Thursday, November 9, 2017

An Annotated Interview with Gary Snow

I first met (William) Gary Snow as he was about to get into yet a third fight with antifascists, this time at a protest of Richard Spencer at the University of Florida. Snow, wearing a heather gray “Fuck Antifa” T-shirt with the number “45” on the sleeve - a reference to the president - was there to protest Richard Spencer, too, so he said.

Snow came with four flags in all. He had an RBG “Black Lives Matter” flag and insisted to anyone who would listen that he believed that Black Lives Matter. He also had the so-called “Blue Lives Matter” flag - the thin blue line superimposed over a US flag. He was holding these two flags together and turning them to reveal the other with the charisma of a magician, narrating, “Black lives matter. Blue lives matter. Black lives matter. Blue lives matter.”

He also came bearing an antifa flag and a Nazi flag which he would occasionally take out of his back pocket to stand on when talking to press. Apart from the initial altercation when he first walked in that I pulled him away from in order to conduct this interview, he didn’t incite anyone apart from his choice of flags and shirt.

When I approached Snow as he was having words with four local antifascists, he recognized me almost immediately. I had no idea who he was, but the antifascists sure did and they followed us shouting as Mr. Snow directed me toward the line of Highway Patrol where he felt safe to do an interview. The antifascists lined up about five feet away continuing to shout for most of the interview which was helpful because at points they gave me material for questions to ask. I reproduce below the annotated, but unredacted interview with Gary Snow.

Mike Isaacson: If I’m putting you in an article, how would you like to be identified?

Gary Snow: Gary Snow

MI: And your pronouns, I’m assuming he/him/his?

GS: What’s that?

MI: Your pronouns that you use? He/him/his I’m guessing?

GS: Are you talking about people?

MI: The pronouns that I should use to refer to you.

GS: I’m a he…

MI: Okay cool, just making sure. So yeah, what brings you out today?

GS: To protest Richard Spencer.

MI: Cool, so how did you hear about this event?

GS: Who hasn’t?

MI: Okay, I’m guessing you’re local?

GS: Yeah.

MI: Right on, and so you’re a three percenter?

GS: Yeah.

MI: Right on, so what does the three percent organization, or how do you-

GS: We’re a patriot organization.

MI: Okay, so what does that mean to you?

GS: To me? It’s “I stand up for my constitution.” I protect the constitution. I protect all the rights of the constitution.
He’s fairly selective when it comes to the first amendment. For instance, he’s been known to stalk journalists both in his hometown of Chicago as well as in Jacksonville.
MI: Okay, and how do you feel like that fits in with what Richard Spencer’s trying to do today? GS: I mean, he has the right to come out here and speak. I have the right to come out and protest him. I don’t support white supremacy.

MI: Very good. So the shirt that you’re wearing says, “Fuck antifa.”

GS: [Laughing] I don’t support antifa either.

MI: Why-

GS: I know you’re with antifa.

MI: So I guess what made you- Hi. What made you decide to choose that shirt as opposed to any other shirt.
He started filming me with his phone, so I said hi to the camera.
GS: A lot of people, they think, I guess especially in the media, they think that if you’re going to stand up against white supremacy then you have to be on the antifa side or the alt left side. You know that’s not the issue. I know many three percenters that don’t stand up for white supremacy, that, you know, denounce white supremacy, denounce Richard Spencer. I don’t have to agree- The problem I have with antifa is I don’t agree with their tactics. The violence, the “by any means necessary,’ you don’t need.

Antifascist Shouting: You’re a three percenter! What are you talking about?
The three percenters are a decentralized militia organization. The name of their movement is a reference to the myth that only three percent of the colonists fought in the American Revolution.
GS: Wait, wait, wait, I’m talking.

AS: I don’t give a shit.

GS: Imagine if they didn’t get violent, and they allowed the three percenters and other patriot groups to come out and protest against white supremacy. We could double and triple these numbers. If they didn’t get violent, we could all come out and protest against white supremacy.

AS: Do you not remember getting arrested for violence at a protest?

GS: Against an antifa member who was wearing a bulletproof vest. He had a backpack with a hammer in it and two bottles of piss. I was armed with an American flag.
He was actually armed with a Trump flag. In video of the protest, he can be seen putting his middle finger in a protester’s face until the protester swats it away.
AS: [indistinguishable]

GS: Alright, well why would you walk around with two bottles of Milk of Magnesia?

AS: What? Do you know what that is? Are you fucking kidding me?

GS: We’ve seen it. We’ve seen it.

AS: That’s literally for tear gas, you dumb fuck.
Milk of magnesia is used to treat tear gas and pepper spray on the skin. You should always use water only for the eyes.
GS: They won’t let me talk.

MI: Would you like to talk about that event they’re referring to?

GS: I was in Bradenton.

MI: That’s nearby, I’m guessing?

GS: We got in a scuffle. I got arrested for affray.
Affray is defined in Florida law as inciting a riot.
MI: What was the protest about?

GS: The memorial. The veteran memorial monuments.
It was a confederate monument.
MI: Okay.

GS: So, I’m a supporter of the memorial monuments. I’d like to see them stay. You know like we’ve seen today, there was a school in Jackson, Mississippi that changed the name from Jefferson Davis to Barack Obama.

MI: Okay.

GS: I support that one hundred percent. It’s a predominantly Black school. Why would a predominantly Black school want to go to a school named after Jefferson Davis? It would be inspiring to the young Black kids named after a school named after the first Black president. I’m all for that. So that’s the thing. They think I’m Alt-Right. They think I’m some evil, white supremacist. No, I’m not. I’m out here doing the same thing they are doing. I’m out here protesting white supremacy. I’m out here protesting Richard Spencer. I don’t support white supremacy. I don’t support Richard Spencer. But you know there also another thing dude you have to understand. You’re a professor, so you know all the issues going on. Richard Spencer was labelled by the Southern Poverty Law Center as a, what, white nationalist. He was labelled by the Anti-Defamation League, I think, white nationalist. He doesn’t consider himself a neo-Nazi. The Southern Poverty Law Center also labels and documents the New Black Panther Party as, what, as-

MI: “Black supremacist”

GS: -black nationalist. They’re also labelled as and documented as the most antisemitic, racist African American organization in America. Yet I don’t see any of these people- No, you have- I’ve been to rallies in Jacksonville where members of the New Black Panther Party are with them. So they collaborate with the New Black Panther Party. I don’t collaborate with the New Black Panther Party. I get death threats from them. I get death threats from the New Black Panther Party. That’s the difference for me.
What Snow misses here is scale. The New Black Panther Party is a rather small group and as far as groups like it is rather unique. Additionally, without the non-profit infrastructure and historical assistance provided by the legal system, the relative impact of groups like the New Black Panther Party is incredibly small. Furthermore, the few instances they do show up, they’re usually kept at arm’s length.
MI: What groups-

GS: That’s the difference for me.

MI: What groups do you coordinate with?

GS: What’s that?

MI: What other groups do the three percenters coordinate with?

GS: I mean, there are just- There’s all different sects. Just like antifa’s not a “group,” you know, it’s a movement. Well, same thing with three percenters. They’re not a group.

MI: Decentralized…

GS: They’re a movement of people that take it upon themselves, who are constitutional conservatives, and believe in the constitution, want to uphold the constitution. You know we’re not a set group. We don’t have, you know, chapter. Some might be, just like antifa might be - they have chapters and locals. But it’s a movement. We’re proud patriots. We’re proud to be American.

MI: Okay, thank you so much for your time.