After yet another right-wing Twitter figure was embarrassed by poor turnout and overwhelmed by counter-protester turnout in San Francisco on Saturday, self-styled alt-right pundits have spent the last 48 hours ridiculing him and distancing themselves from the embarrassment. Also, Instagram and Twitter have booted him of their platforms. Still, a GoFundMe to help fix the organizer's front teeth has raised over $26,000.
SFist surmised two weeks ago that Texas-based Twitterer Philip Anderson — a seemingly passionate but highly confused young Black man who supports the Proud Boys and hates Black Lives Matter and all things Left — was likely operating under some delusion of grandeur and without the confirmation of many of his scheduled speakers when he began tweeting out a flyer for a "free speech rally" in San Francisco's Dolores Park.
Such events can not get permits for Dolores Park, as SF Rec & Parks assured us. But Anderson turned out to be somewhat more determined than we'd guessed, obtaining a permit for an event in UN Plaza and flying himself to San Francisco to appear, all while costing SF taxpayers money with police protection, etc.
Berkeley Antifa helped galvanize turnout among local leftist activists to make a show of force at Saturday's event, and by all accounts there were several hundred counter-protesters facing off with Anderson and perhaps a small handful of supporters and Proud Boys. It's not even clear if any of his scheduled speakers showed up at all, and current leader of the Proud Boys, Florida-based Enrique Tarrio, had publicly backed out of the event two days before.
As the Chronicle reports, Anderson took the "stage" around 1 p.m. after already being punched, claiming that he was only interested in "free speech," but obviously understanding what he had come to San Francisco to incite. He reportedly had a lot of plastic and glass bottles thrown at hime. A couple of other Trump supporters and Proud Boys were confronted by the throngs of counter-protesters, and at least two other men — one with a MAGA hate — were reportedly injured after confronting counter-protesters on Market Street about 90 minutes later.
The successful antifascist mobilization in #SanFrancisco shows what happens when the community shows up in force to say no to fascists organizing in our communities. We keep us safe; the police keep the fascists safe. https://t.co/XvZEZQWNGA— It's Going Down (@IGD_News) October 18, 2020
Violence was thankfully kept to a minimum, and Anderson claims he was punched was for "no reason." But the antifa kids clearly saw reason enough to be outraged in bringing the Proud Boys — who claim not to be racist but merely "western chauvinist" and overlap quite a bit in their supporters with white nationalists — to the middle of San Francisco for a rally.
The event had many parallels with an equally poorly planned Patriot Prayer rally in San Francisco in the wake of Charlottesville in the summer of 2017, which was canceled, protested, rescheduled, and ended up being a bust for gun-toting organizer Joey Gibson.
Philip Anderson, a free speech rally leader, punched by counter protester and pushed back into barricaded area at UN Plaza in SF. Rally has not started yet. #ProudBoys #SanFrancisco pic.twitter.com/NcNopIyDAX— Denis Ivan Perez (@dpi_19) October 17, 2020
Photo of the week pic.twitter.com/0Q6DwtNhg1— MyWhiteNinja. Probably. 🦄 (@MyWhiteNinja_) October 18, 2020
And while Anderson tried to make the case that the "optics" of his bloody mouth and taking a punch from antifa were good for the alt-right cause, this Twitter thread documents the various troublesome figures whom Anderson unsuccessfully tried to lure to the event by naming them as speakers without their permission, and figures who are now denouncing his foolishness for holding such a poorly planned event with little security of his own.
One Proud Boys leader, Joe Biggs, went on Twitter to decry Anderson's poor organization and poor planning, and says that his knocked-out tooth just makes them look "weak." He claims, spuriously, that he and Tarrio will hold their own event in San Francisco soon to raise money for Anderson's dental work, and it will be better organized and protected by more Proud Boys.
Berkeley Antifa has also been taking pains to document Anderson's support for the Proud Boys, despite his being a minor figure thus far in the alt-right, by all accounts, with fewer than 2,000 followers before his Twitter account was suspended over the weekend. Tarrio, who identifies as Afro-Cuban, and Anderson, both like to claim their own race as proof that the Proud Boys is not a racist group — but as has been widely noted, they promote Islamophobia, xenophobia, violence against leftists, everything Trump, and their membership has for obvious reasons overlapped with many a racist and white-supremacist group.
October 1, 2020. Philip Anderson says he is a Proud Boy. He says he was invited by the leader to join and it was the leader who initiated him into the group.— Berkeley Antifa (@berkeleyantifa) October 18, 2020
Fuck around and find out. pic.twitter.com/P1mAXG8ZnG
Unfortunately, like Trump, embarrassments like this may only incite a stepped up sense of importance among alt-right figures, with San Francisco and Berkeley being their favorite stages (after Portland) for street battles aimed at gaining video content for their social media crusades.
Hopefully we can get through the next two weeks before the election without any more of this bullshit.