Portland Writer Examines the Rise of the “Boogaloo Bois,” Who Also Hate Cops

A group of Hawaiian shirt-clad Boogaloo Bois attended a Black Lives Matter protest in Portland last month.

A group of "Boogaloo Boys" at the protest. The group stated they were here in support of Black Lives Matter, Trans Lives, and in opposition to the federal occupation by DHS agents. (Alex Wittwer)

In a long-reads piece published in yesterday's New York Times Magazine, former WW intern and frequent freelance contributor Leah Sottile examined the burgeoning Boogaloo movement, which on its face appears to be a branch of the right-wing extremism movement but which also shares some parallels with the Black Lives Matter and environmental movements.

On Aug. 22 in Portland, right-wing protesters held a violent rally downtown called "No to Marxism in America." It was a direct reaction to the ongoing protests against police brutality, its organizers being decidedly pro-police (in fact, Portland police stood idly even as far-right protesters waved loaded guns).

The Boogaloo movement overlaps with far-right extremist groups in the Pacific Northwest like the Proud Boys who attended Saturday's rally: Some Boogaloo members regularly post anti-Semitic memes on Facebook pages, and others "don't like people of color" and warn about an imminent "white genocide."

Sottile points out, however, that the Boogaloo movement is also strongly anti-government and anti-police.

It has co-opted the names of Black people killed by police, including Eric Garner and Breonna Taylor. Boogaloo Bois attending a Portland Black Lives Matter rally in July told WW they were there in support of Black lives and wanted to protect protesters.

In her story, Sottile examines this juxtaposition.

"But one common theme undergirds all these messages," Sottile concludes,  "regardless of which Boogaloo subset they attract: Do something about it. And do it now."

More from the story:

The Boogaloo is not just an event; it's a movement of people, too. They call themselves "Boogalooers" or "Boogaloo bois." Most seem to have extreme libertarian politics, with a heavy emphasis on Second Amendment rights. The Boogaloo is leaderless, and its goals differ depending on which Facebook or Telegram group you're hanging out in. Some of these men claim to be antiracist, while others hold white-supremacist beliefs and warn of an impending white genocide. While some Boogaloo pages on Facebook feature periodic talk of racial justice and urgent needs to address climate change, many others are filled with memes featuring neo-Nazi black suns.

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