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West Michigan Far Right Watch for the week of September 13 – 20

September 20, 2020

Welcome to the next installment of West Michigan Far Right Watch, where we keep tabs on the far right in this area and provide a summary of what they are up to and what kind of messages they are promoting in this community.

We have 2 examples to share with you this week. The first example comes to us from the West Michigan Policy Forum (WMPF). The West Michigan Policy Forum is made up of representatives of the area’s Capitalist Class and the goal of this group is to influence state policy in Michigan, primarily so it benefits those with economic and political power.

The WMPF posted a link to a video statement from Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, who said that the state would never close again because of COVID 19. This is what the WMPF wrote with that post:

As Michigan businesses continue to show they can safely be open, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is sharing his thoughts on some of the hidden downsides of lockdowns and how his state moved forward despite calls to lock down this summer. Scroll forward to the 35-minute mark in the video to hear why he says Florida will never be locked down again. 

According to the CDC, Florida has one of the highest rates of COVID 19 deaths in the country, with over 13,000 deaths.  The WMPF has consistently opposed Gov. Whitmer’s stance on COVID 19, since they are more concerned about business profits than they are about the general well being of the community in West Michigan. Using Florida as an example of state policy that refuses to protect the public, just demonstrates the West Michigan Policy Forum’s belief in profit before people.

Our second example focuses on the group, Voice For the Badge (VFB). VFB has only been around for a couple of years and they began organizing as various social movements have called for greater accountability with the GRPD, as well as defunding of the GRPD. Essentially, the VFB is an apologist of the GRPD and its treatment of Black, Brown and other marginalized communities. The VFB has primarily used social media as a forum to organize, but they now have their own website

The website for VFB is not very interesting, nor is it very informative. There is one video on the site, which center’s on Johnny Brann’s fight with the City over his banners and flags on his restaurant. What is instructive, is the list of board members that serve on the VFB.

What is instructive about these board members, is not just their defense of the Thin Blue Line and the GRPD, but the larger ideological framework that they embrace. Johnny Brann is on the board, and you can see from the VFB Facebook page that he makes lots of nationalistic and jingoistic comments about the US being the “greatest country on the planet” and his comments after the May 30th uprising are indicative of what he thinks about anyone who questions the cops.

Another VFB boar member is Susan Brubacher. Her Facebook page is also filled with pro-police propaganda, like the one on 9/13, which shows Trump supporters praising cops. Brubacher also makes posts supporting GOP candidates and stupid memes about socialism, like the one here.

Then there is Jack Potes. Besides all of the pro-policing messages on his FB page, he also reposts from a page called All Cop Lives Matter, which, like All Lives Matter, directly dismisses and demeans the Black Lives Matter message. Potes also has anti-LGBT and anti-queer posts on his FB page.

One last example of a VFB board member embracing far right ideology is Susie Damore. Damore doesn’t have an FB profile, but she has been in the news because of her support for Donald Trump. WXMI 17 did a short story about her making pro-Trump cookies in 2015, to sell at a Make America Great Again sale.

What is important to note about the Board members of Voice For the Badge, is that their uncritical view of the police fails to recognize the systemic harm that policing does to the Black community and other communities of color. This means that their defense of the GRPD is also rooted in a racist, White Supremacist ideology. The racist/White Supremacist ideology also informs their nationalism and their general support for systems of power and privilege.

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