A relative newcomer to the white nationalist scene, Jason Kessler has made waves in his attempt to unseat Charlottesville’s only black city councilman and for his status as a bridge between a Virginia gubernatorial candidate and the Alt-Right. Relying on familiar tropes of “white genocide” and “demographic displacement,” Kessler has sought to parlay his status as a lonely dissenter in the “Capital of the Resistance” into notoriety on the larger far right circuit by organizing a second white nationalist rally in Charlottesville after the first, torchlit rally in May of 2017 made headlines.
A “journalist, activist and author from Charlottesville, VA,” Kessler’s LinkedIn account states that he graduated of the University of Virginia in 2009. He was virtually unknown in the media prior to his crusade against Charlottesville Vice Mayor and City Councilman Wes Bellamy.
Although Kessler has protested both of his arrests relating to his recent crusade and decries them as attempts to use “the liberal nature of this city to really mess with me,” those arrests do not represent his first brushes with the law.
Arrest records indicate that Kessler was convicted in 2005 for shoplifting, obstructing justice and for a string of failures to appear and register, in addition to numerous traffic violations and citations.
Kessler started his blog “Jason Kessler, American Author,” toward the end of 2015 and spent the majority of the next year dispensing mindset and lifestyle advice and promoting two books authored during a period of “worldwide travel.” The first is a book of poetry titled Midnight Road, and a second novel called Badland Blues about a “drunken dwarf,” who is “unlucky in love, looks or money.”
Rumors abound on white nationalist forums that Kessler’s ideological pedigree before 2016 was less than pure and seem to point to involvement in the Occupy movement and past support for President Obama.
At one recent speech in favor of Charlottesville’s status as a sanctuary city, Kessler live-streamed himself as an attendee questioned him and apologized for an undisclosed spat during Kessler’s apparent involvement with Occupy. Kessler appeared visibly perturbed by the woman’s presence and reminders of their past association.
Kessler himself has placed his “red-pilling” around December of 2013 when a PR executive was publicly excoriated for a tasteless Twitter joke about AIDS in Africa.
Regarding the incident, Kessler stated “… so it was just a little race joke, nothing that big of a deal, she didn’t have that many followers, she probably didn’t think anybody was gonna see it,”
Regardless of Kessler’s past politics, the rightward shift in his views was first put on display in November, 2016 when his tirade against Wes Bellamy began.
Bellamy, a teacher at Charlottesville’s Albemarle High School teacher and Vice Mayor, first drew Kessler’s ire after organizing a press conference to call for the removal of a statue of Robert E. Lee in downtown Charlottesville on March 22, 2016. After a face-to-face encounter at a second rally protesting a UVA lecturer who referred to Black Lives Matter as a racist group, Kessler set his sights on having Bellamy removed from office.
That November, Kessler posted an expose revealing lewd and offensive tweets and retweets made by Bellamy prior to entering office. Beneath a photo captioned with a reference to the racist “Kangz” meme that white nationalists typically employ to mock the Black Egyptian hypothesis, Kessler asserted that Bellamy’s tweets were proof of “anti-white bias.”
Kessler has gone on to assert that Bellamy attained his position on the Charlottesville Board of Education because “Democrats … are political elitists, hiding behind Wes Bellamy … Bellamy is untouchable to them, no matter how ridiculously anti-white he is.”
Kessler’s unearthing of Bellamy’s sexist, homophobic, and bigoted tweets did garner some coverage on the national scene. Relishing in the spotlight, Kessler pressed the attack.
In December of 2016, Kessler announced a petition demanding Bellamy step down or be removed “[i]n light of recently revealed anti-white, racist and pro-rape comments.”
On January 22, 2017, Kessler was arrested for misdemeanor assault after he punched a man while gathering signatures for his petition against Bellamy. Kessler initially filed assault charges against the man but dropped them after video footage revealed that Kessler had swung without physical provocation.
“Man to man, yell in a man’s face and expect to get punched in the face,” Kessler said of the incident.
“He and his buddy came over, they scribbled on my petition and vandalized it. [The victim] didn’t want to have a conversation with me … and he called me a name. I felt threatened and I hit him to get him away from me.”
Kessler plead guilty and was sentenced to 50 hours of community service later that May.
Filed in February 2017, the petition was dismissed in March of that year.
Unity & Security For America
As Kessler was filing his failed petition, Unity & Security for America, a nativist, white nationalist group he founded, launched its website.
In a GoFundMe started by one of Kessler’s Unity & Security for America cohort to fund the “man hours to prepare for [protests], body armor to protect our journalist from a knife to the ribs, a professional quality microphone for interviewer [sic] the protestors and much more,” the group is described as “a revolutionary right wing grassroots movement. Founded by author and activist Jason Kessler who broke the Wes Bellamy Twitter scandal, USA is transformational movement within the Cultural Marxist hell that is Charlottesville.”
“Cultural Marxism” refers to a conspiracy that a group of Jewish leaders escaped Nazi Germany and have since sought to “erode Western values” through cultural influence.
Kessler and Unity & Security for America spent the early part of 2017 supporting the campaign of pro-Confederate Virginia gubernatorial candidate Corey Stewart, a member of the Prince William County Board of Supervisors who drew headlines for referring to an opponent as a “cuckservative” and whose Wikipedia page had unflattering references edited out by Stewart’s campaign staff.
Kessler and his group appeared at Stewart campaign stops alongside known members and affiliates of the League of the South, a neo-Confederate hate group that wants to bring about a theocratic white nationalist state in the south.
Regarding the League of the South, Kessler has stated, “Dr. Michael Hill from the League of the South, these are good confederate voices … because this is about the Confederacy which is an American ethnic group,” reflecting the League’s bizarre conception of “white Anglo-Celtic Southerners” as a separate and distinct ethnic polity from the rest of America.
Kessler has railed against “carpetbaggers” in Richmond, Charlottesville and the state as a whole, much as the League of the South rails against Yankees “filling up Dixie.” Nevertheless, “Copperheads” who agree with their pro-Lost Cause icon agenda, like the Minnesota-born Stewart, are apparently granted a pass.
In April of 2017, Kessler retweeted a post by a Twitter account associated with The Right Stuff (TRS). The post shared a racist blog penned by Identity Dixie, a neo-Confederate offshoot of the white nationalist TRS, titled “The Shadow Over Charlottesville.” The piece outlined Kessler’s efforts to dislodge Bellamy over Bellamy’s problematic tweets and retweets and referred to Bellamy as a “pavement ape” and “Councilman Dindu,” while also disparaging a federal judge as a “jigaboo” and “pinko-commie fags” in the City of Charlottesville.
That same month, Kessler penned his first article for VDare, a xenophobic, nativist publication started by Peter Brimelow. Kessler has since written four additional blogs for the publication, including the most recent, posted on June 19, titled “Yes, Virginia (Dare), There Is Such A Thing As White Genocide.”
Kessler has also written for GotNews.com, a website established by white nationalist and internet troll Chuck Johnson.
Uniting the Right
The biggest boon to Kessler’s profile to date occurred on May 14, 2017 when a group of white nationalists descended upon Charlottesville for a day-long protest over the efforts to remove the Lee and Jackson statues that occupy city parks. The event culminated in a torch-lit march to the statue of Robert E. Lee, which generated a great deal of coverage noting the visual similarities between the torch-lit rally and cross-lightings at Ku Klux Klan gatherings where Civil War veterans gathered to strike back against Reconstruction.
Kessler was arrested at the event for failure to obey an officer’s commands during the rally, scarcely weeks after entering his guilty plea for misdemeanor assault.
The next day conservative news outlet The Daily Caller posted an article on the protest penned by Kessler.
The Daily Caller later issued a correction noting that Kessler’s take on the day’s events was less than impartial as he had spoken with a luncheon gathering of pro-monument supporters, and praised several racist organizations and called for a second Civil War.
The incident is indicative of the problems associated with Kessler’s self-styled brand of “independent journalism,” which typically consists of attending local protests with a bullhorn and provocative signs, then decrying coverage by reputable news outlets.
The Caller stated of Kessler “[I]n light of his activism on the issue, we have mutually agreed to suspend our freelance relationship with him.”
Regarding the torch-lit march, Kessler has attempted to elide the controversy by claiming in a tweet that “European people have a long history of torch-lit funeral processions to honor the dead See: Vikings”
Nevertheless, Kessler admitted the use of torches was in some way intended to cause controversy in the press.
“When they saw the torches that we did in the evening there was a mass triggering that took place.”
Kessler began organizing a follow-up rally in response to “hyperbolic rhetoric by the media” shortly thereafter, creating a Facebook event in early June. In the run-up to the August 2017 “Unite the Right” rally, Kessler has made rounds with white nationalists, racists, and reactionaries of all stripes, all in the name of “free speech.”
Kessler’s newfound popularity among the far right has caused some of his former associates to distance themselves from him. Two fellow members of Unity & Security for America publicly denounced Kessler, with one stating, ““He’s affiliated himself with people who are — to put it mildly — ideologically distasteful. And now he’s associated with people involved with organized crime. It’s turning into a rabbit hole. And I want nothing to do with that.”
Those speaking at the Charlottesville “Unite the Right” event include Richard Spencer, who spoke at the first Charlottesville rally, Mike Enoch of The Right Stuff, Matthew Heimbach of the white nationalist Traditionalist Workers Party, Augustus Invictus, a pagan neo-fascist who has pledged to bring about a second Civil War, and Michael Hill of the League of the South.
On July 11, 2017, Kessler appeared before Charlottesville’s town hall to promote his rally and to distance himself from a rally the previous weekend by the Loyal White Knights of the KKK. The Klan rally took place in front of a statue of Nathan Bedford Forrest in an attempt to capitalize on the spotlight burning on Charlottesville. Flanked by members of the Warlocks Motorcycle Club, Kessler railed against the media, local anti-racist group Showing Up For Racial Justice (SURJ) and Black Lives Matter.
When pressed on whether he disavowed the KKK rally, Kessler stated, “I didn’t want them here.”
As for his motive in organizing the event, Kessler stated “I didn’t do it, Wes Bellamy did.”
In Their Words
Like Black Lives Matter, militant Islam exists as a call to action for the violent rage some minorities feel towards the white majority.” — From “Esteban Santiago: The Siren Song of Jihad for Immigrants and the Mentally Ill” (1/7/2017).
“But make no mistake, the age of innocence is over for whites politically. We are becoming a displaced minority in our own country thanks to Democrat policies. They tax the hell out of middle class families who might want to have more children while paying for welfare queens to have 5 or 6 babies they can’t support. They provide sanctuary cities for illegal immigrants who flood in from south of the border and import Islamists from the most dangerous countries on Earth. The time for supplication is over. We need to fight back!” — “The End of Identity Politics: To Ensure Peace, Prepare for War” (12/23/2016).
“I don’t understand why they’re trying to pretend that disproportionate Jewish influence is a conspiracy … they have this enormous wealth and they’re using it to wield power.” — LIVE with Jason Kessler: Unite The Right (7/17/2017).