The “Rage Against the War Machine” rally: A reactionary political freak show

The “Rage Against the War Machine” rally held yesterday in Washington, D.C., was a political freak show attended by a motley crowd of several hundred Libertarian Party supporters, neo-fascists, and disoriented and demoralized middle-class individuals without an independent program or perspective. The speeches, many of which were obscenity-laced rants, were pitched to the lowest political level. By the time the event finally dribbled to an end, it had left nothing behind but confusion and a bad smell.

Nick Brana of the "People's Party" (left, knit hat) on stage at the "Rage Against the War Machine" rally. To the right of Brana is Jackson Hinkle (sunglasses) and Angela McArdle, chair of the Libertarian Party. Behind McArdle in the baseball cap with the water bottle is Jason Page, an ally of the Oath Keepers and Stewart Rhodes. [Photo: People's Party]

The rally, which was moderated by Angela McArdle of the Libertarian Party and Nick Brana of the “People’s Party,” was sold as an opportunity by the organizers and the speakers to “bring together” the “left and the right” to oppose war. In fact, there was no left-wing perspective; the political direction was provided entirely by the right.

Even on its own terms, the event was an organizational fiasco, with a turnout of approximately 750 to 1,000 people, at most, despite being promoted on Fox News by Tucker Carlson and other right-wing outlets.

The rally featured no less than three speakers from organizations affiliated with the late fascist and anti-Semitic cult-leader, Lyndon LaRouche, including his wife, Helga Zepp-LaRouche. A platform was also provided for Jackson Hinkle, a fascist proponent of “MAGA communism,” and Jordan Page, who wrote the Oath Keepers anthem. Page gave an extended “musical” interlude with far-right anti-vaccine advocate and “bitcoin” enthusiast, Tatiana Moroz.

Jackson Hinkle speaks with an attendee at the 'Rage Against the War Machine' rally.

The Libertarian Party provided the main political line of the rally, with the buildup of speakers concluding with Libertarian candidate Ron Paul. McArdle and the “Mises Caucus” of which she is a member is closely associated with the efforts of the Libertarians to orient to right-wing militia groups.

The continuous ranting of the reactionary tropes of right-wing populism gave the event a distinctly anti-Semitic slant. One speaker after the march to the White House declared that the conflict was “a Zionist war against the Slavic people.” McArdle, who promoted the rally last week on Infowars, run by the fascist conspiracist Alex Jones, has invited and defended anti-Semitic speakers to Libertarian Party events.

Pacifist journalist and author Chris Hedges, having evolved politically from warning of the fascist threat in the United States to promoting the unity of left and right, opened the event with a sermon intended to provide benediction for the speakers who would follow.

Hedges, along with Max Blumenthal of the Grayzone, Jill Stein of the Green Party, and comedian Jimmy Dore and a few others were there to give a progressive gloss to the “left-right” coalition and legitimize the extreme right. Their principal message was that unity with the fascistic right was permissible and should be actively pursued. Those who oppose collaboration with the right are viewed as political enemies.

The visceral hostility to opponents of “left-right unity” was recorded in various video clips of Hedges and Blumenthal, in conversations before the start of the rally, denouncing the World Socialist Web Site.

This anger against the defense of principled socialist politics erupted in the speech of Dore. He devoted most of his remarks to a thinly-veiled denunciation of the World Socialist Web Site for opposing unity with the fascists.

In the case of Dore, alliance with the right is not only a tactic. It is an expression of his own political views. Dore advanced the position of the far right on the COVID-19 pandemic, denouncing public health measures and vaccines. At one point he declared that “they” want me “to hate my neighbor for the pain I am feeling because of that because they wouldn’t take a vaccine that didn’t work the way they said it did in the first f**king place.” He added, “Eat boosters you mother f**kers.”

At one point, Dore bizarrely asked, “Why are we sending that money to Nazis in Ukraine when we could be funding Nazis here in America struggling to buy eggs?”

Support for the ruling class policy of mass infection, promoted most aggressively by the far right but adopted in essence by the Biden administration, was present throughout the rally. Several denounced the “medical industrial complex” and downplayed the severity of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has killed over 1.14 million people in the US alone.

In an indication of the political outlook of those attending the rally, the largest cheers were for Dore and Ron Paul, including many who cheered for both.

To the extent there was a political perspective, it was provided by Paul, the former Texas congressman. In his headline speech, Paul falsely claimed that by eliminating the Federal Reserve, the US government would be forced to pay its debts and therefore could not fund military expenditures.

In reality, Paul’s program of austerity and debt elimination, if put into practice, would result in the evisceration of every single social welfare program in the United States, which is in fact the aim of the most right-wing sections of the ruling class and the program of the Libertarian Party.

Paul ended his speech with a call for an end to all “regulations,” i.e., minimum wage, social security, medicare and medicaid, child labor and work place safety laws, that “bankrupt the country.”

Individuals linked to the 2017 “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, and who participated in former President Donald Trump’s failed coup were in attendance.

Local journalist Molly Conger photographed Matthew Heimbach, the leading neo-Nazi who helped organize the 2017 rally in Charlottesville. In a podcast prior to the Unite the Right rally, Heimbach called for the extermination of the “international Jew and the local Jew, I don’t care if he runs a f**king bagel shop, he’s got to go.”

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Conger also photographed Proud Boy Randy Ireland, wearing a shirt with the phrase “Justice 4 J6,” a reference to the small number of individuals who were imprisoned for participating in Trump’s failed coup.

Perhaps the biggest fraud of all was that the rally was an “antiwar” event. Whatever the denunciations of the “military-industrial complex” and the “war machine,” the main impact of the rally was to politically legitimize and elevate far-right forces that are utilized by sections of the ruling class itself.

As the World Socialist Web Site wrote last week:

In the final analysis, the right-wing pseudo-opposition to war represents a dispute within the ruling class over certain aspects of foreign policy. One can find on the Internet no shortage of ex-military personnel, entirely fascistic in their outlook, who believe that the present war in Ukraine is a distraction from other pressing issues confronting the American ruling class, such as the merciless removal of undocumented immigrants from the United States and preparations for a future war with China.

The role of the “Rage Against the War Machine” rally is not to develop a movement against imperialist war, but to confuse and disorient young people.

The rally itself more than confirmed this appraisal.