On leaked audio, Patriot Front's leader said he will again bring neo-Nazis to the March for Life rally. Stand with your neighbors, stand against fascists January 8 & January 21, 2022

Reportback: “Let them fight” gif comes to life as the anti-abortion March for Life Chicago ejects Patriot Front

Posted: January 9th, 2022 | Author: | Filed under: General | Tags: , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Reportback: “Let them fight” gif comes to life as the anti-abortion March for Life Chicago ejects Patriot Front
From comrades:
American Fascist group Patriot Front had a rough time Saturday largely due to the media attention and community pressure on the right wing anti-abortion March for Life. In addition to a raucous counter-demo, after multiple confrontations and angry hecklings, the fashionably-late Patriot Front decided to follow the marchers’ orders and quickly remove themselves and drive away in defeat.

 

For context, Patriot Front is a rebrand from one of the original white nationalist groups at the deadly “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, VA in 2017. The fascist who drove his car into the crowd, killing Heather Heyer and injuring dozens of others, marched at the rally with teenager Thomas Ryan Rousseau of Vanguard America, a neo-Nazi group. For more information on James Alex Fields, click here. Soon after the rally, Rousseau formed Patriot Front as a splinter of Vanguard America. Today, Patriot Front is one of the most active distributors of racist and antisemitic propaganda in the country, both online and via fliers, stickers, and banners. Per its manifesto, the group does not allow women to join and is actively working to create a whites-only ethnostate.

Since 2017, Patriot Front has also held several “flash mob” events, where they are easily spotted in their uniform of khaki pants, polo shirts, ball caps, and white gaiter masks, and carrying American flags, smoke bombs or other props. At these events, their uniformed members will unload from the back of a rented U-Haul or Penske box truck, then briefly march along their planned route through the city, usually at night when there are few bystanders. The purpose of these marches is to generate footage for a few minutes of flashy recruitment videos for their social media channels and to minimize chances for confrontations with antifascists and the public. They stage manage accordingly to attempt to appear powerful, intimidating, and superior while reducing risk of opposition.

During the weeks ahead of this year’s annual anti-abortion, conservative Christian event, a much-publicized leaked audio recording of an internal Patriot Front members-only call and subsequent public pressure mobilized enough infighting among groups within the broader fascist movement to create strife.
Since 2019 Patriot Front has been a fixture at the March for Life in Chicago and DC, rallying and participating in the march. When antifascists increased the pressure, March for Life Chicago issued the public disavowals, physical distance, that co-created conditions for the eventual confrontations that led to Thomas Rousseau and his men of Patriot Front hastily making a retreat as the loud and angry counter-protest tailed them.
Way before Patriot Front arrived at the 2pm anti-abortion march, the cracks in their confidence were showing after public pressure on March for Life led to this exchange and public repudiation:

Despite Thomas Rousseau claiming that Patriot Front would attend the 1pm anti-abortion rally at Federal Plaza, since he believes the March for Life is an ideal recruitment ground for his American Fascist organization, Patriot Front did not attend.

 

Reports from on the ground said that anti-abortion rally speakers were drowned out by Defend Abortion Access: Counter Protest attendees. After the anti-abortion rally concluded, Patriot Front arrived marching south on Michigan Ave and attempted to join the marchers. As the American Fascists lined up at the rear of the March for Life and inched forward, the anti-abortion marchers confronted them about their presence, full-length metal shield guard in formation ahead of Rousseau and his cowboy hat, with his men’s signature upside down flag guard, matching outfits, and white face masks trailing behind him. Footage thanks to new and independent media collective Chicago Free Media:

A March for Life attendee, who is known to harass abortion clinic escorts and the people they protect, loudly called Thomas Rousseau “an embarrassment to cowboys,” as he was booming at them all to leave the March, in one of the exchanges, The incident was covered in The Sun newspaper this morning:
From the article, “Photographer Alex Kent captured dramatic footage of a March for Life Rally supporter standing in front of Patriot Front members and appearing to scold them. After saying, ‘I’m a conservative. You guys are an embarrassment to conservatives,’ the man supporting the March for Life Rally yelled at the Patriot Front group.” Article archive is here

Patriot Front cowed to the hecklers and peeled away from the main march, pausing to huddle up in the 20-degree freezing rainy-sleet. Around this time, the raucous counter-demo that dogged the steps of the anti-choice march kept the pressure on the fascists by further heckling them and loudly highlighting the overlapping politics of both Patriot Front and anti-choice demonstrators. Patriot Front has been allowed to join March for Life events for the past several years and believed they would be welcomed there as before. Outside pressure created the conditions for the March for Life to publicly reject Rousseau and Patriot Front.

With the Michigan Avenue sidewalks freezing over and the March ignoring them while counter-protesters hurled insults at them, Thomas Rousseau and Patriot Front increased their marching speed and scuttled away down the block.  The lines of Chicago police kept the counter-demonstrators from engaging with them further and kept Patriot Front secluded from the anti-abortion march. Because of course, a shitbag cop struck several counter-protesters. There were no known arrests.

After marching through the pedestrian tunnel via Roosevelt to Museum Campus,  Patriot Front members disembarked in their personal vehicles, with license plates obscured by tape:

Thomas Rousseau commanded Patriot Front members from all over the United States to attend an event he claimed they’d be welcome at. This was intended to be a triumphant and powerful group display. Instead, Patriot Front members marched around in the freezing rain for less than an hour and were loudly told by attendees that, in essence, they can’t all sit together.

Mad Mean Girls GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

 

Patriot Front members were also once again seen slinking away from the theater of action- a rather apt description as one large reason for these obsessively-planned actions is to produce online promotional materials for the group. This time, instead of waiting for u-hauls, Patriot Front waited for a motley assortment of personal vehicles. The “power” the group tries to project in their videos is at odds with the image of a sad fascist cowering from the livestream in the back of a minivan.

 

 

With the March4Life in Washington DC approaching quickly, it remains to be seen if will Rousseau will risk more public humiliation from the same anti-abortion people he once claimed “have really come to support us” to his members. With the group rattled by numerous missteps, one can only imagine the demoralization within Patriot Front’s ranks as they wait to join a growing list of recent doxxes and leaks:

 

Finally, while we are pleased that the March for Life attendees denounced Patriot Front involvement and amused by some of the insults that were directed towards Patriot Front yesterday, we oppose M4L’s harmful anti-abortion ideology, their restrictions on reproductive autonomy, and their vile actions against clinic workers.

 

Special thanks to all the many moving pieces, trust and support that helped show Patriot Front and the March for Life that their brands of fascism are not welcome in Chicago. If you recognize any Patriot Front faces or personal vehicles in the images, email Torch Antifascist Network at torchantifa@riseup.net 

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