PORTLAND, Oregon — Behind the anonymity of white faces illuminated by tiki torches, beyond the bloodied fists of street brawls, there are communities of young men who gather on weekends to camp and fish and train in combat sports.
The face of hate is changing in America, and the new right is a “millennial male phenomenon,” said Heidi Beirich, director of the Intelligence Project at the Southern Poverty Law Center in Montgomery, Alabama, an advocacy group that tracks hate and bigotry toward marginalized communities.
Brewing among some young men is an intolerance and hatred that’s bringing bias-motivated violence to the streets and white-nationalist politics to the political forefront.
Beirich said many such groups have toned down their rhetoric and tactics since the violence of the 2017 Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. But she pointed to two groups, very different in their objectives, that “are still growing and making noise,” the Proud Boys and Identity Evropa.
Both groups are young, male-dominated and positioned on the far-right. Both formed in 2016.
The Proud Boys are comprised of blue-collar workers in their 20s and 30s who the SPLC label as anti-Muslim and sexist. The Proud Boys call themselves a men’s drinking club, extreme patriots who believe “being proud of Western culture today is like being a crippled, black, lesbian communist in 1953.”
The Proud Boys are heavily invested in defending their First and Second amendment rights and recently have been involved in violent street fights with far-left groups known as antifa, particularly on the West Coast.
Identity Evropa is made up of mostly college-educated white men in their 20s and is labeled a white-nationalist hate group by the SPLC. Their goal is to enable a white supermajority in America by bringing their political ideas mainstream and expanding their political and social influence, according to the group’s current leader, Patrick Casey.
“Identity Evropa’s message is pro-white, white ethnostate, and this is a racist conception,” Beirch said. “Even though they may look good with their polo shirts and nicely painted banner signs, that doesn’t mean they are not dangerous.”
News21 shadowed both of these groups during efforts to recruit new members.