Filed under: Action, Anti-fascist, Education, Ontario
Report from community defense of public event from livestreaming white nationalist trolls. Originally posted to Northshore Counter-Info.
After hours of inaction by faculty and campus security, students and community members worked together to eject a white nationalist couple from Brock University in the Haudenosaunee territory of St-Catharines on Saturday, February 1.
The pair, Leigh Stuart of Niagara Falls (Faith Goldy’s bestie known for showing up at a refugee shelter in 2018 to film and harass families with other white supremacists, as well as being kicked out of the PPC for posting neo-nazi propaganda on social media) and Chris Vanderweide of Kitchener (known for his violent attacks on LGBTQ people at Hamilton Pride this past summer and participating in anti-Muslim rallies in Toronto), had crashed the school’s annual social justice forum with the intention of disrupting workshops and harassing immigrants, trans people, and anti-racist activists. Stuart was livestreaming these workshops without the facilitators’ or participants’ knowledge or consent and her followers’ comments on these now-deleted videos included violent sentiments such as “put them in camps” (referring to trans people).
@WRPSToday Just an interesting turn of events re: Chris Vanderweide https://t.co/SeBsZLQPZk
— T Dub Ontario (@TDub38212236) January 26, 2020
While event organizers were alerted right away by anti-fascists in another province that this was happening, Leigh & Chris were allowed to remain at the event and risk attendees’ safety. When they realized that event organizers and security couldn’t be relied on to do the right thing, students & community members took matters into their own hands and used a variety of non-violent strategies to protect their space and eachother.
While some people shouted at Leigh & Chris to leave and blocked them from re-entering the event space, another person loudly explained to the gathering crowd who the couple was & why they weren’t welcome. More students joined in and blocked the pair, leaving a clear path to the exit. Some threw food. Other students used de-escalation skills to prevent the confrontation from turning physical and, realizing they were outnumbered, the fash couple walked away in defeat to a chorus of cheers & jeers. If white nationalists like these two continue showing up to disrupt community gatherings, their exit will not be so gracious.
We share this victory to demonstrate that anti-fascism is much more than an individual choice, it’s a community responsibility. Whether we’re at school or in the streets, we can’t rely on authority figures to prioritize our safety – especially when we’ve been forcibly marginalized by that same authority and their institutions. Classmates & neighbors have each others’ backs and together WE protect each other, WE keep us safe, WE are security.