ADL Adds ‘Boogaloo’ to Online Extremist Lexicon


The ADL published an article on a term used to describe what people, referred to extremists, believe to be an upcoming civil war in America, which wasn’t well-received by all, as left-anarchists took issue with some of the article’s assertions.

The future civil war, or, the “Boogaloo,” has been meme’d extensively to the point where it doesn’t simply refer to an out-and-out civil war, but also small scale conflicts as a result of divisive policies and media outrage campaigns.

Memes concerning the so-called “Boogaloo” have mostly circulated dissident right-wing circles on social media.

In the article, the ADL starts by writing, “It’s not often an old joke evolves into a catchphrase for mass violence, but that’s just what’s happened this past year when a variety of extremist and fringe movements and subcultures adopted the word “boogaloo” as shorthand for a future civil war.”

“From militia groups to white supremacists, extremists on a range of online platforms talk about—and sometimes even anticipate—the “boogaloo.” The rise of “boogaloo,” and its casual acceptance of future mass violence, is disturbing. Among some extremists, it may even signify an increased willingness to engage in violence.

““Boogaloo” has its roots in decades of jokes about an old movie: the 1984 breakdancing film Breakin’ 2: Electric Boogaloo. Almost from the moment of the movie’s release, people exploited the format of the movie’s title for humorous purposes, replacing “Breakin’” with some other film, event or person of their choice.”

As previously mentioned, the article wasn’t well-received by all.

The article says: “The boogaloo meme has spread to other movements with anti-government beliefs, primarily minarchists and anarcho-capitalists, which are essentially conservative alternatives to anarchism, as well as a few apparent anarchists. Use of the term by adherents of these philosophies often refers to violence against the state and its institutions, especially law enforcement.”

For a change, those who took the most issue with the content wasn’t the dissident right, but left-anarchists wishing to disassociate themselves from anarcho-capitalists–a form of right-wing anarchism.

The article makes a distinction between other factions vying for a meme’d boogaloo, stating:

White supremacists have also adopted the boogaloo concept. A particularly disturbing boogaloo t-shirt (currently available online) features the word boogaloo under a photograph of John Earnest, the white supremacist who opened fire at a synagogue in Poway, California, in April 2019, killing one person.

Whereas the militia movement, radical gun rights activists typically promote the boogaloo as a war against the government or liberals, white supremacists conceive of the boogaloo as a race war or a white revolution. Some promote boogaloo-related phrases alongside hashtags such as #dotr or #DayOfTheRope, both of which are references to neo-Nazi William Pierce’s The Turner Diaries, a novelized blueprint for a white revolution.

Accelerationist white supremacists are particularly apt to use “boogaloo” – they seek the violent collapse of modern society in order to bring about a new, white-dominated world. Among them is Paul Nehlen, who gained notoriety by running for U.S. Congress in Wisconsin in 2016 and 2018. After the Poway synagogue shooting, Nehlen embraced both accelerationism and the term boogaloo and has even posted photos of himself wearing the John Earnest/boogaloo shirt.

The ADL has developed a reputation for adding other memes to their website for their altered meanings such as Pepe The Frog and the OK Sign–both starting out as supposedly innocuous apolitical symbols.

Other memes such as ‘We Wuz Kangz’ and ’13/50′ were added to a hate list on the ADL website last year.