News & Politics

Who's Really To Blame For the Riots In American Cities? Pt. 2 With Michael Yon


Leaders in American cities have spent most of 2020 deflecting blame for the violent riots that have dominated them. Much of the finger-pointing has focused on Proud Boys, Patriot Prayer, and other right wing groups. These groups have formed over the past half decade as a response to the chaos caused in Portland, along with many other large American cities, by radical leftist groups like Black Lives Matter protests, riots led by antifa and By Any Means Necessary (BAMN), and other militant marxist groups utilizing black bloc tactics to disrupt American free society.

But what are these right wing groups? Are they fascists, white supremacists, and defenders of the systems of racism endemic to America’s core, as alleged by the Left? Are they the dreaded militias hell bent on domestic terrorism? How do they compare to antifa, BLM, or BAMN?

Michael Yon, a war correspondent who has covered insurrections all over the globe, came to Portland in September to gather intelligence on the civil unrest in the streets. This is part two of his conversation with PJ Media, in which he describes his investigation into the right wing groups that have sprung up to oppose antifa and BLM and their black bloc tactics to create chaos and destruction across the Pacific Northwest.

Part One: How Close Is the U.S. to Civil War? A War Correspondent Is in Portland to Find Out

“Groups like Proud Boys,” Yon said, “form in these vacuums when you feel like the government is not doing their job, and you fear for the lives of your family, yourself, you fear for your community being burned down. That’s when militias form everywhere. That’s what happened in Iraq and Afghanistan, and it’s happened in America. Our whole country was formed on militias.”

Once the rule of law breaks down, regular citizens won’t simply take it without fighting back. “It’s just competing militias and power struggle,” he said. “That’s what it’ll end up being if the government shows too much weakness. Remember when the Iraqi police left their police stations. It was terrible. I was there for that. That’s when the civil war started. I was the first, as you may recall, saying it was a civil war in early 2005. People became very angry with me for saying it was a civil war.”

FED UP: Citizens, Community Leaders Form Coalition to Save Portland

One big reason Yon cites for the breakdown of the rule of law is the complete lack of honest reporting. He says that can lead to competing narratives that result in ideological splits in a society. “How many people trust the media at this point?” he said. “I would say approximately zero, except for the people that are really on drugs or something, the people that are ideologically invested in the narrative being pushed. The reason that people like you and I even exist is because nobody trusts mainstream media. When I went to Iraq in 2004 I picked up millions of readers within months, largely because they [legacy media] don’t do their job. If they did their jobs well, you and I would have zero elbow room. It’s like going to McDonald’s for heart surgery.”

Yon spent several nights speaking with members of the Proud Boys recently, and got a distinct impression of what they represent. He wanted to determine for himself if they would be one of the insurrectionist forces in American cities. “I didn’t really have to infiltrate,” he said. “There’s Proud Boys who are readers of mine as it turns out. I was with four of them one night and one of them happened to be a reader, so that actually was helpful. They realize I’ll give them a fair shake but you know, if they turn out to be white supremacist, I’m going to write it. Actually I haven’t gotten that indication at all. They just want to hang out and drink beer.”

By constrast, Yon has studied how groups like the KKK and the Taliban formed, and sees similarities with antifa and Black Lives Matter. “When you look at these two groups,” he said, “they’re actually extremely similar in how they formed and how they can be almost cult-like. One formed around the church, the other formed around the mosque, and they both formed in vacuums, as an aggrieved group that felt like they had been slighted by majority rule. In their minds, they could make a sound argument, and then they became terrorists. Much like the Nazi party in early 30s Germany. They’re going to solve all your problems, and then they become your problem. They turn it right back on you. that’s your people who helped them get power that these useful idiots in antifa don’t seem to realize that, and the ground soldiers of BLM don’t realize they’ll be the first to get sold out.”

As Yon points out, antifa and BLM have told us exactly what they want to do to America, and he says America needs to pay attention. “They were explicitly saying they’re going to do mass arson in those words, right? Well, they already did it. They’ve done murders. The swing keeps going higher and higher.”

When Robert Reich talks about a Truth and Reconciliation Committee under a Biden administration, believe him. When multiple leftist groups publish plans to disrupt elections, believe them. When antifa and BLM write manifestos about destroying capitalism, believe them.

Incidentally, when he first got to Portland in September, Yon noticed one thing right away that indicated it had failed as a civilized city. He wrote on September 28, “Nutshell: any country McDonald’s cannot operate in should be viewed with extreme suspicion as a vacation spot. Downtown Portland fails the McDonald’s Test. That’s an interesting atmospheric for a war correspondent. Notice that America rarely goes to war with a country with a McDonald’s.”

From his vantage point, Yon continues to sound the alarm. What should we expect on November 3 and after in American cities? “Worst case for our country at large,” he said, “is full scale, multiple insurgencies and civil wars. Tax base collapse, and possible tax revolt. International enemies fill vacuum abroad. Hard to say how likely [this is]. Best case is this all vanishes soon. I am not sensing this will happen. Worst case is massive catastrophe of historical proportion. Most likely is something in between.”

Listen to the entire second half of the interview at the Behind the Curtain podcast, available on It’s also available on Google Podcasts, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and many other podcast services.

Editor’s Note: Want to support PJ Media so we can keep telling the truth about the riots and attacks on law enforcement? Join PJ Media VIP and use the promo code LAWANDORDER for 25% off your VIP membership. 

Jeff Reynolds is the author of the book, “Behind the Curtain: Inside the Network of Progressive Billionaires and Their Campaign to Undermine Democracy,” available at Jeff hosts a podcast at You can follow him on Twitter @ChargerJeff, and on Parler at @RealJeffReynolds.

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