The Juggalo March On Washington Has A Ninja Feeling Excited
Well, the big Juggalo March on Washington is just a few days away and I am atwitter with excitement, enthusiasm and anticipation as well as a little concerned. When Insane Clown Posse announced that it would be following in the footsteps of some historically dope ass ninjas like Martin Luther King, easily one of the freshest figures in American history, in marching on Washington to fight for their rights, I was overjoyed.
When the March was announced during the Insane Clown Posse’s 2016 Seminar lecture at the Gathering of there Juggalos, I had just spent a few days in the fetid swamp waters of the Republican National Convention writing about the intersection of Juggalo Culture and American politics. For my own selfish purposes, and the purposes of the piece I was writing both for Mel magazine and the people who contributed to the crowd-funding campaign that would soon birth 7 Days in Ohio, I needed the Gathering to be more intense and politically charged than ever before and for the Republican National Convention to be a deranged, C-list carnival sideshow.
My wishes were fulfilled. Oh sweet lord were they ever fulfilled. The Republican National Convention was a third rate variety show featuring the low-wattage likes of Scott Baio and Antonio Sabato Jr. and ICP of course announced that they would be stepping into the political sphere like never before with a March on Washington to protest the F.B.I designating Juggalos as loosely organized hybrid gang.
At the end of 7 Days In Ohio, I contemplated the exceedingly unlikely possibility that Trump would shock and horrify the world by getting elected President in violent defiance of God’s will and common sense, and Juggalos would plant a Hatchet Man flag on the front lawn of Trump’s White House. The scenario seemed too preposterous to worry about but 13 months later, here we are.
ICP announced the March on Washington over a year ago, but because it was Juggalo shit the media ignored it for five months or so, until, “Juggalos are marching on Washington or whatever, LOL” became a tardy, if irresistible headline for snarky online articles.
The Juggalo March has novelty working for it, but it wasn’t until a theoretically huge Alt-Right rally was scheduled opposite it on the same day and in the same place that it was able to add “conflict” to the mix.
As a Progressive Juggalo, I have a clear conception of who I want ICP to be and what I want them to say.
I want them, very clearly and loudly, to say, “Fuck Donald Trump.” I want them to say “Fuck the Alt-Right.” I want them to say “Black Lives Matter” and fight all profiling and police brutality, not just the kind that directly affects them, their business and their fans.
And that just has not happened. ICP has continued to depict themselves as apolitical and concerned only with the FBI gang issue. They’ve professed to be too ignorant to know or care about politics beyond their one issue. In another context, that might qualify as refreshing candor. In the current political and social climate, however, I’m not sure any of us have the luxury of being able to not know or care about politics.
That said, I can’t exactly say that I’m shocked that Shaggy 2 Dope does not appear to be “woke” in the traditional sense, or that Violent J does not seem to be embracing inter-sectionalism or seeing his own struggle within the context of an international underclass.
I’m not ICP. I’m not Psychopathic Records. True, I was asked to write an editorial for the Psychopathic Records website about the March, but in that article I was expressing my own opinions and conception of the March, and no one else’s. Actually, that's not entirely true. I was recently asked to be a speaker at the March, and gleefully accepted.
I’m just a guy who has written about ICP a lot and for a long time and feels invested in the duo and its fans in multiple different ways. I’m a Juggalo. I’m family. But I never allow myself to forget that I entered this scene as a skeptical outsider.
I’ve romanticized and idealized ICP and Juggalos in my writing. In my books and articles about ICP, I’ve promoted a narrative of ICP and Juggalos as misunderstood and unfairly maligned survivors who have created a loving and inclusive subculture that has proven surprisingly strong and resilient.
I still believe that’s true, but I also know that’s not the whole story. It’s also a narrative that was not created in a vacuum. The “Juggalos as working class heroes” narrative was crafted partially to counter the snarky, classist, smug “Juggalos are racist, meth-addled human garbage” narrative that pop culture has lazily held onto because it’s easier to make fun of people than understand them.
I definitely erred on the side of portraying ICP and Juggalos as an overwhelmingly positive force. With the march on the horizon, I’m increasingly confronted with the reality that Juggalo nation is big and weird and heterogeneous and complicated and conflicted, even when it’s trying to come together behind a cause.
Are their racist and Alt-Right Juggalos? Of course, just as there are racist and alt-right fans of every act, including Belle & Sebastian. But I do very much believe that on the whole, Juggalos are open-minded and accepting and good-hearted and look out for each other, with the exceptions you find in every group, including Bernie Sanders supporters, 12 percent of whom apparently voted for Donald Trump. Does that 12 percent make Bernie supporters Trump-loving human garbage? Of course not, just as racist Juggalos don’t reflect the sum of Juggalo nation, particularly since ICP is very overtly anti-racist.
I believe in ICP and Juggalos. I believe in the March and its objectives but I also know the world is a complicated and fraught and crazy-making and tense place. Why should Juggalo nation be any different?
I’ve spent much o the last 6 years defending Juggalos and ICP to “respectable” people, acting as something of a Juggalo whisperer. Something tells me that what goes down on September 16th in D.C will make that either a whole lot easier or a whole lot harder.
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