The Boogaloo

Marches and incidents of direct action in protest of police brutality have occurred in various USA cities since several Minneapolis PD officers killed a man they were taking into custody on Memorial Day, 25 May, 2020. There has been increased mention of “Boogaloo Bois”, people associated with The “Boogaloo”, and many statements have identified the group as “far-right.”

 

What is The Boogaloo?

“The Boogaloo” is a reference to Breakin’2: Electric Boogaloo (1984), and alludes to an armed internal conflict in the United States. The movie & its predecessor were campy films exploiting the popularity of break-dancing, and were not considered successful. Many campy and unsuccessful sequels of all genres were regarded as “original title 2: Electric Boogaloo”, as a joke. The second Civil War or second Revolutionary War has been referred to similarly; Civil War 2: Electric Boogaloo. This is an inside joke that got out.

The impending conflict has been reduced from Revolutionary War 2: Electric Boogaloo to simply Boogaloo or The Boogaloo. The word has origins in music and dance, and retains its function as both a noun and as a verb. A person can boogaloo or prepare for the boogaloo.

 

Who are its adherents?

Boogaloo Boys is a reference back to the origins of the group’s name. People who engaged in break-dancing were known as Breakers, Break-boys/girls, or simply B-boys & B-girls. “Boogaloo Bois” is another variation adopted from the internet variation of “boys”. The movement is decentralized, so there is no single official table of organization and many groups have adopted the moniker or a variation of the name.

Variations of “Boogaloo” include “Boog”, “Big Igloo”, “Loo”, “Luau”, and “Big Luau”. I have seen it suggested that the Hawaiian shirts are a symbol of affiliation with the movement. It has also been suggested that the Luau crowd is particularly anti-police, as roasting boar or pig is a part of that event. “Pig” is a pejorative name for law enforcement agents.

There is also the Boogahideen or Boojahideen. This name is a reference to the Arabic Mujahideen, plural of Mujahid/Mujahud, fighters who are engaged in jihad (struggle/conflict). This is likely brought back from the many conflicts the USA has initiated in Arab-speaking nations, as many former-military are critical of the government.

 

What is their political affiliation?

As I understand it, the “Left” & “Right” designations on the political spectrum come from the organization of parliament after the French Revolution in the late 18th Century; the radicals who sought to change the political structure were on the left of the presiding official, and supporters of the crown were on the right.

France aided the British Colonies in North America during their fight for independence (1775-1783). In the period between 1786 and 1799 French citizens had gripes about taxation, inflation, and abuses of power by government officials. They literally cut the heads off of their bureaucracies and replaced the aristocracy with a republic.

Napoleon eventually took control.

This movement is decentralized and to my knowledge no one has trademarked or copy-righted the name. Anyone can say that they are affiliated or that they belong. And any number of individual ideologies or biases can then be ascribed to the movement.

There are” Boog-Bois” who have stood between Black Lives Matter protestors and the police, and they stood in support of the protest. It is my belief that any political or military action against the state and the status-quo is radical. The goal of that action should determine whether the action is associated with a particular political affiliation.

 

Trevor Mardis

18 June, 2020

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