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On the night of May 13th a group of young white men met up at McKesey’s Irish Pub in Madison, WI. What started out as a quiet meeting in a booth near the door gradually became a raucous and drunken frat party in the upstairs lounge area. In the bathroom, things like “the west is the best”, “no wanks” and “proud boys” were scrawled on the walls. A drunk frat kid with a USA tank top and another with a “deplorables” shirt roam the bar, leaning in obnoxiously close to people and declaring that they were going to punch each other in the face over and over after they left, “just like a gang!” One of the boys questions a young Latinx in broken spanish about there citizenship while several others surround young women at the end of the bar like ravenous vultures. This was the scene of the first annual Midwest Proud Boys meetup.

We received word from anonymous local Chicagoland antifascists that they were aware of the meetup well in advance and decided to go scope it out. The Proud Boys have long been on the radar of antifascists as a group that cherry picks from fascist ideologies, attracting the interest of known white supremacists who now make up their ranks. In a previous reportback, an outed neo-nazi by the name of “Trigger” Tom Christensen, known for infiltrating antifa groups in Portland, having ties to Volksfront, regularly contributing to Stormfront, and has claimed responsibility for shooting a comrade in the back, was discovered to have been trying to start a Proud Boys chapter in Chicago. Despite social media claims, that was not a successful endeavor, nor will it ever be.

For those who are unaware, The Proud Boys are a group started by Gavin McGinnes, a 46-year-old millionaire who co-founded VICE. As mentioned, many of the tenets of The Proud Boys seem to be ripped right out of the reactionary fascists handbook, for example, “anti-political-correctness, anti-racial guilt, closed borders, anti-Islam” are just a few of their self-proclaimed beliefs. McGinnes believes that the borders should be closed down and all those within be forced to conform to a “white, western,  English speaking culture.”  Gavin McGinnes has also displayed extreme transphobia, referring to trans folx on his show recently as “gender n****ers”. To top it all off, one of the main tenets of their 4-level membership platform, and the only way to reach the “4th degree”, theyve openly declared war on antifascist ideology by imploring their members to “kick the crap out of antifa”. Anybody who finds common ground with these platforms is an obvious threat to the safety of our communities and Antifa everywhere will be happy to step up and knock these fucks back a few degrees on their membership.

Which brings us back to the Proud Boys Meetup in Madison, WI. The terrified, deer-in-the-headlights expression on this guys face is a result of the challenge issued by The Proud Boys, and the danger they pose to safety and freedom of members of our community. Meet Thaddeus Pall, who will find it much easier to meet their anti-masturbation criteria with broken hands. This excerpt from an anonymous communication will explain…

After they stumbled out of the pub, we followed the large group a few blocks toward the housing complex they lived in and were presumably going to discuss further recruitment and initiation details. They seemed to be stopping and waiting for one of their group who had separated from them a little earlier. Once the kept walking, we continued to follow the group before losing them after they entered a gated section of one of the complexes. We waited outside hoping to catch them on their way back out. It was then that the dude with the deplorables shirt came walking up, this was the one that had gotten separated from them. We said, “Whats up, Proud Boy?” and the rest you can see. He didnt take it well at all. “

Thaddeus Pall has since tweeted about his broken hand, bemoaning the mean bullies that did this to him. Who would’ve thought that espousing hateful and harmful ideology would come with consequences? There’s enough issue with another white male dominated group pervaded with toxic masculinity and hatred, but when these groups decide to flirt with aspects of fascist political rhetoric, they really bring the nazis out of the wood works, emboldening themselves and inspiring acts of hate-fueled violence abroad. You can call us the violent ones all you want, but we act in self defense and the defense of our friends and family. Any blow struck to the head of a fascist, any little fashy hand that is broken, is not an unprovoked act of violence but a blow struck in defense. With regard to The Proud Boys, never forget that you declared this war with antifascists. You’d do well to keep in mind that this isnt some movement that sprang up last November in reaction to another piece of shit in a long line of pieces of shit in power. Some of us have been in this fight a very long time and are not about to be intimidated by a group of entitled college brats who want to pretend to be militant and rub elbows with nazis. There are consequences to the actions you take and the hate you spew. So, Proud Boys, guard your wanking hands, because as long as your group exists and you continue to attempt to silence and incite violence against marginalized groups, Antifa will be there, maybe when you least expect it. Get well soon, Thaddeus. 🙂

left to right: andrew michael peterson (madison, WI), nicholas james watson (lacrosse, WI), mark christensen, luke endres, thaddeus emerson pall

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About the author:
South Side Chicago ARA
South Side Chicago chapter of the Torch anti-fascist network.