Analysis Anti-Fascist

“We’re Gonna Hurt You”: Inside Joey Gibson’s Escalation of Violence

From It’s Going Down

In February of 2018, “Tiny” Toese called into the Alt-Right podcast and YouTube show Revenge of the Cis, after one of the hosts, LA Werewolf, went on a rant attacking Joey Gibson following a failed rally at San Diego’s, Chicano Park. Tiny, who described himself as Gibson’s “right hand man,” went on to stress unity on the far-Right. Over the phone be barked, “I don’t give a fuck if real racists come to the rally; real Alt-Right…” He went on to state that various sections of the far-Right needed to put aside their differences and “have a civil conversation.” The fact that Tiny even felt the need to come on the program was testament to this desire; the show was made up of anti-Semites, Alt-Right trolls, and even someone associated with the political campaign of neo-Nazi Patrick Little, who in the past called for the literal violent extermination of all Jews.

Tiny’s public embrace of all parts of the far-Right, including the openly neo-Nazi, fascist, and white nationalist sections, is a reality that antifascists have been speaking too and documenting ever since Joey Gibson and his supporters began organizing public rallies in the spring of 2017. Since that time, Gibson has worked privately to build a broad coalition that includes open neo-Nazi, fascist, and white nationalist groups, while publicly stating that he denounces these elements and does not want them at his rallies.

In the last several weeks however, Joey Gibson and his supporters have embarked on a new and dangerous chapter for their group. They have moved from organizing broad rallies under vague banners of “Free Speech” or “Against Communism” to seemingly dropping all pretense and instead openly stating that they want to attack, disrupt, and hinder the ability of anti-capitalist and anti-racist groups to organize.

This shift has lead members of Patriot Prayer and their fellow travelers to threaten violence against people attending meetings for organizations like the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) and the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW). Gibson and his followers have also forced local campus administrators to get various groups to literally cancel their events, of a fear of violence from Patriot Prayer. Moreover, in the midst of their growing calls to violence, union halls that they have repeatedly protested outside of have been vandalized, as have small businesses that have been targeted for harassment online by Gibson for hosting antifascist musical events.

Lastly, the group has acted as a physical reactionary political police force, by claiming that they will unmask and take photos of anyone they see on the street wearing a mask, but of course, only aim this at the Left while their own rank-n-file wears masks during a variety of violent attacks, and all the while, continuously calls for violence both through social media and on the streets – seemingly with total impunity.

Must disturbing however, is that it appears that Gibson and friends are doing this all with complete support from the Portland police department, a sentiment given more credence with the publishing of Gibson’s recent photo taken from the back of what appears to be a police car. This reality is coupled with the Portland police’s long history of violent repression of antifascists as well as their stated belief that far-Right groups in the Pacific Northwest are, “more mainstream,” than those who counter them.

Targeting the Union Hall

The new year began for Patriot Prayer on a low note: a young man associated with their circles, Buckey Wolfe, and who was enamored by the Proud Boys, viciously murdered his brother with a sword, claiming that he was in fact a Reptilian shape shifter. Soon after, the main Proud Boys website ran a story about how Wolfe was not in fact a member, right next to a story with a picture of George Soros with Reptilian eyes.

Then on Thursday, January 17th, Joey Gibson switched things up. Patriot Prayer members chose to show up to the Portland Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) labor union hall to seemingly confront ‘ANTIFA.’ In Portland and the surrounding area it should be remembered, the IWW has been behind the large scale unionization drive of local fast food chain Burgerville USA, which has brought out various local unions in support, from the IBEW to SEIU, and currently three stores have now become the first fast food restaurants in the US to recognize a labor union. As it turns out, that night at the IWW hall was the weekly chapter meeting of the Democratic Socialist of America (DSA), a perfect “soft target,” for Gibson and his goons.

According to the SPLC:

On the evening of Jan. 17, a large group of far-right activists gathered outside the building where the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA), a left-wing political organization, was holding a chapter meeting. After being denied entry, several Proud Boys claim they were attacked by antifa. After the incident, Axtell and another Proud Boy, James Yaakov, went to the hospital with minor injuries.

Footage recorded after the alleged incident shows [“Tiny”] Toese – who has a history of engaging in violence – with bloodied knuckles, bragging that he “knocked the fuck out of” three men. In another video, he suggests that Proud Boy Jason James pulled a gun out during the encounter.

While “Tiny” Toese, who describes himself as “Joey Gibson’s right hand man,” was livestreaming about how Patriot Prayer went to the IWW hall armed with at least one firearm, other members of Patriot Prayer were also livestreaming from a hospital room, claiming that an African-American member of Patriot Prayer had been attacked by antifa in a “hate crime.” This assertion, that antifascists singled out and targeted him because of his race, when the far-Right goons had gone down to the IWW labor union hall armed with weapons, is laughable.

Not to be outdone, later that night, Reggie Axtell posted on Facebook violent threats against Portland Mayor, Ted Wheeler, and, seemingly faced no consequence. Around the same time, Joey Gibson appeared on an online internet webcast entitled, “The Titans of Liberty,” where guests claim they would disrupt the upcoming Women’s March events in Orlando, Florida and beyond.

Two days later, on Saturday, January 19th, the day when tens of thousands of people were protesting against Trump and taking part in the various Women’s Marches, Patriot Prayer hit the streets with a group of about 10-20 supporters.

First, the group returned to IWW hall that only a few days ago they had attempted to rally outside of to harass people going to a DSA meeting. But as members of Patriot Prayer flew Trump flags and chanted, across the street, a masked counter-protester began to chant while live streaming and was quickly swarmed upon; even having to be pulled inside a nearby business to avoid being attacked. A later video from one of the livestreams on the Patriot Prayer side, showed both Joey Gibson and Haley Adams discussing how to confront the counter-protester in a in a way that it didn’t look like they were crossing the street to physically confront them and start an altercation. Their desire to both fool their audience and hide their true intentions is as laughable as their stupidly in plotting to do so over the internet for everyone to hear.

As the SPLC wrote:

In one video, the group spots some of their political rivals across the street, but they pause to consider how to approach the apparent antifascists in a way that doesn’t paint them as the antagonists. “We don’t want it to look like we’re fighting them,” Patriot Prayer affiliate Haley Adams says. “Do it all natural,” another in the group suggests. Gibson begins yelling before he reaches the other side of the street, and a confusing tussle breaks out.

“We’re gonna hurt you,” an older man tells a person with their face covered.

Later in the day, Gibson and a large crew of his followers came head-to-head with a smaller group of mostly black-clad activists. They yelled a Proud Boys slogan – “Fuck around and find out” – and repeatedly called one member of the group a “faggot.” They demanded that the activists remove their masks, even though some of those on Gibson’s side were covering their faces with the signature yellow-and-black Patriot Prayer bandana. One member of Gibson’s group brandished a bottle of mace.

After this initial encounter, Gibson and friends headed to harass the #MeToo rally and also join in an an anti-abortion protest in the Downtown. During this time, Haley Adams attacked one person with stun gun in the throat, but did not turn it on, while masked members of Patriot Prayer armed with bear mace, made threats against Women’s March and pro-choice demonstrators.

Gibson and Haley then link up with the so-called “Hate Preachers,” a group of far-Right street preachers who are known for starting fights and attacking women, queer, and trans people in their violent and hateful rhetoric. A video recorded on the street that features Gibson, Haley, and the Hate Preachers shows one preacher calling a woman a “jezebel,” while screaming about “dirty Muslims.”

Members of Patriot Prayer continued to engage in scuffles throughout the day, and things finally ended for Patriot Prayer when they approached police in an undercover car and asked them to stop an African-American antifascist masked protester from walking behind them. Haley in an obvious lie says that he is “trying to rape” women in her group. Ironically Adams several months ago attempted to organize a flop #HimToo rally, arguing that men are the victim of false assault allegations. Police complied in harassing the protester, and Gibson and his group got in a car and left the Downtown.

The next day on January 20th, Portland saw various marches organized to commemorate Martin Luther King, Jr. During the street protests, Haley Adams recorded herself on livestream talking to members of Patriot Prayer while she drove, and contemplated driving through the crowd of MLK marchers, which included many children, to kill them. “If they’re gonna come, and bash our windows in, we’re gonna have to run through them,” she stated. Alt-Right trolls and Trump supporters also showed up to heckle the MLK march on the street. Not to be outdone, later that evening, Russell Schultz in a now ritualized late-night tradition, made more threats of attacking people’s homes.

In the face of thousands of people across Portland taking part in a variety of relatively tame and celebratory marchers, from the Women’s March to MLK Day, Patriot Prayer showed itself to be an ongoing threat of potential violence against the public at large, and all from a relatively minuscule group of people that was allowed to roam throughout the city with seemingly total impunity from the police.

Moreover, if and when members of Patriot Prayer felt they were in danger, they simply had to ask the police for help who quickly came to their rescue. Meanwhile, from attacking people on the street with weapons, contemplating running them down in cars while discussing such thoughts over the internet, to swarming counter-demonstrators and threatening them with beatings and mace, members of Patriot Prayer were free to move about the city, documenting each and every act of violence, aggression, and hatred towards the people of Portland for the viewing pleasure, and most importantly: potential financial support, of their followers.

The Selective Demasking Campaign & Union Hall Vandalism

Joey Gibson was far from finished after MLK weekend; in many ways, he was just getting started. On January 22nd, Gibson pushed to again ramp up physical confrontation on the streets of Portland, playing up a “golden oldie” for his base of followers: the threat of masked ‘ANTIFA.’

As the SPLC wrote:

Patriot Prayer leader Joey Gibson, Proud Boy Tusitala “Tiny” Toese and former Proud Boy Russell Schultz collectively announced a new “demask antifa” movement. All three men encouraged their followers to approach antifascists activists ­– who sometimes wear bandanas over the lower half of their faces – remove their masks, take a photo and post it to social media. The group plans to use the photos to dox leftists.

Ironically, this lead to Joey himself being trolled, as antifascists posted up photos of Patriot Prayer wearing masks, leaving Joey to believe they were in fact photos of antifascists.

The next day, On January 23rd, Russell Schultz on Facebook voiced support for the upcoming “Rock Stone Mountain” rally which is being organized by KKK members and neo-Nazi groups. Russell marked himself as attending on the Facebook page and stated on social media that he was going and even encouraged others in Patriot Prayer circles to attend as well. This again shows that the rank-n-file members of Patriot Prayer have nothing against white nationalism, the KKK, and neo-Nazis, and in fact see them as simply another faction in a broader coalition that has similar goals and enemies.

On January 24th, Skylor Jernigan, a Patriot Prayer event attendee logged onto to Facebook to make a series of very violent threats against perceived enemies of the group. “You’re really going to be gettin’ it. I’m fucking tired of it. You’re gonna be getting knives put into your throat. You’re going to be getting bullets put into your head if you don’t stop this shit with us.”

The same night that Jernigan vowed to murder enemies of the group if they did not “stop,” according to Williamette Weekly:

Vandals broke a window and spray painted “Antifa House” and “Smash Communism” on the front porch and side of the Industrial Workers of the World union hall on East Burnside Street in the early hours of Jan. 24.

They also tagged the nearby bar Cider Riot with “Fuck Antifa” and X’s on the business’s windows and a mural painted by a Japanese artist named Peach Momoko. A $200 flag with the cidery’s logo was stolen.

Gibson later claimed that the vandalism was a false flag:

But the right-wing groups who have been targeting the IWW house for a week called the vandalism a “false flag,” despite repeated threats posted by Patriot Prayer supporters in videos on social media targeting antifascists and the Democratic Socialists of America. (At least one of the far-right videos also names Portland mayor Ted Wheeler as a target of the group’s malice.) Gibson posted on Facebook less than two hours after IWW made photos of the damage public, accusing antifascist activists of trying to frame his group. “Antifa came up to the Democratic Socialist of America house (their own house) yesterday and put graffiti on it pretending that we did it,” he wrote on Facebook. “Wait this graffiti looks very similar doesn’t it?”

According to SPLC, Gibson announced later that night:

Gibson announced Thursday that Patriot Prayer plans to attend all upcoming meetings of local socialist organizations. After finding a scheduled meeting of the International Socialist Organization had been cancelled, he and several of his associates went to the IWW building and recorded a video calling for socialists to engage in dialogue with their group. “Death to antifa,” a Facebook user commented.

On Friday, January 25th, Gibson continued to stoke the fires online. On Facebook, he issued threats against Cider Riot for hosting an antifascist musical event over the weekend, and encouraged his supporters to stake out the venue and photograph people going inside and outside of the building. The same day, it is revealed in the media that a local socialist event on campus has cancelled an event due to threats of violent from Patriot Prayer.

As Katie Shepard wrote:

Portland Community College cancelled an on-campus event planned by the Portland Democratic Socialists of America after right-wing agitators threatened to show up and disrupt the teach-in. [A]n email from PCC public safety officials shows that the college cancelled the event after threats.

“PCC Public Safety was made aware of a possible planned disruption to tonight’s event that may have had an impact on the safety of the academic community and event attendees,” writes campus safety officer Lt. Erik Hargrove in an email to Green. “To ensure the event could be held safely, and successfully, a mutual agreement between Public Safety and the organizers was made to accommodate the event at a date/time that sufficient pre-planning could take place.”

DSA co-chairwoman Olivia Katbi Smith says the cancellation was not mutually agreed upon.

“Portland DSA is extremely disappointed to announce that Portland Community College’s campus security department has cancelled this evening’s teach-in for economic rights and climate justice because of threats from the right-wing street gang Patriot Prayer,” she said in a statement. “A handful of Patriot Prayer members have suggested on social media that they planned to attend the event, and PCC’s security has deemed themselves unable to respond appropriately. We strongly disagree with this decision, which was made without consulting our organizers or our dedicated safety team.”

The next day on January 26th, Joey Gibson and goons arrived at small anti-ICE protest and proceed to look for “ANTIFA” that had masks on. Finding only one underage protester with a mask, they surround him and proceeded to pull down his bandana off. Ironically, many Patriot Prayer members also had masks wrapped around their necks.

Later, Gibson and friends were tapped running after people on the street, with one Patriot Prayer member engaging in the chasing visibly wearing a large knife. Someone dressed in all black associated with Patriot Prayer also attempted to infiltrate the anti-ICE protest and film people, but was quickly found out and confronted with someone also recording them, and made a hasty retreat. They run down the street and are seen talking to police before leaving the area.

Joey Gibson and Russell Shultz appear to ride in style – in the back of a police car. Local activists contend that Joey and Shultz are receiving a ride to an anti-ICE protest in which they harassed and assaulted someone.

At the ICE rally, Gibson states on a livestream that everyone, from the “Left to the Right” will not be allowed to wear masks anymore and that they will remove them at demonstrations. This is ridiculous, as many people wear masks at Joey Gibson’s events, and only several days ago associates of Patriot Prayer were threatening counter-protesters with violence and chemical weapons while completely masked.

In pictures posted to Facebook before the confrontation outside the ICE building, Gibson is seen in a photo posted to social media in what appears to be a police car, leading many to speculate if he was given a ride to the protest by the police. When asked about this by local journalist Jason Wilson for The Guardian, Gibson refuses to confirm or deny.

Later that day. a member Patriot Prayer attempts to infiltrate an IWW meeting and film from the inside, but is kicked out. While Gibson claims that his group only wants dialog, when asked numerous times his intnetion for film, the member of Patriot Prayer repeadily makes up a series of lies in an attempt not to be removed and found out. Later, other PP members attempt to enter the meeting, but are not allowed entry. Later livestreams by the individual who first started recording from the meeting admit their ill intent.

A Downward Spiral?

Local antifascists content that Joey Gibson is currently living at his parents house while in the middle of a divorce after losing his job in real estate. Meanwhile, online posts from Patriot Prayer and Proud Boy members state that Haley Adams, a reoccurring embarrassment for both groups, has since been pushed out of local far-Right circles. Other far-Right online commentators state that local Proud Boys groups are attempting to steer clear of Patriot Prayer, while others point to drama caused by morons and walking felony magnets like “Tiny” Toese.

In the last several days, Patriot Prayer has also continued on its same antics. In one recent video, the small group conducted a “patrol” of Portland, finding one person wearing a scarf in the cold, and demanded she “take off her mask.”

The actions of Patriot Prayer now go beyond even the fabricated tropes of “ANTIFA” as “the real fascists,” ala the ill-designed pages of internet sewers such as The Daily Caller. Currently, members of Patriot Prayer are harassing, breaking up, and physically shutting down through fear of violence political speech, political organizing, and protected 1st amendment activity. At the request of no-one, the group has taken it upon themselves to police not only political events, but also everyday life, using the threat of violence to enforce a dress code, a deep irony for a group of people who thinks that there is currently a threat of a takeover from “Sharia” law.

The pathetic thing is that there is no event or circumstance that Patriot Prayer can point to to justify their actions or give a context for the wider public to build sympathy off of. While everyday brings a new victim of MAGA, far-Right, or Alt-Right violence, antifascists aren’t stacking up corpses of their political enemies, and instead are busy organizing in a variety of social movements and helping to mobilize vast coalitions against what remains of the far-Right on the street.

There is also the lingering and remaining question of the relationship between Joey Gibson, Patriot Prayer, and the police. Over the past several years, Joey has developed a close and working relationship with the police. They have worked with him at rallies, doing security, and planning events. But at the same time, the question must be asked, why do so many of Joey’s goons get away scott free with both threats of violence and also real violence on the street? Moreover, why is Gibson getting a police escort to protests and other events? One possibly answer is that Gibson is working closely with the police, feeding them information, in return for his followers being let off the hook for engaging in felony after felony.

Time, and people carrying out and searching through public records requests may hold the answer. But until them, Gibson and his followers seem to have, as they have since they began, the State on their side. On the other hand, antifascists have the growing support of the community; a support now bolstered by increasing disgust and anger at groups like Patriot Prayer, who remain nothing but violent trolls, willing to work with neo-Nazis, and ready to commit serious acts of violence – all for an internet buck.