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Neofascism, irony, and leaderless resistance ... yes, we're talking about the Proud Boys

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Many things about the Proud Boys, including their name, are a joke. But that doesn't make them harmless. In fact, it's what makes them dangerous. On this episode, we'll sit down with a researcher whose team compiled a report on the group for the January 6th Committee.

On this episode of The Newsroom, co-hosts Ben Schachtman and Kelly Kenoyer take a deep dive on the Proud Boys. We'll be joined by Professor Chardon Murray, a researcher who worked with the Khalifa Ihler Institute to produce a detailed report on the far-right group at the request of the Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol.

Chardon and her colleagues’ research includes a study of 532 incidents, and 1190 networked relationships involving 465 individuals and 199 groups. The study spans five years and includes about 2,000 hours of in-depth interviewing and ethnographic research.

You can find the institute's report, "Function Over Appearance: Examining the Role of the Proud Boys in American Politics Before and After January 6th," here or below.

We’ll trace the history of the neo-fascist group, and explain why the Proud Boys’ protective layer of irony has made it hard to get a grip on their ideology — and their endgame.

Plus, we’ll look at the ‘leaderless resistance’ model the Proud Boys have embraced following the Jan. 6 attack on the capital, and why that’s driven them to up at meetings and events here in New Hanover County.

Below: The 'Proud Boy Map' from the Khalifa Ilher Insitute and the report on the Proud Boys for the House Select Committee.

Ben Schachtman is a journalist and editor with a focus on local government accountability. He began reporting for Port City Daily in the Wilmington area in 2016 and took over as managing editor there in 2018. He’s a graduate of Rutgers College and later received his MA from NYU and his PhD from SUNY-Stony Brook, both in English Literature. He loves spending time with his wife and playing rock'n'roll very loudly. You can reach him at BSchachtman@whqr.org and find him on Twitter @Ben_Schachtman.
Kelly Kenoyer is an Oregonian transplant new to the East Coast. She attended University of Oregon’s School of Journalism as an undergraduate, and later received a Master’s in Journalism from University of Missouri- Columbia. Contact her on Twitter @Kelly_Kenoyer or by email: KKenoyer@whqr.org.