Two of the Worst Far-Right Groups Are Now Fighting Each Other
Category: News & PoliticsVia: hal-a-lujah • 5 months ago • 8 comments
By: Mack Lamoureux
A simple online beef between small chapters from two of America's most infamous far-right groups has now turned into a nationwide schism with threats that violence is now “on sight.”
On June 24 in Oregon City, Oregon far-right groups got together to protest the town’s first-ever Pride Night festival. At the event, both the PDX Proud Boys and Rose City Nationalists, a neo-Nazi group affiliated with the active club network (an international network of fitness-focused neo-Nazis) showed up to partake in the hateful revelry. The groups didn’t just direct their hate at the LGBTQ community though, but also each other.
In a video posted to Twitter, a large group of Proud Boys, the far-right street fighting gang that saw much of its leadership arrested over the January 6 insurrection, can be seen intimidating a smaller group of overt neo-Nazis. “Begone bitch,” one of them yelled. The Proud Boys pushed the Nazis back and eventually, a few individual scuffles broke out. Sucker punches were thrown, and stomps were attempted but most importantly, the Proud Boys went for the neo-Nazi's skull masks.
“Demask them,” a Proud Boy yelled.
The unmasked neo-Nazis tried to hide their faces from the cameras in fear of being identified before scuttling away. Oregon Live reported that two people were arrested as a result of the brawl.
This act left the Rose City Nationalists, alongside all other Active Club-affiliated groups, humiliated, and incredibly upset. “Proud Boys will be treated as enemy combatants from here on out. Let's knuckle up,” wrote the Tennessee Active Club chapter.
A person with internal knowledge of the situation told VICE News that what had happened was the former Proud Boy who started Rose City Nationalists (a neo-Nazi group closely associated with local active clubs) was “running his mouth” on Twitter about his former cohorts. When they showed up to partake in an anti-LGBTQ protest his online words caught up with him offline. You can even hear Proud Boys call the former proud boy turned neo-Nazi organizer, who has been identified outed by local anti-fascists , and homophobic slurs in the video.
Active Clubs are a fast-growing international network of neo-Nazi cells that are formed around racist white men training in fitness and combat sports. Chapters have been popping up across the United States, Canada, Europe, and Scandinavia, with some organizing large fight tournaments. The figurehead behind the Active Clubs, Robert Rundo, was arrested in March .
Four Proud Boy leaders, including former "chairman" Enrique Tarrio were recently convicted on serious seditious conspiracy charges for their role in the violent Capitol riot. Dozens more members are facing lesser charges in connection to Jan 6. Since then, the Proud Boys say that the "sovereign" leadership chapter has been abolished, and they now function as a decentralized network of chapters. But despite this organizational upheaval, the group has remained incredibly active in their local communities.
While Active Clubs and Proud Boys ave not openly worked hand in hand, they often could be found standing shoulder to shoulder terrorizing the LGBTQ community over the last year .
Kris Goldsmith, the CEO of Task Force Butler , a non-profit that gives veterans open-source intelligence tools to combat hate, told VICE News he wasn’t surprised the groups were fighting.
"The same things that make these people neo-Nazis and white supremacists are the same personality traits that make them that (and) make them really fucking hard to get along with,” said Goldsmith. “That's why there's so much drama within the various street gangs.”
This regional spat has quickly gone national with chapters across the United States on both sides weighing in on the incident. Active Clubs have accused the Proud Boys of being anti-white and said violence against the Proud Boys is “on sight” from now on. Multiple chapters have issued one on one or group combat challenges to the Proud Boys.
“For Proud Boy members who are fathers and wish to attack our activists, please consider your children's futures so as to ensure they do not become fatherless children as a result of your foolishness,” one affiliated group wrote.
Meanwhile, the actions of the Portland Proud Boys have led to some schisms in the national community. The Philadelphia Proud Boys said "attacking fashy bros, who have taken no hostile actions against us, is stupid and wrong” and called their Portland brethren homophobic slurs. Some chapters, however, have stepped up their efforts against Active Clubs and neo-Nazi groups, and one even stole a Patriot Front banner.
"The white nationalists are triggered," a North Carolina Proud Boy chapter wrote. "You’re going to need a lot more than your handful of 155-pound 20-year-old involuntary celibates in khaki pants."
The Active Clubs are taking this situation very seriously. The national leadership of the group is humiliated and feels they have to push back. The Evergreen Active Club even released a video addressing the Proud Boy situation and another recent video that went viral where, while attempting to disrupt a Pride event in Lewis County, Oregon, a neo-Nazi challenged a local who was there to celebrate Pride in a pushup contest and got smoked. As the racist began to slow down the man celebrating Pride sped up and even began to do clapping push-ups to the audience's cheers.
“It’s time for our young men to learn the ropes and that includes losing a few battles,” a man with a voice modulator says in the video. They then go on to threaten the Proud Boys but do not address their member being soundly defeated in the pushup contest.
A spokesperson for Corvallis Antifa, a Pacific Northwest antifascist collective following the situation, told VICE News both sides were dealt a rather large optics blow. With the Proud Boys splintering and some kowtowing to white nationalists.
“Active Clubs centralize their ‘superior’ fitness and combat training in much of their propaganda,” they told VICE. “The fact that they got so thoroughly washed by middle-aged beer-league right wingers peels away the active clubs tough-guy veneer.”
Both of the groups are accusing the other of being like “Antifa.” Like any sort of hyper-online group, the chats where members of these groups populate are full of grandstanding, whining, and fighting about the incident. Goldsmith doesn’t believe the men will likely fulfill their threats of mass violence but rather “just keep sniping at each other online.”
The Proud Boys and Active Clubs continue to escalate their threats against one another. What started as an online beef has grown into a nationwide schism between former bedfellows.
"If you go to join one of these organizations, they literally all have disclaimers saying 'no drama,'" said Goldsmith. "I don't know any other adult organization that has to have a disclaimer that they don't want drama in their club."
“Whether they're Proud Boys or they're their Rose City Nationalists, they're all fucking idiots and they're their own worst enemies.”