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If you're a white supremacist, I imagine drinking beer (or any other alcoholic beverage) is a nice way to relax and tune out the fact that you're a terrible person who's helping set human progress back at a rate the bubonic plague would be proud of. But for some self-professed white supremacists, it wasn't quite so easy on a June weekend in Germany.

According to Newsweek, the hundreds of neo-nazis who flocked to the "Shield and Sword Festival" in Ostritz found themselves uncomfortably dry when a court imposed a liquor ban at their gathering of hateful bigots who also like to listen to awful music together. The ban's aim was to prevent any violence that might erupt (you know it would...) and the police confiscated more than a thousand gallons of alcohol from those attending the weekend-long event. They even posted pictures on Twitter of the alcohol they'd removed from participants.



But that's only half the story.

Residents of the town of Ostritz, who've had to deal with the bigots before (they threw the same festival last year on Hitler's birthday), knew that the ban wouldn't stop the festival-goers from trying to obtain more alcohol while in town. So the townspeople got together a week before the festival and devised a plan which would truly make the white supremacists focus on how terrible neo-nazi music is: They bought up the entire town's beer supply.

"We wanted to dry the Nazis out," Georg Salditt, a local activist, told reporters. "We thought, if an alcohol ban is coming, we'll empty the shelves at the Penny [supermarket]."

"For us it's important to send the message from Ostritz that there are people here who won't tolerate this, who say 'we have different values here, we're setting an example..." an unidentified local woman told ZDF Television.

At the same time the festival was going on, residents also staged two counter-protests and put on a "Peace Festival" to drive home the point that bigotry wasn't welcome. If the festival is held in the same town again next year, ticket-buyers should be aware that Ostritz isn't playing around when it says that white supremacists aren't welcome.

There's some good news, too: Aside from the fact that residents aren't afraid to send the message that they're intolerant of intolerance, attendance to the far-right music festival has drastically decreased in the past year. In 2018, 1,200 people attended, according to the BBC. This year? Approximately 500-600. Here's hoping the festival won't have a return engagement next year.

Culture

On Aug. 16, 2017, author and activist Cleve Jones tweeted about a small community that figured out exactly how to handle its neo-Nazi problem.

"In a small town in Germany where the Nazi leader Rudolf Hess was born, every year right wing [activists] have been showing up to commemorate his birthday," the complementing copy to his viral tweet began.

(Clarification 8/21/2017: Hess wasn't born in the town — he was buried there.)

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This was the scene on Aug. 12 in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images.

Those are rescue workers aiding an injured, shaken woman who was plowed into by a car driven by an alleged white supremacist. In 2017. In America.

It's a difficult photo to see — as are many of the other photos taken over the weekend — but it's important we all see it and recognize this image for what it is.

The terrorist attack, allegedly carried out by a 20-year-old from Ohio who was in town supporting the "Unite the Right" white nationalist conference, left one victim, counter-protester Heather Heyer, dead. It injured 19 others.

It's easy to feel helpless in the days following an event like Charlottesville. If you're in a position of privilege, it's maybe even easier to intentionally tune out — to put on your headphones and ignore the bigger problems waiting outside your door. But it's important we act.





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