United States & Canada
Posted: 6 April 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 moderately increased from just over 60 events in February to nearly 80 events in March. In Arizona, the Yavapai County Preparedness Team, Lions of Liberty, and Verde Valley Preparedness Team held multiple separate information and recruitment meetings. Veterans on Patrol resumed its border patrol activity, carrying out more than a dozen patrols along the border with Mexico in southern Arizona. This spike in activity follows nearly a year of relative inactivity going back to July 2022.
Members of the Proud Boys participated in anti-LGBTQ+ rallies in California and New York, as well as an anti-abortion rally in California. Proud Boys also gathered to support a Turning Point USA campus event at UC Davis in California and participated in a pro-Trump rally alongside QAnon supporters outside the former president’s residence in Palm Beach, Florida.
Openly white supremacist activity also continued in March. The Goyim Defense League (GDL) distributed antisemitic fliers in seven states. Roughly a quarter of all GDL flier drops in 2023 have taken place in Florida, where the group’s founder moved in late 2022. The Florida State Legislature is considering legislation to make the distribution of public hate speech a felony.1Jake Sofan, ‘Florida House Committee advances bill aimed at combating messages of hate,’ Fox30, 15 March 2023 Affiliates of White Lives Matter (WLM) also distributed fliers promoting white supremacy and antisemitism in Colorado and Ohio. While distributing fliers in Wadsworth, Ohio, they were accompanied by a member of the Aryan Brotherhood.
On 11 March, WLM affiliates, along with Patriot Front, Proud Boys, III%ers, and members of the neo-Nazi group, Blood Tribe, gathered in Wadsworth to demonstrate against a drag show, where they clashed with counter-demonstrators who supported the show. A WLM member who participated in this event also later perpetrated an attack on the Community Church of Chesterland in an attempt to stop the church from hosting a drag event. He was arrested by the FBI on 31 March. Armed WLM affiliates additionally demonstrated in opposition to LGBTQ+ rights in Missoula, Montana. Members of the Sons of Virginia Active Club were also active last month, participating in an anti-LGBTQ+ demonstration in Richmond, Virginia.
Patriot Front’s reported banner drop and training activities increased in March compared to February. The group dropped banners across at least 12 states and held sparring training sessions in six states. Patriot Front members also assisted in tornado disaster recovery efforts in Mississippi and distributed water and supplies in East Palestine, Ohio, in response to environmental contamination caused by the 3 February train derailment.
United States: Labor-related demonstrations increase over demands for unionization
Labor demonstrations increased in the United States by roughly 70% from February to March, driven by demonstrations involving Starbucks workers. Workers organized by the Starbucks Workers Union held a national day of action on 22 March – a day before the company’s annual shareholder meeting – to protest for higher wages and against what they describe as the company’s anti-union activities.2Josh Eidelson, ‘Starbucks union greets new CEO Narasimhan with Seattle protest, strike,’ Seattle Times, 21 March 2023 Workers participated in a strike and gathered outside stores across 24 states and Washington, DC, as well as outside Starbucks headquarters in Seattle, Washington.
United States: Pro-LGBTQ+ demonstrations spike around Transgender Day of Visibility
Demonstrations supporting the rights of transgender people spiked around 31 March, which marks the Transgender Day of Visibility. According to the American Civil Liberties Union, more than 450 pieces of anti-transgender legislation have been introduced in state houses across the country since the beginning of 2023, with 19 becoming law in March.3ACLU, ‘Mapping Attacks on LGBTQ Rights in U.S. State Legislatures,’ 4 April 2023 These legislative initiatives prompted frequent demonstrations in support of the LGBTQ+ community throughout March, leading to the highest number of pro-LGBTQ+ demonstrations in a single month since ACLED began collecting data on the United States in January 2020. Pro-LGBTQ+ demonstrations took place across at least 42 states and Washington, DC.