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Thursday, December 05, 2019

Who Are Atalante? A Deep Dive Into A Quebec Hate Group

This article was actually commissioned back in October but I decided to publish it here now. Up to this point I haven't written a great deal about Atalante owing in large part to my struggles with French despite the hate group being one of the more significant movements in the country right now. What I have written include brief blurbs in reference to other stories. I hope that this article goes some way towards rectifying my omission.

I would like to thank all the other groups that helped me to research this topic. That information can be found at the end in the "Additional Links" section. I would also ask readers to visit Montréal Antifasciste (French and English) as their work and resources have been invaluable in writing this article.


Atalante
Originally Prepared by Anti-Racist Canada On October 15, 2019

Atalante, based primarily in Quebec City (with a presence in Montreal assisted in part by Shawn Beauvais-MacDonald’s efforts), was founded some time during 2016 by the lead singer of Légitime Violence Raphaël Lévesque (as the main public face) and members of the Quebec City Stompers. The group members describe themselves as identitarians and “revolutionary nationalists” opposed to both communism and capitalism (which sounds suspiciously similar to National Socialism) and appear to centre around the ideology of Italian fascist philosopher Julius Evola (Lévesque was in Italy marching in support of CasaPound in 2017 in opposition to a local mosque in Rome):

Raphaël Lévesque - CasaPound demonstration against a mosque in Rome - October 2017.


CasaPound leader Gianluca Iannone
The group is also vehemently anti-immigrant and advocate not only for the end of non-European immigration to Quebec but also the “reimmigration” on naturalized non-white immigrants and their descendants (which means those born in Canada). Among their activities include but not limited to flyering, numerous banner drops, participating in anti-immigrant rallies, and providing food to homeless Quebecois…. though only to those regarded as pure laine:


I first became aware of Légitime Violence and Raphaël Lévesque when ARC reported on the effort to stop a concert in Toronto where Légitime Violence was the opening at for Condemned 84 in 2013 and Lévesque’s arrest on drug charges in 2015:
Atalante first appeared on ARC’s radar in October 2016 when members of the group joined other anti-immigrant groups including Pegida Quebec and the Soldiers of Odin at an anti-immigration rally in Quebec City. They showed up at another La Meute march in November 2017:


Atalante has close connections to groups such as Fédération Des Québécois De Souche, La Meute, Storm Alliance, and the Quebec chapter of the Soldiers of Odin:



While La Meute and Storm Alliance deny there is a link and suggest that the Atalante presence at the marches they organize is not coordinated former member of La Meute and current Atalante member Shawn Beauvais-MacDonald has been present at their marches.



The same cannot be said of the Quebec chapter of the Soldiers of Odin who have been proud to associate publicly with Atalante. For example, in April 2018 the two groups marched side by side to commemorate the conscription crisis during World War I (the event also got some love from the Northern Guard):


Potential for Violence

Members of Atalante as well as those associated with the group have been involved in violence even prior to the Atalante’s founding. In 1997 eight associates of the Vinland Hammer Skins and Berzerker Boot Boys including Jonathan Côté and Steve Lavallée were arrested after carrying out several assaults in Montreal bars that injured at least 30 people. Côté and Lavallée are currently on friendly terms with Légitime Violence and members of Atalante. 
In 2008 Raphaël Lévesque and Yan Barras, both future members of Atalante, and six other members of the Quebec City Stompers attacked patrons of the Bar-Coop L'Agitée in Quebec City. Barras stabbed six people during the event and was ultimately sentenced to two years in prison. Another future Atalante member named Mathieu Bergeron stabbed two Arab men. He too was sentenced to 2 years in closed custody:
Since forming in 2016 Atalante have been involved in several provocative and threatening actions. On May 24, 2018 members of Atalante, most of whom were wearing masks, attempted to intimidate journalist Simon Coutu and VICE Magazine in Montreal when they entered VICE offices unannounced and began tossing leaflets and clown noses. Lévesque also participated in this effort and was later charged with intimidation:


A couple filed a police report after they were assaulted by a group of men suspected of being members of or supporters of the overtly neo-Nazi gang, Atalante. After confronting the men who were placing Atalante stickers on signs, one of the boneheads slapped the man while another threatened his girlfriend: “My girlfriend is Latin American, so they started telling her to go back to her country,” said Matthew. “Then one of them — he was a big dude with a spider web tattoo and really short hair — said something like ‘If you don’t get the fuck out of here I’ll kill you.’”
Perhaps the most infamous demonstration Atalante members have been involved in was the violent “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville in which antifascist activist Heather Heyer was murdered by James Alex Fields Jr. who also injured a number of others when he slammed his car into a group of counter-protesters. There was a contingent of Canadians primarily from Quebec. Among those members was then La Meute member and Atalante Montreal organizer Shawn Beauvais-MacDonald:


Evident injury likely the result of being involved in one of the fights that occurred during the events in Charlottesville

Beauvais-MacDonald may have a connection to the murderer of Heather Heyer in that James Fields appears to be carrying the shield Beauvais-MacDonald had been carrying earlier in the day:

Atalante would found a boxing club called La Phalange - Club De Boxe Identitaire in June 2017 in order to hone their martial skills. The club is named after the Spanish fascist movement of Spanish dictator Francisco Franco. On the wall of the gym are portraits of Julius Evola, Friedrich Nietzsche, and Dominique Venner, a far-right French nationalist opposed to Muslim immigration and same-sex marriage who would later commit suicide in the cathedral of Notre Dame in Paris:


It should be noted that Atalante is following in the footsteps of other far-right groups in this regard:
Top: Members of the Atalante entourage training
at their private boxing club La Phalange
.


Bottom: Atalante member Yan Barras circled.
Some Key Members


Discord profile for MacDonald 





Evidence of Far-Right Ideology

More on Atalante extremism cab be found here:














Some Key Légitime Violence Facebook Posts









Miscellaneous Screen Shots

2016:







2017:











2018:










2019:










References and Additional Sources