Filed under: Action, Anti-fascist, Anti-Patriarchy, Queer, Southwest, Trans, White Supremacy
Community members in Modesto, California, already outraged that a group of white nationalists and local GOP insiders are planning a “Straight Pride” rally in their city on August 24th, are furious after learning that supporters of the infamous neo-Nazi and pro-genocide website, The Daily Stormer, put up flyers on the doors of the local LGBTQ center last week.
The Daily Stormer is one of the most popular Alt-Right, neo-Nazi, and white nationalist websites on the web and has been supportive of the Trump campaign and Tucker Carlson. In one statement they explained their desire to push Trump supporters into advocating actual violence against people of color and other groups:
“Random violence is not detrimental to our cause, we need to convince Americans that violence against nonwhites is desirable…because there’s no way to remove a 100 million people without a massive element of violence.”
In a press release, a group involved in organizing a counter-demonstration against the ‘Straight Pride’ rally stated:
The weekend of August 10th, the Central Valley Pride Center was plastered with a propaganda flier from the Daily Stormer, a fascist organization that advocates violence. The flyer is filled with violent and hateful imagery and text, including threatening language against the LGBTQ community, an image of an interracial gay couple molesting a child, and an Anti-Semitic caricature. The flyer also included an email address calling for new recruits to their cause.
Locals believe that the center was targeted because it has recently been in the news for hosting community discussions about the upcoming “Straight Pride” event, which aims to celebrate the “inherent superiority” of whiteness, the Caucasian race, and so-called “Western Civilization.”
The flyering of the LGBTQ center in Modesto should be seen for the affront that it is: an attempt to strike fear into members of the local queer and trans community and Modesto at large, as well as send a message to the organizers of the “Straight Pride” event: we support you.
This is also not an isolated incident. Over the last several years, Modesto and Turlock have been targeted with neo-Nazi stickers and posters. Less than a month ago, someone attacked and vandalized the Sikh temple right outside of Modesto, physically assaulting and beating the priest on the temple grounds while screaming, “Go back to your country,” quoting president Trump.
The Straight Pride rally is being organized by Don Grundmann, a life long anti-LGBTQ activist, as well as Mylinda Mason, a Modesto area GOP insider who runs the California Republican Assembly – Stanislaus, which hosts various GOP mucky-mucks and adjacent law enforcement officials running for office and helps raise money for their campaigns. The group has stated on its Facebook page that it plans to bring Grundmann back to Modesto for another GOP event in October.
Neither the @Stanislaus_GOP or any of its current members are affiliated with the proposed Straight Pride event in Modesto.
Though we will always respect the right of all to speak freely, Republicans will continue to stand against hate as we have done since Abraham Lincoln’s time
— Central Valley Republican (@CV_Republican) July 26, 2019
But since being announced last month the event has also been besieged with a series of major setbacks. First, one of the group’s official links to the Republican Party, Stanislaus County GOP Central Committeeman, Ryan Schambers dropped out of the event after his involvement was exposed. On Twitter, the Stanislaus County GOP Central Committee denounced the event and claimed it wasn’t involved. Ironically, it went on to literally doxx a Proud Boy who had taken a photo with a local Democrat, Josh Harder, in an attempt to shift the blame onto the DNC, only to later delete these tweets.
Facebook of @Stanislaus_GOP features photo of neo-Nazi skinheads at #Modesto Ann Coulter GOP event in 2017. With flag is Derik Punneo, neo-Nazi skinhead with swastika tattoos who stabbed multiple people at Sacramento neo-Nazi rally in 2016. pic.twitter.com/heyEVPlDJV
— It's Going Down (@IGD_News) July 26, 2019
Both Mylinda and Grundmann have stated in the past that they also expect members of the Proud Boys to be participating in the demonstration, however it remains to be seen if the fascist pro-Trump gang will show up, as they have put out a statement claiming they won’t be attending.
But the real blow to the event came when the Straight Pride organizers were unable to secure insurance for their permit. Police and city officials offered the group the ability to rally at another spot in the Downtown if they were able to get a new insurance provider, however this was not accomplished. Despite this, Straight Pride organizers claim that they will still hold some sort of event, either in public or at a private residence and will announce on Saturday more information about said event.
California Straight Pride Coalition member on Facebook, Jeff Fitzwater. Caption on his photo states: “Supporting all our patriots in portland today!”
As of this writing, the California Straight Pride Coalition on Facebook boasts around 40 members, including several individuals who appear to have far-Right, Alt-Right, and white nationalist politics. The event is also being promoted by far-Right media and radio personality Jesse Lee Peterson.
The Straight Pride group itself has also had problems getting its rank-n-file to swallow its rhetoric. On the California Straight Pride Coalition Facebook page, numerous group members have pushed back on the groups embrace of the “inherent superiority” of “whiteness” and the “Caucasian” race.
Meanwhile, the local City Council has also recently passed a new resolution banning a variety of items ranging from masks to pepper-spray to pickets at demonstrations, in a move that local organizers say is primarily directed at antifascist protesters, putting them more at risk of attacks and doxxing from the far-Right. The Power Point presentation used by police recently at a City Council meeting is filled largely with photos of masked antifascists.
From the local organizers press release:
After attending the August 13th city council meeting, local Max Reed was frustrated, saying, “We expected them to declare that hate is not welcome here, but instead they passed an ordinance against all protesters, with an emphasis on antifascist protesters in particular. City council’s actions feel like a ‘both sides’ Trump tweet come to life.”
Whatever happens, local Modesto community members are determined to mobilize in opposition to the white nationalist “Straight Pride” rally and the neo-Nazi attacks on their community. More info on the protest here.