Last weekend, Joey Gibson led members of far-Right gangs Patriot Prayer and the Proud Boys in two attempts at harassing people at the local Portland IWW union hall. Each time, members of the community has been on hand to push back against Gibson and his far-Right trolls, however Gibson and his followers’ violent rhetoric, talk of weapons, vague online plans to “visit” people at their homes, and threats against everyone they consider “ANTIFA” to Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler, has only escalated.
Patriot Prayer and Proud Boys are now chasing people into stores and pounding on doors. They seem to be just roaming the streets of Portland trying to provoke anyone who is nearby.
— Official Alt-Left (@Kherman112) January 19, 2019
As many people have pointed it, it seems bizarre that Joey Gibson and members of his associated groups can continue to make very real threats of violence, but never face any sort of legal recourse or threat of arrest from the police.
Then on Wednesday, January 23rd, the IWW union hall was vandalized with “ANTIFA HOUSE” and “SMASH COMMUNISM” graffiti, with the “S” letter being written in the “SS” lightening bolt style. According to the fundraiser:
On the night of January 23, our building that houses unions and other social justice organizations was vandalized by Alt Right activists.
Large Graffiti was found sprayed across the front of our building, along with a smashed window.
With your help we will show the Alt Right that we will not be deterred fighting for social justice by their attempt to intimidate us.
We need graffiti removal supplies, a new window, and motion lights to help keep the building secure. Any extra funds will be used for further security updates.
As the Portland Mercury wrote:
Last Thursday, members of Vancouver’s right-wing extremist group, Patriot Prayer, attempted to crash a meeting being held in the IWW building by the Portland chapter of Democratic Socialists of America (DSA). According to DSA members in attendance, the visitors were told to leave. And, for the most part, they did.
A few in the Patriot Prayer group live-streamed the unwelcome visit via Facebook, broadcasting the IWW address in the process. This likely caught the attention of Portlanders who strongly oppose Patriot Prayer’s alt-right ideals. As members of Patriot Prayer walked back to their cars, a masked group allegedly attacked the out-of-towners, sending two of them to the hospital. Detectives with the Portland Police Bureau are still investigating the brawl.
Patriot Prayer has accused IWW and DSA for the attack, which both organizations say they had nothing to do with. On Saturday, Patriot Prayer staged a rally in front of the IWW building, during which members yelled anti-Muslim sentiments through a loudspeaker and mobbed a pair of people filming the spectacle from across the street.
Steiner said it’s not hard to assume the same group of people were behind Thursday’s vandalism.
The fundraiser has already made its goal but people continue to donate. According to the Portland IWW Facebook page:
We’re saddened by the need for it, but our hearts are full from all of the love, solidarity, and caring that our neighbors and comrades have shown us.
Local news reports that beyond the IWW labor hall, other local buildings have also been vandalized with graffiti slogans and broken windows. This includes a local DNC office, where the Alt-Right slogan, “Good night, left side,” was written. A local bar, the Cider House, was also attacked, which in the past has hosted antifascist benefits and events.
Intimidating words about #Antifa left on not one but three Portland buildings in one night — now the targets are sharing a message of their own. Buildings with damage include: @ORDems offices, @CiderRiot & @PortlandIWW union hall. Much more tonight at 10. #fox12 #portland pic.twitter.com/OwM4J6fC3Q
— Bonnie Silkman KPTV (@BonnieSilkman) January 26, 2019
Regardless of the violent hate that Joey Gibson and his followers are promoting online and off – it appears that many more people are stepping up to provide community self-defense, mutual aid, and direct support to those impacted.