Episode 18: Right-wing extremism on trial: is Canada paying attention?

The shooter of the Quebec City mosque, Alexandre Bissonnette’s sentencing hearing is underway. What have we learned about his extremist views? Now that Islamophobia and racism have been clearly identified as his motivation, is the rest of Canada paying attention and learning from what we now know?

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One comment on “Episode 18: Right-wing extremism on trial: is Canada paying attention?

  1. Emily Shelton says:

    I love the comparison to whack-a-mole, that is pretty much true.

    I don’t know what kind of organized response the left can have to hate. I have been to events, rallies, etc., but it’s mainly like-minded people coming together to and preaching to the converted. Most people who already consider themselves an activist attend. If you folks have had a different experience, I would be interested to hear about how you got more mainstream participation/buy-in.

    I have been to more depoliticized events against hate in my community, and the ones that try to appeal to a broad audience are usually pretty milquetoast. The type of event where everyone agrees that hate = bad and love = good, but few people come out with a deeper understanding or perspective on the root of the problem and how we fix it. Words like “white supremacy” wouldn’t leave the lips of anyone at the mic.

    So much racism and misogyny starts with unchallenged ideas. Back when I was first becoming politically aware, I would do things like defriending people for writing tirades about “It’s Merry Christmas, not Happy Holidays” (and far worse of course) on their Facebook page. And I think that’s part of the problem – the process of curating people and ideas so that we all are only seeing news that reflects what we believe, and hearing comments from people who think just like us.

    A lot of mainstream ideas are marinated in discriminatory ideas that favour white people. So unless people are truly examining their viewpoints, it won’t go unchallenged unless we:

    – keep having the tough conversations that call reasonable people (not trolls) “in” on what’s problematic about what they just express when they express it
    – keep those “It’s Merry Christmas!” types on our Facebook feeds to engage in debate
    – raise issues of race/sexism/ableism etc when no one else is talking about it (I for one am constantly raging about the ritual of marriage, which feels a lot like a virgin sacrifice if you step back and examine it)
    – self-educate as much as possible
    – building relationships with all members of the community

    Your show references organizing in every episode as the answer, but you also acknowledge that there’s no silver bullet. I’d love to hear you speak on how to best organize against white supremacy. I am referring to Sandy and Nora of course, and also any other listeners who might have made it this far in my long-winded comment. How can the left change the tides or at least step to the organization of the far right?

    The work you are doing to recognize their patterns and expose it is a critical first step. I’m a big fan of the podcast!


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