One Penny Philanthropist: Why Is OPIRG York Fronting Donations For A Racist Hate Group?

Except those who disagree with NoII...

Except those who disagree with NoII…

I decided to try a little experiment yesterday, I’ll call it the One Penny Philanthropist. It all began when a generous reader decided to click the donate button (to your right) and graciously sent me a $50 donation. In the year and a quarter I’ve been running this site I’ve got $150, which has been just enough to cover the costs of keeping this site online.

So, with some money burning a hole in my e-pocket, I decided to engage in some mass philanthropy. Not having a lot of money I was unable to be very generous- I’m no George Soros. Instead, I sent out some ‘protest donations’ of one penny each to some organizations I find troubling. I’ve learned some fascinating things in the process, including a funding connection between the York University and No One Is Illegal- one of Canada’s most troubling pro-violence hate groups.

In the immortal word’s of Deep Throat, let’s “follow the money”…

NoII is a rather self-contradictory group. For example, they’re fighting for a policy that there should be no borders or immigration controls while simultaneously calling for better housing and government services- unlimited immigration would quickly overwhelm what services we currently have. Equally, they campaign against racism, but have refused to criticise the Parti Quebecois for its seemingly racist language and cultural policies.

More troubling than their contradictions is NoII’s support and use of racist and violent behaviour. The most well-known example of both came shortly after the violence during the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver. Peace activist Derrick O’Keefe was viciously attacked by NoII’s Harsha Walia after O’Keefe spoke-out against the violent behaviour. During a public debate, Walia went so far as to try and discredit O’Keefe’s argument by claiming her status as a ‘woman of colour’ usurps his argument as a ‘privileged white male’. The crowd (packed with NoII supporters) applauded for Walia after that statement- but, you could see on their faces that many were horrified.

NoII leading the Black Bloc anarchists at the G20

NoII leading the Black Bloc anarchists at the G20

NoII was an elemental part of the violence that occurred during the Toronto G20. As told to me by a number of people who were there that day, and as is exhibited in the above picture, NoII led the pack and provided a front shield for the Black Bloc. Wherever there is street violence in Canadian cities you’ll often see NoII somewhere in the proximity.

Walia was also in Seattle during the 1999 WTO riots- an event that provided the impetus for the violence at the G20 and the 2010 Olympics. NoII’s Montreal leader Jaggi Singh was arrested during the G20 and was nearly deported before Alex Hundert took the fall for him and others. Hundert is currently still in prison.

NoII and it’s members support, promote and take the money for an even more racist group called the Native Youth Movement. In one NYM video, promoted by NoII, a rap singer calls for natives to “take back the land, kill the white man”. The lyrics also call for white people to “go home”, and saying “if whitey crosses that line, there’s gonna be some blood spurting”. NoII, and in their circles justify this by claiming there’s no such thing as ‘reverse racism’.

Here’s a video where I’ve chopped-together (roughly) some of NoII’s most worst moments:

Knowing all of this, I made my one penny donation to NoII Toronto yesterday as my way of protesting their recognizable pattern of promoting racism and violence. When I finished the Paypal transaction I got a very enlightening receipt in my inbox:


Public Interest Research Groups are university-based organizations modelled on a book titled Action For Change by Ralph Nader. Their original purpose was to research, discuss and lobby for policy issues- but, as time went by, some ‘PIRGS’ have branched into other activities. In Toronto, I’ve heard many people express concerns that some PIRGS have been taken over by entryist Trotskyites.

The Ontario Public Interest Research Group (OPIRG) at York University is a student run and student funded organization with offices on the university campus. On their website they state that they are:

“…committed to making links between issues including anti-racism, economic justice, the environment, Native rights, sexuality and women.”

So, this leads us to the question- how could they possibly allow themselves to support NoII- both organizations’s values (obviously) differ when it comes to racism. Or, perhaps, OPRIG doesn’t accept the existence of reverse racism either?

According to York University’s policies on racism, there’s no distinction if racism comes from a person of colour. People who engage in racist activities on-campus will be subject (on paper at least) to serious disciplinary action. Considering that, how can the university possibly allow OPRIG to take money for one of the most racist organizations in Canada?

OPIRG is what York calls a ‘student levy organization’. All York students are charged a levy for OPIRG as part of their annual fees. Students have the opportunity to ‘opt-out’ of paying fees to OPRIG (and other opt-out groups)- but, the process is rather arduous. Students must opt-out within a 2-week window of time and provide three separate pieces of paperwork. It’s likely that the majority of students don’t have the time to jump through the hoops.

Considering the challenges of opting-out on OPIRG fees, they’re not that much different than if they were mandatory. Somehow, I don’t believe there are too many students who would approve of their funds and resources going to help hatemongering organizations like NoII. York should be ashamed this is happening on their campus- it’s time to change that.

My next One Penny Philanthropist story will cover the mother of an autistic child and a multi-level markerter protesting in a place very close to the hearts of the people involved with Occupy Vancouver. Stay tuned…

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