Filed under: Anti-fascist, Editorials, US
His people are getting arrested in Boston, and he lost a speaking gig in Chicago. Folks are becoming wise to this scumbag’s plans, and a guest contributor breaks him down.
Established last year, the Proud Boys was meant to be something between an adult frat and a fan club for Gavin McInnes’ media projects on Compound and Rebel Media. The political aspect of the group was meant to mirror Gavin’s; support of the Trump agenda, male chauvinism, and hatred of Islam, trans people, and leftists. McInnes himself flirts with fascist ideas, writing a column for Taki’s Magazine (a job Richard Spencer helped him land) justifying the political genocide of the Pinochet regime, and often giving a supportive platform to open fascists and neo-Nazis like Emily Youcis, Nathan Damigo, and Sam Hyde on his show.
Despite his affiliations, McInnes has been adamant about keeping Proud Boys an arm’s length from America’s growing neo-Nazi movement, something he recently reiterated in a video for Rebel Media. He claims, first of all, that Nazis don’t exist—most people claiming to be Nazis are just trolling and any reported hate crimes are hoaxes perpetrated by liberals, and secondly, the few Nazis who do exist should not be Proud Boys because he wants the group to appeal to “Jews” and “Blacks.”
Judging by recent conflicts between antifascists and the Alt-Right in Berkeley and New York, where Proud Boys were prominent in their black and gold polo shirts, and black, latino, and Jewish Trump supporters fought alongside various species of white identitarians, one might think he was on to something. The Proud Boys are predominantly white, but feature several people of color, including Sal Cipolla of Oceanside New York, a regional leader of the Proud Boys who is part Colombian. McInnes says he hopes to have a conservative movement to which people of color can defect, and does not worry about inviting them to join in a popular front that starts with his own brand “civil nationalism,” and ends with the white nationalists and raging anti-Semites in their coalition.
But Gavin must know how wrong he is that there are no Nazis. Several prominent Proud Boys run in their circles, even Cipolla, who is oddly accepted under the grounds that they will “send him back last.” Together, the allegedly “Alt-Lite” Proud Boys and self-proclaimed neo-Nazis from the Daily Stormer blog and The Right Stuff podcast network have formed an Alt-Right popular front with an agenda of injecting White Nationalism, including it’s most radical calls for ethnic cleansing, genocide, and “White Sharia” into “normy” Trumpism, and intimidating and attacking leftists, queers, and people of color. While they will defend themselves on the grounds of free speech, their incitement to violence has a recent history of success.
Since their inception, the Proud Boys have been rooted in a fetish for political violence. Writing for Bedford and Bowery, Nicole Disser covered the Proud Boy’s first public meet-up: “’It’s funny, there was a big fist fight,’ McInnes told B+B… ‘One of them was covered in blood at the end.’”
Their first public event was as a security force at a Trump-themed art show set up by Lucian Wintrich, a founder of “Twinks4Trump” who now has White House Press credentials as a writer for the Gateway Pundit and attended an Alt Right protest called by Richard Spencer and the coordinator of the neo-Nazi “The Right Stuff” podcast network, Mike “Enoch” Peinovich, in April. Milo Yiannopolous made an appearance at the show, splattering pigs blood on images of terror victims in an Islamophobic gesture against refugees. A lone protester was ejected, his phone dropping out of his pocket in the process. McInnes stomped on it to cheers of his Proud Boys.
Shortly after the election, NYC Antifa published a list of known Proud Boys including their places of employment, noting their proximity to far right groups and an election night part that featured former British Nationalist Party Jack Buckby, Anthony Cumia formerly of the Opie and Anthony Show, and Alt-Right comedian Sam Hyde. The article went viral, with several of those listed losing work as a result.
Among them was Martina Markota, a conservative performance artist who goes by the name “Lady Alchemy,” often the lone woman at Proud Boys events. After fellow performers shared the article, she was blacklisted from several prominent venues. She says that antifa’s criticism of her group amounts to terrorism, and joined Gavin on his show to mock fellow burlesque performers that made an issue out of her far-Right politics by mocking their body size, sexuality, and ethnicity. McInnes took the opportunity to refer Markota’s non-binary critics as “gender niggers.”
— New York City Antifa (@NYCAntifa) May 18, 2017
Alex Caprio of Jersey City also lost his job when his bosses discovered his affiliation. Seeking revenge, Caprio misidentified the author of the NYC Antifa post as a member of the band Pink Mass. McInnes encouraged the Proud Boys on Facebook and his Twitter followers to go their December 30th show at Saint Vitus bar in Greenpoint, Brooklyn and “wreck their shit.” They didn’t show, and when antifascists on Twitter asked why, McInnes responded that a scout called the operation off due to police car parked outside the venue.
In early January, McInnes shook up his organization. The British identitarian Jack Buckby was out, along with Robert Campbell, an open neo-Nazi with ties to Richard Spencer and NPI. McInnes posted on Facebook that he did not want any Nazi activity within the Proud Boys. Cipolla, who often posted anti-Jewish and pro-Nazi memes on Facebook, regretted the move, noting that he would try to limit his references to Nazism.
Nonetheless, McInnes continued to feed the violent ambitions of the group. He attempted to start a fight with an antifascist outside the “Deploraball” on January 19th, and bragged about it later in a Rebel Media video called “Fighting ‘anti-fascists’ is fun!”
On February 2nd, McInnes was invited to speak at NYU by the College Republicans. Citing his racist and homophobic sentiments, student groups called for the event to be cancelled, and a large protest gathered both inside and outside the building. He was reportedly offered a secure entrance to the building, but preferred to march in with his Proud Boys as a show of force. A fight started in which McInnes was pepper-sprayed. Later that night he hugged one of his children, rubbing residue of the spray on his child’s face. McInnes posted a picture of his child’s red eyes, tweeting “Antifa are going to die.”
While Gavin was being shouted down by NYU students, Cipolla and another Proud Boy, Ryan Katsu Rivera, were arrested for criminal mischief. Cipolla for assaulting journalists from DNAInfo and Gothamist, and Rivera for starting a fight. In an episode of Mike Red Barr’s radio show, Rivera reveals that he went to the event in a black mask to blend in with the antifascists, and started fighting them when his disguise failed. He bragged that he and Sal became “fourth degree” Proud Boys as a result of having punched two antifascists. While the first three degrees involved trivial gags like getting a Proud Boy tattoo and being “punched-in”, the fourth degree is rewarded for “a major fight for the cause,” McInnes told Metro.us, “You get beat up, kick the crap out of an antifa.”
A video from Berkeley shows a Proud Boy named “Levi” bragging about getting his “fourth” after being “wrecked.” At a Proud Boys-sponsored “free speech rally” in Boston on May 13th, Cipolla livestreamed himself walking up to protesters and offering them a pepsi, shoving one of them after they knocked it out of his hands. He was arrested once again.
The “Fourth Degree” was mentioned by administrators at DePaul University in Chicago as justification for cancelling an upcoming McInnes appearance on campus.
Another major Alt Right happening began the week of January 20th, when Shia Lebeouf started a performance art piece called “He Will Not Divide Us” at the Museum of the Moving Image in Astoria, Queens. The ill-conceived concept involved chanting the phrase for the entirety of Trump’s term in front of a 24/7 webcam mounted outside the museum. 4Chan quickly had the idea of turning the webstream into their own TV show, encouraging users in the area to troll it in person. Shia turned out to be the perfect straight-man for the 4chan’s comedy, offering nothing but the despondent chant in response to the trolls’ repetition of pro-fascist memes.
Eventually Leboeuf snapped, shoving a troll who embraced him and said “Hitler did nothing wrong” into the camera, causing him to be arrested. The incident caused the event to take-off amongs fascists, conservatives, and mischievous internet trolls alike. The Proud Boys became a regular fixture there, especially Cipolla, who met a new, younger generation of pro-fascists like “4Chad” and Brittany “Venti” Dier. The next week, more Alt Right stars dropped by to get some HWNDU camera time, including members of Identity Europa and The Right Stuff.
For some of these White Nationalist activists it was their first time meeting other radicals or doing political activity in real life. On the TRS podcast “Beyond the Wall,” Peinovich describes using the event as cover to harass local Muslim teenagers:
Peinovich: That neighborhood [Astoria]… used to be a working class Italian-Irish neighborhood and now it’s filled with Muslims, Hispanics, everything… we had a little run-in with some Muslims. We had a bunch of people, we started yelling at these Muslims back and forth, saying ‘you gotta go back. get the fuck out.’
Host: You actually told Muslims to go back? Weren’t you afraid they would get explodey?
Enoch: Yeah, they were very aggressive. This is part of the dynamic of what’s going on with White people. White people are not by nature socially confrontational. Some are… we’re trying to break that mold a little. They were getting aggressive, they started following us and getting in our faces a bit. We had more of us then them, and they were teenagers. They count on the fact that they’re brown and aggressive to intimidate most white people. Since we were in a group of 10 TRS goys that’s not going to happen.
Host: They didn’t know they were against nazis.
Enoch: They didn’t know they were talking to literal hitler. Yeah, we were like, go the fuck back. Get out of our country. What right do you have to be here?
Some of those who met at HWNDU continued to hang out and troll other leftist protests with racial slurs and fascist memes. Cipolla, Venti, Jovi Val, and others organized groups to livestream these interventions, often resulting in fights. One video shows Cipolla, Dier, and other Proud Boy/HWNDU veterans going to a Trump protest at Colombus circle. Cipolla announces statistics about black crime to fellow passengers. He pulls a first aid kit from his pocket and yells, “I might have to perform an abortion, there might be a lot of black women there,” before Dier zooms in on the faces of people on the subway who seem uncomfortable by the trolling, and Cipolla yells “you’re a fascist” at anyone who questions him.
At the end of February, two college students were beaten up by John Young and other members of the right-wing 211 skinhead gang outside the Clockwork bar in the Lower East Side for having antifascist stickers on their phone. McInnes took issue with the coverage of the assault, arguing that 211, which is well known for hosting annual Nazi concerts, are merely patriots, and the fight was initiated fairly after the students attempted to photograph members of the gang. The New York Post contradicted McInnes claims that the skinheads were not armed.
In early March, Trump supporters hosted events around the country. In New York, Sal Cipolla set up a “Pro Trump Bar Crawl.” Welcomed by Cipolla, Peinovich and other members of The Right Stuff network RSVPed on Facebook, mocking critics of the event with racial slurs.
In Berkeley, a Proud Boy affiliate named Kyle Chapman rose to internet fame as the “Based Stickman” for hitting an antifascist in the head with a stick during a fight. The next month he organized another Alt-Right event in Berkeley that included openly White Nationalist speakers like Brittany Pettibone from Richard Spencer’s AltRight.com. Members of Proud Boys, The Right Stuff, and Identity Europa, some openly flying Nazi symbols, repelled an antifascist attack, beating several counterprotesters in the process.
Two weeks later, McInnes flew to Berkeley to appear alongside Chapman, who he announced was forming a “military division of the Proud Boys” called the “Fraternal Order of the Alt Knights” along self-proclaimed fascist politician Augustus Invictus and the American Guard. In a speech, Chapman claimed an opposition to Nazism and fascist elements of the movement. Chapman went so far as to request his Facebook followers help identify one neo-Nazi from the Berkeley demonstration that he suspected was an antifa infiltrator. After pushback, he deleted the post and later condemned a self-styled “Alt Knight,” who claimed to opposed both communists and Nazis, for getting into a fight with “League of the South” members in New Orleans.
The condemnation of Chapman and McInnes made them even less popular amongst the Alt-Right, who were already suspicious of them for having non-white wives. Chapman’s speech and the video were discussed on the April 28th episode of the Daily Shoah, the most popular podcast on the neo-Nazi media and organizing hub the Right Stuff, host and TRS founder Mike “Enoch” Peinovich:
Dunstan: I’m petty sure we have some news for Gavin about his little organization not having…
Peinovich: I can verify…
Dunstan: If he disallowed all Nazis he would be left with nothing but a couple of Jews. They’re infiltrated, right?
Peinovich: Let’s break down the Proud Boy constituency. Now, I am friends with the New York Proud Boys. I’m good friends with the leader of the New York Proud Boys. He’s a good guy. People probably know who he is, it doesn’t matter. He’s a good guy. You know, he’s not going to be TRS for various reasons. He can go back last. Basically Proud Boys is like, look… if you’re a white guy with a white girlfriend or no girlfriend then you’re going to be TRS, you’re going to be [Daily] Stormer… and loving that stuff, and you’re just a hair’s breath away from jumping into the Alt Right and being one of us, being a White Nationalist. The other people have certain hang-ups, it’s personal issues. They’re Jewish, they’re half-white, they’re mixed race or they have a non-White girlfriend of wife.
Dunstan: I watched that video before we started… Gavin’s little [we don’t] allow Nazis thing… you’re doing this “Western Chauvnism,” is the PR-cuck term he came up for. What is that? You’re a chauvinist, that means you’re prejudiced or whatever, you believe in the superiority of whatever the thing is, and you say West, as in Western Civilization, what exactly is that? You’re essentially doing White Nationalism but you came up with a new name for it.
Peinovich: The other thing about Proud Boys, at least from what I have seen, is there are a lot of hispanics and latinos in the NYC Proud Boys. I’ve gone and hung out with these guys, we’re not at the point where we’re sending people back, whatever, we need to build relationships and things like that. Let me tell you something, you don’t need to be 100% White to not like Jews. We all know this. We’ve been on 8/pol/…. a lot of these latino guys are just like “fuck these kikes.” I don’t even know how many Jews there are in Proud Boys. I have not met one yet…. Most of them have been White guys who want to come over to our thing, or Latinos, frankly. But these guys, trust me, they’re not fans of the Tribe. I sit down, have beers with the leader of the New York City Proud Boys and all we do is talk about the fucking kikes.
Peinovich is almost certainly speaking of Cipolla, who has publicly bragged about their close friendship. Cipolla is also friends with Peinovich on Facebook and posts TRS related memes, including putting parenthesis around Jewish peoples’ names, referencing 14/88 and 6 Million, glorifying South American military dictatorship tactic of throwing leftists from helicopters, and calling for “right wing death squads” to murder political opponents.
While Chapman and McInnes are out of favor with many neo-Nazis for “punching right,” Cipolla, who may be equally influential as Gavin to the day-to-day organizing of the Proud Boys, is seen as a unifying figure, with contacts across the Alt-Right spectrum. Even if we were to interpret McInnes’ hesitation to work with Nazis as sincere, he either only wants the Proud Boys to “appear” as Alt Lite, or has no power to control their affiliations. Either way, he is helping to construct a bridge between who Trump’s White Nationalist supporters call “normies” and the torch-bearing Nazis who actively call for racial violence and acts of terror.
And McInnes does them another favor by denying that they exist or pose any kind of threat. According to a 2015 study by the New American Foundation, “white extremists” have killed twice as many Americans as “radical Islamists” since 9/11. In June 2015, Dylann Roof was inspired by the “hate facts” posted on Daily Stormer and Council of Conservative Citizens to murder nine people at a black church in Charleston, South Carolina. In November of 2015, a group of well-armed 4chan regulars attended a Black Lives Matter camp in Minneapolis, harassing them racial slurs. They opened fire on activists attempting to chase them out when they returned a second night, wounding five. An antifascist protester of Milo Yiannopoulos was shot in stomach on inauguration day by Marc Hakoana, who planned to “crack skulls” of the “snowflakes” at the event. Later in January, Alexandre Bisonette, a supporter of Donald Trump and Marine Le Pen, opened fire on a Quebec City Islamic Culutral Center, killing six (McInnes helped spread a conspiracy theory the shooter was an Arab). In March, James Jackson, a subscriber of Alt Right Youtube channels, travelled from Baltimore to New York with the sole purpose
of murdering a black person at random. He stabbed Timothy Caughman, killing him.
It should go without saying that these stories would be considered an ongoing terroristic spree had the the perpetrators been Muslim. Despite his vitriol against Islam, foreigners, women, queers, and leftists, its is ironically McInnes’ tolerance that sets him apart and makes him a bridge between the hard Right that hates him and his Anthony Cumia-loving moderate conservative fans. It’s a tolerance for intolerance, an invitation from the political xenophobia of the Republican movement and to the Alt Right’s dreams of Nazi terror.