Over the years there has been a lot of discussion about the danger of platforming right wing extremists. It's an issue that I've wrestled with for years myself here on the blog and also on Twitter. On the one hand I've always believed that it was important to share information about could amount to a significant danger to the community; the best disinfectant is sunlight after all.
But as I tried to expose those individuals and groups who could cause real harm, I also tried to do so in a way that didn't give them any sort of power. A lot of these individuals and groups WANT others to talk about them because uncritical examination allows the noxious beliefs to spread more widely.
In order to try to avoid that I generally employ two primary strategies. The first is mockery. The bigots and hate groups I covered have all been so very self-serious. Using humour as a means of disarming and showing how utterly ridiculous that they are while at the same time showing the public why we should also be concerned often took the wind out of their sails, so to speak.
Also, I'm naturally snarky so there's that too.
The second thing I do which I think is far more important is to try as best I can to provide the critical context for the stories I shared (hence why I was and continue to be verbose as hell) and to avoid telling the narrative that THEY want shared.
So with that, let's engage go through that process by discussing the critical context behind this still I took from a video posted by Derek Harrison of the Plaid Army/Diagolon on his Telegram page:
|Shane Marshall and Pierre Poilievre
This photo shows Conservative Party leader Pierre Poilievre shaking hands with Shane Marshall. If the name "Shane Marshall" is familiar at all, it is likely because of an incident that occurred during the 2021 federal election where Marshall threw pebbles at Prime Minister Justin Trudeau:
- Trudeau hit by gravel as protesters surround campaign bus in London, Ont.
- People's Party of Canada drops riding president over stone-throwing incident at Trudeau event
- Trudeau lawyers fight subpoena for his testimony at stone-throwing trial
- Trudeau won't have to testify at trial of man accused of throwing gravel during London, Ont., campaign stop
- Trial date set for man accused of throwing gravel at Trudeau at 2021 London, Ont., event
|Marshall and Tyler Russell left; Russell and Nick Fuentes right
|Marshall and Russell with Jeremy MacKenzie during
the "Freedom Convoy" occupation of Ottawa, 2022
|Marshall and Derek Harrison flanked by two unknown Dags.
|Pictured from left to right: Derek Harrison, Maxine Bernier, Chelsea Hillier, and Tyler Russell
|MacKenzie, Bernier, Harrison
|"The Ferryman's Toll", Alex Vriend, is discussed in more detail by CAHN here.
First and foremost, Diagolon and members such as Harrison and Alex Vriend especially are trolls who hope to cause some degree of chaos in the democratic system so as to delegitimize it.
Poilievre, initially silent about his MPs meeting with the far right MEP, eventually suggested he wish the meeting had not taken place and Anderson's views vile while also refusing to criticize the CPC MPs who met with Anderson. This was a response that didn't really please anyone and for which Diagolon's Alex Vriend jumped on:
Certainly Poilievre shaking hands with a Diagolon affiliate is newsworthy. In fact, neither MacKenzie not Marshall have been the only Diagolon affiliates to have a photo taken with Poilievre which is also significant:
This is Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre smiling and shaking hands with another Diagolon affiliate on March 4.— Rachel Gilmore (@atRachelGilmore) March 21, 2023
The man on the left is a semi-regular on their livestreams and has also vocally protested drag events. pic.twitter.com/CBy4TIgCHb
Should there be better vetting at these political events?— Rachel Gilmore (@atRachelGilmore) March 21, 2023
Here’s an article where I took stab at that question: https://t.co/EF8X8Be5WK
And it isn't just Poilievre who has unwittingly been in a compromised and potentially dangerous position:
- Whatever Happened to Jon Latvis?
- Disguised B&H Leader McKee Gets Far To Close To Prime Minister Trudeau