George Orwell once said, “The great enemy of clear language is insincerity. When there is a gap between one’s real and one’s declared aims, one turns as it were instinctively to long words and exhausted idioms, like a cuttlefish spurting out ink”
It seems that the very use of the term “Free Speech Rally” for the incipient event on the Common is cover for something other than free speech… at least that’s the sense I get from an original speakers list heavily weighted towards the intolerant. Some of the intolerant speakers have dropped out, but the remaining speakers strike me as no less willing to abridge others freedoms… which is as near as no never mind to a working definition of ‘supremacist.’
Many of them can’t even call themselves what they are, instead (as noted above by Orwell) they turn, instinctively, towards idioms we’ve created out of monsters: ‘Nazi’ and ‘Neo-Nazi’ are long exhausted idioms, for both the left and the right.
The word “rally’ strikes me as the least insincere: a calling together and an effort at shared momenta. The events in Charlottesville were also a ‘rally’… a “unite the right rally.” It’s not, in fact, ‘protest’ and therefore people who show up in opposition to the ‘rally’ can’t really be considered ‘counter-protesters.’ They are just protestors.
The purpose of a ‘rally’ should be unity and I think, as with Charlottesville and other gatherings of the so-called ‘alt-right,’ their purpose is identification and invitation: ‘come out of the closet, it’s ok.’ they are saying to their undeclared racist brethren. The election of Trump was so shocking, even to his supporters, it’s taken them this long to realize some of the implications.
In contrast to a ‘rally,’ the purpose of protest should be revelatory: Martin Luther King Jr. marched into Birmingham knowing full well that dogs and firehoses were waiting for him. His purpose was to reveal to those, across the nation, who did not know that he, and his marchers, were serious and that the racists he opposed were deadly serious. I’ve always thought it of note that the particular, daylight, methods of Bull Connor involved dogs and high pressure hoses: it’s a sorta cowardly, arms-length away, effort to hurt without actually coming in contact with the victims. It calls to mind what Lincoln termed “the bondsman lash,” which was also a weapon that spared the victimizer contact with the victim. The slavers whip was replaced with dogs and hoses and now, it seems, they are to be replaced with a Dodge Challenger.
Mayor Walsh is doing his best to keep the ‘rally’ and the ‘protests’ at a distance from each other. This is, more or less, a pre-determined stalemate. I doubt very much he’ll succeed. The more emboldened the right becomes, the more fiercely racist and violent they will become. That’s the reveal to come.