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Aug 16, 21

This Week in Fascism #117: Violence Explodes as Proud Boys Unite with Far-Right Churches and Anti-Vaxxers

cover photo: @AlissaAzar

Welcome fellow antifascists!

Across the so-called United States, far-Right and fascist forces have embedded themselves within the growing tensions surrounding Trumpian opposition to ‘Critical Race Theory,’ masking, and vaccines. Already we’ve seen street clashes break out in Salem, Portland, and Los Angeles involving the Proud Boys and other far-Right gangs. In Los Angeles, we’ve watched as GOP candidates act as getaway drivers in violent attacks and police look the other way as Proud Boys stab their opponents. It’s going to be a hot summer.

We’ve got a lot of news to report on, so let’s dive right in.

Action Report

Proud Boys and far-Right Gangs Attack Journalists and Counter-Protesters at Anti-Vax/Anti-Mask Rally in Los Angeles

Hundreds of anti-lockdown, anti-mask, and anti-vaccination activists rallied in Los Angeles, and were joined by dozens of Proud Boys and other far-Right gangs. By mid-afternoon, clashes quickly broke out when the far-Right attacked a group of several dozen counter-protesters and journalists. The LAPD, who only weeks before attacked antifascists and pro-trans activists in previous clashes with the far-Right, stood by and later issued a statement blaming ‘Antifa’ for starting the violent brawl. One Proud Boy could be seen on video repeatedly stabbing someone’s back and head, while another larger far-Right protester held them down. Tony Moon, who goes by “Rooftop Korean” online, was filmed screaming, “Unmask them,” and attacking various journalists; pulling off their masks.

Also central to the violence was Benjamin Patino, who made waves last year after posting a video claiming he would attack Democrats by doing a “school shooter,” following Biden’s presidential election victory.

As Newsone reported:

But the LAPD later on its Instagram page blamed the violence on “Antifa and people gathered for the permitted event” despite witnesses claiming it was the Proud Boys who started the rioting. Instead, the LAPD said it had opened up an investigation into the violence.

The LAPD’s assignment of blame to Antifa without proof lent credence to the growing suspicion that the police were trying to cover up for the Proud Boys, who have allegedly enjoyed a cozy relationship with law enforcement in the past, critics said on social media.

Daily Dot went on to write:

Despite multiple reports from people on the ground that the Proud Boys were there and instigating violence, the LAPD opted to word their Instagram remarks about the clashes in a way that suggested antifa was to blame—and didn’t acknowledge the reported presence of Proud Boys while painting the anti-mask protestors in a neutral light.

Antifascists Confront Proud Boys in Portland and Salem; Portland Community Holds ‘Rock Against Racism’

Antifascists in both Salem and Portland, Oregon confronted far-Right churches that had teamed up with the Proud Boys for security. In Salem, Oregon, antifascists clashed with Proud Boys and other far-Right gangs outside of a Planned Parenthood. As Daily Kos wrote:

[A] Dominionist group organized a monthly gathering they call The Church at Planned Parenthood (TCAPP) in front of the local women’s health clinic, and were joined by a “security” crew comprised of Proud Boys, including several notorious figures from the Portland scene. There were counterprotesters—including local clergy—and some minor brawls, but it all eventually broke up amid clouds of pepper spray.

Proud Boys—including Tusitala “Tiny Toese,” who had just participated in street violence while leading a group of the far-right street brawlers in Portland a couple of days before—began assembling on a grass berm across from the clinic a little while later. The counterprotesters included a small number of “Black Bloc” activists, but largely comprised unaffiliated community members present to stand up against hate.

A few days later in Portland, far-Right evangelist preacher Sean Feucht held a rally inside of Portland and members of the Proud Boys, led by “Tiny” Toese, acted as security. As A News Cafe reported:

Sunday, Feucht and his team of performers visited Portland to hold their second “Let Us Worship” event on the one-year anniversary of their first visit. As with the first time, it took place at Tom McCall Waterfront Park. Unlike the first, however, a paramilitary force provided security.

In the hours before the event kicked off, Feucht shared on social media that he and his fellow performers would be protected by a team of ex-military and ex-law enforcement “LOVERS OF JESUS and freedom.”

He posted on his Facebook page: “If you mess with them or our 1st amendment right to worship God, you’ll meet Jesus one way or another.”

Feucht’s Facebook statement, which expressed a clear and violent threat to the lives of any potential counter-protesters, included a picture of him kneeling with a guitar in front of the paramilitary force. Scores of individuals on social media expressed their shock at Feucht’s statement about the paramilitary security force. Jay Koopman, a Los Angeles-based preacher at the Harvest Rock Church in Pasadena, joined Feucht and the security force in the photograph.

At one point, a group dressed in black clothing and riot gear lobbed flash bombs into the small crowd, shot attendees with bear spray and reportedly destroyed and threw sound equipment into the Willamette River.

Media outlets claimed  the attack was led by ANTIFA. Overstreet agreed, citing that ANTIFA was “trying to put fear into the heart of the church.” While the group that responded to Pawlowski’s event certainly stepped beyond the bounds of their right to free speech, it is important to understand that they were responding to the intensely violent rhetoric of a white Christian supremacist.

The next night, Feucht called for more paramilitary security to join him for another concert:

Local members of the Proud Boys, the most visible and vocal being Tusitala “Tiny” Toese, was in attendance. Toese, who is also affiliated Joey Gibson’s Patriot Prayer group, as well as the Oath Keepers, has a violent past and has been known to specifically visit the city to attack people during protest events.

Toese was joined by a group of men affiliated with far-right groups who, like him, have caused bloodshed on the streets of Portland in recent months and who have extensive criminal histories. This includes Vitaliy Ponomarev and Igor Ponomarev, Russian American brothers from the Vancouver-Portland area.

After the “Let Us Worship” event ended, Vitaliy dangerously drove his truck through protesters in downtown Portland as Igor sprayed bear repellent out the window. Igor also assaulted an individual with a bat earlier that evening.

Jeff Grace, a resident of Battle Ground arrested for entering the U.S. Capitol during the insurrection on January 6, was also among the men in the group which included Toese. On Tuesday, federal prosecutors filed a new court document in U.S. District Court in Washington D.C. due to Grace’s role in the violence which took place in Portland on Saturday and Sunday. Grace was seen carrying a firearm and other weapons, and assaulting another man.

Members of the Proud Boys and other far-Right groups then took to the streets of Portland, where they clashed with antifascists who attempted to push them off the streets. One far-Right protester was decked out in military garb carrying what looked like a high powered long-gun, but was in fact an air-soft gun. Despite marching around the city and pointing it at people on the street, journalists, and counter protesters, he was only later arrested after massive public outcry and anger. According to the Portland Mercury:

It was during this escalating street brawl that bystanders noticed Lee strolling down a street, carrying what appeared to be a black assault rifle and pointing it at activists, journalists, and other passers-by. Activists took videos and photos of Lee as he rambled through downtown streets, with some yelling warnings at members of the public about Lee’s firearm.

After 20 minutes of walking through downtown, Lee walked into PPB’s Central Precinct. He left without facing any charges. According to the Portland Police Bureau (PPB), officers [later] arrested 23-year-old Mark Lee at his home Thursday—four days after they first encountered Lee. Lee was charged with three counts of menacing and one count of second-degree disorderly conduct.

Originally Portland police defended their non-arrest of Lee by claiming that they were too busy to do anything about the far-Right clashes happening in the Downtown. This comes after weeks of both the police and Mayor Ted Wheeler playing up the escalation of so-called “gun violence” in the media and the murder of a houseless man at a Portland park who was ‘armed” with a toy gun.

Far-Right Anti-Vax Group Laughed Out of Portland Neighborhood; Rock Against Fascism a Success

Last Friday, a group of far-Right, anti-vaxxers attempted to stage an overnight protest in a Portland neighborhood, but were quickly shouted down and laughed out of the area by neighbors. The next day, various groups, projects, and distros came together to celebrate a ‘Rock Against Fascism’ also in Portland, Oregon, which was a great success.


Neo-Nazis and Proud Boys Continue to Target School Board Meetings

In a continued strategy to embed themselves within evolving pro-Trump and far-Right currents, the Proud Boys and other fascist formations are attempting to show up and take a leading role within anti-Critical Race Theory, anti-masking, and anti-vaccination protests and disruptions of local school board meetings.

As Kelly Weill reported:

[In] Nashville, tensions were simmering at another school board meeting, where a conservative commentator—who does not have children enrolled in that school district—criticized masks as “child abuse.” Days earlier, in North Carolina, a school board meeting over masking devolved into chaos after attendees attempted to “overthrow” the officials and install themselves as a new board. And members of the far-right paramilitary group the Proud Boys have attended contentious school board meetings about masking in Florida and New Hampshire.

Multiple Florida schools have also seen an influx in outsiders crashing their meetings on masking. Last month, a group of men with Proud Boy uniforms and anti-masking signs attended a Palm Beach County, Florida school board meeting, CBS12 reported. Members of the group sat inside the meeting, and stood on a street corner with a banner bedecked in the Proud Boys logo and the slogan “unmask the children.”

That same month, Proud Boys leader Enrique Tarrio attended a school board meeting in Florida’s Miami-Dade County. Tarrio told WPLG Local 10 News that members of his group were there to speak against masks, vaccine requirements, and “critical race theory.”

In Nashua, New Hampshire, neo-Nazis with the Nationalist Social Club, held a demonstration against Critical Race Theory. As Idavox reported:

After Proud Boys harassed residents last month during a school board meeting that discussed the issue of Critical Race Theory being taught in schools, some called for support from other communities against the neo-fascist group when the next meeting was held on Monday Aug. 9. On that day, Proud Boys were not as visible as they were two weeks prior, but instead, a local, miniscule neo-nazi group that has stood with Proud Boys in the past marched on the meeting in their place.

Approximately one hour after the school board meeting began, and after counter activists had largely believed there to be no white supremacist/Proud Boy threat coming against the meeting and began to dissolve, police reinforcements suddenly showed in the parking lot. Moments later, from a parking lot around the side of the building away from the main doors and gathered community members and activists, a paltry eleven members of the Nationalist Social Club (NSC) marched, with police ahead of them with shouts of “Jews will not replace us!”

Largely outnumbering the NSC, activists swiftly rushed to prevent the Nazi formation from reaching the front of the school, but the two sides were divided by a police line. NSC then took up stance directly facing the school, and attempted to speak through a bullhorn for two hours, drowned out entirely by counter protestors who mocked, ridiculed and identified some by name, notably Hood, Liam MacNeil and Ryan Roy who is known for getting fired from a pizza parlor after attending the tragic Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, VA four years ago.

Proud Boys also rallied alongside pro-Columbus demonstrators in Chicago’s Little Italy neighborhood recently:

A year after the Christopher Columbus statue in Arrigo Park was yanked down amid mounting protests, hundreds rallied at the same spot in the heart of Little Italy last month to demand the city restore that monument to the explorer and two others.

Billed as Italian Unity Day, the July 25 event included many with deep ties to the neighborhood. But it was also filled with members of a controversial western chauvinist group with a long track record of sowing division: the Proud Boys.

Members of the group — which figured prominently in the deadly “Unite the Right” rally in 2017 and at the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol — attended the rally and confronted counterprotesters. They also marched down the middle of a quiet residential street waving flags, flashing far-right hand-gestures and screaming obscenities at “antifa” — referring to the antifascist activists that serve as a perpetual thorn in their sides.

GOP Candidate Drove Get Away Car in Violent Attack at Anti-Trans Demo in LA

Chad Loder reports that a far-Right and pro-Qanon GOP candidate for governor of California, Sarah Stephens, was behind the wheel and acted as the getaway driver for a Proud Boys associate who hit a reporter across the head with a pipe on July 3rd in Los Angeles.

According to Left Coast Right Watch:

Journalist and documentarian Rocky Romano was lucky to be wearing a helmet that day. Local right wing extremist Aaron Simmons, who had his face covered in a kufiya, ran up out of nowhere and slammed Romano’s head with a metal baton. Simmons quickly jumped into a Ford Explorer conveniently parked a block away from where he bashed Romano’s head; in a video of the escape into the car, you can hear Simmons say, “that felt so good cracking him in the head though.” The getaway vehicle for one of the most violent local right wing extremists, Aaron Simmons, belonged to Stephens. She was driving.

Telegram Continues to be a Hotbed for QAnon Conspiracy Theory Followers

Researchers from Logically and the Global Network on Extremism and Technology have been observing and researching the evolution of QAnon organizing on Telegram following major social network-wide bans and the end of the Trump administration. Though mainstream news outlets report that QAnon has either gone away or become less of a threat, what researchers are seeing is a migration from Q-related conspiracies to COVID conspiracy, anti-vaccination propaganda, and climate change denialism. According to the Logically article:

They found that at least 135,150 accounts are currently active in QAnon communities on Telegram, while a total of 229,797 unique accounts are currently members of the groups. In total, 639,909 accounts have posted at least once into these 30 groups since their creation, with 24 of them appearing during or after August 2020. The active membership in these 30 groups alone makes the QAnon extremist community the largest on Telegram.

Logically reports that unlike Twitter and Facebook, Telegram does not cooperate in supporting research being conducted by anyone outside the company. Logically and GNET researchers relied on their own methods to assess user activity on the platform:

Researchers at GNET and Logically chose these 30 chat groups, mostly focused in the US and Europe with a few international branches, as a way of taking a baseline assay of how QAnon grew and developed as it moved underground. All of the groups either had explicit QAnon-linked titles, or consistent QAnon messaging across their chat histories. While there are plenty more QAnon-adjacent or affiliated groups, researchers felt it was best to take a conservative approach. That’s both to be certain that members of the groups had subscribed for QAnon content, and because there are only so many hours in the day — Logically and GNET had 3,500 QAnon groups and channels to choose from, with membership for each ranging from single digits to tens of thousands of people.

Not only does the QAnon community continue to evolve, but according to the Logically article, 41. candidates for the 2022 congressional office have open QAnon affiliations.

Virginia Proud Boy and Former Marine Arrested for Assaulting Capitol Police Officer During White Riot

According to a Department of Justice press release, “King George,” a Virginia Proud Boy, real name James Russell Davis, was arrested for his participation in the January 6th attempted storming of the Capitol. According to the report, Davis is being charged for assaulting a Capitol police officer with a stick. The assault was captured by body worn camera footage as well as other footage obtained by the DOJ. According to the report:

Davis charged toward officers while wielding a large stick. After an officer shouted for Davis to move back, he allegedly did not follow the command and again charged at the officers. BWC footage captures Davis shouting and pushing down the hands of a second officer as the officer tries to block Davis’ advance. Davis is further seen in BWC footage pointing to his U.S. Marine Corps ball cap and stating, “I fought for this country… I’m a military f****** police,” as he pushed officers while wielding the large stick.

The press release indicates that this case is being investigated by both the Virginia and Washington FBI Field Offices, the Metropolitan Police and the U.S. Capitol Police. Davis is one of 535 individuals who have been arrested for their involvement in the January 6 events.

Assistant Alaska Attorney General Leaves Job After Being Outted for His Connection to Deseret Nationalist Movement

The Anchorage Daily News reports that assistant Alaska attorney general Matthias Cicotte has left his job after antifascist researchers and the journalists for the Guardian identified him as a virulent racist and Deseret Nationalist follower. Cicotte operated a hate-filled twitter profile under the pseudonym JReubenCIark.

The accounts linked to Cicotte had advocated violence against left-wing groups and the execution of those performing gender reassignment surgery. The accounts were some of the most prominent advocates of Deseret nationalism, the idea that Mormons should create their own country in the western United States.

According to the article, the department’s spokeswoman indicated Cicotte’s last day was Tuesday, July 27th but would not comment on whether or not Cicotte was fired or left on his own. The article also indicates that Cicotte made over $100,000 in 2020 working for the department. For background on Deseret Nationalist movement, head to DezNat Exposed’s excellent blog.

Talking Points Memo Covers House Select Committee Investigating J6th: Five Takeaways

The House select committee to investigate the January 6th storming of the capitol invited two Capitol police officers and two Metropolitan police officers to speak on the events of January 6th. Talking Points Memo reported on this hearing with the five major takeaways. They are:

  1. The officers want Trump held accountable. The officers watched video of themselves being beaten and feel that the only reconciliation of the action that day can come through Trump being held “accountable.”
  2. The officers were bitter that GOP politicians betrayed them. The officers stated that one of the hardest parts of the entire experience was hearing GOP representatives defend the attack on the Capitol.
  3. The attack’s racial element came to the fore. The officers addressed the ever-apparent but under-reported racism that fueled the attack. African-American officers were called the “n” word over and over again.
  4. Officers didn’t use their firearms because they thought they would lose in a gun fight. The officers acknowledged their assumption that many rioters had firearms on them and made the decision to not use their service weapons out of fear that they would be overwhelmed.
  5. The bombs succeeded in scrambling the response. Bombs planted at both the DNC and RNC headquarters were discovered as the storming of the capitol began, causing police disorganization.

Check out the article for more details.


Jamie Oshita, Proud Boy of Ferndale, Washington

Jamie Oshita of Ferndale, WA was exposed by We Will Be Ruthless as a racist associate of the Proud Boys. Oshita posts in the Proud Boys telegram run by Enrique Tarrio. In said channel, she spends her time mocking disabled black people. This is particularly concerning because she works with children at Campfire Samish in Bellingham, WA. Information on how to contact Camp Samish is available in the thread.

Kevin Michael Dolan, Deseret Nationalist of Culpeper, Virginia

DezNat Exposed has revealed Kevin Michael Dolan of Culpeper, VA as a racist member of the DezNat movement. He is currently an employee of Booz Allen with a security clearance. He runs a blog under the pseudonym Bennett’s Demilich where he posts extremely anti-Semitic and racist content. Information on how to contact his employer is in the linked thread.

Gavin James Hanf, Disinformation Propagandist of Pennsbury, Pennsylvania

Karma161 gave fascist doxer Gavin James Hanf an 18th birthday present by exposing his racist activity online. Gavin is a recent graduate of Pennsbury (north of Philadelphia) who has doxed and harassed marginalized people and leftists under a multitude on online pseudonyms. He has been documented sending money to fascist domestic abuser Chandler Pappas and collaborates closely with pedophile Joey Camp.

Jamie Scheelk, Proud Boy from Lake Worth, Florida

Miami Against Fascism has exposed Proud Boy recruit Jamie Scheelk from Lake Worth, FL. Jamie posts racist memes online and harassed the Palm Beach County school board with several other Proud Boys on July 21st. This harassment was part of a larger pattern of right-wing groups targeting schools for teaching, “Critical Race Theory.”

Kyle Bonham, Proud Boy of Corvallis, Oregon

CVAntifa named Proud Boy collaborator and domestic abuser Kyle Bonham. Bonham is roommates with neo-Nazi Proud Boy Benjamin Bajer in Corvallis, Oregon. He and Ben have attempted to disrupt several Corvallis leftist actions including a recent sleep-in in solidarity with houseless people. Bonham pumps gas for Fred Meyer. Their contact information is in the linked thread.

Call to Action

Far-Right and neo-fascist groups are mobilizing to rally in Portland on August 22nd at 1pm. People are calling for mass numbers to oppose them and keep the streets safe, following a series of violent far-Right rallies in the Pacific Northwest.

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A weekly roundup of the latest and greatest happenings in the anti-fascist world. Each column features a roundup of news, actions, doxxes and current calls to action.

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