Editor’s Note: We initially shared early information from this article on our Twitter account.
On 15 August 2021, a group of organizations gathered at Atlanta City Hall. The group protested the construction of a massive police training facility and the razing of an ecologically valuable forest to make space for the facility. Together, the group of organizations make up part of the Defend the Atlanta Forest/No Cop City movement, which DSRW will report on in future articles. The following day, the Atlanta City Council voted on the facility, ultimately tabling the decision for three weeks. A previously unknown individual appeared at this protest.
The person, who we’ll call “DJ”, carried a long gun and wore a Hawaiian shirt under a plate carrier adorned in morale patches. Local allies also carried long guns and provided security for the rally, although their all-black outfits set them apart from DJ. The event security made clear DJ was not associated with them. DJ is a self-identified member of the “Boogaloo movement” and spent the rally passing out fliers advocating for his political stance, talking with members of the crowd, and posing for pictures. DJ, from Dahlonega, also has a propensity for sharing anti-lockdown memes on his social media (anti-lockdown protests serve as a common escalation opportunity for “Boogaloo” adherents).
Let us be clear: The “Boogaloos” are not our friends.
Building for the “Boogaloo”
Many great articles on the “Boogaloo movement” are out there. Put simply, members of the movement are preparing for, and in several cases pushing for, a second American Civil War, Civil War 2: Electric Boogaloo. The term “boogaloo”, referencing an 80s movie, is rooted in neo-Nazi accelerationism and was used by members of The Base who plotted to murder Atlanta-area antifascists. Some members of the “Boogaloo movement” explicitly voice their desire to create a white ethnostate after this civil war. An even larger circle, which includes the white nationalists, push a broader accelerationist ideology. In a leaked public relations chat from a multi-state 2000-member-plus “Boogaloo” organizing group, members discussed how to present the illusion of inclusivity and antiracism within the movement. Many groups of “Boogaloo boys” showed up to and attempted to co-opt BLM protests.
The most notable example of “Boogaloo” co-option is the case of BLM757. Most pictures of “Boogaloo unity” with BLM come from the BLM757 group and Mike Dunn’s collection of “Boogaloo” adherents. BLM 757, a reactionary group disavowed by Black Lives Matter groups, activists, and organizers, is known to “hijack” BLM demonstrations. BLM757 made pleasantries with local Proud Boys and appears regularly with “Boogaloo” adherents, despite local activists’ rejections of both the “Boogaloo” adherents and BLM757. Virginia activists at a rally in Richmond on 25 July 2021, upon hearing that Dunn and his “Boogaloo” crew (then referred to as the “Virginia Knights”) were leading the front, began to shout “Fuck Mike Dunn!”, “Fuck the Boogaloos!” and “No Boogaloo!”.
Dunn, a former state employee turned “Boogaloo” influencer, disappeared early this year under mysterious circumstances that many believe are related to him informing to the Feds, but of course Dunn began a bizarre argument on InfoWars before disappearing. Local activists in Michigan similarly disavowed “Boogaloo” adherents. In both cases, and nearly everywhere the “Boogaloo” adherents appear, the adherents escalate the situation and their presence often directly leads to unnecessary violence.
The “Boogaloo movement” already has a body count. Members of the movement took part in the plot to kidnap Michigan governor Gretchen Whitmer. Two self-identified “Boogaloo boys” allegedly attempted to sell their services as mercenaries to Hamas. Instead, they spoke with an undercover FBI agent. And for a movement whose members love posting about killing pedophiles, the movement has a pedophilia problem, as multiple adherents were arrested for child pornography or sexual exploitation of children.
Members of the movement are easily spotted by the Hawaiian shirts (“Boogaloo” sounds vaguely like “big luau”) worn under their plate carriers. DJ’s patches included a Georgia state flag and a USA flag with a Hawaiian pattern. DJ’s neck gaiter bore yellow and black stars associated with anarcho-capitalism, a favored ideology of many in the “Boogaloo movement” that many on the right claim as “anarchist”, despite the hierarchies inherent to capitalist production.
Visual Language of the “Boogaloo”
The literature DJ passed out, titled “The Boogaloo and You”, made no mention of the movement’s desire for a second civil war and instead presented the movement as seeking liberty and justice for all. Using Constitutional language reminiscent of other far-right militias, the pamphlet expressed the movement’s opposition to the federal government. While this on its own is not a tremendous red flag, this together with the links to the broader far-right militia movement cause alarm. This tracks with the leaked internal public relations documents from a“Boogaloo” organizing group, which provides instructions on how to insert second amendment messages into unrelated protests.
It also featured the above flag, which equivocates Black victims of police violence with, among others, killed members of the far-right militia movement, Ashli Babbit (the QAnon supporter shot dead by Capitol Police while storming the US Capitol on 6 January), and “all of the victims of Waco”, which includes pedophile cult leader David Koresh. While DSRW and other media and organizers recognize the state’s brutal use of lethal violence against targets that included children and defenseless populations, we see no need to hold far-right victims as martyrs.
Keyboard Freedom Warriors
After our initial reporting on DJ’s presence at the rally, DJ himself and associated “Boogaloo” adherents found their way into our Twitter mentions. Four separate times, DJ indicated on Twitter his intention to continue to attend and distribute materials at events in Atlanta, despite multiple organizers disavowing the presence of him and any other self-identified “Boogaloo boys”. DJ repeatedly travelled across state lines to engage in armed direct action and shared pictures of himself armed in Mansfield, Ohio, Greenville, South Carolina, and Louisville, Kentucky. This is not “armed community self-defense”, despite his continued self-description as doing what “[his] community needs”.
The crew that took to defend him, and have a meltdown in our replies, come from the “Unity Coalition” centered around “Magnus Panvidya” (real name Zackary Dougherty). 38 total UC-associated Twitter accounts replied or favorited each other’s responses, attempting to troll or even “ratio” content shared by DSRW. They described our brief thread as “slander” while describing DSRW as “feds”, one of only two insults in their arsenal. Most of the meltdown came from a few key accounts — though the average reply rate for UC-associated not-mad-online accounts was around 3.5 replies each, those tagging DSRW in their tweets more than once averaged a whopping 6 tweets in pitiful frustration. Three accounts spent hours being mad online at DSRW, posting over 10 tweets tagging us in response to our 15-tweet thread.
The Unity Coalition, formerly referred to by “Boogaloo” followers as the “Bottom Unity” movement in reference to a dreamt-up union between libertarian socialists and libertarian capitalist elements, mostly rose to prominence via a series of alt-media appearances by Dougherty. These appearances came few and far between but began with the major platforming of Dougherty by Jimmy Dore. The UC later announced a mobilization in DC this September. In a now deleted “speaker line-up” shared by the UC’s event account, speakers included a “boog”-friendly Libertarian candidate and an anti-vaxxer who praised the J6 riot.
Obviously, all “Boogaloo” adherents are not Nazis. It is also impossible to say whether or not they truly believe they are supporting the Black Lives Matter or other progressive movements like Defend the Atlanta Froest with their involvement, or if they just view the movements as a chance to escalate violence with the state. However, all “Boogaloo” adherents bring a propensity for violence, poor operational security, and linkages to neo-Nazis. Successful progressive movements have no space for violent hero fantasies, which “The Boogaloo” and its adherents bring in abundance.
As the climate collapse continues, more far-right actors will attempt to co-opt progressive environmental movements, as can been seen by the “Boogaloo movement” and the more overt, unabashed neo-Nazi groups such as the National Justice Party. It is essential to stay aware of far-right actors and movements to recognize when this is occurring.
Organizers must be especially wary when forming coalitions with broad goals that bad actors can use as a point of “unity”. As Goad, an activist from Charlottesville, added in an interview about the “Boogaloo movement” and right-wing involvement in Virginia, “Organizers don’t all use the same online spaces, so they may not have heard the arguments against Boogaloo Boys. There are many people who have successfully engaged with their community but stay offline. It’s important to reach out to other people in your community to don’t assume they have seen vital information.” More resources (online and offline) are forthcoming from activists in Atlanta and elsewhere and will be added to this story as they become available.
If you identify with the “Boogaloo movement” and are reading this, here is our message to you: If you believe in the cause of racial equality, environmentalism, and anti-authoritarianism, leave the “Boogaloo movement”. You do no good to these causes while involved in a movement that houses neo-Nazis and violent far-right extremists. You can engage in armed community self defense and mutual aid outside of the “Boogaloo movement”. Until then, you are no ally to anti-authoritarian and progressive causes. If you are serious about exiting the movement, contact us.