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About two hundred people gathered in front of the steps of City Hall on March 21 to celebrate the U.N backed International Day to Eliminate Racial Discrimination. March 21 is also the date when organizations like the Aryan Guard of Calgary and groups who believe in the ‘White Pride World Wide’ philosophy gather and demonstrate. Like last year, tensions at the anti-racism rally organized by the Anti-Racist Action Calgary group were high as white supremacists heckled the anti-racism demonstration.
According the CBC one woman who appeared to be with the ‘White Power’ group was taken away by police for her own protection after being surrounded by anti racism demonstrators. One man was charged with assault after hitting someone with a skateboard and another was issued a summons by police for throwing a rock.
This years rally was much less troubled then last year’s rally when demonstrators from both sides clashed and several arrests were made.
In every issue there are at least two view points. Below are two sets of questions and their answers presented to the city’s Anti-Racist Action Calgary group and also to the Aryan Guard of Calgary.
What follows is six questions presented to Jason Devine of the ARA:
1. What is your opinion about the concept of ‘White Pride’?
“White Pride” is simply and solely a euphemism for “White Power,” which is itself an cover for White Supremacy. “White Pride” is based on the notion that European Canadians are currently discriminated against on the basis of their race. The fact is that “races” do not exist as a biological fact: they are socio-cultural constructs that differ with time and place. There is no white race, let alone a black, red, or blue race. Also, it ignores the fact that the people who face the majority of discrimination in Canada are such groups as First Nations and immigrant communities from non-European countries. The groups we find yelling ‘white pride!’ tend to be neo-Nazis like the Aryan Guard.
2. Why does the ARA oppose the Aryan Guard every year on March 21st when they choose to rally? Is the ARA treatment and viewpoint of the Aryan Guard a form of prejudice or discrimination?
March 21 is the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination as proclaimed by the UN. It was a response to the struggles in South Africa against apartheid, specifically the Sharpeville massacre. For the Aryan Guard to proclaim “White Pride, World Wide” on that day is a spit in the face of every human who believes in equality. The idea to celebrate“white pride” day originated with neo-Nazis associated with stormfront.org, which is the world’s premier meeting place for neo-Nazis. The Aryan Guard celebrates Hitler and the Holocaust, and their basic creed is the 14 words coined by the neo-Nazi terrorist, David Lane. A hatred of racism is not the same as their racial prejudice. To love equality is to hate racism.
3. What is your ‘vision’ for Canada in the future? What would you like to see it become?
Anti-Racist Action is a diverse network of groups across North America. Groups and members differ in locations, experiences, and viewpoints. However, all ARA chapters agree with four basic Points of Unity. Point 4 states that: “We support abortion rights and
reproductive freedom. ARA intends to do the hard work necessary to build a broad, strong movement against racism, sexism, anti-Semitism, homophobia, discrimination against the disabled, the oldest, the youngest and the most oppressed people. We want a classless free
society.” This is, of course, a general statement and more a specific answer could be given. But, within the word limit constraints, I cannot do so. Interested people can always check out different ARA websites or email us with questions though.
4. Last year on March 21 2009 their was some instances of violence between the ARA, Police and the Aryan Guard. In your words, what happened?
No member of ARA was arrested, charged, or convicted of any violence. However, some police officers did assault members of ARA and other individuals protesting the Aryan Guard, and members and supporters of the Aryan Guard also engaged in violence against members
of ARA and other protesters, as some of the pictures of the rally taken by the media and others show. This is not surprising coming from the Aryan Guard, a violent, racist gang whose leader is currently in jail facing charges of setting a pipe bomb against another neo-Nazi. Could it happen again? Undoubtedly. That’s what happens when City Hall and the CPS allow a gang, who adheres and acts on its violent, racist ideology, to march: it emboldens them.
5. What do you have planned for the anti-racism rally if the Aryan Guard does not march?
While the immediate reason for previous rallies was to confront neo-Nazis, it was never merely about such an action. Racism in Canada exists not only in the form of organised gangs such as the Aryan Guard, but is also systemic as we see in the historical and continuing discrimination of various groups. We want to bring attention to the racism in our society, celebrate anti-racism and diversity, and also highlight the historical roots of March 21. We want this rally to become a tradition. If the Aryan Guard does not march, we will still
meet and discuss our experiences with racism and anti-racism, talk about the history of the day, and show gangs like the Aryan Guard that their racism isn’t welcome here
6. Any comments you would like to make
Anti-Racist Action Calgary is not only asking people to join them in standing against racism on March 21, but everyday. We invite people to join us because such a rally is important, but clearly not enough. We also ask that people not take our word for it. Check out what we
say and do, but also investigate the Aryan Guard. People should make up their own minds and we are certain they will agree with us. Many different people have faced their violence including my own family. Yet we should also oppose all manifestations of racism, sexism, etc.
because they help provide a breathing space and atmosphere for gangs like the Aryan Guard to exist and grow. There are no races, only humans!
Six questions were also presented to the Aryan Guard of Calgary. While contact through email was made and the group also asked for questions to be sent to them; no answers were provided. What follows are the six questions presented to the Aryan Guard.
1. In your words, why is it important that White Pride be celebrated?
2. What is your opinion regarding the concept of multiculturalism and the “Cultural Mosiac’ in Canada?
3. What is your ‘vision’ for Canada? If you had the power to determine what Calgary and Canada will be like in the future what can we expect?
4. Last year there was conflict during the 2009 White Pride day. From your point of view, what happened?
5. Last year there was word the Aryan Guard left Calgary. Is your organization still active in the city?
6. Anything you would like to add?
Editors note: If the Aryan Guard and its representatives still wants to answer the questions presented to them, I would be very willing to run the answers to the questions (provided you follow the three stipulations I laid out) in a separate article. Thank you.