The “alt-right” March on Google has been cancelled.
Event organizer Jack Posobiec posted the announcement on the group’s site Wednesday morning, claiming “Alt Left terrorist threats” the group has received posed safety concerns. Prosobiec also said in the post that the group reported these threats to the relevant authorities. However, the Mountain View Police Department, the Atlanta Police Department, and the Metropolitan Police Department in Washington, D.C., told the Los Angeles Times that they were not aware of such threats.
It’s not clear if or when the rallies will be rescheduled, but the group hopes to still march in “a few weeks time,” according to their website.
The Google protest was scheduled to take place on nine campuses this weekend, including the company’s Mountain View headquarters, in response to the firing of James Damore over his 10-page anti-diversity memo. Protesters claimed that the company was “using its power to silence dissent and manipulate election results.”
The March on Google organizers were initially referred to as members of the alt-right. But despite several organizers’ alignment with white nationalist groups, the group issued a code of conduct and a statement condemning violence and hatred in order to distance themselves from the alt-right following a deadly rally in Charlottesville, Va.
Posobiec himself is a far-right media figure known for pushing “Pizzagate” and Seth Rich conspiracy theories. The president also retweeted Posobiec after he asked why the media wasn’t outraged over violence that supposedly took place in Chicago the same weekend as the events in Charlottesville.
The protest announcement comes on the heels of Trump’s infrastructure press conference Tuesday evening, where he backpedaled on a Monday speech that condemned racist groups, including white supremacists, neo-Nazis, and the KKK. Instead, Trump doubled down on his initial Charlottesville comments this past weekend, where he said there was “blame on both sides,” meaning both racist groups and counter protesters.
As for Posobiec‘s protest announcement, experts on extremist groups say there is no such thing as the “alt-left”. “It’s a term made up to create a false equivalence between far right groups and “anything vaguely left-seeming that they didn’t like,” Mark Pitcavage, an analyst at the Anti-Defamation League, told the New York Times
“There is no such movement as the alt-left,” George Hawley, an assistant professor of political science at the University of Alabama told CNN. “Obviously, there are left-wing extremists but there is no congruence between the far-left and the alt-right.”
While “alt-right” was coined by white supremacist Richard Spencer and adopted as a moniker by many on the far-right, Hawley says the term alt-left has been most aggressively pushed by Fox News Channel’s Sean Hannity rather than any group or ideology.
Although the Google protests have been postponed, Silicon Valley is still in the grips of a culture war that conservatives are bringing against the tech enclave. In which case, pushback against efforts to diversify the predominantly white, male sector and claims of discrimination against conservative viewpoints as social media platforms face pressure to rid their sites of hate groups are likely to continue.