Antiracists will counter any neo-Nazi march in Vancouver

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      One type of skinhead is sure to show up at a rally on Sunday (March 21) that coincides with the International Day for the Elimination of Racism and has been the subject of much Internet chatter.

      That’s Maitland Cassia and his friends. But although people with shaved heads are often associated with swastika-waving and immigrant-bashing, such is not the case for this crowd.

      They style themselves Sharps—skinheads against racial prejudice. They’re part of the Anti-Racist Action group, which has been organizing to counter a planned neo-Nazi rally that they claim is scheduled to start at 11 a.m. at the Braid SkyTrain Station in New Westminster and make its way down to the Vancouver Art Gallery.

      “We do know for a damned fact that this group exists, that they have been operating in the Lower Mainland,” Cassia told the Georgia Straight, referring to what he tagged as the Advocates for White Civil Rights.

      He explained that skinhead culture is primarily a working-class way of life, and those with a racist bent are usually referred to as “boneheads”.

      Although the counter-rally will have a diverse pack, Cassia also noted “We have a sizable group of white skinheads in the Anti-Racist Action group.”

      Since the Straight posted a March 8 on-line story about the supposedly planned neo-Nazi rally, there have been claims about Facebook pages and Web sites being used to promote the gathering and then later getting pulled down.

      If the alleged white supremacists don’t turn up, that will not stop the ARA and other organizations from staging their own event.

      “If they don’t show up, then we’ve successfully reclaimed the space, and we’re marching to celebrate multiculturalism,” Cassia said.

      Harsha Walia told the Straight that her group, No One Is Illegal, and others, like the South Asian Network for Secularism and Democracy, will be at the Braid SkyTrain Station on Sunday.

      “The responsibility of people who care about antiracism work”¦whenever you hear these kinds of things, is to respond,” Walia said in a phone interview. “It’s not a false alarm if they go underground.”

      Const. Jana McGuinness, spokesperson for the Vancouver Police Department, said that the force is watching how the March 21 event unfolds.

      “What we’ll do depending on what we learn from different sources is if we need to, we can dedicate resources,” McGuinness told the Straight.

      She added that the VPD has no problem with two rival demonstrations winding their way into the city, as long as they’re lawful and peaceful.




      Mar 18, 2010 at 11:17am

      I guess Walia only supports left-wing fascists smashing stuff and scaring people. Is hypocrite in this woman's dictionary? How can she defend the Black Bloc's right to smash windows but not defend the right of deluded racists to assemble?


      Mar 18, 2010 at 11:43am

      "Left wing fascists"? I'd like to assure you that noone has any intention of smashing anything, or scaring anyone. Deluded racists do indeed have the right to assemble, and we are not denying that. We are simply exercising our right to present the differing viewpoint. I'd also like like to point out that I have met skinheads from many different races and cultures in the course of my life, colour has absolutely nothing to do with the SHARP movement.


      Mar 18, 2010 at 12:02pm

      stevie64: are you serious? in what universe is anti-capitalist anti-colonial organzing the same as hateful neo nazis?
      sorry, but speaking out AGAINST racism and colonialism is very different than speaking FOR these things.
      if anyone needs a dictionary is you man.
      wow. the ignorance here is sort of shocking.


      Mar 18, 2010 at 12:08pm

      Big up to ARA, NOII and the other groups involved who pulled it all together on short notice as soon as these creeps said they were marching on the 21st. Stay safe!


      Mar 18, 2010 at 1:05pm

      I think all this huffing and puffing is a bit much. This non-event appears mostly a figment of the imagination of these 'militant' so-called 'leftists', whom I bet will outnumber the right wing types that attend (if any in fact do). It's very reminiscent of the anti-communist right who saw a pinko everywhere they looked.

      Multiculturalism is a feeble flag for any one to unfurl, especially someone such as the Cassia mentioned above who seems to consider him/herself a leftist. CBC, Benetton and everyone else is for multiculturalism. It's a great way to avoid the real issue: class and inequality.


      Mar 18, 2010 at 6:27pm

      I heard Harsha on CKNW before the Olympics talking about how it's okay to destroy property in the name of protest. She has zero credibility in this town. She's like gasoline on a fire. Wouldn't surprise me if her gang of thugs show up to find nothing and then block traffic just for fun.


      Mar 18, 2010 at 7:23pm

      if anyone wants freedom of speech it must apply to all"groups", if it does not it is just more bigotry and hipocracy. freedom for the free! if you don't like it deny power by not participating.


      Mar 18, 2010 at 7:35pm

      why is zionism or native pride or international woman's day or black solidarity ok, but as soon as whites or men get together for self defense suddenly it's evil and racist? could it be because your all brainwashed. tools should get some(tools that is).


      Mar 18, 2010 at 10:14pm


      There is nothing wrong with cultural pride but you're naive to think skinheads aren't out to push their agenda with violence. This wave of skinheads is nothing new. It happens every generation. Groups of young impressionable (mainly males) who are caught up in these Nazi gangs because they feel excepted. It's so damn cliche but true.

      @ the Harsha comments

      Don't let the subject at hand be overshadowed by Harsha. I don't agree with the way she spoke about the stupid mini riot at the Olympics, but I this is way above that. If you let these groups grow they will cause trouble and do stupid shit. Likely beat some minorities or gays. Whatever they feel big doing.

      I'll be making this rally. I'll be damned to let this new generation of skinheads try drive fear into our city.


      Mar 18, 2010 at 10:18pm

      It isn't 'whites' or 'men' but white men (and women, I suppose) with known ties to groups whose message is one of utter, unthinking hatred.

      How you could confuse that with the issue of class imbalance in democratic society is beyond me.