This past weekend, I attended a rally in my home city of Halifax. It was organized to counter the so-called “Freedom Convoy” which continues to hold cities hostage around Canada. Our gathering was intended to build solidarity and care for community. It was encouraging to see so many people come out to oppose fascism. I only wish more showed up.
Even though the other side is a minority in Canada, there were still many who came out to support the “Freedom Convoy.” They not only convened in parks. They were everywhere. In all honesty, I haven’t felt that uneasy since I lived in the States. Trucks with enormous Canadian flags drove down every street blaring their horns which, for some of the vehicles, was deafening.
I had already known that organizers of this convoy had a history of white supremacy and far-right ideologies. However, being present amongst them, it became very clear to this was not a movement, but a mob. The tactics they used were classic fascist bullying. Most didn’t care if people supported them or their cause or were interested in learning more. And most seemed more interested in intimidating people. What was also striking to me is how the authorities were friendly with many of them. I saw some of them chatting with them in a familiar and friendly manner. I’ve never seen that kind of thing happen at any of the protests I’ve attended that were anti-capitalist, against ecocide, antiwar or for Indigenous rights.
One thing I witnessed really disturbed me. An old man stood in the Grand Parade amongst the Convoy protesters silently holding a sign that read “support healthcare workers, go home.” He wasn’t shouting or getting in anyone’s face. But he was approached by several people who took a menacing stance toward him. One man approached him with his pit bull straining at the leash. The old man retreated. But the imagery had historic resonances that were undeniable.
The far-right has no answers to our problems except fear and the threat of violence. It thrives on the “us vs. them” or “good vs. evil” narrative because otherizing is so much easier than building community care and fostering solidarity between people.
Like the attempted coup in Washington a year ago, this Convoy has inspired similar far-right uprisings in Europe and elsewhere. And it seems evident that this is not going away anytime soon. If history has taught us anything, it is that fascism must be met with strong and unwavering opposition everywhere and every time it surfaces.
We cannot afford to think “oh this is Canada, not the States. It would never happen here.” Because the seed of fascism exists in every human society. And it only needs a combination of circumstances to explode into a raging fire. And if that fire isn’t contained at the start, it has the power to grow quickly and burn the entire house down before anyone can stop it.
Kenn Orphan, January 2022
*Photo is of signs at the rally opposing the Convoy.
Pingback: Racism Über Alles?
Hello Mr. Orphan, read your article on CounterPunch about the truckers. I’m saddened that you have bought into the divisive meme put out by the establishment that these are all right wing fascists when it’s clear that the government are the ones doing the fascist things on this issue. I’m a socialist and I support the movement 100%. Don’t let the TPTB divide us further. Please watch this video: https://youtu.be/fReunGj7pGU Thanks.
We will have to disagree. While not everyone involved in this so-called movement is a white supremacist or a fascist, the leaders and organizers certainly are. And this has been verified many times over. I think it is also interesting that you say the “powers that be.” Would those powers include Trump? Or Fox News? Or Franklin Graham? Or Elon Musk? Because those influential and powerful people and organizations have given this far right counter-revolution their full support.
I believe the left must build solidarity. We must fight for the working class against corporate and state repression ad exploitation. But this convoy is the very antithesis of a socialist moment.
For a socialist response:
The Parliament Hill Class 1 bozos aren’t ‘patriots’, whatever self-serving definition is used. They are born-again Yankee collaborators as shown by the source of the GoFundMe campaign and the US religious bigots supporting them now. They are extremists who only represent a tiny fraction of truck drivers, and don’t represent Canadians at all. They are loud mouthed, profane and abusive. They perfectly represent the worst part of Canada, and the best example of Trumpanzee CONservative ignorance. They are too selfish and ignorant to know the difference between individual liberty and human rights.
John Stuart Mill: “… the only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilized community, against his will, is to prevent harm to others.”
I wish they would all get close and sneeze. Then let’s see who gets to their bedside first: Jeebus or a nurse. Let’s see who has the answers: the Big Baboo or scientists.
Elizabeth Kolbert: “Pissing in your pants will only keep you warm for so long.”
John Stuart Mill: “I did not mean that Conservatives are generally stupid; I meant, that stupid persons are generally conservative.” Author of the 160 year old standard first year philosophy text, “On Liberty”:
“… the only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilized community, against his will, is to prevent harm to others.”
Thomas Paine: ”To argue with a person who has renounced reason is like administering medicine to the dead.”
Pingback: Fascism is a Fire that Will Burn the Entire House Down, by Kenn Orphan – Dandelion Salad