Far-right and far-left groups rising in Québec
by cedleonard on November 12, 2017 - 9:33pm
Political tensions escalate inexorably in North America and some other places around the world. The highly polarized divisive political climate pushes apart extreme ying-yangs who demonstrate and protest in the streets, occasionally turning violent by both groups’ perceived opponent extremes, exactly what the climate is: polarization. In Québec, no doubt then, to see that there are strong nationalist groups for which Québecois identity is threatened by rising levels of immigration. Far-right groups are then opposed by anti-racist groups and the so-called “Antifa”, or anti-fascists, which may or may not be an extremely vague agglomerate term or semi-defined as an organization, but serves for our purposes to observe, metaphysically speaking, the natural order of antagonism creating pairs opposed to each other.
La Meute, a Québec far-nationalist movement opposing illegal immigration and radical Islam, whose Facebook group is comprised of more than 43 000 people, has grown in recent times in light of immigration issues and other things. More movements also are in parallel among far-nationalism views, such as Atlante, Soldiers of Odin, which fuels the overall trend of stronger/farther nationalism, and anti-fascist activism forward.
Antifa members believe in horizontal structures without authority and a world without borders. The movement grew in popularity by activists on the left opposed to some far-right attacks overall on immigration and cultural diversity, asylum seekers and Islam. In response, it aims to push them into isolation and irrelevance by discouraging them from demonstrating in the streets. Direct actions are favoured but amongst themselves the circumstances justifying force are in debate.
On the 20th of August, a group including La Meute, did a demonstration, which had at Québec City.
Cora Le Moyne, an activist of age 42 part of the Montreal anti-racist movement since decades, where she called herself an “anti-racist punk”, and who after years’ lower involvement came back to the streets and joined Action Antifasciste Montréal, was part of the counter-protest. She was satisfied of it until she was sent an image of probably a far-right protester beat up by her own movement. “It hurts the cause.” He was carrying a Patriote flag, symbol of French roots of Québec history, used by some of the far-right. More image and video material of Antifa members being riotous in many ways came to the internet.
Only small numbers of Antifa protesters actually derailed the counter-protest. About 15, according to Maxime Fiset, former neo-Nazi working at the Centre for the Prevention of Radicalization Leading to Violence. “It made it lose immense credibility.” On their side, La Meute was more organized and calculated, and took many measures to have its members not commit violence. “As an anti-fascist, I hate to admit La Meute did a great job of managing their public relations,” told another person who asked anonymity due to threats he received after the protest. “They were able to exploit our weaknesses as a fairly disorganized movement, I’d say”
Some Antifa members argue that racism can be cleared by information and education and is not entirely evil as much as it is simply ignorance. On the other hand, since fascism has aims to purge dissenters, it “needs to be eradicated with fists.” “You can’t do anything but defend yourself”
It’s interesting to see this period unfold. Some of the problem is that people get riled up, leading to an unhealthy attitude of generalizations and jumping to conclusions. Polarized politics make mutual enemies and people often search for enemies, for example on the increasingly polarized left and right, drive themselves into their respective corners, meanwhile the “filthy fence-sitting centrist” libertarians who want calm discussion wonder why everyone’s becoming paranoid thinking everyone on the other side’s coming for them, and when they push for a more reasonable climate by criticizing both sides’ excesses, both other sides hate them for not fighting against their enemies. The culminating observation is when reasonable people get called extremes of both sides at the same time, and it’s a good sign that they’re correct, because it shatters the worldview that there’s only two sides, which extremes most often believe. It used to be that people debated in a civil manner about their positions and ideas. That’s how it should be. To combat the political polarization’s name-calling and escalating rhetorics, one of my ultimate beliefs, which I’m fairly confident is unassailable since I can justify it, is that the ultimate base form of wrong is that of intentionally setting into action things that will harm anything from someone contrary to their will, except where that someone is attempting or has done that to another person in which case they lose that protection because of the consistency and non-aggressionary principles, or in case of conflict, deliberation can be done to reach, through the power of convincing, the justification to a wider scope such an action being in accordance with the other person’s will, in which case the other person would not oppose such an action. Where the state fits here is that a properly-elected state works in accordance to its people’s will, and it’s democratically elected, so it’s legitimate until it becomes illegitimate by going against the people’s consensus or will. That whole thing must mean I’m a libertarian, so the idea is that I don’t bother someone, they don’t bother me, everything’s good on our sides. The problem with authoritarianism is that by definition, for it to enforce its positions on dissenters, which it most often really wants to enforce, it needs various amounts of force. It obviously is a threat to our freedoms. So let’s face it, both liberalism and conservatism share large amounts of beliefs, which leads me to a conclusion: the relevant opposing dimensions of politics are no longer left and right, but rather libertarianism and authoritarianism, because until the forms of rising authoritarianism are out of the Overton window, we must fight on whether we really can justify imposing our positions onto others by various degrees of force, or if it’s time to start building the framework allowing us to converse about our common grounds in the non-utopian vision of encouraging civil debate.
What do you think will happen in the following decades? A further polarization with increasing authoritarian absurdities to metaphorically munch popcorn to if they don’t reach too far into our rights, a deterioration of society as a whole if the extremes get relevance or power by cult-like brainwashing mechanisms where no amount of reason can change emotionally deep-drilled pathological ideas, a gradual loss of our freedoms and rights by our lack of action until we’re in a surveillance totalitarian state, or a calming down of the political environment bringing classical liberals and regular conservatives together as libertarians who will push the authoritarian extremes into irrelevance and focus with commonly-agreed grounds on relevant issues without being adversarial but rather cooperative to work toward common goals? Perhaps all this polarization is only a thing of silent majorities and loud minorities. But perhaps setting a climate that removes the attitudes that prevents civil debate (arguments from emotion, arguments from insult, hasty accusations, etc.) is an utopia-level expectation, knowing human nature. Maybe we can simply nudge ourselves in a better direction...