Equating the Proud Boys with white supremacy has some serious limitations. That’s because they actually have black members and they don’t campaign against black people per se. Despite their denials, however, they associate with white supremacists. But to simply dismiss the danger they pose as being that of white supremacy in the sense of directly attacking black people for being black is a serious mistake.
In fact, the main danger they pose is more general – attacking those who stand up against not only white supremacy but against the far right in general. That’s what became most clear in this bellingcat expose of the Patriot Coalition on Oregon. Behind all their talk about simply defending themselves was the talk about assaulting left wing activists, white and black alike.
Equating the Proud Boys with white supremacy, and seeing white supremacy in isolation and as meaning simply assaulting or discriminating against black people simply for being black, led to what amounts to a betrayal on the part of a reputed Black Lives Matter leader in Salt Lake City. It was difficult to clearly make out the name, but it seems to be Jacarri Kelly, who bills herself as the president of BLM, Utah. She joined a joint press conference with some local Proud Boys leaders in order to give credibility to their claim that they are not white supremacists. By doing so, she helps make the “respectable”.
What they are is patriotic overt xenophobes who see “Western culture” as the be all and end all. As one Proud Boys representative commented in this news report, “chauvinism should be understood as patriotism”. They are also fascists who believe in and carry out physical assaults against left wing protesters of all colors.
It is a disgrace that anybody who is really against racism and white supremacy would in any way give cover to these dangerous fascists who are a threat to everybody on the left and to all class fighters. It really shows the need for a clear general program as well as for a real organization with a democratically elected leadership. To those who say that white people have no right to criticize the likes of Jacarri Kelly, I say: If somebody gives cover to these fascists who pose a direct physical threat to all socialists and class fighters, then we have not only every right but a responsibility to criticize them.