Report from Edmonton in so-called Canada, where anarchists participated in community shut down of an attempt by the far-Right Soldiers of Odin to organize.
This Labour Day, various far-Right fascist groups announced their intention to gather in front of The Mustard Seed church to spread their fascist message and intimidate the members of the community.
Among them were the Soldiers of Odin, Northern Guard, Onward Christian Soldiers, and the Proud Boys. When they arrived, they were greeted by a battalion of antifascists, shouting “Nazis Go Home!” and “Not Welcome Here.”
@UniforTheUnion (including our CFU #yeg organizer) stands against racism and fascism on Labour Day in #yeg. Members of several far right groups (Proud Boys and Soldiers of Odin) decided to show up in an inner city neighbourhood and were met with protesters. pic.twitter.com/EMMlca2Y8L
— Cdn Freelance Union (@CdnFreelanceU) September 3, 2018
Two members of the Proud Boys tried to force their way into the crowd. One of them took the opportunity to sucker punch one of the antifascists who’d come out to inform them of their terrible taste in politics and fashion. This assault went unreported by local media. Proud as they were, they were still promptly ejected from the crowd and into the hands of waiting police officers.
Some of the Nazis ran south to an empty parking lot to hold their rally. They gathered under the pretext of distributing food and water to the homeless but brought nothing more than a few bottles of water, some granola bars, candy, and several cups of soup, while mere blocks away Edmonton’s unions were feeding hundreds at the EDLC barbecue.
Violent incidents incited by the Soldiers of Odin in Saskatoon and Red Deer, as well as their attempt to destroy a tent city in Nanaimo, more than prove that the intentions of these organizations were less than noble. We antifascists quickly encircled them and warned the few homeless who’d gathered around for the pitiful handouts on offer. The message was well received, and several members of the homeless community joined the antifascists, starting chants, “This is Canada, for everyone!” One homeless man, when informed of the nearby racists, asked “do you mean the cops?”
Face to face with the fascists, we politely asked them questions. “Why didn’t you ask The Mustard Seed for permission to give out food in front of their church?” No answer. “Why do you carry the name of an organization founded by a neo-Nazi?” No answer. “Why is this one guy the only one who will speak to us?” Here we received an answer: “Because he’s the smartest one of us!” Raucous laughter went up from the crowd. With each failure by the fascists to so much as look us in the eye and offer an honest response, the line of antifascists crept closer continually chanting, forcing back the dozen or so invaders into a smaller and smaller enclave.
— Jeremy Thompson (@JThompsonCTV) September 3, 2018
Sufficiently humiliated, outnumbered, and outmaneuvered, the fascists decided to scatter, quickly loading their supplies back into their trucks and heading for the hills. As the Soldiers of Odin fled, they left behind the women and children that they’d brought with them to do the work while they stood around trying to look tough. This rally was nothing more than an excuse for some Nazis to play-pretend as a biker gang.
Victory achieved, the people supporting the counter-protest from radical political parties to liberal reformists, from concerned citizens from the outskirts of town to the residents of McCauley, from Christian ministers to secular groups, members of the homeless community and labour unions, hundred-year-old institutions and autonomous anarchists and communists, marched toward Giovanni Caboto Park, where the EDLC led a legitimate and serious effort to feed thousands of Edmonton’s people – those with and without shelter, those with and without jobs. The impotent efforts of our a dozen incompetent reactionaries was nothing more than Kabuki theater to distract against the fact that organized labour fed Edmonton’s downtown. The effort of the EDLC is what it looks like when workers take the lead in solving problems – hundreds were fed and community was built.
The Soldiers of Odin, high on Facebook clicks and media attention bringing them to light, announced the day after that they would be holding a candlelight vigil in “remembrance” of 9/11 – while posting simultaneously their very clear anti-Islamic intent to the event. Note that this vigil will take place only a couple of blocks away from a mosque. This “candlelight vigil” is clearly nothing more than a way to terrorize Edmonton’s Islamic community. The intended perpetrators of this terror still believe that they can act with brazen impunity. They will soon learn otherwise.