Since we left the Redneck Revolt network and published this update, a lot of our friends also left while preparing a statement from a newly-discovered survivor detailing sexual assault from a former member of an Arizona chapter of Redneck Revolt, Dave Strano.
We stand with that survivor, previous survivors, and those chapters that left the network. You can read multiple statements from former chapters online about the recent rift and why they left. Frankly, they know more about this than we do, and we’d rather center their stories over ours.
Yet, there’s some back story: In 2017, there was a previous sexual assault accusation against that same Phoenix member. Our chapter had been forefront in writing the proposal to ban that member from the network while pushing for an accountability process due to that incident, and we’ve published details of which we were aware.
We are disappointed that the process was minimized and not followed in either letter or spirit, and the member who was accused of assault was eventually allowed to be connected to Redneck Revolt without the rest of the network’s knowledge. (For example, he was connecting with allies on behalf of the network and the national Redneck Revolt Facebook group was sharing posts from his other project, Land & Liberty Tactical. The network was not made aware of his connection to that project and how Redneck Revolt’s influence was effectively helping Strano organize under a different banner.)
Before this, another now-dechartered Redneck Revolt chapter from Portland, Rose City, came out very strongly and publicly against both the accused and the network’s handling of the situation. They had concerns that the network’s handling was not enough and that people aligned with the accused would not fully separate him from the network.
We didn’t know it until the end, but Rose City was absolutely right.
We had imagined an ideal accountability process that ended up not being followed. We had hoped the process would be survivor-centered; if the survivors chose not to participate or disagreed with the process, the process could not complete and the accused would not be able to rejoin the network. We wanted transparency so that the third-party facilitator’s reports and updates would be open to the network. This also was not the case.
There were concerns that friends of the accused would use the accountability process as a shield, and that’s exactly what has happened.
Rose City was excoriated by the rest of the network for going public, and a vote was held to remove them from the network. We defended Rose City and, with a small number of other chapters as a minority coalition, blocked the vote against kicking them out. They ended up leaving anyways. That’s right around the time when we won the proposal to ban Strano from the network.
We were targeted for our support of Rose City and action against Strano. We publicized banning him and were attacked for it. Then we drafted an accountability process for our own chapter and were public that it was a response to Strano. We were suspended in retaliation. We were secretly blacklisted from participating in national working groups. We fought for changes to the bylaws to prevent this in the future and then got attacked again. People allied with Strano and against us would even prevent our funding proposals from being put forward for voting.
Eventually, we formally quit to focus on local organizing (although most of our members had already quit the national organization months before due to organizational dysfunction), but supported allies in the network who were working to fix the several problems with the network.
Then the Redneck Revolt network collapsed and lost several chapters when it was discovered that Strano was violating the ban that we wrote.
The John Brown Gun Club brand existed before Redneck Revolt was founded by Dave Strano. We keep in contact with the original founder of the JBGC name, former anarchist political prisoner Chris Plummer. He previously used the name in his speaking tour launched in Austin before traveling to Kansas and other states, including distributing the first JBGC shirts. We’ll keep publicizing that fact because we want people to know the difference so they don’t get trapped in the wrong organizations, should any JBGC choose to stay in their network. It is not Strano’s brand, and we will not cede John Brown’s legacy to him.
So, lessons learned? Believe survivors, to the point that your accountability process is seen through actions, because accountability requires action. And, unless there are big changes, stay away from the Redneck Revolt network.