On April 22, 2017, in Phoenix at the Arizona Capitol building, I had set out to meet the local Based Stickman PHX Chapter, for a meeting at an event known as the “Red, White and Blue Unity Rally.” This was within 24 hours of Gavin McInnes’s shocking bombshell, that there would be a merger between the Proud Boys, and all the individuals that Kyle Chapman inspired to take up their own shield and sticks. Many have started their own Based Stickman groups, or alt-knight chapters, with the Collective whole being referred as the “Fraternal Order of Alt-Knights”. Kyle Chapman on his Facebook announces that his newly formed fraternal organization will be an affiliate of the Proud Boys.
I was in communication with the local stickmen for a few day prior to the event, informed them I would be coming out, and would like to get to know them. Not knowing what was to be expected from a group of people that formed their group around a man that bopped some Antifa punk on the head, I decided to meet them. Upon arriving, it was obvious who the alt-knights were, brandishing their shields and sticks. They greeted me and offered fantastic conversations with perspectives from all walks of life. A glimpse of this diversity in their members are that some worked in construction, some were technicians, others businessmen, and even some were still students. A uniting factor became apparent, with the desire to preserve America’s culture. Talking with them was spectacular in that they valued life, wanted peace, encouraged hard work, respected intelligence, and were willing to do whatever it took to uphold their way of life. All of these values are shared in reverence as well from the Proud Boys,in which are hallmarks of western culture. Mike Bailey organized the Phoenix chapter of the Based Stickmen after viewing the “badassery of Kyle Chapman.” He organized this chapter as a way to protect freedom of speech, with interest hailing from people he didn’t know but shared the common ideals. They rallied together creating a belief that the chapter of stickmen that had gathered will be able to work together with the Proud Boys to protect the values both groups were founded on.
At the rally there was more than just Alt-Knights and Proud Boys. There were veteran’s organizations present, biker organizations, families, the Liberty Militia, and general public. The event was fun, friendly, and plenty of networking between different members of the different organizations.
I also was able to get a statement from Steve Robinson, one of the event organizers, and now a Proud Boy,
“I am a founding member of the United Liberty Coalition and was one of the main organizers of the Unity Rally at the AZ state capitol. I feel that it is more important than ever for Americans to come together and stop being enemies over any differences we have. Different political ideas are something to be discussed and even argued in an intelligent and respectful manner. Disagreements are not supposed to be reason to lash out in violence and force others to agree with you or to expect others cower down and roll over because your feelings are hurt or you don’t get your way. That’s not how it works!”
Proud Boys and Based Stick Men came into existence as a defensive response to all of the intolerant and hateful, violent targeting of anyone that dares to have opposing views to the liberal political stance.
Without proof or rationale you are called a racist, bigot, xenophobic, homophobic and a whole slew of other labels that are so easy to throw around by an army of angry kids in all black with masks on! There is a growing violent movement aimed at anyone that can be placed on the right. We are all called Nazi’s by hypocrite thugs that dish out their “anti-fascist” hatred on their fellow Americans by shutting down free speech, shutting down freedom of expression and violating other rights by employing fascist tactics!”
The event acted as a center to recruit new Proud Boys to the fraternity, and to enact some in-person vetting. Arizona Proud Boys membership experienced over 20% growth that day, just from interacting with the general public. One prospective member drove two hours to come to the rally, and stayed in town until the chapter meeting later that night. Brian Sherlock became a Proud Boy because the group is “standing up for western ideology and freedom” along with the fact that the Proud Boys are “also reclaiming masculinity which is in decline with this modern feminism and ‘72 genders’identify confusion.” Brian that night also officially acquired his second degree, and will be spreading the message about the Proud Boys back home.
Another new member, Sean C. explained his reasoning in that
“I joined the Proud Boys because I was sick of these fake men parading around as feminists shutting down conservative speakers. There is a culture of ultra-screeching feminists teaching men to be feminine and shaming men for being or wanting to be a man. Specifically men in the west. My role in the rally was cyber security, setup and take down, photographer and videographer. To sum it up I fight Antifa trolls who threaten our members or participants online. The main difficulty we had was with hosting the event the same day as the Pat Tillman run. I’m convinced had we chose any other date we would have had over a thousand people. There was also a couple conservatives locally that conspired to sabotage our event. There was chaos throughout the day, but ultimately we had a good time. We will be back after the summer, and the stakes will be higher. We raised the bar for future conservative organizers.”
The rally was a tremendous success and serves as a template for future events, demonstrating that the Right needs to get passed the minuscule differences and focus on the key point that will preserve the West. Proud Boys believe that the West is the best, and Arizona is one state that embodies western values. The political climate in Arizona is not the same as liberal safe havens such as New York or California. These events are especially important, with conservative events in red states displaying how life could be with only a change in the political landscape. If so, there is still hope for the American Dream, with the first amendment being free in Arizona, the second amendment being safe, and the region even being peaceful. The west is the best.