Canada: Unpopular Anarchist Thoughts: Some reflections on the actions to oppose Faith Goldy at WLU

  • Posted on: 22 March 2018
  • By: Anonymous (not verified)

From Northshore Counter-Info

On Tuesday March 20th the Laurier Student for Open Inquiry, headed by recent alt-right darling Lindsay Shephard (who you may remember from Laurier’s previous row about ‘free speech’), attempted to host a talk by white supremacist Faith Goldy. There have been reports of local alt-right students and activists in attendance, a showing of the Proud Boys (who recently attempted to hold a rally in Brantford), George Hutchinson who was pushing the ‘white students union’ drivel, and perhaps even some members of Operation Werewolf, who are explicit in their refusal of political correctness and equality, and whose slogan “Iron and Blood,” imagery and history scream neo-fascism.

There was a loud and festive counter rally as well as attempts to shut down the event itself, which ultimately culminated in a fire alarm being pulled and Faith Goldy prevented from speaking. While Shephard attempted to lead supporters to nearby park Veteran’s Green (somewhat ironic since many veterans fought explicitly as anti-fascists), Goldy didn’t carry on with her speech and instead opted to mock land acknowledgements and commit to return to WLU. Many others who had sought to attend the event poured out in to the area where the counter rally was occurring making things feel tense and unpredictable. This event shows some of the possibilities, as well as difficulties, in how responses might look going forward. I offer this piece as a set of considerations for building stronger movements to resist white supremacy on campus and beyond. By no means is this a comprehensive report back, or a detailed or finished discussion, but will hopefully present some useful points of consideration.

First off, I think it is important to consider that Shephard very much intended this event to become both a tense situation and a site of confrontation. Her way of operating since the start has been to carve out space for alternative right discourses on ‘free speech’ and to incite backlash against what is often referred to as the “Cultural Marxism” of university campuses. While early on Shephard attempted to the play the victim after she was called out for showing a clip of fellow Jordan Peterson on the use of gender neutral pronouns, and sought to generate a general support for free speech at university campuses, it has been very clear by looking at her twitter and her specific targeting of students and student activists that she isn’t some individual attacked by the system of university administration and bureaucracy. Rather, she has had an agenda from the outset – one that the media, as well as the university admin, have played directly into and given her a platform to spread of her alt-right, anti-left, white supremacist rhetoric.

Inviting Faith Goldy, who has railed against non-white immigration, bemoans the death of ‘white culture’, has appeared on a neo-nazi podcast that resulted in her being fired from alt-right mouthpiece Rebel Media, and who recently appeared on another white supremacist youtube channel reciting the neo-nazi ‘14 words’, was a clear escalation of Shephard’s outright rhetoric and her carving out a space for the alt-right on campus. It’s safe to say that a concerted and ongoing response was required and will be in the future.

It is also clear that the university administration is fine to allow all forms of speech, regardless of their spread of hatred and white supremacy. University president Deb MacLatchy refused any pretense of backbone when she stated “I want to state very clearly that I personally and absolutely reject the ideas and values attributed to this speaker and that they are in no way aligned with or reflective of the core values of our university.” But continued saying that “the university does not censor or limit the lawful and free expression of ideas, including ideas that are unpopular or offensive.” It’s safe to say that the university admin cannot be expect to shut down white supremacist views or protect students on their campuses. Unsurprising, but a worthy reminder.

As a result a coalition of campus groups and individuals organized a Counter Demonstration and Performance Rally highlighting queer, Indigenous and POC voices against white supremacy. A number of counter demonstrators also sought to enter the Faith Goldy talk to disrupt it from the inside. This was a specific and ongoing point of tension between those organizing a more positive rally with those who wanted to respond to the Faith Goldy event, and requires some careful consideration.

In general a politics of refusing platforms to alt-right and white supremacist views needs to be a core of organizing. When people like this are permitted to speak they begin to gain a foothold. This is precisely what the admin has allowed to happen at WLU. Given this, it is crucial to consider how these events can be stopped in the future. Counter rallies are important in and of themselves, especially for racialized and consistently attacked students on campus, and there is a collective energy and solidarity that can be cultivated. They also need to be connected to efforts to shut these sorts of events down directly, which can come in a variety of ways – from shutting things down on the administrative side, to flooding them out with counter protest, to militant forms of disruption and direct action. Counter rallies, positive performances and safe® spaces will mean little if white supremacists are able to spread their messages and outreach actively. But this also goes both ways – efforts to shut shit down also need to work with more typical rallies and marches that demonstrate symbolic opposition.

The university context, however, is an important one. The reality is that there are many students who will have to contend with whatever fallout occurs from these types of events as well as their counters. Those who are coming from outside to protest or shut them down don’t have that same set of considerations. It must be a principled stand that there are no nazi’s or white supremacists welcome at WLU and in the larger community, but these things affect people in different ways. There are students organizing on campus form a variety of standpoints, many of which might appear as ‘liberal’ social justice types and were derided as being unwilling to actually confront Goldy, Shepard and their ilk.

While critique of the limits of liberal forms of social justice and anti-oppression as a narrow framework are important, it often does little to build stronger coalitions against white supremacy, and can write off the organizing of those on campus who bear the brunt of these ongoing attacks. In this sense, there needs to be some common commitments to a diversity of tactics to fight back against white supremacists and the alt-right in our communities.

The more radical folks, who are willing to use more direct forms of action to shut things down, need to at least be honestly engaged with those on campus, not because we should water down our politics but because there is something deeply paternalistic about a bunch of outside radicals popping in to someone else’s community and organizing space and telling them how things should go, and if they don’t like it too bad. We need to find ways to push forward the discussion of useful tactics and strategy rather than assuming some sort of superiority of politics and tactics.

This happened, to some degree, given that a more militant crew who was masked up showed up at the rally. Many people, including those at the rally, seemed confused as to their purpose and intent. This is something anarchists commonly run up against, and we know very well that most of the time folks don’t actually want to understand where we are coming from, and in some cases we might not at all be interested in having that discussion to begin with. But in this case it just seemed a bit misplaced, and a sort of militant posturing that didn’t seem to serve much of a purpose. Showing up with flags, masks and your group banner might be a signal of support and where you are coming from, but it also needs to be placed into context. Is it useful for small crews to be the only folks masked up at a demo, and actually potentially invite, rather than limit, confrontation?

Some will say that masking up is simply folks being more conscious of the realities of doxing and alt-right backlash, and this is certainly important to consider. We all need to protect ourselves from these sorts of repression that are continually spreading against radicals of all stripes. But what does it mean to show up a demo without having a discussion about what is going to be strategic? How useful is it to have a handful of people masked up in a crowd of 100? And how useful is it to show up telling demo organizers that your intentions are one thing, when you clearly intend to do another? In this case I think there was a degree of recklessness on the part of some of the more militant folks showing up, ready to throw done (presumably), without actually figuring out how that fits into the broader action and what the potential implications might be. Militant confrontation, when employed for militant confrontation sake, is not itself strategic or very often useful. Opposing white supremacy is more than just projecting a militant image all the time.

There is also a failure of on campus folks in not taking more militant approaches seriously as a potential set of tools to complement more typical rallies. It isn’t useful to admonish those who do think a more direct shut down would be useful. Clarifying the tone of an action and the goals is one thing, refusing to engage with other forms of action or other desires is another. No doubt this can be tricky, especially in the eyes of administrators who are keen to reprimand student organizers (no one said we need to all hold hands and work together in public all the time). Such efforts can be useful though when white supremacists, or alt-right trolls or bro’s keen on disruption, pop up. But there needs to be a willingness to see how militant confrontation can be, and has been, an essential piece of anti-fascist action. Richard Spencer recently cancelling his campus tour schedule, on account of anti-fascist and militant refusals of a platform for his ideas, is a testament to how effective these kinds of tactics can be. But they need to be both strategic and in concert with other forms. No one form of action is going to in and of itself be effective.

Herein lies my main point: a diversity of tactics is necessary to oppose white supremacy, and it provides us with a greater set of strengths, tactics and strategies. But only if it’s something that is actually coordinated in a useful way. There is and should be a place for militancy in these sorts of confrontations. Often folks who are masked up can provide a useful role of keeping reactionaries and police at bay, and deal with those who might want to attack/disrupt demonstrations directly. But this needs to be thought through. Standing on the fringes with the flags and banners, advertising your presence, doesn’t often do this, and speaks more to a need for radicals to feel self-important and project a political image than actually engage in strategic activity. There are also more forms of confrontation or direct action that might not need be as militant in their image. A large group or rally can potentially pretty easily swarm and shut down a white supremacist event. The reality is that not everyone wants to be on the frontline of confrontation or mask up, even if they fucking hate nazi’s. Folks who bring their kids, or are racialized, or are visible and known to campus police and admin have a different set of risks. There are also folks who just plain aren’t radicals, but will support actions against white supremacists. There are always going to be a range of perspectives and we do need to find ways to use that to our advantage, rather than defaulting to infighting, dismissals and holier than thou rhetoric.

What this means for WLU, and probably many other contexts, is we need to plan and scheme together to figure out how we can make a range of spaces of opposition that come together to shut down white supremacy and confront it directly. I’m not saying anarchists should hang up their red and black flags and their balaclavas but let’s actually use them strategically, think about the context we are in, and not default to a particular form or tone of action just because that is the image we want to cultivate. More liberal perspectives also need to see the potentials for more militant forms of confrontation and disruption as tools to shut down white supremacists, not just oppose them or provide spaces that are alternative to their views. Having rallies that further act as social justice echo chambers don’t in and of themselves disrupt white supremacists who are speaking and organizing publicly. So let’s come from our various standpoints, but moreover let’s figure out how to actually shut them down.

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Comments

Stop participating in the spectacle. Let Nazis speak. (then kill them later in their sleep).

By protesting, deplatforming, and shutting down public events, it just makes antifascists look like fascists. It merely creates sympathy for white supremacists. It feeds them, energizes them, validates them, and further emboldens them.

If anarchists can't be self aware enough to understand even the most simple tactical moves, then just stop organizing around these events.

This is true only in (liberal) rhetoric. I'm not a supporter of antifa, but nobody becomes a fascist because of it. The logical gap between these "free speech" nonsense talking points and advocating murdering refugees is pretty large. Plus, Richard Spencer literally just stopped his speaking tour because of antfia. Then there's also the demise of western european neo-nazi street movements as a direct result of antifa and similar groups in the 80s. Basically, the festering mass in /pol/ has done far more to create the current upswing in far right activity than antifa could ever hope to have an impact on, in either direction.

>understand even the most simple tactical moves
ugh plz stop

Is this Marcusean born deplatform nonsense that you leftards engage in. Spencer merely pivoted in his tactics, to a large degree has has accomplished his long term goal of the rise of white IDPol which the turd world ideologues have sadly played a role in helping. The demise you speak of of neo-nazi street movements was likely not due to their fellow street fighting binary cousins, this video on italy and casa pound seems to show that it has come back.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I3x-ge4w46E

Now for the above video there would in situations where some type of corporeal fighting response is necessary(parapolice on the beaches for example) but that would be a genuine defensive based attack as opposed to this ridiculous anti-free speech nonsense.

Like I said, you misread my post. I haven't identified as a leftist in about a decade now, I don't support the anti-free speech crowd, and I was calling shit like antifa and this protest ineffectual. But like it or not, commie cults have more people who care about them than will ever care about you if you keep this up. <3

But being preferential against soft totalitarian wannabe leftist ideology. I'm an esoteric radical anon so I'm looking to make weight in terms of people who care about my ideas in numbers. I do however wish to undermine the ugly side of turd worldist 1968 born leftism and their thirst to control institutional discourse now that they have some power.

Ugh, fuck off. I never said anyone becomes a fascist because of antifa. I said shutting down talks, shouting down far right speakers or de-platforming white nationalists feeds them. They love it when you do that. It creates a great photo op. When idiots interrupt a talk, or storm a stage, or hold up a banner, pull a fire alarm, etc.....that's the money shot !! It immediately gets posted on youtube and then copied and reposted hundreds of times by the alt-right tech-savy hive mind. That's exactly the reaction they are looking for. EXACTLY. They get to own their cause of "freeze peach!"

And no, the logical gap between the proliferation of far right 'free speech' rallies and murdering refugees is not "pretty large". Both are on the rise. Richard Spencer may have stopped his speaking tour, but no other alt-reicher has. It's insignificant.

Okay, then if your argument isn't that these things cause more fascists, what relationship are you trying to draw here? That it gives fascists the feel-goods? Who gives a fuck

"Both are on the rise" and are therefore tied? I can't tell if you're intentionally being dense, or legit don't understand correlation vs. causation. Yes, both are on the rise, but that doesn't mean people are reasoning that they should be fascist because some people are opposed to free speech (the "logical gap" I was referring to). They're both on the rise because the far right is on the rise in general.

I already told you my fucking argument you dense mouth breather. How many times do you need it repeated? You want me to break out the crayons?

When the alt-right gets censored, they use this to attract attention to their message as well as to discredit those doing the censuring. Those groups or individuals shutting down their talks are then perceived by the public as being overly hostile and bullying. It thereby creates sympathy for the alt-right (i.e. 'Oh let them talk, they are just harmlessly speaking). And creates antagonistic feelings towards the de-platformers. In other words, it has the OPPOSITE effect the activists are trying to achieve. The alt-right then can say with some justification, "See? THEY [e.g. antifa] are the REAL fascists" Is this too advanced for you?

Yes, that is what I meant. The far right is on the rise, and killing minorities immigrants or refugees is on the rise. And as these free speech rallies by the far right receive more attention and thus become more popular (due to the deplatforming tactics), it emboldens unhinged members of the far right to go out and commit acts of violence.

Lol someone needs to take a nap and reread my post.

I fully understand what your argument is, and I pointed out that it's pretty fucking stupid. Yes, the alt-right gets to say "See? THEY [e.g. antifa] are the REAL fascists" and then... what, exactly? What does this fucking matter? Like I said, it's not like these arguments convince people to become right wing, they just at best convince people antifa is bad, which, boohoo I don't really care.

And your argument that counter-demonstrations embolden people to commit violence, like I said, we have plenty of direct evidence that the exact opposite is true. Here in Kitchener (the larger city immediately adjacent to Waterloo) used to be the Neo-Nazi capital of Canada, until they got run out of town. Now that there are thousands of refugees living here, the last thing we want is for those fucks to think it's fine, safe, and dandy for them to come back. Direct confrontation seems like a solid way to do that.

Or hey, keep crying about how the world doesn't really get you, the special snowflake with the master plan ;)

"I fully understand what your argument is,"

Obviously not, or you wouldn't have said, "Okay, then if your argument isn't that these things cause more fascists, what relationship are you trying to draw here?"

"Like I said, it's not like these arguments convince people to become right wing, they just at best convince people antifa is bad, which, boohoo I don't really care."

Huh? All I'm saying is that these tactics are counter productive. And they do push at least some people in the direction of the right. Lindsay Shepherd is a good example. She used to say she was a leftist progressive, now she's tweeting that antifa is weird and appearing on all kinds of right wing podcasts and videos. She even revealed she has an alt-right boyfriend now.

"And your argument that counter-demonstrations embolden people to commit violence, like I said, we have plenty of direct evidence that the exact opposite is true. Here in Kitchener (the larger city immediately adjacent to Waterloo) used to be the Neo-Nazi capital of Canada, until they got run out of town. Now that there are thousands of refugees living here, the last thing we want is for those fucks to think it's fine, safe, and dandy for them to come back. Direct confrontation seems like a solid way to do that".

Your example doesn't prove what you think it proves. It means the neo-Nazis just moved elsewhere and committed their violence there. There are more incidents of hate motivated violence now than there has been in a long time. The alt-right is flourishing all over North America, including Canada.

https://globalnews.ca/news/3670776/white-nationalist-groups-canada-on-th...

Whenever they can bait antifa into shutting down a campus talk, that's a win for them. That just fuels and energizes them, gives them life, attracts more disaffected people, and allows them to grow and recruit more.

But hey, keep thinking that the rise of hate-fueled violence and the rise of the far right are merely coincidence. And keep telling yourself you are making a difference by shutting down alt-right talks. The rest of us will keep laughing at you..

The distribution of social privilege being more diffused than ever, just as the inequalities in general between the owners and the proles, who just die trying to get richer, is more extreme than it probably ever was, people are suffering from a collectively-induced hallucination about their own power in this world, and lack thereof. This breeds hatred. And even the people in antifa groups will be reproducing this hate (as long as it ain't obviously racist, sexist or homophobic, that's a-okay no?).

I feel that too many radicals don't understand the need to socially "get over it"... to stop being abstract categories, to reject identifiers for the active "external regulations" they really are.

That’s how bad they are in the propaganda war.

Deplatforming is a stupid non anarchist idea which is basically a capture and hold the discursive power flag. It’s a corrosive practice that also manifests beyond the binary outgroup. It already includes discourses that are not fascist(Peterson for example-hell I have peripheral agreements with Peterson on the NeoMarxism problem which is no good for anarchy either) but I deplatforming eventually catches up to anarchism and anarchy which is the perennial anti-power worldview.

Antifa are at best anarchists reflecting bad times and commitarded enforcers of the modern faith at worse.

I believe they was referencing that in the eyes of the liberal media and collage types they will be seen as the fascists.. i don't think they were saying what you are implying /at all/ ...

Also, it's not accurate to compare this kind of organizing to the antifascists of the 80's and in europe, the tactics are different. the terrain is different.

I posted this comment on the source page, might take a while to go through because of moderation queue there. Some context: Waterloo (the city Laurier is in) took in about as many Syrian refugees as the entire US did.

-----------------

I also attended the counter-rally, and I didn't mask up or push anything, but am forced to ask: what in the hell are you talking about? You bemoan these "outside radicals popping in to someone else’s community and organizing space and telling them how things should go" as "deeply paternalistic". But one, how do you know these individuals don't go to Laurier? They were part of what appears to be a local fucking IWW chapter of all things: https://twitter.com/kw_gdc (which, if you don't know, is not exactly a hardcore, Make Total Destroy anarchist group), and were presumably masked up specifically to not be identified. Two, the counter-rally organizers and speakers were overwhelmingly NOT Laurier students (by my count, two of the speakers were currently enrolled students at Laurier, though I may have missed one or two. Several speakers made comments to not having stepped foot on the campus in years, and I'm guessing at least a few never have). What makes the larpers subject to this critique and not the liberals on the stage, who outright told a random guy to leave and wasn't welcome, for saying the talk should be shut down? who got pissed when the fire alarm was pulled and called it juvenile? Three, those masked individuals didn't even do anything (again, not exactly surprising). You are ultimately whining about an aesthetic choice, and one you even point out was likely for their own peace of mind. They weren't the ones who pulled the fire alarm, they were outside with everyone else when that happened. How "deeply paternalistic" does one have to be to tell other people how to dress when they're going out? And four: you talk about all this under the guise of "tactics" and "strategy" and building "stronger movements". I personally think all these things are buzzwords and outright undesirable, but whatever, let's look at it from your perspective. Whoever pulled the fire alarm **shut the talk down**. They did this against the wishes of the organizers on the stage (who again, told the people responsible to go back to middle school), but to cheers in the crowd. Whose movement is it that you're trying to cater to here? What exactly are these "tactics" and "strategies" you thought would have been more effective? Because as far as I can tell, the people on the stage held a decent drum circle, the larpers you chastise as menacing or something just stood around idly holding a damn sign, and meanwhile, someone else got shit done.

But there's a more fundamental point that I'd like to address here. You, who are at least presumably an anarchist if you're posting on this site, call out people who aren't enrolled in a university as not being valid members of the community. As though the events that transpire on the Laurier campus are confined to the ivory tower and there alone. You think the refugees who live in the area heard there was someone coming who has advocated murdering people like them and thought to themselves, "Oh, well it's not in Waterloo, it's just on the Laurier campus"? Please take your university elitism and fuck right off with it. Then to go so far as to blame the larpers for any sort of hypothetical action the authorities might take on student organizers who were in no way tied to them, and not, oh idk, the authorities? With friends like these, eh?

Is a sad and sorry example of the worst of leftist US repressive tolerance practices regarding showing a fucking Jordan Peterson video. Don't you antifatards realize that you're already badly losing the propaganda war when people like Shepherd are now sympathetic to that side.

I can only repeat what anon 11:44 said, quite while you're behind.

I love how this Shepard person is being held up as an example. She's an example of the "cesspool of democratic plurality" and nothing more.

"Progressive" is just another word for liberal, as in, barely understands the world at all and probably defaults to law-and-order narratives.

Those people frequently radicalize to the right once they actually experience conflict. This has hardly anything to do with Antifa and a lot to do with the Overton window being pushed way to the right over the last few decades.

Shepherd is the minority development.

There are a whole bunch of progs and libs who are into punching nazis in an age where semi-social war conflict has ratcheted up. Shepherd is actually preferable to the worst of libprogs. The best of the Petersonians are better then the worst of the turd worldist turd way liberal progressives and their antifa foot soldiers.

Sooner or later there's going to be more Shayne Hunters who simply bail on that decadent leftist turd worldist NON-ANARCHIST sect.

So what? You're the one who brought her up as if she was relevant. Incoherent as always ziggy ...

I don't give a fuck about "propaganda wars". Just going to make the fash and their neckbeard troll horde regret it if they cross the line in my town where I'm watching. It's that simple. Leave everybody else alone and there's no problem! ;)

is that she is the minority to the fucking rule. Most people like her tacitly or actively support some form of controlled speech including deplatforming, antifa support either tacitly or actively is part of it for progs and liberals. Most of them all the way up to the Trudeau government are down with controlled speech which is derivative or Marcuses repressive tolerance ideas.

You may not give a fuck about the propaganda wars but your antifa fuck buddies certainly support the extra legal(and legal) controlling of speech which is playing a role in the fueling of fascism. Now, my view is also a critique of tolerance but it culminates with a pure preference based position driven by association as opposed to a capture and hold the flag approach to societal discourse. I want to dismantle society not mold it into some progressive or communist society. Also why should a supposed anarchist care about a town or anything beyond a dunbar number of human beings?

Here's an interview with Shayne Hunter btw, he literally mentions fascist flags on one side and totalitarian communist flags on the other(clowns to the left jokers to the right). https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gvNDYOvId0Q&feature=youtu.be

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