The California chapter of anti-LGBT hate group MassResistance was formed in May 2016 by longtime anti-immigrant and nativist activist Arthur Schaper. Now it’s added a white nationalist to its ranks.
MassResistance, the anti-LGBT hate group based in Massachusetts whose president, Brian Camenker, continually links homosexuality to pedophilia, violence and disease and links trans women to sexual predators, has been expanding its chapter base in recent years.
One of the most active chapters has been in California, run by perpetual right-wing activist Arthur Schaper, a columnist for TownHall.com and freelance writer based in Torrance, California. He splits his time between cheerleading for President Trump, protesting against immigrant protections and opposing LGBT people.
In July, Schaper led his MassResistance chapter to a Dixon, California, city council meeting to show support for the city’s vice mayor, who advocated for July to be considered “Straight Pride American Month” as a counter to June being, as he referred to it, “LGBTQF-WTF month.” At the meeting, a woman sitting with MassResistance reportedly shouted at a 14-year-old girl, who is gay, when the girl began to cry. “Fake tears!” the woman shouted.
In a letter to the editor defending the Dixon vice mayor a few days before the meeting, Schaper claimed:
“homosexual behaviors and transgenderism [sic] are not normal albeit eccentric behaviors, but destructive and immoral practices which harm children, destroy families, and undermine a sound and cohesive culture.”
California-based white nationalist and self-proclaimed “traditionalist” Kenny Strawn took notice of Schaper’s activities and announced in a July 30 YouTube video that he had joined the California chapter of MassResistance, claiming Schaper as a good friend. Furthermore, Strawn said, his own views align with those of Camenker, in that homosexuality should never have been normalized and that abortion is murder.
Strawn also claimed in the video he joined because he’s tired of being “misorientationed”— that is, according to him, tired of gay men assuming he’s gay, and he’s pleased to join Schaper in this “anti-degeneracy” effort.
Strawn proclaims a belief in Identitarian ideals, a white nationalist ideological movement. It has roots in the French “New Right” and mixes European chauvinism, biological determinism, localism, and some left-wing ideas such as Swiss-style direct democracy and critiques of capitalism. Walter Laqueur, scholar of fascism, has described Identitarianism as fundamentally a doctrine closely related to fascism. Generation Identitaire, which formed around 2012, was formed in the early 2000s as the youth wing of the Bloc Identitaire, a French anti-immigrant coalition that engaged in anti-Muslim actions. In the U.S., identitarianism has been taken up by the white nationalist youth group Identity Evropa.
The UK-based group Hope Not Hate (HNH) noted in March this year that Strawn attempted to launch a U.S. incarnation of Generation Identity, an organization started by European Identitarians. It is unclear if his chapter was recognized by official European identitarians. This is unlikely given the lack of a public endorsement by the European Generation Identity despite the American leadership claiming it was recognized. Still, Strawn was photographed at public events carrying the black-and-yellow flag of the group. But it appears the U.S. branch quickly fizzled, and its website disappeared. HNH also reported that Strawn planned a rally for later in March called “Defend California: No Sanctuary for Sharia.”
Schaper has crossed paths with white nationalists before
Schaper, who has said financial support from MassResistance helps fund his activism, has engaged with other white nationalists beyond Strawn. He appeared recently on the web-based radio show The Red Elephants, which bills itself as “conservative” but has promoted white nationalist videos and interviewed prominent white nationalist Jared Taylor, who runs the hate group American Renaissance (AmRen).
Schaper, who has written for The Red Elephants website, debated white nationalist Nick Fuentes on the show in March. Fuentes is a podcaster who has made racist and antisemitic remarks. He spoke, reportedly after Jared Taylor, at the 2018 white nationalist AmRen gathering in Tennessee, but he has denied he’s a white nationalist because he says it’s a term leftists use.
Schaper also debated James Allsup in May. Allsup, who won an uncontested GOP primary in Washington state, is slated to begin a term in December as a precinct committee officer in Whitman County. He attended the Charlottesville Unite the Right rally in August 2017 and participated in the Tiki torch march that included the chant “Jews will not replace us.” Allsup also addressed an alt-right rally in Washington, D.C., in June 2017 that included white nationalist speakers Jason Kessler and Richard Spencer.
Schaper is also part of the nativist extremist group We The People Rising, and has been disavowed by the local Republican party, according to the L.A. Times, for his actions, which often involve disrupting city council meetings in so-called sanctuary cities and shouting down Democratic politicians.
In 2017, Schaper and fellow anti-immigrant activists shouted down a Riverside speech by Senate leader Kevin de Léon with screams of “anchor baby.” Schaper has also protested outside Democratic congresswoman Maxine Waters’ office with a sign telling her to “go to hell.” The local GOP pulled the charter of the Beach Cities Republicans, of which Schaper was elected to a second term as the group’s president in fall 2016, saying that Schaper’s “inappropriate activities” (disrupting meetings and intimidating local officials) were the major reason for its actions, according to the L.A. Times.
Schaper has also referred to sanctuary supporters as “brown Nazis” and in April went to various town meetings in California in communities considering opposing the state’s sanctuary stance, according to the Orange County Register, which also noted that at these meetings, undocumented immigrants were referred to as “disease carriers” and murderers and rapists while antisemitic remarks were also made.
MassResistance is no stranger to controversy or trolling tactics in its confrontational style of activism. But in the past, it has remained focused solely on anti-LGBT issues. With its California chapter leadership engaging in anti-immigrant protests and with a white nationalist in its ranks who in the past has attempted to organize an anti-sharia protest, it remains to be seen what direction the group will go.
Photo by REUTERS/ Kyle Grillot