[I really like the way these guys are equipped and ready to roll… so damned nice! We need to have this in EVERY white nation! I'm delighted to see that they are not afraid to show the SWASTIKA!!!! YEAH!!!! Whitmer, I'm told, is a Jewess. Jan]
LANSING – A pamphlet handed out at a Boogaloo Bois rally on the Capitol lawn Saturday had a Nazi swastika on the cover with a red line crossing it out. Red lines also crossed out the words "racism" and "communism."
The movement, it read, is after “the abolition of an overpowered, overreaching, tyrannical government" and does not advocate for violence.
The earliest members of the Boogaloo Bois movement were neo-Nazis and white supremacists, but some factions have since adopted a more libertarian bent and sought to distance themselves from those origins, according to experts.
On Saturday, those at the rally said the movement is preaching unity and collaboration and disavowed both racist beliefs and violence, despite recent reports that the men accused of plotting to kidnap Gov. Gretchen Whitmer had ties to the movement.
“We only exist because people have failed at what they were meant to do time and time again,” said Tim Teagan, one of the rally attendees.
Politicians do not represent the people, law enforcement officers extort the people and the legal system oppresses people, Teagan said. Americans were promised the land of the free and he’s not seen that, he said.
The Boogaloo movement wants to restore that freedom and bring people together to make that happen, Teagan said.
“We can only have a good future through strength and unity,” Teagan said.
Second civil war
The Saturday rally drew between 75 and 100 people – many in Hawaiian shirts and carrying weapons. Those attending the rally milled about the sidewalks along Michigan Avenue, answering questions from the media and passersby.
Lisa Corwin said she first found the Boogaloo movement as a place to share memes, find some humor and share a sense of community with other people who are upset with the state of the world. The people she knows within the Boogaloo community want to see productive change and want to unite to make improvements.
“The unity is the mission,” Corwin said. “I’m troubled by what I’m seeing with all the divisiveness.”
But the aim of the movement, according to those who have studied them, is to destabilize society and incite a second civil war.
“They believe that in this current moment, the chaos that surrounds us is signaling the potential for an impending second civil war which, believe it or not, they are hoping for because they believe that will rid the United States of all its problems,” Devin Burghart, executive director of the National Institute for Research and Education on Human Rights, told USA TODAY.
The Southern Poverty Law Center listed the Boogaloo Bois on its Hate Watch list for its ties to racist ideology and militancy.
‘Do you think Black lives matter?’
A group of four people with a Black Lives Matter banner showed up at the rally. Several of the Boogaloo movement spoke with them.
Sarah Skinner, of Marquette, said she’s done some research on the Boogaloo movement and has seen some red flags. She said she was apprehensive of the movement’s unity message.
Corwin said the perception of the Boogaloo movement is media spin and misinformation. She said the group wants to bring people together and not divide them.
“Do you think Black lives matter?” Skinner asked.
“Absolutely Black lives matter. All lives matter,” Corwin said.
Fred Sims, of Marquette, asked if Corwin knew why the “all lives matter’ phrase is cringe worthy and offensive. He said it minimizes the real problem of systemic racism.
Sims said he was happy to talk with the Boogaloo Bois’ members. He said Black Lives Matter is about social justice, educating the community and supporting the community.
“We’re all about a productive conversation,” Sims said.
Members of the movement sought to distance themselves to the plot to kidnap Whitmer.
Fourteen men tied to the plot associated themselves with the Boogaloo movement, according to court documents.
Federal prosecutors last week charged six men with conspiracy to kidnap the governor from her family’s vacation home and take her to Wisconsin. The FBI thwarted their plans with the aid of two confidential sources embedded in the group.