Antifa and Proud Boys: Political lightning rods for the Dems, GOP
JIMMIE JOHNSON: BY NOW, WE’VE ALL HEARD AND SEEN THE VIOLENT IMAGES OF FAR-RIGHT AND FAR-LEFT EXTREMIST GROUPS CLASHING IN CITIES ACROSS THE COUNTRY…
ON ONE SIDE, YOU HAVE ANTIFA, AND ON THE OTHER SIDE, PROUD BOYS.
IN PORTLAND, MEMBERS OF PROUD BOYS SMASH THE GLASS OF THIS PICK-UP TRUCK AND BRUTALLY BEAT THE DRIVER INSIDE – BELIEVED TO BE, A MEMBER OF ANTIFA.
SIMILAR CONFRONTATIONS HAVE PLAYED IN SEATTLE AND NEW YORK CITY.
SO, WHO ARE THE PROUD BOYS AND ANTIFA?
THEY MAY BE ON POLAR OPPOSITE SIDES OF THE POLITICAL SPECTRUM, BUT THEY ARE SIMILAR – IN THAT THEY BOTH CAN BE VIOLENT EXTREMIST GROUPS.
LET’S GET THIS STRAIGHT.
THE COMPARISON BETWEEN ANTIFA AND THE PROUD BOYS TOOK CENTER STAGE IN A 2020 DEBATE BETWEEN THEN-CANDIDATE JOE BIDEN AND FORMER PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP.
Trump: “Who would you like me to condemn? White Supremacist and Proud Boys.
Trump: Proud Boys, stand back and standby, but I tell you what… somebody’s got to do something about Antifa and the left because this is not a right-wing problem. This is a left-wing problem.
Biden: Antifa is an ideal, not an organization, not a militia. That’s what his FBI director said.”
JIMMIE: LET’S START WITH THE FAR-LEFT.
ANTIFA — SHORT FOR ANTI-FASCISTS IS A LOOSE COLLECTION OF GROUPS, NETWORKS, AND INDIVIDUALS.
PERLIGER: ”ANTIFA members are individuals who believe in a different, a far-right, so far left ideas, their socialist ideas, some of them even promote more extreme ideas, some of them define themselves as communists or anarchists, and so on.”
JIMMIE: ARIE PERLIGER, PROFESSOR OF SECURITY STUDIES AT UMASS HOWELL HAS BEEN STUDYING THE RISE OF EXTREMIST GROUPS FOR MORE THAN A DECADE.
PERLIGER: ”Many of them want to say the elimination of the capitalist system, many of them are extremely critical about liberal democracy.”
JIMMIE: THE ANTI-DEFAMATION LEAGUE SAYS, “ANTIFA’S PRESENCE AT PROTESTS IS INTENDED TO INTIMIDATE AND DETER RACISTS” BUT THE USE OF VIOLENCE IS CREATING A “VICIOUS, SELF-DEFEATING CYCLE OF ATTACKS, COUNTERATTACKS, AND BLAME.”
THE PROUD BOYS DESCRIBE THEMSELVES as “WESTERN CHAUVINISTS” SAYING THEY ARE A “A PRO- WESTERN FRATERNAL ORGANIZATION FOR MEN WHO REFUSE TO APOLOGIZE FOR CREATING THE MODERN WORLD.”
PERLIGER: ”At the beginning, it was more a backlash against what they perceived as feminist oppression and me too movements against what they’ve seen as an oppressive environment against men, so they defend themselves with some kind of a chauvinist or association that was supposed to protect against this kind of flood of liberal, a liberal feminist value.”
JIMMIE: THE MOVEMENT QUICKLY GREW IN POPULARITY, ATTENDING RALLIES AND PROTESTS.
SOME RESULTING IN VIOLENCE.
PERLIGER: “Throughout the years, they also absorbed a lot of a nativist racist, xenophobic ideas and narratives which become part of their, I guess, vocabulary, so you’ll see them collaborating with neo-Nazi organizations, militia groups, with various white supremacy groups”
JIMMIE: MAKING PROUD BOYS MUCH EASIER TO IDENTIFY.
MEMBERS ARE OFTEN SEEN WEARING BLACK AND YELLOW POLO SHIRTS OR OTHER GEAR WITH THIS LOGO. SOME CAN ALSO BE IDENTIFIED BY THEIR TATTOOS.
NOW THAT YOU KNOW MORE ABOUT ANTIFA AND THE PROUD BOYS, WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ABOUT THESE TWO GROUPS AND THEIR RISE IN THE U-S?
LET ME KNOW IN THE COMMENTS
AND BE SURE TO RATE THIS STORY USING OUR STRAIGHT-ARROW BIAS METER.