Don’t extend gang classification, abolish it

Source: Center for a Stateless Society
by Jason Lee Byas

“After antifa clashed with right-wing protesters in Berkeley, Mayor Jesse Arreguin argued that California ‘should classify [Antifa] as a gang.’ Later this month, juggalos — fans of the rap group Insane Clown Posse (ICP) — will protest their own federal gang classification in Washington, DC. Gang classification is commonly misunderstood. ICP themselves were originally amused and even emboldened by the FBI’s classification of their fans, since it seemed like a symbolic gesture. Indeed, there is a symbolic element. When people want juggalos, antifa, or any group legally branded as a gang, it’s partly a call for harsh public condemnation. Like actual branding, though, the mark of gang classification comes with very real physical violence. Once a group is formally classified as a gang, police can extend that status to individuals through questionable evidence.” (09/13/17)