Update: Alt-Right Organizers Cancel the March on Google, Citing ‘Terrorist Threats’
We, the organizers of the March on Google, join the President in condemning the actions in Charlottesville on August 12th. Despite many false rumors from those seeking to discredit us we are in no way associated with any group who organized there.
We condemn in the strongest possible terms any display of hatred and bigotry from any side. It has no place in America. No citizen should ever fear for their safety and security in our society.
But inevitably, given the timing, what looks and feels like a proliferation of far-right public events is going to attract attention, and probably counter-demonstrators. The “march” will be directed at Google facilities in Atlanta, Austin, Boston, Los Angeles, New York, Pittsburgh, Seattle, and Washington, D.C., in addition to the company’s headquarters, GooglePlex, in Mountain View, California.
The protests, of course, were spurred by the now-infamous “memo” on Google’s hiring practices that made its author, Google engineer James Damore, a conservative hero, particularly after he was fired over it. As Madison Malone Kircher notes, Damore chose to show some solidarity with the alt-right.
Since confirming his firing, Damore has done very little press, but his first public interview, posted online Tuesday evening, is with alt-right YouTuber Stefan Molyneux.
Damore doesn’t express any beyond-the-pale views in the interview, but Molyneux — a men’s-rights blogger and accused cult leader with, uh, unorthodox views on race — is, well, a pointed choice for a first-interview host.
The alt-right — not those prone to cavorting in sheets or goose-stepping, but the kind of people who view Breitbart News as their daily bread and mobilized for Trump’s presidential candidacy — has reciprocated this embrace avidly. And that has led to next weekend’s march, as the San Jose Mercury News reports:
“We are going to raise awareness about Google’s one-sided bias and campaign against dissenting opinions and voices,” activist and protest march organizer Jack Posobiec, a self-identified member of the “new right” that seeks to distance itself from the white-power politics of the alt-right, told this news organization via Twitter.
“Google’s firing of James Damore is the flashpoint here,” said the pro-Trump Posobiec, known for peddling conspiracy theories such as “Pizzagate.”
Posobiec was also “special projects director” for Citizens for Trump, a leading “outside” pro-Trump group during the 2016 presidential campaign. One problem for him in distinguishing the March on Google from Unite the Right is that he was accused by his own former employer, The Rebel, earlier this year of plagiarizing a video script from Jason Kessler, the white supremacist who organized Unite the Right. Oops.
It’s likely next weekend’s protests will mark a point either of convergence or divergence for the alt-right and white-supremacist groups.
As J.M. Berger observes at The Atlantic, the events in Charlottesville represent an existential challenge to the idea of the alt-right as a playful and essentially harmless online phenomenon:
Charlottesville put to rest the idea that the alt-right can be primarily defined as fun-loving transgressive hipsters or an elaborate practical joke (if anyone still really believed that). Even before the culminating act of terrorism, the rally in Charlottesville illustrated that the umbrella of the alt-right is an effective means to mobilize a highly visible mix of old-school white supremacists and neo-Nazis. Offline, at least, this isn’t the new white nationalism; it’s the old white nationalism as the primary beneficiary of the activity generated by a looser collection of people online.
How the March on Google turns out could have significant implications for the alt-right and for their “daddy” Donald Trump. Charlottesville was a turning point.