#80 – Ill Winds From Ottawa


Threats and Opportunities as a Far-Right Initiative Gains Momentum

Listen to the Episode — 53 min


Opponents of vaccine mandates have established protest encampments in Ottawa and elsewhere around Canada, blockading several routes crossing the United States border. Far-right organizers and former police officers have prominent positions in this movement, and police have taken a relatively hands-off approach thus far; it appears likely that the model currently being tested in Canada will appear elsewhere around the world shortly. In this episode, we present an audio version of the article Ill Winds From Ottawa: Thinking Through the Threats and Opportunities as a Far-Right Initiative Gains Momentum, in which our correspondent in Montréal explores the sequence of events that led up to these developments, reviews the agendas of the various forces vying for control, and reflects on what we can do in a situation in which the far right has gained the initiative. {February 17, 2022}

Notes and Links

  • Table of Contents:
    • Introduction {0:01}
    • Preface: A Movement for “Freedom”? {1:56}
    • Ottawa is Just the Tip of the Iceberg {4:36}
    • Timeline {8:47}
    • Update: Trudeau Invokes the Emergencies Act {16:45}
    • Why Has the Situation in Ottawa Gone on So Long?{18:23}
    • By the Way, We Probably Shouldn’t Call These People “Truckers” {24:02}
    • Beyond Ottawa: The Movement in the Streets {27:23}
    • Obstacles and Hazards {31:57}
    • Conclusion {52:30}
  • This episode offers an audio version of the CrimethInc. text Ill Winds From Ottawa: Thinking Through the Threats and Opportunities as a Far-Right Initiative Gains Momentum. In lieu of a full transcript, please check out the print article for the text, links, and more information.

  • Since the above article was written, an important development has taken place, which we describe in the episode as such:

    As we prepare to release this podcast, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has invoked the Emergencies Act, temporarily granting the federal government sweeping powers. Among other things, this enables banks to freeze personal and business accounts suspected of being used to further the blockades—and they can freeze them without obtaining a court order. It is easy to imagine how this precedent could pave the way for the US government to freeze bail funds and other accounts serving protesters in the US, as well—including anti-fascists and anarchists.
    This drives home that we are in a three-way contest with both far-right nationalists and centrist state authorities, in which the enemy of our enemy is not our friend. Any power that we permit either of these adversaries to gain will ultimately be used against us, as well. If we legitimize any repressive measures that the Canadian state takes against these protesters, it will only be easier for the authorities to take the same measures against us when we try to change society for the better. (We made this same point about liberals who celebrated the repressive measures, ranging from facial recognition software to crowdsourced social media snitching, used against right-wing participants in the January 6th disorder at the US Capitol.) This is why grassroots resistance to fascism is so important: it is the only way to defend ourselves and our neighbors without contributing to the development of an invasive and unaccountable centralized power.