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Oct 30, 22

Antifascists Defend Protest at UC Davis from Violent Attack by the Sacramento Proud Boys

Report on antifascist defense of a counter-rally against Turning Point USA on the UC Davis campus and how antifascists were able to protect it from an attack by Proud Boys.

On October 25th, protesters at UC Davis were violently attacked by a group of Proud Boys. The protesters had gathered in opposition to an event held by the far-Right student organization Turning Point USA, which featured systemic racism denier Stephen Davis, aka MAGA Hulk. This attack by the Proud Boy follows multiple attempts by the neo-fascists at intimidation in the local area. Last spring, Proud Boys dropped banners off of highway overpasses in Davis and appeared at meetings for the Davis Board of Education. Local Proud Boys have also worked in collaboration with the neo-Nazi group White Lives Matter (WLM) to harass Pride events and more recently, Proud Boys violently attempted to attack a drag show at Mojo’s in Woodland this summer.


After the TP-USA audience had gone inside the venue Tuesday night, a group of eight Proud Boys, including San Juan school board candidate Jeffrey Perrine, and known Proud Boy Tyler Greenhalgh, came out of the UC arboretum, behind the remaining protesters. The Proud Boys are a militant, fascist street gang who self-identify as “Western Chauvinists” and whose members rise in rank by using violence against activists and marginalized groups, especially members of the LGBTQ+ community. The eight who showed up on campus are affiliated with the Sacramento Proud Boys, a chapter that also has ties to white nationalist and neo-Nazi gangs as well as other far-Right, fascist organizations. Contrary to the coverage of this event by many news outlets, there was no 100-person brawl; rather, no more than 15-20 people protected the larger group of protesters by standing up to the coordinated assault by the Proud Boys.

Protesters had preemptively moved metal barricades to shield the crowd from fascist attacks. As the crowd turned around to face the Proud Boys, they approached head-on, and then flanked from the sides, but protesters quickly moved the barricades to block them from the rest of the crowd. This resulted in a 30-40 minute standoff between the two groups, during which Proud Boys took every opportunity to pick off protesters who were separated from the crowd. Several unsuspecting protesters and unaffiliated bystanders were met with extreme violence. Proud boys punched three people in the head (including at least one young woman), with such force that they were knocked to the ground. One of these attacks left the victim motionless on the concrete, seemingly unconscious.

At one point, a woman was seen talking to the Proud Boys and seemed familiar enough with them for one of the Proud Boys to put his arm around her. She later identified herself as a TPUSA member. She then proceeded to cross over to the side of the protesters while filming. She repeatedly got uncomfortably close to several protesters who tried to block her camera with signs. Several people asked her (nicely) to stop filming, expressing their discomfort. Filming protesters represents a threat to their well-being, especially when the person filming clearly shares an affinity with fascists. Photos and videos are frequently used to identify individuals who then become targets of violent fascist gangs like the Proud Boys and WLM. After multiple calls to back away and to stop filming were ignored, an incident ensued in which she claims she was hit with a chemical agent of some kind by the protesters. Proud Boys had already been using bear mace and pepper spray prior to this and the air was still heavily contaminated. She went back across the street to the Proud Boys where she spoke to Perrine, asking if she should call the police. In a video posted to Perrine’s YouTube channel, he can be heard saying, “They’re not going to come because they know we’re here. They want us to fight them.”

As the conflict continued, and the Proud Boys’ attempts to break through the barricade by throwing signs, using pepper spray, and other formation tactics failed, they were forced to retreat and were chased down the block by protesters. The Proud Boys were never able to get past the barricades. Not long after the protest died down,  the university announced the Stephen Davis talk had been cancelled due to events outside the building that constituted ‘grave danger.’

A statement from the student organization UC Davis Cops Off Campus put it well:

The events on the UC Davis campus last night before the supposed talk by Stephen Davis underscore three points: 1) Turning Point USA and their friends the Proud Boys have no interest in free speech or free protest; they are enthusiastic only about violence and have no place in any community committed to freedom. 2) UC Davis and other police have no capacity to keep anyone safe and no interest in doing so; they are a problem and not a solution. 3) That principled community defense will continue to be an absolute necessity in the face of rising white nationalist violence. We learned at Charlottesville; do we have to learn again and again while the administration talks about “both sides”? No one is free until everyone is free, and the proud ethnonationalists who make watchlists and attack crowds of protestors have no right to use the word “free” ever again. It should be ash in their mouths.

— Cops Off Campus, October 26, 2022

The evening also presented itself as a game changer for those who may not have fully grasped the seriousness of the ongoing struggle against fascism: we cannot simply plead with these people. Organizations like TP-USA and the Proud Boys represent an existential threat to everyone in our communities, particularly our BIPOC and LGBTQ+ friends, neighbors, and family members. These extremists groups cannot be taken lightly and should be forced out of any space where they choose to show their faces and by any means necessary.

Until all are free! Until every chain is broken! For a better world!

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