Oregonians Uniting for Liberty is an organization dedicated to re-opening America during the COVID-19 crisis. It is a part of a larger trend of astroturfed rallies that have happened across the country in the midst if the Corona virus epidemic.
On May 2nd, they are planning to protest closures due to COVID-19. This is, obviously an incredibly bad idea. It has the possibility to become a massive disease vector and puts the health of all Oregonians at risk. COVID-19 is highly infectious, which is why health experts and medical professionals around the world have been suggesting social distancing as a way to slow the spread. People are often most contagious 2-3 days before symptoms start, and some people never show symptoms at all (it’s estimated 25% of cases are asymptomatic), so large groups of people gathering together in close quarters for a protest is likely to contain some people who are infected, who will spread it to other participants, who will then return home and spread it in their communities.
Oregonians Uniting for Liberty has some truly questionable members in its ranks.
Chief among these among these is Joey Gibson. For those who don’t know, Gibson has repeatedly staged incredibly violent rallies in Portland and across the country. His rallies have featured white supremacist speakers, and have drawn in members from Neo-Nazi groups like Identity Evropa, The Daily Stormer Bookclub, and The Oregon Aryans.
Another questionable character is Paul Luhrs. Paul is the leader of the Linn county chapter of the Three Percenter militia. Paul is a close friend of Bart Degeneffe, a Corvallis-based white nationalist who we exposed trying to radicalize local conservatives. Paul has become a fixture at protests across the state. He frequently shares bigoted posts on social media.
A major contingent of the protest will be run Oregon Women for Trump (OWFT). The organization has organized several events that have drawn heavy white supremacist presence.
One rally hosted by Carol Leek in 2017 featured KKK grand wizard Steven Howard and a group of Neo-Nazi thugs seig heil-ing.
The group also organized an “America First” protest in Eugene, which drew in violent fascists like Gordon Cronk and Andrew Allwander. At this rally, Cronk assaulted a counterprotester much smaller than himself.
One of OWFT’s leaders, Emma Mitchem, is also an outright bigot. In this video, she can be seen yelling homophobic slurs at a trans man.
More detailed information about Oregon Women For Trump and their America First rally can be found in this article by Eugene Antifa.
The protest, itself, is a part of ReOpen America, a PAC dedicated to re-opening the country in the midst of the COVID-19 crisis.
ReOpen America was founded by Suzzanne Monk, a tragically unfunny conservative comic and grifter from Chicago.
Before founding ReOpen America, Suzzanne worked for the far right news site, The Red Elephants.
The site has its own deep ties to Neo-Nazis. The founder, Vincent James has been known to pal around with the Rise Above Movement, a violent white supremacist street fighting crew that participated in the 2017 Unite The Right Rally in Charlottesville. Vincent has also made a habit of appearing on Nazi podcasts and crashing TPUSA events with holocaust-denier Nick Fuentes.
During her tenure at Red Elephants, Suzanne wrote an article defending and praising infamous Nazi, Tom Christiansen aka Trigger Tom.
Christiansen is a self described white nationalist who posted on the Neo-Nazi forum Stormfront under the name ‘whitepunx’. He got his nickname after claiming to be behind a shooting that left a Portland antifascist paralyzed. Tom is currently in jail after attempting to stab a man to death at a Dropkick Murphy’s show in Chicago.
Monk runs another PAC called Patriot Action Political Action Committee. On its website, the PAC claims to work with several political candidates and neo-nazi associate and professional homeless harasser, Scott Pressler.
Across the country:
The Oregon ReOpen protest is not the only one tied to violence white supremacy. Protests across the country have had fascists participate and commit violence.
In Ohio, National Socialist Movement member, Mathew Slatzer used an anti-quarantine protest as an opportunity to display anti-semitic propaganda.
In Michigan, a car blockade protesting COVID-related closures blocked off the entrance to a hospital, further endangering the lives of people in critical condition. Members of the Michigan Proud Boys, an SPLC-designated hate group, played a large role in the protest.
In Huntington Beach, one ReOpen protester, Christien Petersen, kidnapped and held a reporter at knifepoint, forcing him to delete footage he was featured in.
It is important to look at the #ReOpen movement’s ties to fascism. While these protests seem largely dominated by normie conservatives and anti-vax conspiracy dweebs, at its core, the movement is built on the fascistic belief that some human lives are disposable. They are willing to sacrifice the lives of the elderly, the sick, and the disabled so they can go back to eating Applebee’s and shopping at the mall. Anybody who attends this rally is a danger to themselves, their communities, and all Oregonians.