On the 17th of November, a front group for the Proud Boys held a “We the People” rally in Philadelphia. Also present were the Keystone State Skinheads and 3%er militia elements. A much larger counterprotest confronted them. Unfortunately, other fascists wearing badges and police uniforms used great effort to protect their comrades in the rally. Philly cops beat and assaulted protesters in multiple incidents.
Meanwhile, at least two ten-strong “hunter squads” of Keystone State Skinheads and Proud Boys were confirmed to be roaming the area surrounding both their own rally and the much larger counterprotest. A livestream by some of the facists included boasts that they were “carrying.” The Keystone State Skinheads were considered the most likely to be armed. Smaller groups of two to three fascists were also spotted. Some mainstream news outlets reported only 25 white supremacists in town, but those reports fail to account for at least that many fascists just in the roaming patrols.
No police action of any kind was reported against the fascist patrols(even though they were believed to be carrying pistols), while by comparison groups of anti-Fascist protesters were jumped and assaulted by police several times. Early in the day, police inflicted a head injury sufficient to leave blood on the pavement in the process of forcing a group of counterprotesters back to the area deemed “acceptable” for a permitted counterprotest. While using police bikes to ram protesters back, one person received that head injury, another was arrested, and someone in a wheelchair was trapped behind police lines. Unknown if the wheelchair user was the person arrested there.
At about 2:30PM the fascist rally ended early and the shit began to really hit the fan. Late in the rally there were two incidents of fascists walking through the counterprotest, being pursued by the crowd, and rescued by police. The first one was reported to be wearing a full Nazi uniform. The second incident could well have been a diversion, because it quickly led to a scrum that moved counterprotesters out of the park and into the streets. Again someone was arrested from the anti-Fascist side. When this stabilized, most of the fascists had disappeared from their protest pen just north of Market Street.
From that point, the Philadelphia Police department provided a police escort for the Proud Boys and their allies all the way back to the police headquarters. There they stopped, and Uber drivers and cabs were summoned. Protesters told the drivers who their would-be customers were, and neither the taxi drivers nor the uber drivers would pick them up. Police threatened taxi drivers with unspecified enforcement action to no avail, in the end the fascists had to hike back to wherever their cars were. During this time, groups of counterprotesters in the street faced more harassment and violence from the Philadelphia police department, as this is written all the results of that are not yet known.
Some of the signs and chants at the counterprotest said “cops and Klan work hand in hand” and the close cooperation between the Philadelphia Police Department and their Proud Boy comrades was on clear view throughout the day. The fascist rally was organized by “Sports Beer and Politics,” which has multiple organizational connections to the Proud Boys. While supposedly racists were unwelcome at what was billed as a “pro-police” rally, nobody on their side did anything to prevent known Proud Boys members from showing up openly. Also present were the Keystone State Skinheads (KSS), one of the most violent racist groups anywhere on Turtle Island. It was KSS members who were suspected of carrying guns in the roving bands of fascists who made it necessary for counterprotesters to enter and leave only in defensable groups. The Proud Boys themselves are also infamous for beatings with sticks, and the recent group kicking of counterprotesters in NYC. The 3%er milita groups are of course armed but did not display their rifles in Philadelphia. By targetting counterprotesters instead of these armed and dangerous white supremacists, the Philadelphia Police Department made it plain that they do indeed work “hand in hand with the Klan.”
For all of this, the far-right still had a very bad day. Instead of the expected 100 participants, the “We the People” themed rally got a reported 34 according to itsgoingdown.org , while counterprotesters peaked at maybe 1,000 according to the same source. Only two confirmed members of the Proud Boys showed up, despite their role in organizing the events. The two roving patrols of fascists may have included the rest of the Proud Boys or maybe only Keystone State Skinheads, but were no counted as part of the rally as they were skulking in the shadows. These non-uniformed fascists never got a chance to carry out their planned assaults. There was even a Twitter user vowing to dox each and every attendee of the fascist rally.
Update Nov 22: Less than a week later, Proud Boys leader Gavin McInnes threw in the towel, quitting the organization he had helped found. He posted this statement: “As of today, November 21st, 2018, I’m officially disassociating myself from the Proud Boys, in all capacities, forever, I quit. … I was never the leader, only the founder.” This apparently after the FBI declared the Proud Boys to be right-wing extremists, possibly helped by his utter failure to turn out the promised hundred plus fascists in Philadelphia.
Massive line of bike cops protecting Proud Boys shows which side the police are on
Blood in the street from a head injury inflicted by police seeking to keep counterprotesters away from the white supremacist Proud Boys (Photo by “Gwen Snyder Is Uncivil”
Close view of the Proud Boys front’s “We the People” rally early in the day.
The “We the People” rally organized by a front group for the Proud Boys
Large antifascist protest in foreground, a few dozen Proud Boys, 3%ers, Keystone State Skinheads in background. At least 20 more fascists were in roving groups around the area
Police threaten a cab driver for refusing a ride to some of the fascists. Even after threats both taxi and Uber drivers refused to pick up the Nazis
Philly’s new anti-Fascist hockey mascot in action