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


1 Comment

  1. […] and specifically targeted vulnerable women in the Downtown Eastside. As Anti-Racist Action Victoria reported, the Soldiers of Odin “are targeting women leaving abusive relationships with offers to accompany […]

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