12:34 GMT +316 October 2018
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    White supremacists enter the Vienna metro station in Vienna, Va., near Washington DC on Sunday, Aug. 12, 2018.

    ‘A Bunch of Weird Losers’: White Nationalism Losing Ground in US

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    On the anniversary weekend of the deadly “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, white nationalist groups are attempting to rebrand themselves and, by the looks of it, not having much success.

    The violence in Charlottesville resulted in many major lawsuits against rally organizers, affecting recruitment and online fundraising efforts for Sunday's "Unite the Right 2" demonstrations in Washington, DC. 

    "These post-Charlottesville marches have no purpose, other than to make anyone who supports white self-determination look like a fringe lunatic," stated neo-Nazi website Daily Stormer publisher Andrew Anglin this month, in a blog post criticizing Sunday's rally in the nation's capital.

    "We do not want the image of being a bunch of weird losers who march around like assholes while completely outnumbered and get mocked by the entire planet," he added, although many would affirm that his complaint came too late.

    Richard Spencer, another principal organizer of last year's deadly Charlottesville rally, has also encouraged supporters not to attend Sunday's rally.

    "I know that many have good intentions in going, but a rally like this does make sense at this time," Spencer, head of a white supremacist think tank in Alexandria, Virginia, tweeted last week. "I don't know exactly what will happen, but it probably will not be good."

    According to some experts, Sunday's "Unite the Rally 2" is expected to be more disorganized than last year's, which would decrease turnout.

    "I don't know that's it's substantially grown or shrunk," said Keegan Hankes, senior research analyst at the Southern Poverty Law Center's (SPLC) Intelligence Project, according to the Hill. "What I can say is, since the previous Unite the Right, it is far more disorganized."

    "Every one of these groups is afraid they're going to be associated with any potential violence, but also be further associated with the violence last year," he noted.

    Don Black, founder of white nationalist website Stormfront, stated recently that the effects of last year's violent Charlottesville rally are still being felt. "A lot of people have reevaluated the tactic," Black suggested Saturday, cited by The Hill.

    "I don't have a problem with Jason Kessler (the main organizer of the white nationalist Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville) […] But some other people do because he's a […] very recent convert to our side and they feel that […] his events haven't been properly planned."

    "Most of the organization leaders who supported the Charlottesville event are not supporting this one," Black added.

    Last year's clashes between a far-right group protesting the removal of a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee and participants of a counter-rally, including Antifa, resulted in a car-ramming attack by a neo-fascist supporter of Unite the Right, killing one person, 32-year-old Heather Heyer, and injuring 19 others.

    Following the tragedy, lawsuits were filed against organizers and attendees of the rally to prevent violent clashes from reoccurring.

    Kessler and Spencer were accused of encouraging violence while Facebook, Google, Twitter and YouTube kicked off multiple white nationalists from their platforms as a means to stop the dissemination of neo-Nazi propaganda.

    "That's probably been one of the most damaging things that's happened to the movement in the last couple years," SPLC's Hankes observed. "They can't disseminate propaganda as easily [and] it's a lot harder to raise money." 

    For this year's march, Kessler has forbidden the use of shields, weapons or any kind and "non-approved flags," although American and Confederate flags are still allowed.

    Police at the Sunday rally have begun to remove the wooden poles Kessler and his supporters have attempted to carry in to the rally site.

    According to Peter Montgomery, an expert on right-wing extremism at the advocacy group People For the American Way, white nationalists are attempting to rebrand themselves.

    "You had people who wanted to disassociate themselves from who they saw as more embarrassing manifestations — people who come to these rallies holding Nazi signs and swastikas," he said.

    "There's a part of the [racist neo-Nazi] movement that wants to be a kinder gentler face of the alt-right, but as a result it's kind-of splintered."

    Related:

    Officials Deny Permit for White Nationalist Event on Anniversary of Deadly Rally
    Lawsuit Seeks White Nationalist Rally Ban in Charlottesville
    White Nationalist Denied Bond Over Felonies Committed at Charlottesville Rally
    White Nationalist Wanted Over Charlottesville Violence Surrenders to Police
    Father Repudiates ‘Avowed White Nationalist’ Son Participating in Racist Rally
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