Mike Scruggs- On Saturday, August 1, several TV media stations reported that there was a peaceful Black Lives Matter (BLM) rally in Greenville, South Carolina, to protest a monument honoring Confederate soldiers. Actually, there were five people arrested at this rally, where the counter-protest conservatives outnumbered BLM at least five to one.
One local Greenville paper estimated there were about 30 BLM protesters and 150 counter-protesters, but an eye-witness on the counter-protest side, who was there all day, gave a more precise, detailed, and interesting estimate of the crowd of well over 300 counter-protesters, not counting nearly 200 passing automobiles visibly and audibly siding with the pro-Confederates.
The Confederate Monument, built in 1891, is in Springwood Cemetery, which contains Confederate dead but is very near North Main Street in downtown Greenville. It was dedicated to Confederate soldiers and especially Confederate dead buried there. Removal or changes to the monument would be a violation of South Carolina Heritage Law, which restricts the power of local governments to move, change, or rename Confederate or civil rights monuments.
At the top of the monument is a Confederate soldier modeled on an actual Confederate soldier from Greenville. Nevertheless, Greenville’s Mayor and City Council have unwisely negotiated with BLM on the possibility of adding a plague to the monument, which many fear would be a distortion of history tending to dishonor Confederate dead. It might be of interest to note that of 331 million Americans approximately 70 million, over 21 percent, have Confederate soldier ancestors.
This is, of course, most concentrated in the South. Politicians throughout the country, including the South, have been caving into such BLM demands, thinking it will bring racial reconciliation and peace. In fact, it has been very divisive, and the political pushback is finally gaining ground. Many residents of Upstate South Carolina feel their feelings and heritage are being trampled, but the politicians will not listen to them.
Furthermore, it has become increasingly evident that while most people sympathize with the phrase “Black lives matter” just as all lives should matter, the Black Lives Matter organization is Marxist founded and funded and uses Marxist tactics of lying, bullying, burning, and violence to get its way. It even opposes societal support and reverence for the nuclear family. Their frequent operational alliance with Antifa and funding help from the Muslim Brotherhood and George Soros should alarm every American.
There were at least 30 BLM protesters there, and more than half of those were white women. The eye-witness thought there might have been an additional 20 persons siding with BLM, of whom some may have been Antifa. It is very common for BLM and Antifa to work together.
The BLM protesters had a city permit for a protest demonstration between 11 AM and 3 PM and were led by Bruce Wilson, a Democrat candidate for the 25th South Carolina Legislative District in 2018. A search of local court records in 2018 revealed Wilson has criminal convictions for cruelty to children, unlawful possession of a pistol, driving under suspension, resisting arrest, disorderly conduct, trespassing, aggravated assault, and false imprisonment.
There were about 40 Greenville Police officers at the site of the protest rally and possibly another 60 only a block or two away in 15 police cars.
About 50 of the counter-protesters on the ground were local members of the Sons of Confederate Veterans (SCV). In addition there were about 12 members of SCV mechanized cavalry on motorcycles. There were also about a dozen other motorcyclists siding with the counter-protesters. There were also 100 to 150 local citizens on the same side. These included some United Daughters of the Confederacy (UDC) members and family. A “Back the Blue” rally also occurred that morning, and some of them stayed to back the Confederate Monument. Some were members of Oath Keepers, a Constitutional defense organization popular with veterans and active and retired law enforcement officers.
There were also about 100 members of Three Percenters, who took the most active part in counter-protest noise. Three Percenters are a conservative patriotic group that believes in Constitutional rights, law, and order. They are emphatically pro-Second Amendment and against the type of mob violence and rule that has recently characterized the politics of the American Left in Minneapolis, Seattle, Portland, Atlanta, Chicago, and Washington D.C.
The Three Percenters policy is not to initiate violence, but they are determined that America must not submit to mob rule, bullying, and tyranny. They are going to push back. They do not have a race-based ideology, and no racial slurs were heard from them in Greenville. Their basic creed is:
“We stand for freedom, liberty, and the Constitution. We will oppose all those who are corrupt. We are America’s insurance policy. We will not see our Republic fall. We are everywhere. We are the three percent.”
According to an observer on the scene, the attire of the Three Percenters was varied, but they all wore combat boots. Many of them looked as physically formidable as Army Special Forces troops, but a bit older. Some of the biggest and toughest looking were right in the faces of the BLM protesters, and although they neither touched them nor cursed them, were loudly intimidating.
Although they seem well organized and disciplined, the Three Percenters are not a militia organization. They were first established in New England. Their name comes from the estimate that only three percent of Americans in the Revolutionary War openly opposed the British. The message is that it only takes a small dedicated minority to achieve great victories.
The Southern Poverty and Law Center (SPLC) in Atlanta, however, describes the Three Percenters as an extreme right-wing militia. The SPLC, however, is an extreme left-wing organization that seldom tells the truth about anything. They are, nevertheless influential in media, corporate, and political circles. Many articles on Google and increasingly in Wikipedia reflect the SPLC’s militant bias and desire to smear and discredit conservative causes and organizations. SPLC and Wikipedia also the use the internet web to smear and demonize Oath Keepers. SPLC consistently smears organizations defending the Constitution as extreme right, and Wikipedia is now damaging its own reputation for objectivity by following in the shadow of SPLC. This consistent demonization of patriot organizations sworn to defend the Constitution is extremely significant in light of nearly four years of extraordinary leftist Deep State, political, and media efforts to remove President Trump from office and the coming November 2020 national election.
The BLM participants had brought a bucket of paint to deface the lower part of the monument. The Three Percenters had apparently anticipated such an action. The paint bucket was concealed by BLM white women holding a wide banner. One of the Three Percenters went over the police barrier and successfully destroyed it, but was not arrested.
A conservative observer witnessed four of the five police arrests, but could not identify them as part of any group. Two were arrested for fighting and two for violating police barriers.
Back from the crowd and behind a short hedge in front of some trees was another group of 18 men obviously in sympathy with protecting the monument and counter protesters. These 18 men were outfitted in khaki and camouflage, combat boots, and carrying weapons. At least seven military style semi-automatic rifles could be seen in a photo.
The weapons were slung on their shoulders or across the front of their chests pointed down. They only watched and said nothing. The police were fully aware of them. South Carolina is an Open Carry State, and their presence was perfectly legal. About half of them had a common khaki baseball style hat, with a common insignia unreadable on the photograph. The group has not been identified so far, but one was wearing a Three Percenters T-shirt.
These 18 men may have been members of the Three Percenter Republic, which is a split-off of from the original Three Percenters. The Republic Group follows the same general rules as the original Three Percenter group, but there is some division of opinion between the two. Except for carrying weapons, however, this group was non-aggressive and silent. This unidentified armed group also fits the profile of Oath Keepers.
The Sons of Confederate Veterans were on the scene in the numbers counted above, but the SCV is restricted by its bylaws from aggressive political involvement. Their approach to such protests and counter-protests is non-violent presence and civil discourse only. Usually only a designated spokesperson reads or gives a speech. They maintained their discipline at the event. The SCV tends to concentrate on education. Many of them are frustrated that Greenville’s Mayor and City Council will not listen to them.
The speech and exhortations of BLM leader Bruce Wilson and the chanting of his BLM followers were largely drowned out by the sounds of motorcycle engines, car horns, and counter-chanting and shouting by a much larger and aggressive crowd of counter-protesters. The Greenville Police closed the protest at 3:00 PM, and Wilson and his diminishing following slipped away, probably reflecting that they had a very frustrating and bad day.
Several SCV and UDC members reflected that the Three Percenters had successfully intimidated BLM by overwhelming numbers showing noisy determination to reject BLM fake history, leftist politics, vandalism, and bullying. Perhaps they have set a precedent to reject one-sided conversation and the tactics and strategies of appeasement. This was a major pushback event.