Special Report: Extremism

Hatred and Extremism Wear Yellow Vests in Hamilton

Disguising hate speech by calling it free speech, they seek to legitimize their harmful rhetoric and end any attempt to curb their prejudices.

By Paul Glendenning
Published June 25, 2019

Has Hamilton finally awakened to the hate organizing in our midst?

The rhetoric, the violence, the chasing of Pride participants are but further escalation of events that have been happening in front of City Hall for quite some time. Since the "Hamilton Yellow Vests" began their weekly rallies last December, things have gone from bad to worse.

Hamilton Yellow Vests promote the same extreme hateful views found in their better-known allies, like Soldiers of Odin, Proud Boys and Pegida. These include strong anti-immigrant and anti-refugee sentiment as well as manic Islamophobia and great hostility toward the LGTBQ+ community, especially the Trans community.

Racism is also rampant, especially toward people of Arab descent or anyone they think looks like they may be from the Middle East.

They also oppose sustainability as if it's some dark plot and stand with oil companies over Indigenous sovereignty.

There is also denial of climate change and other assorted YouTube-inspired toxic conspiracies that seem to round out their worldview.

Disguising hate speech by calling it free speech, they seek to legitimize their harmful rhetoric and end any attempt to curb their prejudices.

Despite this, they appear to be gaining some attention and have attracted the ear of some Conservative party members and leaders.

In previous years, such a group would have found their welcome quickly revoked in Hamilton. But for some reason this group has been left to fester and grow, establishing a presence and encouraging other previous failed hate groups to once again plague our streets.

To be clear, the Hamilton Yellow Vests have no true resemblance to their French counterparts. Canadian Yellow Vests co-opted the symbol to help camouflage their reprehensible goals.

It seems to have worked on most. The police protect them at rallies, City Hall has stood silent to weekly rallies since December 2018 and most citizens have stood by and remained silent.

A few rallied behind Hamilton Against Fascism's January attempt to challenge them, but there were never enough. And HAF's tendency to use the ominous Red and Black look apparently made them easy to vilify and dismiss, though not all who came out were affiliated with any group.

Fast-forward to a few weeks ago where there was a renewed attempt, led by HAF, to stand up to a now-entrenched Yellow Vest group who had made some new allies.

At one rally, six counterprotesters were ambushed, swarmed, beaten and chased down Bay Street. Their ambushers were a group of 30 Yellow Vests, Soldiers of Odin, Proud Boys and assorted other thugs who not only attacked the smaller unarmed group but a young woman was knocked to the ground after which some of the mob surrounded her and struck her while she was on the ground. They then chased the rest of the handful of counterprotesters for several blocks.

Police arrived right after but arrested no one and did not make much of an effort to learn what happened moments before. It's possible they already knew, as they have been babysitting these events from afar since the last time there was a counterprotest. Police tend to focus on counterprotesters at these events, for reasons unknown.

The following week, both sides grew in size and the Yellow Vests were joined by the equally intolerant Canadian Nationalist Party. Police basically corralled the counterprotesters and freed the street up for the Yellow Vests to promote their hate.

During this event, one young female counterprotester was isolated while trying to take a photograph and was punched in the face by one of the YV mob. Later on, another young male counterprotester was blindsided and head-butted.

The following week, a similar scenario occurred but was cut short when the YV and their allies decided to crash the Pride event, for which coverage of what occurred is much more readily available.

The despicable crashing of the event and the subsequent violence and harassment is undeniably grotesque and has no place in Hamilton.

Is this the turning point? Have the Yellow Vests and their allies finally taken a step too far?

There has been increased talk of action, but will our community finally step up and say no more? Time will tell.

This article was first published in the Hamilton Spectator on June 21, 2019.

Paul Glendenning is a Hamilton writer and activist.


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By Blotto (registered) | Posted June 26, 2019 at 09:34:30

Diversity is our strength - we need to rally!

'Nobody likes Nakedness More Than Children' (Ren)! We need to take the advice of Sex Therapist 'Ren' - 'Kink or Nakedness is an EXCELLENT opportunity for parents'

'Activists Push Kids Attending 'Kinky' Pride Parades: 'Nobody Likes Nakedness More Than Children' “I can’t imagine a safer place for families to bring children,” the sex therapist, known as Ren, said.

Ren claimed that Pride Parades, “from kink to nakedness, is an excellent opportunity for parents to do unbiased sex education,” noted HuffPost Canada.'


Comment edited by Blotto on 2019-06-26 09:35:38

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By grok (registered) | Posted July 08, 2019 at 08:48:36 in reply to Comment 129998

People obsessed with other people's sexuality are people who don't appear to give a toss about these other people's Human Rights.

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By positive1@cogeco.ca (registered) | Posted June 29, 2019 at 09:07:45

Blotto, You seemed to be obsessed with nakedness. Maybe you should get a hobby.

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By grok (registered) | Posted July 07, 2019 at 18:50:32

The 'Alt-Right' -- intellectual agents of today's Neo-Nazi fascist street violence -- are a Worldwide classwar gambit, born of the Internet, and funded by Neoconservative (Neocon) stooges of a degenerating Neoliberal capitalist World order. Their assigned task: to defeat The [rising, proletarian, Socialist] Left -- in the World of ideas, as too, on the street, 'By Any Means Necessary': including by lying, misrepresentation, disinformation, dissembling, cheating, stealing... and ultimately political violence and murder. Then genocide. World war is GUARANTEED, if these vermin's masters continue to get their way for much longer.

Good thing the REAL 'Gilets Jaunes' of France -- both proletarian working-class AND petit-bourgeois middle-class, together -- are themselves rising above any such nativist, 'nationalist', 'patriotic' classwar divisiveness, across their weekly confrontations with the Neoliberal French State and its Police Apparatus. Stay tuned. These are World-historic events we are all part of, now.

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By grok (registered) | Posted July 08, 2019 at 08:43:49

"Police tend to focus on counterprotesters at these events, for reasons unknown."

The reasons are WELL known, of course. They're the same for any pseudo-democratic bourgeois police state: the working-class Left is ALWAYS the primary target of ALL police, Secret Police, vigilante and Military gangs (all of which have existed in Steel Town since at least the 'Cold War').

And in fact, The Pigs are the fascists' BEST friend. And these 'patriots' know it; and are quick to call in The Pigs at the slightest provocation -- most of which they instigate themselves, professional 'victims' that they are. And the proof there is as clear and simple as what has openly and transparently transpired in Hamilton these past months -- most recently at 2019 Pride.

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