Spencer—known widely as founder of the alt-right movement, and a self-proclaimed identitarian—held a highly controversial, torch-lit rally in Charlottesville last weekend regarding the proposed removal of the General Robert E. Lee Statue from Lee Park. The gathering of mostly out-of-towners were reported to have repeatedly chanted several peculiar slogans, including, “Russia is our friend.”
Swanson—a former board member of the Charlottesville Center for Peace and Justice, and proprietor of WorldBeyondWar.org—is well known in the Charlottesville community as far-left peace activist and a promulgator of political and economic socialism. Swanson, who recently returned from a trip to Russia, sent a pre-travel press release on May 8 entitled, “C’ville Resident Carries Messages of Friendship to Russia.” Swanson claimed to have more that 8,500 American endorsers of the following statement:
To the people of Russia:
We residents of the United States wish you, our brothers and sisters in Russia, nothing but well. We oppose the hostility and militarism of our government. We favor disarmament and peaceful cooperation. We desire greater friendship and cultural exchange between us. You should not believe everything you hear from the American corporate media. It is not a true representation of Americans. While we do not control any major media outlets, we are numerous. We oppose wars, sanctions, threats, and insults. We send you greetings of solidarity, trust, love, and hope for collaboration on building a better world safe from the dangers of nuclear, military, and environmental destruction.
While Swanson (and his followers) and Spencer (and his followers) may diverge on ninety-nine percent of the social, economic, and political issues that face Americans today, they do agree on one thing: Russia is our friend.