Saturday, 26 August 2017

From Helter-Skelter To Heather Heyer - The Chilling Link Between Charles Manson, Charleston And Charlottesville

A horrific series of murders in August 1969, a mass shooting in June 2015, and a scary demonstration of white supremacist resurgence in August 2017 - what's the connection?

Charles Manson - An evil genius, prescient in his own way

On the nights of Aug 8-9 and 9-10, 1969, members of Charles Manson's cult (his "Family") committed 7 coldblooded and gruesome murders. To most of us even today, the murders were senseless. But they were not senseless to Manson!

The murders were intended to precipitate a race war, which Manson referred to as "Helter Skelter". He believed that in the coming war between whites and blacks, the blacks would win and would thereafter accept the leadership of "the Family". In pursuit of this goal, his gang left behind crude clues that attempted to implicate the Black Panther Party.

That race war never occurred.

Fast-forward 46 years.

In June 2015, a white supremacist called Dylann Roof opened fire on black parishioners at a church in Charleston, South Carolina. He later said he had hoped to ignite a race war.

Dylann Roof - the Charleston church shooter

Slow-forward 2 more years.

In August 2017, white supremacists converged on the liberal bastion of the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, in the heart of the formerly Confederate South. There were repeated clashes between them and left-liberals who came out to confront them. There was violence, and one person (Heather Heyer) was killed when a car driven by a white supremacist deliberately plowed into a crowd.

The slogans raised by the white supremacists were "You will not replace us!", "Jews will not replace us!", "Blood and soil", and "Whose streets? Our streets!"

Angry white youth at Charlottesville

Very clearly, the Charlottesville demonstrations were about race. The documentary by VICE news captures these sentiments unequivocally.

The oft-shared VICE documentary provides viewers a rare opportunity to hear the views of white supremacists, in their own chillingly candid  words

No doubt, these will be analysed in depth in the weeks and months to come, but perhaps one of the best analyses of this phenomenon was provided by Phillymag much earlier in 2012, in a piece titled "The Sorry Lives And Confusing Times Of Today's Young Men".

The article is a fascinating read. It shows how a significant group in America, young white men, are gradually becoming disempowered, and the ways in which they are striking back.
"The world tells us that white American men are extremely powerful," says Harper. "Statistics show they are disproportionately advantaged in all sorts of ways. But individual white men don’t feel privileged or advantaged. People pay more attention to women, to minorities, and white men feel, 'Nobody is paying attention to me.'"
This story has not yet played itself out. 48 years after the horror unleashed by Charles Manson, the threat of a race war remains a frightening prospect for the United States. The melting pot seems to be boiling over.

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