Since March 2013, the main Kersplebedeb website has been migrated to a primarily wordpress format.
What this means in practical terms is that everything you are used to seeing on Sketchy Thoughts is now being posted straight to Kersplebedeb and simply being automatically mirrored here. So in general, you will probably have a better reading/viewing experience if you head over to Kersplebedeb.
For those who prefer the Sketchy Thoughts blogger layout for whatever reason, this page will continue to be automatically updated whenever something is posted to Kersplebedeb, for at least the short-term future. However, as additional functionality is added to the Kersplebedeb site via wordpress, the Sketchy Thoughts page will probably begin to show its age more and more.
Saturday, April 08, 2023
Since March 2013, the main Kersplebedeb website has been migrated to a primarily wordpress format.
Thursday, February 23, 2017
Anti-fascist groups, often called “antifa,” are popping up all around the United States, and a number of people have asked us for advice on forming a group.
Read the rest of this post on the original site at Forming An Antifa Group: A Manual
Anti-fascist groups, often called “antifa,” are popping up all around the United States, and a number of people have asked us for advice on forming a group.
Read the rest of this post on the original site at Forming An Antifa Group: A Manual
on the main Kersplebedeb website: http://ift.tt/2lAthSx
A new edition of Confronting Fascism, containing exactly the same material as in the first edition (though redesigned to look nicer) is now at the printers!
Confronting Fascism: Discussion Documents for a Militant Movement is a series of texts that came out of conversations revolutionaries in and around Anti-Racist Action were having at the highpoint of the previous wave of antifascist organizing in North America.
First published in 2002 as a collaboration between Kersplebedeb, ARA Chicago, and the anarchist magazine Arsenal, Confronting Fascism is structured around a text by Don Hamerquist, “Fascism & Antifascism.” Hamerquist takes a wrecking ball to the mythology around fascism that had been traditionally peddled by the reformist left; against objections that fascists are just a distraction, or are simple-minded agents of the state and capital, he shows how fascism contains a revolutionary and even anticapitalist impulse thoroughly enmeshed with its own deeply oppressive and anti-liberatory politics. Unraveling what this means for antifascists and our strategies is the task at hand, and Hamerquist proceeds to lay down some important preliminary realities that we need to deal with. Almost twenty years later, what is most striking is how prescient so many of Hamerquist’s observations were, not only about the ambiguously dynamic appeal of fascism, but also about the specific characteristics of antifascist work and the advantages and disadvantages they confer.
J. Sakai follows Hamerquist, interrogating his analysis as he pushes it forward. Sakai argues against the idea that fascism comes primarily from the working class, just as he extends the point that fascism is not an inherently or essentially “white” ideology. A discussion of different forms of capitalist rule, the class structure of global imperialism, and the history of anticapitalist critique within both Italian and German “classical” fascism, flows into a contemporary contextualization of fascism within the neocolonial context; throughout, Sakai shows that support for fascism comes primarily from middle class men who are losing or being denied their traditional privileges, what many consider their birthrght, as a result of capitalist and imperialist “progress.” As such, a thread of parasitism and social revanchism is traced, connecting the tax resister from the American midwest to the racist bonehead in neoliberal Britain to the Taliban fighter in Afghanistan.
Shorter texts from the ARA Research Bulletin, Mark Salotte and Xtn of ARA Chicago, place these theoretical insights in the concrete context of the political and physical fight against the far right, while also recovering the connections between this fight and the broader rise of anticapitalist struggle at the time. Militant antifascist activism constituted an important factor in hemming in and ultimately thwarting the attempts at advance being made by several leading fascist groups at the time — it was a form of struggle that worked. Without providing any kind of blueprint for the current resurgent antifa movement, they nonetheless provide insights and frameworks that should be examined and integrated, so that those taking up the work today can draw upon what was done before.
Breaking with established Left practice, Confronting Fascism attempts to deal with the questions of fascism and antifascism in a serious and non-dogmatic manner. Attention is paid to to the class appeal of fascism, its continuities and breaks with the “regular” far-right and also even with the Left, the ways in which the fascist movement is flexible and the ways in which it isn’t. Left failures, both in opposing fascism head-on, and also in providing a viable alternative to right-wing revolt, are also dealt with at length.The lived experiences of anti-fascist activists inform this work, and more attention is paid to actual historical developments and facts than to neat theories that explain everything but only coincidentally intersect with reality. Understanding the relationship of fascism, the State, left reformism and what it means to be revolutionary are priorities in a world where it seems increasingly true that those who do not advance will have to retreat.
First published in 2017, Confronting Fascism was downloaded and purchased by thousands following the Trump election in 2016, making it suddenly “out of print”. This new edition consists of the same material as in the 2002 edition.
on the main Kersplebedeb website: http://ift.tt/2lw0IXN
The Canadian Coalition of Concerned Citizens is an Islamophobic organization that held a “pop up” protest outside of a mosque in Toronto last week, and which is trying to instigate a number of racist marches across Canada on March 4th. In their callout, the racists explain that they are “calling on all Canadian Patriots that believe in Freedom, Liberty & Justice, that stand against Sharia Law & Globalization” to join these rallies.
This national far right gambit — coming just weeks after a young man with ties to the far right entered a mosque and opened fire, killing 6 people and wounding many more — is being responded to by a variety of different forces on the ground, which have organized several different antifascist actions the day in question. What follows is a partial list of the antifascist actions, which it would be really good for people to show up at:
Hotel De Ville De Montreal, 275 Rue Notre-Dame E from 11:30am to 2pm
Bloquons l’extrême droite islamophobe!: http://ift.tt/2loFdrX
Hotel De Ville De Quebec, 2 rue Desjardins, de 11h30 à 14h00
Contre-manifestation pour s’opposer à l’islamophobie: http://ift.tt/2kQLz4t
three different marches/rallies, all at Toronto City Hall (Nathan Phillips Square),
100 Queen Street West from 11am to 2pm
Counterprotest to Fight Islamophobia: http://ift.tt/2loJfR0
Fight Islamophobia!: Counter-protest against white supremacy: http://ift.tt/2kR1lfR
Stand against Islamophobia: http://ift.tt/2l3TIy4
Ottawa City Hall, 110 Laurier Avenue West from 12 to 2pm
Counter Rally Against Ottawa Islamophobes: http://ift.tt/2kR4Vqf
Hamilton City Hall, 71 Main Street West, from 12pm to 2pm
Counter Rally Against Hamilton Islamophobes: http://ift.tt/2l44TGQ
Winnipeg City Hall, 510 Main Street, from 11:30 to 2pm
Counter Rally against Winnipeg ISLAMOPHOBES: http://ift.tt/2kZs7ho
on the main Kersplebedeb website: http://ift.tt/2l41JTw
Tuesday, February 21, 2017
Entscheidend ist die Besatzungsmentalität: What’s crucial is the mentality of conquest and occupation
When first joining the u.s. left in the late 1950s, we had our local social-democratic group’s small May Day celebration in a room at the cheap edge of downtown. Memorably, there was a strip-tease joint downstairs, giving the building a kind of lumpen/proletarian air. At the speaker’s side of the room there was an older Jewish worker from one of the garment unions, with an elderly woman garment worker representing the inactive social-democratic “Italian chapter”. The audience was less than thirty persons, almost all whites The meeting was a remnant, of an old u.s. left from the 1930s industrial labor battles.
If you could skip ahead in time only a few years to the start of the 1960s, There would be many more people, but the old white trade unionists would be gone. The white side of the left was mostly young, university students or drop-outs. The many workers and poor street people in the struggle would be Black, and had their own movement. Almost everyone in the young left mixed in the civil rights movement or the student anti-war movement—or often both. It was easy for the u.s. white left to become dominantly middle-class, and the full future implications of that were never faced. This New Left would constantly attract a small stream of white working class kids, but almost as migrants from across a national border.
Once the u.s. left became allies and activists with the Black freedom movement in the 1960s-1970s, white areas even working class ones became enemy territory for us—those were places where you worried about physical attacks and violent mobs. Remember that America was always divided into oppressor territories and oppressed colonial territories—called the rez, barrios, and ghettos—and the white settler population were constantly engaged in daily social policing. Informally, a low-level war by whites of beatings and terrorism and killings happened every day to keep the angry colonies inside their social prisons.
But there was a real division in the white working class communities in the 1960s-70s. The white labor aristocracy, like hard-hat construction workers and over the road truckers, were used as patriotic shock troops by the government, politically and in attacking anti-war protests. On the other hand, we worked with many white working class youth who were being drafted to fight in Vietnam, and were anti-government and sharing a rebel youth culture. Many white working class GIs became antiwar in Vietnam, and some joined us in the resistance.
After Washington’s Vietnam pull-out in 1973, though, this contact with white working class rebels sharply dropped off. Recall, for a while was working in a major parts factory in the far South Side. A crew of young white guys there, who were mostly ’Nam vets and dope smokers, invited me to join their clique and come party at the Indianapolis 500 auto race with them. They even supported me for being night-shift union shop steward. The only thing they warned me about—is that i had to stop hanging with the young Black workers or else they wouldn’t even say hello. The euro-settler/Black divide was and is everything here, really.
Q. In the 1980s, you wrote the book Settlers: The Mythology of the White Proletariat. A new edition has been published recently. How is settlerism different from racism? It seems that some folks use the terms interchangeably.
A. Yes, often young anarchists or socialists here do use the words in an uncertain way, as though they mean the same. Settlerism, as we know, is a very specific type of capitalist colonialism. It is the most complete colonialism. A conquest society, where a loyal national population was brought in to both economically populate and be the permanent garrison for capitalism over the conquered territory.
Settlerism has within it the broader phenomena of racism, but is importantly different. The culture is capitalist but twisted further. Sometimes you can see the cultural mark of being a garrison population, like the American white “gun mania.” The ruling class has always supported a heavily armed white citizenry to keep colonized people under the boot. This is their neurotically guilty culture of would-be conquerors and genocidists. Settlerism means that we are always fighting “Americanism” itself, not just some extreme nationalistic form.
What the real deal is: Between 1963 and 1968, as violent and massive Black ghetto “riots” spread, the u.s. ruling class made two critical decisions. That Civil Rights would be made national law as an “airbag” to cushion the crash of repressing Black revolution, and that the real costs of any “integration” would be shifted completely onto the euro-settler working class.
People who weren’t around then can’t realize how bitter and explosive this was. Before, euro-settler workers may have gotten their hands dirty, but they had all the good paying jobs, it was that simple. Suddenly it was the same but different. About that time was graduating from the u.s. government mechanics school, trying to find a job. The state employment office sent me to the mechanics department at the big railway freight yards. In the office, the supervisor leaned back in his chair and said unhappily: “We heard that the government was going to pass this law, so we figured it was better you than a nigger!” That was still in the old days, when we always knew what white men were thinking, because they felt free to say out loud whatever crossed their minds. Of course, the white mechanics had gathered nearby in the garage to see the “new hire”, and together serenaded me with the then popular toothpaste commercial: “You’ll wonder where the YELLOW went/When you brush your teeth with Pepsodent.” ( Starting the daily harassment on the job. )
The point was, the white working class never had any “democratic” vote or say over this social tax on their communities. For two generations the u.s. ruling class solidified government, political parties, media and elections into an iron wall, enforcing this unpopular strategic concession. For the euro-settler working class communities shifting from being very privileged to less privileged. There never was any plebiscite or national popular vote on civil rights—which wouldn’t have passed. When the rare candidate to major office appeared who dead-on opposed civil rights, the establishment united to shoot him down. Famously, when Ku Klux Klan and neo-nazi leader David Duke ran for governor of the state of Louisiana in 1991, both parties united behind the Democratic candidate to block Duke, who still won 55% of the white vote. That was a signal flare of shipwreck sent up by settler communities, including but no means limited to their working class.
Donald Trump was today’s more respectable version of Duke. Marketing smarts told him that running on a platform of settler nationalism, of restoring the white nation to power and having a state publically dedicated to only their racial interests, would be the path to his elevation. The key to that would be his “dog whistle”, silently giving the piercing signal to euro-settlers that his was a united front of all whites in their common racial interests. He wouldn’t sell them out. What better way to silently do that than by conspicuously including the neo-nazis and klan haters in his campaign. Promoting the Confederate flag at his campaign rallies. Every Trump sexist vulgarity, every hate message and bullying threat, was only further proof to his enraptured followers that he wasn’t “politically correct” against them. That he would restore the white nation because at long last through him they could vote “civil rights” and the whole establishment agenda down.
The metropolitan elite, university-educated, residing in major urban areas, dominates the computer industry and global corporate sectors like finance and media. While backing Hillary and LGBT human rights for public politics and all that, in their own worlds they live in apartheid racial/gender discipline. In the futuristic Silicon Valley, computer firms like Twitter and Pinterest are each coincidentally 92% white and Asian for tech employees. Google is right there, too, with tech employees being 94% white and Asian. Same at other computer corporations. It isn’t hard to guess that there are ethnic quotas or near-blanket exclusions secretly agreed upon between these outspokenly liberal corporate leaders. It’s ironic that conservative white factory workers and small industrial employers in the Midwest may be for Trump, but have much more integrated workplaces. Incidentally, the liberal icon New York Times, where Paul Krugman’s columns appear, has 6 White House reporters, but none of them are Black. It has 21 sports reporters, but none of them are Black ( although basketball and American football, for instance, are heavily Black ). Their lifestyles section has no Black writers, although Black people do have real lives. So who is more racist and backward?
Right now we are at intermission. As the previous left from the 1960s-70s has finally faded away, and exited the stage. In this transition, protest and struggle is starting all over again from ground zero. A new kind of radical movement with its own politics and startling ideas is still to come. But it had better have a real power hook-up for working class heroes and outcasts.
on the main Kersplebedeb website: http://ift.tt/2m9inmf
Wednesday, February 15, 2017
on the main Kersplebedeb website: http://ift.tt/2kIEizD
Sunday, February 05, 2017
An earlier version of this story appeared in Das Magazin in December. On November 9 at around 8.30 AM., Michal Kosinski woke up in the Hotel Sunnehus in Zurich.
Read the rest of this post on the original site at The Data That Turned the World Upside Down
An earlier version of this story appeared in Das Magazin in December. On November 9 at around 8.30 AM., Michal Kosinski woke up in the Hotel Sunnehus in Zurich.
Read the rest of this post on the original site at The Data That Turned the World Upside Down
on the main Kersplebedeb website: http://ift.tt/2jRcZa8
Friday, February 03, 2017
Police said that between 7:00 and 8:00 a.m. an employee at the Khadijah Masjid Islamic Centre in Montreal’s Pointe-Sainte-Charles neighbourhood discovered a window had been smashed with a heavy object. The building had also been egged.
Read the rest of this post on the original site at Mosque vandalized in Montreal’s Pointe-Saint-Charles neighbourhood
on the main Kersplebedeb website: http://ift.tt/2k2m2RE
Police said that between 7:00 and 8:00 a.m. an employee at the Khadijah Masjid Islamic Centre in Montreal's Pointe-Sainte-Charles neighbourhood discovered a window had been smashed with a heavy object. The building had also been egged.
Read the rest of this post on the original site at Mosque vandalized in Montreal's Pointe-Saint-Charles neighbourhood
Thursday, February 02, 2017
This article was written twenty years ago for the magazine Antifa Forum; the details are not going to be of any real significance today. Nonetheless, it is being uploaded simply because the issue of state-recuperation of antifascism, and its perils, is sadly likely to become very germane in the future. Plus, it provides a little bit of interesting history of antifascism in Quebec.
Across North America people of varying political persuasions are taking a stand against racism. As revolutionary anti-fascists we of course believe that racism must always be opposed, but this doesn’t mean that every opponent of the extreme right can be trusted. Our battle is with all oppressors and all oppression, and those who through some fluke of political expediency join us in opposing boneheads and Klansmen may very well end up being on the other side of the barricades when our methods become too radical, or our targets too mainstream.
This was brought home to many activists in the summer of 1996, when the biggest riot to hit the province in thirty years broke out in Quebec City. Early on the morning of June 2th, following the official St-Jean Baptiste celebrations, more than two thousand people thoroughly trashed the provincial capitol, repeatedly routing the police and managing to enter and set fire to the National Assembly (where the provincial government meets). While by no means the first event of its kind – 1996 was the third year in a row that there had been riots on St-Jean Baptiste in Quebec City, and in 1997 there were riots in the capitol and the city of Montreal – it was by far the most severe. There was over a half a million dollars in damages; over $200,000 to the National Assembly alone, and eighty-one people were arrested and charged with assault, obstructing police and participating in a riot – some receiving jail sentences of over one year.
There is little mystery as to the causes of this violence. The Federal Liberal government’s austerity measures have trickled down to the provinces, adding frustration and anger to an already far from tranquil social situation. The police in Quebec City, like cops everywhere, seem to take pleasure in getting into people’s faces and exercising their power however they see fit. The past few years have seen an increasing tendency on the part of many people to stand up to this bullying, and police harassment has led to more than one evening of violence, of which June 24th 1996 was simply the most noteworthy because the most successful.
Rather than concentrate on the St–Jean riot, though, this article will focus on the repression in engendred. Of particular interest to radical anti-fascists in this story was the role played by “one of our own” (sic), the World Anti-Fascist League, in bringing down the heavy hand of the State on a section of the radical left.
Who’s to blame?
St-Jean Baptiste Day is a popular Québecois holiday associated in many people’s minds with wild partying and saying “up yours” to the police. In 1994, two police cars were set alight in Quebec City in a night of skirmishes in which 24 people were arrested. The next year 40 people were arrested in similar confrontations. When 1996 rolled around everyone expected a repeat performance. All of the signs were there: mounting tensions between police and young people, ever-increasing frustration amongst the ordinary people suffering the government’s neo-liberal restructuring… police harassment had already sparked two nights of rioting in the province, in Quebec City on May 3rd followed by Montreal exactly two weeks later. After the former, where 16 out of over 1,000 rioters were violently arrested, the Deputy Mayor of Quebec City explained his surprise by saying that “normally these events occur on St-Jean Baptiste.”
Despite the fact that many people thought they knew what would happen, the extent of the 1996 St-Jean riot caught everyone by surprise. Thousands of people looted stores and smashed up the city, repeatedly driving off the police. Perhaps anticipating accusations of “mindless violence”, some brave souls made their way to the National Assembly where so many decisions affecting, and harming, their lives are made and proceeded to trash it, too. Windows were broken, statues knocked over, and fires were set. The five-person security detail assigned to guard the buildings was helpless, and calls to the Quebec Provincial Police for backup went unanswered for hours.
Needless to say, the morning after this carnival everyone who might be held accountable was looking for someone else to hold the bag. The media spotlight was on the Quebec Municipal Police Department, which had clearly failed to maintain control. Comparisons were made with Montreal, where police managed to control a crowd several times as large without incident. Martin Forgues, a pretender to the Quebec Mayor’s office, laid the blame squarely at the cops’ feet, insisting that if better planning wouldn’t have prevented the riot it would have at least lessened its toll.
In the hopes of shifting the blame and saving some face, Quebec City Police Chief Normand Bergeron publicly declared that the riot was the result of a political conspiracy. An “extreme right wing group with international ramifications” had instigated it, he said.
No one has ever offered any evidence to back up these allegations, and a year and a half after the fact it is clear that the police chief was either lying or repeating lies others had told him. Yet the accusation established the framework for scapegoating: political conspiracy. Never mind that vast the majority of those arrested had no known connection to any political organisation or movement. The first attempt to save face had been made, and now the fun could really begin!
Perhaps because of the nature of Bergeron’s accusation the media rushed off to the World Anti-Fascist League, the standard source reporters in Quebec consult for information about the far right. Yet the WAL’s researchers were not satisfied with refuting this hairbrained theory. Instead they offered a competing story of their own. While agreeing that the riot was the work of professional agitators, they accused Bergeron of being “out in left field” for blaming the extreme right.
According to the League, which at the time was still viewed by many as a progressive organisation, the agitators who had managed to get 2,000 people to trash the provincial capitol came from the extreme left. According to WAL spokesperson Peter Vorias, an anarchist organisation called Demanarchie was to blame for all the trouble. Alain Dufour provided the scintillating details: Demanarchie was a “widely read” and “highly influential” radical left-wing newspaper whose “call to riot” had been obeyed on the 24th!
These accusations, while initially dismissed by the police, were quickly seized upon as the ideal alibi for those who feared being rebuked for neither preventing nor containing the St-Jean carnival. Not only that, but the spectre of left-wing insurrection, no matter how ridiculous, provided an excellent excuse to go “fishing”, to gather information on these would-be revolutionaries.
The day after the WAL broadcast its conspiracy theories a comrade was arrested for selling Demanarchie at the Place Youville, the popular youth hangout where the Quebec City riot had started. This activist’s house was then searched by police who seized his computer and several hundred copies of the newspaper. Next, police raided the home of Food Not Bombs members who had signed for the post office box FNB shared with Demanarchie. (Food Not Bombs is a radical anti–poverty organisation.)
Three people were arrested when police found a few pot plants at the FNB activists’ home. Their subsequent trial was rife with political commentary. At their bail hearing the prosecutor described them as dangerous agitators and noted that even though they had not been in Quebec City the night of the riot they had distributed subversive propaganda in order to get “others to do the actual work” for them. The judge subsequently refused requests for bail, saying “It would make me feel ill to free anarchist philosophers” and, alluding to the marijuana plants claimed that they were conspiring to “make the people fall asleep to better be able to indoctrinate them”!
Although possession of such a small quantity of pot would normally bring only a small fine, the activists received sentences ranging from one to three months in jail, as well as two years probation and a one-year ban from the areas around Place Youville and the National Assembly.
Following these arrests, Quebec City and Quebec Provincial Police searched the apartment of a Demanarchie member in Montreal, seizing his computer and several boxes of documents. Although he was never charged with any crime, his computer was only returned three months later in a damaged condition.
Other activists known to work with Demanarchie noticed officers from various police forces keeping them under surveillance. QPP officers interviewed one Demanarchie member, presenting him with a list of names of militants from anti-poverty and anti-racist organisations, wanting to know which ones were members of the anarchist collective.
This wave of repression galvanised alliances between anarchist and other left-wing activists in Montreal and Quebec city. Soon anti-fascist militants and researchers from across North America were publicly denouncing the Quebec police and WAL for this clampdown on the radical left. An anti–racist youth group in Alberta, known as the “Edmonton Anti-Fascist League”, even went so far as to change its name to “Edmonton Anti-Racist Action”!
All of which brings us to the question this essay will examine: why did the WAL decide to finger a revolutionary left-wing group to the cops and media?
As will be detailed, such unprincipled behaviour is not at all out of character for this organisation. Most likely, these professional “anti-fascists” knew they were bullshitting, but decided to take advantage of police chief Bergeron’s penchant for conspiracy theories and the media’s post-riot hysteria to smear a group they certainly viewed as competition on the street. Demanarchie filled a need the WAL might have filled when it was first founded, and was trusted and respected by many of the young people who Dufour and Company have always treated as their target audience.
The World Anti-Fascist League
The WAL first appeared on the Montreal scene in early 1989. At the time, it was basically a bunch of friends in the skinhead and punk milieux who hoped to offer some protection from boneheads at shows. Although a small group, they managed to paint some graffiti, make some patches, and provide security at a number of gigs throughout the summer. Nevertheless, if not for an ill–fated bonehead attack they would probably have remained largely unknown outside of the hardcore music scene.
On the night of October 13th a group of boneheads associated with the GB Skins gang attacked a crowd outside a downtown Montreal nightclub where the French anti-fascist band Berurier Noir was playing. The band had invited the WAL to take care of security, and the club had its own bouncers working that evening as well. When the neo–nazis showed up and started smashing people’s heads in the club’s security responded by locking the doors, so that neither the boneheads nor their victims could get into the gig. Refusing to abandon their friends outside, however, people inside the club spontaneously rushed the doors, took to the street and chased the boneheads away.
This was one of the first times that people managed to repel such an attack at a Montreal gig since boneheads first became a problem in the city in the mid-eighties. The police showed up after the nazis had been chased off and waited outside, billy clubs in hand, to disperse the crowd as it left the show. Even so, the evening had been a political victory, one that was claimed by the WAL. Suddenly there were weekly meetings, membership soared to over one hundred, and an anti-fascist youth group was formed.
At first the WAL’s energies were concentrated on providing security at shows and patrolling the downtown strip around the Foufounes Electriques (a popular youth hangout at the time). As in many other cities, the prime victims of bonehead beatings at the time were youth in the punk and anti-racist skinhead milieux, and this area was their hangout, and thus the spot where boneheads were most likely to make trouble for them. WAL members played an important part in establishing a safe anti-racist scene. They opposed the neo-nazi United Skinheads of Montreal and helped drive its leader Alaric Jackson out of town.
For the most part the people who came to meetings did so out of a personal opposition to racism or, just as often, because the League offered a sensible response to the neo-nazi boneheads who had crashed their shows for years. There was some good gut-level politics but little real political experienc, so a kind of clubhouse atmosphere prevailed. While this is fine for a small group of friends, and may pass within an affinity group, in larger organisations such a situation is far from conducive to democratic decision-making or power sharing.
And so it was perhaps inevitable that within a short period of time power was centralised in an informal hierarchy. Alain Dufour quickly established himself as the uncontested leader, a turn of events that represented the beginning of a long and as-of-yet uninterrupted conservative trend within the organisation. Under pressure from police Dufour had the WAL repudiate street-level confrontation of fascists. By 1991 the group had reoriented itself once and for all towards simple research and public intervention in the form of occasionally co-sponsoring rallies, holding press conferences and releasing information in the form of bulletins and, more rarely, annual reports on developments within the far right. In the process it had disbanded a street gang of over 100 anti-fascist youth, many of whom went on oppose racism in other organisations.
In and of themselves, these developments would not indicate a slip into reactionary politics. Research is necessary in order to develop an analysis of the far right within society. Without such an analysis, the impact of anti-fascist activism remains severely limited, and instead of thinking strategically we are left stumbling around in the dark. But when a group lacks any coherent thoughts about the social relations that spawn racist and fascist politics one’s perception of the far right is likely to be skewed. Such an absence of sound analysis led the WAL to adopt, more or less consciously, a liberal point of view whereby the extreme left is just a tad better that the extreme right, if even that.
While such “left equals right” nonsense does lead to regressive or at best confused politics, it is unfortunately common currency among mainstream anti-racist organisations. One can be forgiven for wondering whether they adopt this position as the result of debate and analysis, or simply because it is a convenient excuse to freeze out radical anti-fascists, something many would do anyway in order to ensure funding and eliminate competition. (The fact of the matter is that for such groups’ anti-racism is often little more than a specialized section of the service industry, in other words a business with a bottom line.)
A certain kind of revolutionary anti-Stalinism can also play into this liberal confusion, as hostility towards moribund left-wing organisations leads some to confuse Left and Right variants of authoritarianism. While there are no hard and fast rules and there may or may not be much essential difference between the two, strategically it is generally best for radicals to attack the latter by all means necessary and to resist the former through reasoned argument and debate.
In the WAL’s case, this liberal predilection was coupled with an utter lack of ethics and integrity on the part of core members. They repeatedly provided false information regarding their membership, finances and relations with other groups. They also lied about the activities of the far right, all the better to hype themselves as the anti-racist experts with the goods on what’s going down.
To return to our business analogy, if some anti-racists are professional swastika counters, this had become a swastika counting racket.
According to documents released by the Research Group on the Far-Right and Its Allies, the WAL went so far as to knowingly spread disinformation about a neo-nazi gathering in 1992, repeatedly telling journalists that it was to be held in the city of Sorel after having already communicated to other anti-racist organisations that this information was false. A letter from the WAL to the English anti–fascist magazine Searchlight seems be bear this out.
WAL members have also misrepresented themselves as belonging to other organisations, and the group has repeatedly exaggerated its own influence, pretending to be a true world organisation with chapters in Europe and the United States. Around the time of the Gulf Massacre the WAL set up a front group called the Gathering for World Friendship which falsely claimed to have helped to organise a demonstration of over 150,000 people in Paris. The RAM, as the Gathering is known by its French acronym, claimed to have chapters around the world, while in fact only having a single address, in Montreal.
At other times the League has claimed to have been involved in organising conferences and gatherings, while in fact all this involvement amounted to was having one of their members take the microphone near the end of an event…
Perhaps not surprisingly, given the organisations hostility towards any radical social perspective, the personal lives of key members in the World Anti–Fascist League have also been fraught with unacceptable and reactionary conduct. As revealed on the French–language television programme Le Point, Antonio Lorte, the vice–president of the League, was found guilty of selling a half kilo of cocaine and sentenced to two years probation and banned for two years from carrying any weapons. As troubling as the sale of hard drugs like cocaine is, far worst is the testimony one of his live–in girlfriends gave at his trial. She testified that she had been physically and sexually abused by him between 1987 and 1994, describing being burnt with a blow torch and cut with knives after an “interrogation” by this misogynist.
While radical anti–fascists acknowledge the need to fight against capitalism, the State and the patriarchy, one would hope that even liberal anti-fascists, even people with whom we share nothing politically, would have enough human decency to condemn and repudiate such a man. Unfortunately, in the case at hand this seems to be too much to ask for.
Guarding Their Territory
Ever since 1991, when it rejected the role of radical street gang, the WAL’s relations with other organisations have been far from ideal. One group that was repeatedly smeared by Dufour and his pals was the Canadian Centre on Racism and Prejudice. Probably because it was based in Montreal, and thus threatened the WAL with competition on its home turf, the CCRP was repeatedly attacked as a “Marxist-Leninist” and “violent” organisation.
It should be noted that the CCRP, far from being a Marxist–Leninist or revolutionary organisation, included religious ministers, community activists and mainstream anti-racists on its board. Whatever made it verboten in the WAL’s eyes, it is hard to believe that it was its non-existent revolutionary politics. At one point in time the Centre even received State funding, and according to its “Time for Action” brochure it “conducted workshops and seminars for journalists, government, and law enforcement agents.” Hardly a radical attitude, to say the least!
The battle lines between the CCRP and WAL seem to have been drawn in 1990, when they both participated in the same coalition, Montreal Debout. This was a broad-based alliance of community groups that wanted to respond to the apparent increase in racism in the Montreal area. The coalition’s main public activity was to hold a rally against the far right on a rainy September Sunday afternoon. As many nazi boneheads as anti-racists showed up, and while the latter were largely unprepared for combat the former were brimming the aggression and clearly would have enjoyed a good fight. If not for the timely appearance of the Montreal police (who couldn’t really let a bunch of kids with doc martens attack a coalition that included the likes of the YMCA) it might have got ugly.
As it was, the rally left many organisers severely pissed off with WAL members who, according to Martin Theriault, had agreed to provide security at the event. According to several witnesses the only act of “security” anyone from the WAL carried out was the identification of local KKK leader Michel Larocque, who was spotted taking pictures of anti-racists, and the removal of his camera by Alain Dufour. Yet despite the fact that this is what several people claim to have seen, Dufour subsequently denied this chain of events and the Klan leader ended up accusing Martin Theriault and community activist André Querry of stealing his camera. All of which led to a year of court appearances for Querry and Theriault, with Larocque testifying on the stand that Dufour had saved his life from the dangerous anti-racists! (This bizarre twist seems more ominous when one notes that two years later Dufour would claim that Larocque was his informer in the Klan.)
Although Querry and Theriault were both found not guilty, their legal bills amounted to over $5,000. A Support Committee for the Montreal Debout Accused sent out an appeal for funds and planned a benefit evening at a local progressive bar. Far from collaborating with this effort, WAL research director Nic Pouliot contacted Daniel Levitas of the US-based Centre for Democratic Renewal and requested that the CDR not provide any assistance to the Committee! Then, just three days before the Support Committee’s planned benefit party, the WAL called for a public assembly against racism to be held the same evening at a different venue!
As we will see, this episode was just the beginning of the WAL’s work to undermine the Montreal left.
Down the dirty road to snitchdom…
The first indication that the WAL might actually choose to examine and investigate organisations other that the white racist right came in 1992. Just as Spike Lee’s movie Malcolm X was released, WAL published a document entitled “The Malcolm X Movement amongst young Blacks”, which attempted to paint a rough picture of the history of Black people and the Black liberation movement in North America. While certainly pretentious, this work did distinguish between the conservatism of the Nation of Islam and the anti-racist Afrocentrism of local Black community groups like A.K.A.X., and unambiguously declared that Black Liberation was a goal worthy of support.
Yet if at the time this interest in the Black Liberation movement may have seemed to some to be well intentioned or even positive, in retrospect it seems quite sinister. The report’s introduction explained that the reason the WAL was releasing a study on the Black Liberation movement was not out of any desire for an alliance with revolutionary Black organisations, but rather to meet its law and order responsibilities as a law and order anti-racist organisation. The authors claimed that the League had received many calls from white people claiming to have been stabbed or beaten up by Blacks wearing Malcolm X regalia (baseball caps, T-shirts, etc.), and that it was the WAL’s job to examine this as another version of racism.
Nowhere in the document was anything mentioned about contemporary State repression of Blacks in the USA or Canada, this despite the fact that plenty of information on the subject was made available to the WAL’s researchers. In an appendix to the document, Alain Dufour condemned “Black Supremacists” while remaining silent about the white supremacist State with the crazy line that “if we don’t denounce them, its the police who are going to denounce them, and we know that when the police gets mixed in its alot more dangerous than when its community groups doing the condemning.”
In other words, Dufour was offering his services as a soft cop seeing as the cops in uniform can be so unpleasant to deal with. Further evidence of the WAL’s perspective on relations between the “cultural communities” and the cultural majority can be gleaned from several public statements. In a promotional brochure for the WAL-front group “RAM” (see below), a list of “social problems” that provide fertile ground for racism is provided; along with unemployment the RAM lists “the creation of ethnic ghettos in certain neighbourhoods”.
Also in 1992, in an interview with a pacifist magazine, Dufour spelled out his perspective on the Montreal police. When asked his opinion of the force he answered that while there were problems and some cops were homophobic and racist, there were also good cops – he even cited the example of one “good cop” who wanted to join the WAL. When pressed on this point and asked is he felt there was systematic discrimination on the part of the police Dufour responded in the negative, adding that “there are progressive police officers who give an opportunity for us to sensitise people in that milieu. The WAL is there to sensitise them and even to help train them if they want.”
Keep in mind that the Montreal police had been involved in the shooting deaths of four Black and two Hispanic men in the preceding five years, and not a single officer has ever been found guilty of any crime in connection with these murders. Montreal cops harassed and arrested (and continue to harass and arrest) Blacks more than whites on the street, while leaving clubs, every day of the week… and the one time that a police chief publicly admitted that his cops might have acted improperly it sparked a demonstration of several thousand police officers in uniform. (I am referring to police chief St-Germain’s admission in 1992 that his officers may have made some errors in the case of Marcellus Francois, who was murdered while sitting peacefully in his car. His assailants were plainclothes cops who had failed to identify themselves, and mistook him for another man who, apart from the colour of his skin, looked nothing like Francois.)
The WAL had certainly strayed from its origins. Such is, of course, to be expected: all groups develop politically, meaning that they change. Organisations formed to deal with specific concrete situations like boneheads at shows can develop in different ways: good things or bad things can happen. In the case of the WAL, the latter unfortunately outweighed the former by far.
The first public evidence of the WAL’s interest in the left came in 1993. Klan members and neo-nazis were holding a weekend gathering in the small community of La Plaine just north of Montreal. Reporters, cops and anti-racists were swarming over the town, looking for stories, troublemakers and information.
Members of the CCRP had met with members of the community, who with few exceptions were not too pleased with all the hubbub and commotion. On the Saturday evening there was a community meeting, and it was decided to have a public gathering against racism the next day. The idea was to give residents a chance to express their outrage at the presence of neo-nazis in their town, and nothing more.
As CCRP members were scouting out the site of the meeting the next morning Quebec Provincial Police officers approached Martin Theriault and requested that he accompany them to meet with their captain at city hall. According to Theriault, the police captain informed him at this meeting that he “knew” that the organizers planned to have the rally attack the nazis. The CCRP member denied that this was the case, and reassured the top cop that the rally would remain peaceful – and demanded to know where these allegations of violent plans had come from. At which point he was told that the Minister’s office had received a tip from Nic Pouliot of the World Anti-Fascist League.
While this story does raise some questions – like how often do police reveal their sources? the QPP was way pissed off at the WAL that weekend for renting a helicopter and doing low swoops over the Aryan Fest, and one might be tempted to think that this was all just an attempt to make trouble for Pouliot and company – subsequent events do lend credibility to the theory that Pouliot would engage in such behaviour.
When Alex Roslin, a journalist with a local weekly entertainment tabloid, reported Theriault’s allegations against Pouliot, the WAL research director denied snitching to the cops but explained that “I would do it if I knew of a case of direct confrontation. We don’t exactly have time to track left-wing groups but if I had the manpower and resources I would.” To justify his interest in the Left, Pouliot referred to the issue of “political correctness” on university campuses, claiming that “It’s frightening and I consider it to be the same as fascism.”
Shortly following this Pouliot allegedly left the WAL, but this did not end his relationship with the League. While apparently freelancing as an anti-fascist researcher he was repeatedly spotted with WAL activists, and more recently took responsibility for designing the League’s web site.
Nor did Pouliot’s distancing himself from the WAL do anything to temper the group’s leftphobia. In a letter to Voir, another weekly entertainment tabloid, the League explained that when “communists choose to support organisations such as the Shining Path (Peru) and use the same methods such as terrorism, we will take a stand”.
Such redbaiting most likely represents only the tip of the iceberg. After all, if WAL officials are willing to make such statements in a public forum, imagine what they must say in private. There is some evidence that the group has smeared its anti-racist rivals in this way: according to Martin Theriault, Alain Dufour has told Steven Scheinberg of B’nai B’rith Canada that the former president of the CCRP was a former “secret leader” of the Communist Party of Canada. More recently, after the Research Group on the Far-Right and Its Allies published a report denouncing the WAL’s role in destabilizing the Left, Dufour charged the group with being “a front which its members use to promote their Maoist ideology… those people practice entrism.” Dufour defined entrism as “a method taught by Mao. It consists of infiltrating different organisations in order to use them to spread propaganda.”
Shortly following the WAL’s declaration regarding Shining Path Maoists, Radio Canada reported that the group had shared information with both CSIS and the Quebec Provincial Police’s intelligence unit. The WAL claimed at the time to have only shared information about neo-nazis, but in a letter he wrote in 1996 Pouliot claimed that his “work at LAM included working with police to stop a number of criminal activities. Although most of it was dealing with radical right wing groups, once in a while we dealt with those peace loving rock throwing anarchist (hahahaha).”
Trying to avoid real activism
The summer of 1993 saw a successful mobilisation of the Montreal left against a series of offensives by the far right. In August the neo-Nazi Heritage Front organised a concert in the suburb of Vaudreuil that attracted boneheads from throughout Quebec, Ontario and the Eastern United States. The concert was meant to kick off a recruitment drive of the Front’s Montreal section, a plan that happily fizzled.
In an unexpected and unprecedented success hundreds of people showed up at an anti-racist event in downtown Montreal that night, and subsequently took to the streets looking for boneheads. Unfortunately, the protesters were nowhere near the racists, and the site of the concert remained unknown to all but a few activists until the following morning.
This rally against the Heritage Front kicked off a better organised and more intensive campaign against the anticipated presence of members of the French National Front at a conference of municipal politicians held Montreal later that year. Yves Le Gallou and Jacques Dore, the FN delegates to conference, hoped to use this visit to Quebec to set up some kind of active FN chapter on this side of the Atlantic. Their plans came to naught as their own contacts’ ineptitude was exploited by the ad hoc anti-fascist coalition to not only ruin their plans of setting up some kind of Quebec National Front, but to also publicly humiliate the racist right – not a minor setback for a movement which depends on being seen as tough and triumphant in order to attract recruits.
The World Anti-Fascist League had nothing to do with either of these mobilisations. Instead, it tried to jealously guard “its” anti-racist terrain by denouncing the ad hoc Coalition against the National Front to the media as being “on the leftist side of thing”, adding that “we don’t side with the Left or the Right”, and doing everything it could to sabotage its efforts. At a demonstration organised by the Coalition where over 1,000 people took to the streets Pouliot (who had allegedly left the WAL) was spotted hanging out with League members and taking photos of the anti-racist protesters.
If this demo against the National Front was to mark an exceptional success for anti-fascists in Montreal, local radicals were to outdo themselves two years later. That’s when a coalition of many of the same groups united with local feminist organisations and organised a spectacular 4,000-strong demonstration against the right-wing Catholic organisation Human Life International.
As with the mobilisation against the National Front in 1993, the WAL was completely absent from the campaign against HLI.
An Anti-Racist Business
From very early on, a conservative pole of attraction within the WAL seems to have been the hunger for respectability, grants and recognition as the local anti-racist watchdog group. This has led to the development of what I call the business model, a perspective that is not conducive to movement building.
As has already been mentioned, the WAL mutated into a research-and-press-conference style group in 1991, largely as a result of police pressure. That was also the year it first received government money, in the form of $2,048 from the Ministere de la Securite de la Revenu (Minister of Income Security). This was the first of several grants from this MSR earmarked to pay people on welfare to work for the WAL. Such use of welfare job subsidies by community groups is quite common in Quebec, the rationale being that it allows organisations to pay something to people who might otherwise volunteer their services for free. It has however been criticized as exploitative, as the recipients of these welfare jobs end up doing shitwork and being treated like shitworkers by the organisation. It can be as alienating as any other dead-end job.
In 1992 the WAL began to receive funds from other government ministers, such as the Federal Secretary of State (over $36,000 over two years to operate a 1-800 line across Canada and translate some documents), the Ministere des Communautes Culturelles et de l’Immigration (almost $30,000 over the past five years, as well as over $60,000 between 1992 and 1996 in conjunction with the MSR in the form of EXTRA programmes, a better paying kind of welfare job), the Federal Minister for Human Resources (almost $57,000 in 1992-93 for a job creation program).
Most grassroots activists who read the preceding figures will be impressed: the WAL had plenty of money to play with. Keeping this in mind, the group’s research and other activities don’t seem quite so impressive. Indeed, over five years the WAL received more than a quarter million dollars – enough money to do quite a bit with, one would hope. Unfortunately, the record of what was accomplished with this money speaks for itself. As detailed in the preceding section, in its quest for respectability the group cut its ties to the Left, and along with its new conservative outlook acquired an inability to be of any use to those of us who espouse activism over careerism.
All of this begs another question: what should be the attitude of militant anti-fascists towards government or foundation monies? As is so often the case, there is no clear answer. Occasionally activists find ways to get cash for their work through welfare jobs, school subsidies, working for organisations with an interest in opposing the radical right, etc. Seeing as we all have to eat, a good argument can be made that it is better to be paid for one’s political activities than for flipping burgers.
Problems arise when we start tailoring our activities to what we hope will get us money. At this point the bottom line replaces politics, radical organisations risk becoming inactive community groups, and revolutionaries start becoming comfortable in their armchairs. If people could be honest and admit they were now working for grants, not politics, this wouldn’t pose such a problem. Unfortunately for everyone involved, though, to do as much would mean forfeiting one’s credibility, which in turn would most likely lead to the termination of subsidies, all of which would defeat the purpose, no?
One thing should be clear to us all. Whether or not we admit it, the quest for funding represents a step down the road towards inactivism. It need not be more than just one step, but it’s a slippery slope. Groups that accept grants may do great work and it may be worth it to take the money and get that work done. It’s a judgement call. People should just be clear about why they’re doing it; and for those of us dealing with such subsidised groups, we must be very clear of their limitations.
In the case of the WAL the amount of money received was completely out of proportion with what was achieved. There was no gain for the movement. The World Anti-Fascist League had become a business, and as such it behoved it to discourage competitors (by accusing them of being Marxists or violent or whatnot?) and at times diversify (by keeping tabs on “Black supremacists” and “Shining Path Marxists”?).
All of which skirts the obvious issue of what happens when money arrives with strings attached. When an organisation depends on grants to get its work done, and members do feel that they’re carrying out important work, what is to be done when one’s benefactor explicitly requests that one smear or inform on some revolutionary organisation?
There is no “smoking gun” indicating that the WAL ever received such a precondition for continued State subsidies, although it is worth noting that the League received $7,250 from the Minister of Public Security (the office in charge of the police) in 1996, the first such grant ever received by the organisation. It is also worth noting that by their own admission, WAL researchers have been asked by police to provide information on the left – the only point of disagreement is whether or not they acquiesced prior to 1996.
While it is certainly possible that the $7,250 received from the Minister for Public Security does represent payment for aid given to the police, there is another viable hypothesis, namely that this money was a sign of appreciation for Dufour’s political work on behalf of the Minister Robert Perreault himself.
Besides being president of the WAL, Alain Dufour is also a card carrying member of the Parti Québecois, since 1994 the party constituting the provincial government of Quebec. Dufour is doubtless one of the many progressive nationalists who feel that the PQ is a social-democratic party worthy of support. This is not the place to refute this tendency, suffice to say that as with any support for a political party holding the reigns of power one must go through occasional ethical contortions in order to maintain one’s support while maintaining one’s principles (providing you have any, that is).
Dufour is also a long-time acquaintance of Robert Perreault, the current Minister of Public Security. He was Perreault’s press officer from the time of the latter’s campaign to become PQ candidate for the Mercier riding up until the 1994 provincial election. It should be noted that Perreault waged a fierce battle against Giussepe Sciortino, a veteran of many progressive organisations, to become the PQ’s candidate in the Mercier riding. Sciortino was born in Italy and as such is an immigrant to Quebec, and members of Perreault’s team did all they could to exploit racist stereotypes and xenophobia to win. In his boss’s defence Dufour claimed that any accusations of racism could not be true because he, a Perreault supporter, was president of the World Anti-Fascist League!
Militants can be forgiven for wondering if the $7,250 cheque was the Minister’s way of saying thank you.
Dufour’s association with Perreault is not the only tie that binds the WAL to the PQ/BQ national project. According to Commission magazine, both André Boulerice (a PQ deputy) and Gilles Duceppe (who recently led the Bloc Québecois in the 1997 Federal Elections) have allowed the WAL to use their offices’ photocopy and fax machines. It was from Mr Boulerice’s office that the WAL faxed its denunciation of the 1993 ad hoc coalition against the Heritage Front.
While the actual cost of these services is certainly negligible compared to the $287,000 the WAL has received from the government since 1992, the fact of these politicians’ aid remains highly significant. It shows that the WAL is not only in bed with the State, but with a particular political party, and as such cannot be expected to represent anything better than the so-called left-wing of the PQ/BQ national project. The limitations of tying one’s political project to a political party should be obvious. It is no longer sufficient for one to do mental callisthenics to justify one’s support for a group of opportunists who want to wield State power, but now an entire political organisation must compromise itself in this way.
“Anti–fascist” Dufour’s work on behalf of the racist campaign of Robert Perreault in the Mercier riding is good evidence of the unsettling affects of such politicking. Above and beyond Perreault’s exploitation of xenophobia in the battle against Sciortino, it is worth mentioning that Raymond Villeneuve sits on the board of the PQ Mericer riding association where this contest took place. Villeneuve is the head of the Movement for the National Liberation of Quebec, an anti-immigrant nationalist organisation that has made headlines for advocating violence against federalists and warning of possible reprisals against anglophone Jews who oppose Quebec sovereignty.
Politics, as the saying go, makes for strange bedfellows. It is an unfriendly terrain for moral individuals. It must indeed have been fortuitous for Dufour’s gang that they had little ethical baggage to jettison in order to hop onto the PQ/BQ bandwagon.
From street gang to stool pigeons, this sums up what most Quebec activists feel happened to the WAL. Taken in isolation, some elements of this story are all too familiar. The inertia that grips in-your-face anti-fascist organisations once they have driven boneheads off the streets, the attraction of liberal politics as an “inclusive” point of unity for anti-racist activities, the quick evolution from clubhouse atmosphere to Old Boys’ Club: these are pitfalls most anti-fascist groups, no matter how radical, must try hard to avoid.
Furthermore, when successes translate into funding and respectability, this must then be maintained by new successes, or at least by being more in the know than other anti-racists. This competitive reality leads to a “business model” whereby group activities are based less on building a movement than on looking after the company’s good name. None of this is specific to the anti-fascist/anti-racist movement, it has all happened before in other social movements (queer, feminist, environmental, etc.). The question is how to avoid this cycle.
Of course, “The WAL Affair” is a great example of how wrong things can go, mainly because the organisation combined the “business model” with unheard of scumminess, not to mention sloppiness. As has already been mentioned, WAL activists fed disinformation to the media after having already admitted to other anti-fascist organisations that their facts were wrong. The group adopted a dangerous “left=right” line and then trumpeted it in the local trendy media. It cozied up to politicians and accepted money from a variety of government Ministers. It tolerated spousal abuse and misogyny. And it went about this in such a transparent manner that many people were left unfazed by the fingering of Demanarchie after the 1996 riots. Because of this sloppiness, as well as the depths of unethical behaviour to which the group sank, the WAL is a good example of how far an anti-racist organisation can go towards becoming genuine anti-racists’ own worst enemy!
It would be tempting to offer up a checklist of “how not to be a sellout”. For better or for worse, though, it seems that the only way for militant anti-fascists to avoid having their organisations travel down this road is to think hard and think critically, two activities that checklists tend to short circuit. Radical politics requires a certain analysis – acting radically is a fine point of unity for an action, but is a lousy basis for long-term work. Even if the work people carry out is great, without some political perspective going beyond simple anti-fascism/anti-racism, activists will be at a disadvantage when challenged by people or groups espousing a liberal worldview. And when we fail to meet the challenge of such “respectable” folk, our organizations end up defanged and the days of radical action come to an early end.
Although sectarianism can be a poisonous weed, it should be clear that there are lines it is best not to cross. Anyone who informs on progressive organisations, spies on oppressed communities, or engages in abusive behaviour has no place in any movement for human liberation. We have enough to worry about without associating with scum like that.
Finally, it should be remembered that businesses and political projects are two very different things, and can become highly toxic when combined. It especially behoves us to remember this, we who decry the effects of corporate involvement around the world. Tying one’s fortunes to a political party may make sense for a lobbyist or kingmaker, but the dirty business of establishment politics is something militant anti-fascists should want no part of.
These are some of the reasons why, for ourselves and for our politics, it is important to learn the lessons offered by the World Anti–Fascist League.
 “Bonehead” refers to people with very short hair, or no hair at all, who hold racist, sexist, homophobic and similar beliefs, and are normally beholden to the ideas of the far–right. Some people call these fellows “skinheads”, but that term more properly describes anti–racist youth with short hair, or none at all.
 More commonly known in Quebec as the Ligue Anti-fasciste Mondiale, or LAM.
 “Un groupe d’extreme droite aurait fomenté l’émeute, estime la police,” La Presse 26-6-96.
 “The Nature of the ‘World Anti–Fascist League’”, Research Group on the Far–Right and Its Allies, 1996.
 “La ‘LAM’, une entreprise hasardeuse?”, Commission #2, fevrier–mars 1997.
 Le Point, May 28 1997.
 La Presse May 23 1992 p. A3
 “The Nature of the ‘World Anti–Fascist League’”
 “Pas de tolérance pour l’intolérance,” Option Paix, Été 1992.
 Letter, Voir 20 May 1993.
 “Guerre chez les antifascistes,” by Eric Grenier, Voir 25 July 1996.
 “La LAM en eaux troubles,” by François Doucet, Socialisme Maintenant! Juin–juillet 1993.
 Montreal Mirror September 9, 1993 p. 7
 “La ‘LAM’, une entreprise hasardeuse?”
 “The Nature of the ‘World Anti–Fascist League’” op cit.
 PQ de sac, Michel Brulé, les éditions des Intouchables 1997, pp. 71–111.
 “La ‘LAM’, une entreprise hasardeuse?”
 “The Nature of the ‘World Anti–Fascist League’” op cit.
on the main Kersplebedeb website: http://ift.tt/2l0oxEN
Wednesday, February 01, 2017
The following sidebar to The Past Is Our Master!?! was written in 1998; it is being uploaded here in the hoped of being of some interest
In the late eighties a number of committed nationalists worked with Indépendance, a magazine published by Marc Severson, François Robichaud and Mario Gagné (formerly of the Groupe d’Études et d’Action and a subsequent contributor to the Cahiers de Jeune Nation). Indépendance distinguished between French Canadians and Québecois, and, building on the arguments already elaborated by Raoul Roy, defined the nationalist struggle as being primarily cultural. While retaining anti-imperialist and progressive trappings, these positions led the magazine’s contributors to oppose both multiculturalism and immigration.
One of the harshest critics of ethnic diversity to write in Indépendance was Luc Potvin. Like many other contributors, Potvin was an associate of Raoul Roy, writing in the latter’s Revue indépendantiste and eventually becoming vice-president of the CRI’s SOS Genocide. His articles had a certain insipid logic to them: noting that political systems have a cultural dimension, he argued that it is as ridiculous for a State to tolerate different cultures as would be for it to be governed by multiple legal or political rules. “Who would dare to suggest that an absolute monarchy and liberal democracy could coexist within the same State? Or Islamic law with Western law?”
Both Indépendance and Revue Indépendantiste ceased publication in 1989. The next year Potvin began publishing his own journal, Espoir. Here Potvin was explicit and unambiguous: “The nation being the highest form of society [… and i]n the spirit of the anti-colonial socialism that Raoul Roy has promoted for over thirty years, we reject class struggle, preferring class unity.”
Explaining why this “anti-colonial socialism” could not apply to Canada’s First Nations, Potvin quoted Ces indigènes susdits sauvages, accusing Indigenous people of cannibalism and concluding from this diet that they had no authentic culture or civilization at the time of Conquest, instead existing in a state of “prehistory”. Colonialism, it was explained, was a relationship that could only exist between cultural and civilized collectivities.
This was not the first time that Potvin alluded to people living “without culture”, a ridiculous affirmation as he defines culture as that which separates humankind from other animals. Yet all language, all art, all social relations take place within and in turn generate human culture – a fact clearly ignored by Potvin. Take, for instance, this quote from an article he penned back in 1987: “Naturally an animal, the individual only becomes a man by acquiring the culture of his own people. It is in defending his homeland that he can aspire to greatness, for in this way he is defending exactly that which makes he and his compatriots men, that which raises them above the level of domesticated animals that are mass produced by rootless cosmopolitan liberalism.”
Despite these views, Potvin enjoys pretending to be on the Left. When an anti-racist activist exposed his affiliations with racist groups like SOS Genocide and the MIREF, Potvin answered that “SOS Genocide has no ties to the extreme right in Quebec,” and implied that neither he nor Roy had ever had any connection to the MIREF.
Yet the MIREF’s leader Yves Ménard was also the leader of the Rassemblement pour un Pays Canadien-Français, a group officially affiliated with the CRI in which both Roy and Potvin were very active! Furthermore, Pierre Saint-Ours, a spokesperson for the MIREF and member of the Cercle Jeune Nation, contributed to both Indépendance and to Espoir. Indeed, both Saint-Ours and Ménard were often introduced as “supporters” of Espoir, and were invited to take part in roundtable discussions that were subsequently published in the journal.
Potvin may maintain that he is a “leftist”, but as in the case of his mentor Raoul Roy, this term must be properly understood. Like Roy, Potvin’s “leftism” resembles nothing more than the “left-fascism” of the European neo-socialists sixty years ago. The reasons for this charade are in fact spelled out in an exchange published in Espoir. Potvin, who excels at the game of redefining the Left to mean nothing more than national self-assertion, explained to Pierre Trépanier that “no matter how you define it, we feel that claiming to be on the Right would ruin any chance we had of ‘putting our ideas into effect’.”
 “Le multiculturalisme, une imposture!” by Luc Potvin, Indépendance hiver 1988, #4-5.
 Espoir hiver 1993 #5 p. 3.
 Roy, Raoul – Ces indigènes susdits sauvages; Ed. Franc Canada 1991
 Espoir #2 automne 1991.
 “Pour une coalition populaire antilibérale,” by Luc Potvin, Indépendance hiver 1987 #1-2.
 “Xenophobie à pleines pages”, letter to the editor by André Querry, La Presse 18/1/94.
 “Mensonges à Plein Lettre,” letter to the editor by Luc Potvin, La Presse 3/2/94.
 “Une petite mise au point,” exchange between Pierre Trépanier and Luc Potvin, Espoir #4 aut. 1992, p. 61.
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On July 6th 1991 several undercover police officers were assigned to arrest Kirt Haywood, a short Black man with dreadlocks. They mistook Marcellus François, a tall Black man with short hair, for Haywood and followed him around Montreal. Finally, they pulled over his car and approached him, guns drawn, without identifying themselves. As he went to unfasten his seatbelt, police officer Michel Tremblay shot him through the head. Francois went into a coma and died a few days later.
This is the background to Police Chief Alain Saint-Germain’s unprecedented statement, in late January 1992, that this had been a botched operation from beginning to end. This statement, while undeniably true, was severely condemned by the president of the police union, Yves Prudhomme, and on February 13th over two thousand cops marched in uniform through the streets of Montreal, demanding in effect that they be given absolute freedom to kill with impunity.
The following article written in 1992 and translated by an antifascist researcher, sums up the impressions of one racist, Raoul Roy (for a long time considered on the Quebec “left”) following this show of force by the police:
Our People Has Remained Healthy
Despite what many think, winter in Montreal is no less cold than elsewhere in our province. There are days when we feel so frozen it is as if we were being embraced by the great damp arms of the Saint-Lawrence.
It was on one of these cold days, last February 13th, that our police officers chose to hold a demonstration. They wanted to let the public know that they refused to face genocidal immigration as bullet-catchers, the role that had been reserved for them by certain suicidal individuals.
Given the prevalent atmosphere of intellectual terrorism, we at SOS Genocide were almost certain that we would be the only ones brave enough to let the police know that our people does not blame them for resisting the foreign criminals and the immigrationist accomplices.
We were right. We didn’t see any other group show up to let our defenders know that the public does not blame them for resisting the attacks of our enemies.
It is difficult to put into words the emotions we felt on that extraordinary day. The image of thousands of police officers hurrying down Saint-Denis Street, their shouts of protest against their chief, those of loyalty towards their union president Mr Prudhomme; the power that this mass of protesters gave off was striking. There was nothing we could say, other than that was the place to be for anyone who opposes our self-genocide. Our people are not very politicized and certainly not used to spotting and resisting treasonous social classes. Having always lived among the people, we know that French Canadians share the anger of the police about the hypocrisy, the softness and the cowardice of our politicians, whose treason has been encouraged by the media. Yet even if the new class that rules us has decided to drown what is left of the nation that opened North America to civilization, the invasion of Montreal by the unassmiliable has not gone so far as to provoke a mass revolt. Unfortunately, when this time comes it will be too late!
The demonstration started at Laurier metro and went to Old Montreal. As they descended Saint-Denis, this impressive march could only make us wish that this force would line up with the national liberation movement. And why shouldn’t these men demand a truly modern military training, such as an efficient national guard requires?
Nothing should stop us, even under the British regime with the provincial government that we have, from transforming the Quebec Provincial Police into an unofficial army. In fact, what are we waiting for to create an auxiliary police force to this end?
So that the police could see our signs we stood at the corner of Saint-Denis and Sainte-Catherine, with our backs towards that horrible bomb shelter called the University of Montreal. As they marched the police chanted « We want a new chief, Long live Prudhomme! ». As they came upon Sainte-Catherine Street they were suddenly quiet, trying to figure out what was written on those signs blowing in the wind ahead of them. Whatever it was, it seemed to please the marchers ahead of them, who clapped their hands in applause.
This is what they could read : SOS Genocide – Immigrants : respecty our laws and our police – Immigration equals Unemployment – The immigrants will vote against independence – Immigration is getting bigger, the people is shriveling up – Stop letting foreigners immigate, it’s out of control! – Yes to a Natalist policy, No to Immigration – We need a moratorium on immigration – Genocidal Invasion of Quebec.
It is worth mentioning that before they reached us the police officers had to pass by the corners of de Maisonneuve and Saint-Denis streets, where twenty counter-demonstrators were yelling « The police are racist, down with repression! » Amongst these spoiled children it was easy to pick out some of University of Quebec’s students-for-life as well as a garrulous « spokesperson » for prisoners, a certain Bernheim. Not to mention the cromagnon faces of Stalinism, those that have been planted in this university since its inception, and whose harsh cries were louder than all the others.
I have to admit that we were not expecting the triumphal reception that we received. The fervent cheers that we received will remain engraved in our memory for a long while to come. We would like to have been able to thank each and every one of these brave protesters; as it is, we had to satisfy ourselves with waving at them, especially at those who seemed particularly glad to see us.
This was one of the nicest days of my life. Why? Because this demonstration, by those whom our genocidal immigrationists would use as mere sandbags in the guerilla war that is beginning to kill us as a nation, prove that our people has remained fundamentally healthy. And yet the thousand and one cults that are active here do indicate a troubling disorder.
At heart, our people do not accept the rot that is called liberalism. They are hungry for decency, order and common sense. This is why there is still hope.
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The following was initially written in 1998, and somewhat updated in 2000. It should be considered a historical document, not an up-to-date history. The years since 2000 have surely witnessed major changes in the milieu. Nonetheless, it will hopefully be of some use.
As Quebec was going through its Quiet Revolution, Roman Catholicism was experiencing changes of its own. Conflicts that had been simmering for centuries were reaching the boiling point. In order to bring things up to date and resolve certain issues, the world’s bishops held a series of meetings known as the Second Vatican Council, lasting from 1962 to 1965. It was at Vatican II that the Church toned down its war of attrition against the modern world. It was here that Catholicism ceased to attack democracy as heretical, acknowledged the rights of non-believers and allowed the use of languages other than Latin in Mass.
For the first time in centuries, the Catholic Right seemed – if only ever so briefly – to be alienated from official Church doctrine.
Contre-Reforme Catholique and Old Nazis
Adrien Arcand, while a staunch Catholic, was first and foremost a Jew-hating anti-communist whose polemics were rarely religious in nature. After his death, however, religion began to be more and more important in the PUNC, even as the latter became more and more insignificant.
In 1970 some Party members were involved in establishing a Quebec branch of the Contre-Reforme Catholique, a far-right Catholic sect led by the Canon Georges de Nantes in France. The CRC is anti-communist, anti-Semitic and anti-Masonic, de Nantes’ ideal political system being an absolute monarchy, and his heroes being Salazar, Franco and Pétain. He has stated that “Instead of the Masonic trilogy Freedom-Equality-Brotherhood, the national revolution will be based on real values: Work-Family-Fatherland…”; note that the “Masonic” trilogy is the credo of the French Revolution, the “authentic” one being that of the Vichy.
Not long after the creation of a CRC centre in the town of Shawinigan, a war of words broke out between the followers of de Nantes and the PUNC’s new leader Lanctôt. Although the former had voiced his approval of fascism (“[a] salutory response to parliamentary democracy and the bolshevik threat”), the loyal PUNCists felt he was insufficiently respectful towards the memory of Arcand, Hitler and other patriots. De Nantes often offended the PUNCists by saying that Nazism and Communism were the same thing. The PUNCists continued to honour Hitler as a great leader of the Christian West, and accused the CRC chief of “germanophobia”.
Since this split, the CRC in Quebec seems to have remained small but stable. It publishes a regular bulletin, often examining the historic role of Freemasonry and other conspiracy theories. Its position on independence remains the same as the PUNC’s, namely that “It is Democracy, not Federalism, that has made French Canada Sick”. CRC leaders, including de Nantes, have visited Canada to speak on subjects ranging from the Shroud of Turin to the defence of Paul Touvier (a Vichy war criminal). While aware of other Catholic-fascist currents, as a group it does not involve itself in politics. Indeed, when the Cercle Jeune Nation folded in 1995 the CRC sneered that it had received its just deserts for being too democratic, remarking that the religious absolutists had won out over the political pragmatists thanks to a simple majority vote!
Lefebvre in Quebec
While the CRC and the PUNC were both very critical of the post-Conciliar Church – so much so that de Nantes was officially suspended from his duties as a priest in 1966 – neither disavowed the Vatican. Indeed, under the present Pope’s reign the PUNC has returned to its prior ultramontantism, seeing in John Paul II an anti-communist to rival Duplessis’ memory!
Not all right-wing Catholics have always been so obedient. In 1975 a Montreal priest, Father Yves Normandin, was booted out of his parish at Saint Yvette’s because he insisted on saying Mass the pre-Vatican II way, in Latin. Normandin was joined by Father J-Real Bleau, whose anti-abortion book L’avortement was distributed by the PUNC.
Bleau and Normandin were welcomed with open arms by a community of traditionalists hell-bent on resisting the new changes in the faith: Monsignor Marcel Lefebvre’s Society of Saint Pius X (SSPX). The leading critic of Vatician II in France, in the seventies Lefebvre became a hero to traditionalists around the world. In his words, “The Council consummated the marriage between Church and Revolution… only bastards will be born of the adulterous union … We cannot dialogue with freemasons and communists, because you don’t dialogue with the Devil!”
Lefebvre was supported by fascists around the world, including Blas Pinar’s New Forces Party in Spain, Italy’s MSI and France’s Front National. He repeatedly made racist comments about Jews and Muslims, and was particularly incensed with the Pope’s ecumenical dialogue with these non-believers. In Quebec, Lefebvrists accused the government of being controlled by Communists.
The SSPX attracted Catholics who opposed multiculturalism, democracy and freedom, and were horrified that the Church was giving up its historic battle with these scourges. It eventually managed to set up twenty six Churches in Canada, eight of which are in Quebec. According to Father Jacques Emily, the Society’s Canadian leader since 1983, roughly one thousand people regularly attend mass at these churches, and the group receives donations from three or four times as many people across the country.
Between 1993 and 1995 the Lefebvrists maintained a study group at Laval University in Ste-Foy, a favourite recruiting ground for Catholic traditionalists. The Cercle d’etudes des jeunes catholiques traditionalistes (CEJCT) organized lectures by far-right luminaries from Canada, the United States and Europe, including several leading members of Jean-Marie Le Pen’s Front National. The Cercle enjoyed the generosity of the university’s chaplaincy services, i.e. free meeting space, photocopies, typing plus the prestige of being able to use the university logo on its propaganda. Many of its lectures were held on campus. These tours were often orchestrated in concert with other Catholic-fascist groups, most notably the Cercle Jeune Nation, the Centre d’information nationale Robert Rumilly and the RPPQ.
White Hats, Blue Hats
If some Catholic reactionaries were tempted by the SSPX, the CRC and other even more esoteric anti-conciliar groups, most stayed with the Church hoping to combat the Catholic moderates from within. This was the position taken by the White Berets, aka the Pilgrims of St-Michael, best known for their newspapers Michael Journal and Vers Demain, which have a combined press run of almost 100,000.
The White Berets are the last Catholic remnant of the Social Credit craze of the 1930s. Social Credit is a political-economic philosophy developed by Major C.H. Douglas. It aims to harmonise class society and curb the power of bankers, the only capitalists the Major actually considered to be exploitative.
Douglas believed that the bankers worked for a cabal of Jews and Freemasons who intended to impose world Communism. Unlike fascists, who are also prone to believe such nonsense, the Creditists never attained state power anywhere in the world. In those countries where they did maintain an electoral presence the loyal Douglasites were marginalized or simply expelled. Canada was a pioneer in mainstreaming Social Credit, probably due to the fact that Alberta elected a Socred government in 1935, one where pragmatists and professional politicians had no intention of letting a bunch of “kooks” discredit them.
Louis Even and Gilberte Côté-Mercier were Quebec’s Social Credit pioneers. In the first issues of Vers Demain they exposed the judeo-masonic-communist conspiracy and called for the institution of Douglasite reforms. Although initially supported by a section of the clergy, eventually the Church would attack the upstarts for being too violently hostile towards the rich. Not only that, but in the words of the Archbishop of Rimouski, the Socred plan for a universal monthly dividend to be paid to all consumers would reward sloth and encourage vice. For his part, Adrien Arcand rejected Social Credit out of hand because he believed that Major Douglas’ mother was Jewish.
Nevertheless, Mercier and Even continued to publish their newspaper and spread the good word. Vers Demain took part in Robert Rumilly’s campaign to vilify the CBC, and cheered for Pétain and de Bernonville. All opponents, including those who had left Even and Côté-Mercier’s group to start a Social Credit political party, were accused of being in league with international Freemasonry. The group kept in touch with other hardcore Douglasites, including Pat Walsh and Ron Gostick.
In the 1960s the White Berets underwent a transformation from being a political group to being a primarily religious one. Major Douglas’ doctrines were not tied to any one Christian denomination, but Even and Côté-Mercier now infused them with a string dose of hysterical Catholicism. The Judeo-Masonic boogey was now replaced by a Satanic elite called the Illuminati, and faithful Catholics were called upon to save the world under the leadership of Jesus and his mother Mary.
In 1973 the Pilgrims allied themselves with the Bayside Ministry, an equally imaginative religious group led by Veronica Lueken in New York. The Baysiders believed that the Virgin Mary spoke to Lueken, who in turn would relay supernatural revelations about what was really going on in the world. Lueken (or the Virgin Mary, depending on your belief-system) revealed that Pope Paul VI had not really abolished the old Latin Mass and was not really tolerating liberal Catholicism. According to Lueken/“Mary”, Satanic conspirators in the Church had kidnapped Paul VI and arranged for an actor to take his place. It goes without saying that this was all part of a scheme to destroy Christianity. Anything her conservative followers disapproved of could be blamed on this actor and his Satanic paymasters.
The Pilgrims devoted all of their resources to promoting Bayside, reprinting the “conversations” with the Virgin in their newspapers and making repeated trips to the Queens’ World Fair grounds where these celestial meetings allegedly took place. The alliance lasted for only three years, though, for in 1978 Lueken claimed that Mary wanted all female Baysiders to wear blue berets. For years the Pilgrims had been wearing white berets, and they found this new dress code to be highly unreasonable towards their female members, even if it did come from the Mother of God herself. When Lueken refused to give the Pilgrims a special exemption they turned their backs on her.
Nothing over the past twenty years has been nearly as amusing as this White Beret rebellion. About one hundred Pilgrims continue to live in a religious community in Rougemont just south of Montreal, and the movement has about 2,000 supporters elsewhere in Quebec. Their main activity consists of protesting against taxes and spreading their newspapers far and wide. Louis Even died in 1974, leaving Gilberte Côté-Mercier the group’s sole svengali. Consistently opposed to Quebec independence, the pages of Vers Demain and Michael Journal occasionally include articles by Ron Gostick, the late Pat Walsh and their colleague Murray Gauvreau.
Family Values and Catholic Schools
In the years following Vatican II most reactionary Catholics did not reject the Church or the authenticity of the Pope. The most comfortable place for Catholic rightists was in those movements that had received papal benediction. Seeing as the Vatican maintained that Catholic children had a right to a Catholic education, in Quebec it was to this cause that most right-wingers flocked.
Vatican II had coincided with the 1963-4 Parent Commission’s suggestion that the Church give up control of Quebec’s school system to the provincial government. Right-wingers would fight a thirty-year battle to retain control over how children are taught.
One part of this campaign has been to defend Quebec’s religious school boards. This battle has finally been lost, the government instituting a linguistic system in the year 2000. Another part of the Catholic Right’s gambit has been to elect reactionaries to the Catholic school commissions. At least in Montreal this strategy proved remarkably successful. In fact, the Association of Catholic Parents of Quebec has kept control of the Montreal Catholic School Commission (MCSC) for the past three decades. Despite the conversion to a linguistic system this year, all signs indicate that these reactionaries will continue to control the new commission as they did the old.
The Association of Catholic Parents has exercised its political power through a front group, the Regroupement Scholaire Confessionel (trans: Confessional School Assembly; RSC). The RSC’s president is Michel Pallascio, son of the ACPQ’s vice-president Isabelle Pallascio. Controlled by the RSC, the MCSC has been a constant obstacle to AIDS education and condom distribution in Montreal high schools, and has repeatedly been accused of racism. In 1988 it fired an employee because of his Spanish accent. The year after that it sent parents a questionnaire asking whether they thought immigrant children should be forced to go to separate schools. In 1990 it considered punishing students who spoke languages other than French on school grounds. That same year Michel Pallascio suggested to the provincial government that it favour immigrants with “Judeo-Christian values”, a statement that won him the public support of SOS Genocide, the MIREF and the Mouvement pour la Survie de la Nation. Pallascio reiterated these remarks in 1996, stating that the Judeo-Christian tradition should take precedence over all others because it is “a fundamental component of the heritage and collective identity of the welcoming culture.”
Hard nationalists associated with Raoul Roy’s CRI and the Cercle Jeune Nation have repeatedly expressed their support for Pallascio and the RSC. Pierre Messier, an important member of the racist MIREF, was an RSC candidate in the 1994 school board elections. And, of course, the RSC is very popular with the Catholic reactionary Right. School commissioner Maurice Prévost, for instance, is also the treasurer of the Centre d’information nationale Robert Rumilly.
For a Franco-Pétainist School System!
If the RSC is a model of far-right realpolitik, with reactionary school commissioners staying in office by toning down their rhetoric, not everyone has opted for such a pragmatic approach. Father Achille Larouche, the same priest who worked with the Cahiers de Nouvelle France, the Cercle Jeune Nation and both the original and copycat Centre d’information nationales, has opted for another, complementary, strategy: that of maintaining a no-nonsense Catholic-fascist presence on the religious right.
In 1979 Larouche set up the Ralliement Provincial des Parents de Quebec (RPPQ; trans.: Quebec Provincial Parents’ Rally) to resist secularism, particularly in the school system. Since 1987 the RPPQ has published a newspaper, Nation Nouvelle, on whose masthead one can read the Petainist slogan “Work, Family, Fatherland” alongside the theocratic “God comes first”. Nation Nouvelle has published several articles by members of the Cercle Jeune Nation and the Centre d’information nationale Robert Rumilly. It has also benefited from steady support from Father Edmond Robillard and Lionel Eymard of Carrefour Chretien magazine.
One gets an idea of the common ground that exists between the RPPQ and so-called “hard nationalists” from the December 1995 Nation Nouvelle headline: “We Don’t Want an Atheistic Immoral State Favouring a Suicidal Immigration.” A more standard text, though, would deal with Freemasonry, secularism and the rights of Catholics. For instance this hyperbolic and longwinded headline: “It is true that we practiced NAZISM in Quebec, that we are guilty of a NAZISM worst than Communism (if this is possible), not regarding ‘anglophones’, but regarding our Catholic Faith.”  Other articles praise Petain, Franco and Salazar (none of whom are guilty of anything resembling Nazism…) Every issue includes reprinted texts from Catholic-fascist magazines in France. Like Father Larouche himself, the RPPQ opposes abortion, democracy, sex education and the “invasion” of Quebec by “non-assimilable” immigrants.
Although most religious reactionaries have concentrated on the school question, some have chosen to intervene in the fight against abortion rights. There is no space here to provide a history of the anti-abortion movement in Quebec, but a few points are worth mentioning.
The nationalist movement in the sixties and seventies included a number of strong feminists. Regardless of their subsequent political journeys, this did help establish the same kind of basic opposition to sexism and support for feminism within the nationalist camp. As in so many other progressive movements, though, this anti-sexism was often mere tokenism. Another dimension of nationalist discourse, the concern with the French Canadian birthrate, was intrinsically at odds with the individualistic right of a woman to control her own body.
Predictably, natalist concerns led some nationalists to accuse pro-choice women of betraying the interests of the nation. In the mid-eighties Reggie Chartrand, a famous streetfighter from the RIN/FLQ era, epitomised this misogyny in a booklet entitled “God is a Man because He is Good and Strong! The revolt of a man against feminism”. With the help of lawyers from the far-right Association des juristes catholiques du Québec (trans: Quebec Association of Catholic Jurists), Chartrand initiated a lawsuit against Doctor Henry Morgentaler, Canada’ most famous abortion provider. Although his legal action would fail, along with his scandalous booklet it guaranteed that him a place as the most infamous example of contemporary nationalist-Catholic co-operation.
Today, the chief opponent of abortion in Quebec is Gilles Grondin, a former associate of the World Anti-Communist League and founding member of the Centre d’information nationale Robert Rumilly. Grondin’s group is called Campagne Québec-Vie (CQV); it is a member of the pan-Canadian Campaign Life Coalition (CLC). Apart from lobbying the government, the CQV’s main activity is organizing annual anti-abortion vigils in conjunction with other CLC-affiliates. Members of the Saint-Paul Latin Community, the MLNQ and similar groups have attended these vigils in Montreal.
The CQV’s newspaper, Vitality, has advertised conferences organized by the Jeune Nation/RPPQ network. Articles have purported to “expose” conspiracies of Freemasons, one-worlders and others bent on destroying Christian civilization. The CQV’s brief to the PQ’s Commission on Independence argued that there was an international conspiracy to destroy traditional Quebec society by encouraging high immigration and reducing the French Canadian birthrate.
Le Lys Blanc
Unique among Quebec’s Catholic-fascist publications for its fanzine-like quality, Louis-Michel Guilbault’s Lys Blanc combined monarchism, Lefebvrism, anti-Semitism and in-your-face fascism. Published regularly between 1994 and 1996, almost all of the articles were written by Guilbault. He exposed what he saw as the Jewish, pagan and homosexual nature of Nazism, and attacked Jean-Marie Le Pen’s Front National for being insufficiently Catholic and authoritarian. Another text vacillated between the absurd and the fantastic, comparing Adrien Arcand to Jesus Christ! Supplementing these original thoughts were reprints from Catholic anti-Semitic classics, exposés of B’nai B’rith and Freemasonry, and even a translated article by the neo-Confederate Southern League.
Guilbault himself is a follower of the SSPX, and even lectured to the Lefebvrist CEJCT at Laval University. It would seem that his ‘zine was mainly read in the microscopic Catholic-fascist scene, and even there it was by no means an important player. Nevertheless, it is worth including in this study because its politics show that the combination of reactionary Catholicism and unapologetic fascism is not a thing of the past. The desktop fanzeenish nature of this publication, its brief presence on the internet and Guilbault’s plans to produce fascist and racist CD-ROMs show how the most backwards looking ideologues nevertheless embrace the most up to date technologies. Furthermore, Guilbault’s unconventional and ambitious approach make him a likely headache for tomorrow’s anti-fascists…
Back from Lefebvrism
The participation of Louis-Michel Guilbault, Jean-Claude Dupuis and other fascists in the Society of Saint Pius X has already been noted. Such examples notwithstanding, It should be pointed out that at this point the majority of Catholic fascists have remained loyal to the official Church. Since the ascension of the conservative John Paul II to Peter’s throne, much of the traditionalist foment has been recuperated.
A key part of John Paul’s strategy was the legalisation of the old Latin Mass in 1985. The priests Yves Normandin and J.-Réal Bleau, who had been deprived of their church in 1975 due to their refusal to celebrate the Vatican II Mass, returned to the fold following these developments. In doing so, they broke permanently with the SSPX. They brought with them a number of followers who were eager to return to the official Church. This traditionalist community was given its own parishional status, being known as the St-Paul Latin Community.
The return of Normandin, Bleau and their devotees to the official Church has been part of a global trend throughout John Paul’s papacy. The conservative pontiff isolated the SSPX, and in 1989 Lefebvre himself was excommunicated. Following this official short sharp shock, the Vatican established the Fraternity of Saint Peter, a special international religious devoted to tempting members of the SSPX back to the Church. The St-Paul Latin Community is affiliated with this Fraternity.
In Montreal, some suspect the St-Paul Latin Community of including a number of racists from a variety of far-right organizations. Special religious services have been celebrated for dead Nazis and fascists. When European fascists come to Quebec on speaking tours organized by the Cercle Jeune Nation and the RPPQ, they have been known to speak at the Saint-Cunégonde Church where the Latin Community meets. Predictably, investigations have revealed that a number of the Latin parishioners have attended these lectures even when they are held elsewhere.
 “La C.R.C.” Serviam v5 #2.
 Camun, Jean-Yves & Monzat, René – Les Droites nationales et radicales en France, Presses Universitaires de Lyons1992, p. 169.
 “Idéologie: le fascisme contre le democratie,” by Joseph Algazy, Golias #27-28, automne 1991, p. 147.
 Ibid., p. 148.
 “Adrien Arcand notre maitre,” by Paul Maureau, Serviam v8 #2.
 “Point Final,” by F.D., Serviam v8 #3, mai-juin 197_.
 “Le Canada Français et le référendum,” La Renaissance Catholiqe #31 nov. 1995.
 For more information about Marcel Lefebvre, see “Who the Hell is marcel Lefebvre”, Demanarchie v3#4. _web link_
 Ibid. _web link_
 Cuneo, Michael – The Smoke of Satan: Conservative and Traditionalist dissent in contemporary American Catholicism NY: Oxford University Press 1997, p. 156
 ANQCRR P303, S6, SS19, “Objet: le crédit sociale” 2/4/48.
 Cuneo op cit., pp. 159-162.
 Ibid., pp. 156-8.
 “La droite catholique au Québec: essai de typologie,” by Jean-Guy Vaillancourt & Martin Geoffroy, Studies in Religion/Sciences Religieuses 25/1 (1996) p. 31
 “Pallascio a de nombreux appuis chez les ultra-nationalistes,” by Eric Trottier, La Presse 17/11/90.
 “Pallascio pitches Judeo-Christian values,” by Irwin Block, The Montreal Gazette 18/9/96.
 “C’est vrai que nous avone pratiqué le NAZISME…” by Achille Larouche, Nation Nouvelle v1 #10 juin-juillet 1990, p. 2.
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