Proud Boys set their sights on a new political agenda amid turmoil and setbacks
Following former President Donald Trump's jaw-dropping remarks during the presidential debate with then-Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, the far-right group The Proud Boys garnered national attention they'd never experienced before.
However, that spotlight also had its drawbacks because it subsequently became an integral part of the Federal Bureau of Investigation's (FBI) review of the Jan. 6 Capitol riots. The investigation led to many members of the organization being charged with insurrection-related crimes. But now, the far-right group is reportedly taking a different approach to politics in hopes of making more subtle progress to bring its agenda to fruition.
Cassie Miller, a senior research analyst at the Southern Poverty Law Center, spent years following the all-male extremist group, according to NPR. So she was well aware of the adverse effect that would likely come from Trump's words when he told them to "stand back and stand by" during that presidential debate.
The not-so-subliminal order from the president only piqued the interest of more far-right extremists who became interested in learning more about the organization. Speaking to the publication, Miller shed light on the future of the extremist organization and the agenda they reportedly have going forward.
"In the aftermath of that, suddenly everyone was talking about who the Proud Boys were and people were submitting applications to join the group," said Miller.
While the organization is known for its aggressive, violent nature, Miller is warning that changes are coming and the group is strategizing on a different level. According to Miller, they have also shifted their focal points for political rallies.
"They're simply switching up their organizational style," said Miller. "Now they are organizing more at a local level, they're hosting local rallies, or they're joining into other rallies around political flashpoints like critical race theory or anti-masking."
In addition to the structural changes, the group is also hoping to bring its authoritarian values to the forefront. In short, the goal is to normalize fascism and embrace a form of hierarchical society where white males remain the predominant Americans in positions of power.
"What they want to do is normalize their brand of politics, which is one that is authoritarian, that wants to push the creation of a more hierarchical society where men, and white men, in particular, retain the most power," she said.
Miller's remarks follow repeated warnings from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) about the possibility of a rise in domestic terrorism. Speaking about the motivational factors behind domestic terrorism bulletin, Michael Chertoff, a former DHS secretary under President George W. Bush's administration, said, "In my view, it is domestic terrorism mounted by right-wing extremists and neo-Nazi groups." He added, "We have to be candid and face what the real risk is."
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