The Far Right Targets/Infiltrates The Left Part I

Les Schaffer schaffer at SPAMoptonline.net
Mon Feb 19 14:18:23 MST 2001


[ bounced > 30 kB from Tony Tracy <tony at tao.ca>  Part I]

I've enclosed this rather important article by Vancouver-based
researcher Will Offley on the ongoing targetting & infiltration of
left & anti-globalization groups by the far right. This is an issue of
concern to many of us on the progressive left. The article appears in
the latest edition of Canadian Dimensions magazine (see
http://www.canadiandimension.mb.ca/latest.htm).

Will's article covers alot of ground: one of the more important
aspects is the research he has done on the Quesnel, B.C. based monthly
tabloid "The Radical" as well as the irregularly-published tabloid
"Discourse & Disclosure".

I would encourage folks to give this article a read.

In solidarity,

Tony Tracy

-----

DRY ROT -- The Far Right Targets The Left.
By Will Offley

Canadian Dimension, January/February 2001
Volume 35, Number 1

Like most huge events in history, the fall of the Berlin Wall shook
our world.  In doing so it also changed the ground rules of politics.

Whether you call it paradigm shift or merely the temporary triumph of
neo-liberalism, the dust from the Wall's collapse has clouded our
vision for nearly a decade.  Without exception, currents of the left
around the world have found themselves disoriented and scrambling to
create a new vision and a new political framework within which to
organize and to fight.  This has not only been true for the
traditional Communist Parties, but for the non-Stalinist and
anti-Stalinist left as well.

The left has not yet been able to reconstitute a coherent vision of
the new world we want to see issue from the ashes of the old, nor have
we articulated the strategy or programme or organizations necessary to
make that happen.  As a result, radical left politics have remained
largely confined to "anti" politics for a decade or more:
anticorporate, anti-globalization, anticapitalist.  We have remained
locked down behind the relatively easy bulwark of what we're against,
rather than venturing out into the exposed and more dangerous terrain
of defining what we're for.  In addition, in some sectors there have
been marked tendencies to view the capitalist system through the lens
of conspiracism and irrationality, where plots and conspiracies
replace class interests and mass politics as the motor forces of human
society.

This weakening of its culture, institutions and politics have rendered
some sectors of the broad left vulnerable to the conscious and
organized predation being carried out in Canada by a specific current
of the far right. In the U.S. this dates back as far as the Gulf War,
where neo-fascist currents like the Larouche organization and
Spotlight sought to attach themselves to the movement against the war.

Is the Canadian left immune from this sort of targeting?  No.

Is the situation any different now, a decade later?  Yes and no.

Yes, because Seattle has led to Washington, and from there to
Philadelphia and L.A. and Windsor and Prague.  Quebec will be next,
and it won't be the end.  The rise of the struggle in the streets
against globalization marks the end of ten years of demoralization and
confusion.

There is a new dynamism and a new optimism, and if the path ahead is
only partially visible, at least we're collectively underway again.

However, one has only to look at Seattle to see that the growth of far
right currents within and alongside the left and progressive movements
has increased visibly over the decade.  There are also indicators that
point to a change =96 during the Gulf War, the far right was active on
the fringes, but by Seattle it seemed to be active at the very centre
of things.  While the young militants faced down the cops and the gas
in downtown Seattle, on a leadership level elements of that movement
were being increasingly compromised politically by a de facto
convergence between Ralph Nader and the most important far-right
leader in the United States, the semi-fascist Pat Buchanan.  Five
months later during the April 16th mobilizations in Washington,
Buchanan shared a stage with Teamster leader Jimmy Hoffa Jr. as an
invited guest of the AFL-CIO.

Antiglobalist politics are not the exclusive preserve of the left.
Though it springs from different roots, Buchanan's opposition to
globalization and free trade is as genuine as ours.  He just takes it
in a direction diametrically opposed to everything else we stand for
=96 protectionism, racism, exclusion.  Not only that, there have been
plenty of examples this century to show the far right can be
anti-corporate too.

Throughout the 1920's Hitler's Nazi Party contained a minority current
led by Gregor and Otto Strasser that was inalterably opposed to the
German trusts... as well as the Jews, the Communists, Social
Democrats, gays and lesbians, unions, etc.

Nor is the far right confined solely to the hardcore neo-Nazism of the
Heritage Front or the Northern Hammerskins.  It's relatively easy to
ward off the interventions of groups that put swastikas on their
literature.  It's considerably more difficult when the politics of the
groups in question are cloaked in progressive rhetoric and hidden
behind coded language. Between Wolfgang Droege and Stockwell Day there
is a whole swamp of currents and organizations =96 conspiracist,
anti-Semitic, some with hidden fascist agendas, some totalitarian,
some merely far right.

Some of these are targeting the left.  There is reason to be
concerned.

******

Although they're based at different ends of the country, they seem to
be made for each other.

The Radical is a monthly tabloid published in Quesnel, B.C. since June
1998 by Arthur Topham, a self-described anarchist who regards himself
as "a natural, sovereign and unique critter who doesn't need any
centralized forms of authority telling me how to run my life."

Discourse and Disclosure is a more irregularly-published bimonthly,
also a tabloid.  It has been put out by editor Sue Potvin since May
1996.  Potvin, formerly a resident of Ottawa, now resides in
Greenwood, Nova Scotia. Potvin is considerably less forthcoming about
herself than is Topham.

Both publications share common positions on many different issues.
Both are opposed to globalization, the WTO, the MAI, NAFTA, the World
Bank, the IMF, and now to the FTAA.  Both are opposed to the
increasing corporate domination of the economy and most other sectors
of everyday life.  Both have editorially supported the mobilizations
against globalization, from Seattle to Prague.  Both have condemned
NATO, and the West's aggression against Yugoslavia.  Both oppose
clearcutting and support many environmental causes.  Both are strongly
supportive of Canadian nationalism.  Both have even run articles
endorsing gay and lesbian rights, and have been outspoken in support
of native struggles from Ipperwash to Gustafsen Lake. When you realize
that each has survived hand-to-mouth for years, with very shaky
finances, the announcement in the November 2000 issues of each
publication that they were moving towards appearing as a joint
publication makes a whole lot of sense.  The Radical is distributed
widely throughout the hinterland of B.C; Discourse and Disclosure
appears to have a broader national distribution.  Both share a number
of regular contributors.  To move toward joint publication is a
completely logical step in extending the reach of two papers which
have essentially identical editorial approaches.

In fact, the similarities go far deeper, but this requires you to get
out a fine-tooth comb and start a much closer examination of both
publications.  Both papers are riddled with conspiracy theorists.
Both have supported the politics of David Icke, the new age
anti-Semite who argues the world is being run by a conspiracy of
blood-drinking lizards.  Both regularly feature and support the
activities of the far-right Detax movement.  Both exhibit numerous
links to various prominent anti-Semites, militia supporters and white
supremacists.  And because of these similarities both have become
important vehicles in English Canada for the politics of the third
position current of Canada's far right, third position because this
current of the right rejects capitalism AND Marxism.

Although a definite current of the far right, the third position
current is distinct and apart from the mainstream of the neo-Nazi
movement, which has attacked it in vitriolic terms.  D&D's editor has
herself been directly criticized by a fascist web site in the
following terms: "Sue Potvin publishes a Canadian tabloid titled
Discourse and Disclosure...  [which] believes aboriginals (Native
North Americans) are the planet's chief (no pun intended) victims and
contains an enormous amount of White guilt and rants about not only
what Whites have "done" to these sacred aboriginals, but to the world
in general.  There is also so much ranting about corporations that
it's hardly distinguishable from your local Marxist/communist
publication."  Clearly it would be a misrepresentation to equate
Potvin's publication with mainstream neofascism, as this is simply not
the case.  However, it's also undeniable that the political content of
both The Radical and Discourse and Disclosure extensively overlaps the
politics of neonazism, anti-Semitism and some of the most crazed
conspiracy theorists on the planet.  Judge for yourself:

** On more than one occasion D&D and Potvin herself have quoted
extensively from the U.S. newspaper, The Spotlight , which has been
described as "the most significant voice of the far right".  It is
published by the Liberty Lobby, itself described as "the major source
of anti-Semitic propaganda in the United States" , and whose leader,
Willis Carto, has been publicly quoted as stating that "only a few
Americans are concerned with the inevitable niggerification of
America" and "the Jews came first and remain Public Enemy Number One."

** The December 1999 issue of Discourse and Disclosure appeared with a
guest editor, Jim McKee.  McKee has contributed frequently to the
paper on numerous topics.  Three months earlier a letter from him
appeared, condemning immigration and stating that "in recent years, we
have been bringing most of our immigrants from countries where the
predominant religions are non-Christian, and the cultures are quite
different from ours.  Integrating these people into Canadian society
poses problems that didn't exist for the British and European
immigrants....Our heritage of Christian standards is being swept
aside."  McKee's racism assumes even sharper definition when it's
recalled that on May 13, 1997 he held a public meeting in his Glenarm,
Ontario home which was addressed by Paul Fromm.  Fromm, the head of
several racist organizations, gained notoriety ten years ago when the
Toronto Sun obtained a video of his appearance on stage at a December
8, 1990 meeting of the Heritage Front, flanked by a huge Nazi flag and
giving a Nazi salute.

** D&D features a regular column on the activities of the Canadian Action
Party written by Carla Marie Dancey, CAP's representative to Elections
Canada.  In 1997, Dancey was the Reform Party candidate in Ottawa
South, where she immortalized herself on the topic of "ethnic"
immigration.  An article in the May 18, 1997 Edmonton Journal reported
that "Canada's immigration system is racially driven to ensure at
least 85 percent of people who come into the country aren't white, a
Reform candidate said May 17. =91If you look at the immigration system
right now... they've got it divided according to racial lines,' said
Carla Dancey....  =91Eighty-five percent of the people coming into the
country have to be ethnic and 15 percent white, because before they
had 85 percent white and 15 percent ethnic and they decided that was
racist.'"  Paul Fromm's thoroughly racist Canadian Immigration Hotline
liked this quote so much it was promptly republished on its web site.

** Almost every recent issue of Discourse and Disclosure features at
least one article by Tom J. Kennedy, the Ottawa tour organizer for
David Icke in 1999.  Kennedy's main area of activity centres around
the Detax movement.  He has published material on the Internet that he
has reprinted from neo-Nazi and Holocaust Denial websites, and he has
also publicly admitted to a friendship with Ernst Zundel that goes
back nearly twenty years.  Currently, Kennedy has a brief tribute on
the web naming his friends, mentors and leaders; this list includes
not only Sue Potvin, but also Paul Fromm, Ernst Zundel, David Icke,
David Irving, Glen Kealey and no less than ten leaders of the Detax
movement.

** Potvin herself has editorially promoted the Detax movement, an
ultra-right tax denial movement that is in many respects the Canadian
equivalent of the Posse Comitatus, the U.S. current in the 1980's that
was one of the key predecessors to today's militia movement.  Writing
in a front-page article in the May/June 1997 issue of her paper
entitled "Canadian Challenges The Illegal Income Tax System", Potvin
extensively profiled David Butterfield's B.C,-based "Shareholders of
Canada" and echoed its claim that no one need pay income tax, since
"it's illegal".  However, Potvin's editorials have rarely been as
overtly far right as those of her other regular contributors.  On
occasion she has even publicly distanced herself from some of her most
extreme contributors.

** Other D&D articles continually harp on the same conspiracist themes,
whether it's on the New World Order plot that murdered Princess Diana
(Sydney White, September-October 1999), or the New World Order plot to
take away our guns (John Welham, Sept/Oct. 1998), or the conspiracy of
the Illuminati to control the world economy (Fred Kirkman, August
1998).  And as for Canadian nationalism, contributor Ed Benson gave a
flavor of D&D's politics in the August 1997 issue when he wrote that
Canada has been "reduced to being the major financial and atomic
benefactor of Red Communism; a country which condones the jailing of
people for displaying a sign in English; a country that allows
democratic votive fraud and military sedition; and a country that
permits bare-breasted women on the streets."

Discourse and Disclosure functions as the public voice of a far right
current that first came clearly into sight during the 1993 campaign of
the National Party of Canada.  Since the National Party's demise, many
D&D supporters have remained active in its successor organization, the
Canadian Action Party, particularly in CAP's leadership.  Regular
contributors to Discourse and Disclosure include party leader Paul
Hellyer, CAP's national president Connie Fogal, at least three CAP
regional directors , and more than 10% of CAP's candidates in both the
1997 and 2000 federal elections.  D&D supporters have also been
visibly active in and around numerous other organizations since then,
including several PIRG organizations, Concerned Citizens Against Free
Trade, David Orchard's campaign for the leadership of the Progressive
Conservatives, the Council of Canadians, various anti-globalization
groups and others.

The Radical appears to have taken a completely different trajectory,
only to wind up at the same spot.  Where the D&D current appears to
have set out to penetrate various sectors of the left, The Radical
appears to have engaged in a process of political evolution away from
anarcho/green politics towards those of the far right.  Both papers
share both a common editorial approach and a common pool of writers.
David Icke has appeared repeatedly in both papers, and has been listed
on the masthead of both as a contributor.  (The May/June 2000 issue of
Canadian Dimension features an assessment of Icke and his backers in
greater depth than is possible here). Numerous other writers besides
Icke appear regularly in both The Radical and Discourse and
Disclosure.  including Bev Collins, Joseph Duggan, Robert Rodvik, John
Welham, Eva Lyman, Pat Bennett, Kevin Annett, and Connie Fogal, among
others.  Joseph Duggan is David Icke's main Vancouver organizer, whose
speakers' bureau Strong Eagles Productions organizes tours in
Vancouver and B.C. for much of the conspiracist right.

Bev Collins made the cryptic comment in the April 1999 issue of The
Radical, "are you prepared for an American military officer under
United Nations command to enter your home and remove you and your
family because of Y2K?", and went on to hint darkly about a battalion
of British troops on "training exercises" at the time outside
Rossland, B.C.  This has been one of her main preoccupations for a
long time.  In August 1996 she authored a long piece in D&D entitled
"U.S. Militia Victim Of Negative Image Makers", which stated that
"more than three million patriots in the U.S. today have joined with
law enforcement and a cross-nation militia organization network".  She
went on to add that "the militia is not, as those in power would have
you believe, some extremist band of thugs."  On the contrary, she
wrote, "militia members are said to be everyday, ordinary American
citizens who care enough to take steps to protect their country
against corrupt government."  She pooh-poohed the armed Freeman
standoff taking place in Montana by simply declaring the Freemen were
not really militia, after all, which probably came as news to them.

Collins' links to militia activity do not seem to be confined to
ideological support alone, either.  According to David Lethbridge of
the Salmon Arm Coalition Against Racism, "not long before the 1997
federal election, Collins attended and spoke at a secret meeting of
the Texas Light Infantry, one of the earliest militias to be set up
after the [1992] Estes Park gathering which founded the contemporary
militia movement."  Bob Holloway, one of the key organizers of the
Texas Light Infantry, is an associate of Louis Beam, Grand Dragon of
the Texas Knights of the Ku Klux Klan.

John Welham has written for both papers as well.  He authored a piece
in the July 1998 issue of The Radical entitled "Why Federal Income Tax
Is Illegal" which stated in part "Revenue Canada has done a fantastic
job of brainwashing Canadians into believing that federal income tax
in legal.  Nothing could be further from the truth....No one has to
pay income tax to the federal government.  It's illegal...."  The
following month his article was picked up by Discourse and Disclosure
and reprinted verbatim.

And not least, both paper have given extensive publicity to the
various leaders of the Detax movement, including Eldon Warman, Tom
J. Kennedy, Byrun Fox, Hans Krampe, David Butterfield and others.  On
more than one occasion Discourse and Disclosure has published
four-page supplements on Butterfield's group, and The Radical has also
repeatedly run ads for various Detax seminars and public events.

If you judge a book by its cover, you'd have to conclude that The
Radical is radical =96 after all, every issue is festooned with peace
symbols, anarchist A's, hemp plants and (cruellest joke of all) little
pictures of Che.  It would be much more accurate to say that while the
layout may be radical, the editorial content's been taken so far to
the right that it's off the page.  And it's not like Arthur Topham is
the first, either.  Throughout the last century, every single current
in the broad left has seen defectors from its ranks crossing over to
the far right.  Benito Mussolini left the Socialist Party to lead the
Italian fascist movement.  Many sections of the Comintern experienced
losses to fascism during the 1930's, like the split of the Jacques
Doriot wing from the French Communist Party.  Lyndon Larouche came out
of the Trotskyist SWP.  Why should we expect hippie anarchism to be
any different?

The problem is, The Radical, like D&D, has connections and it has
influence.  The current November issue demonstrates this clearly.  It
contains articles by militia supporter Bev Collins, Detax activist Tom
Kennedy and Wiebo Ludwig supporter Allan Johnston. It has a column by
Hans Krampe stating that this federal election "may very well be our
last chance to deal with despotic and treasonous systems in a
democratic and relatively peaceful manner.  After that, who knows what
will happen." , accompanied by an editorial calling on readers to
refuse to register their guns.  But others are present as well.  There
is an article by the Prince George Green Party.  There is an article
by Vancouver Parks Board commissioner Roz Cassels, elected on the
Green Party slate.  There is a letter from 72-year-old Betty Krawczyk,
currently serving a one-year prison sentence for her participation in
the logging blockades in the Elaho Valley.

[ end Part I ]





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