Alt-Light and Alt-Right figures rally for freedom of speech at Berkeley, but divisions between the two re-emerge

After right-wing pundit Ann Coulter pulled the speech she intended to give at the University of California’s Berkeley campus (regardless of the administration’s initial cancelling and rescheduling of her appearance), so-called ‘alt-right’ and ‘alt-light’ figures descended on Berkeley for a freedom of speech rally.

Gavin McInnes, Rebel Media host and founder of the ‘Western chauvinist’ fraternal organisation ProudBoys (members of which were involved in recent violent demonstrations in Berkeley and who have the backing of Coulter) came to read Coulter’s speech. After doing so McInnes told the crowd:

“We’re on the side of truth. Lies run sprints, the truth runs marathons and we’re in it for the long haul here guys. So we’re going to make these speeches happen no matter what anyone else does[…] We can’t be stopped guys, let’s do this again!”

Yet, despite claims of being in it for the “long-haul”, there may not be much of a race left for the Alt-Light to run. McInnes doesn’t recognise (or didn’t want to address) the possibility that, once the debate so clamoured for actually begins, the sting will have been taken out of the Alt-Light.

An aimless Alt-Light?

In an attempt to maintain interest (and to continue lucrative media careers), many alt-light figures may become mere normalisers of the Alt-Right’s more extreme political vision. Indeed, at Berkeley yesterday there seemed to be evidence of this already, with alt-light figures Lauren Southern and Faith Goldy promoting white nationalist Nathan Damigo:

Southern is a former Rebel Media contributor, author of the book How Baby Boomers, Immigrants & Islam Screwed my Generation, and was in attendance at Berkeley’s previous violent confrontations between pro-Trump/alt-right/alt-light supporters and anti-fascists. Goldy is a host on the extreme Rebel Edge spinoff of Rebel Media.

Alt-Right, Alt-Light divisions

Not all on the Alt-Right wanted to give those from the Alt-Light such a reception, however. The alt-right racist and anti-semitic podcaster, Mike Enoch (real name, Mike Peinovich, outed in January along with his wife’s Jewish identity) said of the alt-light individuals at Berkeley:

As the Alt-Light’s claims to be silenced by mainstream politics, media and culture begin to be answered, its political role is fragmenting. The only option open to those in the alt-light arena may be to air the Alt-Right’s extreme views in an effort to maintain the media careers that likes of McInnes, Southern and Goldy have built off the back of ideologically thin, and largely reactionary, political commentary.