Friday, December 14, 2018
FAR-RIGHT ACTIVISTS ANNOUNCE PLANS FOR WOMENS’ MARCH COUNTER PROTEST IN FRESNO
BY ABNER HAUGE|LEFT COAST RIGHT WATCH
On January 19th the “Alpha March” is set to counter what its organizers call the “Anti-American haters” of the nation-wide Womens’ March.
“They might be a women's organization that is paid & funded by leftist foundations but we have the man power to march along side our real women's National Community of Alpha's who know how to respect our American Constitution & do not need to indoctrinate our youth to get our point across!” the description of the event reads.
“If they’re doing it nationwide–great. We’ve yet to hear to much about it,” said Kim Slavan, lead organizer of the Fresno Womens’ March.
The march is being planned by San Bernardino-based “Official MAGA Girl Store” owner Denise Ruiz. MAGA is an acronym for President Trump’s campaign slogan “Make America Great Again.”
Ruiz, in her Facebook post, said she intends to make the event “ongoing,” saying “MAGA Girls will be making it a permanent thorn in the pussy hats back!”
Ruiz claims to be part of the III% militia movement. III% members have been linked to numerous hate crimes against Muslims, including the firebombing of a mosque. Members of the militia were the perimeter guard for the deadly Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, although they publicly distanced themselves from white nationalism in its aftermath.
Ruiz’s MAGA Girl organization also previously rallied with the Oath Keepers militia in Los Angeles in July. The Southern Poverty Law Center calls the Oath Keepers “one of the largest radical antigovernment organizations in the United States” and claims they have over 30,000 members. The Oath Keepers acted as security on April 15th, 2017 in Berkeley for a rally that quickly turned bloody. During that rally their leader, Stuart Rhodes, denounced the white nationalists of Rise Above Movement (RAM) and Identity Evropa (IE) who brawled in the streets with counter-protestors. After the event, however, Rhodes continued to voice support for Kyle Chapman of the Proud Boys’ now-defunct paramilitary wing, the Fraternal Order of Alt-Knights, who fought alongside RAM and IE members that day.
On Thursday the 6th, Ruiz announced on the Facebook page that Ben Bergquam would be a co-organizer of California’s Alpha March.
Bergquam is the host of AM 1680’s “Frontline America.” His show airs at 4pm-5pm, right after Alex Jones. According to the Sacramento Bee, he is a “self-identified Proud Boy.” Bergquam says on his ‘about’ page bio that he “believes that abortion is murder, homosexuality is sin, and transgenderism is insane.” He also claims “[w]e are in the midst of a cultural civil war” whose enemies are Black Lives Matter, the Council on American-Islamic Relations, Antifa, La Raza, the Democratic Party and “godless cowards on the right.” Bergquam claims these groups are part of a “force for evil” that is attempting to “destroy America from within.” Bergquam is a frequent attendee of far-right rallies across California, including the bloody April 15th, 2017 event in Berkeley.
“Ben makes his presence known at every event in Fresno,” Slavan said.
Bergquam isn’t the only one attending to express transphobic and homophobic views. Ruiz herself posted derogatory memes on the event’s Facebook page, including one which read “The bulge in the pants of a conservative woman is a pistol. The bulge in a liberal woman’s pants is a dick!”
In a December 7th livestream, Ruiz said the “whole reason behind” the Alpha March was as a way to bring men into the fold of far-right womens’ organizations like hers.
“We MAGA girls are the backbone to America, and we are the backbone to our men” she said, adding “Men, M-E-N.” as emphasis.
Ruiz in the video said her “main focus” for the march is the perceived deterioration of traditional gender roles–a long-time hobby-horse on the right. She complained, among other things, about parents allowing their children to express doubts about their gender identity. Ruiz said one of her daughters claims to be gay, but “she’s gonna dress like a girl, because she’s a girl.”
“We have these men that are confusing everybody–they confuse the hell out of me,” she said.
“We are going to take that rib that God has made us from and we are going to be after all you betas,” Ruiz continued.
The “Alpha” in “Alpha March” refers to the online-right term “alpha male.” It means traditional dominant, muscular definitions of masculinity. “Beta males,” the foil to this in online right lingo, are deemed as effeminate or otherwise not performing traditional masculinity.
In the video Ruiz also decried “the indoctrination” in schools, saying she took her third grade daughter out of school after “they were talking about the whole immigration thing.”
Ruiz’s daughter made a brief appearance in the livestream, saying “I hate you. I hate being homeschooled. I hate this.” Ruiz said her daughter is still adjusting to homeschooling, adding that her other two daughters were homeschooled and they “turned out fine.”
Lindsay Grathwohl, a prominent figure in Bay Area far-right activism, announced plans to attend and help organize the event on her Facebook page.
“Excited to help Magagirls with this march!!” she wrote on her public figure page on Facebook.
Notable Bay Area organizers Amber Cummings and Jourdin Davis also marked themselves as “going.”
Other prominent far-right figures attending the march nationwide include Haley Adams of Patriot Prayer and the #HimToo movement. Adams said she’d attend the Texas march.
Patriot Prayer is a Proud Boys-linked far-right organization based in the Pacific Northwest. Patriot Prayer members and rally attendees have repeatedly engaged in violent confrontations during protests, particularly in Portland and Berkeley. While its leader, Joey Gibson, publicly disavows white nationalism, its rallies often attract white supremacists. One white supremacist who attended Patriot Prayer events, Jeremy Christian, murdered two men and wounded another with a knife on a Portland train. The three men had intervened after Christian launched a hateful tirade against two women of color.
“I will be at this event to show OFF my ALPHA FEMALE. I challenge Anyone to mutual combat. Ha,” Adams wrote on the page.
In reaction to national outrage and protest over the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, Adams organized the #HimToo Movementto combat a “war on men” in which men are “being falsely accused, slandered, attacked and harassed at their homes." Anti-fascist activists often accuse Adams of being a “rape apologist."
“Yes, we support the #HimToo movement,” Ruiz said in the December 7th livestream, also praising Adams multiple times.
False accusations of sexual assault and harassment against men have long been a hobby-horse for the online Mens' Rights Activism (MRA) movement. MRA was one of the major political tendencies that went into the alt-right and current online far-right. False rape allegations are difficult to track but are widely believed to make up a small percentage of total allegations. A 2010 study concluded between 2 and 10 percent of total rape allegations are false.
The Alpha March in Fresno will convene at Woodward Park at 10am. The Fresno Womens’ March, with 229 listed as ‘going’ on Facebook as of this writing, will convene at 234 East Nees Avenue, about a mile away from the park.
The national Womens' March organization was founded in response to Donald Trump's presidential victory. The first annual Womens' March was set for the day after his inauguration and subsequent marches commemorate the date annually. Slavan said that the Womens’ March “organizes to hold our politicians accountable” and that the organization is for free speech.
“Their attendance at our event is actually supported as their First Amendment right,” she said.
According to the Facebook event page, Alpha Marches are also set for Buffalo, Las Vegas and Houston.
It is unclear how many plan to attend the Alpha March. 25 people as of this writing said they were going on the nation-wide event’s Facebook page while 77 people said they were interested.
Much of the organizing information will not be posted publicly “due to security purposes.” Security breaches have happened at past events. In the leadup to August 18th’s nation-wide “March Against Far-Left Violence,” a fake website promising free t-shirts doxxed people who gave the site their addresses.
The Alpha March’s description includes a link to an email form to RSVP and then join state-based closed groups for coordination. The Official MAGA Girls organization has groups set up for California, Kansas, Utah, Texas, Oregon, New York, Arkansas, Minnesota, Ohio, Florida, Alabama, Maryland, Virginia, Oaklahoma, South Carolina, Nevada, Arizona, Tennessee, and Pennyslvania. Some groups have as few as four members while the most populous, Arkansas, has 175 members as of this report. The California group has 71 members at press time. Some groups’ posts are hidden while others are publicly viewable as of this writing.
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