The Tower’s Statement on Backlash after the Bernier Demo

  • Posted on: 7 October 2019
  • By: thecollective
The Tower’s Statement on Backlash after the Bernier Demo

From North Shore Counter-Info, Hamilton, Ontario

From The Tower’s Facebook

In the few days since the counter-demo against the Bernier event at Mohawk College, there has been an intense backlash against antifascists. In particular, we see as particularly vile the targeting of an organizer based in Toronto named Alaa, who immigrated to Canada from Syria. We are enraged to see him subjected to racist insults and threats targeting both himself and his family. This backlash has latched on to a video of an elderly person having an uncomfortable few minutes and being slightly delayed. This person experienced no harm, she’s fine, and afterwards went to a bunch of media outlets where she made comments about how her interest in Bernier stems from concerns about the Middle East, specifically Syrians, and how they have different values from ours.

She says it’s not her idea of Canada that she experiences a little difficulty in supporting an openly xenophobic political party. In this she is correct: racism has been a feature of Canada from the beginning. That so much of Hamilton (starting with its media) is focused on an old white person’s moment of discomfort rather than yet another immigrant family being targeted for harassment by the racist far-right should come as no surprise. This is the Canada she is turning to Bernier to defend.

We need to prepare to defend ourselves from this reaction, but it unfortunately isn’t surprising. What is surprising is the number of antifascists who, in the face of a bit of unpopularity and outrage, are distancing themselves from the counter-protest. We don’t need to agree with every tactical decision everyone makes and of course we should always try to do better, but once the dust clears the most lasting harm will be by those who didn’t stay solid – those who threw other antifascists under the bus and stepped away from their political ideals because they were worried about what the internet might say.

Alaa’s family felt pushed to put out a statement apologizing for the events, but the final sentence is telling – they close by asking people to stop sending abusive or threatening messages to their restaurant, their family members, and their staff. That a coerced “apology” like this is being gleefully circulated by the mainstream media should make us all stop and think about the importance of staying strong in our politics and offering unwavering solidarity. Old-lady-gate is a made up scandal and we need to be strong enough in our ideas and organizing to shrug off that kind of hype and focus on what matters.

Many other people are experiencing this kind of harassment right now and we would like to express our solidarity with all of them. There may yet be criminal charges coming down and it’s important to remember the reasons a demo like this matters. We have a responsibility to oppose rising racist, xenophobic, and misogynistic forces – and to resist their normalization through assholes like Bernier. There may be police sniffing around trying to convince people to inform or to help them identify people, and they are certainly following all the terribly unwise social media posts of unblurred video and loose talk. Posting information about criminalized acts on social media can be just as bad as sending it to the cops directly, and airing arguments about tactics exposes faultlines that repression can exploit.

Popularity is a fickle wind, it shouldn’t change a thing about our commitments. Let’s stay solid, and keep each other safe and ready for the next time as there will be many.

Comments

So you're cool with a bunch of antifa meatheads yelling and screaming at an old lady in a walker and preventing her from entering the talk?

Whoa Joker just quickly turned into a moralist defender of the crippled. Is the place where you live for autonomous or semi-autonomous senior citizens?

So you hate senior citizens and hate free speech. Got it.

Freeee Speeech!

Let’s scream hyperbolic and heinous epithets and smears at people we disagree with, don’t understand or dislike (they call it de-platforming) and use a half baked critique of free speech as a liberal/statist convention/belief to get away with it. Millennials/this generation will be remembered for 1) each and every one claiming an identity or label that absolves them of any responsibility for reproducing the social order (it’s every one else’s fault!) and 2) for censorship of genuine enemies, censorship of anyone they disagree with, censorship of others in the same milieu, censorship of their friends and neighbours and finally for self-censorship. Unless there is a seismic shift they certainly won’t be remembered for organizing horizontal networks of autonomous people that threaten systems of power.

Yes, free speech is hilarious isn't it. It's a joke to hammer and sickle antifa types.

This is sooo 2016 lol

Why label them 'Nazi Scum' if they aren't Nazis? Why not just call them xenophobic morons or something more accurate? And what is ironic and an example of the hypocrisy of the Left, is that there were Marxist-Leninists marching around with their banners, unimpeded by any of the protesters. Unlike the PPC, Marxist-Leninists are literally Nazi-like: they want a highly regimented, highly centralized, extremely intolerant, single party/ ideology society, with a great leader at the helm, the whole thing maintained through widespread repression. A police state. With a long and proven history of imposing them whenever they had state power. And yet apparently all one needs to do in order to be able to walk around freely espousing such a fascistic social order is to use a 'Left' vocabulary.

Marxist-Leninists are not "Nazi-like", they are simply authoritarian. If you recall, actual Nazis killed Marxists, communists and socialists. But why let facts get in the way of having fun with ideological name-calling?

That said, hammer and sickle 'anarchists' have no place in any anarchist movement. They are authoritarian Marxists who would murder actual anarchists all over again (like they did in the Soviet Union) if given half the chance.

MLs are not “simply authoritarian”. Authoritarianism is the way every nation state on earth is organized. The thing is though, that Marxist Leninists set up literal police states which crush, through repression and punishment, all other currents of socialism, art movements, open conversations and inquiries, freely shared dissident opinions, any form of self organization or autonomy, etc. Police states are not “just authoritarian” to the same degree as say Canada’s internalized settler authoritarianism bolstered by the long arm of the law, or Bolsonaro’s Brazil.

Yes, agreed. I wasn't implying MLs are benign in their authoritarianism, only that MLs are not Nazi-like in their authoritarianism. Unlike Nazi's, MLs are not hyper-nationalistic, do not rely on a cult of personality, are not racially motivated, not interested in world domination, and are generally not in the business of exterminating minorities to create a pure strain of human. But Mls do create their own kind of police state.

I would go further and say that all nation states are police states. If you have a state, and you have police, you have a police state. Some police states are just less obvious or aggressive than others.

What's more relevant to know for 2019 anarchos from all over the world is that these Red anarfakes will do several other nasty very things to anarchists before they come even close to be having a police force to murder them.

They'll snitch/profile you, blackmail you, use or abuse you, turn your friends/lovers against you, and of course the most well-known formula of the call-out. And the darkest part is that they don't even care how this can collapse a project, infrastructure or milieu.... as they're siding with the State's infrastructure anyways. They could be doing it also on purpose, and on the some agency's payroll.

wowzers! the hammer/sickle LARPers will draw you in if you let them.

YE BE WARNED YAHAAARRR

Trolls found this thread, that's cool. Tactical disagreement and critique are super important, but this is a good example of why that probably can't happen well on the internet.

If folks from afar aren't following it, yesterday, Soufi's restaurant which was mentioned in the statement has decided to close down permanently after continued death threats and targeted violence they've received. Canada has a fascist/patriot problem.

It certainly does. Becoming a lightning rod is the fastest way to learn the ugly truth. My sympathies to those folks

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