White Nationalists: Charlottesville Just A Beginning

James Alex Fields, charlottesville nazi
James Alex Fields Jr., second from left, holds a black shield Saturday in Charlottesville, Va., during a white-supremacist rally took place. (Alan Goffinski/ AP)

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) - Emboldened and proclaiming victory after a bloody weekend in Virginia, white nationalists are planning more demonstrations to promote their agenda following the violence that left a woman dead and dozens injured.

The University of Florida said white provocateur Richard Spencer, whose appearances sometimes stoke unrest, is seeking permission to speak there next month. And white nationalist Preston Wiginton said he is planning a “White Lives Matter” rally at Texas A&M University in September.

Also, a neo-Confederate group has asked the state of Virginia for permission to rally at a monument to Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee in Richmond on Sept. 16, and other events are likely.

“We’re going to be more active than ever before,” Matthew Heimbach, a white nationalist leader, said Monday.

James Alex Fields Jr., a young man who was said to idolize Adolf Hitler and Nazi Germany in high school, was charged with killing a woman by slamming a car into a group of counter-protesters at a white nationalist rally Sunday in Charlottesville, Virginia.

The U.S. Justice Department said it will review the violence, and Attorney General Jeff Sessions told ABC that the death of counter-protester Heather Heyer, 32, met the definition of domestic terrorism.

White nationalists said they were undaunted.

Heimbach, who said he was pepper-sprayed during the melee in Charlottesville, called the event Saturday “an absolute stunning victory” for the far right because of the large number of supporters who descended on the city to decry plans to remove a statue of Lee.

Hundreds of white nationalists, white supremacists, neo-Nazis, Ku Klux Klan members and others were involved, by some estimates, in what Heimbach, leader of the Traditionalist Workers Party, called the nation’s biggest such event in a decade or more. Even more opponents turned out, and the two sides clashed violently.

A neo-Nazi website that helped promote the gathering said there will be more events soon.

“We are going to start doing this nonstop. Across the country,” said the site.

The head of the National Socialist Movement, Jeff Schoep, said Charlottesville was a “really good” white nationalist event that was being overshadowed by the deaths. “Any time someone loses their life it’s unfortunate,” he said.

Preserving memorials to the Old South has become an animating force for the white nationalist movement, not because all members are Southern, Schoep said, but because adherents see the drive to remove such monuments as part of a larger, anti-white crusade.

“It’s an assault on American freedoms. Today it’s Confederate monuments. Tomorrow it may be the Constitution or the American flag,” Schoep said.