by Solidarity Against Hate – Boston
Last month, a group calling itself “Super Happy Fun America” announced that it was planning to host a “Straight Pride Parade” in Boston at the end of August. This idea was so extremely stupid that it went viral, becoming the butt of many jokes on social media. Most people hadn’t previously heard of “Super Happy Fun America,” mostly because they didn’t exist under that name until they announced this event. However, the individual organizers that make up this “group” are well known to antifascist Bostonians: Mark Sahady, Chris Bartley, and John Hugo are all involved with a white nationalist group called Resist Marxism, part of a network of right-wing street fascists that have been trying to make trouble in and around Boston for more than two years. While these groups officially form, disband, rebrand, and otherwise try to run away from their terrible reputations with a frequency that can be confusing, they’re basically the same far-right goons engaging in the same far-right goonery over and over again, with the faux-respectable “alt-lite” white nationalists giving cover to the more openly fascist ones.
Fascism is a pervasive and festering threat. We can tell ourselves that it ended with World War II, but it never really went away. It can metastasize anywhere, even in what we think of as safe bastions of liberal values like Boston. Fascist organizing in relatively liberal areas pretends to support American values such as free speech and comes cloaked in the stars and stripes. But make no mistake, groups such as Boston Free Speech, Resist Marxism, and Patriot Front are fascists, and no less dangerous because they hide behind an American flag.
In Boston, our antifascist community has worked diligently to prevent these fascists from building a platform and recruiting people to their cause. Regardless, these groups attempt to disguise themselves and hide who they really are. Here’s a brief timeline of what they’ve been up to over the past two years:
At a fascist rally in Berkeley, CA, that leads to hours of street fights, fascists announce Boston as one of the next cities on their list. Soon after, a newly formed organization called Boston Free Speech, whose organizers include members of such groups as the Proud Boys and neo-Nazi-linked Anti-Communist Action (Anticom), declares a rally on Boston Common. Between 100 and 200 fascists (including California’s “Based Stickman” Kyle Chapman) attend, some donning sticks and body armor, and are met by a similar number of counterprotesters.
August 2017: The “Boston Free Speech Rally”
Boston Free Speech schedules a second Boston rally for the week after Unite the Right in Charlottesville, VA. After Heather Heyer is murdered and dozens of others are injured while counterprotesting Unite the Right, a counterprotest to the BFS rally, led by Fight Supremacy, brings 40,000 people out into the streets to oppose fascism.
November 2017: “Rally for the Republic”
Resist Marxism is founded by “Based Stickman” Kyle Chapman, with Mark Sahady as day-to-day local leader. It forms as a coalition of several fascist groups, including Boston Free Speech, Portland, Oregon-based Patriot Prayer (which recently attacked a May Day 2019 celebration at a Portland bar and seriously injured a woman), militia groups, and American Guard New Hampshire. It holds its first rally under that name on Boston Common, where it is counterprotested by Fight Supremacy, a coalition of progressive Jewish groups, and area socialist/anarchist/antifascist groups. With Resist Marxism becoming the leading fascist umbrella group in the area, Boston Free Speech turns toward developing a militant street crew, with some members wearing blue masks and clothing. This is eventually called the “blue bloc.”
December 2017: Mark Bray book event
Three Resist Marxism rally attendees — Straight Pride organizer Chris Bartley and wannabe “commie puncher” Matthias Thorpe representing Anticom, as well as Boston-area Patriot Front leader Chris Hood — attempt to disrupt professor Mark Bray’s reading from his book on antifascism at the Harvard Coop. They post on social media about how excited they are to go “commie bashing”; later that evening, after Thorpe sustains minor injuries, they post about how they were viciously and unprovokedly attacked by wild leftists while quietly minding their own business. Later that month, the Boston Free Speech blue bloc and Chris Hood protest the Coop for having hosted the book reading.
Resist Marxism rallies and marches for deporations and against undocumented immigrants, using murder victim Kate Steinle as a pretext.
January 2018: Women’s March
Resist Marxism attempts to disrupt the 2018 Women’s March in Cambridge, and is surrounded and chased out by antifascist and community groups, and many other Women’s March attendees.
January 2018: Justice for Siham
Resist Marxism attempts to disrupt a rally in support of deported asylum-seeking North Shore mother and activist Siham Byah. The Resist Marxism group includes Straight Pride organizers Mark Sahady and Samson Racioppi, Proud Boy/Boston Free Speech organizer John Medlar, and Boston-area Patriot Front leader Chris Hood.
Resist Marxism at Justice for Siham rally, January 2018
March 2018: M4OL
Resist Marxism rallies against the March for Our Lives on Boston Common, their largest locally oriented rally yet, attended by members of the Proud Boys, Patriot Front, Kyle Chapman’s Fraternal Order of Alt-Knights, American Guard, militia groups, and other far-right groups. They are counterprotested in turn by antifascists, but are escorted to a prime viewing area on the hill by Boston police.
Resist Marxism at March for Our Lives, March 2018
April 2018: Proud Boys Patriots’ Day rally
Proud Boys rally in Concord, MA, for Patriots Day, and are counterprotested by local high schoolers and other Concord community groups, as well as leftist and antifascist groups. The Boston Free Speech “blue bloc” and 2019 Fash Bash organizer/former Brooklyn Proud Boys president Jovi Val attempt to cross the field and confront the counterprotest, and are intercepted by antifascists.
Proud Boys rally, April 2018
May 2018: May Day
Resist Marxism organizer/spokesman Michael Moura, other Resist Marxism affiliates, and members of the Boston Free Speech “blue bloc” disrupt the annual May Day rally on Boston Common, and follow it when it turns into a march.
June 2018: “June 2nd for the 2nd Amendment”
After a ThinkProgress article comes out detailing Resist Marxism’s ties to neo-Nazis and fascists with a history of violence, Resist Marxism’s 2nd Amendment rally is smaller than expected, and counterprotested by almost two hundred people.
Resist Marxism spokesman Michael Moura and the Boston Free Speech blue bloc attempt to crash the pro-immigrant Families Belong Together rally. They are surrounded and kept away by, primarily, members of socialist organizations that are attending the Families Belong Together rally. Police prevent them from following when the rally turns into a march, but they later attempt to crash the march as it passes by Boston Common, and are again surrounded and kept out.
Resist Marxism marches in Cambridge and Boston, and attempts to crash a Boston DSA general meeting shortly after sending a photo of themselves at the State House to Boston DSA. They are repelled by DSA members, and later harass a DSA member who is going to their car.
August 2018: Providence, RI
Resist Marxism rallies for about twenty minutes at the Providence, RI state house, before being shut down by counterprotesters. Police forcibly escort a portion of Resist Marxism past the antifascist crowd, then escort them back after realizing that most of Resist Marxism is still on the other side, and eventually line up to protect the Resist Marxism event.
Photo: Uprise RI
August 2018: Boston, MA
Boston Free Speech hosts a “National March Against Far-Left Violence” rally at City Hall Plaza. Initially intended as the flagship rally in a set of simultaneous rallies in several cities across the country, infighting and grifting within the movement in the weeks beforehand lead to about half the rallies being canceled. Boston is one of the six cities to have a rally, and a few dozen fascists — including several members of the New Hampshire, Connecticut, and Rhode Island chapters of American Guard — assemble at City Hall, protected from a couple hundred counterprotesters by a line of bike cops.
October 2018: Providence, RI again
Resist Marxism rallies in Providence again, this time bringing Joey Gibson from Portland’s Patriot Prayer (a member of the original RM coalition) and Gibson’s then-bodyguard, Proud Boy brawler Tiny Toese. A large number of Proud Boy and American Guard “security” brawlers arrive at the rally with Toese, and attack counterprotesters, starting a large fight, with other Proud Boys and American Guard members joining in. Police declare the entire area an unlawful assembly, forcing everyone to leave the area.
One of the Proud Boys who attacked counterprotesters at that rally, Max Hare, is currently facing criminal charges of assault and rioting for having started the infamous mob attack outside the Metropolitan Republican Club in New York City a few days later (another one, Billy Shepard, was photographed at the scene of the attack). Those Proud Boys are only facing any charges at all because antifascist activists went through tons of video shot at that event to identify masked Proud Boys. Proud Boys and Resist Marxism have attempted to organize events in Providence since this rally (see below), and the court cases have contributed to their fizzling out.
October 2018: Trans youth rally
In response to various anti-trans moves by the federal government and the attempts of conservatives in Massachusetts to roll back legal protections for trans people in Massachusetts, trans youth hold a mass rally for trans people and allies. A group of seven Resist Marxism affiliates attempt to crash and disrupt the rally. The rally security team, consisting of members of local leftist organizations, corrals them at the back of the rally, where they are eventually joined by others shouting Resist Marxism down.
November 18, 2018: Boston Anarchist Bookfair
The Boston Anarchist Bookfair is an event to distribute left-wing books and zines. Five masked members of Patriot Front attempt to crash the venue, but volunteers and attendees surround them and chase them off. They are led by Chris Hood, who has consistently attended both large and small Resist Marxism actions before the ThinkProgress article on Resist Marxism. Hood and Patriot Front will reappear at the Berklee immigration debate the following month (see below).
December 2018: Berklee immigration debate
A Berklee student libertarian club invites Boston DSA to participate in a debate on immigration at Berklee. The inviter has attended Resist Marxism rallies, so Boston DSA declines. A few days later the club announces a debate in which the anti-immigration side is represented by Resist Marxism and Boston Free Speech members, to be “moderated” by Straight Pride Parade organizer Samson Racioppi. The pro-immigration side is represented by a journalist, a Libertarian Party official, and members of Harvard’s libertarian club, who back out after learning the nature of their opposition, leaving RM/BFS to debate themselves (and to attempt to goad leftists into showing up to protest them, causing leftists to suspect a trap). Lacking a location on Berklee’s campus, they decide not to publicly state their venue. Attendees meet a Resist Marxism member at another location and are escorted to the debate. RM’s livestreams show that the location is the Bebop, a local bar on Boylston St, but in response to alerts from community members about the nature of the group, the bar asks them to leave. Patriot Front arrives shortly before RM is kicked out of the bar, and the two groups meet and mingle in friendly fashion on the sidewalk at length before leaving.
January 19, 2019: Boston Women’s March
A small group of Resist Marxism organizers, as well as Patriot Saints, attempt to disrupt the Boston Women’s March, attacking attendees who got in their way. Police eventually form a protection line around them near the stage, then escort them out through Beacon Hill when the rally ends and the march starts.
April 2019: Failed Providence rally
Resist Marxism plans a rally for Providence six months after the last one, once again with a group of mostly Proud Boys for “security.” The rally was canceled after concerns from Proud Boy leadership that it could damage Proud Boys being prosecuted in New York City for mob attacks in October 2018. The Proud Boys’ chat logs were later leaked to the Huffington Post. The leaked chats show the fascists planning to commit violence, discussing how to maintain plausible deniability, and fantasizing about which left activists they would most like to target.
April 2019: Free Assange rally
Boston Free Speech calls a rally at the UK consulate in Cambridge, MA, after the arrest of Julian Assange, which includes two members of the blue bloc. The rally is counterprotested and shouted down by a larger group of counterprotesters chanting, among other slogans, “Free Chelsea, fuck the fash!”
Resist Marxism affiliates at March for Life, June 2019
June 2019: March for Life
Several Resist Marxism affiliates, including Straight Pride Parade organizers Mark Sahady, John Hugo, and Samson Racoppi, attend an annual anti-choice rally and march on Boston Common. They spend the rally attempting to goad pro-choice protesters, sticking their cameras in people’s faces, and schmoozing with anti-choice protesters.
While some of these events contain elements of humor —and while it’s always good practice to make fun of fascists, because they hate it — it would be a mistake to dismiss any of these groups or individuals as being too buffoonish to be dangerous. Resist Marxism/Super Happy Fun America isn’t the same organization as Patriot Front, but the Boston “alt-lite’s” history of working closely with overtly fascist groups, and the history of both types of groups deliberately escalating violence in New England and elsewhere, means that anyone who wants the full picture of who’s behind the Straight Pride Parade — and who’s likely to show up to it — should look at the network of hate groups operating in New England as a single (fractious, incompetent) “scene.”
Solidarity Against Hate – Boston is a coalition of local groups that works to counter fascist organizing in Boston. They are currently organizing Straight Pride Is Hate Pride, a counterprotest to the Straight Pride Parade. Please follow them on Facebook for updates on when and how to keep Boston fash-free.