The Proud Boys Take Over the Streets of Portland, Oregon

Photograph by Nathaniel St. Clair

Antifa marches at Trump’s inauguration and the condemnation is almost universal, including from some on the political Left. No one is harmed, but initially charges are brought against Antifa.

The Proud Boys, a neo-fascist, far-right group march in Portland, Oregon (an “unpermitted” march), although they have committed acts of violence, and they are allowed a presence on the streets.

Now, just what part of the First Amendment are officials in Oregon missing? Hate speech is permissible, but hate speech leading to violent acts is not. The Proud Boys marched on and they drew other far-right hate groups with them as always happens at these marches.

Look at these “very fine people” as pictured in the Guardian (“Portland rally: Proud Boys vow to march each month after biggest protest of Trump era,” Guardian, August 17, 2019).  Good pictures are worth a thousand words and those words are supplemented because counter-protesters far outnumbered the Proud Boys, from whom they were carefully segregated. Horrifying as the rally was, and crucial to the far-right’s dangerous growth, the Hater-In-Chief, Trump tweeted on the day of the right-wing rally that he was considering categorizing Antifa as a terror group. How many people have been killed by Antifa?: 0. How many have been killed by white supremacy and Naziism? Hundreds of millions, with about 70-85 million killed during World War II alone!

How many anti-fascists who marched against racism and hate in Oregon were simply against hate and willing to put themselves on the streets against that hate and belonged to no group in particular? Many, many!

Besides hate having its day on the streets once again, Trump repeats his vicious and violence-inducing rhetoric that has given violent groups across the US the chance to not only gain credibility, but grow their numbers and develop a sense of empowerment that casts them as rightful players in the political system. If this isn’t reminiscent of Hitler’s rise to power in Germany, with his tens of millions murdered, then what is?

Former FBI agent Michael German, interviewed on NPR following the far-right Charlottesville, Virginia riot, accurately depicts those hate groups at that riot and how police and Trump responded to the rightwing’s murderous rampage (“Hate Groups’ Core Changed Little Over The Years, Ex-FBI Agent Says,”  NPR, August 15, 2017).

Here’s a key segment of the German NPRinterview:

GERMAN: Well, that disavowal [Trump’s]  was very reluctant and late. And the white supremacist groups got the message from that, that this is sanctioned. But more important is that the police in these cases – and Charlottesville isn’t the first one. They were two in Berkeley. There was one in Sacramento and in Huntington Beach, Calif. – are policing these protests very differently, where they’re allowing violence and these running street battles to happen. And that is – that, again, is a state sanctioning of this kind of violence that gives – that makes them far more dangerous.


More articles by:

Howard Lisnoff is a freelance writer. He is the author of Against the Wall: Memoir of a Vietnam-Era War Resister (2017).

September 18, 2019
Liam Kennedy
Boris Johnson: Elitist Defender of Britain’s Big Banks
September 17, 2019
Mario Barrera
The Southern Strategy and Donald Trump
Robert Jensen
The Danger of Inspiration in a Time of Ecological Crisis
Dean Baker
Health Care: Premiums and Taxes
Dave Lindorff
Recalling the Hundreds of Thousands of Civilian Victims of America’s Endless ‘War on Terror’
Binoy Kampmark
Oiling for War: The Houthi Attack on Abqaiq
Susie Day
You Say You Want a Revolution: a Prison Letter to Yoko Ono
Rich Gibson
Seize Solidarity House
Laura Flanders
From Voice of America to NPR: New CEO Lansing’s Glass House
Don Fitz
What is Energy Denial?
Dan Bacher
Governor Newsom Says He Will Veto Bill Blocking Trump Rollback of Endangered Fish Species Protections
Thomas Knapp
Election 2020: Time to Stop Pretending and Start Over
W. Alejandro Sanchez
Inside the Syrian Peace Talks
Elliot Sperber
Mickey Mouse Networks
September 16, 2019
Sam Husseini
Biden Taking Iraq Lies to the Max
Paul Street
Joe Biden’s Answer to Slavery’s Legacy: Phonographs for the Poor
Paul Atwood
Why Mattis is No Hero
Jonathan Cook
Brexit Reveals Jeremy Corbyn to be the True Moderate
Jeff Mackler
Trump, Trade and China
Robert Hunziker
Fukushima’s Radioactive Water Crisis
Evaggelos Vallianatos
The Democrats and the Climate Crisis
Michael Doliner
Hot Stuff on the Afghan Peace Deal Snafu
Nyla Ali Khan
Spectacles of the Demolition of the Babri Masjid in Uttar Pradesh and the Revocation of the Autonomous Status of Kashmir
Stansfield Smith
Celebrating 50 Years of Venceremos Brigade solidarity with the Cuban Revolution
Tim Butterworth
Socialism Made America Great
Nick Licata
Profiles in Courage: the Tories Have It, the Republicans Don’t
Abel Prieto
Cubanness and Cuban Identity: the Importance of Fernando Ortiz
Robert Koehler
Altruists of the World Unite!
Mel Gurtov
Farewell, John Bolton
Weekend Edition
September 13, 2019
Friday - Sunday
Paul Street
The Age of Constitutional Coups
Rob Urie
Bernie Sanders and the Realignment of the American Left
Anthony DiMaggio
Teaching the “War on Terror”: Lessons for Contemporary Politics
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: They Are the Walrus
T.J. Coles
Jeremy Corbyn: Electoral “Chicken” or Political Mastermind?
Joseph Natoli
The Vox Populi
Sasan Fayazmanesh
The Pirates of Gibraltar
John Feffer
Hong Kong and the Future of China
David Rosen
The Likely End to Roe v. Wade?
Ishmael Reed
When You Mess With Creation Myths, the Knives Come Out
Michael Hudson
Break Up the Democratic Party?
Paul Tritschler
What If This is as Good as It Gets?
Jonah Raskin
Uncensored Tony Serra: Consummate Criminal Defense Lawyer
Ryan Gunderson
Here’s to the Last Philosophes, the Frankfurt School
Michael T. Klare
The Pompeo Doctrine: How to Seize the Arctic’s Resources, Now Accessible Due to Climate Change (Just Don’t Mention Those Words!)
Luke O'Neil
I Would Want To Drink Their Blood: God Will Punish Them