Founded: The Boogaloo movement formed in far-right online platforms like 4chan over the past decade — spreading through memes and shitposting — before spilling into reallife protests and acts of violence, beginning around 2020.
Core beliefs: The Boogaloo name derives from a much-memed movie sequel — Breakin’ 2: Electric Boogaloo. The militants seek their own sequel, a new civil war, shorthanded as the ‘Boogaloo,’ which is seen as both imminent and necessary.
The Boogaloo Bois are decentralized and leaderless, and the ideology — while centered on violent revolution — is not fixed. Some Bois are avowed white supremacists seeking to build a white ethnostate. Others are more anarchic in their orientation, wanting to distribute power to a heavily armed populace.
The Boogaloo arose, in part, as a reaction to traditional militias aligning themselves with the Trump administration — “a place for purists who think the militia movement sold out,” says Friedfeld. Boogaloo Bois win converts with irony and dark humor. But the goofy iconography — a revolutionary flag with a big igloo — and the movement’s de facto uniform, Hawaiian shirts, obscure their violent agenda. Unlike the Oath Keepers, who revere law enforcement, Boogaloo Bois are hostile to police: Boogaloo culture refers to a Big Luau (a rough homonym for “Boogaloo”) that unmistakably includes roasting “pigs.”
Approach to violence: Unabashedly offensive. “They believe the threshold of violence has already been crossed,” says Kriner. “Violence underpins everything that they do,” adds Friedfeld. “The concept is literally based around a future civil war.” Individual Boogaloo Bois have been linked to a raft of violent plots, including allegedly scheming to firebomb a power station, incite riots, possess machine guns, and toss Molotov cocktails at cops.
Key moments: A militant who pleaded guilty to federal charges in the plot to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer imagined that the act would jump-start the Boogaloo. One self-styled “Boojahideen” was sentenced to 36 months in prison in March for conspiring to provide material support to the militant group Hamas.