Comrades in Calgary seem to be getting mixed results against the Aryan Guard vermin in their town.
The Aryan Guard is a neo-nazi outfit based in Calgary – for a good quick overview on the group, i’d recommend checking out this pdf from One People’s Project. The AG’s recent activities include raiding Siksika First Nation territory to smash up buildings with baseball bats, infiltrating demonstrations against the Israeli massacre of Palestinians in Gaza, promoting racist music CDs to local young people, and of course their annual “white pride” march held on March 21st to mark the United Nations International Day for the Elimination of Racism and Discrimination.
The annual Aryan Guard propaganda event this year attracted 40-50 nazis, with the ARA counterdemo bringing out 400-500 people, many of them apparently passersby who joined in when they realized what was going on. A large police presence kept the nazis protected, though it seems some people did manage to connect. (See youtube video above.)
What is disappointing is that it seems people are unable or unsure of their ability to do what it takes to enforce a “no platform for fascists” line in Calgary.
For instance, at the Palestinian solidarity demonstration on January 10th it seems the nazis were only forced to leave near the end of the demo, despite people having been aware of who they were and what they were about from the beginning. It would seem that while ARA was clear about wanting them out, there was not a strong enough understanding amongst other demonstrators to make this initially practical, and demo organizers obviously failed in their responsibility to provide leadership on this question. Truly disgusting, considering the high profile the Aryan Guard has had in the area, and the fact that it has been repeatedly linked to racist violence and neo-nazi ideology.
But even more worrisome, because it’s a sign of weakness in what should be a pole of strength, since last weekend’s demonstration there have been news reports quoting ARA spokespeople condemning those who physically attacked the nazis last week. If these quotes are not media fabrications, then it’s a sad day indeed.
While it may not always strategically correct to violently attack the fascist scum, or may not always be tactically feasible, the fact of the matter is that it normally is the best the course of action. To question the validity of such attacks is to implicitly adopt the same kind of logic that had the police out defending the fascists, it is to fall back on the “we’ll only fight in self-defense” line that acts as a cover the kind of liberal politics that end up wanting to protect fascists’ “freedom of speech”.
Regardless of what organizers may have wished happened, the fact that some people who joined the demo did attack the nazis is a sure sign that the time is right for that kind of action – it is occurring spontaneously, organically – in that situation whether they planned for it or not, the only appropriate response from organizers is to defend and explain such a militant response. To do otherwise is to cut yourself off from the most advanced sections of the struggle in order to pander to middle class elements with their disingenuous complaints about violent antifascists being “as bad as” the nazis.
The folks from Calgary ARA should be congratulated for calling for a response to the Aryan Guard, but at the same time i would urge them to speak out in support of the militant antifascists who understood the need and validity of going on the offensive.
It’s just basic political common sense.