Members of the Puget Sound John Brown Gun Club announced on Facebook that they would show up armed in Seattle on Sunday May 20th, to counter the Alt-Lite group, “Patriot Prayer,” which is headed by Republican Senate hopeful, Joey Gibson. For years now, Gibson has worked to create a big tent coalition of militia members, Trump supporters, members of the Alt-Right, Daily Stormer neo-Nazis, and white nationalists. This assortment has hit the streets in support of Trump and in general, whatever far-Right cause if can attempt to latch itself onto.
As shown by Rose City Antifa, many local white nationalist and neo-Nazis have long used Patriot Prayer rallies as recruiting grounds, and in return, Gibson and his right hand man, Tusitala “Tiny” Toese, have given them free range to participate as long as they help in attacking antifascists. According to former Identity Evropa organizer Jake van Ott, Tiny once called him to state:
“Tiny reached out to me and called me up over Facebook and said, ‘You know, I support [IE] and what you do,” Von Ott said.
Von Ott added that Toese told him IE members were “the only people that actually were up front the entire time along with the Street Preachers. The Oath Keepers just sat back—in his words—with their fancy gear and stayed in the back the whole time.”
On Facebook, PSJBGC wrote:
Today at 3PM at McGraw Square in Seattle, Patriot Prayer is holding another deliberately provocative rally. This time using defense of second amendment rights as their foil.
While we whole heartedly support free people bearing arms it is important to recognize that the individual right to defend yourself is also a collective right to defend our communities from hate, racism, bigotry, misogyny, and homophobia.
We stand with poor and working people, our friends, neighbors, and relatives marginalized by a society built on oppression, and all people under direct or implied threat of violence by hostile reactionary groups grandstanding about rights they would surely choose to place limits on when talking about all of us.
After the rally the group wrote:
It was great being able to get out in sun and stand against bigotry and hate at the faux 2A rally in Seattle today.
Shout out to the Red & Black Bloc and Pink Pistols that were at McGraw Square with us too and all the counter protestors holding down Westlake.
It’s Going Down reached out to Puget Sound John Brown Gun Club about what happened that day and a member wrote, “We seized the back of the square with our banner and [Gibson] couldn’t ignore us.” Members of JBGC then proceeded to pass out flyers, which read:
Arm Yourself Against White Supremacy
In recent years, there’s been a resurgence of activity among White Supremacists and their allies who have attacked marginalized communities. These newly emboldened bigots murdered Heather Heyer in Charlottesville, Blaze Bernstein in Southern California, and Taliesin Myrddin, Namkai Meche, and Rick Best in Portland.
White Supremacist groups have been known to use conservative/patriotic events as predatory recruiting grounds for their cause. In the Pacific Northwest, Cascade Legion, Atomwaffen Division, Identity Europa, and Vanguard America/Patriot Front are some of the most dangerous of these organizations.
It’s the inherent right of each individual and community to defend ourselves against those who would harm, persecute, or terrorize us and PSIBGC believes in using any and all means at our disposal to defend against this violence. It is with this understanding that we engage in community defense by empowering one another to participate in the defense of our communities with the knowledge and equipment to do so.
We’re willing to take on the risk to defend those of us who live under the threat of violence because of skin color, gender identity, sexuality, religion, or birth country. For us, that means that we meet our neighbors face-to-face, and stand alongside them to face threats. We understand this means that we may also become targets ourselves and become known to their enemies, but we act always with the understanding that those who oppose liberty for all people are already our shared enemies.
The flyer also touched on the history of McGraw Square Plaza:
A Brief History of McGraw Square
McGraw Square Plaza is named after Washington Governor John McGraw. Govenor McGraw had three terms as the sheriff of King County and considered his “proudest moment” his standoff as sheriff with the anti-Chinese mobs of 1886. It was also his luckiest. After the sheriff took three bullets — one through his hat, two through his coat — the vigilantes scattered. While we may not care to recognize his positions as Governor or Sherriff, today seems an opportune moment to note that standing up against armed racists should be the Puget Sound tradition we want to remember.
The flyer also took aim at the racist history of gun control:
The Racism of Gun Control
Throughout American history, Gun Control laws have been used as a tool of white supremacy and a means of controlling communities of color. “Black Codes” were established by lawmakers in southern states following the Civil War. These laws aimed to prohibit the ownership of guns to newly emancipated slaves. As a result, people were unable to defend against the violence of Confederate sympathizers.
The Mulford Act in California was passed only after the Black Panthers began armed patrols of their own neighborhoods. A concealed carry license was denied to Dr. Marin Luther King Jr. despite a constant barrage of death threats. The FBI investigated Deacons for Defense and Justice, an organization founded by Black religious leaders to protect their communities from the KKK’s terrorism during Jim Crow. We have ample reason to believe that any attempt to limit the access of guns to working people would disproportionately affect communities of color.
We oppose any attempt to hurt the people that share our neighborhoods, workplaces, and houses of worship.
Great to see people carving out a space in opposition to white supremacy, the State’s attempts to disarm people, and the far-Right.