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Monday, May 07, 2018

Case Study: A Look At Steven Myatt's Supporters

It appears that the article posted on Sunday showing the federal Conservative leader chatting with Steven Myatt (member of the white nationalist and increasingly antisemitic Northern Guard) while at the UCP's first AGM has garnered some significant interest if the ol' Twitter machine can be believed. One individual did make a comment that is certainly worthy of merit:

That is a completely fair observation. In fact here on this blog we've (I can write "we" again!) noted a few occasions where prominent politicians as well as law enforcement have been photographed with boneheads who, while known to us, wouldn't necessarily be well known outside this particular subculture:

However, there are some differences. Jon Latvis had been out of the public eye for close to 20 years when he had his photograph taken with Rob Ford. In the case of McKee, he purposely concealed his identity and his intentions in an effort to embarrass Justin Trudeau. And as for police and city officials being photographed with the Soldiers of Odin.... well.... as that hate group had been in the news frequently for the past two years this was at best profoundly stupid and careless and at worst....

In any case, in none of these situations did the haters have a discussion about their ideology or their plans and attempt to garner support from the politician they were photographed with. Myatt did and claims to have received at least tacit support from politicians he stated are aware of his efforts:

Could this be Myatt blowing smoke up his supporters' asses? Sure, but it is a claim that is worth some investigating.

What is certain is that the subculture we at ARC are interested in are very supportive of Myatt's efforts to have Trudeau charged, arrested, tried, and convicted of treason (because, you know, Muslims). One of those figures is this fella:

You know when you hold views that Kevin "No Show" Goudreau can get behind, you really need to start re-evaluating your entire life:

Yes, because Goudreau is a well adjusted individual....


Most of the people who are supporting Myatt's quixotic quest though are not the cartoonish caricature that "No Show" Goudreau is. Yes they hold bigoted views and are willing are easily manipulated, but they certainly wouldn't stand out in public per se. Really, they are your uncle who spouts of conspiracy theories at family events like Thanksgiving or your cousin you haven't seen in years (but is still a Facebook "friend") who continually shares Debate Post articles or memes about how refugees are a drain on the economy.

I think that's why I find this group to be among the more interesting to look at what motivates them.

There were a few people who "liked" Goudreau's two comments. One of them is Beau Welling of the Alberta Threepers who was in the news not long ago and who did not like it one bit:

A second person is Katy Latulippe, leader of the Quebec chapter of the Soldiers of Odin which was also recently profiled on ARC as a result of their open alliance with the overtly racist Atalante:

The third is a relatively new figure. Pako Dellaire is Myatt's treasurer responsible for the money that has been collected.

Wait, you remember Myatt explicitly stating that he wouldn't be asking for donations? There's a perfectly good response to that and apparently it is shut up and don't look at the man behind the curtain.

Currently there's a Go Fund Me page that has been set up that Dellaire is acting as the administrator:

While Myatt is receiving support from the likes of Goudreau, Welling, Latulippe, and members of groups like the World Wide Coalition Against Islam, Pegida Canada, and the Northern Guard, most of his support is coming from people like Dellaire.

Now people like Dellaire always existed,but if I am to put my pop psychology hat on the 24 hour news cycle and social media have, to use an overused term, radicalized them. Despite the world being safer and more stable, they were convinced by a constant stream of negativity that the world was in chaos. Social media reinforced this belief through actual fake news being disseminated as easily as hitting the share button but with no critical thought; if it supports my bias, it must be true and any evidence that would suggest that the information is incorrect can be dismissed.

Case in point. Many of these people believe that the UK (and Europe in general) is in collapse. They point specifically at the rare, but widely covered, tragedies that have occurred. One often hears or reads "look what's happening in Europe" from people who may not have even left this continent and have no conception of what life in Europe is actually like and ho much safer it is there than in Trump's America or Harper's Canada. They also have no conception of history. After a bombing that took place in the UK, many of these people speak and write about how "this never happened" before the "Muslims" emigrated. If they actually did some research they would find that in the 1970s through the late 1990s, there were often weekly bombings that took place in major cities in the UK which resulted in far more deaths.... and those engaged in these terrorist acts were at least nominally Christian (the Roman Catholic IRA and the Protestant paramilitaries).

The result of this constant stream of negativity, combined with the bigotry that existed already at least in a portion of this group, is that they are terrified. In large part this terror is based on a fiction, but it is also based on their fear of demographic changes in the western world. At one time it didn't matter because, since they were the majority and privileged as a result, it didn't affect them directly. Now these same people find themselves competing on a even playing field and, not able to adapt, see themselves as falling behind. To paraphrase a statement I recently heard, to people who had always gotten ahead due to privilege, equality feels like oppression to them now.

Seeing a group of frightened people, demagogues are able to stoke those fears even further and turn them against scapegoats. Your struggles are because of "those" people who speak in accented English. "Those" people who follow a different religion are invaders. Your child might find himself working for an immigrant, as if that is a bad thing. And these demagogues -- Trump, Kaczyński, Putin, Orbán, Duterte, Le Pen, and others -- have been very good at weaponizing this fear.

In this country, the animus of this group is being = directed currently at Prime Minister Trudeau as well as provincial leaders such as Premier Notley and Wynne. Since Myatt's efforts are focused on Trudeau, we'll look at him specifically.

Myatt has a Facebook group specifically created for those who are supporting his petition efforts. Recently one of the administrators posed a rather interesting question, not in and of itself but because of the responses that resulted:

The responses were fascinating in that they essentially claim that every negative thing, real or not, is Trudeau's fault. They claim he is directly responsible their own physical and mental health problems. He is responsible for one individual's bankruptcy and one woman's inability to support herself on an income she claims is more than $70,000. He is responsible for any crime committed in Canada ("never happened when Harper was Prime Minister") Some ironically claim that they feel so unsafe in the country that they feel they may need to flee while at the same time condemning government for supporting refugees who are characterized as cowards for escaping a war zone. Of course the fear of Muslims and "sharia" law is prevalent throughout, but also a more generalized fear of "the Other" pervades the thread. And there's the desire for violence to rectify their concerns. Some dream of political assassinations while others hope for a civil war.

There is also the hope for a savior. Someone who will deliver them from the danger that they believe exists (despite crime being at or near an all time low). Sometimes that savior is the Christian god who they pray will smite their enemies in a very Old Testament sort of way. Some pray for deliverance invoking the names of Donald Trump and Steven Myatt.

And it is their desire to submit to the demagogue in the form of Trump, Myatt, or another person, someone who would weaponize their fear for their own purposes (power, wealth, fame), which I find to be the most disquieting part of this thread:

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