For the last year, researchers and journalists have speculated about whether the mostly-online “alt-right” movement would ever coalesce with real world action. They excelled with memes and trolling, but was there more to it?
It’s happening now, with the proliferation of street gangs inspired by the “alt-right” who are showing up at rallies across the country.
The New York Times recently described such groups as part of a growing movement that “has injected a new element of violence into street demonstrations across the country.”
One such group is the Fraternal Order of Alt-Knights, founded by Kyle Chapman, known online as “Based Stickman.” The name comes from a widely-circulated video in which Chapman hits a counter protestor with a stick. “Based” is slang for not caring about how you are perceived by others. The Proud Boys is another prominent group, spearheaded by Vice co-founder Gavin McInnes.
These “alt-right” inspired groups are “part fight club, part Western-pride fraternity,” the Times writes, which “recruit battalions of mainly young white men for one-off confrontations” with the left-wing anti-fascist protestors who have also become fixtures at protests in recent months.