PLEASE AVOID SHARING ON SOCIAL MEDIA. We would prefer to facilitate dialog regarding these issues directly and between comrades making decisions about who to work with. We aren’t interested in social media flame wars. This blog is an attempt to collect and publicize the experiences that people across the country have had interacting with, dating/partnered with, organizing/working with, and being friends with Dave Strano, also known by Dave Grasso or Dave Durruti on social media. The content goes back to 2005 and runs until the present. This is a warning and explanation why we think this man should be dealt with cautiously, if at all. Each person wrote their own thoughts, and did so with their own intentions. They should be taken as a continuum highlighting the ways in which Dave’s behavior has not changed since these accounts began in 2005, but not as a unified voice or opinion. Please read and share with those you think should be aware of his extensive history. The authors have remained anonymous on purpose, please respect that in your sharing of these texts.

For more information e-mail

Community responses can be read here

To Those Inclined to Support Dave

Why I didn’t listen, and why I should have

This contribution to this conversation is about 8 years too late. I had an early chance to intervene in Dave’s toxic pattern of power and abuse in the anarchist community in Denver and didn’t. I want to share some thoughts along with this story about what I did and didn’t do as a message to anyone who is in a working relationship with Dave presently, and is in shock or disbelief at the other stories on this blog.

I met Dave around the time of Democratic National Convention in Denver in 2008. Shortly after, I started to see him around Denver more. He was sitting in the kitchen of a collective house I frequented one day when he informed me that he was going to move to Denver, to take over business operations at a local print shop. I was impressed by his breadth of knowledge and drive to make this worker owned print shop into an anarchist collective, and excited to have someone who I perceived as really experienced to the struggle join our community and contribute this valuable resource. I was 19 at the time.

Shortly after Dave moved to Denver, I ran into his ex-partner from Lawrence at an anarchist gathering. I remember clearly when she asked if we could talk about something, and took me aside to talk about Dave. In my memory we were walking through a wooded area in the summertime, and she told me vaguely that Dave had a problematic history in Lawrence, had left on bad terms, and was not to be trusted. I nodded, said okay, I don’t remember contributing that much to the conversation. I imagine it seemed like I took the conversation seriously, but I certainly didn’t, and didn’t ask for more detailed information. I liked Dave, he was very communicative, seemed kind and reasonable and like a total anarchist badass, and I also did not have a strong relationship with his ex-partner, didn’t think too much about her warning, and soon after, didn’t think about it for years.

This was a terrible mistake, and one that I hold onto to this day.

Dave and I never became really close personally, but I did consider him a respectable comrade for a long time. I would stop by the print shop to hang out, he would print materials for my organizing projects, I went to his wedding. I volunteered sparingly with projects at the community space he helped to run and thought of him as a friend until near the end of his participation with Denver ABC and the print shop. However, I always was wary of Denver ABC and kept it at an arm’s length- going to a letter writing night here and there and helping with events but I never wanted to get fully involved. There was a culture surrounding it that I didn’t feel right about, and in time began to notice a particular pattern of queer and femme folks who were involved with the collective leaving, and venting to me about the ways they felt shut down and shut out. In my head I eventually decided it encompassed a culture of misogyny and manarchism (although I generally liked everyone I met who worked with DABC) and spent the last few years of Dave’s Denver heyday living in another city and mostly out of touch.

By the time I returned to Denver a couple years ago, Dave was ending his involvement with the print shop and Denver ABC. I began to deepen my friendships with most of the other former collective members and learned about what had happened with Dave, and put together that the culture that repelled me was deeply created by and enforced by him, although to my face he was always charming and helpful, but often sought pity for some misfortune or another- I later pieced together how these behaviors are in line with his tactic of manipulation. I also learned I really liked all the other people core to the collective and in Dave’s absence I no longer sensed any hint of the toxic masculinity that kept me away before.

The below explanation of Dave’s behavior in Lawrence breaks my heart. I feel heavy with sadness because in the last couple of years I have learned from many different people how these behaviors were repeated almost exactly in Denver for years, and left a trail of trauma, hurt, emotional and material loss, on the lives of many people I love and deeply respect. It is not, as he has attempted to narrow it down to, solely a conflict between him and an ex-partner. There are literally scores of people he has hurt deeply. It is hard not to feel responsible for this pain by not intervening early on- although I try to be easy on myself because of where I was at in my life, but this kind of oversight is something I am dedicated to never repeating again. I feel deeply sorry to the survivor who I outright ignored and cannot change the past, but can dedicate myself to a more thoughtful future. It is important to believe people, and to at the very least take the time to thoroughly investigate the past of someone who is trying to work with you when someone else tells you that this person has hurt them.

I acknowledge that at the time in 2009, I lacked the life experience to understand how to take the warning about Dave seriously, it came from someone I hardly knew and I brushed it off. I felt like I knew Dave and thought he was great. It’s strange because I also thought his ex-partner from Lawrence was a super cool older anarchist whose approval I desired- but I did not take her words seriously. I attribute my disregard in part to my own internalized misogyny (I am a female socialized queer person) and discounting a female person’s experience of abuse. I could have made space for a larger conversation, asked her more questions, and made the space to hear exactly why she felt it was important to tell me this. I could have listenly closely. I could have learned all the information shared here years ago, instead I am just now learning the details. Following that, I could have asked more people in Lawrence for verification of his history, I could have put at least a little tiny bit of effort into exploring the past of this charismatic individual who was inserting himself prominently into my community, and then made steps to prevent him from rooting himself and organizing with people I love. I could have been part of a stop gap that prevented nearly a decade of abuse. I did not do this, and I think it is a dangerous mistake for anyone who cares about the safety of their radical community to repeat, with anyone new to them, and in this particular case of working with Dave Strano.

It’s entirely possible that I could have done all of these things and nobody else would have listened, some would and others not, it would have had no effect and he would have set roots in Denver anyway, I don’t want to conflate or blame myself as the only reason he was able to establish himself. However, I certainly played a role, and learned a lot from it.

To those of you who are working with or close to Dave presently and want to ignore these cautionary tales, and feel compelled to jump to have the back of your comrade, I get it. I’ve been there. Dave is really good at speaking eloquently, he excells at saying exactly the right thing to get people to support him. I think there is beauty in the way that anarchists and leftists prioritize specific and intentional language, but in the same light that many people with their hearts in truly the right place are ostracized from community for lacking the “right” ways of speaking (and yes, this is often based in class and access to certain education), our focus on language can be used as a weapon against us. It is the perfect tool for manipulation. Please take the time to look at the actions Dave or anyone else has taken, and continues to take, rather than only hearing the story he tells.

I think some part of me filed away his ex-partner’s caution as some inconsequential community drama that wouldn’t have an impact on Denver. I could not have been more wrong about that. He is an abuser on a grand scale, a patriarch, a liar, and a manipulator. I do not make statements like that lightly, and I don’t believe in internet callouts until someone has proven themselves completely unwilling to change in any other way.

I only ask that you do what is best for yourself and your community, and disassociate with Dave Strano and continue doing whatever work you are doing without him. You are intelligent and capable enough to do your organizing on your own, and I promise that if you don’t, some years down the line you are going to think about this blog and try and unravel why you did not get out now, why you didn’t listen. If he were to be truly responsible and accountable, he would take ownership of his patterns and step back entirely from any political organizing- for years, or forever, and dedicate himself entirely to changing his behavior without any social capital to gain from it. I do not believe he is going to do this, and I definitely firmly believe that nothing positive will result from any accountability process a community tries to take with him that allows him to maintain his position of power and continue organizing.

I do not want to see anyone else hurt by this person, or carry the weight that I do knowing that I could have prevented it. Do yourself and everyone you love a favor, and listen.

A Denver Comrade’s Reflection

I met Dave in 2012. My initial impression was pretty positive. I saw someone with a level head, but with a passion and determination to live by his ideals and make good on his commitments to the people around him. I kept that view of Dave from afar for years. We lived on nearly opposite sides of the country, so we didn’t get to be very close, but we kept up with each other’s lives, occasionally checking in on things we both cared about, or if I needed a contact I thought he may have. I greatly admired the work that Dave and other folks in Denver had been doing around police violence, political prisoners, and anti-repression strategies. So much so, that when I finally felt I needed to say goodbye to my home-state, I took a position that had opened at the collective print shop Dave and others worked at in Denver.

My perspective on Dave quickly shifted within the first few months I lived in Denver. Within my first week of working at the print shop, Dave’s former partner left the collective, and I became aware of Dave’s history of sexual assault, emotional abuse, and generally controlling and manipulative behaviors. This wasn’t the first time that a collective member had left citing Dave as a primary reason for their departure, and in fact there had been a string of them. Often it only took a number of explosive arguments and guilt trips to make a person decide they didn’t want to work there anymore. Most of these folks left before their 6 month trial period was even over. Those that made it through the gauntlet of tantrums, weird money shit, and bullying, eventually found a reason to leave later, sometimes only citing in private that a major reason was not wanting to deal with Dave anymore. Many of these folks were femme and trans folks.

Dave’s former partner who left the collective had been the person who got me an interview at the print shop, which at the time Dave seemed excited about. That quickly changed as it seemed to Dave that me and his partner were becoming closer, coming up with multiple reasons that folks should actually consider someone besides me for the job. I later found out that around this time they had gotten in a huge fight regarding the amount of communication his ex and I had, and he remarked to a mutual friend that I was “the reason the marriage fell apart”.

I continued to become very close with other folks in Denver, including Dave’s former partner, and began to uncover just how deep the scars he had left on people went. I slowly heard stories of past drama, often leading back to Dave, even when the person telling the story hadn’t made that connection. I once met someone through a dating app who had dated Dave for a time. She told me eventually that when she found out I worked at the same print shop as him, she didn’t want anything to do with me until she heard that I didn’t like him. This wouldn’t be the last time I would hear something like this from someone who had only dated Dave for a short time. Multiple people who have had sexual relationships with Dave have later described his behaviors as sexually coercive.

Around this time the print shop began to nose dive. Dave was known for being “chicken little” about the shop, but this time shit seemed a little more real. This was about the time he began to turn on a coworker who had worked there nearly as long as him. This person had lived with Dave at a social center they all used to run, and was someone he often referred to as his best friend. This conveniently changed as the print shop failed. Dave often found ways to blame his best friend for the shop’s problems. Dave used this friend’s struggle with alcohol, even creating a scene in front of the shop at one point shouting at him that he thought he was a danger to his kids. The accusation came as a surprise to most of us, as we knew Dave was often asking him to babysit. One morning this same coworker didn’t come into work, and we quickly found out his dad had passed away in the night. Dave’s immediate response was that he thought he was lying to get out of work.

Dave and his former partner have two kids together, so they continued to interact on a nearly daily basis. I would see them get into an argument on the porch, often over seemingly normal conflicts any parents might have. These conflicts could quickly escalate, and I would then observe my friend attempt to end the conversation and ask to speak about it later. Sometimes they would have to physically remove themselves from the same space as Dave, leaving the porch and shutting the door. Then their phone would begin to ring. They would hang up. It would ring again. They would ignore it. I once counted nearly twenty times he would call over and over again. It got to a point that my friend made a boundary not to communicate with him, even through text, without another friend in the room or on the text thread. Sometimes I was that friend, other times it was someone else. Even over those threads I could see a bombardment of long texts, often trying multiple angles of argument, trying to attack my friend’s concerns or perspective. Another friend once called him the “debate team captain”. He could come at you from often contradictory angles, just to see what might stick. I have saved all of those threads, just in case anyone ever needed reminding of just how bad he could be, or to catch him in lies he would weave. It fucking sucks when you feel that its necessary to save communication with a former comrade, just to make sure you and your friends don’t forget that his favorite past time is gaslighting.

Multiple times I heard Dave promise to seek therapy, in fact it was a stipulation for him to continue to work at the print shop, especially once we were made aware of his abuse in his former marriage. Another stipulation for him staying was that he would be transparent with us about things, and wouldn’t react as if we were challenging him when we would check in about how things were going. However, when he would be asked about the status of his search for a therapist, it was always met with excuses, and sometimes outright hostility. Once he threatened to quit the shop just for being asked how it was going. To this day I’ve never been able to confirm if he actually entered therapy.

Dave’s toxic masculinity runs deeper than I can truly explain through a short letter. He is a master of manipulation, and is quick to bring up any good deed he has done in the past to lord over someone’s head when he isn’t getting his way. The fact that femme folks tend to take the brunt of his abuse has allowed me to walk away from Dave with most of myself intact, while I try to be there for those of my friends who haven’t been so lucky. Dave creates a shield with the few people he allows into his closest circle, often preying on the young and inexperienced he can find to carry out his projects. Dave would try to bully me on occasion, attacking my legitimacy as a “prole” because I didn’t like sports. Or because I preferred insurrectionary writing and critical theory to reading endlessly about the Spanish Civil War. Lucky for me I was the only anarchist I knew for years, and I’m plenty used to hyper-masculine alpha dudes trying to attack my ego. I got over that shit in high school. Dave relies on little things, that in a healthy friendship might just be banter and playfulness, to subtly create feelings of insecurity, to push someone to feel the need to “prove” their commitment to the principles we all attempt to live by. I haven’t even found a way to get into how Dave dropped a year’s long relationship with a long running political prisoner magazine and manipulated the print shop into thinking they were refusing to pay what they owed us. I can’t get into the constant issue of money, where it was going, who was going to be held responsible for bills not paid, and just how many loans had been taken out without the collective’s permission. I can’t even crack the surface of his abuse and manipulation towards platonic friends who he kept in his inner circle, the way I’ve seen them struggle afterwards to come to terms with the lies they were told, as if a veil had been lifted suddenly from their eyes. I can’t tell you about his tendency towards erratic behavior with firearms. How his trainings and insistence on safety and respect for weapons clashed right up against his nonchalance about them when it was convenient for him. There is so much more I can’t even mention here, and I only lived in the same city as Dave for a year and a half.

I wrote this because apparently it will take more than comrades reaching out to folks directly to convince them that Dave is an erratic, manipulative, and actually dangerous person. I hate the culture of written call outs in even a semi-public sphere, but unfortunately I think most other avenues have been exhausted. Redneck Revolt as a network needs to hear directly from people who have known Dave for years what exactly he is capable of. I think it is important to ask yourself, if you are a part of the network or thinking about joining, whether you need Dave to be able to do the work you want to do. Just how many towns and projects and comrades does Dave need to tear apart for people to listen?

Denver Anarchist Black Cross

Regarding Dave Strano

As a collective we have come to the point of recognizing that there is no further recourse but to share our experiences about an individual who has repeatedly failed to make necessary changes to his damaging behavior in our community, prior communities, and has now moved on to continue his destructive patterns in a new city.

Dave Strano is a former member of the Denver Anarchist Black Cross and was a co-owner of a local anarchist print collective. He left Denver after destroying relationships with his partners, friends, comrades, and business partners here, a wide array of solid people we know and trust. More situations than we can count have been personally experienced by our current and former members, and have been relayed to us, from multiple sources of comrades we have known and worked with for many years, of sexual assault, coercion, gaslighting, aggression towards trans and femme folx, sexism, withholding information about reporting on funds for collective businesses, unanswered questions about misuse of business funds, stealing collective money, paternalism, tokenizing, lack of consent issues around security, and overall fucked up power dynamics in his personal relationships, and in non-hierarchical, anarchist organizations and spaces.

And it turns out Dave has a long history of this kind of behavior, stretching back to at least Lawrence, KS where he lived before Denver.

We are making this statement so people are aware. We have an obligation to let people know when their organizations are entrenched with a patriarchal, sexist, manipulative abuser who is capable of lying and stealing from comrades and collective projects. Information is needed to make informed decisions. For quite some time now, DABC and many others in the anarchist community here in Denver have refused to work with him on any level. We have deep concerns at the moment about his involvement with movement work in Arizona, where he is still attempting to dominate the work and groups, gaslighting anyone who raises concerns about his past and present behavior, continuing his pattern of snitch- and bad-jacketing anyone who tries to hold him accountable (especially femme folx). We are concerned about harm he is causing people currently, and the intense and agressive manipulation he is employing in his personal life, including directly utilizing the state for his personal intimidation tactics, and the lasting impact it could have on those he is harming.

We are in solidarity with all the survivors.

And in solidarity with anyone who has been impacted by this dude’s shitty behavior.

We will not associate with, and will not support, any organizations who continue to work with Dave Strano.

In Solidarity,
Current and Former Members of the Denver Anarchist Black Cross

Lawrence, KS and Beyond

It’s hard to admit that Dave Strano broke me, but he did, and it’s taken years of healing to move past that fact and be able to be close to people again. I was a teenager when he texted me off an internet precursor to tinder. And I was 19 when we finally met and I moved half way across the country to live with him in a small town where I knew no one else. Most of my words following were written in 2011 when I first started thinking about calling Dave out publicly…

Dave Strano is a perfect example of the “Anarchist Man”. He is smart, charismatic and incredibly manipulative; I should know, since I was his partner for over three years. We became romantically involved when I was nineteen and he was twenty-three. I moved across the country to live with him and work on projects in Lawrence, Kansas. We split in July 2008 after a very long and difficult relationship. I know it’s been awhile since then, and some may wonder–why am I coming out with all of these things now? All I can say in response is that the hurt I experienced from his behavior in our relationship isn’t much less, all these years later.

Our relationship was hard for a lot of reasons. I’m not trying to paint the picture of a brutal thug luring a naïve little girl out to the cornfields of Kansas. I was then, as I am now, a particularly strong and independent person capable of making a lot of my own choices–which is why I am still awestruck at how I could be stuck in that situation for so long, how I let myself be abused for so many years. I’m able to make my own mistakes as well, to act inappropriately–to use jealousy or distrust as a weapon against a partner. I will refer to details mostly to show why I find Dave untrustworthy, and his behavior dangerous; I want this to be less of a list of his wrongdoings and more of a look into his general character.

His use of “accountability processes” to gain power
Dave is (was?) a self-proclaimed rapist. He raped a friend of his when he was in high school. It was not until years later, in conversation with anarchist women, that he began thinking of this specific sexual encounter as rape. When he concluded this, he created an accountability process for himself. He was not then in contact with the woman he assaulted. I don’t know the exact details of this process; he explained them to me in different ways at different times. What I do know is that he used the fact that he was “in an accountability process” to bolster his status within the community in Lawrence, KS. He used it as a tool to have more room than others, especially other men.  I can’t know his motives for sure, but Dave was completely in control of his “accountability”, and it seemed to go as far as he needed it to in order to gain more status and recognition. He learned the lingo and used it to feign care when it suited him best. This trend seemed to continue into his work in Denver when speaking to a “process” and “accountability” around his and I’s relationship that I was never aware or a part of.

His threats to harm himself when others counter him
Dave threatened to kill himself on more than one occasion. Dave did and does have serious mental health issues, and of course he may have legitimately felt suicidal at times. Despite that, these threats of suicide came at times that were incredibly convenient for him–when he thought his power was being challenged, or when he simply didn’t get his way. When another anarchist in the region voiced concern over his behavior, and pointed out how many people had the same concern, Dave locked himself in our then shared room and threatened to kill himself. (this happened in 2005) With a little retrospection, this seems like a startlingly obvious ploy to shift attention away from his problematic behavior by causing his friends to worry and care about him. Dave would use this and similar manipulation tactics against me when I didn’t do what he told me to do. (examples include threats of self harm when i didn’t come home “on time”) While routinely ignoring others whose mental states required caring and compassionate friendship, he instead created hostile atmospheres towards people who “didn’t pull their weight”.

His threats to pull solidarity from those who disagree with him
During a major demonstration in the mid 2000‘s, Dave threatened to abandon me in jail. He and I got into an argument because he thought my place was doing “jail solidarity”, while I wanted to participate in a different part of that week’s festivities. While my eyes and mouth still burned from tear gas, Dave yelled at me that I “wasn’t his comrade”, and said that if I went to jail he wouldn’t get me out. A few minutes after this conversation, however, Dave was alone and detained by the police. When I answered his phone call afterwards, he screamed at me for not picking up my phone fast enough and for not being there for him while dealing with the cops.

While this was one small but jarring incident, this is a common tactic of his. He will supply you with resources as long as you do what he says. The second you don’t, you’re cut off and left alone. He has built entire power structures around this concept.

His continual abuse of partners
I am not the first person to come out of a long friendship or relationship with Dave scarred. Partners before and after me have echoed my feelings of abuse. Dave has admitted to being abusive time and time again.

Inside of our relationship, Dave had the tendency to swing between being a loving, caring partner whom I would never want to be without to being an awful violent man who scared the shit out of me. This violence encompassed name calling and tearing me down by habitually calling me stupid, and other types of derogatory names and telling me that I was “too crazy” to have anyone love me; the time he got physically abusive (which he has admitted at times and denied at others), how he decided who my friends were and where and how I spent my money, his control of my political engagement and development, and how he made it clear I could not continue past friendships without his approval. He was in control of my substance use and my past addictions were used as leverage against his saintly sxe lifestyle. I became afraid of him, and my fear of him became just like the fear I felt as a child when I thought I was about to be physically punished. I was trapped in a town I didn’t have support in and in a ever deepening cycle of “if I leave I prove that I’m not worth of care because that’s what he keeps telling me”

There were elements of sexual abuse all throughout our relationship. I was young when Dave and I got together and learned much of what it was to have a partner through him. He often degraded me and turned the situations around on me if I was overwhelmed or uncomfortable during or after sex, this coupled with a verbally violent tendencies meant that I was pushed into having a lot of sex that I didn’t want to have for nearly 3.5 years.

His abuse and control are habitual, fully part of him, how he interacts with the world. And the tactics range from partners, to comrades, fellow employees and friends.

When Dave left Lawrence I asked him to be straightforward with people there about his abusive tendencies and use of manipulation in collective situations. He assured me he was. Lo and behold, I found out from several people in Denver who knew us both, but separately, that this was not the case. When he gets to write the history it looks pretty fucking good for him. This is congruent with him creating his own accountability process in Lawrence and ability to alter history inside of organizing that I will touch on later.

His use of the collective structure for personal gain
Dave is a master of organizations and structure. He loves them because it is easy to get and hold power when you can’t clearly see its lines. He has cemented himself as the leader time and time again inside supposedly anarchist organizations. He’s good at organizing; he’s not a stupid man, and a lot of his comments on strategy are good. The amount of projects that he sabotaged when they no longer suited him and the number of people he abandoned in Lawrence when he left for Denver was incredible. Dave spent years as one of the main organizers in Lawrence; he was on nearly all the bank accounts, had ten times the contacts as those who hadn’t been around as long, was on the leases, the utilities. He moved to Denver with almost no warning, leaving behind a community in debt and without the resources necessary to sustain itself. Projects ended and debts were not paid off.

Perhaps most disappointingly, Dave completely abandoned a huge network of prisoners he had helped create and worked to maintain over the years. I was involved with the network starting from the first newsletter, but not for its formation. After Dave and I split up and it became too difficult for us to work on the project together, he dumped it. Nearly 2,000 people were on our mailing list. This was not some small collective that could form and disband at will with little to no effect, it was a network of people–people with little to no resources locked in prisons across the country. He left it without a word, leaving only a few less experienced people in Lawrence to sift through hundreds of letters and requests. We, and I tried, after he left to continue, but it eventually failed.

To me, this all presents a dangerous question about his dedication and character. From telling me he’d let me rot in jail for not doing what he said, to dumping entire communities and the projects he initiated, to abandoning people who are already in a dire situation—all these things point to the fact that Dave is willing to betray his principles for the sake of his self-interest.

In 2010 I found myself in the middle of a widely publicized bout of state repression. Two collectives Dave was a part of helped us out tremendously; both DABC and P&L Printing were very supportive. Inevitably, Dave tried to use that support for his personal advantage. A few years before that, Dave and I took a loan from my family for a collective project—a personal loan, not a loan to the collective. Dave still owed my family his portion of the money, although I had been asking him to repay it for years. In my last attempt to get him to repay the debt, he cited all the support “he” had given my arrest group, such as P&L offering us free printing, as a move towards settling the debt. Eventually after a firm stance that other people’s labor cannot be his to use and many tries, he paid me back. I take his attempt to use the support given collectively by P&L Press and Denver ABC to try and settle a personal debt as evidence that Dave has continued to see himself in a position higher than those he works collectively with. He really thinks he is in charge.

In late 2016, I removed Dave from an event on the west coast that we both happened to be at, we had not seen each other since he left for Denver in the middle of the night and I gave him a chance to leave of his own accord. As I walked him out of the book fair he kept saying “I bailed you out of jail, I thought we were good”…which relays to me that the problem continues. First, he has never bailed me out of jail, I don’t know what he is talking about and secondly, we are anarchists, that is what you do-get each other out of jail. Doing so, does not mean you are absolved of your abusive sins or do not need to be accountable for your actions.

The most recent rise of Redneck Revolt, with which Dave is the unabashed originator of, has left me wondering if people understand his history. With the stories of misogyny and brutally heavy handed collective structure coming to the surface I see this new political formation as the same trend from his past. I was a part of a group that came together to do much of the same work that RR does currently, and I was there when the name “John Brown Gun Club” was coined. Since the beginning, there has been deep unease from participants in these groups about Dave and his use of militancy. He created himself above reproach by slandering and attacking those who would question his use of firearms politically or in the day-to-day. This isn’t to say that I or others didn’t participate-but it was not a collective structure, not when it was impossible to raise critique or concern.

I came across an interview Dave did with a paper from Philly back in 2011. I don’t know if he assumed no one would challenge him, or that no one from KS would see it, but the exaggerations as to the origins of RR are astounding. Here are a few quotes and examples…

“We managed to table at over 30 different gun shows in a three year period, and distribute hundreds of copies of anti-racist and anti-Minutemen literature during that time period.”

This is a great exaggeration at best, I think the possibly highest number of shows that the JBGC tabled at was 10. Also, the name itself was a joke the first time we tabled at a show. We needed a group name and Dave came up with on the spot, and then without really checking in with anyone it became a “thing”. John Brown is his weird crazy idol and I can see why in a lot of ways. Zealotry, martyr complex, pseudo racist ‘guised as revolutionary anti-racist. These shows were incredibly unsuccessful. We gave away very little literature. We did meet some interesting people and build some relationships, but the idea that we “distributed hundreds” of pieces of literature is a good sound bite at best. The shows themselves were sketchy and we got into a number of confrontations with open white supremacists and members of the far-right.

“Kansas Mutual Aid was mostly comprised of working class anarchists, few of who seem to meet the normal demographic of ex-punk and ex-middle class backgrounds. The majority of the folks that made up the John Brown Gun Club working group even went as far as to openly identify as rednecks. Our shared experiences of growing up in poor or working class white communities, in trailer parks and run down apartment buildings, surrounded by redneck culture, made it easy to find commonality.”

KMA was for sure a good portion of some poor folks. But “redneck” was never a term thrown around really by many besides Dave. It totally ignores that the collective changed membership…a lot. A huge cause of that was Dave (and myself at times) being heavy handed in our roles in that collective. But it was certainly a mixed bag. There were people from the middle of nowhere KS and people from one of the richest counties in the country (Johnson County), I don’t think the non-white people or the trans folks really threw around the term “redneck” and I don’t remember it being a central tenant of a collective primarily of punks in the most liberal town and county in KS.

It was, and obviously still continues to be a term that is important to Dave himself. But I began to question his redneck identity when I spent the holidays at the giant homes of both his parents in their gated communities, and learning that his father’s military background, while forcing him to move a few times as a child was not of some grunt but of a doctor, and a good/well paid one at that.

“The efforts of the John Brown Gun Club were definitely more successful than the efforts in Colorado in this area of struggle. In Kansas and Missouri, we were on a first name basis with gun show organizers.” 

I have literally no idea what Dave is referencing here. I remember antagonisms and a vendor/promoter relationship. Dave has at times spoken about a relationship with a dealer at the shows, again this is an exaggeration. There was one dealer we legally purchased firearms from who we saw a few times at different shows, and had a friendly relationship with but nothing beyond “they sell guns, we buy guns”. He was nice to me and didn’t talk down to me when I brought a rifle back because the spring was too long and jamming. That’s all I remember in terms of working relationships with gun dealers.

My interest in going through this one article was to highlight the way that “history is written by the victors” in a sense and Dave has a really good media strategy. He is prone, as maybe we all are, to over statement and exaggeration when it suits him. And to omitting details that don’t fit his narrative, to a point where the low level gas-lighting of other people he was working with and I assume is working with makes “truth” muddled. Please keep in mind that all this was a decade ago, and I am working off memory, I am not expressing hard facts but situations as I remember them.

For those reading this currently a part of the RR/JBGC community, I advise you to take the aspects of the work you feel good about that you are doing and leave any associations with Dave behind. He has positioned himself time and time again in the eyes of the FBI/ATF/JTTF as a person of interest and his non-disclosure about the JBGC and it’s history of being investigated alongside Dave means you all entered into a false agreement. Dave, in my opinion, has a deep martyr complex and does not care about the safety of those around him before the possibility of gaining that status.

In total. I think Dave needs to walk away from anarchist/radical/left organizing. His time is done, and he’s hurt a lot of people along the way. I know for a fact that he will be ejected from any and all events that I choose to attend, and after the book fair in LA last year he should know I’m not fucking around. This is almost 15 years of the possibility of accountability and creating healthy relationships and he’s squandered all of it, and I’m done, and I think everyone out there should be too.