Fight back on a bike! Get this Red Bike Guy shirt and more at RedBikeGuy.com.
Fight back on a bike! Get this Red Bike Guy shirt and more at RedBikeGuy.com.
My simple act of heckling fascists on the National Mall became a viral sensation that appeared in articles and TV clips around the world.
Friends in the UK and Germany saw it. Relatives spotted me on CNN. I received emails from Australia and India. It was a wild experience.
Here’s a roundup of new stories about Red Bike Guy.
The Washington Post
The New Republic
The Independent asked me to write about my experience as “RedBikeGuy” heckling fascists in DC.
I was glad to share my story. I’ve been delighted at the positive response that I’ve received. Humor is a really good way to respond to extremists since it undermines their seriousness and makes them out to be a joke – which is what they are, these young men in khakis and plastic shields longing for a mythical American past that never existed.
It’s also important to confront them. Early in the Trump years, I read On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century by Timothy Snyder and it shaped my thinking on how to resist the right-wing. It says to stand up and defend democracy. Groups like the Patriot Front march in places like DC to create the illusion that they are powerful and accepted; I wanted them to know that everyone hated them.
Read more about my RedBikeGuy experience in I’m the lone cyclist who faced down a white supremacist march. Here’s how to do it published in The Independent.
I yelled at the Patriot Front because I didn’t think they should march through DC unopposed.
There are always counterprotestors to the fascists. I’m the one who takes the photos; I leave the counterprotesting to the professionals with their megaphones and signs.
But on Saturday, the Patriot Front slipped into the city without telling anyone (except the cops). There were no counterprotestors.
I had to be the counterprotestor, to represent all the people in DC who despise these right-wing cosplayers.
Rolling up on bikeshare, it was an absolutely perfect tableau as the young chuds listened their dapper leader speechify at the Washington Monument.
And I was going to crash it!
I didn’t know I was being filmed, and that it would go viral, and that I would hear my name on Rachel Maddow within a couple days. At that moment, I was just determined to ruin their day.
Update: check out the new RedBikeGuy site for some of your favorite insults on a t-shirt!
Did world civilization peak in 2019? Is it all downhill from here as the world devolves into warring regional blocks? Will mass starvation stalk most of the globe in the coming years?
The answer to all these questions is yes, according to The End of the World is Just the Beginning: Mapping the Collapse of Globalization by Peter Zeihan.
His thesis is simple. While globalization has lifted billions of people around the world out of poverty, that progress was only possible due to a unique, post-war moment in which the US Navy protected the sea lanes. Now that America is withdrawing from the world, the benefits of trade will disappear as we slide into a new anarchy. The result will be a collapse in living standards, as world powers devolve into regional blocs.
It’s grim reading, with sections outlining the future of manufacturing, agriculture, transportation and other key sectors.
It’s also repetitive – over and over again, Zeihan repeats his thesis that the “Order” established by the United States after 1945 is ending.
I read the first few sections and skimmed the rest, as I imagined most readers do, for the book is far too long and filled with digressions and snarky asides.
Zeihan is Malthusian, extrapolating from current trends to predict future history.
But predicting the future is risky business, as Thomas Robert Malthus discovered in the 19th century when England didn’t starve, despite a dramatic increase in population. That didn’t stop seers from predicting another global famine in the 1970s or that oil would be gone by 2000.
None of them anticipated the green revolution which increased crop yields or our ability to wring oil out of tar sands.
And no one saw the rise of the Internet which has revolutionized our politics.
Demography is destiny, according to Zeihan. China is destined to collapse because it will soon have too many old people and not enough young people to support them.
America has a more balanced demographic mix, despite the huge bulge of Baby Boomers, due to the counterbalance of their children, the Millennial Generation.
And it’s this generation that may save the United States – and possibly the world.
Zeihan is assuming that all trends will remain the same. That Americans will want to get married, live in the suburbs and buy cheap crap from Target.
But what if that wasn’t true? Millennials have already shown a reluctance to purchase autos (possibly due to their high expense) and engage in the other “normal” markers of adulthood, like having sex. They are the most non-traditional generation in American history.
And I believe that they are poised to radically remake American society, which has become too expensive, stratified and dominated by retrograde conservatism. Why should they support a society that makes college expensive and guns cheap? That provides drugs but not homes?
This is a generation with a progressive spirit that knows how to organize and work collectively. No wonder that Baby Boomers have fought their children so fiercely, for they are the antithesis of the Me Generation, and their rise to power may prevent the grim future outlined in The End of the World is Just the Beginning.
The J6-loving chuds of Freedom Corner hate the mainstream media yet desperately crave mainstream media attention.
They spent hours talking to a couple of Washington Post reporters during their nightly vigil outside the DC Jail, fantasizing that they would get legitimate press coverage instead of write-ups in right-wing sites that nobody reads or mockery by local blogs.
Instead, they got played, as the Washington Post published, Behind Trump’s musical tribute to some of the most violent Jan. 6 rioters, an expose on the J6 prisoner song. It’s a damning piece that highlights the horrific nature of the crimes committed by J6ers and the cushy conditions of the DC Jail.
Freedom Corner often refers to the DC Jail as a “gulag.” But what kind of gulag allows prisoners their own wing and access to iPads? It’s such a gulag that the prisoners were able to record a song and release it to the world, something that certainly doesn’t occur in the non-J6 wing of the jail.
The article includes quotes from J6 vigil organizers but doesn’t even include the name of their protest: Freedom Corner.
One of the very basic rules of PR is that if you talk to the reporters, you want to get the name of your organization in the piece. But since Freedom Corner is incompetent, they didn’t even manage to get their name in an article! That has to be galling for people who have devoted months to this treasonous cause.
And, as a final insult, in the video clip included with the article, you can hear anti-chud trolls yelling in the background. To be forever paired with their trolls has to be deflating to all but the most deluded J6 enthusiast.
Read The Washington Post article. It demonstrates that the J6 “martyrs” are violent terrorists and that those trying to create this myth are traitors.
A man dances barefoot on the street, megaphone in hand, wearing the red robe and gold crown of a king. Across from him, a bald head peers over the walls of a makeshift cardboard fort to yell threats.
It’s just another night on Freedom Corner outside the DC Jail, where January 6th supporters battle counterprotestors in a chaotic war of light, sound and insults.
Hundreds of people watch the struggle on YouTube, tuned in to live streamers from both sides. Absurd moments from the fight are clipped, remixed and parodied:
The Festering of Freedom Corner sometimes seems like a scene straight out of a classic sitcom.
Is this a glaring glitch in the simulation? 💀 pic.twitter.com/RKsRo7DaSC
— Baldy Banks (@BaldyBanks) March 30, 2023
Freedom Corner has freed no one, despite meeting with Kevin McCarthy, Marjorie Taylor Green and others. The much vaunted January 6th tapes released to Tucker Carlson changed nothing. Even the support of Donald Trump didn’t change a thing. The “machine” as the J6ers calls the court, grinds on, finer and finer, as insurrectionists are caught, prosecuted and punished.
No matter. The grift continues, a nightly cash cow, as live streamers beg for money online. Donations roll in through YouTube, Cash app and Grift Send Go. How much Freedom Corner collects and what the dollars are used for is unknown. These are “charities” that don’t file any of the required paperwork with the IRS.
Interrupting this grift are counterprotestors, who honed their skills mocking the 1776 Restoration Movement. They relentlessly home in on the weaknesses and embarrassing moments of Freedom Corner in a comedic assault.
Music is a key weapon. In addition to being traitors, the J6ers are homophobes. To disrupt their vigil, the counterprotestors like to blast Ram Ranch, which begins:
18 naked cowboys in the showers at Ram Ranch
And goes downhill (or uphill, depending on your preference) from there.
Both sides have portable speakers to drown out each other. The J6ers like playing traditional country and some terrible right-wing rap (which I don’t think they actually like).
But there is one song that rules all others. A cardboard wall cannot keep out its infectious beat. Ironically, this dirty ditty was recorded by one of the vigil-goers before she found Jesus and Trump.
Do not listen to this, unless you want the obscene chorus in your head:
By popular demand, here‘s our dance mix of Corinnge’s live performance on Chud Corner last night.
— Baldy Banks (@BaldyBanks) April 1, 2023
Baldy Banks and Sam Singe do more than just create funny videos. Viewers can’t get enough their mockery so they created Damnation Drive-In, which is like the Daily Show of Freedom Corner, as well as being a live watch show where people can view and comment on livestreams.
If you’re new to Freedom Corner, none of this will make any sense at all, sort of like tuning into Game of Thrones mid-season. But for devoted followers of this comedy of insurrectionist incompetence, it’s must-see TV:
Freedom Corner has a doxxing problem. They like “exposing” agitators, i.e., the counterprotestors. Unfortunately, they are terrible at it and keep doxxing the wrong people, exposing innocent families to harassment.
One of the people that they tried and failed to dox was the counterprotester known as Biketifa. They call him that because he rides a bike (originality is not their strong suit). They “researched” him and “uncovered” his true identity as a lawyer with an inactive license in Northern Virginia.
Because they’re not good with details, words or spelling they called Biketifa a “bard lawyer” which prompted visions of a poet/attorney solving cases and writing poems.
Biketifa may not be a poet or a lawyer (or maybe he is) but he is an excellent street artist. In response to the failed doxxing, he covered the streets around Freedom Corner with posters detailing the crimes of the J6 supporters.
— OfNone (@HerbalCrone) April 7, 2023
And he does chalk art:
Pass it around before Chud dumps all his water on it bahahahaha pic.twitter.com/8Eyzzz3Twb
— Biketifa Esq. (@BIKETIFA) April 13, 2023
Biketifa is having so much fun mocking the J6ers that he even opened his own eBay store selling chud art.
You may wonder: have the J6ers of Freedom Corner done anything funny? Not deliberately. Their attempts at humor are crass and unfunny, like putting up posters calling a counterprotester a $5 whore or crude MS Paint jobs of people dressed as clowns. That’s it. That’s the funny on their side.
Mockery works since it’s deflating, taking a serious issue and turning it into a joke.
And the humor has crept over the cardboard walls of Freedom Corner and into the heads of the J6ers.
For example, one of the J6ers was nicknamed Chud by the counterprotestors, a name that goes back to the 1776 Restoration Movement, when he shambled around DC like a slow-moving, art-hating Sasquatch.
The name has been used with so much frequency that even the J6ers refer to their comrade as, “Chud.” They’ve been caught on tape using the name that counterprotestors coined rather than the Chudster’s real one. He is Chud now, to both sides of the street.
That’s when you know you’ve won.
Freedom Corner is a joke.
Covid isolation. An empty downtown. Black Lives Matter protests and a long hot summer of political turmoil, culminating in a contentious election. Then a wild party in the streets as the Biden win was confirmed. Finally, the Trump years were over and the people of Washington could relax. Or could they?
Revisit the tumultuous events of an election year in DC 2020: The Story of a Year.
In my first ever photo book, I set out to capture not only the marches and demonstrations, but also ordinary life beyond the monuments for the people of the nation’s capital, as well as the murals that covered the empty storefronts in 2020.
DC 2020: The Story of a Year is a book of street photography takes us back to one of the most momentous years in American history.
For seven months, the Freedom Corner Cult has held nightly “vigils” outside the DC Jail. These are weird cult parties, where they chant the name of Ashli Babbitt, swill booze from travel mugs and blast the neighborhood with calls for rebellion.
Their aim is simple: free all the January 6th prisoners.
The Freedom Corner Cult doesn’t live in DC. Despite this, they believe that the 1900 block of E St SE belongs to them, and with the apparent support of the police, they have harassed neighbors and counterprotestors, one of whom they creepily stalked all the way back to his van.
— Can’tWaitTilTheyRealizeThe”NewVideo”Won’tHelpJ6ers (@violet__rosie) March 18, 2023
It’s been a nightly shitshow, a spinoff of the highly unsuccessful 1776 Restoration Movement, which was a debauched version of the trucker convoy (cancelled after one season), featuring many of the same characters and the same problems (who stole the money?).
Devoted viewers know where to find it on YouTube and the #freedomcorner hashtag on Twitter.
Thanks to the brave work of DOA, Biketifa and the Commish, we learned that the Freedom Corner Cult does not own the corner on E Street by the DC Jail, despite what the police have told them in the past.
Last night, the talented trio of activists got to the corner before the cult. Instead of begging for GriftSendGo donations for personal use, like the J6ers do, they held a fundraiser For Jesse, a family that is struggling with ALS.
For this good deed, they were assaulted by the Freedom Corner Cult, who washed away their #FreeJesse chalk messages on the sidewalk and then tried to physically remove the fundraisers from “their” corner.
Members of J6Vigil interrupt the #savejesse fundraiser dumping water on the chalk-art they had spent an hour on. J6Vigill needs to end. Why is DC Mayor Muriel Bowser letting the J6Vigil continue?? #safedc #evictfreedomcorner #J6Vigil pic.twitter.com/4K8FM7a6Bu
— Crazy Ivan (@jSTERRETTr) March 18, 2023
Warning for bad language and fascist behavior:
Tonight, I helped retake #FreedomCorner from aggressive January 6 supporters behind the cemetery prison and fundraised money for someone suffering from ALS while doing so. #ForJesse #J6 #EndALS pic.twitter.com/Dy4FKnvAYG
— Patricia Eguino (@PatriciaEguino) March 19, 2023
Attacks on counterprotestors escalated to an attempt to scale the walls of Congressional Cemetery, in a scene reminiscent of the Night of the Living Dead.
— agent of chaos (@RumsMick) March 18, 2023
DOA, Biketifa and the Commish refused to leave, forcing the police to acknowledge what they knew all along – the J6ers have no permit! Seven months of setting up loudspeakers and blasting Capitol Hill with calls for sedition, without any official permission to do so.
You have as much right to that corner as they do.
— agent of chaos (@RumsMick) March 18, 2023
The police separated the two sides, setting up orange barriers to keep them apart. The Freedom Corner Cult was enraged. They complained to the police, yelled homophobic slurs, made death threats and blasted the trio with lights and blaring music.
The Freedom Corner Cult uses lynch mob tactics to intimidate enemies. They try to surround and overwhelm opponents. Individually, they are weak, but as part of a mob (like on January 6th), they are dangerous.
It takes real bravery to go down a dark, dead-end street to confront J6ers. I salute the heroes who reclaimed “freedom corner” for the people.
@PatriciaEguino @BIKETIFA @JuryNullify420 Thank you for your activism tonight. It was so great to see that corner used for good💞 #ForJesse #NoWhiteFlags #ThisIsDemocracy#TransRightsAreHumanRights pic.twitter.com/GNFgoikj9E
— Chihuahua Files 💙🌈❣ (@nursebetty88) March 19, 2023
The squalid January 6th cult known as “Freedom Corner” was the focus of The Cult of the January 6th Martyrs by Laura Jedeed in the New Republic.
It’s an excellent article that captures the essential weirdness of the nightly vigil outside the DC Jail. Jedeed describes how the group chants the names of imprisoned rioters and then the response “hero” like some apocalyptic church. Followed by the benediction:
“So let’s say her name,” the man says once he’s finished with the list. The crowd roars to life and chants in unison the name above the woman on their T-shirts, over and over: “Ashli Babbitt! Ashli Babbitt!”
She also highlights the false piety of the group, which claims to be interested in prison reform, but only for one group of prisoners: the J6ers. They want to see them freed but don’t care about the justice system, longing to install Trump as dictator-for-life.
I’ve been following the “Freedom Corner” cult for a while, for they are descendants of the earlier trucker convoy and 1776 Restoration Movement (1776RM) cults.
Some context and an update.
“Freedom Corner” is in the 1900 block of E Street SE, where the street dead-ends against the DC Jail.
The whole block has bad energy, even during the day. The street slopes down from Capitol Hill, leaving you isolated with the looming jail on one side and the brick walls of Congressional Cemetery on the other. You feel both cut off from the nearby Capitol Hill neighborhood and under surveillance from the cameras located on the outside of the jail.
At night, it is even worse. The vigil starts at 7 PM. Police cars line the block as you approach, followed by the QAnon-covered vehicles of the J6ers, who drive in from the suburbs. Ahead is the corner, on the right-hand side of the street, bathed in the light of live-streaming YouTubers. Behind orange barriers, a dozen or so cultists wave flags and blare music next to posters of J6 “victims” like Ashli Babbitt and, outrageously, Brian Sicknick, who the J6ers killed.
Across the street, the occasional counterprotester with a bullhorn yells at them, as officers watch from their vehicles.
Despite having no permit, the J6ers on “Freedom Corner” believe that the street belongs to them. And I don’t blame them. A Metropolitan Police Department officer told a counterprotester that the J6ers “reserved” the corner.
You can’t reserve a corner in DC. They’re also violating the Safe Accommodations Act, which states that if you block the sidewalk, then you have to provide an ADA-compliant alternative for pedestrians. They also regularly trespass upon historic Congressional Cemetery, by putting flags and candles on its walls, and sneaking into the graveyard to piss.
Not to mention forcing the shutdown of the cemetery to film the worst rap music video in global history.
— Jane (@jam6242) March 2, 2023
Most nights, it’s more of a party than a demonstration. White ladies drink wine. There is a buffet. People dance and catch up with their insurrectionist friends.
If you join one cult, you’ll join another. That’s the surprising lesson from Cultish, an excellent book on why people give their lives to a cult. People looking for community and a sense of purpose gravitate toward cults.
“Freedom Corner” is a descendent of the earlier trucker convoy and 1776RM cults. The YouTubers who were members of those fascist cults migrated to “Freedom Corner” when their previous efforts collapsed.
Counterprotesters including Anarchy Princess and DOA followed them, making “Freedom Corner” like a spin-off of 1776RM, with the same characters and the same “insurrectionist losers” chants.
Also, the YouTubers who “cover” the corner are not journalists, despite wearing “press” badges that they purchased online. They are active participants in the movement, who provide material support for their fellow insurrectionists. If there is trouble with the police, they claim to be press, but once it dies down, they go back to yucking it up with their friends.
The YouTubers are making money off the plight of the J6 prisoners, collecting super chats and online donations from their tales of woe.
As I learned from following 1776RM, the truth is always more squalid than the high-minded ideals that cultists espouse in public. There is always a fight over money, power and sex.
One of the figures profiled in The Cult of the January 6th Martyrs is Randy Ireland, a NY Proud Boy who wrote a handbook on how to riot.
He’s been the emcee of the “Freedom Corner” vigils. The one with the microphone who takes calls from prisoners and even plays the guitar some nights.
Until he was gone. The vigil announced that he had gone off to work on another project.
Another vigil participant, Tommy Tatum, who directed rioters on January 6th and more recently harassed Capitol Police officers, accused Ireland of stealing from the cult:
How do you con a con? Everyone at “Freedom Corner” is grifting and trying to get their share while they can.
If the J6 vigil really cared about the prisoners, they wouldn’t broadcast their calls on YouTube, where they could incriminate themselves further.
But then they wouldn’t get super chats and big-figure donations. They wouldn’t get media exposure and be praised by Donald Trump. They would not be glamorous. Instead, they would just be ordinary people, without access to the money, power and sex that they get for being part of the J6 cult.
“Freedom Corner” is a con, a shallow and dingy copy of the long-running grift that Donald Trump has been running for years.