Filed under: Action, Anti-fascist, Midwest, Queer, Trans, White Supremacy
Report back from community mobilization against the Proud Boys in Aurora, Illinois. Originally posted to 1312 United Against Fascism.
Community defense networks in Aurora, Illinois brought out 50+ antifascist activists and community members to stand up against threats of intimidation from the Northern Illinois Chapter (NIC) of the Proud Boys, who threatened to protest a 21+ drag show and dox performers and attendees (who they disingenuously referred to as “parents of the children”), falsely claiming the event was an all-ages drag show.
The cowards never showed up. This is a complete win! Illinois has not seen a mobilization of more than three Proud Boys in over a year. Their chapter, if not completely dead, is dying. One member, Joseph Collins, faces a felony hate crime charge in response to his attack on UpRising Bakery. Another member, from Aurora, James Robert Elliot “JimBob,” awaits sentencing for rioting and assault on cops at the January 6 putsch. They mobilized exactly ZERO people on a day they were seemingly ordered to make a move in a coordinated nationwide assault on the LGBTQ+ community. They have no pull, no juice, and nobody in local chud circles came out to support their call to action, none, nada, zilch. Instead of defending the community from bigots, antifascists held a street party!
It was a sunny day of networking around the venue, where activists enjoyed snacks, music, and conversation, as we waited to see if the transphobic chuds were to show their ugly faces. The queens came out and voiced their support and appreciation for the presence of community defenders. We cannot say for certain, but it’s likely the PB drove by and saw such a huge turnout that they turned their tails and ran away. This assessment is bolstered by reports from activists present at the event that people they recognized as being associated with the PBs were sitting in a car parked across the street from the venue taking photos and/or video. We believe they had every intention on showing up; they had posted the info for the venue twice and had actively boasted on how a recent article that advertised their plans was removed by Facebook.
In the past, NIC PBs have shown up to multiple queer events to intimidate, including a Downers Grove, IL church to harass a trans Santa family event. They also made plans to harass a drag show at UpRising Bakery—that is, until one of their members, Joseph Collins, smashed the cafe’s windows and spray-painted slurs the night before. Collins was immediately caught and charged. Illinois Proud Boys later claimed that they had never intended to protest; it was just a distraction. You can always count on them to lie. And you cannot count on the cops to keep us safe—they instead monitored the community defenders, surely ready to protect the free/hate speech of the Proud Boys, should they have showed.
The piss boys ain’t shit, and the drag show went off without a hitch. Their threats had the reverse effect, and brought together various groups from all over the Chicagoland area in defense of queer joy. More bonds and connections were formed, and plans for future defenses were made. BIG L FOR THE FASH.
We are living in an era of increasing fascist violence and intimidation against marginalized peoples, and our only option is to organize and mobilize. Show up in defense, lend mutual aid to your community, network, train, and join us in identifying and confronting these fascists. Get in touch with us or your local antifa crews and collectives if you have more intel on these fascists. We and others are doing the work in documenting and identifying who they are. Doxing fascists is an effective deterrence against hate, but we also need action as well. Contact their businesses, do call-in campaigns, get them fired, expose their locations, make them pay. We believe that we will win – and we must, because the alternative is unthinkable.