Freedom to Bash Heads
You are cordially invited to have a civil discussion with the Proud Boys
Underneath all the First Amendment rhetoric at the Patriot Prayer events is a pretty unambiguous agitprop agenda—namely to create a combustible, violent situation that can be blamed on the “radical left.” Why else even hold such a rally in downtown Portland?
By contrast, the loss of “civility” that conservatives and centrists bemoan as liberals exercise their free-speech rights—the owner of the Red Hen restaurant politely rejecting Sarah Huckabee Sanders’ patronage, residents of Martha’s Vineyard purportedly turning Alan Dershowitz into a social pariah—seems quaint and frankly ridiculous when a growing sector of right-wing activism now is devoted to provoking street fights.
It’s a cynical con. Alt-right guru Richard Spencer admitted as much recently during an interview, where he was asked by a fellow white nationalist, regarding their ability to maintain public internet platforms: “Are we even pro-free speech?” To which Spencer replied: “No, of course not,” adding that they “have to use this platform” to be “radically pragmatic.”
Of course, the Proud Boys and their founder and president McInnis insist they are not white nationalists, they are not alt-right, and they are not about violence. In a piece at the group’s website titled “We Are Not Alt-Right,” McInnes—a cofounder of the Vice media empire—declares: “We are not a violent group. We don’t start fights but we will finish them. The violence you see in the media is us defending ourselves from lunatics who want us dead for no discernible reason.”
But the Proud Boys’ Twitter feed tells a very different story. After the rally, it featured a nonstop series of clips and gifs from videos showing Proud Boys beating the crap out of antifascists. Nordean’s flattening of the baton-wielding antifascist was a particular favorite.
Indeed, that brutal assault drew so much admiring attention from thuggish right-wingers that McInnes invited Nordean onto his popular online show Get Off My Lawn, after replaying the video multiple times, including slo-mo and musical-soundtrack versions. McInnes hailed it as “the turning point in the war against antifa,” and told Nordean that “I honestly think that that knockout is a pivot in the movement, it marks the beginning of the end of antifa, and the beginning of being safe and proud to be Trump.”
“These guys were ready to fight, they’d had enough,” McInnes explained.
Jason Wilson, a reporter for The Guardian, contacted McInnes to ask about the violence at the rally. McInnes fumed at him: “You would have to be completely blind, which I think you are, to not see that fight for what it is, which is antifa fully armed attacking Joey Gibson and Joey Gibson’s friends.”
When Wilson asked him whether sharing the video widely and promoting it also promoted violence, McInnes called him a “fucking weak human being,” a “vile little pussy,” and a “tepid cunt,” then ranted about “the media class” who “sit there picking fights, call everyone a Nazi, and then when someone dares defend themselves, and someone else says ‘yay’, you say ‘well you’re promoting violence.’”
At that point, McInnes hung up.
So once more: what was all that about civility?
https://thebaffler.com/latest/freedom-t ... ds-niewert