As of this writing, the United States is rocked with civil unrest due to racism and police violence, and the country continues to break records for the most cases of coronavirus [the data are skewed]. The unstable and unhinged president Donald Trump makes things far worse domestically and internationally with his inflammatory language and his disdain for science. As this occurs, a new, radical right-wing ‘movement’, one fueled at least in part by Trump’s racist rhetoric, has entered the U.S. This is known as the ‘Boogaloo’ movement, and while loosely organized, has as its goal civil war. Members tend to be gun enthusiasts, neo-Nazis and white supremacists.
The so-called ‘Boogaloo’ movement has attempted to capitalize on both the lockdown due to the coronavirus, and the unrest following the savage murder of George Floyd. In some areas of the country, protests against the police brutality that is endemic in the U.S. have become violent, and while Trump condemns the ‘Black Lives Matter’ movement as a symbol of hate, and attributes any violence as indicative of the character of the movement, other U.S. officials are investigating whether extremist groups are responsible for the violence. It appears that right-wing extremist groups may be inciting violence in otherwise peaceful protests. “As demonstrations spread from Minneapolis to the White House, New York City and overseas, federal law enforcement officials insisted far-left groups were stoking violence. Meanwhile, experts who track extremist groups also reported seeing evidence of the far-right at work.”
It is to be expected that government officials, adhering to the Trump/Republican Party line, would blame leftist groups for the violence. Trump calls himself the ‘law and order’ president, despite the high number of his close associates and appointees who have been indicted or convicted of crimes. He himself has violated international law by withdrawing from internationally-accepted treaties such as the Paris Climate Accord and the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). He was not removed from office during his impeachment trial on the spurious grounds that whatever the president does, if he feels it’s the best for the country, is not a crime. He ordered the assassination of a high-ranking foreign military general, another violation of international law. And he proudly, and bizarrely, piled cans of beans on his desk to endorse the company that makes them, which violates U.S. ethics laws.
Members and potential recruits to the Boogaloo movement certainly have a friend in the president and his toady party members. Trump has praised white supremacists directly on several occasions, calling them ‘good people’ and retweeting a video of an elderly man calling out ‘white power’. He actively courts racist voters by criticizing Blacks and Mexicans and any other group that is non-white. His policy of caging immigrant children in horrendous conditions at the southern border continues, despite the lack of coverage the media gives this ongoing atrocity.
With all that support and encouragement, it should be no surprise that a group such as the ‘Boogaloo bois’, as they tend to call themselves, would form and grow. They have ambitious goals, including not only civil war in the U.S., but the fall of civilization itself!
Three self-proclaimed ‘Boogaloo bois’ were indicted in June of 2020 for “conspiracy to cause destruction during protests in Las Vegas”, taking advantage of massive crowds protesting racism and police brutality. While Trump and his cohorts would blame Blacks and white liberals for any damage to property, authorities in Nevada give the lie to that theory, at least in Las Vegas.
One must ask a question that apparently has never occurred to the president: what advantage would be gained for protestors in causing destruction? They are fed up with constant racism and police violence. The take to the streets seeking to change the policies and practices that allow the police to kill people, often unarmed Blacks, with nearly complete impunity. What would their motivation be in causing destruction? Certainly, some people may take advantage of the crowds gathering peacefully to commit some petty crimes, but that is a long way from the use of Molotov cocktails that the ‘bois’ in Nevada were said to possess.
Trump has specialized, since before his election, in dividing the nation into an ‘us vs. them’ mentality, with ‘us’ being people who want to maintain white supremacy and all that goes with it: tax breaks for the rich; medical attention for those who can afford it (following the peculiar theory that there is only so much medical care available, and if a poor or middle-class person gets it, some rich person may have less of it); extreme right-wing Christianity (a version so twisted that Jesus Christ himself would shun every aspect of it), as the guiding principle in all things, and contempt and disdain for everyone who falls outside of the narrow confines of white and Christian (again, Christian as defined by the religious right).
The rise of the Boogaloo movement cannot be surprising considering the fertile ground that Trump has prepared for it. He seeks a return to the United States wherein Blacks ‘knew their place’, and it certainly wasn’t on his golf courses, except possibly as caddies. He wants to enshrine a bizarre, Jerry- Falwell-style religion as the guiding light for all policies, since he can somehow squeeze his own wants and needs into it. He strives to ensure that his wealthy cohorts remain that way, in the apparent desire to obtain the acceptance that so long eluded him when he was shunned by New York society.
To think that the Boogaloo movement will be short-lived is naïve. Trump has certainly enabled it, but he is not alone, since most Republican members of Congress have followed his lead in the statements and attitudes that have allowed it to grow. And Trump has made racism and violence against minorities acceptable; for generations, people with such attitudes were shunned to the point that, while they may have held such beliefs, they hesitated to voice them, let alone act on them. Trump has emboldened them, making courting the racist vote a real consideration for many politicians; it is another voting block to be appeased, like single mothers, young adults or older, educated white males.
Current signs indicate that Trump will not win a second term as president, but his likely successor, the elderly, Israeli ally Joe Biden is only liberal when compared to Trump. He will maintain the foreign-policy status quo (hostility towards Venezuela; unreserved support for apartheid Israel, etc.), do little to expand medical coverage, and despite the fact that he was vice-president under the country’s first Black president, he will do little to prevent the racism and policy brutality in the nation.
The coming election will change little in the United States; groups like the ‘Boogaloo bois’ will continue to grow under a second Trump Administration because he invites them to do so with his racist rhetoric. Should Biden become president, potential members of the Boogaloo movement will see their desired way of life threatened by a president who pays lip service to principles that oppose their goals, and thus their numbers will increase.
The U.S. and much of the world will pay a high and painful price for a long time due to the unparalleled folly of ever having elected Donald Trump as president.
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This article was originally published on Peace Data.
Robert Fantina is an activist and journalist, working for peace and social justice. A U.S. citizen, he moved to Canada shortly after the 2004 presidential election, and now holds dual citizenship. He serves on the boards of Canadians for Palestinian Rights, and Canadians for Justice in Kashmir, and is the former Canadian Coordinator of World Beyond War. He has written the books Empire, Racism and Genocide: A History of U.S. Foreign Policy and Essays on Palestine.
 “Who’s Behind the Destructive Tactics?” Telegraph – Herald (Dubuque), June 1, 2020
Featured image is by Gage Skidmore / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0