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.
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
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