Explained: Who are the Proud Boys?

 Explained: Who are the Proud Boys?

Who are the Proud Boys?

Proud Boys, Stand Back and Stand By!” These were the words of the 45th President of the United States during the first presidential debate when the moderator asked Trump if he is willing to condemn white supremacist groups. Instead of condemning white supremacy, Trump responded by placing the blame on Antifa and Black Lives Matter. Despite his attempt to deflect, the remark was a direct endorsement of the Proud Boys by President Trump and the message was clearly received. Moments after the debate, the Proud Boys posted a logo on different social media sites with the words of the President written on it. 

The Proud Boys is a far-right, male-only, fascist political group founded in 2016 by Vice co-founder, Gavin McInnes.

Known for its extremism and street violence against left-wing, anti-racist groups, the Proud Boys are white nationalists operating under what’s been classified as ‘General Hate’ ideology. It is important to understand the term far-right is associated with the groups having ideologies of racial purity and male dominance working from centuries within the political spectrum of the United States. They hold hostility to racial, ethnic, and religious groups and strive to defame and denounce such groups through violence and extreme means. The Proud Boys has chapters located in many major cities in the U.S. and Canada. Initially, McInnes promoted the Proud Boys using Rebel Media, an online right-wing Canadian outlet.

Who are the Proud Boys?

The Southern Poverty Law Center classify the Proud Boys as a group that works on anti-Muslim and anti-feminist rhetoric. However, the Proud Boys claim that they are not racist and work to oppose Antifa, an ideology defined as “a political protest movement comprising autonomous groups affiliated by their militant opposition to fascism and other forms of extreme right-wing ideology.” The members of the Proud Boys group are seen carrying guns at rallies and protests, but none seem to ever be convicted for such activities. It also seems that the Proud Boys have the full backing of President Trump, which has evidently made them a threat to the peace and prosperity of the country. 

Before the presidential debate, Trump denied any link to the Proud Boys or any other white supremacy groups; but the truth is that the president holds a symbolic relationship with these groups and it has been a constant theme in his presidency.

Trump has been credited repeatedly for his advancement of the white supremacy agenda and that has been evident in nearly every policy, appointment, and remark. During the Republican primary, President Trump selected William Johnson as his delegate in California. Johnson is one of the well-known white nationalists in the country and the leader of the American Freedom Party—a group that is known for its extreme views on white supremacy and preference for white cultures and values. It’s worth noting that the Proud Boys came into the spotlight after Trump’s 2016 campaign. The group was empowered by Trump’s attacks on immigrants, Muslims, and Black Americans. After his victory, the White House was populated with white nationalists from across the country.

“The mob of Trump supporters who stormed the US Capitol included conspiracy theorists linked to QAnon and the Proud Boys – two right-wing extremist factions that President Donald Trump repeatedly refused to condemn,” CNN’s Drew Griffin reports.

Even if it is believed that Trump has no link with white nationalists or the Proud Boys, the fact cannot be denied that when asked to condemn white supremacists and militias, Trump refused to do so. Instead, President Trump is responsible for empowering such groups and inciting violence for his own personal and political gain. On January 6, while lawmakers were in the middle of certifying the election results, there was a siege of the U.S. Capitol by Trump supporters (among them, the Proud Boys). The insurrection came about when President Trump invited his MAGA supporters to the U.S. Capitol to rally against the election results—and they proudly answered the call.

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María Guillén

María Guillén

María is a writer, serial city dweller, and founder of Policybae. She's passionate about social justice advocacy, organizing action, and mobilizing change around sociopolitical issues. María holds a Master of Policy Management from Georgetown University and a dual degree in Public Relations and Communication Studies from Rowan University. Follow María on Twitter: @_mariaguillen

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