1 August 2008

Statements by The Southern Ontario ARA: Gay Pride Protest and Levant's Statement of Defence

While we are not members of or affiliated with Anti-Racist Action and our methods are sometimes dissimilar, we do share common goals. We were recently contacted by one ARA chapter in Ontario going by the name of the Southern Ontario ARA (SOARA) regarding two matters. The first matter deals with the recent London, Ontario Gay Pride parade where SOARA and other anti-racist activists confronted a tiny contingent of Northern Alliance and Canadian Heritage Alliance members (in the photos one can see David Ruud, Tyler Chilcott, Randall Linton (who was arrested along with Tomasz Winnicki on weapons charges), and Melissa Guille as well as one as yet unknown Northern Alliance member):

SOUTHERN ONTARIO ARA SHUTS DOWN FASCISTS IN LONDON!

On Sunday, July 27th, anti-fascists ("antifa") came together from across Southern Ontario to confront and shut down an attempt by long time hate organizers to intimidate the participants of London's 2008 Pride Parade. Acting on information found posted on white supremacist websites, antifa in several cities were able to organize and produce the numbers despite minimal preparation time.

Close to 30 people gathered at Victoria Park at 11:30AM to discuss the plan for the day and create banners that would be used to block out the homophobic and anti-gay signs. As expected, harassment from the London Police Department was heavy from the get-go. Police used several tactics in an unsuccessful attempt to get information from and intimidate those gathered at Victoria Park (i.e. good cop / bad cop, isolating individuals and pressing for answers, intrusive photographs, etc). The group was approached by the cops repeatedly before they even left the park.

At around 12:15PM the 30-person strong crew left Victoria Park with several large banners, flags, and signs, heading down to pay the the fascists a visit at their meeting spot, the corner of Dundas and Colborne. Rumors had circulated earlier that upwards of 20 white supremacists would be present for the hate demonstration. However, in reality an unimpressive 5 people (including Randall Linton, Melissa Guille, DaveRuud, and Louis Morin), primarily washed up Canadian Heritage Alliance (CHA) members, managed to drag their sorry selves out of bedearly enough on a Sunday to wave around bristol board signs with sloppy slogans scrawled across inblack sharpie.

During the initial confrontation a minor incident broke out that resulted in one ARA activist being arrested after a bonehead grabbed at a member of ARA. This police action was completely unwarranted and was a weak attempt to discourage those involved in the ARA demonstration. Our comrade was released from detention after we came together and arranged support for him.

Throughout the entirety of the parade, the fascists' signs were completely covered by ARA banners and flags, which was not exactly difficult considering that the homophobes were outnumbered by ARA 6 to 1. It did not take long for the members of the CHA and their supporters to become visibly frustrated and downright embarrassed that their day had been such an obviously miserable failure. On severaloccasions various boneheads found themselves completely alone and encircled by Rainbow banners, pro-Queer and ARA slogans as theyscurried up and down the streets.

Towards the end of the parade the fascists called it quits after having several of their signs torn up, being publicly humiliated, and generally having a terrible Sunday out. They dispersed without incident, enjoying the police protection that they had greatly benefited from all day long.

No Homophobia! No Fascist Canada!

- SOUTHERN ONTARIO A.R.A.

The second message is with regard to claims made by Ezra Levant in his Statement of Defence and allegations that the ARA has committed violent acts including attempted murder:

Anti-Racist Action is mentioned in the Statement of Defence filed on behalf of Ezra Levant by Lorne Honickman, which has posted publicly at http://ezralevant.com/Levant%20Defence%20as%20served.pdf

Specifically, the document states in paragraph 39 that "The (sic) Anti-Racist Action is an organization known for violent tactics including various attacks and attempted murders."

Could Levant or Honickman please name a single ARA member who has ever been charged with attempted murder let alone convicted of the crime?

They cannot because this claim is a lie. In fact, two members of ARA were murdered in Las Vegas in 1998 by neo-nazis.

Additionally, in 1995 in Toronto, a 19 year old who police identified as a member of ARA was the victim of an attempted murder when "A pocket knife was used to slice into the jugular vein of the 19-year-old man" (Officer saves brawl victim By Philip Mascoll. Toronto Star, 5 February 1995). His neo-nazi assailant was charged with attempted murder. Perhaps it is this incident which Levant and Honickman are referring to? If so then they have described the case in a manner that is the exact opposite of the reported facts.

Honickman does not aid his client by perpetrating falsehoods in his statement of defence. Falsehoods, which we suspect, were probably gleaned from neo-nazi sources. As both Levant and Honickman are journalists one would have thought they would have done the elemental research necessary to check those sources before passing off nazi claims as fact. It is very disappointing, both from a legal perspective and a journalistic one, that they have failed to do so.

They have slandered "the" Anti-Racist Action (and also given away their sources by using a grammatical mistake commonly used by neo-nazis when referring to us).

The second falsehood in their claim is in paragraph 41, which alleges that Richard Warman paid for a bus that ARA used to transport people to a protest against neo-nazi organizer Paul Fromm. This is a canard that has been spread by neo-nazis who are either too obtuse to understand a sarcastic placard when they see one ("Thanks Richard Warman for the bus rental" - meant to taunt the fascists) or are too mendacious not to deliberately misinterpret an obvious joke as a financial statement. In fact, the bus, which cost approximately $200, was paid for by ARA organizers.

Their claims in paragraph 40 are also false as Warman had nothing to do with ARA's campaign against Paul Fromm. Fromm has been an active neo-nazi organizer ever since his days with the Western Guard in the early 1970s and had been, along with Ernst Z√ľndel, of interest to ARA since we were founded in the early 1990s. Again, if they had done due diligence in your research, they would have found a number of events organized by Fromm that had attracted protests from ARA for a period spanning 15 years - long before Fromm's involvement with CHRC cases or his assocation with Warman. Fromm had become of renewed interest to ARA because of his organizing of pro-Zundel protests which we organized opposition to in 2004.

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