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(en) Ireland, wsm.ie: Far-Right smear attempt at International Women's Day 2018 march.

Date Mon, 12 Mar 2018 13:03:19 +0200

International Women's Day in Dublin saw a large, joyous march of thousands of pro-choice people anticipating the repeal of the hated 8th amendment in a May referendum. The anti-choice bigots are behind in the polls and are conducting increasingly desperate PR stunts, many of which are backfiring, like the ‘impersonation smear' carried out by Fatima Gunning of the Life Institute back in May 2017. She had also infiltrated a repeal march and carried a ridiculous placard intended to discredit the pro-choice campaign. ---- Neo-Nazi smear attempt ---- So when at 2am this morning we saw a neo-Nazi Facebook page publish photographs from the march showing a couple of people holding placards that resembled the (now very obscure) ‘British Union of Fascists' logo we presumed ‘here we go again'. Our expectation was that come the morning the more mainstream anti-choice accounts would start amplifying this ridiculous smear.

We were not wrong and in fact some of the official spokespeople for the No campaign were first off the mark. By this stage we'd realised that we had captured the alt-right/ anti-choice smear attempt when shooting general crowd footage. We were recording on the other side of the march but our clip shows a photographer in pink taking the sequence of images that later appeared on neo-nazi pages. We are not at this time suggesting the photographer was knowingly involved, quite possibly the neo-nazis stole his images, but we would like to know who he is.


After sending out several tweets challenging the anti-choice smear attempts, we heard from some of the women tricked by the Nazis who are understandably upset by the experience, they wrote "Hi, I'm one of the people in the picture that John McGuirk put on twitter. I was just handed that laminated poster and I took it not knowing what it was. I feel absolutely sick now that I know what it was and feel so stupid for just taking it. My friend's email is above and she feels the same. Her young daughter is in the photo too and we feel so disgusted about this. I can't believe I just took a poster from someone without knowing what it represented. Can you please tweet that I didn't do this on purpose".

John McGuirk

One of the No spokespeople, John McGuirk even went so far as to share a video posted at midnight by a US far right videographer. This video zooms in on the placards held by the women who are victims of this Neo nazi smear indicating that the videographer clearly knows the significance of the placards. However, they ignore the man with a beard holding a placard who keeps ducking out of shot. We'd already noticed that this character does a lot of looking around him in our footage so we took a closer look at him.

Alex Sheridan

A little bit of digging revealed that he has a remarkable resemblance to a MAGA hat wearing far right activist called Alex Sheridan (AKA Alex Lee) who attended the recent 'Irexit' conference. We also heard from eyewitnesses that a similar looking bearded man had indeed been the one handing out placards. Once someone called Alex Lee noticed that a lot of people were suddenly paying attention to his online accounts he quickly set up a fake one on Facebook called ‘John Lamb' in a fairly weak attempt to throw people off his scent but at that point it was too late. His (now locked) Twitter account was a string of anti-choice, anti-migrant and anti-feminist postings including many from alt-right figures here and abroad.

‘Pro-lifers' run with Nazi smear

The attempted smear (the placards have a logo similar to the 1930s British Union of Fascists) wasn't worth taking seriously in itself and we initially spent several hours last night watching the attempts by neo-nazis to circulate it online and failing.

What changed is that this morning actual spokespeople of the anti-choice No campaign also started circulating this crude Neo-nazi smear. Given the historic links of anti-choice groups with neo-nazis in Ireland and elsewhere we'd like to hear those spokespeople clearly retract their involvement in circulating the smear and clarifying what, if any, remaining contacts there are with the Neo-nazis. Notably, at the time of writing, John McGuirk is a Twitter follower of the above named far-right activist Alex Lee /Sheridan.

Neo-nazis like the original Nazis are anti-choice extremists who want 'the nation' to control women's bodies to force 'racially pure' women to have more children while sterilising, forcing abortion on and killing other women. That is their history in Nazi Germany & goal today even if they have rebranded as ‘alt-right'. Today's de facto alliance between neo-Nazis and spokespeople for the No campaign (one maintained today on Twitter for hours after the facts were pointed out) exposes the reactionary nature of the No campaign in a fashion that should further damage their already shredded credibility.

Topics: Gender, Health, Religion
Geography: National
Source: Newsroom
Type: News
Author: Andrew N Flood

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