On March 4 2018, a group of Trump supporters will hold a “March 4 Trump” event in Salem (after moving the location from Vancouver). This occasion marks the anniversary of a similar event held on March 4 2017, that kicked off a year of far-right rallies in the Northwest United States and around the country. It also caps a year of fascist attendance of such events, and of Rose City Antifa’s efforts to track, expose, and shut down the use of these events as a way of sneaking white supremacists and other violent far-right ideologues into our cities.
Last year, we wrote an article detailing the particular far-right elements that were present in Lake Oswego on March 4 2017, which was the first in a series of articles documenting the prescence of nazis and other white supremacists in Portland and surrounding cities. This year, lest anyone be fooled by the same tired argument of “free speech”, by the far-right’s embrace of violence in assaulting activists, or by the nazis that hide behind American flags, we would like to give you a preview of the March 4 2018 event in Salem. Looking at images from last spring’s far-right rallies, we can show you the kinds of far-right and fascist individuals we will expect this coming weekend.
March 4, 2017
White supremacists are defended by members of the III% militia on March 4, 2017
The overriding theme of the March 4 event last year was of armed far-right militias protecting racists who attacked peaceful counter-protesters. One member of the KKK, Steven Shane Howard, showed up and assaulted activists, and then was dutifully protected by the “security” team made up of III% militia. Ray Anthony Schneider, another racist, screamed racial slurs at counter-protesters, who then the III% aided him in assaulting.
Steven Shane Howard has been an Imperial Wizard of the Northern Mississippi White Knights of the KKK since at least 2012, appearing in several documentary films. In 2016, he was working with the National Socialist Movement, and attended their rally in Harrisburg.
Jay Harris, who now pals around with Joey Gibson and Patriot Prayer, and III% member Corey Johns provide an armed escort for Steven Shane Howard.
In this image, Howard is seen with his hand on his knife. The event “security,” including III% members Jerrad Tyrea Robison and Travis Pavelek, do nothing… although later they attacked counter-protesters.
April 2, 2017
On April 2 of last year, Joey Gibson held his first rally in the Portland area, at Esther Short Park in Vancouver, WA. This was the original location of this year’s March 4 Trump, until it was moved at the last minute. Perhaps emboldened by the warm welcome they saw racists receive in Lake Oswego only weeks before, even more fascists showed up to this rally, beginning a trend for Gibson’s events that continues through the present.
Individuals from a variety of groups, such as the Proud Boys, the PDX Stormers, III%, and Cascade Legion all mixed at this “Trump” event. Many of these individuals would later make themselves known as fascist organizers, and violent thrill-seekers who would look for activists to attack around Portland.
At Gibson’s event, Donald Lee Ruiter (aka Thorfin Odinson) worked security. Ruiter is associated with violent far-right group Cascade Legion, as well as the Washington III%, and has many fascist contacts via his pagan religious events.
Other unknown individuals, such as this person showing off an iron cross tattoo and a side arm, made appearances. This person was not only seen on April 2, but also at Gibson’s event on September 10 at the Vancouver waterfront.
Proud Boys Dominic Laufenberg, Gabriel Bowman, Aaron Laigaie, Anthony Edward Bell, and Patriot Prayer organizer Kathryn Townsend.
Last spring, the Proud Boys was a brand new organization. In the above image, these members are not even yet wearing their characteristic black and yellow Fred Perry polo shirts. However, this would begin a pattern of intimidation, as these Proud Boys would travel up and down the West Coast to attack and threaten, everywhere from public parks in Oakland, to a Planned Parenthood in Olympia.
Several members of the PDX Stormers were present April 2, 2017.
We also saw the now common motif of fascists and neo-nazis hiding behind American and Trump flags. In the above photo, members of the PDX Stormers hold Trump flags, leading both the media and other Trump supporters to assume they were merely supporters of the president. However, what has become clear is that groups like the Stormers use this cover to appear in public, and gain followers to their organizations and ideology.
A facebook page administered by Patriot Prayer and Proud Boys members celebrates fascist violence and murder while asking people to attend the event on March 4th, 2018.
This year, “Washington State Patriot Response,” a facebook page apparently administered by Robert Zerfing has posted an event ironically called “Defend The Northwest Against Communist Hate,” and, along with Proud Boy Jake Farmer, is promoting the event using fascist imagery which celebrates right wing death squads. Here Zerfing and Farmer have used images of Japanese socialist politician Inejiro Asanuma’s murder by far right ultranationalist Otoya Yamaguchi; President of the Philippines Rodrigo Duterte who has presided over the extrajudicial murders of thousands of people and has cheerfully compared himself to Adolf Hitler; and Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet, famous for murdering leftist dissidents by throwing them out of helicopters (these murders are often celebrated in memes, signs, and flags displayed by contemporary fascists and proud boys.)
Just like last year, Rose City Antifa and other allied groups will stand to defend our communities against this fascist violence. We will not be fooled by the same tired arguments. Instead, we will collect and disseminate the facts. We will not let white supremacists and fascists enter our communities and threaten us.
If you see violent and racist activity in your area, contact us at [email protected]rosecityantifa.org. And join us in Salem on March 4, 2018, to tell the far-right that they will not bring nazis into our communities any longer!