PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — As the demonstrations planned for August 17 draw closer, the Portland Police Bureau said they’ve been in contact with organizers on both sides in an effort “to achieve the goal of a safe event.”
But who are the organizers? Which groups of protesters are expected to descend on Portland?
The short answer: The same groups of protesters as before, only there may be more of them this time.
Who are the protesters
Over the past 3 years a number of protests in Portland have escalated into violent confrontations between right-wing groups and the anti-fascists who oppose them. Here is a brief synopsis of the groups expected to be in Portland on August 17.
The Proud Boys describe themselves as “the world’s greatest fraternal organization” that “is and will always be MEN ONLY (born with a penis if that wasn’t clear enough for you leftists)!”
The Southern Poverty Law Center describes the Proud Boys ideology as “general hate.”
“Established in the midst of the 2016 presidential election by VICE Media co-founder Gavin McInnes, the Proud Boys are self-described “western chauvinists” who adamantly deny any connection to the racist “alt-right,” insisting they are simply a fraternal group spreading an “anti-political correctness” and “anti-white guilt” agenda,” the SPLC wrote
The Oath Keepers describe themselves as “a non-partisan association of current and formerly serving military, police, and first responders, who pledge to fulfill the oath all military and police take to “defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic.” They also list a declaration of orders they will not obey.
The Southern Poverty Law Center describes the Oath Keepers general ideology as “antigovernment movement.”
“The Oath Keepers, which claims tens of thousands of present and former law enforcement officials and military veterans as members, is one of the largest radical antigovernment groups in the U.S. today. While it claims only to be defending the Constitution, the entire organization is based on a set of baseless conspiracy theories about the federal government working to destroy the liberties of Americans.”
However, their leader said they will not attend. Oath Keepers’ Stewart Rhodes announced Thursday they will not attend the rally because the organizers — Joe Biggs and the Proud Boys — haven’t done enough to “exclude known or suspected white nationalists from attending.”
The Three Percenters describe themselves as “a national organization made up of patriotic citizens who love their country, their freedoms, and their liberty. We are committed to standing against and exposing corruption and injustice. We are NOT a militia. However, we do have meetings on local levels. …”
The Anti-Defamation League describes the Three Percenters as a “wing of the militia movement that arose as part of a resurgence of the militia movement in 2009. The term “Three Percenter” refers to the erroneous belief that only 3% of colonists fought against the British during the Revolutionary War—but achieved liberty for everybody. Three Percenters view themselves as modern day versions of those revolutionaries, fighting against a tyrannical U.S. government rather than the British. With anyone able to declare themselves a Three Percenter, the concept allowed many people to join who were not suited, physically or by inclination, to engage in paramilitary activities. The Three Percenter logo—the Roman numeral III—has become very popular among anti-government extremists.”
Perhaps the best known local right-wing group, Patriot Prayer is led by Vancouver-based Joey Gibson. Its logo is a lion wearing a crown of thorns with blood dripping down its face.
The Patriot Prayer website is filled with local and national content highlighting armed clashes between groups with opposing viewpoints.
There is also a link to a fundraising effort for Gibson’s legal defense stemming from at least one lawsuit filed after a May Day brawl in Portland at Cider Riot
Rose City Antifa
The Rose City Antifa website describes themselves as an organization “founded in Portland, Oregon in October, 2007 to confront fascist organizing taking place in our home town. Our organization formed following the successful efforts of the Ad-Hoc Coalition Against Racism and Fascism to shut down Hammerfest, a neo-Nazi skinhead festival that drew over one hundred boneheads to the Portland area in early October, 2007. We seek to continue the work of the Ad-Hoc Coalition, as well as countless anti-racist community organizers, anti-racist skinheads, and other individuals who have worked to oppose racial prejudice and bigotry in our communities.”
Antifa protesters generally wear black masks during events to hide their identity from police and law enforcement agencies.
Glossary of Terms
Alt-Right: a right-wing, primarily online political movement or grouping based in the U.S. whose members reject mainstream conservative politics and espouse extremist beliefs and policies typically centered on ideas of white nationalism
Fascism: a political philosophy, movement, or regime (such as that of the Fascisti) that exalts nation and often race above the individual and that stands for a centralized autocratic government headed by a dictatorial leader, severe economic and social regimentation, and forcible suppression of opposition
neo-Nazi: a member of a group espousing the programs and policies of Hitler’s Nazis
Nazi: a member of a German fascist party controlling Germany from 1933 to 1945 under Adolf Hitler; one who espouses the beliefs and policies of the German Nazis : FASCIST; one who is likened to a German Nazi : a harshly domineering, dictatorial, or intolerant person
Antifa: a person or group actively opposing fascism, an anti-fascist movement