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Friday, September 22, 2023
Sept. 22, 2023

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Liberal California is actually a hotbed for right-wing extremist activity, report says


California may be a Democratic stronghold, but it has also become a hotbed of right-wing, white supremacist and antisemitic activity, according to a new report from the Anti-Defamation League.

The ADL report, which looks at incidents in 2021 and 2022, found significant increases in white supremacist and antisemitic incidents, including collaboration between the two groups. Among the extremist organizations continuing to operate openly in the Golden State are the Proud Boys and the Rise Above Movement, a white supremacist group based in Southern California.

“The state is home to the country’s highest number of extremist-related murders and plots and has seen numerous incidents of political violence,” the report noted.

That includes six extremist-related murders and a terrorist plot by two men affiliated with the Three Percenters, a militia group.

According to the report, antisemitic incidents rose from 367 to 518 in 2021 and 2022. These included assaults, threats and vandalism of synagogues and other Jewish institutions. The rise follows a national trend, with incidents up 36% to 3,697 in 2022, the ADL said.

Instances of white supremacist propaganda in California grew from 155 to 296, and white supremacist incidents increased from five to 15.

The ADL found that California had its highest number of antisemitic incidents since reporting began in 1979. It trails only New York for most in the country.

The report cites numerous incidents of extremist activity in the Sacramento area.

At a March rally against gender-affirming medical care, the NorCal Active Club, a white supremacist fitness and mixed martial arts organization, clashed with counter-protesters in Sacramento.

The White Lives Matter Network protested a June 2022 family-friendly LGBTQ pride event at the Sacramento Children’s Museum in Rancho Cordova, displaying a banner reading “Groomers are not welcome in California.”

“The rise of QAnon has also been a notable driver of violence in California over the last two years,” according to the report.

QAnon is a far right political movement that believes that the government is controlled by Satan-worshiping pedophiles.

The report cites multiple QAnon-related events, including the attack on Paul Pelosi, former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s husband, by suspected assailant David DePape, a QAnon adherent.

As for the Proud Boys, the report cites multiple incidents, including a demonstration and brawl at a UC Davis event in October 2022. In addition, Proud Boy Jeffrey Perrine who was expelled from the Sacramento GOP, made several attempted runs for public office.

The Proud Boys have focused their attention against the LGBTQ community, including protesting at drag queen story hours.

“Transphobia has been a part of the group’s ideology since its founding and California chapters have regularly conducted anti-LGBTQ+ activity,” the report notes.

In March 2023 incident Perrine disrupted a Roseville Joint Union School District board meeting to spout anti-LGBTQ rhetoric and encourage people to join him in visiting the home of a local pastor and founder of an LGBTQ youth organization who was the target of a Project Veritas video.

The report makes several recommendations for California policymakers.

It asks Gov. Gavin Newsom to convene a “United We Stand” summit to address hate-fueled violence and calls on state officials to undertake efforts to counter domestic terrorism. It also urges implementation of a new state law requiring greater transparency on social media content moderation policies..

Finally, the report endorses Assembly Constitutional Amendment 4, which would restore voting rights to people incarcerated for felony offenses, and Senate Bill 85, which would extend the number of days refugees and asylym-seekers are eligible for case management services.

“Protecting the rights of all people in California, including those who are vulnerable or historically marginalized, such as refugees and the disenfranchised, is crucial for countering discrimination and bias,” the report reads.