Controversy on campus starts debate

The Brantford-Norfolk-Haldimand Proud Boys chapter has become far more active since taking on the free speech debate started by Lindsay Shepherd, a TA at Laurier Waterloo who showed controversial clips in a tutorial. Before the events on the Waterloo campus the Proud Boys were not very interactive on campus, other than having their own meetings. However more recently they’ve turned their sights onto the CAN group at Laurier Brantford.
According to the Proud Boys Canadian Chapter’s Facebook page, “The Proud Boys are a fraternal organization of Western Chauvinists who will no longer apologize for creating the modern world. Our values center on the following tenets: minimal government (libertarianism), closed borders (allowing lawful immigration only), reinstating a spirit of western chauvinism (this means exaggerated patriotism for all 35 western world countries, not male chauvinism), glorifying the entrepreneur (free market), maximum freedom, venerating the housewife (we support the choice of women to choose their own destiny, housewifery being the most venerated professions of all to choose from), pro-free speech (Charter of Rights, Section 2), pro-gun privileges, pro-gay, pro-Israel, anti-political correctness, anti-drug war, anti-masturbation (we are by no means prudish Victorians. We merely believe that this energy is better spent going out, meeting women, getting married, and having children), anti-racial guilt, anti-racism, anti alt-right, ending the drug war (decriminalization), ending prison culture, ending the welfare state. We do not discriminate based upon race or sexuality. We are not an “ism”, “ist”, or “phobic”. We truly believe that the West Is the Best and welcome those who believe in the same tenets as us.”
Chris Kimbo, Laurier Brantford student and the president of the Proud Boys Brantford Chapter held a recruitment night on Sept. 24, 2017. The Brantford chapter currently has eight members and four prospects, including students and community members.
Previous to the events on both Laurier campuses, students on the Brantford campus, started a Campus Anti-Fascism Network (CAN).
“Our goal was really to provide a safe space on campus for students that are racialized, part of visible minorities, for people of all genders, sexuality, orientations. We wanted to create a safe space and fight some of the fascist events that have been going on, on our campus,” said Emilee Kloostra, CAN organizer.
The Proud Boys have publicly claimed their disagreement with CAN’s political views.
CAN held their first meeting on Tuesday Nov. 21 at 7 p.m., after a few months of planning. The meeting was called in order to assess the student body interest and support for a CAN campus group. CAN has been well established on the York university campus, as well as several colleges in the United States.
The meeting was put on hold when members of the Proud Boys Brantford Chapter entered the room.
Both parties started video recording the interaction. While CAN members state that their decision to record the interaction was for their own safety, the Proud Boys have publicly released the video which can be found on member, Tim Kelly’s, Facebook page.
Laurier students and community members have expressed their discomfort with the contents of the video.
According to Kimbo, the Proud Boys showed up to the meeting 10 minutes late, despite the clock on the wall, in the video, reading 7:23 p.m. at the time of their entrance, “This wasn’t intentional at all,” said Kimbo. “We intended to show up. But we had a couple beers at Rocklings.” When questioned about the sobriety of the Proud Boys at the CAN meeting, Kimbo claims everyone was sober.
Another CAN organizer, Laura Favacho, explained the meeting was wrapping up when five individuals were seen standing outside of the room.
“They burst through [the door] all together. Five of them. Four of them were evidently students, I’d say, and one of them was a middle-aged man who was a local. At least three of them were in Proud Boys shirts, like identifiable Proud Boys shirts, which left a lot of us kind of worried because we are aware of their initiation process,” said Favacho.
The initiation process that Favacho is referring to is explained in an interview with the Huffington Post, where Gavin McInnes, founder of Proud Boys, stated the fourth degree for Proud Boy initiation is “getting into a major fight for the cause.” The other degrees of initiation consist of stating, ‘I’m a Western chauvinist who refuses to apologize for creating the modern world’, being punched by fellow Proud boys until the new recruit can name five breakfast cereals and getting a Proud Boys tattoo.
Despite this, according to Kimbo, Proud Boys is a non-violent organization.
“The fourth degree is basically just about defending yourself,” said Kimbo. “We never start the fights, we never start the violence… But we do finish them.”
CAN members in attendance felt the Proud Boys came in with the intent of being aggressive and disruptive, however the Proud Boys state they simply intended to have a civil discussion.
“They were prepared to stand around us for the majority of the meeting and they had walked into a room of a [majority] of trans or feminine folk, so that’s not a safe environment for us. The only reason they ever took a seat was because one member of our community actually just turned around and was like[AP4] , ‘I’m not comfortable with this. You guys need to sit down.’ And they ended up taking a seat,” said Favacho.
Kimbo explained the Proud Boys, and non-Proud Boys affiliated students, were concerned about the anti-fascist group starting on campus and their assumption that CAN was affiliated with Antifa, a US based anti-fascist movement focused on direct action.
“I was worried, and I was talking to the other Proud Boys, because we were baffled at the fact that Brantford had Antifa here. We didn’t think they’d be supported by the university or anything so we just wanted to check it out,” said Kimbo.
In the video recording of Tuesday’s meeting, a Proud Boy individual behind the camera asks, “We just want to know why you are starting a violent terrorist sect, on the campus.”
CAN member, Kloostra, can later be heard in the video stating, “This is not Antifa.”
When questioned why he thought the CAN meeting was an Antifa meeting, Kimbo pulled out photos of CAN’s promotional flyers advertising the meeting. “We just [saw] anti-fascist network, and we [had] a few questions, now, we didn’t really think they’d be Antifa, [but] we did have our concerns. What if these guys are Antifa, what if these guys are the guys who wear masks and start stomping on our speech, start punching us for being Nazis, right, stuff like that,” said Kimbo.
Favacho further expanded on CAN members distress about the Proud Boys’ presence at the meeting, “Our problem would have been with the fact that they showed up in those uniforms at any given time. Just to be completely clear on that. Showing up the way they did was a very aggressive manner. It was an [intentional] attack on us… the way they approached us was not for conversation,” said Favacho. “Often not actually giving [CAN] a chance to respond, though [Proud Boys] claiming they wanted discussion.”
Kimbo disagrees, “If people watched [the video], we were being pretty courteous, of course, the ones who were at the anti-fascist meeting, we felt that they were pretty hostile towards us.”
“I think, the video, in some ways at least, illuminated for folks who may not understand, sort of, the specifics of the Proud Boys and what this debate was about, what the kinds of things [Proud Boys] believe in actually look like in practice,” stated CAN organizer, Dominique Bendetti.
When questioned by the Sputnik on the Proud Boys political beliefs, Kimbo repeatedly stated that the Proud Boys are not a political group.
“The whole reason why the Proud Boys was created, why Gavin believed The Proud Boys should be made, is because he wanted to bring back those old drinking clubs, like men’s clubs back in the day. When men could just hang out, drink a few beers, drink a few whiskeys with the boys and get away from the families,” said Kimbo.
However, in an interview with Huffington Post, McInnes explicitly states that the organization does have a political stance, “We’re 99 percent Trump supporters.”
Despite this, Kimbo insists that the Proud Boys presence at the anti-fascist meeting was not politically driven. This is in direct contrast to his next statement, “Yes, we showed up in our Fred Perry’s, three of us, because we are Proud Boys and we are gonna represent who we are and what we believe.”
“I believe that Trump is kind of an idiot. Do I like him better than Hillary? Yes,” said Kimbo
Kimbo’s explanation of the Proud Boys Brantford Chapter is that they are simply a drinking club for men, but he admits, “As President of the Proud Boys, our beliefs are not really for everyone.”
Kimbo further explains that the Proud Boys don’t have misogynistic beliefs, however they venerate the housewife above all, because they believe her sacrifices allowed the western nuclear families to exist.
“I just want to clear that up, we are not misogynistic. We don’t believe that every woman should be a housewife. That’s kind of ridiculous, right? We appreciate the ones who are, you know, who do make that sacrifice. And it’s just that there are a few studies that there are a lot of women who try to pursue those higher fields, who do try to pursue, you know, being a lawyer or being a neurosurgeon and then they eventually drop out, they get married and eventually just take care of the kids. And then pursue a career that’s less demanding or just become fully housewives in general. There are studies of that. According to these studies, women are happier when they are, you know, taking care of the family instead of trying to pursue these jobs that are very high demanding and all that stuff. It’s mainly just better for the family,” said Kimbo.
“Every man wants their woman to be successful, but at the same time, they also want the woman in their lives to be very happy… But while I’m at work, I want someone to, like, while I’m gone, I want someone to take care of the house and kids,” Kimbo. “And, of course, housewives can do that, but I also want them to get a job for sure.”
When asked by the Sputnik if Kimbo believes women should work the double shift – a theory in feminist frameworks that explains that women are responsible for the double burden in which they are expected to have jobs and earn money, while also being responsible for household and childrearing work – Kimbo said, “Yeah, something like that.”
The Proud Boys held a rally on Nov. 24 to support freedom of expression at Laurier. This spiraled from clips shown by Shepherd.
When the Sputnik asked Kimbo if Shepherd has been in touch with the Proud Boys about the Brantford rally, Kimbo responded, “She has.”
When Shepherd was asked if she had been in touch with the Proud Boys, she said, “I have not talked to any Proud Boy, I don’t even know what their contact information would be. I’m kind of concerned that they are saying I’ve talked to them. Chris Kimbo has tweeted at me, but I did not reply. I did not follow or reply to him…I’m not really willing to endorse that group, and I was not working with them.”

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