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BTL 2022

The Far-Right in Focus

Violence carried out by the far-right is now the most frequent and deadly form of extremism threatening Western nations, and it is growing in stride with the increasingly emboldened anti-lockdown community. In this collection, we look at the roots of white supremacism and far-right groups in Canada, and how the left can fight back against this revanchist movement.

  • The JDL is a violent extremist group—so we should treat it like one

    Considering its influence and long history of racist violence, there’s been far too little critical scrutiny of the JDL. While the group has been banned from Facebook and Twitter on a number of occasions, politicians, police and other officials have turned a blind eye to its criminal acts, while major media outlets and anti-racist groups have generally ignored its political activities and ties to the far-right.

  • Munk, Hayek and the Fraser Institute: Tracing the insurgent pedagogy of the Canadian right

    It is clear we need to expand our resistance and critique of the Fraser Institute beyond the reports it publishes and the ideologues and media pundits it puts in front of the television cameras. If these ideas go uncontested, we stand to lose a growing number of students to far-right economic views. The Peter Munk Centre for Free Enterprise Education is a real threat and we should treat it like one.

  • Far-right organizing in Alberta, on the streets and online

    Anti-mask rallies have been near weekly events in Alberta since the summer, and there has been a consistent presence of identifiable far-right extremists like the Soldiers of Odin, Three Percent Militia, and the Proud Boys. Even with negative attention and condemnation coming from public officials, it appears the confidence of these groups is growing in stride with the increasingly emboldened anti-lockdown community.

  • Canadian gun control discourse distracts us from far-right threats

    What we are sorely lacking in Canada is a left wing critique of firearms discourse. This would include a centering of the far-right motivations of those who commit mass shootings, the undeniable link between gun violence and misogyny, and the failure of the police—as evidenced by the Nova Scotia shooting—to protect civilians from those wielding deadly weapons while simultaneously claiming a monopoly on their use.

  • Researching the right

    Unlike the oppositional right, our fight is for collective liberation. We seek to overturn ruling relations and institutions that produce domination, exploitation, and oppression. We aim to create a world in which everyone can flourish. In order to do this, we need to be real about our opponents. This means going beyond caricatures and quips. We can out-organize the far-right, but only if we’re serious about understanding them.

  • Fighting the extreme right, building the left

    The federal government’s addition of the far-right group the Proud Boys to the Criminal Code list of terrorist entities has sparked some debate among progressive groups, including in the pages of Canadian Dimension. While street mobilization is important and necessary, it alone will not be enough to defeat the extreme right. We take this opportunity to reflect on the necessary perspectives for the left.

  • Beyond ‘trusting the experts’

    Those who do wear masks may have trouble appreciating the degree of alienation experienced by people engaging in dangerous behaviour. Business owners will continue to promote conspiracy theories to try to open the economy. Notwithstanding these challenges, a critical recognition of both science and power will not only help stop COVID-19 but also make us more resilient in the face of the next crisis.

  • QAnon and America’s political moment

    QAnon, a far-right conspiracy theory popular among supporters of Donald Trump, is symptomatic of a problematic digital culture of echo chambers and algorithmically sealed filter bubbles. Here, credulity, manipulation, resentment, tribalism, and misinformation mix and ferment into strange and powerful brews. Such is the dark side of participatory media. The roots of QAnon, however, run deeper.

  • Alberta’s paranoid outlook

    Alberta was born in rapid societal change, its population growing a staggering 413 percent in its first decade. For reasons of geography, economy, and chance, the province’s history has been defined by booms that draw people in and crashes that can foster paranoid worldviews. Conspiracy theories evolve along with and as part of political culture, perhaps even faster when the culture itself refuses to.

  • Right-wing populism and the realignment of working class politics in Canada

    We can expect the Conservative Party to wrap itself in the Canadian flag and fire-up the culture wars. The hotter it gets, the better, for Erin O’Toole. To respond to this political challenge, now more than ever, those on the left need to find ways to bridge the politics of recognition and redistribution—and to re-engage with working class communities.

  • Anti-maskers, the alt-right, and leftist messaging

    Last week, hundreds of people gathered in Winkler, Manitoba to publicly oppose their school division’s COVID-19 precautions. This was the latest anti-mask rally in a string of demonstrations across Canada in recent months. While the rallies themselves aren’t particularly threatening, the messaging being used by demonstrators is plucked straight from the lexicon of progressive social justice movements. And that is cause for concern.

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