How “Based Stickman” & Proud Boys are Working with Neo-Nazis in So-Cal

Everyday brings us another story of growing far-Right insurgency and violence in defense of the crumbling illegitimacy of the Trump administration and the systems of patriarchy and white supremacy. Ongoing acts of arson and vandalism against mosques, Jewish cemeteries and places of worship, threats of violence and attempts at intimidation against journalists, and even out right murder are now all commonplace.

In the face of this reality, Alt-Right trolls and ‘journalists,’ their friends at mainstream outlets like Fox, and the Trump administration itself, have all been quick to jump on anything that reeks of “left-wing” violence as a means of distracting and mobilizing their base. From Kyle Chapman trying to connect James Hodgkinson to the antifascist movement, to the New Jersey Department of Homeland Security labeling antifa a “terrorist threat to the wider public,” both the State and the Right are attempting to overshadow their own growing violence by playing up fears of resistance from below.

A key component in building this fear has been the case of Eric Clanton. Clanton was arrested in the Bay Area of California after neo-Nazi trolls on 4chan started an online campaign to dox, harass, and get him arrested, claiming that Clanton attended and participated in clashes against an Alt-Right rally in Berkeley on April 15th. After receiving the information from Alt-Right trolls, the Berkeley police then conducted a raid of Eric’s house and he now faces felony charges. Currently, Eric is the only person to face charges stemming from the violent clashes that broke on between members of the Alt-Right and antifascists.

For the far-Right, Clanton represents a “bike lock” wielding maniac who, without provocation or remorse, attacked random and innocent ‘average’ Trump supporters attempting to exercise their freedom of speech. Thus, to the media and the outside world, the far-Right portrays themselves as hapless victims; defenders of liberal values like “free speech” and the right to protest. To themselves and their supporters however, the far-Right brags about “sacking” Berkeley; about beating up and attacking the weak “cocksuckers” and “neo-Marxists” who live there. This duality is important for their own image; both as soldiers fighting to defend Trump and “Western Civilization,” and also as helpless victims against internal enemies of the American empire.

However as we will show, some of the very people that Eric is accused of being involved in an altercation with are part of a well organized and extremely violent neo-Nazi organization that has broad connections with groups ranging from the Proud Boys, which is led by Kyle Chapman and Gavin McInnes, to the Hammerskin Nation, the notorious murderous neo-Nazi skinhead gang. These people were anything but ‘average’ Trump supporters, and instead represent a well organized and connected violent organization which even the Oath Keepers have pointed out, are using Trump and “Free Speech” rallies to recruit, organize, and engage in violence.

Furthermore, we will show that people involved in this group have a long history of being arrested for these violent acts, but like Kyle Chapman or Nathan Damigo, still have yet to see their charges stick. In short, it appears that there are two sets of laws, one for antifascists, and the other for neo-Nazis and the far-Right.

Because of this, Eric Clanton was targeted because he was an antifascist, as police worked directly with neo-Nazis on 4chan to do so. All the while, they gave a free pass to violent and known neo-Nazis and white supremacists, as well as openly working and meeting with members of militia and Alt-Right groups who helped coordinate the event on April 15th. In other words, at each and every step, the police worked hand in hand with some of the most violent and extreme elements of the far-Right.

This reality is both frightening and alarming. In one of the most progressive cities in the United States, police are openly working with far-Right groups in order to not only repress and attack anarchists and antifascists, but also single them out for arrest and felony charges.

But in order to understand the danger we face, we must first begin to understand the players involved.

DIY Division: A Neo-Nazi Fighting Force

DIY Division, or more recently, the Rise Above Movement, is a loose collective of violent neo-Nazis and fascists from Southern California that’s organized and trains primarily to engage in fighting and violence at political rallies. They have been a central participant in the recent wave of far-Right protest movements in California during the first half of 2017 which have attempted to mobilize a broad range of right-wing constituents under the banners of protecting so-called “free speech,” unyielding support for Trump, and antipathy towards Muslims, immigrants, and other oppressed groups.

DIY Division aka Rise Above Movement
Front row: Benjamin Daley (left), Robert Rundo (center), and Spencer Currie (right)

The group’s members are directly affiliated with or are themselves members of many factions in the neo-Nazi, racist skinhead, Alt-Right, and Alt-Light movements which include groups such Identity Evropa, Proud Boys, Kyle “Based Stickman” Chapman and his ‘Alt-knight’ and ‘helmet-head’ cult following, the Red Elephants media outlet, as well the largest national network of neo-Nazi skinheads in the US known as the Hammerskin Nation.

DIY Division in Berkeley on 4/15 with Robert Boman holding an anti-Semitic sign

DIY Division’s approach is a combination of the same meme heavy social media presence, fashy haircuts, and identitarianism that is characteristic of the Alt-Right along with the more traditional street fighting and physical fitness emphasis of neo-Nazi skinheads. While a number of members who are also part of the Hammerskin Nation fit the image of the stereotypical neo-Nazi skinhead with bomber jackets, boots, and shaved heads, most members, which tend to be in their early to late 20s, adhere to more of a ‘Richard Spencer in activewear’ kind of look.

“Fash pride worldwide” a play on Stromfront’s “White pride worldwide” slogan posted by Robert Boman. ‘Fash’ is short for fascist. 

Thus far, members of DIY Division have engaged in acts of violence with uninterrupted impunity at political rallies which include demonstrations in Huntington Beach (3/25), Berkeley (4/15), and San Bernardino (6/10). In doing so, they have directly cultivated and developed ties with many of the noted figures and factions in this movement. Most of these factions such as the Proud Boys continually deny their apparent racist and white nationalist politics by hiding behind nationalistic, American chauvinist, and pro-Trump rhetoric and deploying worn out manipulations around “free speech” and token people of color which sadly, still remain highly potent and paralysis-inducing to most liberals.

Robert Rundo (left) and Hunter Benya in Berkeley on April 15th. 

What’s significant about DIY Division is that they are an openly neo-Nazi group unlike most of the Alt-Right/Lite which attempts to obfuscate and mystify their true political ambitions in order to deflect being correctly labeled as white nationalists and fascists. This creates a compromising situation for these groups as they continually try to both reject claims of not being racist while directly working, collaborating, and organizing with unabashed neo-Nazis.

Robert Boman shares coverage of their violence by neo-Nazi site Daily Stormer.

As we continue, we will explore the various connections existing between DIY Division and the greater far-Right and white nationalist groups currently active on the ground on the West Coast. We will look into how they have acted as the muscle for these groups, and how they concurrently rely on an entryist strategy of creeping into more mainstream right-wing and pro-Trump segments to further normalize and entrench racist violence and fascism in the US.

DIY Division in San Bernardino (6/10). Juan “Benitez” Cadavid from the Proud Boys in middle with arm raised. 

Courage, Identity, Tyler Durden

The group’s ideology appears to be a mishmash of mostly equal parts Identity Evropa’s flaccid identitarian discourse (itself inspired by fascist organizations like Generation Identity from France) and the fetishization of masculinity, physical fitness, and violence mixed with the shallow anti-corporate and anti-consumerist themes of the film Fight Club. Propaganda by the group overwhelmingly contains the usual fascistic themes of emasculated young white men needing to reclaim their identities through learning to fight and engaging in purifying violence.

To this end, the group regularly meets in public parks or the homes of members to train in boxing and other fighting techniques. Images of this training are used for recruitment on their social media, and juxtaposed with quotes from fascist figures such as Julius Evola. The group seems to be particularly fond of posting shirtless photos of masked up members doing pull ups which are overlaid with the group’s name.

DIY Division members training in a park.

DIY Division also espouses a vague and pop culture influenced anti-consumerism message similar to Fight Club, a film where the white male protagonist attempts to find meaning in his emasculated yuppie life through starting an underground fighting club which eventually leads to the formation of a proto-fascist cult lead by the protagonist himself. The group’s propaganda makes plenty of references to these types of themes, and decries the perceived weakness that modern society breads in men. The overwhelming message is that a return to a vague and undefined form of traditionalism (another common neo-Nazi theme) and anti-modernity are direly needed for white men, all while simultaneously placing a central importance on social media, memes, and other contemporary technologies to further their message.

Robert Rundo (left) and Robert Boman.

The group’s propaganda also emphasizes an anti-drug or straight edge message which again, is a common theme among certain segments of neo-Nazis who often view substances (excluding alcohol apparently) as part of a global Jewish conspiracy to weaken the white race. Despite this, many members use a wide range of substances, and have histories of being arrested for drunken fighting and possession in the past. One member, Tyler Laube (21) of Redondo Beach has a long history of arrests for DUI, drunken fighting, carrying a switchblade, and robbery – he even managed to get himself shot in 2014 during a drunken fight.

DIY Member Tyler Laube with a gun shot wound

Little Men with Fashy Haircuts

DIY Division first came to the attention of Bay Area antifascist researchers when they attended the 4/15 rally in Berkeley with Nathan Damigo. Damigo is the founder and leader of the neo-Nazi group Identity Evropa and a felon convicted of a racist armed robbery against a middle eastern cab driver. Damigo gained national attention when footage of him cowardly sucker punching a woman antifascist protester and quickly running away went viral, and was met with a strong backlash from the internet and media. As of this writing no charges have been filed against Damigo for the assault, and he has gone on to brag and joke about the assault in subsequent public appearances. Damigo and DIY Division traveled to and from Berkeley together, while the latter acted as protection for the pint-sized fascist leader as they collectively carried out many violent assaults against protesters and journalists.

Nathan Damigo assaulting an antifascist protester while backed up by Robert Boman of DIY Division. 

The group arrived early in the morning to Berkeley with a massive banner reading “Defend America” along with signs bearing anti-Semitic messages such as “Da Goyim Know,” a common racist meme among the Alt-Right. They were generally dressed in grey activewear with skull lower face masks, protective goggles, and taped up knuckles, ready to fight. Clearly, DIY Division had the explicit intention of not only fighting, but also hurting and injuring antifascists. After all, this is what they had trained to do. 

DIY Division with Nathan Damigo walking along the streets of Berkeley. 

Earlier in the day, Robert Rundo (27) of San Clemente was arrested and charged with battery and obstruction of a police officer. Rundo stands out as one of the leaders of the crew both for his aggressive actions when the group attends rallies, and for acting as the group’s primary fighting coach. Soon after a contingent of black bloc antifascists ignored the parameter setup by Berkeley police and marched into the park, Rundo and others began verbally engaging with antifa. Insults were exchanged and Rundo was triggered by jokes about him skipping leg days at the gym and the tiny Hammer of Thor pendant he was wearing correlating to the size of his penis. This caused Rundo to violently lash out and attempt to attack antifa by crossing the barriers set up by police with other members. He was arrested shortly after attacking people on the antifa side. Rundo’s name along with many others arrested on the 15th were published by Berkeley PD and circulated by local media.

Rundo’s actions clearly shows a desire to not only escalate the situation to violence, but also a desire to physically provoke and attack antifascists at all costs. Moreover, despite his arrest, he like Chapman and Damigo, have yet to see any consequences develop for their violent activities. As we will show, this is a pattern that has repeated over, and over again.

Robert Rundo was arrested by Berkeley PD and released without charges. 

After Rundo’s arrest, other DIY Division members went on to carry out more assaults including attacks on members of By Any Means Necessary or BAMN (not affiliated with NoCARA) and the theft of their banner with the help of Damigo. They would go on to pose for photographs with the trophy BAMN banner, and brag about the assaults committed against BAMN members on their social media accounts. This shows that unlike anarchists and antifascists who are heavily surveilled, for neo-Nazis and those on the far-Right, their admission of violent acts on social media goes without any form of consequence from the State.

In the photograph below, we can see DIY Division members such as Spencer Currie (24), Robert Boman (24), Benjamin Daley (24), and Nathan Damigo and his unidentified companion all grabbing the BAMN banner and committing assaults, including pulling people into their crowd and stomping them as a group.

DIY Division and Identity Evropa attacks BAMN members and other counter-protesters. 

Later on, Robert Boman who was actively attacking people got a face full of pepper spray. He was quickly ushered off to safety by Joey Gibson aka the leader of Patriot Prayer based out of Washington. Gibson is a prominent organizer of so-called “free speech” rallies who gained national attention after a neo-Nazi who attended one of his protests while giving fascist salutes (soon after was seen shaking hands with an Identity Evropa organizer) murdered two people on a Portland train and attempted to kill another. At his first court appearance he declared, “Death to antifa!”

Joey Gibson aka ‘Patriot Prayer’ ushering neo-Nazi Robert Boman off to safety. 

During these actions and the subsequent fights that broke out on the edges of MLK park, DIY Division members and other combative fascists were seen closely flanked by Sean Stiles, later to be known as “Sriracha Man” due to his shirt, a man that was later hit in the head with a bike lock. Stiles fraternized, engaged in fighting, and posed for photos with DIY members as they assaulted anyone perceived as ‘antifa’ or even non-Right journalists. Videos and photos make it clear that Stiles was very much in the fray, and enthusiastically supported the actions taken by the neo-Nazi of DIY Divison.

Weeks after the Berkeley rally, East Bay antifascist Eric Clanton was arrested as a suspect for the bike lock attack against Stiles and another individual, and was charged with multiple felonies with the police relying solely on photoshopped images created by 4chan users and circulated on social media as evidence.

Sean Stiles (red t-shirt) participates in attacking anti-fascists using a dumpster as battering ram and is seen throughout the day with DIY Division members. His shirt has a sticker which reads, “FEMINIST TEARS.” 

Despite a consistent history of the Alameda County District Attorney pursuing aggressive charges against arrested anarchists, anti-fascists, and other left-wing protesters, the DA has chosen not to pursue charges against Rundo, Damigo, or any of the other fascists that were arrested or documented attacking people that day. Rundo has a prior class C felony conviction in New York for gang assault in 2010 and has served a one year sentence for this conviction. There is ample evidence showing easily identifiable DIY members and other fascists engaging in violence, yet they were allowed by the police to carry out their attacks without suffering any consequences. This lies in contrast to the charges leveled against Eric Clanton without any substantive evidence and strictly on the basis of the work of anonymous 4chan neo-Nazi trolls.

Left: Sean Stiles enjoys posing for photos with DIY Division, who give the Alt-Right “OK” hand signal.
Right: Nathan Damigo and DIY Division show off a trophy from their violent rampage.

The systemic white supremacy and coddling of fascists by the Alameda County DA and the US legal system more generally should be plainly apparent to all. We as anarchists and anti-fascists reject the legitimacy and “justice” of the State and its legal institutions, and do not rely on the system for bringing fascists like Rundo to account. We stand with all those facing charges, incarceration, and post-release supervision by the State for resisting and surviving under this putrid patriarchal white supremacist capitalist social order.

Proud of Your Goys

Before their violent attacks in Berkeley, DIY Division members garnered media attention for other acts of violence at a pro-Trump rally in Huntington Beach on March 25th. The group was seen with the same large “Defend America” banner they had in Berkeley, and were the initiators of the fights that broke out with antifascists.

DIY Division in Huntington Beach where violent attacks on counter-protesters broke out. Later, this same banner would be seen in Berkeley on April 15th. 

Footage and images from the rally that show Rundo beating and elbowing a downed black-clad anti-fascist were widely circulated in reports. Despite Rundo’s thoroughly documented assault, the police were quick instead to arrest antifa protesters and charge them for offenses including the use of pepper spray. These charges were later dropped by the local DA.

Robert Rundo assaulting an anti-fascist protester during a pro-Trump rally. Neo-Nazis in attendance reportedly chanted, “Pinochet,” during the attack, in reference to the fascist dictator. 

Also present at the rally, was a key southern California fascist and later Proud Boy chapter leader of Kyle “Based Stickman” Chapman’s Fraternal Order of Alt-Knights (FOAK), Juan Cadavid (29) of Santa Ana. Cadavid who has gone by a number of different aliases, and has gone by “Johnny Benitez” since early April, has positioned himself as one of the region’s more prominent fascist leaders after gaining attention for assaulting people in Berkeley on April 15th. Cadavid has coordinated racist anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim events as well as other Proud Boy and FOAK gatherings with the direct involvement and participation of the DIY Division neo-Nazis such as Benjamin Daley.

Juan Cadavid aka Johnny Benitez posing with DIY Division. 

While steadfastly denying his clear racism and fascist politics, Cadavid is quite fond of pointing out how similarly he looks to the neo-Nazi skinhead character Derek Vinyard of the film American History X. He’s even gone so far as to reenact the brutal “curb stomping” scene from the film. Cadavid is frequently seen posing for photos with the group which includes a number of group photos that DIY Division shared on their own Instagram account.

Cadavid directly tags Benjamin Daley in his posts, and works with him to organize events. On the right, he plays out the ‘curb stomping’ scene in ‘American History X.’ 

What’s significant is that the Proud Boys and its founder Gavin McInnes go to great pains to constantly claim that their organization is not racist or fascist and that it’s merely a ‘Western Chauvinist’ club for men of any race. While the idea of western chauvinism is itself a more palpable and less offensive to the mainstream than upfront white supremacy, the clear pattern of racist, misogynist, and violent actions by Cadavid and the Proud Boys is undeniable. Moreover, McInnes has claimed that neo-Nazis “don’t exist anymore.” Not only is this assertion outlandish and undeniably false, but this and other reports have shown clearly the close relationships that exist between McInnes’ Proud Boys and the more outright neo-Nazi types such as DIY Division. What is clear instead, is that both groups need each other. The Proud Boys need the numbers and the muscle of the neo-Nazis, while the neo-Nazis need the cover of pro-Trump groups.

Recently, members of both the Proud Boys and DIY Division have begun to organize monthly get togethers in Laguna Beach, and are seen in the photo above holding banners that bear the symbol of ‘Identity Generation,’ a white nationalist group in Europe, alongside Trump and American flags.

The Red Sycophants

Another southern California group that supports and celebrates the actions of DIY Division are the Red Elephants. The Red Elephants are right-wing media group that specializes in publishing the usual endless array of conspiracy theories and pro-Trump bullshit as well as livestreaming right-wing protests and constantly asking for donations.

Vincent James with DIY member Robert Boman. 

The group’s primary streamer, Vincent James is personally familiar with members of DIY Division, and has enthusiastically covered and promoted their acts of violence at protests which has included attacks on journalists and photographers. Vincent dubbed Rundo “Based Elbow Man” for his assault on an anti-fascist protester in Huntington Beach. Later in the stream, Vincent is seen posing with with DIY members, praising their actions, and using an image of the assault as a thumbnail for his video titled “ANTIFA ROCKED by Trump Supporters.”

Vincent James shakes hands with Robert Rundo of DIY Divison. 

Vincent would later meet up and with Rundo in Berkeley, shake his hand, and proceed to cover his attacks. As members of DIY attacked people, Vincent can be heard on the livestream yelling things like, “Get that fucking cuck!,” as DIY members and other fascists piled on and beat up a black-clad protester. The message from Red Elephants is clear: neo-Nazi violence is to be valorized, meme’d, and promoted.

The Red Elephants Coverage of DIY Division

Crossover Membership with the Hammerskin Nation

The presence of the Hammerskin Nation neo-Nazi organization is clearly apparent in the membership of DIY Division. Members such as Skyler Segeberg (24), Matt Branstetter (25), Spencer Currie (24), and Benjamin Daley (24) are noted for their affiliations with or being patched in members of the organization. The Hammerskin Nation has a long history of white supremacist violence and murder including the massacre of 6 people in a Wisconsin Sikh temple by Wade Michael Page in 2012.

Skyler Segeberg and Spencer Currie, DIY Division and Hammerskin Nation members.  

During DIY Division’s rampage in Berkeley, members such as Daley were frequently seen making the Hammerskin salute which starts out as a closed fist Roman (Nazi) salute and transitions into a gesture of crossed arms with clenched fists in reference to the Hammerskin logo. Additionally, Segeberg and Currie are part of a Hammerskin band named Hate Your Neighbors, and have performed at their gatherings in the past.

Benjamin Daley making the neo-Nazi Hammerskin salute in Berkeley on April 15th. 

Many of these individuals such as Segeberg are also connected with other California and beyond neo-Nazis such as members of the Golden State Skinheads (GSS), whom stabbed 6 anti-fascist and anti-racist protesters in Sacramento on June 26th last year under the banner of the Traditionalist Worker Party (TWP). It’s clear that DIY Division as a political collective is working hard to bridge the gap between the more internet-based Alt-Right brand of white nationalism which is targeted to appeal to younger, generally more educated and upper-class white men and the more traditional boots on the ground and street violence which has characterized neo-Nazi skinhead politics.

The Fraternal Order of Scotchgard

Since his meteoric ascension to warrior god status among the nerd Nazis and LARP enthusiasts of the Alt-Right/Lite, Kyle “Based Stickman” Chapman has made a lucrative career out of helping his devoted fanbase part with their money through selling merchandise and begging for donations. Soon after his arrest in Berkeley on March 4th and being venerated as a meme, a constant stream of embarrassing and damning revelations were made about him and his life by antifascist researchers and the media alike. Highlights include multiple felony convictions for crimes including robbery, grand theft, and the illegal possession and attempted sale of a shotgun and SKS military caliber rifle as a felon, and perhaps most embarrassing the revelation that his drug of choice is the aerosol fabric protectant Scotchgard.

Kyle Chapman’s ever expanding line of merchandise, don’t forget the Scotchgard.

DIY members were quick to tap into the upsurge of right-wing interest and fandom for Chapman as a result of the Stickman meme, and quickly connected with him and many of the his associates after April 15th. DIY members were added to private Facebook organizing groups created by Chapman and associates such as “Warrior heroes of Berkeley 2.0,” and lavished with huge amounts of praise and shares for their violent actions in Berkeley.

Despite mountains of evidence to the contrary, Chapman remains steadfast in his denial that he is a white supremacist, while reality paints a much different picture. Starting with his Facebook page, Chapman likes and follows a variety of Alt-Right, neo-Nazi, and far-Right social media accounts and is constantly dog whistling (more like using a bullhorn) and pandering to his white nationalist fanbase by invoking neo-Nazi tropes such as white genocide and sharing photos of bacon grease coated bullets to kill Muslims. He openly works alongside fascists such as August Invictus and white nationalist personalities like Brittany Pettibone, Baked Alaska, and Lauren Southern, and even has plans to attend a neo-Nazi rally on August 12th in Virginia to provide “security.” Like the Proud Boys, Chapman is a useful tool for neo-Nazis to mainstream and popularize their movement, while they in turn provide numbers and muscle for the ‘Alt-Knights.”

Neo-Nazi poses with DIY Division for photos.

In the wake of April 15th, images surfaced from the front lines of the Berkeley rally of various individuals making Roman salutes and wearing and displaying neo-Nazi and fascist paraphernalia. While many were horrified, Chapman was quick to pull the “fake news” card and took to social media to claim that these individuals were false flag neo-Nazis that were in reality ‘undercover antifa.’ Especially of concern was an image shot by the reporter Shane Bauer of Mother Jones that shows two individuals making Roman salutes with one of them holding a shield made of skateboard decks and painted with the Black Sun symbol that’s widely used by neo-Nazis.

Robert Boman shares Kyle Chapman’s conspiracy theory about false flag neo-Nazis who are really ‘undercover antifa.’ 

Chapman’s claims were widely shared by his fanbase, ironically, including by Robert Boman and other DIY members. This was a flagrant attempt at deception on the part of Chapman and in fact, DIY members and Nathan Damigo posed for multiple photos with the two neo-Nazis in question after the Berkeley rally. Considering that Boman and other members continually post neo-nazi material to their social media and openly identify themselves and their collective as fascist, the fact that even they are parroting the denials and conspiracy theories of fascists like Chapman is indicative of just how central their strategy of manipulation and obfuscation is to their politics and methodology for bringing their ideas into the mainstream.

Neo-nazis that were captured in widely circulated images making Roman salutes later pose for photos with DIY Division and Nathan Damigo. 

Based Skywalker

Another close Chapman confidant is Luke “Based Skywalker” Dennis (36) of Huntington Beach who is also a Proud Boy and FOAK member. Dennis was arrested along with Chapman on April 15th, and has since remained a key ally of Chapman in southern California. Dennis livestreams under LastRevolutionMedia, and is connected with members of DIY Division such as Benjamin Daley as well as other Proud Boys like Juan Cadavid.

More recently, Dennis, along with other streamers like Vincent James and Tim Pool covered the anti-Muslim protests in San Bernardino organized by ACT for America on June 10th. Taking part in the San Bernardino protest was none other than DIY Division. Footage shot by Dennis and others shows the events of the day where the group attacks a number of counter protesters leaving the rally by running across the street which resulted in a chaotic police chase with DIY members running in every direction. Dennis can be heard on his stream shouting, “Fuck yeah! Get some!,” as a mob led by DIY members chases and assaults counter-protesters for no apparent reason other than they’d caught their attention as the group left the area.

The masked individual in the image from the DIY Division Instagram was arrested and released without charges.

Soon after, the group was met with a half-hearted attempt by the police to halt their attacks. Eventually, at least one of them was detained but later released, unsurprisingly, without charges. Later, once everyone dispersed during attacks had rallied back at the gas station where the rally was originally being held, Rundo and other DIY members are seen again. He turns to Vincent James’ livestream with a big smile and says, “See that? Another victory!”

Post Berkeley

After the Berkeley clashes, it should also be noted that both Lauren Southern, Kyle Chapman, and Baked Alaska all moved closer and closer towards the Alt-Right, white nationalism, and all out neo-Nazism. On June 25th, Baked Alaska, gave a speech along side Nathan Damigo and Richard Spencer at a rally in Washington DC. Alongside Alaska was August Invictus, a fascist organizer in white power circles who also is an organizer with the Proud Boys and the Alt-Knights. Alaska will also appear at a rally with other neo-Nazis in Charlottesville, VA on August 12th. Alaska has continued to share and popularize white nationalist and neo-Nazi talking points, while also decrying anyone that calls him such as “fake news.” Kyle Chapman is also reported to be planning on attending the August 12th rally, doing defense against antifa. Lauren Southern has also moved to work heavily with Generation Identity, a French white nationalist group that along with Southern blocked a boat of refugees from coming onto French soil as part of a publicity stunt.

Members of DIY Division outside Lauren Southern’s talk at Cal Poly SLO

Proud Boy chapters have also moved closer and closer to neo-Nazi circles. It has been documented that Proud Boy leader Gavin McInnes speaks regularly with Mike Peinovich of The Right Stuff (TRS) podcast network. McInnes has stated that many Proud Boy chapters are planning on attending the neo-Nazi rally on August 12th, while Mike Peinovich boasts that many Proud Boys are open to white nationalism.

After Berkeley, members of DIY Division showed up to May Day actions in Los Angeles as well as Lauren Southern’s talk at Cal Poly SLO on May 25th, hoping to provoke more activists on the Left into fighting. Ben Daley of DIY Division who runs a tree removal business based out of Manhattan Beach where he has also employed other members of the group.

Surf Nazis Gotta Go

On a warm and sunny day in late May, DIY members gathered around a public beach fire pit they’d already decorated with the full range of Nazi and white nationalist symbols for a good old fashioned book burning.

They flew the flags of the white nationalist cross, Confederacy, and Black Sun as they tossed into the fire titles like Anne Frank’s diary, a novelization of the film Schindler’s List, and the 9/11 Commission Report along with any other books they deemed “Cultural Marxist” or they associated with Jews that they could get their hands on.

The oppressed defenders of free speech carry out a book burning, (Tim Gillen, left, Benjamin Daley, right).

The intentional spectacle of a book burning by the same people promoting their own political violence under the banner of “free speech” and the defensive violence of anti-fascists and anti-racists as oppression – is very telling. It’s highly indicative of the level of commitment that people in this movement actually have to the liberal concepts of free speech and expression. These are the same people attacking peaceful counter-protesters in San Bernardino for “holding different views than them,” a phrase often incessantly repeated by the same people when directly confronted over their practiced violence and white supremacist aggression by antifascists.

It’s clear that with each protest and consequence-free rampage the group carries out, they are emboldened to further up the ante on their aggression and violence. When they first began attacking black-clad antifascists and anarchists or even reporters, they had the overwhelming support of the mainstream of Trump supporters at these events as well as support from white nationalists and fascists on the fringes of the far-Right. Now, as we have seen members of the far-Right mobilizing to attack even liberal ‘impeachment’ permitted rallies, we expect with this new found confidence their targets for violence will increase in scale and scope.

And it is this violence which has also been met with a kind of tacit approval by many liberals who view militant confrontations against the ever growing threat of grassroots fascism as horrific as the actions of the fascists themselves. Meanwhile, in the face of a growing anarchist movement, much of the media has parroted the idea that ‘both extremes’ are equally as bad; while one side fights against dictatorship and genocide, and the other promotes them.

That is to say, in the minds of some liberals, the antifascists brought it upon themselves by engaging in militant and direct action-based tactics when standing up to fascists rolling into their city from all over the country. These ideas serve liberals quite well as they are absolutely not interested in engaging with any real world struggles against the dominant power structures of society, and now find themselves in the crosshairs of a growing fascist movement

Image from the DIY Division Instagram. Physical removal is a common meme in fascist circles referring to the extermination of people that are ideologically incompatible with fascism such as anarchists and communists.

In their latest actions, DIY Division has graduated to directly attacking groups of people for simply being associated with a counter-protest against Islamophobia and bigotry. This hasn’t changed the level of enthusiastic support and promotion from the mainstream of Trump supporters and the factions of the right-wing protest movement on the west coast. Thus, despite the constantly parroted excuse that their violence is defensive, is evaporating with their recent attacks and acts of aggression. This signifies a broadening of the range of targets for the group’s violence.

Being a liberal fence sitter and passively holding a sign with an anti-hate message aren’t going to protect you from the violence of neo-Nazis like DIY Division should they be successful in further growing and expanding their movement. They don’t care about your free speech, your moral high ground, or your peaceful protest. They will beat your ass.

What are you going to do when the people that aspire to annihilate you for simply existing as a liberal or leftist, a person of color, a woman refusing to conform to traditional gender roles, a queer, trans or non-gender conforming person, or someone with disabilities are treated with a catch and release policy by the police and State you’ve placed the entirety of your trust in?

Deluded liberal hands out cards inviting people to an “empathy tent” while DIY members get ready for battle behind him.

There is no confronting the growing threat of grass roots fascism and white nationalism in the US without addressing the root of this problem: the very fabric and foundations of this society. White supremacist violence, be it in the form of neo-Nazis attacking political rallies and people on the street, or the State and capitalism systematically murdering and incarcerating millions of black, brown, indigenous people are both the daily reality of how this system functions. This is why our antifascist politics must not only set out to confront the growing problem of grassroots white nationalism in a direct and practical way, but we must always maintain and pursue a greater revolutionary movement and strategy to transform this society and cut out the very cancerous tumor that secretes infectious discharges like DIY Division.

We stand with all those fighting back against fascism and white supremacy in all it’s societal permutations. Solidarity is the only effective weapon when faced with State repression, and support for our comrades and political prisoners is an inseparable aspect of that solidarity. We encourage all to take up the important task of developing their capacity for self-defense and getting organized towards building the kinds of strong communities that can send violent scum like DIY Division packing.

If you have information about DIY Division and their associates that you’d like to share with us, please contact: diy.division [at] protonmail [dot] com


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About the author:
Northern California Anti-Racist Action NoCARA
Northern California Anti-Racist Action (NoCARA) is dedicated to building a regional capacity for self-defense against fascism, patriarchy, and white supremacy. Combating and contesting white nationalist, right-wing extremist and Neo-Nazi groups and their ideals, as well as the forces of structural white supremacy and patriarchy that these groups seek to defend and uphold. Creating a movement and culture of resistance that new people can come into and engage with, as we in turn build power and capacity for positive change within our own communities.