USA

‘Alt-Right’ Militants Prepping For ‘Battle Of New Orleans’

'Alt-right' militants and the anti-fascist activists who want to punch them in the face, are bringing their rumbling roadshow to the Big Easy this weekend.

USA
May 05, 2017 at 4:56 PM ET

“Alt-right” trolls and the anti-fascist activists known as the Antifa, who make sport out of punching their “alt-right” opponents in the face, are both gearing up for their next battle. Much like the traveling roadshow of chaos that has often ended with arrests and bloody faces on both sides, this weekend’s “Battle of New Orleans” is expected to be one of the nastier encounters to date.

On Sunday, New Orleans Antifas and other groups are celebrating “a people’s victory” in getting Confederate monuments removed from public spaces throughout the city with a march from Congo Square to Lee Circle. Naturally, members of the “alt-right” are planning to show up in opposition, according to several online message boards and social media accounts belonging to “alt-right” groups or members. Included in the expected participants is a recently formed faction of the white nationalist movement called the Fraternal Order of Alt Knights (FOAK), which has been described by a civil rights advocacy group as a “fight club ready for street violence.

The founder of this band of far-right street-fighters is Kyle Chapman, who was reportedly arrested last month after he and other members of the “alt-right” clashed with Antifas in Berkeley, California. In previous “alt-right”/Antifa dustups, like the one in Berkeley, Chapman, dressed in an all-black suit with shin and arm guards, a shield and black baseball helmet, was seen allegedly beating Antifa members with a homemade club. He was later dubbed “based stickman” and has become part-hero, part-meme for the “alt-right.”

Now, Chapman is trying to form an army of based stickmen. In a social media post, he described his newly formed band of bruisers as the “tactical defensive arm” of the Proud Boys, another group of far-right thugs who’ve also tussled with Antifa in recent months.

“Our emphasis will be on street activism, preparation, defense and confrontation,” Chapman wrote, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks extremist groups like Chapman’s. “We will protect and defend our right-wing brethren when the police and government fail to do so.”

Bradley Walker, a member of the Proud Boys of Tennessee, is actively recruiting people to be a part of FOAK, and announced its formation on the group’s Facebook page on Thursday.

“We’re looking for warrior-minded men to step up and hold the shield wall,” he wrote in his post. “Our job is to hold the frontline against aggressive attackers while the Proud Boys and Proud Boys’ Girls speak their mind and skirmish large crowds.”

The list of requirements is not long, but specific. One of the more significant ones is that men should be on the front line, leaving the women, described by Walker as “shield maidens,” to get to work.

“…we have to hold the line against a large wall of attackers,” he wrote. “We need power to take the push while you knock them in the head.”

Ideally, Walker says FOAK members, preferably ex-military or law enforcement, are required to have their own shields and helmets and must be able to attend training sessions and camping trips once every six months. Those training sessions include “shield tactics and boxing training,” as well as drinking beer and “piss[ing] into the lake.”

In recent months, Antifas and the “alt-right” have had a string of violent clashes in cities across the country, including Berkeley and New York. The formation of more militant, violent factions of the “alt-right” is in response to several incidents where Antifas have assaulted “alt-right” activists. The most notable of these incidents involved Richard Spencer, the de-facto leader of the movement who was punched in the jaw. The punch, which was widely covered after a video of the incident went viral, prompted the internet — and the New York Times — to raise the question of whether it’s “OK to punch a Nazi.”