27 January 2012

Christie and Macdonald Confronted During Court Appearance

First, we got to say Shawn, you aren't fooling anyone with that beard.


We're not claiming that he's looks like Saddam Hussein. We're just noting that in this picture, Shawn bares a striking similarity to the late Iraqi dictator.

Oh, we guess we are saying that he looks like Hussein. Just a little. Right?

Second, you're starting to show your age. Ever consider Just For Men?

Our friends in Vancouver published an article today and posted a video to YouTube.

You tell us. Does the guy being interviewed (not Christie, of course) look like an either D.A. or E.A.?


Vancouver Anti-Racists Confront Neo-Nazi at Court Appearance



Approximately 25 anti-racists attended the Friday, January 27, court appearance of Shawn MacDonald (39), a member of the neo-Nazi group Blood and Honour charged with three assaults against people of colour in the Vancouver area. 
MacDonald didn't attend his court appearance in the morning and was represented by Doug Christie, a Victoria-based lawyer well known for his defense of right-wing extremists since the 1980s (including Holocaust denier Ernst Zundel).  Christie was confronted at around 10AM as he left the courthouse by about a dozen anti-racists. 

Shawn MacDonald was required to attend court at 1:30PM, and by then the number of protesters had doubled, with half wearing masks to conceal their identities and carrying a banner that read "Nazi Scum Fuck Off!."

MacDonald at first passed by the anti-racists assembled outside the court without comment, no one recognizing him until he had entered the building.  However, as he left court 30 minutes later, he was subjected to cries of "Nazi scum" and followed across the street, where he ran through the back door of the No. 5 Orange strip club.  Inside, he joined 2-3 other associates at a table.

About 5 minutes later, as protesters began entering the bar, MacDonald and his comrades fled out the back door into a vehicle and made their escape.

When asked why they had their faces covered, the militants responded that neo-Nazis were known to identify and follow anti-racists to their homes, citing the April 2010 bombing of a member of Anti-Racist Action in Abbotsford. 

MacDonald was arrested and charged in December 2011, along with Robertson De Chazal (25) and Alastair Miller (20).   De Chazal and Miller are charged with aggravated assault for setting a Filipino man on fire on Oct. 10 2009 as he slept on a discarded couch near Commercial Drive.  Miller is also charged in a 2008 assault carried out by MacDonald.

All three are reportedly members of Blood and Honour, a small neo-Nazi group established in Britain during the 1980s as an organization to promote racist and fascist music.  Their membership in Blood and Honour is being used by police to label their assaults as hate crimes.

Their arrests were announced by the RCMP and BC Hate Crime's Team (established in 1996) with great fanfare, claiming they had put a dent in "organized hate in BC."  Despite this, it took nearly four years for charges to be laid in the 2008 incident, in which Shawn MacDonald was filmed by a passing CBC camera man as he assaulted Papi Ngoqo, a South African man.   Similarly, the 2009 attack on the Filipino man had several witnesses step forward early in the investigation, yet it would take three years for charges to be laid.

De Chazal and Miller are scheduled to be in court on Monday, February 13, at 9AM at the provincial courts located at 222 Main Street.  Another protest has been called for this court appearance as well.

Shawn MacDonald's trial has been set for February 20 and 21.

Section 718.2 (a) of the Criminal Code of Canada says during sentencing judges must consider if a crime was motivated by hate based on the victim's race, national or ethnic origin, language, colour, religion, sex, age, mental or physical disability, sexual orientation or any other similar factor.

Update: CBC covered the story as well:

16 comments:

Anonymous said...

My only qualms with this is in parts of the video some protesters say it should be illegal to spread hate. When you make certain speech illegal its cause for concern. Idiots should be free to say what they want and belong to any group. However when and if violence occurs it should be punished as will happen here. I like my freedoms no matter who abuses them.

Anonymous said...

Do we still believe that these sort of 'confrontation' methods are working to erode white supremacist groups in this country? I know for some people the threat of being 'exposed' is probably a deterrent to hate, but I'm not so certain of it being effective for a number of others.

I think back to Calgary with that young woman in the centre of a huge crowd of anti-racist protesters, just soaking up the attention. These people are addicted to hate and the power it gives them, not some logical conclusion that can be refuted in a confrontational interview.

I always applaud ARC and any group that seeks the truth in these matters, but I'm interested to hear thoughts on whether or not trying to argue with white supremacists outside a courthouse is really effective.

Nosferatu200 said...

I can't speak for any other anti-racist, or any other member of the Collective for that matter, but I do see value in confrontation. First, it puts puts the boneheads on notice that there are people who will actively oppose them and not allow them to run roughshod over our community. Second, it helps to create awareness in the community that such a problem exists.

I understand the issue about engaging these people in discussions. We make it a policy here not to allow most of their comments to pass through moderation (unless we want to make fun of them or it serves another purpose for us) because to debate them implies their ideas have some credibly and are worthy of civil dialogue, which we know isn't the case. However, there are cases, such as in the video, where engaging in a discussion can illustrate what these people actually believe. Take the character in this video for example. He slipped up when he mentioned "White Power." They normally speak in more measured terms like white nationalism or white pride, but when you put them on the spot you can expose them for what they really believe. It's preaching to the choir for you and me, but the general public, who's exposure to these people isn't as frequent as it is for us, are able to see through the carefully maintained illusion of moderation in these moments. Another clear case is the Aryan Guard who at one time tried to present themselves as non-violent civil rights activists (as ridiculous as that might sound to anyone). I don't think they could have ever maintained that facade, but the work of anti-racists in confronting McKee and the Aryan Guard did help speed up this exposure.

We at ARC will never approve of violence, but we do support confrontation. Resistance shouldn't be passive.

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately history shows only too well that Hate Speech leads to Hate Crimes. Racist Demagogues when unchecked have lead their mindless followers to lynching, murder, assault and other criminal conduct against Minorities. White Supremacists have continually demonstrated that they cannot be trusted with the freedom to propagate their views peacefully.

Anonymous said...

Well said Nos.

Anonymous said...

I certainly see the value at the ability to elucidate those views, but sometimes I get the feeling that there is too much heroism involved in engaging white supremacists.

The public is more intelligent than I think we give them credit for. The public didn't see the 'Aryan Guard' having a civil rights sit-in - they saw a bunch of neo-nazis playing 'us vs. them' against a bunch of 'commies' in downtown Calgary.

We want to educate the public, sure, but is 'the general public' a little too broad of a target? Again this is separate from what ARC does... I'm talking about the 'let's have an argument with a bonehead' tactic that we see in the video. Yeah that bonehead started sieg-heiling in public after you pushed him too far, but it's not like the 'general public' was listening to what he said beforehand.

I don't have any easy solution, but I hope see more discussion on new strategies for confronting white supremacists in our communities. I'm not knocking the effort but I'm concerned about the value. I think there are psycho-social elements at play here that can't be addressed with these tactics.

Anyway, keep up the good work.

Harry Abrams said...

Good job, everyone.

Like NOS I agree that at every opportunity those who "hate" and even more-so those who"teach others to hate" deserve to be exposed and opposed at every opportunity.

Racism along with its tools of bullying, fraud and intimidation should never be left alone to just be "business as usual."

Their "advocate" experienced as he is, when challenged, was compelled to obfuscate, slither and try to slime sideways.. however unconvincingly.

We as a society are safest when keeping a light on these types and working with every authority and social mechanism to marginalize hate motivated violence and denigration.

Anonymous said...

Turtle Island, REPRESENT.
Never been prouder of the 604, or the bloc... respect & solidarity to all involved.

Mr Burns said...

I stumbled across this site through searching for pics of these poor excuses for humans.

I would have to agree that doing a Gandhi would not work with these violent dregs of society, and confrontation and public shaming is a good start.

Anonymous said...

Do you have any evidence to suggest that confrontation and public shaming works?

I personally believe that active resistance to white supremacy in Calgary helped to keep it in check, but one could just as easily argue that rallies, public shaming, etc. did nothing and that their 'movement' fractured as a result of their own screw-ups.

ARC often points out that we should be concerned about these people because they are inherently violent - they're violent people with violent rhetoric. This begs the question: is confrontation and public shaming being pursued because of opposition to violence, ideology, or both? We'll have a much harder time positing 'ideology' as a reason to pay attention to this situation.

This national news again. People across the country are going to be asking why they should be concerned about white supremacists and what they can do about it.

If you think that the same old is going to work, then by all means go for it - I want proof.

I don't hear anybody talking about passive resistance. This is not a state oppressor and presenting that as the dichotomy of options here is not productive. I'm interested in hearing the options being pursued that are outside of the stereotypical roles that have been carved out over the years.

The public confrontation and shaming might address some people in this 'movement', but I certainly do not see it addressing the fact that many of these people have terrible lives themselves, they crave and seek out group affirmation, they get personal fulfillment and a sense of purpose from hate, etc.

The rest of Canada is going to be listening, so what are we going to tell them? "Just go down to the courthouse or their once-yearly white pride march and 'confront' them"? Or are we going to start doing something more?

What's your mission? What are your methods? Are the latter fulfilling the former? It's always easier to pat ourselves on the back than ask those questions.

Anonymous said...

in windsor ontario theres alot of bonehead nazi skinheads that need to be run out ASAP please help soon thanks

Anonymous said...

Evidence of confrontation's effectiveness in dealing with fascists is abundant to any passing student of history...
'street control' tactics are the fascists' stock in trade, legally or otherwise. I have stood in opposition for many years, and speak from experience... an escalation to these tactics is inevitable when fascists are left to fester unchecked. In the face of such tactics, defence of oneself and one's community becomes a necessity.

Anonymous said...

So... could you provide the abundant evidence? As students of history it should be pretty obvious to us that many (not all) of these people aren't actually fascists but instead are just violent thugs with an affiliation to a loose ideology that they often have a difficult time keeping straight (as frequently demonstrated by our wonderful friends here at ARC).

Again, the situation is being framed as a stereotypical dichotomy that has gone on for years. Can we continue to engage in active discussion about the methods being pursued - all the methods - and the 'results' therein?

A critique is not denigration. We have to be able to ask these questions to address the problem more effectively. Airing any weakness of method, real or perceived, is only going to strengthen our capacity to end white supremacy in this country.

Anonymous said...

Evidence: Oswald Mosley & the blackshirts, routed at Cable Street through confrontational civilian tactics. Craig Cobb, fled BC in order to escape the same. Ernst Zundel, fled Canada as a result. Tom Metzger & W.A.R., routed here in BC back in '93 through the same tactics. The branch of northern Hammerskins which merged into Volksfront and then became "Blood & Honour" ceased street activity 1 year later after a particularly violent confrontation. While they have emerged again, they were forced to ground for a significant period of time by these tactics. I could go on at some length providing examples of effective civilian confrontation, but that's a handful to begin with, and includes relevant local examples. The current situation in BC is an example of prolonged avoidance. They were left to fester under their rock too long, and they've escalated their tactics as a result. Burying our heads in the sand will only ensure a further escalation of violence on their part.

Anonymous said...

Those are some high-profile examples. You believe the current violence is the result of a change in 'tactics' or an antipathy towards the reemergence of BH and other such groups? Or both?

What is currently being done to address the situation outside of direct confrontation (i.e., interrupting recruitment, education, outreach)? I'm thinking back to Calgary and the Serafini episode...

Appreciate the candor.

Anonymous said...

I believe that the current violence we're seeing is a progression of fascist's actions when they are left to organize unchallenged in any area. B&H have been hiding on Vancouver island for years now, and have been generally left to their own devices as a result. The violence that we are seeing from them now is because they've begun to feel comfortable. This isn't a re-emergence, it's the inevitable escalation in tactics that I mentioned... with regard to attacking their infrastructure/recruitment/etc, enormous strides have been made recently. 95% of this is on the web. The web has finally noticed, and they're pissed off about it. Communal education is important, but you can't bridge the gap to people who would kill you for the blood in your veins, and sending our people into that situation would be foolhardy. Frankly, I see little accomplished in this battle through non-confrontational tactics, aside from self-congratulatory "victories" of rhetoric.