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How the Proud Boys are 'quietly' working to bring their 'menacing politics' to the local level

Far-right nationalists the Proud Boys have begun bringing "their brand of menacing politics to the local level," as members have "increasingly appeared in recent months at town council gatherings, school board presentations and health department question-and-answer sessions across the country," reports The New York Times.

In November, members showed up outside a school board building in Wisconsin to protest mask requirements; some were spotted at a school board meeting in North Carolina just days later, right before a vote on a mask mandate. Others even attended a gathering in Illinois, "where parents were trying to remove a nonbinary author's graphic novel from public school libraries," writes the Times.

For some time, Proud Boys were known more for their national profile; but since the disaster that was Jan. 6, the group has moved away from the national spotlight and "quietly shifted" its attention toward expanding local chapters, according to members and researchers.

"The plan of attack if you want to make change is to get involved at the local level," member Jeremy Bertino told the Times.

"We've seen these groups adopt new tactics in the wake of Jan. 6, which have enabled them to regroup and reorganize themselves," added Jared Holt, who researches domestic extremist groups. "One of the most successful tactics they've used is decentralizing."

And as local chapters have flourished, members have "increased their radical tendencies," Holt explained, considering participants feel more comfortable sharing problematic beliefs in smaller groups. Read more at The New York Times.