Are You Brave Now, Faggot? Overthrowing Trump's Fascists

Proud Boys celebrate. Twitter photo

Terrifying Cause and Effect Dept: This weekend, as Trump declared Democrats "an angry left-wing mob," gangs of white supremacist thugs known as Proud Boys - "Fuck around and find out" - roamed and rioted from New York City to Portland, Oregon, beating up protesters and bystanders as police mostly stood by. Named a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center and including in their ranks the organizer of Charlottesville's deadly Nazi rally, the Proud Boys were founded by the venomous Gavin McInnes, who often writes for white nationalist publications and likes to boast, "I cannot recommend violence enough - it is a very effective way to solve problems."

Their New York City brawl came after a McInnes speech celebrating the 1960 stabbing assassination of a Japanese Socialist Party leader by a right-wing extremist; for the occasion, McInnes dressed up as the assassin, complete with sword and glasses caricaturing Japanese eyes. He gave the speech at the invitation of the midtown Metropolitan Republican Club - a sign of a disquieting alliance that should give us all pause. Afterwards, he and his cohorts took to the streets; multiple videos show them beating, punching and kicking several people as they shout “faggot,” “cocksucker,” and, in a Kavanaugh nod, "I love beer!" reportedly because someone stole one of their MAGA hats. In one video, the group pummels a guy on the ground as they scream, "Are you brave now, faggot?!'” Afterwards, they cheerfully posed for a group photo, proudly flashing the white power symbol.

Video also surfaced of the NYPD turning up but just standing by, prompting outrage; some suggested they'd definitely have taken action if they'd seen, say, a black guy selling single cigarettes. The anger with the NYPD's cautious, disingenuous pronouncements: "We continue to investigate...No complaints have been filed..." It didn't help when McInnes thanked the NYPD for their support, lending creedence to rumors of Proud Boys within the NYPD ranks, or when the only initial arrests were of three anti-racist protesters charged with assault and robbery - though ever-vigilant police were also investigating vandalism at the club in the form of an anarchy symbol. After several days, evidently recalling that whole serve-and-protect thing, police finally announced nine Proud Boys would face riot and assault charges. Oregon police are likewise, dutifully "investigating."

Such evident complicity is just part of a growing, unsavory communion between right-wing thugs and a Trump GOP barely discernible from them. Both groups, Proud Boy lawyer Jason Lee Van Dyke gratefully notes, stand for the same things: "love of country, small government, freedom, and fun.” But if you're not yet afraid of such historically resonant connections, warns one fascism scholar, you should be. Sunday night, in a speech at a New Hampshire Democratic fundraiser, actor Alec Baldwin referenced those same fears. Exploding heads at Fox News and NRA-TV, he blasted Republicans on every issue - guns, energy, economics, immigration, women's rights, people of color - before declaring we must "overthrow the government" with our votes. "Let's overthrow the government of Donald Trump peacefully, lawfully and with extreme prejudice," he said. "Let’s make America great again, by making Donald Trump a casino operator again.” Even Gavin McInnes agrees, sort of: Speaking at the GOP clubhouse in his mock-Asian glasses, he charged Democrats are now Socialists and intoned, "Never let evil take root."

Earlier video by Marianne DeMarco captures our chilling historical moment:

TheGoodOldDays - Donald Trump and the Greensboro 4. from M dm on Vimeo

McInnes. Photo by Andrew Lichenstein/Corbis/Getty Images

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