Neo-Nazi who attacked Amtrak train revealed as Unite the Right participant

Luke Barnes

Luke Barnes Reporter, Think Progress

A neo-Nazi who boarded an Amtrak train armed with a gun and broke into the engine compartment to disable the train has been revealed to have attended the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia last August, and marched next to accused domestic terrorist James Alex Fields.

Taylor Wilson was sentenced to 14 years in prison on Friday in Lincoln, Nebraska for boarding the train in October. After entering the engine compartment, he cut the lights to the passenger compartment and disabled the train, causing panic among passengers.

Wilson, who was a card-carrying member of the neo-Nazi National Socialist Movement, said shortly after that he was “trying to save the train from black people”. Authorities later found white supremacist documents, 1,000 rounds of ammunition, and a tactical shield behind a secret compartment in his house. According to VICE News, Wilson was also suspected of putting up “whites only” signs at businesses.

On Monday however, it was revealed by the independent media collective Unicorn Riot that not only was Wilson an avowed white supremacist, but that he’d actively participated in the Unite the Right rally, said he wanted to be a martyr for the white supremacist cause, and had spoken regularly with members of the now-defunct Traditionalist Worker’s Party in the run-up to the Charlottesville rally. According to Unicorn Riot’s leaked chats, Wilson frequently attended far-right rallies, boasting that he’d been to one in Pikeville, Kentucky as well as an earlier march in Charlottesville prior to Unite the Right.

Wilson was also seen marching side-by-side with James Alex Fields Jr., who stands accused of ramming his car into a group of counter-protesters, killing Heather Heyer and injuring dozens more. Fields, who has also been indicted on federal hate crimes charges, faces trial later in November.

Wilson is just the latest domino to fall in the line of white supremacists who attended the Charlottesville rally last year. Just last week, four members of the far-right Rise Above Movement (RAM) in California were charged with inciting a riot and assault who, according to the complaint, traveled from California to Charlottesville with the intention, “(a) to incite a riot, (b) to organize, promote, encourage, participate in, and carry on in a riot, (c) as having ‘participated in violent encounters in Charlottesville.'”

According to ProPublica, RAM is a self-styled far-right fight club, and its members were among the most violent at Charlottesville.

Posted In: Allied Approaches

Union Matters

Federal Minimum Wage Reaches Disappointing Milestone

By Kathleen Mackey
USW Intern

A disgraceful milestone occurred last Sunday, June 16.

That date officially marked the longest period that the United States has gone without increasing federal the minimum wage.

That means Congress has denied raises for a decade to 1.8 million American workers, that is, those workers who earn $7.25 an hour or less. These 1.8 million Americans have watched in frustration as Congress not only denied them wages increases, but used their tax dollars to raise Congressional pay. They continued to watch in disappointment as the Trump administration failed to keep its promise that the 2017 tax cut law would increase every worker’s pay by $4,000 per year.

More than 12 years ago, in May 2007, Congress passed legislation to raise the minimum wage to $7.25 per hour. It took effect two years later. Congress has failed to act since then, so it has, in effect, now imposed a decade-long wage freeze on the nation’s lowest income workers.

To combat this unjust situation, minimum wage workers could rally and call their lawmakers to demand action, but they’re typically working more than one job just to get by, so few have the energy or patience.

The Economic Policy Institute points out in a recent report on the federal minimum wage that as the cost of living rose over the past 10 years, Congress’ inaction cut the take-home pay of working families.  

At the current dismal rate, full-time workers receiving minimum wage earn $15,080 a year. It was virtually impossible to scrape by on $15,080 a decade ago, let alone support a family. But with the cost of living having risen 18% over that time, the situation now is far worse for the working poor. The current federal minimum wage is not a living wage. And no full-time worker should live in poverty.

While ignoring the needs of low-income workers, members of Congress, who taxpayers pay at least $174,000 a year, are scheduled to receive an automatic $4,500 cost-of-living raise this year. Congress increased its own pay from $169,300 to $174,000 in 2009, in the middle of the Great Recession when low income people across the country were out of work and losing their homes. While Congress has frozen its own pay since then, that’s little consolation to minimum wage workers who take home less than a tenth of Congressional salaries.

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A Friendly Reminder

A Friendly Reminder