BIG VALLEY: Rumbling of insurrection continues in California's far-right MAGA world where the Proud Boys are revered

When thousands of people surged around the US Capitol, some of them fighting with police and pouring into the building, many believed they were acting on an authority vested in them as citizens to halt what they falsely believed to be a fraudulent election process.

Their conviction was reinforced by a swirl of other false beliefs, including that the incoming Biden administration was a Chinese Communist takeover, and that leading Democratic figures were part of a global pedophile ring that would soon be exposed by Trump and put on trial. Many rioters, most notably the Oath Keepers, hoped Trump would invoke the Insurrection Act and deputize them to mete out violence against left-wing resisters.

Keep reading... Show less

BIG VALLEY: How California Proud Boys forge alliances with anti-gay crusades to gain 'attention and recruits'

Founded by Gavin McInnes as pro-Trump men's drinking club in 2016, the Proud Boys transformed into the paramilitary vanguard of the MAGA movement in late 2020, providing security for campaign rallies and then playing an outsized role in the Capitol insurrection.

One thing hasn't changed since Jan. 6: Members of the self-proclaimed "Western chauvinist" group whose professed values provide a soft cover for thinly veiled white supremacy, remain an intimidating presence in cities across the country, further polarizing local struggles around issues of race, sexual orientation and police accountability.

Keep reading... Show less

BIG VALLEY: Proud Boys turned on the cops -- but members are rebuilding ties with rank-and-file officers

In December 2020, the Proud Boys, a nationalist street gang that surged in popularity with Donald Trump's order to "stand back and stand by," began to turn against the police.

Up to then, the relationship had been cordial, with police amplifying the group's false claims and providing an escort to the Proud Boys as the gang meted out violence against antifascist adversaries, among other favors.

Keep reading... Show less

BIG VALLEY: California Proud Boys use secretive network to promote 'their white supremacist agenda' -- and go largely unscathed

Nationally, the Proud Boys organization is being tested by the ongoing prosecution of some of its top leaders for conspiracy in the assault on the US Capitol and internal dissension over the revelation that its chairman is a longtime federal informer.

But as the weight of state prosecution and media scrutiny bears down on the national leadership, the organization remains active and viable in many parts of the country — an indication that the future of the violent nationalist gang in the Biden era might focus on deepening engagement with local fights rather than highly publicized national-scale operations. California's Central Valley, where a 275-mile span of Highway 99 from Sacramento to Bakersfield allows members from various Proud Boys chapters to reinforce each other in varied local confrontations with leftist adversaries, provides one example.

Keep reading... Show less