A far-left militant group calling itself the Redneck Revolt says it aims to put “the red back in redneck” – “red” as in communist red – and use aggressive tactics to promote social justice and protects minorities. Armed members of Redneck Revolt can often be seen providing protection to minority groups such as Black Lives Matter and to other left-leaning groups conducting marches and demonstrations. Redneck Revolt insists that the group should not be compared to another leftist militant group — the Anti-fa group. Members of Redneck Revolt explain the difference as mainly one of tactics: Anti-fa are willing to engage in property destruction, cover their faces in “black bloc,” and occasionally punch Nazis on the street. “We don’t do that,” a member of Redneck Revolt said firmly. “We do everything within the law.”
The Independent reports that armed members of Redneck Revolt can often be seen providing protection to minority groups such as Black Lives Matter and to other left-leaning groups conducting marches and demonstrations.
Redneck Revolt was founded in 2016 in Kansas and Colorado, and now claims to have forty-five regional branches in thirty states.
The group distinguishes itself from more run-of-the-mill liberal groups by advocating the right to bear arms.
“Charity is the lowest rung of what we do,” one member of the group told the Independent. “What we want to do is help people organize themselves – reorganize the conditions of their lives, so they don’t have to depend on someone else for a meal.”
This is why the group encourages its members to own gun, and go to firing ranges to learn how to use the arms effectively.
The groups says that it was established in order to counter the rise in extremist rhetoric, violence, and confrontational tactics used by white supremacist groups.
“The current political environment has seen armed militias intimidating people as they go into their mosques to pray, violent white nationalists attacking people in the street, Nazis openly calling for genocide all across the country, and political wavering around whether white nationalism is a defensible political ideology,” the group said in a press release sent to Newsweek.
“Redneck Revolt members recognize how real the threats of violence have become because of the friends and loved ones they’ve already lost, and they organize in community defense as both an obligation and a commitment to defend each other.”
Newsweeknotes that the group also aims to bring members of the working class together across racial divides. The group offers various social services such as clothing drives, potlucks, farming and gardening, and providing training in safety and survival.
“[Redneck Revolt] is a pro-worker, anti-racist organization that focuses on working class liberation from the oppressive systems which dominate our lives,” the group said.
The group also says that its members come from a variety of political ideologies, including libertarians, anarchists, communists, and independents — but that all members agree on the goal: countering the growth of white supremacist movements and building solidarity among diverse members of the working class and the poor.
In a membership recruitment letter the group sends to potential members, it urges working-class white people to consider the minorities who work beside them and reflect on their shared interests.
The letter urges working-class white people to “look around” and wonder: “Who lives in the houses or trailers in the same neighborhoods as us? Who works next to us in the factories, or cooks alongside us at the restaurants?”
“It sure as hell isn’t rich white people,” the letter continues. “It’s Brown people, Black people, and other working-class white people. They are the ones that are in similar situations to us, living paycheck to paycheck, stretching to feed their families like we do. So why then would we view them as so different from us that we literally view them as our enemies?”
“Redneck Revolt believes that real working-class solidarity will come from working alongside each other in person and in our everyday lives, not in the sterile conversations of privilege in college classrooms, or in the phony hand-wringing of politicians,” the recruitment letter says.
Recruiters who work for Redneck Revolt show up at events and venues which may attract white working-class people, but which are typically associated with populist, white nationalist movements and causes: gun shows, firing ranges, state fairs, Nascar races, and cattle shows.
“We focus on counter-recruitment of other working-class people against white supremacist and white nationalist organizations, through direct outreach in places where working-class folks are already being targeted,” the group told Newsweek.
The Suffolk County branch
The Independent has just published a lengthy story on the Suffolk County, New York, branch of Redneck Revolt.
The Suffolk County branch was founded this April, as an offshoot of a leftist reading group at Stony Brook University. Many of the reading group members were Bernie Sanders supporters.
The first act of the branch was to start the community food garden, the yields of which they donated to a local school and the anti-violence organization Food Not Bombs. In an early-December meeting, the group planned how they would give back during the holiday season. They had already started organizing a drive to collect winter coats for the homeless. At this meeting, they decided to hand out the coats themselves, rather than giving them to a charity to distribute.
“Take the charity party out and put the solidarity in!” one member declared.
Members of Redneck Revolt also came to Charlottesville – and they came armed. Their presence at the rally made national news, including a Fox News headline warning: “The Left has gun-toting militias of its own.”
But Redneck Revolt claims it did not come to Charlottesville seeking confrontation. According to a blog post on the group’s website, Redneck Revolt members came to offer protection for the community and show opposition to white supremacy.
Redneck Revolt insists that the group should not be compared to another leftist militant group — the Anti-fa group. Members of Redneck Revolt explain the difference as mainly one of tactics: Anti-fa are willing to engage in property destruction, cover their faces in “black bloc,” and occasionally punch Nazis on the street.
“We don’t do that,” a member of Redneck Revolt said firmly. “We do everything within the law.”