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Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Campus

Fliers promoting alt-right groups found on campus


fliers

At least nine fliers promoting groups associated with the so-called “alt-right” were posted around campus on Tuesday. | Greg Fails/The Cougar

Several fliers promoting so-called “alt-right” groups were found Tuesday morning posted on bulletin boards and dropped in newsstands across the University of Houston campus.

Six of the nine fliers, which contain an image of a protester wearing a gas mask and carrying a shield and American flag instructing readers to “report Antifa Activity to your Local Proud Boys or Alt-Knights #Maga,” were found by members of The Cougar at the courtyard within the Jack J. Valenti School of Communication.

The other three fliers were found taped to the Cougar Postings board between Agnes Arnold Hall and the Science and Research 1 building and dropped in a newsstand in Philip Guthrie Hoffman Hall near Einstein Bros. Another was on a bulletin board at the Blaffer Art Museum taped to another flier which promoted an anti-fascism website.

According to the group’s Facebook page, the Proud Boys value “minimal government, maximum freedom, anti-political correctness, anti-racial guilt, pro-gun rights, anti-Drug War, closed borders, anti-masturbation, venerating entrepreneurs, venerating housewives, and reinstating a spirit of Western chauvinism during an age of globalism and multiculturalism.”

The Proud Boys group — which was founded by Vice co-founder Gavin McInnes in 2016 — accompanied the recently formed “Alt Knights” during April protests at the University of California, Berkeley where the two organizations clashed with members of Antifa, a “worldwide anti-fascist organization.”

“What’s been going on, until recently, is the communist group Antifa has been showing up in face masks to attack people on the right,” said “Alt Knights” founder Kyle Chapman, 41, in an interview with The Cougar. Chapman goes by the moniker “Based Stickman” online, and he said the individual pictured on the fliers spread throughout campus is supposed to be him.

The organization, which Chapman called a grassroots movement led by people “inspired by the battles at Berkeley,” has no official structure. Its members’ purpose is to attend free speech events to protect protesters on the right from physical assault, he said.

Chapman said he didn’t know who posted the fliers at UH, but he said active members of his group live in Houston.

“The alt-right phenomenon is one that has been very difficult and odd for the conservative movement on campuses,” said history senior Matt Wiltshire, former president of the College Republicans at UH. “It takes certain aspects of the right and left and combines them into something that I don’t think is a political philosophy.”

Wiltshire said the College Republicans and Young Americans for Liberty were unaware of the fliers and both groups should not be associated with the alt-right. He said he believes the fliers may be connected to what he called a “nasty feud” between the YAL and the UH chapter of Students for a Democratic Society.

“The posting of fliers doesn’t sound like tactics used by the alt-right. It sounds like that of the left — like, say, the Students for a Democratic Society,” Wiltshire said. 

History senior and President of the YAL chapter Michael Anderson said he agrees with Wiltshire’s assertion that the fliers were planted by a left-wing group. He acknowledged the existence of a feud between the organization and Students for a Democratic Society, calling it “kind of petty” and “kind of funny.”

A spokesperson for the Students for a Democratic Society at UH denied the allegations. The group advocated for students to tear down similar fliers “on sight.”

“They are full of s***, and we are confident that many students are well aware that white supremacism is on the rise and very real in Texas and across the United States,” the group said in a message to The Cougar from its Facebook page. 

“These flyers were put up by groups organizing explicitly around the banner of white nationalism in an ongoing effort to intimidate and target oppressed communities, anti-racist organizers, and local progressive forces.” 

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