rifleman's rig 3

Last week we wrote about the experience that Phoenix News Times journalist Stephen Lemons had while attempting to cover a left-wing open carry march, and asked if we were edging towards a civil war.

Mr. Lemon managed to synch up with one of the representatives of the group of communists, anarchists, and amusingly titled “antifascists” (who are clearly fascists themselves, right down to their nice brown shirts) this week, and his account provides some interesting information about the militant left wing group.

Members of the group dress like they just stepped out of historical photos showing anarchists, communists, and others battling fascists during the Spanish Civil War.

Communist imagery appears on the personal websites of some JBGC members. And the red bandannas they tie around their necks emulate those worn by West Virginia coal miners during a violent 1921 labor uprising known as the Battle of Blair Mountain.

Their list of principles on the Redneck Revolt site include statements against capitalism, white supremacy, the nation-state, and “the wars of the rich,” while advocating for the “right of militant resistance.”

Yet, Payne cited the group’s work tabling at gun shows as an attempt to find common ground with right-wing militia members. Both the JBGC and militias are wary of the federal government’s power and cherish their rights under the Second Amendment.

This gives Redneck Revolt a “foot in the door” with the patriot types, Payne avowed.

Sure, both sides like to play with guns, but a Grand Canyon-sized chasm divides them.

For instance, the black banner JBGC unfurled at the Capitol declares that they seek liberty for all working people, including “trans and queer,” refugees, migrants, people of color, and “Muslims and Jews.”

In other words, not folks with whom militia and patriot types wanna cuddle.

Payne seems to agree with the maxim that an armed society is a polite society.

“If anything, the fact that both groups know that the other group has arms keeps things much less threatening,” she said.

March 25 was not her group’s first time out, and it will not be the last, she insisted.

But isn’t this an escalation, I asked?

“I don’t think we’re escalating,” she replied. “We weren’t the first ones to show up armed at a political event … We’ve had militia showing up at leftists’ events for years.”

That’s true.

But judging from many of the comments to the video and to my initial report, there are many right-wingers eager for a shootout with Payne and her comrades.

It’s probably predictable that the rabble on the radical left would attract the denizens of the radical right, and that both sides would puff out their chests, like two dim-witted playground bullies sizing one another up for a rumble. I know many on the right simply assume that their far better trained than those on the left, but that’s clearly not necessarily the case. Photos and videos the open carry march Lemon covered did show some serious “clown shoes” moments, such as people with poorly set-up plate carriers, mag pouches for the wrong weapon on web gear, and magazines stored wrong end up or oriented the wrong way in magazine pouches. Of course, we’ve seen the exact same thing from right wing militias playing at being soldiers for years.

What people seem to be discounting is that neither side is completely full of mouthy, clueless blowhards intent on virtue-signaling, who will run away in disarray at the first tough moment.

Just as there are some really squared-away folks on the militant right, there are so folks who appear to know what they’re doing on the militant left. Video Mr. Lemon shot of the march no only showed people who clearly knew next to nothing about what they were doing, but also a number of people in-shape people with what appear to be military tattoos, well-laid-out battle belts, functional and well-used firearms that appear to bear the scars of training, and a general air of confident competence you would expect from former grunts.

Not everyone who serves in our military leans to the right, and some that were leaning that way when they went in developed other ideas when in the service or since they got out.

Personally, I’m not at all impressed with Beth Payne, the anarchist Mr. Lemon interviewed for her article. She strikes me as an idealist, but not someone who has extensive tactical training, or who would have a clue how to execute a bounding maneuver if her life depended on it.

But there were guys in her group that I suspect would, and I think the fools on both sides chomping at the bit for militant conflict aren’t going to be quite as thrilled when the well-trained folks on both sides start laying down accurate fire and people wearing “Make American Great Again” hats are writhing on the ground beside anarchists with sucking chest wounds.

Let us make no mistake: both sides are going to take horrendous casualties if things escalate to the point of violence, am I’m not sure than anyone has a clear view of what future this nation has as a republic if things escalate to the point of factionalized warfare in American cities.