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Jun 29, 22

Thousands Take to Streets in Boise, Idaho; Push Back Against the far-Right

Report from so-called Boise, Idaho on recent protests and mobilizations against the Supreme Court ruling against Roe V Wade.

In the heat of summer, on June 27th, 2022, roughly 4,000 people showed up to a demonstration at Cherie Buckner-Webb park in so-called downtown Boise, Idaho. The crowd was mixed with many attendees that had never engaged in a large demonstration before, but were recently disillusioned by the overturning of Roe v. Wade, which was announced the day prior. Many people who had never challenged spoon fed lies about the legitimacy of the system were now beginning to recognize that the State is not meant to protect us but to control us and extract all it can – from the creation of the next generation of the working class, to our own bodies and the Earth itself.

The fash turnout was more minimal than usual, though this may be due to the far-Right experimenting with different methods. There were fash individually identified throughout the crowd, but they were not taking the usual stance of surrounding the protest with automatic rifles, handguns, and body armor in tow (could this be because of the mass arrest of Patriot Front members who were planning to attack a Pride march in Idaho just several days prior?)

Some teenage boys circled the demo in a big truck, with an assault rifle held by the driver, and the plates removed from the front and back of the truck. Also in attendance was a white-supremacist groyper from Vancouver, Washington, “Woozuh” aka Jared Nobel. He touted a bright blue hat that read, “America First,” and snuck into the demo livestreaming and doxxing the speakers, until someone recognized him, stated who he was, and he was booed out of the area. He stayed on the perimeter attempting to interview people for the remainder of the event.

Organizers of the demo had originally planned a march but reported it wasn’t safe and stated in closing comments that people are autonomous and can march/do whatever they want – but that it wouldn’t be an official part of the demo. The group began to disperse into different directions as a huge uproar of applause occurred in an area where a flag was being burned in the street. Shortly after about half the crowd, 2,000 – 2,500 people began to autonomously march through the streets of downtown Boise.

The context here is that Idaho is an ultra-conservative state, and though Boise is less conservative than all other cities in Idaho, the farthest left that most folks go is into the category of liberal/neoliberal. There is always, in most movements, a leader and the “followers” don’t act autonomously outside of what the “leader” deems as the thing to do in that particular moment, so paving a way out of that is a welcomed and celebrated breath of fresh air.

Additionally, there’s a huge challenge for people to “march in the streets” and almost all marches are policed into “staying on the sidewalks” in fear of police response to “breaking the law.” This local cultural expectation was broken at the initial march after the murder of Philando Castile and Alton Sterling in 2016 when attendees were asked whether they would like to march in the streets or stay on the sidewalks and the mixture of rage and tenacity of those in attendance resulted in a collective agreement to take the streets. After that, most marches went back into the habit of taking the sidewalks, which is just sad and pathetic and just ensures that the State and its enforcers that they have nothing to worry about because you are incredibly under their control and that all you need is a quick pressure release valve of holding a sign and walking a few blocks on the sidewalk until you peacefully go back to your day to day life.

Because of the sudden change of plans by organizers there was no route planned, no direction, no control – people simply poured into the streets and began chanting and marching. Chants were also not planned and it resulted in people screaming and chanting, “This is Bullshit,” “Fuck the Courts,” “My Body, My Choice,” among other things. There was a magic and beauty to the organic nature of the people in the absence of a leader. First people marched to the capitol, which is commonly what people do in the area. There were too many people to fit into the space, but everyone stopped and chanted for awhile, and then poured back into the streets and began marching again.

The march lasted for a couple of hours and snaked its way through the streets, blocking traffic in every direction for long periods of time. There was minimal to no security planned, but skills/modeling have been shared enough that folks organically started marshaling in intersections (blocking intersections and talking with drivers to prevent drivers from becoming irate and driving into the march). After marching around downtown a few times and disrupting the flow of traffic for a couple of hours marchers made their way back to the park and dispersed.

The big takeaway from this was witnessing the power of autonomy in action, even when it comes from thousands of freshly disillusioned liberals who are now going to be questioning everything and figuring out where to go next. Additionally, when we’re able to act as a community and make collective decisions – we’re unstoppable and powerful as fuck.

It’s incredibly wild that there still needs to be discourse about leadership in 2022. Leaders get arrested, leaders get killed, leaders get corrupted by their own power hunger, leaders burn out, leaders don’t have what it takes to get the job done. Leaders will not save us. Each of us are powerful and capable of engaging in changing our conditions and initiating action. We can never do it solo, it is in our shared struggle for our collective liberation that we can heave what destroys us off our backs and create new ways of being. So, let’s go fucking get it.

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