It’s been an interesting few days for us. A lot of people who aren’t familiar with Puget Sound John Brown Gun Club have been saying some pretty far out things about our organization. We’re particularly fond of the far right’s media circus echo chamber that uses pictures of other organizations as a stand in for us and others that declare we’re armed and masked beside pictures of us obviously not wearing face coverings. Y’all are too cute!
At the rally we helped support in Seattle this past Saturday, we were invited over to the WA 3% area and took the opportunity to meet some folks and try to break down some of the barriers that exist between their perspective and the people we support generally. As a result of those conversations, several of their members and supporters have been defending us from silly attacks and criticism from the far right. We appreciate it and wanted to share that.
Some members of WA 3% approached us with a concern they had about being associated with the term NAZI in online callouts and discussion. We want to make clear that PSJBGC does not think WA 3% is an anti-Semitic organization. We know that some of their Jewish supporters were deeply impacted by the use of this phrase. PSJBGC avoids using that term until we see or hear rhetoric that mirrors the activities of actual Racist, anti-LGBTQ+, and anti-Semitic hate speech, imagery, and actions.
That being said, we are still troubled by the refusal of WA 3% to repudiate the Proud Boys and Patriot Prayer who they continuously create space for at their rallies and events. We have had a continued public dialogue with WA 3% that these groups are entry points to even more extreme bigoted and violent organizations and are hyper-partisan, violent, street thugs who should not be welcomed anywhere. One attendee of the “Liberty or Death 2” event blamed recent anti-Semitic graffiti on the Jewish family who had their home vandalized. Others wear a shirt championing Pinochet’s brutal assassinations of his political opponents. These two organizations, the Proud boys and Patriot Prayer, should be no-platformed by all. Including WA 3%.
Events where WA 3% has been a key participant, and where Aryeh Rohde, a young, Jewish supporter of WA 3% has spoken, have been attended by members of Cascade Legion and Patriot Front. To be absolutely clear, Cascade Legion and Patriot Front are NAZI organizations. Proud Boys and Patriot Prayer play coy about their ties and relationships to these groups even while embarking on their own violent campaigns against anyone to the left of Henry Kissinger.
We hope to continue our dialogue with WA 3% and that they eventually arrive at a decision point to repudiate these reactionary groups so their mission to defend liberty for all will come to fruition. We know them to be decent people with whom we have many fundamental disagreements, but whether or not extremists and bigots should be allowed in their midst shouldn’t be up for debate.
By continuing to allow bigoted, racist, and/or antisemitic groups at their events, WA 3% shouldn’t be surprised that they are judged by the friends they keep.