A group of concerned citizens and independent researchers joined forces to report on the rise of hate on Vancouver Island and coastal British Columbia. After a year-long investigation from 2022 to 2023, the group has determined that the self-declared Vancouver Island “Freedom Movement” meets the criteria for a hate movement, as outlined by researchers and experts such as the Southern Poverty Law Center and the Anti-Defamation League.
Fearing for their safety, the group has chosen to publish anonymously. This report should serve as a warning sign to all elected leaders, community members, and people in positions of power: there is a movement brewing with insidious motives. This report merely touches on a small fraction of the hateful activities and organizing on Vancouver Island.
Hate must never be accepted in our communities. We must be willing to name it and counter it, otherwise we are doomed to repeat history.
This was originally posted to Reddit, where the OPs Reddit account was suspended and the post was caught in spam blockers. It’s currently still removed, but you can view the hundreds of comments. The post was nearing 200,000 views before it was removed.
We need more people on the Left to post this and spread the word. People must know what is happening in the so-called “freedom movement” on Vancouver Island.
After publishing the report, the Vancouver Island Freedom Movement has doubled down on their homophobia, anti-semitism, and racism. Posting explicitly racist material using the n-word, calling for Jewish people to be exterminated, and saying children of Gay parents are abused.
On February 21st, approximately a dozen anti-fascists dropped a banner on Vancouver’s Georgia st. Viaduct reading “No War but Class War. Grade A Grifter/Garbage Human. Go Back to Sleep, JP (Jordan Peterson)” in response to a speaking event by Peterson that evening. The banner was visible to downtown traffic via Main Street and was placed to be seen by many of the three thousand attendees commuting to listen to Peterson, who was hosted at the Queen Elizabeth theatre by the City of Vancouver.
In the weeks leading up to the event, activists distributed hundreds of pamphlets and posters across the city, contacted the union at Queen Elizabeth on behalf of concerned workers and tabled in several locations throughout the city spreading awareness.
The music scene has a long history of resistance to white nationalist predation and profiteering. Repackaging fascist bands and their social networks does not erase their history of genocidal violence nor the need to resist them. On January 17th Luzifaust and his band Vastatum return to the stage, this time at Bully’s Studios in New Westminster. On February 25th, Luzifaust’s other project Kafirun are set to play at the Hollywood Theatre in Vancouver, B.C., opening for Rotting Christ.
While January 2021 was marked by Far Right events leading up to and including J6 in Washington, D.C., January 2022 gained international headlines with a Far Right truck convoy that landed in Ottawa, Canada. Both capital city occupations had extensive media coverage of the various formations of Far Right and white nationalist individuals and organizations that converged for these events. In so-called Canada, the media highlighted the role of Pat King (United we Roll), Tyler Russell and others from Canada First (Groypers), and Diagalon—whose members had their arms cache seized at the Coutts, Alberta border blockade, one of several held in tandem to the Ottawa occupation (https://www.thestar.com/news/canada/2022/08/26/diagolon-founder-jeremy-mackenzie-faces-assault-weapons-charges-in-saskatchewan.html). Subsequent government hearings raised concerns over a swastika flag seen among many other Far-right affiliated flags. One image, that of a truck in Ottawa bearing the telltale sign of a group banned by the Canadian state as a terrorist organization—and one that played a key role in J6—slipped by, barely noticed. (https://pressprogress.ca/photo-shows-ontario-mpp-randy-hillier-with-flag-of-group-linked-to-armed-freedom-convoy-plot/). This group calls themselves the “Three Percenters”, or “Threepers” for short.
Nowlin was involved with BC based truck convoys including one in February 2022 that attempted to go through Vancouver. Widespread resistance to the convoy forced organizers to re-direct subsequent convoys to the rural Surrey border crossing. This indicates that his sphere of influence and interest is beyond the rural areas of BC from which he is based. With the spotlight elsewhere, Nowlin ended 2022 making ready their paramilitary organizing into a private security outfit due to launch in January 2023. Nowlin has advertised his private security outfit as the “Canadian Sheepdogs Securities” along with his recruitment post about the Kindred. Replete with backwoods training in advanced firearms training, security training, personal protection, patrol, stationary, and first-aid, these far-right actors have advanced militant capacity and now a legal pretense for their boots on the ground.
Nowlin stated on his public Facebook page that they are looking for contracts to expand their operations. This would provide a material and legal way to bring paramilitary groups to both rural and urban places. As the Far Right and white nationalists continue to press their bigoted agenda by way of confrontations at libraries, school boards and community centres, their frequency and militancy increase the risks for serious harms. Should the re-branded Three Percenters model prove successful as a para-militarized private security force, others may follow Nowlin’s lead in creating their own in Canada. Far-right paramilitary organizations outfitting themselves as private security is already a model in the United States (https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/jul/01/portland-far-right-rally-republicans-militia-security) . Antifascists on the Canadian side of the border will need to think strategically while confronting fascist organizing in this new era and learn hard won counter organizing lessons.
Nowlin has been very clear identifying his enemies. In addition to the Muslim community which were the primary target of the Soldiers of Odin, he staunchly denounces antifascists and supporters of the Black Lives Matter movement. This is consistent with the Three Percenter’s ideology and actions in the US that target antifascists and BLM protesters. Despite his re-branding, the worldview and politics are fundamentally the same.
The media often mis-characterizes the Three Percenters and other Far Right armed militias as “anti-government”. At first glace, it’s easy to equate their plots to kidnap and execute US government officials as “anti-government”; however, it is a deeply misleading take that centrists and fascists use to conflate anarchism with fascism (https://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/terrorist-list-three-percenters-1.6079984). Rather than being “anti-government”, they want to be the government, re-entrenching historic and contemporary inequalities and bigoted hierarchies. The paramilitary route is to train and become the armed branch of a supremacist government that they wish to prefigure into existence.
One important factor to analyze from the surging proliferation of far-right groups is not only their propaganda to incite a “race war” but also the material steps taken to make it a reality. The disturbing strategic advantage of Nowlin’s group is the attempt to legitimatize themselves with the legal protections and economic benefits of a private security company while providing para-militarized support and intelligence gathering to far-right and white nationalist organizers. It would be wise to know the level of militancy that is being exercised and the material capacity of the far-right both on and off the field – January 2023 is here.
On October 9, 2022 the band Vastatum is scheduled to open for Polish metal band Batushka at the Rickshaw Theatre, Vancouver, BC, Canada. Vastatum, a two-piece band, includes Trevor ‘Luzifaust’ King who has decades long and deep associations with the leadership of neo-Nazi organizations including Vinland Hammerskins (formerly Northern Hammerskins), Blood and Honour International and Volksfront International.
The presence of Vastatum and white nationalist followers poses an extreme threat to the audience, venue staff and to the surrounding community. Vinland Hammerskins, Blood and Honour and Volksfront are international neo-Nazi organizations that in addition to assaults and murders (singular and mass) use the music industry as a front for business and recruitment.