On May 5, 2019, a group called “Oregon Women for Trump” held an “America First” rally and flag wave on the Harlow Road overpass in Eugene, Oregon. Community members quickly organized a successful counter protest, showing that our city will not be silent in the face of hate. The rally planned on bringing alt-right grifter Joey Gibson and violent alt-right brawler turned congressional candidate, Joey Nations, to speak. Neither of them showed up. Instead, more than a dozen Proud Boys and several neo-Nazis arrived. In this article, we will highlight some of the rally attendees and provide more background on the rally hosts.
Gordon Wesley Cronk Jr.
One of the many Proud Boys in attendance was Gordon Cronk Jr. This bonehead-esque Proud Boy did not come in the staple Yellow and Black Fred Perry but had a “Proud Boy” tattoo on his forearm. Getting a “Proud Boy” tattoo is the third stage undergone by members of the group. To advance above the third degree, Proud Boys must get into a fight with anti-fascists. Gordon has already tried his hand at violence at previous far-right rallies. He was part of the October 13, 2018 “Flash Mob” protest by Joey Gibson where violent Proud Boy Kim Costello struck several protesters with a baton. Gordon Cronk Jr. was in Pioneer Square on January 19, 2019 with fellow Proud Boy Cole Scott, and then joined Joey Gibson’s demasking brigade despite having a mask on.
Gordon Cronk is on Facebook as “John Smith,” and his profile contains Nazi imagery and memes. His cover photo features the Black Sun, a fascist symbol that dates back to Nazi Germany. One of his former profile pictures is a meme of the Christchurch mosque shooter, widely admired by the alt-right after he murdered fifty people in New Zealand. Other alt-right memes run amok on his profile, from clowns to crusades and the classic Pepe dog whistle.
Gordon has a history of MMA, though short-lived and fruitless. However, he has a much more expansive history of petty crime and violence. In 2008, Gordon was charged with assault and harassment. In 2010, he was arrested on first degree burglary and robbery charges, and unlawful use of a weapon, all of which are felonies under Oregon law. In 2013, he found himself charged for interfering with an officer and was sentenced to 30 days in jail. Gordon Wesley Cronk Jr. is married to Rachel Cronk, who is supportive of his white nationalist views, and they currently live in Hillsboro, Oregon.
Oregon State University student Noah Bucchi markets himself as a documentary film maker, without bias or motive, and has gained sympathy from local news from these claims. His actions, participation, and affiliations, however, show a clear alignment with the alt right faction of the Pacific Northwest. Bucchi was part of the far-right entourage which attacked Cider Riot, a Portland bar, on May 1, 2019. Before that, he harassed participants in the Womxn’s March in Portland. Bucchi has joined the gaggle of grifters desperate for YouTube views, like alt-right mythomaniac Andy Ngo and convicted child molester Matthew “Deme” Cooper. Apparently the far-right riot outside Cider Riot did not satisfy his taste for violence and views, as he made the drive to Eugene to join the “America First” rally with his brother Jack Bucchi.
Despite his claims of impartiality, Noah Bucchi shares the same ideas as the fascists he rubs shoulders with. Bucchi is an Infowars fanboy and conspiracy theory peddler, as evidenced by his Twitter account. In one Tweet, he drops the “Globalist” dogwhistle, a term with a history of anti-Semitic connotations. On Instagram, Bucchi posted a photo with Milo Yiannopolous, the neo-Nazi propogandist who became a household name after bringing his hate to college campuses around the country. Noah is the son of Kenneth Bucchi, an attempted author who enjoyed air time on some national television networks until it was revealed that he lied about working for the CIA. Noah has produced several videos, though they are far from documentaries. One video, Bioshock and the Great Prophet: Alex Jones, uploaded to his Vimeo, is a compilation of Alex Jones speeches that he made to “get the blood pumping.”
Eugene resident and neo-Nazi Andrew Allwander fit in at the “America First” rally, wearing a “Not Today Antifa” shirt, sold by Infowars. Allwander was recording the rally and has uploaded more than a dozen videos from it to his YouTube channel “MaharlikaAWA.” This was the same channel which Allwander uploaded videos displaying his collection of Nazi memorabilia. Andrew Allwander practices martial arts and has offered to train other alt-right rally goers in fighting techniques to attack antifascists. He has traveled to Portland a number of times for Joey Gibson’s rallies, brushing shoulders with the Proud Boys and other ultra-violent racist groups. Allwander has also traveled to Salem to attend rallies promoted by Joey Nations. Allwander brought a flag to the Eugene rally, which he hung on the overpass fence. The flag was a pine tree flag, with the slogan “An Appeal to Heaven” printed on it. This flag has been used by the alt-right before and made an appearance in Charlottesville.
Andrew Allwander was at Gibson’s June 30, 2018 rally, which was one of the most violent alt-right rallies on the West coast, when busloads of Proud Boys converged in downtown Portland to attack anti-racists with the help of the state. Allwander journeyed from Eugene to Portland to attend another Gibson rally on August 4, 2018, as did Chris Kilgore, another Eugene Nazi. When Turning Point USA brought their far-right circus act to the University of Oregon campus in Eugene, Andrew Allwander and Proud Boy James Johnson flocked to the event. After the “America First” rally, Allwander posted an interview with Noah Bucchi.
Read our full article on Allwander here.
Cole Robert Scott
Cole Robert Scott is a Patriot Prayer regular turned Proud Boy with a history of employment within the Republican party. Until late 2017, Scott was a committee member for the California Republican party. While in college, he was a part of the group Young Americans for Liberty. His ascent from run of the mill republican to hate group member was a fast one, fueled by Joey Gibson’s fascist friendly rallies. Cole began attending Patriot Prayer rallies near the end of 2018, when Gibson’s events became more explicitly about attacking leftists.
On November 17, 2018, Cole Scott went to Haley Adam’s misogynistic “HimToo” rally in downtown Portland and was spotted tearing down anti-fascist posters with Portland resident Damir Cordalija. After that, Cole joined Gibson’s violent mob as they terrorized pro-choice protesters on January 19, 2019 in downtown Portland. This was after the group rallied outside of an IWW office in Portland and vowed to demask any antifascists they encountered. When Patriot Prayer surrounded a small group of protesters downtown, Cole reached into his pocket, seemingly reaching for a gun, before threatening a union worker. At the Eugene rally, Cole was dressed in the familiar yellow and black Proud Boy Fred Perry. He spent the rally yelling obscenities at antifascists and threatening violence, all while safely tucked behind a line of riot police.
The Eugene rally was created by several women who run the Facebook page “Oregon Women for Trump.” One is Michelle Yates, who lives in Springfield and is a far-right Christian who holds vile anti-abortion views. Michelle is a frequent Patriot Prayer attendee. On Twitter, Michelle retweeted a post pushing the conspiracy theory suggesting that Voodoo Donuts, a popular donut destination, is running a child sex trafficking ring. The conspiracy theory was dubbed “DonutGate,” similar to the 2017 “PizzaGate” hoax which lead to a shooting in Washington DC. She also is a follower of the “Q Anon” conspiracy, a bizarre, never-ending conspiracy prominent in many far-right circles.
Another rally host is a Salem real estate agent named Janira Brannigan. Janira is staunchly anti-choice and anti-immigrant and testified in front of the Oregon Legislature against a house bill which would allow undocumented Oregonians to receive drivers’ licenses. She calls undocumented immigrants “criminals,” despite the fact that undocumented residents are not in criminal violation. During her testimony, she cites a statistic about homicides which is likely pulled directly from OFIR, Oregon’s anti-immigrant hate group with numerous ties to white nationalists. Janira is one of Joey Nation’s few supporters and assists with his campaign. Nations was a Patriot Prayer regular who rallied and fought alongside neo-Nazis at a number of Portland rallies. He is running for office in Oregon congressional district five.
Carol Pressnall Leek
One of the main organizers behind “Oregon Women for Trump” and the Eugene “America First” rally is Carol Pressnall Leek. Carol kicked off the wave of far-right rallies that have plagued the Pacific Northwest with her 2017 “March 4 Trump” in Lake Oswego. Carol originally planned to host the rally with former Lake Oswego business owner Kevin Kerwin, but she distanced herself from him after his racist Facebook posts were publicized. She said his comments were “disgusting,” and that “[the] event is certainly not about hate for anyone or anything.” Carol’s claims proved untrue as the rally unfolded. She recruited the “Three-Percenters” as security for the event, a racist militia with ties to domestic terrorism and the deadly Charlottesville “Unite the Right” rally. They spent the rally protecting KKK Imperial Wizard Steven Shane Howard as his band of Nazis harassed counter protesters.
After the March 4, 2017 Trump rally, Joey Gibson kicked off his career of hate rallies. Carol Leek was present at many of his events, including his August 6, 2017 rally on the Portland Waterfront. After the event, she posted a photo of Kristopher and Audra Foster to Facebook. Our friends at Rose City Antifa recently published a thorough dossier on Kristopher Foster, a neo-Nazi radicalized by Joey Gibson’s events. In addition to Kristopher, Carol is a close associate of Joey Nations. She was at his rally in Salem on July 15, 2017 brandishing a shield. Like her fellow organizers, Carol Leek is a “Q Anon” follower and conspiracy theorist. Carol Leek is a coach for life coaches and lives in the Keizer area. You can leave a review for her here.
Our dedication to confronting white nationalism
Carol Leek has promised to hold more “America First” rallies across Lane County. As with the May 5, 2019 rally, they will surely feature more fascists and neo-Nazis. Eugene Antifa is dedicated to confronting white nationalism in whatever form it manifests, and we will continue to do so. We would like to thank all the members of our community who, on very short notice, came together to defend their community against racist and fascist intrusion. An anonymous and autonomous call for a counter “flag wave” was made, and anti-racists in Eugene and Springfield answered the call.
There has been much handwringing about what the “correct” way to confront fascism is. We want to remind groups and individuals that critique (shared internally) should always be welcomed but discouraging people from confronting hate is not. When fascists are unimpeded and granted a platform, they become more bold and violent. We refuse to allow fascists the freedom to organize and network, because in doing so, we allow fascist ideas to gain a foothold in our communities. There is an element of risk involved in confronting violent fascists and the state, but that risk should not deter resistance. Drumming up the risk only isolates and harms the people who choose to confront it and limits our potential as a community. We are most powerful when we stand together and respect a diversity of tactics.
Eugene Antifa follows the St. Paul principles:
1. Our solidarity will be based on respect for a diversity of tactics and the
plans of other groups.
2. The actions and tactics used will be organized to maintain a separation of
time or space.
3. Any debates or criticisms will stay internal to the movement, avoiding any
public or media denunciations of fellow activists and events.
4. We oppose any state repression of dissent, including surveillance,
infiltration, disruption and violence. We agree not to assist law enforcement
actions against activists and others.