This Week in Fascism #16: Neo-Nazis & Proud Boys Join Attacks on “Story Hour”
Filed under: Anti-fascist, This Week in Fascism
Filed under: Anti-fascist, This Week in Fascism
Hello antifascists! In this week’s column we’re going to stick to just a few new stories because there is so much going on. Next week, we hope to return to a normal format of doxxes and other updates, but with antifa back in the news so much and far-Right trolls going hard, it’s important to zero in on these stories. With that said, let’s get into it!
Over the last few months, the group Drag Queen Story Hour (DQSH), has received death threats, lawsuits, and protests across the country, as they have gotten push back from everyone from evangelical groups, to conspiracy sites like InfoWars, and various groups from the far-Right.
— Hemant Mehta (@hemantmehta) June 24, 2019
The idea behind Drag Queen Story Hour, which is a non-profit, is to create an environment of tolerance and acceptance of gay and trans people while also providing a community service of reading to children.
In an interview on NBC News, organizers stated that performers receive training and must go through a background check before reading to kids, and currently there are over 35 chapters of DQSH across the country. In one interview with the Daily Beast, a DQSH member stated, “This year we celebrated 50 years of Pride, and knowing that there [are] so many drag queens, to many transgenders, so many lesbians, so many gay people getting killed…just for being who they are…we don’t want that to continue.”
As you can imagine, DQSH has been met across the country with support as well as protests, while also being used as outrage fodder in Right media circles. As Alex Jones “reported” on InfoWars, “We got footage this weekend…of a drag queen festival…and they show up, and they have their way with your children, in demon outfits!” Such sensational reporting with no basis in reality has led to a barrage of violent threats and in some select incidents, near acts of actual violence. Seizing on the backlash, far-Right groups, neo-Nazis, and the Proud Boys have jumped into the fray, joining in on protests against Drag Queen Story Hour and now some are even pushing to release private information of even parents who attend these events.
As our column Tranarchy reported, the white nationalist group Identity Evropa, an organization which was central to the planning and organizing of Unite the Right in Charlottesville (they have since rebranded as American Identity Movement), was one of the first to lead the charge. Two members of IE/AIM held up a banner outside one of the events while dressed as clowns and the stunt quickly went viral and landed them on InfoWars. Later, in leaked recordings from inside the group, IE/AIM leadership applauded the InfoWars coverage, stating that it was helping them cross over from the racist Alt-Right and into more “mainstream” Right audiences.
— Ken Kruger (@readmoreabout) July 3, 2019
Since then, there’s been a wave of doxxings, phone-in campaigns, and other forms of pressure to disrupt and stop DQSH events. As VICE wrote:
Organizers of the campaign against the reading hours are urging followers to publish the drag queens’ identifying information online to encourage harassment. Libraries that planned to host reading hours have been bombarded by protesters and phone calls.
A library in Warren County, New Jersey, was forced to cancel its Drag Story Hour after it received two days of nonstop phone calls. A Drag Queen Story Hour in Leander, north of Austin, Texas, was first cancelled by city officials due to threats of protests — and ultimately hosted by a pro-LGBTQ church in the area. And more than 100 protesters showed up in response to a Drag Story Hour in Rockford, Illinois, last weekend.
Threats and protests against Drag Queen Story Hour have been fueled by the baseless conspiracy theory that the events are hotbeds of pedophilia. This theory has been promoted across right-wing media, including Fox News, all the way to the racist forums on the imageboard sites 8chan and 4chan.
Fox News anchor Martha MacCallum recently ventured that there’s a “sexualization element” to Drag Queen Story Hours. Earlier this month, Fox News’ Laura Ingraham’s guest on her podcast likened Drag Queen Story Hours to NAMBLA, a pro-pedophilia advocacy group.
In their “Mass Report Thread,” the Proud Boys have also pushed for their members to call into libraries because they don’t want “men in dresses trying to sexualize children” or “push their sexuality…”
Proud Boys were also part of recent protests in Renton, Washington, against a recent DQSH event. According to Renton Reporter:
Local “Proud Boys” and others opposed to the King County Library System’s Drag Queen Story Hours showed up in Issaquah on Wednesday to voice their opposition to the events. The showing comes ahead of major Pride celebrations and after recent anti-LGBTQ vandalism in Renton that the FBI has started investigating.
Later, along with other far-Right individuals and protesters, they faced off against members of the John Brown Gun Club and other antifascists, who were on hand to support and protect story hour goers from possible far-Right violence.
This is a pic I took of the Proud Boys at a library in Renton, WA on Thursday evening. Obviously no white nationalism on display there, eh? pic.twitter.com/IVHkSixfOj
— David Fleetwood (@reflexve) June 30, 2019
According to the Proud Boys Magazine website in an essay written by Proud Boys founded and former leader, Gavin McIness:
We don’t care what your sexual preference is and that includes guys dating trans.
Guess when it comes to trans people, the Proud Boys will fuck them but also try and beat them up with they read a story to a kid.
Despite the ironic “PC” rhetoric, it’s clear where the Proud Boys stand. Not only are they taking part in protests against the Drag Queen Story Hour, but also last Friday protested a Trans Pride march in Seattle and currently hold a working relationship with the white nationalists and far-Right trolls pushing for the much lampooned “Straight Pride March.” And, like the Alt-Right and neo-Nazi groups that are adjacent to them, they are more than willing to insert themselves in any far-Right and reactionary struggle in order to gain more followers, sell their wears, attack their enemies, and further cement their brand. This means standing besides gender fascists and hate preachers on the streets, while also holding up “gay conservatives,” from Milo Yiannopoulos to Andy Ngo.
Proud Boys downtown heading to Cap Hill. Be ready. pic.twitter.com/57eFoYncv1
— Philip Weiss (@kingrat) June 29, 2019
But now it seems that some groups are wanting to ratchet things up a notch even farther, and according to posts made on the online Telegram account for neo-Nazi leader Paul Nehlen, who is a former GOP hopeful that was once backed by Steve Bannon and promoted by Donald Trump, they are now hoping to go after even the parents of those who bring their children to the event. In one posted in the Paul Nehlen Telegram group, it encourages people to “get photos of all the degenerate parents…Get their liscence plates, anything else you can…”
In recent weeks, threats to Drag Queen Story Hour have continued and in some cases, almost descended into actual violence. In the last few days, two events in Pittsburgh were cancelled after threats of violence on social media. In Texas, a man attempted to enter one story hour event with a hand gun, but was topped by the police as he had already been banned from the library in the past. In Maryland, a man was arrested after running into the room where story hour was taking place and screaming.
Just as the spreading of the cement conspiracy theory in Portland over the weekend, what is happening with the Drag Queen Story Hour should be an example of how the far-Right ecosystem of outrage, media, and violence works in real life. First, outlets like InfoWars and then later Fox News, play up fears and outrage. While what they are reporting on is in fact real, as in, there is a group called Drag Queen Story Hour, the real issue is how they report about it: insinuating that DQSH has something to do with sex or pedophilia. While these claims are baseless, people hearing this become very upset, sometimes to the point of wanting to carry out acts of violence. This is exactly what happened with Pizzagate. Seeing this media frenzy unfold and protests starting to be organized by the grassroots, neo-Nazi, Proud Boy, and Alt-Right groups seek to intervene in these situations, attempting to make alliances with people calling protests and posting on social media.
In the end, each faction of the Right gets what they are after. To the grifters goes the clicks and the money, to the movement builders goes another cause to glom on to, and to those looking to take violent action, another possible target to aim at.
The same government agency that found itself able to assassinate Black Panthers and spy on MLK Jr and roundup anarchists to be deported says that it “lost” all the files related to the white nationalist website, Stormfront. Stormfront is notorious as being a regular posting hub for a variety of white supremacist who went on to become mass murderers.
Comrade! The state is planning on destroying you. It will use Nazi jackboots and other reactionary fanatics to do this. Organise and prepare for the final conflict https://t.co/QLBdJcgsbs
— D'Andre White (@DAndreWhite8) July 3, 2019
According to leaked chats by Unicorn Riot, Identity Evropa/Movement Identity Movement is planning to hold an event where the groups engages in “activism” and listens to speakers, based in and around the new IE office/home of it’s leader, Patrick Casey.
EXCLUSIVE: Unicorn Riot has received evidence that neo-nazis with Identity Evropa (aka the American Identity Movement) are gathering in DC for the 4th of July.
More info coming soon in our new report, incl. 1000s of private chat records from inside the white supremacist group. pic.twitter.com/OIROkc0ZVP
— Unicorn Riot (@UR_Ninja) July 3, 2019
Trolls at the pro-Trump conspiracy site Big League Politics, which is most famous for supporting Roy Moore, pushing conspiracy theories about Unite the Right, and being the day job for Proud Boy “council of elders” Luke Rofhling – are now pushing the conspiracy theory that antifa will spray acid on people attending a Proud Boy rally in DC on July 6th.
Proud Boys claiming someone posted on their personal Telegram account threatening to spray acid at their upcoming rally in DC. Citing no evidence other than an avatar which has same art posted on a NY journalist's instagram, they're now blaming them for the 'threat.' https://t.co/kdpM2bAPVZ
— It's Going Down (@IGD_News) July 2, 2019
This “information” comes from a post on the Proud Boys own Telegram account. The account’s handle is “Pound on a Proud Boy” and its avatar features artwork of a cartoon figure doing just that. According to Big League Politics, a journalist with an Instagram account had the same artwork in photo on their their feed with the same slogan beneath it. To Big League Politics, this has been enough ‘evidence’ to charge this person who lives in New York not only as “ANTIFA,” but also as the person who posted on the Proud Boys Telegram.
Proud Boys are now using the “threat” of most likely their own design to rally support for their rally which will features Alt-Lite and New Right speakers like Milo Yiannopoulos, Mike Cernovich, Jack Posobiec, Gavin McIness, Laura Loomer, and Proud Boys and Latinos for Trump (Florida) leader, Enrique Tarrio.
We’ll be back next week with your regular mix of doxxes and updates. Until this, help people spread the word about #AllOutDC, which far-Right leaders are saying could bring out as 1,000 drunk and violent Proud Boys. #AllOut!
Make no mistake!
— BlackLivesMatter DC (@DMVBlackLives) July 3, 2019
A weekly roundup of the latest and greatest happenings in the anti-fascist world. Each column will feature an “Explainer,” delineating some new fascist trend, a roundup of the doxxes and the deplatformings, and feature the calls to action, ways that you can help your local anti-fascist crews beat back the rising tide of fascism worldwide.