United States & Canada
Posted: 8 June 2023
United States: Ongoing far-right militia, militant social movement, and white supremacist training events and other activities
Far-right militia and militant social movement activity continued in the United States last month, but decreased from over 70 recorded events in April to under 60 events in May. In Arizona, the Chino Valley, Verde Valley, Maricopa County, and Yavapai County Preparedness Teams held regular informational recruitment meetings. Meanwhile, the Lions of Liberty held a recruitment meeting and speaking event that featured the founder of Turning Point USA. Veterans on Patrol (VOP) carried out four patrols along the border with Mexico. Notably, Proud Boys conducted two patrols along the border as well, including a joint mission with VOP, marking the group’s first patrol activity recorded in the ACLED dataset. Other Proud Boys activity in May included a banner drop in Colton, California and participation in a 20 May anti-drag demonstration in Portage, Michigan.
Targeted acts of vandalism also occurred throughout the month. On 12 May, a masked individual threw a piece of concrete at an Islamic center in Saint Paul, Minnesota, damaging a glass door. Authorities have yet to identify a motive. A few days later on 17 May, a man set fire to a different Islamic center in Saint Paul, in what he later claimed to be a protest against homelessness among the Muslim community. There were also at least two instances of anti-LGBTQ+ property damage in May. Unknown assailants ripped down and burned a LGBTQ+ flag, damaging the wall of a church in Palo Alto, California, on 10 May, while the same day unknown perpetrators vandalized a venue in Charlotte, North Carolina scheduled to host two drag brunches.
Openly white supremacist activity also continued in May, albeit at a decreased level. The Goyim Defense League distributed antisemitic fliers in Michigan, while White Lives Matter (WLM) did the same in Pennsylvania, the Aryan Brotherhood did the same in Wyoming, and the Aryan Freedom Network did the same in Florida. WLM affiliates were also present at a 13 May white supremacist rally and banner drop in Templeton, California as well as a 20 May anti-LGBTQ+ demonstration against a drag story hour in Bozeman, Montana.
Despite the wider decrease in openly white supremacist activity, Patriot Front’s reported banner drop and training activities increased substantially in May compared to April. The group dropped banners and held sparring training sessions across at least 11 states. Patriot Front also held a march in Washington, DC on 13 May to promote white nationalism.
United States: Labor demonstrations spike in California on the back of the ongoing screenwriter strike
While overall labor-related demonstrations increased slightly compared to the previous month, the ongoing Writers Guild of America (WGA) strike led to a spike in demonstration activity in California, specifically, where more than 60% of WGA demonstrations took place. Ultimately, the WGA led more than 20% of all labor-related demonstrations reported in May. The union is involved in a labor dispute with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers over employment levels and residuals from streaming sites, among other issues.1John Koblin and Brooks Barnes, ‘What’s the Latest on the Writers’ Strike?’ New York Times, 7 May 2023
United States: Demonstrations in support of immigration significantly increase as a result of International Workers’ Day
In May, demonstrations in support of immigrant rights nearly doubled compared to the previous month, marking the highest level of pro-immigration demonstration activity since ACLED began collecting data in 2020. Nearly half of these demonstrations took place on International Workers’ Day on 1 May, which has increasingly become intertwined with advocacy for immigrant and migrant worker rights.2Taylor Mirfendereski, ‘What is May Day?’ King5, 30 April 2017 As a result, labor groups were present in just under half of all pro-immigration demonstrations.