Augustus In Vancouver: A Non-Event

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Another shitty, rainy day in the post-industrial, gentrified shit-hole city of Vancouver.

About 25 or so random people gather at the south-east corner if Dunsmuir and Granville. Confusion and apprehension dominates the mood. The large group that said on social media they would be gathered to confront Augustus Sol Invictus and his group of supporters failed to materialize. Augustus’ inability to get across the border, the cancellation of his “free speech rally”, the rain and “because Vancouver” are all possible explanations.

About 5 or 10 minutes later, another smaller crowd of wing-nut conspiracy theorists, and other right-wing weirdo’s including the men’s rights activist, our local Ann Coulter, Lauren Southern, with multiple expensive cameras show up across the street on Dunsmuir. Frothing at the mouth with the gravest concern for free speech, and no concern whatsoever for white-supremacy, or the possibility of fascist organizing taking place in the city, they begin their live streaming and internet reporting. At some point, a bottle of piss is dumped on Lauren.

The Blood & Honour boneheads, and their new found hipster-fascist friends have apparently failed to make an appearance. The group of anti-fascists hoping to confront them and stop them in their public organizing efforts, were left with the choice of sticking around and getting caught up in an internet spectacle of a reaction to a reaction to a reaction to a reaction or just leaving since there was nothing to really shut down. Many chose to leave, rather quickly, hearing through the grapevine that there was some kind of unplanned confrontation with Lauren Southern later.

What Made the Non-Event

Augustus Sol Invictus is a fascist politician from Florida who has infiltrated the Libertarian party there. He has generated some controversy for his sacrifice of a goat (not really a problem) and his links with neo-nazis such as the American Front (a very, very big problem).

When it was first discovered that he planned on giving a speech at the Railway Club on Dunsmuir: a traditionally more working-class culture and labour oriented pub which has fallen under more right-wing management lately, who are doing some union busting with the workers there, it caused a fair amount of uproar. People began putting pressure on the venue to cancel the event, which didn’t take long to manifest.

Irate at the cancellation of the event, it’s local organizers and Augustus Invictus vowed to hold a free speech rally outside the bar on the night the speaking event was supposed to take place. This was changed in the lead up to the event, to a park up the street.

A couple days before the event, comrades from Rose City Antifa caught wind that Augustus was planning on making an appearance in Portland. Local anti-fascists prepared, and when they figured out where he was going to be hanging out, they showed up in force, smashing his car, attacking him and at least one of his supporters. This freaked Augustus right out, he later made a statement on his Facebook page expecting similar results at the rally in Vancouver:

It is incumbent upon a leader not to invite reckless danger to those who support him. And so I feel it necessary to warn you all about tomorrow’s event.

For those of you who have not been keeping up with recent events, the antifa mobbed a bar in Portland where we were holding an informal meet-and-greet two nights ago. They came in numbers, and they came armed. All of you planning to attend tomorrow’s speech in Vancouver need to plan also to be attacked and to defend yourselves. Do not come in the naive hope that you can talk a communist scumbag out of violence. They can barely read, let alone reason. You are dealing with brutes, not professors.

Advice for those who are not professional street brawlers:

  • Do not travel to or from the event alone. Antifa are cowards without honor. They travel in numbers, and they attack only when the numbers are asymmetrical.
  • Assume an ambush. Antifa are cowards without honor. They will hide in the shadows to jump unsuspecting passersby.
  • Keep your head on a swivel. Antifa are cowards without honor. They are sucker punching bitches who wouldn’t know a fair fight if they saw it on pay-per-view.
  • Film everything. Antifa are cowards without honor. They will hit you and run to the police when you hit them back. It would be a good idea to have proof that you acted only in self-defense.
  • ASSUME DEADLY FORCE WILL BE USED. The antifa have openly declared their intent to assassinate me and to begin a civil war at this event. Take them at their word. If you are attacked, do not hold back.

For those attending tomorrow’s event simply out of curiosity, because you saw a flyer and heard I was a racist, homophobic, sexist, eugenist Fascist, I will save you the trouble:

My children are half-Hispanic. The only racists here are the all-white antifa groups who hate themselves and their own race.

I only date bisexual women, and my brother is homosexual. The only people discriminating on the basis of sexuality here are the antifa who attack my heterosexual supporters.

I am a Pagan who worships the Goddess, and I have two daughters. The only sexists here are the antifa who willingly attack women.

I wrote a paper in law school in support of eugenics, which I have since renounced on the grounds that the government cannot be trusted. The only people supporting such a program are the antifa, who promote dysgenics by holding up the wretched of the earth as the future of humanity.

I am a nationalist, and I have threatened the international financiers with the same violence the antifa are threatening against me. If love of my country and a hatred of international finance make me a Fascist, then so be it. But history will take note that the antifa were doing the bidding of the international financiers.

Of course nothing even close to this happened.

The Context and Implications of the Non-Event

Only one thing could have stopped our movement – if our adversaries had understood its principle and from the first day smashed with the utmost brutality the nucleus of our new movement. – Adolf Hitler, 1934

I do not want you to vote, so much as I want you to wake up. I want you to drop out and tune in. I want you to take LSD and practice sorcery. I want you to listen to trap music and black metal, to learn the law and to break it deliberately, to find your own religion. I want you to learn the use of firearms and subject yourselves to rigorous physical training. I want you to treat your bodies as Holy Temples and to take your girlfriend to a strip club so you can seduce a dancer in the back room. I want you to worship Nature and dance naked in the moonlight ’round the fire, screaming in ecstatic joy. I want you to revolt. Raise Hell. Break your limitations. Renounce your life and go into the Wilderness, that God may speak to you of things to come. – Augustus Sol Invictus, 2015

Perhaps what makes Augustus so disturbing as an act of political theatre, is his ability to drop the overt rhetoric of the old KKK and Nazi skinhead organizations, and make his fascist ideas more hip and palatable to unsuspecting post-60’s counter-culturals, and libertarians who were raised in the era of neoliberalism.

We already have a problem of creeping sub-cultural fascism here in Vancouver. Elements within this tendency such as the band, The Night Profound (Shawn Hache, one of their band members also plays in Auroch who have some of their records distributed by Iron Bonehead Productions in Germany, who have been firebombed in the past for being a distributor of fascist culture), and some of their fan base, were clearly excited about the Augustus Invictus speaking event on Facebook. This band and their networks were also responsible for bringing the Nazi neo-folk band Death In June to Vancouver in November 2015. Alistair Miller, who was responsible for lighting a Filipino man on fire on Commercial Drive in 2009, guest starred in The Night Profound when they opened for Death in June.

Local neo-fascist, sociopathic, little shit hipster Conor Patrick Fynes made the connections between these two events quite clear on the Facebook event page for the counter demonstration and Blood & Honour member Shawn Macdonald certainly seemed to be of the same sentiment:

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The local punk and metal scenes definitely have to get their shit together, otherwise they could eventually find a vibrant bubbling fascist movement in their midst. In the post world war two era, fascists have actually preferred to organize and recruit at the cultural level over the overtly political. Everyone knows about what happened with the skin-head subculture. There is no reason, and in fact it should be entirely unsurprising that similar things could start to happen in this era of shallow and contextless hipsterism, especially when you look at the social environment this cultural phenomenon inhabits: sterile, orderly, heavily policed and controlled neighborhoods.¹

The local punk and metal scenes definitely have to get their shit together, otherwise they could eventually find a vibrant bubbling fascist movement in their midst. In the post world war two era, fascists have actually preferred to organize and recruit at the cultural level over the overtly political. Everyone knows about what happened with the skin-head subculture. There is no reason, and in fact it should be entirely unsurprising that similar things could start to happen in this era of shallow and contextless hipsterism, especially when you look at the social environment this cultural phenomenon inhabits: sterile, orderly, heavily policed and controlled neighborhoods.¹

One problem that people may want to address is the vague and superficial anti-capitalism so popular in alternative scenes. Ethical consumerism, as one example, is not resistance to capitalism, and in fact is a reinforcement of it. By not engaging critically with ideas, and preferring subcultural markers to a personal and political affinity with one another, people are leaving an open door to anyone who’s critiques of capitalism, “communism”, “corporatism” and “international financiers” is just subliminal messaging meaning Jews. By refusing to look into or take seriously pre-and-non-christian religions and occultism, just because it is not clearly associated with what they see as conservative capitalist values, people are leaving the door open to right-wing interpretations of Odinism, Satanism, etc, that reinforce racial hierarchies and create fear and hatred of immigrants on the basis of being “other” and not being “western”.

Disallowing fascism doesn’t mean being exclusive. It means being invested in an idea, and open with more intention. Not only would this be a serious thorn in the side to any fascist movement attempting to grow in sub-cultures, it might create an even more vibrant, creative, and interesting culture in which to mingle.

Another interesting quality to the right-wing mobilization around Augustus is the extreme reaction to ‘callout’ and anti-oppression culture. We see this in Lauren Southern’s rhetoric, and it was quite apparent in many of the Facebook memes and comments of Augustus himself and his supporters. There is an interesting and also very disturbing reaction going on in mainstream society right now against “PC Culture” to the point where South Park is making fun of it and even Barrack Obama is making comments on it. The caricature of the spoiled brat university kid demanding a safe space (which can at times be embarrassingly accurate) is now being evoked, even by fascists, to justify the most disgusting misogyny and white-supremacy.

Anarchist revolutionaries and many others have been critiquing privilege politics for quite some time. We are now seeing the mainstreaming of “privilege checking” and liberal interpretations of decolonization, in such bizarre forms as MTV’s White People documentary and “yoga-gate” in Ottawa. This phenomenon is giving the impression to many that opposition to white-supremacy and patriarchy is something repressive and policing, rather than something liberatory and rebellious. It is giving the impression that we merely want control of the institutions of domination and exploitation rather than their total destruction. We must ensure that we are always the rebels and always seen as such, otherwise the rebellious impulse will likely lead to a wave of reaction (in favour of machismo and racism) rather than rebellion (against machismo and racism). People walling themselves up in self-righteous scenes and disgusting institutions might give their ego’s a temporary boost, but in the end will help no one.

Another undercurrent of racism, which runs through the whole of present-day anti-racism, is that of the political verbalism in favour of this or that struggle for the liberation of the South African blacks, the Palestinians, the British blacks, the Kanaks and so on. International solidarity in words alone is a form of latent racism, in fact it is even subscribed to by illuminated governments and respectable groups who spread the good word throughout the world. But when it comes to examining what could be done to support that solidarity concretely, what could be done to damage the economic interests of those responsible for the repression, then things change, and a respectable distance is taken from them immediately. It is another aspect of the anti-racism that tolerates the black man so long as he stays in his place, a different way of keeping a distance, of putting one’s conscience at rest and have racism carry on at a safe distance from one’s own doorstep. […] One concludes that it is indispensable for revolutionaries to differentiate themselves from all those — and they are numerous — who say they are anti-racist, starting from democratic governments of half the world to the so-called governments of the ex-real socialist States, where racism has also always existed, just as inequality has. It is necessary to differentiate oneself in practical terms from the scoundrels who say they are anti-racist, by attacking with precise actions all the symbols of racism and its supporters as they develop and emerge. At the same time it is necessary to work out a critique of the fears and irrational impulses that lurk inside us all concerning everything that is different, in order to reduce the subsoil where the most stupid, visible, racism finds its inexhaustible fuel” – Alfredo Bonanno, Dissonances

Antifascists should also be directing more attention to challenging conspiracy theories and conversing with the libertarian crowd. The libertarian sea, in this case and will likely in the future, be an area of legitimacy in which the fascists can swim and recruit. We have to be more effective in dividing this camp and even pulling some of them in a more revolutionary direction. This is, of course, a very tricky and ultimately uncomfortable path to walk. If we can get past the fact that we may be allowing ourselves to be more easily identified by fascists then we still have multiple hurdles to jump. After we convince them that fascist organizing is detrimental to social libertarianism for example, we still have to trudge through the exhausting and usually counter-productive arguments around pacifism and free speech. If we can make it to our goal however, the possibilities could be quite exciting.

By seeing race not as essential categories or forms of socialization we have to own up to, but as counterrevolutionary alliances that never succeed in negating our own agency, the Phoenix Class War Council achieved a victory of a magnitude I’ve never seen come out of privilege workshops. They approached white libertarians who generally remained within right wing coalitions, and called on them to honor their own principles by joining them in a protest against neo-nazis who were capitalizing on anti-immigrant racism with a xenophobic rally. The libertarians showed up, and helped drive the nazis out of town. Subsequently, the Phoenix anarchists intervened again, and called on the white libertarians to stand true to their opposition to big government by joining them in a protest against the militarization of the borders, which was also an immigrant solidarity protest. Many of them came out, mutinying against the alliances of white supremacy. (One might argue that this momentum was largely destroyed by the leftist Boycott Arizona campaign, which had a watered down politics, was based on shaming and guilt, and gave all Arizona citizens, i.e. from the nazis to the libertarians, cause to unite). – Peter Gelderloos, Lines In Sand


1. While recent attempts in anti-fascist writing to address the growing problem of alternative fascism have usually included shallow and ideological cheap-shots thrown at green and individualist strains of anarchism; whoever wrote the article Don’t Worry You Can Sleep At Night in issue 3 of Black Seed – A Green Anarchist Publication can keep huffing that Kombucha and basically stop calling themselves an anarchist as far as I’m concerned. The consistent threat of fascism in sub-cultures is not just a matter of aesthetics and you couldn’t be more of an empty self-important hipster in my eyes with your moralizing against morality, straw-man garbage about revolutionary action being ethical consumerism, and a lack of any kind of vision or creativity beyond trying to point out symbolic ironies.