On March 25th, several hundred Trump supporters marched in downtown Phoenix as a part of the Make America Great Again march group. Across the street were about forty counter-protesters including, “members of the Brown Berets, Anti-Fascist Action Phoenix and John Brown Gun Club,” AZ Central reported. The counter-protestors also showed up wearing tactical gear and carrying weapons. Many also covered their faces and got into a shouting match with a left leaning journalist over concerns that he would film their license plates as they entered their vehicles.
Whether or not the weapons were actually loaded is unknown, but this represents an interesting development and perhaps an escalation in American politics. To be fair, these lefty protesters are simply emulating what right-wing protesters have been doing for years, showing up with rifles as a form of political statement. Something that protestors on both sides generally don’t want to talk about is how they change cultural norms, and when they do, that their tactics will eventually be adopted and used by their opposition.
The armed left-wing protestors were handing out fliers for something they call the “Redneck Revolt” (here at SOFREP we prefer the term Appalachian-American) which appears to be an attempt at working class movement, ie: socialism. Their organization likely includes a mixture of socialist, communist, and anarchist beliefs as these groups are made up of many individuals with various personal political beliefs. Judging from the video shot by Stephen Lemons, the Redneck Revolt appears to consist of political novices who do not have much experience with politics or with protests in general as can be seen by how poorly they interact with the press.
The two aspects of this which are the most interesting to us from a national security standpoint is:
- Is the left wing having a reaction to so-called patriot groups and III%’ers, arming up because they see those ideologically opposed to them doing the same? Will this be a growing trend?
- Will we soon see far left or fringe groups like Occupy, BLM, and their successors form an armed wing in the near future?
To be clear, there was not any violence at the recent protest and counter-protest in Arizona. Some immaturity, sure, but no one was throwing molotov cocktails, shooting guns, or being physically aggressive. However, from a security standpoint we need to keep a close eye on this trend. The formation of armed wings within protest movements should be seen as a tripwire.
When peaceful protest movements on both the far left and far right begin forming armed wings, special action cells, and operating in this manner, we all need to hold on to our hats because shit is about to get very, very interesting and not in a good way.
Image courtesy of Phoenix Times