A rally headlined by President Donald Trump last night in Phoenix, Arizona drew large crowds but did not bring the political violence that many feared would come with Trump’s first major public appearance since his widely-criticized response to the race-based violence in Charlottesville, Virginia over a week ago.
But that doesn’t mean some protesters weren’t at least prepared for violence. Like a protest earlier this summer, members of the “John Brown Gun Club” and “Redneck Revolt” made an appearance to reportedly protect left-wing protesters from white nationalists.
Jack Murphy previously wrote about armed leftists in Arizona, who also were claiming to be associated with the “Redneck Revolt”. According to their website, the group claims it is a “pro-worker, anti-racist organization that focuses on working class liberation from the oppressive systems which dominate our lives. In states where it is legal to practice armed community defense, many branches choose to become John Brown Gun Clubs, training ourselves and our communities in defense and mutual aid.”
The group says its members have diverse ideological backgrounds, but the politics espoused in its literature and Facebook page show a clear militant leftist bent, extolling the use of violence to pursue causes related to social justice. Referring to its armed elements as “John Brown Gun Clubs” is one indication. John Brown was an abolitionist who tried to initiate a slave insurrection by attacking and murdering supporters of slavery, and leading an assault on a federal armory at Harper’s Ferry, an event which led to his capture and hanging.
At the time of publishing, the group has not responded to requests for an interview.
While there have not yet been outright acts of terrorism at the hands of militant leftist organizations in the latest wave of political activism, there is considerable precedent for such in this country. In the 1970’s, the Weather Underground and other groups conducted thousands of terrorist bombings in the United States.
Multiple violent confrontations with “Antifa” activists in the streets in the last year, the mass murder of five police officers in Dallas in June 2016, and the attempted mass killing of Republican lawmakers in June have brought some attention onto left-wing violence.
Right wing groups have been heavily armed at political rallies for years, and it is nothing new. But with political tensions running high, and the near certainty that the groups of people arming themselves to the teeth lack adequate training in the use of their weapons, could easily lead to an incident where a negligent discharge or other errant discharge of a weapon could cause confusion that would escalate to violence which would be difficult to contain.
— Lizzie Pearl (@lizziepearl) August 22, 2017
'We all really want the same things: We want a community free of racism and bigotry.' — "Irish", of John Brown gun club. pic.twitter.com/8wrS4wJBZU
— Roque Planas (@RoqPlanas) August 22, 2017
Members of the John Brown Gun Club. They told me they're in Phoenix to protect protesters from white nationalists pic.twitter.com/OGgT9qGuFE
— Simon Romero (@viaSimonRomero) August 22, 2017
Featured image courtesy of Twitter