The Folk Nation is not a gang, but an alliance under which gangs align themselves. The Folk Nation was created in Chicago in 1978, along with their long-time rivals, the People Nation.
Many gangs align themselves with the Folk Nation and generally all of these groups consider themselves allies with each other as well as enemies of People Nation gangs. Folk Nation gangs include the Black Gangster Disciples; the Black Disciples; the Gangster Disciples; the Imperial Gangsters; the La Raza; the Spanish Cobras; the Latin Eagles; the Latin Disciples; the Maniac Latin Disciples; the Simon City Royals; the Spanish Gangster Disciples; the Two Sixers; and the International Posse.
As with the People Nation, identifiers are used as a way for Folk Nation alliance member to recognize each other. This is referred to “representing” and also includes the use of hand signs, specific colors, graffiti, and the use of certain words or phrases.
Folk Nation symbols include a pitchfork; a winged heart; devil horns; a single die showing 6 dots; the letter 6; a backward swastika; a bunny with a bent ear; a sword; a devil tail; and a 6-point Star of David. They also use “right” identifiers to distinguish themselves from the People Nation members. Right identification is displayed by wearing articles of clothing such as caps, bandannas, or belt buckles to the right; wearing jewelry to right; or rolling up a right pant leg.
To show that gangs are not above becoming victims to the latest fads, Folk Nation has joined the recent button craze by having buttons made to display their logos, slogans and emblems. Friendship beads are now used to display the gang’s colors and worn on clothing, cell phones, shoes, and in the hair. For the Folk Nation computer nerds, there is even a Folk Nation template available for My Space.
Folk Nation’s philosophy is very similar in nature to their rival’s, People Nation. Both have adopted an “All for One” mentality toward other gang members within their set. If one member is threatened, then ALL members are expected to fight for the honor of that individual. They also live by certain codes of conduct, such as “Folk before family,” “I will not let a brother fall to his knee,” and “All is One”. A gang member who chooses not to participate in activities that support the codes of conduct are subjected to discipline, which can range anywhere from a beating to death.
Violence between a gang under Folk Nation and a rival set can often come from something as trivial as striking through a rival gang’s graffiti; painting a rival gang’s symbol upside down; taking a drink from a rival member’s cup; flashing a rival’s hand signs upside down; crossing out a rival’s hand signs; or breaking a rival’s symbols. Whether the disrespect was intended toward the entire gang or an individual within that gang, the entire Folk Nation is offended and is expected to do battle over the incident. A one-on-one offense can easily become a disturbance on a massive scale.