” “New video, you see it here, of that deadly car attack, the driver, charged with murder.” “I think there’s blame on both sides and I have no doubt about it. And you don’t have any doubt about it, either.” While some fled the movement after the violence in Charlottesville, Eli leaned in. “We are done with DACA. We elected Donald Trump to —” Soon after, he was named head of one of the largest groups in the alt-right, called Identity Evropa. He’s taken on the air of a polished spokesman, dressing up his despicable language. Eli is happy to engage the media when he thinks he controls the narrative. A middle-class kid from suburban Pennsylvania, he had opportunities in life. But he went to several colleges and never graduated. He served in the National Guard, but quit before his contract was up. Now he’s on a path where past failures don’t matter. He’s leading others like him — disaffected white men who found each other in the dark corners of the online world. His mission, to repackage a racist worldview and sell it to the American public. “All right, fellas, here’s the scoop. We got different types of sandwiches. So what we’re going to do is you’re just going to take one and don’t open it, and if you don’t like it, trade with somebody else on the bus, O.K.? I see there’s turkey and this says club, so who knows.” “Oh, I wish I was in the land of cotton.” “Oh, I wish I was in the land of cotton.” “Old times there are not forgotten.” “Old times there are not forgotten.” “Look away, look away, look away, Dixieland.” “I wish I was in Dixie, hooray, hooray. In Dixie’s land I’ll take my stand to live and die in Dixie. Away, away, away down south in Dixie. Away, away, away, away down south in Dixie.” “All right, that was pretty good. Do you want to do the whole thing one more time?” The alt-right’s basic strategy, which they call “triggering,” is to provoke a reaction from the public by stirring outrage and fear. They think that if their opponents then respond aggressively, even violently, the alt-right may appear less offensive in comparison. Today, they’ve chosen the ultimate trigger. They’re returning to the site where they shook the nation with a brazen display of white supremacy. They’re going back to Charlottesville. “Do not allow yourself to get separated. Do not allow yourself to get isolated. And even if you do, do not panic. The last time we came to this city, somebody got isolated and shit got bad and he panicked when shit got bad. And he is probably never going to leave the state of Virginia alive.” Some of these people were at the last Charlottesville event. And some are new recruits still in their teens. Some, like Eli, are military veterans. And they planned to the minute how they’re getting in and how they’re getting out. “16-inch barrel.” “No, that’s a 20-inch barrel.” “Is it?” “Should we be having the cameras in here? Whatever, fuck it. What?” “I’ll just sit right here in the middle.” “Yes.” “O.K.” “Does everybody have one?” “Yep.” “All right.” “So I was in the Army for about six years. I joined when I was 17 and I was infantry. I did become jaded in the fact that I didn’t understand, like why are we in Iraq. And I saw it firsthand how silly it was.” “Is this what war felt like, Eli?” “I was the driver.” “Oh, you were the driver?” “Actually, being in the back of a seven-ton is preferable to this, almost.” “A lot of the people that I rely on for security and logistics, anything like that, are former military.” “All right.” “Right, guys, out.” “Left side, left side, left side of the sidewalk.” “Get on the sidewalk on the left side.” “Well, people expect that people with our views are going to come out 400 pounds. They call them white trash or things like that. And we’re kind of showing that that’s not the case. We are a group of well-mannered, good-looking young white people who have something to say.” “We are here to represent white America’s interests. When polled, white Americans do not agree with what we see here — this statue being covered up and torn down in front of all of these people who are terrified to say it, because of the evil R-word they might be called. No more. Absolutely not. This ends now. We will be back. We will be back. We will be back. We will be back. We will be back. Step it out. All right, go, go, go, go, double time, double time. Let’s go. Everyone, right now. Walk it out. If you are [unclear] in front of the next person, you are wrong. Let’s move.” “Hurry it up, 15, let’s go.” “Let’s go.” “Hey everyone, Charlottesville 3.0 was a great success and it was a lot of fun. We came, we triggered, we left. We demonstrated that we came in peace in May, we came in peace in July, we were badly mistreated. And we came in peace tonight. It was a great success, and we’re —” This event isn’t for the few people who happen to be at the park. It’s for the world to witness. Before long, the return to Charlottesville is trending on Twitter. And the next day, it’s all over the news. “Donation basket — Donations, donations, thank you, thank you, thank you, gentlemen. Greatly appreciated. Thank you, thank you.” There are no reliable numbers about the size of the alt-right, let alone how many veterans are involved. That lack of information allows them to say whatever they want about who they are. “I went from Kuwait to Baghdad back and forth, and then we did a little bit on the east border over by Iran with those [expletive] Shia [expletive], you know what I’m talking about, those Shia militia people?” On alt-right podcasts, Eli portrayed himself as a callous combat veteran. “We’d rather a Chechen shoot at us than a [expletive] — be next to a Haji.” But in our interviews, he’s vague about his time in Iraq. Sorry, did you say you were in Iraq? “Yes.” How long were you there? “Only three — nine months.” Oh. Different than three. “Well, I went there — I went to Kuwait for a little bit for three months, and it wasn’t really Iraq.” It’s the base. “And then it was nine. Yeah, yeah, exactly.” Right. “And it was towards the end part, so the demobilization period. Because I only graduated high school in 2010.” Right. Will you just say in a full sentence how long you were in the Army? “Hold on a sec.” His accounts of deployment didn’t add up. And soon we’d find out why. We contacted the Army to get his military records. Next on Eli’s agenda — “University of Florida is bracing for potential violence today at a speech by white nationalist leader Richard Spencer.” He’s opening for Richard Spencer on a so-called college tour. “Officials at the state-run University of Florida initially turned down Spencer’s request to speak, but when he threatened a First Amendment lawsuit, administrators relented.” “[expletive]” “[expletive]” “[expletive]” Claiming free speech rights, Spencer and his group target a public university. The governor declares a state of emergency and media from across the country comes to cover the controversy. “Just so you know, there are metal detectors around here, so make sure you have nothing on the prohibited list. They’ll hand it to you there next to you.” “Our movement was once an atomized, autonomous and aimless individuals. This November it will be one year since I made the leap into meeting others in the alt-right. I’ve gone on podcasts, I’ve argued with people in debate groups, but I’ve never given a live political speech. I’m not really nervous, I’m just excited. [expletive] And I’m also spilling water all over Richard’s bed.” No Nazis, no K.K.K., no fascist U.S.A. No Nazis, no K.K.K., no fascist U.S.A.” “Move back up little bit. Back up so they can work. Please back it up. Please, everybody, back up.” “I was denied entrance to this event because I have phone numbers on my arm, which they know is a tactic that protesters use in case they’re arrested.” “Like, right now like I got racially profiled trying to go in, because apparently we don’t fit the Caucasian stereotype of how we should look.” “Any time, any place. Punch a Nazi in the face.” “Which side of history are you on? Which side of history are you on?” “Allow me to speak. And then we’ll have a conversation afterwards. What do you think about that?“ “Go home, Spencer. Go home, Spencer.” “Are you adults? Are you adults? Are you ready to think for yourselves? It doesn’t look like it.” “O.K., Hi, Mr. Dick Spencer. Thanks for coming. I’d like to introduce myself as Eman Elshahawy, and my ethnicity is Egyptian and Puerto Rican. And I am a beautiful brown woman here today. And I guess my question for you is, how did it feel to get punched in the face on camera?” “It hurt. Yeah, it hurts when someone punches you in the face. Is that a real question?” “Yeah, how bad did it hurt, like, did you [expletive] your jaw?” “Hey, excuse me, Egyptian Puerto Rican woman that just asked the question. I have an answer for you, actually, from the third-person perspective. I was in D.C. the day that Richard got punched. And that day changed my life, and it changed hundreds of people who are white Americans’ lives that day, when they fundamentally realized that this country did not belong to us and that we were going to have to fight for what we believed in and fight for our people. So you can thank yourselves and all of your celebrations of violence for why we are here today, because we are fundamentally reacting to what you have said and done.” “I never really kind of got anything when I was Elliott Kline, until I became Eli Mosley. Eli Mosley was able to find that sense of purpose that I was always looking for. Yeah, it was a little obnoxious trying to give a speech with 600 people screaming at you.” “To struggle, friends.” “To struggle.” “However, the audio came in just fine over the internet and millions of people are going to see what we said.” “I gave a speech yesterday and now Twitter has removed my account completely. When you go to tweet, you hit tweet, ‘Your account is currently suspended. For more information, go to’” The social media platforms that initially allowed the alt-right to flourish are starting to stifle it. Twitter is cracking down, sporadically, on hate speech, banning some accounts affiliated with white nationalism. “I’ve been banned maybe 20 times at this point, now. And they don’t understand. No, you shut us down, we come right back. You shut us down, we come right back. We’re not going anywhere. Every time I get an account shut down, I’m making a new one the next day.” Elliott Kline’s Army documents arrive. The story they tell is far different from the one he created. Turns out, he never deployed — not to Iraq, not anywhere. Elliott Kline spent about six years in the Pennsylvania National Guard, coming in to train one weekend a month and for some weeks over the summers. Two soldiers from his unit also confirmed that he never deployed. The Army tells me that you did not deploy. “The Army tells you?” Yeah. So did you go to Iraq? “I was in Kuwait. I told you that before.” You told me you went to Kuwait and then you went to Iraq. “Well, they’re — they’re — basically, it’s the — it’s very similar, the way it works.” So what were the dates that you were there? “Um, let me think. Hold on, I’m trying to find out. Um, 2012, I believe, but I’ve got to look.” Because the last troops left Iraq in the end of 2011. The facts don’t seem to matter to Eli. But maybe that’s the kind of person who becomes a leader in this movement. The more that people like him come out into the open, the more they reveal the alt-right for what it really is. “ — was in Dixie, hooray, hooray.” It’s a movement where 30 people with cheap tiki torches can seem like an army in the echo chamber of social media, where white men claim to be the real victims, and where a weekend warrior can pass himself off as a disillusioned veteran of war.


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