To read the regular press accounts (as in, say, The Washington Post or The Boston Globe) about the upcoming “Straight Pride” parade planned for Aug. 31 in Boston, you’d think the organizers were just another set of right-wing provocateurs—which is at least a kind of half-truth.
The whole truth—beyond the stark reality that, as BuzzFeed notes, Boston actually has denied the permit for this event, so it’s unlikely to even occur—is that these guys are much more than that: The chief organizer is a far-right street brawler who has traveled the country participating in and organizing Proud Boys-style events that are billed as “rallies” but in reality are fronts for provocations intended to create street violence directed at left-wing activists.
Mark Sahady, the Boston man who bills himself as president of “Super Happy Fun America,” the organizers of Straight Pride, has a long history not just of organizing violent events, but also of doing so with the active participation of hate group members, self-declared fascists, and active white nationalists.
He also oversees the Massachusetts chapter of a far-right organization called Resist Marxism, and it has been the driving force for a number far-right events in the New England area. Its founder, alt-right street-brawling figure Kyle Chapman, was a scheduled speaker at an Aug. 19, 2017, “free speech rally” in Boston that was notable for attracting 30-40,000 counterprotesters and only a tiny handful of participants. (It had the infamously bad timing of being scheduled exactly one week after the infamous “Unite the Right” events in Charlottesville, Virginia.)
Since then, Sahady has organized a second free-speech rally that drew tiny crowds in November 2017, as well as a gun-rights counterprotest in Boston in March 2018 that was dwarfed by the concurrent March For Our Lives protest by students demanding gun control the same day in Boston, which attracted a crowd estimated between 50,000 and 100,000.
That spring, Sahady traveled to Portland, Oregon, to participate in a “rally” organized by the far-right street-brawling outfit Patriot Prayer. That event, which was dominated by the presence of a large contingent of members of the hate group Proud Boys, became exceptionally violent. Portland Police wound up declaring it a riot, revoking Patriot Prayer’s permit, and closing the protests down.
In reciprocation, Patriot Prayer leader Joey Gibson flew out to participate in an Oct. 6 rally in Providence, Rhode Island, that Sahady organized. That event, too, devolved into a violent riot replete with pepper spray, tossed urine, and lots of brawling—though only one arrest occurred.
The greater significance of that event, however, was how it brought together various stripes of far-right extremism. Among Sahady’s frequent cohorts at Resist Marxism events have been members of American Guard, the “civic nationalist” street-brawling organization with deep roots in skinhead white-supremacist outfits, as we recently reported.
Livestream video shot during the event shows Sahady chatting with and directing rally participants, including American Guard member John Camden, who later in the day became one of the leading brawlers, as well as greeting Gibson warmly on his arrival. However, the video also shows that Sahady was stuck inside the rally, behind a police barrier, while the Proud Boys and American Guard members waded into the crowd of counterprotesters and then brawled with them as they retreated.
Most recently, Sahady led his Resist Marxism group, along with members of American Guard, in an attack January 19 on participants in the Boston Women’s March. At one point, Camden could be seen body-slamming a male marcher.
As with Patriot Prayer, Resist Marxism doesn’t have members—its leaders just organize events, and anyone who wants to join them is welcome as long as they are pro-Donald Trump and hate antifascists. This means—like Patriot Prayer, Proud Boys, and all the other street-fighting groups—that their ranks are frequently thick with neo-Nazis and white nationalists, as well as other stripes of far-right extremism, including “QAnon” conspiracy theory fanatics.
One of Resist Marxism’s regular participants has been a young activist named Christopher Hood, who posted selfies of himself with Kyle Chapman at the group’s events, wearing the requisite red “Make America Great Again” ball cap.
As it happens, Hood also happens to be the president of the Boston chapter of Patriot Front, the expressly fascist organization whose main preoccupation involves spreading overtly racist, white-supremacist propaganda flyers. Its members advocate a violent white revolution that will result in “the new American nation state.” As their website promises: “Democracy has failed in this once great nation, now the time for a new Caesar to revive the American spirit has dawned.”
Hood, however, likely will not be appearing in any Straight Pride march, since he is currently facing charges related to an incident in which he and two other young men were caught posting such fliers around Boston last February.
Another Resist Marxism participant seen in the midst of the Providence melee, 26-year-old Maxwell Hare, six days later allegedly threw the first punch by the gang of Proud Boys who were eventually arrested for assaulting protesters in New York City.
Sahady is apparently ignoring Boston’s refusal of his permit, claiming on social media that Super Happy Fun America had filed a discrimination complaint, which he claimed the city “understands they would lose in litigation.” He showed a “proposed parade route” that would wind for dozens of blocks between Boston Park Plaza and the State House, including a march through Boston Commons.
Like all of these far-right events, it’s all just a live-action trolling activity, an attempt to “trigger the left” and indulge their frequent online fantasies about punching liberals. For his part, Sahady’s politics are neither original nor noteworthy, other than that his posts are mostly regurgitations of far-right talking points. That seems about right for the organizer of an event whose conceit—mocking gay Pride events by claiming victim status—is so painfully juvenile.
“For them everything is based upon identity and whether or not one is categorized as a victim or an oppressor,” one of Sahady’s Facebook posts reads. “If you get victim status then you are entitled to celebrate yourself and expect those with oppressor status to defer to your feelings.”