Submitted to It’s Going Down
Some two months after clashes at the June 26th failed rally at the state capital in Sacramento by the white supremacist Traditionalist Workers Party and their local affiliates, The Golden State Skinheads, which sent 9 anti-racist protesters and a number of Nazis to the hospital, one of the suspected Nazi stabbers, Derik Punneo has been arrested for domestic violence and violating his parole.
Despite being identified by compelling photographic and video evidence as one of the prime stabbing suspects, not only had Punneo not faced arrest or any charges for his role in the violence, but he also felt secure and confident enough to appear on a local TV interview and speak in support of the police as a part of the “Blue Crew” campaign. Once viewers recognized him as one of the Nazi stabbers, a large public outcry ensued. The story of an openly neo-Nazi police supporter gained national attention after being picked up by the Associated Press, and resulted in him and his partner, Manda Elizabeth Boone, who is also part of the white nationalist movement, being denounced by the Blue Crew.
Punneo and Boone being exposed as Nazis was a huge embarrassment not just for the local networks that ran the original story but also to the police in the context of the growing and increasingly militant movement against the police as a white supremacist institution and their systemic murder and incarceration of black and brown people. The media was seemingly so desperate to generate any positive propaganda in support of the police that they uncritically granted a platform to a violent Nazi with a history of sexual assault.
It’s important to note that Punneo’s arrest happened only after a white woman was subject to his to abuse and violence, and not due to the life threatening harm that was inflicted on the black and brown people, women, and gender non-binary people that made up the majority of the anti-racist protesters that were targeted ands injured. It shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone that a Nazi would go out of their way to express admiration and support for the police as white nationalists are well aware of the role of the police in maintaining white supremacy. The police do not view right-wing and white supremacist violence as a threat to their existence, and in fact, know that in practice, it bolsters their ability to maintain the existing oppressive social relationships. Police and correction officers themselves often have direct ties and are part of white nationalist movements independent of their systemic role in maintaining white supremacy. Those struggling against white supremacy and patriarchy cannot view the arrest of Punneo as a victory, nor can we rely on the police and the state to bring perpetrators like Punneo to justice.
One of the crucial lessons that cannot be ignored from recent events is the damaging toll that patriarchy and toxic masculinity have exacted on the organizing efforts of Nazis like Punneo. It’s thoroughly clear to those observing the movements and actions of these white supremacists that the women in their movement are not only relegated to secondary and subservient status, but are also continually subject to disrespect, abuse, and gendered violence. This dynamic has resulted significant intragroup tensions and fighting, and has been an indispensable source for the sheer amount of intelligence that has been gathered on the Nazis that participated in the rally. Ultimately, their ideology and practiced politics are unable to escape the crushing contractions between the espoused rhetoric of “faith, folk, and family” along with the pedestalized yet subjugated notions of womanhood and the gender roles and essentialism that it entails and the overwhelmingly abusive and violent lived experiences of the women in their ranks.
Those of us seeking to build and grow liberatory struggles against white supremacy, patriarchy, capitalism, and the state must center combating similar dynamics in our own movements, not just as a crucial part of developing real solidarity and transforming our social relationships, but also towards building resilience against attempts at infiltration and disruption by adversaries such as white supremacists and the state.
Punneo will not be the last Nazi from the rally to experience severe repercussions for their actions, and their embarrassingly transparent movements continue to be observed and their weaknesses noted. Expect more information and details on these Nazis to follow soon.