Confronting hate: How Antifa is tracking the extreme right – The Fifth Estate

Confronting hate: How Antifa is tracking the extreme right – The Fifth Estate


[Chanting] [Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau]
These groups are alive in Canada. [Chanting] [man on megaphone] We must
secure our existence and a future for white children. The far right is bigger
now than I’ve ever seen it. [man 2] Get his face! [Gillian] You would use
violence? [woman] If that’s what it took?
Yes. I thought I wasn’t
going to see my family again. [♪♪] [Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau]
Anti-immigrant hatred. Right-wing extremism. White nationalism. Neo Nazi terrorism. These groups are
alive in Canada. [Explosions] [Screaming] [Gillian] We tabulate
the horror by city name. Charlottesville… Christchurch… [Sirens blaring] [Sobbing] El Paso… Quebec City. [♪♪] [Cheering] [Gillian] Right wing hate is
growing everywhere including Canada. And it is being met by a
movement desperate to stamp it out. [Clicking] [Gillian] They call
themselves anti-fascists, Antifa for short. And tonight, we are going to
take you into their world. What they do and why. How they do it. And how they defend tactics
that sometimes don’t seem so different from those
they are fighting against. You are notoriously
media-shy, and yet, you have decided to do
this interview with us today, why did you decide? [♪♪] [Gillian] Joseph, an
Antifa leader in Montreal, insisted on anonymity. [Joseph] We saw this
as an opportunity to, to put the message
across to a wider audience. [Gillian] In real life, he has a
job and a family that he feels would be endangered if
his identity was revealed. [♪♪] [Gillian] So it is ironic that
what he does is to try to reveal the identity of others. Extreme right sympathizers
he finds through long hours monitoring hate-filled
websites and chat rooms. What is it that you
find so worrisome about these kinds of conversations? [Joseph] About Nazis? And genocidal creatures? [Gillian] No, about
what they’re saying, and doing, and talking about
in these private chat rooms. [Joseph] Well, it
reinforces a culture for them. Usually hate-speech, history
shows that hate-speech usually transforms into hateful actions. We need to stop
them in their tracks, we need to oppose them, and
one of the ways to do that is to expose them as the racists
and the fascists that they are. [Speaking French] [Gillian] Today he is focused
on a particular group in Quebec called “Atalante”. [Joseph] The nucleus of Atalante
is a street gang called the Quebec Stompers, a racist, or
ultra-nationalist skinhead gang that’s been
active in Quebec for over a decade now. [Rock music plays] [Joseph] This culture that
they’re coming from has done a lot of damage and
violence back in the 90’s. We consider their
ideas to be a threat, and that needs to be shut down. [Rock music plays] [Chanting] [Chris] Racism plays a big
role in what they believe too. The belief that “the other”
is trying to take over and “the other” is destroying what
Canadians value and we need to stop “them”. [Gillian] Chris in
Alberta is also an activist, who also spends a lot
of time on-line. For more than a decade he’s been
compiling a record of extreme right hate. His blog “Anti-Racist Canada”
is a go-to, even for police and academics. You’ve created
a persona, and now you’re going in to visit
the sites of these particular groups, is that right? [Chris] That’s right.
That’s right. [Gillian] What he does is
infiltrate what are often secret groups. Posing as a
sympathizer to gain access. Are you shocked by the
things that you see? [Chris] Yeah. When you see people celebrating
the death of a child drowning, a Syrian child drowning
and people are saying great, we need to have more, let’s
start sinking those boats now, it’s hard not to be shocked
when you see that level of callousness. [Gillian]
Collectively for these groups, do you have any idea the numbers
that we’re talking about? [Chris] We’re talking probably
several thousand individuals. Maybe upwards in Canada
between five and ten thousand potentially. [Gillian] Some estimates say 300
right wing or white nationalist groups in Canada. No one knows for sure. But Chris believes it is
growing…in size and danger. [Chris] This is a person who
has actually called for the execution, the assassination
of Trudeau, in fact. Read this, this is an
individual who has participated in a few events in
the Edmonton area. A lot of these groups
want Muslims out of Canada. They want
immigrants out of Canada. They want
refugees out of Canada. Because they’re damaging
Canada– they’re convinced that Canada is being destroyed by
people who are different from them essentially. [Gillian] Are they
trying to spark a race war? [Chris] They often
talk about a civil war. They’re praying for a civil
war, that if things continue, if Trudeau and the Liberals are
elected again there will be a civil war. [Horns and whistles blowing] [Gillian] Racism fuels much
of the extreme right’s anger. [man 1] You are
violent, you are violent. [man 2] Wicked behaviour
by the gay community. We see your immoral behaviour. [Gillian] But so
does homophobia. Gay pride parades, like this
one in Hamilton, have become battle grounds, extreme
right agitators being met by anti-fascist activists,
calling themselves protectors. [man 2] We see the violence and
the hatred of who is running the haters here. Yes!
You people. [Whistles continue blowing] [Various people shouting] [Gillian] This is how a Toronto
Pride event ended last summer after the confrontation
spilled into a nearby mall. [man 3] Back off! Get his face, get his face. No! [♪♪] [woman] Basically we have,
like, a month left to get, like, everything together and to get
ready for the action that we are planning for Pride. [man 4] Do we want to
set like a quick agenda? [Gillian] In Calgary,
anti-fascist organizer Jason Devine hosts a planning
meeting for his city’s Pride parade. I think the concern now
that we’re having is, based on what
happened at Hamilton Pride, the same people who
were at Hamilton Pride who did a lot of agitation
towards a lot of the people that were there, are
also going to be here. I think it would be great to
have some targeted literature. Like, hey, these aren’t like
your crazy Christian cranks. This is an ongoing threat, and
these people have ties to the broader right. You should educate
yourself about this. [Gillian] Jason is a rare
anti-fascist willing to be identified. A teacher, he’s has been at
this since he was 19. And now brings his own
children to protests. [Jason] Before, all you had
was the neo-Nazi movement. You know, the far right is
bigger now than I’ve ever seen it. And what explains that to you? Um, we’re in a period of
time where white power, globally,
structurally is dissolving. So, it’s not the same as it was. We don’t have the same
old colonial history. And I think for a number of
people who identify as white, they’re losing their minds. Because this isn’t the old
country they’re used to, this isn’t the old way. [♪♪] [Chanting] Say it loud,
say it clear, refugees are welcome here. Say it loud, say it clear,
refugees are welcome here. [Gillian] But what the
anti-fascists call protest, critics call provocation. Meet “Jennifer”. [Chanting] Nazi scum
off our streets, Nazi scum off our streets. [Jennifer] When we’re actually
on the street the goal is to make sure that they’re not
able to march or that they are basically confined to one space
surrounded by us. And that they don’t get any
visibility whatsoever. [Gillian] So, you’re trying to
take their voice away. It’s a– non-platforming
tactics, yeah. [Shouting] [Horn blares] [Jennifer] A lot of people say
that we’re against free speech, which I can understand how
you’d make that argument, but we believe that
they are not entitled to say things that will
threaten the safety and the rights of other people. [Chanting] [Jennifer] And if they’re
going to be violent, and what it takes is to
shut them down physically, then I think that’s justifiable. Absolutely. [Chanting] [Gillian] You would use
violence against people? If that’s what it took, yes. [Jennifer] You also should be
ashamed of yourself because you’re in the
fucking Nazi party. [Gillian] And by
violence what do you mean? [Jennifer] I would– physically
blocking someone, if that’s what it took, sure. If it took punching someone
in the face or throwing a milkshake on them, sure. [Gillian] What gives
you the right to do that? [Jennifer] Somebody needs to nip
this problem in the bud before it grows. [Chanting and shouting] [Gillian] But there are laws in
this country that people can’t– there are anti-hate laws. [Jennifer] There are hate-speech
laws, yes. [Gillian] And there are
authorities who can enforce those laws. [Jennifer] They’re extremely
selectively applied, they’re not applied consistently
and also we don’t rely on the law. [Chanting and shouting] [Jennifer] It’s more effective
and it’s better for us to defend our own communities. [Joseph] Frankly, what the
authorities do is not very… It’s not really of our concern. What we think is the
community should mobilize. [Chanting in French] [Joseph] Not, you know, not–
not counting on law enforcement for this. [Gillian] But– but, where’s–
that becomes vigilantism, if you take it to
it’s logical extreme. [Joseph] Not necessarily. Vigilante law, or
justice, you know, implies violence, but violence
can be avoided by just exposing these people. [Chanting in French] [♪♪] [Speaking French] [Gillian] Today, Joseph’s
search for members of the group Atalante
has surfaced a woman. [Speaking French] [Gillian] Her Instagram
account is filled with photos promoting the
group and its members. It also reveals
a startling thing. The woman associating herself
with one of Quebec’s most extreme
right wing groups is a nurse’s aide,
working in a hospital in Quebec City. [Joseph] She’s a white
supremacist, who works with the public, and so, presumably,
with people of colour, with queer people, and people
that belong to the groups that, as fascists,
Atalante aims at, you know, excluding from society. [Gillian] So now antifa’s
plan is to expose her, identify her publicly,
and to her employer, as a political extremist. It’s what they call “doxxing”. [Joseph] Perhaps they’re going
to lose their jobs. Perhaps they’re going to, but
if they want to keep their jobs, they’re going to retreat from
this type of organizing. So, the end game is to have
Atalante as an organization disband all together. [Gillian] Essentially,
you’re saying you’re the thought police. You don’t like their thoughts
and so you’re going to take it upon yourself to– No, I mean, we’re not
policing thought. We’re concerned
with stopping Nazis. I mean, if– if the ideas and
the actions of Nazis is not something that
should be stopped, then I really
don’t know what is. [Gillian] But what gives you the
right to go around and expose people, and perhaps
cost them their jobs, or maybe make them targets? [Joseph] We take that right. We’re not asking
for permission here. [♪♪] [Gillian] But
exposure cuts both ways. When we come back… I had six, seven people over me,
trying to bash my brains in and kill me. Sorry. I thought I wasn’t going to see
my family again. [♪♪] [♪♪] [Gillian] Do you think of
the incident that happened here? Does that not… It does, it does. I mean, we didn’t just
live there and grow there. I almost died there. [Gillian] The incident
was a break in. Jason Devine’s efforts to stop
extreme right groups in Calgary hit home. Literally. The boys had gone to bed,
Bonnie had gone to bed. It was 1:38. I know the time. I immediately heard a smash and
then boots hit our stairs. And then this raw and
chanting, um, raw energy. I rushed at him the
minute he entered the kitchen. I grabbed him by the jacket,
I pushed him in the fridge, I started punching, and that’s
when they clobbered me from behind. And there was, um,
from what I remember, six or seven people. They had baseball bats,
lead pipes and hammers and I just tried to protect
myself the best I could. I had been waiting for years,
I’d been waiting for years to be attacked. And I– I always had
a phone beside us. And so I dialled
911 immediately. At a certain point,
you don’t feel any pain, because you’re in
such a state of shock. And, I thought that, um… Sorry. I thought I wasn’t going
to see my family again. And that’s what I was scared of. I wasn’t scared of dying, I was
scared I wouldn’t see ’em again. [Gillian] The attack was
preceded by messages and threats. C18, or Combat 18, is an
offshoot of a well known Neo-Nazi group
called Blood & Honour. Police investigated Jason’s
suspicion that Blood & Honour was behind the attack but
no one was ever charged. [Speaking French] [Gillian] For months,
the antifascist activist we’re calling Joseph has been
tracking an extreme group in Quebec called Atalante. He’s already identified one
member as a nurse’s aide. Now he’s on to another. [Speaking French] [Gillian] On Facebook,
Antoine Mailhot-Bruneau describes himself as
Atalante’s Chief of Ideology. In a posted interview he calls
“non-European immigration” a government plot to
“exterminate” Quebecois society. Democracy, “the worst regime
the world has ever known.” Atalante is a “revolutionary”
group, he says. “We do not like to
fight…with mere words”. [♪♪] [Gillian] Joseph then discovers
the “ideology chief” also works with the public, as an
ambulance attendant. [Joseph] We’re going to publish
an article exposing not only him
but also this woman, Roxanne, who is a nurse
in the public system. And she– we know that
she works in a hospital. [Gillian] Have either
of these people– do you have any evidence that
they’ve ever been involved in anything violent? [Joseph] A fascist project,
Neo-Nazi project, is, by definition,
a violent program. So, we’re not waiting
for them to break the law. [Gillian] Do you appreciate
there’s a certain amount of irony here? I mean, you’re
sitting here, you– you will not be identified,
you’re fearful for being identified, and yet you’re
talking about identifying other people. [Joseph] Not fearful,
I’m being strategic. -I’m being, that’s a–
-[Gillian] No, but now you’re talking about identifying
other people, and perhaps putting them
in some kind of danger. [Joseph] The difference is that
I don’t have a hateful project. My– my vision for a healthy
society is based on diversity and inclusion. And building a world
that is for everybody. And their project is to exclude
people, all the way to genocide. [Chris] One of the things they
talk about is free speech. You hear that quite a bit. You know, “Don’t deny me
my free speech.” Well, freedom of speech doesn’t
mean freedom from consequence. [Gillian] Where is
the line where hateful, racist, homophobic,
Islamophobic words… ..cross into violence
or potential violence? [Chris] It’s good to note that
there is a line because I certainly don’t follow
everybody’s racist uncle who says really dumb things
at Thanksgiving. But if you’re willing to join
some of these groups either as a participant on their forums or
even, or especially, join in their protests, then you
become much more of a danger. [Speaking French] [Gillian] Some members
of Atalante do have criminal records. [Speaking French] [Gillian] Others are
on record as having threatened violence. Roxanne Baron and
Antoine Mailhot-Bruneau are about to be exposed
for affiliation. [Speaking French] [Keyboard clacking] [Gillian] After confirming
their employment, the article documenting
everything the anti-fascists claim to know about
the two goes up on their website. [Speaking French] [Gillian] We wanted
to know more. What did Roxanne Baron
think about Atalante? What did she think
about being “doxxed”? When she didn’t respond to our
interview requests, we knocked on her door. She wasn’t home. As for the hospital, they did
confirm Baron’s employment but said they knew nothing of
her association with Atalante. They told us they
were investigating, and to date she
is still employed. As, apparently, is
Antoine Mailhot-Bruneau. We found his car parked
outside this EMS station. The company refused to
answer any of our questions. And when we
approached him again after several requests
for an interview, he didn’t want to talk either. In the meantime, Baron appears
to have deleted her Instagram account, although photos of
both remain on Atalante’s social media, which
refused to talk as well. The only correspondence CBC did
get was a statement by the two to our legal department, denying
Atalante is a far right group, calling suggestions
of that defamatory, and accusing us and the
anti-fascists of endangering their lives. [Jason] Thanks for breakfast,
love. -[Bonnie] You’re welcome.
-Thank you, Mom. [Bonnie] You’re welcome, boys. We got a new door,
reinforced the door, we got an alarm system. Uh, I’d sleep with an
axe beside the bed. Bonnie had a crowbar
under her pillow. We did drills with the boys,
like what do you do if this happens? After a while you realize that
if you’re going to continue to do this, you might die. So you come to an
acceptance of that. You just come to understand
it and you can’t quit. -Um…
-[Gillian] Why not? Why, why can’t you quit? Somebody has to do it. Hi! -Okay.
-You guys want to hold these? We need to do more fringe. I think we need pink. [Cheering] [Gillian] Besides, they think
they are making a difference. Calgary’s Pride Parade
went off without a hitch. Extreme right groups
they’d expected to show up, didn’t. -Leaflet?
-Thank you! You’re very welcome. Leaflet? If you can
out-organize against, you know, some of these fascist
groups, these Islamophobic, these hatred groups,
they’re fuelled by ignorance and they actually tend to
turn on each other, sooner or later. [Chanting] [Gillian] Or maybe they
just go further underground. Either way, there is a growing
acknowledgement in this country that the extreme right
can no longer be ignored. [Goodale] Just this morning,
the Government Of Canada has added five new groups
to the Criminal Code list of terrorist entities. Three terrorist groups
aligned with the regime in Iran, and two right-wing extremist
groups with a presence in Canada, namely
Blood & Honour, and Combat 18. [Gillian] The same Neo-Nazi
groups Jason Devine believes assaulted him
six years earlier. Why did it take so
long for that to happen? [Chris] I think the perception
in government and in society at large is that terrorists… ..are not white people. Terrorists are brown people. Terrorists are Muslims. And they can’t wrap their head
around the idea that terrorists can be white, can be European. I think a lot of people don’t
want to admit there’s a problem. They wanna say, “We’re not
racist, there’s no racism here “anymore, it’s not a big deal.” But I’m here to
tell you that it’s overt, it’s still there,
and it’s violent. [♪♪]

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