Rally Against Environmental Racism

Join the RALLY at Greater Victoria’s first All-Candidates Debate. Tuesday April 18, 5:30 pm at Esquimalt High School, 847 Colville.

The subject is Energy, so we’re going to focus on pipelines, tankers, fracking, and destruction of indigenous lands and waters. From the Athabasca to the Goldstream, the end-game of capitalism is massive extraction for profit regardless of the brutal cost to those who depend on the land, water, and climate – ultimately, all of us.

Also on the agenda: Josh Steffler, an alt-right conspiracy theorist best known for his connection to Canadian white supremacists and for harassing women at the Women’s March earlier this year. Steffler, the Libertarian Party candidate, is trying to organize an anti-anti-racist counter-demonstration.

This is no time to go backward when so much is at stake.  The sovereignty of British Columbia’s First Nations is being infringed upon by corporations and their massive energy projects such as the Site C Dam, LNG terminals, and Kinder Morgan pipeline. Environmental racism stems from the colonial idea of entitlement to Earth’s resources, that the natural enviroment should be exploited for its wealth while disregarding the health of the ecosystem and its inhabitants. From the Sacred Stone and Red Warrior camps in Standing Rock to the Unist’ot’en camp in northern BC, Indigenous peoples on Turtle Island have been the ones most active in defending our water and land.

This event is taking place on Lekwungen, WSANEC and Wylomith territory.

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Posters for your school and neighbourhood

Make your community safer – let the fascists know they are not welcome.  Download and print these full-size posters and put them anywhere white male supremacists might gather. Paste them onto placards and staple them to sticks for the next rally.  Thank you!

ara zone thumb.png

antifa8.5×111

never let fascists ara thum

never let fascists ara

Alt-Right vs Antifa: Who’s winning?

josh-renew-lulz

joshsteffler.ca (“Antifa” is short for “anti-fascist”)

You may remember Josh Steffler from when he crashed the Women’s March in January, or when he invited a noted white supremacist to speak at a “Free Speech” rally, or maybe you’ve seen his wingnut video talk show. We should note that he is also the deputy leader of the Libertarian Party of BC, apparently.

Josh and his buddies published a couple videos complaining that volunteers with Anti-Racist Action stopped them disrupting the Women’s March. Apparently we violated their god-given rights to yell and spit at women and try to push us around.

Welcome to the discourse! We really hope Josh runs for MLA this year. We’re going to have some laughs.

Postscript: Of course the Libertarian Party of BC is a joke, an impotent alt-right men’s club devoid of any actual libertarian philosophy. But they are part of a social contagion spreading hatred based on gender, skin colour, and national origin. This is where fascism comes from. Trump was a joke too – but he wormed his way into power.

Sure, this group is only a dozen people, maybe two – but putting their stupidity on display helps inoculate people ahead of time instead of waiting until it’s too late.

BC Libertarians attempted to disrupt Victoria Women’s March

Josh Steffler, deputy leader of the BC Libertarian Party, arrived at the Women’s March in Victoria with a handful of hecklers – members of the alt-right group We Are Change. The group shouted insults at volunteers and marchers, but marshals kept them corralled and engaged for most of the event. Out of thousands of marchers, only a few noticed the disruption.

Josh Steffler (centre) with a sign mocking trans people at the Women's March

Josh Steffler (centre) with a sign mocking trans people at the Women’s March in Victoria, January 21 2017. The other side of the sign reads “Grab Life By the Pussy.”

Josh Steffler smirks after his tantrum

Josh Steffler smirks after his tantrum in Centennial Square.

During the rally in Centennial Square, the 250-lb Steffler pushed into a female volunteer half his size and then screamed in her face when she said “Don’t touch me.” Later he complained to a police officer that the volunteer had assaulted him. (The cop ignored him and walked away.)

ARA first met Steffler and We Are Change in 2012 when they invited noted neo-Nazi sympathizer Doug Christie to speak at a rally in Victoria. When we called for a counter-protest, Steffler and fellow WACko Ryan Elson declared war. But things did not go the way they expected.

Steffler and WAC dropped out of sight for a few years and we assumed they were content with their weekly meetings and conspiracy theory videos. But we did not let down our guard. We are always ready for these guys.

We suggest that social-justice organizers in Victoria should be prepared for obnoxious counter-protesters at their events, whether they are socialists, feminists, LGBTQ activists, environmentalists, indigenous groups, people of colour, or left-of-centre political candidates.

Contact us for tips on holding space at events.

Previous encounters with Josh Steffler, We Are Change, and Vancouver Island Libertarians

Warning – Soldiers of Odin targeting women

VANCOUVER – Women’s advocates are warning about efforts to target vulnerable women in BC’s urban centres. We are alarmed by recent statements from the Soldiers of Odin, a network of anti-immigration vigilante groups and street gangs with ties to international neo-Nazi networks and white-male-supremacist groups.

An announcement in December 2016 said SOO members in BC are targeting women leaving abusive relationships with offers to accompany them to court dates and other support. SOO is re-posting online reports of missing women, and members also “patrolled” the streets in Vancouver and Victoria in December, handing out food and winter gear to homeless people, presumably as part of a wider campaign to normalize their presence.

Women and girls are warned not to take handouts from SOO because of the risk of being coerced into gang activity. Social workers, shelter operators, and the general public are cautioned to watch out for these individuals and groups looking to gain access to vulnerable women and children, both online and in person.

We urge anyone contacted by SOO to report anonymously to the Anti-Racist Collective (ARC) or the House of Solidarity for support and advice as appropriate. Our coalitions documents these developments in order to intervene in a preventative manner and resist the spread proliferation of far-right extremism. For updates or more info, please email HouseOfSolidarity@protonmail.com or ARCcollective200@gmail.com.

A March and Rally Against Bigotry is planned for Martin Luther King Jr. Day on January 15th from 3-5pm starting at Surrey City Hall. Women’s and feminist groups are encouraged to march under their banners alongside community members opposing white supremacy and far-right extremist activities. We will have marshals for the rally present for the non-violent, peaceful, community event and will do our best to keep the public updated on developments.

Most SOO members are white men 18 to 45 years old, often wearing biker jackets, hoodies, and gang-style patches. The Vancouver and Victoria chapters are part of an international network that emerged in Northern Europe in 2015. The groups are notorious for threatening vigilante action against immigrants and refugees and for hate-motivated racist attacks.

SOO displays the same political markers as far-right extremist groups Blood & Honour, Hammerskins, and the Heritage Front, and online forums like Stormfront. There are now over 100 of these groups in Canada. They are increasing their public relations campaigns in order to recruit and radicalize members, normalize their presence, and gain support and resources to further their white nationalist agenda.

SOO does not advocate for women’s liberation; its focus is protecting ‘our women, children and the elderly’ from ‘outside threats’, meaning immigrant and non-white men and those who oppose white nationalism. This ideology is linked to several violent extremist actions against minorities in Canada and abroad, including a purportedly “Britain First” white nationalist who assassinated Labour MP Jo Cox in the UK last year.

Those who want to help women in need should raise money and donate it to feminist groups who have the training and skills for supporting women to become independent. Vigilante groups like Soldiers of Odin are not qualified to provide this kind of support. In recent months, they have perpetrated violence against unsuspecting minorities here in the Lower Mainland.

Now SOO is attempting to recruit women in crisis as well as men of colour to cover evidence of their racism and sexism and improve their public image. Young photogenic women in particular are being recruited and indoctrinated to become spokespeople for the group, under the title of “Shield Maidens,” according to their Aryan and Norse mythology and Crusades ideology.

Experts Barbara Perry and Ryan Scrivens note that right-wing extremism is a neglected area of policy and law enforcement, which presents serious national security concerns. White supremacist groups have proliferated since Harper’s government removed key provisions of Canada’s hate-speech laws and by extension allowed neo-Nazi propaganda to spread unchecked. Experts now warn that domestic far-right white nationalist individuals are a greater terrorist threat than Islamic extremists.

More info:
Anti-Racist Collective
Anti-Defamation League report (PDF)
Montreal Gazette feature

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