On Monday, I found my name on a public list. My name, along with all of the Facebook accounts associated with the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) Albany listserv, was compiled on a site run by Trevor Loudon, a right-leaning political activist from New Zealand. Loudon, in effect, brands himself as an exposer of communists and socialists and uses his site to list people he deems political operatives involved with the Democratic Socialists of America and other groups that are to the left of his beliefs. I should mention, my name appears on the list despite the fact that I’m a reporter who is simply interested in the activities of DSA Albany–I’m not a member. Full disclosure–I’ve been registered as a Democrat in Albany for quite some time. (You don’t get to vote much in Albany if you aren’t a Democrat.)
Loudon’s site actually provides information about me that is incorrect–linking me to a labor activist from Chicago. The site does give the correct information about others who may be actual members.
On Monday morning, DSA Albany leaders announced that they would be making the group’s Facebook page private out of privacy concerns and mounting harassment and threats related to the outing of local members of the right wing conservative group Proud Boys.
“We wanted to become a hub of local organizing for the numerous campaigns we are working on – from the NY Health Act and Medicare for All to labor solidarity efforts in support of striking workers at Momentive and AT&T Mobility. As such, we added virtually every contact we made at various events – tabling, canvassing, picketing, teach-ins, etcetera – to our listserv and invited them to our Facebook group,” wrote Sean Collins on behalf of DSA’s executive committee.
“Recent events and developments force us to reconsider this for the personal safety of members and non-members alike. Right-wing activists are building dossiers and doxxing DSA members nationwide. A website, KeyWiki, is documenting and taking screencaps of individuals who are members of various left/left-leaning Facebook groups, including our chapter’s private Facebook group. Locally, area activists revealed that the Proud Boys, a right-wing organization that describes itself as a pro-Western values fraternal organization and whose politics essentially call for a White ethnostate, were active in the Capital District. In response, some of our members were targeted and others expressed general concern about who may have access to both this listserv and our chapter’s private Facebook group.”
There has been an outcry of “McCarthyism!” and “liberal fascism!” following the outing of the two members of the Proud Boys who were formerly employed at Lark Street Tattoo. We still don’t know who wrote the article exposing the members–although it is widely assumed it was written by a local activist as a warning due to rhetoric from Proud Boys members about earning a fourth rank in the organization by beating up a left-wing protester.
I’ve been following local Proud Boys on social media for the last few weeks as The Alt was working on a story about the organization before the post sent shockwaves through the community.
What I’ve seen from both groups is mounting fear.
I freely admit my sympathies lie much closer with DSA than with Proud Boys. In fact, all I’ve seen from the Proud Boys indicates they are an organization that is afraid of criticism of America, afraid of “progress,” afraid of the other. I’d go as far to say that the Proud Boys are at the very least pathetic in their need to bolster their fragile white male identities. A website called “Proud Boy Magazine” celebrates “Cuck of the Week” as a means to attack liberals and even has a section where it outs members of ANTIFA–an anti-fascist group that is known for causing violence at protests. Proud Boys, like their hero President Trump, appear to also hate the media and long for a return to an older America.
Local Proud Boys shouldn’t have been surprised they were exposed, as their group makes outing left-wing activists a part of its mission.
But I also know it’s dangerous to lump any one group together by one name. We are all individual people with a different understandings of the world.
Here’s mine. Allow me to properly doxx myself:
As the husband of a black woman and the father of a young daughter, I despise what the Proud Boys stand for. The future I’m fighting for is both black and feminine. I am working towards a future where my daughter will be able to thrive and have the same opportunities as everyone else; where police won’t target people of color; where the economy benefits all Americans; where women routinely earn as much as men.
Injustice is perhaps the greatest motivator in my life. It’s what made me become a journalist.
Having said that, I deeply regret The Alt wasn’t able to break the Proud Boys story because it wouldn’t have been a doxxing. It would have been a look at a group that clearly needs to be better understood, examined and, yes, exposed. Serious journalism could have provided a clear look at the group rather than a Google-researched blog post.