20 November 2016

Status of ARC Collective Onward

So....

Anything interesting happen during the past few weeks?

Yep, the events of November 8 and onward have sort of sucked and we would be lying if we didn't say we were profoundly disappointed. The election of Trump has had reverberations throughout the world and has given a boost of adrenaline to the far right in North America and Europe. Canada, sadly, is not immune to the toxin:
And so on.

Trump's election has energized the individuals and groups we follow closely as well. PEGIDA, Canadians Against Justin Trudeau, Canadians United 4 Canada, III% Canada, Soldiers of Odin, Fromm, Banerjee, Ruhe, Sears, McKee, Beattie, and all the rest, including some whom we haven't profiled but are keeping an eye on, cannot contain their glee that "their man" was just elected to the most powerful office on the planet. They hold out further hope that the Trump phenomenon will metastasize and spread to other countries, including Canada.

 And who's to say they are wrong given the political earthquake that occurred?

Among the purposes of this blog is the effort to highlight a movement that much of the msm and Canadian public have often ignored or minimized. We've always said that the movement was much larger and more dangerous than was widely accepted. We've sometimes been accused of sensationalizing "isolated events" in an effort to make the racist movement in Canada appear to be less fringe than it actually was.

If there is a bright spot in the November 8 election, it's that no one is complacent at the moment. The media is publicizing the significant uptick in racially-motivated attacks and vandalism that have occurred since the election. Social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook might now be taking some action to minimize the amount of false news disseminated online and shut down profiles used to attack and intimidate ideological opponents and journalists. People are protesting in the United States, Canada, and around the world. 

The question is whether or not this will all continue into Trump's first term or, much like the Occupy Wall Street movement, will devolve into a muddled message, competing egos, and ridiculous factionalism.

At the end of this month, Anti-Racist Canada will celebrate 9 years of online activism. We've never been so naive as to believe that we had the same kind of pull and influence as the msm, however we have been able to find a niche and have contributed in the fight in a positive manner. The last few years has seen ARC being used as a source by some msm journalists delving into the subculture we have profiled since 2007; the rise of the Soldiers of Odin have seen a significant upswing in the number of media requests to ARC. We also know that our presence has helped some individuals get out of the movement. Many times those individuals have reached out to us, including the individual who sent us the following a few days before the election:
A sweet sensation of false belonging with a harsh reality and many regrettable tattoos and scars. I was originally recruited into a gang at the age of 18 after taking off without notice from my home and family. I spent 4 years with a questionable identity on my name while running with some of the most outwardly heartless people. 
Since I was already estranged from my family, a functioning binge drinker with unaddressed and untreated mental health, not much effort had to be made on their part to recruit me. I was a wild card, there for an asset to them. My personal demons were played on and had been convinced that my family didn't love me. I was offered toxicity to fill that void and started rolling at full swing with it. 
Though I never took part in recruiting others, I saw how they would go about it. Young kids from the ages of 16-20 would come around and were isolated from their families. If these kids had a problem at home, that's when the recruiters made their emotional attack. They would give the offer of protection and a sense of security while convincing these young people that they were never wanted by the people who truly loved them. 
I sported hate themed tattoos (one of which was laser removed upon leaving the subculture), so I was essentially a walking billboard. Going back to my mental health related experiences, what goes up must come down. I ended up turning myself in, was diagnosed, given medication and offered therapy and support. I was also advised to stop drinking. 
I went back to see the members of the gang and was discouraged from accepting the help. Stability and sobriety did not benefit them at all. I took the medications, but was not compliant with the rest of the doctors orders. 
Many incidents occurred that proved to me that these people were not my friends. This included a traumatic brain injury, public humiliation, and lastly seeing a picture of my dad (who has passed away) ripped up right infront of me. All acts done by those whom I was associated with. 
Within the skinhead culture, there are rival gangs who believe the same ideology but have personal beef with each other. I switched from one gang to another after being harmed a number of times by the first crowd of individuals. 
After I came back to my family, I went to college but was still associated with the movement. For the most part I didn't talk about the beliefs in front of my family, though they definitely knew what it was really about. 
My skinhead days came to an end at the age of 22. Not many are lucky enough to have a wake up call, however I am. A guy whom was involved in that subculture was stabbed to death as a result of his association. His mother posted a heartfelt letter and was not holding back the tears. Something had finally clicked and I realized that I was hurting the people who really loved me and whom I really cared for. So on September 1st 2012, I chose to become sober, take stability for serious and cut ties with the subculture. Slowly but surely I tackled all areas at once. 
It's been 4 years and not a day goes by unappreciated. I've had the pleasure of meeting a lot of genuinely good people over this period of time as well. Black, white, grey, blue, green, purple, I could care less now. Even those with a sketchy past, obviously I can not judge them at all. I only look at who someone is in this present moment.
Still, the work has been grinding. Exposing one's self to the worst of society has a tendency to beat one down after a while. There's also the sad reality that the "collective" part of the ARC Collective isn't quite as collective as it once was, leaving more work for the very few who remain. Finally, 2016 has been an especially difficult year for this writer on a personal level. It was time to consider our options.

Those of us who remained had decided that, come November 30, we were going to post one final article announcing Anti-Racist Canada members were ending our work after nearly a decade of activism. We had decided that we had fought the good fight and that others with more energy and drive could take up the banner from that point and onward. It's not as if we didn't put our all into the project; this writer started with ARC in her early 30s and is now in her early 40s. That's a long time to devote to the cause and we don't believe that anyone would have begrudged our decision to step back.

But November 8 and the fallout from that event has resulted in a change of that plan.

Some of us decided that we couldn't yet surrender the field when the battle had just intensified. So while some of the remaining ARC members has still decided they needed to step away, a few have decided to stick around for a while longer. How much longer we don't know. A year? Four years? More or less? Time will tell.

As there are even fewer of us our articles may be much more sporadic than in the past, but we will continue to do our part so that we remain one more candle in the darkness. Melodramatic? Maybe, but over the next four years we think we're going to have to find light where we can while struggling to brighten the world again.

We however remain optimistic:


3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Happy 9 year to y'all :)

Harry Abrams said...

Hang in there!

Anonymous said...

Racist flyers in Manitoba and Edmonton too