IN THE run-up to the US presidential election, ardent Trump supporter and chairman of the far-right Proud Boys insisted in numerous interviews that his was not a fascist nor a white supremacist outfit. How could be when he, Enrique Tarrio, was black, for chrissake?
Moreover, The Proud Boys – the group that Trump told to “stand back and stand by” during a presidential debate – was open to all, even Jews and members of the LGBT community, so how could it be accused accused of homophobia or anti-Semitism?
The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) said of the group:
After several years of forging alliances with members of the Republican political establishment, the Proud Boys have carved out a niche for themselves as both a right-wing fight club and a volunteer security force for the GOP. Despite their associations with mainstream politicians, Proud Boys’ actions and statements repeatedly land them in the company of white supremacists and right-wing extremists.
Well, according to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency and other outlets, an attempt has been made to overthrow Tarrio by one of its most prominent members, Kyle Chapman, above, who declared recently that he had assumed leadership, and rebranded the group Proud Goys.
A goy is the Jewish term for non-Jews that neo-Nazis have tried to appropriate and use to signal their anti-Semitism.
JTA describes Chapman as the founder of a “tactical defence arm” of the Proud Boys known for engaging in street violence.
Chapman revealed in a post on the encrypted chat app Telegram that he had staged a “coup” against Tarrio. He wrote:
Due to the recent failure of Proud Boy Chairman Enrique Tarrio to conduct himself with honor and courage on the battlefield, it has been decided that I Kyle Chapman reassume my post as President of Proud Boys effective immediately. Our logo will forthwith be changed to reflect the core beliefs of Proud Boy members.
We will no longer cuck to the left by appointing token negroes as our leaders. We will no longer allow homosexuals or other ‘undesirables’ into our ranks. We will confront the Zionist criminals who wish to destroy our civilization.
He wrote that the group will now focus on:
The issues of White Genocide, the failures of multiculturalism, and the right for White men and women to have their own countries where White interests are written into law and part of the body politic.
The move came shortly before the group joined other right-wing outfits in Washington, DC, to protest over the way the Democrats “stole” the election through “widespread voter fraud.”
According to this report, The Proud Boys clashed at times with small groups of counter-protesters throughout the day and into the evening.
JTA quoted Tarrio as saying:
I denounce anti-Semitism. I denounce racism. I denounce fascism. I denounce communism and any other -ism that is prejudiced toward people because of their race, religion, culture, tone of skin.
It is unclear how Chapman’s call has been received by others in the group. Other Proud Boys channels on Telegram have not reflected the changes he wants to institute, and a message from the administrator of one said:
No, we are not the Proud Goys. No, Kyle didn’t stage a coup.
According to the JTA, The Proud Boys were founded in 2016 by Gavin McInnes, above, a far-right provocateur and misogynist who also co-founded the Vice media brand. The group has billed itself as a “Western chauvinist” fraternal organisation but thus far has insisted that its preference for “Western civilization” was not built on racist or anti-Semitic views. It has a chapter in Israel.
However, the Proud Boys have documented ties to white supremacist groups. McInnes posted videos surrounding a 2017 trip to Israel in which he made anti-Semitic statements. A former Proud Boys member was the organiser of the deadly 2017 white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.
Members are known for wearing gold-and-black Fred Perry polo shirts, which the retailer has discontinued in opposition to the group, and engaging in street brawls with left-wing protesters.
At the first presidential debate in September, when asked if he denounced the group, Trump told the Proud Boys to “stand back and stand by.” Trump later said he didn’t know about the group and told it to “stand down.” But the group adopted “stand back and stand by” as a rallying cry, sparking fears that Trump’s words would encourage far-right groups to foment unrest on Election Day.