Canadian Anti-Hate Network
Source: Canadian Anti-Hate Network
Yesterday, the Proud Boys were added to the country’s list of designated terrorist entities. Along with a number of ISIS and Al Qaeda affiliated groups, neo-Nazi groups Atomwaffen Division, The Base, and the Russian Imperial Movement were also added.
The Proud Boys addition to the category is interesting -- it’s the first time a very public far-right group has been designated in Canada. And the Proud Boys have always pushed back on being called white supremacists, unlike other new additions like Atomwaffen Division.
There are both racialized and LGBTQ+ Proud Boys, often front and centre to serve as a shield against accusations of racism and white supremacy. However, they have always been virulently anti-trans.
"We need more violence from the Trump supporters,” Proud Boys founder Gavin McInnes says in a 2018 video. “Choke a b****. Choke a t*****. Get your fingers around the windpipe. Get a gun."
Their refusal to go full Nazi, however, has seen many pass through the Proud Boys onto more extreme organizations that wear their hate on their sleeves. One Canadian network, now called Canada First, disengaged from the rest of the organization after deciding they would rather overtly support Adolf Hitler.
On Thursday, Right Wing Watch reported Tarrio’s role as an informer has caused other divisions to form within the group, with some saying they no longer recognize the authority of national leadership and elders.
“We condemn the actions of Tarrio while cooperating with federal law enforcement as a confidential informant,” the Tulsa Proud Boys wrote online. “We will continue to operate as Proud Boys but recognize no centralized leader or leadership beyond chapter officers.
“We are not a criminal organization, militia, fight club or political movement. We are merely a men’s drinking club.”
Four chapters of Indiana’s Proud Boys have also left, according to a statement on an encrypted chat app, disavowing Tarrio, and “any and all chapters that choose to associate with him.”
The leadership shakeup didn’t draw attention away from the proceedings in Canada, as even the Indiana chapters that had just broken away found time to comment.
“We just want to respond to Canada's recent designation: Canada is big gay,” they wrote.
The reaction from not just The Proud Boys, but also the entire bigoted community was that of condemnation. Even the overt neo-Nazis, who generally look at the less extreme Proud Boys as pawns of a Jewish establishment, mocked the decision.
The Nordic Resistance Movement, an openly neo-nazi group with members across Scandinavia, called it “laughable.”
Others were not so kind.
“These days....being named a terrorist by the fruity cake eaters that inhabit Canada's government like a virus is a badge of honor,” one poster wrote in another National Socialist channel. “You can't take these assholes seriously when they give 10.5 million bucks to jihadist dirtbags and promote them as child soldiers to justify it. These liberals are disgusting pig fuckers gorging themselves like the slobs they are at the trough of borrowed tax dollars.”
Even in QAnon spaces, a popular target of derision and recruitment in many more extreme groups, people are offering their opinions.
“Those who list them as terrorist[s] are ignorant and misinformed,” an American wrote. “BLM and antifa are terrorists, anarchists and marxists. Canada [is] spreading misinformation.
“Americans are use [sic] to it and on to it.”
Another, in a channel dedicated to catching the many refugees from the shuttered alt-social media platform Parler, offered some deeper analysis.
“Proud Boys are having a bad day: Leader is an informant, Calls for Tarrio to step down, Indiana chapter leaves, PB trademark taken away, Canada lists PB as terrorist [sic] organization.”
Another played to the fears and insecurities felt by Trump supporters who were let down by the administration. Like many, the idea that the failure to recapture the government was part of a larger plot to trap patriots.
“You guys understand yet that stop the steal was a grift and a setup?” they wrote. “Proud boys got seriously played by Trump, Stone, Bannon etc.”
Countless other posts prop up a variety of conspiracy theories, including familiar antisemitic takes on the designation being further proof of a “pozzed, globohomo propaganda machine that exists to usher in a one world government and monetary system.”
Others call The Base a government honey pot, -- an organization created by opposition to entrap its members -- while others say all three of the terrorist organizations are under federal control.
Canadian neo-Nazi, Spanish fascist ideologue, and serial live stream harasser Brandon Martinez summed it up for his followers with only “Join an org created by feds. End up declared as terrorist [sic].”
We previously expressed concerns about listing the Proud Boys if it meant lowering the bar for what constitutes a terrorist organization. Just prior to the announcement, Public Safety Minister Bill Blair told the Canadian Anti-Hate Network that there was enough evidence to designate the group.
The intelligence used in designating a terrorist entity is not made public.
Follow Peter Smith on Twitter @misterEpete.