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Mar 5, 18

IGD East Lansing: Michigan Confronts the Alt-Right

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On March 5th, hundreds converged in East Lansing to mobilize against Richard Spencer, a leader among Alt-Right, neo-Nazi, fascist, and white nationalist circles. Supported by a variety of Alt-Right and neo-Nazi groups such as Patriot Front and the Traditionalist Worker Party, Spencer was scheduled to speak at 4:30 PM in a livestock pavilion surrounded by fields and a golf course, however did not actually begin speaking until around 5 PM, due to clashes outside the venue between neo-Nazis and antifascists.

Only around 30-40 neo-Nazis came onto the grounds; and fewer made it into where the speech was happening. In the lead up to the event, neo-Nazi organizers had expected to bring in around 100, making East Lansing another low turn out in a string of failures. But Monday was only the latest in a series of losses for the Alt-Right over the weekend. On March 4th for instance, a conference was supposed to be held in Detroit, but was quickly shut down after venue owners learned the truth about the organization behind it, as was a party set for after Spencer’s talk on Monday.

In response to getting the boot on Sunday, Spencer and his supporters then moved to a private residents outside of East Lansing, and today announced via email that they would be distributing tickets at a nearby Macy’s parking lot before the event. Early on Sunday, it was also announced that on Sunday night, a Richard Spencer supporter had pointed a gun at a demonstrator and was arrested on weapons charges. As Raw Story wrote:

An alt-right supporter of Richard Spencer was arrested for pointing a gun at protesters ahead of the white nationalist’s speech at Michigan State University.

Detroit’s WDIV reporter Monday that 24-year-old Jonathon Kolanowski was arrested Sunday night in Pittsfield Township, south of Ann Arbor, after a fight broke out between supporters and counter-protesters the day before Spencer’s speech at MSU.

Moreover, the media collective Unicorn Riot released Discord chat lots of the neo-Nazi group Patriot Front, who was involved with doing security throughout the weekend. Both of these factors, combined with a low turn out, will only go to farther demoralize the Alt-Right, which has faced mounting opposition in the wake of the deadly Unite the Right demonstration in Charlottesville on August 12th, 2017.

We will be updating this post throughout the day.

8 PM: According to the Detriot Free Press, a total of 24 people were arrested on “both sides,” however, we know that the majority as always were antifascists. Please donate here to the bail fund.

6 PM: Spencer’s talk is winding down. He talked generally about all his classic points: need for white Identitarian movement, a white ethno state, Alt-Right to get off the internet, and called antifa “sick freaks.” He then switched to Q and A and talked about needing mass removal of people of color to create an ethno-state, said rising anti-white sentiment is a threat to all white people, argued that the State will always exist to decide who has sovereignty and who doesn’t, and the Alt-Right should take it over to direct and control that violence.

At one point, Spencer discussed how he was not ashamed of slavery, and said, “It was awesome,” that whites were able to dominate other people. Should be kept in mind, that Spencer gets millions through owning a cotton plantation. Mentioned that Traditionalist Worker Party, Identity Evropa, and Patriot Front where all in attendance; called on the Alt-Right to stop bickering with itself. Outside, police began to escort small numbers of neo-Nazis off the grounds as the crowd had thinned, but protesters remained. Reports put antifascist numbers at around 300 – 400 at their height.

5:15 PM: Reports of more arrests and police attempting to kettle the antifascist demonstrators.

5 PM: Richard Spencer has finally begun his speech.

4:45 PM: Police and neo-Nazis were unable to break through wall of antifascists. Police had to move Nazis out of the road, and reroute them towards the back. Reports of the size of the neo-Nazi crowds remains at around 30.

4:20 PM: Neo-Nazi have arrived after mobilizing at Macy’s to hand out tickets. Richard Spencer and carload of event staff have been inside the event space for an hour getting ready. Neo-Nazi contingent led by Heimbach and TWP as well as Patriot Front appears to be around 30 people. Antifascists, who number severed hundred, are in the road, blocking their entrance. Isolated clashes breaking out, several arrests.

2 PM: Crowd of several hundred takes off from parking lot, marching towards the campus.

1 PM: Crowds still gathering in East Lansing outside of Michigan State University.

12 NOON: Local press reportedly barred from covering the event. People begin gathering in East Lansing to begin the protest.

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