Toronto Anti-Fascists Respond to JDL Hosting PEGIDA-UK

Fascism makes strange bedfellows. On Thursday, March 10th 2016, the fascist Jewish Defense League hosted Paul Weston of the white supremacist, anti-immigrant PEGIDA-UK and Islamophobic Danish hatemonger Lars Hedegaard at the Toronto Zionist Centre at 788 Marlee Avenue for a speaking event called “The Threat of Radical Islamic Immigration and the Erosion of our Freedoms”. As in Montreal the evening prior, a number of local anti-fascists, including members of the Revolutionary Communist Party Organizing Committee–Toronto and the Revolutionary Student Movement, gathered in order to shut down the event. While it is not entirely clear if the Toronto event was decisively shut down as it was in Montreal due to differing circumstances (the Montreal event was to be held in a restaurant until the venue cancelled the event due to pressure from our comrades there, whereas the Toronto event was taking place at the JDL’s home base), the blockade of the Toronto Zionist Centre’s driveway was successful in sufficiently disrupting the event by preventing visitors from attending, thus leaving the event’s possible attendance to JDL and PEGIDA membership already at the Toronto Zionist Centre and perhaps a handful of other attendees.

The police, as usual, were present and were working to protect the fascists, who were recording and photographing the counter demonstration. Despite the cops’ demands to clear the way, despite their shoving, and despite their attempts to intimidate us with their mounted officers—and despite the suggestion from within our ranks that we be conciliatory and relinquish our hold on the Toronto Zionist Centre driveway—we stood our ground, and together we were able to show how the JDL and even the police can be paper tigers. We congratulate our comrades in Montreal on their success in shutting down PEGIDA in their city, we thank our friends at PEGIDA Watch Canada for organizing the counter-demonstration in Toronto, and we thank our fellow anti-fascists for holding the correct line of not accommodating the police. DARE TO STRUGGLE, DARE TO WIN! NO QUARTER FOR FASCISTS!

Co-signed by members of the Revolutionary Communist Party Organizing Committee–Toronto and the Revolutionary Student Movement

Stop the Imperialist War in Afghanistan!

The 15 Years of War campaign logo

PRAC is supporting the  campaign on the 15th anniversary of the imperialist war in Afghanistan. The campaign is currently looking for other organizations to get involved. What follows are the campaign’s points of unity. More information can be found at the campaign’s website, Facebook, and Twitter.

Points of Unity

What follows are the points of unity in forming a united front against the imperialist war in Afghanistan:

Condemn the imperialist occupation of Afghanistan

We condemn not only the military occupation of the US led war on the people of Afghanistan, but also the ongoing involvement of corporations and NGOs – particularly Canadian corporations, NGOs, and financial interests – that followed the military intervention and force economic dependency and underdevelopment. In this way we also recognize that the withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan does not mean the end of the occupation, as it is so often proclaimed in the mainstream media, because the occupation persists, managed by capitalism, military bases, a “native” army trained by our militaries, and a puppet government installed by imperialist means.

Condemn the puppet government

We do not recognize the government that was put in place by the US and Canada as “democratic” or an expression of Afghanistan self-determination. We recognize that it is a puppet dictatorship that masquerades as “democratic” when it is in fact as reactionary as the Taliban. Indeed, the only thing that makes this puppet regime any different than the one deposed by the US-led intervention is that it is a willing servant of the occupation. The fact that former members of the Taliban are part of this government demonstrate that the war on the people of Afghanistan was never about liberation.

Condemn the Islamic State’s (ISIS) invasion of Afghanistan

Due to the chaos imposed by the war on the people of Afghanistan, and the incorporation of the Taliban and a variety of other Islamists into the Karzai government, ISIS has seen this as an opportunity to invade Afghanistan and subject it to the rule of its “Arab Caliphate.” Produced in the crucible of imperialism, ISIS is another foreign invader that seeks to occupy and oppress the people of Afghanistan and should not be recognized as a home-grown resistance to imperialist occupation.

Support the progressive revolutionary resistance of the people of Afghanistan

Rather than see the liberation of Afghanistan as a task that can be completed by an anti-imperialist movement here, we need to embrace the spirit of internationalism and draw attention to the efforts of the revolutionary, secular, and grassroots movements that are resisting imperialist invasion, occupation, and the puppet government. These forces include feminist mass organizations that are autonomous from those “feminist” groups that have been implicit with the occupation and who collaborate with the puppet government, the New Democratic and Maoist movement, and many other democratic and progressive tendencies throughout Afghanistan. Here in Canada, we commit to give voice to these revolutionary people’s movements through rallies, teach-ins and other political projects.

We invite our fellow comrades to join in this campaign.

December 13 Call to Action Against the JDL and Robert Spencer.

UPDATE: Due to concerns regarding capacity to successfully and safely mount a proper counter-demo at this time, we are regrettably cancelling this call to action. PRAC of course still condemns in the strongest possible terms the JDL, Robert Spencer, and the particularly islamophobic brand of fascism which they promote. With the current upsurge in islamophobic harassment and violence in our communities, it is obvious that more organizing is needed on this front. We would like to encourage other like-minded organizations to think about how we can come together to form a strong united front against fascism and racist violence.

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On Sunday, December 13, 2015 the militant, zionist Jewish Defense League (JDL) will be hosting author and anti-Muslim activist Robert Spencer at the Toronto Zionist Centre (788 Marlee Avenue). The event is billed as “Chanukah with David Spencer: The Threat of the Syrian ‘Refugees’ Trojan Horse” with an event poster which promotes a spurious link between Syrian refugees fleeing imperialist violence in their homelands, the fascist Islamic State in Syria (ISIS), and the recent violence in Paris, France.

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Spencer is the director of jihadwatch.com (funded by the David Horowitz Freedom Center) as well as the co-founder of various organizations American Freedom Defense Initiative (AFDI), and Stop the Islamization of America (SIOA) which is the American version of its European counter-part. He counts amongst his allies such anti-immigrant, Islamophobic ideologues as Pamela Gellar, Anders Graves, and Greet Wilders. Spencer is the author of such racist polemics as The Truth About Muhammad, The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades), and The Complete Infidel’s Guide to ISIS.

The JDL, founded in 1968, is a far-right international organization which upholds a militant zionist line. The organization has a long history of violent activity that includes harassment, beatings, arson, bombings, and murder (such as the 1994 massacre of 29 Palestinian Muslims in a mosque in the West Bank city of Hebron). Spencer’s SIOA is not without a violent reputation. His compatriot and SIOA co-founder John Joseph Jay has publicly stated “that all of islam is at war with us, and that all of islam is/are [a] combatant[s].” He has also stated that “we should have destroyed islam as a force of terror,” and that “islam shall suffer retribution.” Spencer himself, characterizing his Islamophobic organizing as part of a “Crusade against Islam,” declares Muslim people to be a “threat to the peace and well-being of the Western world.”

While fascism should generally never be afforded a solitary minute of peace and comfort, in light of the recent dramatic increase in anti-Muslim attacks both within the city of Toronto and elsewhere, this particular brand of anti-Muslim, anti-immigration hate, and fear mongering requires an especially decisive response. The Proletarian Revolutionary Action Committee—Toronto and Revolutionary Student Movement are calling on all revolutionary and progressive forces to unite and together deliver a clear message to these fascists that racism and Islamophobia is not welcome in our communities.

Specific details will be forthcoming. For now we encourage likeminded organizations and individuals to save the date of the early evening December 13, 2015 and expect to meet somewhere near the Lawrence West subway station. Contact us at practoronto@gmail.com for more.

AGAINST FASCISM! AGAINST ISLAMOPHOBIA! 

PRAC participates in anti-PEGIDA rally

On the afternoon of Saturday, September 19, 2015, a racist, xenophobic group by the name of PEGIDA Canada attempted to hold an anti-Muslim, anti-refugee rally at Queen’s Park. PEGIDA is a fascist group that originated in Germany, their name stands for Patriotische Europäer Gegen die Islamisierung des Abendlandes (Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamization of the West). Their main political activity is organizing demonstrations in the imperialist centres to advance anti-Islam, white supremacist and xenophobic politics, hiding behind the liberal language of “anti-misogyny,” “anti-violence,” and “anti-hate.”

But anti-racist and anti-fascist organizations and individuals have also responded with even bigger counter-protests whenever PEGIDA attempts to organize. In Toronto, while the numbers on the PEGIDA side were about a dozen or so, a group of approximately 100 people from various anti-fascist, anti-racist, and migrant justice organizations—including members of Proletariat Revolutionary Action Committee and of the Toronto, Hamilton, and Niagara chapters of the Revolutionary Student Movement—came together and formed a united front. With a force that outnumbered the racists 10:1, the anti-PEGIDA forces set out to not only prevent their rally from taking place but to also send a message to fascists of all kinds that the people will not abide their hate.

Chants such as “Refugees in! Islamaphobes out!” and “Nazi scum off our streets!” drowned out PEGIDA’s hateful songs and speeches. At one point, a militant managed to disconnect the chord supplying power to PEGIDA’s sound system. When asked why it was important for revolutionary communists to be present at these counter-demonstrations, a PRAC member responded, “We have to make these fascists know that every time they attempt to organize, we are always ready to stop them with militant action!”

As expected, the Toronto police formed a line to protect the fascists. While feeling safe and secure behind the line of bike cops as well as some ETF officers, PEGIDA continued to taunt the counter-demonstrators, particularly the militant women of colour in the frontlines. PEGIDA managed to power their amplifiers with a generator, raising anger and impatience amongst the crowd who were screaming “Shut it down! Shut it down!” A group of militants from different anti-racist organizations locked arms and started to advance towards the police line.

Expectedly, the police were quick to use violence in their attempt to fight back and suppress the advancing wave. Using fists and feet, batons and bicycles, the police beat on those who dared to get closer to PEGIDA forces. Many activists sustained bruises from the encounter. As furious as the cops were, it was apparent that the will of the people to fight was also intensifying. As the people push forward, the line of cops was soon forced into retreat, as was PEGIDA.

While the retreat of PEGIDA on September 19th can be seen as a small victory, the fight against white supremacy, Islamophobia and racism is a longer protracted battle. “The reactionary politics of PEGIDA may be seen as extremist and only shared by a few, but we have to remember that racist ideology has continued to shape the class struggle Canada,” says an RSM-Scarborough member. “Stopping PEGIDA is just a component of our greater task in advancing the class struggle, that is ultimately led by Indigenous and people from oppressed nations.”

Toronto Launch of Boycott Campaign

Boycott the Elections! Fight for People’s Power!

On September 12th we will be part of the launch discussion of the national electoral boycott campaign.  This year will be the first year in which organizations across Canada, from the east to west coasts, will be involved in organizing around a rejection this year’s electoral farce.

“This campaign aims to mobilize and bring together all those who see themselves in this critique of the capitalist system and who aspire to more than simply changing the face of the capitalist system but a revolutionary transformation of the world in which we live. It aims to build and strengthen the organizations—the party and the genuine people’s organizations campaigning and mobilizing the masses for such a transformation—that are needed to achieve this objective. It aims to use the tools—leaflets, posters, newspapers, websites…—that will spread this criticism and these perspectives as far and wide as possible. And it requires that we manifest these aspirations as concrete actions confronting profiteers and the defenders of the system.”

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The launch meeting will be held at OISE [252 Bloor Street West] on Saturday September 12th in room 5280 at 2pm. The meeting is conceptualized not only as a discussion around the boycott but as a space to organize for the National Boycott Day of Action that will be held on Sunday, October 18th.  Those who are interested in endorsing the campaign are encouraged to attend.