Armed right-wing protests have become more or less commonplace in large cities around the country. Now it looks like the left wants in on the action.
The Phoenix News-Times ran a story this week detailing an armed protest by a national left-wing group called the Redneck Revolt. The Phoenix chapter of the Redneck Revolt—the John Brown Gun Club—joined forces with another group known as the Brown Berets to protest a pro-Trump march taking place at Arizona’s capitol.
Both left-wing groups came armed to the teeth. Many were carrying AR-15s and semi-automatic pistols.
They declined an interview with the News-Times, but the John Brown Gun Club posted on Facebook that they assembled across the street from the pro-Trump march “not to try to stop their event or block it, but to show that the communities who are under attack by this administration and those that came before it will not silently suffer, and that we would organize to defend ourselves and each other.”
As to their decision to carry firearms, they emphasized their desire not to “intimidate or scare anyone.” Rather, they looked to “show that other ‘deplorable’ working folks, even those who supported Trump in the past, would not just stand by and allow continued threats to marginalized people.”
They do not cite any specific instances of such threats, but another post on their Facebook page notes the alleged increase in gun ownership among African-American, LGBT, and religious minority communities. These groups are buying guns, according to the post, due to their “increasingly hostile surroundings.”
In their exchange with the News-Times reporter, the group repeatedly asks the reporter to stop filming, citing concerns about revealing their identities and their license plate numbers.
Given their belief that “police, prisons, courts… and other systems of social control only exist to serve the rich,” their fears are perhaps understandable. “The Man” can take many forms, journalists included.
That being said, it’s difficult to understand why a group would stage an armed protest and not want press coverage.
Their website includes the rhetoric one might expect from a group whose goal is to put the “RED back in Redneck.” They liken the Klu Klux Klan to the U.S. Armed Forces, saying both groups have “undermined the struggle for freedom among all people.” Their founding principles include an opposition to the “nation-state” as a concept and the belief that capitalism has “destroyed the world” and “threatens all life.”
But they also believe, like many Second Amendment supporters, in “the empowerment of all individuals who wish to participate in the defense of their communities with the knowledge and equipment to do so.”
“It is our duty and obligation to defend our families and communities,” they continue, “by all means from those who would profit from our misery and destruction.”
Donald Trump’s election will hopefully result in gains for the Second Amendment on the legislative front. But if the Redneck Revolt is any indication, it may also result in more people who will value and appreciate the right to keep and bear arms.