According to NOW Toronto, No One Is Illegal (NoII) is the best of Toronto’s activist organizations. NoII led the pack of Black Bloc anarchists during the G20, it was a day few will forget considering the amount of damage and violence that occurred. It wasn’t until I understood that NOW has Trotskyist roots that their decision to include NoII in their poll made any sense to me. And, in case you forgot, one of the fundamentals of Trotsky’s philosophy was that the revolution needs violence. Ugly stuff…
One of the more interesting parts about NoII is how, despite their support of racially based violence, they’ve managed to get a lot of support from members of the NDP establishment. In Vancouver, NoII has been supported by politician David Eby (who’s rumoured to be running in Christy Clark’s riding in the next BC Election), NDP MP Don Davies, and the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE). In Toronto, they are very close with NDP elder Judy Rebick. It astounds me how these people could imagine supporting NoII- considering the racial violence. Who knew that Don Davies and David Eby would tolerate people who sing “take back the land, kill the white man“…
Today was a more civil day for NoII. There were many members of the anarchist intelligentsia about- there were also a number Roma people there. They seemed quite genuine in their beliefs, it’s unfortunate for them that they’ve got mixed-up with the Anarchists. Watching the interactions reminded me a bit of how some of the indigenous people I’ve met had got mixed-up with Kevin Annett.
The next problem is that, despite being genuine in their beliefs, the messages they carried were incredibly inflammatory- subtlety doesn’t appear to be their strength. There were signs like the one above talking about German ovens during WWII- many people had signs with swastika’s on them. It was obvious that these people were deliberately trying to ignite confrontation. There’s very little difference between their signs and the Cupcake incident at this year’s Al Quds day event. Here’s a video with more of their signs:
Someone pointed out to me that there was a reporter there from the Jewish News who was trying to take pictures of the protesters. It was like history replaying itself from the Robocall rally where a member of the Jewish Defence League was trying to get pictures of the inside of the Al Quds truck. Israel vs. Palestine, Spy vs Spy style- right here in downtown Toronto!
The anarchists made up the bulk of the people who came to the march today- mostly the usual crowd. While the Israel/Palestine protesters stayed on the South side of the Royal York hotel, the Anarchists marched to the north side. They began by blocking the entrance to the parking lot in the Royal Bank building. Syed Hassan, one of their more prominent leaders, thought it was a good idea to scream through his megaphone at the drivers who were trying to get through. I don’t see how that helped.
Here’s a video of the anarchist contingent:
This is probably my biggest issue with No One Is Illegal- they just don’t appear to be that effective at making change. I once asked the question What Did Harsha Walia Do (WDHWD)- not one person could give an answer on actual change she has effected.
That said, it appears to many that NoII’s primary intention has much less to them than the causes they support, and much more about initializing a socialist revolution. Now, it’s their absolute right to try and mobilize people- but, equally, the leadership at NoII has a responsibility to have transparency in their intentions. It’s also important that they not be so hypocritical when they choose their targets.
One of my readers shared an enlightening comment with us today- they said that if NoII really cared about immigrant rights, they would be a lot more vocal about what’s happening with the new Parti Quebecois government. I found a great synopsis of what’s happening from an article in the Vancouver Province:
“If she had won a majority government, she would have made it illegal for Quebec civil servants belonging to religious minorities to wear their religious garb in public. No hijabs for Muslim women, no yarmulkas for Jewish men and no turbans for Sikh males. Only Christians would be allowed to wear a crucifix, and the crucifix in the National Assembly would be allowed to remain, not because Marois is an observant Christian — she’s not, apparently — but because it is part of Quebec’s culture and history.”
Wow, that’s pretty horrible sounding, isn’t it? NoII has one of their larger chapters in Montreal- it’s run by the notorious Jagi Singh. But, as my reader pointed-out, “The PQ you see, is a big government, socialist, statist party”. Ah-ha, solidarity brother- racism is just fine if it is being implemented by fellow socialists!
Therein lies the problem with No One Is Illegal- they’re using issues about racism and sexism as a lever to organise people for an NDP revolution. The problem is, many of the useful idiots who support them on the sidelines aren’t fully cognizant about their intentions. Equally, they fight in the most dirty of ways- if they got into power, we’d have a very dirty world.