(Eng.) The "WAL Affair"

R.W. Wogatzke (101607.2566@CompuServe.COM)
30 Jun 96 15:30:03 EDT


---------- Forwarded Message ----------

From: Tom Burghardt, INTERNET:tburghardt@igc.org
To: R.W. Wogatzke, 101607,2566
Date: 29.06.1996 22:18

Subject:ANTIFA INFO-BULLETIN, The "WAL Affair"

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|| * -- ALERTS --- * -- June 29, 1996 -- * -- ALERTS --- * ||
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CONTENTS

_____


1. (AFIB) The "WAL Affair": Implications for Antifascists
2. (ALERT) On The Necessity Of Not Being A Back-Stabbing Bastard


-----

THE "WAL AFFAIR": Implications for Antifascists

By Tom Burghardt
Editor, Antifa Info-Bulletin

-----

The text below from a Montreal activist raise critical
questions for antifascists in general and the radical left in
particular. The attacks by the Canadian state against the
anarchist newspaper, _Demanarchie_ and other activists in
Montreal, must be placed within the wider context of similar
attacks against antifascists throughout Europe and North America.

The persecution of Autonome Antifa (M), the Kurdish and
Turkish opposition to mass repression in Turkey, and the banning
and prosecution of those involved with publishing the _Radikal_
newspaper in Germany are contemporary examples of State
repression against the left, under the guise of course, of
combatting "terrorism."

By denouncing antifascist opponents as "terrorists," the
State criminalizes militant antiracists, even as it "mainstreams"
neo-Nazi "opponents" such as Kirk Lyons' racist C.A.U.S.E.
Foundation or ex-Lt. Col. James "Bo" Gritz's Center For Action,
as the recent conclusion to the "Freemen Affair" in Montana amply
demonstrates.

While fascists and their allies within the police target
minorities and immigrants, the full weight of the state's
repressive apparatus lands not on the purveyors of genocide, but
on the extra-parliamentary opposition to fascist terror and
capitalist oppression. While antiracists in Ann Arbor, Michigan
are busted for felony assault and threatened with long prison
terms for demonstrating against the Ku Klux Klan, the police
assist the Klan by actually providing City Hall as the site for
the fascists' recruitment rally! Yet, there are those who would
have us believe that the police exist to defend our rights, or to
"protect" us from those whose political _raison d'etre_ is
derived from the systematic application of calibrated terror!

First principles certainly apply: if so-called
"antifascists" shamelessly work with the cops, denounce militant
antiracists to the state, spread rumors, lies, or slander against
political opponents, why should we legitimate unsavory characters
such as the oxymoronic World "Anti-Fascist" League by citing them
as credible sources or by providing them with information? We
shouldn't, period.

To do otherwise is the intellectual and moral equivalent of
"wet-work," a CIA term for assassination. In many respects, this
sordid affair demonstrates the necessity for the radical left to
create, maintain or support already-existing anti-fascist/anti-
imperialist/anti-racist information centers and networks that
track the fascist scene so as to facilitate their smashing --
politically, ideologically and physically, if necessary.

While neo-Nazis, Ku Klux Klan nightriders, far-right
"Patriot" militias, armed antiabortion thugs preaching the
twisted "gospel" of "defensive action" (assassination) against
abortion providers, represent a clear and present danger which
must never be underestimated, the only effective defense against
fascist terror is the maintenance of a principled mass opposition
to the systemic roots of racist terror -- imperialism and it's
spawn, capitalist exploitation, white supremacy, patriarchal
oppression and environmental destruction.

Given the documented history of police repression and state-
murder against the Black Panther Party, the American Indian
Movement, the Puerto Rican _independistas_ and the radical left
in general, we can no more rely on the police to "defend" us
against attacks by neo-Nazis than we could trust a scorpion not
to sting us were we to be foolish enough to offer one a ride on
an outstretched palm!


HANDS OFF DEMANARCHIE!

COPS OUT OF THE ANTIRACIST MOVEMENT!


*****


Date: 28 Jun 1996 16:38:39 GMT

-----

ON THE NECESSITY OF NOT BEING A BACK-STABBING BASTARD


Recent events in Quebec have brought to light the scientific
necessity of progressive people to not be BACK STABBING BASTARDS.
The case in point is Alain Dufour and Peter Vorias of the
World Anti-Fascist League. Before I continue I should say that
the WAL is not a typical "World"-wide organization: its only
offices are in Montreal and its perspective is limited by Quebec
liberal-left realpolitik. Furthermore, it is no typical
"anti-fascist" group, for it has seen fit to target the radical
left as well as the far-right. In fact in many ways the LAM acts
as an extension of the "left" wing of the Parti Quebecois' party
apparatus, receiving government grants in exchange for the
maintenance of the illusion that the Quebec nationalist movement
is securely controlled by left-thinking technocrats, in
contradistinction to the far-right and xenophobic elements that
the Anglo-Canadian establishment loves to "expose".

The WAL (or LAM, as it is locally known, this being its
French acronym) was started in 1989 by punks and skins who had
successfully repelled a neo-nazi bonehead attack on an concert
where the anti-fascist band Berurier Noir were playing. The
boneheads were smashing people's skulls outside and security at
the event responded by locking the doors, so that neither the
boneheads nor their victims could get into the gig. People
inside spontaneously rushed the doors, got out and gave the
boneheads a bit of a thrashing. Weekly meetings followed and an
anti-fascist youth group was born.

Within a year or two though Alain Dufour had established
himself as head honcho at the WAL. Under pressure from police he
had the group repudiate street-level confrontation of fascists.
It disbanded a street level organization with well over a hundred
members, and pretty soon became a clique of Dufour and a few
flunkies doing research and infiltration of boneheads on the one
hand and "public education" jazz in schools on the other(1). The
group's "street presence" was reduced to painting over racist
graffiti (a one-shot deal I believe) and holding one or two
vigils for victims of neo-nazi violence.

The first indication of the WAL's role as and agent of State
repression came several years ago. Just as Spike Lee's movie
Malcolm X was released, WAL also released a research document
entitled "The Malcolm X Movement amongst young Blacks"(2). While
the document made clear distinctions between the anti-Semitism of
the Nation of Islam and the anti-racist Afrocentrism of local
Black community groups like A.K.A.X., the question on many
people's minds was what business was it of theirs? While many
amongst us do believe that the NOI does qualify as a far-right
group, the document was essentially an exploration of Black
Nationalist sentiment. The introduction explained that the group
had received many calls from white people claiming to have been
stabbed or beaten up by Blacks wearing Malcolm X regalia
(baseball caps, T-shirts, etc.), and the WAL intended to examine
this as another version of racism(3). During the entire
document, none of the State repression of Blacks in the USA or
Canada was mentioned, this despite the fact that resources on
these subjects were made available to WAL. In short, the
"anti-fascists" had produced an overview of the radical Black
milieu from an essentially criminological point of view.

That same year, in an interview with a pacifist magazine,
Dufour spelled out WAL's perspective on the Montreal police.
When asked his opinion of the cops, Dufour answered that there
were problems, some cops were homophobic and racist, but there
were also good cops (he even gave the example of a "good cop" who
wanted to join the WAL!); when pressed on this point and asked is
he felt there was systematic discrimination on the part of the
police Dufour responded in the negative, adding that "there are
progressive police officers who give an opportunity for us to
sensitize people in that milieu. The WAL is there to sensitize
them and even to help train them if they want."(4)

In 1993 the situation continued to clarify itself. A local
newspaper called the Montreal Mirror reported allegations that
WAL research-director Nicholas Pouliot had tipped off the cops
that an anti-racist activist was planning on going to a neo-nazi
gathering to beat some of them up (a highly unlikely plan).
While Pouliot denied that he had done any such thing, he
explained that "I would do it if I knew of a case of direct
confrontation. We don't exactly have time to track left-wing
groups but if I had the manpower and resources I would."
Referring to the issue of "political correctness" on university
campuses, he claimed that "It's frightening and I consider it to
be the same as fascism."(5)

Following these remarks Pouliot apparently left the WAL, but
the group's leftphobia continued unabated. In a letter to Voir,
another community newspaper, WAL explained that when "communists
choose to support organizations such as the Shining Path (Peru)
and use the same methods such as terrorism, we will take a
stand".(6) Shortly following this pious declaration,
Radio-Canada reported that WAL had shared information with both
CSIS and the Quebec Provincial Police's intelligence unit.(7)

That summer saw large scale mobilization of the Montreal
left against a concert organized by the neo-Nazi Heritage Front
in the suburb of Vaudreuil and against the presence of members of
the French National Front at the government conference in
September. WAL activists not only steered clear of this
grassroots mobilization, but went so far as to publicly denounce
it as being "controlled by Marxists"(8) (perhaps of the Shining
Path variety?) At the demonstration against the National Front
where over 1000 people took to the streets (the largest
anti-fascist demonstration in recent Montreal history) Pouliot
was spotted taking photos of the anti-racist protesters.(9)

If the demo against the National Front was to mark an
unprecedented success in anti-fascist organizing in Montreal,
local radicals were to outdo themselves two years later. That's
when a Coalition of many of the same groups united with local
feminist organization and organized a spectacular 5000-strong
demonstration against the far-right Catholic organization Human
Life International. Again, the WAL were completely absent.

In fact, many people had assumed that the League had
disbanded. It had lost its government grants when its accounts
showed that $7000 was missing in the 1992-1993 year(10), and it
had no mass base on which to rely. However, the group is still
around, although I do not know if its grants have been reinstated
or if it has some other way of financing its snooping.

Whatever the case, WAL's allegiances were made clear this
past week. On Sunday June 23rd and in the wee hours of the 24th,
thousands of people rioted in Quebec City. The occasion was the
very popular St-Jean Baptiste Day celebration, a day with a
tradition of riots. Fancy hotels were smashed up, goods
expropriated, windows broken, and the National Assembly (the
Quebec government's buildings) was trashed. This was the second
riot in Quebec City in recent months; both had started at the
Place Youville, a popular hangout for youth who cannot afford the
more expensive hangouts and who are on the receiving end of a
disproportionate amount of police harassment.

Following the riot, Quebec City police chief Norman Bergeron
claimed that an unnamed "extreme right wing group" was behind the
trouble. Perhaps he was thinking of the Northern Hammerskins
with a post office box in nearby Levis, or perhaps he was just
trying to cover his ass by showing how the police had been
overwhelmed because of "outside agitators".

The WAL though had the real dirt, or so they thought. Alain
Dufour and Peter Vorias of the League both made public statements
to the effect that the riot was the work of anarchists,
specifically the Demanarchie newspaper collective. They showed
media copies of the paper and explained that it had "great
influence" over the local extreme left, concluding that "their
calls to riot were listened to."(11) (The most recent issue of
Demanarchie was all about police repression and, considering that
the most recent forms of anti-police resistance in Quebec had
been riots, the collective also examined the role of riots in
building social resistance.)

Within a day of his statements Quebec City police had
arrested five people and raided two houses associated with the
anarchist milieu. One comrade was arrested for selling
Demanarchie and had his computer seized; he has since been
released as the cops couldn't figure out what to charge him with.
The second raid was on a house associated with Food Not Bombs.
Twenty cops arrested four people, one of whom was later released.
The three others remain in custody facing charges of possession
and cultivation of marijuana.

Copies of Demanarchie in one of the houses were also seized,
and then waved by cops at a press conference as if they were
"proof" of some kind of conspiracy.

After fanning the flames, WAL has nothing to say about this
political repression. As they have always maintained, they will
combat "extreme ideas" wherever these may be found. Perhaps
they'll try and bask in the glory of what they have done, or
perhaps they'll lay low for a few months then come forth
explaining that their words had been "taken out of context".

For the Anti-Fascist movement the solution should be clear:
all bridges to the WAL must be burnt. If people want to use
their info on the far-right or access their files, this is a
personal judgement call, but they should be treated as any other
police unit or right-wing anti-fascist group.

Today they have fingered local anarchists who have been
involved in real anti-fascist organizing. Tomorrow they may
finger you.

-----

NOTES

(1) See, for instance, "Action Guys: a group of young Quebeckers
is making it cool to fight racism", Montreal Gazette, April 4th
1992

(2) "Malcolm X: le mouvement chez les jeunes noirs", LAM 1992

(3) Ibid., page 3.

(4) "Pas de tolerance pour l'intolerance", Option Paix ete 1992

(5) Quoted in "La LAM en eaux troubles", Socialisme Maintenant
juin-juillet 1993; see also Nick Pouliot's letter to the Montreal
Mirror, September 23rd, 1993.

(6) Letter to Voir newspaper, May 23rd, 1993.

(7) "La LAM en eaux troubles", loc cit.

(8) "LAM Snubs Anti-Racist Coalition", Montreal Mirror September
9th, 1993.

(9) "Antifascism in Canada", page 34, Antifa Forum.

(10) "La LAM en eaux troubles", loc cit.

(11) These quotes were repeated all over the place in the
bourgeois media. La Presse, a Montreal daily, devoted an entire
article to WAL's allegations about Demanarchie: "Demanarchie fait
l'apologie des emeutes", La Presse 26 juin 1996.

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