Vancouver, Canada: Report Back From Soldiers of Odin First Encounter
On Sunday December 11th a few hundred people attended a demo held by Chinese community organisers and anti-racism organisers outside the Richmond-Brighouse Canada Line Station, near Vancouver BC.
This was held in opposition and in response to the increasing visibility of racist, anti-immigrant (specifically anti-Asian) rhetoric being vocalized through the distribution of flyers. The flyers do not seem to be linked to a large organisation, although neighbouring cities such as Chilliwack have recently seen KKK flyers distributed. Even though not many people appear to be involved with these flyers, it is important to confront racism wherever it shows up as it will spawn more garbage if it meets no resistance.
A small group from the Vancouver Anti-Fascist Action went to support the rally against racism.
Some points heard at Sunday’s rally:
1) Know your history–how long and why have Chinese people lived on Unceded Coast Salish Territory?
2) Anti-colonial analysis–racism, anti-immigrant speech, sexism, islamophobia, anti-judaism, homophobia, transphobia, residential schools are all connected.
3) Challenging racism means risking personal comfort and growing connections.
Near the beginning of the rally around 4 men with Soldiers of Odin vests were spotted; they were quickly kicked out by the crowd once pointed out by the organisers. The S.O.O. demonstrated their ability to mobilise roughly 12-15 members within an hour of being booted from the event.
They were looking to recruit and to normalise their presence. Their presence and ability to gather roughly a dozen members in under an hour makes it safe to assume that they’re not falling apart as an organisation contrary to recent reports.
Before their numbers peaked that day, this individual (see photo) walked up and asked the few of us that remained what was happening here. We stated that there was an anti-racism demo earlier. We saw past his smug attempt of being a “clueless passerby,” so he was bluntly informed that his friends aren’t being stopped from taking the metro if they wanted to use it. We were standing by the only entrance. At first he denied any affiliation with “them,” his S.O.O. brethren, but when confronted he admitted his current and ranking membership as “Vice President.” It turns out that he is Bill Daniels.
He then began to criticise the presence of “anarchist symbology” (black flag, circle a’s, patches etc.) and questioned the need for “antifa organisations” in communities.
The S.O.O. official said that the few S.O.O. members who showed up to the anti-racism demo did so without permission and commented “these boys are gonna get their asses kicked right now” for showing up in their colours or “cut.”
This suggests that in the future the Soldiers of Odin’s presence will be lacking their obvious and obnoxious vests or other visual cues to easily identify them.
As some of their crew were surrounding and harassing our comrades who were attempting to take the metro, Bill Daniels himself was physically restraining a couple of the men who were itching for a fight. Four S.O.O. ended up following four comrades onto a train, but got off at Marine Drive Station. A supporter of Vancouver Antifa reported to us that around 8:30pm the same day a placard reading “anti racist is code for anti white” was put on a “Welcome to Vancouver” city limits sign near the Marine Drive Station.
It is imperative to note that demonstrators at anti-racist rallies should watch out for each other and not be by themselves or in low numbers. This does not mean not to show up alone, but to stick together during the demonstration. You may be lulled into a debate or conversation with them, but racists do not show up at rallies to conduct a rational debate, they are there to provoke. Engaging will most likely lead to deeper shit.
Well organised members of an inherently white supremacist organisation are present at anti-racist demonstrations, targeting folks. If you were waiting for a signal, this is it.