The List: 5 takeaways from the juggalo rally

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The juggalos want you to know their a family, not a gang. (photo by Daniel Hosterman)

1. This is a movement?

America suddenly discovered a political movement known as the juggalos, fans of the Detroit rap-rock duo Insane Clown Posse, over the past weekend, when they descended on the National Mall to protest being designated “a loosely organized hybrid gang” by the FBI. The movement undoubtedly benefited from a fluke of circumstance in scheduling their rally for the same day as the so-called Mother Of All Rallies, or MOAR, to support President Trump. The forced comparison was all the more striking in that by all accounts the juggalos vastly outnumbered the Trumpists.

2. Juggalos —  last, best hope of the left

Several observers have detected a kind of nascent progressivism in the juggalos — a line that Nathan Rabin, a sympathetic Insane Clown Posse biographer, is promoting. As Rabin told Scott Simon on NPR’s “Weekend Edition”: “If you actually look at the music and the lyrics of the Insane Clown Posse, it’s very class conscious, it’s very anti-bigotry, it’s very anti-redneck, it’s very anti-racism. So if you actually look at the words and the ideology, it’s very leftist, it’s very progressive. At the same time, Insane Clown Posse and most juggalos consider themselves very apolitical. ICP in particular have walked this very fine, weird line, where they’ve said we’re going to throw this political rally, but it’s only about this one issue about the FBI designating our fans this hybrid gang. So, what I would like would be for this to be the start of something, you know, for them to take on profiling in all its forms — police brutality, government overreaching, law enforcement persecuting people on the basis of how they look.”

3. This cultural moment was great for wordplay

In response to my query about whether the juggalos are a new political force to be reckoned with, my photographer friend Daniel Hosterman replied on Twitter: “They are MOAR formidable than some.” And on Facebook, Greensboro small press publisher Andew Saulters observed, “The struggalo seems pretty real to me.”

4. The juggalos are a family (then again, aren’t all gangs?)

As Baynard Woods recounted in Nuvo, “Chris Lopez, a man with a van dyke beard, long hair and a DARE baseball hat, walks up and hands a sweatshirt and a sandwich to Michael Troy, who wears a suit and a red toboggan hat and sports a handlebar mustache. They did not know each other. ‘He’s like a brother I never met before,’ Troy says, taking a bite of his sandwich.” And Hosterman, who photographed the rally, reported: “They were all insanely nice and chill today, for what it’s worth.”

5. A weird convergence of freaks 

The convergence of the juggalos and the new MAGA tribe of “Bikers for Trump, Three Percenter militia guys, 4chan Kekistan s***posters, and Captain America cosplayers,” as Woods recounted — along with antifa interlopers — seems somewhat cosmic. It’s as if the freaks were meant to find each other to allow for a new cross-pollination in our nation’s rapidly evolving politics. They share something important, as Woods observed: “The juggalos, antifa and the militia are all freaks. All three groups are hated and feared by the average Americans, the normies.” It’s like high school all over again.