The punch heard ’round the world has inspired video games, songs, and film festivals. What it’s also birthed, it seems, is a new movement: the #SwoleLeft, a group of weightlifters dedicated to intimidating right-wing bigots and white nationalists.
As this new piece from Mel Magazine details, the #SwoleLeft was initiated by Poncho Martinez, a 26-year-old New Yorker who now trains “30 politically active liberal men in powerlifting, so they can be strong enough to defend themselves against attacks by far-right extremists, and to intervene in potential hate crimes.”
The movement is also a response to the alt-right’s stereotype of liberals as feeble “cucks” who are all talk and no action. In Martinez’s words:
Trump’s election made it clear that the Democrats are incompetent—that their power machinations are useless when confronted with a different fighting style, and that regular people need to get involved with politics on an individual level and on a daily basis.
That’s right. It’s not all about intimidation. Martinez also hopes to instill patience in his trainees so they’ll be capable of “standing around being bored and dealing with bureaucracy. And that’s what will help leftists more than combat ability.”
If this all sounds a bit, well, much, there is a genuine sense of compassion lurking beneath all the hyper-masculinity. Ben, a friend and trainee of Martinez, breaks it down thusly:
I’m not under any delusion that if a bunch of leftists get swole, we’re going to suddenly go out and punch our way to victory. But I have a lot of friends who are women, trans, queer, and just plain smaller and gentler than I am, and I felt I had an obligation to protect people I love and care about if they find themselves in danger at a protest.
The best part? They’re doing it without any of Alex Jones’ “supplements.”
You can read the whole thing over at Mel Magazine.