It’s not often that an old joke evolves into a catchphrase for mass violence, but that’s just what happened when a variety of extremist and fringe movements and subcultures adopted the word “boogaloo” as shorthand for a future civil war. In 2020, extremists on a range of online platforms were talking about and sometimes even anticipating the “boogaloo” and increasingly engaging in real world activities, showing up at protests and rallies around gun rights, pandemic restrictions and police-related killings. In
May 2020, boogaloo activists organized a protest against coronavirus public safety measures in Raleigh, North Carolina, with many carrying firearms in defiance of state laws prohibiting guns at public demonstrations. Boogaloo adherents have shown up at numerous lockdown protests, waiving boogaloo signs, wearing Hawaiian shirts and carrying firearms. These boogalooers are part of an embryonic, decentralized movement that organizes largely online but whose presence has increasingly been felt in the real world. While boogaloo supporters hail from a variety of movements and include some white supremacists who advocate for race war, the lockdown protests have largely featured the anti-government version of the boogaloo favored by the militia, gun rights, and anarcho-capitalist movements.