Sunday, September 05, 2021

The Trials and Tribulations of the Fourth (?) Reich


Good times! This was Richard B. Spencer, a neo-Nazi "alt-right" leader, a few days after Trump's election (Nov. 19, 2016) at a fellow-traveller (Trumpist) rally in Washington:

The inflammatory nature of that gig above caused the following to happen, pretty much in this order:

1. Whitefish, Montana, where Richard Spencer lives in his mother's house and where there's a sizable Jewish citizenry, erupted in protest. Residents began discussing a rally in front of a downtown commercial building owned by Mr. Spencer’s mother, Sherry.

2. Either Sherry Spencer called her, or real estate agent Tanya Gersh called Sherry, but both women agree that Tanya agreed to list the business for sale to relieve the pressure on Mrs. Spencer. Mrs. Spencer later claimed in a published article that Tanya Gersh used the threat of protests to blackmail her into selling. Gersh became the target of an organized anti-Semitic hate campaign, which in its turn was organized by another Nazi alt-right leader, Andrew Anglin of the Daily Stormer. Anglin exhorted his “fam” online to “TAKE ACTION” to defend Spencer. He shared personal information and the social media accounts of Gersh and her family, including her son, then 12. A post in which Anglin encouraged his followers to “stop by and tell her in person what you think of her actions” was the first of some 30 articles he published targeting the Gersh family and the Jewish community in Whitefish. 

3. Mrs. Spencer's son Richard (see above) admits that he wrote the editorial that Mrs. Spencer published attacking Tanya Gersh.

4. 2017. Tanya Gersh files suit against Andrew Anglin in U.S. District Court in Montana. In 2019, she wins $14 million in damages. A team of lawyers is still searching for Anglin and his assets.

5. Nazi Editor Andrew Anglin uses his Daily Stormer to announce and promote a big new alt-right march, which intends to end at the Gersh home in Whitefish, scheduled for Martin Luther King Day, January 2017.

Richard B. Spencer.
Photo Alex Wroblewski for The New York Times

6. As tensions rose in Whitefish, Richard Spencer and both his parents made public statements distancing themselves from the march and from Andrew Anglin. Behind the scenes, the police and the federal authorities readied themselves for a potentially violent event.

7. Whitefish rallied around the Gersh family. “There were menorahs in every window in Whitefish,” Ms. Gersh said. An anti-hate rally drew 600 participants in zero-degree weather. On the eve of the neo-Nazi march, Rabbi Francine Roston organized a chicken and matzo ball soup get-together for 350 people at the middle school in Whitefish, in a demonstration of unity and appreciation. (NYTimes)

8. Not a single neo-Nazi showed up in Whitefish on Martin Luther King Day, January 18, 2017.

9. According to residents in Whitefish that the NYTimes interviewed, Richard B. Spencer is now an outcast there, unable to get a table at many of its restaurants. His organization, the National Policy Institute, has dissolved. "Meanwhile, his wife has divorced him, and he is facing trial next month in Charlottesville, Va., over his role in the deadly 2017 neo-Nazi march there, but says he cannot afford a lawyer."

The Upcoming Trial in Charlottesville

Both Richard Spencer and Andrew Anglin (along with many others) are defendants in Sines v. Kessler, which goes to court in Charlottesville on Oct. 25. A group of victims and counterprotesters filed suit in Federal court against people and groups involved in the “Unite the Right” rally, August 11-12, 2017, after a neo-Nazi plowed his car into a crowd of counterprotesters, killing Heather Heyer, 32, and injuring at least 19 others.

Spencer's lawyer in the Charlottesville case withdrew as counsel last year. He said he hadn't been paid. Spencer is now representing himself.

Separately, in May, a federal judge in Ohio ordered Spencer’s National Policy Institute to pay $2.4 million to William Burke, a counterprotester who was severely injured in Charlottesville.

1 comment:

O Suzannah said...

Having a moment of Schadenfreude here.