ISG In Action: Shut The Proud Boys Out of Portland, Maine

by Emery Adams (Saco Education Association, personal capacity) and Ruby Nguyen

This article was originally published in Socialism Today, the paper of the Independent Socialist Group. Subscribe to the paper to receive each issue in print and read the articles before they’re published online!

Here in Portland, Maine, members of the Proud Boys—a white supremacist hate group—have been meeting in Mathew’s Pub. These meetings threaten to bring far-right violence to Portland. When left unopposed, far-right and fascist groups intimidate and incite violence against working people, especially working people of color and other marginalized members of the working class. As long as the Proud Boys are allowed to organize in the city, they will remain a threat to all working people and youth in Portland. 

As living conditions worsen, groups like the Proud Boys are able to convince people that the problems they face are the fault of marginalized groups like immigrants, women, or people of color, when in reality it is the bosses and landlords who are making life harder for working people.

The only way to truly fight the right is to build a powerful working-class movement. Capitalists use right-wing ideas to blame job losses, low pay, rising prices, and other issues on different sections of the working class (see our article “2022: Bring the Fight Against Oppression Back Into the Streets” in issue #1). By building a united working-class movement to win better conditions for all working people, socialists can undermine the ideas and organizations of the far-right. 

Unified action from unions, activists, and community groups can push the Proud Boys out, just as 40,000 workers, union members, and students shut down a far-right rally in Boston in 2017.

ISG is willing to help build a working-class coalition and movement to stop the far-right. This coalition could organize actions including informational picketing, rallies, boycotts, and union and workplace actions. 

ISG has been raising the idea of such a coalition for several months by holding leafleting and tabling sessions to publicize the presence of the Proud Boys and push for united action to fight against them and the conditions leading to their presence. To fight the far right, and win the reforms that working people need—like universal healthcare and higher wages—working people and youth throughout Portland and other areas need to join together to oppose the Proud Boys and other far-right/fascist groups.