Experts who study far-right organizations warn that as members distance themselves from the group, the Proud Boys could metastasize into an increasingly violent organization led by those who have long jockeyed for control.
Cassie Miller, a senior research analyst with the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Intelligence Project, said the political terrain is shifting in a way that could be friendlier to the organization’s more extreme faction.
“One thing that was made apparent by the insurrection is there is this growing anti-democratic far-right bloc that is willing to use violence and force to push their views,” she said. “We’re seeing a shift back to what the Proud Boys have been practicing for a long time.”…
The Indiana chapter of the Proud Boys was first. The Alabama Proud Boys, the Oklahoma Proud Boys, the Missouri Proud Boys and the Las Vegas Proud Boys have since disaffiliated and denounced the national group.
“If other states follow this lead we can have a truly autonomous chapter that won’t be liable for the mistakes of the next chairman or the next group of elders,” Brien James, leader of the Indiana chapter and a member of the white nationalist Vinlanders Social Club, wrote to his followers on the Telegram app. “Don’t talk about autonomy. Be autonomous.”