Filed under: Anti-fascist, Event, Northwest
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On Sunday, June 4th, Warriors for Freedom LLC, a for-profit, far-right group centered in Vancouver, WA, is holding a rally in Terry Schrunk Plaza. The rally is being billed as a “Free Speech Rally,” but prior incarnations of these rallies have included acts of harassment, white supremacist proselytization, and created a climate of fear among our most vulnerable communities, while providing opportunities for racists to network and normalize their genocidal world view. We are calling for a broad coalition to come together to oppose them at a rally in Chapman Square on June 4th at 12pm. We will make it abundantly clear that we will not tolerate violent bigots in our downtown, such as the white nationalists that sneak in among these “warriors.”
Warriors for Freedom LLC is the most recent guise of a group also known as American Freedom Keepers. Uniting a variety of motorcycle gang members, bigoted fundamentalists, militia members, and other street-brawlers with nothing better to do, this group takes donations from the public and uses the money to jetset around the country, hoping to get into fights with young activists. They videotape these fights, and then use them as propaganda to gain more donations. In aid of this vicious circle of violence, allowing fringe white supremacists to join their rallies has become commonplace. The more violence, the more outrageous videos they produce, and the more money for Warriors for Freedom, so the more time they can spend flying around the country rather than doing something productive for their communities.
Joey Gibson, who video blogs under the name “Patriot Prayer,” is the central organizer of Warriors for Freedom. His other rallies have attracted klansmen, white supremacists, Nazis, and other bigots who use the carnivalesque atmosphere of these right-wing gatherings as safe spaces to propagandize and recruit for their violent agendas. A recent “march for free speech” on NE 82nd Ave (a neighborhood with a large immigrant population) provided cover for representatives from multiple white supremacist groups to sieg heil and paste racist flyers along the busy street. Now they are attempting to bring their road show of intimidation and racist bullying to the heart of downtown Portland.
On June 4th, Warriors for Freedom LLC has invited Pat Washington, aka “Based Spartan,” and Kyle Chapman, aka “Based Stickman,” to headline their event. These two are celebrities among the Alt Right set because of their bizarre costumes and violent activities. White nationalists, men’s rights misogynists, homophobes, anti-migrant xenophobes, Islamophobic preachers, Proud Boys, Identity Evropa, and a smattering of other known white supremacist gang members have said that they will attend the June 4th rally.
We are not calling all the participants of these rallies fascists. However, regardless of the politics they espouse themselves, the tendency of these marches to normalize and provide cover for organizing and recruitment by white supremacists and other violent gangs is a dangerous trend. On Saturday May 20th, a black student was murdered in College Park, MD by a member of an “alt-reich” Facebook group. On March 20th, a man with a history of posting on various hate forums stabbed a man to death on the streets of New York. Journalists have been documenting a surge in hate crimes, both explicitly violent and not. Last year in Portland, Larnell Bruce was brutally murdered by a member of the white supremacist gang European Kindred. Although few are aware of it, Portland once had a rampant neo-Nazi scene: an immigrant was beaten to death near Laurelhurst Park by a skinhead gang in 1988, and neo-Nazi boneheads ran rampant through the music clubs of Portland in the 1990s. We will not allow Warriors for Freedom LLC’s predatory street-fighting circus to open the door to returning our city to this violent past.
Stand with us on June 4th, and unite against fascism creeping into our streets. If your organization would like to sign on to this statement, please email us at [email protected].
Rose City Antifa
Pacific Northwest Anti-Fascist Workers Collective
Powell Valley Green Collective
Portland Anarchist Black Cross
Portland State University Student Union
Rose City RedneckRevolt
Portland Black Rose
Lane County Defense Network
Spokane Anti-Racist Action
Portland Women’s Revolution