Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Insane Clown Posse Sues FBI over Gang Classification

J.G. Vibes
Activist Post

Every year the FBI releases their annual National Gang Threat Assessment, an official memo that lists and describes the gangs and terrorist organizations that the agency has their eye on. The list is usually a mix of legitimately violent gangs, as well as nonviolent activist groups, local community militias and generally anyone who the government doesn't like. Last November the most recent edition of this list caught the attention of the alternative rap group The Insane Clown Posse because their fans were actually featured on this list.

The Insane Clown Posse has a large cult following which refer to themselves as “Juggalos” and wear the merchandise and colors of the group. This is similar to concept behind the “Dead Heads” that followed the Grateful Dead in the '60s, or the “Kiss Army” of the 70s.

The vast majority of these people are just music fans who have found acceptance in a social group, and while most of them are far from mainstream there is absolutely no reason for them to be classified as a violent gang. The apparent reasoning behind this classification is that since there have been incidences where people identifying with this group have committed crimes, that means that there is a calculated and organized effort behind these crimes. 

This sort of collectivistic reasoning is typical of government, but it is very dangerous to judge whole entire groups of people according to the actions of individuals. The FBI has recently had problems distinguishing ordinary American Muslims from terrorists, so it should come as no surprise that they cant tell the difference between a social clique and a terrorist cell.


On August 24, ICP’s legal team filed a Freedom of Information Act request demanding the FBI release whatever information led the organization to label Juggalos a gang. After getting no response from the agency the band’s representatives filed suit against the FBI in the U.S. District Court for “its failure to produce any documentary evidence in support of the FBI’s classification of the groups’ fan base.” 

The lawsuit was not simply motivated on grounds of professional slander, this classification has created serious life problems for the groups fan base. Earlier this year, one Albuquerque Juggalo ended up on New Mexico’s Most Wanted List after skipping probation specifically because of his ties to the Insane Clown Posse fan base.

Last month ICP’s label launched JuggalosFightBack.com, a web site where Juggalos who believe their legal rights have been violated can submit their stories for the label’s legal team to review at no cost. The company has also set up a booth at the Gathering where Juggalos could share their experiences with the Detroit lawyer who’d be building the case against the government. The plan is for more suits to be filed based on all of the new evidence that is being collected.

If you have any questions or disagreements feel free to email me at jgvibes@aotmr.com

J.G. Vibes is the author of an 87 chapter counter culture textbook called Alchemy of the Modern Renaissance and host of a show called Voluntary Hippie Radio. He is also an artist with an established record label and event promotion company that hosts politically charged electronic dance music events. You can keep up with his work, which includes free podcasts, free e-books & free audiobooks at his website www.aotmr.com .


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