Friday, March 27, 2009

ARA Statement

Before we publish this statement, we want to make it clear that we are not the ARA. While we may share some similar goals, there are distinct differences between the ARA and ARC. One difference is that ARC will not sanction the use of violence in support of our ideals for any purpose, though if it should come to it we will ONLY use the minimal amount of force necessary to defend ourselves so that we can extricate ourselves from a dangerous or threatening situation. For us, this is reasonable. A second difference is that we are generally very supportive of the police, though this support doesn't mean that we don't have some legitimate concerns about the events of March 21 (such as some obvious assaults committed against anti-racist protesters by Aryan Guard members and supporters that occurred in view of some of the police, or what seemed to be an overreaction by some police officers in their treatment of anti-racist protesters in tense and difficult conditions).

Despite our differences, we have a very amicable working relationship with a number of ARA members in Canada, including Calgary. As such, when one of those members asked if we would be willing to publish a statement regarding a controversy arising from recent statements by an ARA spokesperson in the media, we were happy to agree to the request. Here then is that statement;

On 21 March 2009 Anti-Racist Action Calgary and over 500 anti-racists from in and outside Calgary successfully held the biggest anti-racist rally and march in Calgary’s history for a second year in a row. ARA achieved its objectives of increasing the number of people who attended over the previous 200, exposing the Aryan Guard, and blocking their march to City Hall.

ARA Calgary had sent out the call to mobilise for 21 March and characterised the event as ‘a non-violent but confrontational rally.’ Recently, it has come to ARA Calgary’s attention that an article in the "Calgary Sun" which included quotes from its public spokesperson, Jason Devine, has led to misconceptions about ARA Calgary. We do not speak for "The Sun," and "The Sun" does not speak for us. We are not pacifists and we believe in self-defence. "The Sun" article omits a number of information. It omits Devine’s denunciation of the violence of the AG and the Calgary Police. It also omits the reasoning and context for Devine’s request for people to stop throwing objects.

Devine asked people to stop throwing objects, not because he or anyone else in ARA Calgary sheds tears for injured, violent neo-Nazis, but because the situation was not one of the AG on one side of the barricade and anti-racists on the other. Anti-Racists had pinned down the AG between two walls and with anti-racists in front and behind them. When objects began to be flung more than one of those objects flew straight over the AG and hit anti-racists. ARA Calgary stands for an intelligent application of a diversity of tactics, not a stupidity of tactics. We believe in a clearly focussed application of force against scum like the AG, when innocent bystanders are out of the way. We do not believe in random outbursts, where bystanders can and will be hurt; that does not build solidarity, the anti-racist movement, or hurt the fascists.

ARA does not, nor intends to police other anti-racists, but it will not stand aside while innocent people are getting hit, whether on purpose or not. This is one of the reasons for taking aim at the AG. We knew that some would try to paint us as violent after the rally that is why Devine answered the charge head on. But, we are not rich and do not own the "Calgary Sun," thus we can not be blamed for their omissions of fact, we can only seek to clarify the situation.