London fascist group’s “rebirth” stillborn
Carrying a banner reading "These faggots kill fascists" anti-fascists send a different message in front of homophobic signs held by bigots at the London, Ontario pride parade on July 25, 2010. Photo: Toban Black
By Alex Balch
London, Ont. - On Sunday July 25, fifty anti-fascist activists from southern Ontario joined hundreds of Londoners to show their support for the London Pride Parade. By all accounts, the day was a great success; the weather was excellent, the floats were fun and creative, the atmosphere was great – and the fascists were nowhere to be seen.
The latter was a surprise, but certainly a welcome one. After one year’s absence, members of the Northern Alliance (a neo-nazi organization based in London, Ontario), playing on traditional fascist imagery, had promised a “rebirth” of their vile tradition of showing up en masse to disrupt what they refer to as a “parade of perversion”.
Their absence during the previous year’s festivities was widely understood to be the result of a concurrence of demoralizing setbacks: the loss of ideological compatriot Wayne Kellestine - arrested and convicted of multiple-homicide for his role in the slaying of eight members of the Bandidos biker gang – and the embarrassing turnout of their 2008 “protest”, in which their members were outnumbered and openly mocked by a larger contingent of militant counter-protesters.
The Northern Alliance’s intentions to disrupt the parade were first leaked by Dave Ruud, a prominent member of the group, on the forums of a White Supremacist website. The comments were quickly picked up by organizations that monitor the site, and a call out for a convergence of anti-fascist activists was issued by Common Cause’s London branch. Anarchists in London had already been planning on organizing an event to coincide with an international “call to action” issued by Portland anti-racist activists following the shooting of ARA member Luke Querner by suspected fascists on March 27; the prospect of the Northern Alliance’s return offered an ideal opportunity to uphold the spirit of the call while demonstrating solidarity with the city's queer communities.
Joined by activists from Windsor, Guelph, Kitchener/Waterloo, Toronto and Six Nations, locals gathered in Victoria Park and waited for news of the fascists to arrive. With uniformed police watching on from an unmarked van, the group began moving into position upon receiving intelligence that a potential Northern Alliance member had been spotted with a black canvas bag full of signs.
By the time the group arrived, the individual with the signs was gone – and the promised “rebirth” of the hate-protest failed to materialize. Without the presence of any serious adversaries, the activists surrounded members of the Christian Right, using banners to block out their various signs denouncing homosexuality as an abomination against God. They were joined by several local queer activists with hilarious signs of their own, such as “God hates shrimp” and “God hates polyester” – both true, according to the book of Leviticus.
Overall, the action was a great success for anti-fascist activists in southern Ontario, and marks the latest in a series of political defeats for members of the organized far right – following a series of recent victories in Caledonia against supporters of anti-Native bigot Gary McHale. In these times of economic uncertainty, when working class youth are increasingly susceptible to the hateful scapegoating of marginalized communities promoted by white supremacist organizations, it is vitally important that any attempt by fascists to organize is met with an overwhelming and unified response: Not on our watch!