Filed under: Action, Anti-fascist, Pacific, White Supremacy
Report on how the leader of the “Straight Pride” rallies in Modesto, CA built a broad far-Right network while promoting explicitly white nationalist and anti-Semitic ideas. Originally posted to No H8 In the Valley.
In April of 2019, Don J Grundmann took the stage at the annual Constitution Party convention. His speech was par the course for the self-described white nationalist who blames Jews and the LGBTQ+ community for the downfall of the United States. After praising Putin and claiming climate change is a hoax, Grundmann then got to his favorite topic, attacking the LGBTQ+ community. “When you see an LGBT event, that is a Satanic event – that is a Satanic religious ceremony,” he told the crowd. “There is no such thing as transgender…it doesn’t exist. There’s also no such thing as gay, the proper word is ‘Sodomite.’ It’s Christianity vs Satanism…It’s a spiritual, religious war….” Grundmann then went on to invite those gathered to the fourth annual “Straight Pride” rally in Modesto, CA, in August of 2022, stating that Jesse Lee Peterson, who ironically has recently been accused of “grooming” his male followers for sex, would once again MC the event, marking four years of “Straight Pride” rallies in Modesto.
From Laughing Stock to White Nationalist Leader
In 2019, Grundmann, a former member of Operation Rescue, a militant anti-abortion organization that called for the killing of doctors, gained 15 minutes of fame after describing his latest organization, the “California Straight Pride Coalition,” as a “peaceful racist group” at a Modesto city council meeting. Those at the meeting, who in the hundreds had come out to demand that Grudmann’s group be denied a permit for their upcoming ‘Straight Pride’ parade, erupted into laughter.
The clip of Grundmann getting incredibly angry and flustered quickly went viral. But while liberals across the US were laughing at Grundmann safely from the comfort of their screens, behind the scenes, Grundmann was building a network that included faith leaders, members of fascist and militia groups, local Republican insiders, Qanon followers, and those opposed to vaccine mandates and masks – all while promoting an openly white nationalist platform that attacked Jews and the LGBTQ+ community. Some of those who took part in the yearly “Straight Pride” rallies outside of Planned Parenthood alongside Grundmann would go on to storm the Washington DC capitol on January 6th and some even became connected to a string of murders against law enforcement in the bay area carried out by Boogaloo Boys. In the months following Grundmann addressing the city council, local churches, synagogues, a Sikh temple, and the Modesto Pride center were all hit by racist and white supremacist violence and vandalism – a trend which has only escalated as time has gone on.
The Straight Pride rally in Modesto also kicked off a wave of far-Right and neo-Nazi attacks, vandalism, and activity, which include neo-Nazi groups putting up flyers at the local PRIDE center and progressive churches and an attack on a Sikh temple. https://t.co/pUqeyjxeWA
— It's Going Down (@IGD_News) August 29, 2020
The Straight Pride rallies provided a much needed epicenter for far-Right networks on the West Coast, especially at a time when Proud Boy leaders in the East were facing heavy charges following the attempted coup in DC and declining numbers in the Pacific Northwest, in the face of mass anti-racist opposition. Modesto represented fertile ground for white nationalists with big dreams like Grundmann and groups like the Proud Boys looking to expand their numbers in conservative areas with limited opposition. In the post-J6 landscape, many groups associated with the attempted coup also changed their tactics, embedding themselves within GOP backed battles over mask and vaccine mandates, protests at school board meetings denouncing Critical Race Theory, and attacking LGBTQ people wherever possible.
And like in Portland, the far-Right in Modesto also found a police force which was more than willing to accommodate them. While the city council may have blocked their permit for a rally, the police were more than happy to facilitate their demonstrations by setting up barricades and shutting down streets, giving far-Right protesters control over the general area. Moreover, in the aftermath of the George Floyd rebellion, local law enforcement pushed the city of Modesto to pass new ordinances criminalizing largely defensive items utilized by antifascists at protests, while continuing to facilitate and protect non-permitted far-Right rallies. The message was clear: police were here to help facilitate the swarms of out of town neo-fascist groups descending upon Modesto for the yearly “Straight Pride” event: everyone else, watch out.
But the biggest shift since Grundmann gained national headlines in 2019 has been the fact that despite still being a fringe figure, his politics have now found a home within the mainstream of the Republican party. Across the US, Roe v Wade has been overturned and there has been a new wave of bills attacking the LGBTQ+ community and trans youth in particular. In a few short years, Grundmann has gone from a relative laughing stock, to one of the most public facing white nationalists and anti-Semites in the United States.
Open White Nationalism and Anti-Semitism and the Constitution Party of California
In the last year, Don Grundmann has strengthened his connection to the Christian nationalist Constitution Party, currently about the fifth largest political party in the US, with around 130,000 members. When in 2020 the party’s longtime leader, Don Blankenship, the former owner of Massey Energy Corporation, was caught in a scandal over mine safety, Grundmann attempted to run for head of the party, only to lose horribly. Throughout the decades, Grundmann has run for public office many times, always failing to garner more than a few thousand votes, but using each race as a platform to promote his racist and bigoted views.
This is Proud Boy Jeffrey Perrine making it very clear what Proud Boys are about after PBs had just assaulted several counter-demonstrators in Modesto today. "We're Taking America Back" "Fuck the LGBT. Fuck 'em all" pic.twitter.com/0nylBmQCyZ
— Borwin? (@Borwin10) August 28, 2021
After the ‘Straight Pride’ rally in 2021 ended in Proud Boys attacking counter-protesters and screaming, “Fuck the LGBT!” to passing motorists, it seems that the California Straight Pride group attempted to rebrand itself as the Constitution Party of California, holding meetings, film screenings and workshops in the Modesto area. Grundmann appointed himself as the groups chairman, and party activity seems primarily focused around the Modesto area, however in the spring of 2022, the group was booted from Mimi’s Cafe in Modesto, forcing the bigots to meet elsewhere.
The Constitution Party of California does not hide it’s open white nationalism, anti-Semitism, and hatred of the LGBTQ+ community. In a “Red Pill Manifesto” on the Constitution Party of California website, chairman Grundmann writes:
The Constitution Party of California hence declares that ” White Nationalism ” is not only a defense of caucasians and their contributions to humanity via Western Civilization, not only expressive of our love of our nation, but even more so is expressive of Christianity – the religious foundation of our nation…We hence, as White Nationalists; i.e.; as caucasians who love their country; stand… in defense of, and love for, our country…
Grundmann then goes on to specifically attack Jews:
…the Jews of that time ( inclusive of those known as the Sanhedrin and Pharisees ) killed Christ. Their following and never-ending hatred of Christianity, primarily due to the loss of their exclusive ” Chosen People ” status…has continued to this moment, primarily through the Judaism subdivision known as “Sabbatean Frankism.”
…the War Against Christianity is both financed and implemented by the tag-team religions of Satanism/Humanism and the Sabbatean Frankism ( SF ) division of Judaism.
Grundmann goes even father, claiming that the Jews are at the center of a vast conspiracy aimed at attacking and destroying white Christians and are using LGBTQ+ people and movements like Black Lives Matter as vehicles to accomplish these goals. All of this echoes the murderous “Great Replacement” theory that Jews are purposely pushing white people out of the country through immigration and are secretly controlling ‘the Left.’ Grundmann writes:
…the War on, and the media attack on, Christianity;B) the abortion/Cuisinarting War on the unborn;C) the War to destroy the traditional/normal/natural/healthy/sane family of man, woman, and children;D) the War to support/legalize sodomite/homosexual marriage;E) the War to promote the psychosis of ” transgenderism;”F) the War to claim that there are more than 2, and in fact an infinite number of, genders;G) the War to claim that every caucasian is automatically racist; H) the War to claim that caucasians must apologize for their ” privilege;”I) the War to claim that everyday all caucasians work, from dawn to dusk and beyond, to oppress all black people;J) the War to claim that ” systemic racism;” caused and maintained by caucasians; is a daily threat to, and attack on, blacks;K) the War to claim that ” White Nationalism;” i.e.; caucasians who love their country; are a national security threat ( also referred to now as ” domestic terrorists” );L) the War on women and femininity known as ” Feminism;”M) the War on men and masculinity inclusive of ” toxic masculinity;”N) the War on men via the production of pornography ( see below );O) any attack upon any manifestation of the Christian foundations of our nation; here inclusive of Christopher Columbus, public statues, etc…
Make no mistake – these and countless other expressions of The War Against Humanity are manifestations of the religious War between Christianity and its enemies of SF Judaism and Satanism/Humanism.
…the Plantation Masters/Elites/VPP who are using their sock-puppet of BLM to attack and destroy…
In short, Grundmann’s worldview is no different than the neo-Nazis and white supremacists who have carried out multiple mass shootings in recent years, all citing the “Great Replacement.” Grundmann then attacks LGBTQ+ people, who he claims are not real, but part of a “Satanic” war on Christians:
Satanism/Humanism is the religious base and motivation of the LGBT War Against Humanity as well as the singular afflicted person identifying with and within the afflicted group. That War is dedicated, in every action which they do, to the complete destruction of Christianity; in particular the nuclear family, men, women, children, and all moral, cultural, societal, and national expressions of Christianity. All so-called ” Pride ” parades are in fact Satanism/Humanism religious celebrations and festivals whose purpose is to Socially Engineer the populace to reject Christianity and to accept their own demise via cultural and societal dominance of the anti-Christian Death Religion.
Grundmann then goes on to encourage people to read the infamous anti-Semitic hoax, Protocols of the Elders of Zion, which Grundmann rushes to reassure the reader, “is NOT ” fabricated.” It is an authentic document regarding the War Against Humanity.” He then encourages people to watch the anti-Semitic ‘documentary,’ Marching to Zion and also Red Ice TV, a white nationalist answer to InfoWars that platforms neo-Nazi groups.
Building a Network that Includes Local Clergy and Violent Far-Right Groups
After Trump supporters attacked youth who were leaving a #BlackLivesMatter demonstration in #Oakdale, the county has declared a 'state of emergency.' Today however, armed members of the California State Militia were on guard against another BLM protest that never materialized. pic.twitter.com/S8M49Qz0QO
— It's Going Down (@IGD_News) June 7, 2020
Over the years, the Straight Pride rally in Modesto has built a sizeable far-Right coalition around it. This has grown to include members of a local far-Right militia the Echo Company, which generated headlines for “patrolling” the streets of nearby Oakland during the George Floyd rebellion against non-existent “looters.” Members of the American Guard, which was formed by neo-Nazi skinhead Brien James, who also attended the deadly neo-Nazi rally Unite the Right in Charlottesville alongside Proud Boys, KKK members, and various white nationalist groups. Boogaloo Boys, decked out in their Hawaiian shirts and body armor. Supporters of the Qanon conspiracy, anti-vaccine activists and members of the Free State of Jefferson, a far-Right Libertarian group advocating for part of northern California succeeding from the State. The largest far-Right group however has been the Proud Boys, who have brought out members from chapters across California.
Last year's 'Straight Pride' rally in #Modesto brought together Christian Nationalists, Proud Boys, American Guard members, local militia members, and Boogaloo Boys. Local Boogaloo Boys have been linked to planning acts of violence and murder. https://t.co/MFjf9JErPr pic.twitter.com/clKEfroi7N
— OFF THE 99 (@Off_The_99) August 28, 2021
Grundmann has also made connections with local clergy, as It’s Going Down reported:
In a video published by the Sierra Foothills Stump, Grundmann is seen meeting with local religious leader “Aubrey McGann, pastor for Valley Bible Fellowship, chaplain for the Modesto Police Department, and member of Modesto Police Clergy Council,” in July of 2020. In the video, which was recorded inside the home (“the Patriotic Cottage”) of Mylinda Mason, Grundmann discusses his beliefs with McGann, who seemingly agrees with Grundmann’s worldview.
Grundmann is also even further connected to Rev. David Preston Bush, the minister of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church in Sonora, California, located about an hour east of Modesto…Bush can…be seen taking part in organizing the second annual Straight Pride event in a video recorded at Mylinda Mason’s home in July of 2020.
Grundmann’s bedrock of support however remains Mylinda and Ron Mason of Modesto. Mylinda Mason wears many hats, and is one of Grundmann’s most steadfast supporters. She is Qanon believer and COVID-19 conspiracy theorist, supports Grundmann’s white nationalist positions, is vehemently anti-LGBTQ and is involved in local pro-life organizations as well as the Stanislaus County Republican Assembly, which hosts events featuring local prospective Republican and law enforcement candidates. This organizing has helped Mylinda build relationships with elected Republican officials across the region as well as members of rank-n-file far-Right groups.
As was the case last year, Proud Boys and other fascist gangs pre-gamed at the home of Mylinda Mason, a local GOP organizer, before then car-pooling to Planned Parenthood. https://t.co/CqJqc0hU4b
— OFF THE 99 (@Off_The_99) August 29, 2021
During Straight Pride rallies in 2020 and 2021, fascist groups also used Mylinda Mason’s home, known as the “Patriotic Cottage,” as a rallying point before the rallies. In June of 2021, Mylinda also joined Grundmann and members of the Proud Boys and American Guard in a rally outside of the Modesto City Council, protesting the firing of police officer Joseph Lamantia, who shot five people over the course of ten years, killing four, including Trevor Seever in December of 2020.
Joining the neo-fascists was local GOP organizer Mylinda Mason, the leader of the California Republican Assembly of Stanislaus, which raises money and support for Republican candidates. pic.twitter.com/hw7ITf8nMc
— OFF THE 99 (@Off_The_99) June 30, 2021
By Mylinda’s side is her husband, Ron Mason, a former law enforcement officer and currently a realtor for PMZ real estate, one of the largest real estate companies in the Modesto area. Ron is also the Vice President of the Stanislaus County chapter of the Constitution Party of California. Ron’s phone number is listed on Facebook as a contact for the Constitutional Party – and the same number is also listed as one of his work numbers connected directly to his real estate business.
On his Facebook as a realtor , Ron even tags the likes of Grundmann in photos at his office.
Ron can also be seen in Facebook posts stating that he was in touch with groups like the Proud Boys before the 2020 Straight Pride rally, showing that the groups were communicating and organizing together.
Despite the Trump administration weaponizing Proud Boys, white nationalists, and militia groups in the attempted J6 coup and the seemingly non-stop mass shootings carried out by those on the political Right, the State remains more concerned with squashing popular revolt from below than policing the growing neo-fascist coalition.
Proud Boys converged in #Modesto last week, accosting community members + hurling homophobic insults. The group rallied alongside "Straight Pride" bigot Don Grundmann from the bay area, American Guard fascists, and local GOP organizer, Mylinda Mason. https://t.co/uPi7tukLa7 pic.twitter.com/edm3KeJC69
— OFF THE 99 (@Off_The_99) June 30, 2021
As in other cities, far-Right groups have chosen to use Modesto as a place to rally their forces because the terrain works in their favor: the police help them facilitate a safe space to hold their demonstrations and also engage in violence against those that oppose them. This violence and fear is then in turn directed at the same communities being targeted by the Republicans, as a message becomes clear: don’t resist our attacks or these people will hurt you.
If the last six years has taught us anything, its that snide gotcha journalism, putting our faith in the police to protect us, or “just ignoring them” simply doesn’t work. Over the last year, the Proud Boys have grown as they have embedded themselves within the GOP backed culture war while the Republicans have pushed harder and harder to attack entire communities.
Houston came through this Sunday in community self-defense against Christian fascists threatening a local drag show – these bigots from North Texas thought "Antifa" wouldn't show up – but they learned quick how Houston does it.
— Screwston Anti-Fascist Committee (@screwstonafc) July 12, 2022
But the past six years has shown us what also does work. In many cities, vast anti-racist coalitions formed, holding the streets in the face of threats from fascist incursion, community self-defense groups helped protect local Pride celebrations, and parents, neighbors, and friends came together to protest and denounce any attempted incursion or attack by groups like the Proud Boys. This activity puts us in a position of strength, because it shows that the grassroots far-Right cannot intimidate us off our own streets. This is what we need to manifest on the streets on Saturday, August 27th, when people are mobilizing to counter-protest the 4th annual ‘Straight Pride’ rally.
Let’s make it clear to white supremacists like Grundmann and his followers that Modesto isn’t as fertile as a recruiting ground as he thinks – that together, we are stronger than their hate.