Filed under: Action, Anarchist Movement, Anti-fascist, Featured, Repression
One of the most hotly anticipated days in 2017 saw the Juggalo March on Washington coinciding with the so-called “Mother of All Rallies,” the latter being an attempt by right-wing organizers to create a show of strength in what they hoped to be one million Trump supporters, on September 16th. The day before, on September 15th, the organizers of MOAR boasted of an anticipated attendance of “two million” people. The results, well, speak for themselves.
Live shots from the pro-Trump "Mother of All Rallies" going on in DC right now.
— Caroline Orr (@RVAwonk) September 16, 2017
— Alex Rubinstein (@RealAlexRubi) September 16, 2017
In the weeks leading up to September 16th, antifascist organizers in DC were in close collaboration with each other, both to keep an eye on the development of the MOAR as well as planning for a demonstration in solidarity with the Juggalos marching against targeted police repression following being labeled as a “hybrid gang” by the FBI, a cause that antifascists should have no trouble sympathizing with following the leak of a confidential internal report by the DHS and FBI.
“The day before, on September 15th, the organizers of MOAR boasted of an anticipated attendance of “two million” people. The results, well, speak for themselves.”
As part of our ongoing efforts to foment internal division and strife between the more moderate elements of the Right that often serve as the entry point for explicit fascism and the more violent, overt right-wing extremists, we were at some points in direct communication with the MOAR rally organizers. This was done in order to encourage them to kick out the most visible and known members of the insurgent far-Right who hoped to use MOAR as a platform to further recruit members to their more overtly violent flavor of white supremacist fascism.
An exchange with one of the MOAR rally organizers where antifascists used purity tests as a tactic to drive wedges into the right wing.
True to their word, on the day-of, our scouts watched the baffling but humorous sight of the militia groups, who were acting as “security” for MOAR, physically eject the Proud Boys from the rally after they were pointed out in the sparsely milling crowd. Perhaps it would help if they wouldn’t wear their dumb uniforms that make them stick out like sore thumbs wherever they go. Like lost puppies, they seemed confused and aimless, and eventually wandered their useless hides over to the Juggalo rally where they were easily isolated and caused no trouble. However, the hate and blatant misogyny represented at MOAR was nonetheless on full display.
Desperate to position themselves as moderates, MOAR went so far as to tokenize people of color by putting someone who claimed to be part of BLM on the stage so that they could pretend not to be racist, along with a fake “anarchist” to do… something. These attempts were transparent as glass, and our comrade was threatened with rape and ejected for outing them on it.
Fake BLM there to… ? https://t.co/HfZ7N9zZJz
— BlackLivesMatter DC (@DMVBlackLives) September 17, 2017
As part of the planning for the solidarity demonstration in the lead up to September 16th, several local organizations opposed to fascism released statements in support of the Juggalo March on Washington, including members of the Industrial Workers of the World’s Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee & General Defense Committee and the DSA, while local antifascist organizers designed and printed up Juggalo-themed flyers, signs and stickers in support of antifascism and anti-repression.
— Alex Rubinstein (@RealAlexRubi) September 16, 2017
Those of us who attended the Juggalo March did not do so in any official capacity, or on behalf of the various organizations of which we’re members. Statements of support for the Juggalos have been contentious issues within some of these revolutionary organizations, with some of our comrades objecting to the oppressive behavior condoned within ICP’s lyrics. Those of us who did attend the rally and march, however, decided to do so because we wanted to stand in solidarity with a largely working class populace that is being directly subjected to state repression.
“Members of Struggalo Circus were present at the march, and several Juggalos came adorned with black-and-red anarchist and socialist regalia; from classical CNT militia hats from the Spanish Civil War, to black-and-red facepaint. A few Juggalos even carried red and black flags during the actual march.”
It’s also worth noting that radicals within Juggalo culture are already making progress confronting patriarchy, transmisogyny, and other oppressive behavior in their Family. Groups like Struggalo Circus are trying to push other Juggalos to a more explicitly anti-fascist, feminist, pro-queer, and anti-capitalist line.
Members of Struggalo Circus were present at the march, and several Juggalos came adorned with black-and-red anarchist and socialist regalia; from classical CNT militia hats from the Spanish Civil War, to black-and-red facepaint. A few Juggalos even carried red and black flags during the actual march. One Wobbly and member of the DSA arrived early, along with one of his good friends from high school who has been active within the Juggalo Family for almost 20 years, and passed out free pizza and Faygo, having spent the night before staying up and discussing the prison system and the idea of unionizing prison labor. The media swarmed the location as Juggalos voiced their appreciation and cheered, and the optics of the day’s events clashed heavily with the efforts of the FBI to brand the Juggalos as a gang.
One Black Juggalette speaker from Milwaukee emphasized the need to stand together against discrimination, no matter who we are. “If you want to know what Black Lives Matter means, ask one of us,” they said. “If you want to know what it means to be a Juggalo, ask one of us.” They also spoke of co-option and branding and why they don’t say “Clown Lives Matter,” even though they are both Black and a Juggalette, even taking a heckler from the crowd in stride, prompting the MC to tell the heckler, in more gracious terms, to shut the fuck up.
Another speaker went on to say “I don’t care if you’re black or white, gay or straight, trans, fat as fuck or skinny as a broomstick,” and made a point to state that Juggalos are here for everyone, and against discrimination of any kind. The entire crowd roared in approval, as cheers of “WHOOP WHOOP” broke out.
“As organizers, it was a major focus for us to avoid co-opting the space of Juggalos and allow them to express their own voices and opinions while we planned actions in support of their cause, allowing them to take the lead while antifascists followed.”
As organizers, it was a major focus for us to avoid co-opting the space of Juggalos and allow them to express their own voices and opinions while we planned actions in support of their cause, allowing them to take the lead while antifascists followed. Juggalos being a multicultural, multiracial, LGBTQ+, largely lower-income group, there was such a significant overlap with left-wing elements already in place that we were determined to add to with our presence, while at the same time we demonstrated as a group against police repression that threatens us all, both Juggalos and non-Juggalos.
This focus was rewarded on the day of the Juggalo March on Washington by being welcomed into the crowd of thousands of Juggalos, as we raised our voices together in displays of righteous anger against the police and state. Shoutout to our comrades who made a long trip down to show up in a big way with DC antifascists and socialists who came out in solidarity with Juggalos in our home town.
The comradely atmosphere led to many displays of respect and mutual admiration by antifascists and Juggalos. Some liberals gathered on the sidelines of the march to gawk at Juggalos like they were a spectacle for them to consume as entertainment, others cheered in support from the sidelines, but we chose to physically put ourselves out on the streets in solidarity with them. Chants of “Get those animals off those horses!” and “No FBI, no KKK, no fascist USA!” echoed by “Whoop WHOOP!” filled the air during the march, with antifascists and Juggalos alike joining in.
— Jessica Blankenship (@blanketboat) September 16, 2017
“The FBI listens to Nickelback!” one Juggalo yelled, while another one yelled “listening to music is not a crime!” to which the crowd responded jubilantly, “unless it’s Nickelback!” The entire march roared with laughter, along with cheers of support from the people observing.
‘“The FBI listens to Nickelback!” one Juggalo yelled, while another one yelled “listening to music is not a crime!” to which the crowd responded jubilantly, “unless it’s Nickelback!”’
The atmosphere was one of celebration, unity and family, and covered everything like a warm blanket. The police repeatedly attempted to intimidate us by zooming past on motorcycles constantly and following the march with several paddy wagons that carried the unspoken threat of, “You are only here because we allow you to be, and we have the capability to put you away if we want to,” a threat that directly reflected the reason we were all there in the first place.
At one point, one of the Juggalos laid into one of the heavily armed pigs “guarding” the march with an astute observation: ”How can the police call Juggalos a gang, when the police are the biggest gang of all?” to the enthusiastic support of the black bloc. All in all, the Juggalos outnumbered the pathetic turnout for MOAR by an order of magnitude, turning out easily between five and ten thousand.
Several incidents of potential violence were headed off by by antifascists that otherwise might have made a scene, no doubt planned intentionally with the goal of disrupting the rally and creating tension between Juggalos and antifascists. Noted hack “journalist” and right-wing agitator Jack Posobiec showed up just before the Juggalo March began and was immediately pointed out and isolated by antifascists, while we took the opportunity to inform the Juggalos of his close friendship with Nazis like Richard Spencer. Posobiec was present for less than ten minutes before being booed away by Juggalos, with some chanting “You fucked up!,” the Juggalo phrase commonly used to identify people who committed a grave error and need removal.
Several agents provocateur also intermittently attempted to harass the approximately 30-strong antifascists in black bloc marching with Juggalos, while pretending to be journalists. They were chased away with water bottles, jeers and shouts of “You fucked up!,” with one of them losing his distinctive green hat that was expropriated and later burned.
A suspected infiltrator in a suit and a borrowed red bandana was identified early on, and mostly ignored until thrown out of the bloc he’d attempted to blend in with unsuccessfully. We considered it of the utmost importance to respect the Juggalos’ wishes for a totally nonviolent demonstration, and in this we were successful. Juggalos showed that they respected their space, and in turn we showed our respect for them.
Juggalos going around picking up cigarette butts and collecting trash ??? #juggalomarch
— Struggalo Circus (@StruggaloCircus) September 16, 2017
After the march concluded, antifascists concocted a plan to disrupt an anticipated meeting by MOAR organizers at a local DC restaurant, no doubt to put their collective heads together to try and figure out why their pathetic rally was such an abysmal failure. While heading to the location, antifascists already at the venue took the opportunity to speak to the management, informing them of their Nazi guests and pressuring them to revoke their reservation, which they eventually did. When we arrived, we occupied as many tables as possible to ensure there was no space available to accommodate them, while we took to Twitter to mock and laugh at them.
The fascists, intimidated, ended up making a second, and then third, and then fourth reservation as they progressively moved their meeting back. Eventually, as it got late, we dispersed ourselves, expecting them to end up canceling entirely (they did). We didn’t miss the opportunity to take a quick photo-op though with one final warning to fascists attempting to organize in DC: DC means “Don’t Come.”
All in all, a joyous and successful day, filled with displays of resistance, comradely love between antifascists and Juggalos, and, we believe, a newfound mutual respect between antifascists and our Juggalo comrades in our shared struggles against state repression, fascism and white supremacy.
Love, peace, and fuck the police.
In solidarity from DC!