Tuesday, October 20, 2020

A Boogaloo Speaks

Via Daily Kos, a speech given at the Michigan state capitol by one of the Boogaloo guys toting guns at a recent rally:

We are gathered here today because divide and conquer is the oldest rule in the book, and we will play the game on our terms, not theirs. Why are we at the breaking point? Why are we ready to take up arms against those in power? For any of those wondering politicians, magistrates, and officers of the law: We are all here because the social contract has been broken persistently and intentionally, by you who believe that your office makes you public masters, not public servants.

You may get away with your tyranny for a time longer, but the day of reckoning rapidly approaches. The jig will be up, the tables will have turned, the tar in the kettle—the wood chipper’s revved up! The fires will continue to rage.

I implore you for your sake as well as mine, accept that your control lasts only as long as the people allow it. Class consciousness is here and it is a more powerful adversary than you or me.

This means: Return the police from the place of a tax collector to that of protecting society from its most dangerous elements—those who take life, liberty and property, not those who do not injure the rights of others. End the war on drugs. End civil asset forfeiture, end the cash-bail racket, and your unjust and unconstitutional intrusion into the lives of your citizens.

Honestly this makes more sense than a lot of political speeches I have seen this year. If they would stop pointing guns and otherwise trying to look menacing all the time I could be persuaded to support a lot of this agenda.


David said...

Then what do you make of a paragraph like this, from the journalistic, non-quoted part of the same article:

Not only is discussion of the Boogaloo on social media overflowing with hateful rhetoric culminating in violent fantasies—including not just killing law enforcement officers and lynching political authorities, but also of invading their neighbors’ homes and killing them, as Alex Jones has done—its history as an idea is derived straight from white supremacist lore.

If this is true, doesn't it make the speech you quoted rather irrelevant?

JustPeachy said...

..."but also of invading their neighbors’ homes and killing them, as Alex Jones has done"

Um... when did Alex Jones murder his neighbors? I missed that somehow.

David said...

In the Daily Kos article, the words "Alex Jones" link to a May 2020 article in Vice by somebody who grew up with Jones. The article quotes an apparent recent post by Jones, as follows: "I’ll admit it ... I’m literally looking at my neighbors now going ‘Am I ready to hang them up and gut them and skin them and chop them up?,' and you know what, I’m ready." The article says Jones said this in the context of venting his hostility to quarantine. Apparently he subscribes to a theory that quarantine will cut off our food supply and lead to the apocalypse.

Yes, the diction in the Daily Kos sentence isn't the best. It's not actually trying to suggest that Alex Jones has killed and eaten his neighbors, but that he has voiced the same violent fantasies. Instead it should read something like "fantasies similar to those voiced by Alex Jones."

Yes, proofreading is important. I've noticed that most news venues, including the former Great Gray Lady herself, do less and less of that. Maybe the apocalypse really is nigh . . . (humor).

David said...

To be fair, Jones' own post is ambiguous. Taken literally, it means he's watching his *neighbors* think about gutting his (Jones') family, chopping them up, etc. I don't think that's what Jones means. I think he means he's looking at his neighbors and thinking that.

But ambiguity, thy name is English. Or maybe thy name is language.

David said...

In any case, I'm still longing for that great, glorious day when John will acknowledge the violence represented by the extreme right. Again, QAnon isn't really an anti-child abuse group, and Boogaloo isn't really about some simple, limited reforms to the justice system. I'm not saying we should lock them up or kill them all. I don't know what to do about them (cue Verloren to rip me a new one for being a do-nothing). I'm just begging John to acknowledge reality.

David said...

Yes, they carry guns and menace and John admits that. But your post seems to present this as some sort of unfortunate adjunct to a movement that's really about getting rid of cash bail. No, that's not Boogaloo. It's just a complete whitewashing.

G. Verloren said...

Even monsters can sometimes make good points. That doesn't mean you should give them a free pass for all their monstrous behaviors, though.

The insidious thing about the far right is that they love to appropriate reasonable terms and phrases to use as cover for their actual desires.

They're not wildly xenophobic, they just put "Country First"! They're not virulent racists attacking innocent people, they're just "Defending White Culture From Attack"! They're not violent extremists and terrorists, they're just "The Common People defending against Tyranny"!

The Nazis were infamous for their own "politically correct" terminology. They're not forcibly annexing the Austrians, they're just "reuniting the Germanic peoples"! They're not waging wars of conquest against their neighbors, they're just "giving themselves breathing room"! They're not plotting genocide, they're just formulating a "Final Solution to The Jewish Problem"! All perfectly reasonable, no?

Fascism thrives on the pretense that the unreasonable is reasonable. They claim their unjustified aggression is self defense. They claim that their abuses of power are defiance against tyranny. They claim that their undermining of democracy is the will of 'The People'. They claim that lies are truths, and truths are lies.


Should we end the war on drugs, civil forfeiture, and the cash-bail system? Perhaps so - but probably not for the reasons these people want us to, and certainly not because they go around threatening to kill people if they don't get their way.

If you read carefully, you can actually piece out the genuine motivations driving these demands. What is it about the "war on drugs", civil asset forfeiture, and the cash-bail system that they actually admit to objecting to?


Do they object to the rampant institutional racism that plagues these systems? Nope. Why would the alt-right care about systems making non-white people suffer?

Do they object to the corruption that plagues these systems? No, they don't. They aren't complaining that more needs to be done to combat misuse of these systems - they're saying these systems need to be wholly dismantled.

They are arguing that there is NEVER a situation where drug restrictions, police seizure of property connected to a crime, or releasing people on bail is in any way justified whatsoever. That's a rather extreme position to take!


They make it quote clear on what grounds they actually DO object to these systems. They call the police "tax collectors". They complain about "intrusions into the lives of... citizens". They don't like that other people can tell them what to do.

They object to the war on drugs, not because it unjustly and disproportionately affects minorities and the poor, but because they want the freedom to buy and take any drugs they want, and don't like Uncle Same telling them they can't.

They object to the bail system, not because it is disproportionately burdens minorities and the poor, but because they don't believe in paying taxes, or otherwise surrendering their wealth to government for any reason. It's one of their most iconic and oft-repeated slogans: "Taxes are theft!".

They object to civil asset forfeiture, not because the police sometimes abuse the system, but because they don't like the idea of being forced to give up their property for any reason whatsoever. If they buy stolen goods, why can the police take them away? They didn't steal them! So why are they punished?

The alt-right hasn't suddenly found a moral compass - it's just that their wholly selfish desires have coincidentally aligned with certain wishes of people who value principles of justice, freedom, and equality for all.

John said...

I took the reference to the police as "tax collectors" to be about the sort of thing made famous by Ferguson, using the justice system to raise money. Which somebody ought to oppose a lot more vigorously than the Democrats have.

I would ask, who are "they"? Boogaloos are not any kind of coherent movement. Not all are racist; some are violently anti-racist. Some are anarchists who oppose all government, but some are much less radical. If you read the article carefully you see that the speakers contradict each other, which is the norm for them.

My eldest son, who follows lots of anti-fa guys on Twitter and YouTube, tells me that there is overlap between anti-fa and Boogaloo. Some guys consider themselves to be both. Yes, that's crazy, but this is about violent opposition to the system, not coherent politics.

But anyway my point was that even Boogaloo guys sometimes make more sense than a lot of politicians we consider mainstream, like, say, Lindsay Graham.

G. Verloren said...


"In any case, I'm still longing for that great, glorious day when John will acknowledge the violence represented by the extreme right. Again, QAnon isn't really an anti-child abuse group, and Boogaloo isn't really about some simple, limited reforms to the justice system. I'm not saying we should lock them up or kill them all. I don't know what to do about them (cue Verloren to rip me a new one for being a do-nothing). I'm just begging John to acknowledge reality."

I'm actually in the exact same spot you are. I don't know what to do about these people, but I want people to acknowledge the reality about them.

No one knew what to do about the Nazis, either, but maybe if people didn't stick their heads in the sand and pretend they weren't a very serious imminent threat, if people had spent less time ignoring reality and cooperating to figure out possible solutions, untold millions of lives might have been spared.

G. Verloren said...


Sometimes I feel like I'm Howard Beale, from the 1976 film Network, begging people to just acknowledge that things aren't normal, that thing's aren't okay, that things are downright insane, and that we can't just go about our lives ignoring it all placidly, but have to start seriously trying to figure things out, because our comfortable apathy is slowly killing us.

I don’t have to tell you things are bad. Everybody knows things are bad. It’s a depression. Everybody’s out of work or scared of losing their job. The dollar buys a nickel’s worth. Banks are going bust. Shopkeepers keep a gun under the counter. Punks are running wild in the street and there’s nobody anywhere who seems to know what to do, and there’s no end to it.

We know the air is unfit to breathe and our food is unfit to eat, and we sit watching our TVs while some local newscaster tells us that today we had fifteen homicides and sixty-three violent crimes, as if that’s the way it’s supposed to be.

We know things are bad – worse than bad. They’re crazy. It’s like everything everywhere is going crazy, so we don’t go out anymore. We sit in the house, and slowly the world we are living in is getting smaller, and all we say is: ‘Please, at least leave us alone in our living rooms. Let me have my toaster and my TV and my steel-belted radials and I won’t say anything. Just leave us alone.’

Well, I’m not gonna leave you alone. I WANT YOU TO GET MAD!!!

I don’t want you to protest, I don’t want you to riot, I don’t want you to write to your congressman, because I wouldn’t know what to tell you to write. I don’t know what to do about the depression and the inflation and the Russians and the crime in the street. All I know is that first, you’ve got to get mad! You’ve got to say: ‘I’m a human being, GOD DAMNIT! My life has VALUE!’

So, I want you to get up now. I want all of you to get up out of your chairs. I want you to get up right now and go to the window. Open it, and stick your head out, and yell: ‘I’m as mad as hell, and I’m not gonna take this anymore!’

I want you to get up right now. Sit up! Go to your windows. Open them and stick your head out and yell – ‘I’m as mad as hell and I’m not gonna take this anymore!’

Things have got to change. But first, you’ve gotta get mad! You’ve got to say, ‘I’m as mad as hell, and I’m not gonna take this anymore!’

Then we’ll figure out what to do about the depression, and the inflation, and the oil crisis! But first, get up out of your chairs, open the window, stick your head out, and yell, and say it: ‘I’m as mad as hell, and I’m not gonna take this anymore!’


...but of course, as the film bleakly satirizes, no such desperate, angry plea for people to care about the world can avoid being monetized by our capitalist system.

You get people riled up about changing the world, and all that happens is the corporations figure out how to twist that anger back in on itself, keeping the rage burning but unfocused and directionless, so they can use it to sell millions of Che Guevara T-shirts without having to actually meaningfully change the status quo.

A familiar tale... told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.

More and more, I have no hope for the future. Just have to find a little corner of the world to move to where I can ride out the coming climate collapse, I guess.

David said...

@ Verloren

"More and more, I have no hope for the future. Just have to find a little corner of the world to move to where I can ride out the coming climate collapse, I guess."

Greenland suggests itself. Also, the far Southern Cone. I could go to either one. But like a lot of liberals, I've looked to Buenos Aires as a possible political refuge.

I consider it a sign of our times that there's now a significant expat community of liberal Israelis who've settled in *Berlin.*

JustPeachy said...

Boogaloos must be the left's closet-monsters and bogeymen.

Have you perhaps compared their protests to those of BLM and Antifa?

The visible guns are literally the only things scary about them, and frankly the BLM types have actually shot around 30 people in the recent unrest.

How many people have been shot at Boogaloos' demonstrations? They don't even litter! Have you seen what it looks like the morning after a BLM protest?

G. Verloren said...

I consider it a sign of our times that there's now a significant expat community of liberal Israelis who've settled in *Berlin.*

I did not know that. My thanks - I will marvel at it a while in grim amusement.

But gosh - the Israeli government is just such a perfect example of the disconnect between reality and emotions leading to an abhorrent situation. They're so thoroughly convinced of their own righteous victimhood, that they can't recognize that they overwhelmingly are the evil abusers. The Palestinians are no angels, and are guilty of a great many crimes - but they aren't the ones imposing an authoritarian apartheid on an entire people.

And it seems like it should be staggeringly obvious. It seems like anyone looking at it honestly, even a child, could observe that the Palestinians are being systematically oppressed by a monumentally more powerful foe, and that Israel is clearly acting abominably, even considering all the wrongs done to them.

And yet the conflict drags on, generation after generation, pile of corpses after pile of corpses, and it will likely continue for many decades to come, accompanied by a constant stream of outside observers pontificating over it uselessly, mired in the muck of 'bothsidesism' and 'whataboutism', refusing to ever admit the reality of the issue, much less work toward suggestions of actual, meaningful solutions.

Eventually it may reach a point, like in Northern Ireland, where young people on both sides of the conflict collectively ask each other, "What the hell is the point of this? How much longer are we going to keep following in the footsteps of our forefathers and slaughter each other? Isn't it long past time for peace?"

But that point may not come for another fifty years, or a hundred, or more. It may never come. Some radicalized Palestinian militia might steal an Israeli nuclear warhead looking for leverage, and by the end of the crisis Jerusalem might get blown straight to hell, which itself would trigger all sorts of religious nutjobs around the world to proclaim the End of Days and Armageddon.

And John wonders why people are divided, when half the world wants the brutalize the other half based on fears and anxieties that are utter fantasies.

G. Verloren said...

How many people have been shot at Boogaloos' demonstrations? They don't even litter! Have you seen what it looks like the morning after a BLM protest?

How many police provocateurs are targeting their demonstrations and intentionally inciting violence? You talk about "littering", as if the messes left aren't usually the product of the police shooting tear gas into unarmed crowds of innocents, intentionally prompted chaos.

How often do the police teargas the "Boogaloos"? People walking around with loaded weapons, literally threatening armed revolt against the government, and yet weirdly they never seem to get forcibly dispersed with violence.

But the unarmed protester who AREN'T threatening to murder the government if their demands aren't met? Clearly they're the dangerous ones, and the police have no choice but to beat them with billyclubs, shoot them with rubber bullets, blast them with fire hoses, bombard them with acoustic weapons, run them down on horseback, arrest them in mass, tazer them while they are in handcuffs, kneel on their necks, grind their faces into the asphalt...

Strange, huh? I wonder if maybe there's a double standard in play, or if the police deliberately take steps to make one group look bad, but not the other...?

"Those BLM protesters are such litters! Why can't they clean up after themselves? I have so much more sympathy for the heavily armed paramilitary goons literally threatening treason and insurrection against the lawfully elected government! They're just so much tidier, and their protests NEVER turn violent!"

Honestly, listen to yourself. You're siding with the people threatening to commit murder to get their way, while demonizing the victims of police brutality. Wake up.

David said...

The story that BLM has shot around 30 people is a rumor pushed by one post on FB, which was flagged as false by FB, and removed. Politifact gives it a "No evidence" verdict.

Boogaloo has left several people dead, including several members of law enforcement, their professed targets, as recorded by the article John posted recently.

Boogaloo's professed goal is a civil war directed against law enforcement. Hundreds of their members can be found online obsessing over the prospect, and longing for it. A stray set of remarks that includes sensible goals is irrelevant. At minimum, they're ABOUT menacing people. That's their purpose. (The Communist Manifesto also ends with a list of moderate, sensible sounding goals, that do not include violent revolution, mass expropriation, or a radical alteration of human consciousness, which are the burden the rest of the Manifesto's pages. Even the Nazis had a platform of 25 or so at least semi-pragmatic points passed in, I believe, 1920 or 21.)

It was Obama's administration that investigated the Ferguson PD and provided proof that the city was financing itself through fines levied mainly levied on its Black population. Could they have done more to reform it? Don't know; the capacity of the federal government to interfere directly in local police administration seems rather limited under the law. Could Dems as a party be pushing a sensible reform of local police departments more? As it is, the paranoid Right is already accusing them of wanting to abolish the police and let hoards of non-white people flood out of the cities and attack the suburbs, speaking of closet monsters.

JustPeachy said...

"The story that BLM has shot around 30 people is a rumor pushed by one post on FB"

So... how exactly do you think David Dorn died? Closet monsters? How about Aaron Danielson? Lee Keltner?

If you think those men were killed by police provocateurs, please have the grace not to accuse me of being the conspiracy theorist.

G. Verloren said...

A Quick Reminder of How Logic Works:

Just because X does not equal 30 doesn't mean X must equal 0.


As for your specific cited examples, you're ignoring context, as usual.

1) David Dorn was not killed by protesters - he was killed by looters using protests as cover for their thefts. Blaming BLM for the actions of criminals is despicable.

2) Lee Keltner was shot by an armed security guard, whom he had assaulted by spraying in the face with bear-mace. Pretty clearly provocation to self defense.

3) Aaron Danielson was a member of a far-right organization called Patriot Prayer, who are known for purposefully engaging in violent counter-protests against liberal protesters, with the intent of sparking controversy and conflict, often traveling to predominantly liberal cities in which they do not live in order to do so.

Danielson was killed in the wake of participating in just such a counter-protest, intentionally targeting and attempting to disrupt protests over the killing of George Floyd. Danielson clearly expected to provoke violence, since he was armed with a pistol, a telescoping truncheon, and a can of bear spray.

The group Danielson belonged to, Patriot Prayer, has a long history of threats, intimidation, premeditated violence, and hate crimes. They are closely affiliated with White Supremacists and the Proud Boys.

They also appear to have the unofficial support of local police departments, who have on numerous occasions declined to execute warrants against members of the group, and have even been filmed informing members that they had probable cause to arrest them, but advised them they could avoid arrest by simply leaving the area.

Suffice it to say, it seems he wasn't an innocent victim, but an armed thug and bigot who went out of his way to help incite the very violence that took his life.

The actual details of his killing remain unclear, and will remain so since the chief suspect was shot and killed by police, making it impossible for him to defend himself in court, in particular supporting claims that he acted in self defense.

Eye witnesses at the scene reported that police opened fire on the suspect immediately upon arrival to the scene, without warning or provocation. Police claim the suspect was armed, but that conflicts with witness reports. Officer testimonies also conflict with each other. An investigation is ongoing, but if you think anything will come of it in a climate where people are protesting police brutality and corruption, you are perhaps overly optimistic.


So of the three examples you cite, only one involves an actual protester, and that one may or may not have also been provocation to self defense, but we can't know because the police made sure the suspect never made it to trial.


Please provide 29 more examples - specifically, examples involving protesters.

Actually, no - please provide 30 more examples of such, that not only involve protesters, but that also specifically can be demonstrably shown to not be provocations to self defense.

And before you whine about how that's somehow an unreasonable demand to make, you're the one making unsubstantiated claims about people - if you don't like the burden of proof, you really shouldn't have laid it on yourself.

Anonymous said...

I proudly pay all my taxes here in Europe, and its a lot, because I know they are for the welfare of everybody in the country. Mostly (more than 50%) are used to pay older people pensions, but also healt care or schools... There is corruption And some of the spendings are not of my like. But precisely, the social contract is that no individual, under no circunstances, can take a gun to enforce his wievs. We have give the state that power, and we can change who is in charge every 4 years (or less).

When I see people with war weapons in a demonstration, I think thats the most undemocratic thing you could do. It remains me of my falangist grandfather, who was pround to be one of the first “camisas viejas” (Old shirts... hawaian shirts?) of the 1930’s of my home town. He was later a decorated fighter in the spanish civil war.

szopen said...

"People walking around with loaded weapons, literally threatening armed revolt against the government, and yet weirdly they never seem to get forcibly dispersed with violence."


(interesting that in the above the part about, to paraphrase, "arrest someone or we will burn the motherfucker down", is omitted - nor is quoted the goal of taking some separate land from US to build separate black nation)


JustPeachy said...



I decline your offer to play the villain in your personal internet drama.

You seem to have vast quantities of free time to spend on the internet: perhaps you could put on a one-man show and play all the parts yourself.

If I spent twenty hours a week monopolizing the combox on someone else's blog, my house would be dirty, my family neglected, and my health in jeopardy. I choose not to.

Let's say, theoretically, that I carefully researched and answered all your questions. Would you change your mind? Not likely. But still, you ask me to put in hours of research to gratify your vanity. Research you seem to have plenty of time to do yourself. If you were interested. Clearly you aren't. And there is nothing in it for me.

Congratulations on your victory. Call me whatever nasty names you can think of. I graciously cede the invisible trophy. You seem to need it.

Then, maybe, think about going outside, enjoying nature, and getting some fresh air. It's good for you.

G. Verloren said...

>makes wild unsubstantiated claims
>is asked to substantiate those claims
>refuses, dismissing such a request as unreasonable "drama"
>resorts to Ad Hominem attack, since your actual argument cannot hold water

You've just fully demonstrated that your argument is irrational, indefensible, and false. Thank you for finishing the job for me.

Congratulations, you played yourself. Again.

Unknown said...

I agree! The social contract has been broken not only by politicians, but mostly by their corporate sponsors/masters; the police merely enforce the current unjust, unbalanced system