I have to admit that keeping up with all the new ultra-nationalist groups that, while small in membership are springing up like weeds, has been challenging. In part this is because they are so incredibly fractious in nature; personality conflicts or the desire to "be in charge" results in one group splitting into two or more. Those groups eventually fracture begetting new groups. So while the actual number of individuals involved might not be increasing and there is a lot of cross pollination, it sometimes feels as if the movement (such as it is) is growing quickly.
For example, this group is one that I had been paying only peripheral attention to before Vice and the CBC ran stories about:
Meet the Northern Guard which, while claiming to be a "national club" seems confined mainly to the East Coast and parts of Quebec those there are individuals from all parts of the country who have joined the Facebook group:
Like many similar groups (Storm Alliance, Patriots of Unity, the defunct Guardians of Alberta, etc), the Northern Guard is essentially an offshoot of the Soldiers of Odin. The president and founder of the group Nick Gallant was once the president of the New Brunswick chapter of the SoO. The provincial head of the Quebec chapter of the Northern Guard was once in an SoO leadership position in Quebec and was in fact a subject of an ARC article back in May:
I've also found that Bill Daniels and Michael Montague, the former (and rather short lived) national president and communications dude of the SoO are both members of the group. Daniels, Montague, Wallingford, and other Northern Guard members are also associated with the III% militia that has a small presence in Canada.
I was able to join their Facebook page a few months ago but I have to be honest in writing that I really didn't pay a hell of a lot of attention to them at the time. Truth be told I forgot I had access to the group until the Vice story was published, but after reading the English version I thought I would give them the once over.
Suffice it to say, they weren't pleased by the Vice article:
So upset in fact that Nick Gallant posted not one, but two videos to respond to the coverage. I'll deal first with the video he posted on September 10 but be warned that should you choose to watch the whole thing, you will be subjected to nearly 20 minutes of claiming not to care but then engaging in relentless self-pity, whining about being prejudged (and holy hell is that ironic given the content of their closed Facebook group), and numerous retorts that are more akin to "I know you are but what am I?" than anything resembling a cogent argument:
If ARC readers decide not to watch the video, I'll helpfully provide a very brief synopsis. Basically, Gallant claims that the media has misrepresented them in order to be able to print more negative stories about the Northern Guard in the future. In fact, they are not racist, anti-Muslim, misogynists, but are in fact a charitable organization that helps people. lots of people. More people than any of the "keyboard warriors" who are critical of the Northern Guard.
Certainly those who responded to Gallant's video agree with him, though the presence of one individual may be somewhat problematic:
Uhm.... if they want to be perceived as not being racists, they might want to consider that the Goudreau isn't going to help their image one bit:
But then perhaps I'm not being fair? After all, they may not be as familiar with the Goudreau as ARC and ARC's readers may be and if they learned who he was he would perhaps be given the boot.
So let's instead look at posts by leaders and members of the Northern Guard who are in good standing to better discern the nature of the group and if they were misrepresented by the big, bad, msn.
Looking at their posted bylaws, they certainly say the right things regarding racism and not lumping all Muslims together, though the fella who posted the comment that he knew how to "dig holes" should "things get out of hand" might cause an eyebrow to be raised:
Before looking at their racial views, let's first look at the Northern Guard's comments concerning women in positions of leadership. In the Vice article it seems that one reason that many Quebec SoO members broke away is because they didn't want to be subordinate to a woman:
And for now, The Northern Guard is a real boys club, in the worst sense of the phrase. Women are not admitted into their ranks. But the group will eventually found a female faction to be named The Northern Maidens.
"We're a brotherhood . In SOO, when Katy Latulippe became president, people did not want to be led by a woman and that divided people. A man who runs a women's gang, or the opposite, does not work," Brazeau said.
But it seems to be more than just not wanting to be subordinate to women. The posts on the Northern Guard indicate an extreme hostility towards women who are in positions of leadership or who voice opinions that run counter to their own. This antipathy takes the form of incredibly misogynistic comments and in some cases a call for and justification of violence against women who they think are out of line:
Gallant also takes issue with the Northern Alliance being characterized as racist in nature. He may very well point to the following point in the bylaws posted to the group:
Any members displaying racist or culture bashing posts or comments in a public setting will either be fined, suspended or removed from the Northern Guard completely depending n the severity of the offence and it's conflict with the Brotherhood.
ARC readers may however observe that the dictate only refers to "public" posts and note that the Northern Guard Facebook group is, in fact, closed.
So what do we find in in the closed Facebook group?
A whole heap of racism from the leaders and membership:
So really, the only concern here is that the membership of the Northern Alliance doesn't express these views outside the comfort of their safe space.
The last screen shot brings me to their views of Islam. Remember that in their bylaws, the Northern Guard claims:
Any members will be required to read and understand informational directives about the differences between Islamic extremists and Muslims that will be put forth by national and provincial PR command.
It seems though that, though Gallant was upset about being lumped together and stereotyped because of the way they dress and the fact that many of his members have beards, he doesn't seem to care about making a distinction between Islamic extremists and the population of moderate and progressive Muslims, choosing instead to lump them all together:
Further, Gallant and the membership openly celebrate, and even justify, violence committed against Muslims regardless of whether they hold extremist views or not:
In response to the Finsbury Park attack that left one man dead, Gallant and his members had this to say (besides failing to understand the meaning of the Golden Rule):
As for Muslim places of worship, their solution is simple.
Burn down mosques:
Then again, the desire for violent retribution for perceived slights isn't confined to people of color or Muslims. Simply holding views that they don't like is enough for Gallant and company to look forward to the day that their ideological opponents will be exterminated:
Yep, ya'll are so much smarter alright....
And purge the weak? Sounds somewhat fascist in thinking, though considering that many think that Hitler wasn't all THAT bad it perhaps shouldn't be a surprise that the leadership of the Northern Guard would echo those sentiments:
As this post is already pretty long, I'll continue helping ARC readers become better acquainted with the Northern Guard in a second post in a few days. But I've a feeling that those who were wondering about what this group is about probably have sufficient information to draw at least some preliminary conclusions.