May 12, 2009

Calgary, Canada: Questions around violence and anti-fascist direct action

from Sketchy Thoughts

"The annual Aryan Guard propaganda event this year attracted 40-50 nazis, with the ARA counterdemo bringing out 400-500 people, many of them apparently passersby who joined in when they realized what was going on. A large police presence kept the nazis protected, though it seems some people did manage to connect. (See youtube video above.)

What is disappointing is that it seems people are unable or unsure of their ability to do what it takes to enforce a "no platform for fascists" line in Calgary.

For instance, at the Palestinian solidarity demonstration on January 10th it seems the nazis were only forced to leave near the end of the demo, despite people having been aware of who they were and what they were about from the beginning. It would seem that while ARA was clear about wanting them out, there was not a strong enough understanding amongst other demonstrators to make this initially practical, and demo organizers obviously failed in their responsibility to provide leadership on this question. Truly disgusting, considering the high profile the Aryan Guard has had in the area, and the fact that it has been repeatedly linked to racist violence and neo-nazi ideology.

But even more worrisome, because it's a sign of weakness in what should be a pole of strength, since last weekend's demonstration there have been news reports quoting ARA spokespeople condemning those who physically attacked the nazis last week. If these quotes are not media fabrications, then it's a sad day indeed."

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